Whitaker Elementary News

Introducing New Whitaker Staff

Posted on: September 20, 2015

Ms. Katie Burlew, intervention specialist, is coming to Finneytown from the Ross Local Schools where she has served multiple grade levels as an intervention specialist the past three years. While teaching at Ross, Katie volunteered for several student activities was the head coach for Girls and the Run, 7th/8th grade track and field, tutored students after school and coordinated the summer school program. Katie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Miami University with a degree in special education and is currently working on her reading endorsement at the University of Cincinnati.


Dr. Douglas Dillon, media specialist, exhibits both a passion for teaching and learning. He is a veteran educator of 36 plus years. During this time he taught grades 2-6, served as a reading specialist, gifted specialist and a media specialist at every grade level K-12. He has served students in Deer Park, Forest Hills, Lakota, and Winton Woods. Doug earned his undergraduate degree in elementary education from Xavier University as well as his Masters in Reading. He took every course Xavier offered and completed licensure programs in K-12 Reading, Gifted Education, Library/Media, Elementary Principal, Supervisor, Secondary Principal,  and Assistant Superintendent. At Miami University he earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. Finally, he attended University of Kentucky to earn his Master in Library Science. At Wright State University,  Doug has served as an adjunct professor teaching library/media courses. He has served on a wide variety of district level committees, been awarded Teacher of the Year and a is a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar.


Mrs. Mila Dobnicker, fourth grade teacher, is returning to Finneytown. Mila has degrees in Broadcasting and Electronic Media from Eastern Kentucky University and Elementary Education from Northern Kentucky University. Mila is an accomplished teacher who has taught all subjects in self contained and departmentalized classroom settings. She served as math coach her final year and was instrumental in the implementation and adoption of Common Core Curriculum in grades K-6. She organized and provided professional development on Common Core Standards and Cognitively Guided Instruction. Mila created curriculum calendars, pacing guides and assessments. She provided instructional coaching to teachers and was instrumental in the selection of the new math curriculum for the elementary buildings.


Mr. Michael Holland, fifth grade teacher, received his elementary education degree from the University of Southern Indiana. He moved to Cincinnati after graduating and began teaching pre-school students at KinderCare, and working the afterschool program at Rockwern Academy. Midyear he took a position teaching 4th and 5th grade math and science at Alliance Academy. When their year was complete, he came to Whitaker as a substitute teacher to take on the last two weeks of school with one of our fifth grade classrooms. Michael has coached multiple sports and volunteered and been employed as a tutor in multiple settings. He worked full time as an Easter Seals Resident Assistant with children and adults with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities while earning his undergraduate degree.


Mr. Ethan Marstella, sixth grade teacher, graduated from Ohio University this spring. While attending OU, he worked as a resident assistant and earned numerous awards for performance and programming. Ethan did his student teaching in sixth grade science and social studies at Plains Middle School. His supervisor described him as hard working, reflective and friendly as well as a team player.


Mrs. Casey Nelson, fourth grade teacher, is coming to us from North Carolina. While in North Carolina Casey taught kindergarten, third, fourth and fifth grade at multiple schools as her family was transferred with the military. She earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education from Elon University and he Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University. Casey was named Rookie of the Year her first year of teaching. She has served as a team leader, on strategic planning teams, and recently received her National Board Certification in Literacy.


Mrs. Laura Ross, fourth grade teacher, is coming to us from Louisville, Kentucky where she spent the last six years teaching fourth grade at the Jeffersonville County Schools. Laura earned her Bachelor's of Elementary Education at Eastern Kentucky University and her Masters in Elementary Education at Indiana University Southeast. While teaching fourth grade at Jeffersontown Elementary, Laura sponsored the Beta Club, Green Team and the dance team. Laura served on the school interview committee, was a STAT team member, the fourth grade team leader and was  nominated as a "Top Notch Teacher" for Celebrate Teachers!


Mrs. Emily Sander, school counselor, comes to us with eight years of experience as a school counselor at JF Burns Elementary in Kings Local School District and at Prince of Peace School in Cincinnati. At Prince of Peace Emily created a comprehensive, research based guidance program for students in PK-8. She comes to us with extensive knowledge of special education and has coordinated  and implemented RTI and PBIS programs. Her undergraduate degree in psychology and her Masters in school counseling are both from Xavier University.  Emily is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed school counselor. She has provided school based therapy at St. Joseph Orphanage and works as a group facilitator at The Family Nurturing Center in Florence.


Ms. Emily Scalf, reading intervention teacher, is a graduate of Finneytown High School and many may remember her as a Finneytown High School Helper. Emily graduated Cum Laude from the College of Mount St. Joseph with a degree in Inclusive Early Childhood Education as well as her K-12 Reading Endorsement. Emily had worked at several early learning programs including working as a Reading Tutor for Price Hill Summer Learning Camp and Little Red School House. Most recently, she worked as a Head Preschool Teacher at Assumption through Hamilton County ESC. In addition, Emily has volunteered as a tutor and a mentor in the greater Cincinnati community.