By James Cohen
Debbie Heller, a native of New York, is a graduate of Lehman College and holds graduate degrees from Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as coordinator of student activities at the University of Detroit, director of student activities at Georgetown University and assistant director of the middle school at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day, but she considers her greatest and proudest job to be that of stay-at-home mom to her three sons, Adam, Daniel and Jacob. All of Heller’s jobs have involved creating inclusive and safe communities for students. At Smith Jewish Day School, she focused her efforts on combating bullying, which served as a segue to her advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTQ community. Heller was part of the volunteer team that created the Keshet Parent and Family Connection, which she continues to spearhead in the Washington, D.C., Metro area. She is on the board of directors of Kol Shalom, in Rockville, Md., where she focuses on programming. She also volunteers with Project Knitwell, a group that teaches knitting to children and adults who are in stressful situations. Heller and her husband, Jamie, live in Chevy Chase, Md.