middle school team

Each member of our distinguished faculty knows that the job responsibilities far exceed the job description. After all, we have the sacred task of nurturing young souls and inspiring young minds.

  • We provide the tools for self-confidence and the inspiration for a lifetime of learning.
  • We help each child to reach his or her potential, to fearlessly quest for knowledge and understanding.
  • We are creative, experienced and passionate. And in our hands we hold a life — the ultimate responsibility.

Rick Schmidt

Middle School Coordinator & Science Teacher

B.A. Elementary Education, Middle School Certification in Science, Social Studies and Math — University of Missouri-St. Louis; MAT Science — Webster University
"I relish in those "ah-ha" moments when my students connect what we’ve learned in class to what is happening in the world around them."

Alysha Black

Middle School Language Arts

B.A. in History with concentrations in Anthropology and Feminist and Gender Studies — Bryn Mawr College; Graduate Certificate in History and Archival Science — National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC; Graduate Coursework in Gifted Education — Lindenwood University
Literature and writing provide rich opportunities for students to better understand themselves and the world around them. One of my greatest joys is to help support students in making real-world connections to what we're learning in class. These Aha! Moments inspire students academically and creatively, deepening their thinking and engaging their passion and energy.

Nancy James

Middle School Math Teacher

B.S. in Middle School (5-9) Education; Minor in Math — Lesley University, Cambridge MA
"I love young adults. They are not daunted by life yet. There is always a bright light at the end of the period! We are creating our future right now."

Gary Lerner

5th-8th Grade Social Studies, Athletics Director

BA Communication, University of Missouri–Columbia
"I am inspired by our student athletes and their drive to learn and improve. It's very gratifying as a coach to have that kind of impact on a player."

Connie Mueller

Math Teacher

B.S. in Computer Science – University of Missouri, St. Louis; MAT – Webster University
"I am inspired when I see young flexible minds come up with unexpected solutions! I love to teach the creative and critical thinking needed for solving problems."

Rina Mangurten

4th Grade and Middle School Judaics

B.A. in History, Minor; Irish History – DePaul University;
M.A. in 20th Century Irish History – University College Dublin;
M.A. in Jewish Education – Hebrew College, Boston;
Certificate in Advanced Jewish Studies – Pardes Institute for Jewish Learning, Jerusalem
"When Hillel was asked to teach the entire Torah to a potential convert standing on one foot, Hillel responded, 'What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the entire Torah. The rest is commentary. Now go and study." (Shabbat 31a) This sums up not only my love of Torah, but also my love of sharing Torah with others. It is crucial to engage with Jewish text and apply what we have learned as we go out into the world by holding doors and pushing in chairs, filled with empathy and concern for those around us."

Aimee Bachar

Hebrew Teacher

B.A. Hebrew and Semitic Studies and Economics – University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A. Foreign Language Acquisition – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; course work at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Spertus College of Judaic Studies in Chicago
Hebrew opens the door to a deeper understanding of Israel and its people, of our heritage and our shared history as a Jewish people. I love being able to hand my students the key to that door.

Mali Haberer

Hebrew Teacher

B.A. in Education from Oranim Program at Haifa University; Certified in Tal Am and teaching Ulpan
"I believe that children learn best in an environment that allows them to question and explore...and I strive to create joyful learning in my classroom every day. Watching my students experience the love and beauty of of Hebrew and Judaism is my reward."

Hebrew Teacher

Limor Shacham

Hebrew Teacher

B.A. Education and Literature — Ben Gurion University; Teaching certificate — Ben Gurion University; Concentration in classroom management — Central Missouri State University; Training in Tal Am Hebrew curriculum
"I want my students to remember where they belong and where they come from. Teaching Hebrew and about Israel reminds them that they have a Jewish home.

Betti Blumoff

Music and Drama Teacher

Bachelor of Music Education — University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music; minor in Drama; Master of Music — Southern Illinois University; Certified in Orff Education Levels I and II; Kodaly Certification; Music Educator in elementary schools for 36 years.
"My favorite memories of childhood centered around choir practice, concerts and musical theater performances. I am honored to now give my students the opportunity to discover their own talents."

Patti Boggs

PE Teacher

B.S. Physical Education and Health — University of Missouri-St. Louis
"PE allows children to try new things, to move in different ways and to get their hearts pumping. They quickly discover that fitness is fun, that achieving physical goals is rewarding, and that aerobic movement leads to deeper learning all day long."

Suzanne Burack

Art Teacher

MAT, Communication Arts — Webster University; BFA, Graphic Communication and BSBA, Marketing — Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; Graduate of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School
"My eyes light up when a student creates a carefully thought out piece of art. I can see their ownership and confidence grow. The excitement of their successful delights me and encourages us both to take on greater challenges."

Mark Connor

Band Director

B.A. in Music - California State University, Chico; Master of Music - University of Colorado; Doctor of Music - Florida State University
Music is essential to human existence. It is a privilege to teach children and spark in them a lifelong relationship with the arts.