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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com and 734-821-2200
I am the Office Administrator and 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.
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.
Kindergarten – KA
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.
Kindergarten – KB
Mrs. Lisa Garnaut: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2213
Education: BS Early Childhood and Elementary Education
I recently moved to Ann Arbor from Melbourne, Australia and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to continue my journey as a teacher in Catholic education. Kindergarten is a wonderful year of growth and discovery, and I aim to create a nurturing environment where children feel supported to take risks in their learning. I look forward to sharing my love of learning with your child and I am truly honored to be a part of their journey.
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.
Ms. Katie Rivard: email@example.com and 734-821-2231
Education: BA English, MA Education (Curriculum and Instruction)
I am delighted to join the team at St. Francis as the third grade teacher! I recently moved from Tucson, AZ, and I am so excited to be back home in Michigan. I received my BA and MA at the University of Notre Dame, where I completed the Alliance for Catholic Education program. I have taught in Catholic schools for 7 years, and I love seeing students grow in their faith. I am passionate about education and I am excited to be a part of the St. Francis community!
* 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. Kathryn Dhitirojana: email@example.com and 734-821-2261
Education: BS Education, MA Educational Leadership
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 privilege of providing my students with the same academic and spiritual opportunities that I experienced as a student here. As a teacher I love to see my students grown in kindness, responsibility, and maturity throughout their time in my classroom.
Mrs. Allison Schreiber: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2262
Education: BA Psychology, MA Industrial & Labor Relations, Secondary Teaching Certification – English & Social Science
I am excited to be teaching sixth grade English/Language Arts and History at St. Francis. I have 18 years experience teaching middle & high school students. I am passionate about teaching and feel blessed to be part of the St. Francis family.
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. Sue Waldecker: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2282
Education:BS Elementary Education (Math and Science Majors, English Language Arts Minor), MA Middle Level Curriculum (Young Adult Literature Concentration, Middle School Endorsement)
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. This community has become an integral part of my life. I enjoy teaching in a place where Christ and his message are 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 place!
Mrs. Jennifer Nowicki: email@example.com and 734-821-2297
Education: BFA, MA Reading
I am a parishioner at St. Andrew the Apostle. The most influential spiritual person in my life was my aunt, who was a Sister of Mercy in Farmington Hills. She was an artist, an art teacher, and did extensive public service around the world. I decided to put my artistic talents to use to serve God by becoming an art teacher. I find sharing my abilities very rewarding. When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family.
Athletic Director and Physical Education
Mr. Mike Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2206
Education: B.A. Physical Education
It is so good to join the St. Francis community and be involved with the educational process for each of the students here. I am thrilled to be teaching Physical Education, giving the students a safe place to learn, grow, and compete with one another. It is always joyful to be a part of a great Catholic school community, where Jesus is the center of it’s mission. I look forward to seeing what God has in store.
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
Education: BS Education
The greatest part of working at St. Francis of Assisi School is the relationships. Building mutually respectful relationships with children, partnerships with parents and friendships with co-workers make SFA the place I want to be every day. Formerly I was a director and preschool teacher at the Pfizer Family Center. I have children of my own and understand the challenges facing families today.
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.
Señora Gabriella Liburdi: email@example.com and 734-821-2284
Education: B.A. Spanish & Italian, M.A. Foreign Language Education, M.A. Spanish and Latin American Languages & Literatures
I look forward to sharing my passion for the Spanish language and culture with the students here at St. Francis. My goal is to make learning a second language fun and meaningful for my students as well as prepare them to enter Spanish II in high school. I am happy to be back in Michigan after spending the past ten years between Madrid, Spain and New York City where I completed my master’s and taught English and Spanish.
Dr. Jane Gordon: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.