Faculty

The Keith faculty is recruited nationally and internationally with advanced degrees in their respective fields, recognized success in education, and a commitment to being role models for young people. They are dedicated to life-long learning and continued professional growth. They use a broad repertoire of teaching techniques and technologies, enhancing students’ skills by integrating these approaches throughout the curriculum. Perhaps most importantly, Keith faculty are available to students and parents, before, during and after school. Celebration phone calls and emails, correspondence over weekends and direct access to a students’ daily progress through a NetClassroom application are just a few of the many ways we maintain strong teacher-student-parent relationships.

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Renee Allen

Middle School Language Arts
B.S. in Elementary Education from Rockford University
M.Ed Curriculum & Instruction; Reading Specialist; Concordia University, Portland

Mrs. Allen joined the Keith faculty as the Grade 5 teacher in 2013. She currently serves as our middle school language arts teacher and yearbook advisor. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Rockford University with middle school endorsements in language arts and business education. She earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Reading from Concordia University, Portland. She has extensive experience designing instructional programs that are personalized to the learning styles of her students. She has served on the faculties of Rockford Dance Company and Rockford University as a dance instructor, volunteered with the Girl Scouts, and is currently an enrichment tutor. She enjoys reading, dancing, traveling, and family time.

Email: renee.allen@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Faye Bahmanyar
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Grade 1 Co-Teacher
B.S. in Laboratory Science from George Mason University
M.S. in Information Systems Management from George Mason University
M.A.T. from Rockford University

Faye enjoys coteaching first grade with Rhonda Hanley and Katie Bowes. In addition to bringing high expectations for academic and social learning, she strives to create differentiated instruction plans to meet the needs of all students. Prior to joining the Keith faculty in 2012, Faye’s classroom experience included teaching kindergarten through second grade. Before going into education, she worked as a systems analyst in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Texas. Faye’s older son, Navid graduated from Keith in 2011 as a National Merit Scholar and her younger son, Alex is a sophomore this year. In her spare time, she likes cooking, reading, hiking, and traveling.

Email: faye.bahmanyar@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Amy Beckmann
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Middle School Mathematics
B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Stetson University
J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law
M.A.T. from Rockford University

Mrs. Beckmann attended Stetson University in central Florida. During her time there, she completed two study abroad programs: one in Guanajuato, Mexico and the other in Madrid, Spain. After college, Mrs. Beckmann was awarded a full scholarship to attend law school at the University of Cincinnati, allowing her to return to her native Ohio. After many years as a successful attorney in Florida and Illinois, Mrs. Beckmann decided to change careers to pursue her true passion, teaching. She finished her Master of Arts in Teaching in December 2015. While she worked on her M.A.T., Mrs. Beckmann was a substitute elementary and middle school teacher for various local school districts. She is married and has three children. Mrs. Beckmann is thrilled to be joining the Keith Family this fall.

Email: amy.beckmann@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Elizabeth (Betty) Benoit
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Middle and Upper School Resource
B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University
M.S. in Reading from Northern Illinois University

A veteran teacher with more than three decades of experience, Betty joined Keith from the Harlem School District where she taught fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. Betty thoroughly understands the importance of differentiating instruction to meet the specific learning needs of Keith students. Students consistently seek Betty’s support when needing guidance on study strategies and research skills. Betty states that “as the Learning Resource teacher at Keith it is very important to be a good listener. I try to learn from each student, not just from what they say to me, but also from what is behind the words. I am also an empathetic person by nature and that is very critical to my role at Keith. I really love kids!” A native of Michigan, Betty earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University and her M.S. from Northern Illinois University. Betty enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, travelling and reading. She is trying her hand at baking but she says it’s a work in progress. Fun fact:  Betty has been to China three times, twice for adoption and once for a great tour of the country and its beautiful sights. She is currently a resident of Roscoe and has two daughters, Grace and Joy.

Email: betty.benoit@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Katie Bowes
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Grade 1 Co-Teacher
B.S. in Human Development and Psychology from Rockford University

Ms. Bowes joined the Lower School team in 2012 as a Cougar Quest Teacher, and after her college graduation became the full-time teaching assistant in the Junior Kindergarten class. Katie is a graduate from Rockford University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Human Development and a minor in Psychology. She has an obvious passion for teaching and working with children. Outside of the Keith family, Katie enjoys spending time with her large extended family, and being an evening caregiver for her 94-year-old grandmother. She is a huge sports fan, animal lover, and a Disney expert. Ask Katie about anything Disney! Katie is looking forward to motivating her students so they may reach their highest potential while instilling a love for school and learning.

Email: katie.bowes@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Dr. Thompson Brandt
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Middle and Upper School Director of the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra
Bachelor of Music Education, Drake University
Master of Science in Music Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Master of Science in Educational Administration, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Post-Doctoral Diploma in Higher Educational Leadership, Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Thompson Brandt, a native Chicagoan, joined the Keith faculty in 2016 as director of the wind ensemble and orchestra after having served in increasingly more responsible faculty and administrative positions at the secondary and college levels throughout his career.

For a period of twenty-five years, he conducted bands and orchestras at Carl Sandburg High School in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and at Jamestown College (now the University of Jamestown) in North Dakota where he was professor of music and associate dean of academic affairs. While he was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Brandt conducted the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Philharmonia Orchestra and was an assistant director in the department of bands. He has also been a guest conductor and clinician at the International Music Camp, Illinois Summer Youth Music, and the University of Wisconsin Music Clinic. Dr. Brandt is the author of six published books and over twenty scholarly articles, most of which unite the disciplines of music and American history.

More recently, Dr. Brandt served as dean of humanities, social sciences, and fine arts at Highland Community College, a consultant for the Higher Learning Commission, and as an adjunct professor at Sauk Valley College. He and his wife live in Freeport and are the parents of a daughter and a son who work and attend college in Wisconsin, respectively. Dr. Brandt’s greatest strength is his student-centered approach to the teaching and learning process. Music is the vehicle used to help each student as well as ensembles mature to maximum potential. Beyond the classroom and rehearsal hall, Dr. Brandt enjoys time with family and friends, writing, music, golfing, walking, reading, and cheering for University of Wisconsin athletics and Chicago professional sports teams.

Email: thompson.brandt@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Kristin Burns

Social Studies Department Chair
Middle and Upper School Social Studies Teacher
B.A. in History and Anthropology from Marquette University

The energetic Kristin Burns was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award. A graduate from Marquette University with degrees in History and Anthropology, Kristin teaches the 5th-8th grade social studies courses, 5th grade English, and 6th grade computers. Her specialty in the classroom is hands-on learning through activities and simulations in a technologically integrated classroom. She coaches our nationally-ranked middle school quiz bowl team (6 years in a row!) and is the coordinator for our biennial trip to Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Keith faculty, she worked in other area school districts, and the Regional Alternative School for at risk youth. Kristin is a member of Phi Alpha Theta and the League of Women Voters. Outside of school, Mrs. Burns and her husband share a passion for dog rescue and rehabilitation, and they volunteer for local animal rescue organizations. Kristin is also actively involved in supporting and advocating for abused and neglected children in the Winnebago County foster care system.  She also enjoys family time, travel, historical research, reading, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers!

Email: kristin.burns@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


David Bye
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Science Department Chair
Middle School Science Teacher
B.S. in Biology-Ecology and B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Geography from Minnesota State University, Mankato
M.A.T. from Rockford University

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award and numerous Golden Apple nominations, David has extensive professional experience in addition to an impressive teaching resume. Before joining the Keith faculty, David worked on wetland and water quality policy for the National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC, as a research assistant/temporary instructor at Iowa State University, as a lab technician for Baxter International, and as an environmental specialist for American Tower Corporation. At Keith, he is the Science Department Chair and teaches middle school science and math, senior year environmental science, and middle school math. David has been a guest instructor at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. Another contribution that he enjoys immensely, is coaching.  Since 2002, David has coached various sports including volleyball, basketball, and soccer. David is married to Abigail, has a daughter, Emery, and a son, Tyler, who are both Keith School students. To view David’s web site, click here.

Email: david.bye@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Allison Decman
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Director of Lower School,
Third Grade Teacher and English Department Chair

B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Northern Illinois University
Illinois Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood Education
M.A. in Reading and Literature from Walden University

Allison joined the Lower School faculty in 2010 with more than 10 years of classroom and community education experience. She is the Coordinator of all Lower School programs. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Northern Illinois University and a M.A. in Reading and Literature through Walden University. Throughout her career, Allison has taught several different grade levels and is well-versed in designing creative lesson plans that accommodate multiple intelligences. In addition to working as a classroom teacher, Allison has also worked as an administrator at Argyle Preschool and at the Sylvan Learning Center.

Email: allison.decman@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Tim Doherty
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Director of Middle School
Math Department Chair
Upper School Math Teacher
B.S. in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University

Upon receiving his degree in Mathematics Education from Northern Illinois University, Mr. Doherty began his teaching career at Belvidere High School where he taught Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. Mr. Doherty has extensive instructional expertise in providing an accelerated and differentiated curriculum for students who are gifted and talented. He currently teaches Algebra I and Accelerated Algebra 1 while serving as the Director of Middle School and Math Department Chair. Mr. Doherty states that his strengths in the classroom and in his role are “putting the students first, listening to student concerns, staying organized, keeping a positive attitude, and maintaining open lines of communication.” Outside of school, Mr. Doherty enjoys family time, outdoor sports, mountain biking, yard work and playing the guitar. He will earn his Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix in March of 2018.

Email: tim.doherty@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Lindsey Duerr
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Director of Student Services
B.A. in Sociology from Wooster College

M.S. in Instructional Technology from Eastern Connecticut University

Lindsey has over fourteen years of experience in college admissions and college counseling, having worked at Sweet Briar College (VA), Wittenberg University (OH), The College of Wooster (OH) and Beloit College (WI). She served as the director of college counseling at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio where she also coached women’s lacrosse and served on various board task force committees. Lindsey comes to Keith School from Beloit College where she was director of admissions. Her daughter, Alexandra will be joining the second grade class.

Email: lindsey.duerr@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Apryle Evans
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Middle and Upper School Spanish
B.A. in Spanish and French with Academic Commendation from the Univ. of Hawaii
M.A. and Pre-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi

In addition to an extensive teaching background in foreign languages, Apryle has lived and studied in Spain and Mexico. She attended Pomona College, earned her B.A. in Spanish and French at the University of Hawaii, received an M.A. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as she began pre-doctoral work also at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a post-Master’s certification in teaching from Michigan State University. Along with teaching middle and high school students, Apryle has also taught at Rockford College and worked with private businesses on diversity training and English as a Second Language. Apryle’s greatest joy is her family. She also enjoys gardening, reading history, music, entertaining her cats, and writing poetry.

Email: apryle.evans@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Kelly Golich
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K-4 Co-Teacher
B.A in Elementary Education from University of Illinois

Kelly shares over twenty years of teaching experience with students, parents, and colleagues in the Keith community. She joined the Lower School faculty in 2007. A graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, she received a B.A. in Elementary Education with a concentration in music and a passion for children’s literature. Her lengthy resume includes past positions in Chicago, South Beloit, and the Rockford area as an early childhood educator: Pre-K3, Pre-K4, Kindergarten, and a classroom teacher: grades 2, 3, 4, and a general music teacher for students in all elementary grades. She currently serves as our lead teacher in the K-4 program, co-teaching with Elizabeth McGraw.

First and foremost, Kelly has the personality of an early childhood educator. She is nurturing, personable, approachable, welcoming, flexible, warm, kind, kid-friendly, and she has a sense of humor. Kelly’s biggest strength in the classroom is the ability to engage students in meaningful, fun, cross-curricular learning experiences through her creativity, musical skill, familiarity with children’s literature, and incorporation of board games, cooking, dramatic play, and more! Kelly is an expert at weaving it all together, and with her diverse teaching experience, Kelly knows where learning begins and where it leads.

Outside the classroom Kelly has taught piano and has worked with children in the dramatic arts. Kelly and her husband have two older children who are actively involved in competitive sports, dance, and theatrical communities. When time allows, she enjoys nature walks, travel, Disney, multicultural food experiences, theater, reading fiction, and family time: guiding her almost-grown children into their next phase of life. Kelly’s dream is to pursue creative writing.

Email: kelly.golich@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Dr. Fred Hadley
Fred Hadley
Upper School Science and Math
B.A. Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX

Dr. Hadley has extensive teaching experience at all levels, starting with science education at the elementary level while in the Peace Corps (Philippines), college-level chemistry and physics for almost 40 years, and, most recently, high school science and math here at Keith. While in the collegiate environment, his research interests focused primarily on the kinetics (rates) and mechanisms of chemical reactions. He was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award while at Rockford University. In addition to his teaching, he has been an active volunteer in the Rockford community, at Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (KNIB), Habitat for Humanity, the IREAD program in our elementary schools, and Crusader Community Health. Asked about his strenghths, in the classroom, Fred replied, “I’d like to think one of my strengths in the classroom is that of “humane rigor”, for lack of a better term. I want to push students a bit beyond where they might think they’re able to go while realizing that students come with a wide range of interests and abilities.” He has had long-time interests in woodworking, classical music, reading, and travel, and he enjoys time with his smart and beautiful granddaughter. 

Email: fred.hadley@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Rhonda Hanley
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Grade 1 Co-Teacher
B.S. from Illinois State University
M.A. in Teaching from Aurora University
M.E.L. in Administration from Aurora University

Rhonda is a veteran teacher with experience educating students ranging from pre-kindergarten to masters-level students. She has worked as a first and second grade teacher, a media specialist, a technology trainer, and a coordinator of professional development. Rhonda joined the Keith faculty in 2005. In 2008, she was a Golden Apple Finalist and in 2012 she was the recipient of Keith’s Distinguished Faculty Award. Outside the classroom she enjoys reading, gardening, her grandchildren and traveling with her family.

Email: rhonda.hanley@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Keith Hatfield
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Upper School Mathematics
B.S. in Mathematics/Mathematics Education from Northern Illinois University

Prior to joining the faculty, Mr. Hatfield completed one year of teaching at Hononegah High School and two years at Danville High School in Danville, Illinois. From teaching credit recovery courses to AP Calculus, Mr. Hatfield has helped students from varying academic backgrounds successfully achieve in all levels of math coursework. He thoroughly enjoys teaching the highest levels of high school mathematics courses. Mr. Hatfield completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics Education from Northern Illinois University. He and his long-term partner, Samantha, are recent parents to son, Dakota. In his free time, Mr. Hatfield enjoys playing board games with his friends and family.

Email: keith.hatfield@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Leslie (Les) Haygood
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Middle and Upper School French & Upper School Language and Composition
B.A. in English and French from Manchester University
Diplôme des études françaises from Université de Nancy II (Nancy, France)
M.A. in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis
M.A. in French Literature from University of Notre Dame
Ph.D. course work and ABD status from University of Wisconsin-Madison

Les has taught all levels of French language, culture, and literature at the university level and has also taught middle school. He has taught at Notre Dame, UW-Madison, and Lawrence University. He has lived and studied abroad at several points during his career and has taught English at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in France. Les’ pedagogical approach to language teaching focuses on giving students proficiency in oral communication, grammar, written expression, and cultural understanding. As a medievalist, Les is active in the International Courtly Literature Society (ICLS) and the International Arthurian Society, North American Branch (IASNAB). Les is passionate about French cooking and baking and sharing his love for French cuisine with friends, colleagues, and students. He also enjoys reading, writing fiction and non-fiction, and spending time with his cats in his spare time.

Email: les.haygood@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Dr. Patrick Hogan
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Middle and Upper School Latin and Spanish & Upper School Language and Composition
B.A. in Classics from Lawrence University
M.A. and Ph.D. in Classical Philology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Patrick has taught Latin and Ancient Greek at a number of colleges and universities in Michigan, including Hope College and Hillsdale College, and studied overseas in Rome and Athens.  He states that his strength in the classroom is his strong desire to help his students learn. Many of Dr. Hogan’s professors in graduate school noted that he possesses a genuine and contagious enthusiasm for his subject which he tries every day to communicate to his students. Dr. Hogan is an active member in the American Philological Association and maintains an active research regimen focused on imperial Greek and Latin literature, especially works of grammar and philology.  He enjoys composing his own Latin poems, some of which he has published, and memorizing Vergilian verse.  Travelling and learning and teaching languages are his great passion – currently he is learning Hebrew in his free time.

Email: patrick.hogan@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823 


Laura Kurich
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K-3
B.A. in Elementary Education from Lindenwood University

Mrs. Laura Kurich is enjoying her third year at Keith teaching the K-3 students. Laura is a graduate from Lindenwood University with a B.A. Degree in Elementary Education. Laura has been a swim instructor, and for many years was a Keith summer camp counselor. Outside of the classroom, Laura enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book, and watching sports with her husband, Dan. Her passion for teaching is undeniably deep!  She looks forward to developing an enthusiasm for learning with all her Keith students .

Email: laura.kurich@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Dr. Ron Lee
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Upper School A.P. History
B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago
Ph.D.and M.A. in Political Science from Boston College

Dr. Lee served as Head of the Middle and Upper School from June 2009 to July 2017.  He helped put Keith in the national spotlight when, in 2006, the College Board announced that Keith had the strongest Advanced Placement U.S. History course in the world among schools its size. In 2007, Dr. Lee’s AP European History course was rated strongest in the country among schools its size. Dr. Lee is currently an Assistant Professor and Department Chair at Rockford University, where he teaches courses in political science and history. He has also taught at Boston College, Michigan State University, and Kenyon College. Dr. Lee has been published in the political science journal Polity and has edited and been a contributing writer for high school readers on government, the Constitution, American history, and world politics. He continues to teach AP courses at Keith when his schedule allows.  His favorite activities outside of school are reading, watching sports, and spending time with his English bulldog, RJ.

Email: ron.lee@keithschool.net


Dr. Beth Lipton
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Middle and Upper School Mathematics and Science
B.A. in Biochemistry from University of Iowa
Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Iowa

Dr. Lipton has an extensive research background in lipid metabolism in the setting of diabetes and atherosclerosis. Beth has tutored students in numerous math and science courses, has taught at Rock Valley College, and joined Keith in 2005. She and her husband have three children, two of whom are Keith graduates, and one who is currently enrolled in the 12th grade. Beth’s strengths as a teacher include having command of her classroom and working hard to engage all students in the material being taught. While there never seems to be enough time to teach everything she would like to, the time that is allotted must be well-spent. Beth expects all students to come to every class prepared and ready to learn. She also uses a variety of different methods and techniques in her teaching to engage students in different ways. In addition to her classroom work, Beth advises the Key Club. In her spare time Beth enjoys reading books of all kinds, watching her children play volleyball, and spending time with her family.

Email: beth.lipton@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Debra Lunnon
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Fourth Grade
B.S. in Liberal Arts Cal State University
M.S. in Teaching and Learning Nova Southwestern University

Mrs. Lunnon brings a wealth of teaching experience to the Grade 4 classroom. Most recently, she was on the faculty of the North Boone School District where she has taught since 2007. She earned a Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning for Reading from the Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Cal State University. Additionally, Mrs. Lunnon completed advanced education earning a gifted education certificate. Originally from California, Mrs. Lunnon taught fifth grade in the San Jacinto Unified School District for several years. She has also served as Executive Director of the California Southwest Boys and Girls Club. Mrs. Lunnon’s son, Edwin, is a Keith Middle School student.

Email: debra.lunnon@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Dr. Sherrilyn Martin
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Middle and Upper School Latin and Ancient Greek
Foreign Language Department Chair
B.A. in ancient Greek from Wilson College
M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Cincinnati
A year of Independent study at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Dr. Martin was the Illinois Latin Teacher of the Year in 1993, was a recipient of a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Foreign Language Teaching in 2001, and was named a Claes Nobel Teacher of Distinction in 2007. She is active in the Rockford Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and enjoys traveling in the Mediterranean, reading murder mysteries, and eating chocolate. In addition to her work in the classroom, she is advisor to the Interact Club and coach of the Certamen Teams.  She is currently in here 47th year as a faculty member.

Email: sherrilyn.martin@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8850 x166


Matthew McGinnis
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Upper School English Literature
B.A. in English Literature from Loyola University Chicago
M.Ed in Secondary Education from Loyola University Chicago

A 2008 graduate of Keith Country Day School, Mr. McGinnis has returned from a long sojourn in the big city to teach English Literature to our Upper School students.  He received his training as an educator in the Chicago Public Schools, and has studied the paths of the editor and textual critic, focusing on the works of Shakespeare and the poets of the Middle Ages.  In his spare time, he enjoys making music on his old piano, playing cards, and walking in the grey morning.

Email: matthew.mcginnis@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8850 x149


Elizabeth McGraw

K-4 Co-Teacher
B.S. in Elementary Education from Rockford University

Elizabeth received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with middle school endorsements from Rockford University. This is her second year at Keith and her first year with the K-4 class, co-teaching with Kelly Golich. Elizabeth’s primary goal is to push her students to the highest levels of academic excellence while enjoying their time in school. She believes that educating a child is one of the greatest honors and responsibilities one can be given. She wants to give her students the tools to think critically and contribute to the world around them to truly develop their thriving young minds. She attempts to make academic work challenging through real world connections. A challenging, yet fun work environment can be expected in her classroom. In her free time, Elizabeth is an avid fitness advocate, and teaches classes at local fitness centers. She enjoys being active and takes as many classes as she can to improve personal talents and skills.

Email: elizabeth.mcgraw@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Mary McNamara Bernsten
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Middle and Upper School Fine Arts
B.A. in Studio Art from Lawrence University
Continuing Ed from University of Wisconsin, Madison and Rockford University

Mary McNamara Bernsten is a working artist, small business owner, and art instructor. Most recently Mary served as Spectrum Progressive School’s Art Specialist and is currently Artist in Residence at the Rockford Art Museum. Mary founded I HEART ART, INC. with her mother and sister—a small business that has provided Summer Art Camps and year-round art workshops for children in Winnebago County for nearly ten years. Mary is founder and owner of 4hooligans — colorful textile product design for children and adults with images inspired by her children. In addition to making art and teaching art, Mary has served as a Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Commissioner for six years. Asked about her strengths in the classroom, Mary says,”My strength in the classroom is my relationship with each student—getting to know what it is that interests them and why. Then my purpose changes to helping the students reflect on those interests and put their feelings and reactions into their work—sharing their inside world with the outside world.” Mary believes her job as a parent, teacher, and member of the community is to bring energy and possibility to every day. In her classroom, it is Mary’s hope to open the door to young artists and art appreciators for a lifetime of enjoyment. Mary and her husband, Ben Bernsten, have four boys, two bunnies and a wildly affectionate dog. Mary is passionate about healthy living, loves to cook and bake, enjoys her garden, practicing yoga/meditation and running around with her family.

Email: mary.mcnamarabernsten@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Marissa Meyer
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Lower School Performing Arts and Music
B.A. in Theatre from Western Illinois University

Mrs. Meyer has an intense passion for theatre, music, and singing, and a great appreciation for all art forms. Mrs. Meyer has been an Irene Ryan nominee eight times for outstanding performances, and was a top 16 Regional finalist three consecutive years at the American College Theatre Festival. She has been in more than 50 shows performing in Rockford, Chicago, and surrounding areas. She has been onstage locally at the former New American Theatre. In addition to her stage credits, Mrs. Meyer’s teaching experiences have included drama/music camps, outreach programs, summer programs, after-school drama instruction and acting classes at New American Theatre. She has been a regular consultant to the Rockford Arts Council and Boone County Arts Council where she consistently has been a featured artist. Mrs. Meyer not only loves to teach but also loves to learn, having just completed classes at Chicago’s Second City Training Center. Mrs. Meyer and her husband have three children, and a very happy golden retriever.

Email: marissa.meyer@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Paige Mount
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Kindergarten
B.S. in Elementary Education from National Louis University
M.S. in Educational Leadership from Aurora University (In-Process)

Ms. Mount comes to the Keith community from the Crystal Lake area. Ms. Mount has been teaching various grade levels for five years. While in Arizona, Ms. Mount taught kindergarten in a charter school. She enjoys working with young learners, and Ms. Mount believes in a very child-centered classroom. She routinely invites visitors to the classroom to enrich the educational experiences of her students. She wants her students and parents to know that her favorite color is green, her favorite season is autumn, her favorite food is pizza, and her favorite grade is kindergarten.

Email: paige.mount@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Emily Myers
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Second Grade
B.S. in Elementary Education/Early Childhood from University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Ms. Emily Myers joined the Keith Lower School faculty in 2015. A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education/Early Childhood. Emily believes she has strengths in building classroom spirit and engaging students with SMART board technology. Her teaching philosophy includes incorporating differentiated instruction to meet the diverse needs of students, including those with disabilities and exceptionalities. Along with her passion for teaching, Emily has years of experience in coaching basketball at all different levels and age groups. In her spare time, she enjoys golfing locally with her grandparents, baking, and cheering on the Chicago Bears!

Email: emily.myers@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Dr. James Norris

Head of School
B.A. in Psychology from Benedictine University
M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Michigan State University
M.P.A. in Public Administration & Policy from State University of New York – Albany
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from University of La Verne

Dr. Norris began his career in education teaching middle school math, science, and English. In addition to starting one of the nation’s first charter schools, he led independent schools in California and Florida. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in business ethics and organizational behavior and has consulted with schools, districts, professional associations, regional education laboratories, and universities on curricular and school reform issues. Dr. Norris co-founded and sold a light manufacturing company and advised business owners and nonprofit boards on the implementation of best practices. He strongly believes that the most important part of the educational process (outside the home) is the relationship between teachers and students. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Eileen, and their four children. His interests include community building, building science, and bicycling.

Email: james.norris@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Robert Nunez
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Athletic Director
B.S. in Physical Education from Western Illinois University
M.A. in Education Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University

Rob leads all Keith faculty in their commitment to improving Keith programs. His student-focused leadership has pushed the creation of many after-school clubs and activities for students in all grade levels. Most evenings, Rob is on the campus coordinating athletic and co-curricular events. Prior to joining the Keith faculty, Rob taught for 10 years in the Rockford Public School system, and coached football at Guilford and East High Schools. Rob also coached baseball at East High School and wrestling at Belvidere High School. At Western Illinois University he was a four-year letterman in baseball in which he was named to the all-conference team his junior year and was team captain his senior year. Rob was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in 1997 and has been nominated for the Golden Apple Award nine times. His favorite activities are cooking, being an avid aquarist and watching his daughters Alexandria and Zoe play volleyball.

Email: rob.nunez@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8850 x134


Erin Philpott
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Middle School and Upper School Drama and Theatre
B.A. in Theatre from Columbia College Chicago

Erin’s love of theatre began 32 years ago when she was enrolled in the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) program here in Rockford. That education was the base for the fulfilling life she has built both on and off stage. While still attending college, she began a professional career with numerous theatre companies in Chicago. Since returning to the Rockford area in 2009, Erin has been keeping busy with the local theatre circuit as an actor, director, and fight choreographer. Regionally she has been seen on many stages including Artists’ Ensemble Theatre, Pec Playhouse, and (usual) Suspects.

When not on stage, she teaches acting and stage combat at Spotlight Youth Theatre and CAPA Rockford. Additionally, Erin creates summer performances for Artists’ Ensemble and Imagination Station with the Park District, directs theatre camps, hosts workshops, and choreographs fights wherever she is needed.

Email: erin.philpott@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Carlos Ramos
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Lower School Spanish
B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Northern Illinois University

Mr. Carlos Ramos joined the Keith faculty immediately after graduation from Northern Illinois University. Mr. Ramos earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in psychology and Spanish. Mr. Ramos is a native Spanish speaker born in Mexico. The oldest of seven children, Mr. Ramos understands the value of teaching students collaboration, facilitation, and mediation skills. His personal philosophy includes teaching children values and actions that help them to understand cultural and ethnic diversity. He is a familiar face to Keith families as he has served as Mrs. Golich’s Junior Kindergarten assistant while enrolled at Northern Illinois University. Mr. Ramos has volunteered as a tutor at La Voz Latina and the American Red Cross. When not continuing his collegiate education, Mr. Ramos enjoys playing sand and mud volleyball, comedy movies, and reading non-fiction books.

Email: carlos.ramos@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Rachel Rebsom
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Director of Wellness and Student Engagement
B.S. in Exercise Science and Health from University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
M.A.T. in Physical Education from Rockford College

Mrs. Rebsom influences wellness and fitness programs across the Keith campus. She is responsible for developing programs that create awareness, motivation and inspiration for a healthy and productive school lifestyle. She provides the tools that help students, faculty and staff adapt and maintain a well-rounded healthy lifestyle to ensure academic and personal success.  In addition to these responsibilities, Mrs. Rebsom is responsible for student leadership and engagement, starting at the lower school. She also assists new families with enrollment and transition to Keith Country Day School.

Mrs. Rebsom started her Cougar tenure as a Lower School physical education teacher.  In 2011, she joined the Middle/Upper School faculty to teach physical education and health. Mrs. Rebsom’s comprehensive knowledge of all Keith programs has served her well as she has held various administrative positions.  In her spare time, Rachel enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her family. She also coaches several Keith athletic programs.

Email: rachel.rebsom@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8850 x135


James (Jim) Schoepski
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Upper School Social Studies
B.A. in Political Science-International Relations from Northern Illinois University
M.S.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University

Mr. Schoepski has been a teacher for the last 32 years at Belvidere High School. During his tenure there he taught a wide variety of subjects and grade levels including world history, American history (both regular and A.P.), economics, government, social problems, current events and a world studies curriculum which he designed and was instrumental in its implementation. He was also active as a coach and advisor in many areas at Belvidere High School with a high degree of success including Student Council, Scholastic Bowl and Debate. Mr. Schoepski was a 2015 Golden Apple recipient.

Mr. Schoepski is enjoying his first year at Keith and teaching U.S. Government, Ancient and Pre-Modern World History, Ancient World History and World Religions.

Email: james.schoepski@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823


Ellen Schubert
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Office Manager and Technology Advisor
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rockford College
Master of Arts in Teaching from Rockford College

Mrs. Ellen Schubert is a lifelong learner who has a passion for academic excellence. Mrs. Schubert is a Rockford native who graduated as the valedictorian from Rockford East High School. After earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Rockford College, Mrs. Schubert decided to make Rockford her primary residence. Mrs. Schubert believes the role of instructional technology specialist best utilizes her business background with her educational training to engage students in 21st century learning skills and strategies. She enjoys advising teachers on developing applications for integrating technology standards into core academic subjects. In her leisure time, Mrs. Schubert enjoys spending time with her family (she has a young son and baby girl), reading books, and drinking coffee.

Email: ellen.schubert@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8850 x118


Linda Smith
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Fine Arts Department Chair
Choral Director in Middle and Upper School

B.A. in Music from Brigham Young University
M.A. in Music Education from Catholic University of America

Linda has been an integral member of the Performing Arts department for several years. She has taught music in the Rockford area for more than 25 years, she is the Assistant Director of Rock Valley Children’s Choir and has been the choir director at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints for 25 years. Linda is confident and knowledgeable in her subject matter and curriculum, drawing on her 40 years’ experience in her field. She is a passionate educator. Linda has a master’s in Music Education from Catholic University and earned a B.A. from BYU. In addition to teaching, Linda has also been a soloist with the USAF Singing Sergeants, the Rockford Bach Chamber Singers, the Rock Valley College Community Chorale and the Rock Valley College Women’s Ensemble.  Asked about her passions in life, Linda states “I love music. I love performing it, learning it, teaching it, conducting it, sharing it, and listening to it. Other than that, I love my family, my animals, and fun physical activities such as playing racquetball and rollerblading.” She finds Keith School to be a positive and nurturing environment where she has been able to grow and flourish.

Email: linda.smith@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8850 x122


Robert Sunday
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Lower School Art
Upper School Ceramics and Murals
Fine Arts and Ceramics Major at Rockford College

Robert has been a full-time artist in the Rockford area for 30 years, consistently earning awards at shows and exhibitions throughout the United States. In fact, he was asked by the Clinton administration to produce an ornament that is now in the Smithsonian for the White House Christmas tree. Robert’s artwork is in corporate collections in Tokyo, Moscow, Singapore, and many major cities in the United States.  In addition to teaching at Keith, he currently conducts post graduate workshops throughout the Midwest and Hawaii. Robert has been featured in national magazine reviews and is known as one of the finest raku pottery artists in the country. Robert’s wife, Carol, is also a full-time artist. They both enjoy cooking and gardening at their 1840’s stone house in Roscoe.

Email: robert.sunday@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823