teachers, coaches,
and mentors

teachers, coaches, and mentors



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About PDS

Steve Hancock serves as headmaster of Presbyterian Day School (PDS), a private Christian school serving boys aged two-years through sixth grade in Memphis. He has served as headmaster since 2014.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hancock graduated from Lawrence University and he earned his master’s degree from the University of Illinois.

Before being appointed as PDS Headmaster in 2014, he served as the Assistant Head of School for Academic Leadership and Head of Middle School at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey.

Prior to Princeton Day School, Hancock was the Department Chair of the Performing Arts at Westminster Schools in Atlanta. Notably, while at Westminster, he developed Odyssey Atlanta, an educational non-profit that offers a summer program for students from economically disadvantaged communities.

An accomplished musician and Suzuki-trained violin instructor, Hancock performs on anything with strings and enjoys playing tennis.

He is married to Stephanie, and has two children, Emily and Clay.

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Contact Steve Hancock

Presbyterian Day School strives to glorify God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. (1 Corinthians 10:31 and Luke 2:52)
Last modified on Monday, 08 August 2016

Debbie Todd currently serves as the Head of Early Childhood at Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent all boys’ school located in Memphis, TN. 

Debbie earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL.  Upon returning to Tennessee, she added an Early Childhood endorsement from the University of Tennessee and earned a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Memphis.

She began her teaching career as a teacher of four and five-year-old kindergarten students; however, the next twenty years of her teaching career was spent teaching first grade at Hutchison School, an independent all girls’ school in Memphis.  As an administrator at Hutchison School, Debbie served as the Head of Early Childhood for three years, supervising Pre-Kindergarten through second grade, and two years supervising Senior Kindergarten through Fourth Grade before joining the administrative team at PDS in 2005.

At PDS, Debbie was instrumental in the development of the Child Development Center, a nursery for infants and toddlers of faculty and staff, as well as a teacher apprentice program designed to mentor inexperienced, beginning teachers. She guided the expansion of the PDS Early Childhood program to include a Pre-Kindergarten class for three-year-olds, which has grown from two to four class offerings.  Most recently, Debbie assisted with the development and implementation of an expanded world languages program designed to teach Mandarin to early childhood students. She assisted with the design of a new Early Childhood center, the second such facility with which she has been involved.  Debbie attended both the Principal’s Institute and Project Zero at Harvard and currently manages professional development for teachers and a teacher-mentoring program.

Debbie is actively involved in Christ United Methodist Church, where she currently serves on the Administrative Board, facilitates a fall/winter women’s Bible study, and serves as Sunday School vice president.  She is a member of the start-up School Board of a newly forming urban Christian school designed to serve bright but underprivileged students living in inner city Memphis (scheduled to open Fall 2010).

Debbie enjoys reading, quilting, and spending time with friends and family.

Email Debbie Isom

The PDS mission is to glorify God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. We define our education broadly as what happens to the heart, soul, mind, and body of each boy.

We provide a strong academic foundation in a loving and nurturing Christian environment in which all of our boys see and feel the grace and love of the Lord. We seek to impart to our students a Christian faith and foundation that can direct, guide, and sustain them for a lifetime. PDS isn’t just about what happens to a boy through the sixth grade; it’s about what happens to him for a lifetime…and an eternity.

We touch the heart every day at PDS, seeking to graft into the hearts of our boys the love of the Lord, the kindness and respect and courage and forgiveness that Christ modeled for us. America—and the world of tomorrow—must have citizens who can lead both with their minds and their hearts… and citizens centered on serving the Lord.

Our academic programs center on the development of strong critical and creative thinking skills. PDS boys will be skilled researchers, problem-solvers, and communicators, able to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize ideas and information. They will be outstanding readers. They will know how to think and how to learn—vital skills for the world of today and tomorrow.

Our teaching methodology is child-centered, recognizing the importance of boys constructing their own meaning, the reality that there are many paths to learning, and the fact that students learn differently. Our pedagogy is boy-tailored and boy-themed, recognizing that boys learn and develop differently than girls do. PDS uses technological tools extensively when they add value to the learning process. Our curriculum is integrated, recognizing that learning that is connected makes sense and lasts.

We seek to know, understand, appreciate, and celebrate each boy and the unique gifts and talents God has given him. Therefore, we offer a rich and varied curriculum and a wide range of extracurricular and athletic programs. We want every boy to discover and develop passions and to experience success, whether playing the violin or writing poetry or kicking a soccer ball. We offer balanced programs not just to meet the diverse talents and interests of our boys, but because we seek to develop the whole child, broadly defined as including his heart, soul, mind, and body.

We carefully select teachers who possess a passion and commitment to Christian education and to serving boys. They are remarkably talented men and women who share and model with all of their students their Christian faith and love for all of God’s children.

Last modified on Saturday, 02 August 2014

As an active follower of Jesus, Howard serves as husband, father, advisor, teacher, mentor, and coach.

Howard joined PDS in 2018 as a Chaplain and the Exective Director of the Building Boys, Making Men program.

Prior to joining the school, he serves as President of Performance Media for Wunderman North America and President of Wunderman Memphis. Wunderman is one of the world’s leading digital marketing agencies, employing 7,000 people worldwide. At Wunderman, Howard lead all aspects of the digital media optimization business including leadership development, product and service development, and business development.

Prior to Wunderman, Howard served in several executive roles including President of First Horizon’s Consumer Direct business. He also had the opportunity to lead several startups with his first being an advertising and publishing business while he was still in college at Ole Miss.

He is an active leader and volunteer. In addition to serving as a former Board Chairman for PDS, he serves as an Elder at Second Presbyterian Church, and a member of the advisory board for Nathan Street Ministries. He also serves as teacher of an adult Sunday school class, as small group leader, and works to mentor others. He regularly leads others on trips around the world to serve and spread the Gospel of Jesus.

He and his wife Kimberley have four children, Elijah, Lilly, James, and Parker.

Contact Howard Graham

Mark Fruitt serves as Elementary Principal of Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent school serving over 630 boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis.

Born and raised in Memphis, Fruitt earned his undergraduate and master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Memphis. Before coming to PDS in 2004, he served as a teacher, head varsity boys basketball coach, assistant varsity football coach and Dean of Students at First Assembly Christian School. Also during this time, he served as director of the family life center at First Assembly of God Church.

Over the years Mark’s professional development has included Project Zero at Harvard, Leading Today’s Changing Middle School, the National Association of Independent School Conference, and many others. He has also attended numerous coaching clinics, including: Alabama, Penn State, Nebraska, and Indiana to name a few.

Mark was awarded the Most Valuable Teacher Award while teaching at First Assembly and earned coach of the year honors in 2000. Mark enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and reading. Mark is married to Amy and they have one daughter. They are members of Hope Presbyterian.

Contact Mark Fruitt

Laura Glenn serves as Head of the Elementary School at Presbyterian Day School (PDS) in Memphis, TN, one of the country’s leading independent schools for boys.

Laura began her career at PDS helping in the Admission office before becoming an assistant teacher in the Early Childhood Division. After teaching 1st and 3rd grade at other area independent schools, she returned to PDS in 2006 to teach 1st grade.

Laura earned a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and a Masters degree in Teaching from The University of Memphis. Laura has a reading specialist certificate from Christian Brothers University and has participated in Project Zero, an advanced training program based out of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. A lifelong learner, Laura is devoted to the development of a multi-sensory classroom.

Her passions outside of the classroom include international travel and cheering for Memphis sports.

Contact Laura Glenn

Jill Kauffman serves as Chief Financial Officer at Presbyterian Day School (PDS) of Memphis, TN.  PDS is one of the country’s leading independent schools for boys. As Chief Financial Officer at PDS, she is responsible for overseeing all financial aspects of the school’s operations.

Jill graduated magna cum laude form the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. She has the certification of Certified Public Accountant. Jill began her career in Atlanta, Georgia, working first with the General Accounting Office that reports directly to Congress and subsequently with the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. She transferred to Memphis in 1984 and continued her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has also held leadership positions with Banking Consultants of America and AccuShip as their Chief Financial Officer.

Jill enjoys painting, mosaics, gardening, reading, hiking and spending time with her family.  She and her husband Mason are active members of Second Presbyterian Church and are the parents of Candice and Christian.

Contact Jill Kauffman

Dennis Smith serves as Director of Athletics and Operations at Presbyterian Day School (PDS) of Memphis, TN, one of the largest elementary boys’ schools in the country.

Dennis, born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from The University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education. He began his career at PDS in 1987, spending the last 29 years teaching, coaching and mentoring students.

Melissa Smith serves as Chief Information Officer of Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent school serving boys from 2-years to 6th grade in Memphis, Tennessee.

Contact Melissa Smith

Cheryl is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She attended the University of Memphis. In 2008, she became Director of Administrative Support, coordinating logistical details throughout the school. She is the primary support for Headmaster, Steve Hancock. 

She supports Director of Operations and Athletics Director, Dennis Smith, with facilities and is the liaison between PDS and 2PC with scheduling facilities. She supports the Board of Trustees and the Martin Institute. Prior to starting at PDS, she was the co-owner of Fox Ridge Pet Resort boarding and grooming kennel. She is married to Ed Burkart and has two daughters. Mrs. Burkart enjoys reading, cooking, entertaining, traveling and attending sports events with her husband.

Contact Cheryl Burkart

Rachel Bishop serves as Director of Admission at Presbyterian Day School (PDS) in Memphis, TN, one of the leading independent schools for boys.

Rachel joined PDS in the summer of 2015. She has spent time in the classroom as well as in administration at other independent schools in the area. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Lipscomb University and a Masters degree in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from the University of Memphis.

Her passions outside the classroom include spending time with her family and SEC football. She is married to PDS alum, Louie, and has two children, Miller and Turner.

Contact Rachel Bishop

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4025 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111• 901-842-4600 Contact Us



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Presbyterian Day School (PDS) is a private, Christian preschool and elementary school serving 500 boys from 2-years-old through 6th grade.

With our mission of striving to glorify God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man, we take a holistic approach to education, nurturing the heart, soul, mind, and body of each boy.