Weslow named General Studies principal

Ph.D. candidate and 'right fit' will start part-time after Pesach; third administrator with Crossroads connection


Jordan Levine

Mr. Daniel Weslow met with groups of teachers, students and parents during two days at the JCC March 16 and 17.

By Alexa Fishman

Mr. Daniel Weslow, a longtime educator and former director of the Upper School at New Roads in Santa Monica, has been chosen to be Shalhevet’s new General Studies Principal, the Boiling Point has learned.

Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal told the faculty of his decision just before 10 a.m. this morning. He said Mr. Weslow would start part-time after Pesach, overlapping with outgoing General Studies Principal Mr. Roy Danovitch.

“There was an overwhelming sense from everyone who encountered Mr. Weslow that he was the right fit for where the school needs to go,” Rabbi Segal said in an interview after making his decision. “Mr. Weslow is what the faculty, students and school need.”

Mr. Weslow is currently working as an independent consultant on school curriculum in Ventura County while finishing his doctoral dissertation in organizational leadership at Pepperdine University. He previously taught history and coached middle school football at Crossroads School, which has a similar philosophy to New Roads.

In an interview after learning of his appointment, Mr. Weslow said that building relationships with the faculty and students would be his first objective. “I don’t want to come in and rush things,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I’m going to work on developing relationships and use the next few months to gear up for a strong school year.”

Mr. Weslow is an educator who values community and relationships, and he [speaks] the Shalhevet language.”

— Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg


Mr. Weslow lives in Filmore, about 18 miles northwest of Simi Valley, and is married with three children ages three to 12. He grew up in San Francisco and attended UCLA as an undergraduate, then earned a Master’s in Education from Pepperdine University. In his new job, he replaces Mr. Danovitch, who is leaving to attend graduate school at Columbia University in New York next fall.

A search committee comprised of parents, faculty and board members had narrowed a wide field of candidates to just two, from which Rabbi Segal made the final decision. The two finalists, Mr. Weslow and Dr. Karolina Claxton, separately visited Shalhevet for two days each earlier this month, meeting with student, parent and faculty focus groups who shared their reactions with Rabbi Segal.

“Ms. Claxton struck me as engaging and professional,” said junior Micah Gill earlier this week. “Mr. Weslow was funny, smart, and a very experienced administrator, and I can envision him as the next principal.”

Gemara teacher Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg, one of two faculty representatives on the search committee, said both finalists were impressive. “Dr. Claxton has incredible poise, understands educational theory well, and is clearly very intelligent,” he said. “Mr. Weslow is an educator who values community and relationships, and he [speaks] the Shalhevet language.”

Mr. Weslow becomes the third Shalhevet administrator with ties to Crossroads, after English-History Academic Dean Ms. Melanie Berkey and Mr. Danovitch himself. Both attended Crossroads as students and maintained ties with administrators there. Both New Roads and Crossroads were founded by Dr. Paul Cummins, who Mr. Danovitch considers his mentor. The schools are known for strong academics combined with an emphasis on student individuality and the liberal, performing and visual arts.

I’m not the kind of leader who comes in and says it’s my way or the highway. I like when a number of people are involved.”

— Mr. Weslow


Mr. Weslow said he was attracted to similar characteristics at Shalhevet. “After learning more about the school and the General Studies Principal position, I was inspired by the emphasis on community, a strong academic and co-curricular program, and the focus on empowering students to be active participants in their education,” he said.

He also said that he would work with the faculty to implement changes gradually. “I’m not the kind of leader who comes in and says it’s my way or the highway. I like when a number of people are involved, being transparent, and being communicative.”

Rabbi Segal said that the response from faculty and students who met Mr. Wenslow had been overwhelmingly positive. He also said that even though some people were hoping for a female principal, he would never make his decision based on gender. “I think we need more female leaders in the school, but Daniel was the right choice,” said Rabbi Segal, noting that the search continues to add more female leadership.