Jerusalem High School Welcomes New Principal

Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel started its 2011-2012 school year with a new principal leading the Jerusalem high school. Welcome to the team, Arik Saporta

At 43, Arik has already experienced and accomplished much. Born and raised in Jerusalem, he spent a year of community service after high school with the Scouts Youth Movement in Beit Shean, before serving three years in the intelligence branch of the Israeli Defense Forces.

After the army, he studied photography at Betzalel arts academy and began a career in film.

But the murder in 1995 of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin affected him deeply, spurring him to change direction. He became the youth director of a matnas (community center) in the low-income Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel, later stepping into the role of general director working with needy populations.

He left the matnas to help create Etgarim, a nonprofit organization providing stimulating outdoor experiences to special-education teens. (The name means "challenges.")  

He went on to enter the Mandel School for Educational Leadership and, working with a few other dynamic activists, created Jerusalem Venture Partners, an agency attempting to close educational gaps for underprivileged and struggling students. There he developed a model community program in which all involved agencies closely collaborate to meet challenges.

Recently, Arik spent a half a year in Australia and New Zealand with his wife and four kids, ages 4, 8,10 and 12.

In his new leadership position, he hopes to strengthen the teaching staff, help students to reach their highest potential, increase the personal fulfillment of students, and strengthen the acquisition of humanist values. He also wants to increase the number of Jewish students in the high school so that it returns to the 50 percent proportion enjoyed at the elementary school level.

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