Epstein students perform Fiddler in Hebrew

The Epstein Middle School 8th-grade musical production of Fiddler on the Roof in Hebrew was a “perfect match” for almost 600 guests who attended the performance.

The professional lights by Alan Kulbacki and sound by Keith Elliott helped to set the mood for the story, a tale of survival through tradition in a life of uncertainty and imbalance. A poor Jewish peasant (Tevye portrayed by David Nelwan) tries to marry off three of his five daughters.

He and his wife Golde (portrayed by Heather Marcus) cannot afford a dowry to marry them off. Life is very hard and Tevye sings about the difficulties of being poor and of the Jewish community’s fear of harassment from non-Jewish neighbors.

With song and dance throughout, Tevye insists that without their traditions their lives would be “as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.”

Epstein Middle School students brought this classic musical Jewish story to life and performed like the “sunrise on beautiful sets,” built by Lucas Causey. The original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof was nominated for ten Tony Awards and held the record for longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years.

Epstein’s production of “Fiddler,” produced and directed by Michal Spiegalman with assistance by Illana Zimmerman, will be remembered by everyone who attended for many years to come.

North Springs synthetic turf field moving forward

During a community meeting on May 9, Fulton County Board of Education President Julia Bernath, Dist. 7, announced that installation of a synthetic turf field at North Springs Charter High School of Arts and Sciences is under way.

Bernath said the field replacement is part of an initial promise of the board several years ago to replace one field at each of the county’s high schools.

“North Springs was not first on the list,” Bernath said. “The superintendent understood this was a very important need for the community and worked with staff to find the funds needed for North Springs… to make sure (the project) stays on track.”

Parsons, the board’s construction outsourcing consulting firm, has already begun preparatory work to level the field before the turf can be installed. Bernath said the field would likely not be ready for the upcoming football season and home games in the 2008 season would be played at Riverwood High School.

Pace Academy head of Upper School resigns

Pace Academy seniors wore red to school April 30 in a surprise celebration of Lolly Hand Day.

The students handed out lollipops and gave personal testimonials about Hand, the departing head of Upper School and English teacher to many. Students also compiled and presented to Hand a book of letters from faculty, staff and classmates that held memories and thanks.

June marks 12 years at Pace for Hand, who will go on to serve as Head of Upper School at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.

In announcing Hand’s resignation earlier in the school year, Head of School Fred Assaf credited Hand in helping “propel our school to new heights while keeping it grounded in fairness, honor, and a strong sense of community.

“In my time here I have found Lolly to be the ultimate professional who cares deeply not only about the people with whom she works and her students, but she is someone who looks at the entire fabric of our school as she makes decisions.”

During her tenure at Pace, Hand set in motion many programs and procedures to strengthen the Upper School. She created a dean system for student support and better communication with parents and opened access to Honors and Advanced Placement courses, doubling the number of students in AP courses. She strengthened a focus on academic standards of College Prep courses and graduation requirements. She added courses such as a fourth year of math; a third level of foreign language; public speaking; statistics; established art as a full academic course and changed the sequence of science to a physics-first curriculum. She established respect and civility as equal to personal honor and made them the two primary codes of behavior at school.

Additionally Hand created Spring Arts Week and strengthened counseling functions, department chair work and the collaboration with parents through grade representatives and parent groups.

Fulton hires principal, administrators

Fulton County Schools will have several new leaders in place for the 2008-09 academic year.

Four positions have been filled including Dr. Lisa Stueve as the principal at North Springs Charter High School of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Stueve was chosen for the position following a nationwide search that began last summer. During the search period, North Springs had two interim principals before the new permanent principal was selected.

Dr. Stueve is presently the lead data administrator for Gwinnett County Public Schools. In previous experience, she worked as a high school math teacher, technology coordinator, assistant high school principal and an online campus administrator.

In addition to the naming of Dr. Stueve, Patrick Burke received a promotion to chief facilities officer, Linda Anderson as deputy superintendent for instruction and Theresa McDugald as chief financial officer.

Burke has served as Fulton’s director of operational planning for the last eight years. As chief facilities officer, Burke oversees the transportation, operational planning, facilities services, construction management, safety and security, warehousing and school nutrition departments.

Anderson currently serves as area superintendent for Gwinnett County Schools. She supervises 32 elementary, middle and high school principals.

McDugald joins Fulton from Clayton County Public Schools, where she served as chief financial officer for the past three years. While there, McDugald moved the general fund reserve of $1.2 million to more than $42 million.