- School Life
PHS is excited to welcome new members to its faculty and staff. Please introduce yourself to them. More faculty and staff members will be announced in the coming weeks.
Haley Angelo - First Grade Faculty Assistant
Haley is a faculty assistant in Tiffany Pearson's room this year. Haley is working on her bachelor's degrees in elementary education and psychological science from William Jewell College. She has performed fieldwork toward her degree at Franklin Elementary School in the Liberty School District and at Fire Prairie Upper Elementary School in the Fort Osage School District. She also worked at Brookridge Day School last year.
Dr. Sherri Danyali - Early Childhood School Division Head
In April, Pembroke Hill announced that Dr. Sherri Danyali, the founding head of Guidepost Montessori in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., had been appointed the PHS early childhood school division head.
In her role at Guidepost Montessori, Sherri was involved in the launch of the school - hiring the teaching and administrative teams, earning accreditation and creating a welcoming culture of learning, collaboration and connections. She was also responsible for student enrollment and retention, program quality and campus outreach.
Prior to her current position, Sherri led the early childhood division at Shorecrest Preparatory School, an independent school in St. Petersburg, Fla. While at Shorecrest, she guided faculty through changes in curriculum and grew the school program. Sherri designed return-to-school plans as well as new policies and procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also assisted with the construction planning process for a new early childhood school building and playground. As a member of the school’s senior leadership team, Sherri participated in numerous committees, including the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board Committee, The Center for Teaching and Learning, Student Stress and Wellbeing, and Little STEAMakers.
In her 25 years as an educator, Sherri has taught prekindergarten, kindergarten and second grade in both public and private schools in Florida and Georgia.
Sherri holds a doctorate of education from Nova Southeastern University with dual concentrations in educational leadership, and curriculum and teaching. She also earned a master's degree in education with a major in early childhood education from Georgia State University. Currently, she is enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School Certificate program in school leadership and management.
Active in professional networks, Sherri is involved with the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Harvard Principals’ Network, North American Reggio Emilia Alliance and The American Montessori Society.
Sara Dougherty - Wornall Campus Auxiliary Programs Manager
Sara comes to Pembroke Hill from Whittier College (Calif.), where she was the head women's lacrosse coach. She has also been a senior meeting coordinator at Bristol-Myers Squibb East West Connection and events coordinator for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game. Sara holds a bachelor's degree in media and communications from Muhlenberg College (Pa.), and a master's degree in education from Whittier.
Ryce Herron ’20 - Early Childhood School Faculty Assistant
Ryce will be assisting Nathan Smith's preschool class this year in the early childhood school. A 2020 PHS alumna, she has assisted in the Summer at Pembroke Hill early childhood and kindergarten programs for the last two years. She is expected to receive her bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 2024.
Parker Hopkins - Middle/Upper School Speech And Debate Teacher And Coach
Parker will be a full-time debate teacher and coach this year at Pembroke Hill. He was an assistant debate coach last year for the upper school speech and debate program. He recently served as the assistant director of forensics and head debate coach at Truman State University. He has also been an adjunct speech instructor at Kansas City Kansas Community College and an assistant debate coach at Missouri State University. Parker has coached high school speech and debate at Truman, Olathe West and Lawrence High Schools.
In 2021, he received the assistant coach of the year for the Heart of the America district, in which Pembroke Hill participates. Parker holds an associate's degree from Johnson County Community College, as well as bachelor's and master's degrees from Missouri State University.
Alex Luchen - Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Alex will be teaching social studies in the middle school. For the last five years, he taught middle school social studies, writing and literature, and technology at Holy Cross Catholic School. Alex earned associates degrees in animation and liberal arts from Johnson County Community College, and a bachelor's degree in middle school education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Noel Miller - Upper School Social Studies Teacher
Noel Miller joins the upper school this year as a social studies teacher. She taught social studies courses, including ancient world civilizations, world geography, United States history and Kansas history, at Spring Hill Middle School from 2018-22. She has been a volunteer manager through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, managing over 300 volunteers across Kansas and Missouri.
Noel holds a bachelor's degree in education and master's degree in public administration, both from the University of Kansas.
Kathryn "Kat" Mitchell - Head Of School Executive Assistant
Kat begins her tenure as Brad Shelley's executive assistant this year. She comes to Pembroke Hill from Newmark Grubb Zimmer where she served as the senior executive assistant to the president/chief executive officer. She has also served as an assistant to the president of PAR Electrical Contractors, and has supported heads of school at Northside Christian Academy in Lexington, S.C.
Benny Molle - Lower School Physical Education Teacher
Benny joins the lower school physical education department as a teacher and will coach upper school boys basketball. He recently taught at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School in the Lawrence, Kansas School District. He has also taught at Wyandotte High School.
For the last eight years, Benny has been the director of operations for the Kansas United youth basketball program in Lawrence, and recently served as head basketball coach at Bishop Seabury Academy. Benny received his bachelor's degree in business administration and management from Haskell Indian Nations University, and a master's degree in teaching from Pittsburg State University.
Kara Neuhaus - Lower School Faculty Assistant
Kara will teach in the lower school. She graduated in the spring from the University of Iowa with bachelor's degrees in education studies and human relations, and psychology.
Allison Olmos - Upper School Science Teacher
Allison will be in the upper school science department this year. She previously taught AP chemistry and was a lead teacher at Oak Park High School. She has also served as a chemistry and biology teacher at Fridley High School in Minnesota.
Allison holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and the classics from Macalester College, and a master's of education degree, with an emphasis in secondary science education, from the University of Minnesota.
Katie Parra - Early Childhood Faculty Assistant
Katie will be a faculty assistant in the early childhood school. Katie has been an early childcare teacher at One Step Early Learning Center and Ashland United Methodist Church's Mother's Day Out program. She has also served as CEO of her own company, Parra Group, LLC. Katie holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Missouri Western State University.
Aja Pence - Upper School Counselor
Aja joins the upper school as the division's counselor. She previously assisted students at Nativity of Mary School and St. John Lalande School. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from the University of Arkansas.
Kelsey Polk - Middle School Counselor
Kelsey joins the middle school as the new school counselor. She comes to PHS from the Kansas City, Missouri School District, where she has counseled students at Troost and Garfield Elementary Schools, along with Lincoln College Preparatory Academy.
Kelsey received a bachelor's degree in health and physical education, as well as a master's degree in counseling, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Megan Roberts - Upper And Middle School Library Media Specialist, Kemper Library
Megan is the new library media specialist in the Kemper Library on the Ward Parkway Campus. She previously worked as a library media specialist in the Olathe School District at Prairie Trail Middle School and Olathe South High School, and an ELL educator at Santa Fe Middle School. Megan has also taught English in the De Soto School District. She received a bachelor's degree in English from William Jewell College; a master's of education degree from Rockhurst University; and a master's of educational technology degree from Pittsburg State University.
Mary Ruby - Early Childhood Extended Day
Mary returns to PHS as the Extended Day assistant in the early childhood school. Mary worked in the early childhood building as a faculty assistant for 11 years, from 2011 to 2022. Mary has extensive teaching experience, educating students at Holy Catholic Church (fourth grade), Basehor/Linwood School District (third grade), Belton School District (third grade), Nativity School (kindergarten) and Lenexa United Methodist Church (prekindergarten).
Mary received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Northwest Missouri State University and a master's degree in teaching from Webster University.
Laura Schweisberger - Lower School Faculty Assistant
Laura joins PHS from Country Club Methodist Church, where she was the co-founder and director of the church's child development center, which serves nearly 100 students from infant to age 6. She has also taught second and third grade students in the Kansas City, Missouri School District at Douglas and New Chelsea Elementary Schools.
Laura holds a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, with a focus in early childhood education, from University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Douglas Sumey - Facilities Technical Director
Douglas joins Pembroke Hill as the new facilities technical director.
For the last 14 years, Douglas was the theatre program director of Assumption High School in Louisville, Kentucky. For nine years, he worked for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, first as an education director managing educational outreach programs, then as managing director overseeing overall management of the organization's operations. Douglas has also served as Camp Shakespeare Director for the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Kansas City.
He holds a bachelor of arts degree from William Jewell College and a master of theatre studies degree in production and design from Southern Oregon University.
Jordan Svancara - Upper School Computer Science/Robotics
Jordan Svancara will be the computer science teacher in the upper school. Jordan comes to Pembroke Hill from Oracle, where she was a senior platform management engineer. She has been a technology solution architect at SAIC, and cloud solution architect and project manager and startup technical evangelist at Microsoft. She has also been a continuing education instructor at Johnson County Community College.
Jordan holds a bachelor of science degree in computer engineering from Kansas State University.
Katrien Uyttersprot - Third Grade Faculty Assistant
Katrien will be a faculty assistant in Kim Renetzky's third grade room. Katrien most recently worked in the European Parliament as a parliamentary adviser to several parliament members in Brussels, Belgium. She has also served as a deputy to the director of the Flemish Community Commission, where she coordinated several educational projects and helped create a Brussels Summer School program where children could learn and practice their Dutch.
Katrien holds master's degrees in European Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies and Linguistics and Literature in Latin and Greek from the College of Europe and Ghent University, respectively. She also received a postgraduate degree in international relations and conflict management from Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).
Melissa Wise - Director Of Communications And Marketing
In May, Pembroke Hill announced Melissa Wise as director of communications and marketing. She started in her role on July 1. Melissa came to Pembroke Hill from the University of Arkansas Grantham where she served as creative director since 2018.
Prior to that role, Melissa was director of marketing and communications for the University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and the University of Denver Colorado Women’s College. While associated with the University of Denver, Melissa was a member of the Brand Guidelines and Visual Identity Steering Committee. She has also served as manager of publications and graphic design for Indiana University South Bend.
Melissa attended Indiana University where she earned three degrees - bachelor of arts degrees in art history and graphic design, and a master’s degree in public affairs. She has received several awards for her work including the American Graphic Design Award, Appleton Coated Award and the RIS Diamond Award.
Cody Young - Lower/Middle/Upper School Instrumental Music Teacher
Cody will be the instrumental music teacher in the lower, middle and upper schools. Cody previously taught in the Bolivar School District where he was the band director and also served as the head of the middle school's encore department.
He has been a conductor for the Missouri State University Community Band and Fountain City Youth Brass Academy, and has performed with the Southwest Baptist University Ensembles, and multiple University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory ensembles. Cody has been recognized for his talents, being named a national competition champion at the North American Brass Band Association competition and a semifinalist in the National Trumpet competition.
Cody received bachelor's degrees in music education and music theory from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Several faculty and staff members have changed positions within the school.
- Lisa Berning - Lower School Administrative Assistant, Intermediate Building
- Tyra Bickham - Facilities Onsite Supervisor
- Helena Boldt - Early Childhood Faculty Assistant
- Richelle Cirino - Founders Hall Administrative Assistant (supporting Development And Admissions)
- Paula Engetschwiler - Director Of Facilities And Rentals
- Katie Henry - Fifth Grade Teacher
- Sarah Maas - First Grade Teacher
- Liddy Maurin - Upper School Administrative Assistant
- Lynn O'Toole - Associate Athletic Director
- Matthew Pritchett - Middle And Upper School
Physical Education Teacher
- Kim Renetzky - Third Grade Teacher