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.
*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 20 years. Time has flown by as I have been at St. Francis for over 10 years now! 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. Jackie Pearson: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2113
Education: BBA – Accounting
I made my profession of faith and married my husband Matthew here at St. Francis. We have been parishioners at St. Francis since 2016. As the school bookkeeper, I am able to work and help families in a Faith based environment. I also work with Development on different events throughout the year.
Extended School Program & Preschool Director
Mrs. Christina Busse: email@example.com 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.
Kindergarten – KA
Mrs. Tricia Strassburg: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2210
Education: B.S. Concentration in Elementary Education
I have the honor to continue teaching at St. Francis School as I have moved from Preschool into Kindergarten. St. Francis School has been a part of my life for 17 years as my children attended school here and then I began to teach Preschool. I love working with my class and giving them the tools and knowledge they need to become confident and caring students. It is a pleasure to work with this community of teachers, administrators, parents and children. Together, we help make our school a wonderful place for children to grow in knowledge and faith.
Mrs. Joan Desjarlais: email@example.com and 734-821-2210
Education: B.S. Technology Management
Working beside amazing Kindergarten teachers I get to see the littles grow into kind, generous and loving people just like their parents- this is a great joy. I attended 12 years of Catholic school, my daughter attended St Francis PreK-8 and now I work in Kindergarten and thank God everyday for that honor.
Kindergarten – KB
Ms. Sara Fronckowiak: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2213
Education: BS Early Childhood Education PK-3 with a 4-5 Endorsement
I feel beyond blessed to be part of the St. Francis community and am thrilled to teach Kindergarten. I graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and am so grateful to be back in Michigan where I was born and raised. I strive to create a loving and nurturing environment in which my students learn to love Jesus and one another, as well as, create an atmosphere in which each child acquires a love for learning. I look forward to getting to know each child and helping them grow into beautiful individuals.
Mrs. Rachel Johnson: email@example.com and 734-821-2211
Education: BA Elementary Education: Early Childhood & Science, MA: Educational Media and Technology
I started teaching at St. Francis in 2010. I am so grateful to work at such a wonderful school. First grade is an exciting time, and I look forward to helping and watching my students learn and grow everyday.
Ms. Sara Fifelski: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2212
Education: BA in Theology: Franciscan University of Steubenville
I am grateful to be teaching in First Grade this year at St. Francis. I have recently moved to Michigan from Cape Cod, Massachusetts where I taught Pre-School and Kindergarten for thirteen years. I graduated from FUS with a BA degree in Theology and completed several graduate courses in Education. Each day is a new opportunity to learn, love and enjoy the young lives I am entrusted with as they grow and progress on their own educational journey!
Ms. Cecilia Bala: email@example.com and 734-821-2221
Education: BS Elementary Education
I am so excited to begin my teaching career here at St. Francis! I am blessed to be surround by such a loving and supportive community. I look forward to sharing my faith with my class as they prepare for Reconciliation and First Communion. I could not have asked for a better place to learn and grow in my first year of teaching.
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. Maria Jakimcius: email@example.com and 734-821-2231
Education: BS in Elementary Education
I could not have been more excited when I was asked to be a part of the St. Francis team. Working with such a supportive and friendly staff is a true joy and a blessing. I love the sense of community that is felt and demonstrated throughout the school, both among staff and among students. My heart is in 3rd grade, and I’m fortunate to be doing what I love in a such a special place.
*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 10 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. Micaella Preuss: email@example.com or 734-821-2241
Education: BS Elementary Education, Special Education
It is so wonderful to be a part of the St. Francis community. Before joining the St. Francis team, I taught second grade, third grade, and special education. Now I’m working with wonderful fourth graders and loving every second!
*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. Catherine Anderson: email@example.com and 734-821-2261
Education: BS Elementary Education/Math, MA (Educational Media and Technology)
St. Francis became my second home when I started teaching in 2008. I cherish the time I have been able to get to know all the families and their children. Teaching is my passion and I strive to reach the students where they are at in life to best support them. I enjoy sharing with the students learning experience that ignite their curiosity, encouraging them to never give up, and helping them deepen their understanding of our Faith and their developing faith journey.
*Ms. Erin Groves: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2262
Education: BA History, MA Education
St. Francis School is a very special place. As an alum and daughter of a former St. Francis teacher, it is a blessing and honor to serve on this incredible staff and be a part of this great institution’s history. 6th grade is such an incredible time in a young person’s life. 6th grade students are finding their voices. They are beginning to form their own visions of themselves and the starting to think about what kind of impact they want to have on the world. I am thrilled to be a part of that process with each of my students. I love working at St. Francis and with this incredible community of students, staff and families!
Middle School/Homeroom 7A
Mrs. Gina Carney: email@example.com and 734-821-2271
Education: BA in English for Secondary Education, Master of Library and Information Science
I feel so blessed to be a part of the St. Francis staff! My family recently returned to Michigan after living in China for two ad a half years, and we are all so happy to come home to St. Francis. I look forward to teaching in this community that is so filled with Christ’s love!
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 social studies here at St. Francis. Before coming here I taught middle school language arts and social studies for 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 Principal/Math/Homeroom 8B
*Mrs. Kathryn Dhitirojana: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2286
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.
Middle School/Language Arts – 8th Grade
Mrs. Mitra Dunbar: email@example.com 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.
Middle School Math
*Mr. Christopher Stankovic: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2282
Education: BS Secondary Education/Math
I am very excited to have my first teaching experience be at St. Francis. I went to this school from 1st – 6th grade. My family had to move after my 6th grade year, so I was not able to finish out middle school at St. Francis. I attended Central Michigan University for my degree in Education. It is great to come back here now and see some familiar faces and see some new changes.
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 over 20 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.
Ms. Beth Shaum: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2293
Education: BS Elementary Education/MA English Studies
As both a student and teacher in Catholic schools for many years, I am grateful that I can share my faith with others. In my ten years as an English teacher, I became known as the person to go see for a good book recommendation. That reputation led me to moving from the classroom to the library and I couldn’t be happier. Helping students (and adults!) find what lights their fire as readers and learners isn’t just a job for me — it is a calling.
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.
Physical Education/MS Math
Mr. Jeff Moyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and 734-821-2206
Education: B.A. Physical Education
I am thrilled to be teaching at St. Francis! This is my first year at St. Francis, but I have taught physical education and math in a Catholic school for the past six years. I have only been here a short time but I am already loving it. The staff, students, and parents have been so supportive and caring it has made for a great start to my first year!
Señorita Anna Damiani: email@example.com and 734-821-2284
Education: BA History and Spanish, MA Education
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.
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.