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May 2019 Babies & Kudos


Donna Butler, first-grade teacher at Buder Elementary, welcomed her second grandchild, Swayzee Jrue, on April 3. Swayzee made her debut at 7 lbs., 3 oz. and 21 inches long. (pictured below, left)

Rolanda Dodds-Piggs, office professional at the Administrative Center, welcomed her sixth grandchild on May 8. Tahani Kalila Marshall, who made her debut at 6 lbs. 4 oz. and 19 inches long, is the daughter of Reva Dodds, a 2011 RHS graduate, and little sister to Cosima.  

Congratulations to Keiza Taylor, Marvin Elementary social/emotional intervention assistant, and husband Akinyela, who welcomed into the world their bonus baby, Koa Amadeus Taylor. Koa arrived on March 26, weighing 5 lbs. 6 oz.  and measuring 19 inches long. Koa’s older siblings are: Aley (20), Kylon (18) and Aurelius (12). (pictured below, right)

 Donna Butler's granddaughter Keiza Taylor's baby


Matthew Berry, RMS school counselor, has been elected as the chairman for the Missouri School Counselor Association Board of Directors, effective July 1.  Additionally, he will be presenting, "Implement with Intent: A Comprehensive School Counseling Approach" in June at the Colorado School Counselor Association Summer Academy and in July in Boston at the American School Counselor Association Annual Conference.

Dr. Laura Conley, seventh-grade English language arts teacher at HMS, wanted to share the following message with her Ritenour family: “After 30 years with Ritenour, Dr. Laura Conley is retiring!  It has been a magnificent career and I love my Ritenour family! To the thousands of students from Marvin, Buder, and Hoech, I enjoyed teaching you. To my colleagues, thank you for being such wonderful support and family during my career. My advice upon departing this challenging yet rewarding career is: ‘Love what you do and success will come’ for yourself and for your students. Thank you for my life in Ritenour!”

As part of Autism Awareness Week, Hoech Middle School staff, raised $215.55 for the Special Education Foundation with the intent to help fund a campership for a child with Autism. (pictured below)

Hoech Middle School Staff Autism Fundraiser

Leah Jones, HMS school counselor, recently completed an Educational Specialist degree in educational, school and counseling psychology with an emphasis in mental health practices in schools from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

John Schimmel, RHS English language arts teacher, ran his first half marathon on April 27 in the Christie Clinic Half Marathon in Champaign, IL with his 69-year-old father, a veteran runner. (pictured below) This was the first of two half marathons he and his dad will run as they train for a full marathon in December to raise money for an orphanage in Haiti that he visited last summer.  

John Schimmel (left) with father at Christie Clinic Half Marathon

Jennifer Schumacher, office professional at the Administrative Center, is celebrating her daughter, Leah, who was one of 22 students honored at Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Agriculture for top academics. Leah was recognized as the Outstanding Transfer Student. Prior to SEMO, she earned an associate’s degree from St. Charles Community College.

Amanda (Packman) Stein, fifth-grade teacher at Iveland Elementary, is being honored for outstanding acts of kindness (mitzvot) this month as a Mitzvah Star by J Associates, an auxiliary of the Jewish Community Center of St. Louis. Read more about this tremendous honor and Amanda’s service to others in an article in the St. Louis Jewish Light...

Eight Ritenour High School educators earned their master’s this month in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from Webster University. They are: Christina Northrup-Thompson, librarian; Sharnez Givens and Melissa Monzyk, English language arts teachers; Cynthi Hill and Paula Voorhees, Special School District teachers; Richard Tibbs and Rob Weissler, science teachers; Beth Seibold, family & consumer science teacher. These RHS teachers were part of Webster’s first cohort to complete the master’s program. “It has been quite the experience,” said Northrup-Thompson. “It was a lot of work, but working with these other teachers from RHS, Parkway and St. Louis Public has been the best professional development ever!”  

Lisa Watkins, a reading specialist at RMS, received a $240 MNEA CHEER grant to purchase 40 copies of "The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die," by April Henry for next year’s One Book, One School program.

Lisa Watkins, RMS reading specialist, receives an NEW Cheer grant for One Book, One School program