Do you recognize the name Shulamith Elster? The name might seem familiar—if you’ve ever rung up the Leadership Line (LL), PEJE’s coaching service. The LL provides the day school field with a free one-hour phone call with an experienced day school coach. She’s one of those who answer the Leadership Line calls, and she’s walked many an administrator, funder, grant writer, department chair, and foundation person through many a JDS issue. Elster recently told us a few things about LL, and why it might be of service to you.
The Leadership Line was originally created to allow JDS people to ask questions and receive responses that would help them attain excellence in their own schools. In its first year, day school leaders placed 100 calls to the Leadership Line. Since then, we’ve fielded many more calls, and we’ve gone way out of our way to solicit feedback about the LL, in order to make the service as useful and productive as possible. Today’s Leadership Line even includes a Skype option—which will beam a coach right into your office!
And now, a little secret: There comes a time in every day school leader’s life when he or she could use some LL help. And when that time comes, that leader should immediately get in touch with us.
Why? In the spirit of the Four Sons, we offer Four Reasons:
- It’s free. There are absolutely no strings attached anywhere to this project. The LL is purely interested in using the hour to help you address your problem. Free coaching is quite a rare thing, and you should take advantage of it!
- It’s confidential. A JDS leader has many complicated political relationships. But the LL has no personal stake in your JDS issue—and thus we always provide a good, honest, objective response to what you say (and keep the conversation between us).
- It’s helpful. A call to the LL helps with emergent problems that get in the way of doing your day-to-day job. Our experienced coaches know the day school world so well, that they can quickly diagnose your issues and help nudge you in the right direction. It is, as one LL caller said, an “incredible resource.”
- It’s encouraging. It’s not easy being a day school leader, and there are some problems you simply can’t take to your board, your faculty, your parents, or your students. The LL can give you the support you need.
Now, perhaps you see this and think, “I might just want to call in myself… but what kind of questions do people ask the LL?” Most typically, LL calls sound like the following:
- How can we plan a successful recruitment effort when there are excellent free public schools and our tuitions keep going up?
- Can we give our best teachers a salary differential?
- Do you know any Orthodox schools that meet in Reform synagogues?
- Do all past presidents have to be on the board?
- SOS: How can I move the officers’ focus to larger planning issues and away from “majoring in the minors”?
So how can you get in touch with the Leadership Line? Couldn’t be easier. If you’ve got a question or school related issue, send a note to LeadershipLine@peje.org, or visit, and we’ll set up a time to talk.