Meet the Faculty - Kensington Woods High School

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Meet the Faculty


Rebecca Brown
Art Honors Society
Class of 2022 Advisor
Course website:
Certificate in Art Education, Oakland University
Bachelors of Fine Arts, Harding University

Rebecca Brown recently earned her teaching certification from Oakland University, after four years of working as a freelance artist, designer, and educator. After graduating from Harding University with a degree in Fine Arts in 2010, she has built prototype furniture for a forge, exhibited in small galleries, studied ceramics and photography under master craftsmen, and worked closely with non-profits in the Mid-Michigan area to make sure all people of all abilities can have the expressive outlets that art provides. Ms. Brown's favorite part about teaching: the creative give-and-take as students build their artist communities in the classroom. "Art encourages students to look hard at the world around them and continually build meaning from it. It's a very engaged, vivid way to think."

Someday, Ms. Brown would love to try deep sea diving and perhaps illustrating children's books.


Traci Brown
Special Education Teacher Consultant
Student Council
Class of 2020 Advisor
Course website:
MA in Special Education/Learning Disabilities, University of Detroit Mercy
BA in Psychology, Oakland University

Ms. Brown's teaching career was launched when her two sons helped her realize that students learn differently.  She enjoys helping unique learners navigate their own pathway through learning.  Ms. Brown prefers the term “learning difference” over “disability.” She believes that we all have strengths that help us shine and differences that we need to find a way around.

She enjoys trail running, kayaking, and crossword puzzles.  She previously lived in Singapore with her family and has made more than 300 skydives. 


Tabitha Custer
School Counselor
MA in Counseling, Central Michigan University
BS in Elementary Education, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Tabitha Custer recently completed a master of arts degree in counseling.  She is dual certified in both school and professional counseling.  She is a former teacher and has enjoyed working with children of all ages.  She is also a mother of two precious little girls, Milana (8) and Makara (5).  Before coming to Kensington Woods Schools, Tabitha interned at HAVEN, counseling victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  There she also worked on the crisis line and facilitated a group for child witnesses of domestic violence.  Prior to that she interned at two middle schools and one high school in Walled Lake Consolidated School District.  Mrs. Custer loves animals, enjoys drawing and painting, and spending time with her family.  She is very excited to join the KWoods team!


Ed Dzierwa




Charlene Gawronski
Main Office

Mrs. Gawronski came to work at Kensington Woods in 2014 and loves working at KWoods. Before coming to Kensington Woods, Mrs. Gawronski worked as an Administrative Secretary in a corporate office for 6 years before taking a leave to raise her family.  She also worked as a Secretary and Library Services Coordinator at Howell Public Schools for 6 years and owned a party store in Webberville.  Mrs. Gawronski's youngest daughter graduated from KWoods in 2011.

In her off time she love to ride her horses, hunt, camp, and metal detect. She recently startedto master the art of fly fishing. 



Ken FergusonKen Ferguson
Game Club, Garage Band
Class of 2019 Advisor
Course Website:
MAT in Teaching, Marygrove College
BA in English, University of Michigan

Ken Ferguson has been teaching English (and many other subjects) since 1998.  He spent five years teaching in Tanzania, East Africa.  He loves the daily interaction with the students, coming up with interesting lessons, and challenging students to stretch their communication skills.

Mr. Ferguson is married and has three children.  He enjoys running, camping, composing and recording music, playing board games and just working on projects and researching interests on the internet.  He is very active in his local church and mentors youth in the youth group.


Melinda Leffert
Main Office

Before joining Kensington Woods in 2014, Melinda Leffert has been a stay at home mom enjoying the time spent raising her family.  She has volunteered for many years with the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 364 in Howell mainly as a Merit Badge Counselor and Co-Committee Chair.   Both of her kids have attended Kensington Woods since 2012 and they are looking forward to another great year!

Mrs. Leffert decided to join Kensington Woods, because she has seen what this school can do for students.  She hopes that little by little she can make a difference in students' lives. She loves to visit the Upper Peninsula and enjoys spending time with her family and looking forward to a great year at Kensington Woods!


Laura McDermott
Class of 2018 Advisor
Course website:
B.S. in Industrial Engineering, North Carolina State University
MAT Program, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Mrs. McDermott began her career in engineering because of her love of math and science. Her passion for teaching led her to become a classroom teacher fifteen years ago. She loves to meet all students where they are in their knowledge of mathematics and build their confidence and skills. Her greatest reward in teaching is to see students take risks in their thinking.

A North Carolina native, Mrs. McDermott has lived in Michigan for twelve years. She loves the people of Michigan but misses the mountains and ocean of her home state.  Her favorite ways to spend her free time are spending time with family, volunteering, reading, and hanging out with her friends.


Shannon Morton
English, Social Studies
Class of 2018 Advisor
Course website:
MA in Educational Studies, University of Michigan
JD, University of Nevada
BA in English, University of Texas

Shannon Morton joined the staff at Kensington Woods in 2012 after receiving her Master of Arts in Education.  Before pursuing a career in education, Ms. Morton practiced law in southeastern Michigan, during which time she developed teaching skills as a tutor and mentor for Washtenaw Literacy. She enjoys incorporating real world scenarios, such as legal dilemmas, into the classroom to help her students develop and practice language and critical thinking skills.  

Author Alice Munro said that “The complexity of things - the things within things - just seems to be endless...nothing is simple''  Like Munro, Ms. Morton believes that learning opportunities are infinite in scope and depth, and she will work to provide her students the chance to embrace this philosophy as they develop the habits to sustain lifelong learning.


Markus Muennix
School Store, Girls Soccer
MA, Eastern Michigan University
BA, University of Michigan

Markus Muennix has worked at Kensington Woods since 2005. Mr. Muennix believes that everybody can learn, that learning is for everybody and that everybody owes it to themselves to learn. "It is my role to help each student to capitalize on their ability and willingness to learn to their highest potential." Mr. Muennix's favorite quote is by Epictetus from Discourses, Only the educated are free.


Kevin Palmer
Physical Education, Health
Athletic Director, Boys Basketball
Class of 2021 Advisor
Course website:
MA in Education, major in Physical Education and minor in Health, Eastern Michigan University

Mr. Palmer grew up in the Plymouth Canton community where he graduated from Canton High School. He has been coaching at the middle school and high school levels over the past 13 years. He has coached basketball at the middle school, junior varsity, and varsity levels in the Plymouth Canton School District and has been coaching track and field at Plymouth High school for the last 13 years, specializing in coaching field events like pole vault and long jump. He has recently started coaching girls cross country at Canton High School as well. He spends his summers working at a youth kids summer camp in Livonia and recently married and currently coaches cross-country with his wife.


Shawn Pollman
Class of 2017 Advisor
College Counselor
Course website:
MAT in Teaching, Marygrove College
Certification in Mathematics and Social Sciences, University of Michigan
BA in Economics, University of Michigan

Shawn Pollman has been teaching since 1993, joining Kensington Woods in 2003. Mrs. Pollman has experience in a variety of educational settings, teaching court placed juveniles, middle school, high school and night school
students. What Mrs. Pollman loves most about teaching is having the opportunity to build positive relationships with students that often carry on from one school year to the next.  "I am always looking for new ways to engage my students and their understanding of mathematics.  This position allows me to be creative and to try new strategies in the classroom.  I love that I am always learning new things, right along with my students.  Our math classrooms are equipped with the latest technology, which allows students to tackle problems which are more challenging and relevant to the real world.  It is an exciting time to be teaching mathematics!"


Jessie MacGonigal Pratt
Director of Educational Programming
Class of 2023 Advisor
Cross Country, Running Club, NHS/Leadership
Course website:
MA in Art Education, New York University
BFA in Ceramics, Photography and Graphic Design, University of Michigan

Before joining Kensington Woods in 2007, Jessie Pratt taught art at a middle school in the Bronx, NY. What Mrs. Pratt loves most about her job is seeing her students grow, learn and link what they learn in the classroom to the world outside of school. "I love to challenge them to ask the question “why” and create personal definitions about what art is and can be. Students should feel empowered to create work that makes themselves and others think."

Mrs. Pratt is married to her high school sweetheart and they welcomed their first child, Madeline, in the summer of 2015. She also has a cat and two dogs and loves to be creative, be outside and spend time with her family.


Patrick Ritt
Math, Science
Class of 2022 Advisor
Course website:
BA in Education, Eastern Michigan University
BA in History and German, University of Michigan

Mr. Ritt graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990 with degrees in History and German.  He worked in retail for 15 years, including managing a shipping store franchise for 11 years.  During this time he spent 11 years working with middle school youth at my church and adopted his son, Zhenya, from Russia in 2002.  Mr. Ritt returned to school in 2006 and earned his Bachelors in Education from Eastern Michigan University in 2008.  He taught on the Navajo Reservation in 2009, at a private school, and helped establish a new charter school.  He loves to travel and take pictures and has lived in Michigan, Germany, New Hampshire, California and New Mexico.


Mechelle Sieglitz
Foreign Language
Class of 2020 Advisor
Course website:
BA in Psychology and International Affairs, BS in Russion and Eastern European Studies, Florida State University
Master of Arts Religion in Church History, Liberty University
MA in Secondary Teaching, Oakland University

Mechelle Sieglitz was lucky enough to grow up learning multiple languages, and it wasn’t until she was in college that she realized others were not as fortunate. After graduating from Florida State she realized that education was her true passion. She moved to Detroit and taught High School Spanish and Russian before becoming a computer programmer specializing in curating iPhone apps. Now, just as she wanted to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn another language, now she is hoping to help others learn to code, as well.

In her spare time, she travels to all the places where she speaks the language, and many she doesn’t. She is hoping to visit every continent by 2018.  

Kristin Tenney
Social Studies
Class of 2021 Advisor
Course website:

Ms. Tenney recently graduated from the teaching program at Eastern Michigan University and joined Kensington Woods in 2016. Before finding a home at Kensington Woods, Ms. Tenney taught in Slovakia, China, and South Korea. In each of these countries and in the states, Ms. Tenney loves to see students connect class material to the real world. One of her key beliefs is that in order to understand the present, students need to understand the past.

While she is not teaching or lesson planning, Ms. Tenney can be found at a café, sipping a cappuccino and planning her next travel adventure.