LOWER SCHOOL FACULTY | PRE-K–GRADE 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOWER SCHOOL DIVISION DIRECTOR [Pre-K through Grade 2]
Jason Hooper
Came to Forsyth: 2012
Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Centre College; Master of Education with emphasis in Literacy, Belmont University

Prior to coming to Forsyth in 2012, Mr. Hooper served as Head of the Lower School at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, Virginia, where he helped implement Responsive Classroom techniques and led the faculty in best practices in education. Before that, he spent 13 years in the classroom teaching kindergarten and first grade in public schools in Kentucky (two years) and independent schools in Nashville, Tennessee. He is passionate about literacy, sustainability, and social/emotional curriculum. As Forsyth’s Lower Division Director, Mr. Hooper is responsible for teaching and learning in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 2.

PRE-KINDERGARTEN | AGES 3–4


Pre-Kindergarten: Elizabeth McCrary Spencer, Kendel Brady, Jennifer Pelc, Ellie O'Brien

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN PRE-K:

1.  Gardening
2.  Walking field trips to Forest Park
3.  Lunar New Year
4.  Bird watching and study of birds
5.  Yoga and mindfulness



Kendel Brady | Math
Years Teaching: 9
Came to Forsyth: 2017
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, North Central College

Ms. Brady was the Global Cultures and Curriculum Coordinator at the Northwest Language and Culture Center in Langley, Washington. She taught at The Early Learning Center in Bangkok, Thailand, for two years and before that, at the Independent Bonn International School in Germany. Ms. Kendel served on the advisory council of the South Whidbey School Garden (Whidbey Island, Washington) teaching science and garden education.
 

Elizabeth McCrary Spencer
Years Teaching: 7
Came to Forsyth: 2018
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, The University of Tulsa; Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Mrs. Spencer joined the Forsyth family in 2018 after moving to St. Louis with her husband and cat. Prior to Forsyth, she taught preschoolers in Head Start schools in Boulder, Colorado, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Mrs. Spencer was part of the founding team of an independent preschool in Santa Barbara, California, and worked in development for Teach For America.
 

Ellie O'Brien
Years Teaching: 
5
Came to Forsyth: 2017
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Saint Louis University

Mrs. O'Brien joined the Pre-Kindergarten team at Forsyth in August 2017.  She taught previously at Spoede Elementary for three years as a Math Interventionist.
 

Jennifer Pelc | Language Arts
Years Teaching: 20
Came to Forsyth: 2011
Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Indiana University; Master's in Early Childhood Education, Erikson Institute

Mrs. Pelc began her teaching career in Chicago, where she lived for ten years before returning to her hometown. Prior to Forsyth, Mrs. Pelc taught Pre-Kindergarten at Lake Forest Country Day School in the Chicago area and at an independent elementary school in St. Louis. She chairs the Character Education Committee.

JUNIOR-KINDERGARTEN | AGE 4–5


Junior-Kindergarten: Beth Maglasang, Barb Alexander , Regan Tadrus

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN JUNIOR-K:

1.  Our Grade 5 Big Friends
2.  Junior-K Naturalists program in Forest Park
3.  Cultural celebrations
4.  Music with pianos and drums
5.  Day camping at Whitecliff Park



Barbara Alexander | Math
Years Teaching: 30
Came to Forsyth: 1999
Education: Bachelor of Science Elementary Education, University of Kansas

In addition to her classroom teaching role, Mrs. Alexander leads Summer Discovery, coaches Forsyth teams, and teaches After-School Classes. Before coming to Forsyth, she was an administrator and teacher in the San Diego Unified Child Development Program and taught classes at the Science Center in San Diego, California. Mrs. Alexander is passionate about running and being outdoors. She serves on various Committees. Mrs. Alexander’s two daughters both graduated from Forsyth.
 

Beth Maglasang | Language Arts, Movement
Years Teaching: 16
Came to Forsyth: 2003
Education: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy, Kansas University Medical Center

For 14 years, Mrs. Maglasang worked as an occupational therapist, experience that brings a unique and valued perspective to an early childhood classroom. At Forsyth, she has taught Pre-Kindergarten and Junior-Kindergarten. She teaches yoga and movement in Junior-Kindergarten; has coached T-ball, baseball, and basketball; and has led numerous Summer Discovery camps. Mrs. Maglasang’s son graduated from Forsyth School.
 

Regan Tadrus | Language Arts, Music
Years Teaching: 19
Came to Forsyth: 2018
Education: Master of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood Education, Stephens College; Master of Arts in Teaching, Webster University; Certified Webop Instructor, Jazz St. Louis

Ms. Tadrus joined the Forsyth family in 2018. She began her teaching career in Moberly, Missouri, where she taught first and second grades. Ms. Tadrus moved to St. Louis in 2001 to teach second grade at an independent school; she then taught Kindergarten for ten years before joining the Junior Kindergarten team at Forsyth. Ms. Tadrus also serves as a Webop Instructor at Jazz St. Louis, where she teaches interactive classes comprised of children ages 3–5 and their parents.

SENIOR-KINDERGARTEN


Senior-Kindergarten: Mary McCormack, Sheree Sodipo, Kiera Cross

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN SENIOR-K:

1. Learning to read and write our own stories
2. Senior-K Friendship Assembly for the whole School
3. Doing the flying squirrel on Challenge Day
4. Letterland study and performance
5. P.E. everyday as well as Yoga & Movement



Kiera Cross | Math, Social Studies
Years Teaching: 6
Came to Forsyth: 2016
Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Master of Business Administration, Alabama A&M University

For four years, Ms. Cross taught kindergarten classes in Alabama and St. Louis public schools. At Forsyth, she serves on the Math Committee.
 

Mary McCormack | Math, Social Studies
Years Teaching: 18
Came to Forsyth: 2008
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Webster University; Teaching Certificate, Secondary Social Studies, Webster University; Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, Maryville University

Mrs. McCormack taught pre-school before she came to Forsyth. She has chaired the Math Committee, Family Math & Science Night, Family Math Breakfast, and the Early Childhood Committee. She serves on the Social Studies Committee and the Curriculum Mapping Leadership Committee and coaches Forsyth sports teams.
 

Sheree Sodipo | Language Arts
Years Teaching: 31
Came to Forsyth: 2010
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Stephens College; Master of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood Education, Webster University

Mrs. Sodipo is a veteran teacher who has taught in Archdiocese schools, City of St. Louis Public Schools, and suburban public schools. At Forsyth, she serves on the Language Arts and Character Education Committees. She initiated and continues to lead the Forsyth PomPoms Squad, a very popular after-school opportunity.

GRADE 1


Grade 1: Becky Stierwalt, Rick Downs, Judy Taylor, Donna Militello

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN GRADE 1 

1. Build your reading, writing and math skills every day
2. Learn about your own community and others around the world
3. Perform in the If I Lived in Spain play
4. Be comfortable trying things you’ve never done before
5. Build great friendships and learn to work as part of a group



Rick Downs | Math, Social Studies
Years Teaching: 10
Came to Forsyth: 2010
Education: Bachelor of Science in Education, Harris Stowe University

Mr. Downs began his teaching career at Meramec Elementary School in the Clayton School District. He serves on the Math and Social Studies Committees, has coached every sport, and has led Summer Discovery camps. If you’re new to Forsyth, you can’t imagine our Halloween festivities. Mr. Downs leads the faculty and staff production “Forsyth’s Got Talent” on Halloween. The kids love it!
 

Donna Militello | Language Arts
Years Teaching: 31
Came to Forsyth: 1989
Education: Diploma of Education, Christchurch Teachers College; Diploma of Education, Canterbury University New Zealand

Born and raised in New Zealand, Mrs. Militello is a Forsyth veteran teacher. There’s not much she hasn’t done at Forsyth. She has taught Junior-Kindergarten and Senior-Kindergarten; she initiated the Letterland phonics program at Forsyth; she initiated the “Forsyth’s Got Talent” Halloween Assembly; she has coached every sport; and she leads Summer Discovery camps. Mrs. Militello co-chairs the New Faculty Mentoring Program and serves on the Language Arts Committee, which she has also chaired. She is a Teacher of Distinction and an Emerson Teacher of Excellence.
 

Becky Stierwalt | Math, Social Studies
Years Teaching: 8
Came to Forsyth: 2012
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Advertising, Master's and Certification in Elementary Education, University of Illinois

Mrs. Stierwalt taught at an independent school in Champaign, Illinois, before coming to Forsyth. She co-chairs the Math Committee, serves on the Social Studies Committee, and has coached Girls on the Go!, an after-school elective for first- and second-grade girls.
 

Judy Taylor | Language Arts
Years Teaching: 14
Came to Forsyth: 2006
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, Duke University; Reading Specialist Certificate, Maryville University; Master's in Education, Washington University

Before she came to Forsyth, Mrs. Taylor taught in the Kirkwood Public School District. Mrs. Taylor is co-chair of the Language Arts Committee and serves on the Character Education Committee. She is an ISSL Teacher of Distinction. In 2015, she attended Learning and the Brain Institute on the Neuroscience of Reading at MIT.

GRADE 2


Grade 2: Aaron Fox, Julia Wilkins, Anne Simmons, Jill Dorgan

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN GRADE 2:

1. Publishing Parties
2. Heifer International play
3. Study of historic neighborhoods in St. Louis
4. Field trips to Forest Park, Downtown St. Louis, Soulard, The Hill, The Ville, University City, and Cherokee Street
5. Yearlong photography project capturing the beauty of our city



Aaron Fox | Language Arts
Years Teaching: 2
Came to Forsyth: 2017
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Colorado, Boulder

Mr. Fox is a native Coloradan and graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder.  He has taught fifth grade social studies at KIPP Inspire Academy. Mr. Fox is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
 

Jill Dorgan | Language Arts
Years Teaching: 16
Came to Forsyth: 2012
Education: Bachelor of Science in Education, Concordia University; Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Missouri-Columbia

Mrs. Dorgan has taught at two parochial schools and a charter school in St. Louis, and she also taught music and art in Maui. She serves on the Math and Social Studies Committees and is as a new faculty mentor.

Anne Simmons | Math, Social Studies
Years Teaching: 9
Came to Forsyth: 2017
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Washington University; Master of Education in Elementary Education & Elementary Certification, Lesley University and Shady Hill School

Ms. Simmons taught first and fourth grades at New City School. In addition, she has worked for a number of educational and cultural institutions, including Providence Children’s Museum, Community MusicWorks in Rhode Island, Saint Louis Art Museum, and Washington University in St. Louis.
 

Julia Wilkins | Math, Social Studies
Came to Forsyth: 2014
Years Teaching: 12
Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Boston University; Master of Education in Reading & Literacy, Walden University

Ms. Wilkins brings a worldly perspective to the classroom. Although she grew up in St. Louis, Ms. Wilkins’ other teaching experiences were in schools far from St. Louis: the International School of San Pedro and the American School of Switzerland. At Forsyth, she previously taught Pre-Kindergarten. She serves on the Math and Social Studies Committees, has led Summer Discovery camps, and coaches Girls on the Go!, an after-school elective for first- and second-grade girls.

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  • Tel: 314.726.4542
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