Our Team


אמילי הרסט, מנהלת ראשית

Emily serves as Philadelphia Hebrew Public’s founding Executive Director, building the organizational infrastructure necessary to support the school’s mission. Beginning in 2016, she guided the Hebrew Public team through a feasibility study and successful charter application before joining full-time to lead the school’s launch. Most recently, Emily was a founding member of Bloom, a planning practice that partners with non-profit organizations to make a purposeful change. As the Director of Development for the Byerschool Foundation, she spearheaded fundraising, strategic planning, and external relations to support the students, families, and teachers at the Russell Byers Charter School. During her time in Guatemala City, Emily founded a social entrepreneurship program for women through the NGO Camino Seguro. She originally landed in Philadelphia as a staffer on the 2008 Obama campaign. Emily is a graduate of Bowdoin College and earned a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. She contributes actively to her community, serving in the leadership of the Mental Health Partnerships Board of Directors, a regional leader providing mental health services to over 7,000 people annually. Emily lives in Philadelphia with her husband, TJ, their daughter, Poppy, and their aging dog and cat.

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אליסה יואן, מנהלת בית הספר

As Philadelphia Hebrew Public’s founding Head of School and instructional leader, Elyssa brings deep experience working both in the classroom and school administration in Philadelphia charter schools. She most recently served in a school leadership role building and supporting special education programming for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. In her work as a school leader, she has supported teachers to develop inclusive and equitable practices in classrooms and promotes student outcomes and growth across difference. She serves as a national facilitator in the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity training program. Elyssa earned her BA at Syracuse University and a Master of Science in Elementary Education & Special Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds her Principal Certification from the RELAY Graduate School of Education as well as certifications in English as a Second Language and Special Education. Elyssa’s K-12 schooling experience took place in Hong Kong, where her family still resides. She currently lives and calls South Philadelphia home.

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אלישה קלמן, רכזת תפעול

My name is Aleshia Kellman, but most people call me Kellman. I graduated from Mercy College in New York, NY with a degree in behavioral science. I have a long-standing career in education and at charter schools.  My family and I moved to Pennsylvania this year and are excited to get to know all of you!

Contact Aleshia


ניקיי פולן, רכזת תרבות

Nikki is excited to join Philadelphia Hebrew Public as Dean of Culture and lead the team in fostering a joyful culture that models the school’s values. Nikki has been an educator in Philadelphia for the past 10 years. Before coming to PHP, she spent eight years at a charter school in North Philadelphia where she taught several grades. For the past two years, Nikki has been teaching while also coaching teachers. She is a New Jersey native and received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Kean University in Union, NJ. In 2017 she received a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Temple University. She recently moved back into the city and calls West Philly home.

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ורוניקה וויליאמס, רכזת פדגוגית

Veronica Williams is thrilled to join Philadelphia Hebrew Public as the Dean of Academics. She brings 10 years of experience in teaching, school leaders, and network-level administration at both public charters and public district schools. She most recently served as an Assistant Principal of Instruction where she was responsible for building and supporting special education and English as a Second Language instructional programming for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. In her work as a school leader, she has supported teachers to hone their instructional skills and develop their culturally responsive practices. She has developed expertise around family and school collaboration and has presented at the Family Involvement Conference and Migrant Education Program and English as a Second Language Conference on the subject. She is a certified facilitator in the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity and has facilitated with students and teachers. Veronica earned her BA in Elementary Education and a Master of Elementary Education with a Reading Specialization at the University of Florida. In 2017 she earned her Doctorate of Education from NOVA Southeastern University with a specialization in Reading Instruction. She holds her teacher certification for Elementary Education K-6 as well as a Specialist certification in English as a Second Language. She currently lives with her husband and two elderly dogs in South Philadelphia.

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Phillip Smith – Director of Student Supports

פיליפ סמית׳ – רכז תמיכת תלמידים

Phillip Smith is excited to join Philadelphia Hebrew Public as the Director of Student Services. Phillip most recently served as an Assistant Principal of special education for a high school where he oversaw comprehensive programming and interventions for over 350 students with special education needs in grades 6-12. Phillip is a Philadelphia local and currently lives in South Philadelphia with his husband. He has his masters from Temple University and most recently completed a graduate program through Gwynedd Mercy for a Supervisor of Special Education certification. In his 15 years working with students and families of students with disabilities, he has strived to develop educational plans for students with special needs and they work closely with teachers, parents, and other school administrators to provide the best education experience possible.

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Sarah Hanrahan – Associate Dean of Academics

שרה הנרהן – עוזרת רכזת פדגוגית

Sarah serves as Philadelphia Hebrew Public’s Associate Dean of Academics. Sarah joined PHP in our founding year as a 1st grade teacher. She was fortunate to loop with this founding cohort, teaching them 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade before transitioning to leadership. Sarah works to support teachers in their instruction and culturally responsive pedagogy. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in education from Penn State and her master’s degree in Literacy and Leadership in Diverse Schools from George Mason. Currently, she is completing a doctorate in educational leadership at Cabrini University. She grew up in the Philadelphia Suburbs and currently lives in Fishtown.

Contact Sarah