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."

Scott Chelist

Middle School Language Arts

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

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."

Ariel Kielmanowicz

Hebrew Teacher

Becky Lerner

Hebrew Coordinator

B.A. Near Eastern Languages and Cultures — Indiana University;
 B.S. Psychology — Indiana University;
 M.A. Cognitive Psychology — Washington University in St. Louis; Jewish Studies Certificate, Training in Tal Am Hebrew curriculum
"I believe that Hebrew should be taught as a modern language, and as a language that binds the Jewish people to each other, to Israel and to our heritage. We are lucky to be able to do this during childhood years, when they are best equipped for learning language."

Limor Shacham

6th,7th,8th 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."

Rachel Persellin-Armoza

Israeli Dance Instructor

B.S., science and marketing — University of Arizona; M.A., international affairs — Washington University; Director of Hora Gil folk dancing troupe
"I love to teach Israeli Folk Dancing! It is great way to connect our students to modern Israeli culture and to their ancient Jewish roots. The music is a fusion of all of the Jewish communities of the world."

Mark Connor

Band Director