Faculty and Staff
Meka Pace serves as the Superintendent of Metro Schools. Mrs. Pace was part of Metro's founding group of teachers for the inaugural 2006-2007 school year. First, she worked as the school’s intervention coordinator. She also served as dean of students and assistant principal. Mrs. Pace began Metro Middle school in 2013 after seeing a need for a more rigorous , personalized educational experience for middle level learners in Central Ohio. During the 2015-16 school year, a second high school on the campus of Franklin University was opened to provide students with stackable credentials and college access. Pace seeks to ensure personalized, innovative educational opportunities for students, while leading teachers as they focus on rigorous, equitable education for all students.
Mrs. Pace earned her bachelor’s of science in education from Bowling Green State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from Capella University and completed the requirements for her Superintendent's licensure at the Ohio State University. Mrs. Pace and her husband, Will, have three wonderful sons – one who is a graduate of Metro and two who currently attend.
Principal, Metro Institute of Technology (MIT)
Mr. Allmandinger taught four years of math and three years of engineering at Metro. As part of his learning center, Mr. Allmandinger was an assistant coach for the Metrobots, Metro's FIRST Robotics Team at the high school level. As the Principal of Metro Institute of Technology, Mr. Allmandinger hopes to develop strong, rigorous academic programming options that will challenge students and staff to reach their full potential.
Anthony Alston has been an innovative educator and leader for almost twenty years. As a graduate of South Carolina State University, he began his career as a high school math teacher in Columbia, SC. Six years later he received his Masters of Education Degree in Administration from The Ohio State University and became an administrator. He has been a high school principal now for the past twelve years.
Middle School Principal
In her eighth year at Metro, Krista is Metro's first Middle School principal. A former Physics and Algebra 1 teacher at Metro, she also served as a Dean of Students on the school's leadership team. While at Metro, she's also taught Intro to Engineering Design, Environmental Science and Alg. 2. She loves the humor, attitude and energy of her students, believes intelligence is malleable, not some fixed quantity a student is born with, and is a HUGE fan of persistence.
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.
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.
Helping individuals find the tools they need to succeed is what Mrs. Gacnik does every day. A graduate of Heidelberg University, Mrs. Gacnik has spent her career working with staff through providing day-to-day administrative support as well as leading educational programs and workshops. Her interest in science comes from working at COSI, while her passion for the outdoors developed through both Girl Scouts and teaching Outdoor Education with the Worthington School District. In her free time, Mrs. Gacnik enjoys spending time with her family, visiting local Metro Parks and writing stories that one day will make her a successful author.
Cathryn Geppert joined Metro in 2014. She is Metro's Development Officer. In this role, she works with the parents,alumni,faculty, Administration, Metro's Board of Directors and members of the community on efforts to ensure the long-term financial support for the three Metro schools. Some of her duties include, establishing and overseeing the implementation of Metro's major corporate fundraiser: State of STEM held each January; as well as insuring a successful participation rate of the Annual Fund and matching gift programs, grant partnerships with The Columbus Foundation as well as establishing partnerships with other companies.
Her family also has connections to the Metro community. Mrs. Geppert’s daughter graduated from Metro in 2013 and her husband is a senior research leader in healthcare at Battelle. Her son Peter is a software consultant for EPIC, an electronic health records company in Madison, Wisconsin. Her daughter Margo, Senior at The Ohio State University, is studying urban planning at the Knowlton School of Architecture. Cathy and her family currently live in the Discovery District in downtown Columbus. They own a historic home built in 1895 across from Topiary Garden and the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Attendance and Records Secretary
Betty Marshall comes to Metro with 12 years secretarial experience. She enjoys working with the parents and students and hopes she can encourage them daily with a warm smile. Currently, she is working with the students in Choir Club. She and her husband have four wonderful children.
Academic Advisor/ Program Coordinator (OSU / Metro)
Mrs. Kemp is an Academic Advisor with The Ohio State University, assigned to work specifically with the Metro Early College High School students taking classes on campus. She works with the Metro students, and their families, to successfully navigate the "Dual-Enrollment/ Early College" piece of the Metro curriculum.
School Counselor & Teacher, Senior Communications
Liz Mechling is in her fourth year as the school counselor at Metro. In her role as the school counselor, she works with all students to meet their personal, academic and career goals. She teaches Senior Communications, a weekly course that guides seniors through the college application process.
Jasmine Stephenson is a graduate from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Black Studies with a focus on Education. She also holds a Master's Degree in School Counseling from The Ohio State University. Ms. Jasmine believes that working with students to develop their skills and providing them with tools to combat issues before they become barriers to success is incredibly important. Her belief is that prevention is one of the best strategies that we have to provide students with what they need to be successful in the areas of academics, social and emotional well being, and college and career readiness. One of Ms. Jasmine's my main interests is culture and how that relates to membership in not only the larger society but the school community here at Metro and how we can foster an environment for every individual to thrive. She teaches advisory, a course that serves to help students grow through academics, leadership, community service, and reflection. Some of her interests include spending time with her two daughters and enjoying the outdoors.
Mrs. Ackerman graduated from Geneva College, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, in May 2017. She married in the summer of 2017 and moved to Columbus, Ohio. Following her father’s footsteps, she became a high school physics teacher. She is passionate about the physics world and excited about joining the Metro team. Mrs. Ackerman believes that teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. As a teacher, she wants to provide a love of learning in her students as she shares her own passion for learning. It is important for students to not only receive a solid education but to work with someone who is aware of their needs. "I not only teach my students the curriculum, I strive to teach them communication and collaboration skills that are helpful in the real world."
HS and MS Art Teacher
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.
Nicholas Bowman joined the Metro team in 2014. He is a mathematics teacher and is currently teaching Algebra 1 and Pre-Calculus. His goal in teaching is to instill a confidence in his students rooted in their own success and to help the students enhance their enjoyment of the learning process.
Jocelyn Browning serves as the Intervention Specialist at Metro Early College High School. She began her time at Metro as a student and a member of the first graduating class. Jocelyn returns to Metro after two years of teaching in Chicago Public Schools. She earned Bachelor’s degrees in English and Public Affairs from The Ohio State University and a Master’s in Secondary Education from Johns Hopkins University.
Lori Carter is a buckeye born and raised. She has been an intervention specialist for over 25 years and taught in Westerville and New Albany before joining the MIT team in 2017. Mrs. Carter has worked as an inclusion teacher as well as in the resource room serving students with many types of learning differences.
Teacher, Math, Science
Mrs. Cellino was born in Sagamiono, Japan. 13 years of her childhood were spent in Japan. She is a graduate from Camp Zama High School located on the Army Base Headquarters for the Pacific region. She chose The Ohio State University, main campus for undergraduate work. Mrs. Cellino received two Bachelors of Arts degrees in Sociology & Japanese. Then she pursued graduate school program and received her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Otterbein University in Middle Childhood for Math & Science.
Mr. Comeras joins Metro Early College High School’s English Department, teaching English 10 and 11 this year. After earning an M.Ed. from OSU, he began his career at Licking Valley High School in Newark where he gained invaluable experience in one-to-one computing and standards-based grading. As an English teacher, he aims to build bridges between literature and Metro’s STEM learning environment by implementing projects and Design Challenges wherein students use literary lessons to propose solutions to ethical concerns in society and science.
Mr. Dicaire teaches World Studies I-II and WHAM. Mr. Dicaire came to Metro Middle School in way of the Troops to Teachers program. He has spent a total of 23 years in the U.S. Army, Ohio Army National Guard and working in supporting roles of the U.S. Military. He spends his free time with his teenage son and loves to visit U.S. Civil War Battlefields.
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Ms. Dincher earned her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Integrated English Language Arts Education from Miami University. She began her career teaching 8th grade in the state of Rhode Island, and is excited to work with the students at MIT again this year as they make meaningful relationships with literature and hone their craft as writers.
Intervention Specialist & Math Teacher
Kristen graduated from Ohio University in 2009 with a
Bachelors Degree in Middle Childhood Education with
concentrations in Mathematics and Science. She previously
taught for five years at a fully inclusive school for students on
the Autism Spectrum. Kristen is currently working on her
Master’s Degree from Ashland University. This is Kristen’s
sixth year teaching and her first at Metro Early College Middle
Social Studies Teacher
Patrick Frase joined Metro in 2010. He is part of the Social Sciences department and teaches American History, US Government, and Economics and Personal Finance. Mr. Frase enjoys building relationships with his students and helping them become more passionate about the world and how we interact with it.
Teacher, Social Studies and Internship
Sharon Graham joined Metro in 2010 as a Social Studies teacher. She currently teaches Economics and is an Internship Coordinator. Sharon enjoys establishing connections with community leaders to find experiential learning opportunities for her students.
Holly Hayden serves at the science teacher at Metro Institute of Technology. She grew up in Delaware, Ohio, where she showed llamas for 4-H. Ms. Hayden went to the University of Cincinnati to get her Bachelor's Degree in Biology and came back to Columbus to work in pathology at The OSU Wexner Medical Center. While working at OSU, she received her teaching license from Ashland University.
Mr. Hertenstein earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Education from Ohio Northern University. This is his third year of teaching, and second at Metro. Mr. Hertenstein also brings commercial software development and robotics experience to the FRC Robotics Team.
Social Studies Faculty
Mrs. Hilp earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from North Carolina State University after earning a Bachelor of Arts in History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Mrs. Hilp taught high school Social Studies for two years in North Carolina before coming to MIT.
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.
Dr. Hughes was born and raised in central Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Ohio Dominican College and her Masters and Doctorate degrees from The Ohio State University in Mathematics Education. She taught high school mathematics in Whitehall and Upper Arlington and was a mathematics instructional coach in an elementary school in Whitehall and in the middle schools in Gahanna before coming to MIT. She also worked for a nonprofit organization developing and facilitating professional development for grades K – 12 mathematics teachers. She is passionate about helping students see mathematics as a sense-making subject that is useful and interesting.
Along with her passion for teaching, Dr. Hughes enjoys hiking, jogging, yoga and traveling, especially to southern Utah and to California. She also volunteers at a local dog shelter walking dogs and providing them with socialization, enrichment and training. This is where she spends most of her time in the summer.
Mr. Marling joined MIT in 2015 and he currently teaches Computer Science and Math. He received his bachelor’s degree in Integrated Mathematics from Ohio University, where he was a four-year member and section leader of the Ohio University Marching 110 Drum Line. Mr. Marling serves as the advisor of the FTC Robotics team and the CBUS Student hack club at MIT and he also serves as the Code.org Facilitator for the AP Computer Science Principles in Ohio.
Dean of Students
James Matthews has been with Metro since the summer of 2011. He taught Geometry, Precalculus, and Algebra 1 and focused on reinforcing and developing the basic skills needed to establish a solid understanding of the content. He feels that understanding is the foundation of application and gives students opportunities to illustrate both in his current role as dean.
HS Language Arts Teacher
Andrea McAllister has been part of the Metro School staff since the school’s inception in 2006 and has taught all the English Language Arts at one point in time. Mrs. McAllister has also served in several capacities at Metro including Dean of Students and Coordinator and disseminator of STEM teaching pedagogy to both Metro High School and other teachers in Franklin County.
Teacher, HS Social Studies & Dean of Students
Now in his 6th year at Metro, Cory Neugebauer a Social Science Instructor and serves on Metro’s Leadership Team as Co-Dean of Students (Test Coordinator). 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.
Teacher, MS Language Arts and Social Studies
In her eleventh year of teaching Language Arts and Social Studies, Carol Oaks is passionate about middle schoolers and teaching at Metro. Carol loves introducing students to new ideas and concepts, while challenging them to be critical, independent thinkers.
Erika Reeves is in her first year as a middle school teacher at Metro. In her eleventh year of teaching science, she made the transition to Metro from Gahanna Christian Academy. Erika is passionate about science and is excited about teaching at Metro. Erika loves learning right along with her students. She will be teaching multiple 8 week classes this year: Entomology and Taxonomy, Vertebrates and Taxonomy, Cells and Genetics and Physics through Transportation.
Social Studies Faculty
Mr. Rueger earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Ohio State University. He joined the MIT team this year and this is his first year teaching. Mr. Rueger is excited to share his passion for Social Studies with his students and prepare them for successful futures.
Mrs. Sander is entering her fifth year of teaching and her second year of teaching at MECHS. Before teaching at Metro, Mrs. Sander taught at a cyber-school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from California University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with her Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education and minor in Psychology. Last April, Mrs. Sander earned her Masters of Education in Instruction and Learning from the University of Pittsburgh.
Mr. Taliani earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 after earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from Allegheny College. In his spare time, Mr. Taliani enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, playing guitar, and reading. This will be Mr. Taliani's 6th year of teaching in Ohio and Pennsylvania and his first year as a Dean of Students at MIT.
Jackie Weaver joined the Metro family in 2008. She is the Intervention Coordinator for the Middle and High School. Jackie is the Advisor of the MetroThon event, which supports the hematology and oncology units at Nationwide Children's Hospital through fundraising efforts. She is passionate about preparing students for college transition and future success.