Head of School: Rabbi Perry Tirschwell
Rabbi Perry Tirschwell was raised in a passionately Zionist home. His Jewish day school journey began as a transfer student from public school in ninth grade. After studying at Yeshivat Har Etzion and graduating from Yeshiva University, he earned his smicha (ordination) at RIETS and a Masters in School Leadership and Supervision from the Graduate School of Education of the College of New Rochelle.
After serving a number of years as a Judaic studies classroom teacher, RPT (as he is known by his students) subsequently served in the positions of Department Chair, Director of Judaic Studies and Assistant Principal, teaching throughout. Rabbi Tirschwell was then given the unique opportunity to create and head the first Jewish high school between Miami and Atlanta- the Katz (formerly Weinbaum) Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton.
In his spare time, Rabbi Tirschwell organizes the Torah Educators Network, which brings together leaders of Jewsih day schools from throughout North America to share best practices and innovative ideas.
Rabbi Tirschwell’s wife Miriam is a speech therapist in Los Altos, they live in Palo Alto and are the proud parents of five daughters, four sons in law, and six grandchildren.
Principal: Ms. Erin Thomas
Early Childhood Director: Telma Rojas
Telma Rojas has been working with and advocating for children for the past 33 years. She began her career working with children as a preschool teacher. After learning and building knowledge for 18 years in the classroom, Telma chose to become a preschool director. She has led many programs as a director for the last 15 years and looks forward to bringing her talents and leadership to the SPHDS community.
She believes all children have the right to be happy and to navigate through their childhood at their own pace and will. Telma believes it is her job to secure environments that are safe, healthy, and provide ample play opportunities to develop the creative minds and spirits of all children.
In her free time, Telma practices yoga, stays active in the outdoors, and enjoys being mindful in the stillness of nature. On weekends you can find her hiking local trails with her three dogs, cycling as much as possible, or enjoying her new hobby, golf. She also loves sitting in her wooden chair clutching one of her many books to discover different perspectives on various subjects.
Telma is excited to join the wonderful community that has embraced her with kindness. She looks forward to carrying out the Jewish Values for growing outstanding Jewish children.
Assistant Principal & Middle School Humanities Teacher: Ms. Andrea Finatti
Ms. Finatti joined SPHDS in 2018 as a 5th Grade Science and Middle School Humanities teacher. Her creativity in this role has been evident in the engaging classes she teaches, her students' creative projects, and even the comprehensive and educational way she designs her classrooms.
Outside of the classroom, Ms. Finatti also played a leadership role serving as Dr. Ann Goewert's 'unofficial assistant' and played a pivotal role in our lightning-fast transition to SPHDS@Home last Spring. Ms. Finatti took this opportunity to identify an area that she could help the school and stepped up to the plate. While Ms. Finatti continues to serve as our Middle School Humanities teacher, she has also taken on the role of Assistant Principal for the 2020-2021 school year.
Before coming to SPHDS, Ms. Finatti worked for the Redwood City School District and Stratford Schools, teaching elementary. At Stratford Schools, she helped transition to PBL and STEAM learning and served as a mentor teacher.
In her free time, Ms. Finatti can usually be found at the ice rink, coaching, reffing, playing hockey herself, or spending time with her two pugs, who are also favorites of many of her students. A sport she has played for over 25 years and still very much loves to this day.
Director of Admissions: Judith Pacifici
Director of Finance: Mariana Vega
Mariana Vega grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she started working as an HR Manager (all while pursuing a professional career as a Ballet dancer). Upon moving to the Bay Area, Mariana added Finance and Bookkeeping to her toolbox. She began supporting companies in many industries (Professional Services, Non-Profits, Educational, Wholesale, and Manufacturing to name a few), creating customized procedures for each company, which helped improve their daily activities. Mariana holds a degree in Social Psychology, as well as several other certifications in HR and Finance. She is also a Certified QuickBooks ProAvisor. Mariana is excited to join SPHDS, “My goal is creating a space of respect and open communication, where I can bring my expertise to support and improve SPHDS’ daily activities.”
When Mariana is not supporting institutions like SPHDS, she can be found choreographing and rehearsing with her dance company, eMotion Arts, and teaching Ballet to students of different ages and backgrounds. In her spare time, she enjoys time with her family: her husband Joe, daughter Ailen, and their fur babies Nico, the dog, and Teany, the cat.
Director of Marketing & Operations: Patrick Hathaway
Patrick Hathaway joined SPHDS in 2016. After spending three years as the Middle School Humanities teacher, he transitioned into the front office. In late 2019 he was given the opportunity to become the Director of Marketing & Operations.
Before coming to SPHDS Patrick worked for The Harker School in San Jose where he was Assistant Director of MS BEST. He helped to build successful enrichment programs and activities and established an on campus teen center.
In his free time Patrick can be found outside hiking or on the golf course. He also loves reading and film (both television and movies), but is a sucker for a good documentary or docuseries.