Dr. Bruce Powell Named as Interim Dean of the School for Jewish Education and Leadership

Photo of Dr Bruce Powell

American Jewish University Names Dr. Bruce Powell as Interim Dean of the School for Jewish Education and Leadership 

Los Angeles, CA – Today, American Jewish University (AJU) announced the appointment of Dr. Bruce Powell as Interim Dean of the School for Jewish Education and Leadership, effective July 1, 2023. As Interim Dean, Dr. Powell will oversee the School for Jewish Education and Leadership, which offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in Jewish Education and Jewish Early Childhood Education, as well as professional development programs for educators. 

Dr. Powell, who holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Southern California and has won both the Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award and the Covenant Award for his contributions to Jewish education, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role. Having dedicated the past 53 years of his professional career to Jewish education, he helped found three Jewish high schools in Los Angeles, including YULA, Milken Community High School, and deToledo High School and has consulted in the founding of an additional 23 Jewish high schools throughout North America. 

"I am deeply honored to have been selected as the Interim Dean of the School for Jewish Education and Leadership at American Jewish University, "said Dr. Powell. "As an esteemed academic institution, I am thrilled to collaborate with the distinguished faculty, mentors, and staff to advance the school's educational and inspirational mission. Through our shared commitment to academic excellence and unwavering dedication to Jewish early childhood education, we will undoubtedly foster a community of passionate educators and leaders that will continue to shape the future of the Jewish community for years to come." 

Dr. Powell has a long history with American Jewish University, where he currently serves as Distinguished Lecturer in the School for Jewish Education and Leadership and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. He also previously served as director of Camp Alonim and the Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI).  

"We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Powell as Interim Dean," said Dr. Jeffrey Herbst, President of American Jewish University." As we search for a new Dean to lead this critical school, which has a profound impact on Jewish educators and communities throughout North America, we remain committed to providing our students with the highest quality of education and leadership development.” 

Dr. Powell will build upon the successes of Dr. Rachel Lerner who served as Dean of the School for Jewish Education and Leadership for eight years. Dr. Lerner is stepping down to spend time with her family and explore her next steps. Dr. Lerner has - within a short time - led the creation, launch, and implementation of new degree programs with a focus on Early Childhood Education (ECE), including the MAEd ECE program in 2018 and BA in ECE in 2019. Dr. Lerner has been integral in transforming AJU from a University with exclusively "brick-and-mortar" on-campus degree programs, to having programs available to learners from across the country in accessible, innovative, and robust online modalities. She has also helped create the Jewish Education Excellence Project: Mentor Teacher Training Program, which helps mentor teachers to make professional improvements for the classroom a priority within the culture of their school. AJU will conduct a national search for a permanent dean in the coming months. 

About AJU: American Jewish University (AJU) is a thriving center of resources and talent that serves the Los Angeles community of the twenty-first century. AJU equips students, faculty, campers, and learners of all ages with the tools to create the ideas, build the structures, and develop the programs to advance Jewish wisdom and elevate our world. For more information, visit www.aju.edu. To learn more about the School for Jewish Education and Leadership, visit www.aju.edu/ece.  


Contact Communications

Michelle Starkman, M.A., MBA
Vice President, Communications
(310) 440-1526