Faculty

  • Ellie DesPrez, Department Chair ~ on sabbatical 2016-2017
    314-993-4045 ext. 331
    edesprez@jburroughs.org

    Ellie DesPrez joined the Burroughs faculty in 1998. She chairs the English Department and teaches 7th-grade and 10th-grade English as well as an honors English senior seminar. Des Prez also teaches yoga classes conducted through the after-school fitness program. She is faculty sponsor of the Middle School Creative Writing Workshop. During the 2016-2017 school year, DesPrez is on sabbatical. Prior to coming to Burroughs, she taught at Gallup High School (New Mexico), Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Clayton High School and Washington University. She completed her bachelor of arts degree in English and philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She holds masters degrees in English and American literature and in teaching, as well as a doctorate in English and American literature, all from Washington University.

  • Andy Abbott
    314-993-4045 ext. 282
    aabbott@jburroughs.org

    Andy Abbott joined the Burroughs faculty and administration in 2001 and was named head of school, effective July 2009. He has served as an English teacher, principal, director of college counseling and assistant head of school. Abbott holds a a bachelor's degree in English from Kenyon College and a master's degree in English from Middlebury College. Prior to Burroughs, he was director of college counseling (1998 - 2001) and an English teacher (1990 - 2001) at Woodberry Forest School (Woodberry Forest, VA).

  • Andy Chen
    314-993-4045 ext. 319
    achen@jburroughs.org

    Andy Chen joined the English Department to teach seventh- and tenth-grade English during the 2016-2017 school year. He is also a faculty sponsor of the Asian Culture Club. Chen holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in creative writing from Washington University in St. Louis. He previously taught English and creative writing at WUSTL and was a tutor at Elite Academy in Glenview, Illinois. His poems and book reviews have appeared in various publications.

  • Jeff Dee
    314-993-4045 ext. 708
    jdee@jburroughs.org

    Jeff Dee joined the Burroughs faculty in 2008. He tutors in the Academic Support Department and coaches basketball and baseball. Prior to coming to Burroughs, Dee taught English and coached baseball, track and cross country for 30 years in the Parkway School District. He served as chair of the English Department for his last four years at Parkway West. Dee holds a bachelor's degree in English from Carleton College and a master's in English literature from Washington University.

  • Jill Donovan
    314-993-4045 ext. 288
    jdonovan@jburroughs.org

    Jill Donovan joined the Burroughs faculty and administration in July 2011. She served as the director of academics for two years and now teaches 7th grade English, English IV and an Honors English Senior Seminar. She came to Burroughs from MICDS where she taught English for eight years and chaired the English Department for three. Prior to teaching at MICDS, Donovan taught at Hawken School (OH), Sayre School (KY) and Palmer Trinity School (FL), in addition to teaching several semesters at the college level. She holds a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and a master's in English from the University of Miami (Florida).

  • Maggie Doyle Ervin
    314-993-4045 ext. 202
    mervin@jburroughs.org

    Maggie Doyle Ervin joined the English Department in summer 2016 to teach ninth- and eleventh-grade English. She holds bachelor’s and master's degrees in English from Northern Illinois University and is a Ph.D. Candidate-English at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Ervin has 15 years of teaching experience, most recently at Nerinx Hall High School.

  • Joy Gebhardt
    314-993-4045 ext. 263
    jgeb@jburroughs.org

    Joy Gebhardt joined the Burroughs faculty in 2004. She teaches English. Prior to coming to Burroughs, Gebhardt taught at Delia School of Canada in Hong Kong, The University of Chicago's Writing Program, Sewickley Academy (Pittsburgh) and The Avery Coonley School (Illinois). She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont and a master's in English from the University of Chicago.

  • Jeanne Gillanders
    314-993-4045 ext. 394
    jgillanders@jburroughs.org

    Jeanne Gillanders joined the Burroughs faculty in 2011. Prior to coming to Burroughs, she taught at Parkway North and DeSmet. Gillanders holds a bachelor's degree in writing and English literature from Saint Mary's College and is completing her master's degree in liberal arts at Washington University.

  • Anita Hagerman
    314-993-4045 ext. 709
    ahagerman@jburroughs.org

    Anita Hagerman joined the English Department in summer 2013. She teaches English II and IV. Hagerman holds bachelor's degrees from Ball State University, master's degrees from the University of Chicago and Missouri State and a doctorate in English and American literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Before coming to Burroughs, she taught literature, composition and linguistics at Washington University and Webster University.

  • Shannon Koropchak
    314-993-4045 ext. 316
    skoropchak@jburroughs.org

    Shannon Koropchak joined the English Department in the summer of 2013. She teaches English 8 and English III and is a faculty co-sponsor for the Model UN. Koropchak holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana and a master's and doctorate in English and American literature from Washington University. Before coming to Burroughs, she taught at Washington University and the International Black Sea University in The Republic of Georgia.

  • Jim Lewis ~ Acting Department Chair 2016-2017
    314-993-4045 ext. 374
    jlewis@jburroughs.org

    Jim Lewis joined the English Department, teaching English I and English III, in summer 2013. During the 2016-2017 school year, he is acting chair of the department. Lewis is a veteran teacher and administrator of independent schools, most notably at Hawken School and Hampton Roads Academy. He holds a bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master's degree from Case Western Reserve University.

  • John Pierson
    314-993-4045 ext. 365
    jpierson@jburroughs.org

    John Pierson joined the Burroughs faculty in 1993. He is the chair of the Theatre, Speech & Dance department, where he teaches Playwriting, Contemporary Theatre, and Theatre 11-12 scene study. He also directs two productions a year and serves as the producer of the Holiday Program and The Dance Show. In the English Department, he teaches English IV and a Senior Honors Seminar. He is a senior class sponsor and a May Project advisor and works with the Outdoor Education program. Prior to coming to Burroughs, he taught at the Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, CT. Pierson holds a BA (English/Physical Education) from the College of Wooster and studied in the actor’s training program at Circle in the Square in New York. A working actor, he is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors Guild.

  • Melissa Simonds
    314-993-4045 ext. 318
    msimonds@jburroughs.org

    Melissa Simonds joined the JBS faculty in 2009. She teaches English and is a faculty sponsor of the student literary magazine. She is also a college counselor. Prior to coming to Burroughs, Simonds was a college counselor and English teacher at MICDS. Before moving to St. Louis, she was the dean of college counseling at Lake Forest Academy, and taught  English at The Isidore Newman School, Tabor Academy and Rumsey Hall. Simonds holds a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Yale University and a master's in English from The Bread Loaf School of English (Middlebury College).

  • Megan Zmudczynski
    314-993-4045 ext. 302
    mzmud@jburroughs.org

    Megan Zmudczynski '04 joined the Burroughs faculty in 2014. She teaches 8th-, 9th- and 11th-grade English and serves as a faculty sponsor for Spectrum. Zmudczynski came to Burroughs from Priory. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Brown University and is working toward a master's degree in teaching at Webster University.