Our New Upper School Support Team

Berman Hebrew Academy is pleased to announce the expansion of our Upper School Student Support Team. As the Upper School grows, we are committed to meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of all of our students.The new counselors, including Elana Hoffman (College Guidance Counselor), Jonnel Hector (full-time Guidance Counselor), and Abbey Borkin Rius (part-time Guidance Counselor and additional member of the Educational Support Services team) will work together with Upper School Associate Principal Rabbi Shimmy Trencher and Educational Support Services Director Beth Schoen to create a team with more seamless integration of roles and more active support and guidance for our students.

Meet our new team:

Elana Hoffman, College Guidance Counselor

Elana HoffmanElana Hoffman, our new College Guidance Counselor, comes to her role at Berman with fresh ideas and a wealth of experience. She previously served as a College Counselor for Ivy Educational Services, a New Jersey based service that provides comprehensive college counseling to students at all points in their college exploration process. Prior to Ivy, Ms. Hoffman worked as guidance counselor in the New York City public schools for 11 years and taught conflict resolution at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, MD. Ms. Hoffman graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan, holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, and a second Master’s Degree in Counseling and Development from George Mason University. Ms. Hoffman is relocating to Maryland this summer where her husband will begin a new position as the Cantor at Columbia Jewish Congregation.


Jonnel Hector, Guidance Counselor

Jonnel HectorJonnel Hector, our new Guidance Counselor, holds a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from University of Maryland, and he specializes in working privately and in school settings with adolescents and their families. For the last 12 years, Mr. Hector has worked at the neighboring Frost School, most recently serving as Clinical Coordinator of the Therapeutic Community Middle School. Mr. Hector also maintains a private therapy practice with Gunzburg and Associates.


Abbey Borkin Rius, Guidance Counselor

Abby Borkin RiusAbbey Borkin Rius, our second new Guidance Counselor, joins us from Lowell Junior/Senior High School in Oregon where she has been a guidance and academic counselor since 2013. Prior to that, Ms. Borkin Rius served as a counselor in several elementary and middle schools in the Oregon area. Ms. Borkin Rius holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Macalester College, a Master’s Degree in Social Studies Education from New York University, and a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Northwest Christian University. A graduate of Georgetown Day School, she looks forward to moving back to her

Each of our new counselors comes with excellent experience in their fields and enthusiastic references. We are excited about the more robust levels of support they will help provide for our students to allow them to build skills for success in high school, college, and beyond.

A special thank you to our former College Guidance Counselor, Dana Ponsky, who is moving to New York to pursue a position in career counseling.

The Upper School Student Support Team is looking forward to helping our students and families navigate the exciting life changes that adolescence brings.