The SAM School | Administration - The SAM School


Director of Early Childhood: Chary Fox, MSEd

Chary is the founding director of our early childhood program and oversees all educational aspects of the preschool. She is responsible for ensuring the social, emotional, and academic growth of our young students. Chary serves as a brilliant resource for children, teachers and parents, infusing our program with her signature warmth, boundless creativity, and infinite wisdom.

Chary has been an early childhood educator for over 35 years and a preschool director for 29 of those years. She started a number of impressive programs including Lubavitch in the Palisades and Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, NJ. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Outcome Assessment from Aspen University. Chary served as an educational consultant for Jewish schools worldwide including Israel, Canada, Chile, Florida, New York and New Jersey. In this capacity Chary helped launch new schools, mentor directors and teachers, and develop curriculum.

Chary’s success can be attributed to her unwavering dedication and commitment to families and her caring and nurturing approach to education. She recognizes the strengths in every child and makes sure that each child is given the proper tools to succeed. Chary brings the beauty of Judaism to every classroom and inspires children and parents to be active participants in our school community.

Co-Head of Elementary School: Mary Peldman, MSEd

Mary oversees all educational aspects of the Elementary School. She is responsible for curriculum development and the implementation of effective teaching methods. Mary’s passion for progressive education has resulted in a learning environment that is simultaneously joyful and rigorous.

Mary grew up in Brooklyn as a member of the Sephardic Community. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College Honor’s Program and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education. She has completed additional training in curriculum development, Project-Based Learning, and effective mentoring and leadership.

Mary has been actively involved in Jewish education for more than a decade. She began her career as a teacher and worked in a variety of educational settings including Manhattan Day School, City and Country School, and the Harlem R.B.I. program. She went on to teach grades kindergarten-4th grade at Beit Rabban Day School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she also served as curriculum coordinator, admissions director, and school principal.


Co-Head of Elementary School: Dr. Rachel Harari, PhD, MSEd

Rachel is responsible for the growth and strategic direction of the Elementary School. She works closely with the rest of the administrative team, as well as the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees to bring the mission and vision of SAM to life.

Rachel received her PhD in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a Master’s in special education and bachelors in English education from New York University. She has been an educator in Jewish schools for over 15 years and is a 2016 recipient of The Covenant Foundation’s Pomegranate Prize, which recognizes emerging leaders in the field of Jewish Education.

Throughout her career Rachel has focused primarily on mentoring and supporting educators and parents. She has facilitated mentoring sessions for Jewish day school educators through her role as Associate Program Consultant for the Jewish New Teacher Project (JNTP). As an Associate Lecturer at Columbia University, Rachel has worked to support the global leadership of principals, superintendents, and university deans.

Executive Director: Michelle Dayan, MSEd, LMSW

Michelle oversees the operations of the Early Childhood and Elementary programs. She collaborates with the board, accounting office, and educational leadership to ensure proper allocation of resources. She is also responsible for tracking tuition, contracting faculty, procuring benefits and overseeing the maintenance of the facilities.

Michelle grew up in Manhattan and holds a B.A. in Psychology, with minors in Spanish and Urban Education, from the University of Pennsylvania. After college, she taught PreK for five years while pursuing her graduate degree. She holds an MSEd in Early Childhood General and Special Education from Bank Street College as well as an MSW from Columbia School of Social Work. Michelle holds teaching certification from New York State and is a licensed Social Worker.

Michelle has been involved with The SAM School since its inception. She was a founding Board Member before transitioning to the Executive Director role in 2014. Michelle lives in the neighborhood with her husband Adam and children Marlene, Irwin, Jeffrey and Jacqueline.

Founder: Rabbi Elie Abadie, M.D.

Rabbi Abadie has been responsible for the strategic growth of the school, bringing his vision of a premiere Sephardic school that is grounded in Jewish values and promotes high academic achievement to reality.

Rabbi Abadie was born in Beirut Lebanon, and grew up in Mexico City. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, French, and conversant in Italian and Portuguese. Rabbi Abadie came to the United States to attend Yeshiva University where he earned a B.A. in Health Sciences, a B.Sc. in Bible Studies, a Hebrew Teacher’s diploma, and a Master’s degree in Philosophy. Rabbi Abadie received his Rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He attended SUNY Downstate Medical Center, where he graduated with an M.D. degree and went on to practice as a gastroenterologist. As a rabbi and physician, Rabbi Abadie follows in the footsteps of the great Jewish scholar and philosopher Moses Maimonides.

Rabbi Abadie was the founding Rabbi and Spiritual Leader Emeritus of the Edmond J. Safra Synagogue in New York City, and the Founder and Rabbi of the Manhattan East Synagogue – Congregation Shaare Mizrah. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Diaspora Museum – Beit Hatfutsot. He is also the Director of the Jacob E. Safra Institute of Sephardic Studies at Yeshiva University, and is a scholar and teacher of Sephardic Judaism, history, philosophy, and comparative traditional law. As a member of the board of the American Sephardi Federation and the World Sephardic Educational Center, Rabbi Abadie lectures on Sephardic Judaism, history, and comparative traditional law.