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Sheva Center Leadership Institute for Early Childhood Professionals

Developing tomorrow’s leaders in the field of JCC early childhood education.

The Sheva Center for Innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education and Engagement is thrilled to introduce our latest initiative, the Sheva Center Leadership Institute for Early Childhood Professionals.
Made possible by generous support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, the 2018 Institute builds on the Sheva Covenant Director’s Institute originally funded by the Covenant Foundation in 2014.
JCC Association of North America is focused on retaining, nurturing and enhancing the skills of high-quality staff to create a pipeline for management and executive staff. Raising the excellence in JCC early childhood care and education programs (ECE) throughout North America is a strategic priority for the JCC community.
Our primary goals for the new Sheva Center Leadership Institute for Early Childhood Professionals are to increase the number and quality of early childhood educators who are ready to assume increased responsibilities and leadership in early care and education at JCCs.  Thirty fellows will be accepted into this cohort.
The initiative will not only include the work with the fellow, but the nurturing of the entire JCC on its journey to excellence using our new platform, “Growing Jewish ECE.”
This Institute will require work with the executive leadership of the JCC, lay leaders and staff, and families.

The 2018-2020 Institute:

  • 30 fellows will be selected through an application and interview process
  • Applications will be accepted from January through mid-March 2018 and fellows will be announced in April
  • The Institute will begin its work virtually in April 2018 and will continue through December 2020

Benefits of the Institute:

  • Six week-long retreats (two per year)
  • Each retreat will incorporate the Sheva Framework including the Seven Jewish Lenses, Seven Core Elements and the new rubric of “Growing Jewish ECE,” which includes work on exemplary education practices and in the areas of marketing, enrollment conversion, and family satisfaction and retention.
  • Virtual learning seminars will be held monthly between retreats
  • Personal mentor to work with Sheva fellow and the JCC
  • The completion of a National Directors’ Credential from National Louis University, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
    Israel education study tour
  • Study tour to the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Six-month leadership internship

Benefits to the JCC:

  • Work with JCC-wide leadership team
  • JCCs ability to continue to grow the number of families choosing the early childhood center
  • Increase top-line revenue to provide higher quality education, attract and retain excellent ECE professionals, ongoing marketing, and sustain ECE centers as a viable contributor to the overall health of the JCC

Benefits to the JCC Movement:

  • 30 new qualified ECE leaders
  • 30 JCC early childhood programs involved in a three-year growth experience
  • Sustainability of excellence in multiple areas

Please download a copy of our brochure, a guide for candidates and nominators and a B’rit for the Institute.



Mark Horowitz, a senior vice president for program and talent at JCC Association of North America, supports the working groups for the Sheva Center, Inclusion, Engaging Families, Mandel Center for Jewish Engagement, and Discover CATCH+. He spent most of his career in early childhood Jewish education, and he was the founding executive director of the Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI). For many years, Horowitz thrived as a teacher for two-year-olds. He was ordained as a cantor by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which also awarded him an honorary doctorate in sacred music, and he served synagogues in Connecticut and New York. Horowitz earned graduate degrees in sacred music, the philosophy of education, and early childhood education. He co-founded Yad B’Yad (Hand in Hand), a Buffalo, New York-based outreach and advocacy non-profit organization that promotes inclusion of people with disabilities. He received a special recognition award at the Van Cliburn Foundation’s 2002 International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in Fort Worth, Texas. Horowitz and his family are members of the JCC of Greater Buffalo.

Designs and implements the operation and administration of the Sheva Center.  Works closely with the Center Director and JCC Early Learning Centers in promoting and sustaining high quality early childhood Jewish education. Serves as the project director for the Sheva Center Leadership Institute for Early Childhood Professionals. Facilitates and maintains Sheva online learning and resources, and acts as the initial point-of-contact for Sheva consultation requests.

Coordinates Discover CATCH: Early Childhood program. Certified as a Discover CATCH master trainer. Provides program support for Health and Wellness Services.