‘Passionate, Inspiring, Dedicated’ – Leading ORT Teachers Recognized with 2024 Wand-Polak Award


This year, seven inspirational teachers have been selected for the Beatrice Wand-Polak award for going the extra mile in their role as educators.

The annual prize is given to those who have inspired colleagues, worked collaboratively across our network, designed new educational methods, or improved their school environment in other ways. It values excellence across our network and encourages our dedicated and valued teachers to lead their institutions in innovation, technology and practice.

The award was established by former ORT Latin America director Bernard Wand-Polak in memory of his wife, Beatrice.

She was a former president of the Chicago Region of Women’s American ORT and assisted her husband in building a network of excellent technical high schools throughout Latin America.

This year’s winners are:

Dikla Fartouk – Collège et Lycée ORT Robert Blum, Villiers-le-Bel, Paris, France

Dikla Fartouk is a Hebrew and Jewish History teacher and a mind-body therapist and art therapist who was born in Israel and moved to France aged 20.

Dikla Fartouk

In 2018, she joined the Collège et Lycée ORT Robert Blum, Villiers-le-Bel in Paris, where she is in charge of educational, religious and cultural projects. She aims to encourage students to learn Hebrew and the history of the Jewish people through the medium of art and creativity and believes it “essential” to instil confidence in her students who, she says, find success through forging their own paths. 

Additionally, through sharing with her students her knowledge of the relaxation method known as sophrology, she helps them to manage their stress and emotions.

Jean-Paul Freva, the school’s director, nominated Dikla saying: “Dikla Fartouk has demonstrated exceptional commitment. She regularly explores teaching methods to captivate and motivate her students. She initiated several ambitious projects and contributed significantly to the development of the various events set up in the establishment, particularly in terms of Jewish life.

Yael Mitelman, Escuela ORT Argentina, Buenos Aires

Yael Mitelman is a Jewish Education teacher who has worked in community institutions in Argentina and, in 2004, joined Escuela ORT Argentina at the Almagro campus.

For the past five years, together with the school’s teaching staff, Yael has coordinated the development of, and helped to write, a new collection of teaching books and assisted in the modernization of teaching materials. These are now used by Spanish-speaking Jewish educators.

She is described as consistently adding value to the curricula and teaching teams and placing special emphasis on training and upskilling.

A specialist Shoah educator, Yael initiated innovative projects, such as the participation of students as guides at the Holocaust Museum in Buenos Aires during the annual The Night of the Museums event.

Yael Mitelman

Nominating Yael, the school said she was “a professional convinced of the enormous importance of education in the construction of identity and the millenary continuity of the Jewish people. She works every day to provide quality education towards this goal”.

Yael added: “Belonging to such a prestigious educational network has allowed me to develop professionally, while creating projects and educational materials that also benefit other institutions. I am overjoyed and want to thank the school and my team for their part in our daily work.”

Stella Dinkova, ORT No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” Jewish School, Sofia, Bulgaria

Stella joined ORT Jewish school No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” in Sofia in 2005 as a university student and immediately established herself with her dedication and energetic work ethic. 

As the Hebrew and Jewish Studies coordinator, she now prepares graduating students for the final Hebrew exam conducted by the Jewish Agency for Israel. She also has extensive experience in managing projects, including online for the Centre for Holocaust Education and Jewish Education in the Diaspora for Bulgaria. She has played a major role in helping dozens of Israeli families who arrived in Bulgaria after October 7. 

In Stella’s nomination form, the school said she was “direct, straightforward and with a distinctive leadership style. Stella is very competent and is always looking for development opportunities. Courageous and adaptable, Stella has not only managed to keep and guide the Hebrew team through the school’s most difficult years, but also to bring it even closer together and develop it further”.

Stella Dinkova

Stella says: “It is a great honor to receive this award, but I am also aware of the responsibility it carries. It is the students who influence me the most. They are my motivation to continually learn and develop.

“At ORT we are part of a big family – the contact with other people in the network, the exchanges between ORT teachers and the contact with students from different countries are invaluable.”

Nathalie Rondot – Collège et Lycée ORT Léon Bramson, Marseille

Nathalie Rondot, a science teacher, joined the Collège et Lycée ORT Léon Bramson in Marseille in 1997.

Nathalie helped the school obtain the E3D label: School in Sustainable Development Approach. Her inspection reports are highly rated and her students pass their tests with excellent results.

Until last year, Nathalie accompanied numerous groups of students on trips to Israel. Her dedication is such that she continues to teach while undergoing cancer treatment and, one year away from retirement, is training her successor.

Nathalie Rondot

Nominating Nathalie for the award, Vanessa Zeitoun, director of the college, says: Highly appreciated by her colleagues, families and students, Nathalie knows how to help those who need it and does so discreetly. She demonstrates great rigor in her work and her diligence is flawless. She is a woman of extraordinary courage, an exceptional woman from whom we could all learn a lesson.

Michal Malka – Kfar Silver Youth Village, Ashkelon, Israel

Michal Malka has worked at the Kfar Silver Youth Village in Ashkelon for 32 years and has held various positions, including as educator, literature teacher and class coordinator. She has also contributed to projects involving pedagogy, matriculation eligibility percentages and improving the school climate.

During the past year, she has been leading one of the 10th grade classes and coordinates all of that year group’s classes. Additionally, after a teacher from the Gaza envelope was evacuated from her home following the war, and whose brother was killed on October 7, Michal took over the running of that year group as well.

Michal is rated as professional, thorough, dedicated and responsible and is also highly regarded by parents of pupils. One parent recently wrote of her: “She is a significant treasure for the school.”

She is described as a highly patient and nurturing teacher, who always has the best interests of her students and goes above and beyond to lead them towards success.

Janeth Garduño – Colegio Olami ORT, Mexico City, Mexico

Janeth Garduño has more than 15 years’ experience teaching maths at all educational levels at Colegio Olami ORT in Mexico City.

She effectively plans, runs and evaluates classes that enhance student learning. Janeth encourages class participation and uses different materials and activities to motivate her students and make the subject more accessible.

In her role as co-ordinator, Janeth is rated for putting together a great teaching team, members of which are inspired and enterprising, and she provides support and feedback to every teacher. She ensures they are trained and kept up to date and encourages her students to take part in local and global competitions.  

Janeth Garduno

Described as empathetic, open and with a willingness to learn, Janeth is also solution-focused and aims to promote cohesion. She cites as her inspiration a high school teacher who made students feel included and that their opinions mattered. Janeth says: “I understood that teaching must be done with love.”

In nominating Janeth, Orly Picker Schatz, academic director of Colegio Olami ORT, says: “Her passion for education is reflected in her constant search for new pedagogical methodologies and approaches that promote meaningful and lasting learning.”

Janeth adds: “Being part of the ORT network as a teacher has given me access to updated educational resources, collaboration with other like-minded teachers and it allows me to contribute to the advancement of education in an ever-evolving environment.”

Dmytro Kuprovskyi – Chernivtsi Lyceum “ORT” No 15, Chernivtsi, Ukraine

For the past eight years, Dmytro Kuprovskyі (main image) has been a teacher of physics and robotics at Chernivtsi Lyceum “ORT” No 15 in Ukraine, where he has proved to be an invaluable asset.

Under his guidance, ORT students have become actively engaged in STEM projects and have achieved successes in Ukrainian and international competitions. These include first place in the international Hackathon in Kyiv in 2018 and 2019 and in the “3D Modelling” category of the 2018 international Robotraffic robotics competition in Israel.  

Dmytro implements ORT methodologies and courses and his expertise has been shared through webinars and seminars. In 2021, he participated in the winter session of STEM education, demonstrating practical applications of Arduino kits in everyday life.

At the start of the Ukraine war two years ago, under Dmytro’s leadership, students at the school developed and manufactured medical tourniquets and bandages.

Dmytro says: “The Wand-Polak Award is a recognition of the work and achievements of my students. For me, this gives impetus to new achievements, realization of interesting projects, implementation of ideas, development and self-education.”


World ORT congratulates all our 2024 Beatrice Wand-Polak Award winners for their work in schools and for preparing students for a better future.

Beatrice Wand-Polak winners 2024:

Yael Mitelman – Escuela ORT Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Stella Dinkova – ORT No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” Jewish School, Sofia, Bulgaria

Dikla Fartouk – Collège et Lycée ORT Robert Blum, Villiers-le-Bel, Paris, France

Nathalie Rondot – Collège et Lycée ORT Léon Bramson, Marseille, France

Michal Malka – Kfar Silver Youth Village, Ashkelon, Israel

Janeth Garduño – Colegio Olami ORT, Mexico City, Mexico

Dmytro Kuprovskyi – Chernivtsi Lyceum “ORT” No 15, Chernivtsi, Ukraine