TNSM staff tell about their summer

Many thanks to TNSM Alumni parent and photographer, Helen Adams, for taking a group staff photo, capturing most of us the week before school started.

Ann Baumgardner My husband, Erich, and I attended my Weimer family reunion in Livingston, Montana while Cincinnati was at its hottest. The cool temps were a nice respite, but on rodeo night (with no winter coat) I stuffed my raincoat with hotel bath towels to keep the below 40 degree temps from freezing me out. Later in the summer, I spent a few days in Pittsburgh with college friends and a few days with Mom during my hometown’s Carnation Festival. Our daughter, Emily, is in her last year of pharmacy school and is doing rotations throughout the city. It’s crazy, but the highlight of my summer has been playing in a half hammock we bought for our sunporch. It’s been in constant use ever since.

Brendan Blumer This summer, I took a few classes at Xavier and did some work on my house.  My proudest house achievement is screening in my back porch for my cats. My band, Ernie Johnson From Detroit released our first full-length album in June, and I have been able to play a lot of music with them and with some of my other groups. I took a family trip to a farm in Montgomery, New York for the Fourth of July, and I had a nice beach vacation in Kauai, Hawaii with my Fiancee, Beth.  We didn’t do as much wedding planning as we had hoped to, but we will likely celebrate Summer or Fall of ‘19. Here is one of my favorite pictures from my trip, taken at Queen’s Bath Beach in Kauai.

Colleen Blumer I had an amazing summer filled with a pleasing expanse of books, shows, studies, parties, and projects. Along with civic involvement in the politics of neighborhood preservation, new interests include (the great) “The Great British Baking Show.”

Karen Borgmann The boys and I had a short beach vacation  in South Port, North Carolina, and we’ve been looking to leave our apartment and find a house we like in Westwood. I took a trip to San Francisco with friends and visited a coffee shop and restaurant owned by one of my former students from Clark. My doctor told me I had grown an inch taller this year. Naturally, I was upset and  made him retake the measurement, pressing the bar down harder this time on top of my head. It turns out I was just having an especially curly-hair day.

Emily Broderick This summer I traveled to San Diego to celebrate my brother’s surgical residency graduation from UCSD. (See photo for dinner celebration!) I also got to meet my newest nephew out there for the first time! Family vacation took us to Kiawah Island, South Carolina with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. I also took a girls’ trip out to Los Angeles, and we found ourselves taking another day-trip to San Diego to see that cute little nephew again! My summer was filled with family, friends, nannying, and fun!


Nancy Buchman

My summer started with a 7-day trip with my daughter to St John, USVI, where we swam in crystal blue waters and snorkeled with colorful fish, turtles, and even a moray eel. We drove across the island and were saddened to see all the hurricane damage that still remained from last summer.

A week later, I loaded up my car with my tent, sleeping bag, cooler, and camping gear and headed to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. After stopovers in Quebec and New Brunswick, I put my car on a ferry in Nova Scotia and traveled 16 hours to Newfoundland.  I spent 6 weeks adventuring around the island where I camped at provincial and national parks. The nature, landscape, geology, historic areas, and wildlife left me in awe.  I was surrounded by whales, puffins, caribou, bald eagles, (and mosquitos and black flies.)  I visited the sight of a 1000-year-old Viking settlement, walked on the Earth’s mantle, and saw rare and endangered wildflowers. I took a ferry to Labrador and hiked along the coast among lighthouses and century-old shipwrecks. After my ferry ride back off the island, I visited Prince Edward Island, and saw the dramatic tides along the Bay of Fundy. On my way home, I met up with my daughter near New York City and we spent 2 days together sight seeing together.

It was an incredible summer, but my gear is all put away, my cat is back home, and I’m looking forward to the new school year with new faces in new places.

Lauren Burke My family and I took a road trip to Greensboro, Vermont and then ventured over to the Adirondack Mountains in New York for a Burke family reunion weekend.  In Vermont, we swam in Caspian Lake, made gnome homes in the woods, and ate lots of cheese from Jasper Hill Farm.  Driving through the Adirondack Mountains was beautiful and we had more lake time, gorgeous sunsets, and lots of family shenanigans.  Other than our big trip, I spent time gardening, going to parks, and gathering way too many pounds of fruit from local farms.  Peach caprese salad is my new favorite thing to make and eat in the summer!

Ceara Comstock As you can see from the photo, I had a busy summer thwarting crime, placing protective bubbles over those I love and of course babysitting my baby nephew when I could wrestle him away from my sister and mother. We moved into a new house at the end of the school year and took some time this summer to get settled in.

Mandy Crouch This summer was spent enjoying quality time with my family.  The kids and I spent many of our days at the pool and hanging out with friends.  We took some time in July to go to one of our favorite spots – Venice, Florida!  Just so you know, it’s the shark-tooth capital of the world.  It’s really fun to comb the beach and find fossilized teeth from long, long ago. Andy and I were also able to take a short trip out to southern California sans children.  We paddle boarded with the giant sea kelp and harbor seals.  We even tried our hand at surfing! Luckily, there are no pictures of that adventure.  It was a great summer!


Caroline Davis This summer I traveled to Scotland, Whales and England with my family. It was a wonderful trip filled with many castles, sheep and smoked salmon. A highlight was walking through Windsor as Meghan Markle had a few shorts weeks before. I also completed the Orton-Gillingham training and look forward to using all I learned in the classroom. I can’t wait to get my fourth year at TNSM started!


Jean Eschenbach This summer was happily busy, as Noa and I moved into our new home in College Hill. We still managed to spend a lot of time at the pool, as well as hiking and biking in some of our favorite spots around town. We ended our summer break by spending time at my mother’s home on Fripp Island, SC with close friends. Noa and her pals were delighted to find lots of starfish, sand dollars, and an impressive number of large sea snails in the shell. They toured the beach sharing their discoveries with others. As you can see from the picture, the island is a beautiful and very special little corner of the world, which we are grateful to be able to visit every year. It was the perfect way to say farewell to summer and to get ready to welcome in a great new school year!

Ximena Flores This summer I went back home, Quito, Ecuador. I had the best companion ever, my 6-year-old grandson, Kion! It was awesome! For more than 3 weeks, we shared wonderful moments with family, took a 20 minute ride on a Teleferic cable car to a 14,000 ft above-sea-level mountain with a swing and stunning view of the city! On our way to visit a Cacao organic farm to witness the process of making chocolate, we stopped by the equator line and felt the gravity that holds an egg standing on its own! All of this enjoying took place in perfect weather, watching beautiful butterflies and many of the 120 species of humming birds in Ecuador. Unforgettable! Memories that will always bring a smile in my face. I am looking forward to sharing with the children at TNSM Spanish class. Life is so good!!!

Jeff Groh The Groh-Platow family spent an enchanted 3 weeks in Germany and Switzerland this summer.  Our days were filled with long walks, lake swimming, quiet laughter and conversation in chestnut-shaded beirgartens.  We visited Oma and Opa in Munich and then spent a week with Raphaela’s brother in Zug, Switzerland.  We enjoyed the German-Swiss cuisine and the slower unplugged pace.  We were surprised at how quickly a day (or three weeks) could go by when you give yourself over to just floating through your hours. Ahh, I can still taste the the giant Bavarian pretzels.  Mmmmmm.

Robin Hallett I enjoyed coming in a few days this summer to help Audrey clean and prepare the kitchen for our upcoming school year. Otherwise, I stayed busy this summer, helping with a construction project at my other place of work.

Robin Hartmann I attended an educators workshop over the summer and took a wonderful fiber-art workshop in Columbus. I led 3 camps at Kennedy Heights Art Center, one with Jeanne Speier – TNSM’s dance teacher. I spent 2 wonderful weeks in Chautauqua, teaching and relaxing and had lots of baby time with our granddaughter! Late in the summer, I presented a workshop on how to infuse art into your classroom at a city-wide Jewish educator event.

Ryonen Ignatius This summer was filled with a lot of visits from family and friends, as we have finally settled into our new apartment. It’s been great fun to share with loved ones neighborhood walks and evening hangs on the porch. Brent’s mom, sister, their husbands and our nephews all came for our son Brando’s birthday on the Fourth of July and joined us in a Muppet-themed extravaganza in the inimitable Northside Parade. My best friend from New York came to stay just after…there’s nothing quite like open-ended conversations with someone you’ve been close friends with since you were teenagers.

Our kids spent a lot of time at the pool, seeing familiar faces, making new friends – and Jesse learned to do flips off the diving board. There was also summer reading, homework assignments, and the mowing of many lawns. I have spent time at TNSM preparing for my new role in the the office this year, as well as gearing up for preprimary art classes!
As a last hurrah, the kids and I made our first trek to upper Michigan, camping out at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. It was a fun adventure with a lovely group of 6 adults and 10 kids riding bikes for miles, having campfires on the beach and watching for shooting stars.

Robby Lewis 

This summer has been my busiest summer ever. Between moving into and remodeling our first house, building cubbies for the school, hosting our wedding party/celebration in Kentucky, and finding out that we will be having a daughter this December, life has been very full! We couldn’t be more happy or busy at this point in our lives, and we feel so complete.  I truly cannot wait to get back to TNSM and start the school year with my new perspective on life.


Sophia McAllister Trips to Utah: drove cross-country to and from to complete four more states (only three left until I have been to all 50 states!). Week in Wisconsin at my families lake house: fishing and relaxing. Europe: visited Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

Amber Neff My husband Jordan, my daughter Marion, and I, have mostly been keeping a normal schedule this summer. We recently returned from our first “real” family vacation to Lake Erie. We successfully camped with a two-year-old, didn’t shower for five days, and Marion rode the local carousel about a million times. We all had way too much ice cream.

Nadja Loredo Nether. This summer was full of exciting adventures. My husband and I moved from NYC and got a sweet little home in Pleasant Ridge. We also found out that we are expecting a baby boy due in February! We are very excited, and we couldn’t wait to tell our families. We hosted my father-in-law and then my brother-in-law for a few days. Then at the end of July, we spend two weeks with my family in Germany, and we drove to Prague to meet with my mother-in-law. It was hard to find a good picture to represent my summer. However, I decided to share a picture of my husband and me as happy as we could be at the end of our trip in the beautiful historic city of Prague.

  Melissa Robinson We had a nice summer, with a good balance of scheduled activities and downtime. The kids participated in various camps and programs during the weeks we were here. I taught all my lessons at home due to the renovation at TNSM. In June, we vacationed in Destin, Florida with my mother and my brother and his family. On the way down we stopped at the Peace and Justice Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. It was immensely moving and not a day goes by since that I don’t think about it. If you look closely, you can see Grace and Sylvie in this photo. Later in the summer, we spent time in the Smoky Mountains. The kids enjoyed some good bonding time with big sister Grace before she heads off for her first year of college.

Gina Sabato The most special part of my summer was spending time with my daughter, Wynne, who turned one in May. Between visiting friends in Asheville, spending time with my brother and his family in town from Arizona, and traveling out west to Sun Valley, Idaho, summer went by fast! In this picture you can see Wynne’s first kayaking adventure in the Sawtooth Mountains at Redfish Lake; the water was freezing!

Maureen Simon My summer was all about family! I spent time in Michigan with my mom, sister and youngest son Henry.  Then my husband, two boys and I headed south to Arkansas to be with my brother’s family and Texas for a family wedding.  I also got to spend two weeks at TNSM summer camp.  It was so nice to meet some children and families before school starts.

Jeanne Speier I had a great summer, hiking and kayaking in Acadia, Maine. Other highlights included taking dance classes and seeing the play Hamilton in Chicago. Robin Hartmann and I co-led a class at Kennedy Heights Arts Center and I taught dance in St. Louis. I also enjoyed teaching white-water-kayaking to children ages 7-11 on the Little Miami River. My summer ends with a dance and drum seminar near Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’m looking forward to sharing the Dunham Dance Technique (African/Haitian) with TNSM students this year.

Sarah Strietmann This summer I spent much of my time up in Northern Michigan with my family and extended family.  My parents, sister, and I all lived under the same roof for an extended period of time for the first time in years! Days were filled with boat rides, swimming, raspberry picking, beach walks, fishing, tennis, and puppy sitting for my sister!  In addition to being in Michigan, I worked two weeks of summer camp at TNSM and attended three more weddings in Dallas, Cleveland, and Cincinnati! I’m looking forward to the start of another school year!

Debbie Weinstein After taking my trip of a lifetime to France last fall, my summer was quite low key. I spent time sewing and cleaning closets and cabinets. It is amazing how much Montessori materials accumulate! We also took several short trips to Cleveland to visit my son and his family.



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