Meet EHA’s new head of school Rabbi Shmuel Miller

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Rabbi Shmuel Miller

Avital Vorobeychik, Freshman, Yeshivat Kadimah High School

Rabbi Shmuel Miller was named Epstein Hebrew Academy’s (EHA) head of school for the 2021 school year and has done a phenomenal job thus far. From the minute Miller walks into school, the atmosphere feels lighter and more welcoming.

Every morning, Miller joins principal Itta Boyko and many other faculty members outside to greet each child. However, even though they may start out the same, every day is unique for Miller.

“The course of the day is time divided into supporting teachers, building relationships with people who are interested in the school—could be supporters or future families—there’s always an element of surprise each and every day,” said Miller.

In addition to working in his office and spending time in meetings, Miller also emphasizes interacting with the students.

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“I spend time going into classes, so the teachers see my presence, and I get to see the students, which reminds me why I work in the first place,” said Miller.

Although this is Miller’s first time being in the position of “head of school,” he has had similar experiences. Prior to coming to EHA, he served as regional director for New England NCSY for 10 years where he built extensive programming, managed staff and created a network of supporters. He was also the executive director of an outreach shul in South Africa, so he is very comfortable in leadership positions.

Every Friday, at the end of the school day, Miller holds a ruach assembly for the early childhood and elementary students. Although Friday afternoon ruach assemblies are nothing new at EHA, he has reinvigorated the tradition with his own unique style.

“When I hear the word ‘ruach,’ what comes to mind is music—it’s how I relate to spirituality,” said Miller. “We are not giving out any prizes, the decorum is wonderful and I think one of the best parts is when the middle school comes down, without being asked to come down. The goal is to end the week to prepare for Shabbat and a week together. Let’s use this opportunity to unite the school together and keep it simple.”

Miller connects easily with the students and teachers. Students light up as soon as he walks in the classroom and the teachers feel comfortable reaching out to him when they need support.

“When students and teachers feel valued and supported, we thrive,” he said. “Just like at home, when our children feel valued and supported at home, they thrive at home. It’s a challenging balance; I’m not a teacher in a classroom, but I want to set a tone in the school. That takes time.

“I like it when the kids run to school, and I like it when they run home because it means they enjoy where they are running to in both directions.”