2008 Cleveland Heights High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame

Class of 2008

Alexis Abramson, PhD
Class of 1991

Dr. Alexis Abramson is a leader in the field of mechanical engineering through her various awards, years of teaching, many publications and innovations in research and development. Dr. Abramson is currently an assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. She has been published and has presented on the topic of micro/nanoscale thermal transport and nanotechnology. She has a patent pending and was involved in the development of the Nanopedia, an online resource for nanotechnology education. She attended Tufts University for her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Science and earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of California, Berkeley.


Jerry Hirshberg
Class of 1957

Jerry Hirshberg is the retired president and founder of Nissan Design International and is a consultant for Nissan Motor, Ltd. He founded a unique design facility, championing both product and automobile design. He was named to the board of Nissan North American and was featured in a 3-year national ad campaign. Mr. Hirshberg was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art and has won numerous national and international design awards. He is part of the Mayor’s Growth Management Network, San Diego, First Chairman for Public Art, San Diego, National Director of the Industrial Design Society of America, among other leadership positions in the community. He has been the subject of two biographical films and has profiles and extensive articles written about him in the New York Times, Fortune, The Financial Times of London, Wired, Business Week, Newsweek and The Christian Science Monitor.


Kathy Simkoff Blackman
Class of 1986

Kathy Simkoff Blackman created the Grog Shop, a nationally known music club which promotes up-and-coming artists. She expanded the club in 2003, and opened an additional club, the B-Side Liquor Lounge, which hosts DJs from around the country. She has been honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for achievement in music and was recognized as one of the Top 10 Women Business Owners in 2006 by the National Association of Women Business Owners. She is involved in the Coventry Street Fair and the Cleveland Music Collective.


Robert H. Jackson, JD
Class of 1955

Robert Jackson is the senior partner at Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz P.L.L. in Cleveland. He has authored several books including Book Talk: Essays on Books and Collecting, Booksellers, and Special Collections, Standing on Ceremony: African Prestige Swords, with Donna Jackson, and Serial Publications: Essential Parts of the 19th Century Imagination. He has spoken extensively throughout the United States and Europe, including The Library of Congress on literature, rare books, libraries and travel. He has been honored as an Ohio Super Lawyer for the past four years and holds many leadership positions in various community groups.


Manuel Freeman, DMD
Class of 1954

Manuel Freeman is the co-founder and current participant of a Dayton based overseas medical team whose goal is to provide health care to indigent children in Latin America. Most of the children are afflicted with cleft lip or palate. The organization obtains equipment and encourages other professionals to help. He has received various awards for his work including the Taggart Award for professional service and achievement. He also has a part-time practice in oral surgery and was in the US Naval Reserve for 20 years.


Jed K. Margolis
Class of 1969

Jed Margolis is the executive director at Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel in Philadelphia. He has worked diligently to facilitate using sports as a vehicle to strengthen Jewish identity and Jewish pride as well as love for the State of Israel. Since his tenure began at Maccabi USA in 2002, they have taken record numbers of Americans to Australia, Chile, Rome, Argentina and Israel for Maccabi competitions. He is active in the community through his many leadership and volunteer activities with various organizations. He was a participant in the 1973 Maccabiah Games on the USA Basketball team, and in 1991 earned a gold medal. Among his many accomplishments, he has earned the JCC Association of North America’s Arthur Brodkin award.


Judye Robbins Groner, MSW
Class of 1960

Judye Robbins Groner is the co-founder of Kar-Ben Copies in 1975, and since 2001 a division of Lerner Publishing Group in Minneapolis. She has been the publisher of over 200 books on Jewish themes for children and their families. She is also the co-author of My Very Own Haggadah, Thank you, God, the All About and Fun for Little Hands Jewish holiday series, and 32 editions of My Very Own Jewish Calendar. She received the Women’s National Book Association Bookie Award in 1987 and the Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Book-of-Work Award in 2003.


Greta Rothman
Class of 1990

Greta Rothman is the Director of Special Events in the Alumni & Development Office at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson. She served as President of Ashland University’s Chapter of Alpha PSI Omega (Theatre Honorary) and was appointed as Director of the Drop of a Hat Players, a student-performing troupe. Ms. Rothman was a group sales and special events intern at the Tony Award Winning McCarter Theatre where she gained the experience to be hired full-time as the house manager and volunteer coordinator. She is a member of the Heights Singers Hall of Fame, and earned the Betty Palevsky Freed Music Scholarship among many other music and theatre awards. She is active in the community through numerous volunteering and performing activities.


Ellen Newman Heyman, RN
Class of 1960

Ellen Newman Heyman is the co-founder and program director of The Gathering Place, a community based cancer support center offering education and psychosocial support to individuals and families touched by cancer. She has been a psychiatric-mental health clinical nurse specialist at University Hospitals of Cleveland for 17 years, providing support and coping strategies to patients, families and staff. She is also a clinical instructor in the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. She has received numerous awards including the Award for Excellence from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Alumni Association and the Involved Nurse Award from the Greater Cleveland Nurses Association.


Toni Milano Starinsky
Class of 1972

Toni Milano Starinsky is a photography teacher and Chairman of Visual Arts at the Cleveland School of the Arts. In 2007 she was named by The National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards as an Educator of the Year and was awarded the 2006 Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio Art Educator of the Year. Ms. Starinsky is the creator and founder of STAMP, Students and Mentoring Photography, which extends the effective reach of the photography department into other areas of the community and is expected to be expanded to at least three more Cleveland public schools.