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May 30, 2014 By:
Alex Stroker Leaving Federation to Take Post at Barrack
Alex Stroker is leaving the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia to take a senior position at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy.
Stroker, 53, who has served in a number of positions at Federation over the past 18 years, has been appointed chief operations and development officer at the pluralistic day school in Bryn Mawr.
He most recently served as Federation’s interim CEO as a search committee sought a replacement for Ira Schwartz, who left the post abruptly a year ago. Stroker’s interim tenure ended with the arrival of Naomi Adler, the new Federation CEO, in early May.
Stroker’s Federation portfolio has also included chief marketing officer, chief operational officer and publisher’s representative to the Jewish Exponent.
Stroker's last day at Federation will be June 13 and he is slated to start his new post July 7. He said he is “thrilled and honored” to be joining Barrack, which this year served 351 middle and high school students. He said he feels “privileged to have this opportunity to be a part of such a unique institution that is deeply grounded in Jewish values and traditions, and committed to the highest levels of academic standards.” He added that he shares Barrack’s “passion for helping to raise the next generation of Jewish leaders.”
Acknowledging the challenges that many day schools are facing in terms of student enrollment and financial health, Stroker said his goal is to use his skills at marketing, fundraising and strategic planning to help make Barrack “the best private school.”
In light of the changing demographic character of the Jewish community, he said, Barrack needs to “cast a much wider net.” It has to emphasize its special blend of “strong academics with a Jewish soul” in order to be seen as a viable competitor to all other private schools.
Both Sharon Levin, Barrack’s head of school, and Cecily Carel, president of the Barrack board, expressed enthusiasm for the role Stroker will play. He has an “outstanding track record as a strategic thinker and successful fundraiser,” said Carel, whose board was recently informed of Stroker's appointment. She said that Stroker, in this newly created position, "will play a major role in securing our future."
Stroker said he sees a connection between the institution he is leaving and the one he is joining. Local Jewish day schools and the Philadelphia Federation, which provides substantial financial support to day schools, “have always enjoyed a good relationship.” He said he hopes to bring his understanding of both sides, along with his skill set, as “both institutions focus on long-range vision.”
Sherrie Savett, president of Federation, praised Stroker for his “passion, dedication and commitment to our Federation” over the past 18 years. “He has been a visionary leader with tremendous expertise in marketing, communication and donor development,” which, she said, “will have a long-lasting effect on our positive future.”
Noting that one of Federation’s highest priorities is Jewish education and “the development of the community’s superb day schools, of which Barrack is one of the premier” institutional examples, Savett added: “We wish him great success at Barrack and are pleased that he will be using his superb professional skills to further Jewish education.”