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Administrative Team

ELIZABETH ZURLINDEN -
HEAD OF SCHOOL

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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.

 

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RACHEL DIXON -
LOWER SCHOOL DIRECTOR

bio_dixon.jpgA 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. Futhermore, 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.

 

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DEBBIE BRUMMIT -
UPPER SCHOOL DIRECTOR

bio_brummit.jpgEvery morning before the school day begins, Debbie reads the following quote by Haim Ginnott, which she has taped to her desk.

“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

Originally a nursing student, Debbie quickly realized where her true passion lies. As she endeavors to inspire Rossman’s Upper School students, Debbie is herself inspired by the students’ enthusiasm to learn and desire to make a positive difference in the world. At an age where children are beginning to transition from concrete to more abstract thoughts, she loves to help them express their ideas through writing as they make connections with works of literature.

Debbie taught at schools in Arizona, Virginia and Pennsylvania before returning to her hometown of St. Louis. She also has traveled to South Africa to train township teachers how to use Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and implement outcome-based education in their classrooms.

A mother of two, Debbie enjoys reading (especially young adult novels), sewing, scrapbooking, and traveling. As the founder of Layne’s Grace, she also is dedicated to helping families find hope through grief by delivering bereavement bags to hospitals for families who lose a baby in delivery.

 

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