WORLD CLASS TEACHERS

Mrs. Debbie Perles - ELA - 1st grade
Mrs. Perles obtained a BA in Philosophy from Stern College and has over 35 years of teaching experience in both Kindergarten and 1st grade. Her vast experience allows plenty of individual attention for every student while guiding the class toward academic super-achievement and excellence.


Ms. Michele May - ELA - 2nd and 4th grade, Drama Teacher, After School Director

Ms. May is a NYS Certified English Teacher, she received her Bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in the Dramatic Arts from the College of Staten Island.  Ms. May further pursued her education and earned a Master's degree in Education.  Early in her educational career, Ms. May attended FIT, majoring in Fashion Design and minoring in Journalism, where she earned her Associates degree in Fashion Design. In her teaching career, she has taught J.H.S. ELA in the Board of Education, CTT, honors, and remedial classes. She also taught a Preparatory ELA course for the ELA State Exams and during the summers, she has taught Performing Arts at P.S. 6 and I.S.  7 teaching all facets, grades 1st-5th grade.  Ms. May strongly believes that it is essential for every student to achieve academic success by way of teaching them the mystical and creative encounters of the English language through  writing techniques and exploring the literature elements, introducing them to reading strategies and building upon their vocabulary.  Her goal is to illuminate every student's mind by finding a way to their heart and their love for learning.  

Mrs. Naomi Grodsky - ELA - 3rd and 5th grade

Mrs. Grodsky received her Bachelors Degree in English from Touro College, in addition she also has advanced courses in Education and Child Psychology.  After graduation, she continued to pursue a Master's Degree in Childhood Education/English. She has taught English for grades 5-8 since 2006.  She is very passionate about creative writing and teaching her students how to express themselves proficiently and developing their own voices.


Ms. Regina Iannizzotto  - ELA Co-Teacher

Ms. Iannizzotto received her dual undergraduate degree in General/Special Education from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. She is currently attending Touro College for literacy to become a Reading Specialist.  Ms. Iannizzotto has been working at SIHA for 3 years and she prides herself in building lessons that are hands-on. Interactive learning is Ms. Iannizzotto's main mission for her classes because it keeps the students interested and allows for them to facilitate their own education in a way that works best for them. In her class, the students are always working together to solve problems, answer questions, and lead their own learning. 

Mrs. Alla Shats - MATH - K-3rd grade

Mrs. Shats  has over 13 years of teaching experience working with children from k to 6th grade and has  obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education, with concentration in Math, from St. John's University. After graduation, she continued to pursue a Master’s Degree in Childhood Education/Special Education at Touro College. Mrs. Shats believes that education is the key to success for young children. As a teacher, she hopes to motivate students, promote effective learning environment, build curiosity, and foster confidence in all of her students. She is eager to commit and encourage children's interests in different subject areas, and is determined to challenge their abilities and inner strengths to discover and explore what truly inspires them. Mrs. Shats loves working with children and will continue to strive to be a positive influence in their lives. She hopes that her passion for teaching will create a desire for constant learning within each child. 


Ms. Jordana Syetta - Kindergarten

Ms. Syetta has a dual Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and Science, Letters, and Society from the College of Staten Island. She also has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Special and General Education from Touro College. Ms. Syetta has extensive experience as an Early Intervention Service provider, Special Education Teacher Support Service provider and has worked for three years as a substitute teacher with the DOE and private preschools prior to joining SIHA. Ms. Syetta uses multi-sensory approach to teaching to support each students unique way of learning. 


Mrs. Sterna Ivry - JUDAIC STUDIES, Kindergarten and 1st grade
Mrs. Ivry born in Paris, France graduated with honors from the Beth Rivka Teachers Seminary of Higher Education in Yerres France. She taught and directed at various Talmud Torah Hebrew Schools and Jewish Day Schools in Paris.  She was also the acclaimed teacher of the Pre-school and 1stgrade classes and director of Judaic studies at the newly opened Jewish Day School in Dijon, France.  In 2001, she moved with her husband Rabbi Yochanan Ivry to Staten Island, NY to begin their outreach efforts in the South and East Shore Areas at Congregation Toras Emes. She has opened a Hebrew Sunday School for children ages 5 to 12 and taught many children from family with little to no Jewish educational background. Many of her students have graduated and celebrated their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. These students maintain a connection to their Jewish roots and participate in Judaic projects.  Some are now teaching themselves at the Hebrew school.  In the fall of 2003, Mrs. Ivry founded a group family daycare.  Mrs. Ivry has connected with many children and families who are unaffiliated and who are happy to give their children a Jewish education in a warm and caring environment!  Mrs. Ivry also opened a Jewish Day Camp four years ago that is opened to Jewish children from very different backgrounds. Children all learn from each other and enjoy their summer in a Jewish environment.  Many children come from public school and go home singing Hebrew songs and report the many different aspects of Judaism they picked up through games, songs and discussions throughout the summer.  It is Mrs. Ivry's most rewarding prize to see Jewish children connect with their heritage with pride and joy.

Mrs. Dina Khukhashvili - JUDAIC STUDIES, 3rd and 4th grade

​Mrs. Khukhashvili is an experienced teacher, whose love of teaching shines through the many preschool and elementary school students she educated over the years. Mrs. Khukhashvili attended Preshelhevet in Israel, a program that focused on textual proficiency, and later, graduated from Sharey Bnos Ya'akov Maalot Seminary. She spent a year studying at Machon L'parnasa while simultaneously involved in a chavrusa (partnership) mentoring program at Be'er Hagolah Institutes. There, she was promoted to primary preschool and 3rd grade Judaic Studies teacher.  In 2009, Mrs. Khukhashvili’s love of teaching inspired her to establish a preschool, which catered to Eltingville’s orthodox community in Staten Island. For 6 years she independently directed and administered a detailed early childhood education. Mrs. Khukhashvili sees a part of herself in every SIHA student. Coming from an unaffiliated Jewish home herself, she relates to her students on a deeper and personal level, enabling her to better guide them on their journey through yiddishkeit. It is through her passion and commitment to every child that her students learn, develop and reach their true potential and realize the very special place they hold within the Jewish nation.


Mrs. Shaindy Spiegel - JUDAIC STUDIES, 2nd grade

Mrs. Spiegel is a graduate of Maimonides College and Beth Jacob Teachers Seminary of Toronto. She also studied at Midrasha Ohr Yerushalim in Israel. She has many years of teaching experience serving as preschool teacher, Sunday school teacher, afternoon school teacher and adult education instructor. Her love for Yiddishkeit can be seen in her approach to teaching. She always sees the good in every child and her Yideshe Mama really shines through. As a result, the children greatly enjoy learning about their heritage.


Mr. Alex Ibragimov - Social Studies and Science, After School Programming 

Mr. Ibragimov  graduated Queens College in 2007 with a Bachelors in History and a minor in Secondary Education. He holds a NYS Certification in Social Studies for grades 7-12. He has over 8 years of experience working with children in after school programming and management, he has also taught Economics to seniors in Forest Hills High School. This is the first year for Mr. Ibragimov as a SIHA teacher and thus far the experience has been great. He strives to make learning fun for his students and to give them an educational experience they will remember for a lifetime. Mr. Ibragimov's goal is to create fond memories of his classes and lessons well into adulthood s well as to be able to help their children with topics being taught to them now. 


Mrs. Irene Lopukhin - MUSIC

Mrs. Lopukhin studied piano in Russia and Israel, where she obtained a Master's Degree in Piano from Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. She has performed in chamber recitals in Europe, Israel and the US. After arriving to the US, Mrs. Lopukhin worked as an accompanist in ballet schools and opera companies and taught piano around the New York metropolitan area. Today, Mrs. Lopukhin leads music enrichment classes in SIHA as well as SIHA choir, gives private piano lessons, and conducts lectures on the current topics in music education to future music teachers.  Mrs. Lopukhin is a certified Musikgarten educator and a member of Music Teachers National Association

Ms. Judith Damti - ART, K Co-teacher

Ms. Damti graduated from The College of Staten Island with a Bachelor in Psychology and a Minor in Photography.  She has worked at SIHA for the past 3 years and this September, she has taken on a role of ART Teacher as well as K Co-teacher. In the past, Ms. Judy has worked as the 2nd grade Geography teacher, the 3rd grade teacher’s assistant, and the 3rd grade after schoolteacher. Some of her hobbies include drawing, singing, and knitting. She tries to incorporate some of these hobbies into her work. She enjoys working at SIHA immensely, and loves seeing the students’ bright and excited faces each morning.  

Mrs. Raisa Mukho- RUSSIAN

Mrs. Mukho was born in Lvov, Ukraine and as graduated from Drogobich Teaching College and worked as an elementary school teacher in Lvov prior to immigrating to the United States. She has obrained a BA in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College and a MS in Early Childhood Education. She is a B-2 Certified teacher. Mrs. Mukho is excited about teaching the beautiful Russian language to her students and her lessons are always interactive and fun. 


Ms. Sasha Ortiz - Math Co-teacher, Sports Coordinator

Ms. Ortiz  is currently pursuing a Bachelors in Mathematics with a minor in Secondary Education. She graduated New Dorp High School as the Salutatorian. Ms. Ortiz was on the varsity soccer team for four years, on the junior varsity basket ball team for two years, and varsity track for a year. She had a passion for teaching since her childhood and working at SIHA is re-affirming the passion every day.