Special Announcement – Our Next Head of School
Dear Kehillah community,
I am thrilled to announce that, after an exhaustive and productive international search, the Head of School Search Committee unanimously recommended and the Kehillah Board unanimously voted to choose Dr. Daisy Pellant as our new Head of School!
I want to personally thank our incredible Search Committee—Michael Adler, Zach Bodner, Emeri Handler, Jen Idleman, Bobby Lent, Lee Shulman, Robert Smith, and Joanna Strober (who was an exemplary committee leader)—for all their incredible work. They reviewed resumes from dozens of candidates, spent many hours in video conversations, hosted and interviewed candidates locally, spent hours in meetings with members of the community, discussed each candidate extensively… In short, they conducted a world-class search and I believe they found a world-class leader for our school.
Daisy has an impressive resume. She has Master’s degrees in Mind, Brain, and Education from Harvard University and in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas. She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Capella University. She has taught in schools all over the world and most recently has been Director of one of only two mind, brain, and education programs in the country at the prestigious Breck School. She comes to us in the prime of her career, with a mindset and background that fits our community perfectly. Dr. Pellant shares the Board’s passion for Kehillah’s powerful commitment to preparing young people to be leaders and critical thinkers in a rapidly changing world through a program with timeless Jewish ideas and values at its core.
Before handing the rest of this message over to our incoming head, I want to thank Rabbi Darren Kleinberg for guiding Kehillah so brilliantly over these last seven years. I am so grateful to Darren for building an excellent foundation for Daisy and the entire community.
We will, of course, have many opportunities for all of us to get to know Daisy better. More about that soon.
Thanks and congratulations to all!
With joy and optimism,
Kehillah Board Chair
A Message From Our Next Head of School
Dear Kehillah Students, Faculty, Parents, Board of Directors, and Search Committee:
I am both excited and humbled to introduce myself as the new Head of School for Kehillah Jewish High School. I was initially drawn to the description of Kehillah as a unique offering within the Silicon Valley educational landscape, balancing academic excellence with holistic support. Creating a place where students can truly be themselves, be challenged, and be successful, is quite an accomplishment. From my first contact with the Search Committee, Kehillah’s genuine warmth and indefatigable commitment to this purpose shone brightly.
When I visited the school and interacted with students, faculty, and families, I saw how the Four Commitments are lived. I was especially impressed by my interview with the student representatives to the search. Wrestling with complex concerns, they demonstrated maturity beyond their years, compassion for everyone under the Kehillah tent, and a commitment to understanding and applying Jewish principles in their lives and to a complicated world. It is no surprise that our children, Annie and Wren, felt at home on their shadow day. Hearing the enthusiastic descriptions of the day, my husband RM and I found ourselves wishing their older siblings were still in high school and able to join us in Palo Alto.
I have been fortunate to work in independent schools around the world as a teacher, psychologist, and administrator, as well as serving my Jewish community as an educator, camp counselor, and staff trainer. As your next Head of School, I will endeavor to ensure that we are an inclusive community focused on the human development of each child and their responsibility to themselves, to others, and to the world. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with the Board of Directors, faculty, students, and families, to support and enhance the strong program already in place and promote the further advancement of Kehillah as an innovator not only in the world of Jewish schools but on the national independent school stage.
Our family will join yours in July, including our two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Ghibli and Gilmore. Our younger two children, Annie and Wren, are excited about the prospect of attending Kehillah. Annie, a senior, is interested in exploring photography, musical theater, and Judaic studies. Wren, a sophomore, is looking forward to technical theatre, illustration, and searching out ice-hockey clubs. Ghibli and Gilmore will mostly lie around the house like small bears. Our eldest child, Ruby-Kate, a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is launched as a model horse designer in New Jersey, and our second child, Max, is studying to be an international elementary school teacher in the unified program at the University of Kansas. They are both planning on NorCal vacations in the near future.
We are ready to begin this journey!
More about Dr. Daisy Pellant
Daisy Pellant was born near NYC and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota and graduate degrees at the University of St. Thomas, Capella University, and Harvard University. An early adopter of technology in education (way back in the 1990s) she took advantage of a blended program to complete her Ph.D. coursework while living and working in Beijing. Her dissertation was in partnership with Search Institute in Minneapolis, focused on reducing high-risk adolescent behavior through developing internal assets. A lifelong learner, she most recently completed a degree in Mind, Brain, and Education, concentrating on dynamic learning theory and practice at the crossroads of cognitive science, psychology and education.
Daisy has been a career independent school educator including many years in international schools around the world. She has worked as a classroom teacher, school counselor, developmental psychologist, and school administrator. In addition, she served as a summer camp counselor and administrator, 9th-grade retreat leader, 10th-grade confirmation teacher, and professional development trainer for the Minneapolis Jewish community.
Daisy and her husband, RM, moved overseas for their jobs, three days after their wedding. RM, also a career independent school educator and administrator, was at the forefront of technology integration, moving from the computer lab to classroom application and eventually the maker movement in schools. He took a slight detour when he was deployed as a combat soldier to Iraq for two years from 2005-2007.
Daisy and RM raised their four children throughout their time in Beijing, St. Paul, Tbilisi, and Cambridge. Their eldest, Ruby-Kate, is launched as a graduate of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and works as a designer for Breyer Horses. Max, their second, is studying to be an international elementary educator through the unified program at the University of Kansas. Their younger two, Annie and Wren, will be joining Daisy and RM in the move to Palo Alto this summer.