Nehemia Ichilov is headmaster at Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy,West Palm Beach.

Nehemia Ichilov is headmaster of Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy, West Palm Beach. (Tom Brodigan / August 26, 2011)

Nehemia Ichilov

Title: Headmaster, Arthur I. Meyer Jewish Academy,West Palm Beach.

Other job experience: Former instructor in California, Ohio and Central Florida; former school administrator in Ohio, Arizona, California and Central Florida; former rosh bima (spiritual leader) Congregation Shalom of Williamsburg,Orlando.

Awards: Jim Joseph Foundation fellow, Lookstein Center for Jewish Education; Institute invitee, Goodyear Leadership Network for Education; member, International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education.

Education: Degree in language and hearing science, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.; master's degree in Jewish education, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, N.Y.; degree in curriculum and instruction, University of Central Florida, Orlando.

Personal: 42. Born in Cardiff,Wales.

Family: Married to Lisa, a public-health consultant. Two children.

Q. A distinctive feature of your approach to Jewish education?

A. An innovative, global and 21st century approach.

Q. How does that show up in the education itself?

A. I realized it was very important to provide an opportunity to get children to think rather than just answer, to question rather than just solve. A lot of that is culturally Jewish.

Q. Why is it Jewish to ask questions?

It's the desire to peel back the layers and drive at what you're really asking. When someone asks a question, often it's not the answer that is interesting, as much as the opportunity to ask further questions. I want to provide an experience for the students, to get them to think and question and critically consider the reasons behind the information they're learning. Those issues work really well in a Jewish school.

Q. How did you get into your vocation?

A. I was an accidental educator. I'm a math and science person. I never planned anything in education. [But] I had an Epiphany as a young adult, before I married or had children: "Who is going to teach my children?"

Q. You've had experience in education and administration and in leading synagogue services. Does that give you an advantage in your current job?

A. I think it does. It's the variety of experiences that I bring to the school. One of my best experiences was working in a restaurant during college, as a waiter and busboy, and in the kitchen. I realized the importance of taking care of others, making them feel important, making them want to come back.

Q. How do you like to relax?

A. Sports, both playing and watching them. I play soccer, and last year I started a running club at the school. And I'm slowly getting to appreciate the South Florida teams.