Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

Our Staff


Executive Team

Dr. Sheri L. Miller
Executive Director
B.A. Dillard University-Elementary Education; M.Ed. Prairie View A & M University Graduate School of Education-Educational Administration; Ph.D. Prairie View A & M University Graduate School of Education-Educational Leadership

Dr. Miller brings to Hawthorn a deep and abiding passion for educating students in urban communities. Spanning 27 years as an educator she has served as a teacher, principal and education executive in many of the largest school districts and charter organizations in the country. Dr. Miller's greatest gift to the kids she serves is her unwavering efforts to design and lead schools that allow students to live into their greatest potential and realize their wildest dreams. She is elated to bring that passion to Hawthorn. A native Houstonian who grew up with three older brothers and tremendous parents, she is a sports fanatic and uses exercise as a means of releasing stress. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, traveling to beautiful places, and curling up with a good mystery novel. She is the proud mother of an amazing 25 year old son named Ian, and the proud owner of a six pound Maltese that goes by the name B-Bop.

Dr. Robyn Wiens
B.A. Drake University - Journalism; M.Ed Harvard Graduate School of Education - Technology in Education; EdD University of Washington - Education Leadership and School Policy

Dr. Wiens is thrilled to be back in the St. Louis area after spending 12 years growing into her education career in charter and traditional schools in Boston and Seattle. She is passionate about creating a teaching and learning environment where students and teachers thrive. She has interests in culturally relevant pedagogy, teacher leadership, and student-centered decision-making. When away from Hawthorn, Dr. Wiens enjoys doing dramatic readings of Shel Silverstein poems with her 3 year old and 5 year old daughters, talking sports with her husband, and trying not to fall off the treadmill at Shred415 classes.

Ms. Julie Hercules
Dean of Student Life & Community Affairs
B.S. Rockhurst University - Biology and Education (7-12th); M.S. Saint Louis University - Educational Leadership

Ms. Hercules is an alum of Incarnate Word Academy, an all-girl high school in St. Louis where she eventually dedicated 14 years of service. After graduating from college, Ms. Hercules was a middle school science teacher, Advancement Director and Director of Student Leadership and Diversity.  She enjoys working with students on a daily basis as she works to empower each student to embrace their leadership abilities and their individuality.  Ms. Hercules also enjoys cooking, sports, spending time with friends and family and being outdoors.

Ms. Raquel Evans
Business & Operations Manager
B.A. Texas Southern University - Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing

Mrs. Evans loves working in the community and giving back.  Even though she works in the Hawthorn Business Office, Mrs. Evans is very involved with not only the Hawthorn brand but with the students as well .  When not working at Hawthorn and working in the community, Mrs. Evans spends her time with her two sons and husband attending sporting events, traveling, reading and completing her many DIY (Do It Yourself) projects.

Faculty and Staff

Ms. Meghan Bliss
Achievement Program Manager, Mathematics
B.A. University of Notre Dame - American Studies; M.S. Saint Joseph's University

Ms. Bliss has always loved math, especially because when she was in school she could check her work and know that she was right before turning in her assignments. When she's not problem solving or lesson planning, she enjoys riding her bike, cooking (and eating!) new foods, coloring, and spending time outdoors. In the summer, Bliss volunteers with the American Youth Foundation at their National Leadership Conference held at Camp Miniwanca, a place where she spent her summers growing up and learned to strive to be her own self, at her very best, all the time. 

Nurse Jennifer Bruns

Nurse Bruns has been an LPN for 14 years and is working toward her RN and MSN/MPH. Nurse Bruns loves the school environment and has a background in Science Education-Biology, Environmental Studies and Urban Sustainability with an ABCTE certificate in 6-12 grade General Sciences. She uses that background to add an educational emphasis to the nursing care she provides. In her time away from Hawthorn, Nurse Bruns enjoys hiking with her family, gardening, teaching yoga, and participating in 5k and obstacle course races.

Ms. Lauren Campbell
Talent & Recruitment Manager
B.S. Harris Stowe State University - Middle School Mathematics

Ms. Campbell enjoys networking and helping build the Hawthorn community. Ms. Campbell has a passion for urban education and worked as a middle school math teacher for several years until transitioning her talents to helping Hawthorn recruit and retain talented staff and enthusiastic students. When not at Hawthorn Ms. Campbell enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


Mrs. Sharon Craig
Lead Cook

Mrs. Craig serves as the lead cook at Hawthorn. Her main concern is making sure the food tastes delicious and that our girls love it. When not in the kitchen, Mrs. Craig works with abused animals and runs a horse ranch in Rolla, Missouri.

Mrs. Crystal DeJong
Biology, Mathematics (Special Education)
B.A. McMasters University - Kinesiology; B.A. University of Western Ontario - Junior-Intermediate Education Specialty

Mrs. Dejong originally hails from Canada! She has always loved teaching Math and Science, and has previously taught in high school programs in Hamilton, Ontario and South Bend, Indiana. She is extra excited to help Hawthorn debut their high school Biology program this year! Mrs. Dejong loves working in an all-girls school, and strives to promote a classroom environment where students feel respected, supported and challenged to be their best! When she’s not at school, Mrs. Dejong enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, exploring the outdoors, as well as all the great restaurants and cultural spots throughout St Louis. She also loves to travel whenever she gets the chance.

Ms. Katie Herring
B.A. Southeast Missouri State University - Mass Communication/Media Studies

Ms. Herring is the oldest of four daughters, so sisterhood is something that runs throughout her life. She is a proud graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, and this is her 5th year teaching. She taught for three years on the Rosebud Reservation in south-central South Dakota, and this is her second year teaching in St. Louis. She loves teaching humanities, because our stories and our voices matter. When Ms. Herring is not at school, she enjoys reading, going to the movies, trying new restaurants and wandering around her neighborhood. She cannot wait to see how her students' voices shape the world.

Mrs. Zona Ho
Spanish, Mathematics
B.A. Drury University - Secondary Education and Mathematics

Mrs. Ho has a passion for Spanish and Mathematics that she is always trying to pass on. She strives to empower Hawthorn students to become strong-informed female leaders within their communities . Mrs. Ho, also has a passion for running which she shares with students through the Girls on the Run program. When she's not sharing her passion's at Hawthorn, she likes to spend time with her husband and two sons.

Mr. Otis Howell
Office Support Specialist
B.A. Beloit College - Sociology

Mr. Howell enjoys working with youth from diverse populations and believes it is important to support young people and inspire them to achieve greatness. He looks forward to an amazing school year at Hawthorn, where our young ladies will learn to foster their authentic selves, build a tight-knit sisterhood and become innovative scholars. Mr. Howell’s hobbies include exploring the arts and spending time with family and friends.

Mrs. Elizabeth Iffrig
eiffrig@hawthornschool.org | Humanities Virutal Classroom
B.A. Saint Louis University - Middle School Education and Language Arts & Social Sciences 

Mrs. Iffrig is a devoted teacher, who loves to see her students grow and learn as young leaders of our community. She is an avid reader who enjoys sharing literature with her students. When not at Hawthorn, Ms. Iffrig enjoys the outdoors, practicing yoga, and spending time with her friends and family. Mrs. Iffrig loves to travel to new cities, and especially try new foods. She is excited about all of the exciting experiences the 2017-2018 Hawthorn School year will bring!

Ms. Dalayna Jackson
Development Manager, Volunteer Coordinator
B.A. Washington University in St. Louis - Urban Studies

Ms. Jackson has a passion for building relationships with people and making a difference in her community. While in college she realized that she could use her talents and skills to have an impact on children's lives without being in the front of a classroom. Ms. Jackson works alongside the executive director to help raise the funds necessary to ensure that each young woman at Hawthorn receives a high quality education. In her free time, Ms. Jackson enjoys spending time with friends, traveling to different cities, trying new foods, and hanging out with her BBBS little sister. Ms. Jackson is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Ms. Charlie Johnson 
B.A. University of Missouri-Saint Louis - Theatre and Dance

Ms. Johnson is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Hawthorn family and brings over 10 years of dance experience and teaching along with her. She has a unwaivering passion for uniting the youth with the arts and it brings her great joy. It has been a dream of hers to teach dance to students in the neighborhood she was raised in and she is very excited to start this journey with the young ladies at Hawthorn. When she isn't teaching dance you will find her learning new styles of dance, traveling with friends and family, or trying new restaurants around the city. 

Ms. Kaleigh Lawrence
Social Worker, Homeless & Foster Care Coordinator
B.S.W. Grand Valley State University; M.S.W. Washington University 

Ms. Lawrence began her career as a teacher in St. Louis and quickly recognized her passion for supporting the social and emotional needs of young people. When Ms. Lawrence is not at Hawthorn she enjoys pottery making, cooking, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Mr. Chris Meyers
Technology & Engineering, Mathematics, TEALS
cmeyers@hawthornschool.org  | Math Virutal Classroom
B.S. University of Missouri St. Louis - Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics

Mr. Meyers is committed to demonstrating that the problem solving and cooperative skills learned in engineering translate to building not only stronger structures but stronger relationships and better communities. Mr. Meyers surrounds himself with strong women at Hawthorn as well as after school at Girls Inc. In addition, he is committed to being a resource to young people through his role as a youth minister at his church. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.





Ms. Laura Neuwirth
Special Education Coordinator & Teacher
B.S. Ed. University of Missouri Columbia - Double Major in iSpecial Education and Psychology; MA University of Washington Seattle - Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis on Multi-Ethnic Education

Ms. Neuwirth believes all people hold great potential. The best part of working with students and families is helping them find, and tap into, that truth. Helping students own their potential and find their voice is a focus of her work. When she’s not working with students, Ms. Neuwirth loves hanging out with her family, visiting museums, reading, gardening and being outside.

Ms. Heather Pillow
B.S. University of Missouri-St. Louis - Elementary Education

Ms. Pillow is back in the science classroom after taking some time to stay at home with her four children (14, 12, 11 and 9). Previously, she taught sixth grade science at Orchard Farm Middle School. She is a lifelong resident of Saint Louis City and a graduate of the Saint Louis Public School System. When not discussing science to strangers at the supermarket, Ms. Pillow enjoys building LEGO with her family and telling silly jokes.

Mrs. Hallie Rockwell
Humanities, Leadership
B.A. University of Richmond - English and Secondary Education

Mrs. Rockwell has always loved any form of communication - everything from writing to the visual and performing arts. This love of expression resulted in a passion for teaching young people the power and benefit of learning how to communicate through the written word. In class, she wants each student to realize that writing opens up opportunities for self-expression, creative thinking, and storytelling. While not at school, Mrs. Rockwell enjoys reading a good book, being outside, or cooking a new dish.

Mrs. Ronda Smith Branch
Student Success Specialist
B.A. Saint Louis University - Criminal Justice, Forensic Science Certificate

Mrs. Ronda Smith Branch is so excited to serve the girls at HLSG as our first Student Success Specialist. As a graduate of Rosati-Kain HIgh School she understands the value of a single sex education and is passionate about adding to the sisterhood and culture of Hawthorn. Mrs. Smith Branch is a native St. Louisan and she is looking forward to graduating in May 2018 with a M.A. in Human Services from Webster University. She loves to mentor young women, dance, and create programs. Her purpose is to, "Help restore my community by helping to educate and support Black women and girls."

Ms. Laura Sparks-Boyce
lsparks-boyce@hawthornschool.org | Math Virutal Classroom
B.A. Saint Louis University - Elementary Education; M.S. Fontbonne University - Diverse Learners; Middle School Mathematics, Communication Arts & Social Studies certified

Ms. Boyce is a passionate teacher who loves what she's working to accomplish at Hawthorn.  She wants to inspire the girls to become agents of change, to be proud of themselves in whatever they do, to believe they can do anything they're passionate about.  The love of learning is not something that she leaves at school at the end of the day; she enjoys expanding her horizons outside of Hawthorn.  She also dances, participates in CrossFit, is usually listening to music, and prefers being outside - rain or shine!    

Ms. Sheronda Thomas
Director of Dining
L'École Culinaire - Serv-Safe Certification

Ms. Sheronda started with Fresh Ideas in 2009. She has previously worked at Harris-Stowe State University as the shift supervisor, Moonrise Hotel as the saute cook, and Ranken Technical College as a supervisor. Ms. Sheronda became the director of dining at Hawthorn in 2017. Through her church she is involved in a group called "FLAWED". Ms. Sheronda loves cooking, baking, and being a role model for younger women. She has always had a passion for good food and mentoring.

Ms. Tajun Thompson
Physical Education
B.A. Lindenwood University - Physical Education

Ms. Thompson always loved learning by doing, and she feels the best way to learn is through experience. It is her mission to expose her students to a wide variety of activities to encourage them to discover and enhance these skills. As a professional educator, Ms. Thompson will present these activities in a positive and professional manner to maximize the self-esteem and the self-confidence of her students. In school she always found the gym to be her safe place. Ms. Thompson was able to build relationships with her PE teachers and coaches when playing sports. She often thought PE got a bad reputation, so she made it a goal of hers to become a PE teacher that provided the foundation for enjoyment and social development through physical activity, and access to a physically-active lifestyle.

Ms. Stephanie Zornes
Special Education Teacher
B.S. University of Kansas - Engineering, Special Education minor

After teaching 30+ years in the Ladue School District, Ms. Zornes is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the students at Hawthorn. She believes that all students have unlimited potential no matter what kind of learner they might be. For fun, Ms. Zornes loves to exercise, travel and spend time with her husband and college aged son.

Schedule a VisitIs Hawthorn Right for You?

We encourage community friends, prospective students and families to visit us! Throughout the year, our students lead tours twice a month during the school day which is a great way to see school in action. During student recruitment season, prospective families can attend our Saturday Open Houses. We also offer Family Tours the first Tuesday of every month during the spring.

Visit Hawthorn