Towles Intermediate School - Meet Our New Tech Staff

TNT Staff

Meet our Principal: Jennifer Witzigreuter
Assistant Principal Mrs. Witzigreuter is a native of Fort Wayne and a 1990 graduate of North Side High School. She is married and has six children, all of whom have attended Bunche and Towles. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and her Master’s degree from Western Governor’s University.

Prior to coming to Towles as the Assistant Principal, she was an Administrative Intern at Lindley. Before that, she was a District Instructional Coach, Classroom Teacher, Interventionist, Reading First Coach, and Reading Recovery Teacher. She first became a teacher because it “combines two things she loves - school and children.” She has always loved learning and “when you are a teacher, you continue learning everyday!” According to Mrs. Witzigreuter, she is “excited to learn more about New Tech and the authentic applications of the learning that occurs.” She is looking forward to seeing the products students create during their projects that demonstrate their active learning. An interesting fact about Mrs. Witzigreuter is that she and her family are Disney fanatics!


Meet our Assistant Principal: Derek Leininger

Meet our New Tech Director

Mr. Leininger is currently in his fourth year as Director of Towles New Tech Middle School.  Mr. Leininger has served his entire professional career with Fort Wayne Community Schools.  Prior to his current position at Towles, he taught at the middle school and high school levels.  He spent most of his career teaching social studies, but he also taught developmental reading and business education.  Mr. Leininger loves the New Tech model of project-based learning and is excited to be part of the Towles school community!  He enjoys playing ice hockey and spending time with his wife and daughter.


Meet our Counselor: Joyce Paige

Meet our Counselor

Mrs. Paige was born in Marion, Alabama and is the youngest of nine children in her family. She moved to Fort Wayne as a child, graduated from Northrop High School in 1986, and went on to Indiana State University where she graduated in 1991. Later, she attended IPFW-IU for her Master’s Degree and graduated in 2003. She is married with four children.

Prior to being the Guidance Counselor for Towles New Tech Middle School, she was a case manager for Park Center, Washington Center Elementary, and Shambaugh Elementary. She decided that she wanted to be a counselor because she loves helping people. Her favorite part of her job is to interact with students and try to help them solve problems. According to Mrs. Paige, the project-based learning at Towles New Tech is great because it "helps students better prepare for life after school by exposing them to real-world situations and allowing them to create authentic products." Mrs. Paige loves sports, especially basketball, volleyball, and football. Her first passion, however, is fashion. Before becoming a counselor, she almost decided to be a buyer for clothes. Luckily for TNT, she changed her mind.

Meet our Instructional Coach: Sean McConnell

Meet our Instructional Coach

Mr. McConnell, although not born in this state, has always considered himself a Hoosier and since 1972 has lived within 50 miles of Huntington, Indiana. Mr. McConnell graduated from Huntington North High School in 1985 and attended Huntington College where he played soccer and club volleyball. He graduated from Ball State University in 1990 with his Bachelor of Science in History. He graduated from Ball State again in 1992 with a Master’s in Educational Administration.

Mr. McConnell began his teaching career at his alma mater, Huntington North, and taught U.S. History and Geography. He began his administrative career in Jay County as an assistant principal. He served in Jay County for 4 years before becoming principal at Adams Central High School. Since 2013, Mr. McConnell has enjoyed his current position as the instructional coach at Towles New Tech.

Mr. McConnell is married and currently has 7 children, ages 5, 12, 14, 16, 18, 26, and 27. Outside of school, he enjoys watching his kids play sports, reading and hunting.



Meet Our 7th Grade Math Facilitator: Melanie Forman  


7th Grade Math Teacher

Miss Forman grew up in Hastings, Michigan. She graduated from Lakewood High School in 2008. After high school, she went to Indiana Tech and graduated in 2012. She decided to become a teacher because of how amazing her high school math teacher was. Her high school math teacher was someone that most kids dreaded having because she was strict and really challenged students to take ownership over their own learning. Miss Forman was greatly inspired by her teacher and wanted to have that same impact on her own students.

Prior to coming to Towles New Tech, Miss Forman taught 3rd grade at Washington Elementary. She was excited to come to TNT because she liked "how the projects provide an authentic piece to mastering the standards." When asked what she likes the most about TNT, she replied "I really like how many students get excited about the projects and the culminating piece that is produced."

Meet Our 7th Grade Social Studies Facilitator: Sally Benjamin-Butler


Meet Our 7th Grade Language Arts Facilitator: Tia McFarthing

7th Grade Language Arts

Mrs. McFarthing was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is a proud graduate of South Side High School. After high school, she attended IPFW and received her Bachelor of Arts in 2008 and went on to graduate school at National Louis University in Chicago to obtain her Masters in Teaching in 2010. She began her teaching career at an alternative school called Banner Academy South in Chicago where she taught for two years. Her next year was spent at Irvington Preparatory Academy in Indianapolis followed by one year at Bellmont High School in Decatur. Her fifth year was spent at Wayne High school where she was introduced to New Tech.

Mrs. Mac is currently in her 7th year at Towles New Tech where she co-teaches 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies, Reading and Writing Success, and is the TNT Writing Center Advisor. What Mrs. Mac likes most about New Tech is the ability to not only teach Language Arts content, but also to teach students important skills that will empower them throughout their lives. Mrs. Mac really enjoys being able to collaborate with other facilitators and forming bonds with her students.

Mrs. Mac is married and has one adorable daughter named Ayla and a very large dog named Roman. She enjoys spending time at her lake cottage on Fox Lake with her family and tries to run 7 to 10 5k races in her spare time each year.

Meet Our 7th Grade Science Facilitator: Leslie Lizarraga



Meet Our 8th Grade Social Studies Facilitator: Simon Brown



Meet Our 8th Grade Science Facilitator: Mario Garcia



Meet Our 8th Grade Language Arts Facilitator: Wendi Wallet

 Wendi Wallet

Mrs. Wallet was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders with a minor in Reading from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and a Master’s Degree in Education from Arcadia University.

She started teaching in 2000 for the School District of Philadelphia (1st, 2nd and 6th grades) and relocated to Spring Grove, PA where she continued teaching until 2011 (6th grade and 7th grade Language Arts).  Mrs. Wallet took six years off to spend time with her children and has been teaching at Towles since 2017.

Mrs. Wallet has been married to her husband, Joshua, for twelve years.  They have three amazing children: Isabella, Evan, and Ethan.  She loves to craft, read, travel, spend time with her kids, and is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.



Meet Our 8th Grade Math Facilitator: Samantha Smith


   My name is Samantha Smith, and I am the 8th Grade Algebra I Facilitator.  I was born in Fort Wayne, but from ages 13-23, I lived in Mesa, Arizona.  When I returned to Fort Wayne in 2006, I attended IPFW and received my Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in English in May of 2010.  Once I completed this degree, I immediately went back to school (IPFW) to obtain a Master of Science degree in Secondary Education, which I completed in December of 2013.  Finally, I decided to go back to school once more to earn a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Ball State University, which I completed in May of 2017. 

              While I was working on my education, I also was working as a full time educator.  I have 3 years of experience teaching 7th and 8th grade science, and I have 4 years of experience teaching middle school math and Algebra I.  In addition to my teaching, I have 3 years of experience as an Instructional Coach at the High School Level (Snider High School), and I have 1 year of experience as a Principal of an Elementary/Middle School.  I hold a license in math (5-9), science (5-9), English (5-12), and administration (Pre-k – 12).  I am also certified in school safety and photography.


Meet Our Special Education Facilitator: Jordan Lepper

Meet Our Media Center Specialist: Anthony Diederich

Media and Digital Technology

After graduating from Indiana University, go Hoosiers, Mr. Diederich began working at Garrett Public Library as a young adult librarian. After a few years, he decided to put his teaching degree and his love of books together by becoming a school librarian. In addition to being the Librarian for the last 8 years at Towles, Mr. Diederich also teaches business technology. In his free time he enjoys spending time, typically something sports related, with his wife, Christine and son, Connor.

Meet Our Physical Education Facilitator: Vince Quinones
Physical Education Mr. Quinones, aka Mr. Q, has been teaching Physical Education to 1st through 8th graders at Towles for a while. He was born and raised in Decatur, IN and graduated from Bellmont High School. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree from St. Francis in Health and Safety with a minor in Physical Education. He also received a Master’s degree from American Military University in Charleston, WV in Sports Administration. Before coming to Towles, he had a long career in the Air Force and retired after 30 years. He taught PE at Kekionga Middle School before accepting his current position at Towles. Mr. Q likes the way TNT has integrated technology with students’ education. He is the most awesome teacher at Towles and all the students and staff love him!
Meet Our Spanish Facilitator: Angela Tippman
Meet Our Music Facilitator: Phil Doron

Mr. Doron considers Ft. Wayne as home although he has lived in many different places.  He has spent years of his life living in Iran, New Jersey, The Philippines, Los Angeles, Papua New Guinea, Warsaw,      Ft Wayne, and most recently New Haven, Indiana.  He graduated from Lakeland Christian Academy in Warsaw in 1987.  In 1992 he received his Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in Vocal Music Education from Biola University in Southern California.  Since that time he has been teaching elementary and middle school vocal and general music leading singing in church.  Most recently he taught in East Allen County Schools. While voice is his main instrument he really enjoys playing guitar and composing and arranging music with computers and keyboard instruments.  He is especially passionate about helping students discover their own musical potential and developing creative musicians.

Mr. Doron is married and has two musical children both of whom are in college.  Outside of school he spends his time reading, bike riding, fishing, spending time with family and building or fixing things.

Meet Our Art Facilitator: Ashley Toy  
 Art, Advanced Art, Photography  
Fort Wayne native Ashley Toy lives and breathes art in Towles Art Studio 125!  A graduate of Carroll High School, she was inspired by her own art teachers to pass the passion on and chose to study the discipline at the University of Saint Francis. It was there at college that she met her future husband, Eric Toy, who was also in the Teacher Education Program.  Today, they get to share many of the same students as Mrs. Toy’s Towles graduates move onto Mr. Toy’s school at New Tech Academy at Wayne HS. Together, they have two dogs named Lincoln and Mona Lisa, both named after their teaching passions.  In her free time, Mrs. Toy enjoys baking (as long as its Gluten Free), napping and taking her dogs out for walks! She also has spent the last few years developing her own photography business on the side, applying her art skills to help families capture memorable moments.  Mrs. Toy loves to engage her students in the art community and showcase their work with the world!
Meet Our Band Facilitator: Linda Felger
Meet Our Secretary: Patricia Beaty
Meet Our Assistant: Stephanie Raleigh

Mrs. Raleigh has been a member of the Towles staff for seven years. She taught Pre-school for two years after graduating from Wayne High School. Mrs. Raleigh got married and when she began having children she was a stay at home Mom. 

Mrs. Raleigh has experience running a home daycare for thirteen years. She worked for Home Health Care, working with hospice patients for two years before starting with FWCS. Stephanie has completed extra training with special needs children and adults and she enjoys working with all children. 

Mrs. Raleigh has been married for 27 years to her high school sweetheart and she is the mother of four children. She enjoys walking, dancing and spending time with her family and friends.