St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School Staff
Our exceptional faculty, committed to creating a caring atmosphere, believes in Christian values, academic excellence and high expectations. The majority of our teachers have attained graduate degrees in education and are are certified by the State of Michigan. The Diocese of Lansing certifies religion teachers. We encourage and support our faculty to maintain their own academic excellence by continuing their education, assuring they obtain the most advanced knowledge in teaching disciplines. We are proud to say several of our staff are graduates of St. Francis School! This is indicated below by an asterisk (*) before the staff member’s name. Read more about our Staff Alumni.
Mrs. Julie Pritzel: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2200
Education: BA Elementary Education, MA Reading and MS in Educational Leadership
I am the principal for St. Francis of Assisi School. I work with the faculty of the school to provide a learning environment where students learn, care, and lead. As an alumna of St. Francis of Assisi School, I feel privileged to continue my journey in education as part of the faculty. It is my goal to create an environment where students, parents, teachers, and administration work collaboratively to provide the best Catholic education for the students.
Mrs. Amy Smith: email@example.com and 734-821-2200
Education: BA History, MA Higher Education, JD
I am so lucky that for my second career I have found a home at St. Francis. I have been part of the community as a parent for many years and now I get to share my experiences with the school families and staff. I look forward to working with everyone in such a caring environment.
Mrs. Kelly Van Oirschot: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2200
I am the school secretary. I have worked in a business office setting for over 12 years. I really enjoy my position at St. Francis School and look forward to helping our families and students and anyone with questions about our School.
Director of Stewardship and Development
Ms. Colleen Pierce: email@example.com and 734-821-2208
Education: BBA Marketing
In my role as Director of Stewardship and Development, I work to achieve revenue goals as well as build a strong volunteer and donor base to support the operating, capital and endowment needs of St. Francis of Assisi Parish and School in a manner which will enhance our capabilities and credibility. I am a graduate of a Catholic elementary and high school and I have a Bachelor of Business Administration. The faith foundation I received early in life is a gift I am grateful for daily. Now, I have the opportunity to serve the Catholic Church through my professional work.
Mrs. Gail O’Neill: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2113
Education: BA Mathematics
As the School Bookkeeper, I am able to work and help families in an environment where our Faith is most important. I have worked At St. Francis since 1994, helping to assure our school remains financially viable. I have a deep fulfillment to know I am able to help those in need also. I work with Development on events and co-chair of the Parish Rummage Sale. All three of my children attended St. Francis through the 8th grade.
Mrs. Tricia Strassburg: email@example.com and 734-821-2292
Education: BS Education
In preschool, we tell the children that we have the light of Jesus within all of us. It is our job to shine that light on each other, whether it is helping a friend, comforting someone who is sad or just being nice. At St. Francis, I have the opportunity to teach the children not only the words of God from stories in the bible but how we can live our lives sharing his love with one another. We pray in thanks for the blessings of food and our day together. I can help build the foundation of faith along with academics, imagination and problem solving. It is a great place to learn and grow.
Mrs. Jenny Watripont: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2210
Education: BS Education and MED in Physical Education
Over the past 12 years I have taught preschool, kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd and physical education. I am so thankful to be able to teach at a school that my children attend. Being a product of catholic education I know the importance of combining education, spirituality, and family.
Mrs. Karole James email@example.com and 734-821-2210
Education: Associates Degree in Applied Arts & Science
I am the Teacher’s Aide in Kindergarten. Previously, I was the Enrichment Kindergarten Teacher in ESP for over 20 years. All three of my children attended St. Francis.
Ms. Elana Fata: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2213
Education: B.A. in Elementary Education with a concentration in mathematics
I am so excited to become a part of the St. Francis community this year as a Kindergarten teacher. I find a Catholic education invaluable as I experienced 12 years of faith-based schooling. I am proud to begin this journey at a school that mirrors the values I hold close. Kindergarten is an essential year for educational and social development, and I look forward to sharing my passion for teaching and learning with my students!
Mrs. Rachel Johnson: email@example.com and 734-821-2211
Education: BA Elementary Education, Science, MA (Educational Media and Technology)
I am so blessed to be teaching at such a wonderful school! I started teaching at St. Francis in 2010. Teaching young children is my passion. First grade is an exciting time, and I look forward to helping and watching my students grow.
Ms. Kristine Richart: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2212
Education: BA Early Childhood Education PK-3 with a 4th and 5th endorsement
I feel so blessed to become apart of such a great community at St. Francis. I am very excited to be teaching first grade and to work with an amazing staff. Born and raised the area, I graduated from the University of Toledo and am thrilled to be back in Ann Arbor. My goal is to present the best educational atmosphere for my students by providing them with a loving, positive, and encouraging classroom each day.
Mrs. Catherine Anderson: email@example.com and 734-821-2221
Education: BS Elementary Education/Math, MA (Educational Media and Technology)
I am a second grade teacher and loving it! I not only get to teach the students the basic curriculum, but I have the honor to prepare them for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy First Communion. I love working at St. Francis. The staff, faculty, parents, and students are very supportive and caring.
Mrs. Michelle Corrunker: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2222
Education: BS Elementary Education, Reading Specialist Endorsement
It has been a true joy working at a school that is filled with a caring and friendly staff. I was married at St. Francis and have two children. As one of the second grade teachers, we focus on preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. This is a special time for these young people and I am happy to be a part of this time in their lives.
* Mrs. Kathryn Dhitirojana: email@example.com and 734-821-2231
Education: BS Education
One of the greatest blessings of my life was to join the supportive, caring community at St. Francis as a teacher in 2012. I attended this school from 1st-8th grade and am grateful each day that I have the opportunity to provide my students with the same academic and spiritual opportunities that I experienced as a student here. 3rd grade is such a pivotal time, and I love to see my students grown in kindness, responsibility, and maturity throughout their time in my classroom.
* Ms. Carlye Malcolm: firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-821-2232
Education: BA Education, Masters in Reading
I was elated when I first found out I was hired into the 3rd grade position because St. Francis is where I spent my childhood and I knew I would be walking back into a supportive, tight-knit community. Seasoned staff members reach out to help acclimate teachers who are new to the school and school families and faculty come together to create a caring, loving community that encourages the students in their learning. I have taught here for over 5 years now and I am so grateful to be in a position where I can pass on the spark of academic curiosity and spiritual growth that teachers at St. Francis first ignited in me.
Mrs. Sarah Huge: email@example.com and 734-821-2241
Education: BA Elementary Education (Math and TESOL minors), MA in Teaching and Curriculum with a focus in Math and Science
I am teaching fourth grade at St. Francis. My favorite subject to teach is math! While I am teaching in Ann Arbor, I am a Spartan through and through! I earned my BA and MA at MSU in addition to playing Varsity Soccer for four years there. I also coach club soccer in Canton. I feel so blessed to be a part of the St. Francis family!
* Mrs. Maura Dalian: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2242
Education: BA Education, Art Education, Engish and MA Art Ed, Children’s Literature
What I enjoy about teaching at St. Francis School is working with the kids and their wonderfully supportive parents.They are the reason I show up everyday. God has blessed me with this fabulous opportunity for over 30 years. I am grateful and humbled by the privilege.
Mrs. Patricia O’Sullivan: email@example.com and 734-821-2251
Education: BS Biology, MA Reading
My husband and my three children attended St Francis School, so, as a family, we have a long history at this unique school. I enjoy working at St. Francis School because of the terrific students, the extremely supportive families and the faith-filled atmosphere.
Mrs. Kim Verhines: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2252
Education: BA Accounting, Social Science, and Elementary Education
I have been a 5th grade teacher at St. Francis since 2002. I teach religion, spelling, social studies, math and science. I supplement my curriculum with science lab, coordinating the TEAM classes (formerly DARE) program, and the culminating activity of a week at the YMCA Storer Camp. I am working on my Masters in Educational Media and Technology at EMU. I enjoy teaching at St. Francis because of the wonderful supportive families and staff.
Mrs. Wendy Lemke: email@example.com and 734-821-2261
Education: BS Elementary Education, MA Science and Teaching
It is a joy working with the eager students, talented staff, and dedicated administrators at St. Francis School! Prior to joining St. Francis, I served as a classroom teacher and gifted/talented educator in public schools in Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana, as my husband’s career took us from state to state. My career was fulfilling and exciting, but I didn’t realize anything was missing until I began teaching in a Catholic school. At St. Francis, I can share my faith with my students and integrate Jesus’ lessons of love and compassion into every part of our 6th grade science, history, and religion curriculums. What a blessing!
Mrs. Sue Waldecker: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2262
Education: BS Education and MA Education
St. Francis School is like family to me. Not only have I been teaching here since 2001, but my daughter graduated from the 8th grade in 2011 and my whole family attends Mass at St. Francis Church. It has become an integral part of my life. I enjoy teaching in a place where Christ is central to all that we do. I love being able to relate any lesson to our shared faith. I am truly blessed to be part of such a loving, generous, and prayerful community!
Middle School/Homeroom 7A/Math
Ms. Natalia Collins: email@example.com and 734-821-2271
Education: BA in Elementary Education
I am thrilled to be joining the St. Francis community as one of the middle school teachers. As a product of Ann Arbor Catholic schooling, I have personally experienced the love and support that equips students with the necessary tools to succeed in both academics and a personal spiritual life. It is my goal to extend this same love and support to each and every student at St. Francis. Middle school is an important time to start taking ownership of one’s faith and studies so I look forward to supporting and encouraging my students through this process.
Middle School/Homeroom 7B/Science
Sister Rebecca Mierendorf: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2285
Education: BA Biology and MA Educational Studies
I am thrilled to be able to share my love of Scripture with 7th graders. They ask good questions and have great insights. In addition, as the Middle School Science Teacher, I have the privilege of teaching Project-Based Inquiry Science to 7th-8th graders daily in the science lab. I especially enjoy integrating our Catholic faith into the science curriculum. I am continually in awe of God’s works and how He invites us into a deeper knowledge of Him through the intricacies of His creation. I am a fully-professed member of the Servants of God’s Love, a religious order based in Ann Arbor.
Middle School/Homeroom 8A
Mrs. Megan DeVerna: email@example.com and 734-821-2281
Education: BS Secondary Education, MA Education
I am very excited to be teaching middle school literature at St. Francis. I have taught middle school language arts and social studies for the past nine years in Monroe, Michigan. I feel truly blessed to be coming back home to teach, as I was baptized at St. Francis! In my spare time I love to read and watch sports!
Middle School/Homeroom 8B
Mrs. Maria Milligan: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2282
Education: Bachelor’s: English, Literature, Speech, and Drama; Master’s: Reading Specialist
I became a teacher because I knew that I was always meant to be in a profession that helped others. I’ve been a teacher for seven years now, and I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions that I have made in my life. I’ve held many positions over those years including English, mediation, leadership, yearbook, drama, and reading. Teaching English for so many years has helped me focus in on what students really need to know to be functional young adults once they leave my room. I’m pretty tough when it comes to writing, but my students always leave with a sense of accomplishment. I truly love teaching, and I especially love my students.
Mrs. Jennifer Nowicki: email@example.com and 734-821-2297
Athletic Director and Physical Education
Mr. Chris Bohn: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2206
Education: MA Education
I feel blessed to become part of the St. Francis community. I attended the University of Michigan where I had the great opportunity to be a member of the football team. Since graduation, I have obtained my Masters in Education and have 12 years teaching experience with Livonia Public Schools. I am now able to share my knowledge and experience with the students of St. Francis as their P.E. teacher and Athletic Director.
Mrs. Janet Sommerfeld: email@example.com and 734-821-2298
Education: BM and MM
I am the band director responsible for instrumental music education at St. Francis. We have three bands in fifth through 8th grade. I have enjoyed teaching at St. Francis for 22 years. I value the positive attitude of the students and their strong parental support of our programs. I enjoy working with the students each and every day to master their instrument and accompany them on their journey to musical success.
Extended School Program & Preschool Director
Mrs. Christina Busse: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2290
Ms. Katherine Pfeiffer: email@example.com and 734-821-2293
Education: BBA – Business / Marketing, MA – Educational Studies, MLIS
I attended a Catholic elementary school through 8th grade and teaching here is very dear to my heart. I look forward to inspiring children to read for enjoyment as well as research for information. I am also passionate about teaching all to use technology to become fluent 21st Century Learners.
Middle School/Language Arts – 8th Grade
Mrs. Mitra Dunbar: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2272
Education: BA English and History, MA The Teaching of Writing
I feel blessed to join the St. Francis of Assisi staff as the eighth grade English Language Arts teacher. I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and History from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts Degree in The Teaching of Writing from Eastern Michigan University. In addition to my work at St. Francis, I am a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University and a fellow of the National Writing Project.
Mr. Dave Longe: email@example.com
Education: BA Business Administration, BS Education, Specialist Math and Science
I have taught a variety of courses over the years. Teaching history and social studies has been very enjoyable and fulfilling. Sports and coaching have also occupied an important part of my formative and professional life. I believe your vocation should be a vacation. For me, this statement still rings true.
Ms. Teri Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2286
Education: BA Education
I have been in Catholic education for 22 years and I am overjoyed to begin my 23rd year at St. Francis, as the middle school math teacher. I received my Bachelor degree in Education with a major in mathematics at Eastern Michigan University. Currently, I am working on my Masters in Educational Leadership at EMU with an expected graduation date of Spring, 2016. I am looking forward to teaching my newest students the various applications of mathematics and showing them how much fun it can be! Teaching has always been my passion and I feel truly blessed to be able to call St. Francis my new home!
Music, Choir, Drama
Mrs. Linda Opaleski: email@example.com and 734-821-2294
Education: BM Vocal Music Education and MM Vocal Music Education
I love being able to share my faith with my students. I love worshiping with them and helping them praise God in song. It is a joy to me to watch them learn and grow through the material I teach them. It gives me a deep sense of peace to know that I am exactly where God wants me to be, doing what he wants me to do.
Señorita Anna Damiani: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2284
Education: BA History and Spanish
I was baptized at St. Francis and feel blessed to be coming home! Following graduation from the University of Michigan, I lived and worked in Mexico for 4 years. I have also studied abroad in Spain and done volunteer work in Ecuador. My goal is to increase student interest in Spanish language and culture, while developing speaking, listening, and reading skills; the ultimate goal being that students test into Spanish II in high school.
Dr. Jane Gordon: email@example.com and 734-821-2209
Education: BA Economics, MA Elementary Education, PhD Reading and Learning Disabilities.
As the School Teacher Consultant, I work with parents and the Ann Arbor schools as a facilitator. I most enjoy the opportunity to work with the children, families and staff of St. Francis. It is a joy to watch the children learn and grow over the years.