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Mike Malone is the Founder and Executive 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.
Carissa Roller – Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Carissa Roller is a Director of Curriculum and Instruction for South City Prep. Carissa graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana in 2007 having majored in Social Work and Spanish. After graduation, Carissa moved to St. Louis to teach at Confluence Academy – Old North as a member of Teach for America. Throughout her years teaching she has been a Spanish teacher as well as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. She joined South City Prep when it was founded as the 6th grade math teacher. In her free time, Carissa enjoys spending time with her husband, friends and 2 dogs, Sunday and Oreo.
Chad Hull is the Dean of Students as well as a Math teacher for South City Prep. Chad graduated from Grinnell College in 2005 with a BA in Economics and East Asian Studies. Upon graduation, Chad was accepted into the Teach For America program and spent 2 years as a special education and general education math teacher at Cleveland Junior Naval Academy. During that time, Chad coordinated the school’s service learning program and created an after school tutoring program for athletes. Chad taught math for the next year at Currey Ingram Academy, an independent school for students with learning disabilities in Nashville, Tennessee. After a two year hiatus to study educational policy at the University of Kansas, Chad returned to the classroom and St. Louis as the Lead Teacher at Shearwater High School. Chad loves the Kansas City Chiefs and Iowa Hawkeyes and spends as much as time as possible with his dog, D.
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 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.
Eric was born in St. Louis and spent time growing up in Laclede Town and Jennings. The core beliefs of Eric’s craft as an educator are rigor, relevance and relationship. He believes that if we collaboratively design engaging educational experiences that meet the different learning needs of our students, then we will enhance their learning and close any identified achievement gaps. Eric has 17 years experience working with children in public schools, private schools and youth programs. He completed a BA in Educational Studies from Brown University, and MA degrees in Educational Administration and Secondary Education at Lindenwood University. He also enjoys reading great young adult novels, and spending time with his two children in pools, parks and museums in St. Louis.
Shannon Thomas – Office Manager
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 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 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 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!!!
Kiersten Saenz is the Communication Arts coach. This is Kiersten’s first year at SCP and she is excited for the 14-15 school year. Kiersten graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 2003 with a bachelors in education. She started her teaching career in Normandy where she taught kindergarten before crossing the river to teach 5th grade in Madison, Illinois. She then ventured back to StL to teach 4th and 5th grade at Confluence Academy Old North. Kiersten resides in Glen Carbon, Illinois with her husband, Alberto and their three children, Tyson age 9, Londyn age 2 and Mila 9 months. In her spare time Kiersten enjoys running, swimming and spending time with her family and friends.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
Sarah Winstein-Hibbs is a volunteer with Americorps VISTA and will be serving as the Activities Coordinator for 2014-2015. Sarah attended the University of Rochester in upstate New York and graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. This year, Sarah will be implementing and supervising many different extracurricular activities at SCP. During her spare time she loves to run, bike, read Harry Potter, and play the flute. A native of Webster Groves, Sarah is excited to join South City Prep’s family and to get more involved in the St. Louis community.
Markita Couch is the Development Coordinator and a 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 love doing fun things with her nieces and nephew.