A preschool-8th grade co-educational Jewish day school in northshore Chicago
Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff


Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth
Founder & Head of School

Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth is the founder and dean of North Shore Torah Academy. A lifelong learner and educator, he has taught and guided students for over 25 years on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and across the continent of North America. He received high-level rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical Seminary of America (RSA - Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim) in Queens, New York, as well as a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Queens College of the City University of New York. He served as Instructor of Talmud and as a member of the administration at RSA's Jerusalem campus, then moved back to the States to become the principal of Torah High Schools of San Diego - Girls Division and subsequently, of Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School of Chicago. Besides teaching the upper grades Judaics class at Torah Academy, he gives weekly classes to adults in the community on Talmud, the weekly Torah portion and other topics. He is the co-author of Majesty of Man: Torah Insights into Human Nature (1992) and Pinnacle of Creation (2007) published by Artscroll Mesorah, based on the Mussar/ethical teaching of his revered mentor, Rabbi Henach Leibowitz zt"l. Both works stress the greatness of the human being, and accurately describe the basis for Rabbi Zehnwirth's approach to education of both children and adults - to nurture and develop the vast, untapped potential and nobility that exists within each person.

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Morah Elisa Zehnwirth

Elisa Zehnwirth earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Yeshiva University, in Judaic Studies and Education.  With over 25 years of teaching experience, across the globe,she has taught a wide range of ages - from Early childhood Education, as teacher/Director, through a college level course in Child Development for high school students.  Morah Elisa is passionate about ensuring that each student grows in their understanding of Jewish values, Middot and traditions, and that they strive towards academic excellence, in both General and Judaic Studies. Morah Elisa is a founding administrator of Torah Academy and serves as the Principal.  She loves the fact that TA students are challenged to do their personal best and are encouraged to reach beyond their present academic levels, in multi aged classrooms, based on their own abilities and by engaging a healthy growth mindset.  

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Morah Chen Cohen
PreK - Kindergarten Teacher, Hebrew Language Immersion Specialist
Mrs. Mila Finklestein
Chess Specialist
Mrs. Carrie Kaz
Administrative Team Consultant
Mrs. Ann Collins
ELA Teacher

Ann Collins is our Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science and writing teacher for first through third grade during our morning block schedule.  Mrs. Collins has had the pleasure of being with out fourth and fifth grade students fir an hour in the early afternoon, focusing on their Reading, Language Arts and Writing skills.  She has had the adventure and fun experience of working with our kindergarten students in the afternoon. Mrs. Collins joins Torah Academy with over thirty years of teaching experience with District 102 in Buffalo Grove.  She graduated from Loyola University with a Bachelor of Science in Education, and again from University of North Carolina with a Masters in Early Childhood Education. She has also completed an additional thirty-six credit hours of instruction in Language Arts and Reading at National Lewis University.  Mrs. Collins grew up on the North side of Chicago. As a child she attended private schools and her backyard was Lincoln Park. Mrs. Collins currently resides in Barrington with her husband and her own big backyard. In her free time, Mrs. Collins loves to travel, and make connections with people through her various involvement with book clubs, organizations and continuing education.  She has wanted to become a teacher since the age of five, and feels very fortunate and passionate about working with her students and their families. Mrs. Collin’s goal is to help students become life-ling learners and to understand that it is always important to be the best that they can be. She values Torah Academy and the opportunities students have to grow in all areas.

Ms. Callie Dixon
Rabbi Yechezkel Fried
Judaic Studies

Yechezkel Fried is the Judaic Studies Rebbe for 3rd through 5th grades at Torah Academy. He has a Bachelors degree in Judaic Studies from Bais Hamedrash LTorah Yeshiva in Skokie and a Masters Degree in K-8 general education from University of Phoenix. He has over 25 years of experience in both General and Judaic  studies. He lives with his wife and 3 of their 8 daughters in Chicago. Their 3 oldest daughters are married and they have a grandson who’s 8 months old. He enjoys playing baseball, basketball, and tennis. One of the things in particular he likes about Torah Academy is that it’s like one big family.

Mrs. Sarala Grunberg
Art Instructor
Dr. Victoria Kofman
Math Instructor

Dr. Victoria Kofman teaches 3rd-8th grade math in Torah Academy. Victoria is an IL certified math/Physics teacher and has 2 master degrees in education (From Moscow State Open Educational University, Moscow, Russia and DePaul University, Chicago, IL) as well as PhD. in Physical Chemistry from Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Rehovot, Israel.

Victoria has three children--all engineers. Two of them are entrepreneurs as well.

Dr. Kofman teaches using materials she had developed. Besides teaching in Torah Academy, Dr. Kofman runs an after-school center where she works on developing a math curriculum for future engineers and scientists. Victoria's main passion is creating conditions when students are reaching their highest potential with math and problem-solving. Victoria tells that Torah Academy impressed her by super-kind relations between students.  

Rabbi Yitzchok Kolsky
Judaic Studies
Dr. Marla Wolf
Dr. Alon Henson
Mr. Maksim Shilkrot
Judaic Studies
Mrs. Jean Merzon
Mrs. Miriam Schiller
Educational Consultant
Ms. Tammie Roth
Educational Consultant
Mrs. Stacey Panner
Office Administrator

Stacey is our office Administrator, and is the first point of contact for Torah Academy.  She joins us with a background in health care finance, Collections, and Office Administration.  Mrs. Panner was raised in Buffalo Grove, and studied Sociology at San Francisco State University before returning to be closer to her family.  She currently resides in Arlington Heights with her husband and 2 children. In her free-time, Mrs. Panner is on the Board of Directors for The Shabbat Project Chicago, part of various leadership committees for Chicago Torah Network, and is a repeat author for the Jewish Home.  She also enjoys crafts, reading, writing, music, and having dance parties in her living room with her kids.  Mrs. Panner has very much enjoyed building relationships with students, parents and faculty, and looks forward to many more years with Torah Academy.