Faculty and Staff Profiles


About Our Founder

Kiyo A. Morse, Head of School

Mrs. Morse, who has been Head of School since its founding in 1981, holds BS and MS degrees in Population Genetics and Immunology from the University of California, Davis. Her experience as a research scientist at the University of California and with the Swiss National Red Cross in Bern provided her with the expertise to serve as a science mentor for gifted students in the Plymouth-Canton Schools. She served for three years on the steering committee of the Plymouth-Canton Association for the Academically Talented (PCAAT).

As a mother of three gifted daughters, she saw a need for programming that was not available to them through other schools. In 1981, she founded Steppingstone School for Gifted Education with the mission of giving gifted students an opportunity to have the type of school experience most other children have – with curriculum and pacing designed for them and delivered by teachers that understand them. Further, she wanted gifted students to have an opportunity to develop friendships with other students their age. She had learned through experience and literature that gifted children need other children of similar intellect to provide the groundwork of similar interests and perspective, which are the basis for the development of satisfying relationships and friendships.

Having observed and listened to hundreds of students over the years, Mrs. Morse has gained deep insight into how gifted children think about themselves and their world. She helps shape each child's Steppingstone experience to meet the child's needs and goals.

In addition to all the responsibilities of daily and long-term school operations, she attends a wide variety of seminars and workshops on gifted education, nationally as well as locally. She is active with organizations focused on supporting gifted children and all of the areas of their development, and she is particularly interested in the social and emotional aspects of child development. Mrs. Morse currently serves as Secretary of the Michigan Association for Gifted Children (MAGC) and Chair of its Nominating Committee.

Personally, Mrs. Morse has also been active in the performing arts community. She was a violinist with the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra for over 25 years and served for six years as President of its Board of Directors.

Classroom Teachers

Shari Dudek, Elementary Teacher (Kindergarten through Grade Five)

Mrs. Dudek graduated from Madonna University in 1996, and started at Steppingstone the following year. After four years, she resigned to start her family, although she remained a substitute teacher during that period. In 2011, Shari returned part-time as a science and social studies instructor for the youngest students, and finished the year as a permanent substitute for the Elementary Classroom. She is now the primary teacher for the elementary classroom.

Bhagavathi Kalyani, Early Elementary Teacher

Bhagavathi Kalyani studied in India and has the equivalent of a doctorate in economics. She also has a Master of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Madras, a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Madras, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Kerala. Ms. Kalyani was a Research Assistant in Economics at the University of Madras. She is an alum mom whose son graduated from Steppingstone a year and a half ago. During her time as a Steppingstone mom, she was involved with a couple of our enrichment programs, Math Pentathlon and the Olympiad, and volunteered at the Farmington Public Library as well as the Steppingstone School Library.

Keiko Morse, Pre-High School Teacher (Grades Six through Eight) and Faculty Chair

Miss Morse is a graduate of Steppingstone. In addition to her MA in School Administration from the University of Phoenix, she received her BA and teaching certificate from Hope College in Holland, MI where she majored in science and math, earned her teaching certificate, minored in fine arts, and was named to the Dean's list for four years of her attendance. Her college curriculum was supplemented with dance (ballet, jazz, and ballroom), theatre management and technical assistance, intramural sports, and responsibilities as a resident assistant for three years in her dormitory. In 1994, she developed the Steppingstone Summer Day Camp program and directed it for 10 years. She joined the Steppingstone faculty in 1998 and taught for three years before accepting the challenge of a grade three and four classroom in Savoonga, a northern Alaskan town on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Straits. While there, Ms. Morse served as the chair of the School Improvement Committee, Senior High School Advisor, Cross Country Ski Team Coach and Volleyball Team Coach. In 2003, she returned to teach the Pre High School class at Steppingstone. She currently serves as Steppingstone's Faculty Chair and ISACS Committee Chair. Her hobbies include kayaking, reading, cross-stitching, and gardening.

Part Time Instructors

Dr. Sharon Davis - Music Instructor

Dr. Davis received her Doctorate in Education Leadership from Western Michigan University and a Masters degree in Music Education from Eastern Michigan University. She has taught music at the elementary school level since 1987, and was the music director at Hope Lutheran Church, in Farmington Hills.

Mary Gage, Art Instructor

Mrs. Gage is a candidate for teacher certification and holds a BFA in painting and printmaking from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She worked as an arts administrator for over 20 years, exhibited locally and throughout the Midwest, and her work is represented in several private collections.

She interned at Steppingstone in the spring of 2007 and has been an instructor at our Summer Art Camp as well as a counselor for several other sessions. In the area of language arts, (reading and writing) in particular, Mrs. Gage has had the leadership position of training volunteers and WSU student teachers in reading tutorial programs in both the Detroit and Pontiac public schools.

Heather Gutterman, Grade Four & Five Social Studies & Science Instructor

Mrs. Gutterman joined the Steppingstone faculty after more than a decade of experience in gifted education, pre-kindergarten through grade eight. Her prior positions included instruction of grade four through eight gifted students attending the Summer Institute for the Gifted at the University of Michigan. Mrs. Gutterman also attended the University of Michigan as a student where she received her BA with a concentration in English literature and her MA with a major in language arts and a minor in science. In addition, she is the founder and instructor of a school for Western Martial Arts. Heather began as the instructor for Grade 4 – 5 Social Studies and Scinece, served half a year as the primary teacher of the elementary classroom, and returned this year as the Grade 4-5 Social Studies and Science Instructor.

Miho Mitsuya, Japanese Instructor

Ms. Mitsuya received an Associate degree from Kansai Gaidai College in Osaka, Japan, and completed the Japanese Language Instructor Training Course, which incudes an oblicgatory 420 hours of teaching for certification. Her Japanese teaching experience includes teaching children as well as adults in different schools and businesses.

Philip D. "Reef" Morse II, PhD, Computer Instructor, Grade Four & Five Math Instructor

Dr. Morse received his BA and PhD from the University of California at Davis in Zoology. He then did four years of post-doctoral studies in Physical Biochemistry (2 years in Switzerland and 2 years at Pennsylvania State University). He was an Assistant Professor of Biology at Wayne State University, and was then recruited to run the electron spin resonance research lab in the MD-PhD program at the University of Illinois. After joining the Chemistry Department at Illinois State University to teach and do research for a number of years, he retired from ISU as a Full Professor in 2001 with over 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications to his credit. Since then, Dr. Morse taught the Pre High School class at Steppingstone for two years and now teaches computer classes at Steppingstone, as well as math for grades 4-5. He has founded and is now developing the Steppingstone MAgnetic Resonance Training (SMART) Center as its Program Director. He has served on Steppingstone's Board of Trustees since 1981 in various capacities. In addition, Dr. Morse runs Scientific Software Services, the world's largest supplier of aftermarket software and hardware for Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectrometers.

Dr. Morse re-entered the classroom this year to teach Grades 4 & 5.  At this time, he will be teaching basic skills such as Math, Literature, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation while our student body grows.

Shu-Yuan "Sharon" Yang - Mandarin Chinese Instructor

Ms. Yang received her MA in Applied Linguistics from the Teachers' College of Columbia University in New York, after receiving a BA in Education with a minor in English from the National Taiwan Normal University, in Taipei, Taiwan. She has taught English and Chinese both here and in Taiwan, with several years of experience teaching Chinese to students from Kindergarten through sixth grade.

Administrative Profiles

Sandra Blay, Business and Facilities Manager

Mrs. Blay received her Associates Degree in Small Business Management from Schoolcraft College. Mrs. Blay was active in the PTO, as a substitute secretary and as a teacher's assistant in the Clarenceville School District as her two children were growing up. Prior to taking on the bookkeeper position at Steppingstone, she was a secretary, office manager and bookkeeper at various area corporations. Mrs. Blay belongs to Faith As One Volunteers where she works at a homeless shelter once a month by preparing and serving dinner to those at the shelter. She also helps prepare food baskets and clothe the homeless. In addition, Mrs. Blay is the President of the Board of Directors of her condominium association.

Donna Coffin, Special Programs Director and Admissions Director

Mrs. Coffin taught all grades at various points in her 25 year Steppingstone teaching career. She received her BA in Elementary Education as well as her MA in Classroom Instruction from Eastern Michigan University. Before teaching at Steppingstone, she taught four years with the Wayne-Westland School District and privately tutored. She has served as a Steppingstone Board Member and chair of the Trusteeship Committee, Steppingstone's Faculty Chair, and has been the Faculty Representative to the Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS). Mrs. Coffin shares her experience with teachers and parents in recognizing and accepting children wherever they are, academically and socially, and is consistently raising standards to help students attain their goals. She is a devoted advocate of collaborating with students and their parents to make the most meaningful and supportive changes in her current administrative roles.

Jason Roder, General Assistant, IT Specialist

Mr. Roder graduated with a BS in computer science from Wayne State University. In addition to maintaining all databases, he also assists with office and facilities tasks. He is an alumnus of Steppingstone and Cranbrook.


The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

The many faces of our school.

Steppingstone School for Gifted Education
30250 Grand River
Farmington Hills
Michigan 48336
FAX 248-957-8203

Kids jumping.