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May 2018 Weddings, Babies & Kudos

Photo of the Month

Tavonda Palmer, RHS Spanish & Leadership teacher, takes a ride through Old Dubai over spring break.
Tavonda Palmer, RHS Spanish & Leadership teacher, takes a ride through Old Dubai over spring break.


Tiffany (Maurer) Lundy, a sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Hoech, married Russ Lundy on Feb. 10.

 Lundy wedding - Photo credit: Tonya Adams with Dropshot Photos


Dr. Richard Bell , RHS vocal music teacher at 1980 graduate, is proud to announce the arrival of grandson Emmett Paul Quinley on March 23 to Emily (Bell) Quinley (RHS Class of 2011) and her husband, Taylor. Emmett debuted 7 lbs. and 14 oz. was 21 in. long.

Rolanda Dodds-Piggs, office professional at the Administrative Center, welcomed her fifth grandchild on April 18. Kameron Jahlil Dodds debuted at 6 lbs. 15 oz. and was 19 in. long. Parents are Ronald Dodds and Katrina Miller and older siblings are Jeremiah, 9, and Kourtney, 21 months.

Kameron Jahlil Dodds

Chelsea Forste, first-grade teacher at Buder, and husband Ariel welcomed Carleigh Ava Elise a month early on April 21. She weighed 5 lbs. 15 oz., and was 19 ½ in. long.

Forste family - Photo credit: Sketchbook photography     Carleigh Ava Elise - Photo credit: Sketchbook photography

Jill Hodges, a fourth-grade teacher at Marion, welcomed a new grandson on March 25. Jill’s son, Matthew, and his wife, Jenna, became the proud parents of Warren Jameson, who weighed in at 9 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 in. long. Jill reports that her grandson “is already holding the strings to my heart.”

 Jill Hodges and grandson


Congratulations to Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education teachers Kent Adams and Jessica Jackson, who will be honored at Powell Symphony Hall on May 20 as outstanding early childhood educators. Both were nominated by Ready Readers and will be honored with dinner and a concert inspired by the book, The Lion and the Mouse. They also will receive materials for their classroom.

Jane Bannester, broadcast media teacher at RHS, had an article published on MediaShift, a national scholastic journalism website about the school's podcasting program. 

As chairperson of the Truman Readers Award Committee, Alyssa Barker, library media specialist at Hoech, was the book award announcer for the Missouri Association for school Librarians Spring Conference. This year’s award, voted on by middle school students throughout Missouri, went to Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Middle school students from across Missouri got to vote on it.

Alyssa Deuser, an SSD teacher at Ritenour High School, received a $500 grant from the Missour Retired Teachers Foundation for her "cooking in the classroom" program earlier this school year.

Jerrea Ferguson, child nutrition employee at School for Early Childhood Education, celebrated her daughter’s first published book, “Truly Chosen.” Jerrea’s daughter, Euniquice Harris is a 2013 RHS alumna who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and held a book signing for her first book in early April at the Richmond Heights community center.

Franchesca Gindler, a seventh-grade Special School District English language arts teacher at RMS, and her husband, Mike, are celebrating their one-year “kidney-versary.” Franchesca donated her kidney to her husband on May 25, 2017. “Because the first year of a transplant is the most critical, this is a very special anniversary," says Franchesca.

Gindler      One-year kidney-versary

Sharnez Givens, an English language arts teacher at RHS, will present an innovative lesson about the murder of Emmett Till at the Teaching Black History Conference: A Black Studies Approach on July 27at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The Teaching Black History Conference aims to improve Black history curriculum decision-making and instructional practice.

Julie Kampschroeder, RHS college and career counselor, and the Ritenour International Welcome Center will be honored May 18 by North County Inc. with the 2018 Leadership Award.

Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride was named the 2018 Administrator of the Year by the Missouri School Public Relations Association in March.

Tiffany Lundy, a Hoech teacher, earned her master’s in education from University of Missouri-Columbia on May 13. Her degree is in education, school, and counseling psychology with an emphasis in mental health practices in schools.

Joelle McIntosh, business teacher at RHS and Fulbright Fellow with the IREX Teachers for Global Classrooms program, will culminate her fellowship this summer with a three-week international experience in Peru. While in Peru, she will learn about the country’s education system and culture, visit local schools, meet with education officials and tour significant cultural sites. She also will visit host communities across the country, work closely with an international teacher in a host school and spend a week observing classrooms, teaching lessons and meeting with school faculty fully participating in community. She also hopes to visit the U.S. Embassy.

Joelle would like to bring a piece of Ritenour and St. Louis to the Peruvian schools and communities she visits, and is asking fellow Ritenour colleagues, students and community members to look for small items to take with me such as magnets, buttons, key chains, letters (anything that represents our district and or our city). It would be great if items could include a personal note in English or Spanish! Please send your items to Joelle by May 21, 2018.

Colleagues can follow Joelle and her travels through her blog on her website:

Christina Melly, an English language arts teacher at RHS, will graduate with a master’s in English Composition & Rhetoric on May 12 from University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Tina Nichols, a second-grade teacher at Buder, is excited to celebrate the graduation of her daughter, Madelyn, from Eureka High School on May 24. Madelyn will attend Southeast Missouri State University and plans to major in elementary education.

Madelyn Nichols - Photo credit: Laura Siebert of Eyesmiles Photography

Dr. Kenneth Roumpos, assistant superintendent of human resources and leadership development, will receive his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy from Vanderbilt University on May 11.

Vocal music teachers Stephanie Ruggles (RMS) and Kimberly Carson (HMS) have been re-elected to serve as Middle School Choral Co-Vice Presidents for the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association. As vice presidents of this organization, they will continue coordinating the Middle School All-Suburban Choir Festival. The Jan. 12, 2019 festival will be held at Ritenour Auditorium.

Stephanie Ruggles also is program coordinator for the Opera Camp for Kids! at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. This year’s north camp will be held at Hoech Middle School. She has been an instructor for this summer program since 2009.

Lauren Smith, fourth grade teacher at Iveland, was named as a National Teacher Ambassador for DonorsChoose. She also is a TedEd educator and will begin doing Ted talks with her students. In these roles, Lauren can offer assistance, donations, and professional development on DonorsChoose. All teachers are welcome to contact me and set up new accounts through to receive a match offer and first donation from Lauren. Lauren has had 50-60 projects funded through DonorsChoose, including STEM kits, one-to-one technology for her classroom, all school supplies for my students next year, makerspace items, books, flexible seating and much more. She also has received book bags and hygiene items for students in need at Iveland. 

Twins Dr. Andrea Sparkling, a fifth-grade teacher at Marvin, and Dr. Amber Swopshire, third-grade teacher at Iveland, received their doctorates in Teacher Leadership from Maryville University on April 28.

Dr. Lisa Thompson, a reading and academic specialist at the Ritenour International Welcome Center, received her doctorate (Ed.D.) on May 4 in Instructional Leadership with an emphasis in higher education instructional leadership. She also was elected as a member to the University of Missouri Extension Council-St. Louis County.

Beth Zimmerman, gifted teacher at the Ritenour Center for Gifted Education, will teach Truman State University’s online graduate class, Identification of Gifted, this summer. It's part of Truman's online Gifted Certification program they started last summer. Teachers interested in earning their gifted education certification through Truman State can find out more and register at: