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Alumni Recognition Award: Katie Schlussel Katz ‘05

Katie Schlussel Katz graduated from Frisch in ‘05. She holds a BA and MBA/MA in Nonprofit Management and Jewish Professional Leadership from Brandeis University, and has devoted her professional career to serving the Jewish community. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Teach NJ, working to make Jewish education more affordable for thousands of children.

Katie and her family–husband Ezra, daughter Rory (age 7), son Jonah (age 5), and daughter Ava (age 2)–live in Teaneck, where she also devotes time to community involvement. Katie is a board member of Yavneh Academy, where her older children attend school and is active in her shul, Netivot Shalom, where she is co-chair of the capital campaign committee. Her family is a Frisch family through and through; her parents, Ronnie and Marc Schlussel, were involved Frisch parents, and she is one of nine cousins (including her siblings) who all attended Frisch.

“Frisch is so much more than a place to go to school,” she says of her experience. “For me, Judaism really came alive at Frisch.” She appreciated how teachers respected their students as people, and loved the warmth and energy. Some of her best memories include Shiriyah, Junior Freezefest, Barry’s friendly greetings, and most of all, the bonding and making lifelong friendships. “My Frisch friends are still my closest friends,” she says. “Frisch felt like a really safe and special place to be a teenager–religiously, socially, academically, emotionally.”

Katie’s family feels the same way. “My family feels deeply connected to Frisch,” she says. “We had such positive and impactful experiences that really helped form our connections to Judaism and to the community.”

Today, Katie’s involvement with Frisch has come full circle. In her role at Teach NJ, Katie helps advocate for government funding and resources for Frisch and the other Jewish schools in NJ so that they can be safer, stronger, and more affordable. The organization works with the school to grow the funding that Frisch receives for things like STEM teachers, security guards, school nurses, and bussing. It also works to make sure that the community comes out to vote in every election so that we are well-positioned to have our priorities heard by legislators. “I am so fortunate to partner with Rabbi Ciner and many other Frisch administrators and faculty to help strengthen Jewish education in our community,” she says.