Meet Our Staff

spencer center staff pose in front of the Spencer Center sign at the schoolOne of the most amazing parts of Spencer Center is its dedicated, tight-knit staff members. Below you will be able to get to know our staff community, and we hope to meet you in person!

Administration

Ms. Ginocchio

Ms. Ginocchio is the proud Principal of the best school in the world and a devoted fan of the Wolfpack. She grew up in Cincinnati before attending Wake Forest University for her undergraduate studies. She then moved to New York City and began her teaching career in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Ms. Ginocchio earned her master's degree in education from Bank Street College and then went on to earn her master's degree in school leadership from Columbia University before moving home to Cincinnati. She and her founding team of teachers and staff opened the doors to Spencer Center in August of 2017. She then earned her Gifted Endorsement from Xavier University.

Ms. Ginocchio believes in the 6 pillars of Spencer: equity, innovation, wonder, love, creativity, and personalization and works to imbue these values into everything that happens in the Spencer community. She loves building relationships with her students and families, supporting teachers, and is proud of the strong community at Spencer Center. Ms. Ginocchio loves that Spencer takes a holistic approach to educating our children and that our approach is grounded in teamwork. Spencer Center is a special place full of really special people. As she says every morning on the announcements, "It's a great day to have a great day!" Go PACK!

3rd and 4th Grade Teaching Team

Mr. Guerrero

My name is Jason Leon-Guerrero and I teach 3rd and 4th grade science. I have been teaching for eight years, all of which have been with Cincinnati Public Schools, and I have been at Spencer since we opened four years ago. I received my master’s of arts in early childhood education and Reading Endorsement from Mount St. Joseph University, and achieved my Gifted Endorsement and 4th and 5th Grade Endorsement through Xavier University. My hobbies include cycling, playing and watching sports, camping, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and cooking. I love working at Spencer because of the community feeling that is created by the staff and students. The staff and students all know each other, and everyone has a shared sense of belonging. I also love that social and emotional development is just as much of a priority for staff members as academic development. I feel like I am a part of a family when I come to work, and I am proud to be a member of the Wolfpack!

Ms. McDonald

I am Melissa McDonald. This is my second year at Spencer Center teaching 3/4 ELA. I grew up in Carmel, Indiana, where I attended public school from grades K–12. I attended Xavier University where I graduated with a degree in public relations. I changed my major after graduation to elementary education. I attended Miami University to obtain my Ohio Teaching License. All of my teaching experience is in the Intermediate grades 3–6. I started my career with CPS in 2000 and have taught in Norwood City Schools, and Carmel Clay Schools as well. I recently moved back to town after living in Carmel for a few years. The opportunity to work at Spencer was the main reason I moved back to Cincinnati. I appreciate the diversity of the staff and students, and I love the challenge of working with gifted and exceptional students. 

Ms. Pleasant

I have been a teacher with Cincinnati Public Schools for 19 years, and has had the pleasure of working at Spencer Center as a 3rd/4th grade teacher for four years. I know that successful students become successful adults. My philosophy of education is that all children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. I have strived to create this type of atmosphere where my students can meet their full potential. My classroom promotes fun, growth, and a sense of family. I believe that a classroom should be a safe and caring community, where children are free to speak their mind and blossom and grow. Therefore, I provide a learning environment where my students are invited to share their ideas and take risks. I use strategies to ensure that my classroom community flourishes. I encourage students to express themselves and accept themselves for who they are, and embrace the differences of others. 

What I enjoy most about Spencer Center is the caring and dedicated lower level team and staff members I work with each day. The Spencer Team goes above and beyond to overcome the obstacles and challenges that we are faced with at the moment (with a pandemic), to make sure students are accounted for and informed daily for instruction. I am grateful to work in a building that recognizes the different talents of students. I couldn't see myself teaching anywhere else. 

Ms. Twitty                             

Greetings!

My name is Rhonda Twitty. I am Spencer Center's 3-4 Gifted and Exceptional Math teacher. I have two children. My daughter is a student in UC’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. My son is a junior Jazz Trumpet major in CCM at the University of Cincinnati.

I am a Montessori certified teacher with credentials in 3-6, 6-9, and 9-12. I have received my Gifted and Talented Endorsement through Xavier University. I currently hold a B.S. in Education, M.Ed. in Education, and M.Ed. in Human Resource Development.

I am excited to be teaching at the Spencer Center. It has been a wonderful opportunity to watch children thrive through hands-on activities, projects and peer discourse. I appreciate the opportunity to work with your children. Our children are our most precious gifts. Our 3-4 team is honored that you are considering entrusting us with yours. 

5th and 6th Grade Teaching Team

Ms. Adkins

Cindy Adkins teaches fifth and sixth grade math. She graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and from the University of Cincinnati with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction. This is her second year teaching at Spencer Center; however, she has 27 years of teaching experience. When not in school, Ms. Adkins enjoys spending time with her husband and children. She enjoys attending her daughters' sporting events and kayaking. 

Ms. Berardi

Ms. Berardi's Introduction Video

Ms. Otting

Ms. Otting's Introduction Video 

7th and 8th Grade Teaching Team

9th-12th Grade Teaching Team

Ms. Bole

Hello and welcome to Spencer Center for the Gifted and Exceptional. I am so glad you have chosen to investigate our wonderful school! My name is Sharon Bole and I teach math in the upper school at Spencer. I began my teaching career at Oak Park River Forest High School just outside of Chicago. I have been in the Cincinnati area for the past 14 years teaching math at a few different schools. I have been a teacher at Spencer since our beginning 4 years ago. I am so fortunate to have been a part of this wonderful school since its inception.

I have taught all levels of math throughout my tenure. This year I am teaching Calculus and Geometry. I have taught PreCalculus and all levels of Algebra in past years. I love teaching mathematics and hope I impart to my students the enthusiasm I feel for this subject. I have been referred to as a nerd from time to time and that is quite alright!

My life is quite full with both school and my other activities. I have a 14 year old son who is very active in sports and kart racing. We have 2 dogs and a cat. I love to run and bicycle. As we live very close to the bike trail, I run on a daily basis. Being outdoors is one of my favorite things.

Welcome and I hope to meet you in my classes!

Mrs. Ehlers

Age — Older than I look!

Years in Education — This is year 30! (Told you I don’t look as old as I feel...as I am.)

Places Taught — In Texas: Arlington ISD and Crowley ISD; In Ohio: Cincinnati PS (Woodward, Leaves of Learning, Mt. Washington, SCPA, Spencer and lots of tutoring along the way)

Courses and Grades Taught — English 7-12, Speech, Public Speaking & Debate, SAT/ACT Test Prep, Shakespeare, Gifted Enrichment

Personal Bits — Husband (of almost 30 years), two children (16 and 19), youngest of 5 (Makes my siblings really old!), 3 dogs (Don’t ask!)

I love Hawai'i, but I hate water. 

I love the mountains. (That’s all. Nothing to hate.)

I love to cook and bake. I hate to garden. (That gift ran out before it got to me. I was a surprise child.)

Hobbies and Interests — Reading, Traveling, Listening to music, Enjoying time with family and friends, Going to shows (Aronoff & CSC, not so much Cinemark or AMC), Going to concerts (CSO & Pops, not so much Riverbend or US Bank Arena)

I love holidays — all of them, even ones you might not even know exist. 

Quirks — My days and months have colors; I usually dress accordingly. 

I can attach a song to most readings, unless the readings are, in themselves, songs. 

I usually have one [song] blasting through my head at any given time for just about any reason. I’ve been known to break into song at random times, too. (I haven’t shared that gift with Spencer yet.)

Personal Statement — What’s not to love about the love of learning?! The answer is why I do what I do, what I’ve done for the past (almost) 30 years. I love sharing with my students and I love what they have to share with me, with the class, with the world. 

Favorite Quotes and Sayings — Words have power; watch how you use them. Knowledge is power; watch how you use it. (A quote mish-mash that I put together.)

"...for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

—Hamlet 2.2

Dr. Gajjar

Mantra:

"The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence."

— Rabindranath Tagore

Education: My 13 years of university education encompasses a B.Sc. in Biochemistry, Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics, and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati.

Years teaching: I have been teaching for 3 years all of which are at CPS. This is my first year at the Spencer Center!

Childhood: I was born and raised in London, U.K. and moved to the USA when I was eleven. In the US, I have lived in Connecticut, New York, and now, Ohio. Coincidently, the trend for each move has been westward.

More personal details: I married my better half 19 years ago and we have 2 sons, ages 13 and 14, that both attend CPS. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking local trails, traveling around the world, and reading books that make me contemplate the meaning of life. 

What makes me happy? Being surrounded by students that make me want to be a better person and educator and colleagues that share all the wonders of teaching and learning. Teaching at Spencer makes me happy!

Mr. Harris

My name is Josh Harris and I am the 9th-grade Modern World History teacher, 11th-grade American Government teacher and the AP Government teacher. This is my fifth year in Cincinnati Public Schools and my first at Spencer. I am a lifelong Cincinnati resident, graduating from the University of Cincinnati in 2016. I have been amazed by the close family-like atmosphere between the students, as well as the staff. I love being a part of such a caring and collaborative learning community. Being a 3 to 12 building, it is wonderful being able to see students grow and mature into intelligent and confident young adults, and I'm grateful to be a part of that.

Mr. McCarthy

I have been teaching for six years, two years are Spencer. Before that, I worked at Target's headquarters using mathematical models to analyze supply chain and inventory level. I love teaching statistics and how mathematics can be utilized to construct models and explain real world scenarios.

What makes Spencer great: Spencer is a close knit community that feels like family. Teachers and students know each other, even though they might not have a class together. Spencer offers families smaller class sizes, more teacher interaction, and the ability for students to explore their educational strengths. 

Mr. Rall

Hi I'm Mr. Rall and I teach high school social studies this year! I recently graduated from the Ohio State University and am currently in my second year of teaching. My favorite thing about working at Spencer is the small school size and class sizes, it really helps to build a sense of community in the school!

Ms. Rucker

Coming from years of studying Biology and Environmental Science at the College of William and Mary, I teach all of the Life Science courses in the High School. Outside of school I coach synchronized swimming at the YMCA. 

My favorite part of Spencer is the welcoming, family-like feel of our community. The staff and students each have such distinct personalities, unique interests and diverse backgrounds yet still get along amazingly well. 

Mrs. Schnell

My name is Beth Schnell and I currently teach 7th and 8th grade English and Upper School Drama here at Spencer. I have been a teacher in CPS for seven years and this is my second year here at Spencer. I have a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance and worked as a professional actress and singer in New York City before returning home to Ohio to pursue my Master's degree in Secondary Integrated Language Arts Education at Miami University. I graduated with that degree in 2014 and have worked for CPS ever since. What I love most about Spencer is the sense of family and community I feel with both the staff and my students. I love being a teacher, and I love being part of the Wolfpack!

Mrs. Sleet

Hello everyone! My name is Tricia Sleet and I am excited about my third year here at Spencer!

I am a native of the greater Cincinnati area. I am married with two sons ages 15 and 17 and we live on the East Side of Cincinnati. I am a sports mom. My sons play football, basketball, volleyball and track. I am a personal health coach. In our free time, we enjoy camping and traveling with our kids.

I previously taught Middle School Math and Social Studies at a Catholic School in Owensville, OH, for 3 years. I have my master's degree in education from the University of Cincinnati and I have my undergraduate degree from Northern Kentucky University.

My favorite thing about Spencer is how small our school and we get to build great relationships with our students.

Mr. Strittmatter

This is my second year teaching 7/8 Science at the Spencer Center. I am married with two children and a new puppy! I studied anthropology and geology at the University of Cincinnati and later earned an M.Ed. from Xavier University. I enjoy learning and have far too many hobbies. I am amazed at how students at Spencer enjoy being challenged and strive to do the best for themselves and each other!

Specialists

Ms. Ebner

Hello prospective Spencer Center families! The most important thing that I try to convey to students is that making art is REALLY FUN, and that it enriches our experience of life. Students of all ages and confidence levels can enhance and refine their self-expression. I strive to meet them wherever they are — and students at Spencer are a diverse group in terms of experience level! Learning about art should never be a burden or a source of anxiety, it should be a joy. Challenges are how we grow our brains, and self-discipline in the art room leads to more enjoyment, as we see that struggles spark growth, both in art and in life. I am in my tenth year of teaching, (Eight years Art in public schools, and two assisting at Cinti. Waldorf school), and a graduate of the School of Art at DAAP, at the University of Cincinnati. I have shown my ecological/conceptual work at both the CAC and the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia, as part of the Green Acres exhibition in 2012-2013 as part of a tiny 501-(c)(3) nonprofit called Permaganic, which I co-created and served as Executive Director for several years.

Mr. Hudson

Mr. Hudson graduated from Capital University in 2016, where he double majored in Music Education and Performance. This is his third year teaching at Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Children. Over the years, Mr. Hudson has taught Show Choir, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Concert Band, Concert Choir, and General Music. In addition, he has performed in numerous ensembles, such as the Chapel Choir, Westside Community Band, Capital University Symphonic Winds, and various quartets and quintets. While he is knowledgeable in all wind instruments, Mr. Hudson's primary instrument is flute, which he has been playing for 17 years. Mr. Hudson enjoys reading, playing soccer and anything Star Wars related.

Mr. Lazear

Mr. Lazear's Introduction Video 

Dr. Yeager

Salvē! I’m Dr. Yeager, and I teach Latin at Spencer Center. I have taught Latin at Spencer since it was founded in 2017. I love teaching Latin here because of the opportunity to work with curious and creative students and colleagues. I’m proud of the Latin program and Ms Turner and I are building here, in which students use Latin to express themselves and to learn about themselves and the world both modern and ancient. In our beginning Latin courses, students build their ability to communicate in Latin as a language and to begin to use Latin to learn independently. Our advanced Latin courses allow students to read and learn widely about topics that are of interest to them and that connect to a wide range of other disciplines.

Support Staff

Ms. Fehring-Gustavsson (Intervention Specialist)

Hi! I am Krista Fehring-Gustavsson, intervention specialist at Spencer. I have worked in Cincinnati Public Schools for over a decade and love Spencer and our Cincinnati Public School district! I am a lifelong Cincinnatian and attended the University of Cincinnati. I swam for UC (Go Bearcats!) and majored in economics. I pursued a master's of education degree and have been teaching ever since. I have specializations in reading and mathematics instruction and love working in the area of intervention. There are four wonderful children running through my home at all times as part of my beautiful blended family in addition to a chihuahua, frenchton, one-eyed shih tzu, and a hairless cat! I love being outdoors and you'll probably catch me riding my bike on the streets of Cincy or taking long walks with a dog in a stroller. Working with kids is the best and the Spencer family is one of a kind! 

  • Bachelor's degree: economics
  • Master's degree: multicultural special education
  • Content specialist: mathematics K-8
  • Reading Specialist Endorsement 

Ms. McGlone (Intervention Specialist)

Hi, Y’all! I am Erin McGlone and welcome! I am one of the Intervention Specialist at Spencer. I have been teaching for 10 years. I graduated from Northern Kentucky University with an undergraduate degree in Education for Special Education and Middle Grades Mathematics. A few years into teaching I started my first endeavor into a master’s degree for literacy specialists. I completed my education thus far with a master’s degree in educational leadership. During my free time, I enjoy taking adventures with my family and friends like kayaking, hiking, Olympic weightlifting, eating, attending concerts, watching my daughter play volleyball, creating things using my Cricut machine, and running and operating Lion's Pride Wellness Center.