Our Faculty/Staff

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

Chelsea Baker

Middle School Social Studies Teacher
cbaker@mymwa.org

<ul>
<li>B.S., Psychology, Anderson University</li>
</ul>
Mrs. Baker is a Behavioral Specialist at Midwest Academy. &amp;amp;nbsp;She received her bachelor’s of Psychology from Anderson University where she spent time researching and presenting on mental health stigmas. &amp;amp;nbsp;Chelsea has two years of experience in ABA therapy, working both in and out of schools. &amp;amp;nbsp;At Midwest, you will often see her working with students, in aftercare, at recess, and leading various clubs. &amp;amp;nbsp;In her spare time, she enjoys baking and decorating cakes.

×
Chelsea Baker

Chelsea Baker

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

Stacia Belanger

English Teacher
sbelanger@mymwa.org

&lt;ul&gt;
&lt;li&gt;B.A. English, Western Michigan University&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;/ul&gt;
Stacia teaches middle school English classes, English Lab, and English 9. She taught Middle School Language Arts and worked as a Support Teacher in Upper Elementary in a North Carolina Montessori school before moving to Indiana. Stacia received her B.A. in English (Practical Writing), from Western Michigan University. She has also worked with English as a New Language students and taught homeschool cooperative high school English composition classes. &nbsp;Some of her other experience includes university Writing Center tutoring, marketing for an organic family farm, and working as a technical writer. She hopes to bring her varied experiences to the classroom and create a safe, challenging, and inspiring environment for the incredible students at Midwest Academy. Education is the primary means of discovering one’s unique path in this world, and she is excited to join students on the journey.

×
Stacia Belanger

Stacia Belanger

English Teacher

Judy Bess

Math 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.

×
Judy Bess

Judy Bess

Math Teacher

Brooklyn Bobo

Art Therapy Intern
bbobo@mymwa.org
  • B.S. Pre art therapy with a minor in Psychology
  • BFA bachelor's in fine art
  • M.S. in Art Therapy and Counseling – in progress

Ms. Brooklyn is an art therapy intern at Midwest Academy. She received her bachelor's degrees from the University of Indianapolis, where she is also in the process of completing her master's degree to become an art therapist and mental health counselor. Ms. Brooklyn has worked with children throughout her professional journey in many different settings such as life skills programs, daycares, cruise ship camp programs, children hospitals, and after school programs. At Midwest, you will see her working one-on-one with students using art as a means of expression. You will also see her assisting in aftercare, recess, and helping within the art classroom. She is very excited to be joining such a great team and community here at Midwest Academy.

×
Brooklyn Bobo

Brooklyn Bobo

Art Therapy Intern

Alisha Burnstein-Carder

Counselor
acarder@mymwa.org
×
Alisha Burnstein-Carder

Alisha Burnstein-Carder

Counselor

Jen Cirrincione

Teacher/ Occupational Therapist
jcirrencione@mymwa.org
×
Jen Cirrincione

Jen Cirrincione

Teacher/ Occupational Therapist

Jean Coffman

Director of Business and Operations
×
Jean Coffman

Jean Coffman

Director of Business and Operations

Peggy Dermody

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

    I have been an elementary teacher for over 30 years working most often with 3<sup>rd</sup> graders and kindergarteners.&nbsp;&nbsp; My teaching degrees came from Ball State University although real life experience has supplied most of my education.&nbsp; My husband and I have raised our two children here and are so thankful for this school. We just cherish the opportunities it has given so many students – including our grandson.&nbsp;

I enjoy gardening and crafts but most especially my five grandchildren.

My philosophy is that learning can be fun and we can all work as a team to support these children.&nbsp;

×
Peggy Dermody

Peggy Dermody

Elementary/English

Kelsie Dickerson

Behavior Specialist
kdickerson@mymwa.org
×
Kelsie Dickerson

Kelsie Dickerson

Behavior Specialist

Katie Erdmanis

Assistant Head of School
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.

×
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 4th 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 new Office Administrator at the front desk.

×
Sarah Figueroa

Sarah Figueroa

Office Administrator

Jane Gailey

Student Services
jgailey@mymwa.org
  • BA Education and History Hobart/William Smith Colleges 
  • M.Ed., Early Childhood Education, Lesley University
 
Jane joined the staff officially in the Fall of 2017.  Yet, she is no stranger to the benefits of the Midwest community as it has been a part of her family for the past 8 years.  As a parent of a child with learning differences, she appreciates the progressive education, caring environment, and differential learning practices that encompass the Midwest educational experience.  Jane has a passion for serving others in the community.  She brings 25 years of administrating and teaching in a variety of educational settings.  At Midwest, she is involved in coordinating service learning opportunities, overseeing the BOOST program for students needing extra support, and assisting with admissions testing.   She enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.
×
Jane Gailey

Jane Gailey

Student Services

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.

×
Kevin Gailey

Kevin Gailey

Head of School

Madie Hamsley

Counselor
mhamsley@mymwa.org

<ul>
<li>B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Interpersonal Relations</li>
<li>M.S. in Counseling- in progress</li>
</ul>
<div></div>
<div></div>
<div class="gmail_default">This is my third year working at Midwest Academy on the counseling team. I received my bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in interpersonal relations as well as human development at Ball State University. I am currently in my third year as a graduate student at Butler University in the school counseling program. I am currently 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. I chose to work at Midwest Academy to open my eyes to a unique school setting with an opportunity to learn more about individuals with learning differences and pursue my passion of addressing and fostering the social emotional needs of students.</div>
<div class="yj6qo ajU"></div>

×
Madie Hamsley

Madie Hamsley

Counselor

Kara Hanley

Marketing and Development Coordinator
khanley@mymwa.org

Kara joined the Midwest Academy team back in 2017 and is passionate about serving the Midwest Academy families through marketing and fundraising.

After graduating from Anderson University and moving to Indianapolis, Kara has served in several nonprofit organizations in the Indy area. On the weekends you can find her spending time with her husband and 2 puppies, riding her motorcycle, or hosting game nights with friends.

Personal Link ×
Kara Hanley

Kara Hanley

Marketing and Development Coordinator

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.

×
Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison

Humanities

Nancy Hiquet

Middle School Math
×
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.

×
Chad Inman

Chad Inman

Science Teacher/ Safety Director

Andrea Jandernoa

Art Teacher
ajandernoa@mymwa.org
×
Andrea Jandernoa

Andrea Jandernoa

Art Teacher

Bill Johnson

Technology and Engineering Teacher
wjohnson@mymwa.org

<ul>
<li>BS Mechanical Engineering Technology - Purdue University (2007)</li>
<li>Transition to Teaching - IUPUI (2014)</li>
<li>MS Engineering Technology Education - IUPUI (In Progress)</li>
</ul>
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.

×
Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson

Technology and Engineering Teacher

Hannah Johnson

Behavior Specialist
hjohnson@mymwa.org
  • B.A., Psychology, Franklin College

Ms. Johnson is a behavior specialist at Midwest Academy and will primarily be working our B Group students. She will also be teaching in our BOOST program. Ms. Johnson is a recent graduate of Franklin College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She also minored in sociology. Ms. Johnson is currently continuing her education at Butler University
where she is pursuing a Master of Science in School Counseling. She is ecstatic to begin her professional career at Midwest Academy and is looking forward to getting to know our students! In her spare time, Ms. Johnson enjoys crafting, baking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/li&amp;amp;amp;gt;
&amp;amp;amp;lt;/ul&amp;amp;amp;gt;&lt;/li&gt;
&lt;/ul&gt;

×
Hannah Johnson

Hannah Johnson

Behavior Specialist

Becky Johnson

Assistant Head of School
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.

×
Becky Johnson

Becky Johnson

Assistant Head of School

Dave Knapp

Maker Space, Facilities
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.

×
Dave Knapp

Dave Knapp

Maker Space, Facilities

Matt Knezevich

Behavior Specialist
mknezevich@mymwa.org
×
Matt Knezevich

Matt Knezevich

Behavior Specialist

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.

×
Alicia McClure

Alicia McClure

Fine Arts Teacher

Sean Oatis

Student Activities, Counselor
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.

×
Sean Oatis

Sean Oatis

Student Activities, Counselor

Kaitlyn Pulos

Art Therapy Intern
kpulos@mymwa.org
  • B.S. Psychological Sciences, Ball State University

I work with the counseling team and the art teacher as an art therapy intern as well as a one on one with a student. I earned my B.S. in Psychological Sciences from Ball State University in 2018 and I am currently in my 2nd and last year as a student at IUPUI Herron School of Art for my M.A in Art Therapy. In my free time, I enjoy card making, painting, running, hiking, and visiting the beach. I have 8 siblings and am married to my high school boyfriend. I have a dog, Mia, and hopefully, we are adopting a new pup soon too! I chose to intern at MWA because I know that this school is changing lives and supporting students and staff in a way no other place does. I wanted to be apart of that and I am very thankful for this opportunity.

×
Kaitlyn Pulos

Kaitlyn Pulos

Art Therapy Intern

Lynn Schaller

Bookkeeper
lschaller@mymwa.org
×
Lynn Schaller

Lynn Schaller

Bookkeeper

Nikki Smith

Gala Coordinator
nsmith@mymwa.org
×
Nikki Smith

Nikki Smith

Gala Coordinator

Lisa Zack

Spanish Teacher
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.

×
Lisa Zack

Lisa Zack

Spanish Teacher