Staff

Principal

Mrs. Caitlyn Cameron

Caitlyn Cameron holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and a master’s of Educational Studies from the University of Alberta. Mrs. Cameron is a passionate educator who taught at Edmonton’s Menorah Academy for 7 years before returning to Calgary to lead Halpern Akiva Academy. She enjoys teaching Junior High math and science and has guided students from HAA to win medals and awards at both city and national Science Fairs, as well as outstanding achievements in Canada-wide math contests. Mrs. Cameron is also a member of the Professional Conduct and Competency General Panel for the government of Alberta.

As the principal of Halpern Akiva Academy, Mrs. Cameron is dedicated to supporting teachers and students in reaching their greatest potential while strengthening the partnership between home and school.

Mrs. Cameron cultivates a positive school culture and learning environment with a focus on student mental health and support. She is committed to continuing to build and foster positive relationships with individuals and organizations within the Calgary Jewish community.

[email protected]

Head of Judaic Studies

Rabbi Nachum Aaron Kutnowski

Born and raised in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, Rabbi Kutnowski received his early education at Yeshivas Eitz Chaim elementary school and Yeshivas Darchei Torah high school in Toronto. Seeking to deepen his knowledge of Judaism, he pursued further studies at Yeshivas Derech Etz Chaim of Har Nof in Eretz Yisrael for a couple of years.

After returning to Toronto, Rabbi Kutnowski earned an honors degree in English Literature from York University. With a desire to contribute to the Jewish community, he became involved with the Kollel Ohr Yosef of Thornhill, under the guidance of Rabbi Mordechai Scheiner. Additionally, he taught at the special educational institution known as Zareinu (now Kayla’s Children Centre) for two years.

In pursuit of new opportunities, Rabbi Kutnowski moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where he joined the Hamilton Hebrew Academy as a dedicated Rebbi for several years. Alongside his teaching responsibilities, he established the Hamilton Community Night Kollel, demonstrating his commitment to communal growth through Torah.

Rabbi Kutnowski’s strengths lie in his excellent communication skills and ability to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. He prioritizes building positive relationships with parents, students, staff, and the wider Calgary community. His passion for nurturing a genuine connection with Hashem, Torah, Mitzvot, and the Jewish people is evident in his teaching approach. He eagerly looks forward to cultivating each student’s unique personality and strengths while serving the Halpern Akiva Academy and the vibrant Jewish community in Calgary.

[email protected]

Office Administrator

Mrs. Naomi Reid

Mrs. Naomi Reid went to the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to pursue a certificate in Hotel and Restaurant Management, before continuing to work as an executive assistant for Suncor and Berkshire Hathaway. Her years of experiences have transferred over seamlessly to Halpern Akiva Academy, elevating the high standards to an even higher level of professionalism. Mrs. Reid has her one child, Kaleb, enrolled in HAA. When not in the office, she enjoys reading, camping, and keeping score for her husband and son’s various sporting endeavors.

[email protected]

Daycare Director

Mrs. Kizhakke Vandekkan

Kizhakke Vendekkan is the daycare director at Halpern Akiva academy. She earned her Bachelor of Education degree and Masters in Mathematics from India in 2008. Kizhakke moved to Canada in 2009 with her family and started her career as a teacher assistant. She holds a child development supervisor and a Montessori certificate from Canada and has worked at various preschools and daycares. She loves teaching all ages, but most of her experience involves the three to six age groups.

Her goals are to continue growing professionally as well as sharing her love for teaching and guiding children while providing a fun and creative environment. Kizhakke is a passionate educator who is always looking to perform at the highest standards. She respects children’s rights at all levels and is a committed team member of Halpern Akiva’s philosophy. As Director of the Centre, Kizhakke take great pride in knowing that our Centre is one that strives for excellence and quality in child care while promoting our Co-operative spirit. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, biking and hiking etc.

[email protected]

Hebrew Teacher

Mrs. Marina Kaufman

This school year marks Mrs. Kaufman’s 23rd year at Halpern Akiva Academy. She received a Masters in Mathematics with Honors in the Soviet Union, where she taught advanced mathematics to junior and high school students. After her and her family immigrated to Israel, she continued to teach mathematics to grades seven through twelve, and participated in many teaching initiatives such as adult learning and working with new Olim from Ethiopia. In Israel, Mrs. Kaufman received multiple accreditations including a Certificate in Teaching Jewish Subjects, a Permanent Teaching License, and a status of The State Employee. Mrs. Kaufman is happy to take all the experience she has gained and use it in her role as a Hebrew Language Teacher. To further extend my knowledge and become familiar with a unique curriculum of Hebrew Language and Jewish Studies, she attended ten TaL AM Training Institutes in Canada and the United States. Mrs. Kaufman is committed to enriching the realm of Jewish education in the Hebrew language, and to using the latest educational technologies and modern teaching methods. The learning environment in our classroom promotes critical thinking, growth, a sense of family and a welcoming atmosphere.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, baking and reading. Mrs. Kaufman and her husband have lived in Canada for 22 years, and have two daughters who both reside in Calgary and work in the home building industry. 

Nursery and Pre-K Teacher

Mrs. Corinne Trott

Since 1985, teaching 3 and 4 year olds has been an integral part of Mrs. Trott’s life. For the last 15 years, she has been teaching Early Childhood Education at Halpern Akiva Academy. Playing and learning alongside her Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten children has continuously impacted on her how unique each child’s emotional, intellectual, physical, social and creative developments are.

Outside the classroom, you will find Mrs. Trott going for walks, reading, cooking and visiting with friends. She also enjoys researching creative projects for young children. Most of all, she enjoys home time with her family of seven.

Daycare Assistant

Ms. Viola Clarke

Ms. Clarke has been employed at Halpern Akiva Academy since May 2018 as a Daycare Assistant. She migrated from Jamaica in 2005 with her husband. Ms. Clarke attended the Academy of Business College in Toronto, where she obtained her Diploma as a Medical Receptionist in 2008. Although certified in this field, she prefers working with children. I pursued a career in Early Childhood Development and obtained certification as Child Care Development Assistant in 2013. She has over 9 years experience working in Child Care, including working as a Room Leader in different age groups, ranging from infants to kindergarten.

Prior to working in Child Care, Ms. Clarke worked in Tourism for more than 10 years. She believes that working with children requires patience, sincerity and openness. Her goal is to ensure that each child in her care feels loved and valued. Ms. Clarke is excited to contribute to the Halpern Akiva Academy family.

In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, going to the gym, watching movies and sports.

Judaics Teacher

Morah Hannah Andrews

Morah Hannah Andrews is a certified Judaics Teacher and Kallah Teacher and holds a BA with a concentration in education from Thomas Edison State College. She is delighted to be back as a Morah at Halpern Akiva Academy, while also taking on many roles within HOJMI. She is an inspiration and friend to the women of the community and is passionate about making personal connections.

Director of Inclusive Education and Teacher

Ms. Kelsey Lovell

“I have been a teacher for an amazing six years”, says Ms. Lovell.

Ms. Lovell graduated from Mount Royal University in 2011 with a Bachelor in Communications – Journalism, and went on to  graduate with distinction from the University of Alberta with a degree in Education.

Her goal is to make a difference in the lives of children, particularly in the areas of differentiated instruction and literacy. She views the classroom as a community, and works to ensure students can learn in a caring, safe, and open environment where all can succeed and feel welcome. She likes to consider herself the creative type, as she has been writing and story-telling since she figured out how to write her name on some loose-leaf paper. Her intention is to bring this creativity into the classroom and spark a love of learning in the process – whether that be in a special education program or a regular program.

Judaics Teacher

Rabbi Shmuel Nissan

Rabbi Shmuel Nissan, originally from Mexico, moved to Eretz Yisrael and joined the I.D.F. Yalmas unit. He continued his education receiving a B.A. in Computer Science at the Jerusalem College of Technology, Machon Lev, as well as a degree in Community Leadership & Jewish Education from the esteemed Ner LeElef Jerusalem Institute for Jewish Leadership. He is excited to share the beauty of Torah and Mitzvot. Rabbi Shmuel, along with his wife Meira, are also the director of NSCY for Calgary.

Programming Director and Preschool Teacher

Morah Nechama Rassin

Morah Nechama was born and raised in Calgary and an alumni of Akiva Academy. She has a Jewish Education Certification from Tomer Devorah Seminary in Jerusalem, in addition to graduating from the University of Calgary with a B.A. in philosophy. For a few years, Morah Nechama primarily taught in the preschool department, teaching Judaics for pre-kindergarten and nursery students. Recently, Morah Nechama has added the role of the Director of Programming to her employment at Halpern Akiva Academy, adding tremendously to our students’ experiences. 

Rabbi

Rabbi Nisan Andrews

Rabbi Nisan Andrews was born and raised in Canada, and spent his formative years in Calgary. He attended Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Rabbinics, as well as receiving his Semicha directly from Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin zt”l.

After ordination, his first Rabbinic role was as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel. Rabbi Andrews continued to minister congregations in Milwaukee, WI; London, England; and Allentown, PA. Rabbi Andrews has returned to HOJMI and works tirelessly to strengthen the engagement of the greater Jewish Calgary community.

Hebrew and Music Teacher

Ms. Nataliya Lubich

Bio coming soon

Kindergarten Hebrew Teacher

Mrs. Meira Nissan 

Bio coming soon

Kindergarten Judaic Teacher

Mrs. Esty Groner

Bio coming soon

Teacher Assistant

Morah Mickaela Corenblum

Morah Mickaela is a teaching assistant at Halpern Akiva Academy.

She was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She is a proud Halpern Akiva Academy alumna.

Morah Mickaela graduated from Beth Jacob High in Denver, Colorado.

She has her PSW certification and Level 1 certification. One of her first work experiences was a salesperson at B Gifted that was once located at our Calgary JCC.

She has also worked as a companion for seniors in their home or nursing home. While living in Toronto for 3 years, she gained more experience working with seniors in health care settings.

Morah Mickaela has been employed at Halpern Akiva Academy for over 11 years. She learns something new every day from our wonderful students.

Morah Mickaela is fortunate to have been able to travel to many places around the world. She has a great love for the land and state of Israel and has been very fortunate to have visited there numerous times.

In her spare time, she enjoys photography and walking around different places in the city.

Morah Mickaela loves animals, especially dogs. She also enjoys meeting up with friends and family for coffee.

Daycare Teacher

Mrs. Maria Gluck

Her educational background is Nursing and Geriatric-Care. She graduated form both Holy Angel University and Jose-Feliciano College in Pampanga, Philippines and worked as a Dental Assistant.

Maria lived in Israel for almost 3 years with her husband and two sons prior to moving to Canada in 2015.

She and her husband  enjoy a Frum home with their three children, all of whom are current students attending Halpern Akiva Academy.

Teacher Assistant

Ms. Josie Lugada

Ms. Lugada joined Halpern Akiva Academy in March 2019 as a Teacher Assistant. Before joining Halpern Akiva Academy, she worked as a Child Development Worker at Global Kids Academy from 2015 to 2018.

She was a Registered Nurse in the Philippines, worked several years in a Special Unit (Nursery Neonates) at Makati Medical Center. In 1991, she worked at ARAMCO Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a Nurse until 1994. She moved back to the Philippines to start her own family. She is married to a loving husband and was gifted with four wonderful children, three boys and a daughter. She enjoyed rearing her children full-time and it was at this time where she developed to be more patient, understanding, caring, committed which are very useful in her work as a Child Care Professional.

Her family moved to Canada in 2007 as immigrants and chose Calgary as their permanent residence. She continued to be a fulltime housewife and mother until her youngest child was in his elementary school. As she took care of her family, she also used her spare time to Volunteer at a Senior Home in Shawnessy. She took some small courses at Bow Valley College, finished a Computer Literacy Program and took her Child Development Worker (Level 2) Certificate.

She feels satisfaction in her profession as a Child Care Professional as she can contribute in rearing children and making them enjoy life and be ready for the future ahead of them.

Teacher

Mrs. Anna Antonova

Bio coming soon

Teacher

Ms. Felicity Hik

Bio coming soon

Maintenance Technician and Custodian

Mr. Sami El Sogheir

Bio coming soon