Aaron Cooney (PreK-K Lead Teacher)
Aaron graduated from Earlham College in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. During his time at Earlham, he worked with kids in a variety of internships and volunteer settings. After graduating from Earlham, Aaron worked as the assistant PreK-K teacher under the mentorship of Marianne Cope. During this time, Aaron discovered his passion for teaching and enrolled in Indiana Wesleyan’s Transition to Teaching Program. In 2015, Aaron took over as the lead teacher in the PreK-K classroom.
Melody Weikart (PreK-K Assistant Teacher)
Melody received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Indiana University. She taught choral/general music in Greensburg, IN and Warsaw, IN. Since raising her children, she has continued to engage with children and families while working for Communities In Schools and Centerstone. During her time with Centerstone, she worked as a family support specialist and served within Northeastern Elementary School. Melody lives with her husband Kirk and enjoys spending time with her 3 grown children and their families.
Laura Sheets (First to Second Grades)
Laura Sheets (1st and 2nd Grade) Laura graduated from Bates College with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology, and from California State University Long Beach with a Master’s Degree in Education: Curriculum Development and Instruction. She holds Indiana teaching licenses for grades preschool to 8th grade and special certification as a Language Development Specialist. She taught elementary school in California for eight years before moving to Indiana. Eager to return to the classroom after work in education administration, tutoring reading, and raising her family, Laura joined the RFS faculty in 2008. She takes special joy in helping students with reading, writing, and art. Her classroom has a focus on guiding students to find a balance between honoring their own uniqueness and becoming self-regulating members of their classroom.
Rachel Carpenter (Third to Fourth Grades)
Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Social Relations from Earlham College. She taught math at the Arthur Morgan School and 4th/5th grade at Rainbow Mountain Children’s School, both in western North Carolina. After her children were born she moved to Indiana and homeschooled them. When her youngest followed in her siblings’ footsteps and headed to the Arthur Morgan School, Rachel got her elementary teacher certification through the Transition to Teaching program at IU East. She also has Orton Gillingham tutor training through the Dyslexia Institute of Indiana. Rachel lives in Modoc with her husband, one cat, four chickens, and her three children when they make it home for a visit. She particularly enjoys teaching math and science.
John Sheets (Fifth to Sixth Grades)
John graduated from Earlham College in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Deciding his future would be best spent in education, he graduated from Indiana University East in 1997 with a BS Degree and Certification in elementary education. That same year he received the Student Teacher of the Year award while completing his student teaching at the multi-aged, portfolio based Discovery School, a choice school in the Richmond Public School System. He has been teaching at Richmond Friends School since the fall of 1997.
Jennie Kiffmeyer (Seventh to Eighth Grades)
Jennie received a B.A. degree in Art History from Indiana University Bloomington, a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from University of Illinois, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Spading University. She has worked with children at independent schools for 7 years, most recently as a middle school religion teacher at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis. Jennie also has professional experience as a school librarian and taught a course at Earlham College about themes of peace and social justice in children’s literature. An award-winning storyteller and writer, Jennie especially loves exploring stories with her students and engaging them in the research and creative processes. When not in the classroom, Jennie enjoys cooking for family and friends, making art, and volunteering at Richmond Civic Theatre. Jennie and her husband Jonathan are parents to Ben (RFS, Class of ’17) and Lizzy (RFS, Class of ’20).
Nicole Blair (Seventh to Eighth Grades)
Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from MIT and a Master’s Degree in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. She has taught high school chemistry and biology in the Washington DC area as well as Ecological Biology at Earlham College. She has co-led, with her husband Peter, two Earlham College semester abroad programs in Environmental Studies in New Zealand. Nicole is an avid photographer, enjoys gardening (when it is not too hot!), and loves camping with her family and friends. Her two daughters, Savanna and Maggie, attend RFS.
Rae Hunter (Spanish Teacher and Lunch Assistant)
Rae Hunter is a valuable member of the Richmond Friends community. She has taught Middle School, worked as a substitute teacher, created an All-School Theater, and stepped in seamlessly to the role of Spanish teacher in 2018. She has worked with Quaker Youth and been involved with the Richmond Shakespeare Festival.
Matthew Socey (Music & Beforecare/Aftercare)
Matthew Socey is a familiar face around the RFS campus. His teaching experience ranges from pre-school (Meridian Academy of the Arts) to the college level (Ivy Tech Indianapolis). He and his wife Lynne (a department chair at Earlham College) co-directed the summer theatre camp Barn RATS for ten summers at Mud Creek Players. When not on campus, Matthew can be heard on WFYI 90.1 FM and wfyi.org in Indianapolis. He’s also appeared on Stage at the Richmond Shakespeare Festival, Richmond Civic Theatre (where’s he also directed) and Earlham College.
Blair Walker (Music)
Blair is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Earlham School of Religion, after falling in love with Quakerism. Before coming to seminary, Blair split his time between studying Anthropology (at University of Michigan – Flint) and touring in various folk/punk bands, as a singer-song-writer and stand-up comedian. Blair has worked at a variety of summer camps and after school programs as well as Habitat for Humanity and the Veterans Association. He is excited to share his love of music and performing with students and to be a part of a community that is putting Quaker values into action. Blair is a proud member of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting.
Kay Maurer (Lunch and Extended Care Provider)
Kay has been with Richmond Friends School since 1987 which makes her a beloved figure for students and families, both present and past. She keeps the students safe and entertained with her stories during morning care, lunch, and after care. Kay worked in the dental field and did bookkeeping before joining Richmond Friends School. She and her husband Jeff live next door to the school and have three children and three dogs of wide-ranging sizes.
Lisa Butch (Extended Care)
Lisa received her B.S in Environmental Science from Allegheny College and a M.A. from the University of Rhode Island. She has worked in watershed management, college campus sustainability, and in outdoor education with North Carolina Outward Bound. In addition to RFS she currently serves as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Joseph Moore Museum at Earlham College. She enjoys the fact that combining her two positions allows her to work with students from Pre-K all the way through college. In her free time Lisa enjoys yoga, reading, and walking her awesome dog Georgia.
Nicole Andreas (Lead Teacher)
Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Huntington University (actually the last graduating class of Huntington College!). During college and beyond, she has always been drawn to working with kids and enjoyed the opportunities to engage with all ages in a variety of settings. Nicole has been a part of the RFS community since her oldest started PreK in Fall 2019 and served on the Parents’ Committee during Kindergarten year. Along with her husband and two kids, Nicole loves to be out and about in Richmond supporting, volunteering, and participating in community organizations and events. She is a runner who would pick muddy trails over paved streets any day and has a goal to run 4 marathons before 40. Re-purposing, creating, making messes and putting everything back where it belongs are Nicole’s joys in life.
Steven Cleaver (Head of School)
Steve earned a B.A. in Biology and K-12 Comprehensive Science Teaching Certificate from Rutgers University and an M. Div. from Earlham School of Religion. Prior to joining Richmond Friends School, he directed a residential environmental education center and summer camp for inner city children, served as Interim Religious Life Director at Earlham College and taught (and teaches) yoga at Earlham, Indiana University East and Beatree Yoga Studio. Steve is the author of the award winning novel, Saving Erasmus (Paraclete Press, 2007) which he wrote while in class with Tom Mullen at the Earlham School of Religion. A lifelong Quaker, Steve attends Clear Creek Meeting where he is a member of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee. He is also is founding member of the Richmond Writers Group. Steve loves a good laugh, the outdoors, and finishing a good book (either by reading it or writing it).
Patti Peterson (Development Coordinator)
Patti Peterson joins RFS following eight years at Girls Inc. of Wayne County where she provided human resource support and was the Development Director. Patti’s three children are alums of Richmond Friends School and Trueblood Preschool. She is excited to share the RFS’s growth and the many new opportunities now available to a new generation of families.
Earlham & Indiana University East Students
Throughout the year we have the pleasure of College students offering their talents to our school. The students have a wide array of jobs, from office duties to teaching and helping in the classrooms. The children at Richmond Friends School have always enjoyed interacting with these students.