Faith-Based Education

About Us


Faith-Based Education

About Us

A Faith-Based Education

Catholic Christian values are at the heart of our school.  From K4 through 8th grade, children celebrate daily prayer, weekly Mass, and student-led prayer services.  Priests from our cluster parishes enjoy joining our students for religion class. 

We are proud to be supported by our six cluster parishes:

Immaculate Conception Parish:  1023 E. Russell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207,  (414) 769-2480, www.icbayview.wordpress.com

Nativity of the Lord:  4611 S. Kirkwood Ave., Cudahy, WI 53110, (414) 744-6622, http://www.nativityofthelord.com/

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish:  3635 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., St Francis, WI 53235, (414) 489-2806, sacredheartofjesus.weconnect.com

St. Augustine Parish:  2530 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207, (414) 744-0808, staugustine.weconnect.com

St. Paul Parish:  1720 E. Norwich Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53207, (414) 482-3510, stpaulmilwaukee.org

St. Veronica Parish:  353 E. Norwich Ave., Milwaukee 53207, (414) 482-2920, www.saintveronica.org


Study of sacraments is done within the classroom and actual preparation for sacraments is done within the parish.  Every child is expected to participate in ongoing Religious Education instruction.  Grades 1 to 12, either through a Catholic School or a parish Religious Education Program.  A broad religious education curriculum is achieved provided a student attends consecutive years of instruction.  First Reconciliation (Confession) and First Eucharist (Communion) are first offered to students in 2nd grade.  Youth Confirmation is open to candidates once they reach the age of 16.


Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff

Educating Our Future

"STAA is a great community with teachers, staff, and families that really care about children." -- Mr. Heding 


Dan Heding, Principal


My name is Dan Heding and I am proud to be serving my fifth year as principal of St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. As a product of Catholic education from pre-school to college, I understand the impact that a high quality, Catholic education can have on someone. I received my master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University and have been in the Archdiocese as an administrator and middle school teacher for the past 13 years.

Originally from southern California I moved here 18 years ago and began my winters of shoveling snow. I am blessed with a wonderful, supportive wife and two beautiful children, one five-year-old son in kindergarten and a two-year-old girl. We enjoy camping, swimming, and visiting various fun places in and out of Wisconsin.

STAA is a great community with teachers, staff, and families that really care about children. I truly enjoy coming to work every day and seeing every student grow.


Janine Hubbell, Office Manager

I am Janine Hubbell, the Office Manager. This is my second school year with STAA as an employee.

I have two sons who attend STAA.  Andy in 7th grade, and Isaac in 6th grade. I feel very fortunate to have found such a wonderful school for them to help them grow and learn in a faith based environment.

I have been involved in the home and school committee for the past 3 years, and I was part of the auction committee last year. Being part of these committees helped me to meet other parents and make a lot of great friends and it opened the door to new opportunities.

If you need any assistance or have any questions, just give the office a call or send me an email.


Sue Meister, K4



Monika Gorka, K5

My name is Mrs. Monika  Gorka and I am the K5 teacher.  This will be my second year at STAA.  I graduated from Alverno College with my Bachelors in Elementary Education with a support in Early Childhood.  I have been teaching since 2002.  I have a daughter who is 10 and also attends a Catholic School.  The best part of teaching Kindergarten for me is the joy and excitement of the children and their desire to learn and have fun.


Jennifer Bloom, 1st grade

Hello! My name is Jennifer Bloom and I am the first grade teacher here at STAA. I have a BS in Elementary Education (Pk-6) from the University of Wisconsin Platteville. Go Pioneers! I have been teaching at STAA since 2004, our very first year! This school year marks my 16th year of teaching.

I love teaching at STAA because of the students, their families, and our staff.  I feel we have a great sense of community here and everyone looks out for one another.  Students leave STAA with many experiences and go on to do great things. 

Mrs. Bloom was one of just three teachers recognized as a Seton Teacher of the Year! Nominated by her peers and chosen by the Seton team, she is a true example of what it takes to be a phenomenal instructor.  Mrs. Bloom continues to demonstrate transformative classroom results and is exceptionally committed to STAA students and families.  Congrats, Mrs. Bloom! 


Katherine Mullahy, 2nd grade

Hello! My name is Katherine Mullahy and this is my second year at STAA.  I received my elementary education and psychology degrees from Marquette University.  In my short time at STAA, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the passionate, hardworking staff and look forward to a successful year with my students.  


April Szymczak, Master Teacher 3rd grade



Gwen Duquaine, Resident Teacher in 3rd grade


Kelly Orlowski, 4th grade



Sarah Zinkula, 5th Grade


Shannon Fuller, 6th grade



Lori Stolaski, 7th grade

My name is Mrs. Lori Stolaski, and I have been teaching at STAA since the beginning, 14 years ago!  I have a 7th grade homeroom and teach 6th-8th grade math.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education 1-9 with a math minor and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology, both from Cardinal Stritch University.  

My husband Mark and I love to travel and watch football, especially the Packers!  I love to read, scrapbook, and I waste way too much time on Pinterest!  

I love learning!  I want to help kids love to learn and discover their talents as well!  There is nothing better than seeing the “ah ha” moments throughout the year.  I love being part of STAA because of the family atmosphere, Catholic values, and all the wonderful students and families!


Melissa Steidl, 8th grade

I earned my elementary education degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (Go Badgers!!!) and have been teaching for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee since 1987.  I have been part of the STAA community since its inception.  I am currently the 6th-8th grade science teacher but spend most of my day with my 8th grade homeroom clan.

I love teaching middle schoolers!  Though the mood swings and raging hormones can be a challenge, the good definitely outweighs the scary!  I love their humor, insight and intense curiosity.  Every day brings something new and exciting!  I have the BEST job in the world (and not just because of the summers off)!  


Angela Gutierrez, Spanish

¡Hola! Me llamo Señorita Gutiérrez and I will be teaching Spanish to students in K5 through 8th grade this year at STAA as well as at St. Matthias Parish School. Though I have only been here a short period of time, it already feels like home. From the fantastically supportive staff to the energetic, empathetic and conscientious students who are firmly rooted in becoming better every day, I know I am in the right place. 

As I embark on this new journey in a private Catholic school, I will utilize the five years of formal teaching experience I’ve acquired (teaching Spanish at a private K3-8 Montessori school and being a bilingual 4th grade teacher a public charter school) as well as my own language learning history (studying Spanish, French, German, Swahili and Arabic, often three at a time, while attending UW-Madison) to establish a strong Spanish curriculum engineered to outlast the many years I intend on spending here at STAA. 

You’ll find me in the building on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday mornings. Feel free to email me or simply stop by during conferences! I would love to speak with you about your child’s accomplishments and adventures in Spanish!


Diane Karabon, Library

My name is Diane Karabon and I am the School Librarian. I have been the librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy since the school opened and before that at St. Veronica School for a total of 20 years. 

Being the librarian is a great job. I love reading to the students and seeing their reactions to the stories. I enjoy helping them find their “perfect book” to read and see how excited they are about reading it. Acquiring books for the library that make the students enjoy reading is very gratifying to me. I am lucky that I get to have the students every year from K4 through 6th grade. I am able to watch them grow and mature and see their reading skills advance.


Luke Miller, Physical Education


Kayla Hardy, Art

Lori Pawlak, Music


Katie Janiszewski, Extended Care Director

Hello, my name is Katie Janiszewski and I am the Extended Care Director at STAA.

I am the product of a Catholic education, 1st grade through 12th. I then attended UW-Milwaukee. I have been married to my husband Nate for 15 years. We have 3 children who are students at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. I was a stay-at-home mom for several years and I did a lot of volunteering at STAA. Working at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy became a desire and goal of mine during this time. In 2013 my position opened up and I happily took on the role of Extended Care Director.


Jennifer Dolata, Food Services Manager




Frequently Asked Questions

What type of faith formation takes place for students?

Students participate in daily prayer, weekly masses, and monthly student-led prayer services.  Our priests and deacons regularly teach in the classrooms and provide our students with a great time to ask questions and learn from our church leaders.  Sacrament preparation takes place in our second grade for reconciliation and first communion.  Students are expected to interact with one another and adults in a Christian manner every day.

Does St. Thomas Aquinas Academy participate in the Milwaukee Parental Choice program?

Yes, we do.  There is a residential and income requirement that is required to be met.  Applications can be printed from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website or obtained in our school office.  Click here for more information about Choice.

What age must my child be to enroll in 4 or 5 year old Kindergarten?  Is Kindergarten full or half day?

Students must be four or five years old on or before September 1st of the school year for which they are applying.  Both our K4 and K5 are only offered in full-day format.

Is full-day K4 too much for such a young child?

Our K4 teachers are very understanding and respectful of the students' young age so they are given plenty of time for snacks, bathroom breaks, free play, and rest throughout the day.  The kids tend to adjust quickly and easily to attending school for a full day and soon they're looking forward to coming to school to play with their new friends.  

What are school hours?

Students are let in the building beginning at 7:40 am with an official start time of 7:45 am.  Classes conclude and are dismissed at 3:20 pm.  School office hours are 7:30 am-3:30 pm.  

Is there before and after school care available?

We have extended care available in both the mornings and afternoons.  The doors open at 6:00 am until school begins at 7:45 and care is restarted again at 3:20 until 6:00 pm.  Cost for the program is $4 per hour prorated to the quarter hour ($1 per 15 minutes).  Students are in a structured environment with the opportunity to complete homework, play games in the gym or on the playground (weather permitting), and watch occasional movies.  The program is directed by a school employee.  

Will I need to participate in fundraising activities?

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy does not sell anything as part of our fundraising program.  We participate in two major fundraisers every year--the Catholic Schools Walk in fall sponsored by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and our annual dinner and silent and live auction in the spring.  Families are encouraged to be active participants in these fundraisers as they are a major source of income for the school and help to provide the many great programs we have here at STAA.  We also participate in the SCRIP program, Boxtops for Education, and Campbell Soup Labels for Education programs.  

What are some ways that parents can be involved in the school?

We have developed several opportunities for parents to be active in our school community. Several committees exist to offer a chance to use your many gifts and talents as parents. Our Home and School operates to provide enriching activities for families during and after school. Events such as roller skating nights, picnics, and assorted holiday events provide families opportunities to socialize, let the kids do activities, and provide some much needed fun throughout the year. Our Communications Committee exists to support and enrich the relationship the school holds with our 6 supporting parishes and the greater community. They do a great job of communicating the events and news of the schools with the parishes and community along with providing activities meant to continue our relationship with our parishes including All School Masses and Give Back to Parish events (spaghetti dinners, fish frys, etc.), and providing representation at various festivals and farmer’s markets over the summer. We also have the Development Committee which focuses its efforts on fundraising opportunities for the school. These efforts include all listed above. Whatever your talents or interests, there is something for you to do!

What specials classes do students participate in every week?

All students from K4 through 8th grade participate weekly or biweekly in special classes, including gym, Spanish, computers, music, and library.

Can my child attend St. Thomas Aquinas Academy if he/she is not Catholic?

The cluster parishes and school respect the dignity of the child.  Neither race, nationality, nor other forms of discrimination will prevent a child from being accepted into a Catholic school or religious education programs.  Children of other religions may be accepted on a seat-available basis unless attendance would cause conflict for the child because of the unique religious philosophy of these education programs.

What is your policy on providing nutritious meals for lunch?

Our goal is to influence students' eating behaviors.  Nutrition influences a child's development, health, well-being, and potential for learning.  We strive to ensure that all students have access to healthy food choices during school and school functions, provide a pleasant eating environment for students and staff, and allow a minimum of 20 minutes for students to eat lunch and socialize.

Is there a dress code?

Yes.  Students are required to wear a white, forest green, or approved grey collared shirt with navy or khaki pants.  Girls may wear navy or khaki skirts, jumpers, or dresses.  We have plenty of dress-down opportunities throughout the year, including generous jeans days, spirit wear days, and special occasions. 

Refer to our Parent and Student Handbook for complete details regarding our dress code policy.

How safe is the school?

STAA is located in the quiet and safe neighborhood of Bay View.  The building is monitored by cameras both inside and outside the facility.  Doors are locked at all times while school is in session and visitors must be buzzed in and immediately report to the school office to sign in.  In recognizing the dangers of the world around us, we routinely practice school lock down procedures and immediate danger drills.  Our safety is a top priority.