Margie Pines, an early childhood educator at JCC "Z" Frank Apachi in Northbrook, will receive the third annual Sue Pinsky Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, administered by JUF's Community Foundation for Jewish Education (CFJE).
The Pinsky Award, established in 2015, is an annual award given by CFJE to a Chicago-area early childhood teacher.
Colleagues describe Pines as "a truly dedicated professional that makes a strong impact on every family fortunate to have her as their child's teacher… She sees each child as a unique individual and is quick to identify their abilities as well as encourage them to take appropriate risks as they learn and grow."
Though she started her career as an attorney, Pines' passion for teaching young children led her to pursue her Associate's Degree in Early Childhood. She now serves as a Lead Teacher and as Lead Content Specialist at JCC "Z" Frank Apachi, both teaching in her own classroom as well as guiding other teachers in the area of outdoor education and Jewish values surrounding protecting the earth.
The Pinsky Award was established by her family in honor of Sue Pinsky, a long-time Jewish educator who was instrumental in the founding of the North Suburban JCC. In her 50 years of being a Jewish educator, it is estimated that Sue worked with over 5,000 children in our community. Sue's son, Mark Pinsky, and his wife, Lisa, generously established an endowment fund in Sue's honor to ensure the award in perpetuity through JUF's Agency Endowment Program.
"My hope is that this award will be a way to recognize dynamic Jewish teachers who serve as an inspiration for the next generation," says Sue, who lives in Highland Park. "It's those small tastes of Judaism in preschool, in camp, and in congregational programs -- those little sparks that come out of an innovative teacher saying something to a child -- these are the things that can turn into a lifelong love of learning and Judaism."
The 2017 Pinsky Award will be officially presented to Pines at CFJE's upcoming symposium on May 23.
Andrea Raskin, an educator with several Chicago-area institutions, will also be honored at the event, receiving the second annual CFJE-Grinspoon Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewish Congregational Education. A 15-year veteran teacher at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield, Raskin also works as a Keshet paraprofessional at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, where she will begin teaching Kindergarten Jewish Studies in the fall. In addition, she serves as the Hebrew Director for eJewcateMe.com.
"Andrea exemplifies everything one would want in an educator, the teacher of their children," said Raskin's nominator. "Every child feels special; every child wants to participate with spirit because of the atmosphere in the classroom. This is true in her second grade class, her eighth grade class and her Hebrew classes."
The Grinspoon Awards (formerly Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards) have recognized over 700 outstanding educators in the U.S. and Canada in the past 15 years. Today the award celebrates successful innovation in Jewish education.
Both awards will be presented at CFJE's upcoming symposium, Thinking Together: Community Conversations on Israel Education for Chicagoland Jewish Educators, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23 at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe.
For more information or to register, please visit http://juf.org/cfje/Thinking-Together.aspx .