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Elizabeth Zurlinden - Head of School

Before beginning her tenure as Rossman’s eighth head of school in 2018, Elizabeth served as Rossman’s Lower School director and a first grade teacher.

Known to the students as “Mrs. Z,” Elizabeth feels blessed to have a career devoted to encouraging and supporting children while guiding them to discover a world waiting for their imprint. “Each child is a wonderfully unique individual with a purpose that can only be fulfilled by his or her footsteps in our world,” she says. “It’s an honor to nurture children’s interests and champion their talents.”

Prior to Rossman, Elizabeth worked at MICDS where she was recognized with awards for excellence in teaching and cultivating a collegial atmosphere among the faculty. Her career has also included work in marketing and admissions.

Elizabeth holds a M.A.T in elementary education from Webster University and an M.Ed. in Independent School Leadership from Vanderbilt University. In addition to her formal education, Elizabeth feels being a mother to two wildly different learners has contributed greatly to her development as an educator. She says, “I tease my children that I have raised both the tortoise and the hare!”

Happiest when traveling with her family, Elizabeth loves visiting art museums and historic sites, as well as finding Petoskey stones while walking the beach in Michigan. One of her favorite days at Rossman is when she joins Mr. Huusko, Mrs. Lucas and the fifth graders for their annual fishing trip.

Rachel Dixon - Lower School Director

A native Saint Louisan, Rachel is a product of Saint Louis independent schools and has spent much of her career working in them. Rachel has taught first, second, fifth, and sixth grades. Her administrative experience has taken her from an urban elementary charter school to an early childhood center, and now to Rossman.

Rachel has long known that she wanted to work in education and recalls “playing school” at home with her younger brother. She believes that “our experiences in early life shape our future” and wants to “ensure that children have quality educational opportunities that inspire life-long learning and that drive individuals to make a positive impact on our society.”

Rachel holds a Bachelor's degree in Child Development from Tufts University, where she was awarded the Eliot Pearson Prize for Excellence in Early Childhood Teaching. Additionally, she has a master's degree in language and literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

She is particularly passionate about language arts and has been referred to by former students as “the vocabulary lady.” Rachel wants students to understand the power of reading and writing, of hearing the voices of others and making our own voices heard. Furthermore, she wants students to appreciate the interconnectedness of all subjects. Learning in one domain can fuel our understanding in another.

Rachel relishes time with her two young children, watching their development unfold each and every day. She also enjoys spending time each summer at her family home in northern Michigan and loves opportunities to create things — whether reimagining her garden or sewing Halloween costumes for her children.

Jordan Andes - Upper School Director

A passionate educator and lifelong learner, Jordan believes effective teaching is built on genuine relationships and informed by a deep knowledge of students as unique individuals. 

“Students need to feel safe, valued and seen for who they are to take the risks required for meaningful learning,” says the John Burroughs School graduate.

While earning a Masters in English at Belmont University, Jordan taught at Ensworth School in Nashville and studied under master teachers during his time there. He also coached middle school swimming and soccer. A sixth grade teacher when he first joined the Rossman faculty, Jordan strived to engender curiosity by exposing students to diverse ideas and texts, expand their horizons through cultural awareness, and encourage interdisciplinary connections. 

“As students grow as readers and writers, they increase the sophistication of their thinking and communication,” he says. “This leads them toward self and global discovery and empowers them to engage in life’s meaningful conversations.”

In addition to reading and writing, Jordan is an ardent music lover. Having studied music production while an undergraduate at Belmont, he worked with several music producers and country music artists as an intern and had the opportunity to perform on a few albums. Jordan says studying music actually deepened his appreciation and love for writing. He remains perpetually on the search for new favorite music and songwriters and loves to analyze what makes songs “work.”

Jordan is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and sports ranging from paddle boarding and kayaking to cycling and mountain biking. He is well on his way to achieving his goal of visiting all 60 of America’s major National Parks.