Gary Weisserman, Head of School
It is with great pride and excitement that I share with you that current 8th Grade Teacher and Bernard Zell alumna, Dani Steele ‘98, will assume a key leadership position as Interim Head of Middle School beginning July 2022. Ms. Steele will be entering her thirteenth year as a member of the BZ faculty, where she has taught 8th grade Reading Workshop, served as an 8th grade advisor and team leader and taught a variety of Humanities courses in 5th-8th grades. She earned her BA from University of Kansas and her Masters in Teaching from National Louis University. Ms. Steele and her husband (also BZ Class of ‘98), are parents to a student in Nursery at Bernard Zell.
Ms. Steele will report directly to me as she becomes part of our senior administrative leadership team. The position oversees grades 5-8 and is responsible for day-to-day operations, including leading, motivating and inspiring an exceptional team of teachers, and working with Dr. Sarah Fornero on curriculum and instruction to ensure best practice in Middle School education. As a consummate, passionate educator, she will also continue to teach at least one Middle School class.
Ms. Steele will be assisted in her new role by current 2nd Grade Teacher, Tommy Grogan, who will be stepping into a new part-time leadership position as Middle School Dean of Students. Mr. Grogan will be entering his eighth year of teaching at Bernard Zell this fall. He earned his BA from Lake Forest College, holds a Masters degree in Education from DePaul University and has over 10+ years of experience in education.
Mr. Grogan will report directly to Ms. Steele and his primary focus will be on student culture, behavior, social-emotional growth and support, with special attention paid to proactive programming and experiences, including the responsive classroom process. In this position, he will work closely with the Middle School faculty on a day-to-day basis to uphold our school's mission to develop engaged, confident learners and compassionate leaders for a stronger, more vibrant community and world. He will serve as the first point of contact in addressing student issues. He will also be a part of the Middle School faculty, teaching in some capacity.
Both Ms. Steele and Mr. Grogan are beloved long-time educators here at Bernard Zell. They have extensive experience as exemplary teachers and have served as key leaders during their time as faculty members. Over the weeks to come, they will be working with current Head of Middle School, Stephanie Bloom, on transitioning into their new roles, and will be engaged in ongoing professional development at the national level in preparation for their new positions.
All change brings the opportunity for growth. I have always believed one sign of a healthy institution is its ability to develop its own people into leadership positions, particularly into divisional heads. I can’t imagine two more exciting and inspiring educators to guide the Middle School into its next phase of growth, and I know you will join me in welcoming these exceptional leaders to their new positions!
Head of School