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February 2018 Weddings, Babies & Kudos


Donna Butler, a third-grade teacher at Buder, rang in the New Year on Dec. 31 as she celebrated the marriage of her son Marcus Butler, to Michelle Campbell in Effingham, Ill.

Ronald Pleas,
custodian at Ritenour High School, celebrated his marriage to Ebony on April 22. (photo below)

Ebony and Ronald Pleas

Tammy Young, financial secretary at Ritenour High School, celebrated the Christmas Day engagement of her son, Christopher Young (RHS Class of 2002), to Heather Gideon from Rolla. They plan a July wedding in Pensacola, Fla. Along with welcoming a new daughter-in-law, Tammy will welcome four granddaughters to her family: Audrey, 12, Arley and Ellie, both 6, and Taylor, 2.  


Robyn McCaleb, office professional at Husky Academy, celebrated the birth of Monet Rosemarie McCaleb, who made her debut as Robyn’s first granddaughter. Monet was born Dec. 14 at 8lbs. 15oz. Robyn is excited to share that, “She is a bundle of joy and will be spoiled since she is the only girl out of seven grandchildren.” 

Baby Monet

Carrie Myers, fifth-grade teacher at Iveland Elementary, and husband Joe celebrated the birth of Sebastian Eli Myers on Jan. 4.  Sebastian made his debut at 8 lbs. 9 oz. and was 18.5 inches long.  (Photo credit: Bella Baby Photography) 

Carrie and Eli Myers

Ritenour lifers Lauren Openlander (RHS Class of 2006), Wyland Elementary third-grade teacher, and husband Chris (RHS Class of 2007) celebrated the birth of Everett Joseph Openlander on Nov. 2. Everett weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. 

Lauren and Chris Openlander with baby Everett

Buder Elementary Principal Jennifer Singleton and husband Mike welcomed Samuel Logan James into their family on Jan. 7.  Samuel weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz. and was 21 inches long. Proud big brother is Jude, 2.  

Samuel Logan James and proud big brother Jude

Amanda Steimel, office professional at Ritenour High School, and husband Chris welcomed Aubree Lynn Steimel into their family on Dec. 10 at 7 lb. 12 oz. and 21 inches long. Proud big sister is Alexia, 3.

Aubree Lynn Steimel


Jane Bannester, broadcast media teacher, was named as one of the Top 20 Innovative Journalism Teachers in Nation by MediaShift. She is ranked among the top 20 journalism educators connected with colleges, high schools and media organizations who “have made a significant mark on the discipline, with their colleagues, and of course, with students,” according to the website.

Jane Bannester

Nancy Bramsch, music teacher at Buder Elementary, directed 90 Buder fifth-graders in caroling at the St. John Shop ‘N Save for an hour before winter break as a fundraiser for the Ritenour Co-Care Food Pantry and raised $100 and a carload of non-perishable foods. Afterward, the students enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies. “Caroling at Shop ‘N Save was a great experience,” she said “They were welcoming and happy we came to carol in their store. The cashiers and their customers clapped for us after each song! We hope to go back next year!”

Nancy Bramsch and Buder fifth-graders

Jennifer Carcagno, physical education teacher at Buder Elementary, is the recipient of the 2018 Girls on the Run St. Louis Energy Award for being a teammate who embodies the GOTR core values and helps her fellow GOTR activate their star power. She will be honored at the Power of One Gala on April 12 at LUMEN St. Louis. During the last 10 years, Jen has been a GOTR coach, mentor and coach trainer and has helped more than 200 girls complete GOTR races. Additionally, Jen has completed many marathons, half marathon and 5K races.

Lisa Forrest, a Ritenour Middle School seventh-grade teacher, recently completed her +30 through Truman University.

Sandy Henfling
, office professional at Hoech Middle School, is the proud mother of Lindenwood University graduate Ashlee Henfling. Ashlee, who graduated in December, is now certified to teach physical education K-12.

Ashlee Henfling

Jessica Jackson, a teacher at the Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education, earned a master’s in Elementary Reading and Literacy in December from Walden University.

Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride has been named chairman of the board for North County Inc. He will serve a one-year term. North County Inc. is a regional development organization that acts as a catalyst to define and advocate economic and community development for more than 350,000 residents in 45 municipalities and unincorporated areas in the north St. Louis County region.

Megan Margherio Megan Margherio, gifted specialist at Hoech Middle School, earned her National Board Teacher Certification in December. The rigorous process to earn this national certification included three portfolio components (differentiation, teaching practice/environment, and assessment) and a testing component that focused on content knowledge.  For Megan’s portfolio, she submitted two videos of teaching, six samples of student work, proof of her knowledge of student needs, proof of her ability to collaborate with peers and families, as well as provide examples of numerous assessments, both formative and summative, that informed her practice for the school year. Along with each of these artifacts, she had to analyze her teaching practices and decision making, while also identifying areas for further development.  Her portfolio was reviewed by two separate mentors and my videos were viewed by a large group of National Board Certified Teachers at a workshop prior to submission.

Hoech Middle School SSD teachers Dr. Amy Meeks, Staci Bush and Nicole DeClue received three mini-grants from the Special Education Foundation for flexible seating options, sensory tools for teens and for implementing a reading motivational program in their classrooms.

Tavonda Palmer, a Spanish and Student Leadership teacher and sponsor at Ritenour High, was named Advisor of the Year for the Gateway District of the Missouri Association of Student Councils.

Lindsay Schmidt, fourth-grade teacher at Iveland Elementary, recently completed an eight-week, 50-hour online study to earn the Palouse Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Certificate. The study included a variety of readings, videos, daily practice logs and journal reflections. This is Lindsay’s fourth year implementing mindfulness practices, and says, “I am happy to have completed this certificate to help improve my ability to implement it in my classroom. My students and I have benefitted greatly!” 

Congratulations to Ritenour’s talented instrumental teachers, who have been performing at prestigious concerts this year: 

Cliff McDaniel, Hoech Middle School band teacher, played timpani with the St. Louis Wind Symphony on Jan. 26 at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference. Missouri’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Beth Davey (Iveland Elementary music teacher) was invited to share remarks at the conference.

Cliff McDaniel      Beth Davey

Michelle Mendoza, Hoech orchestra teacher and Abigail Knoche, Ritenour Middle orchestra teacher performed with the violin and cello, respectively, in the Extra Credit On Stage concert with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 2 at Powell Hall. 

Hadley Haux, Ritenour High School band director who also has been the principal euphonium player with the St. Louis Brass Band, performed in late November at the U.S. Open National Brass Band Championships in Chicago. The band earned second place overall, and earned a special recognition for Best Performance of a March.

Hadley Haux with euphonium