Our Faculty/Staff

Click on each photo or name to view each staff member’s contact information and biographical information.

Judy Bess

Mathematics, Lead Teacher
jbess@mymwa.org

• M.S., Elementary Education, IUPUI
• B.S., Elementary/Early Childhood Education, Indiana University

Judy teaches Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Probability/Statistics and Precalculus. She enjoys teaching math and wants students to know that math doesn’t have to be as scary as they think. She has experience teaching math in Florida and Massachusetts. She also taught with the Department of Defense Schools in Germany and England. Judy’s favorite quote by Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” She enjoys reading, traveling, getting together with friends, sewing, and cross-stitch.

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Judy Bess

Judy Bess

Mathematics, Lead Teacher

Alex Browning

Art, World History
abrowning@mymwa.org

• B.S., Visual Arts Education, Indiana University

The impact of Alex’s teaching is visible throughout the school’s hallways. You can see students’ works of art proudly affixed to walls, hanging from ceilings, and displayed on cabinets everywhere. Alex was drawn to Midwest’s close-knit, supportive learning community. Not only does she teach art and world history, but she also co-teaches our film class and helps facilitate our aftercare program. Additionally, Alex is an advisor for our Student Council. Prior to joining Midwest, she completed her student teaching at the Orchard School, another progressive education school in the area. Her former experience with children includes working as a Kid City counselor, volunteering at Camp Kesem, and substitute teaching with IPS.

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Alex Browning

Alex Browning

Art, World History

Sharon Campbell

Digital Communications Manager
scampbell@mymwa.org

• M. Ed., Human Resource Development, Vanderbilt University
• B.A., Political Science, University of Oklahoma

Sharon supports our school’s digital communications efforts, including management of our website and social media communications. Midwest has been transformative for her son, a current student, who was in crisis after he slipped through the cracks when he was in a traditional school setting. Midwest has made a tremendous, positive impact on her family. Midwest has restored hope for the future by reengaging her son in learning and focusing on him as a whole child. She is passionate about ensuring other families find out about Midwest. Her former experience includes corporate HR work in the healthcare, consulting, and manufacturing industries. She loves her two Labrador retrievers, enjoys woodworking, and tackling do-it-yourself projects.

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Sharon Campbell

Sharon Campbell

Digital Communications Manager

Casey Danubio

Director of Counseling & Human Development
cdanubio@mymwa.org

• M.Ed., Educational Psychology, West Chester University.
• B.S., Counseling, University of Scranton.

Casey has been building and leading our counseling team since 2014 and comes to us with deep experience counseling students with learning differences from Pennsylvania. She was drawn to Midwest by our progressive education model, small class size, and emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of each child. She is extremely gifted at quickly relating to and connecting with kids and their families. In addition to counseling our students, Casey manages our students' ISPs and also teaches our Health class. Her favorite quote by E.E cummings: “The most wasted of all day is one without laughter." In her free time, she enjoys tennis, exercise, good food, sports, and reading.

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Casey Danubio

Casey Danubio

Director of Counseling & Human Development

Sheila Elsener Hasty

English
selsener@mymwa.org

• M.A., English Education, Special Education, Marian University
• B.A., English, History, Bellarmine University

Sheila teaches middle school Language Arts and English 9. She also performs prospective student academic evaluations to help determine appropriate group placement for the Shadow Day experience. Sheila is earning her certification in Orton-Gillingham, focused on helping children with language-based disabilities. She completed her student teaching at Midwest several years ago and fell in love with our progressive education approach, teachers, administrators, parents, and students. Prior to her experience at Midwest, Sheila taught for IPS, tutored refugees in Kentucky, served as a camp counselor for a neighborhood center, and studied “Poverty in America” in Washington, D.C. She enjoys traveling abroad, the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby, hiking, reading, and being with her family.

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Sheila Elsener Hasty

Sheila Elsener Hasty

English

Katie Foster

Director of Enrollment Management
kfoster@mymwa.org

• B.A., Social Studies Education, Purdue University

Katie has worked with children with learning differences since she graduated from Purdue. Midwest is a second home to Katie; the staff and students are family to her. She is here because of the kids who she finds simply amazing, including her own son. In addition to helping families find a place at Midwest, Katie teaches Government and Economics to our high school students. Her favorite quote: “Do not train children to learn by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds so that you may be able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” She enjoys photography, loves history, and is a die-hard Notre Dame football fan.

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Katie Foster

Katie Foster

Director of Enrollment Management

Kevin Gailey

Head of School
kgailey@mymwa.org

• B.S., Psychology, Springfield College
• M.Ed., Elementary Education, Lesley University
• Certificate in Fundraising Management, IU School of Philanthropy
• Certificate in Non-Profit Business Management, IU Kelley School of Business
• M.A., Exercise Sports Science/Administration, University of North Carolina

As the Head of School and also a parent of a child with learning differences, Kevin focuses on keeping the child at the center of everything we do. His passion is to provide a progressive education for kids with learning differences since he has seen the tremendous difference that it makes in their lives. After being drawn to these complex learners as a teacher over 25 years ago, he believes that progressive education fits with their unique stages of development. Kevin joined Midwest in 2010 and provided leadership in the areas of Counseling, Transition Planning, and Curriculum Development. He then focused on relocation and growth of the school in 2012. As Head of School since 2013, Kevin has focused on strengthening our mission, staff development, and student programming. At school, you will find him passionately interacting with students on a day-to-day basis, developing teachers, and leading staff to achieve Midwest's strategic goals. He enjoys coaching soccer, tinkering with tools, reading books late at night, kayaking, hiking, and fly fishing.

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Kevin Gailey

Kevin Gailey

Head of School

Katy Galbraith

Physical Education
krude@mymwa.org

• M.S., Kinesiology, IUPUI
• B.S., Exercise Science, IUPUI

Katy teaches physical education to all of our students at Off the Wall Sports, just next door to our school. She has been a certified personal trainer/coach for over 8 years. She also offers private individual and group personal training to our staff and parents in our onsite fitness room. Midwest excites her since we believe in every single kid and what they can accomplish. Her morals and beliefs align with how we teach kids to excel in everyday life. She is passionate about helping others physically and mentally better themselves, growing others’ confidence, and spending time with family and friends.

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Katy Galbraith

Katy Galbraith

Physical Education

Tom Harrison

US History, College Prep, Philosophy, Dual Credit, Electives
tharrison@mymwa.org

• M.S., Education/Instructional Research, Purdue University
• M.Div., Theology, Christian Theological Seminary
• B.A., Radio/TV/Film, Oklahoma State University

Tom has been teaching many of our high school and dual credit courses, with a focus on preparing our students for college, for many years now. Some of his most popular courses include “History Rocks,” “NPR 101,” and “What’s Your Problem.” His background in instructional design and media, along with his natural skill at connecting with our students, has given him a knack for making classes engaging and relevant. Prior to his life as a teacher, he served as a minister/chaplain and as a radio personality. His son is an alumnus of Midwest. He enjoys attending concerts, playing guitar, and spending time with his wife and kids.

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Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison

US History, College Prep, Philosophy, Dual Credit, Electives

Lauren Hoffman

Events & Development Manager
lhoffman@mymwa.org

• B.A., Sociology, General Studies,

Lauren has been involved with Midwest Academy for the past eight years as a volunteer and employee. She currently assists with events and our development and fundraising program. She has been a huge part of the annual gala every year since its inception. Lauren also possesses a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fund Raising School at IUPUI.  As a sibling of a student who graduated from Midwest Academy, Lauren has a huge heart for the school and is thrilled at how her brother is progressing in his college education. She is a huge Penn State fan and enjoys taking her dog, Shelby, on walks.

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Lauren Hoffman

Lauren Hoffman

Events & Development Manager

Chad Inman

Head of Middle School, Science
cinman@mymwa.org

• B.S., Secondary Science Education, Indiana University

Chad has been with Midwest for over 20 years. As a key leader, Chad helps our kids work through social and academic issues, helps teachers with accommodations for students, and ensures a positive learning and social environment is maintained for our middle school students. Additionally, Chad teaches Ecology, Astronomy, Chemistry and Biology. He helps students explore and solve problems by applying science concepts in interactive projects and experiments. He leads our exciting Astronomy Nights throughout the school year. He enjoys camping, building models, and launching rockets.

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Chad Inman

Chad Inman

Head of Middle School, Science

Mark Kirchgassner

Social Studies
mkirchgassner@mymwa.org

• M.S., Elementary Education, Special Education, Butler University
• B.A., Elementary Education, Special Education, Marian College

Mark teaches social studies to our middle school students. He has worked with children who struggle with learning differences over many years. He believes that what we do at Midwest makes sense since our complete focus is on the development of our students. He believes that the Midwest experience for our kids is fun and helps make them successful. Students have an affinity for “Mr. K,” as he has a calming effect on students and facilitates engaging discussions about important and sensitive current event topics that concern our students. In his free time, he loves Notre Dame football, the Rolling Stones, walking, biking, traveling, and spending time with his family. He also enjoys golfing and reading.

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Mark Kirchgassner

Mark Kirchgassner

Social Studies

Becky Knapp

Head of High School, English
bknapp@mymwa.org

• M.S., Education, Indiana Wesleyan University
• B.S., Humanities, Indiana University
• A.S., Early Childhood Education, Ivy Tech

Besides providing leadership to our high school, Becky teaches English to many of our high school students. Becky finds creative ways for students to interact with language arts in a way that entices them based on their interests. She is happy that teachers at Midwest have the freedom to do what is best for students. She wants to make a difference for students who have not been given an adequate chance to shine. She dedicates much of her non-teaching time to humanitarian missions to Uganda and Haiti. She does much volunteer work through Helping Hands and Hope Refuge Schools. She loves to read.

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Becky Knapp

Becky Knapp

Head of High School, English

Dave Knapp

Maker Space, Facilities (Part-Time)
dknapp@mymwa.org

• Automotive Repair, Lincoln Technical Institute
• 8 National Certifications in Repair
• 100+ Training Certifications

Dave has enjoyed working with his hands since he was a kid. He spent 40+ years as a mechanic on all types of vehicles and construction equipment. He now works with students in the Maker Space on a limited volunteer basis, teaching them the design process, tool usage, safety, maintenance, and repair. He has enjoyed this transition to teaching the skills he has spent a lifetime developing. He also helps takes care of the school’s building maintenance as time allows. In his spare time, he volunteers at church, develops his woodworking skills, tinkers with electronics, and enjoys car restoration.

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Dave Knapp

Dave Knapp

Maker Space, Facilities (Part-Time)

Alicia McClure

Music/Drama, Taekwondo, Study Skills
amcclure@mymwa.org

• B.S.M., Music Composition, Lincoln Christian College

Alicia fell in love with Midwest when she first joined several years ago to lead our music program, which includes daily music classes, choir, music theory and drama. Our school is always brimming full of excitement around our winter program and our theatre productions, as you see everyone participating in music, acting, and/or stage production. She has a true gift in encouraging our kids to try new things, uncover and grow hidden talents, and grow their confidence. Being a second-degree black belt, she has also introduced Taekwondo to our students as an afternoon elective to help grow their confidence. You can see the deep love she has for our students and in the work that she does. She likes classical and classic rock music. She enjoys painting with watercolors and collecting stamps.

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Alicia McClure

Alicia McClure

Music/Drama, Taekwondo, Study Skills

Sally Morris

Animation, Robotics, Coding, CAD
smorris@mymwa.org

• M.S., Instructional Media, Wilkes University
• B.A., Journalism, Ball State University

Sally recently joined Midwest after relocating back to Indiana from Texas. She has over 10 years of experience in education and formerly taught high school Computer Animation, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Robotics while in Texas. She is certified/licensed in Technology Applications, Technology Education, and Computer Education. Sally has worked with students of all ages through programs such as Campfire USA and Upward Bound, and has experience working with students with various special needs. Before becoming involved in education in 2005, Sally was an IT manager and computer consultant for 18 years. She is the parent of four grown children, and her personal interests include travel, music, and science fiction.

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Sally Morris

Sally Morris

Animation, Robotics, Coding, CAD

Sarah Noel

Math, English, Social Studies, BOOST
snoel@mymwa.org

• B.S., Elementary Education, Ball State University

Sarah teaches math, English, and social studies in our middle school. Additionally, she provides remediation to students in our “BOOST” program and serves as an after-care facilitator. Sarah has a long history of working with children in childcare, as a homeschool teacher, and as a teacher abroad in a multi-age classroom. She also has a background in suicide and crisis prevention. She loves the community of learners and the family-like, collaborative environment that Midwest provides. The active learning and project-based curriculum attracted Sarah to Midwest. Sarah loves being outdoors, especially playing and laughing with students. She loves traveling, kayaking, and fishing.

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Sarah Noel

Sarah Noel

Math, English, Social Studies, BOOST

Sean Oatis

Director of Student Activities, Behavior Specialist
soatis@mymwa.org

• B.S., Music, University of Indianapolis

Sean’s passion is working with kids to provide them with positive life experiences. As a result, his roles focus on the social and emotional aspects of our kids’ development. As Director of Student Activities, Sean develops after-school clubs and extracurricular activities for our students. As an integral member of our counseling team, he is highly trusted and constantly sought out by many of our students to help resolve and work through bumps in their days, “resets,” and/or other dilemmas. He helps students find the right words and learn appropriate reactions for certain situations. He loves the environment at Midwest and how we work together to help our students succeed. The context of his experience includes ABA therapy, behavior management, residential treatment, recreational programming, and teaching life skills. He has been involved in coaching Special Olympics. He is a gifted and talented classical guitar player who enjoys performing and teaching. He also loves playing and teaching sports.

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Sean Oatis

Sean Oatis

Director of Student Activities, Behavior Specialist

Margaret Ozemet

Science, Problem Solving
mozemet@mymwa.org

• M.A., Theatre, Villanova University
• B.A., Sculpture/Theatre/Education, Buena Vista University

With over 15 years experience as both a teacher and administrator, Margie has taught a variety of subjects and has developed and implemented interdisciplinary curriculum integrating the arts into the core curriculum. Most of her career has been in in progressive education. She is a mother to two boys, one of whom has special needs, and is a Parent Advocate for bilingual (ASL and English) language acquisition for all deaf and hard of hearing children beginning at birth. She enjoys writing humourous books for middle schoolers and early readers. Having lived in Turkey for several years, she is passionate about Turkish cooking and films. She is proficient in English, Turkish and ASL. She loves to grow her own food for her family, bike and hike.

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Margaret Ozemet

Margaret Ozemet

Science, Problem Solving

Tina Shropshire

Transitions, Behavior Specialist
tshropshire@mymwa.org

• A.A., Sociology, Collin College

As a member of our counseling team, Tina leads our Transition program and serves as a behavior specialist, and teaches Turning Point to our high school students. Tina also leads our annual Community Kickoff and coordinates our substitute teachers. Her former experience includes serving as a special education instructional assistant and substitute teacher. As a parent of a student who attends our school, she is excited about progressive education at Midwest. Her family loves the school and the community within it. Her favorite word is “JOY.” Her favorite quote is “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” In her free time, she likes spending it with her family.

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Tina Shropshire

Tina Shropshire

Transitions, Behavior Specialist

Aiyasami Salem Sreenivasan

Math, BOOST
asreenivasan@mymwa.org

• M.V.Sc, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India
• B.V.Sc, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India

Aiyasami teaches middle school math and 2-year Algebra. He also supports the remediation of student skills in our BOOST program. Mathematics is his favorite subject! He has been amazed by the student-centric educational approach at Midwest and has recently joined our teaching team. He enjoys teaching math to children using creative math techniques, which makes math much more fun, easy and enjoyable. He believes that everyone can excel in math by adopting better math strategies and have fun while learning it. In his many previous incarnations, he was a guest teacher at the Orchard School, math tutor at a non-profit center, environmental toxicologist, wildlife veterinary consultant, and veterinarian. In his free time, he loves to cook, listen to 80s music, take pictures, walk his dogs, solve puzzles, play chess, watch movies, and read.

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Aiyasami Salem Sreenivasan

Aiyasami Salem Sreenivasan

Math, BOOST

Betsy Voigt

Administrative Assistant
bvoigt@mymwa.org

• B.S., Interior Design, Indiana University
• Certificate, Paralegal, IUPUI

Betsy is the smiling face you see behind our reception desk or the woman behind the soothing voice you hear when you call Midwest. She has a son who is a student at Midwest and can relate to parents who have struggled to find the “right” school for their children. She believes Midwest is exactly what her son needs. “Midwest sees him for the great kid he is; his strengths are encouraged and celebrated.” She believes the staff members have a genuine interest in the welfare of the students. She has substitute teaching experience, volunteers with her church, and is a past member or Tri-Kappa and PEO, both philanthropic groups. She loves cats, international travel, movie nights with her family, and Project Runway.

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Betsy Voigt

Betsy Voigt

Administrative Assistant

Karla Walsworth

Director of Finance & Administration
kwalsworth@mymwa.org

• M.B.A., General Management, University of Illinois
• B.A., Political Science, Saint Mary’s College

Karla oversees our business and building operations. She manages tuition payments, financial aid, accounts payable, payroll and other fiscally related processes necessary to our school’s operations. Karla's former experience includes serving as the assistant financial controller for a major television station in Chicago for over 10 years. She has also served as a PTO Treasurer and has served on the Taste of Carmel Board. She is a registered yoga teacher, with over 500 hours of experience. She loves to travel and has lived abroad twice: London and Rome. Her most interesting travel destinations have included Egypt and Croatia.

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Karla Walsworth

Karla Walsworth

Director of Finance & Administration

Lisa Zack

Spanish
lzack@mymwa.org

• B.A., Education, Spanish, Ball State University

Our students also know Lisa as “Seńora Zack,” our Spanish teacher. Midwest excites Lisa because we are always growing and changing to meet our students’ needs. She loves Midwest since she is able to teach through hands-on projects instead of rote methods requiring students to answer to a singular test. Often, you may see her cooking ethnic foods in the kitchen with our students. Not only does she teach Spanish, but Lisa also helps lead the Optimist Club and the Student Council for Midwest. She serves as a chairperson for the Indiana District Optimists, and she sits on the Board for the Fishers Optimist Club. She is the proud grandparent of three grandchildren. She enjoys playing golf, swimming, cooking, dancing, reading, and learning to play the piano.

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Lisa Zack

Lisa Zack

Spanish