Levine Academy will mark 40 years at March gala
Photo: Courtesy Pailet Family
“The vision and sheer will of its founders, my grandparents included, is to be celebrated, respected and never forgotten,” Kevin Pailet said of Levine Academy, his grandparents Ervin and Frances Donsky among its founders. Kevin and his wife Mahra, shown here with children (front row, left and right) Lyle Ethan and Miller and (top, right) Bella, will be honored at the school’s Masquerade Anniversary Gala celebrating the school’s 40 years.

By Deb Silverthorn
The Ann and Nate Levine Academy (formerly known as Solomon Schechter Academy) will celebrate 40 years with a Masquerade Anniversary Gala honoring Kevin and Mahra Pailet. Cocktails will be served beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at Congregation Shearith Israel. Dinner catered by Spice of Life, silent and live auctions and entertainment will follow.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the vision and the mission that our founders realized and all who have been connected to help Levine Academy continue to reach new heights,” said Levine Academy Head of School Tom Elieff. “We’re proud of our school, which started out small and has grown into a robust academic institution serving infants through eighth grade.”
An online auction will open with gift cards, entertainment, jewelry, sports memorabilia, trips and more. Raffle tickets are on sale now, with two prize winners receiving diamond jewelry donated by Shira Diamond owners, and Levine Academy parents, Adva and Kfir Rahamim. Tickets are $20 each and winners do not need to be present.
The Pailets, members of congregations Anshai Torah and Shearith Israel, are being honored by Levine for their commitment. It’s something that comes to the couple inherently and through the family tree — Kevin’s grandparents, Ervin and Frances Donsky, of blessed memory, were among the school’s founding families.
“Having watched the school evolve since its founding is nothing short of amazing. The vision and sheer will of its founders — my grandparents included — is to be celebrated, respected and never forgotten,” said Kevin Pailet, the son of Harrell and Marilyn and brother of David (Sarah), Eric and Jeffrey (Summer). “The true partnership of educators and parents is an essential part of what makes Levine a second home to its students and the collaborative efforts of Jewish and secular studies creates a learning environment in which our kids learn rigorously and thrive wholly.”
For both Kevin and Mahra, parents of Levine graduate Bella, and current students Lyle Ethan and Miller, there was never a question about their decision to send their children to the school or for them, as parents, to become active players in the place that nurtures their children.
“Unlike the families that had to take a leap of faith when the school was young and without a proven track record,” said Kevin Pailet, “we have the benefit of walking into an established community of families where trust, strength and excellence have already been cemented.”
In the spirit of carrying on
traditions from generation to generation, both Kevin and Mahra set the bar high through their commitment to serving their community through many organizations including the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, American Jewish Congress, Congregation Shearith Israel and Jewish Family Service. Kevin is presently treasurer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and member of AIPAC’s national board. Mahra serves on the board of Momentum and is a past-president of Levine Academy’s Parents Association and past Gala and Annual Fund co-chair.
“There’s a warmth, vibrancy and excitement from the minute you walk into the building that gives you the feeling that something great is always happening,” said Mahra Pailet, the daughter of Lyle (of blessed memory) and Sheri and sister of Brad. “Our children are happy, they are learning, joyful, responsible and community-minded and they are stimulated intellectually and culturally each day.”
The evening will honor the school’s focus on leadership and Jewish values, complemented by its strategic emphasis on STEM education, a strong humanities program, professional development and instructional excellence.
“Levine is a place of legacy. Many of our alumni are now our parents and also community leaders who have such meaningful memories of this school that they now send their children, confident they will gain just as much from their experience,” said Elieff.
Community leader Nate Levine, for whom the school is named along with his wife Ann, is happy the school continues its strong commitment to Jewish and secular education and innovation.
“Creating Jewish leaders for tomorrow’s world is what it’s all about. We are proud the school is poised to move forward from strength to strength.”
Tribute journal ads are due by Feb. 7 to kjarboe@levineacademy.org. For more information, reservations (by Feb. 18), or to participate in the online auction, visit levineacademy.org/gala or call 972-248-3032.

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