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Consultant Bios

Our Staff

Jennifer Gendel

Jennifer

Gendel Director
Danielle Fine Goldman

Danielle

Fine Goldman Social Worker
Jennifer Phillips

Jennifer

Phillips Director of Recreation
Melinda Remaly

Melinda

Remaly Director of Education
Jen Weinberg

Jen

Weinberg Social Worker
Abbie Weisberg

Abbie

Weisberg CEO/Executive Director
Lori Zisook

Lori

Zisook Director of Inclusion
Avi Lesser

Avi

Lesser Keshet Ambassador

© Keshet 2017, All Rights Reserved | Photos By Michael Lee Photography

Close Jennifer Gendel

Jennifer Gendel
Director

Jennifer’s experiences as an educator range from classroom instruction to leading system-wide initiatives for large and progressive school districts. She has extensive experience in curriculum development, school administration, and graduate-level instruction. Jennifer earned her B.S. in Special Education from Boston University, her M.A. in Early Childhood Education from National-Louis University, and her Ed. D. in Leadership and Supervision from Loyola University of Chicago. She holds her Principal’s and Director of Special Education endorsements. Her presentations use humor, best practice theory, and hard data to help students, parents, staff, and community members create inclusive environments.

jen@keshet.org

Close Danielle Fine Goldman

Danielle Fine Goldman
Social Worker

Danielle has worked with children, adolescents and families in a counseling and recreational capacity for over 20 years. She began her career serving the Jewish Community as a therapist with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago at the Response Center and Jewish Children’s Bureau. Since 1997, Danielle developed a passion for and specialization in working with children and adolescents with special needs in a recreational setting at a children’s cancer organization where she continues to volunteer her time as a camp counselor, program leader, and board member. She has written and implemented disability awareness curriculum for students of all ages. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her graduate degree from the University of Chicago. Danielle works with various Keshet Summer Programs as a behavior specialist.  She also provides disability awareness and inclusion training to religious school students and various organization staff through the Pritzker Pucker Keshet Inspire Center. 

Close Jennifer Phillips

Jennifer Phillips
Director of Recreation

Jennifer Phillips is an accomplished special education professional with more then 24 years in the field. She has extensive experience as an administrator, trainer, consultant and direct service provider. Jennifer worked for 7 years teaching in a special education classroom in the Deerfield Public Schools and is currently the Director of Recreation for Keshet. After staring as a Keshet camp counselor, Jennifer worked in many different roles in the Keshet organization, including spending 10 summers as a consultant and inclusion coordinator to Camp Chi, a JCC overnight camp, and working 11 years in Keshet’s high school classroom at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.

In her current position at Keshet, Jennifer oversees 200 campers who are included into 17 day and overnight camps each summer. From hiring staff to assisting campers in adjusting to camp life, Jennifer is actively involved in every component of creating an inclusive experience for campers with disabilities. Jennifer also consults with many camps across the United States to help them include more children with disabilities to  experience the magic of camp. She speaks all over the world spreading the word of Inclusion and its importance in all recreational programs.

Jennifer graduated from National-Louis University with a major in Elementary Education and Special Education and is currently enrolled in the Professional Leadership program at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning.

jphillips@keshet.org

Close Melinda Remaly

Melinda Remaly
Director of Education

Prior to coming to Keshet in 2015, Keshet’s Director of Education Dr. Melinda Remaly, served Niles Township for 36 years as a special needs educator, a counselor, and then a special education administrator, with a focus on students with a high level of support and life skill needs, transition services and private day or residential programs. Over the years, Melinda has served the Chicagoland community on the Keshet and Illinois Alliance for Administrators in Special Education Transition Committee executive boards, among several others. She also served on the Illinois Statewide Transition Committee and the Program Outreach Committee for the Center for Enriched Living. Melinda holds a Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University in Special Education and Elementary Education, Master of Science in Counseling and Human Services from Roosevelt University Chicago, and Doctorate in Administration, Supervision, and Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago.

mremaly@keshet.org

Close Jen Weinberg

Jen Weinberg
Social Worker

Jen has worked for Keshet since 1998. After working 8 years in Keshet's summer camp programs, she moved to the day school where she's been for almost 12 years. Jen has experience working with children with various disabilities and degrees of severity. She also has experience providing counseling services to typical children in area public schools. Jen's areas of expertise include individual and group counseling; sibling groups; parent support groups; assessment and collaboration with families and therapists regarding services; and ability awareness for neuro-typical students. Jen earned her Bachelors degree from Bradley University and her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois.

Close Abbie Weisberg

Abbie Weisberg
CEO/Executive Director

For over 25 years, Abbie Weisberg has demonstrated a passion for opening doors and opening minds so that individuals with disabilities can more fully participate in their community, and lead meaningful and productive lives.

Driven by her commitment to bring the “abilities” of those with disabilities to the forefront, Abbie has risen from Keshet Sunday School teacher to Recreational Program Director, and finally to Keshet’s Executive Director/CEO – growing the organization’s programs, expanding its reach, and enhancing its reputation as the go to organization for individuals with disabilities.

Under her leadership, Keshet has become a “best practice” resource for other organizations across the country seeking to replicate Keshet’s inclusion model in their community.

Abbie has spoken around the globe as an advocate for individuals with disabilities. She has led strategic planning for numerous organizations serving individuals with disabilities within the Chicagoland area and across the continent. In 2011, Abbie Weisberg was named one of "10 Women to Watch" by Jewish Women International, as well as a Jewish Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Jewish News.

Her affiliations include memberships on the Government Affairs Committee of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and Board of Directors of Moishe House, and she is a past Secretary for the Illinois Institute for Public Policy.

Abbie earned her Master’s degree in Non-profit Management from Spertus College and her Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Special Education from the University of Illinois in Champaign. She has been married to Dr. Mitchell Weisberg since 1987 and has three daughters, Zoie, Shayna, and Sophia.

Keshet provides extensive services to those with disabilities, including educational, recreational, vocational, social, and residential opportunities. Founded in 1982, Keshet has developed into an organization known for leading edge practices in the integration of its participants at over 50 sites in northern Illinois.

abbie@keshet.org

Close Lori Zisook

Lori Zisook
Director of Inclusion

Lori has been an instructor and Inclusion Facilitator at Keshet since 1999. Her responsibilities include setting up integrated placements for K-12 students within all of our day school and high school sites, facilitating Ability Awareness sessions for typically developing students, coordinating peer mentor programs, providing training to Keshet teachers and para-educators for facilitation of integrated activities, and coordinating field trips and overnight trip participation with their peers for Keshet students. Lori earned her Bachelors degree in Special Education from Arizona State University and has LBS1 certifications in learning disabilities and social-emotional disorders.

Close Avi Lesser

Avi Lesser
Keshet Ambassador

Avi Lesser grew up with Keshet. He has participated in nearly every Keshet program for the past 25 years including our education, recreation, overnight camp, and vocational programs. Now employed at Pharmore Drugs, he has a competitive job working in a supportive workplace.

 Avi is a man of many talents. He has spoken about his abilities and challenges across the globe and has blessed many audiences with his tremendous musical talents, singing and performing dynamically in many settings including The Grand Ole Opry and even opening for such big-name rock bands as Styx and the Doobie Brothers. He is the Assistant Musical Director at the Keshet Sunday School and is an official Ambassador for the organization. He is an honorary member of the AEPi fraternity and is an integral part of many Keshet fundraising activities.

 His presentations are insightful, witty, and revealing. His first-hand descriptions of his strengths and challenges are compelling, captivating, and engaging.