Hillel Academy’s 62nd anniversary dinner, Wednesday, Jan. 22, will celebrate an eventful year for the school, one that has seen the hiring of a new general studies principal and a building renovation.
With the renovation, the entire student body now learns under one roof.
Marcie Calm joined Hillel Academy at the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year, with 20 years of day school administration.
Calm was associated with Denver Jewish Day School, both as Judaic director and as head of the lower division. Among her many responsibilities at Denver JDS was the review and realignment of the general studies curriculum.
She has presented workshops at national conferences, such as the National Assn. of Independent Schools (NAIS) and the National Staff Development Council (CSDC).
She participated in the Principal Center Program through the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Her colleagues at Hillel Academy are pleased with the selection of Calm. Principal Rabbi Yitchok Goldstein says, “Having Mrs. Calm at Hillel Academy not only allows us to utilize her strengths, but she also helps bring out the best in the rest of the staff —kind of the ‘Peyton Manning effect.’
“It is amazing how quickly she is becoming an essential member of our staff. We keep asking ourselves how we ever did it without her.
“I have been impressed with Marcie’s ability to communicate with and meet the needs of all stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers and administrators.”
Hillel Executive Director Mordechai Hoffman adds, “She has really jumped into the thick of things, and is bringing new ideas, energy and educational concepts to Hillel Academy.”
Also new at Hillel Academy this year are two classrooms and a renovated lower lobby.
The classrooms were created in the space formerly occupied by the stage area of the Beren Auditorium and some storage rooms. They are used for the middle school boys’ secular and Judaic classes.
For many years, the middle school boys were housed at the Bais Menachem synagogue on its lower level and in trailers on its property.
While Hillel officials are appreciative of the hospitality shown by Bais Menachem, the separation of the boys from the rest of the student body, across a busy street, was not ideal.
“The renovation has enabled us to move to one campus, allowing for improved oversight and greater functionality,” Hoffman says. “Students appreciate being in a new, modern environment, and we expect their academic achievements will see a benefit as a result.”
Rabbi Goldstein comments, “The faculty and administration are amazed at the impact on the boys. We see it with attitude, organization, behavior and quality of learning. It helps the boys feel part of the school, and gives us the ability to use their positive energy to impact the younger boys as well.”
The new classrooms also please the teachers. Seventh grade sacred studies teacher, Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz says,:
“The new classrooms are magnificent! The administration definitely paid attention to detail. The color scheme, carpeting in the hallway and proper lighting were all worked out to maximize the learning experience for the students.”
The Hillel Academy dinner will begin at 6 p.m., at BMH-BJ. Honorees are Dr. Robert and Esther Wershaw, Rabbi Chaim and Rivky Sher and Rabbi Yisroel and Leah Engel. Chair is Shlomo Fried.