Our Faculty/Staff

Click on each photo or name to learn more about our staff members

David Alexander

Health and P.E. Teacher
dalexander@mymwa.org
  • B.S., Marketing, Butler University

Mr. Alexander is beginning his first year at Midwest as the Personal Fitness, Health, and Boost Instructor. He loves to help students succeed and reach their goals. A main goal of his is to help create healthy, active habits for Midwest’s students to take beyond the classroom. Outside of Midwest, Mr. Alexander enjoys spending time with his wife, Kaitlyn, his two dogs, playing disc golf or tennis, and watching Ohio State football.

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David Alexander

David Alexander

Health and P.E. Teacher

Chelsea Baker

Middle School Social Studies Teacher
cbaker@mymwa.org
  •  B.S., Psychology, Anderson University

Mrs. Baker is the Social Studies teacher for middle school at Midwest Academy. She received her bachelor’s of Psychology from Anderson University where she spent time researching and presenting on mental health stigmas. At Midwest, you will often see her working with students, in aftercare, at recess, and leading various clubs. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and decorating cakes.

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Chelsea Baker

Chelsea Baker

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Audrey Beaugh

Yoga and Mindfullness Teacher
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Audrey Beaugh

Audrey Beaugh

Yoga and Mindfullness Teacher

Judy Bess

Math Teacher
jbess@mymwa.org
  • B.S., Elementary/Early Childhood Education, Indiana University
  • M.S., Elementary Education, IUPUI

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

Math Teacher

Alisha Burnstein-Carder

Counselor
acarder@mymwa.org
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Alisha Burnstein-Carder

Alisha Burnstein-Carder

Counselor

Peggy Dermody

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

Peggy has been an elementary teacher for over 30 years working most often with 3rd graders and kindergarteners. Her teaching degrees came from Ball State University, but real life experience has supplied most of her education. She and her husband have raised two children here and are very thankful for this school. They cherish the opportunities it has given so many students – including their grandson.
Peggy enjoys gardening and crafts but most especially her five grandchildren.

Peggy’s philosophy is that “learning can be fun and we can all work as a team to support these children.”

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Peggy Dermody

Peggy Dermody

Elementary/English

Kelsie Dickerson

Behavior Specialist
kdickerson@mymwa.org
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Kelsie Dickerson

Kelsie Dickerson

Behavior Specialist

Katie Erdmanis

Assistant Head of School
kerdmanis@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 Erdmanis

Katie Erdmanis

Assistant Head of School

Sarah Figueroa

Office Administrator
sarahfigueroa@mymwa.org

Sarah is entering the workforce after running an in home daycare for 13 years. She has been at home with her 4 children over the past 24 years. Her son, Simon, is entering his 5th year here at Midwest Academy. Sarah enjoys being in nature, time with her family, making art in a variety of mediums (painting, photography, pottery, creative writing, dance). She feels passionate about the environment, food as medicine and kindness. Sarah is our Office Administrator at the front desk.

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Sarah Figueroa

Sarah Figueroa

Office Administrator

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 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, kayaking, hiking, and fly fishing.

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Kevin Gailey

Kevin Gailey

Head of School

Madie Hamsley

Counselor
mhamsley@mymwa.org
  • B.S., Psychology with a minor in Interpersonal Relations, Ball State University
  • M.S., Counseling, Butler University – in progress

This is Madie’s sixth year working at Midwest Academy on the counseling team. She received her bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in interpersonal relations as well as human development at Ball State University. She is currently in her third year as a graduate student at Butler University in the school counseling program. Currently, Madie is developing and delivering a comprehensive guidance program with over 180 guidance lessons involving social and emotional work, practical life skills as well as careers and transitions. She chose to work at Midwest Academy to open her eyes to a unique school setting with an opportunity to learn more about individuals with learning differences and pursue her passion of addressing and fostering the social-emotional needs of students.

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Madie Hamsley

Madie Hamsley

Counselor

Tom Harrison

Humanities
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

Humanities

Nancy Hiquet

Middle School Math
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Nancy Hiquet

Nancy Hiquet

Middle School Math

Chad Inman

Science Teacher/ Safety Director
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

Science Teacher/ Safety Director

Andrea Jandernoa

Art Teacher
ajandernoa@mymwa.org
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Andrea Jandernoa

Andrea Jandernoa

Art Teacher

Bill Johnson

Technology and Engineering Teacher
wjohnson@mymwa.org
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering Technology – Purdue University (2007)
  • M.S., Engineering Technology Education – IUPUI (In Progress)

Bill is a Purdue trained engineer who spent six years working in the production and design field and 6 years in a management role. He was selected for a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship in 2014 and became an engineering and technology teacher. After making connections with students with learning differences, he discovered a passion for working with students who need a different approach to education and he joined the Midwest team. He is excited to help the Midwest technology program expand to serve our students’ needs and interests. Bill also enjoys reading non-fiction, especially books about engineering and music history.

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Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson

Technology and Engineering Teacher

Becky Johnson

Assistant Head of School
rjohnson@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 Johnson

Becky Johnson

Assistant Head of School

Jessica King

Middle School Teacher
jking@mymwa.org
  • B.S., Elementary Education & Special Education, Indiana State University

Jessica is joining Midwest this year as a middle school teacher in a range of subjects. She will be teaching math, science, science project elective, and Boost. Jessica has been teaching in the public school special education setting for six years, carrying a passion for meeting students where they are in their educational level and helping them learn and grow. Outside of work, Jessica loves being a mom to her toddler. She also loves to bike, camp, garden, and kayak. 

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Jessica King

Jessica King

Middle School Teacher

Mike Matsco

Facilities Manager
mmatsco@mymwag.org
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Mike Matsco

Mike Matsco

Facilities Manager

Alicia McClure

Fine Arts Teacher
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

Fine Arts Teacher

Kaitlyn Pulos Alexander

Art Therapist, Counselor, Coordinator of Student Activities and Athletics
kpulos@mymwa.org
  • M.A, ATR-P, LMHCA
  • B.S., Psychological Sciences, Ball State University, 2018
  • M.A., Art Therapy, Herron School of Art, IUPUI, 2020

Mrs. Pulos-Alexander has a Master’s degree in Art Therapy which serves as a foundation for how she support students. She is passionate about creative expression, community, relationship building, and constant learning. She uses a variety of techniques and approaches in Art Therapy to support our students in emotional regulation and processing, interpersonal interactions, and personal growth. As the Coordinator of Student Activities and Athletics, Mrs. Pulos-Alexander organizes, plans, and facilitates summer camps, afterschool programs, and special events. She is in awe everyday of our students’ beautiful minds, creativity, kindness, and intelligence.

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Kaitlyn Pulos Alexander

Kaitlyn Pulos Alexander

Art Therapist, Counselor, Coordinator of Student Activities and Athletics

Ryan Ricca

Behavior Specialist
rricca@mymwa.org
  • B.S.W., Social Work, West Virginia University

Ryan is a 2021 graduate from West Virginia University. Originally from New Jersey, her family recently relocated to Indiana where she has decided to begin her career. Ryan has a variety of experiences helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Before arriving at Midwest Academy, she volunteered and worked in areas of need for both geriatrics and child behavioral care. When she is not at school, Ryan enjoys painting, drawing, and the creative arts in general. She also danced classical ballet for 15 years. Ryan plans to continue her education and looks forward to her first year working at Midwest Academy!

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Ryan Ricca

Ryan Ricca

Behavior Specialist

Lynn Schaller

Bookkeeper
lschaller@mymwa.org
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Lynn Schaller

Lynn Schaller

Bookkeeper

Phil Shellhaas

Behavior Specialist
pshellhaas@mymwa.org
  • B.S., Interpersonal Communications, University of Evansville
 
At Midwest, Phil serves the counseling team as a behavior specialist. Among his role he also teaches the Make It Take It elective course. Phil was born in Indianapolis and lived in Westfield for most of his childhood. He has worked with kids of all different backgrounds for a majority of his life.  After some time away in unrelated fields, he realized his passion for working with children and strived to find the ideal place to get back to what he loves doing. Phil believes he has found that here at Midwest. 
 
 
 
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Phil Shellhaas

Phil Shellhaas

Behavior Specialist

Shelby Terwillegar

Behavior Specialist
sterwillegar@mymwa.org
  •  B.A., Psychology & Youth Leadership and Development, Anderson University
  • M.S., Educational Psychology, Ball State University
  • Ph.D., Education Psychology, Ball State University – in progress 

Creating educational environments where all students can succeed is one of Shelby’s greatest passions. She has continued her personal education through graduate programs at Ball State’s Educational Psychology department, where she has learned about child/adolescent development, learning and motivation theories, as well as sophisticated research and statistical design to assess learning and achievement. Shelby has taught students of all ages, from kindergarten through college and now is excited to now work with the students of Midwest, teaching them skills to help them succeed in all academic areas. In her free time, Shelby enjoys playing board games with friends and exploring new pizza places in Indianapolis and the surrounding area.

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Shelby Terwillegar

Shelby Terwillegar

Behavior Specialist