New Faculty 2017-18

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Mrs. Maria Brownell (9-12 Science)

Many of you know Mrs. Brownell as the mother of some very fine young men who attend our school!  Mrs. Brownell holds a Master of Science in Manufacturing System Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a Master of Theological Studies from Ave Maria University.  She has worked in Catholic education at various elementary schools in Wisconsin where she taught, coordinated curriculum, and served as a catechist.  She and her husband, Kyle, also helped to establish solid catechesis programs in her native Indonesia as well as found the equivalent of “Catholic Answers” online there as well.  Regarding her teaching load in Chemistry she writes, “I have many years of professional experience as a project engineer and have held other leadership roles in various manufacturing companies.  These experiences allow me to help students understand the application of science and mathematics in real world employment.”  She most recently was employed as a Project Engineer and Supervisor for Pepsi Co. in quality control and sanitation, and from 2011 to 2014 was adjunct faculty at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Wisconsin, teaching general education and business courses.  Mrs. Brownell, her husband, and five children are members of the Church of Saint Agnes.

Mrs. Jackie Cates (7-12 Mathematics)

A product of Catholic education herself, Mrs. Cates wrote the following in her cover letter: “At both of [my previous] schools I built trusting and positive relationships with my students, then used those relationships and class time to foster life-long learning, critical thinking, and moral decision-making. My time at Catholic schools has uniquely prepared me to help students grow in their faith and love of God while providing the best education.”  We are blessed to have her join our faculty and integrate faith and reason which is such a foundational element of our school’s Philosophy of Education!  Mrs. Cates possesses an undergraduate degree in Mathematics from South Dakota State University with a specialization in Education; she also earned a certificate in athletic coaching.  She most recently taught high school mathematics at Loyola Catholic School in Mankato where she coached the girls soccer team.  This summer she and her husband will move to the Twin Cities where they are excited to find a new local parish.

 

Mr. Jacob Flaherty (4-12 Choir)

Mr. Flaherty, an alumnus of Saint Agnes School, comes to us from Trinity School at River Ridge in Eagan where he served as the High School Choir Director and Junior High Music Teacher.  He is also Director of Music and organist at All Saints parish in Minneapolis, and has previously taught music and theology at De La Salle, Maternity of Mary, St. Lambert Catholic School (Sioux Falls, SD), and St. Mary’s High School (Sleepy Eye, MN).  He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas in Vocal Music Education with a minor in Catholic Studies and Philosophy.  An alumnus very familiar with Saint Agnes’ current choir program and successes, Mr. Flaherty writes, “I believe I have the experience necessary, along with the skill, fidelity, intellectual curiosity, and joy, to capture the minds and hearts of the young choristers at Saint Agnes and continue the fine work already begun by my notable predecessors.”  We look forward to seeing him back in the choir loft at Mass – this time leading our students in sacred song!  Mr. Flaherty, his wife, and four children are members of All Saints parish in Minneapolis.

Mr. David Gockowski (4th Grade Homeroom)

We welcome back Mr. Gockowski to Saint Agnes!  You may remember Mr. Gockowski as he completed part of his teaching practicum in our 2nd grade with Mrs. Vance in the spring of 2016.  He finished his Master’s in Education from the College of St. Scholastica, and earned a B.A. from the University St. Thomas in Catholic Studies with a minor in Philosophy.  Prior to his marriage, Mr. Gockowski discerned the priesthood and has completed significant coursework toward a M.A.T. in Philosophy and Theology from the St. Paul Seminary.  Mr. Gockowski wrote that he hopes to: “contribute to the mission of Saint Agnes by forming students in intellect and character; instruct students in general content of elementary education and to inspire in them a zeal for academic excellence; and allow students to flourish, through attention to the entire person (cura personalis), including their relationship with Jesus Christ and pursuit of Christian virtue.”  Mr. Gockowski and his wife, parishioners of Epiphany in Coon Rapids, have a son and are expecting a new baby in October.  

Ms. Claire Kirsch (6th Grade Homeroom)

Ms. Kirsch is a native of Minnesota, but has been teaching at the elementary level in Naples, Florida for the last four years where she continued to live after graduating from Ave Maria University.  She earned her B.A. in Literature with a minor in Classics and Early Christian Literature.  Ms. Kirsch completed Hillsdale College’s Classical Education Teacher Training and recently finished an M.S. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University.  She has a strong Latin background and extensive experience in theater and drama.  At Mason Classical Academy, her previous school, she directed several productions including Little Women.  Introducing herself, she wrote, “I have been a lifelong parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Paul, and was raised in the Faith by my parents, who taught me to know, love, and serve God above all else.”  She is excited to return to Minnesota, be with her family, and contribute to the mission of Saint Agnes School.

 

Mrs. Lucy Menzia (3rd Grade Homeroom)

Mrs. Menzia comes to Saint Agnes with a wealth of experience in elementary education and curriculum.  She has taught elementary at Providence Academy since its founding in 2001; prior to that, she taught at St. Rose of Lima.  Mrs. Menzia’s training and experience are a phenomenal fit for our curriculum as she’s well versed in Saxon Math and Singapore methods, she knows the Core Knowledge History sequence, and she loves the liberal arts.  She also has experience mapping curriculum (a current faculty initiative), teaching the Virtues, and -in her words- “supporting enthusiastically the Catholic faith development of young children.”  Mrs. Menzia received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota and possesses her MN teaching certification.  One of Mrs. Menzia’s former teaching colleagues said of her: “As the veteran faculty were being introduced to new teachers, the Lower School Principal said of Lucy, ‘Every day, I pray to God, “make me more like Lucy Menzia!”.’  High praise, for sure!  She is excited to continue her career at Saint Agnes and work again with her former colleague, Dr. Ferdinandt.  Mrs. Menzia and her husband are members of St. Charles Borromeo parish.

Mr. Brad Norton (9-12 English)

A veteran English teacher, Mr. Norton has taught high school English for sixteen years in Wisconsin public schools.  He felt called -and was recruited- to enter Catholic education whereby he became the founding Headmaster of St. John Paul II Classical Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Most recently he served as Headmaster of Ave Maria Academy in Plymouth.  He completed Administrative Leadership coursework at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, obtained a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas, and also completed his undergraduate work in English and Business Administration.  Mr. Norton is excited to get back into the classroom full-time and teach English: “my familiarity with and fidelity to the Catholic mission, policies, and underlying philosophy of Saint Agnes School will make me an enthusiastic contributor!”  Mr. Norton, his wife and three children, are excited to join the Saint Agnes School community.

Mrs. Lynda True (7-8 Religion)

Mrs. True has been a substitute teacher for Saint Agnes in the past year, and she has a son entering 10th grade this fall.  Mrs. True has a B.A. in English from Franciscan University and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas; she is also currently working on her certificate from the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute.  She has taught English, literature, and religion at St. Michael School and St. Thomas Academy, and most recently taught Classical and Modern Rhetoric in the upper school at Nova Classical Academy.  She writes: “Since I have a son who attends St. Agnes and I have been a substitute teacher in the school, I have learned that Saint Agnes has a culture all of its own. I appreciate the strong faith formation and high academic standards that Saint Agnes possesses. It instills virtue and produces intelligent students.”  Mrs. True and her family attend St. Joseph’s in West St. Paul.

Dr. Brandon Wanless (9-12 Theology)

Dr. Wanless has an impressive CV: he received a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota where he was discerning the priesthood, and an M.A. in Systematic Theology from The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas.  He recently finished doctoral studies in Systematic Theology at Ave Maria University where he has also served as an adjunct professor of Theology.  He writes of his prior connection to Saint Agnes: “While studying and working in the Twin Cities for three years, I was an active parishioner at the Church of Saint Agnes before moving to Florida for doctoral studies. This afforded me the opportunity to learn of the school’s excellent reputation, particularly for its academic curriculum.  Although I entered my doctoral program with the intent to teach at the undergraduate level, the chance to teach at such a respected institution as Saint Agnes close to family and friends is extremely desirable to me.”  Dr. Wanless, his wife, and three children, are parishioners of St. Anne’s in Hamel.  We are very excited to welcome Dr. Wanless to our Theology faculty! 

 

  • Announcement Item Example This is a fun opportunity to meet other choir members and get a jump start on Read More >
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