The University School

On the first visit there, our daughter recognized The University School as an environment for success. The small class sizes, excellent teachers and dedicated counselors have proven to be a winning combination. Free of the chaos she experienced previously, she’s been able to shine. Yes, she’s faced (and presented) challenges but, everybody—from the front desk to the back office—has offered support and guidance with unwavering patience, all while adhering to the highest standards of education and ethics.

Faculty and Staff

The University School instructors have advanced academic degrees and are certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Our faculty works closely with the students and families to ensure that learning is an enjoyable and rewarding experience and that success is achieved. Get to know our 2020-2021team below:

Mrs. Nicole Lockerman

Head of School

Mrs. Lockerman is the Head of School. Mrs. Lockerman completed her Masters in the Art of Teaching at Chatham University and holds a Pennsylvania Department of Education certification in Secondary Language Arts. Mrs. Lockerman completed her Bachelor of Arts in English and Literature with a concentration in Creative and Professional Writing at Mercyhurst University. Mrs. Lockerman has worked with adolescents and young adults pursuing higher education for the past 10 years. She served as the Director of AHEADD (Achieving in Higher Education), as well as the Director of Transition and Higher Education Services for AERI Behavioral Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Lockerman co-developed one of the first college acclimation programs in the United States and London, England.  Mrs. Lockerman resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her family. Contact Mrs. Lockerman at



Mrs. Francine Liscotti

Director of Administration and Admissions

Ms. Francine Liscotti is the Director of Administration and Admissions for The University School. Ms. Liscotti has worked at The University School for 19 years. She holds an Associate degree in Administration from The University of Pittsburgh. She has one son, two granddaughters, and two shih tzu puppies and enjoys gardening, riding her scooter, and enjoying life with her husband. Contact Mrs. Liscotti at


Ms. Linda Boyer

Spanish Instructor and ESL

Linda Boyer is the Spanish Instructor at The University School.  She comes to our school with many years of teaching experience in both Spanish and English as a Second Language.  She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s of Science degree and Master’s of Education. Later, Ms. Boyer completed her English as a Second Language Certificate. She began her teaching career as a teacher of Spanish in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and later became part of the ESL Department in Pittsburgh Public Schools. During that time, she taught students from all over the world, including a group of refugee students from Somalia.  Along with teaching, she participated in co-authoring a book with her supervisor at PPS, professors from The University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University, “How to Implement an Elementary Foreign Language Program.”  Ms. Boyer worked at Winchester Thurston as a private tutor in English, for the International families. Although she is not a native of  Pittsburgh, she has lived here most of her life.  Ms. Boyer’s interests outside of school are her five grandchildren, spending time with her family, volunteering as a personal care companion for an Alzheimer’s patient and also her two dogs.    Her hobbies include cooking, reading, writing poetry and traveling. Contact Ms. Boyer at

Ms. Crystalee Calderwood

English and ESL Instructor

Ms. Crystalee Calderwood received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Penn State University and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Chatham University, with a dual emphasis in Poetry and Writing for Children and Adolescents. Her passions are (in no particular order): young adult novels, modern American poets, early childhood literacy, and teaching English as a Second Language. She discovered her love for teaching through her service with AmeriCorps, where she worked with a number of underserved populations, including urban youth, refugees, and immigrants. Contact Ms. Calderwood at

Mr. Adam Lopour

History Instructor

Mr. Adam Lopour is a new addition to The University School for the 2020-21 school year. Mr. Lopour graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broad-field Social Sciences and teaches Social Studies, U.S. History, and Government/Sociology. He has experience working with students with individual needs in inclusive environments and strongly believes in student-led advocacy, meeting the mental health needs of young adults, and celebrating diversity in the classroom. His interests include hiking in new parks, playing board games, watching video essays on YouTube, listening to YA novel audiobooks, singing in his car and drinking coffee. Contact Mr. Lopour at


Dr. Rachael Hoffman

School Psychologist

Dr. Rachael Hoffman is the School Psychologist at The University School. She is a PA Licensed Psychologist and PA Certified School Psychologist with experience in schools as well as the inpatient and outpatient behavioral health settings. Dr. Hoffman completed her undergraduate coursework in Psychology at Westminster College and later went on to obtain her MSEd in Child Psychology and her PhD in School Psychology at Duquesne University. She also completed predoctoral and postdoctoral training specializing in pediatric rehabilitation and neuropsychology. Dr. Hoffman has experience providing therapy and assessment for children and adolescents with complex medical conditions, traumatic brain injuries, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and mood disorders.  Her primary role at The University School is to support students through individual and group counseling as well as consultation with faculty and families. Dr. Hoffman also works locally as a neuropsychologist and she is an adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University. Her interests include travel, technology, and staying active through biking, running, and trying to keep up with her puppy. You can reach Dr. Hoffman at

Mr. Robert Jakicic

Mathematics and Sciences Instructor

Mr. Robert Jakicic joined  The University School in 2014 after graduating from Duquesne University with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education of Mathematics. Mr. Jakicic teaches Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and Biology. He also supports The Univeristy School Arts education program and physical education. His interests include science fiction and action movies, physical and video strategy games, and card games. Contact Mr. Jakicic at


Mr. Kelly Kniha

Math Instructor

Mr. Kniha is a graduate of Bucknell University where he majored in International Relations & Russian Language.  After college, he moved to Beijing where he taught English and Math for ten years.  Teaching at a bilingual school, Mr. Kniha developed a passion for mathematics as a universal language.  He believes in a growth mindset and that everyone can succeed in math.  He returned to Pennsylvania in 2019 to teach in local schools. His hobbies include reading, foreign languages, and listening to podcasts.

Ms. Jeanette Trok

Special Education Instructor

Ms. Jeanette Trok recieved her Bachelor of Sciences in Elementary and Special Education (K-12) from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. After graduating in 2012, she worked as as a special education teacher at Propel Pitcarin. In 2015, Ms. Trok  joined the University School staff and supports students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Education Plan. Ms. Trok is The University School’s college counselor. She enjoys walking her dog, everything food-related and spending time with family and friends. She is looking forward to more years at The University School. Contact Ms. Trok at

Mr. William Brandstetter

History Instructor

Mrs. Amber Smalley

Support Services

Amber Smalley joined the University School in the 2017/2018 school year. She earned a
Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology in 2005 and a Masters degree in Special education in
2006, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Amber has taught students with disabilities in
various educational settings over the past 12 years. Amber enjoys spending time with her 3
children, exercising and cooking. She is looking forward to another great year at The University
School. Amber can be reached at

Mr. Blaine Siegel

Art Instructor

Mr. B received a BFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University and an MFA in Sculpture from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.  He has been working as an artist in residence in public and private schools since 2006.  Mr. B was the Education and Outreach Director for Conflict Kitchen from 2014-2017 in which he worked with educators and students from over 60 schools.  He incorporates broad interests into his studio practice, set design, and socially engaged projects and has exhibited in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York,  Miami, San Francisco, and Arle, France.   Mr. B has been chosen as the Artist in Residence at the Pittsburgh International Airport for the 2018 calendar year, a National Endowment for the Arts funded project. You can contact Mr. Siegel at