Leaving St. James:

Katie Peterson: Mrs. Peterson has taught math at St. James for the last two years. She is expecting her first baby and is excited to stay home with Baby Peterson next year!

George Meyer: Mr. Meyer has been a Campus Minister at St. James for the last two years. George and his wife Emily had their first baby, Ezekiel, in December, and they are both readjusting their work lives as they start their new family together!

Emily Hodes: Mrs. Hodes was a part-time Theology teacher, part-time Campus Minister at St. James for years before serving as Campus Minister only for the last 3 years. She is stepping back from St. James to focus on life at home with her two little ones!

Sr. Eva Maria: Sr. Eva Maria will be working full time at the chancery next year. We have been blessed to have her with us a few days a week the last few years, but her talents are needed at Savior full time in the fall. She has, however, negotiated with Archbishop to be able to still come to School of Faith on Wednesday mornings, so we will still get to see her weekly! She has been a blessing to us all these last few years.

Terri O’Neill: Terri is retiring at the end of this year after 17 years of serving St. James Academy as an administrative assistant. She was here from the beginning of St. James and is ready for a well-earned retirement with her husband Bob.

Derrick Pierce: Derrick Pierce is retiring from the Lenexa police department after serving for 29 years, the last 5 of which have been as the School Resource Officer at St. James. He will enjoy retirement next year alongside his wife, Melanie.

New Roles:

Austin Krause is currently serving as a Theology teacher at St. James. Mr. Krause has been hired as Director of Campus Ministry for next school year, a new role for our school this fall that will work with Mrs. Nearmyer to lead the implementation of an expanded vision for Campus Ministry at St. James.

Annelise Feder is currently serving as a Theology teacher at St. James and Dean of St. Gregory Community. She will be shifting to the role of Campus Minister next year!

Nancy Dorsey has been teaching Social Studies at St. James for the last 17 years. She will help lead the implementation of the new vision for our Career Explorations program next fall as we initiate our Discernment and Career Explorations Course!

Anna Kayser is currently serving as a Spanish teacher at St. James and will be shifting into our Math department in the fall! She previously taught Math for two years at Spring Hill High School.

Dena Rickert will continue to teach three sections of seminar, but she will also take on the Yearbook for us and will have a few hours in her schedule to serve as a coordinator for our Arts department! She will help with everything from some vocal coaching to managing logistics for shows and performances for the Arts departments.

New Hires:

To fill the gap left by Mrs. Dorsey’s new role as well as meet the demands of increased enrollment, we have hired two new Social Studies teachers. Mr. Dan Starling will be joining our department in the fall. Mr. Starling has been teaching Social Studies at Fairhope High School in Fairhope, Alabama, for the past 20 years, with ten prior years of teaching experience at several private and Catholic schools before his tenure there. His family is relocating to the Kansas City area, and Mr. Starling will teach our AP US History classes as well as some of our junior US History classes. Mr. Starling got his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and his Master’s from Auburn University.

Mr. Will Wright will also be joining the Social Studies team. Mr. Wright is coming to us from St. Michael the Archangel High School in Lee Summit, where he has been teaching Social Studies and head of their Theater department for the last three years. He had other teaching experience prior to St. Michael, including three years teaching Theology and Theater at Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha. He received his Bachelor’s in Social Studies and Secondary Ed from Benedictine College and will be teaching Western Civ and World Studies next year. He will also be the technical director for all of our theater productions, joining his wife and our current theater director Sarah Wright in leading our performances!

We have two new Theology teachers filling in the gaps left by Mr. Krause’s and Ms. Feder’s transitions to Campus Ministry. Mr. Christian Duran is joining us after just completing his Master’s Degree in Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at Catholic University of America this spring. Prior to that he received undergraduate degrees in Theology, Philosophy, and Evangelization and Catechesis (triple major) from Benedictine College. He will be teaching Life in Christ and Salvation History in the fall!

Our second Theology teacher is Kimberly Starling. Kimberly taught theology at St. Thomas Aquinas High School for three years before transitioning into a new career as a marriage and family therapist. She received her undergraduate degree in Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville and her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Mobile. She will be working part time (alongside her husband Dan, listed above as a new hire for Social Studies) as she continues her counseling practice as well.

To fill the gap for Mrs. Kayser moving to our Math department and demand due to increased enrollment, we have hired two new Spanish teachers for next fall! Our first hire is Mrs. Katie Zoldak. Mrs. Zoldak is a graduate of the University of Kansas and taught high school Spanish in Deer Park, Texas, for six years before her family relocated to Singapore for her husband’s job. Their family returned to Kansas City last year and are Ascension parishioners. Mrs. Zoldak will be teaching Spanish 1 and Honors Spanish 1 in the fall.

Our second Spanish teacher is Mrs. Tanya Olsen. Mrs. Olsen is currently in her fourth year of teaching middle school Spanish and Religion at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Shawnee. She got her undergraduate degree from Yale University and completed the transition-to-teaching program at Fort Hays State University. She will be teaching Spanish 2 as well as a few sections of Theology for us in the fall.

Filling the Math opening left by Mrs. Peterson’s departure is Marianna Rice. Ms. Rice graduated from Benedictine College and taught middle school math at St. Ann’s in Prairie Village this past school year. She will be teaching Algebra 1 and Geometry in the fall.

Filling our other Campus Ministry opening is Ryan Schnitker. Mr. Schnitker graduated from the University of Missouri with his degree in Communications and has been working as a campus minister at the St. Thomas More Newman Center Parish on the campus of the University of Missouri the last two years.

We have hired Mr. Scott Lero to fill a role for a new initiative in our student services department. In addition to being an assistant baseball coach for St. James the last several years, Mr. Lero has served as a para-educator in Turner School District and DeSoto School District for a few years each, as well as the Inclusive Education department chair at St. Michael the Archangel High School for two years. He will be a great new teammate for that department, and we are grateful to EMBRACE for their support which has allowed us to make this hire.