CASJE Receives Grant from Jim Joseph Foundation, Welcomes New Advisory Board Co-Chair and Member

October 21, 2021

CASJE (Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education), housed at the George Washington University, received a $1.2 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation to support its continued efforts to make positive change in Jewish educational settings by generating evidence-based, actionable ideas for the field. Major projects in 2022 will address research use in Jewish education practice and policy; building research practice partnerships; and supporting research on race and Jewish education.

The grant comes on the heels of CASJE’s comprehensive research project on the Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators, supported by the William Davidson Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation. CASJE continues to share those findings with organizations and leaders across the country.

Additionally, Dr. Susan Kardos has been named co-chair of CASJE’s advisory board and Dr. Heather C. Hill has joined the advisory board. Dr. Kardos is Chief Strategy and Advancement Officer at The Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York. She previously served for 12 years as Senior Director of Strategy and Education Planning at The AVI CHAI Foundation. Dr. Hill is the Hazen-Nicoli Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studies teacher and teaching quality and efforts to improve both.

“CASJE is deeply focused on ensuring that Jewish education is guided by the highest quality research evidence—and we are grateful for the funders and leaders that make this possible,” says Dr. Arielle Levites, CASJE’s Managing Director. “Susan and Heather will elevate this work, bringing their vast experience and expertise in Jewish and secular education to CASJE’s important efforts.”

“I have had the privilege of seeing CASJE from a variety of different angles, and I'm honored to now serve, with Ben Jacobs, as a co-Chair of the Advisory Board,” adds Dr. Susan Kardos. “I believe in CASJE's mission to bring practitioners, researchers, and funders together in service of Jewish education, and I believe in the power of this advisory board to guide CASJE toward that guidestar. I am humbled to follow prior chairs Dr. Lee Shulman, Dr. Michael Feuer, and Rabbi Mitch Malkus in leading this august body, and look forward to working with Arielle in pursuit of CASJE's goals.”

“Susan has demonstrated throughout her career a serious commitment to applying rigorous research in novel ways in Jewish education settings, and to forging relationships between researchers, practitioners, and funders ,” adds Dr. Benjamin M. Jacobs, co-chair with Kardos of the CASJE advisory board. “Heather brings to the board her outstanding reputation in the field of teacher professional learning as well as her experience co-writing a regular column for Education Week called ‘Weighing the Research: What Works, What Doesn’t,’ which is clearly in line with CASJE’s interests.”

CASJE’s mission is to improve the quality of knowledge that guides Jewish education practice and policy. Its process to develop research is highly collaborative, bringing together scholars, educators, and policymakers to identify areas of focus, formulate critical researchable questions and frame evidence-based interventions. CASJE is housed at The George Washington University in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Core operations are supported by grants from the Jim Joseph Foundation and Crown Family Philanthropies.

“CASJE is uniquely positioned to advance the field and support educators and educational leaders,” adds Stacie Cherner, Director of Learning and Evaluation at the Jim Joseph Foundation. “The Collaborative has a track record of developing relevant research, sharing those findings broadly with the field, and being a resource for philanthropic decision making.”

CASJE’s Advisory Board includes co-chairs Dr. Benjamin M. Jacobs (GW) and Dr. Susan Kardos (Abraham Joshua Heschel School); members Dr. Henry Braun (Boston College), Dr. Rena Dorph (Lawrence Hall of Science), Dr. Charles “Chip” Edelsberg (formerly of the Jim Joseph Foundation), Dr. Heather Hill (Harvard University), Dr. Sharon Feiman-Nemser (Brandeis University), Dr. Michael Feuer (GW), Dr. Ellen Goldring (Vanderbilt University), Dr. Ari Kelman (Stanford University), Dr. Alisa Rubin Kurshan (formerly of UJA-Federation NY), Rabbi Mitch Malkus, Ed.D. (Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School), Adam Weisberg (Urban Adamah), Amanda Winer (The Jewish Education Project) and Dr. Tali Zelkowicz (Wexner Foundation); and emeritus co-chair Dr. Lee Shulman (Stanford University).

About Dr. Susan Kardos

Susan M. Kardos is the Chief Strategy & Advancement Officer at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in New York City, focusing on both building the relationships and garnering the resources the school needs to thrive and on board long-term planning, strategy, and community engagement. Susan was previously the Senior Director of Strategy & Education Planning at the AVI CHAI Foundation where she facilitated the process of developing AVI CHAI’s ten-year spend-down strategy for Jewish day schools and oversaw its implementation. A graduate of Brown University, Susan received her education research training pursuing her Master’s and Doctoral degrees at Harvard University and completing a post-Doctoral research fellowship at Brandeis’s Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education with Sharon Feiman-Nemser. She is a founding member of the Harvard University’s Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, Susan Moore Johnson’s research initiative about new teachers which seeks to produce research findings of practical use to policymakers, practitioners, and researchers.

A former elementary and middle school teacher, and certified as a middle and high school principal, Kardos’ interests include school organization, improvement and leadership; school culture; new teacher induction and support; education policy; and Jewish education. She is the inspired mother of two unique and overactive kids--a 4th grader and 7th grader.

About Dr. Heather C. Hill

Heather C. Hill is the Hazen-Nicoli Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she studies teacher and teaching quality and efforts to improve both. Her expertise includes teacher professional development, teacher education, instructional coaching, curriculum implementation, the quality of K-8 U.S. mathematics teaching and the mathematical knowledge held by U.S. teachers. She has also developed several measures for tracking mathematics teacher learning, including instruments that capture teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching (MKT) and the mathematical quality of instruction (MQI) within classrooms. With Susanna Loeb, she writes the What Works, What Doesn’t column for Education Week. She is the author, with David K. Cohen, of Learning Policy: When State Education Reform Works.