Our teachers are the heart of our school. We carefully select enthusiastic and dedicated educators, many of whom hold advanced degrees, with a solid grasp of students’ educational and developmental needs. Warm and attentive, they enjoy coming to know each of their students individually, and cultivating close mentor relationships.

In classes with low teacher-student ratios, they are able to subtly modify their teaching to each child’s learning style and specific needs, so that every child is challenged to his or her potential. Teachers will often be observed working one-on-one or with a small group of students on their specific level. Our teachers do not merely teach skills; they convey to students directly and constantly their enduring commitment and passion for learning, personal growth and moral character. They work to create a strong classroom community that serves as a blueprint for a just and ethical society where members treat one another with kindness, respect, sensitivity and an appreciation for the contributions of each individual. Beyond the classroom, our teachers actively pursue professional growth opportunities to stay current and attuned to the best methodologies of the educational field.

IMG_6420.jpgChani Okonov, Head of School

BIO: Chani has been the Educational Director and Head of School at Mazel since 2003. A native of Brooklyn, NY she has over 18 years of experience in the educational field. Throughout her years of experience as an educational professional, both as classroom teacher, curriculum developer and administrative director, Morah Chani has sought to design learning environments that are engaging and meaningful for children of all ages.  Chani has completed training through the Educational Leadership Advancement Initiative with the Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University. She is also involved in a nationwide initiative aimed at setting high standards for Chabad-affiliated early childhood centers (CECE Network). Chani has lectured at educational conferences, and teaches education courses to student teachers at Beth Rivkah Teacher's College.  She was also the recipient of the Young Pioneers Award 2014 by the Jewish Education Project of NY.

The proud mother of 8 children, Chani and her husband, Rabbi Avremel Okonov, founded Mazel Day School, inspired by the vision of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. The Rebbe's groundbreaking vision for Jewish education that is inspiring, meaningful and global drove the Okonov's to establish a Jewish day school in South Brooklyn that bring together Jewish families from a broad spectrum of observance and build a community.

Why I love teaching and what I hope to accomplish in my school: A wise Rabbi once compared a child to a small seed. When planted, great care must be taken to ensure that it will grow into a healthy plant - every input, whether positive or negative, will have a major impact on its future outcome. Watching the small tiny steps that children take in their development fills me with such pleasure! Each success, which you often only notice when paying close attention, is a precious moment unto itself. My greatest hope is to empower children with whatever they will need as they begin their life journeys - so that later, when they are all grown up and adult, they will be able to draw upon some wisdom, some skill or some knowledge which they learned in their early school years.

I am a passionate believer in educating the whole child – mind, heart and soul. Along with a team of master teachers, my vision is to design a school environment at Mazel that will raise well-educated, kind and refined children. With children of my own at home, I am especially attuned to the needs of parents and strongly advocate for parental engagement in our children’s educational process.

The Day School model is extremely exciting for me. In particular, I value the opportunity for children to grow up learning to appreciate the diversity within the Jewish community.

You can hear Chani talk more about her educational vision here .