Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

Our Staff


Executive Team

Ms. Mary Stillman
Executive Director
A.B. Princeton University - Religion; J.D. Yale Law School

When Mrs. Stillman learned about a network of all-girls public schools in New York that were preparing young women for college and careers, she knew this was the kind of school St. Louis needed.  A graduate of an all-girls high school in Maryland, Mrs. Stillman brings her girl power attitude, background in law, and commitment to St. Louis to her work with Hawthorn.  She is extremely proud of the team of people who have come together to found Hawthorn -- board members, administrators, faculty, staff and founding families.  Together, we are building something very special for our current students and many, many more to come.  

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
Mathematics, Achievement Program Manager
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. 

Ms. Shelinda Brackett
P.E., Track and Field Coach
B.A. McKendree University - Psychology

Ms.Brackett was born and raised in Saint Louis, MO. She is excited about being a part of the Hawthorn team! She wants to teach and share her love for learning with others. When she is not teaching or coaching she loves spending time with her amazing boys and her husband, either out doing a fun activity or having family fun night playing the Wii.

Ms. Emily Catedral
B.A. Hollins University - English, Creative Writing concentration

Ms. Catedral grew up in Virginia, but has lived in St. Louis for over 3 years now and loves it here. Having attended a women's university, she is thrilled to be teaching art here at Hawthorn. She is a strong proponent of arts-integrated learning, and creating lesson plans that involve less of her talking and more of her students creating. When she isn't teaching, Ms. Catedral enjoys baking yeasted breads, biking Forest Park, and plein air drawing.

Ms. Elizabeth Clutter
B.S. University of Central Missouri - Elementary Education and Secondary Mathematics

Ms. Clutter has a strong passion for teaching mathematics in the Saint Louis area. She strives to spread joy and the love for education to all her students. When not at Hawthorn, Ms. Clutter enjoys walking her dogs, traveling to new places, and reading memoirs.

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. Chantay Hadley
Office Manager and Registrar
A.A.S. National American University - IT; B.A. Hartford University - Communications

Ms. Hadley is committed to helping middle schoolers become strong leaders and productive citizens. A believer in teaching mental toughness and life skills, Ms. Hadley implemented a unique mental toughness training program at Brentwood School District where she served as the Girl's Middle School Head Basketball Coach for the last three years.

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
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.

Ms. Katie Lynch
Special Education Teacher
B.A. Lindenwood University - Middle School Education and Social Science; M.A. Lindenwood University - Educational Technology

Miss Lynch has always loved history, even as a little girl. She would drag her family to all of the historical places she could find while on vacation. When Miss Lynch isn't at school, she loves watching Cardinals baseball and Blues hockey and she loves to travel especially to Disney World. During the summer, Miss Lynch works at Six Flags St. Louis, where she teaches training classes as well as schedules all of the employees in the Rides Department.

Mr. Joseph "JD" McDonald
St. Louis Community College

A lifelong learner, Mr. JD continues to further his education by taking courses in order to reach his goal of becoming an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he would like to establish an organization that empowers urban youth by providing leadership opportunities and financial assistance. Mr. JD loves interacting with people from all walks of life. He loves laughing and bringing laughter and joy to others. His hobbies include reading, writing and traveling. One day Mr. JD hopes to travel to Egypt, a land of great beauty and historical significance.

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. Deitria Miller

Ms. Miller is a security guard at Hawthorn who is here to protect the students and everyone else in the building. She loves the upbeat environment of the school and really enjoys being here with the girls. Ms. Miller always keeps her students and her coworkers smiling and laughing. When not protecting the hallways of Hawthorn, Ms. Miller enjoys spending time with her family.

Ms. Iris Neal

Ms. Neal is a part of the team that helps keep Hawthorn safe and secure day in and day out. She loves the high energy atmosphere the students and her coworkers bring to Hawthorn. When not at Hawthorn, Ms. Neal enjoys hanging out at home and cooking.

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.

Ms. Ann Rapko
Humanities, Writing
B.A. Fontbonne University - Communications and Performing Arts; M.A.T. Fontbonne University - Speech and Drama Education

Ms. Rapko is excited to be part of the Hawthorn Dream Team 3.0. She knows the joy that attending an all-girls school brings to the educational experience, since she is an alumni of Nerinx Hall High School. Ms. Rapko believes all of her students can and will succeed. She is passionate about literature, writing and incorporating the performing arts into her lesson plans. In her free time Ms. Rapko enjoys yoga, running, spending time with family and friends and attending various types of artistic performances.

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. Maggie Sedgwick
Student Support Office Assistant
B.A. University of Missouri-Columbia - Psychology; M.Ed DePaul University - School Counseling

Mrs. Sedgwick, an alum of all-girls school, has a passion for female education and helping students and staff stay organized and build meaningful and strong relationships at Hawthorn and beyond. She is excited to watch Hawthorn and everything it stands for grow and flourish in the St. Louis community. When not at Hawthorn, Mrs. Sedgwick loves to run, hike, cook, explore new places and spend time with her family and prepare for her newest family addition arriving early 2018!

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.

Mr. Jason VanBlarcum
B.A. University of Kansas - Medieval History; Baker University - Secondary Social Studies Education

Mr. VanBlarcum is an ardent believer in the power of education, observation, and reflective thought to bring about change in our world. We deserve a world where acceptance, compassion, innovation, and equity are celebrated by all. He wants to empower this generation of young women be the leaders that usher us into this new paradigm. Outside of school he is a St. Louis artist who works in oil, acrylics, and charcoal. He is a former rugby player who now coaches field hockey. If given free time, he enjoys sitting on his porch, with a cup of coffee, watching the world go by while a book sits on the table next to him, waiting to be read.

Ms. Sandra Vaughn
Engineering, Mathematics
B.S. Missouri University of Science & Technology - Engineering

Ms. Vaughn have a passion for teaching young people about STEM. She is looking forward to working with the students at Hawthorn. As the students continue to develop their skills in creative problem solving, Ms. Vaughn hopes that they determine that they can have success in a STEM field or any other career choice they desire. When not at Hawthorn she enjoys making jewelry, watching tennis and spending time with her family and friends.

Ms. Adrienne Watkins
Assistant Dean of Student Life and Community Affairs
B.A. George Washington University - Speech and Hearing Sciences; M.Ed. University of Missouri-St. Louis - Secondary Education; M.Ed. Columbia University Teacher’s College - Educational Leadership

Ms. Watkins loves serving Hawthorn students and families. As a passionate educator, Ms. Watkins is committed to empowering her students to use their voice and knowledge as a powerful, positive instrument for social change. Ms. Watkins keeps her students entertained with her knee-slapping jokes and silly humor. When she is not molding minds, Ms. Watkins enjoys cooking, seeing live music and spending time with friends and family.

Ms. Andrea Woods
Innovative Instruction Manager
B.A. Northwestern University - Radio/TV/Film; M.Ed Arizona State University - Special Education

Ms. Woods' passion for social justice drives her culturally relevant Humanities curriculum. Throughout the year she serves as a Diversity Facilitrainer with the National Conference for Community & Justice (NCCJSTL). She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her LOVES are 1) family & friends, 2) softball, 3) roller coasters, and 4) traveling/road tripping. She also enjoys smiles :)

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