Meet the 8th Grade STEM Team:

Mrs. Sites – Science 

Mrs. Joan Sites has taught for 28 years and 19 of those have been at Lewis Cass. She graduated from Indiana University and also received a master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan. Her current teaching assignment is eighth grade science.


Mrs. Rush – Math

Mrs. Denise Rush has a BS degree in Mathematics from Saint Joseph’s College. She has been teaching for twenty years now, six of which have been at Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School.  Currently, Mrs. Rush is teaching all the eighth grade math which includes pre-algebra and algebra. She is excited to be a part of the Junior High STEM eighth grade team!


Mr. Eric Branz – Social Studies

Mr. Eric Branz is in his 11th year of teaching overall and 2nd year at Lewis Cass.  He and his wife, Jess, have been married for three years and have a son, Conner, who turned one in June.  Eric grew up in Avon, IN and then went on to Terre Haute where he attended Indiana State University until graduation in 2008.  

Mr. Branz was a 5th/6th grade teacher for eight years before moving into the middle school setting.  He taught social studies for one year and began teaching math last year.  Throughout his  college years and time teaching he has been an athletic coach (basketball and baseball) and spent two years as an assistant athletic director.  

Mr. Branz believes that STEM gives students an opportunity to see their education from a different perspective and it is a great way to work with multiple subjects while collaborating with classmates.  He feels that STEM puts a big emphasis on important life skills along with the traditional educational skills. 


Mrs. Birnell – English

Mrs. Michelle Birnell currently teaches all levels of English 8 and Advanced English 10. She has taught at Lewis Cass for over twenty years.