Travis Armknecht, B.A., M.A. - 9th Grade English
Mr. Armknecht grew up in Nebraska and received his B.A. in Journalism/PR and Theatre Arts from Concordia University there. His initial plan was to work in theater, either as a professional or in higher education, but as graduation came closer, he felt a calling to teach high school. While working in a factory and saving money to return to school for his teaching degree, he got a call from a friend in Indonesia about a drama teaching position that had opened suddenly. In 2004, he and his wife headed for Indonesia, where they both taught in a suburb of Jakarta for three years. They traveled extensively while there, and still consider it their second home.
They returned in 2007 and settled in St. Louis with their two dachshunds and the cat they’d rescued in Indonesia. Mr. Armknecht received his MA last year from Webster University in Teaching Communication Arts with an emphasis in Media Literacy. He is a member of the Journalism Education Association and the National Council of Teachers of English, and he and his wife are members of the Gateway Lo-Downs, a local dachshund owner’s society and enjoy participating in many events with the group.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Bachman – Security
Mr. Bachman spent over 35 years with the St. Louis police department. After his retirement from the force, he worked as a security guard at Third Baptist Church where he first joined the GCAA team, then moved with us to our new building full-time. He and wife live in Wentzville, and have three grown children and six grandchildren. Not only does he keep traffic flowing and our building safe, “Mr. Fred” gets to know every single GCAA student and is an integral part of our GCAA family.
Email link: email@example.com
Jacob Becker – 9th Grade Civics
Mr. Becker comes from Belleville, Illinois, and started his teaching career at the same high school he attended, Althoff Catholic High School. After seven years, he headed to Hannibal, Missouri for a year of teaching before returning to St. Louis to join the Grand Center Arts Academy faculty. Mr. Becker spends his free time reading, running, hanging with friends and family and, of course, doing anything possible artsy. He is looking forward to a very exciting first year at GCAA.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Becker’s Website is http://mrbecker.weebly.com/
Stephanie (Nicki) Beier, M.A.T., B.A. – Dance
Ms. Beier earned her MAT and BA in dance and performing arts from Lindenwood University where she taught for five years. While teaching dance educational programs in public schools for MADCO (Modern American Dance Company) and teaching dance to Autistic adults, she was inspired to share her passion with students and got her certification in Dance and PE. She received the Dance Award for Lindenwood University’s dance program and studied on scholarship at the Joffery Ballet School, the Edge Performing Arts Centre in Los Angeles, the School of Hartford Ballet and Rivernorth Chicago. After performing for several companies locally and abroad such as the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and MADCO, Ms. Beier has come to GCAA to give students a foundation for their creativity to bloom.
Email link: email@example.com
Donna Black, B.S. – 8th Grade Algebra
Mrs. Black shares 8th grade algebra with Karen Dille. She has a BS with Distinction in Environmental Health from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., a Post Baccalaureate Certification in Computer Science from Kean University in Union, N.J., and her MA in Teaching from Missouri Baptist University.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deanna Breeden, B.S. – Math Support
Mrs. Breeden earned her BS in Education with an emphasis in Math at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri. She loves math and enjoys helping students learn new concepts! She has taught in both Texas and Missouri. Music has been a big part of her life and she grew up playing the piano, singing in choirs, participating in show choir, musicals and playing the alto saxophone in high school and university bands. Ms. Breeden and her husband, Jim, have three children, one of whom is a happy student here at GCAA!
Email link: email@example.com
Libby Burkhardt, B.S. – 8th Grade Social Studies
Ms. Burkhardt enjoys watching her students learn about their world. In addition to her love for social studies, she also has been a performer nearly her whole life as a singer and dancer.
Website link: http://ushistorywithmsb.weebly.com
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Clayton, B.S.Ed. – Visual Art
Mrs. Clayton graduated from Missouri State University with her BSEd in Art Education, K-12. Before arriving at Grand Center Arts Academy, she taught at Liberty Junior High and Blue Springs High School, both in the Kansas City area. In addition to teaching, she is also a practicing artist. Mrs. Clayton has traveled the country doing performance painting for various events and creating commissioned art for clients. She lives with her husband, Scott, in Town and Country.
Email link: email@example.com
Eric Conners, B.F.A., M.Ed. – Theater Arts
Mr. Conners is a certified speech and theater educator for grades 5-12 and a professional actor. He received his BFA in Theater Arts from Webster University Conservatory of Theater Arts and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mr. Conners has performed with numerous theater companies including The Black Repertory Theater, Historyonics Theater, The Repertory Theater of St. Louis and the Imaginary Theater Company. In addition to “live theater” he has worked extensively in commercials, industrial films and motion pictures. He is an active member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artist (AFTRA), both professional performer unions.
As a teacher, Mr. Conners has worked in a variety of outstanding districts, including Webster Groves, Clayton, Maplewood-Richmond Heights and Kipp Inspire Academy, in a variety of educational roles. For the past 12 years, he has been on faculty at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) as a theater instructor teaching a variety of courses, such as improvisation, audition skills, actors’ workshops, Shakespeare and acting for the camera. Mr. Conners is enthused to be part of the Grand Center Arts Academy community, where, indeed, “arts and education come alive” and is proud to work collaboratively with colleagues, students and parents to build a premier arts school of excellence.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew (Drew) Cowell, B.M.E. – Music
Mr. Cowell is an educator, musician, and performer, originally from southern Illinois. As a 2006 graduate of the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Mr. Cowell earned his Bachelor of Music Education (BME) with an emphasis in Vocal Music and is currently completing his Masters in Music Education (MME) at Kent State University. He also holds certifications to teach choral and instrumental music in both Missouri and Illinois as well as speech and drama. Mr. Cowell’s choral ensembles have performed at numerous competitions and festivals throughout the Midwest, including being ranked 5th in the state by the Illinois High School Association for the 2009-2010 school year. He is passionate about choral literature; whether Renaissance motets or modern vocal jazz, and believes a love for singing can be given to all learners. A pianist and vocalist, he has been featured in recitals and performances around the bi-state area.
“I am truly honored to have been a part of GCAA since it first opened its doors in the Fall of 2010. I truly believe the mission of this school and stand proudly behind the academic and arts education we are giving our students. Thank you for letting me be a part of it!”
Email link: email@example.com
Sharon Cross, B.A., Psych. - School Secretary
Ms. Cross (originally from the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado) graduated from Washington University with her BA in Psychology. Before coming on board at GCAA, she has been and continues to be an integral part of her church located in St. Louis city, having served in ministry as administrative secretary and other capacities for twenty-three years. Her appreciation for the arts gave her the opportunity to employ her interest and creativity by directing the Dance Ministry which expanded to the Creative Expression Ministry for adults, youth and children. Ms. Cross also enjoys anything related to interior decorating. She is enjoying using her previous experiences to help to promote the growth and excellence of Grand Center Arts Academy. She resides in North County with her little dog, Judah.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rashaad Davenport has received his bachelor’s degree from Missouri Baptist University where he majored in Elementary Education . He then went on to teach Fifth Grade at a neighboring district for a couple of years. While teaching Mr. Davenport felt a strong passion to counsel students he then began to pursue his Master’s Degree in Counseling. While obtaining his degree Mr. Davenport became a Middle School Counselor at a local charter school. Mr. Davenport has a wife and one child. In my past time I love to coach, play and watch basketball.
Karen Dille, B.S. - 8th Grade Math
Mrs. Dille graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in Education, majoring in Math. She has taught at the high school level in Manhattan, Kansas and at St. Joseph’s Academy and Ritenour High School in St. Louis. She has been a private math tutor for many years, working with students ranging from 5th grade through college level courses. She enjoys the challenge of helping students understand and become comfortable (maybe even excited!) with math. Mrs. Dille shares 8th grade math duties with Mrs. Black this year. She and her husband, Dave, have four grown children and live in University City.
Email link: email@example.com
Tam England, B.A., M.F.A. – Reading Specialist
Ms. England is a certified Reading Specialist. Her passion for teaching reading comes from her belief that reading is the basis for success in school and in life. She received her Reading Certification from Lindenwood University in St. Louis. Ms. England is also certified in K-12 Art and received her MFA from the University of Kansas. She has taught art history at Southwestern Illinois College, and also has experience in middle school special education. Most recently, she taught in the St. Louis Public Schools, where she served as a Pilot school board member. Throughout her career, Ms. England has proved to be an innovative and creative teacher who believes that understanding her students’ individual needs is an integral component of their success. Ms. England lives in South St. Louis with her husband. She enjoys practicing yoga and learning healthy cooking.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Farnworth, B.S. – 6th Grade Math
Mrs. Farnworth graduated from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville with her BS in Elementary Education. After graduating, she worked for two years with 6th grade learning-disabled students in O’Fallon, Illinois. She then taught middle school at a parochial school for five years in Maryville, Illinois. Most recently, Mrs. Farnworth taught 5th grade for three years at a charter school in St. Louis. Her favorite level is 6th grade, and she is very excited to be teaching GCAA 6th graders. She resides in Illinois with her husband, Jason, five-year old son and infant twin boys. Family is very important to Mrs. Farnworth; they support her teaching and hear about her students’ accomplishments often.
Email link: email@example.com
Ted Frigillana, M.Ed. - 7th Grade Social Studies
Mr. Fridge, as he is fondly known by his students, earned his M.Ed. at Maryville University. He was named “Most Outstanding Senior” of New Mexico State University. Mr. Frigillana has been featured in US News and World Report, run for local government, and after meeting Dan Quayle, had him autograph a potato(e).
For class information, go to www.heymrfrig.com.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynne Glickert, M.A.T., Ed.S. - Principal
In July, 2009, Lynne Glickert was hired and charged by the Confluence Academy Board of Directors to open a charter arts school by August, 2010. With her background as a music teacher and school principal, her expertise in Arts Integration, and her connections to the art community, she was the ideal person to make that dream a reality. Ms. Glickert has worked as a music teacher in the Clayton School District and John Burroughs School, and as an administrator in the Parkway, Lindbergh and University City School Districts. She is also an anti-racism facilitator with Educational Equity Consultants, and has worked in a variety of schools and organizations throughout the St. Louis area. She is the proud mother of three grown sons.
Email link: email@example.com
Bella Hafezi, M.Ed. - Counselor
Ms. Hafezi was born and raised in Albania and moved to the United States (St. Louis) in 2000. She graduated from Saint Louis University with her B.A. in Psychology in 2005. In 2008, Ms. Hafezi completed a Masters of Education in Counseling at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is a certified K-12 School Counselor. After graduating, she worked as a long-term substitute 9th grade counselor in the Lindbergh School District, and then as an adjunct Counseling faculty member for St. Louis Community College’s Forest Park Campus. For Ms. Hafezi, being able to assist our students in maintaining a healthy psychological and emotional lifestyle in order make the most of their educational experiences is truly a privilege.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Beaver Hassenstab, B.F.A. – Dance
Ms. Hassenstab holds a BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She danced professionally in New York City for 11 years, including six years in Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular and three years at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. In addition to being a principal dancer with the Santa Fe Opera, Margaret has performed in musicals at professional theaters throughout the United States, including West Side Story at The MUNY, Evita at the Tennessee Rep, and Beauty and the Beast at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Internationally, she toured with Grease in Germany, danced on the Royal Viking Sun World Cruise, and was a featured singer and dancer at Ocean Dome Resort in Japan. Ms. Hassenstab has taught at performing arts centers, studios and arts intensives in Rhode Island, Montana, Connecticut and Oberlin, Ohio. Locally MS. Hassenstab taught at COCA and Dance Elite.
Email link: email@example.com
Lisa Hellmann – 8th Grade Science
Ms. Hellmann earned her BS in Biology and Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2008. Along with the degrees, she earned three minors in chemistry, African Diaspora Studies, and anthropology. Her certifications include both Middle School Science (5-9) and Unified Science (9-12) with a Biology Emphasis. In May of 2013, she will be awarded a Masters in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction. She is excited to begin her first year teaching at GCAA after four years of teaching in the St. Louis area. She has loved the arts since a young girl, frequenting the cultural institutions of St. Louis and participating in both musical and dance training. She also loves the outdoors, often camping and hiking in our national parks with her two sons.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Hoffman, B.S.E., M.S.E., M.Div.PC. – Vice Principal
Mrs. Hoffman came to GCAA with a wide range of experiences, from curriculum development during her days as a Newspaper in Education Coordinator, to her teaching days in El Paso, Texas, to her years spent doing individual and family counseling (including a stint as the Treatment Supervisor at an adolescent treatment center), to her experiences as a children’s and youth minister and her time as a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator. Mrs. Hoffman’s life has been spent educating, whether formally in a classroom or in a therapeutic setting. She believes that students, no matter their ages, are always capable of learning – it is the job of the teacher to awaken in the student the joy of learning. Mrs. Hoffman has a deep love of the social sciences and particularly enjoys engaging her students in practical life application.
Mrs. Hoffman and her husband, Warren, moved to St. Louis in 2005. They have two furry, four-legged kids, Tupper and Molly. Keeping in line with her love of history, she enjoys collecting antiques and the many stories they tell.
Email link: email@example.com
Rebecca Irving, B.A., M.A.S.L. – 9th Grade Algebra IA, Algebra I and Algebra II
Ms. Irving has her BA in Secondary Math Education from Wilmington College in Ohio and her MA in School Leadership from Baker University in Kansas. She taught college math for four years, high school math for 15 years and most recently, junior high math for three years, where she was also an instructional coach for the math department. She served as principal of a specialized school for emotionally disturbed and behaviorally disturbed students for three years as well. Ms. Irving has been an active costume designer and assistant theater director for high school productions for several years. It has been a lifelong dream of Ms. Irving’s to teach at an arts school and where she is surrounded by creative achievers. She has two adult children who both are involved in the performing arts. Her oldest son performed at Carnegie Hall with his song and dance troupe in 2005. Ms. Irving was blessed to attend the performance, a memory that she considers a chance in a lifetime. She also has a 3rd grade son who fills her time off with exciting adventures. Recently, she was blessed with her first grandchild…a beautiful baby girl.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Casey Jagusch, B.A., M.Ed., – 6th Grade Social Studies
Ms. Jagusch earned her BA in Political Science with a concentration in Global Politics from the University of Minnesota. She then received her M.Ed. in Social Studies Education from Rockhurst University across the state in Kansas City. Before coming to GCAA, she worked for the city government of Mission, Kansas. She also did substitute teaching and worked as a Program Instructor for Close-Up in Washington, D.C. In her free time, Ms. Jagusch can be found cheering for the Golden Gophers and the Jayhawks, tap dancing, trying new recipes or planning her next travel destination.
Email link: email@example.com
Izetta Johnson, M.Ed. – Librarian
Ms. Johnson earned a M.Ed. with certification in Library Sciences from Lindenwood University. She served as a high school librarian for seven years in the St. Louis Public School district. Ms. Johnson loves to read and is fascinated by the ability of the brain to turn printed words and symbols into pictures. She hopes to ignite an interest in reading for students and families, whether they use traditional books, electronic sources (kindles, nooks, mp3), or audio books. Ms. Johnson is happy if you are reading, increasing your understanding, comprehension and enjoyment of the printed word and the world.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Kenzie, B.S., M.A. - Dance
Ms. Kenzie earned a BS in Education with certifications in both Dance and Social Studies from Central Michigan University, where she danced with and choreographed the University’s dance company for three years. She taught both subjects for grades 7-12 at a fine arts charter school in Michigan for five years while also earning her MA in Humanities. After moving to St. Louis with her husband last year, Ms. Kenzie taught high school Social Studies at Confluence Preparatory Academy. As a dancer, musician, and historian, she is passionate about the integration of arts and academics and is excited to ignite this passion within the students and families at GCAA.
Email link: email@example.com
Emily Kohring, B.F.A., M.F.A. - Theater Arts
Ms. Kohring joined the staff of Grand Center Arts Academy during the 2011-2012 school year after nine years as Education Director and Artistic Associate at St. Louis’s highly-acclaimed theater for young audiences, Metro Theater Company. While at Metro Theater Company, she oversaw all education programming for young people and created their signature classroom program, Building Community through Drama, winner of the Promising Practices Award from the Character Education Partnership of Washington, DC. Ms. Kohring also directed Metro’s productions of The Short Tree and The Bird That Could Not Sing, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Kerfafels and Interrupting Vanessa. She was involved in the development of several new plays there as well, and directed staged readings of new plays at the Bonderman National Youth Theatre Playwrighting Symposium at the Indiana Repertory Theatre and at New Plays for Young Audiences at New York University. She has also guest-directed productions at two of the nation’s most distinguished theaters for young audiences: The Little Match Girl’s Christmas Gift at First Stage in Milwaukee and The Giver at Stage One Children’s Theater in Louisville. For three summers, she was the Lead Theater Teacher for the Diversity Arts Summer Program for teens, a partnership between Metro Theater Company and the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Ms. Kohring is an alum and faculty member of the Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute (CAT). She has a BFA in Performance from the University of Idaho and an MFA in Theater for Youth from Arizona State University. She is also mommy to Ella, nearly three years old.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessy Linn, B.S. – Special Education
Ms. Linn, in addition to her teaching career at GCAA, is a member of the Air Force Reserves. She spent part of last spring in training, and has returned to teach this fall. She also recently spent a month teaching English in China. Reading is one of her passions, and she hopes to encourage more students to make reading a part of their everyday lives.
Email link: email@example.com
Cortez Lofton, M.Ed. – Dean of Students
Mr. Lofton is a veteran of the United States Navy/United States Marine Corp. He is a certified vocational education teacher in the areas of Law Enforcement/Police Science and Fire Protection/Safety Technician. He earned a B.S. in Administration of Justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he also served as Student Body President.He received his M.Ed. from the United States International University (Alliance) while on active duty service, stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA.
Over the years, Mr. Lofton has worked for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court-Juvenile Division as a deputy juvenile officer, The Missouri Division of Family Services as a child abuse/neglect investigator and as a teacher and administrator in the Jennings, Normandy and St. Louis City public school districts.
Mr. Lofton was raised in various multicultural education systems, including St. Louis, Denver, and Los Angeles. He believes that every child has the right to a quality education in a safe environment, be it public or private. He personally holds himself responsible for protecting the safety of the children and parents with whom he works. He lives by his personal motto: “Children are innocent and need all the love and guidance they can get. Adults are responsible for giving them the guidance and love they need.”
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Damen Martin, B.M.E., M.M. - Music
Mr. Martin comes to us from Lima, Ohio where he attended Ohio Northern University and earned a Bachelor of Music Education with a focus in choral and instrumental music. Mr. Martin currently holds a Master of Music degree from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he served as the graduate assistant in the choral department. Throughout Mr. Martin’s collegiate years, he has acted as principal cellist for the ONU Symphonic Orchestra and as a featured cello soloist. Mr. Martin was also principal cellist of a select Chamber Orchestra, which toured with the University Singers. Mr. Martin also has participated in the Ohio Northern Wind Ensemble where he played the Bb clarinet and has played bass guitar for numerous pit orchestras. While attending ONU, Mr. Martin was also given the position of Assistant Conductor to the Ohio Northern Men’s Chorus and The University Singers. During this time Mr. Martin has performed and conducted in venues such as the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, CA, Severance Hall in Cleveland, OH and Carnegie Hall in New York.
Mr. Martin is also an active performer throughout St. Louis. He currently is a principal singer for the Saint Louis Bach Society (where he is a featured vocal soloist on the recently produced CD, “Great and Marvelous” Hymns, Anthems and Spirituals), Ladue Presbyterian Church and volunteer singer with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. In January 2009, he became a part of the faculty at Lindenwood University as adjunct professor in vocal and cello studies and currently plays in the University Faculty ensemble, Con Brio Trio. “Music has given me an outlet my entire life. It expresses things inside me that I otherwise would not be able to express. I am excited to be able to assist students in finding their own voices through their talents!”
Email link: email@example.com
Gayle Mason, R.N., B.S.N. - Nurse
Ms. Mason came to Grand Center Arts Academy after working in Parish Nursing for several years. As the Parish Nurse in a St. Louis City church, she was able to apply her love for community nursing to the surrounding neighborhood, including working with school nurses in two public schools to enhance their health education programs. By bringing the church, the neighborhood and the schools together, the parish established a community garden, which became an educational health tool for the children and provided fresh vegetables for the neighborhood and the local food pantry. She takes a holistic approach to nursing, seeing a healthy body, mind and spirit as essential for total personal health.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connie Mueller, B.S., M.A. – 8th Grade Pre-Algebra
Ms. Mueller graduated from UMSL with a degree in Computer Science, and worked at Tripos, Inc. as a software administrator. More recently, she received her teacher certification through Webster University, as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialty in middle school mathematics. She taught enrichment mathematics at Immacolata School for eight years and tutored for many of those years. She loves helping kids become more comfortable with math, so they feel less fear and have more fun with it! Her goal is for her students to become problem-solvers and lifelong learners. In her spare time, she loves to paint watercolors, garden, and teach flatfoot clogging. She lives in University City with her husband, Kim Portnoy, and their teenage son, Alex.
Email link: email@example.com
Laura Nunez Clithero, B.A., M.A. - 9th Grade World Language (Spanish)
Laura Nunez Clithero happily joins the GCAA faculty this year as our first foreign language teacher. She was born and raised in Mexico City and graduated from Simon Bolivar College in Mexico with her BA in Elementary Education. She also obtained a BA in Sociology from the Metropolitan Autonomous University there. She taught elementary school in Mexico for 10 years, then worked in business, before coming to St. Louis 14 years ago. She earned her MA in Teaching from Lindenwood and is certified to teach Spanish in K-12. She’s worked as a substitute teacher in the Parkway and Kirkwood School districts, teaching Spanish in elementary, middle and high school. She also tutors Spanish at all levels. She has two lovely children and two sweet dogs who mean the world to her. She has learned a lot from her students and their needs. She hopes to develop great communication with her students and make a real difference in their lives.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Classroom Website for Spanish
Katherine Palmer – Community Development Coordinator
Mrs. Palmer comes to GCAA after her daughter entered the 6th grade in the fall of 2012 and she fell in love with this school just like her daughter. “GCAA is such a positive place for my daughter to be, she is receiving the rigourous academics her father and I wanted for her, plus she gets to use all the creativity she has bubbling inside her as a visual artist. Once I saw what an amazing school this was – I had to come work here!” Mrs. Palmer has been very active in the Lutheran school community fundraising for a K-8 school and the High School Association. “Now I am putting my experience to work here at GCAA and can see nothing but great potential for this school. I believe our empahsis in the arts plus science, technology, engineering and math makes this an absolutely outstanding school for the creativity student.” Mrs. Palmer holds a Masters in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University-St. Louis. She lives with her husband, two daughters and weimareiner in the South County area. While not an artist herself, she loves being the receipient of all the arts have to offer.
Denise Pranger, B.S. – 8th Grade Communications Arts
Ms. Pranger earned her BS in Education from Southern Illinois University. After graduating, she taught for 10 years with an emphasis in language arts and then homeschooled her two children for 13 years. She is thrilled to be a part of the GCAA family, as she believes in integrating each individual student’s love of the arts into the Communication Arts curriculum. Acting has always been one of her loves. She has performed in community theatre and has been a comedic motivational public speaker in the Missouri and Illinois area for the past 11 years. Her interests are musical theatre, nature, her faith, Colorado, children, running, gardening, and most of all, her family. She lives in South County with her husband, two children, dog, cat, and her bunnies.
Email link: email@example.com
Alex Rearick, B.S. – Physical Education
Mr. Rearick earned his BS in Physical Education and Health for K-12 from Southwest Baptist University in 2010. He lived overseas when he was younger, graduating from Ukarumpa International High School in Papua New Guinea. He began his GCAA career as a substitute teacher and saw the potential our students hold. Mr. Rearick believes every child has the potential to be successful, and he is excited to help our students reach high by getting to know them as individuals. He has many interests outside of the classroom, including coaching and playing soccer, camping, hiking, running, and working at a local YMCA.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Rubright, B.M., M.M. - Director of Arts and Community Partnerships
Mr. Rubright is a guitarist, composer, educator, bandleader and artistic/managing director. For the last twenty years, he has been a member of the jazz faculty at Webster University in St. Louis, where he’s taught numerous classes as well as undergraduate and graduate jazz guitar students. He is an in-demand guitarist and has performed with several of his own jazz, rock and “eclectic” ensembles. He has performed frequently with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Fox and Muny Orchestras, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, among others. In 2001, he co-founded and managed Crossings Concerts with Melissa Brooks, Assistant Principal Cello with the SLSO. Crossings was a non-profit music presenting and producing organization that created innovative concerts blending classical, jazz, folk, world and experimental music. Crossings collaborated with some of the region’s top artists, including standout members of the SLSO, top jazz artists, and nationally known instrumentalists. He has written music scores for an assortment of films airing in diverse venues regionally and nationally. Mr. Rubright wrote the music score for the Emmy-Award winning PBS documentary, “Oh Freedom After While” which was broadcast nationally and featured Julian Bond as narrator. He is a published songwriter and his works can be found on iTunes. Mr. Rubright’s son, Aidan, is the best production of all and the joy of his life.
Email link: email@example.com
Phyllis Shelby, B.S., M.Ed. - Computer Applications
After receiving her BS in Education with a minor in Mathematics from Harris Stowe Teacher’s College, Ms. Shelby pursued her M.A. in Teaching at Webster University, where she focused on Education Emphasis in Computer Resources. She joined the GCAA staff after 10 years teaching math and computer science to grades 6-12, in various St. Louis metro area schools. She has also worked in adult education for many years, teaching literacy and computer skills at St. Louis Community Colleges.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Spiguzza, B.S., M.A. - Visual Art
Mr. Spiguzza has his B.S. in Education from Missouri State University and a Master’s from Webster University. Before coming to GCAA, he taught full-time in the Kirkwood School District for 31 years and part-time for two years. In addition to full time teaching in Kirkwood, he also taught pottery for 25 years through the St Louis Community College Continuing Education program. Mr. Spiguzza is a well-respected artist in the St. Louis community where he continues to pursue his own professional work with pottery and painting.
Email link: email@example.com
Eric Theby, B.S. – 7th Grade Science
Mr. Theby earned his BS in Education from Southeast Missouri State University in 2006. This will be his sixth year teaching. His first four years teaching were as a 5th grade teacher and as a K-5 Science teacher. Last year was his first year with GCAA, and he loved every minute of it. He found his calling teaching Science to 7th graders, and he enjoys watching his students grow academically and socially in his class. Mr. Theby resides in Affton with his wife of five years, Krista.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Warren – 9th Grade Physics
Email link: email@example.com
Frederick Warren graduated from Drake University Magna Cum Laude, with University Honors, earning two degrees: a BS in Environmental Sciences and a BSE in Secondary Education. He describes himself as “an enthusiastic science teacher.” He has taught Physical Systems in the high school setting and pioneered the 8th grade science here at GCAA. He is excited to be back in the high school setting teaching Physical Science and Physics to our freshman. Over the summer he taught ecology in the New Mexico Rocky Mountains, a college course on sub-cultures and their role in mainstream culture, as well as assisting in teaching a technology course for college students. He teaches 9th Grade Science (and the visual art elective) in the summer with the AIM High summer program. Some of his proudest accomplishments at GCAA include starting the School Garden next door with his 8th grade class last year, forming the rocketry club last year (which he looks forward to continuing this year), and mentoring the girls robotics club to a strong finish in the Jr. First Lego League last year. He is looking forward to bringing Physics to all the 9th grade students this year in Physical Science or the Physics First class, continuing the Rocketry Club, and starting an Environmental Club. He is most excited to be returning to the GCAA family of faculty, students, and parents. More than any other, GCAA is the school he has been most excited to be a part of in his long line of experiences. October 5, 2012 Update: Mr. Warren has recently re-worked his classroom website for the new school year. It can be reached at www.warren-science.weebly.com All classroom notes, assignments, and due dates can be reached from this site. As well as basic information about the clubs that he is sponsoring.
Carol York, B.S., M.A. – 6th Grade Science
Mrs. York received her BS from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Food and Nutrition. After graduation, she worked for a number of years as a clinical dietitian and as assistant dietary manager in an area hospital. During this time, she earned her MA in Management from Webster University. Soon after her marriage, she and her husband joined the US Peace Corps, which took them to Botswana, Southern Africa, where she worked as a dietitian for the Department of Health. Later, Mrs. York stayed home when her children were young, but kept busy teaching preschool, working with Parents as Teachers, coaching middle school girls’ soccer and leading Girl Scouts and Ventures. She received her teaching certificate in Science with an emphasis on middle school education. Mrs. York has many interests, not the least of which is her family. She also enjoys exploring nature, hiking, reading, and being involved in her community.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elissa Yost, B.J., B.A. – 7th Grade Communication Arts
Ms. Yost joined GCAA last year. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, both from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has taught 6th and 7th grade Communication Arts, served as a Grade Level Team Leader, and has an extensive background in the field of journalism.
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Liz Zeiser, B.S.Ed. – 6th Grade Communication Arts
Ms. Zeiser earned a BS in Education with an emphasis in Middle School Language Arts from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2009. While completing her undergraduate education, she taught in a variety of classrooms and in the St. Louis, Ritenour and Parkway districts, and spent two years as a substitute teacher in the Fox School District. She believes in her students’ potential, and strives to get to know each one as an individual with specific needs. Currently, Ms. Zeiser dedicates her time to tutoring students in reading and writing. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and traveling, and spending time with her husband and infant son.
Email link: firstname.lastname@example.org