Meet Our Faculty
Jason Bengel, B.A., Physical Education Teacher
Jason Bengal is our physical education teacher. Jason has a BA in Sports and Recreation Management. For the last 16 years he has worked as a coach, physical education teacher and various other roles working with children. Jason’s passion is physical fitness for each child. He devises various creative games to build endurance and sports skills.
Hannah Diaz, M.A., Elementary Teacher
Hannah Diaz is our newest teacher in the elementary class. She grew up in Central and South America and is fluent in Spanish. She received her bachelor’s in early childhood education, Spanish, and a 4th and 5th grade endorsement with a teaching degree from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio. She received her master’s in intervention (special education) most recently. Hannah has worked as a tutor with America Reads and has presented at the National Association of Education of Young Children conference. Hannah’s philosophy of education statement reads like New Morning School. She comes highly recommended as she begins her first year at New Morning School.
Marisa Downs, B.S., Preschool Teacher
Marisa Downs is a graduate of the teaching program at Eastern Michigan University. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, and minored in math, science, and social studies. She has experience teaching through eighth grade, but has a natural affinity for preschoolers. Her patient and loving personality, combined with her enthusiasm, make your child’s first school experience wonderful and exciting for the whole family. She respects the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of children, and is able to nurture and support them on their learning adventures both academically and socially.
Katelyn Ewing, B.A., Kindergarten Teacher
Katelyn received her Bachelors Degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Prior to and during her coursework she worked at New Morning School. Katelyn has completed her New Morning School training over the last five years. She taught our parent-toddler class called Me and My Shadow as well as our preschool program for a year. Katelyn recently completed training in the Reggio Emilia approach and has in-serviced the staff with her specialized training. Katelyn also directs the New Morning School summer program. Katelyn is an exceptional and energetic teacher, making kindergarten stimulating and exciting.
Cindy Frango, M.A., Learning Specialist
Cindy is our learning specialist, providing during-school tutoring to students needing extra support. She earned her master’s degree in elementary education and her bachelor’s in elementary education, both from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Cindy is meticulous in careful planning to ensure expert teaching during tutoring sessions. Students love coming to see her each week.
Linda Hyde, M.A., Middle School Teacher
Linda brings experience to the middle school team. Linda was a high school English teacher for 20 years in Detroit Public Schools, followed by a year as a college admissions counselor. She then taught middle school English in two schools followed by tutoring at Brightmont Academy. Linda has her master’s degree in educational leadership from Madonna University. Linda brings us strong English and social studies skills. She likes to combine English/ literature studies with history. Linda brings us strong classroom management skills implemented in a style that will be positive for our students. Her calm demeanor will have a positive impact on the group. Linda took an early retirement from Detroit Public Schools, but realized she wanted to be back in the classroom. New Morning is a perfect fit.
Paul Hanna, B.A.A., Science Teacher
Paul has a B.A.A. degree, with majors in environmental studies and sports administration, from Central Michigan University. He taught middle school science for six years in Texas. In that role he wrote a science curriculum for a start-up school and instructed in the classrooms. He was Teacher of the Year nominee. At New Morning School, Paul uses a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to teach science and STEM to our grades 1-8 students. This requires our students to think, problem solve, and work collaboratively to thoroughly understand scientific concepts.
Christine Jansen, M.A., Elementary School Teacher
Christine earned her bachelor’s in elementary education and her master’s degree in learning disabilities at Madonna University. She taught at the Reading and Language Arts Center – a remedial reading tutoring service. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham, an approach that assists struggling readers. Christine’s sense of humor and ability to set firm, kind limits have allowed many students to experience success.
Fred Moss, Ph.D, Music Instructor
Dr. Frederick Moss is a member of the music faculty at Schoolcraft College where he teaches a variety of courses including music for Elementary School Teachers, Music Appreciation, Popular Music in America, and Instrumental Music Performance. As part of his work with intending elementary teachers, Dr. Moss and his students provide music instruction to students in the elementary grades at New Morning School. Dr. Fred, as many New Morning students call him, holds a bachelor of music in music education from Furman University; a master’s of music in music education from Georgia State University; and a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is also an accomplished clarinetist and pianist; Dr. Moss has performed on numerous solo and chamber music recitals. He has taught in a variety of settings including public and private schools; public recreation departments; and rehabilitation centers.
Ashley O’Brien, M.A., Middle School Teacher
Ashley is one of the middle school teachers with a math and writing emphasis. She is passionate and lights up when talking about teaching mathematics and writing. Her skills are strong through 12th grade math, which is needed as we sometimes have students ready for high school math. Ashley has her master’s degree in urban education from the University of Michigan. Previous degrees focus on mathematics, English, composition, and social justice. Ashley has worked for three years for Mathnasium, a mathematics tutoring program. She has been a math instructor for the Flint Job Corps and an English/ language arts teacher for Flint Community Schools. Ashley brings spark and passion to our program. She has the experience and skills that we need along with an eagerness to teach in our innovative way.
Connie Rzemien, B.S., Preschool Teacher
Connie is one of our preschool teachers. Connie is a good philosophy match for our program, having taught and directed at the Northville Preschool Co-op for eight years. She uses a Reggio approach (many similarities to New Morning), having obtained her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before coming to New Morning School, she taught at a school in California for two years, teaching a transitional kindergarten class. Students gravitate to Connie. Her calm, encouraging manner is magical in making students feel welcome. She is articulate, compassionate, and dedicated to her work.
Andrea Schroeder, B.A., Art Teacher
Andrea received her bachelors of arts from Western Michigan University in International Relations and Spanish. She enjoyed a corporate career as the director of marketing for a business-to-business software company, working both in the US and abroad, but her personal passion has always been art. She has been commissioned for large- and small-scale projects in the community and has taught children art and creative expression in school and church. As an example, the kindergarten students were given a taste of art history while practicing different art forms, navigating the artistic process through hands-on experience in creating, discerning and persevering. Andrea wants to teach children to express themselves creatively and without limitations, encouraging everyone to find their own artistic voice and giving them the confidence to try.
Cynthia Weber, B.A. Elementary Teacher
Cynthia graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s in elementary education, with a major in math and science, and a double minor of language arts and social studies. Cynthia has also been trained in Orton-Gillingham, a structured reading method. She has had the privilege of working at New Morning School since 1999. She is enrolled at Madonna University and is working on a master’s in learning disabilities in an effort to find ways to make learning accessible and fun for all levels of ability. Cynthia is our in-house expert on project-based learning, having led many elaborate learning projects with the students. She also provides parent educational tips to assist their children at home on her website Parent Child Education.