Our Staff

School Director Hasia Monselise was born and raised in Israel. She studied art education at Beit Berl College and graduated from SUNY Empire College with a BA in Education and Art.

She taught at many schools in the New York area, including Solomon Schechter , Beit Rabban School  Stein Yeshiva,Chabad Palisades and Jcc Harrison .

Hasia has always loved working with children and believes that educating our future generation is the most rewarding work. She helps them prepare to become Jewish adults.

"Our children have the fullest potential to speak Hebrew.  I am happy to see children gaining more knowledge every day. That’s what makes me happy and motivated to continue to teach." 

Barb Duchemin, Curriculum Director has been a teacher at Temple Emanuel and has been on the religious school committee since 1995.  She has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Wayne State and a B.S. in Health Science from University of Detroit.  She also has a Master in the Art of Teaching from Aquinas College.  She is married to Steve and they have three children – Adam, Brian and Lauren.  Currently, Barb works as a Physician Assistant at Grand Valley Health Plan.

Gan Katan


  Pre-K  Allison Lucas

Allison and her family relocated to Grand Rapids last fall following stints in San Francisco and Chicago. Allison grew up in Illinois, graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, and went on to get her Masters Degree in Information Systems from DePaul University. She works at Herman Miller as a Senior Manager of Supply Chain Technology. She and her family love impromptu dance parties, riding bikes, exploring different playgrounds around Grand Rapids, being silly, and reading too many stories before bed. Allison is also currently learning how to play the guitar and hopes to bring the magic of music to her classroom this fall

Teaching Assistant 

Kindergarten Claire Fisher

Claire Fisher is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University.  She studied Multimedia Journalism there. Currently, Claire is living in Grandville and working as a technical writer.  For the last six summers, Claire worked at a Jewish summer camp and loved getting to know all the kids and planning fun activities for them.  She loves making jokes, playing games, and reading books. Claire is really excited to be a part of the United Jewish School team.






Teaching Assistant Tal Emesh 

1st Grade Linda Zizos is VP of Membership Development for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.  Off time, she and her husband, Gregg enjoy working in their garden, spending time with family and friends and pampering their Shi Tzu Lily.  Linda has been teaching at Beit Sefer B'yhad for several years.  She enjoys the curiousity and fun of first graders, and loves helping them connect to Judaism in a way that is meaningful to them.  Linda's students are the reason she looks forward to Sunday mornings!

2nd Grade 

Abby Billington and her family recently relocated from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Abby grew up in the Washington D.C. area, went to college in California, and received her graduate degrees in Organizational Psychology from MSU. She has been at home with her young daughter for the last few years and, prior to that, worked with the Army on the selection and training of Special Operations soldiers. Abby, her husband, Robert, and their daughter are enjoying exploring all of the amazing parks and resources in the Grand Rapids area and look forward to getting to know the UJS community.

3rd - 4th Grade Sharon Spungen 

.5th/6th Grade Newman Nicole

Nicole Newman has been a member of Temple Emanuel since 2014.  She currently works as an Anesthesia Clinical Nurse at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. Before becoming a nurse, Nicole was an officer in the US Marine Corps and worked as an Air Traffic Controler. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband Jordan, her cat Allegra and her dog Pavlov. She enjoys traveling and listening to music.



.5th/6th Grade Jordan Newman 


Jordan Newman has been a member of Temple Emanuel since 2014. He is a pharmacist and works for Priority Health.  He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Nicole and their pets. He has a dog and a cat. Jordan likes biking, reading and spending time up north at his family’s cabin.




Staff Continued