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Faith-Based Education


About Us

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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

Sacraments

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.

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Faculty and Staff


Faculty and Staff


We Make It All Happen

Our enthusiastic team of staff and faculty are committed to providing a quality, values-driven education to our student body.  Please pardon us as we work to add everyone's bio to this page.   


Dan Heding, Principal

Greetings!

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.

Contact:  hedingd@staamke.org


Janine Hubbell, Office Manager

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

I have two sons who attend STAA.  Andy in 6th grade, and Isaac in 5th 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.

Other than my two human boys, I have two furry babies (cats) I enjoy movies and tv at home, and going out to new restaurants and events around the city that I love.

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

Contact:  hubbellj@staamke.org


Dana Madson, School Counselor

I am Mrs Dana Madson, the School Counselor. This will be my second year at STAA. I am there part time (Tuesdays and Wednesdays this year- drop in and say hi!) and I love how supportive STAA is of its students and staff members. My goal is to work with kids to help them have the best time possible in school. I work with individual students, small groups, and visit classrooms to help kids with a range of concerns- friends, family, study habits, and behavior, are some examples. 

I have a BA from UWM and my Master's in Counseling from Mount Mary University. I am licensed to work with kids preK-12th grade. 

I am married, and my husband and I have two daughters, ages 10 and nearly 8, and a son due in two weeks! We also have a big goofy dog. Together we like to spend time with family, playing outdoors, trying new restaurants, and going to zoos and museums. I love to read and enjoy arts and crafts with my girls. 

I can most easily be contacted via email (my office doesn't have a phone) at madsond@staamke.org. However, if parents want to talk in person I can certainly return a message left in the office or set up a time to meet at school. 


Katie Janiszewski, Extended Care

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 14 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.

When I am not at school, which is pretty often, I enjoy reading, working out, biking, watching movies and spending time with my family.

The best way to contact me is at janiszewskik@staamke.org.


Jen Dolata, Food Services

Contact:  dolataj@staamke.org


Lori Fote, K4

Education - Early childhood/elementary teaching degree from UW-Milwaukee and Alverno College. 

I have 15 years teaching experience and have been at STAA for 4 years. 

My husband and I live in Franklin with our daughter and two sons.  I enjoy reading, walking our yellow lab, Daisy, and going to Zumba class.  

I enjoy my home at STAA!  The students and families here are very involved and care about their children's education.  The little Kinders hold a special place in my heart and I look forward to meeting my "new children" every year.  

Contact: fotel@staamke.org


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.

Contact:  gorkam@staamke.org


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 15th 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. 

My husband, Jeff, and I have a three-year old son named Sawyer. I enjoy hiking, crafting, reading, listening to country music (Toby Keith is my favorite), perusing Pinterest, and playing in the yard with Sawyer.  I LOVE Wisconsin sports and watch the Packers, Brewers, and Badgers whenever there is a game. 

Please feel free to contact me via email at bloomj@staamke.org . 


Katherine Mullahy, 1st and 2nd grade reading, Language Arts, and math

Hello! My name is Katherine Mullahy and this is my first year at STAA teaching 1st and 2nd grade reading and math.  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.  

A little about me.  I am from Madison, WI and come from a large family, one of the members being my identical twin! I love to travel, cook, and am a huge WI sports fan, but nothing tops my love for badger basketball.

Please feel free to contact me at mullahyk@staamke.org


Carron Zietlow, 2nd grade

Hi, I'm Carron Zietlow the 2nd grade teacher here at STAA.  I went to Mount Mary College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a minor in Social Studies.  I have taught for 26 years and I began with STAA in 2004. 

I am married and have three children. In our free time we enjoy going on vacation, camping, and biking. 

To me the best thing about STAA is the dedicated staff, families, and parishioners.  I like being able to pray with the children and teach the children about Jesus and seeing their excited faces when they learn something new.  

I can be reached at zietlowc@staamke.org.


Charlene Durski, 3rd grade

I am Charlene Durski the third grade teacher at STAA. I have a degree in education from Minot State University in Minot, ND. I have been with STAA since its inception in 2004 and I have been teaching in Catholic education for 27 years.

I am married to David and we have a daughter, Sarah. I enjoy gardening and watching Packer football. I am proud to be a part of the close knit school community at STAA.

What I like best about teaching is seeing the growth of my students each year as well as former students as they move from one grade level to another in our school.

I can be contacted by email at durskic@staamke.org.


Kelly Orlowski, 4th grade

Contact:  orlowskik@staamke.org


Joan Roth, 5th grade

My name is Joan Roth, and I am the fifth grade teacher here at STAA.  I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education.  Later on, I became certified to teach middle school. This will be my 38th year of teaching, and I have been at STAA since the school was established. 

I have been widowed since 2002 and have one son, Pete.    When I have time, I enjoy scrapbooking, making cards, and researching my family history.

STAA is a great place to teach with a variety of opportunities available for the students. I particularly love the fun "Family" activities we have each month because this gives me a chance to interact with kids in every grade.

Feel free to contact me at rothj@staamke.org.


Michelle Miller, 6th grade

HI! My name is Michelle Miller, and I'm excited to join the STAA team! I graduated from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia with a degree in Middle Grades Education (special concentrations in Social Studies and Reading).

One interesting fact about me: I did my student teaching in Quito, Ecuador. For the past two years, I had been a founding teacher at an environmentally-minded public charter school south of Atlanta teaching Social Studies and English Language Arts.

I am happy to return to my home state of Wisconsin and begin my career in catholic education teaching Social Studies to all of Middle School. I get to spend extra time with 6th grade teaching Religion and English Language Arts. I love the enthusiasm for learning that STAA's middle school students display!

Contact:  millerm@staamke.org


Lori Stolaski, 7th grade

My name is Mrs. Lori Stolaski, and I have been teaching at STAA since the beginning, 13 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!

Please feel free to contact me at stolaskil@staamke.org.


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’ve been married to my amazing husband Steve since 1994.  We just sent our only child, our daughter Olivia, off to college this fall (UW Madison of course!)  We will be filling all our free time with road trips to Madison, binging Netflix and biking.

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)!  

Contact:  steidlm@staamke.org


Stephanie Colvin, Art

Contact:  colvins@staamke.org


Laura Lionberg, Art

My name is Laura Lionberg and I am blessed to be the 4th – 8th grade Art Specialist here at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy!   Currently, I teach two days a week at STAA and the other three days at St. Sebastian School.   I am a graduate of Alverno College where I earned a degree in Art Education and have taught now over 26 years.  It is a privilege to work with our amazing student artists!

My husband Robert and I have three beautiful grown children and an awesome son-in-law.  Although miles away they bring us great joy and always excitement!   Our two young springer spaniels keep us busy and fit.  In our free time, we enjoy cycling, traveling and museum trekking.

Contact:  lionbergl@staamke.org


Celeste Delgado, Technology

I am working on my Master degree at Alverno College. I have 18 years of experience with technology. This is my 7th year working as the Technology Teacher at STAA.

My husband and I have been married for 28 years. We have a son, daughter, and a granddaughter. I enjoy cooking, running, taking care of my granddaughter, and traveling.

The best part of teaching is knowing my students are learning with fun.

Contact:  delgadoc@staamke.org.


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. 

In my spare time I enjoy bouldering, playing sand volleyball, winter camping, attending concerts, dancing, reading memoirs in English, poetry, novels or children’s books in Spanish, French poetry, collaging and creative writing. Sleeping is on the list too!

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!

Contact:  gutierreza@staamke.org


Linda Skuhra, Physical Education

My name is Linda Skuhra and I am the Physical Education teacher. I have been at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy since 2004 and also taught at St. Veronica School. 

I enjoy fishing, canoeing, hiking, gardening, and traveling with my husband and daughter. We love to travel to the State and National Parks, and spend as much time as we can at our cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin. 

The best part about teaching Physical Education is seeing the children build on their skills from year to year from K4 through 8th grade.

If you need to contact me, leave a message at the school office, 414-744-1214, or email me at skuhral@staamke.org .


Mary Jo Brooks, Music

Hi, my name is Mary Jo Brooks and I’m the music teacher.  I have a Bachelors degree in Music Therapy and Music Education.  This is my 13th year with STAA.

I am married. My hobbies are reading, biking, hiking, playing the piano,singing, listening to music and traveling.

What I enjoy about STAA is the children, their smiles and enthusiasm during music class. I am very proud to be a part of a very dedicated and supportive staff.

Contact:  brooksmj@staamke.org


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 19 years. 

I live in Bay View with my husband, two sons, and three cats. We are big fans of Packers and Badger football games and Badger, Marquette, and UWM basketball games and Milwaukee Brewer games. I enjoy hiking, bird watching, canoeing, and of course reading! 

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.

If you would like to contact me, you may call me at school (414 744-1214) and use the extended care option (we share a phone). You may also email me at karabond@staamke.org.


Jean Mamerow, Resource/Learning

HI!  My name is Jean Mamerow. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an Elementary Education Degree -- grades 1-8.  Eventually, I went back to school to earn my Reading Teacher andAlternative Education Certifications.  I spent many years teaching throughout the Milwaukee Archdiocese, including Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Kenosha (grades 7-8), St Rose of Lima on 29th & Clybourn (grade 4), Divine Mercy in South Milwaukee (grade 1),  and finally here at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, as a resource teacher for the last 3 years. 

Here at STAA, I work with small groups of students to target specific skills. I also coach our Scholastic Challenge Team, an academic competition between local Catholic middle school students. We won the 2016 Championship! The students were amazing and made our school proud!

My immediate family consists of my husband Mark,  and my young adult daughters, Mara and Natalie.  Mara lives on the east side and Natalie lives on the east coast. I enjoy when we can all be together and go hiking, biking, or canoeing. 

You can contact me at mamerowj@staamke.org. 

Enjoy your day!

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FAQs


FAQs


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 7:45 am with an official start time of 7:50 am.  Classes conclude and are dismissed at 3:00 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 3:15 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.