HBHA Administrative Staff
Howard Haas
Head of School
EducationUniversity of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, B.S., Education; Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif., Master’s in School Management and Administration

Favorite Quote
:  Anything is possible if you have passion and enthusiasm.  (Howard Haas)

My Head of School tenure began in 2007.  I journeyed here because I believe that this school has the potential of becoming the Jewel of the Heartland. The community is warm and supportive, the staff is totally committed to excellence and the children are the sweetest I have ever worked with – and I have worked throughout the world.  I am foremost a teacher, and I have always been passionate about education because our children are our most important resource.  I want to create an environment in which students realize their full potential and become courageous Jewish leaders. I love to do sumi e, which is Chinese brush painting.  I also love to cook, write poetry, ride horses and play the harmonica.

Avi Weinstein
Head of Jewish Studies
EducationB.A., Jewish Studies; rabbinic ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Jerusalem.

Favorite Quote:  A person is known by three things: his cup, his pocket, and his anger.

I have been involved in Jewish education for more than 30 years. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping each young Jew along his or her journey. I feel these are hopeful times as new models for connecting emerge, and I know that Jewish day school students will provide the lay and professional Jewish leadership in the future. I have always considered it a privilege to be part of this sacred enterprise. My sanity is deeply connected to prayer and running. Both are contemplative exercises that center and ground me. They provide the framework for my true passion for Jewish learning. Intellectual/spiritual capital has to be constantly replenished if one is to realize his spiritual potential, and thus requires constant commitment. I hope I never stop being a student.

Todd Clauer
Upper School Principal, College Guidance Director, Mathematics Department Chair
EducationUniversity of Michigan, BS in Engineering; University of Chicago, MAT in Mathematics Education

Favorite Quote:  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) 
I have been teaching for 23 years, the last 15 at HBHA. I teach to help students transform their lives into the dreams and aspirations they set for themselves, using ethics, character, attitude and effort to make their own best choices. As the College Guidance Counselor, I try to lead students through a process of defining goals, seeking self-awareness and then working hard to make those goals a reality. As a math and science teacher, I try to help students to get on board with the never-ending quest to understand our world, solve real world problems and analyze data in order to make better decisions. I love to spend time with my wife, Mirra Klausner, an HBHA alumnae, and my three daughters. I am so excited that my daughters are experiencing HBHA as students. I love being outdoors, traveling and enjoying our extended families. I also love all sports, from running and bicycling to soccer, golf, triathlons and basketball.

Jessica Kyanka-Maggart
Lower and Middle School Principal
Education:  Ed.D Educational Leadership Baker University; M.Ed Elementary Education Reading and Language Arts; BA Elementary Education The University of Iowa

Favorite Quote:  “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” - Joshua J. Marine

I began teaching at HBHA in 2004. I went to The University of Iowa on an athletic scholarship for gymnastics and majored in elementary education. I went back for my masters in Language Arts at Rockhurst University in 2007. In 2013, I completed my Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership.  I wake up each day excited to come to work and see the children.  They are my inspiration.  I love to go to the movies and spend time with my husband Josh, my son Asher, my daughter Charli, my mom, dad, and brother.

Austin Benton
Athletics Director, Physical Education
Education:  Sterling College, B.A., Communications/Sports Marketing; Minor- Physical Education/Coaching
Ohio University, M.S., Athletic Administration

Favorite Quote:  "I think the most important thing of all for any team is a winning attitude. The coaches must have it. The players must have it. The student body must have it. If you have dedicated players who believe in themselves, you don't need a lot of talent." --- Paul "Bear" Bryant

Director of Athletics  
Physical Education Teacher/Chair

Working with kids and athletics has been a part of my entire life.  It's great to come to work every day and make a difference in kids' lives.  I teach lifelong learning, which associates proper fitness and nutrition with reasonable goals that can be integrated into daily life.  HBHA coaching has been an incredible experience.  Each of our student athletes is able to be a part of a team while learning responsibility, hard work and dedication.  I have worked with kids from elementary to college age.  A program that I implemented at HBHA is Champions of Character through the NAIA.  It teaches not only student athletes, but our coaches, parents, faculty and community to follow five key roles on and off the field:  Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership.

Go Rams!!!

Richard Borlaza
Director of Information & Instructional Technology, Tech Club Advisor
Originally from "The City by the Bay"

IT Certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
  • Comptia A+
  • Comptia Network+
  • Comptia Security+ (in progress)
  • JAMF Certified Mobile Administrator (CMA)
Favorite Quote:  “We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.”  ~Mother Teresa

I grew up Daly City which is a suburb of San Francisco.  I'm very proud of my San Francisco Giants winning the World Series this year!  My 49ers have improved so much with the guidance of Jim Harbaugh and I'm excited to see how the rest of the season plays out.  

I have two brothers, one sister and a nephew.  My family and I moved to Kansas in June, 1997.  My parents felt that Kansas would be a better place to live because of the lower cost of living and great schools.  After living here for so long now I have to agree with them but San Francisco will always be considered home to me.

Most of my career revolved around call centers.  I was "on the phones" for many years before completing the Network Administration program at Centriq Training and graduating in October, 2008.  Since then I became the IT Manager for the call center I worked at.  I joined HBHA in November 2011 and have never been happier.  I never would have thought how personally rewarding it can be to work for this wonderful school.

Kerry Cosner
Director of Development
Education:  University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Journalism, Bachelor of Journalism and Public Relations

Favorite Quotes:  "Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open."  E.G. Letterman 

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life."  Anonymous

Originally from New York, I grew up in Kansas City, MO, and crossed State Line after graduating from college.  Starlight Theatre, Southwest Missouri State University, Leo Eisenberg Commercial Real Estate, Blue Valley Schools and Sunshine Energy are some of the companies I have worked to promote, plan events, and develop communications, while growing relationships with clients, donors, guests and students.

I LOVE theatre, musical productions, my dogs Gracie z”l & Sydney, and most of all my sons Justin and Brandon!  It was bashert that brought me to my job at HBHA, where I am passionate about the school, its students and the HBHA "family."

Laura Hewitt
Director of Testing & Teacher Development, Mathematics
Education: Bethany College, B.A., Education; UMKC, M.A., Education

Favorite Quote: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

I first knew I wanted to be a teacher when, as a first grader, I taught my 4-year old sister to read! After graduating from Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS, my husband and I moved to New Jersey where I taught in an inner city school for 6 years. I joined the HBHA staff in 1981- this year is my 35th year at HBHA.

I taught second and third grade and now teach Middle and Upper School mathematics, coordinate our testing programs, work with new teachers, assist with teacher evaluations, and work with staff to maintain their teaching licenses. HBHA is a family – my family away from home.

At home, my husband and I are empty nesters! I sing in my church choir every Sunday and also with the select Chamber Choir, working on 3 to 4 major classical pieces each year. I love to read and have gotten interested in photography. On a nice summer day you can find me out photographing flowers at any of the big gardens around town.

Netta Krashin
Director of Student Services
Education:  University of Missouri-Columbia, B.A., Elementary Education; University of Missouri-Kansas City M.S., Special Education 

Favorite Quote: A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.  Brad Henry 

HBHA has been in my life for 32 years, starting when HBHA was housed on College Boulevard. For 16 years, I was the second grade general studies teacher, seven (7) years of teaching third grade general studies, and I just completed my 9th year in my position as Director of Student Services. I became a teacher for many reasons-my love for children and their constant energy and love of learning, the thrill of the ah-ah moment and the pure satisfaction of imparting knowledge, the challenge of communicating information and concepts and the creativity involved in designing and implementing lesson plans. I have been married to my husband, Joe, for 40 years. We have two young adult children, Daniel and Jeremy, both HBHA graduates. Dan is married to a beautiful woman named Jacki. Dan and Jacki have two children, Madilyn who is 3 years old and Drake who is 1 year old.  My youngest son, Jeremy and his wife, Julie, are the proud parents of twin daughters, Goldie, who is one year old, and Ilana, of blessed memory.   We love to spend our time together exercising, relaxing at the Lake of the Ozarks, watching sports (Royals, Chiefs, and YES, both KU and MU basketball teams), and being with family and friends. Traveling to Chicago to visit our grandchildren is on the calendar regularly.  I enjoy reading, exercising and playing Words with Friends. I love to travel to Israel, although I don't get there often enough!

Tamara Lawson Schuster
Director of Admissions
Education: M.A., Jewish Education; M.A., Jewish Communal Service Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, B.A., Religious Studies, San Diego State University

Favorite Quote:  Who is wise? The one who learns from everyone. Ben Zoma, Pirke Avot 4:1

I joined the HBHA staff in June of 2008; yet, I’ve been a part of the school family since fall 2005 when my eldest child began kindergarten. I love that HBHA provides my three children an excellent dual curriculum education in a warm, nurturing, leadership- and Jewish values-centered environment – and it reflects those qualities as a workplace, too.

I became a Jewish professional out of my desire to create and nurture Jewish connections and communities for people of all ages. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, baking, entertaining, spending time with my family, traveling, and
watching the KC Royals!

Jane Martin
Director of Marketing and Communications
It has been said that a community is judged by the strength of its school, and I am proud to be a part of HBHA and our work to develop generations of well-educated, Jewish leaders! Having grown up in Overland Park, I am committed to creating and maintaining vibrant Jewish life in Kansas City.

I bring more than a decade of marketing experience to the Director of Marketing and Communications position, eight years of which have been spent working in the Jewish community. I feel my for-profit and non-profit work experiences have given me a good foundation to help HBHA build effective, ongoing communication strategies.

When I'm not working, I love spending time with my family, which includes my husband and two children. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, reading, gardening, cooking, and exercising.

Elisa Pener
Health Coordinator
As a former Hebrew Academy student, HBHA is very special to me. Not only did all three of my children graduate from HBHA, but I now have been employed as the Health Coordinator/ School Nurse for many years. My summer months are spent in Conover, WI as the Infirmary Supervisor/Head Nurse for Camp Ramah.

Ayala Rockoff
School Psychologist
Education:  PsyD and MS in School Psychology from St. John's University; MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University; BA in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
Credentials:  Nationally Certified School Psychologist by the National Association of School Psychologists; School Specialist License as a School Psychologist from the Kansas State Board of Education.
Favorite Quote:  "Lo Alecha HaM'lacha Ligmor, VeLo Atah Ben Chorin LeHibatel Mimena."  "It's not your job to complete the work, yet you are not free to disregard it either." Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 2:16
I have worked in the fields of special education and childhood mental health for several years, most recently as a behavior specialist in the Kansas City, KS school district and as a consultant/trainer for Sasone. After teaching Hebrew and Jewish Studies in the first grade Matmidim group at HBHA, I am excited to have the chance to work with even more students in all grade levels as the School Psychologist. In my "spare" time, I enjoy reading, cooking, exercising, catching up with friends, and spending time with my husband and our three children.

Daniel Rockoff
Dean of Matmidim
913 827-2694
I grew up in Newton, MA and attended Maimonides School.  After studying for two years in Israel, I completed several degrees at Yeshiva University in NY, including Rabbinic Ordination.  I lived in California and New Jersey before coming to settle in Kansas City with my wife Ayala and our family.  In addition to working at HBHA, I serve as Rabbi of Congregation BIAV.
Support Staff
Jean Bratt
Middle & Upper School Executive Assistant
EducationUniversity of Texas, Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education; University of Kansas, Master’s Degree in Education

Favorite Quote:  Anything is possible.

After graduating from The University of Texas, I taught physical education for four years in Austin. I moved back to Kansas City and taught history and coached basketball and track at Raytown High School for one year. While teaching physical education in Shawnee Mission for ten years, I received my Master’s Degree from KU. I began volunteering at HBHA before my daughter entered kindergarten in 1993 and have not yet left the building. I have been substituting here since about 1995 and in 2007 began as a long-term substitute in the position I now have.  I love getting to know the students and working with the incredible faculty and staff.  Until my son and daughter graduated from HBHA, my main outside interest was watching them play sports for the school teams. I have to admit, my husband and I do miss those Saturday night basketball games. Now, in addition to keeping up with my kids’ lives, I love reading, going to the movies and I love KU basketball.

Marla Duck
Assistant to the Director of Development
Education: University of Missouri, B.A., Speech Pathology—Audiology & Psychology
Favorite Quote: “Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.” Babe Ruth
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Kansas City became my home after college graduation. Career history has ranged from corporate management and technical support, to philanthropy. Experience includes relationship cultivation, fundraising and event planning for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Kansas City Chorale, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Medical Missions Foundation and AT&T.
I have three children: a son, Brentton (an avid KU Jayhawk fan) and two dog-children, Zoe, the German shepherd pup and Libby, our senior citizen, a 17 year old dachshund.
I love to watch movies and HGTV, attend ballet and musicals…but I especially enjoy long walks and car rides with Zoe and assisting my husband, Eric, in the garden and with his DIY projects.
After spending the past two years at HBHA, I can honestly say I love coming to work here and being part of the “HBHA family.” It truly is a special place and a privilege to share my days with the children.

Mary Kolich
Assistant to the CFO
Hello – I have worked with the CFO in the Finance Office since 2005.  Outside of work, I enjoy my weekly big family dinners and although I am not Jewish, my four grandkids call me Bubbi!  Everyone at the school knows when they don’t see me around, I'm most likely out playing golf.

Megan Pener
Alumni Coordinator

Carol Pfau
Executive Assistant to Dr. Jessica Kyanka-Maggart
Originally from Boston, MA (go Sox) I moved to OPKS with my family in 2006 from Marco Island, Florida. Prior to working at HBHA I was with the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and Challenger Center for Space Science Education.
I have 2 children; Rae who is currently pre-med at Brandeis University and Justin who is a sophomore at HBHA (go Rams). Oh, and my two cats, Edgar and Henry live with us too.
I am so happy to be here with my HBHA family!!

Ellen Wolf
Executive Assistant to Head of School
I joined HBHA in March, 2008, shortly after having the pleasure of being the assistant to Rabbi David Fine at Congregation BIAV. 

I grew up in St. Louis (Creve Coeur) and moved to Kansas City post-college. My oldest daughter is a Jayhawk and my youngest just graduated high school. 

I am proud of my entrepreneurial family history.
- Great-grandfather: General Store, Marshall, TX.
- Grandfather: Drug Store and soda fountain, University City, MO.
- Parents: Retail, commercial and wholesale picture framing, St. Louis
- My older sister (and me): Direct mail marketing, Overland Park

I worked in marketing for Starlight Theatre, McDonald’s Corporation and White Castle before employment in the Jewish community. 

Spare time: Watch/play nearly all sports, troubleshoot anything broken, learn from computer geek websites, eat medium-rare prime rib and chocolate, play board games, jigsaw puzzles, sing for no reason, root for the St Louis Cardinals.

90 minutes of fame: Winner/3-day retired champion on “Wheel of Fortune”. Yes.