Our Faculty

636-458-6688 x126
Name: Austin, John
Title: Upper School English, History, Drama, A Cappella
Education: B.A. Anthropology from Duke University, Ph.D. Theatre History from University of Illinois
Comments: Strong habits of mind make an enormous difference as young people grow into adulthood. I came to The Fulton School after 12 years of working in colleges, simply because I wanted teaching to be a larger part of my day. Every day here, my principal motivation is to help students become the kind of students that college professors really want in their classrooms: students who are both fearless and thoughtful, who have well-developed problem-solving and communication skills, and who understand from their experience here that all of us together are smarter than any of us alone.
636-458-6688 x123
Name: Barenkamp, Anne
Title: Upper School History, International Program Director
Education: B.A. from Rhodes College, M.A. from St. John's College
Comments: As a high school history teacher, I have the pleasure of sharing my passion for studying the past with my students. We are able to examine historical evidence to uncover the values and beliefs of those who came before us, which, in turn, helps us develop our own values and beliefs. As the International Program Director, I have the pleasure of working closely with our international students to provide academic support and promote their success both in and outside the classroom. To promote intercultural awareness and fun in our community, I work alongside international students and Student Ambassadors to plan off-campus activities and on-campus events, such as a celebration of the Chinese New Year. In my role I am in my eighth year as a teacher and as a provider of international student support, and I am delighted to be a member of the diverse community of teachers and learners at The Fulton School!
636-458-6688 x136
Name: Crites, Mary
Title: Resource Teacher
Education: B.S. from Southeast Missouri State University; graduate work in Special Education from University of Virginia
Comments: My main gratification from teaching is when I see the light go on when my students finally grasp a skill or concept that they have been struggling to understand. There is nothing better!
636-458-6688 x135
Name: Dicker, Bridget
Title: Preschool / Kindergarten
Education: Diploma: American Montessori Society- MOMTEP Reading Reflex Instructor
Comments: I get to see the joy on children’s’ faces as they exclaim “I did it!” I get to learn as much as I teach. There’s nothing like a child’s perspective to keep you in the present. It’s the best gig in town!
636-458-6688 x131
Name: Dittrich, Joe
Title: 4-5-6 Math and Science
Subtitle: Resident Beekeeper
Education: B.A. from University of Missouri – St. Louis, M.A. from Webster University
Comments: I love teaching because everyday is a new adventure filled with surprises, joys, conflicts, resolutions, and satisfaction. I love teaching because I love to watch kids say “they can’t” and then see them do what they said was impossible. I love creating and participating in activities that require teamwork, cooperation, problem solving, and a solution at the end. I love teaching because I love to see children grow into what they are capable of becoming.
636-458-6688 x102
Name: Douglass, Kara
Title: Head of School
Education: B.A. English Literature and German Studies from Rice University, M.A. Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary, AMS Montessori Certificate 3-6 year olds
Comments: I love being in an environment where *everyone* is learning to be the best version of themselves they can be. We all take risks; we all grow; we all work as a team to create an ideal learning community. This makes for a pretty happy, fulfilling, and inspiring group!
636-458-6688 x104
Name: Doyle, Sarah
Title: Business Manager
Education: B.S. Accounting from Truman State University; Certified Public Accountant
636-458-6688 x129
Name: Fu, Jennifer
Title: Upper School Math/Science
Education: B.A. Physics from Case Western Reserve University
Comments: I knew I wanted to be a teacher even before I graduated from high school. After earning my degree in Physics, I began teaching integrated science and astronomy at a very traditional urban charter school. Although I was passionate about math and science education and loved my students, I did not like the traditional approach. It felt too externally driven, too rigid, and too contrived. I believed then (and still do), that people begin their lives with an innate curiosity about the natural world and a love of learning. However, most of this love of learning seemed to have been driven out of my students by the time they reached high school. What happened? It was while looking for a school that fit better with my educational ideals that I discovered Montessori education. It was definitely one of the defining moments of my professional career, and I have never looked back!
636-458-6688 x142
Name: Gruender, Michelle
Title: Resource Teacher
Education: B.A. and M.S. Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University
Comments: For the past 10 years I have been teaching, tutoring, and offering ACT preparation. I love mathematics and teaching both those who struggle and those who excel. I love helping the students at Fulton navigate the waters of pre-Algebra and build a strong mathematical foundation for high school!
636.458.6688 x106
Name: Hahn, Laura
Title: Director of Marketing
Education: B.A. English with Journalism minor from Southwest Missouri State University
636-458-6688 x196
Name: Hassan, Shadia
Title: Preschool / Kindergarten, Upper School Art, Arabic
Education: B.A. Fine Arts from Lebanese University, American Montessori Society (AMS) Teaching Certificate 3-6 Year Olds
Comments: I love to see the light go on in the children’s eyes when they learn something new and their energy energizes me. Also, I love and enjoy the newness of each day with the preschoolers. I get a great deal of satisfaction and joy. I love to hear the kids’ questions, explanations and ideas. I love seeing the new discoveries every day.
636-458-6688 x121
Name: Herndon, Carrie Wilson
Title: Upper School Math
Subtitle: Farm Program Director
Education: B.A. Psychology and Chemistry from University of Nebraska, M.S. Chemistry and Biology from University of Nebraska, AMI (Association Montessori International) Certificate for Orientation to Adolescent Studies
Comments: “Education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words, but by experiences in the environment.” –Dr. Maria Montessori | Traditional schools operate much like a factory – where each student does the same thing, listening to the teacher dictate new “knowledge.” The Fulton School is different. My colleagues and I collaborate with each other to give students a variety of learning experiences and opportunities to become engaged in real, hands on work. We are able to foster intrinsic motivation, innovation, and creativity by providing a Montessori environment for our students to grow. I look to shape the experience that our students have while they prepare themselves for a future that is largely unpredictable.
636.458.6688 x128
Name: Hurwitz, Seth
Title: Upper School English
Education: B.A. Literature and Language from Bennington College, M.A. English and American Literature from Washington University, Ph.D. English and American Literature from Washington University
Comments: My favorite moments as a teacher come when I realize the conversation has taken off--and that, if I were to leave the room, it would continue; when the students' desire to share their ideas and to learn from one another has overridden their collective notion that teachers only teach and students only learn: when they feel enthusiastic about exploring a poem, pressuring an idea, considering their own writing--when they're joyfully learning, in other words, for the sake of learning. That's when I learn the most and when I know I'm doing my job. And that's when I have the most fun with it, too.
636-458-6688 x118
Name: Kay, Kirby
Title: Lower & Upper School Music
Education: B.M. from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Comments: I love teaching because of the development I am able to observe with each individual child - both musically and personally. Through the discipline of learning an instrument in a warm and consistent environment, students can learn how to take life’s challenges and grow through them in a way that is meaningful. I am honored to be let into the lives of children to help in any way I can in order to raise children who become thoughtful, capable individuals who can appreciate and contribute to the beauty of our world.
636-458-6688 x138
Name: Kruger, Kristen
Title: 1-2-3 Math & Science, Lower School Art
Education: B.A. in Paralegal Studies from Maryville University; M.A. in Education from Maryville University. AMS (American Montessori Society) Certificate for 3-6 year olds, 0-3 training from MECA, and 6-9 training from Houston Montessori Center.
Comments: Toddlers are attempting to establish their independence and determine where they fit into the world. Anyone can teach a child their colors and shapes. However, helping to foster their independence and find their place in the world is my source of joy and purpose. Creating an environment in which a 2 year old can walk and own every part of is my work of art. It’s not my classroom, it’s our classroom. It’s our place to grow and learn and to try new things.
636-458-6688 x103
Name: Kuchem, Kristin
Title: Director of Development & Fundraising
Education: B.B.A. from Fontbonne University
Comments: I came to TFS from The St. Michael School of Clayton where I was the Assistant Head of School. I was attracted to TFS because of the Montessori philosophy and the beautiful outdoor setting. I know that children learn best when they feel safe in a home-like environment, where mistakes are encouraged. I have seen my own children thrive in the outdoors, learning from and exploring nature. I am excited to be involved in Fundraising and Development. I love meeting new people!
636-458-6688 x125
Name: Lannert, Tracy
Title: 4-5-6 Language Arts & Social Studies
Education: B.S. Elementary Education from Missouri State University, M.A. Education from University of Missouri-St. Louis, Certifications: Elementary Education 1-9, Library/Media Specialist K-12, French Education K-9
Comments: I love teaching because every day I learn something new about myself, the world and my students and because I work in a place that celebrates every thing that is special about children. I am honored to be teaching some of the most wonderful children on the planet.
636-458-6688 x107
Name: Loyd, Diane
Title: Director of Enrollment Management
Education: B.S. Medical Technology from St. Louis University, B.S. Physician Assistant from St. Louis University
Comments: The overall attitude towards students at The Fulton School is one of compassion, support and love. Students are valued for who they are and what they bring to the classroom. While the academics are challenging, the students are supported emotionally and physically as they learn to love learning on all levels. The school is a happy place, filled with curious, engaged students; caring and creative teachers and an administrative staff that supports both. I am proud to be part of this wonderful institution.
636-458-6688 x198
Name: Mertz, Valerie
Title: Upper School Science
Subtitle: Resident Beekeeper
Education: B.A. Biology from Middlebury College (Vermont); M.A. Educational Processes from Maryville University
Comments: I have just retired from Marquette High School after 37 years. I enjoy trying new labs and allowing students to create their own investigations. Through the years I engaged students in outdoor activities including growing and harvesting vegetables, landscaping, and habitat exercises. Those curriculum extensions produced memorable and, on occasion, career-focusing opportunities for students as some pursued applied biology or agricultural sciences as a result.
636-458-6688 x139
Name: Mulvaney, Dave
Title: Facilities Director
636-458-6688 x124
Name: Salem-Pon, Siu
Title: Lower and Upper School Spanish
Education: B.S. Marketing from Catholic University of Honduras
Comments: The Fulton School feels like a second home to me. My greatest satisfaction is observing how my students get excited about learning my language and culture. I love what I do because it gives me the opportunity to leave a mark in every single student that I encounter. And I do get to know a little bit of everyone in school from toddlers through 8th grade every year.
636-458-6688 x100
Name: Scott, Claudia
Title: Assistant to the Head/Registrar
636-458-6688 x119
Name: Sharma, Audrey
Title: Physical Education, Athletic Director
Education: B.S. Physical Education from Central Missouri State University; M.S. Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Sciences from University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
Comments: "Love what you do and do what you love"... I couldn't ask for a better career. My students' energy is contagious, and they keep me excited to come to school each day.
636-458-6688 x137
Name: Steurer, Debbie
Title: 1-2-3 Language Arts & Social Studies
Education: B.S. Elementary Education from Notre Dame College, M.A. Special Education from St. Louis University, Ph.D Educational Leadership from St. Louis University
Comments: It is a great joy and blessing to share each school day with the children here at The Fulton School. Children have an amazing contagious zest and passion for learning. Their excitement to try new things keeps me motivated and excited. Each day my students can begin anew, have fresh opportunities, experience the happiness of learning, share their world with classmates, and grow a little more into the people they are becoming. Teaching is my opportunity to touch the future. I, in turn, am enriched by the children in my care.
636.458.6688 x127
Name: Toujàs, Gabriela
Title: Upper School Spanish
Education: B.A Education and Fine Arts from National College of Fine Arts P. Pueyrredon (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Comments: I love teaching Spanish because I am able to incorporate and show my own roots, not only through language but also through culture. I grow as an individual when I listen to them ask their questions in Spanish - knowing they want to learn and speak the language. Being a part of this experience is incredible for me!
636-458-6688 x130
Name: Urbano, Lensyl
Title: Upper School Science & Math
Subtitle: Makerspace
Education: B.S. from York College (CUNY), PhD Geology and Geophysics from University of Minnesota, Montessori Secondary(I) credential, Houston Montessori Center
Comments: I've always been impressed by the creativity and ingenuity students display when given the opportunity; they learn so much more when they are engaged with the work. I find that my primary role as a teacher is to try to spark students' interests and imaginations, to create an exciting environment where we can all learn.