Our Faculty and Staff

  • Administration

    • Abigail E. Comber
      Principal and Chairperson

      I have been a classroom teacher for 16 years and have been with Burris since 2008. My education research interests include secondary education curriculum and instruction with emphasis in project-based learning and student-centered activities; stakeholder and community involvement in schools; professional development as adult learning; student ambassadors and school discipline.

    • Brandi Hankins
      Office Supervisor and Systems Administrator
    • Megan McMullen
      Graduation Pathways Student Data Specialist

      Within my first week at Burris I realized I needed to be in an educational environment for the rest of my life. I am currently a sophomore at Ball State working on my undergrad in elementary education. It took a long time to get here but it’s worth it. I cannot wait to have my own classroom and only dream of being half as amazing and dedicated to my students as our teachers at Burris.

    • Maria King
      Financial Coordinator
    • Robert Marra
      Superintendent of University Schools and Executive Director of the Office of Charter Schools

      Dr. Marra holds a Doctorate of Education from Ball State University, a Masters of Science degree in Education from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science from Buffalo State College. He has over 30 years of experience advocating for children services.

    • Chad Wlodarek
      Athletic Director

      I became a member of the Burris family in 1998. My mission is to offer a variety of opportunities for our students to develop athletically, mentally and academically through sports, activities and clubs.

    • Lucas Reese
      Technology Coordinator


    • Emily Badger
      Instructor of English
    • Rob Jones
      Instructor of Social Studies
    • Jaami Bailey
      Instructor of Elementary Education (2nd Grade)
    • Heather Abernathy
      Instructor of English

      Burris has enriched my teaching in ways I never thought possible! I love soliciting feedback from students and I consider them co-creators in our curriculum and learning. We grow together as readers, writers, and students of the world. My courses follow a workshop model with an emphasis on choice, writing groups, book clubs, and conferences. Encouraging students to take creative risks in their work and to develop their own voices are my favorite aspects of teaching English at Burris.

    • Nathan Bailey
      Instructor of Social Studies
    • Michael Abernathy
      Secondary Science Instructor
    • Carlotta Blair
      Library Coordinator

      My goal as the Burris Library Coordinator is to provide a friendly, encouraging, and informative library experience for our students, plus striving to provide updated materials that support our teacher’s curriculum. I have been with Burris nearly 24 years. I am the school Notary and an Indiana Certified Librarian. I am a member of the Indiana State Literacy Association, American Library Association and National Notary Association. I feel very honored to work with one of the best schools in Indiana!

    • Cassie Bolander
      Temp Burris Classroom Aide

      A Burris parent prior to becoming staff, I wanted to find a way to give back to the school community. The aide position allows me to help both faculty and students work toward academic success.

    • Brad Canada
      Instructor of Social Studies

      I have taught high school social studies for 15 years.  Since 2005, I have taught Economics, U.S. Government, and U.S. History at Burris.  I enjoy giving students hands-on experiences through field trips.

    • LeighAnne Canada
      Instructor of Elementary Education (First Grade)

      I am in my 15th year of teaching.  This is my 5th year at Burris.  I have taught in all grades 1 through 6.

    • Leah Chandler
      Instructor of Secondary English

      I have taught in a variety of settings – from an after-school program for at-risk kids to a small town junior/senior high school, and now Burris Laboratory School. No matter where I teach my goal is the same, to create lifelong learners who value the written word and think deeply about what they are reading, who are able to communicate their thoughts and opinions with clarity and conviction through writing and speaking, and are prepared to contribute to the conversation in the world around them.

    • Brad Clark
      School Resource Officer
    • Bethany Clegg
      Instructor of Physical Education and Health

      I am an Indiana licensed K-12 physical education, health and high ability teacher. I am a Nationally Certified Adaptive Physical Education educator. I seek opportunities to grow as a teacher and have demonstrated leadership in my profession by being a past President of the Indiana Society of Health and Physical Education.  I am a recipient of the 2018 Walter Daly Excellence in Teaching Award.

    • Matthew Garringer
      Instructor of Secondary Math

      This is my second year at Burris as well as my second year of teaching overall. I enjoy finding new ways to incorporate technology in the classroom and to present old concepts to students in new ways. I love the educational environment here at Burris. It is a privilege to work with such great teachers and administration: it makes my job much easier!

    • Sarah Gaither
      Title 1 Instructor

      I have worked at Burris for a total of 11 years. My current role is Title 1 Instructor, which means that I work with struggling students in reading and math.

    • Felicia Gray
      Instructor of Elementary Education (First Grade)

      I have been an educator for 20 years, teaching at primary, upper elementary, and university levels. The majority of my career has been spent in elementary grades 1 and 2 teaching high ability and general education students at several schools in Muncie.

    • David Harman
      Instructor of Physical Education and Health

      I teach both Health and Physical Education from a wellness standpoint emphasizing the whole person. I currently coach Volleyball (assistant), Ladies Basketball, and Track and Field.

    • Courtney Harnish
      High Ability Counselor

      I am an alumna of Burris Laboratory School and it is such a gift to come back and serve the current students here. I have a passion for helping all students find their talents and strengths. My role is to support students academically, social-emotionally, and to encourage them to think about and prepare for their futures. I love helping students achieve their goals and beyond!

    • Michelle Harris
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Second Grade)

      I have been an elementary educator for 19 years with experience in second and third grades. I have an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Ball State.

    • Lisa Haughn
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Fourth Grade)

      This is my 6th year teaching at Burris. I enjoy working with students through Math Bowl, Japanese Exchange Program, Camp Crosley, and on a daily basis in fourth grade. I am proud to be Burris Owl and I am looking forward to many more years teaching at such an awesome school!

    • Laura-Lea Hughes
      Librarian/Media Specialist and Instructor of Technology

      Books and technology are my passion. I believe that when students are given the ability to explore what is of interest to them in a structured but open classroom, the sky is the limit!

    • Scott H. Jackson
      Director of Choral Activities and K-5 General Music

      I am a graduate of Indiana State University with B.A. in Music Education. I have been an educator for 18 years and have taught Choral, Band, Orchestra and Elementary classes in my tenure. I enjoy playing piano professionally in different bands in Central Indiana and am grateful for my daughter Viola. I believe that embracing music will create a lifelong joy and discipline in all facets of life.

    • Eli Jones
      Instructor of Social Studies

      The 2018-2019 academic year will begin my third year at Burris and my third year teaching overall. I take an active approach to social studies. My goal is for students to not just know history, but for them to do history so that one day they will change history.

    • Becky Juday
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Fifth Grade)

      I have taught 5th grade for seventeen years. In my classroom, students “own their own learning” by engaging in hands-on experiences as often as possible.

    • Tara Karnes
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Third Grade)

      During my 18 years of teaching, my goals have continued to include collaborating with parents to inspire a love of learning in my students. My wish for the children who come through my class is that they will always be kind, rise to difficult challenges, and become problem solvers.

    • Lainey Marshall
      High School Mathematics Instructor

      I have been teaching math at Burris for almost 5 years now, and there is no place that I would rather be. I love working with an amazing group of colleagues to provide our students with an exceptional learning experience. I enjoy creating a positive classroom environment and helping students build their confidence with mathematics.

    • Michael E. McClure
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Fourth Grade)

      This is my fifth year teaching at Burris. I love working with all of the Burris students and I probably enjoy the adventures that we go on the most. Seeing students in different environments such as Camp Crosley, Japan, Conner Prairie, the statehouse, or even at events on campus reminds me how special our school is.  Burris is an example of education in action and I am so proud to be a part of that.

    • Amy Miller
      Instructor of Secondary Science

      As a former research scientist, my approach to teaching science is to integrate the lab experience in every situation possible. I believe that students learn through hands-on experiences and become more engaged when given the opportunity to do science. My goal is to have students leave my classroom as capable science learners possessing critical lab skills needed at the next level.

    • Megan Miller
      Speech-Language Pathologist

      I have completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, both in Speech-Language Pathology, at Ball State University. I began working at Burris in 2016. My job as the speech-language pathologist at Burris is so rewarding!  I thoroughly enjoy getting to know my students on an individual and small group basis. I love to see my students gain confidence when they are able to communicate more effectively as we work together to improve their speech and language skills.

    • Evelyn Mocherman
      Instructor of Secondary Mathematics

      Since joining the Burris Faculty in 2014 as a member of the Mathematics Department, I have loved being in an environment where students and faculty support and encourage each other through both struggles and successes! Some of my most rewarding experiences in teaching have been watching students push through their mental block when it comes to understanding mathematical concepts. It is a privilege to be a part of the moment when a student realizes they can put into practice the skills we have learned together to solve what used to be an unsolvable problem, building confidence in their own abilities.

    • Elisabeth Ohly-Davis
      Director of Orchestra

      This is my 21st year as a school Orchestra Director, and I am thrilled to join the Burris staff with experience that ranges from starting beginning string players of all ages to students auditioning successfully for music majors in college. Orchestra is a vehicle for excellence, and students will have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership, creativity, and service in the program. In my spare time, I play the viola, hike epic trails around the world, raise alpacas, and knit items with yarn from their fiber.

    • Stefanie Onieal
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Second Grade)

      I have been an educator for over 20 years. My experience includes teaching Special Education, Reading Recovery, grades 1-4, technology literacy specialist and math coach.

    • Danielle R. Phelps
      Instructor of Visual Arts (K-8)

      This is my 15th year teaching elementary art and my 2nd year teaching middle school. Teaching art is truly my passion and it is a pleasure to educate and influence the future artists at Burris every day.

    • Corby Roberson
      Instructor of Secondary English

      I have worked with students in a variety of capacities for the past 30 years of my life, and I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather do for work. Being an advocate for and learning in collaboration with LGBT+ and BIPOC students is the most exciting part of my profession. When I am not teaching and learning at school, I am usually outside trail running, cooking delicious vegan food, playing with my dog, or reading nonfiction texts about random subjects. Being back at Burris is an unexpected, yet very fortunate turn of events in my life.

    • Emily Shepherd
      Instructor of Secondary Mathematics

      I have been a teacher at Burris since August 1999. I believe it is important for students to be able to construct their knowledge about mathematics.

    • Kelly Sloan
      Instructor of Elementary Education (Third Grade)

      I have been teaching elementary for many years. I feel all students can learn and excel when given challenges and high expectations.

    • Judith Sponseller
      Instructor of Spanish Education

      My students are rewarded for effort, process, and progress and not correctness, and are encouraged to aspire to understand versus being understood. The Spanish language and culture instruction aims to affect the learner to progress from being a local citizen to that of a self-actualized, global, bilingual citizen who is empathetic to other cultures, races, genders, religions, economic inequality, and political perspectives beyond the local environment.

    • Carmen Lili Stokes
      Visual Arts Instructor

      I have been teaching visual arts for 18 years. I am honored to teach students from grades K-12 visual communication and to work closely with the David Owsley Museum of Art.

    • Blake Turner
      Instructor of Physical Education and Health
    • Jenny Wood
      Instructor of Secondary Mathematics

      I have a variety of teaching experiences from rural to urban, from small town advanced placement to city alternative schools. One thing all students have in common is the desire to be cared for. This premise is always in the forefront of my mind.