About Us

About Us

The Ninth Candle is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Illinois. Our mission is to end antisemitism by sharing knowledge. We fulfill this mission through innovative educational programs for students and professional development programs for teachers. Our programs will always be free of charge.

The Ninth Candle is about positivity, sharing, and celebration. You can read more about our beliefs and values here.

Our People

Dr. Luke Berryman, Founder

Luke has a decade of experience in education and education management. He worked as a College Lecturer and a Director of Studies at the University of Cambridge, and as a classroom teacher in a British secondary school. In 2015, he joined Oxbridge Academic Programs, a New York-based international education company that runs study-abroad programs for middle- and high-school students, and professional development programs for educators. Working with Oxbridge involved meeting students, parents, and teachers, and forging and nurturing client partnerships, in over a dozen countries spread across three continents. Luke spoke to people about the importance of sharing knowledge in every cultural setting, from the subzero temperatures of the Canadian Northwestern Territories to the urban jungle of Metro Manila. Luke became a Director after three years, having started as an Associate. Today, in addition to his work with The Ninth Candle, he directs the academic summer camps at Roycemore, a K-12 coeducational school in Chicago; and he collaborates with students, faculty, and parents to provide gifted support across the community. He holds undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, Boston University, and King’s College London, respectively. His PhD thesis was on the use of Richard Wagner’s music in Nazi propaganda.  

Dr. Scott Sandoval, President of the Board of Directors

Scott Sandoval teaches eighth-grade English at Carrollwood Day School (CDS) in Florida. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from the University of South Florida. He also holds an Ed.S. from the University of Florida and Saint Leo University. He has recently completed a doctorate in Educational Administration, and he has participated in professional development programs for educators in the United States and in Europe.

Prior to coming to CDS, Scott was the seventh and ninth-grade English teacher at Tampa Prep. Once at CDS, he began teaching Elie Wiesel’s Night. Seeking additional resources and materials, he reached out to The Ninth Candle in fall 2020 – and he has been working with the organization ever since. 

Sarah Palomo, Board Member

Sarah Palomo is a Specialist in Diversity Partnerships at Bain & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms. She has special expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and in the development and implementation of innovative DEI recruitment campaigns, programs, and strategies. Sarah’s career began in higher education. She has worked at universities across the United States, including Columbia Business School in New York City, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and the University of Illinois Gies College of Business. She has always been committed to making higher education accessible to everyone.

In addition to working at some of the United States’ most prestigious universities, Sarah has lived and worked in both the United Kingdom and Spain. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of Pennsylvania. Her rich background in counseling enables her to lead with empathy. She thrives on connecting with and learning from others, and she communicates confidently with people from diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Aubrey Daniels, Board Member

Aubrey is an assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling at Rider University. Her early experience working with individuals facing various forms of trauma was at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center in Philadelphia. She possesses a wide range of clinical experience, with adults experiencing severe mental health concerns, college students in multiple settings, and children, adolescents, and families in mental health agencies and school settings. Her work also involves resilience building and advocating for vulnerable populations.

Aubrey earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Seton Hall University, a master’s degree in counseling and mental health services from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in professional counseling from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in counselor education from Penn State. While she was earning her Ph.D. at Penn State, Aubrey served multiple roles, including directing operations of the on-campus training clinic, where she assisted students who were completing their practicums and internships, as well as doing crisis intervention work and working with her own clients.

Tyler Duke, Board Member

Tyler is a filmmaker and a digital content producer based in Montana. He began his filmmaking career in action sports, which took him to countries across the world. After finishing an MFA  in science and natural history filmmaking, he founded a natural history department at Wink Inc., a major television and production company. In this role, he developed shows for National Geographic Wild and National Geographic International.

Tyler’s early passions for filmmaking were in the natural world, but as his career progressed his interests gravitated toward social issues. He began working as the digital content producer at Bozeman Health, a health system in Montana, where he documented the health care world and the challenges that people face in his community. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Tyler played a key roll in creating clinical training videos, and he worked to capture clinicians’ experiences and the emotional tolls of their profession. He has helped several nonprofit organizations to spread their messages with engaging video and digital content. Tyler’s work has appeared on National Geographic International, National Geographic Wild, The Travel Channel, Speed, OLN, Montana PBS and Outdoor Channel.

Talia Mark Brookshire, Board Member

A former sports marketing executive of nearly 15 years, Talia was recently appointed Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Western Governors University (WGU), the largest online, nonprofit university in the United States. Talia is working to expand the national diversity platform for the university’s 7,500 employees and over 130,000 active students. This involves responsibility for the oversight of WGU’s employee facing diversity programs, including growing the reach of its employee resource groups; managing the Advance Equity speaker series and other education programs; and maximizing the programs’ internal and external messaging to realize WGU’s vision of becoming the world’s most inclusive university.

Talia has a range of experience in diversity, community outreach and multicultural marketing on the international and domestic levels. Developing and managing multicultural marketing campaigns for NASCAR, Ford Racing, USA Swimming, and USA Track & Field have given her a unique portfolio. In past roles, she has overseen marketing, public relations, social media, special events, communications, partner relations and sales.

Talia is a graduate of Central Michigan University and the proud mom of four daughters. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Dustin Brookshire.

Our Name

Each winter, the Jewish faith celebrates a festival called Hanukkah, or “The Festival of Lights,” over the course of eight days. The celebrations include the lighting of a special, nine-branched version of the Menorah, called the Hanukiah. Being sacred, a Hanukiah cannot be used to provide light for the temple or the home, and its candles cannot be used to light any of the others. Hence the ninth candle, which is called the shammash.

Unlike the other eight candles, the shammash is not considered a sacred part of the festival. Its only purpose is to light the other candles. By calling ourselves The Ninth Candle, we mean to reflect our practice of drawing on Jewish wisdom and tradition; and to show our belief that people of all faiths and none can explore it, participate in it, and gain from it. We also mean it to underline our connection with the Hanukkah festival. The Ninth Candle is about celebration, positivity, and sharing.