Encore Team

During one of the class periods throughout the school day, students will be scheduled into Encore classes.  These classes are mini-courses which meet daily for twelve weeks for 7th and 8th grade.  Sixth graders will have a semester of LA Plus and then one quarter of Art and one quarter of Music.  All seventh and eighth grade students take these classes, but not all in the same twelve week period.  The seventh grade Encore classes are:  LA Plus, Art and Music.  The eighth grade Encore classes are:  LA Plus and Health. 

Meet the Encore Team Teachers:

Greg Allen, Mindi Bertels, John Case, Jeanne Cotter, John Coziar,  Jody Gaffner, Andrew Gibb-Clark, Mrs. Katelyn Hagarty, 

Patrick McGinthy, and Courtney Sellers

All of the encore teachers regularly use email.  

Mr. Allen holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master of Arts in Education from Greenville College. Greg is a third generation school band director.

His maternal grandfather worked for forty-one years as a school band director in Hammond, Indiana. Both of his parents are retired band directors.  A brother is a band director in Champaign and another brother is an administrator for the School Of Music at U of I.The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Greg in 2010. He was awarded the National Band Association Citation of Excellence in band performance for 2011. Mr. Allen was inducted into the American School Band Directors Association in 2012.  Greg serves as principal tuba in Saint Louis Wind Symphony and prior to that, played for the St Louis Brass band. He performs as a free-lance musician throughout the St. Louis region.  He has participated as guest conductor for Highland Municipal band, St. Claire County Honor Band, Madison County honor band and Greenville College band. He served as IMEA Junior Band chairman, hosted Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) solo contests and IMEA District VI Auditions.

Mr. Greg Allen

Director of Bands


I have been teaching 7th grade Language Arts or LA Plus for grades 7 and 8 at Highland Middle School since 2003.  I graduated from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in May 2003 with a degree in elementary education.  I received my master’s degree in elementary education with an emphasis in writing in the summer of 2009.  My professional affiliations include memberships in the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Illinois Reading Council (IRC).  I was a founding fellow in the Piasa Bluffs Writing Project (PBWP) Invitational Summer Institute in 2008.  I was also a presenter at the Annual NCTE Conference in November of 2009. 

I published my first novel, Just Pete, a story about bullying, in May of 2013. My husband’s name is Morris, and he is an engineer at Boeing in St. Louis.  We have four children:  Christopher Lynch, Jene’ Bertels, Katie Lynch, and Matthew Lynch. We also have one granddaughter, Addison Grace, who is the light of our life!  I enjoy tennis, canoeing, writing, and watching the Chicago Bears! 

Mrs. Mindi Bertels

Language Arts


M.S.ed., Sports Management, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2011
B.S., Kinesiology Major, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2001 Mr. Coziar enjoys spending time playing with his three kids, spending time with his family, playing golf, and being outdoors. 

Physical Education
School Improvement Team
HMS Cross Country Coach, HMS Track Coach
JAVPAAK Instructor
Intramural Sponsor
Ping Pong

Mr. John Coziar

Physical Education


I graduated from Nokomis High School in 2005. I attended Millikin University and earned a BS in Physical Education/Health in 2009. I began my teaching career in 2009 at Pana Junior High School where I taught 6-8th grade PE, Health and coached 8th grade basketball from 2009 - 2016.  I joined the HMS staff in 2016 where I now teach PE, coach 8th grade basketball and sponsor a variety of intramurals. 

In my free time I enjoy being outside as much as possible, attending sporting events, and spending time with my husband, family and friends.

Mrs. Jody Gaffner

Physical Education


I graduated from McKendree University with Bachelors in Health Education in 2009. Along with my Bachelor’s degree I received a number of endorsements as well- Physical Education, Driver’s Education, Adaptive PE, and Middle School Health and PE.  I earned my Master’s in School Counseling from Lindenwood University in 2013.

I began my teaching career at Mt. Vernon Township High School (2009-2011). Then taught Physical Education and Health Education at O’Fallon Township High School for 6 years (2011-20-2017). I joined the Highland Middle School staff in 2017. I teach 6th, 7th and 8thgrade Physical Education and 8th grade Health Education here at HMS. I am also the varsity volleyball coach at Highland High School.

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and two little boys, attending sporting events,  and being with family and friends.

Mrs. Katelyn Hagarty

Physical Education/Health


EDUCATION:  Bachelor of Music - emphasis in performance - University of Missouri-Columbia
Master of Music - emphasis in performance - University of Louisville
Illinois Education Certification - Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville

Mr. McGinthy teaches 6th and 7th Grade General Music, as well as 5th Grade Beginning Band at Highland Elementary. In addition to teaching classroom music at HMS, Mr. McGinthy serves as a clinician, private instructor, and guest conductor for local bands and orchestras, including serving on the staff of the Highland Marching Bulldogs.  Mr. McGinthy also coaches Weightlifting at HMS and HHS, and hosts Intramural Beginning Guitar.  He lives in his hometown of O'Fallon, IL with his wife, daughter, and son, Miles.

Mr. Patrick McGinthy
General Music

Mr. Andrew Gibb-Clark
Choral Music Director, Grades 5-12
HHS Music Department Chair

I graduated from SIU-E with a bachelor's degree in business education and a master's degree in instructional technology and have over 25 years' teaching experience and retired in 2016.  I am excited to be able to teach Technology Integration on a part-time basis while enjoying yoga and fishing and boating at Kentucky Lake.
My husband and I have two grown children (one lives in Edwardsville, the other in  Creve Coeur) and we live in Hamel Township in a house we built ourselves.
Mrs. Jeanne Cotter

Tech Integration


Mrs. Sellers graduated from Highland High School in 2006 and from Webster University in St. Louis with two degrees.  One in K-12 Education and one in Studio Art. She has coached softball since 2006 and is coaching 7th grade softball at HMS. 


She has twin girls who were born at the end of May, 2012,  two dogs, a black pug named Sarge and a mini-pin named Chief.  She lives in Collinsville, IL and is originally from Indianapolis, IN.  Mrs. Sellers is an avid runner and runs 5k's for fun.


Mrs. Sellers likes to paint and draw when time allows and has a passion for teaching, because "I love to see how you can make an impact on a student".

Mrs. Courtney Sellers

7th Grade Art

8th Grade Softball Coach