About the Executive Director
Steve Coxon is assistant professor of gifted education at Maryville University where he directs programs in gifted education including the graduate programs, the Maryville Young Scholars Program to identify and serve high ability children from groups traditionally underrepresented in gifted programs, and the Expanding FIRST® LEGO® League to Diverse Students Program. He holds his Ph.D. in gifted education from the College of William and Mary and conducts research on developing spatial ability and creativity in pK-8 gifted children. Steve has more than 50 publications and presentations, is the science education columnist for Teaching for High Potential, and is the author of the book, Serving Visual-Spatial Learners. He volunteers as a judge advisor for FIRST® LEGO® League events in the St. Louis region.
About the Managing Director
Mascheal Schappe is assistant professor of mathematics education and educational leadership at Maryville University. She works with school leaders in the area on mathematics curriculum and the common core standards. She holds her MAT in mathematics and computers from Webster University and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Saint Louis University. Previously, she served as a 6th grade mathematics teacher in the Francis Howell School District and as a principal in the Rockwood School District. Mascheal also served as a project leader for a large math and science program grant funded by the federal government for middle school math teachers and continues to conduct professional development for elementary and middle school teachers on best practices in mathematics.
John Baltrushunas is Program Director of Studio Art. He received an MFA from Washington University in metalsmithing. His BA degree is in art education from Massachusetts College of Art. He has been at Maryville for 20 years. Professor Baltrushunas teaches foundation design, jewelry/metalsmithing, and art education.
Nikkole Briggs holds her BA in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology from Maryville University where she is a graduate student in gifted education. She works with the Kirkwood School District at North Glendale Elementary School. Nikkole also serves the program as Assistant Director of Young Scholars along with assisting with registration and check-in.
Karen Engelkenjohn holds her bachelor’s in art history from Principia College and her master’s in special education from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She serves as the gifted specialist at Reed School. Karen has been a FIRST® LEGO® League coach for six years and a Jr. FIRSTLEGO® League coach for five years. She uses both LEGO® NXT Mindstorms and LEGO® WeDos in her classroom.
Evan Goff develops both web-based and mobile phone applications with Java and numerous open source tools. He holds a bachelor of science in business management, a bachelor of science in computer science, and several IT professional certifications obtained during the growth of his IT career. Evan has coached robotics teams over the last five years and is the creator of Smart Kids Robotics, LLC.
Kristen Johnson holds her BA in elementary and early childhood education as well as her MA in early childhood education from Maryville University. She works in a St. Peters preschool. Along with teaching our youngest students, Kristen also serves as assistant director of before and after care for the program.
Jessica Kammerer holds her BA in psychology as well as her MA in elementary education from Maryville University. She works with the Pattonville School District at Pattonville Heights Middle School.
Kim Lewis currently teaches 6th grade math in the Wentzville School District at Frontier Middle School. She holds her BS in elementary education with an emphasis in reading and mathematics from Belhaven University. She is currently pursuing her MA in gifted education at Maryville University. Kim is a recent presenter at the Gifted Association of Missouri (GAM) District A Conference.
Gretchen Mollison holds her BA in early childhood and elementary education from Maryville University where she is a graduate student in gifted education. Along with teaching in this program, Gretchen teaches LEGO® WeDo robotics in the Maryville Young Scholars Program for high ability children from traditionally underserved groups. She also serves as assistant director of registration and communications for this program.
Michele Perrin is an engineering and math educator and a consultant for Vernier. She holds master’s degrees in electrical and civil engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology and Kansas State University. She is the co-editor of two Vernier STEM project books, an advisor to the Missouri STEM consortia, and a referee for FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® Tech Challenge.
Julie Ream is a Gifted Education Specialist for the Francis Howell School District at Becky-David Elementary School. She holds her master’s degree in gifted education from Maryville University. Julie teaches LEGO robotics with her students in the Spectra program at her school.
Kathie Reuter spent more than 30 years teaching grades K-5 and has taught robotics for 15 years. She holds her Missouri gifted certification, two master’s degrees in education, and studied advanced robotics at Carnegie Mellon University through their enrichment program for educators at the Robotics Institute. Kathie volunteers as the FIRST® LEGO® League Partner for Eastern Missouri.
Carin Smith teaches math enrichment and LEGO® robotics at Reed School. She holds her bachelor of science in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood from Missouri State University. Carin is an active member of the Gifted Association of Missouri (GAM).
Shirley Versemann has taught middle school science for the past 23 years. She received her BS in education from Southeast Missouri State University and is certified through the University of Hawaii in DASH and FAST inquiry based science instruction. She currently teaches for the St. Louis Archdiocese at Our Lady School in Festus.
Bea Wilmering holds her bachelor’s in elementary education with an emphasis in mathematics from Southwest MO State University and her master’s in gifted education from Maryville University. She currently teaches in the gifted program in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. During her 25 year career she has taught computer programming and robotics using several different systems.
Jennifer Yukna is assistant professor of chemistry at Maryville University where she is the pre-engineering program coordinator. She holds her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. She teaches general chemistry, general physics, and physical chemistry. Jennifer volunteers as a judge for FIRST®LEGO®League events in the St. Louis region.