Michael Simon became Executive Director of Northwestern Hillel in July 2010, after seven years on the staff of Harvard Hillel. As Executive Director, Michael works with students, staff colleagues, and community members toward achieving Hillel's mission of inspiring every Jewish student at Northwestern to make a meaningful and enduring commitment to Jewish life.
Michael grew up in Long Beach, California, and completed a bachelor's degree in American Studies at Stanford University. He spent three years teaching elementary school in Los Angeles as a member of the Teach for America corps, then attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he completed a master's degree in Public Policy. Following graduate school, Michael worked as Policy Director at The Providence Plan, a nonprofit that works to revitalize and improve the economic and social well-being of the city of Providence, Rhode Island. Michael traveled to Israel for the first time in 2000 as a participant on Livnot U'lehibanot, and returned the following year as a Dorot Fellow. While in Israel from 2001-2003, Michael studied Torah intensively at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies and worked as a madrich (counselor) with the Nesiya Institute's summer program in Israel for American and Israeli teens.
Michael has participated in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Fellowship for Campus Professionals, has served on the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs’ Jewish–Muslim Community Building Initiative Advisory Board, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Yahel Israel Service Learning.
In 2013, Michael received The Rock Award from Northwestern University in recognition of his outstanding leadership at Hillel and his work toward strengthening the entire campus community. The following year, he was named a Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence by Hillel International.
Michael is married to Claire Sufrin, a professor of Jewish Studies at Northwestern. Michael and Claire reside in Evanston with their two beautiful boys, Jacob, who was born in March 2011 and Ethan, who was born in June 2014. The two have become the unofficial mascots of Northwestern Hillel and can often be found playing soccer in the hallways of the Hillel building.