AEC Announces New Head of School 2019-2020

Thursday, December 20, 2018
The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus (AEC) is pleased to announce Dr. David Portnoy as its new Head of School as of July 1st, 2019. He will take the reins from the current Head, Rabbi Joyce Raynor, Ph.D, who retires at the end of this school year following four years of dedication and leadership at AEC.
Dr. Portnoy brings to the Adelson school a wealth of leadership experience in Jewish and independent school education, outstanding academic credentials, and the enthusiasm and vision to take AEC to its next level of excellence.
“I am thrilled to be joining The Adelson Educational Campus at this time of exciting growth,” says Portnoy, who was impressed, from the moment he stepped on campus, by the vitality, passion, and warmth of the students, teachers, and parents.
“And the facility… it is truly breathtaking. The architecture, the light, the colors, the Jerusalem stone and the quotes from Jewish tradition. What a beautiful and inspirational place to come to each day,” he adds.
He is also impressed with AEC’s exceptional campus security, “the importance of which can’t be overestimated,” he says.
Dr. Portnoy grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated Cum Laudefrom Baltimore’s prestigious Gilman School - a leading boy’s independent college preparatory K-12 school. There he served as president of the Debate Club and the Lancers Boys Club of Baltimore City. He lettered in Varsity Soccer, Basketball and Golf, starting on a Gilman team that won the Maryland Scholastic Golf Championship in 1979. It was at Gilman that Dr. Portnoy got his first taste of close harmony a cappella singing – where the tradition of wearing his now-signature bow tie claims its origins. But more on that later.
In 1983 he graduated from Yale University, again Cum Laude, with degrees in Economics and Political Science.  He completed the Yale Teacher Preparation Program; played soccer and lacrosse; sang in a close-harmony a cappella singing group; and was involved in the Yale Jewish Appeal. (Since graduating from Yale, he has chaired six of his seven 5-year class reunions.) 
Dr. Portnoy proceeded to earn a Juris Doctor Degree from UCLA School of Law, an M.S.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University, and an Ed.D from Seton Hall University. He practiced law and managed a family business, but his heart was always in education. He has more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, coach, principal, and head of school.
He taught at the distinguished Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. He worked in Undergraduate Admissions at The University of Pennsylvania.  He served as Upper School Head and Associate Head of School at Beth Tfiloh Community School in Baltimore for a decade before becoming Head of School at Emery Weiner School in Houston and Yavneh Academy of Dallas (both ranked among the Top 10 National Jewish Schools by ), where he is currently serving in his seventh year.  
Married for 33 years to Rabbi Dr. Shira Lander – a Professor and Director of Jewish Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas - Dr. Portnoy and his wife are the proud parents of two married sons and grandparents to a one-year old granddaughter.
An avid cyclist, singer, lyricist and reader, Dr. Portnoy is looking forward to discovering the biking trails at the Red Rock Mountains. 
He’s also looking forward to leading the AEC team in building on what he believes is already a very solid foundation of accomplishment. 
“I’ve been fortunate to lead schools in Maryland and Texas that have achieved levels of excellence and prominence,” he says. “The Adelson school strikes me as an institution on the verge of attaining that same stature.”
Dr. Portnoy is also attracted to the mission and culture of the school – particularly its dedication to Jewish ethics, diversity, and, under the leadership of Dr. Miriam Adelson, to student health and wellness. 
“As an experienced educator, parent of two grown sons, and as a new grandfather, I believe there is nothing more important than our children’s safety and well-being.”
As to the iconic sartorial accessory that he has proudly donned for nearly forty-years – it started with the close harmony singing group he belonged to in high school. Their uniform was the classic button-down collar shirt, khaki pants, vest, and of course the bow tie. He’s been dressing that way ever since. “It’s actually very practical attire for a man. When you lean over for instance, the bow tie doesn’t get in your soup or in the way of grading papers,” he shared in good humor. 
Dr. Portnoy will visit the school from time to time between now and July of next year – something he looks forward to. 
Be sure to say hi and welcome him to the community. You’ll know him by his classic and elegant style, his broad smile, the twinkle in his eye, the energy in his step, a warm outstretched hand and – of course – that signature bow tie. If you’re lucky to catch him with a moment to spare, he might even give you a lesson in how to tie it!