Hyim Brandes – Co-Founder, Executive Director

Hyim Brandes is an innovator, educator, and social entrepreneur working at the intersection of Jewish education, community, and technology. Hyim worked as a Jewish educator at Camp Alonim and the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. Upon his graduation from UC Berkeley, he studied in Israel for three years at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies. Hyim was on the founding faculty of two Jewish high schools. He has worked as a consultant on educational technology projects for organizations throughout the country including Avoda Arts, Birthright Israel, and the Greenspun Foundation.   (818) 464-3399 Ext. 101

Sari Brandes, M.A.Ed. – Co-Founder, Educational Consultant
Sari is an educational therapist and educator with more than 15 years of experience. She holds a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) in Learning and Teaching, with an emphasis on school and curricular design, from the Harvard School of Education. She is the founder of My Study Skills Inc.   (818) 464-3399

MelanieMelanie Feder TasoffManaging Director

Melanie has been an integral part of the Jewish day school community for 20 years. She has worked with children and young adults with learning disabilities and other special needs for over 15 years. During her tenure at Jewish Family Service, she coordinated activities for such young adults, and provided outreach to the special needs community.  Melanie is an active member of several advisory committees on special needs within the Jewish and secular communities in LA.   (818) 464-3399 Ext. 104

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 10.28.46 AMKimberly Callaway, M.A. – Academic Director & Program Coordinator

Kimberly has 16 years of teaching experience in traditional and nontraditional education, at the middle, high school, and university levels. For the past 10 years she has been a teacher, tutor, and consultant in a thriving homeschool community where she created innovative and eclectic learning experiences tailored to the intellectual, emotional, and social needs of each student or group. She has a B.A. in Speech Communication and an M.A. in English Literature, but as a life long learner, she will never be done with her education.  (818) 464-3399


Arianne McStroul, Math and Science Teacher

Arianne has experience in both experiential and traditional education. Arianne enjoys working with students so they can fully understand concepts. 

Chris Houser, History and English Teacher

Kimberly Callaway, M.A. – English Teacher

Karen Kurciska, Principles of Government Teacher

Rachel Gereboff, M.S.W. – Learning Coach

Rachel Gereboff has a Masters Degree in Social Work from Howard University in Washington DC. She has worked with children with learning difficulties and other special needs at summer camps and Jewish Community Centers for many years.

Holly Hollander, M.S.W., M.A.J.C.S. – Adjunct English and History Teacher

Holly has a MSW in Community Organization, Planning, and Organization from USC and a Masters in Jewish Communal Service/Non-Profit Management from Hebrew Union College.  She has been involved with educating children in a variety of subjects in traditional and nontraditional learning.  Additionally she has worked with children that have learning disabilities and other  learning challenges.  Holly is especially interested in maintaining creative thought and deeply believes that each child has his/her own genius.

Adrian Krag, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.S. – Learning Coach, Math and Science

Adrian Krag has a Ph.D. from the University of Utah as well as three master’s degrees in the areas of math, business administration and computer science. He taught Electrical Engineering for 15 years at the University of Colorado, and, taught at Chapman College. Adrian managed an industry training program for Hewlett Packard and was the Director of Engineering and Vice President of Research and Development at other companies. Adrian believes that teaching has helped him understand what is needed for students to excel in the next steps in their education; “Often it is the small things that make a big difference, a little more self-confidence, determination, study skills and just remembering one more connection.”

Sharon Bothman, M.A. – Educational Therapist

Sharon is an Educational Therapist with a Master’s Degree in Special Education from California State University, Northridge, with an emphasis in Educational Therapy.  She also holds a Secondary Teaching Credential in English and an Elementary Multiple Subject Credential from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to being a part of OJA, Sharon works part time as an educational therapist at the Kayne-Eras Center and has a private practice.

Maralyn Soifer, M.Ed, M.S. – Educational Therapist

Maralyn Soifer is a Board Certified Educational Therapist. She received an M.Ed in Special Education, and a M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She is recently retired from LAUSD as a special education administrator. She has worked as a special and general education teacher, reading specialist, and a special education advisor. She also holds credentials in counseling and has extensive experience with students with specific learning disabilities and attention challenges.>