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 20 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; she is also the co-founder of the ed-tech company, SocialWise VR. 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


Mr. Brian Dankis

Physical Education

I received my Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies​ focusing on Health, Physical Education and exercise science from Slippery Rock University and my Master of Education in Health and Physical Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I’m also a certified paramedic, certified in advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, prehospital trauma life support, CPR, AED and mass casualty incidents. My passions include physical fitness, coaching, sports and teaching. Avid cyclist with experience in racing. Former amateur boxer for Pinnacle Boxing Club in Monroeville. I enjoy spending time with my wife and two boys ages 10 and 12. I am looking forward to this new school year and teaching students health and wellness and physical education. Contact Mr. Dankis 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

Ms. Kathryn Cek

History Instructor

Miss Kathryn Cek received her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Social Studies Education from Robert Morris University. After graduating in 2020, she worked within the Central Valley School District as a long-term​ substitute, where she instructed courses on Psychology, US History and History and Perspectives of the Holocaust. Additionally, she served as a sponsor for the Wilderness and Survival Club at Central Valley Middle School. She is very excited to join the University School team for this upcoming year. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys watching baseball, sketching, listening to music and riding roller coasters. Ms. Cek can be reached at

Cindy Hayko

Spanish Instructor

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


Ms. Lara Pavlick

Science Instructor

Ms. Lara Pavlick is the Science Instructor at The University School where she teaches Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science. She graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. She has had past teaching experiences in both private and public school districts in the Pittsburgh area and strives to make science education accessible to every student by encouraging their curiosity about the world around them. Ms. Pavlick also loves hiking, gardening, and going on road trips. Contact Ms. Pavlick at

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


Mr. Jake Lord

Math Instructor

Mr. Jake Lord is a Math Instructor at The University School, teaching Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Statistics. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Masters of Arts in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh. He comes from the Falk Laboratory School, where he focused on progressive, student-centered approaches to mathematics education. Mr. Lord enjoys going to movies and concerts and watching sports in his spare time. Contact Mr. Lord at