Staff Biographies

ABC-Stewart Staff


Merry Carmichael, ABC-Stewart School Founder, Board President

MERRY STEWART CARMICHAEL, ABC-Stewart School Founder, began ABC Early Learning Centre in 1969 and added Stewart Elementary in 1977. She had previously taught in Indiana public schools. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in Education from Indiana University.

She has completed two courses dealing with the Montessori materials and philosophy. Mrs. Carmichael has represented ABC Learning Centre and Stewart Elementary School at a number of national Montessori and other educational conferences. She has taught several education courses at IUPUC.

Mrs. Carmichael was included in the publication Outstanding Young Women of America. She has been awarded "The Woman of the Year 2014 by The Republic Newspaper" and the Shining Star Award. She has served as a Deacon and an Elder for her church, served as President of the Hamilton Center Skate Club and been an active swim team parent in the past.

Merry and her husband, Tom, have four children. Merry's children attended ABC, and the three younger children graduated from Stewart Elementary.

Cherie enjoys running Marathons, competes in Ironmen, and is the mother of four daughters, Lauren Elizabeth, Madeleine Stewart, Megan Nicole and Allison Lynd Fernandez.

Suzie is a licensed social service provider. She and husband, John, are the parents of daughter, Erica, and son, Trevor.

Paul, who earned a Bachelor's in Elementary/Secondary Education from Indiana University enjoys running.

Rebecca is a licensed Mental Health Counselor. Rebecca and husband, John Kleihege, are the parents of Abby and Emma.

Mrs. Carmichael's husband, Tom, a former teacher, is retired from his position as Vice President of the Kroot Corporation. The family enjoys traveling (especially to New England), swimming and music.

Mike Gorday, Director

MIKE GORDAY became Director of ABC-Stewart School in August 2007. He has earned an ED.S. Degree in School Administration from Indiana University, a M.S. Degree in Education from the University of Tennessee, and a B.S. Degree in Education from Troy State University. Mike worked for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) for 34 years--25 years as Assistant Director of Special Education and 9 years as a teacher.

Mike has numerous administrative, supervisory, curriculum, and community public relations experiences. He has conducted workshops in both public and private schools on a variety of educational topics including Creative Problem Solving and Quality Educational Tools. Mike has published articles in state and national educational journals. He is a member of AMI (Association Montessori International/USA), Indiana Council of Administrators, and numerous professional committees. He received the President's Award from ARC of Bartholomew County for his work with individuals with physical and intellectual challenges.

Mike’s administrative expertise and collaborative leadership style contribute to his unique ability to design and implement educational experiences that enable students to become self-reliant, productive and confident members of society. He has a strong commitment to continuing the school’s philosophy, reputation, and standards for excellence.

Mike is married to Kay, a BCSC Health Careers teacher. Mike has one daughter and two granddaughters, Mikayla and Alyssa, both of whom have attended ABC-Stewart.

Linda Becker Administrator, Board Secretary/Treasurer

LINDA BECKER joined the staff in August 1981 and is honored to be the Administrator at ABC-Stewart. She spent her youth in Kansas and attended the University of Kansas before moving to Kentucky and Southern Indiana, attending the Indiana University Southeast Campus in New Albany. Over the years, Linda has attended a number of regional and national Montessori conferences, as well as the Administrators Program at MECA-Seton Montessori Training Center near Chicago in 2007.

Linda has two daughters, both ABC-Stewart graduates. Kathryn Glover is a fellow ABC-Stewart staff member who manages the school accounts receivable and payable. Dominic and Kathryn Glover have one daughter, Siena, born April 2009. Amy and husband, Charles Baxter, reside in Columbus, Ohio and are the parents of Harrison (2006) and Grant (2009).

In her leisure time Linda enjoys traveling (especially to large bodies of water) and reading, as well as any time spent with her family and friends.

Kathryn Glover, Accounting

KATHRYN GLOVER has worked part or full-time at ABC-Stewart since her sophomore year at Columbus East High School in 1989. Kathryn is a graduate of ABC-Stewart and holds a B.S. in Applied Health Sciences (Human Development and Family Studies) from Indiana University.

She is married to Dominic Glover, a Columbus attorney in private practice. They are the proud parents of Siena Grace, born in April 2009. Kathryn enjoys her time with friends in a number of local women's groups: literature discussion, cookbook group, magazine club and garden club.

Lisa Burns, IT

LISA BURNS joined ABC-Stewart School in 2003 as the Stewart Computer teacher. After a brief absence in 2013, Lisa returned to ABC-Stewart in 2014.

Lisa and her husband, Kyle, live in Greenwood with their son, Kolin, a former ABC-Stewart student.

Lisa likes books, bats and dogs - not necessarily in that order.

Nikki Crawford, Two's "More or Less" Suns classroom

NIKKI CRAWFORD returns to the Twos' "More or Less" Suns Classroom. She began at ABC-Stewart in 2002. She attended Ivy Tech Community College and also attended the MECA-Seton Montessori Paraprofessional course. Nikki has taken courses in childcare, child development, interpersonal relations and family relations.

Nikki's children, Grace and Abram are ABC Stewart graduates, while son, Benjamin, a current student. Nikki enjoys walking, scrapbooking, reading, attending her children’s sporting activities and spending time with her family and friends.

Laura Donovan, Two's "More or Less"

LAURA DONOVAN continues in the Twos More or Less Class where she began in 2003. She is a Columbus native who attended Indiana University. During the summer of 2010 Laura attended a Montessori Training Session. She has been an active parent since 2001 with her daughters’ enrollment at the school.

Laura and her husband, Ed, have three daughters: MacKenzie, Sidney and Delaney, all Stewart graduates. Laura also has a stepdaughter, Jenelle.

In her free time Laura is an active member of Sigma Phi Gamma sorority, and also enjoys reading, walking, crafts, travel and spending time with her family and friends.

Mandy Miracle, Two’s “More or Less” Stars classroom

MANDY MIRACLE joined the ABC-Stewart Staff in the Two’s room in 2018. Many of you may know Mandy Miracle from the Tipton Lakes Athletic Club. She has been the office manager with responsibility for many functions there. One of the positions she manages is the childcare section at the club.

Mikayla Deaver Two’s “More or Less” Stars classroom

MIKAYLA DEAVER joins Mandy in the Stars classroom. Mikayla has cared for children for a number of years and is eager to become acquainted with your child.

Stefanie Stafford, Horizons Preschool & Kindergarten

STEFANIE STAFFORD, a graduate of Stewart, returned to ABC-Stewart in 2015 where she began teaching in the Two's classroom. Stefanie is now a co-teacher in the Horizons Preschool & Kindergarten classroom. She has a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from Indiana University.

Lorna Clark, Horizons Preschool & Kindergarten

LORNA CLARK will be returning to ABC-Stewart this year in the Horizons Preschool & Kindergarten classroom.

Lorna joined the ABC-Stewart staff in 2007 in Splendid Days and as a substitute teacher. She has since worked in many of the classrooms as a substitute and held a position in the Two’s Stars Class for two years before joining the Horizon’s Classroom. In 2009 she completed the Meca-Seton Montessori Paraprofessional course and attends Montessori conferences and workshops when her schedule allows.

Lorna and her husband, Jesse, have three children; sons, Orion and Dagan, and daughter, Ava. They live in Brown County, on a small farm, where she volunteers as a 4H rabbit club leader.

Lorna enjoys many fiber arts including knitting, spinning, and weaving with wool from her flock of sheep. She also spends free time training her Border Collie to work sheep and travels for lessons to improve her handling skills. She loves to learn new things and has previously been a member of a performing Taiko drumming group.

Larry Powell, ABC Preschool & Kindergarten Math / Culture

LARRY POWELL is returning in the ABC Pre-school/Kindergarten program, where he began in August 1985. He manages the math/social studies area.

He received his B.A. degree in business and economic theory from Franklin College in 1973, and his M.S. in Elementary Education from IUPUI in 1979. He began his interest in education with volunteer work at Stepping Stone Pre-School and broadened his experience through 13 years of teaching at Children, Inc. Larry was the first recipient of the Reams Family Awards for Teaching Excellence for 2006-07, from the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County.

Larry enjoys reading, motorcycling, hiking, sports and crafts. He is owner/builder/designer of his home, and has worked as an electrician, apprentice pattern maker and auto body man.

Larry has three daughters: Meghann, Amanda, an ABC-Stewart graduate and a Ball State graduate, and Carly. He has five grandchildren.

Susie Signorino, ABC Preschool & Kindergarten Art

SUSIE SIGNORINO returns as the ABC classrooms' art teacher. Prior to this position she taught in the Twos’ More or Less classroom and in Splendid Days for 8 years, beginning at ABC-Stewart in 2004.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, specializing in painting and drawing, from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Susie is an artist who has illustrated and published a children's book May There Always Be Sunshine. She enjoys painting, graphic design, silversmithing and gardening.

Her daughter, Georgia Frances, is a 2015 graduate of ABC-Stewart.

Brianna Cockerham, ABC Preschool & Kindergarten Science

BRIANNA COCKERHAM began in the ABC Classroom in January 2015 while she was completing her student teaching coursework to earn an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Ivy Tech.

When she first began college, she wanted to find something that she was passionate about; she wanted her decision to be something that she was going to love to do for the rest of her life. Thus, Brianna realized that working with young children would be her course of study and would lead her to a career of great happiness and fulfillment. She took an interest in Montessori and she is grateful to be able to participate in this method.

Brianna feels that her first few years with ABC-Stewart School was an incredible start to her career. She looks forward to all the new adventures and memories with her students every year.

Brianna married in 2016 and in 2018 welcomed her son, Travis. She enjoys watching her students interact with Travis in her classroom. She feels that ABC-Stewart is a part of her family.

Doug Warren, ABC Preschool & Kindergarten Reading / Language Arts

DOUG WARREN returns to the ABC staff in the Reading and Language Arts room where he began in 2017.

Amy Kiel, Children's Garden Preschool & Kindergarten

AMY KIEL began her career at ABC-Stewart in January 1992. She will continue team teaching in Children's Garden. Amy attended Ball State and Indiana Universities. She received training and certification at Meca-Seton Montessori Teacher Training Center and is certified in childcare

Amy and her husband, John, have sons, Henry and William. In her free time Amy enjoys running, gardening and traveling.

Amy is the recipient of the 2010 Reams Family Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Kymberli Rockhold, Children's Garden Preschool & Kindergarten

KYMBERLI ROCKHOLD returns to the Children's Garden classroom. She joined the staff in August of 1997. She received her Montessori certification from the American Montessori Society. She has also attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

Kymberli, her husband, Aaron, their daughter Maya, and son Elijah live in Brown County. With her family, Kymberli enjoys singing, playing guitar, camping, hiking, canoeing, photography, gardening, enjoying wildlife and playing with their dogs.

Kymberli grew up on a 100-acre farm in Illinois with two brothers, a sister, horses, chickens, cows, pigs, ponies, rabbits, and a few sheep. As a child she was active in 4-H, sports and she started acting in musicals at CIRCA 21 Dinner Theater.

In 2014 Kymberli’s teaching endeavors were honored with the Reams Family Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County.

Lori Lynn Stewart First Year

LORI LYNN joined the ABC-Stewart staff in 1995. Lori earned a degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University Bloomington. She completed an Orton-Gillingham graduate reading course at Butler University. Lori received the Reams Family Awards for Teaching Excellence for 2007-08, from the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County.

She is one of the teachers in the first-year room in the elementary school. She team-teaches with Tonnie Lane. Lori focuses on teaching reading, while Tonnie concentrates on the math area. The both teach culture and science. She enjoys working with the first-year students and making their transition from the kindergarten programs to the elementary school go as smoothly as possible. 

Lori’s children, Bryce and Isabel are Stewart graduates.

Tonnie Lane, Stewart First Year

TONYEL LANE joined the ABC-Stewart staff in the spring of 1998 and returns to the first-year room in Stewart. A graduate of the University of Southern Indiana, Tonnie received a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with a kindergarten endorsement. She completed an Orton-Gillingham reading graduate course at Butler.

In 2013 Tonnie was awarded the Heritage Foundation's Reams Family Awards for Excellent in Teaching. Tonnie’s daughter, Taylen, is a 2015 graduate of ABC-Stewart.

Jerry Maulin, Stewart Reading

JERRY MAULIN has been a Reading Room teacher for Stewart since 1998. In his time at Stewart he has coached basketball and Spell Bowl. He has also led many summer workshops for the students that include creativity and drama. Jerry graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in Elementary Education. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award and the Red Apple Award. Jerry received the Reams Family Awards for Teaching Excellence for 2009-10, from the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County.

His immediate family includes wife, Hanna Guy Maulin, and son, Joseph, a Stewart graduate. The family lives on an old dairy farm near school.

Jerry also is a performing songwriter, with many CD's to his credit. He also enjoys motorcycle riding, racquetball, golf and other sports. While not holding an actual patent, Jerry believes himself to be inventor of Pin Dodge Ball, enjoyed on rainy days here at Stewart.

Christine Butler, Stewart Reading

CHRISTINE BUTLER returns to the Stewart Reading room. She received her B.S. in elementary education from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is an avid reader of children's literature and is looking forward to sharing her love for reading with the students at Stewart.

Christina Varo, Stewart Reading

CHRISTINA VARO returns to the Stewart Reading Room. She has been involved with ABC-Stewart since 1992, beginning as a parent volunteer, substitute, and join the staff exclusively in the Reading Room since 2012.

Terry Hileman, Stewart Science

TERRY HILEMAN returns to the Science room of Stewart School, where he began in 2001. A graduate of IUPUC with a degree in elementary education.

Terry is married fellow Stewart teacher, Autumn Hileman. They have two sons, Ethan and Zeke, both ABC-Stewart students. He enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, and also values time spent outdoors with fishing and golf.

Ashlee Chodan, Stewart Culture

ASHLEE CHODAN began teaching in the Culture room in August 2017. She has previously taught in the Two’s “More or Less” class as well as ABC and Splendid Days. She enjoys teaching children history and geography around the world as well as life skills children need in their daily lives. She enjoys working with students 2nd through 6th grade on a daily basis and encourages them to do their best in everything they do.

Natasha Brockhaus, Stewart Culture

NASTASHA BROCKHAUS joins the Stewart Staff in the Culture Room after assisting and substituting for several years. Her son, August, is a 2017 Stewart Graduate. Her daughter, Rosie, is a current student.

Autumn Hileman, Stewart Math

AUTUMN HILEMAN will return as the lead teacher in the Stewart Math Room. She began in the Twos' classroom in 1998, moved to the ABC Pre-school/Kindergarten Science area, and is now in the Stewart Math area. Autumn received her B.S. in elementary education from Indiana State University. 

She is married to Stewart Science teacher, Terry Hileman, and has two sons, Ethan and Zeke, both ABC-Stewart student. She enjoys scrapbooking and time spent with family and friends.

Brandy Gilliatt, Stewart Math

BRANDY GILLIATT has been a part of the ABC-Stewart family since her son Ethan enrolled in preschool. She officially joined the Stewart staff in 2013. Brandy’s children, Ethan, Cassidy, MJ, and Cole are all Stewart graduates.

Brandy returns to Stewart as part of the Math room teaching staff.

Sue Breeding, Stewart Math

SUE BREEDING began at ABC-Stewart in the fall of 1997 thru 2002, working in Splendid/Extended Day and the Stewart math room, under the leadership of Founder Merry Carmichael. She returned in August 2014 to the math room. She holds a B.S. in Business Management and Marketing from IU, and an MBA.  

Sue is the mother of Mary Breeding and Matthew Breeding, and the grandmother of three children.

Lisa Porter, Stewart Music

LISA PORTER began teaching music at Stewart Elementary in 2016. She has a BS in Chemistry from Ohio State, an MA in teaching from UNC Chapel Hill, and 25+ years of private and group training in choral and instrumental music. Besides teaching at Stewart she also enjoys teaching Chemistry at IUPUC, and working with kids at First Presbyterian in music, drama, and service projects. 

Bobbie K Owens, Stewart Art

BOBBIE K OWENS, international artist and Columbus resident, returns to ABC-Stewart School as elementary art teacher. He taught in this capacity in the early 1990’s and returned in 2002.

Bobbie K's paintings have been featured in exhibitions across the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. He exhibited his work in the first Visual Arts Exchange project in Russia. He was then invited to have a series of three, one-person museum shows in Bishkek and Moscow. Previously he showed in Soho, New York, at Atelier International Art Gallery.

Over the course of many years of painting and exhibiting work, Bobbie K has had the good fortune to participate in shows with artists David Hockney, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Milton Avery. Some of the artists he has had the opportunity to discuss art with are Philip Pearlstein, Daryl Pottorf, Robert Rauschenberg and Donald Lipski.

Bobbie K taught at IUPUC, ABC-Stewart, Art Gallery of Ontario School of Art, Ball State University, John Waldron Art Center in Bloomington, Dayton Art Institute and was resident artist at YMCA's of Greater Indianapolis. He has worked with the NEA, The Kennedy Center and The Center for Arts and Basic Curriculum in Washington, D.C. Bobbie dedicates most of his time to painting, however, enjoys sharing his art knowledge and experiences.

Bobbie and wife, Libby Jewel, have two daughters, Ali, who lives in North Carolina with her family including Bobbie’s granddaughter, and Carleigh, who lives in California.

Allison Watters, Stewart Physical Education

ALLISON WATTERS began teaching physical education at Stewart Elementary in January 2011. She holds a Master of Arts in Education, Educational Administration and Supervision from Ball State University, and a Bachelor of Arts, Physical Education (K-12), Health and Safety and Sociology from Hanover College. She previously taught P.E./health/substance abuse at Peru High School, held a Principal Internship at Brown County High/Van Buren Elementary, and substitute taught in the Brown County schools.

Each year Allison heads The Glass Slipper Formal community involvement activity, where she and others assemble donations of prom dresses, so those who are under-privileged may select a beautiful gown for the annual prom.

Marian Rodriguez, Splendid Days

MARIAN RODRIGUEZ joined the Splendid Staff in 2007. She has also been a volunteer parent helping with lunches, grading spelling and in Splendid Days.

Marian has completed the 2009 Montessori Assistant training by Meca-Seton (associated with the America Montessori Society).

Marian has two daughters Leah and Kieran, both are ABC-Stewart School graduates. She enjoys swimming, cooking (especially decorating cakes) and spending time with friends and family.