Staff Profiles

Mike Malone – Executive Director Mike Malone is the Founder and Executive Director for South City Prep. Mike is a graduate of Greenville College and has over 10 years teaching experience working in a variety of educational settings. For six years, Mike taught middle school science and social studies at St. Louis Charter School. While at St. Louis Charter School, Mike received the “Teacher of the Year” award, held numerous leadership positions, and assisted in writing the school wide curriculum. For two years, Mike worked for the Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) as the Director for Member Services and New School Development. Mike received his degree in Education Leadership, with a charter school focus, from Central Michigan University in July 2013. Mike has an unwavering belief that all students can learn and looks forward to helping every South City Prep student get to college. In his free time, Mike loves to hang out with his wife, Erin, and two children, Yuri (7 years old) and Kye (5 years old). When he isn’t hanging out with his family, Mike trains for marathons, plays soccer, and loves to read.

Nehemiah Thomas- Principal Nehemiah Thomas is the Principal of South City Prep. He joins South City Prep for the 2015-2016 school year. Nehemiah has been an educator for almost 23 years and served the last 15 years as principal of both middle and high schools in several states. He graduated from Henderson State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Social Studies and from Governors’ State University with a Master of Arts in Educational Administration. Additionally, he has completed all the coursework in his doctorate from Illinois State University in Educational Administration. He truly believes that all students can learn and that it is our responsibility to ensure that learning occurs within our school. He believes that all educational decisions should be made in the best interest of our students. He is very passionate about working with students from urban environments which in his opinion makes him a great fit for South City Prep Academy. His vision for South City Prep Academy is for each student to reach his or her fullest academic potential. In his spare time, Nehemiah enjoys working out, traveling, and listening to live music.

Lauren Fleischer- Dean of Students Lauren Fleischer is a native of St. Louis, but went on to earn a bachelors degree in middle school math education from Florida State University. Ms. Fleischer then returned to St. Louis with Teach for America in 2007. During this time, she also worked on completing a master’s degree in Education Administration from Missouri Baptist in 2009. She taught math for 5 years and was an instructional coach for 3 years at the middle school level. Ms. Fleischer spends much of her free time outdoors, as you can often find her camping and hiking. She also loves South City and enjoys walking through Tower Grove park with her family including her puppy Braxton. 

Katie White – Director of Finance and Operations Katie White is the Operations Manager at South City Prep. Katie is an Atlanta native who moved to St. Louis after college. She graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in Sociology. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, watching movies, and exploring St. Louis with her roommates and friends. When she gets the chance, she loves to go home and spend time with her two dogs and two cats in Atlanta. She helped coach the girls’ volleyball team in her first year at South City Prep.

John Viser – Director of Special Education John Viser is the Director of Special Education at South City Prep. John graduated with his Bachelor’s in Art History from Knox College in 2000 and his Master’s in Special Education from Fontbonne University in 2006. He spent the last seven years as a Special Education teacher and faculty mentor at Hazelwood East High School. He has also served the last three years as a Professor of Special Education at Fontbonne University. Originally from Memphis, John has a taste for good music and food. When he is not working he can be found playing drums with local musicians or in his wood shop making furniture.

Trecia Buckner – Student Support Coordinator Trecia Buckner is excited to be the Student Support Coordinator at South City Prep.  Trecia is originally from the south side of Chicago and enjoys going home to visit her family often.  Trecia graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Psychology in 2005 and with a Master of Social Work degree in 2010.  Trecia has worked in a variety of settings in behavioral health over the past 8 years, but has spent the last 3 years working in charter schools.  When Trecia is not working to ensure that the psychosocial and emotional needs of scholars are being met, she enjoys being active, watching movies, and eating great food!  Along with those things, Trecia’s favorite things to do are singing (poorly), cooking, and playing outside with her favorite partner in crime, Josiah, her son.

Mark Aschen – Director of Development

Erin Ryan – Office Manager  Erin is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Colorado Christian University in 2005 with her BA in Global Studies. She often finds herself geeking out about history books, documentaries, and superheroes. Even though she no longer lives near the Rocky Mountains, Erin still enjoys the outdoors and aspires to visit every National Park in the United States.  

Leah Patriarco – Math Instructional Coach Leah Patriarco is a 5th grade math teacher and math instructional coach. She graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a B.A. in Psychology, got her teaching certificate at North Park University in Chicago, and is currently in graduate school at Webster University. Before coming to South City Prep she taught 4th and 5th grade in St. Louis Public Schools for three years. When she’s not at school she can be found spending time with the two humans, 3 dogs, and 4 cats she lives with, playing roller derby, or working on her very old house. 

Rebekah Lischwe – Math Rebekah Lischwe is a Middle School Math teacher for South City Prep. While originally from Fort Worth, TX, Rebekah attended Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and studied Anthropology, History, and French. After graduating in 2010, she moved to St. Louis to teach at Cleveland NJROTC as a member of Teach for America. At Cleveland, she taught ninth grade Algebra 1 for three years. Rebekah has always enjoyed running and staying active. She enjoyed coaching Cross Country and Track at Cleveland and completed two half-marathons over the last two years. At the same time, Rebekah completed her Masters in Secondary Education from UM-St. Louis. Outside of the classroom, you can frequently find her reading, writing, and working in local coffee shops or parks.

Heather Ehlmann – Math Heather Smithson is a math teacher at South City Prep.  She will be teaching 6th grade math class. Heather graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in December with a degree in secondary biology education.  She completed her student teaching experience at St. Joseph Academy and Lindbergh high school.  Heather could not be more excited to be a part of the SCP team!  Besides teaching Heather also enjoy reading, watching movies/dance shows, spending time with her husband, and playing with her dog, Optimus!

Dezmin Dixon – Math Dezmin Dixon is a math teacher at South City Prep.  She will be teaching 7th grade math classes. Dezmin is a native of Detroit, MI, informally known as Motor City. Dezmin graduated from Howard University, a premier Historically Black University in Washington, DC, in May 2014 with a degree in Political Science.  While working toward her degree, she worked as a intern/tutor with the AVID Program at a high school in DC. After graduation, Dezmin joined the 2014 Teach For America Corps in St. Louis. She is currently studying to obtain a Masters of Secondary Education at University of Missouri – St. Louis.   Dezmin is more than excited to be a part of the SCP team!  When not spending time with her students, Dezmin loves to sew unique designs, cook and eat new dishes, and decorate cakes. She also loves to golf on Sunday afternoons. 

Le’Ka’Le Darden – Science Le’Ka’Le Darden is a Middle School Science Teacher for South City Prep. Le’Ka’Le graduated from Howard University in 2014 with a B.S. in Sports Medicine and is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in Secondary Education at the University of Missouri St. Louis. She is a Teach for America 2014 Corp member. Her hobbies include designing and constructing clothes, reading, and watching her favorite team, the Boston Celtics, play. 

Trang Henderson – Science Trang Henderson is a Middle School Science Teacher for South City Prep. Trang graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997 with a B.S. in Biology and General Science and in 1998 with a M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Management. She then returned to her home town of Klamath Falls, Oregon to teach middle school math and then high school science. After her second year of teaching, she earned a fellowship at the University of Washington and graduated with a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2004. Since then she has been a science in math teacher and administrator for both public and charter schools in Klamath Falls, Oregon and Las Vegas, Nevada. She has recently relocated to St. Louis and is looking forward to starting a new chapter of her career with South City Prep. Her hobbies include working out, playing golf, and rooting for the Oregon Ducks. Go Ducks!!!

Kate Leenerts – Communication Arts Kate Leenerts is a South City Prep Communication Arts teacher. She will be teaching all of the 6th grade reading and writing classes and one 7th grade writing class. Kate graduated from Greenville College with a BA in Elementary Education, with endorsements in Language Arts and History. She has spent a large amount of time in East St. Louis studying their literacy curriculum and resources, as well as working with high school juniors in an after-school college-prep tutoring program. Ms. Leenerts has worked with 3rd through 7th graders at the YMCA summer camp and at various youth-based community centers. In her spare time she enjoys reading adolescent literature, dancing, and working out. After just recently moving to St. Louis, Kate is excited about her position at SCP and looking forward to investing in SCP students and the community!

Kat Berger – Communication Arts Kat Berger is South City Prep Communication Arts teacher, working with all of the eighth graders and one class of fifth graders.  She graduated from Washington University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and French.  Kat liked St. Louis so much in college, that she applied for Teach for America and stayed in the area to teach Communication Arts in Riverview Gardens.  After three years as a Junior Ram at Central Middle School, she’s extremely excited to be an SCP Tiger.  When she is not watching YouTube videos about iambic pentameter, Kat likes reading, baking, and trying to guess what trouble her cat will get into next!  

Katie Owens – Communication Arts Katie Owens is a Middle School Communication Arts and Social Studies teacher at South City Prep.  Katie graduated from DePauw University in 2012 with both a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance.  Katie first moved to St. Louis from Atlanta to teach fourth grade at Sigel Elementary before moving to fourth grade at Jefferson Elementary.  She graduated in August 2014 with her Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.  Outside of school, Katie enjoys reading, listening to classical music, baking, and playing with her dog, Charlie.

Shannon Thomas – Communication Arts  Shannon is currently a 5th grade Communication Arts and Math teacher for South City Prep.  She is originally from Peoria, Illinois.  Shannon earned her BA in Elementary Education in 2014.  Her husband’s job took them to the St. Louis area in May 2014. She had a great summer getting into Cardinal’s baseball and learning about the city. Shannon has tutored all levels of  K-12 students. In particular, she enjoys working with English Language Learners. In her spare time, she likes to travel and read!  She also enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, Wobbles.  Shannon is very excited to call St. Louis home! 

David Cabrera – Spanish David Cabrera is the Spanish teacher for South City Prep. David is a native from Arequipa, Peru, and provides first-hand knowledge into the Spanish language and the Latin American culture.  He came to the U.S. on a Table Tennis scholarship and studied Business at Lindenwood University.  While obtaining his degree, he worked as a teacher’s assistant for the university’s Spanish department and tutored students outside of the classroom. After graduation, David joined the 2013 Teach For America Corps in St. Louis. David is currently obtaining a Masters Education at University of Missouri – St. Louis.  Aside from his enthusiasm of sharing his home culture with his students, David is also a competitive table tennis player.  In Peru, he was a member of the Peruvian National Table Tennis Team 2000 – 2002.  At Lindenwood University, he assisted the team in achieving a number of first place national collegiate titles.  When he is not playing his favorite sport, David loves spending time with his wife, Kayla, and 7 month old son, Theo, at the park, at coffee shops, or exploring new areas of the city.

Erica Stearns – Music Erica Stearns is the music teacher for South City Prep. She grew up in Chicago and spent seven years of her life singing, performing, and traveling around the world with the Chicago Children’s Choir where she developed her passion for music.  Erica graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music Education degree with a vocal emphasis.  After graduation, Erica was accepted into the 2008 Teach For America Corps in St. Louis where she spent two years teaching 5th grade at Columbia Elementary and Herzog Pilot Academy.  While teaching 5th grade, Erica earned a Masters in Elementary Education at University of Missouri – St. Louis.  After her two-year commitment with TFA, Erica began teaching general music at Jefferson Elementary.  Erica founded a choir program consisting of two leveled choirs who performed in school concerts and special performances off campus. She also facilitated unique performances for the entire student body at Jefferson including a flash mob!  Aside from planning unique learning experiences for her music students, Erica loves spending time with her 1 year old pug puppy named Lola Jacqueline and training at Absolute Martial Arts in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for her debut Mixed Martial Arts fight.

Kristen Kramlich – Social Studies Kristen Kramlich is a Middle School Technology and Social Studies elective teacher for South City Prep. Kristen graduated from Drury University with a BA in Secondary Education and History. She is currently working on her Master’s in Social Science Education at Webster University.  In her spare time, Kristen enjoys going antique shopping, spending time with her family, and reading!

Jon Roth – PE and Intervention Jon graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2013 with his BS in Secondary Biology Education.  He is a Saint Louis native and proud, die hard fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues.  As a former executive leader of the MO Zeta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Jon remains an active volunteer  to his fraternity.  He also enjoys watching movies, playing sports, the outdoors, and staying active.  He plans to start traveling throughout the country and hopefully on to the rest of the world.

Jessica Turner – Special Education Jessica Turner is a Special Education teacher at South City Prep.  Jess graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2007.  After graduating, she moved to Chicago, IL and worked at Maryville Academy City of Youth in a residential home for boys.  It was an eye-opening experience and taught her many valuable lessons.  Since she moved to St. Louis in 2008, she has worked in various settings with a diverse group of students with many different needs and abilities.  In January of 2009, she enrolled into Fontbonne University’s Master of Special Education program while working for the Special School District as a paraprofessional.  During the summer of 2012, Jess completed her field experience at the Miriam School and received her Master’s Degree in Special Education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, going on bike rides, and cooking.

Ali Bluth – Special Education Ali Bluth is a Special Education teacher at South City Prep.  Ali was born in St. Louis and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  In 2013, she graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a Bachelors degree in Exceptional Student Education, with an emphasis in Varying Exceptionalities for the K-12 population.  As part of her education training she student taught in Middle Schools within Pasco County in Zephyrhills, FL working with a diverse group of students with a wide range of needs and abilities.  She is currently a member of Teach for America, selected from over 48,000 applicants nationwide to join the national teacher corps of 5,800 recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced schools.  Since moving to St. Louis she is excited to become a part of the city her family calls home.

Elizabeth Doyle – Special Education Liz Doyle is a reading tutor and special ed teacher in her 3rd year at SCP. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Missouri State University in 2006. She has taught special education for the Kirkwood School District and spent 4 years teaching and leading special education instruction at the elementary level in Carrollton, Georgia. Liz has two children of her own that keep her running in circles when she’s not at SCP. Other than playing with her two toddlers, Liz likes to cook and spend time in her canoe on a lazy river. 

Amanda Farrell – Special Education

Markita Couch – Development Coordinator Markita Couch is the Development Coordinator and an Americorps volunteer. She is a Saint Louis native and graduated from University of Missouri-St. Louis with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. She has a passion for youth and helping others. In her spare time, she loves doing fun things with her nieces and nephew.

Erik Lewis – Social Work Practicum Student

Dan Rapp – Social Work Practicum Student Dan is a Social Work Intern/Alumni Relations Specialist at South City Prep. He is currently in his final semester of graduate school at Saint Louis University. He will receive his Master of Social Work degree this May. In May of 2013 he received his BA in Human Services from Columbia College with a minor in English. He was accepted into Teach for America in the summer of 2014, but deferred his placement for a year to complete his graduate degree from SLU. He will begin teaching elementary education in Kansas City, MO for Teach for America next August. In his free time Dan loves to play soccer, travel, and spend time with family and friends.