Solomon Schechter School of Westchester was founded in 1966 with twenty-two students and two teachers in the basement of Temple Israel Center. Rabbi Max Gelb, the school's founder, guided the school with his wife, founding principal Leah Gelb. By the end of the 1970s, enrollment reached 150 and the kindergarten was housed in a converted home adjacent to the main building. It is named after Solomon Schechter, who founded the United Synagogue of America and was the architect of the American Conservative Jewish movement.
In 1979, with financial support from M. Mac Schwebel and others, the school leased the 25-acre (100,000 m2) Rosedale Elementary School campus on Dellwood Road in White Plains, and two years later purchased the campus. In 1980, Rabbi Gelb and Mrs. Gelb stepped down, and Dr. Elliot Spiegel was appointed headmaster. It was Dr. Spiegel who charted the school's future course, introducing innovative education programs and transforming Schechter Westchester into a premier conservative Jewish day school. In 1989, with support from Joseph S. Gruss, a fourth building was constructed on the White Plains campus to help accommodate the demands of Westchester's largest Jewish day school.
In 2001, with the support of the Jewish community, Schechter Westchester constructed the M. Mac Schwebel Upper School Campus in Hartsdale, NY. In 2005, forty years after the school was founded in the basement of Temple Israel Center, Schechter Westchester graduated its first 12th grade class. In 2013, the school renamed the Lower School the Dr. Elliot Spiegel Lower School to coincide with Dr. Spiegel's retirement and appointed Dr. Michael Kay headmaster.
Schechter Westchester offers STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, Mathematics) education with their Engineering and Entrepreneurship program, sponsored by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE).
Engineering and Entrepreneurship is designed for students entering ninth grade with a strong interest in STEAM. Students work in teams and gain the ability to access and analyze information across the STEAM disciplines. They view the world through multiple perspectives, make connections, and see patterns. This three-year program culminates in a team research project solving real-world engineering problems, mentored by professionals working in related fields.
Schechter Westchester participates in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. The following sports are currently offered:
In November 2015, the Schechter Westchester Varsity Soccer team lost to Elmira Notre Dame in the NY State Class C Finals in Middletown. Prior to this, no Schechter Westchester athletic team had ever made it past the class C regional semi-finals.
Fifty percent of students at the school received tuition assistance in 2012.
Dr. Michael A Kay - Head of School
Rabbi Harry Pell - Associate Head of School for Jewish Life & Learning
Eric Bassin - High School (HS) Principal
Amy Holtzer - Middle School (MS) Principal
Ilanit Curi-Hoory - Lower School (LS) Principal
Dr. Elliot Spiegel - Headmaster Emeritus & HS Judaic Studies Teacher
Elisha Andron - Director of Guidance and Student Support
Dr. William Blank - HS Psychologist & Director of Student Services
Dr. Michelle Jasper-Brody - MS Psychologist
Dr. Jordana Klein - Lower School Psychologist
Donna Shulman - Dean of Students & Grade 11 Dean
Joel Davidson - Grade 10 Dean
Samantha Mazo - Grade 9 Dean
Dr. Jennifer Davids - Grade 8 Dean, MS Curriculum Specialist, MS Israel Engagement Director
Rabbi Joan Forchheimer - MS Dean of Students, Grade 7 Dean, MS Judaic Studies Teacher
Aviva Seiden - Grade 6 Dean
Nicholas Kourabas - Director of College Counseling
Amy Carlson - Associate Director, College Counseling
Jackie Grosser - Upper School Admissions Director
Diana Schutt - Lower School Admissions Director
Rabbi Yael Buechler - Rabbi in Residence
Rabbi Abby Sosland - Spiritual Advisor'
Scott D'Ottavio - Athletics Director
Bryan Lamana - Assistant Athletics Director
Barbara Shapiro - Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement
Smadar Amidror - Director of Operations
Tracey Harris - Chief Financial Officer