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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Dr. Thompson Brandt
Thompson Brandt (1)
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.

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!

Phone: 815-399-8823

David Bye
Science Department Chair
Middle and Upper 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 has a daughter, Emery, and a son, Tyler, who are both Keith School students. To view David’s web site, click here.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Angelica Cerrato

LS Spanish

Angelica is working toward an Associate of Science degree from Rock Valley College, where she is also a member of the women’s soccer team. She left a lasting legacy at her alma mater, Jefferson High School, by establishing as her capstone project an event called “Breakfast with Parents,” where parents had the opportunity to eat breakfast with their children before school. In her free time, Angelica enjoys traveling, playing soccer, and spending time with her family. Angelica is bilingual, and she is excited to have the opportunity to share her love of the Spanish language and culture with the Keith lower school students this year.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Allison Decman
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Chris Doherty

Middle and Upper School Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Doherty has lived in Northern Illinois her whole life and worked at Keith for the past 17 years. She keeps our office running and helps students with requests big and small. Chris is married and she has four children and five grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys reading historical fiction, going fishing and photographing nature and her family. She and her husband, Ed, are trying to see every major league baseball park in the United States.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Tim Doherty
Director of Middle School and Upper School
Middle and Upper School Math Teacher

B.S. in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University
M.A. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix

Since arriving at Keith in 2013, Mr. Doherty has worked in a diverse range of capacities. He started as the Lower School Math enrichment teacher while assisting in the Business Office in Accounts Payable. The following year, he transitioned into teaching full time in the Middle and Upper School while also serving as the Math Department Chair for three years. Currently, Mr. Doherty is the Director of Middle and Upper School, and he teaches three Middle and Upper School math courses. Outside of school, Mr. Doherty enjoys family time, outdoor sports, mountain biking, and playing the bass guitar. 

Phone: 815-399-8823

Lindsey Duerr
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 is a fourth grader at Keith.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Apryle Evans
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Kelly Golich
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Shannon Gustafson

Director of Finance
B.S. in Accounting from Rockford University

Shannon Gustafson is the Director of Finance for Keith School and is excited to bring her depth of financial oversight experience and customer service mindset to our campus. Shannon previously served as the Operations Coordinator at Ticomix, where she managed accounts receivable and payable, ensured compliance with all state and federal financial requirements and provided monthly and annual financial reports. Shannon also worked at Business Advisors Group where she prepared a variety of corporate and personal tax returns, balanced books at year-end and assisted with annual budgeting. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Rockford University. Shannon is married to her high school sweetheart, Chad, and together they have a daughter named Alissa who will be a 3rd grader at Keith.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Dr. 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. 

Phone: 815-399-8823

Keith Hatfield

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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Leslie (Les) Haygood

Middle and Upper School French & Upper School English
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 various levels of French language, culture, and literature at the university level and has also taught middle school before arriving at Keith. 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 building 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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Dr. Patrick Hogan

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.

Phone: 815-399-8823 

Ashley Huff

B.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Westminster College

Ashley says that the Keith environment felt very familiar to her when she first visited the school as she herself attended a small, private school during her elementary and middle school years. This summer has been an eventful one for Ashley as she not only got married but also relocated with her husband from their home in central Missouri to the Rockford area. A passionate teacher, she is committed to building strong relationships with her students and providing them with meaningful educational experiences. Outside of school, Ashley loves to craft, hike, read, and watch movies with her husband.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Patty Kaufman

LS/MS/US Learning Resource
B.A. in Elementary Education from Rowan University
M.A. in Learning Disabilities from Rowan UniversityM.A. in Literacy Education from Rowan University

Patty brings more than 30 years of experience working with students at all age and grade levels to the position of Learning Resource Specialist. At Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, she received the Medallion Award for Excellence in Elementary Teaching. Patty is a certified Learning Disability Teacher/Consultant as well as a Reading/Literacy Specialist. She has worked in classrooms ranging from “special education” to “gifted.” Most recently, she served as Resource Teacher and Special Education Coordinator at the Spectrum Progressive School. This summer, Patty had the opportunity to attend the Writing Project through Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York. She is especially excited about becoming a part of the Keith family as her son, Michael, graduated from Keith in 2016, and she has always appreciated the experiences that Keith provided him. In her free time, Patty likes to read, attend music, theater, and sporting events, walk the family’s dog, Justin, and spend time with her husband and son on Lake Mendota, in Madison, Wisconsin. Additionally, she has a special interest in French language and culture, having spent a year living and attending school in France with her family when she was 12.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Laura Kurich

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 .

Phone: 815-399-8823

Dr. Ron Lee
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.


Debra Lunnon
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Dr. Sherrilyn Martin
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.

Phone: 815-399-8850 x166

Mary McNamara Bernsten

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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Marissa Meyer
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Jamie Mitchell

Junior Kindergarten
B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside
M.A. in Education from Aurora University

Jamie received her Early Childhood Certification from Concordia University in Wisconsin. She has been teaching since 2007 in a variety of elementary school ages. Jamie says that the most wonderful thing about teaching four-year-olds is seeing the tremendous progress that each child makes over the course of the year. Her goal is that each of her students will develop a love for learning and feel successful each and every day in the classroom. Jamie is proud to be teaching at Keith with a staff that is dedicated to academic excellence. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities with her family, especially at their cabin in Wisconsin.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Kelly Nestler

1st Grade
B.A. in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University

A native to northern Illinois, Kelly lives in Pecatonica with her husband, Ryan, and their four children, Andrew, Chloe, Lily, and Thomas. She has teaching endorsements in English, science, and social studies, and has taught 4th grade, 2nd grade, 1st grade and pre-school. When not teaching, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She is an avid reader and loves being outdoors with her family. She especially enjoys running, hiking, and camping. She is also a Girl Scout leader, the Venture Crew leader for her oldest two children, and a Cub Scout Den leader. Kelly is looking forward to an exciting year in the 1st grade classroom.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Robert Nunez
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.

Phone: 815-399-8850 x134

Nick Newcomer

US Science & MS/US Mathematics
B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – OshkoshM.A. in Learning Disabilities from Rowan UniversityM.A.T. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Iowa

Nick is not altogether new to Keith School. He has previously served as a substitute teacher in our lower school. Nick is excited to be joining the Keith family on a full-time basis. A teacher passionate about STEM education, he looks forward to helping students at a variety of grade levels make meaningful connections between math and science. Nick’s approach to instruction is to maintain a student-centered classroom built on the foundation of strong student-teacher relationships and close partnerships with families. A student-athlete in college, Nick is also excited to be joining the coaching staff of Keith’s cross country and track teams this year. In his spare time, Nick enjoys going on walks with his cats, backpacking through national parks, playing complicated board games, and experimental cooking with his wife.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Erin Philpott

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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Rachel Rebsom
Director of Wellness
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. 

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 spending time with her family. 

Phone: 815-399-8850 x117

James (Jim) Schoepski
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Linda Smith
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.

Phone: 815-399-8850 x122

Kaylynn Spencer

2nd Grade
B.A. in Humanities from Brigham Young University
M.A.T. from Rockford University

Kaylynn grew up in Oneonta, New York, in a big family – and loved it. She is the fifth of seven children. Her best friends are her siblings. Growing up, she and her siblings had great fun playing library, putting on plays, and making up their own outdoor games. Kaylynn and her husband moved to the Rockford area over ten years ago, and they have enjoyed raising their three children here. Upon graduating from BYU, Kaylynn worked directly with elementary school children as a museum educator. She also taught higher education for 10 years in Florida, New York, and Illinois. While teaching at Rockford University, she received her Master of Arts in Teaching. She was a substitute teacher in the Harlem School district for four years and previously taught fourth grade at St. Bernadette School. She loves teaching and is excited to teach second grade at Keith.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Robert Sunday
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.

Phone: 815-399-8823

Dr. Robert Willis

Interim Head of School
Ph.D., Education/Educational Administration, University of Minnesota
M.A., School Administration/Supervision, Seton Hall University (NJ)
B.S., Physical Education, Springfield College (MA)

Dr. Bob Willis is currently serving as the Interim Head of School and will do so until a succession plan finds a new full time Head of School. Dr. Willis led Rockford Public Schools through a visioning process that created the Readiness Rocks which continues to be the central focus for improvement.  Dr. Willis has also led school districts in Stillman Valley, Rockton, Riley, Des Plaines and Rock Island, and at one time served as the Executive Director of the Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross. He has a demonstrated ability to propel schools and districts forward through a dynamic leadership style, data-driven decision-making and creative problem solving. His experience, ideas and leadership philosophy align well with Keith’s goals.

Phone 815-399-8823