Coordinator of Learning Support & Inclusion Dalal Juma, Upper Division Director Darel Shelton & Lower Division Director Jason Hooper


Jason Hooper
Came to Forsyth: 2012
Education: BS Elementary Education, Centre College; M.Ed. 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, VA, 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 (2 years) and independent schools in Nashville, TN. 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 – Grade 2.

Darel Shelton
Came to Forsyth: 1996
Education: BA History & African American Studies, Carleton College; MAT, Washington University

Mr. Shelton spent his first 18 years at Forsyth in the classroom teaching Grade 6 social studies and helped expand memory mapping in the upper grades. He received both ISSL Teacher of Distinction and Emerson Excellence in Teaching awards. Mr. Shelton is an outdoor education enthusiast. He designed the Forsyth Adventure Center beginning with the installation of the high beam in 1998, followed by the addition of the high ropes course and climbing wall in 2006. Mr. Shelton has led the development of Forsyth’s challenge education curriculum, trained his colleagues, and has been instrumental in helping the faculty integrate challenge and challenge education into the curriculum across all grade levels. He is a founding Steering Committee member of Experiential Education Exchange. Not surprisingly, he loves adventure travel, sailing, camping, and curling! As Upper Division Director, Mr. Shelton is responsible for teaching and learning in Grades 3-6, and he guides the transition to secondary school in Grade 6.

Dalal Juma, Ed.D.
Came to Forsyth: 2014
Education: BA Elementary Education, Lindenwood University; M.Ed. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Grand Canyon University; Doctorate of Education - Organizational Leadership, Grand Canyon University 

Before coming to Forsyth, Dr. Juma taught in parochial and public schools for 7 years. As Forsyth’s Coordinator of Learning Support & Inclusion, Dr. Juma consults with teachers, parents, administrators, and/or outside professionals about the specific learning needs of students. She develops strategies with Forsyth teachers to support students in the classroom. When needed, she develops instructional learning plans with long-term goals and specific objectives for students, including recommendations for resources. In addition to her work with learning support, Dr. Juma provides resources and strategies to support diversity and inclusivity needs within the classroom. She also supports faculty and staff in broadening their understanding of diversity and inclusivity. 

>> Read more about Forsyth faculty & staff. Visit the FFO Faculty & Staff Spotlight blog.


Visual & Performing Arts: Ellen DeFilippo, Jane Paradise & Chris Thomas

Ellen DeFilippo | Art
Years teaching: 22
Came to Forsyth: 1997
Education: BFA, Kansas City Art Institute; MFA, Washington University School of Fine Arts; MFA, Washington University School of Education

Mrs. DeFilippo had another life before she began her teaching career: for 16 years, she worked as a videographer and video editor for KSDK-TV. At Forsyth, Mrs. D has served as Student Council advisor and she serves on the Go Green Forsyth! Committee. She is instrumental in the Nicholas Aaron Aitken Artist-in-Residence Program, for which she identifies artists and then works with the artist-in-residence and the Forsyth fifth graders. Mrs. DeFilippo has led the incorporation of student art elements in Forsyth’s architecture such as the mosaic panels and raised copper-patina tiles on the outside of the Arts Center, and the design of the floor in the Arts Center. By the way, the watercolor illustrations of Forsyth houses that have become such a part of Forsyth communications are a unit of study in Grade 4 art. Mrs. DeFilippo is the 2017 recipient of Forsyth’s Sayers/Williams grant, an award that took her to Cuba to study the arts and culture.

Chris Thomas | Music

Years teaching: 3
Came to Forsyth: 2016
Education: BA Music, Cum Laude; Truman State; MA Choral Conducting; Truman State

In addition to his classroom teaching experience at Hazelwood Central High School and Wydown Middle School, Mr. Thomas has levied his talent for performing and teaching through two ventures: a private music lesson studio for voice, guitar, piano and music theory for students age 5-50, and his A Cappella Connection focused on camps and chorus programs. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Barbershop Harmony Society, and Ambassadors of Harmony. In 2012, he was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda honors music society.

Jane Paradise | Drama
Years teaching: 30
Came to Forsyth: 1994
Education: BFA Acting, The Conservatory of Theater Arts at Webster University

Drama teacher Mrs. Paradise is a professional actress who began her career on the East coast acting prior to joining the Forsyth faculty. She is a full-fledged member of the Senior-Kindergarten team where she teaches Senior-K art, movement & yoga. Outside of Senior-K, Mrs. Paradise leads Grades 4, 5, and 6 in their productions of the school plays. Senior-K – Grade 3 also study drama with her, culminating in All-School Assemblies featuring short plays. Her professional development opportunities include “Teaching Shakespeare through Performance” at the Globe Theatre in London and in 2015, Forsyth’s Sayers/Williams grant took her to Greece for a 3-weeks to study playwriting, acting, and mask making at The Athens Centre.  Mrs. Paradise is an ISSL Teacher of Distinction.


Science: Anne Deken, Christine Torlina & Sharon Anibal

Christine Torlina | Science 
Years teaching: 29
Came to Forsyth: 1995
Education: BA and MA Elementary Education, University of Missouri – St. Louis

Ms. Torlina is a passionate environmentalist, who taught second and third grades at Forsyth before moving into her role as Lower School science teacher. She co-chairs the Go Green Forsyth! Committee, has chaired the Social Studies Committee, and leads environmental science/ecological camps at Summer Discovery. Ms. Torlina is an ISSL Teacher of Distinction and received an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. You'll find Ms. Torlina in her science lab in the Fillmore Early Childhood Center.

Sharon Anibal | Science
Years teaching: 19
Came to Forsyth: 2015
Education: BA Elementary Education & Early Childhood Education, University of New Orleans

Before coming to Forsyth, Mrs. Anibal taught science at a number of parochial schools and she also was Supervisor of Student Programs, Pre-K-8th Grade, at Missouri Botanical Garden. Recent professional development opportunities include: Webster University Sustainability Institute, Washington University Science & Engineering Practices Workshop, Washington University Human Impacts on Environment Workshop, Washington University Renewable Energy Workshop, MO Department of Conservation Nature Explore Classrooms: Nature Unleashed Workshop, Voyagers Teacher Academy at Forest Park. At Forsyth, Ms. Anibal serves on the Go Green Forsyth! Committee and chairs the Specialists Committee. Mrs. Anibal can be found in the science lab, which is a dedicated building.

Anne Deken | Science
Years teaching: 18
Came to Forsyth: 2008
Education: BS in Psychology, Truman State University; Masters in Elementary Education, Truman State University; Middle School Science Teaching Endorsement, Truman State University

Before she came to Forsyth, Mrs. Deken taught science and language arts in both public and parochial schools in Kansas City, St. Charles, and St. Louis. At Forsyth, she taught science to Grades 2-5 before moving into the sixth grade science position in 2015; she chairs the Science Committee. In 2012, Mrs. Deken and Mr. Paradise were the first recipients of the Sayers/Williams Endowment Award. She received a Missouri Department of Conservation Discover Grant, initiated Forsyth’s Stream Team, and serves on the Go Green Forsyth! Committee. Grade 6 science has its own lab with the other sixth grade classrooms.


Languages: Alice Barnard, Sarah Harrington, and Pat Horgan

Sarah Harrington | Spanish >> Pre-K – Grade 2
Years teaching: 10
Came to Forsyth: 2016
Education: BA in German with a minor in Spanish, Brigham Young University; MAT secondary education – foreign language, University of Memphis

For 8 years, Mrs. Harrington taught Spanish and German in Memphis, TN, in Shelby County Schools, including AP courses. Prior to that, she worked in Toyama for a year teaching English to students age 6-16 in Japanese public schools. She is fluent in both German and Spanish. Mrs. Harrington coaches Girls on the Go!, an after-school elective for first and second grade girls.

Patrick Horgan | Spanish >> Grades 3-6
Years teaching: 16
Came to Forsyth: 2002
Education: BA Journalism, University of Missouri-Columbia ; JD St. Louis University Law School; K-12 Post-Degree Spanish/Education Certification, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Mr. Horgan was an attorney in civil trial practice for 10 years before he shifted his focus to teaching children. At Forsyth, he has taught all ages, Pre-K through Grade 6. Mr. Horgan has served as chair of the Foreign Language Committee, and he serves on the Curriculum and Technology Committees.

Alice Barnard | Latin >> Grades 4 – 6
Years teaching: 33
Came to Forsyth: 1984
Education: BA Art History/French film, University of Illinois

Ms. Barnard came to Forsyth in 1984 to teach French to the entire school and Latin to Grades 5 and 6. When she was hired, Ms. Barnard was asked to commit to a 2-year contract, and she balked – it seemed like a huge commitment of time. Ironically, Ms. Barnard holds the record for most years teaching at Forsyth, and today she teaches Latin in Grades 4-6.


Library: Melissa Pillot

LIBRARY | Pre-K – Grade 6
Melissa Pillot | Librarian & Media Specialist
Years teaching: 6
Came to Forsyth: 2016
Education: BA, Michigan State; MLS, University of Missouri-Columbia

Mrs. Pillot was the Collection Development Librarian and Young Adult Specialist of the Children's Library at the downtown St. Louis Public Library, before taking time off to be home with her young family. She has served as a consultant to the Catholic Library Association (Greater St. Louis Chapter) and the School District of Clayton – Family Center. At Forsyth, Mrs. Pillot is an editor of the Forsyth Flash Yearbook and she has led Summer Discovery camps.


P.E.: Shelley Stone & Justin Harris

Justin Harris | Athletic Director
Years teaching: 15
Came to Forsyth: 2010
Education: BS Elementary Education, Indiana University; CrossFit Kids Certification; CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Trainer

Coach Harris was a classroom teacher before becoming athletic director at Forsyth. At Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, he taught third grade, fourth and fifth grade science, and was a varsity baseball coach. In the Clayton School District, he taught third grade and was a varsity baseball coach at Clayton High School. At Forsyth, in addition to teaching P.E., Coach Harris oversees all after-school activities and athletics and coordinates Green & White Day, Forsyth’s field day.

>> Read "Brain & Body: Forsyth School," the 10.19.16 Town & Style cover story, an interview with Coach Harris and Coach Stone about physical education at Forsyth.

Shelley Stone | Assistant Athletic Director
Years teaching: 27
Came to Forsyth: 1991
Education: BA Elementary Education, University Missouri-St. Louis; CrossFit Kids Certification; CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Trainer

Coach Stone is a veteran Forsyth teacher, who spent many years in the classroom teaching math before moving into P.E. She coaches Forsyth league sports teams, has coached Girls on the Run, and in December, she organizes the Forsyth Bazaar that features items hand made by the Forsyth community.


Substitutes: Gerri Meesey

SUBSTITUTE | Pre-K – Grade 6
Gerri Meesey | Substitute Teacher Coordinator
Years teaching: 15
Came to Forsyth: 2002
Education: University of Missouri-St. Louis; Washington University

Mrs. Meesey interview, hires, and trains substitute teachers as needed. She is Forsyth’s permanent substitute teacher and has taught in every grade, every subject. As a full time teacher, Mrs. Meesey knows all the students. At Forsyth, she has coached and led Girls on the Run, taught after-school classes, led summer camps, coached sports, and is involved with Girls in the Know. She is the facilitator for the after-school Rainbows program for Forsyth kids who have experienced loss. 

  • 6235 Wydown Boulevard | St. Louis, MO 63105
  • Tel: 314.726.4542
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