Welcome New Faculty & Staff!

MICDS welcomes these new teachers and student support staff to the community and to the 2019-2020 school year!


Sarah McGinn

Sarah joined MICDS as one of our new 3rd grade lead teachers, having previously taught 1st grade at Horace Mann School in New York City as well as the Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia. Sarah has her B.A. in elementary education and an M.Ed. in moderate special needs and enjoys spending time with her four children and husband. Sarah is looking forward to working with the dynamic teachers who work at MICDS.


Hadeal Rasheed

Hadeal is the new 1st Grade Teaching Associate at MICDS. Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, Hadeal has a B.A. in integrated studies with a minor in child elementary education from the University of Memphis and most recently served as a 2nd grade teacher. When not teaching, Hadeal likes to catch up with friends and family in Memphis. At MICDS, Hadeal looks forward to creating a strong classroom environment and building great connections. Fun fact: Hadeal is fluent in Arabic.

Leslie Rohan

Leslie is joining MICDS as the new Senior Kindergarten Teaching Associate after most recently serving as a Preschool Teacher at St. Peter’s. Leslie graduated from Hollins University in Virginia with a B.A. in art history and loves to travel, read, garden and watch her boys compete in sports. Leslie is excited to join the MICDS community because of the friendly, diverse and welcoming community that makes it a pleasure to come to work every day.


Leanne Thweatt

Leanne, who holds a B.S. in elementary education from Murray State University and recently earned an M.Ed. from the University of Cumberlands, is one of our new 3rd grade lead teachers at MICDS. Originally from Paducah, Kentucky. Leanne moved to St. Louis this summer and most recently taught 3rd grade at Saint Mary Elementary School in Paducah. Leanne enjoys hiking as well as cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kentucky Wildcats. At MICDS, Leanne is excited to be part of the community, building relationships with students and creating a fun and engaging learning environment.

Jen Van Dyken

Jen is the new 4th Grade Lead Teacher at MICDS, bringing a B.A. in English from Florida State University, a Career Continuous Certificate in elementary education, and, in November, a Masters in curriculum and instruction, in addition to 16 years of experience as an elementary school teacher in California. Jen loves to read, spend time with family, watch HGTV and work on a real-life fixer upper. She’s most looking forward to meeting new people and getting to know a new community.


Rikki Weinstein

Rikki joins the MICDS community as the new Junior Kindergarten Teaching Associate, after having worked at B’nai Amoona Preschool as a Co-lead Teacher. Rikki has her B.A. in education from Fontbonne University and enjoys traveling, being active, watching movies and TV shows, shopping and spending time with friends and family. At MICDS, Rikki is most looking forward to being part of a collaborative community while expanding upon her existing teaching skills.


Cassandra Galluppi ’10

Cassandra is the new Middle School STEM Teaching Apprentice for the coming school year. Most recently, Cassandra worked at the Keystone Science School in Keystone, Colorado, as a program instructor after earning a B.A. in environmental biology from Washington University. Before becoming an educator, Cassandra spent several years conducting ecological field research. She likes to read, go see movies and spend time with her dog. As an alum of MICDS, Cassandra is most looking forward to coming back to the community and helping teach the next generation of students.

Chaley Poth

Chaley joins MICDS as the new 8th Grade Math Teacher after teaching high school math at Crossroads College Preparatory School. Chaley received her bachelor’s degree in both secondary education and mathematics from Saint Louis University and is currently working on earning a Master’s degree in mathematics from Webster University. Chaley loves trying out different restaurants around St. Louis with friends, is an avid reader and loves to travel. At MICDS, Chaley is excited to be part of the great sense of community, sharing, “I also love the specific intention MICDS has around educating teachers to create engaging and challenging environments for their students.” Outside of the classroom, you might see Chaley on the basketball court as she continues coaching 8th grade girls basketball in addition to teaching.

Marie Stanton

Marie is our new Middle School 7th Grade History Teacher, coming to MICDS from Truman Middle School in the Lindbergh School District with 14 years of experience including 6th Grade Social Studies and Character Education. Marie holds a B.S. in middle childhood education with a concentration in math and social studies from Miami University and earned an M.A.Ed. in administration and supervision. Marie loves spending time with her family, including two sons who love to play sports, explore and use their creativity in a variety of ways. She also enjoys long-distance running and has competed in several half and full marathons. Marie loves to travel and has an eye for jewelry design. Upon joining MICDS, Marie is looking forward to working in a learning environment that is rigorous and innovative while it prepares students for the future.

Susan Taylor-Alonso

Susan is our new Middle School Learning Specialist, bringing 19 years of education experience! Most recently, Susan served as the Director of Learning Services at Lowell School, a PK-8 independent school in Washington D.C., and before that was the founding learning support coordinator in the elementary school at Punahou School in Hawaii and the middle and high school at The American School in Switzerland. Susan has a master’s degree in bilingual multicultural special education from the University of Arizona and also holds a dyslexia practitioner certification from Wilson Language Systems and the International Dyslexia Association along with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and elementary education. Susan enjoys learning new languages and learning about different cultures, and she is looking forward to getting to know the students at MICDS while working toward a doctorate degree in mind, brain and teaching at Johns Hopkins University.

Annie Tsai Gomez

Annie is the Middle School Interim Librarian at MICDS, bringing a B.A. in history from Connecticut College, an M.A. in education from UC Berkeley and an M.A. in library and information science from the University of Alabama. Annie previously worked at St. Louis Public Library as a Youth Services Librarian and as a 4th Grade Classroom Teacher at Head-Royce School in Oakland, California. Annie loves to travel, learn new languages (a native Spanish and Mandarin speaker, English is a third language!), read, exercise, hike, watch tv and spend time with friends and family. She’s excited to get to know the MICDS community and meet great colleagues as well as students and their families. Annie is half Uruguayan and half Taiwanese and grew up in Taiwan, Uruguay, Honduras and Panama.

Travis Wallace

Meet Travis Wallace, our new Middle School P.E. Teacher and Varsity Head Boys Basketball Coach. Travis most recently worked at Jennings High School as the Head Boys Basketball Coach and Behavior Intervention Specialist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Illinois State University. Travis likes to watch Netflix and research travel. At MICDS, Travis is most looking forward to developing relationships with a new work family and students. Fun fact: Travis’ favorite book is Rich Dad Poor Dad.


Sam Cummins

Sam is the new Upper School Learning Specialist at MICDS. Sam holds an M.A. in education and a bachelor’s degree in history and English and most recently worked as the Dean of Student Services at the Shelterwood Academy in Independence, Missouri. Sam loves to bike, run, hike and travel with his wife and three daughters. Sam looks forward to being a part of such a strong community at MICDS and appreciates how well the MICDS community challenges each other toward excellence, all while caring for each other so deeply. Sam recently ran not one but two marathons with his oldest daughter in a stroller!

Emily Kaplan

Meet Emily Kaplan, our new Upper School History Teacher. Emily holds a B.A. in history and anthropology from Loyola University New Orleans and an M.A. in nationalism studies from Central European University, Budapest, and most recently worked at Villa Duchesne as the History Department Chair and Director of Global Education. Emily likes to travel, read and go biking. At MICDS, Emily is excited to connect with students and get them to ask (and answer!) tough questions about history, identity and their role in the world. She also looks forward to getting to know and being part of the faculty and staff at MICDS. Emily has lived in Germany, Hungary and the Dutch West Indies.

Tea Lechkova

Tea is joining the MICDS community as our new Upper School Spanish Teacher in the World Languages Department, coming from Washington University where she taught Spanish language and literature courses at the undergraduate level while completing a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies and Comparative Literature. Tea also holds an M.St. in Slavic Studies from the University of Oxford. Tea likes to travel, write and spend time with her family. She is incredibly excited to be back in the classroom and is looking forward to being a part of the vibrant MICDS community!

Kerry O’Brien

Kerry O’Brien is our new Administrative Assistant for Student Concerns. Kerry most recently worked at Saint Martha’s Hall as a Support Worker/Advocate, and holds a B.S. in psychology and a minor in social work from Fontbonne University. Kerry, whose dog, Lily, is named after Harry Potter’s mom, is an unabashed fan of J.K. Rowling’s books and is also a baking enthusiast. At MICDS, Kerry is looking forward to getting to know all of the students and faculty, even those who aren’t Hufflepuffs!

Kristin Roberts

Meet Kristin Roberts, our new Upper School History Teacher. Kristin comes to MICDS from Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, Maryland, as the Upper School Social Studies Teacher and Social Studies Department Chair. Kristin holds a B.A. in history from Truman State University, an M.A. in American and Applied History from George Mason University and a Graduate Teacher Certification from The Catholic University of America. Kristin likes to hike, run, read, binge a TV show or movie and spend time with her husband and two kids. At MICDS, Kristin is excited to collaborate with and learn from new colleagues while also getting to know the traditions and culture of the school. Fun fact: Kristin has received private tours of the White House, Capitol and Supreme Court.

Dan Wiederkehr

Dan joins MICDS as our new Upper School Math Teacher, having most recently worked as the Math Department Chair, Math Teacher and Math Team Coach at Rockford Lutheran School in Rockford, Illinois. Dan holds a B.A. in mathematics education and a minor in theatre and an M.S. in mathematics with a math education specialization. Dan and his wife love to spend time with their four children playing games, going to the park and taking bike rides. Upon joining MICDS, Dan is looking forward to working on his craft and becoming a better teacher. Fun fact: Dan grew up in Oklahoma and will calls himself an “Okie” even though he’s lived mostly in Illinois.