The following finalists were nominated for the Chinuch Awards 5777: Caring and Connection by parents, students, fellow teachers and members of the administration. They were chosen based on their exemplary way of teaching and interacting with students and parents.

These Mechanchim are role models for our children and anyone who is affected by Chinuch. They personify what Chinuch is, and the beautiful future that Chinuch has with them in our classrooms.

Rabbi Yehoshua Samuels

Grade 4, Darchei Menachem, Brooklyn, NY

The fourth-grade students in Rabbi Yehoshua Samuels class leave at the end of the year with a lot more than a just a curriculum under their belt. An exceptional Mechanech with an innate ability to tune into the unique needs and personal lives of each of his Talmidim, Rabbi Samuels forms a deep bond with each student, inspiring each young Talmid to develop a love of learning and blossom in his personal growth.

Throughout the year, Rabbi Samuels uses innovative methods to empower his students and teach them responsibility for themselves and others, incorporating the students’ own personal experiences into his lessons. Always available to discuss parents’ concerns, he maintains consistent contact with the home, emailing homework and middos charts every day.

Students in Rabbi Samuels class thrive as they are empowered with meaningful responsibilities and included in every activity. They know that their needs will be addressed and feel a sense of belonging and pride in their class and a love for their Rebbi. Students who may be struggling in school find a refuge in Rabbi Samuel’s classroom, as he is known to provide extra nurturing and care for students in need and often stays in touch with them long after they leave his class. A Dugma Chaya who epitomizes the Rebbe-Chossid relationship, Rabbi Samuels strives to show his students the warmth and joy of Yiddishkeit, inspiring them with music and sharing his own life experiences in his teaching.

Rabbi Yakov Wolff

Grade 4, Lubavitch Yeshiva Academy, Springfield, MA.

Rabbi Wolff’s fourth-grade classroom is full of laughs, learning, and a deep understanding between students and teacher. Building a strong foundation in the beginning of the year by calling each student individually, the students thrive, maintaining an excitement for learning even outside of school. Students of all kinds have sat in his classroom, but without exception, all have found Rabbi Wolff to be an extraordinary teacher.

He continues to show his deep care for his students by catching up with them in the hallway and keeping up with students who faced challenges while in his class. Every single day, Rabbi Wolff works one-on-one with each student, allowing him to make sure that they are learning appropriately on their level. Furthermore, students are given the opportunity to host activities in their home, in addition to a Havdalah club, making Rabbi Wolff a favorite among parents and students alike.

Rabbi Moshe Schwartz

Pre-1-A, United Lubavitch Yeshiva, Brooklyn, NY.

Even after more than 30 years of teaching, Rabbi Schwartz continues to search for and implements new techniques to use in his pre-1-a classroom. Every student is looked at as a true individual, receiving individualized homework and taught with differentiated instruction – even at the young age of 5 or 6. When a mischievous student’s behavior needs to be dealt with, Rabbi Schwartz handles the situation with immense patience and understanding.

Rabbi Schwartz has been known to work tirelessly to come up with solutions for the challenges a student is facing and making his teaching anything but a 9-5 job. His former students know that they can talk to him in the hallway, and he will remember who they are and what kind of year they had in his class. Ask any student or parent, and you will find that Rabbi Schwartz is fondly regarded as “everyone’s buddy.


Rabbi Zalmy Hecht

Grade 4, Cheder Menachem, Los Angeles, CA

The way to a fourth-grade boys heart is a good joke – and Rabbi Hecht knows that well. Even after years of teaching, his students remember and rave about him. His warm personality shows through in all of his lessons, encouraging active participation from his class. Recess will find Rabbi Hecht still involved with his students, taking advantage of the precious time he has with them.

He brings students to the nursing home and runs the children program in shul. Known to go the extra mile for his students, he has effectively changed students’ behavior. He makes sure to have a consistent and healthy communication with the parents. Recognizing students’ various abilities and learning styles, he tests the students in different ways to ensure that their needs are getting properly addressed.

Rabbi Simcha Frankel

Grade 4, Cheder Menachem, Los Angeles, CA

After more than 30 years of teaching, Rabbi Frankel continues to train to become a better teacher. He keeps up with new technology that helps his fourth graders maximize their learning and implements newly acquired techniques. Countless parents shared that Rabbi Frankel had taken a personal interest in their son, worked hard to understand him and supported him through any challenges he was facing.

Besides for teaching, he takes part in rallies and Purim carnivals, Shabbos Mevorchim Tehillim Club and more, showing his students that they are on his mind in and out of the classroom. He shared his journal of growth with his students, impressing upon them the importance of Cheshbon Nefesh. Keeping up exemplary communication with parents, he proves his ability to be an extraordinary teacher each and every day.