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Faculty and Staff

Staff

Our administrative staff is top-notch! The team is comprised of talented professionals with a wide range of experiences that are perpetually moving us in a positive direction as we continue to celebrate a decade and build a legacy.

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President
Lia Johnston
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BS in Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah
MBA, Ashland University

20 years of business experience
13 years at SCA

She has lived in seven countries on four continents!

Email: ljohnston@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Principal
Judith Hehs
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BA in Chemistry, Kalamazoo College
MA in Curriculum & Instruction, The University of Detroit

35 years in Catholic, single-gender education
4th year at SCA

Varsity Field Hockey (fall) and Tennis (spring) Coach!

Email: jhehs@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Dean of Students
Daniel Bumpus
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BA in American Studies, University of Notre Dame
Masters in Education, University of Notre Dame

21 years in education
4th year at SCA

In his younger years, he had a short boxing career!

Email: dbumpus@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Athletic Director
Carlos Calderon, CMAA
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BS in Sport Management, Southern New Hampshire University
Masters in Science and Athletic Administration, University of Miami
Certified Athletic Administrator, National Athletic Administrators Association

13 years in education
2nd year at SCA

He taught ESL for eight years for grades K-1!

Email: ccalderon@saintcatherineacademy.org

 

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Business Manager
Kathy Isgro
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Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance, University of Michigan
MBA, University of Michigan

20 years business experience
4th year at SCA

She and her husband have three daughters and she loves to cook and bake (but hates to do the dishes)!

Email: kisgro@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Director of Culinary Services
Jacki Green
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AA, Macomb Community College
Studied Geography, University of Illinois Chicago

11 years business experience
13 years in education
11 years at SCA

She has two adorable Irish Setters!

Email: jgreen@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Mission Advancement
Diahann Sproule
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Bachelor of Science Madonna University
 
12 years business experience
1st year at SCA 
Breast cancer survivor
 
She married her high school sweetheart and they have five children
 

Email: dsproule@saintcatherineacademy.org

 

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Mission Advancement
Marissa DeJager
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B.A.A, in Recreation and Event Management with a minor in Business Management from Central Michigan University
 
Mission Advancement Associate /  Events and Alumni Relations
 
1st year at SCA in Advancement
4th year Varsity Pom Head Coach at SCA
 
I love spending my summers exploring Lake Michigan beach towns!
 

Email: mdjager@saintcatherineacademy.org

 

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Director of Admissions
Tiffany Tatman
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Bachelors in Integrated Studies, Oakland University
Concentration in Public Relations & Communications

8 years working in education
3rd year at SCA

She loves photography, traveling as often as possible, and spending quality time with her husband and two boys.

Email: ttatman@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Admissions Registrar
Jamie Bohl
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BA in Political Science, Texas State University
10 years business experience
4th year at SCA
She has an entire room in her house dedicated to her home state of Texas!
Email: jbohl@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Mission Advancement
Amy Beers
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MS in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research, Penn State University
BS in Industrial Engineering, Penn State University 

27 Years Business Experience
3 Years at SCA

Email: abeers@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Administrative Assistant
Pam Burke
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BA in Economics, Suffolk University, Boston, MA

2nd year working at SCA but I’ve been involved in the school for 11 years.

I have three beautiful SCA alumnae daughters! I love to travel, garden and cook.

Email: pburke@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Learning Specialist
Julie Rzepka
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B.A. in Elementary Education – U of M Dearborn
B.A. in Music & Psychology – U of M Dearborn
M. Ed. in Special Education & Learning Disabilities – U of M Dearborn
National Board Certification for Advocacy in Special Education (in progress)

28 years in education
2nd year as SCA’s Learning Specialist and teaching Algebra Essentials and Mastery Skills I & II
I am so honored to be part of such an amazing community here at SCA.
Email: jrzepka@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Guidance Counselor (A-H)
Claudia Sitto
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BA in Psychology, Oakland University
Master of Arts in Counseling, Oakland University
Licensed School Counselor
National Certified Counselor certification in school counseling (NCC)

15 years in education
9 years at SCA

She and her husband have three children with ages ranging from 7-13 and she loves music!

Email: csitto@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Guidance Counselor (I-Z)
Hutham Tankersley
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BS in Secondary Education, Wayne State University
Master of Arts in Counseling, Wayne State University
Licensed School Counselor
Professional Education Certificate
Archdiocesan Catechist Religious Education Certificate

19 years in education
7 years at SCA

She loves to bake!

Email: htankersley@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Campus Minister
Sr. Mary Ann Foggin
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24 years as a religious sister with the Servants of God’s Love
12 years at SCA

Before working here, I worked for the Diocese of Lansing as the Vocation Director.

Email: mfoggin@saintcatherineacademy.org

 

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Facilities Manager
Bobby Green
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2nd year at SCA

Email: rgreen@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Culinary Services
Nicole Schultz
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St. Cate's Corner, Manager
Carol MacLennan
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EBA Business and Business Education, Michigan State University
MA in k-12 Administration, Michigan State University
Vocational Certification along with w/Middle-High School Certification
AOD Certification in High School Theology Teacher

22 years in education
5 years at SCA teaching Business
Now managing St. Cate’s Corner

She loves DIY projects!

Email: cmaclennan@saintcatherineacademy.org

 

Faculty

Our team of highly educated faculty does their best each and every day to help our STARS discover their feminine genius. Whether in the classroom, out on the field, at competitions, conferences, or on field trips this team is there for their students and does whatever they can to help them succeed.

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English
Erik Bean
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MA in Journalism, Michigan State University
EdD in Education, University of Phoenix

25 years teaching in higher, secondary, and elementary education. Last taught at St. Linus in Dearborn Heights
1st year at SCA! Teaching AP English, Contemporary English, 9th English Honors, and 9th English

Dr. Erik Bean is the author of several books for teachers and students including Social Media Writing Lesson Plans…and his latest, Bias Is All Around You: A Handbook for Inspecting Social Media & News Stories.

Email: ebean@saintcatherineacademy.org

 

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English, Drama
Jill Kara
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Bachelors in English, Michigan State University
Masters in Art of Teaching, Madonna University
Endorsed as a K-12 Reading Specialist

23 years in education
8 years at SCA teaching English and Drama

Prior to beginning her tenure as a teacher, she was a product specialist for General Motors where she got to “teach” the public and automotive sales staff about newly launched vehicles for current sales years.

Email: jkara@saintcatherineacademy.org

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English
Steve Palizzi
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BA in English, Michigan State University
MA in Education Technology, University of Toledo
MLIS in School Library, Wayne State University

32 years in education
1st year at SCA / English teacher

Fun fact: I was a paid extra in Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino

Email: spalizzi@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Science
Katie Brandt
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BS in Chemistry and Physics, Aquinas College
MAT with Secondary Endorsement, Oakland University

7 years in education
6 years at SCA teaching Science at SCA

She has had the blessing of seeing Pope Francis in person twice and neither time was in Rome!

Email: kbrandt@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Science
Brittany Ciarelli
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Bachelor’s in Adolescent Young Adult Life Science Education, University of Toledo
Minors in Earth, Space, and Environmental Sciences, UofT

4th year in education
4th year at SCA teaching Science

She has been to over 30 countries!

Email: bciarelli@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Science
Lucia Eisner-Smerage
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AB Human Biology, Stanford University
MS Biomedical Sciences & Biomedical Ethics, Barry University
PhD Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, University of Florida
Post-Doc Thaler Center for AIDS and Retrovirus Research, University of Virginia

12 years in education
8 years at SCA teaching Science

She likes to collect fossils!

Email: lsmerage@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Science, Mathematics
Claire Jackowski
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BS in Physical Science & minors in Biology and Secondary Mathematics, Michigan State University
Some Masters work, Michigan State University

5 years in education
5 years at SCA teaching Math and Science

This past summer Claire went through professional development to be certified in computer science and bring that course to SCA.

Email: cjackowski@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Mathematics
Brendan Cornelissen
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Bachelor in Secondary Education, Wayne State University
Masters in Educational Leadership, Grand Valley State University

14 years in education
4 years at SCA teaching Math

He can juggle!

Email:bcornelissen@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Mathematics
Paul Davidson
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Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Applied Mathematics, University of Edinburgh
Postgraduate in Math Teaching , Major in Math and Minor in P.E., Moray House School of Education
Advanced Topics in Calculus and Differential Equations, Astrophysics, Mechatronics and Artificial Intelligence, Open University
Mathematical Leadership, University of Michigan
Additional Certificates: Grade 8 Classical guitar

30 years in education
7 years at SCA teaching Math

He was a Scottish Junior Heavy weight Powerlifting Champion back in the 1990’s!

Email:pdavidson@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Mathematics
Connie Shallal-Johnston
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BA in Criminal Justice & Psychology, Wayne State University
BA in Mathematics and Sociology, WSU
MA in Math Education

30+ years in education
3rd year at SCA teaching Math

She has 16 year old twins and was recruited by the FBI in college!

Email:cshallal@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Theology
Barbara Kirwan
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AOD Teacher of the Year 2020
BA Teaching of Social Studies, University of Illinois
Graduate work in American History, University of Illinois
M.A. Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Certified by the State of Michigan in Social Studies grades K-12

16 years in education
11 years at SCA teaching Theology

As of June, 2019, she has been married to her high school sweetheart for 36 years!!

Email: bkirwan@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Theology
Tom Merlo
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BA Sacred Heart Major Seminary

4 years of teaching

2 years at SCA

I garden and bake bread on my free time.

Email:tmerlo@saintcatherineacademy.org

 
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Theology
Evan Pham
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BA in English, Oakland University
Bachelor’s in Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
MA in Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

17 years in education
6 years at SCA teaching Theology

He never wanted to be a teacher, but our Lord had different plans!

Email:epham@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Theology, Social Studies
Allison Siebert
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BSE, University of Dayton, Adolescent to Young Adult Social Studies and Religious Education

1st Year at St. Catherine Academy teaching Religion and Social Studies.

A fun fact about me is that I am a twin!

Email:asiebert@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Social Studies
Michael Hegarty
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BS in Political Science, Eastern Michigan University
BA in Social Studies, EMU

11 years in teaching
3rd year at SCA

I have sailed in both the Port Huron and Chicago to Mackinac Island sailboat races.

Email: mhegarty@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Social Studies
Orrin Tibbits
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BA in History Education, Michigan State University
MA in Adult & Continuing Education, Michigan State University
MA in Educational Administration, Michigan State University

17 years in education
7 years at SCA teaching Social Studies

He taught two former candidates for Governor – one from each party and he previously taught at his Alma Mater; Catholic Central.

Email: otibbits@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Social Studies
Samantha Wakefield
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BA in History from Kenyon College
BA & MA in Education from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
15 Years in Education
2 years at SCA

Did you know?
I was NCAA All-American in swimming in college and part of 3 NCAA National Team Title

Email: swakefield@saintcatherineacademy.org

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PE/Health
Julie Czopek
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BS in Physical Education k-12, health 6-12, Eastern Michigan University
Masters in Sports Marketing, Eastern Michigan University

18 years in education
12 years at SCA teaching Health, PE, & Online Mentoring

Pole Vault State Champ!

Email: jczopek@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Art
Ashley Klee
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BFAs in Studio Fine Arts & Art Education, College for Creative Studies

6 years in education
4 years at SCA teaching Art

She and her husband run a small-scale reptile rescue!

Email: aklee@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Music
Chris Tabaczynski
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BFA in Jazz Studies with Teacher Certification, University of Michigan

2 years in education
2nd year at SCA teaching Music

He has a large collection of musical instruments!

Email: ctabaczynski@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Latin
Nicholas Mantia
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BA in Classical Languages, Ohio State University
Masters work, University of Georgia

8 years in education
7 years at SCA teaching Latin

He does woodworking and gardening in his spare time!

Email: nmantia@saintcatherineacademy.org

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Latin
Keith Shafer
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BA, St. Bonaventure University
MA in Classics and Classical Archaeology, University of Missouri
PhD in Classics and Classical Archaeology, University of Missouri

15 years in education
7 years at SCA teaching Latin

The only sports trophy he has ever won is for the Vermont Open Wiffleball Tournament!

Email: kshafer@saintcatherineacademy.org

“This place (SCA) is about the best Catholic high school you can go to, in my opinion. The whole school isn’t just a school, but a family where everybody knows everybody. It’s a small enough school for that to be possible-and it’s really awesome! What makes SCA different is the people that make up the SCA family. There are no bullies and no one is mean to you. Everybody looks out for you and your teachers become friends….This place is really close to my heart.”

Alumna, Class of '12

“As a graduate of this school, I can attest to not only the strong education I received from SCA but also the strong foundation I was given in which I could build my own faith upon. I felt fully prepared for the ‘real world’ both academically and spiritually.” 

MaryKatherine

“The school lives up to their mission statement by unlocking the feminine genius in the girls who go there and providing us with the opportunity to discover who we are meant to be.”

MaryKatherine

“An excellent school that brings the girls together more like sisters rather than friends.”

Zina

“SCA is authentically and unapologetically Catholic. It’s excellence in academics and athletics is rooted in its mission to pass on the beauty of the Catholic faith in a way that is relevant to the modern world. The result is a constant focus on the character and virtue of its students, challenging them to be the best version of themselves not just academically, but spiritually as well.”

SCA Parent

“This school is not only college prep, it is life prep. I know that my daughter is being educated to go out and make a positive difference in the world. She will graduate with the confidence and courage to lead wherever she goes in life. I love the principal, the teachers, and the families. It is such a blessing to be a part of the SCA Family. I know the friends my daughter has made will be her sisters for life.”

SCA Parent

“An excellent community for families that want to stay involved!”

Leighanne

“Beautiful school!”

Rachel

“[SCA] builds upon your faith and strengthen you academically throughout the four years in high school so that you are more than ready when you move on to college.”

Zina

“This school has a very strong faith atmosphere! The school is fairly new, but is starting to build a name for itself both spiritually and academically. The faculty and staff rock!”

Student, Class of '19