September 22, 2018

Milken Schools Head Steps Down

Gary Weisserman, head of school at Milken Community Schools, is stepping down from his position at the end of the current academic year.

In a May 11 open letter to the Milken community, Weisserman said, “After much discussion with our Board of Trustees, I have decided to step down as Head of School at the end of this school year to pursue some new opportunities which have been presented to me, including some here in Los Angeles.” He added, “I leave the school in the very finest hands, and I am confident that Milken will continue to go from strength to strength.”

In an email to the Journal, Weisserman declined to immediately elaborate on his future plans.

Milken Community Schools Board Chairman Richard Sandler also issued a statement, saying, “The Board respects this decision and thanks Gary for his leadership these past five years following the separation from Stephen S. Wise Temple.” He added the school will convene a search committee to find Weisserman’s replacement.

Milken hired Weisserman as head of the 750-student middle and high school prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year, after the school had severed ties with the Reform congregation Stephen Wise Temple in 2012.

During his tenure, Weisserman focused on technology in the classroom. In 2016, Milken opened the Guerin Family Institute for Advanced Sciences at Milken — equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, a milling machine and programming tools — as part of its commitment to advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Weisserman also emphasized Jewish learning that takes into account contemporary challenges facing students daily, as opposed to Jewish studies that may not be relevant to students.

“For the better part of this decade, I have had the extraordinary privilege of leading this amazing institution through one of its most important and transformative periods.” – Gary Weisserman

“My interest isn’t so much in leading the best Jewish school as it is to make sure the best school in the country is a Jewish one,” he said in a 2014 interview with the Journal.

Prior to joining the faculty at Milken, Weisserman, who grew up in Detroit, served as chief academics officer at Scheck Hillel Community School in North Miami Beach, Fla., one of the largest Jewish day schools in the nation.

Weisserman’s decision is one of two recent leadership shakeups at Milken. Last month, Metuka Benjamin, president of Milken Community Schools, announced her decision to move on from Milken at the end of the current academic year.

Weisserman said he was grateful for, and proud of, the time he spent leading Milken.

“For the better part of this decade, I have had the extraordinary privilege of leading this amazing institution through one of its most important and transformative periods. Serving as your Head of School has been — and continues to be — a joyful, fulfilling experience,” he said in his letter to the Milken community. “I am enormously proud of what we have accomplished together, and believe Milken now stands not only as the finest Jewish school in the nation, but one of the finest schools.”