Who We Are
Staff & Faculty
Aimee Kennedy is principal at Metro Early College High School, an Ohio STEM Learning Network platform school located on The Ohio State University campus. Having been at Metro since the school’s second year, she has served as assistant principal and classroom teacher. During her tenure at Metro - a science, technology, engineering and mathematics school that places emphasis on subject mastery and early college opportunities - she has been studying at The Ohio State University to earn a PhD in Educational Administration. Her experience as an educator, firmly rooted in the belief that all students can achieve at high levels when given the chance, has included several opportunities to design professional development and lead reform initiatives.
Kennedy is currently one of the educational leaders coaching schools in the Literacy Design Collaborative College Ready Tools initiative sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and serves as the liaison between Metro and Battelle for Kids as they incorporate the use of ACT End-of-Course Exams and Value Added Measures into high schools across Ohio. She has presented at the National Academy of Engineers about integrated STEM; Change the Equation STEM Salon about partnerships; CES Fall Forum about mastery learning; the Ohio School Board Association conference on Ohio’s Credit Flex policy; and at the Ohio SIG Best Practices conference regarding innovative schedules, assessment practices and the LDC CRTs. She has also held leadership roles in Ohio’s High School Transformation Initiative, Ohio’s Early College Initiative and Ohio’s Literacy Initiative.
She began her teaching career at The Freshman Academy in Canton City Schools--one of Ohio’s “Big 8” Urban Districts. During her career in Canton, Kennedy worked at the Freshman Academy and McKinley Senior High School, where she held a variety of leadership roles including team leader, English Department Chair, and Literacy Specialist. She completed her undergraduate degree at Malone College with a major in Communications Comprehensive, and a Master’s in Education and principal licensure at the University of Akron.
In addition to serving as assistant principal, Peter DeWitt teaches biology and chemistry and has been an integral part of the development and dissemination of Metro’s biomedical science program, Bodies. He earned a B.S. in Biology (evolution and ecology) from The Ohio State University. During his time as an undergraduate, he served as president of OSU’s Mountaineering Club, leading several interstate rock climbing, backpacking, fly fishing, and mountaineering trips. He earned his Masters in Secondary Science Education (with a life sciences and chemistry concentration) from The Ohio State University.
In addition to outdoor adventures, DeWitt enjoys photography, woodworking, and acoustic guitars. As a science teacher, he looks forward to the opportunities available to students at Metro. He is excited about the collaborative efforts with Battelle and OSU, the small class sizes, and the emphasis on conceptual understanding afforded by the mastery system. He is keenly interested in both the academic and personal growth of students.
Meka Pace is Assistant Principal and Intervention Coordinator for Metro. She facilitates Special Education services for students with Individual Education Plans or Section 504 plans. Mrs. Pace earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and will complete her Masters in Leadership in Education Administration in the spring of 2013.
Pace came to Metro in 2006 from Columbus City Schools, where she worked as an Intervention Specialist with students identified with learning disabilities and those with mild to moderate handicaps. As a seasoned teacher, Pace has had the opportunity to work with students in self-contained settings as well as inclusive settings from elementary through high school.
During her career, Pace has worked on various school improvement committees and literacy initiatives. She has been a team leader at the elementary and middle school levels and facilitated yearlong professional development workshops promoting inclusive curriculum through the National S.E.E.D project. She participated in the Teacher Advancement Program where she served as mentor teacher to the 6th grade teaching staff and the Stand Up for Shakespeare dramatic inquiry initiative through The Ohio State University and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Mari Burgett is the face at Metro’s front desk and the voice of Metro communications through weekly e-newsletters. She has been a Metro parent and staff member since 2007, serving as administrative assistant, communications coordinator and senior activity coordinator for each year’s graduating class. Until 2012, she held a dual position as assistant to the CEO of the Educational Council.
Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The Ohio State University, she worked as a broadcast television assistant and general assignment newspaper reporter for several years before transitioning to a school environment. In the early 90s, she worked with Pickaway County Head Start as a home-based instructor and family advocate, where her responsibilities included management of parent communications for the agency. After taking a leave to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, she served as a Parent Consultant with Columbus City Schools before joining Metro.
Burgett is a native of Puerto Rico and thoroughly enjoys trips back home to visit family. She and her husband Ed have three children, the oldest of which is a Metro graduate.
As Metro’s Business Manager, Kathy Fries takes care of all the behind the scenes details that help the school run smoothly. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Franklin University and comes to Metro via the Ohio Center for Essential School Reform, where the idea of Metro originated. Previously, she served as general manager for Huntington Clothiers, a $20 million men’s clothing company.
Fries works closely with students, parents and staff to ensure all aspects of the school are structured effectively, meet necessary requirements and serve the needs of all members of the Metro community. She and her husband have two fabulous sons who attend The Ohio State University.
Andrew Allmandinger completed his undergraduate studies at Capital University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in integrated mathematics with a 7-12th grade teaching license. He is currently working on a Master’s in School Administration with a principal’s license at The Ohio State University.
While at Capital, Allmandinger worked as a math tutor and completed his senior student teaching experience at Metro. During the 2010-2011 school year, he taught at Pickerington High School Central, which is also his Alma Mater. At Metro, he teaches math and oversees Metro’s Design Learning Center. Hosted at Dublin Coffman High School, Design focuses on engineering and robotics and includes Metro’s robotics competition team, the Metrobots. Allmandinger is excited to be part of Metro’s staff and is ready to help students reach their full potential.
As Metro’s visual arts instructor, Marla Baker is responsible for building the school’s comprehensive creative arts curriculum. Through classroom study, hands-on studio work and community arts discovery, students are challenged to develop the creative thinking skills and perceptual awareness for understanding and producing art.
A seasoned creative arts instructor, Baker has 17 years of instructional experience, having directed arts programs at the elementary, middle, junior high, and high school levels. She has taught for Logan Elm Schools, Groveport Madison Local Schools, and Dublin City Schools. Baker earned a Bachelor’s in Art Education from Capital University and a Master’s in Education from The College of Mount St. Joseph and has attended numerous graduate level courses at The Ohio State University and Ohio University. She is eager to share her passion and love for art with her students and is excited about the interdisciplinary art program at Metro.
Tamara Beilke teaches Environmental Science and Chemistry. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Saint Louis University with a minor in mathematics. While at SLU, she worked in a research group that focused on the development of a biodegradable polymer to be used in enzymatic biofuel cells.
Beilke moved to Columbus to attend graduate school at The Ohio State University, where she earned a Master of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Education in secondary science. She is very excited to be a member of the Metro staff.
Andrew Bruening received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of South Carolina. He is a founding faculty member and lead science teacher at Metro. During his time at Metro, Dr. Bruening has helped facilitate the Design Learning Center and taught engineering, physics, environmental science and senior thesis. Additionally, he has coached Metro’s FIRST Robotics team since 2009 and served as program director for several PAST Foundation Bridge Programs.
Throughout his time at Metro, Dr. Bruening has presented at numerous regional and national STEM educational conferences. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the PAST Foundation and board member for the Central Ohio Robotics Initiative (CORI).
Patrick Frase teaches Social Science courses at Metro. Originally from Akron, he came to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University, where he earned a B.A. in Integrated Social Studies and a Masters in Education in Social Studies, 7-12. After college, Frase spent time substitute teaching with Columbus City Schools, South-Western City Schools, and Metro. In addition, he taught 7th grade World History at Pleasant View Middle School in Grove City.
At the core of his educational beliefs, Frase seeks to develop meaningful relationships with students to benefit their educational development and help them maximize their potential. He enjoys the opportunity and challenges that Metro provides through problem-based learning and activities not commonly found in a traditional classroom setting. Outside the classroom, he loves the outdoors, is an avid musky fisherman and enjoys activities that help reinforce a healthy and active lifestyle.
Sharon Graham taught at Fairland High School in Chesapeake, Ohio before joining Metro. She completed an undergraduate degree in Comprehensive Social Studies at Ohio Dominican University and began her teaching career at Bishop Watterson High School. She has a Master’s in Education and holds principal licensure for the State of Ohio.
Graham taught at Magnificat High School in Rocky River, Ohio where she mentored a student who won the Commodities Challenge sponsored by the commodities exchange. She developed and implemented the AP Economics course at Magnficat and was named Economics Teacher of the Year by The Harvard Business School Club. Graham has over 20 years teaching experience in both urban and rural settings throughout Ohio, has coached softball for many years and served as an ’In the Know’ program moderator. She enjoys working with students and finding venues for student success.
Pam Hayes has over 30 years of experience in Life Science, Biology and Project Lead the Way’s Biomedical Science Program. She is lead instructor for Metro’s Bodies Learning Center. The program partners with the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State and OhioHealth Medical Campuses for students interested in the biomedical field.
Hayes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Theatre from Otterbein University and a Master’s of Education in Science Curriculum Development from Ashland University. She also teaches the STEM certification class offered at Otterbein. Before coming to Metro, she taught in Westerville City Schools. Hayes has coached many sports, been involved in over 50 theatre productions and manages the Global Health Summer Enrichment Program with Ohio State’s Global Health Department. She believes preparing students for the 21st century requires critical thinking skills and problem solving while engaging students in college level classes and community partnerships.
Ellen Hogue is Metro’s Spanish teacher and has over 20 years education experience in both urban and rural settings teaching Spanish in grades K through 12. Following one year as an exchange student in Costa Rica, Hogue earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at The Ohio State University and an education certification from Baldwin-Wallace College. She has completed coursework in Spanish at Ohio State, Cleveland State University, Akron University and La Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo in Santander, Spain. Additionally, she has served as a guest teacher in Cartago, Costa Rica and has worked as a liaison and coordinator for intra-national and international exchange programs for nine years. She continues course work in TESOL and global studies.
Hogue’s work and philosophy reflect a desire to create an environment where academic learning is linked to real world issues in today’s global community in keeping with 21st Century Skills. She is excited to have the opportunity to develop a language curriculum that integrates with and supports the challenging core curriculum at Metro.
James Matthews teaches Mathematics at Metro. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Morris College and a Master of Education in Integrating Technology in the Classroom from Walden University.
Matthews previously served as a high school math editor at the McGraw-Hill publishing company and worked as an actuarial analyst for a human resources consulting firm. In addition to his Metro courses, he teaches math in the Developmental Education department at Columbus State Community College. Having developed his teaching style from a combination of student, teacher, and corporate perspectives, Matthews has come to believe that learning is an issue of both understanding and application. He will work to help students experience both in his classroom.
Andrea McAllister teaches English Language Arts. She has been part of the Metro staff since the school’s inception in 2006 and has taught College Reading, College Writing, Literary Analysis, World Literature and American Literature.
In the 2010-2011 school year, McAllister served as coordinator and disseminator of STEM teaching pedagogy to teachers in Franklin County through the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. During that time, she became a trained Buck Institute Faculty and taught teachers throughout the state how to implement Project Based Learning in their classrooms while coaching Metro’s staff in their use of Project Based Learning. Having worked with both children and adults, McAllister is pursuing her passion for working with younger learners. She earned a B.A. in English Language, Writing and Rhetoric from the University of Maryland and completed a Master of Arts in Urban Secondary Education at Cleveland State University, where she also obtained an endorsement to teach English as a Second Language. She is a National Boards Certified Teacher.
Mary McCleary has an extensive background in Language Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature/ Secondary English Education and a minor in Spanish from the University of Kentucky. She established her teaching in Ohio with Special Education certification as a vision specialist through The Ohio State University and completed a Master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility through Salus University.
Over the last 17 years, McCleary has taught at the high school level and will teach Language Arts classes at Metro. She is passionate about students expressing themselves through excellent writing skills and works to incorporate those skills across the curriculum.
Jason McKendrick teaches Wellness at Metro. He has developed and implemented a wellness curriculum focused on fitness, nutrition and advocating for an active, healthy lifestyle. In collaboration with his students, he advises Metro Ski and Board, a ski club offered to promote physical activity within the Metro community. In addition, he serves as Metro’s Internship Coordinator. His duties include preparing students with professionalism training prior to on-site placement and initiating contact and appropriate intern placement to over 200 mentor contacts. Placement connects students with mentors who have achieved professional success to provide insight and inspiration to tomorrow’s professionals.
Originally from northeast Ohio, McKendrick began his teaching and coaching career with Waterloo Local Schools in Atwater, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University and a Masters in teaching and physical education from Hastings College. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and previously served on the football strength and conditioning staff at The Ohio State University and Hastings College. His hobbies include traveling, outdoor activities, exercising, and classic cars.
Krista Miller is an instructor, Dean of Students and Data Coordinator. During her tenure at Metro, she has taught science, math and Introduction to Engineering Design. She has also served as project manager for interdisciplinary design challenges and facilitator of STEM club.
Miller has presented at several conferences, including SECO Professional Development Conference on STEM, Experience STEM Conference on Interdisciplinary Design Challenges, and the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forum 2009. In addition, she wrote an exemplar for the Ohio Department of Educationís Student Learning Objectives as a part of the Performance-Based Evaluation initiative.
Starting her teaching career at Lima Senior High Progressive Academy, Miller was responsible for designing and implementing a 9th grade orientation and Summer Bridge Program and was a recipient of the Lima Education Association’s Teachers Touching Lives Award. Miller earned her degree in mathematics with an AYA teaching license from Bluffton University and a Physics/Physical Science teaching certificate through the CORE Physics program at Wright State University. Her educational practices are firmly rooted in her philosophy that all students should be held accountable to high standards and can achieve these standards when given the opportunity to do so.
Kierstin Montano completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Counselor Education at The Ohio State University. Last year, Montano split her time as senior counselor at Metro and as a school counselor with Columbus City Schools. Currently, she serves as Metro’s full-time school counselor.
During graduate school, Montano completed her school counseling internship at Metro High School and Linden McKinley 7-12. Throughout this time, she worked as a teacher’s aide at a local charter school and as a career consultant at OSU’s Career Connection. For the past two summers, Montano has taught a Psychology course for OSU’s Upward Bound - a federally funded college access program.
Montano works with students in the areas of personal/social, academic, and career development. She works closely with Metro’s seniors as the instructor for the Senior Communication class and works with students throughout the college application process. Montano is excited to be part of the Metro family and to have the chance to work with all of the students, parents, and staff.
Cory Neugebauer earned a BA in Criminology/Criminal Justice with a second major in Spanish and a minor in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. He completed a study abroad program in Spain and worked with the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service for six years in Washington, D.C., the Caribbean, Central Asia, Europe, and Africa. He earned a Master of Education in Social Studies and Global Education from The Ohio State University and is currently working on certification requirements for an endorsement in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and an administratorís license.
Throughout his career, Neugebauer has worked with students age 3 to 22 as an administrator, teacher, tutor, coach and teaching assistant. His educational experience has taken him from public secondary schools to universities and early education centers like Columbus Montessori. He believes his most rewarding life experiences have been serving young people to facilitate knowledge and experience in order for them to maximize their opportunities and become the best version of themselves.
Neugebauer is lead facilitator in the E3 (Energy, Environment, and Economics) Learning Center and serves on Metro’s Leadership Team as Co-Dean of Students (Test Coordinator). In addition, he is a field professor for OSUís M.Ed of Social Studies and Global Education.
Hollie Robinson has been tutoring for over six years and enjoys watching the light bulb click when students are able to grasp concepts. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from The Ohio State University, but her interests were always with children and education. She has worked as a Childcare Director and as a substitute teacher with Columbus City Schools where she enjoyed working with high school students in math and science. She also spent time as an outreach counselor for troubled teen girls.
Robinson is working toward her Intervention Specialist license with a focus in math. She enjoys working with students and helping them achieve success in their courses at Metro as well as in their personal lives.
Robinson is working toward her Intervention Specialist license with a focus in math. She enjoys working with students and helping them achieve success in their courses at Metro as well as in their personal lives.
Jessica Rudolph teaches Mathematics at Metro. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Rudolph moved to Columbus and attended The Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a minor in Human Development and Family Sciences. After completing her undergraduate degree, Rudolph attended graduate school at Ohio State and earned a Master of Education in Secondary Mathematics.
She believes that it is her responsibility to facilitate and enhance learning inside and outside of the classroom by encouraging students to think logically. Her goal as an educator to help her students learn material for themselves and to be able to communicate it to others. She is excited to be a part of Metro and looks forward to sharing the beauty of mathematics with her classes.
Dorothy Sutton is an Integrated Language Arts instructor. She attended Miami University (Ohio) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Metals. She attended graduate school at The Ohio State University and earned a Masters in Art History specializing in Japanese art, and an M.Ed in Integrated Language Arts. She is currently completing post-graduate coursework at The Ohio State University.
Sutton is thrilled to work with such an enthusiastic and engaged community of learners as Metro students. Some of her favorite pieces of writing include The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. She is excited to share her enjoyment of literature with her students.
Jordan Walker teaches Biology and Environmental Science. She attended Kent State University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Conservation. Wanting to become involved in the education field, she enrolled in Ashland University, where she earned a teaching license in life science for grades 7-12. Before coming to Metro, she was a substitute teacher in the Westerville City School district.
As part of her teaching philosophy, Walker believes that every student should have an equal opportunity to learn and succeed, and looks forward to playing a role in the individual and academic growth of each student. Walker is excited to be part of the Metro family and to share her passion for science.
Jackie Weaver completed her undergraduate education at Mount Union College where she majored in psychology and minored in art and Japanese. While at Mount Union, she established a Women’s wrestling program, participated in multicultural activities, and was involved in various community service and campus activities.
After college, Weaver moved to Tennessee where she served as counselor/teacher at Eckerd Youth Alternatives, a wilderness education facility focused on helping at-risk and high-risk youth and their families. She returned to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University and Ashland College to work on a Master’s degree as an intervention specialist and was manager of the Outdoor Adventure Center at OSU, where she served as rock-climbing instructor and trip leader. Weaver has been a substitute teacher in Columbus and Dublin City Schools and an English Resource Room Intervention Specialist at South-Western City Schools. She is excited to be part of the Metro staff and believes all students can succeed when given the opportunity.