Faculty & Staff

Our talented faculty, staff, and administration enable us to realize our mission and vision. Our highly educated faculty bring expertise and keen attention to each student as an individual, creating a personalized learning environment from Toddlers through Sixth Grade.

In addition to the strengths our faculty bring to the table, parent partnership is a key component of our program and its success. Parent-teacher communication is valued as part of each student’s growth—and helps ignite the joy of learning that we see in action every day.

| Joel Allen

Upper Elementary Science

B.S. Geology
M.S. Geology

| Helene Behrend

Toddler

B.S. Biology
M.F.A. Photography
Montessori certification, Age 3-6

| Joel Allen

Upper Elementary Science

B.S. Geology
M.S. Geology

| Helene Behrend

Toddler

B.S. Biology
M.F.A. Photography
Montessori certification, Age 3-6

| Debbie Bott

Preschool

B.A. Elementary Education
AMS Certification (Primary)

| Carmen Beliz

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.S. Food Chemistry
Early Childhood Credential, AMS

| Debbie Bott

Preschool

B.A. Elementary Education
AMS Certification (Primary)

| Carmen Beliz

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.S. Food Chemistry
Early Childhood Credential, AMS

| Puja Bhutani

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.A. Commerce
Early Childhood Credential, AMS

| Ashley Carr

Art

B.F.A. Education and Ceramics

| Puja Bhutani

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.A. Commerce
Early Childhood Credential, AMS

| Ashley Carr

Art

B.F.A. Education and Ceramics

| Cathy Chu

Preschool

B.S. Design
M.A. Eary Childhood
Montessori Certification, Age 3-6

| Yaitza Diaz

Spanish

| Cathy Chu

Preschool

B.S. Design
M.A. Eary Childhood
Montessori Certification, Age 3-6

| Yaitza Diaz

Spanish

| Peggy Fiala

Director of Student-Services

B.S. Education
M. Ed.
Psychoanalytic Institute Certificate,
Child Development Program
Licensed Professional Counselor

| Lisa Fitzler

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.A. Spanish & Education
M. A. ESL/Linguistics
M.Ed. Education & Supervision
Ed.D. Educational Leadership
Montessori Certification, Age 6-9

| Peggy Fiala

Director of Student-Services

B.S. Education
M. Ed.
Psychoanalytic Institute Certificate,
Child Development Program
Licensed Professional Counselor

| Lisa Fitzler

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.A. Spanish & Education
M. A. ESL/Linguistics
M.Ed. Education & Supervision
Ed.D. Educational Leadership
Montessori Certification, Age 6-9

| Joe Geddes

Technology

| Ashley Giljum

Director of Admissions & Enrollment

| Joe Geddes

Technology

| Ashley Giljum

Director of Admissions & Enrollment

| Jennifer Holloway

Toddler

| Jeff Horwitz

Associate Head of School

B.S. Elementary Education
M.A.T. Education

| Jennifer Holloway

Toddler

| Jeff Horwitz

Associate Head of School

B.S. Elementary Education
M.A.T. Education

| Beth Hunnicutt

Upper Elementary Language Arts

B.S. Education
M.A. Education

| Lindsay Klasing

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.S. Elementary Education
M.A. Elementary Education
Montessori Certification, Age 3-6

| Beth Hunnicutt

Upper Elementary Language Arts

B.S. Education
M.A. Education

| Lindsay Klasing

Kindergarten-First Grade

B.S. Elementary Education
M.A. Elementary Education
Montessori Certification, Age 3-6

| Rachel Kohl

Preschool

B.A. Elementary Education
M.A. Early Childhood Education (in progress)
Montessori Certification, Age 3-6

| Amy Lamb

Second Grade Language Arts & Social Studies; Third-Fourth Grade Project Based Learning

B.A. Sociology
M.A. Educational Leadership
Principal Certification
Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Elementary Education

| Rachel Kohl

Preschool

B.A. Elementary Education
M.A. Early Childhood Education (in progress)
Montessori Certification, Age 3-6

| Amy Lamb

Second Grade Language Arts & Social Studies; Third-Fourth Grade Project Based Learning

B.A. Sociology
M.A. Educational Leadership
Principal Certification
Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Elementary Education

| Ryan Lancaster

Physical Education

B.A. K-12 Physical Education,
Health Education
M.S. Education (in progress)

| Jennifer Martin

MakerSpace

B.A. English, Business & Communications

| Ryan Lancaster

Physical Education

B.A. K-12 Physical Education,
Health Education
M.S. Education (in progress)

| Jennifer Martin

MakerSpace

B.A. English, Business & Communications

| Aleksandar Micic

Facilities

| Alexis Micic

Fifth & Sixth Grade Humanities
Sixth Grade Language Arts

B.S. Secondary Education (English)
B.A. English Literature

| Alexander Micic

Facilities

| Alexis Micic

Fifth & Sixth Grade Humanities
Sixth Grade Language Arts

B.S. Secondary Education (English)
B.A. English Literature

| Stacey Neal

Fourth-Sixth Grade Math

B.S. Math
B.A. Education
M.A. Counseling

| Susan Partain

Toddler

Montessori Certification Ages 3-6

| Stacey Neal

Fourth-Sixth Grade Math

B.S. Math
B.A. Education
M.A. Counseling

| Susan Partain

Toddler

Montessori Certification Ages 3-6

| Lisa Reatini

Toddler

B.A. Elementary Education

| Amber Richards

Toddler

B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Development & Family Studies, Sociology and Psychology)
M.A. Education
Montessori Certification, Ages 0-3 and 3-6

| Lisa Reatini

Toddler

B.A. Elementary Education

| Amber Richards

Toddler

B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Development & Family Studies, Sociology and Psychology)
M.A. Education
Montessori Certification, Ages 0-3 and 3-6

| Jan Schaberg

Music

B.M. Music Performace & Music Education
M.M. Music Education

| Keith Shahan

Interim Head of School

B.A. American Studies
M.A.T. Social Studia
Ed.D. School Administration

| Jan Schaberg

Music

B.M. Music Performace & Music Education
M.M. Music Education

| Keith Shahan

Interim Head of School

B.A. American Studies
M.A.T. Social Studia
Ed.D. School Administration

| Julie Turkowski

Advancement Manager

B.A. Communication-Telecommunications

| Julie Watson

Communications Manager

B.A. English with an emphasis in Secondary Education

| Julie Turkowski

Advancement Manager

B.A. Communication-Telecommunications

| Julie Watson

Communications Manager

B.A. English with and emphasis in Secondary Education

| Alissa White

Second-Third Grade Math and Science

B.A. Economics
M.A. Economics
Montessori Certification, Ages 3-6 and 6-9

| Diane Zeger

Preschool

B.S. Elementary Education
M.Ed. in Elementary Education
(Early Childhood emphasis)
Early Childhood Credential, AMS

| Alissa White

Second-Third Grade Math and Science

B.A. Economics
M.A. Economics
Montessori Certification, Ages 3-6 and 6-9

| Diane Zeger

Preschool

B.S. Elementary Education
M.Ed. in Elementary Education
(Early Childhood emphasis)
Early Childhood Credential, AMS

| Mollie Zolkind

Secondary School Preparation Mini-Term

B.S. Learning & Organizational Change
M.A. Elementary Education

| Laurianne Zink

Library

B.S. Education
M.Ed. in Elementary Education
Certified K-12 Reading Specialist

| Mollie Zolkind

Secondary School Preparation Mini-Term

B.S. Learning & Organizational Change
M.A. Elementary Education

| Laurianne Zink

Library

B.S. Education
M.Ed. in Elementary Education
Certified K-12 Reading Specialist

| Interim Head of School

To the CDS Family,

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to lead your school while we choose a permanent Head (please see this letter on the process from Shephali Wulff, the head of our search committee). It is an honor to be part of such a close and inspiring educational community. While I am here to help you decide on new leadership, I look forward to joining the day-to-day life of a school once again and getting to know each of you.

It is difficult to describe such a fine school, with its many years as West County’s premier independent elementary institution, but there is no one better to do this than our outgoing Head of School, Rachana Creeth. As a parent of three CDS students and now a member of the Board of Trustees, Rachana is uniquely qualified to talk about what makes CDS such a special place.

Dr. Keith Shahan, Interim Head of School

“As I walk through the halls and speak to students and faculty, I see joy in all we do and a feeling of true belonging. Students here bound out of their cars each morning because they love coming to school to learn.”

Rachana Creeth – former Head of School and CDS Board Member

| Former Head of School

The sense of community at CDS is just one of the components of our culture that first attracted me to CDS in 2010. CDS’s culture of empathy, joy, excellence, innovation, and tenacity remains incredibly strong and makes me proud to send my children here each day.

CDS provides a person­alized education of unparalleled excellence. Whether it is in the story a preschooler writes using the moveable alphabet, the first four-digit addition problem a Kindergarten student completes on her own, a Fourth Grader completing a difficult science test, or in a Fifth Grader achieving her personal best during a pacer test in PE, students are challenged to be their best selves every single day. Engaging students in this way encourages critical thinking and helps build independent, intelligent, responsible, and thoughtful individuals.

As I walk through the halls and speak to CDS students and faculty, I see joy and a feeling of true belonging. It is an environment where each student is supported and challenged in the right way at the right time, not based on a “one size fits all” curriculum.

CDS’s strong personalized curriculum builds a love of learning and yields impressive outcomes for its students both academically and personally. This can be seen in results the ERB, a nationally normed test that is administered to the nation’s most competitive students. CDS students consistently outperform their independent school peers nationally on this exam and move on to the most competitive secondary schools in St. Louis–more than 94% of them to their first school of choice.

On behalf of CDS students, faculty, and staff, I welcome you to our website and cordially invite you to visit our school. Come see our premier preparation in action, and feel the warmth of our community for yourself!

Sincerely,