Jen Halpern has been an educator for more than two decades. She has taught and led programming for students from preschool through high school.
In many ways, joining Agudas Achim as the preschool director is like returning home for Jen. She joined the synagogue while completing her undergraduate degree at George Mason University. She began teaching in the religious school soon after. Later, she met her husband, Hugh, during Shabbat services. He asked, “Can I borrow that chumash?” They were married at Agudas Achim in 1998.
Beginning her career while still in college, she worked at the George Mason University Child Development Center and later at Keshet Child Development Center, the Agudas Achim preschool co-sponsored with Temple Beth El. After completing her Master’s degree in education at Marymount University, she received her Virginia teaching license and began teaching third grade in Arlington Public Schools.
When Jen returned to work following the birth of her son, Ari, she worked in a variety of positions at Agudas Achim, including teaching in the Religious School, planning Purim programming, and leading Gan Shabbat. She also volunteered extensively at her son’s preschool, serving on the board and as director of the summer camp.
Eventually, in 2009, she joined the faculty of Gesher Jewish Day School where she taught fourth and fifth grade. She also served as the interim elementary school director during the 2013–14 school year and the school-wide curriculum coordinator beginning in 2013.
During her career, Jen has sought to bring new and innovative programming to each environment where she has taught. She led the Rosh Chodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! program for teenage girls at Agudas Achim. She also received a grant from Legacy Heritage Fund to integrate Jewish and secular history into Gesher’s curriculum.
Jen lives in Alexandria with her family. She is proud to be part of the warm and welcoming community that is Agudas Achim Congregation.
You can contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.