Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth is the founder and dean of Torah Academy. A lifelong learner and educator, he has taught and guided students for over 25 years on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and across the continent of North America. He received Yoreh-Yoreh Yadin-Yadin (an advanced rabbinic ordination) from the Rabbinical Seminary of America (RSA - Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim) in Queens, New York, as well as a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Queens College of the City University of New York. He served as Instructor of Talmud and as a member of the administration at RSA's Jerusalem campus. The Zehnwirth family returned to the States where Rabbi Zehnwirth accepted the position of principal at Torah High Schools of San Diego - Girls Division and subsequently, of Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School in Chicago. Besides teaching the upper grades Judaics class at Torah Academy, he gives weekly classes to adults in the community on Talmud, the weekly Torah portion and other topics. He is the co-author of Majesty of Man: Torah Insights into Human Nature (1992) and Pinnacle of Creation (2007) published by Artscroll Mesorah, based on the Mussar/ethical teachings of his revered mentor, Rabbi Henach Leibowitz obm. Both works stress the greatness of the human being, and accurately describe the basis for Rabbi Zehnwirth's approach to education of both children and adults - to nurture and develop the vast, untapped potential and nobility that exists within each person.
Mrs. Elisa Zehnwirth is a founding teacher/administrator of Torah Academy and presently serves as the principal. She is a native New Yorker (minus the accent), who earned her Bachelors and Master's degrees from Yeshiva University, in Judaic Studies and Secondary Education. With 35 years of teaching experience,she has taught a wide variety of ages, ranging from early childhood educator/director, junior high and high school as well as a college level course in the area of Child Development. Morah Elisa is passionate about ensuring that each student grows in their understanding of Jewish values, Middot and traditions, and that they strive towards academic excellence, in both General and Judaic Studies. She loves the fact that TA students are challenged to do their personal best and are encouraged to reach beyond their present academic levels, in multi-age classes, based on their own motivation and a healthy growth mindset.
Stacey is our Office Administrator, and is the first point of contact for Torah Academy. She joins us with a background in Health Care Finance, Collections, and Office Administration. Mrs. Panner was raised in Buffalo Grove, and studied Sociology at San Francisco State University before returning to be closer to her family. She currently resides in Arlington Heights with her husband and 2 children. In her free-time, Mrs. Panner is on the Board of Directors for The Shabbat Project Chicago, part of various leadership committees for Chicago Torah Network, and is a repeat author for the Jewish Home. She also enjoys crafts, reading, writing, music, and having dance parties in her living room with her kids. Mrs. Panner has enjoyed building relationships with students, parents and faculty, and looks forward to many more years with Torah Academy.