Most of us are familiar with Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, which, according to at least one interpretation, teaches us that the fastest runner does not always win the race. Likewise, in the Bible, God created the world in six days and the Sabbath on the seventh, for even the Divine Creator needed rest and… Continue reading Commentary



THE CHALLENGE In healthy, stable organizations with strong leadership and governance, a short-term resource challenge and even a crisis can generate innovative, adaptive thinking and great leadership. However, a steady state of financial disequilibrium can lull leaders into a vicious cycle of short-term thinking and what I would call “make-sure-we’re-still-around-tomorrow management.” When school leaders are… Continue reading THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT DAY SCHOOL FUNDING AND PRIORITIES


Our vision of the role that competitive athletics can play in the lives of high school students is a deeply personal one. We—the head of school and athletic director of Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts—have been playing competitive sports since we were children, and we were blessed with opportunities to compete at both the high… Continue reading SPORTS LE-SHEM SHAMAYIM: THE SACRED MISSION OF HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS


The vastly expanding demands put upon school leaders provides schools with an opportunity to create their own form of distributed leadership. Baker explains what leadership teams are, why they offer many benefits, and how a team can be most effective. In the face of a changing world and increasingly complex challenges, the most important thing… Continue reading IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE “LONELY AT THE TOP”: DEVELOPING HIGH FUNCTIONING LEADERSHIP TEAMS

Jewish Educational Learning with Soul

What does it take to make truly transformative Jewish education? Rabbi Marc Baker argues that leadership and education are moral and spiritual endeavors that require constant self-examination and improvement. Reflecting on his work at the Gann Academy, Rabbi Baker discusses how Mussar teachings can be incorporated into the curriculum for both students and teachers in… Continue reading Jewish Educational Learning with Soul

Weekly Message 3-28-08

28 March 2008  21 Adar 2, 5768    Shalom Chaverim,  In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, the mishkan (tabernacle) has been completed and the altar has been consecrated, and Aaron and his sons are commanded to bring the first set of sacrifices, which will atone for them and for their entire community. This is… Continue reading Weekly Message 3-28-08

Weekly Message 2-29-08

29 February 2008  23 Adar 1, 5768    Shalom Chaverim,  This week I find myself thinking and speaking repeatedly about a phrase from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Vayakhel, that recurs, albeit in slightly different forms, over and over again: “kol nediv libo” – “every person whose heart moves him, every person of willing heart… Continue reading Weekly Message 2-29-08

Weekly 1-25-08

25 January 2008  18 Shevat 5768    Shalom Chaverim,  At the beginning of this week, while our community commemorated the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and celebrated the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, I was in Houston, TX, representing Gann Academy at the Ravsak (Network of Jewish Community Schools) Annual Leadership Conference. The conference brings… Continue reading Weekly 1-25-08

Weekly Message 1-23-09

23 January 2009  27 Tevet 5769  Shalom Chaverim,  This was a historic week, as our entire school community gathered in our Beit Midrash to watch the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States. While I was saddened not to be watching this moving event with our students, I had the privilege of watching… Continue reading Weekly Message 1-23-09

Weekly Message 10-8-10

8 October 2010 Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan 5771 Shalom Chaverim, Over a year ago a task force from CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection contacted us about their interest in exploring ways to deepen and expand the relationship between our two cities and our two school communities: Gann and Ironi Hey. Thanks to the vision and investment of CJP,… Continue reading Weekly Message 10-8-10