Denise Lessow, Ed.D. is Executive Director of Pinnacle School and Learning Services and leads the Pinnacle Testing Center. Dr. Lessow has a Doctorate in Education from Indiana University-Bloomington, and brings over 25 years of experience as a professional educator and consultant. Her areas of expertise include dyslexia, brain development, science and math instruction, curriculum design, gifted & talented, multiple intelligences, cognitive assessment, and learning theory. She has created exhibits for science and history museums nationwide, and served as Research Director of CILS Consulting for over 10 years. Dr. Lessow is a past Board Chair of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, served on the Board of IU Health Bloomington, and earned the 2008 Herb Kiesling Award. Dr. Lessow joined Pinnacle in July 2004. In addition to her leadership duties, she directs the Pinnacle Entrepreneurship Program.
Kari Ponto is Pinnacle School's Assistant Director and coordinates Pinnacle Learning Services, our tutoring program. Mrs. Ponto is in her third year at Pinnacle and is responsible for student development and the daily operations of the school. During her first two years at Pinnacle, Mrs. Ponto taught a variety of classes, including middle and high school algebra. She has a Bachelor's degree in Education and is a literacy specialist with experience ranging from Pre-K to high school. Mrs. Ponto directs our standardized testing programs and accreditation reporting for the Indiana Department of Education.  
  Christina Bush is Pinnacle's High School Program Coordinator. She led the Seymour Community Schools alternative middle and high school program for 8 years and provided individual academic support. Ms. Bush holds a Bachelor's in Social Studies Education from IU and is completing her Doctorate in Classics. She spent a year in Crete and taught classical mythology at the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Bush also runs a local organic farm. She leads Pinnacle's Gold Team, advises student council, and teaches secondary social studies. 
Sara Sato is Pinnacle's Office Manager and Executive Assistant. She has a Telecommunications Bachelor's degree from Indiana University, and over eight years of customer service, marketing, and supervisory experience with national and regional firms. Mrs. Sato (formerly Miss Ballard) has been with Pinnacle since 2008. She manages the school office and coordinates school functions and special events.
Emily Bays teaches Kindergarten and 1st grade.  She holds a Bachelor's degree from IU with specialization in early childhood and primary education with an emphasis on reading development. Miss Bays, in her third year at Pinnacle, also teaches classes in cooking and crafting, and tutors with our Pinnacle Learning Services program. Miss Bays leads the Purple Team.

Discovering over 30 years ago that her oldest son had dyslexia prompted Connie Giles to seek out a program that would meet his needs. At that time, a dePaul Saturday Tutorial Program and Summer School were the only programs in existence in Bloomington to teach children who learn with dyslexia. Upon enrolling her son in the program, she became an active tutor, which led to supervisory positions in both programs for the next six years. During this time she was also teaching in a special education program in the local high school. Mrs. Giles was instrumental in beginning the Bloomington dePaul School (now Pinnacle), where she became a teacher in its second year of operation. Mrs. Giles is a certified Orton-Gillingham instructor, and coordinates Pinnacle's spelling and linguistics program. Mrs. Giles leads the Yellow Team.
  Kara Abbott joins Pinnacle School as the Teal Team leader after six years as a classroom teacher in Florida. Along with reading and language arts, Ms. Abbott's specializations include math, science and technology. Originally from south-central Indiana, she earned a Bachelor's in Education from Indiana University in Bloomington. Ms. Abbott also teaches our elementary technology classes.
  Kathy Agley brings over 20 years of independent school teaching experience from Calvert School in Maryland. At Calvert, she also advised the intermediate home school program. Mrs. Agley served as the summer instructor for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, where she taught reading and writing courses. She holds a Master's Degree in Reading from Towson University with Orton-Gillingham certification. Mrs. Agley leads the Green Team and teaches elementary social studies.
  Laura Sears is a reading specialist with three years of classroom experience. She directed summer camp and Bell & Beyond at The WonderLab for the past two years. Ms. Sears has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from IU-Bloomington. She leads the Orange Team and also teaches primary science and library research skills.
  Bill Osmon has over 13 years of teaching experience, including elementary positions with Indianapolis and Hendricks County Public Schools. He also taught overseas in Saipan and Vietnam.  Mr. Osmon managed the environmental science magnet program at IPS School 105, and is experienced in teaching writing and Reading First.  Mr. Osmon has an IU Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education, and is working toward his Master's degree.  He is a member of the National Science Teachers Association. At Pinnacle, Mr. Osmon leads the Red Team and teaches intermediate language arts, math, and science. He is developing Pinnacle's growing outdoor classroom and aquaponics program.
  Nicole Brehm leads the Copper Team, teaching middle school and high school literature and Writer's Workshop. She has a Bachelor's degree in Secondary English and Literature from Indiana University. Miss Brehm, in her second year at Pinnacle, also coordinates our after-school sports programs. While at IU, she was a member of the Varsity Diving Team. Ms. Brehm is the faculty advisor for Pinnacle's creative writing and literary magazine, Elephantay.

Kei Sato has a Bachelor's of Science from Purdue University. He has extensive experience in business, technology, math, and science.  Mr. Sato leads the Silver Team, teaching middle school and high school math and science for the second year. He also coordinates Pinnacle's learning technology initiatives. Mr. Sato won the Pinnacle 500 in May 2013 with his aerodynamically-designed CO2 cartridge car.
  Britta Goetz is Pinnacle's first foreign language teacher. She holds a Master's in Language Education from IU with additional ENL certification. She is fluent in German and French, and speaks Spanish and Italian. Mrs. Goetz has dual BA degrees in Business from IU's Kelley School and in French. She studied in France and worked in Hamburg and Mannheim. At Pinnacle, Mrs. Goetz teaches classes in German (to all teams), English, communication skills, and offer a French elective.    
  Jason Pisano has over 10 years of professional experience. He earned an Indiana University Master's of Secondary Education with a concentration in math. He has extensive technology experience working with educational applications like MatLab, Geometer Sketchpad, Java Bars, Geogebra, and Maple.  At Pinnacle School, "Mr. Pi" teaches pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trig, and calculus. He also supervises instruction in our new computer lab and teaches Pinnacle's first game design elective.
  Aaron Agley has a Bachelor's from the IU School of Public Health in Outdoor Recreation. For 5 years, he attended an independent school similar to Pinnacle. He has worked with children in a variety of settings including as a YMCA camp counselor. Mr. Agley is a certified wildness first responder and waterfront lifeguard, and has training in scuba, edible plants, ecosystem management, environmental sustainability, repelling, and planning outdoor programs. At Pinnacle, Agley teaches K-12 outdoor education, classes in design and invention, and coordinates after-school recreational activities. 
Carol Meredith assists with student services, alumni relations, and teacher appreciation.  Mrs. Meredith coordinates Granite, the Pinnacle School store for our entrepreneurship program. She has developed a library of college information and application materials for Pinnacle families. Mrs. Meredith also assists with our Purple and Yellow Teams.   
Jon Ponto is Pinnacle's Facilities Engineer.  He is responsible for the development and improvement of Pinnacle's 7-acre campus, including our three program buildings.  Mr. Ponto also coordinates our service vendors and heads our building safety and security committee.

Community Partners

  • Sycamore Land Trust

  • Hilltop Garden and Nature Center

  • IU Art Museum

  • Herald-Times

  • Nature's Crossroad

  • One World Catering

  • The WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology

  • Kelley School of Business Civic Leadership Development

  Pinnacle School
  2182 W. Industrial Park Drive
  Bloomington, IN 47404