January 2, 2022
We are thrilled to announce that after a productive national search, the Head of School Search Committee has recommended and the Mirowitz Board has appointed Raquel Scharf-Anderson as Mirowitz’s next Head of School beginning July 1, 2022.
We are grateful to the members of our search committee, and to teachers, staff, parents and community members whose participation in the search process and feedback guided our decision.
Raquel has an impressive resume with significant leadership experience as Head of both Jewish and secular independent schools. She has spent most of her career in the Jewish day school world. For many years, she was Assistant Head of School for Pardes Jewish Day School in Scottsdale, Arizona, and later served as Head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Seattle Waldorf School. She says her roles as a school leader, as a cantorial soloist, as a teacher, as a volunteer and as a mother have been influenced by Jewish teachings, and that she believes the opportunity to lead Mirowitz will allow her to live her life’s purpose each day.
Raquel is passionate about supporting diverse learners, and ensuring a school culture marked by kavod (respect) and chesed (kindness). As a school leader, Raquel values communication and approachability, and understands that to lead a Jewish day school, one must model limud lishmah (learning for the sake of learning), gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindness), tikun olam (repairing the world) and derech eretz (involvement in worldly concerns).
Raquel will move to St. Louis with her husband Eric this summer. They are the proud parents of two young-adult children, Samuel and Tzipporah, who are Jewish day school graduates themselves.
We remain indebted to Cheryl Maayan who, over the past 14 years, led Mirowitz to become a thriving and esteemed school that attracted several quality candidates. She is eager to support a smooth transition.
Upon the strong foundation Cheryl built, Raquel will help our school grow from strength to strength, implementing the best educational practices, developing each student’s Jewish identity and connection to Israel, and creating opportunities for children to explore their ability to better the world.
With excitement and best wishes,
Paul Flotken- Search Committee Chair
Diane Rosen- Board President
A Few Words from Raquel Scharf- Anderson
Dear Mirowitz Community,
I was inspired by my visit to Mirowitz several weeks ago. All around me, I saw a community committed to the school’s mission. Faculty and staff are working to imagine inventive and progressive teaching methods that address what students need to excel, both as learners today and as future leaders who will grapple with the world’s greatest challenges. I saw this in t’fillah and Torah study as students delved into prayer with Reb Scott and community rabbis. I participated in P.E. class, built words with kindergarteners, ate lunch with middle school students, sang with budding musicians, learned about Mirowitz’s Chanukah Tamchui tzedakah effort, celebrated with the Mirowitz community at Light Up the Night, and enjoyed quality time with teachers, parents and lay leaders.
In each space, I felt inspiration and comfort. Everyone I met understands their sacred role within the Mirowitz community. It is clear that this thriving community also lifts up the individuals who give so much to it.
Mirowitz is undoubtedly in a position of strength and can take tremendous pride in all that it has accomplished. At the same time, if we are to pursue Mirowitz’s fundamental purpose, we will always have work to do. Efforts to perfect a student-centered, pluralistic educational program, with Tikkun Olam at its core, will never be finished. Naturally, we also have work to do rebuilding community cohesion after a disruptive pandemic. I have accepted this position, however, not because of the work Mirowitz has to do. I am thrilled to join this community because of what you already are.
Eric and I look forward to moving to St. Louis with our beloved dogs, Theo and Lacy. We hope to create a home where our children, Sam (in graduate school at University of Michigan) and Tzipporah (in undergrad at Arizona State) will want to visit often. We cannot wait to explore the city and its beautiful parks. We also are excited to get to know the members of the Jewish community and to make Mirowitz our family.
I would like to thank the search committee and the Board for leading a thoughtful process that afforded me the opportunity to meet so many members of the Mirowitz community. Thank you to the faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, donors, clergy and trustees who were so generous with their time and so open to sharing their perspectives. And I especially would like to thank Cheryl Maayan, under whose leadership Mirowitz has become a leader in Jewish education. I look forward to a continued partnership with Cheryl as this transition unfolds.
I look forward to the privilege of being a part of the lives of the students and families at Mirowitz. I cannot wait to begin!
Sept. 10, 2021- A Letter from Diane Rosen, Board President
Dear Mirowitz Community,
We have been fortunate to have had Cheryl Maayan as Head of School for 14 years, and as a teacher for seven years before that. That longevity is a sign not only of her success as a leader, but of her dedication to our school and our community. It is highly unusual for an independent school to retain its head of school for that long.
Cheryl has been extraordinary. It takes a special kind of leader to bring together two school communities, each committed to its own culture, policies, curricula and pedagogy; to ensure the safe delivery of in-person learning during a pandemic; and create a school that is on par with the nation’s best schools; and to raise a generation of capable and confident leaders who are ethically responsible, eager to understand others and who find strength in their heritage.
She surely leaves big shoes to fill.
Under Cheryl’s leadership, we have created a new reality for Jewish day school education in St. Louis and built a strong foundation for the school’s continued success. We have responded eagerly to both challenges and opportunities, and that is how we will move forward with our search for Cheryl’s replacement. We are grateful that she has provided us with sufficient time so that we can plan thoughtfully.
The Board has engaged Prizmah to recruit a new Head of School for the 2022-2023 school year. This talent-recruiting division of the network of Jewish day schools has broad experience with senior leadership placement. Paul Flotken has graciously agreed to chair the Search Committee. In the upcoming weeks you will hear from Paul and from our Prizmah Search Coordinator Amy Wasser. They will solicit input from faculty, staff, parents, students, alumni and community members to ensure that we find the best fit for Mirowitz. We are confident that the position will attract many strong candidates, and that we will hire a head of school who is eager to lead a school known for excellence and innovation.
We are thankful that Cheryl has agreed to work with the next leader to ensure a smooth transition, and that the leadership team she built is both competent and dedicated to Mirowitz’s ongoing success. The school’s faculty, staff, parent community and board embrace a shared commitment to educational excellence, meaningful Jewish learning, social responsibility, a love of Israel, intentional pluralism, the Hebrew language, and joyful Jewish living. We have built one of the nation’s best independent schools, and the only pluralistic Jewish day school in St. Louis. Together we will ensure that future generations can give their children the gift of a Mirowitz childhood.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, please join me in thanking Cheryl for her leadership and devotion to Mirowitz.
President, Board of Directors
Sept. 10, 2021- A Letter from Cheryl Maayan
Dear Mirowitz Community,
With mixed emotions, I’m writing to share with you that the 2021-22 school year will be my last as head of Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School. It has been my honor and joy to be part of our incredible school for 21 years: 7 as a teacher and 14 as head. I am both excited and optimistic about the future of our school and the opportunities new leadership will provide as Mirowitz enters its second decade.
I will always remain a supporter of Mirowitz and will continue to help the school raise funds so that we can continue to do this holy work for the Jewish future. Mirowitz holds my heart and my passion. It is a place that helped shape my sons, and where I’ve watched the transformation of hundreds of young people as they connect with their Jewish identity and heritage, and become learners and leaders who make us all so proud.
We have an extraordinary history at Mirowitz. We cannot even answer the question, “How old is your school?” While Mirowitz was established by the St. Louis Jewish community in 2012 as a newly envisioned pluralistic Jewish school, our two legacy schools were 31 and 12 years old at the time. I was enlisted to lead the merged school, and promised the generous donors that we would work tirelessly to ensure its success. When this year comes to an end, I will have led the merged school for a full decade, and I am ready to pass the torch.
Together with all of you who give so much to the school, I’m proud of what Mirowitz has accomplished over the past ten years. We achieved enrollment growth and have begun to build an endowment for our long-term sustainability. We have developed and maintained our commitment to meaningful Jewish learning and pluralism, to the arts, to applying neuroscience to our teaching, to academic excellence and to developing socially responsible young leaders for our future. We have grown our Hebrew and Israel education program, our support services, our sports program, and expanded our outdoor learning labs. We have hired educators who are committed to learning and growing their professional repertoire. We are grounded in our constructivist educational philosophy, helping students shape their own understanding of the world through experience. A quarter of our employees have been here more than a decade, remaining committed to our students through the challenges of both our merger and the pandemic. We are considered a day school of excellence on a national level, recognized by national foundations and organizations. Our leaders and faculty serve as mentors for colleagues in the field, thought leaders and teachers of teachers by facilitating professional development. We are an exemplary independent school with a unique value proposition.
For the past 9 years, I have been mentoring new and aspiring heads of school, through the Day School Leadership Training Institute. My hope was to ensure a pool of future heads who could lead Mirowitz, knowing I’d one day be ready to move on to new adventures.
I feel confident that Mirowitz is poised to attract excellent candidates for this position. We boast a healthy board of directors that consistently attends to the needs of today and also ensures that our school will be strong in 50 years. Our school’s stability, our educational philosophy, the consistent culture and unity of mission among our faculty all contribute to making Mirowitz a desirable place for talented candidates.
I am deeply grateful to everyone over the years who has made Mirowitz such a remarkable institution…where school is more than just a place of excellent learning. As I prepare for the transition ahead, I take with me treasured memories from my time at Mirowitz, which I know will continue to grow in the coming year. Thank you to all our past and present students, families, faculty and staff, volunteers, supporters, and especially to the board of directors for their exemplary partnership. Thank you to the generous community members and Jewish Federation of St. Louis for supporting the school year after year. Your collective trust and support have allowed me to lead with integrity and purpose. I also want to thank my husband, Jon, and my children for supporting my work and being willing to share me and my attention with this passion project of mine for the past 21 years.
I will do everything I can to ensure a smooth transition for the new head, and will remain your partner forever in ensuring that children receive the incredible gift of growing up with a Mirowitz childhood.
May Mirowitz go from strength to strength for many decades to come.
With love and gratitude,