Jo-Ellen Unger, Director
Throughout her education and career, Jo-Ellen straddled the worlds of Jewish Education and the Arts. Music was a part of her life from a very young age, as she performed in a variety of concerts in multiple venues. She developed her skills in voice, theatre and dance at the Performing and Visual Arts Center (now New World School of the Arts) in Miami, Florida, the Fine Arts program at Florida State University and the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City. She held the position of Assistant Director UAHC (now URJ) Camp Coleman, coupled with the role of SEFTY (NFTY SE) Regional Advisor, which later evolved into the position of Southeast Council Regional Director for Junior and Senior High School programs.
Jo-Ellen also served as a formal and informal education director at Temple Beth El of Boca Raton, Congregation Ahavath Chesed in Jacksonville, Florida and most recently Har Sinai Congregation outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She is a graduate of Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, where she earned a Master of Arts in Religious Education.
Kara Emily Hoffman, Assistant Director
Kara discovered her passion for Jewish camp and theater throughout her 11 summers at URJ Camp Coleman, where participating in the camp play each year solidified a love of the arts and creativity. Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Kara graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Sport and Entertainment Management. As an Executive Board member for the Dance Marathon hosted at her university, she helped raise over $500,000.00 for the Children’s Miracle Network. Upon graduating, Kara made the move to Atlanta, GA and began working as the Education Coordinator at The Temple where she was an integral part of redesigning youth programs and creating Hebrew and Judaic curricula. Kara finds time for hiking, boating and reading. She is thrilled to be working to develop the Creative Arts Academy program.
Michael Derby, Business and Operations Manager
Michael is a motivated and personable business professional with more than 25 years’ experience working with luxury retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to improve their sales, operations and training departments. He has extensive experience in project management, management consulting, organizational change, training and learning and development.
Michael is the child of a Rabbi, a former resident advisor at a preparatory school, adult educator, as well as a URJ camp alum so he comes by this profession naturally. He is grateful to be a part of helping children feel comfortable and happy about who they are while they gain experience, independence, and confidence in a safe, non-judgmental and nurturing environment.