Middle School Directory
Middle School Directory
Mr. Dominic Bissonette, Manager of the Arts Center
Mr. Dominic Bissonette is the Technical Director for all Providence Academy Music and Theater performances. He teaches technical theater, middle school drama, middle school industrial arts and wood-shop. Mr. Bissonette holds a Bachelors Degree in Technical Theater from St. Cloud State University. Prior to Providence, he worked for the Children’s Museum, The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater and at The Chanhassen Dinner Theater.
Mr. Benjamin Blackhawk, Math Teacher
Mr. Blackhawk joined Providence Academy in 2001 after teaching math at St. Paul Academy and Summit School for ten years, and in the Minneapolis Public Schools for six years. He taught Algebra for more than a decade in the University of Minnesota's Talented Youth Mathematics Program. He is an active singer of liturgical music and particularly enjoys singing Gregorian chant. He holds bachelor's degrees in Mathematics Education and Vocal Music Education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
Mr. Richard Carrillo, Middle and Upper School Choir
Mr. Richard Carrillo combines both his passions for music and ministry as Upper School Choir Director and Campus Minister at Providence Academy. Mr. Carrillo holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from the Moores School of Music (MSM) at the University of Houston where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and the highest ranking graduate of the 2007 undergraduate MSM class. After graduation, he taught choir at Friendswood High School and sang professionally with groups such as the Houston Chamber Choir, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, and the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the Cathedral of St. Paul. Choirs under direction have consistently receive Superior Rankings in MSHSL Large Ensemble Competitions and in 2016, the Providence Academy Chamber Choir was invited to perform for the Minnesota Music Educators Association annual state convention. Prior to his time at Providence, Mr. Carrillo served as a missionary with NET Ministries from 2009-2012.
Mrs. Colleen Carron, Physical Education
Mrs. Carron instructs a wide variety of ages in physical education. Mrs. Carron earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Mississippi State University. Most recently, Mrs. Carron served as the physical education and health teacher for students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade at Benton County Christian School in Arkansas, where she also coached the boys and girls basketball teams. Mrs. Carron brings more than nine years of teaching and coaching experience to Providence Academy.
Mrs. Nicole Clark, Lower and Middle School Band
Mrs. Nicole Clark is a graduate with the highest honors from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with concentrations in both instrumental and vocal music. Her performance background includes recitals in alto saxophone, piano and voice. She brings to Providence Academy a diverse background of almost 20 years in music education. She has taught vocal music, music theory, general music, concert band, and marching band in Rice Lake, WI, Spring Grove, MN and Lake City, MN. In addition to teaching, she has served as a music director and cantor at the Newman Center Parish in La Crosse, and a cantor at Mary Queen of Peace, St. Anne's, St. Thomas, and St. Michael. Mrs. Clark directs the cadet and concert bands at the academy, teaches band lessons and Middle School general music, and coordinates and accompanies music for the Middle School liturgy.
Mrs. Teresa Claypool, Middle School Dean of Students
In addition to being dean of Middle School students, Mrs. Teresa Claypool teaches English and Religion in the Middle School at Providence Academy. Prior to joining Providence, she taught English and Literature for nine years, as well as Religion and Spanish at St. Raphael’s Catholic School in Crystal, Minnesota. In addition to teaching, she served as athletic director, student council advisor, and activities coordinator. Mrs. Claypool incorporates her sense of humor and enthusiasm into her interactions with students while helping to strengthen the spiritual life of each child. Her creativity and love of reading are evident in her daily lessons. Mrs. Claypool received her Bachelor’s Degree in English Education from North Dakota State University, and her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Reading Licensure from the University of St. Thomas.
Ms. Sherry Felker, Math Teacher
Ms. Sherry Felker instructs Middle and Upper School students in mathematics. Before joining the faculty at Providence Academy in 2008, she taught mathematics and computer applications to middle and upper school students in both public and independent school settings, including The Hun School in Princeton, New Jersey. Most recently, she taught mathematics at The Blake School. Prior to teaching, she was a database analyst with RCA. Ms. Felker holds a master's degree in mathematics from the University of New Hampshire.
Mr. Steven Firchow, US Math Teacher
Steven Firchow joined Providence Academy in 2013 and teaches mathematics in the Upper School. From algebra through calculus II, he has taught a variety of mathematics courses in Minnesota the past 10 years, most recently at Saint Agnes School in Saint Paul. Mr. Firchow holds a Bachelor of Science in both mathematics and physics from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas.
Mrs. Rachel Fogle, Middle School Science Teacher
Mr. Chris Fussy, Physical Education Teacher
Mr. Chris Fussy teaches Physical Education in the Lower, Middle, and Upper schools as well as 7th grade Health. He has also coached middle school basketball here at PA since 2011. Mr. Fussy holds a Bachelors Degree in 5-12 Health Education and K-12 Physical Education from the University of St. Thomas. He completed his student teaching here at Providence under the tutelage of Mr. Seifert and Mr. Subialka during the fall/winter of 2011. He spent the following spring substitute teaching at various Catholic and Public schools in the area. He received his first teaching position at Community of Saints Regional Catholic School in West St. Paul where he taught Elementary and Middle school PE, as well as serving as the Athletic Director for their 5-8 athletics program. During these two years, Mr. Fussy continued coaching middle school basketball here at PA and felt very blessed to continue to be a part of the community. In the fall of 2014, he was hired as a Physical Education and Health teacher at Providence Academy and continues to coach basketball as well as being an Upper School student council advisor.
Mrs. Ann Heitzmann, World Language Department Chair & French Teacher
Mrs. Annie Heitzmann chairs the World Language Department and teaches french in the Academy's Middle & Upper Schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Before joining Providence Academy, Mrs. Heitzmann taught at South High School in Minneapolis, Middle School #51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Mahtomedi High School. Mrs. Heitzmann’s teaching and curriculum is enhanced by her experiences studying abroad in Belgium, South Africa and throughout France, as well as her experience leading student travel abroad.
Mrs. Johannah Iniguez, Lower School Art Teacher
Mrs. Iniguez teaches Art to Kindergarten through third grade, Technology to fourth grade as well as a specialized art class in Middle School and Photography in the Upper School. She has previous experience as a high school art teacher. Mrs. Iniguez has a B.A. in Studio Art from Gustavus Adolphus College. She has experience working with a multitude of different art mediums and is currently working as an illustrator for a series of children's books. Mrs. Iniguez is also a proud Providence Academy alumna.
Mr. Kurt Jaeger, Dean of Activities & Middle School History Teacher
Kurt Jaeger is a founding member of the PA faculty. As Senior Development Officer, he is responsible for new and increased annual fund gifts, planned giving, endowment and stewardship. All of these are essential for PA and all independent schools to grow in the 21st century. Prior to this position, Kurt served as Director of Athletics, and also taught second grade and Middle/Upper School Religion. Mr. Jaeger has a decade of teaching and administrative experience prior to coming to Providence. Mr. Jaeger brings over two decades of experience in administration and teaching and coaching children of all ages, K-12. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education from Moorhead State University, and also has licensure in Middle School science, literature, math, foreign language, Kindergarten and coaching. Mr. Jaeger is a certified athletic administrator.
Mr. Jonathon Janz, Religion Teacher
Jonathon Janz is an instructor in the religion department, serving both the middle and upper schools. He has also worked as an instructor in the science department. Mr. Janz earned a Master of Arts in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas, a Master of Science in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He has also completed coursework in doctoral-level programs for kinesiology and physical therapy, and has over a decade of experience training collegiate, professional, and Olympic athletes. He has been published in exercise science journals, magazines, and websites and has experience as an instructor, adviser, lecturer, consultant, and research assistant for various universities and private organizations. Mr. Janz is an Instituted Acolyte and helps to coordinate many liturgical functions at Providence Academy. He is also the ministry leader for altar servers at the Cathedral of St. Paul and serves as a master of ceremonies for major liturgical events in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Mrs. Angela Jendro, Religion Teacher
Mrs. Angela Jendro teaches Religion in the Middle and Upper Schools at PA. She holds a Master's Degree in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas and Bachelor Degrees in Theology, Philosophy, and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas as well. In addition to teaching in the school setting, Angela has a long history of teaching in parishes both as a speaker for adults and as an instructor for Confirmation preparation. She has a deep appreciation for the gift of our Catholic faith, and loves the opportunity to share the joy of the Gospel with students.
Mrs. Ann-Marie Killion, FACS Teacher
Mrs. Ann-Marie Killion, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Home Economics at the University of Minnesota. She teaches Foods I & II in the Upper School, and the FACS course in the Middle School. Mrs. Killion also brings extensive textile industry experience, having worked in the fields of interior and apparel design.
Mr. Michael Olson, Middle School English Teacher
Mr. Michael Olson served in the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) where he received his Master’s of Education, Language Arts. Mr. Olson is a founding faculty member of Providence Academy, as well the school’s founding Athletics Coordinator from 2001-2003. Throughout his tenure, he has served as: Curriculum Coordinator for the Middle School; English Department Coordinator; Dean of Students; Student Council Advisor; 8th Grade Team Lead; Boys and Girls Varsity Tennis coach (2x coach of the year), Boys and Girls Middle School Basketball coach, and Boys High School Basketball Varsity Assistant Coach; and has taught Middle and Upper School courses in English, Religion, Health, and currently teaches 7th and 8th Grade English in the Middle School.
Mrs. Stacy Paulsen, Middle School Science Teacher
Mrs. Paulsen holds a bachelor’s degree in natural science from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. She completed her postgraduate teacher licensing program at Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis with an emphasis on integrating technology in science education. Before joining the Providence faculty in 2015 as a 7th grade science teacher, Mrs. Paulsen taught in a variety of settings including undergraduate instruction in biological and cultural anthropology at the University of Minnesota and St. John’s University, outdoor education with the National Park Service and Three Rivers Park District, community education, reserve teaching in local public school districts, and faith formation instruction in her local parish.
Mrs. Kaitlin Pfiffner, Latin Teacher
Mrs. Kaitlin Pfiffner is a licensed Latin teacher. She currently teaches in the middle and upper divisions. Kaitlin is a graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where she studied Latin Education and Classical Studies. She has studied Latin and ancient Greek. Since starting at Providence Academy in 2012, she has taught in all divisions.
Mrs. Cathryn Quinn, Middle School Teacher
Mrs. Cathryn Quinn joined Providence Academy in 2002 and currently teaches in the Middle and Upper School and serves as the Mathematics Department Chair. With more than twenty-five years of teaching experience, she has taught in both public and private schools throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, as well as greater Minnesota. Her versatility in education has ranged from being a parent educator and gifted-talented program teacher, to teaching a variety of subjects at the elementary and middle school levels. Mrs. Quinn holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and a Graduate Certificate in Mathematics Education Specialist PreK-12 from the University of St. Thomas.
Mrs. Fran Ramirez, Spanish Teacher
Mrs.Ramirez teaches Spanish to Middle and Upper School students at Providence. She started working at Providence in the 2015-2016-school year. She came to the Academy from Rockford School District where she taught Spanish I and Spanish Cultures to the Middle school students and Spanish I and IV at the High School for five years. She was also the Diversity Coordinator for the district. Prior to that, she had also taught Spanish for 14 years at St.Stephen’s School in Anoka. She is originally from Costa Rica and has lived in Nebraska and Minnesota for the last 25 years. Sra.Ramírez holds a bachelor’s degree in Kindergarten education from the University of Costa Rica, a master’s degree in Emotional/Behavioral Disorders from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and holds a Spanish k-12 Spanish teaching license from Bethel University in Minnesota. She is very passionate in teaching Spanish and loves to share her Hispanic culture with the students.
Mr. Kyle Rickbeil, Director of Middle School
Mr. Kyle Rickbeil joins Providence Academy as the Middle School Director for 2017-18. For the past three years Mr. Rickbeil has served as Middle School Director at Trinity School in Maryland, a distinguished Catholic independent Pre-K through 8 school that prepares students for competitive admission to Catholic and other private high schools. Prior to that, he served Trinity for nine years as a cherished religion teacher. Mr. Rickbeil holds a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Valparaiso University with a major in philosophy and minors in theology, mathematics, and physical education; a master’s degree in teaching, and a master’s degree in administration and supervision.
Mr. Darren Rousar, Art Teacher & Technology Coordinator
Mr. Rousar brings over 25 years of experience teaching fine art to Providence Academy. He has previously served as assistant director and an instructor at Charles Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy and vice president of The Minnesota River School of Fine Art in Burnsville. During his tenure at The Minnesota River School, he also served as an instructor and led art-based tours of Italy, England and Spain. He attended Atelier Lack and Atelier LeSueur, both in Minnesota, as well as Studio Cecil-Graves in Florence, Italy. He has been a practicing professional artist for more than 35 years, focusing mainly on Christian themes. He is the author of six books about traditional art instruction. Mr. Rousar teaches art and is a Technology Coordinator at Providence Academy.
Mr. Christopher Santer, Art Teacher
Mr. Christopher Santer is an award-winning artist with an extensive professional exhibition and commission record. His original paintings and drawings have been included in a variety of gallery and museum exhibitions from California to Georgia. Prints of selected commissioned artworks for churches and schools hang in 46 states in the United States, and in Canada, Australia and England. Some honors include the McKnight Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists for 2004, and a featured profile in the national publication, New American Paintings, Volume 47. He taught studio art classes at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he received a master’s degree in painting. His undergraduate degree in commercial design and illustration was completed at the University of Dayton, in Ohio. He has additional experience working with young people through four years of service with NET Ministries of West St. Paul, and through his work for the Minnesota Historical Society at the State Capitol. Mr. Santer teaches art for portions of the Middle and Upper Schools.
Mrs. Emily Semsch, Middle School Counselor
Mrs. Semsch is the School Counselor for Middle School students at Providence Academy. As counselor, she assists students experiencing a variety of personal, social and academic issues. She holds a master's degree in Professional School Counseling from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a bachelor's degree in English from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Mrs. Semsch is a licensed K-12 School Counselor, as well as a member of the Minnesota School Counselors' Association and the American School Counselor's Association. Before joining Providence, Mrs. Semsch completed internships at Benilde-St. Margaret's and Clover Ridge Elementary School in Chaska, where she focused on personal/social counseling for individuals and groups, classroom guidance lessons, academic counseling and future planning.
Mrs. Melissa Simmons, Theater Director
Mrs. Simmons (Theater Teacher & Director, Sr. Speech Coordinator) After receiving her bachelor's degree in Theater from North Central University, Mrs. Simmons began teaching Speech and Theater classes at PA during the 2002-2003 school year. Since that time the drama program has grown from three productions a year to five, including, the US Fall Show, MS Winter Play, US One-Act, MS One-Act, and the US Musical. In addition, she has also worked with the Children's Theatre Company, Illusion Theatre, Emmrich Theater Production Co., and Theatre Unbound. Mrs. Simmons is currently pursuing a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Thomas.
Mrs. Megan Simonson, English Teacher
Mrs. Simonson teaches English in Providence Academy's Middle and Upper Schools. A graduate of Saint Mary's University in Winona, she has a bachelor's in English Literature and a master's in Instruction. She has previously taught at Lourdes High School in Rochester, and Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria. Mrs. Simonson has experience teaching a wide variety of English curricula, and is currently Providence Academy's Speech Team Coach.
Ms. Bridget Taylor, Middle School Assistant
Mrs. Beth Wolfe, Strings Teacher
Mrs. Beth Wolfe is the Strings Program Director and teaches a music appreciation class which is one of the elective offerings of our Middle School. She has been a professional performing artist and teacher in the Twin Cities for the last 40 years. Along with providing private lessons, she has taught in the Minneapolis Schools summer program, Breck School, Macalester College, Eden Prairie String Academy, and MacPhail Center for the performing arts. Mrs. Wolfe is a founding artistic director of the conductorless Philomusica Chamber Orchestra, a founding member of the Pentimento String Quartet and has performed with many professional groups including The Minnesota Opera, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minnesota Summer Pops Orchestra, The Duluth Symphony, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, The Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and many others. Mrs. Wolfe is a student and former assistant of the legendary Mary West, and has studied at the University of Minnesota with John Tartaglia, assistant violist with the Minnesota Orchestra, and Lea Foli, former Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Mr. Chris Wrede, Middle School History Teacher
Mr. Chris Wrede has been teaching at Providence Academy for the past 15 years serving in both the Lower School as well as his current position as Middle School history teacher. Mr. Wrede earned a B.A. degree in education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth as well as a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Thomas.