Vicki Helsing, Academic Support Specialist
vickihelsing (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Vicki Helsing has her degrees in Elementary Education grades 1-8, Learning Disabilities/Behavior Disorders grades K-12, as well as a Masters and Licensure in Educational Administration specializing in Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development. She has spent the
past 15 years homeschooling her four children along with periodically
teaching writing, literature and speech to 5th - 8th grade students. On
her free time she enjoys spending much needed quality time with her
family and friends.
Judy Holmes, Outreach Consultant
jholmes (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Judy graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in History and began her professional career in a public relations firm in Chicago. After finding her success and interest in running a Speaker's Bureau and assisting clients with placement on non-profit boards, Judy moved to the non-profit sector. Ever since, she has been active in this sector both professionally and as a volunteer. As Assistant Development Director at Jane Addams Hull House Association in Chicago, Judy was responsible for working with a 28-member Board of Directors and the Annual Fund. She also assisted with special fund-raising events.
Judy has been working on similar projects at MHS for two years and looks forward to her role in assisting with the growth of its Development program.
Rachel Huffman Yunker, Dance instructor
ryunker (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Rachel grew up in the small town of Woodsfield, located in southeast Ohio. After developing a passion for dance and the arts, Rachel moved north to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at The University of Akron. After earning her degree, she developed a modern dance program at Martell School of Dance in Akron, OH. Her administrative experience ranges from that of small local businesses to collegiate administrative offices. Rachel enjoys working with students of all ages. In her spare time, she loves to instruct dance, choreograph, and spend time with her family. Rachel truly enjoys working with the Staff and Students of MHS and is delighted to be a part of University Circle!
Valerie Katz, Science Faculty
valeriekatz (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Valerie grew up in Cleveland and earned her B.S. degree in Nutritional Science from Cornell University. After completing a professional program at Cleveland State University, she practiced for several years as a pediatric physical therapist. An interest in nature, ecology and science education motivated her to enroll at Ursuline College where she obtained her Masters of Arts degree in AYA Life Sciences. Valerie taught biology and environmental science at Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights from 2005 to 2010. She has completed professional development coursework in evolutionary biology, oceanography, and ecosystems science. In the classroom, she is most enthusiastic about issues related to biodiversity and ecological preservation.
Leah Kozlowski, International Baccalaureate Coordinator & Spanish Faculty
lkozlowski (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Leah Kozlowski grew up in North Royalton, Ohio. She attended Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, where she earned degrees in Dance and World Languages and Cultures with a concentration in Spanish. Leah traveled extensively in Spain, completing the majority of her studies at Pablo de Olavide University and the University of Seville. During her time in Spain, she also received certification to teach English as a foreign language. During her free time, Leah enjoys dancing, traveling, and cooking. She is looking forward to another year at MHS.
Michael Larsen, English Language Arts Faculty
michaellarsen (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Mike graduated from Ohio University in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in English. He completed the Teacher Certification Program at Cleveland State University in 2009 with a concentration in Adolescent/Young Adult English and Language Arts. Mike spent three years teaching in the Shaker Heights City School District where he was the assistant head coach for both the High School and Middle School varsity Swimming and Diving Teams. Mike came to Montessori High School in January 2011 and completed the AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies in the summer of 2013. He currently lives in Lakewood, he enjoys swimming, going to concerts, and the Cleveland Indians. Currently Mike is pursuing his Master's Degree in Education from Notre Dame College with a concentration in Reading Diagnostics and Intervention. He is excited to share his passion for writing and literature with the students of Montessori High School.
Whitney Lloyd, Director of College Guidance
wlloyd (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Whitney has been the Director of College Guidance at MHS since 2008. Whitney has been immersed in the college application process for over 35 years, as Director of College Guidance at University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio from 1988 to 2007, responsible for approximately 100 boys annually, while teaching American History and coaching JV tennis, earlier at St. Louis Country Day in the same capacity. Whitney has always appreciated students with a Montessori background, independent thinkers and learners, and integrated curricula with the global perspective, having previously taught British History in Scotland. American History is a passion; he is currently teaching history and literature in the CASE Continuing Education program. He has two degrees in American History, a B.A. from Harvard and an M.A. from New York University.
Meg O'Halloran, Coordinator of Institutional Advancement
mohalloran (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Meg grew up moving between Shaker Heights, OH and Minneapolis/ Saint Paul, MN, however, Cleveland has always been "home". She has a dual degree in Geography and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Urban Studies from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Meg has experience in grassroots organizing, writing, and community development. She is excited to be a part of the Montessori High School (MHS) community as well as the place-based learning curriculum here in University Circle. Meg also works for Montessori Development Partnerships. In her free time, Meg enjoys singing opera, improvisational comedy, and organic gardening. Meg looks forward to her first year at Montessori High School at University Circle!
Elizabeth Panhorst, Coordinator of Community Partnerships & Entrepreneurial Studies
epanhorst (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Libby Panhorst holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in English from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. She was Programs Coordinator at The Kenyon Review for three years, where she administered summer writing programs to high school students, college students, and adults. She has worked in a residential capacity for the arts- and writing-based educational programs of, respectively, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and The Kenyon Review. She loves cats and enjoys working with her hands, especially knitting, drawing, and book arts. In June 2013, she received the Peter Taylor Fellowship in Literary Hybrid/Book Arts to The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, where she wrote, created books, and facilitated course instruction. As Montessori High School’s first Resident Intern, Libby looks forward to providing support to the administration, the residential community, and the academic faculty.
Ellen Rooney, Theater Faculty
erooney (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Ellen grew up in the Cleveland area, attended Culver Academies, and then Denison University as a Vail Scholar in Dance. She earned MFA in Dance and MA in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and more recently, a PhD in Theater from Bowling Green State University. Currently, she serves on the Ohio Arts Council’s Project Support Committee. She performs with Women in History and directed and/or choreographed at theaters such as Cleveland Public Theater, Near West, Berea Grindstone Players, and Geauga Lyric Theater. She acted in films and commercials around Cleveland; and in LA, worked at Theater West, Universal Studios, Fox Studios, The Fredrick Pierce Company in association with the Disney Channel, and Magar Pictures. Ellen enjoys golf, gardening, jigsaw puzzles, and sharing two Labradors, Jesse and Darcie, with family.
Nancy Smekal, French Faculty
nsmekal (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
Nancy combines her heartland roots from Columbus, Ohio with a passion for all things French. She earned her BA and MA in French at Miami University of Ohio and Middlebury’s Graduate School in Paris, France. She has taught French from the kindergarten to the college level in many different academic settings. Nancy and her family recently returned to Ohio from living in Oregon where they loved to ski, sail and hike. Nancy looks forward to an exciting year with all the Montessori students, to the joy of the University Circle advantage and to spreading the French language and culture!
Jeffrey Sutker, Technology Director
David Waski, Visual Arts Faculty
davidwaski (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
David grew up in Bedford, Ohio, where he spent much of his time exploring the vast Bedford Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. After completing his foundation years at The Cleveland Institute of Art, David attained his B.A. in Art Education from Cleveland State University. David has also completed NAMTA’s Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies. David taught art, music, drama, journalism, and served as the basketball coach at The Grove School, a public Montessori charter high school in Redlands, California. David enjoys exploration via Frisbee, composing music, and contributing to the local arts community. He is interested in unifying the arts and is excited about helping adolescents reach their full potential.
Mike Waski, Mathematics Faculty
michaelwaski (at) montessorihighschool (dot) org
A native of Ohio, Mike attended Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, before completing his B.S. in Elementary Education with concentrations in Music and Mathematics at Kent State University. He also holds an M.A. in Educational Administration and is working towards an M.A. in Mathematics from Cal State San Bernardino. He has completed NAMTA’s Montessori Orientation to Adolescent Studies,
where he is currently a faculty member. He has also completed the 47th Advanced (Elementary) Montessori Training Course at the International Centre for Montessori Studies Foundation in Bergamo, Italy. Mike has been teaching for twelve years, having taught math to students ranging from second grade to high school calculus. In addition to his years teaching, he has also served as basketball coach, assistant head of school, and head of school at The Grove School, a Montessori charter high school in Redlands, California. He has also been an instructor for geometry and algebra institutes for teacher trainees through Cal State and UC Riverside. In his free time, Mike enjoys playing trumpet and studying number theory and theoretical physics.