The Miriam Academy Head of School and founding faculty and staff were selected to create this unique learning environment for our families. Please read more to learn about this exceptional team or watch some of them share why they chose Miriam Academy:
Meet the Teachers
Dr. Susan Jackson, Head of School
Dr. Sue Jackson brings more than 30 years of academic experience in both private and public school settings to her role as Head of School at Miriam Academy. Her background includes extensive experience working with students with learning disabilities and heading high schools in the area. Before Miriam Academy, she served as Head Principal of Affton High School in South St. Louis County for seven years. This is Dr. Jackson's third year leading Miriam Academy.
Her extensive background in learning disabilities includes developing the learning consultant and summer enrichment programs at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School from 1997-2002. Dr. Jackson also served as Assistant Principal at Parkway North High where she was the liaison to the Special School District and coordinated learning accommodations for students with disabilities. She also served as Principal at Windsor High School from 2007-2009.
Dr. Jackson received two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Elementary and Special Education from Southeast Missouri State University and her Master's Degree in Education from Washington University. Additionally, Dr. Jackson holds the advanced degrees of Educational Specialist in School Leadership and Policy Studies from Saint Louis University and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She also holds certifications for Principal (9-12), Superintendent, and Special Education Administrator.
Kathy Puettmann, Associate Head of School
Kathy Puettmann brings more than 16 years of hands-on teaching experience as a special education teacher to Miriam Academy. With an expertise in building programs for students with learning disabilities, Kathy most recently was with St. Alban Roe School where she created and implemented the resource program and project-based enrichment program. She also held positions in the Archdiocese of St. Louis as a special education and classroom teacher. Kathy received her Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Southeast Missouri State University and Bachelor of Science in Special Education with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is certified in Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education 1-8.
Chris Holmes, Humanities Teacher
Chris Holmes joined Miriam Academy with 15 years of teaching experience in English/ Journalism: five at Clayton High School and the last ten at Hazelwood West High School. He also teaches at Missouri Scholars Academy, a summer program for gifted students at the University of Missouri - Columbia, where he is studying Educational Psychology. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Truman State University and is certified in Journalism and Special Education. In 2009, Chris was selected as the Governor's Council on Disability Educator of the Year. In 2015, Chris was chosen as the Missouri Teacher of the Year.
Brandi McKenney, Math Teacher
Brandi McKenney has expertise in customizing learning and monitoring growth in math education for high school students. Brandi has taught Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra II in co-teaching environments at high schools in the Mehlville, Affton, and Riverview Gardens School Districts. She holds a Master of Arts in Mathematics from Webster University and Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education-Math from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Patrick Kramer, Humanities Teacher
Patrick Kramer brings with him 6 years of teaching experience. He has experience teaching in a variety of different environments including Seoul, South Korea as well as St. Louis Language Immersion School. For the past 4 years he taught English and Journalism at Affton High School. Along with teaching, he coached girls volleyball as well as was the Debate Team sponsor. Patrick holds a bachelors in English from Truman State University as well as a Masters in Education from University of Missouri St. Louis.
Melissa Luecke, Science Teacher
Melissa Luecke brings extensive teaching experience from McCluer High School in the Ferguson Florissant School District, where she taught Chemistry, Honors Advanced Chemistry and Physical Science. Additionally, Mrs. Luecke has past experiences coaching swimming, writing curriculum, chairing the science department and being the Cohort Advisor for “At-Hope” high school students. Mrs. Luecke is certified in Unified Science—Biology and Chemistry 9-12 grades. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri—St. Louis.
Jana Hildebrand, Special Education Teacher
Jana Hildebrand began her career in education at Rogers Middle School for Special School District as a paraprofessional. Prior to entering the field of education, Jana was a proud member of the Illinois Air National Guard for 9 years, in which she was a Services Journeyman and Staff Sergeant. Jana earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and will soon hold a Master of Arts in Special Education and K-12 Mild/Moderate Cross-Categorical Certification from Fontbonne University. This is her first year at Miriam Academy and she is honored and delighted to join this stellar staff!
Sam Hackett, Special Education Teacher
Sam Hackett begins his 8th year in education bringing experiences working with students of diverse ethnicities and learning styles in St. Louis City and County to Miriam Academy. Mr. Hackett holds a Bachelor of Science degree and multiple teaching certifications including, Special Education K-12, Marketing 9-12, and Physical Education K-12. Currently, he is completing his Masters in Counseling from the University of Missouri—St. Louis. Mr. Hackett taught for one year with AmeriCorps in San Diego, California where he worked as a mentor for at-risk youth at a local alternative school.
Mary Kersting, Special Education Teacher
Mary Kersting joins Miriam Academy with more than 25 years of teaching experience in the area of Special Education. For the last 18 years, she worked for Parkway School District and has extensive experience with Project Based Learning. Mary began her career at Mehlville School District where she wrote and implemented IEP's for a wide range of student abilities. Mary graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education K-8 and Special Education K-9. She attended Webster University where she received a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. She holds certifications for Early Childhood Special Education and Library Science.
Paul Breuer, Art Teacher
Paul Breuer joins Miriam Academy with 23 years of teaching experience in the visual arts. Paul earned a Bachelor of Fine Art degree and his teaching certificate from Washington University in St. Louis. He has also earned his Master degree in Secondary Admin. from Missouri Baptist. He has taught art at Affton High School for 21 years and at Bilkent Erzurum Laboratory School in Turkey for 2 years. In addition to teaching he actively pursues his passion for painting and printmaking in his studio at the Farm Table Creative in O’Fallon Missouri, an open studio space inviting community to participate in the arts.
Norman Rich, PE/Health Teacher
Norman Rich has held physical education, teaching and coaching positions for more than 30 years in various school districts in St. Louis. His career includes serving as an adaptive PE specialist with Special School District in the Rockwood School District, and serving as a health education and physical education teacher in the Parkway School District. He is a certified American Red Cross CPR Instructor and holds certifications in life saving and water safety. Norman also served as head coach for water polo, swimming and diving at Rockwood Summit High School and is currently the Baseball Commissioner for the Ballwin Athletic Association. Norman holds a Masters of Education in Physical Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Katie Moorman, Registrar / Counseling Dept.
Katie Moorman served as a director with United Cerebral Palsy Heartland where she supervised personnel caring for young adults in respite care facilities and day programs. Katie has extensive experience with budgets, grant writing and caring for medical needs in Individualized Care Plans. Katie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Missouri State University, and is completing a masters in Counseling at Lindenwood University.
Katie Uthoff, Administrative Assistant
Katie Uthoff began her career at Gallop, Johnson & Neuman as an Information Technology help desk professional for 5+ years. Katie specialized in resolving technical computer issues and was the trainer for all incoming staff members. Katie then transitioned into the education field working for the Affton School District’s Early Childhood Center. While at Affton, Katie was a teacher assistant, created and developed activities for students and supervised the Aftercare program. Katie holds an Associates degree in Applied Science Information Technology.