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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Math Enrichment Specialist
B.A. from University of Illinois
M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University
After college, he completed USAF pilot training and flew the C-130 aircraft worldwide. Larry has worked in corporate America for many years, retiring in 2007. His love for connecting mathematics to daily applications attracted him to Keith. He has also served as an instructor in business courses at Rock Valley College for over 20 years. In his leisure time Larry enjoys reading, sports, and traveling.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x121
Middle School/Upper School Mathematics and Science Instructor
B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
M.A.T. in Teaching from Rockford College
Prior to switching careers, Mrs. Anderson enjoyed an extensive career as a production engineer for a local aerospace company. Drawn to education since her undergraduate work, Mrs. Anderson is joining Keith School as a teacher of mathematics and science. Mrs. Anderson understands the importance of bringing problem-based learning into the math and science curriculum. Now that she has completed a master’s degree in teaching, Mrs. Anderson looks forward to revisiting other passions, including training her two Australian Shepherds, reading, yoga, and a new hobby of learning to play the Clarke Tin Whistle.
Mary Ann Anderson
Lower School Strings
Attended Rock Valley College, DePaul University and Triton College
Suzuki strings training at Trinity College in Deerfield
A violinist, Mary Ann played in the Rockford Symphony Orchestra for many years. She is on the faculty of the Rockford College Music Academy and directs the academy’s string and piano camps. Mary Ann enjoys attending performances for many art forms and cooking.
B.S. from George Mason University in Laboratory Science
M.S. from George Mason University in Information Management
M.A.T. from Rockford College in Teaching
Faye Bahmanyar is new to the faculty but she is hardly new to Keith Country Day School. Faye’s son Navid graduated from Keith in 2011 as a National Merit Scholar and her son Alex attends Keith’s Middle School. Faye will again be co-teaching Grade 1 with Rhonda Hanley. In addition to bringing high expectations for academic and social learning, she hopes to create an engaged classroom for both students and parents. A graduate from George Mason University with a bachelor’s in Laboratory Science and a master’s in Information Management, Faye earned a second master’s degree in teaching from Rockford College. Prior to joining the Keith faculty, her classroom experience included teaching kindergarten through second grade students. She integrates her extensive business experiences into math and science instruction. Faye has worked as a senior systems analyst for commercial billing systems at MCI Telecommunications Corporation in Arlington, Virginia and the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. She has also been a systems consultant for different projects at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x190
Elizabeth (Betty) Benoit
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. A native of Michigan, Betty earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University and her M.S. from Northern Illinois University. She is currently a resident of Roscoe and has two daughters, Grace and Joy.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x191
B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education from Concordia University
M.A. in Education and Leadership from St. Xavier University
Mrs. Brahmstedt was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award for 2014. For many years, Jan has taught fifth grade at Keith. She now serves as the enrichment specialist for students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Jan works in a supportive role to Lower School faculty members in designing strategies for compacting and accelerating a personalized curriculum. Her impressive teaching credentials well qualify her to serve as the lead teacher of the Lower School. Jan enjoys doing special projects involving youth and adult education at her church, and presenting topics at women’s and marriage retreats. Jan also likes boating, gardening, quilting, and spending time with her husband, four children, and extended family.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x177
History Department Chair
Middle and Upper School Social Studies and Economics Teacher
B.A. in History and Anthropology from Marquette University
The energetic Kristin Burns is in her sixth year at Keith, and is the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award. A graduate from Marquette University with degrees in History and Anthropology, Kristin teaches the middle school social studies courses, the senior Government and World Religions courses, as well as the middle and upper school economics courses. In addition she runs the school Facebook page, coaches the middle school scholastic and quiz bowl teams, and advises the Model UN delegation. Prior to joining the Keith faculty, she worked in the Harlem district, Winnebago district, 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, the Golden Apple nominee enjoys spending time with her husband and their two rescued basset hounds as well as cheering on the Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x175
Science Department Chairman
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 College
The co-recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award, 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. David is a guest instructor at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, and viewed as one of the Conservatory’s most popular instructors. He enjoys cycling, hiking, camping, rugby, and listening to music. 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.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x121
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 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: 815-399-8850 x151
Dr. Debra Dimke
Head of School
M.S. in Educational Administration/Special Education from Northern Illinois
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Western Illinois University
Dr. Debra Dimke was named the 16th Head of School at Keith in July of 2012. An outstanding educator and administrator for more than 34 years, Dr. Dimke oversees Keith’s curriculum, faculty, admissions, finances, development program and communications. She is a graduate from Northern Illinois University with a master’s degree in Educational Administration/Special Education. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western Illinois University. Dr. Dimke has been an executive administrator for more than 16 years working in the Peoria School District, District U-46, and the Rockford School District. During her public school years, she was instrumental in establishing several new programs such as developing curricula for bilingual, gifted and special education students, implementing instructional management systems for principals and teachers, and improving college readiness initiatives. If the name Dimke sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. Dr. Dimke’s husband (Tim) is the Executive Director of the Rockford Park District. Their son, Derek, a former Keith School student graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in finance. In 2012, he finished his collegiate football career with the University of Illinois as the school’s all-time record holder in field goal accuracy. He is pursuing a career in the National Football League, but still is a frequent Keith visitor.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x115
Math Enrichment Specialist
B.S. in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University
Upon receiving his degree in mathematics from Northern Illinois University, Mr. Doherty began his teaching career at Belvidere High School where he taught Algebra, 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 is the math enrichment specialist serving students in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5. He believes he challenges the minds of the Lower School students so they develop reasoning, critical thinking, and problem solving skills through everyday connections. Mr. Doherty sees mathematical concepts everywhere on the Keith campus, and he is eager to teach through exploratory learning strategies that will deepen mathematical understanding. When he is not engaging the Lower School students in mathematical thinking, he teaches in the MS/US Mathematics Department.
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. After earning her B.A. in Spanish and French from the University of Hawaii, she worked on pre-doctoral work at the University of Madison, attended Pomona College and received a post-master’s certification in teaching from the 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: 815-399-8850 x106
Upper School Mathematics
A.A. from Rock Valley College
B.S. from Northern Illinois University in Mathematics
Brad began teaching after earning a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University. Prior to joining Keith, he worked for the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) where he helped coach the scholastic bowl team to two consecutive IHSA Class AA Scholastic Bowl State Championships and two top 25 finishes at the national championships. A member of the honors program while attending Rock Valley College, Brad also works as a freelance writer in addition to his teaching career. Most recently, he wrote and edited questions for the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC for college, middle and upper school students. Brad has experience working with students of all ability levels and excels in a small classroom setting.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x187
Social Studies and Spanish Teacher in the Middle and Upper School
B.A. in History and Spanish from Gonzaga University
Mrs. Michele Gahan will be joining the Social Studies and Foreign Languages Departments. Mrs. Gahan earned the prestigious National Board Teaching Certificate while in California. She has previously taught social studies, language arts, Spanish, and U.S. history for the Marina del Rey School District. Her educational background includes graduate work at Rockford University and Sierra Nevada College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a dual major in History and Spanish from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Mrs. Gahan is currently working on her reading endorsement at Rockford University.
B.A in Elementary Education from University of Illinois
Kelly brings a lengthy resume of experience with past jobs in Chicago, South Beloit and Rockford. The Chicago native has taught junior kindergarten, kindergarten, second, and fourth grades as well as music. She has earned the honor of being the “most creative” Lower School faculty member. When visiting Kelly’s classroom, it becomes apparent that her thematic teaching quickly engages her students and their families. Kelly and her husband have two children. They enjoy traveling, hiking, the theater, and family time.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x109
First Grade and Lower School Coordinator
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.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x110
Middle School Language Arts Teacher
B.S. in Education from Central Michigan University
M.A. in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University
Certifications — (K-5, all subjects), (K-8, self contained classroom), (Grades 6-8, Language Arts – BX)
Kristine joined the Keith faculty in 2010 after spending two years working as the fifth grade teacher at Charlotte Country Day School. Her experience in education is global having worked at the Hong Kong International School from 2005 to 2008 and at the Thai-Chinese International School in Bangkok, Thailand from 2003 to 2005. Kristine started her career in Michigan working in both Kalamoazoo and Mattawan. In her spare time she enjoys reading, running, spending time with her family, and pursuing professional development opportunities. In fact, during her 13-year career Kristine has completed more than 40 seminars, courses, and enrichment programs to benefit her work with students.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x104
Grade 2 Teacher
B.A. in Media Management from Columbia College
M.A. in Elementary Education from Rockford University
Mrs. Jennifer Hickey is our new Grade 2 teacher. Mrs. Hickey returns to the Rockford area after teaching for seven years at the Imagine Charter School in Boynton Beach, Florida. While teaching first grade, Mrs. Hickey also served as the Primary Team leader, a faculty mentor, the Reading Club advisor, and Kiwanis Kids program sponsor. Her teaching philosophy includes learning through civic engagement. She hopes to involve her Keith students in service learning initiatives such as Operation Christmas Child, Thanksgiving Basket Building, and Angel Tree Adoption. Mrs. Hickey earned a Master of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Rockford University and a Bachelor of Arts in Media Management from Columbia College. Mrs. Hickey, and husband Jason, enjoy entertaining their Labrador puppy, Leo. In her leisure time, Mrs. Hickey also loves to cook — and of course read!
Director of Student Development
B.S. from Bowling Green State University in Child and Family Studies
M.A. from Bowling Green State University in College Student Personnel
The Keith community is fortunate to have Anne serve as our Director of Student Development. She has developed a comprehensive college guidance curriculum that is unique to the northern Illinois area. Anne is also regarded as the “leader of school spirit” throughout the Keith campus. Anne earned her bachelor’s in Child and Family Studies and her master’s in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University. She began her career in education as an Admissions Coordinator for Loyola University of Chicago. Following her stint with the Ramblers, she joined Indiana University as the Director of Student Activities, supervising student programs and events, training peer leaders for campus orientations and advising student organizations. Later in her tenure, Anne moved into a new position for both IU and Purdue University as an Academic Advisor and Outreach Recruitment Coordinator where she coordinated enrollment initiatives, worked with prospective families and counseled students on future careers. Anne is a long-time supporter of Keith. Her daughter Sarah was a member of the Class of 2010 and daughter Grace is enrolled in the Upper School.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x124
B.S. in Family and Child Studies from Northern Illinois University
M.A.T. in Elementary Education from National Louis University — Wheeling
Stephanie Johnson brings energy and excitement about learning to the entire Lower School campus. A day in our kindergarten classroom will foster lively conversation with all Keith families. She is an expert in developing integrated lessons that emphasize hands-on learning through the use of manipulative and sensory exploration. Stephanie grew up in Illinois and started her educational career at Jefferson Elementary School in Huntley, Illinois. When not planning interesting activities for her students, Stephanie enjoys time with her family.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x149
Lower School Science/Academic Support Specialist
Bachelor of Arts in Elementary/Secondary Education from Concordia College
Master of Arts In Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia College
Mr. Koehler has been a teacher, tutor, coach, and mentor in Canadian and American private and public schools for three decades. His innovative teaching was sought by Rock Valley College as he has been a Whiz Kids instructor since 1995. Mr. Koehler’s varied and dynamic instructional expertise will bring excitement to the Lower School as he will deeply engage students in demonstrating critical and creative thinking as well as learning collaboration and communication skills. Mr. Koehler’s teaching philosophy centers on hands-on learning projects utilizing the LEGO robotics and engineering curriculum. One of his goals will be to start a First Lego League with LS students. You will see Mr. Koehler in the Science Lab and in after-school clubs.
Dr. Ron Lee
Middle and Upper Head of School, AP History
B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago
Ph.D.and M.A. in Political Science from Boston College
In May of 2009, Dr. Lee was named Head of Middle and Upper School after helping put Keith Country Day School in the national spotlight. In 2006, the College Board indicated Keith had the strongest Advanced Placement U.S. History course in the world among schools its size. In 2007, Ron’s AP European History course was rated #1. Following his promotion to the administration, Ron scaled back his teaching schedule and now only teaches the AP courses within the history department. During the summers, he teaches political science at Rockford College and previously 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. Dr. Lee enjoys reading, music, sports and has recently become the proud owner of a puppy named RJ.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x174
Music, French, Latin Instructor
B.S.F.S., cum laude, in International History from Georgetown University
Mr. Lindvall, a 2009 graduate of Keith Country Day School, returns to the Keith community after obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Lindvall will spend his instructional day in both the Lower School and the Middle/Upper school teaching French and Latin. Mr. Lindvall will support the performing arts curriculum by directing a lower school choir. While at Georgetown, Mr. Lindvall toured extensively both nationally and internationally with the Georgetown University Chamber Singers, and was a member of the History Honors Fraternity Phi Alpha Theta. In addition, Mr. Lindvall is proud to have been the inaugural recipient of the Certificate in Classical Studies from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. In his spare time, he likes reading, watching movies, and cooking.
Dr. Beth Lipton
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 the areas of diabetes and atherosclerosis. She has tutored students in numerous math and science courses and has taught at Rock Valley College. She and her husband have three children, one of whom is a Keith graduate, and two others currently enrolled in the Middle/Upper School. In addition to her classroom work, Beth mentors the upper school scholastic bowl program, which has placed third in the Class 1A state finals for two consecutive years. Beth enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and spending time with her family.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x142
B.S. in Elementary Education from Rockford College
Mrs. Lozdoski is excited to join the Keith faculty as the Grade 5 teacher. She has teaching endorsements in elementary education, language arts, and business education. She has previously taught at a Rockford-area charter school. She has extensive experience designing instructional programs that are personalized to the learning styles of her students. She has served as a dance instructor, volunteered with the Girl Scouts, and has been an enrichment tutor. She enjoys reading, dancing, traveling, and family time.
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, will join Keith’s grade 5 class.
B.A. in Theater/Speech Communication and Elementary Education with Music Endorsements
Gloria brings over 20 years of teaching experience ranging from preschool through 12th grade in the areas of music, drama, and speech, and worked for five years as the vocal and music director of the Clock Tower Dinner Theatre. She has been a fixture at Keith theater as the vocal and music director for the last six years for the musicals and instrumental support for the plays. Her time at Keith will expand to Lower School performing arts as she continues her work on the mainstage for Middle School/Upper School productions.
B.A. in Spanish from Loras College
It is with great excitement that we welcome Mrs. Angela Malavolti back as our LS Spanish instructor. The multi-talented Mrs. Malavolti started her teaching career as a bilingual teacher in a dual language immersion program. We have invited her to join the faculty, again, after taking time off to work on another publication. As a published children’s author, Mrs. Malavolti will be sharing her deep passion for literature and language with all the LS students. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and zumba fitness.
Dr. Sherrilyn Martin
Middle and Upper School Latin and Ancient Greek
Chair of the Foreign Language Department
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. She has logged more than 40 years at Keith making the longest tenured faculty member.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x166
Middle and Upper School Band
B.S. in Music Education from University of Indianapolis
M.S. in Secondary Education from Northern Illinois University
Prior to joining Keith, Martin spent 33 years at Eisenhower Middle School as the Band Director. During his tenure, more than 2000 middle school students participated in the program, many of which earned excellent or superior ratings at music festivals throughout the Midwest. In addition to his work at Eisenhower, Martin also taught at Guilford High School as a brass instructor, worked with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, and has instructed several other performance groups in Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin and Rockford. A past nominee of the Those Who Excel and Golden Apple Awards, Martin and his wife live in Rockford. They have three daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, riding motorcycles and fishing.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x184
Upper School English
Bachelor of Arts from Northern Illinois University
Master of Arts in Teaching from Rockford University
Ms. McMullen has always had a deep love for prose and poetry. She is highly motivated to share her passion for literature and the English language with her students. Ms. McMullen began her teaching career at Rockford Christian School in 2005, where she taught high school English, newspaper, speech, and English for international students. She also does freelance editing work for various publications, including a novel and magazine articles. Her creative son, Liam, attends Keith’s Lower School. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys cooking, reading, and scouring record stores for minty vinyl.
Performing Arts Instructor
B.A. in Theatre from Western Illinois University
Mrs. Marissa Meyer (Marissa Noel Swanson) is thrilled to join the amazing Keith faculty. 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. She is excited to meet Keith’s families. Mrs. Meyer and her husband have an almost-four-year-old son, a two-year-old daughter, and a very happy golden retriever.
Athletic Director, Assistant Head of Middle and Upper School
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. is favorite activities are cooking, being an avid aquarist and watching his daughters Alexandria and Zoe play volleyball.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x134
Middle and Upper School Theatre
Loyola University, Chicago
The Keith theater productions are absolutely emotionally engaging due to Jim’s ingenuity and creativity. Keith productions have been invited to state-level theatre festivals for many years. He has been an active artist in professional, educational, and community theatre for more than 30 years. As an actor, designer, stage manager, and director, he has been involved in more than 120 area productions. He served as the associate producer of Chuck Hoenes Productions at the Clock Tower Dinner Theatre from 1996-2001 and is currently on sabbatical as a company member of the Artists’ Ensemble Theater. From 2002 to 2006, he was a visiting theatre artist to second and fifth grades in the Rockford Public Schools and in 2006, he directed and designed the District 205 All-City Theatre production STARMITES. In 2007, he was nominated for a Mayor’s Arts Award.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x170
Dr. Jennifer Rea
B.A. from Michigan State University in English Literature
B.A. from State University of New York at Stony Brook in Art History
M.A. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in History/Irish Studies
Ph.D from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in English/Irish Studies
Jennifer is a beloved faculty member with all of our Middle/Upper School students. Her students frequently comment that her passion for literature is contagious and motivating. She confidently acknowledges that she will create excitement for reading literary selections in all courses. Jennifer and her husband have a daughter, Ella. A former Assistant Professor at Rockford College, Jennifer taught writing, advanced rhetoric and introduction to literature courses for the Regents since 2005. She has been published as both a poet and an author. Additionally, she is a member of the American Conference for Irish Studies, the Modern Language Association, and Children’s Books of Ireland.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x189
Middle and Upper School Physical Education, Health, Admissions Coordinator
B.S. in Exercise Science and Health from University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
M.A. in Physical Education from Rockford College
Rachel has influenced wellness and fitness programs across the campus. She started her Cougar tenure as a Lower School physical education teacher. In 2010, she joined the Middle/Upper School faculty to teach physical education and health. Rachel’s comprehensive knowledge of all Keith programs has served her well as the Admissions Coordinator. She personally assists all new families with the enrollment and transition-to-Keith process. In her spare time, Rachel coaches several Keith athletic programs.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x135
Lower School Technology
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 working with teachers on developing applications for integrating technology standards into core academic subjects. In her leisure time, Mrs. Schubert enjoys reading, drinking coffee, and cooking.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x154
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 is entering her fifth year at Keith. She has taught music in the Rockford area for more than 20 years. 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, Mendelssohn Chorale, the Rock Valley College Community Chorale and the Rock Valley College Women’s Ensemble.
Phone: 815-399-8850 x122
Arts Degree from Concordia University
Mrs. Sombke, adopted at 12 years of age from South Korea, learned two languages simultaneously — English and Music. An accomplished pianist and violinist, she has extensive experience teaching music to students of all ages. After attending college, she taught English classes in Japan where she gained a deep appreciation of the Japanese culture. Mrs. Sombke has been an English as a Second Language teacher as she is familiar with Korean and Japanese languages. Her early childhood teaching experiences have included the Montessori Private Academy and in the City of Rockford’s Head Start program. Additionally, she has taught for many years at the Music Academy of Rockford where she has instructed “Music Together,” keyboarding, music theory, and directed the chamber orchestra. Mrs. Sombke integrates the philosophies of Suzuki, Orff, and Kodaly into her music curriculum. She enjoys directing the handbell choir, adult choir, and instrument ensemble at her church in Belvidere. In her spare time she reads, knits, quilts, and of course, enjoys spending time with her husband and four children.
Lower and Middle School Art
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. In 2008, he was awarded Best of Show at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival for one of his pieces. 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: 815-399-8850 x137
Middle and Upper School Art and Fine, Creative, and Performing Arts Chairman
B.S. in Art Education from Bradley University
M.A.T. in Instructional Strategies from Rockford College
Lori is a past recipient of Keith’s Distinguished Faculty Award, has been recognized several times by Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and is a multiple Golden Apple nominee. Prior to working for Keith, she taught at Harlem Middle School, Malta High School, and Kishwaukee College. In addition to teaching, she serves on the Secondary Education Advisory Committee at Rockford College. In February, 2005, Lori enjoyed working for artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude on “The Gates” in Central Park, New York City. She is a Master Gardener and enjoys sailing, art in many forms, and spending time with her husband and her spoiled Bichon Frises.
Phone: 815-399-8859 x126
Middle and Upper School Instrumental Ensembles
Bachelor’s Degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, China
M.M. from Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University
Suzuki Teaching Certificates from Chicago Suzuki Academy and
American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
Hui has been an instructor at Keith since 1998 and a faculty member and director of the Vivaldi Orchestra at the Rockford College Music Academy since 1992. He is also a guest instructor in violin and viola at Highland Community College. He played viola in the Chicago Civic Symphony Orchestra for several years and has been with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra since 1989. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians and the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc. In his spare time he enjoys traveling.
B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sign Language from the University of Rochester
M.S. in Childhood Education from the Warner School of Education and Human Development, University of Rochester
Mrs. Welt knew she had a passion for education and children starting at a young age when she declared in second grade that she wanted to be a teacher. Ever since, she has worked with children in a variety of settings and capacities. She started mentoring high-risk students while she was in middle school and high school, and went on to serve as a counselor in a summer program for the same population. While in college, she focused her psychology coursework on child development and worked as an after-school counselor for a research-based program, a volunteer in a self-contained classroom, a teacher’s aide in a preschool classroom, and a test evaluator for a national standardized test developer. After graduating from her master’s program, Mrs. Welt was a lead preschool teacher in St. Louis before coming to the Rockford area with her husband. She joined the Keith family in 2004, serving as a second grade teacher. She is excited to switch gears and work with the smallest learners of Keith in the PreK program. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Welt enjoys spending time with her own young boys and husband, crafting, and reading.