Jo-Ellen Unger, MARE '16, a member of the fourth cohort of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education, has been selected to serve as the Fall 2019 Dr. Michael Zeldin Alumna-in-Residence.
The Dr. Michael Zeldin Alumni-in-Residence Program is a gift of HUC-JIR School of Education alumni, consisting of graduates from the Rhea Hirsch School of Education, the New York School of Education, and the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education. The Program honors Dr. Michael Zeldin, former Senior National Director of the School of Education, by bringing learning from the field directly into HUC-JIR’s education programs, recognizing alumni who are doing exceptional work, and inspiring students for generations to come. Unger was nominated by a distinguished committee of peers. She will spend two-and-a-half days with our students, sharing her professional wisdom from the field.
Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, National Director of the School of Education, notes, “I am delighted that our students will have the opportunity to learn with and from someone as talented and creative as Jo-Ellen Unger. Her career has spanned various sectors of Jewish education, and her passion is contagious. Our students will no doubt be inspired by her.”
"HUC-JIR has given so much to so many of us," says Unger. "To have the opportunity to share some of what I've learned and to explore, create, and grow with this group of inspired educational leaders, is a tremendous blessing."
Throughout her education and career, Unger straddled the worlds of Jewish Education and the Arts. Music was a part of her life from a very young age, as she performed in a variety of concerts in multiple venues. She developed her skills in voice, theatre, and dance at the Performing and Visual Arts Center (now New World School of the Arts) in Miami, FL, the Fine Arts program at Florida State University, and the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City. She held the position of Assistant Director of URJ (then UAHC) Camp Coleman, coupled with the role of SEFTY (NFTY SE) Regional Advisor, which later evolved into the position of Southeast Council Regional Director for Junior and Senior High School programs. Unger has also served as a formal and informal education director at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, Congregation Ahavath Chesed in Jacksonville, FL, and most recently Har Sinai Congregation outside of Baltimore, MD.