Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

New JAO director of academics


Nikki Buyna

This past week, Jewish Academy of Orlando invited its new director of academics to speak to the parent body. Alan Rusonik, head of school, announced that Nikki Buyna will start in June. As director of academics, Buyna will be the academic leader working with the teachers and the head of school to support and enhance the curriculum and learning experience within the Jewish Academy of Orlando. She will provide leadership and vision in the ongoing development, improvement and evaluation of mission-aligned curriculum, instruction and student experience and learning. Buyna will be a member of the school's leadership team and is an educational and role model to JAO students and faculty.

That night, Buyna electrified the room with her energy and enthusiasm.

"It's not surprising that she is called the "educational cheerleader," said Robyn Eichenholz, a parent at the school. "Her passion and the way she spoke brought a great energy to the room. It was really inspiring."

In addition to asking questions, parents shared what they liked about the school, which became a great discussion. Buyna also shared her educational philosophies and related them to the school. "The entire night was really impressive," said Eichenholz.

Buyna has worked as the professional development coordinator, a teacher and administrator for the past 12 years at Lake Mary Preparatory School. She has expertise in curriculum development, teacher professional development and educational technology.  

After a thorough and comprehensive search, Rusonik selected Buyna this February. "Her diverse experiences in fine arts, humanities and theater rounded out her professional expertise and overall positive attitude, making her THE candidate for us!" said Rusonik.

The school currently reviews one subject a year to refresh and add onto. "This position will allow the school to review more than one curriculum and really continue to move forward our differentiated learning principles," said Rusonik. "We have added innovation, coding and mindfulness in the past few years and look forward to continuing to push our students and teachers into the future, he added.

For more information about the Jewish Academy of Orlando or to arrange a visit to the school, please contact Alan Rusonik, head of school, at arusonik@myjao.org or 407-647-0713.


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