Faculty & Staff Directory


Dr. Denise SpirouDr. Tammy Ferguson - tferguson@weissschool.org
CEO/Head of School

Over her 20-year career as an educator, Dr. Ferguson served as a K-12 public school principal, area director for all Palm Beach County North Area Schools, and most recently as the principal/director of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) School District. Recently named one of the 100 most influential women in the history of FAU, Dr. Ferguson provided outstanding leadership at the A.D. Henderson University School and the FAU High School, which are among the state’s university-embedded elementary, middle and high schools. As a result of her leadership, these schools have emerged as two of the most acclaimed schools in the state of Florida.  


Maribeth LenzMaribeth Lenz - mlenz@weissschool.org
Director of Business and Finance

Maribeth Lenz worked for the Palm Beach County School District for thirteen years before coming to The Weiss School in 1999. In the public school system she worked as a director for the after-school program, data processor and administrative assistant for student services. She was the recipient of the Palm Beach County School Board Support Employee of the Year in 1993. She continues to take in-service workshops and attends Business conferences throughout the year. Ms. Lenz completed her Early Childhood certification at PBCC and trained in learning styles under Dr. Rita Dunn of St. John's University. She was the 2011-2012 President of the Palm Beach Gardens Kiwanis Club and is currently Kiwanis Lt. Governor for Division 20.


Kelly VartyKelly Varty - kvarty@weissschool.org
Administrative Assistant

Ms. Varty's business studies at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire served as a gateway into the hospitality business. In Vermont, she owned and operated a country inn and restaurant for eleven years, later transferring her energy and interest to sailboat in the tropics. She received her AAB at the University of Phoenix. Ms. Varty's experience in the business world is valued at The Weiss School. She handles all communication between the school and the home. Ms. Varty began working at The Weiss School in 2003.



Early Childhood

Cori BeckCorina Beck attended Iowa Wesleyan College where she earned a BA in Sociology and Psychology. She came to The Weiss School with experience as a teacher assistant in the Head Start Program in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Ms. Beck teachers one of the Senior Preschool classes in the Early Childhood Center. Ms. Beck has been at The Weiss School since 2005 and is the Director of the Early Childhood Program.

E-mail Ms. Beck at cbeck@weissschool.org



Alyse SchwarzbergAlyse Schwarzberg attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Schwarzberg worked at a private high school and in the public school system as a Kindergarten teacher before going back to school to pursue a Master's Degree. She obtained her degree in Exceptional Student Education from Nova Southeastern University while simultaneously working as a teacher's assistant for a preschool program for children with special needs. Before coming to the Weiss School, Mrs. Schwarzberg most recently taught at a private inclusion program preschool, where she was responsible for the curriculum for the students. She is so excited for a successful year at the Weiss School and can't wait to meet the students!

E-mail Mrs. Schwarzberg at aschwarzberg@weissschool.org


Early Childhood Classroom Assistant

Christina BrooksTeresa Armstrong is currently attending Palm Beach States College working towards a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She began working at the Weiss School in 2011 in the aftercare program and is currently a teacher’s associate in the senior preschool program.   Along with assisting in the classroom, she also teaches two aftercare activities, Science and The Little Tots Book Club in the Weiss School’s aftercare program. 




Christina BrooksMaria Cristina Brooks holds a BS in Business Administration from the Universidad De la Salle in Colombia. She continued her education in English studies at the Institute Colombo Americano in Bogota. Ms. Brooks is a classroom assistant in the Early Childhood Center and has completed her Child Development Associate (CDA) certification as well as her Gifted Endorsement coursework. Ms. Brooks has been an assistant teacher for 17 years, and has taught in The Weiss School Early Childhood aftercare program for eight years which have included her popular after school art and Spanish classes.


Primary Grades

Alyse SchwarzbergChristina Cowan graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Business Administration.  As a Manager with Sears, she was on the Staff management team, opening the Gardens Mall Store in 1983. After 16 years of service she stayed at home caring for her children.   Christina was born in Miami, FL and her family is of Costa Rican descent. She is fluent in Spanish.  Last year a career change brought her to the Weiss School. She taught Spanish to Pre-K, K and 1st grade. She is currently working on continuing education.  This year she will be classroom assistant to Mrs. Rac’s  Kindergarten class.



Nikki MagneticoNikki Magnetico received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University in Sociology and continued on with her education at Nova Southeastern University where she earned her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She began her teaching profession at The Benjamin School where she spent 10 years in the Lower School. She taught third grade and for many of those years she led her team as the third grade chairperson. She has her Professional Educator’s Certificate from the state of Florida and has completed her gifted endorsement. Mrs. Magnetico joined The Weiss School in 2012 and is teaching 2nd grade. 

E-mail Mrs. Magnetico at nmagnetico@weissschool.org


Kim RacKimberly Rac received her BA in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She taught in the Palm Beach County School District prior to coming to The Weiss School. Mrs. Rac has her ESOL endorsement and has completed her gifted endorsement. She is one of our kindergarten teachers, and has been teaching at The Weiss School since 2001. 

E-mail Mrs. Rac at krac@weissschool.org 



ShmerlingErin Brock  grew up in Tennessee and attended Arizona State University where she received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She has taught in the Palm Beach County School District since 2011 and is excited about becoming a part of our Second Grade Team. Ms. Shmerling holds a Florida Elementary Education K-6 Certificate, has her ESOL endorsement, and has completed her gifted endorsement. Ms. Shmerling will be a part of our Second Grade Team.

 E-mail Mrs. Brock at ebrock@weissschool.org


Denise TorresDenise Torres graduated from Florida Atlantic University with her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Master's degree in Educational Leadership. Mrs. Torres holds a School Leaders K-12 Certificate, Elementary Education K-6 Certificate and Advanced Directors Credentials from the Florida Department of Children and Families. She worked as a teacher and administrator at an independent school in Miami for over 14 years. Mrs. Torres serves as a accreditation visiting team member for Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS). Mrs. Torres recently relocated to Palm Beach County with her husband and four children and is excited to start a long tenure at The Weiss School. 

E-mail Mrs. Torres dtorres@weissschool.org


Pauleen WalshPauleen Walsh graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.She holds a second degree Kukkiwon Black Belt, and has completed her gifted endorsement coursework. She also was chosen to speak at the 2007 Florida Council of Independent Schools conference to present the incorporation of SMART Boards into classrooms through an exciting hands-on presentation. Furthermore, Ms. Walsh was selected to present at the International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) in Denver, Colorado, on the topic of Games that Teach-Using the SMART Lesson Activity Toolkit to create engaging lessons in 2010. Ms. Walsh is a first grade teacher and kindergarten and first grade Taekwondo teacher. She is a SMART Exemplary Educator and uses her expertise in all areas of her teaching, and has been a part of The Weiss School faculty since 2005. 

E-mail Ms. Walsh at pwalsh@weissschool.org


Intermediate Grades

LemieuxSusan Lemieux came to The Weiss School in 2001 from Massachusetts. She received her Master's Degrees in Gifted Education from USF and her undergraduate degree from Wheelock College. Ms. Lemieux holds multiple areas of certification including Early Childhood, Elementary Education and Gifted K-12. Ms. Lemieux is a recipient of the 2009-2010 William T. Dwyer Award for Excellence in Teaching and is the recipient of the North Palm Beach Teacher of the Year award. Ms. Lemieux was also honored by First Lady Christi at a National Center for Homelessness event for her work "that has changed the life of children," and was presented a plaque by the local chapter of Kiwanis for her leadership and service to the community. Ms. Lemieux teachers third and fourth grade.

Email Ms. Lemieux at slemieux@weissschool.org


Richard SchnurRick Schnur received his Bachelor’s Degree in General Science Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has been a science teacher at the Palm Beach County School District for the past 14 years. While there, Mr. Schnur has been active in supporting the science fairs and the Green Rays Club, which promotes green schools. He also has been the coach for the school’s baseball team for 12 years. Mr. Schnur enjoys sports and has been a coach at levels ranging from little league through college baseball. Mr. Schnur is excited to be a part of The Weiss School community since 2013. Mr. Schnur will be teaching 3rd and 4th grade science. 

E-mail Mr. Schnur at rschnur@weissschool.org

Middle School

ChaseLisa Chase graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in International Business and Finance.  She obtained her TEFL certificate at the Boston Language Institute and taught English as a Second Language in San Francisco.  While living in San Francisco she attended San Francisco State University and in 2004 obtained her teaching credential in Mathematics and Business.  The past 10 years Lisa has been a private tutor and substitute teacher while being an Air Force wife and becoming a mother of two boys.  Now, as her husband has retired from the military, they have settled with their two boys in Palm City, Florida.  She joins us as a part-time math teacher. 

E-mail Mrs. Chase at Lchase@weissschool.org 


Joan LevitJoan Green, a born and bred New Yorker, graduated from Long Island University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in French. She earned her M.Ed at Lynn University in Varying Exceptionalities. Mrs. Green has her gifted endorsement and her 6-12 certification in English. After 15 years of teaching, she joined the faculty at The Weiss School in 2007. Mrs. Green teaches Middle School and High School Honor's English. 

E-mail Mrs. Green at jgreen@weissschool.org 



Steve Hammerman Steve Hammerman is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and holds a Bachelor degree in Sociology.  In 2007, he earned his National Board Teaching Certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood, specializing in Social Studies – History. During his eleven years at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston, he earned numerous awards including the 2010 FCSS for Broward County Middle School Social Studies Teacher of the Year, the 2011 Falcon Cove M.S. Teacher of the Year, and the 2013 Florida Council Dr. Theron Trimble Florida State Middle School Social Studies Teacher of the Year

In 2010, Mr. Hammerman was elected to the executive board of the Broward County Council on the Social Studies (BCCSS) as the Middle School Representative. In 2012, he was elected to Vice-President of the Council where he continued his work preparing Broward teachers for the upcoming challenges in the field of social studies. Working with academics and professionals from across the country, he focuses on keeping Social Studies at the forefront of today education through the planning and creation of relative professional development workshops and conference with organizations including Nova Southeastern University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta/Miami. As a lifelong learner always searching for new knowledge, Mr. Hammerman is dedicated to providing his students with the best content, skills, and innovations that are relevant to learning. He is an avid traveler and over the last decade, he has brought hundreds of students to witness the sights of history firsthand including the battlefields of the Northeast, Boston, Philadelphia, Jamestown, and Washington D.C.  He regularly participates in teacher development programs including conducting archeological studies along the Mississippi River Valley, studying the Transcontinental Railroad in the Sierra Nevada’s, researching colonial military culture at Ft. Ticonderoga, and working with the Library of Congress bringing relevant primary documentation to the classroom.  His latest project is developing a Marine Archeology program with the University of West Florida, the Florida Public Archeology Network, and the Florida Humanities Council.  Mr. Hammerman will be teaching 5th, 6th and 7th Grade Social Studies. 

E-mail Mr. Hammerman at shammerman@weissschool.org


Kevin Simmons is an award winning educator and entrepreneur whose focus is the intersection of Aerospace, Education, and Entrepreneurial endeavors.  He is actively advocates for the use of CubeSats and Geospatial Information Systems as tools to inspire young students.

For almost a decade chemistry, physics, statistics, and aerospace were among the many subjects Kevin taught to junior high and senior high students in Florida.  Prior to teaching Kevin served as an Infantry lieutenant in the US Army, industrial chemist, and laboratory technician. He last taught at Eagles View Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

Kevin believes, “Exciting aerospace education is a key to increasing the number of competent American scientists and engineers.”  In June, 2002, Simmons founded TEKNA-THEOS Inc. (TTI), a student-run, nonprofit corporation.  TTI received numerous grants and awards for aerospace education programs and his students effectively advocated for support of a wide array of Florida aerospace endeavors with the state legislature and United States Congress.    Under Simmons’ guidance, TTI students designed a prototype bioreactor built by NASA contractors to investigate microgravity induced astronaut bone loss.  He and his students have taken the bioreactor components aboard Zero-G Corporation flights for testing in 2006, 2007, and 2008.  TEKNA-THEOS Inc. was honored as an exemplary school program in 2004.

Selected as a 2009-2011 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Kevin spent his fellowship years at the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships.  Simmons served as the division’s representative to the Haiti disaster and Gulf Oil Spill Rapid Working Groups, and has specifically supported the division’s academic programs.  He has presented his findings to NSF and other agency staff, at the 2010 National Space Symposium and at the 2010 International Space Development Conference.

In addition to starting a non-profit corporation with his students while a teacher Kevin also introduced school chess clubs, sponsored student governments, coached district champion varsity volleyball teams, and sponsored numerous winning high school engineering teams.  Mr. Simmons will be teaching 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Science.

E-mail Mr. Simmons at ksimmons@weissschool.org


Mark WeisbrotMarc Weisbrot earned a BS in Mathematics Education from Winona State University. In addition, he has a Master’s Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Mr. Weisbrot has been teaching in Independent Schools for the past twelve years. He began teaching Middle School Math at The Weiss School in the 2012/2013 school year and led our school in the AMC at FAU. He is excited to be apart The Weiss School community! 

E-mail Mr. Weisbrot at mweisbrot@weissschool.org


Special Area Classes

Jessica BurnsJessica Burns obtained her studies in education at the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal in Lima, Peru. She completed an English Language Course for Language Teachers and received the C.O.T.E. (Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English) from the University of Cambridge. Señora Burns has published several articles related to teaching English as a Foreign Language. For years, Señora Burns taught English and Spanish at different language schools in Lima. She holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master's Degree in Teaching Spanish and Spanish Literature from Florida Atlantic University and has completed her gifted endorsement coursework. Señora Burns has repeatedly received nominations for the Teacher of the Year Disney Award. In 2007, she was the recipient of The North Palm Beach Teacher of The Year Award. That same year she was also chosen among a vast number of teachers to be a speaker at the Florida Council of Independents Schools Convention with the workshop Spanish Goes Techno where she shared her experiences using technology to enhance the teaching of a foreign language, additionally, she is a SMART Exemplary Educator and in 2009 presented at the Florida Educator Technology Convention to train teachers using the SMARTboard. Señora Burns began teaching Spanish Kindergarten through eighth grade at The Weiss School in 2002. 

E-mail Señora Burns at jburns@weissschool.org


DoonerShawna Christenson is a graduate of the University of Central Florida (BS, Secondary English Education) and Florida Atlantic University (MS, Curriculum and Instruction). She is a Florida certified English teacher (grades 6-12) and holds endorsements in Reading and ESOL. Shawna has taught English for fifteen years, Public Speaking for two, and Debate for ten in both the public and independent school sector. Ms. Dooner has experience building small debate programs and has traveled with students to prestigious national invitational tournaments such as University of Florida, Emory, George Mason, Penn, and Harvard. She has taken students to Nationals several times, most recently in 2013 and 2014. In 2011, Mrs. Dooner was awarded the Donus D. Roberts Quad Ruby award for coaching from the National Forensic League, and, in 2014, she received the First Diamond Award from the same organization. At Weiss, Shawna looks forward to working with all grade levels to inspire students to feel confident in themselves and their ideas, to take ownership in their words and ideas, and to foster a love of the spoken word. 

E-mail Mrs. Christenson at schristenson@weissschool.org


John KennyJ.J. Kenny attended Georgetown University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Long Island University-C.W. Post College, with a major in History. He has his Professional Educator’s Certificate in the state of Florida for Physical Education. He was formerly a PE teacher at Sacred Heart School and coached intramural sports in football, golf, and basketball. He has been coaching for over fifteen years. He coached in the Riviera Beach Youth Recreation Association for eight years; coaching basketball, track, and worked as a big brother/mentor in the program as well. He also was an Assistant Track Coach at the Benjamin School for two years. He received numerous volunteer awards in working with the youth groups in Riviera Beach, coaching football, golf, and basketball as well as running the Physical Education department. Coach J.J. became a part of our Weiss School Family in 2012. 

E-mail Coach J.J. at jkenny@weissschool.org


Marika PowellMarika Powell graduated with Master Instructor’s degrees in Taekwondo both from the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Academy, Korea and the United States Taekwondo Union (current USAT), Colorado. She holds a sixth degree Black Belt from Kukkiwon and a seventh degree from the A.A.T. She is also a Certified US Class-A Referee, Level II Coach, and Level II Sports Poomsae Referee with two decades of ring experience in National and International championships. Master Powell is the author of the Academic Taekwondo© text book and also the founder and owner of the Academic Taekwondo program. She was the vice president of the Advancement of American Taekwondo for eleven years 1994-2006, served as the sports director of Taekwondo for the Palm Beach County Sports Commission for nine years 1995-2004, and currently sits on the board of directors for the Florida Sport & Olympic Taekwondo Organization. She was awarded a Citation for the Development of Taekwondo from the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) in 1991, and in 2007, the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters presented her with a commendation for her outstanding work. In 2009, she received the North Palm Beach Teacher of The Year Award, and in 2010, she was presented with the Hall of Fame Award, and Letter of Commendation from the president of Kukkiwon for outstanding educational development. Specializing in children's training, Master Powell has taught Taekwondo in the Palm Beach County School District since 1988 and at The Weiss School since 1990. 

E-mail Master Powell at mpowell@weissschool.org


Dave TrippDavid Tripp attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and the Paier School of Art in Hamden, CT. Mr. Tripp believes that “education is the key to success for young students.” As an Art teacher, he motivates students while bringing out their inner strengths to discover what really inspires them.” Visual, as well as all of the Arts, is a means of fostering self-confidence, imagination and enhancement in their lives." Mr. Tripp is the Art teacher for Grades Junior Pre-K through 8th grade. He became a member of The Weiss School family in 2011.

 E-mail Mr. Tripp at dtripp@weissschool.org


Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators


All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student. Examples of misconduct include obscene language, drug and alcohol use, disparaging comments, prejudice or bigotry, sexual innuendo, cheating or testing violations, physical aggression, and accepting or offering favors. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to  Dr. Tammy Ferguson and she will investigate the situation or you can report directly to Oasis Outsourcing HR Service Center at 1-888-818-9797 of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to Oasis Outsourcing HR Service Center at 1-888-818-9797.  Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services. Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted in the faculty lounge and on our website at https://www.weissschool.org/about-us/faculty-staff.