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PHM announces administrative changes

PHM Supt. Dr. Thacker, Lorraine White, Michael Babcock, Shonda Masterson, Elizabeth Willkom-Cunha, and Board Pres. Chris Riley
PHM Supt. Dr. Thacker, Lorraine White, Michael Babcock, Shonda Masterson, Elizabeth Willkom-Cunha, and Board Pres. Chris Riley

The following administrative appointments were approved by the P-H-M Board of School Trustees on Monday, June 17:


New Principal of Discovery Middle School: 

Replacing retiring Principal Sheryll Harper is Mrs. Elizabeth Willkom-Cunha, who has served as principal of the Nuner Fine Arts Academy in South Bend since July 2016.

Elizabeth's educational career began in Miami-Dade Public Schools. She served as an Assistant Principal at Fulford Elementary School in North Miami Beach, Florida, 2015 to 2016. Before becoming Assistant Principal, she was an Instructional Teacher (4th Grade General Ed/SPED Inclusion) 2010 to 2012.

From 2012-2015, Elizabeth served as an Exceptional Student Education/Special Education (ESC/SPED) Chairperson. She also served as the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Coordinator/Instructional Coach for two years, 2013 to 2015.

Elizabeth began her career as an Instructional Teacher (SPED Inclusion and Self-Contained) at Fienberg-Fisher K-8 Center in Miami Beach, Florida from 2005 to 2010.

Elizabeth received a B.A. Arts and Letters in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2002, received a M.S. in Education – Integrating Technology in the Classroom from Walden University (Minneapolis) in 2007. In 2012, Elizabeth earned her Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University (Davie, Florida). Elizabeth brings with her a wealth of expertise in a variety of educational best practices and methodologies including special education, English as a Second Language, and behavior interventions. She is also fluent in Spanish.  


Elizabeth will start July 1 with P-H-M.


New Principal of Northpoint Elementary School

Replacing retiring Principal Diane Wirth is Mrs. Lorraine White. Lorraine has served as Assistant to the Principal at Bittersweet Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year. Prior to her assignment at Bittersweet, Lorraine was an elementary teacher at Northpoint Elementary School since the school opened in 1998, where she taught grades one through three. Lorraine’s first teaching position was at Walt Disney where she served as a Title I teacher from January-May of 1998.

Lorraine received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ball State University in 1997, a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University South Bend in 2003 and she recently completed the Principal Licensure Program from Indiana Wesleyan University.


Lorraine’s experience and knowledge of the Northpoint community will serve her well as she continues to develop connections and relationships with Northpoint students, staff, and parents. 


Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker also recommended that one additional Assistant Principal be added at both Grissom and Discovery Middle Schools, effective with the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. This will bring all three of P-H-M’s middle schools in line with each other and each school’s administrative team will consist of a Principal and two Assistant Principals.

Lorraine will start July 1 in her new role.


Assistant Principal of Discovery Middle School: 

Joining the Discovery administrative team of new principal Mrs. Elizabeth Willkom-Cunha and Troy Kauffman will be Mrs. Shonda Masterson. Shonda has been a 6th grade science teacher at Discovery Middle School since 2014. She began her teaching career at Penn-Harris-Madison as a 4th grade teacher at Elm Road Elementary School. She also taught at Moran before moving to Discovery.


Shonda received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Indiana University South Bend in 1995, a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University South Bend in 2006, and in 2018, she finished her MBA in Educational Leadership from Indiana University Bloomington.


Shonda's experience working with diverse groups of people, her effective leadership skills, family involvement, and the already strong relationships she has with the Discovery Middle School parent community and staff, will be strong assets for her in this new leadership role. Shonda will also provide additional support in the area of student discipline.


Shonda will start July 29 in her new role.


Assistant Principal of Grissom Middle School: 

Joining the Grissom administrative team of Jean Milfort and Jen Sinclair will be Mr. Michael Babcock. Mike has served as Principal of LaSalle Elementary School (grades K-6) in Mishawaka since 2016. Prior to LaSalle, Mike served as an Assistant Principal at John Young Middle School (grades 7-8) from 2014-2016, where his main focus was on discipline for 7th and 8th grade students. Mike also served as an Assistant Principal at Mishawaka High School for one year (2013-2014), where he also handled discipline for 10th and 11th grade students. Mike began his career in public education as an Alternative Education, Government and World History teacher at New Prairie High School in 2000. While at New Prairie Mike also coached the freshman, junior varsity, and varsity boys’ basketball teams over his 13 year career.


Mike received a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies from Wabash College in 2000, a master’s degree in Education from Indiana University South Bend in 2009, and he completed his Licensure in Educational Leadership from Indiana University South Bend in 2012.


Mike brings with him an expertise in dealing with student discipline at all grade levels – high school, middle school, and elementary school. He is a certified school safety specialist and, he is both trained in and a trainer in CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute).  


Mike will start July 29.