Pre-School: Mrs. Kelly Johnson My name isMrs. Kelly Johnson and I have been the preschool teacher at St. Mary School since the 2013 opening of the preschool program. I am responsible for developing and implementing the preschool curriculum for Math, Phonics, Reading, Religion, Science and Social Studies. I also serves as our Athletic's Concession Coordinator. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Sociology and hold a type 03 Teaching certificate. My family has called St. Mary parish home since 2005 and my children have been students of St. Mary School since 2008. I believe that children learn in a variety of ways and it is my duty to instill a love of learning for future success. I know the value of receiving a Catholic education and want to provide that same experience and value to my students. As a parent of St. Mary students I know how fantastic this Catholic school community is, along with the incredible dedication of its teachers, it is an honor to work beside all these teachers who depict the Catholic community.
Kindergarten: Ms. Megan Cebrzynski My name is Megan Cebrzynski and this is my 10th year teaching in a Catholic School. Prior to teaching at St. Mary I taught at an Inner City Catholic School in Houston, Texas where I was awarded the Kinder Excellence in teaching award in the fall of 2015. Growing up I attended St. Patrick Catholic School in St. Charles and St. Francis High School in Wheaton. In the spring of 2007 I graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Elementary Education. In the near future I plan to go back to school and study to earn a master’s degree. I am very excited to be with the St. Mary community this year where I have had the opportunity to apply what I have learned over the last ten years and learn and grow as an educator as well.
First Grade: Ms. Diane Oosthuizen Hello! My name is Diane Oosthuizen. I grew up in Southern California until graduating from 8th grade, I then moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. I finished high school in Cincinnati, followed by graduating from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. I have over ten years teaching experience in both the private and public schools. This is my 2nd year at St. Mary School teaching 1st grade. I strongly believe in hands-on learning where students engage with the materials, each other, and the teacher everyday in every way! In addition to being a teacher, I enjoy nature hikes, cycling, jogging and golf.
Second Grade: Mrs. Kathleen SchaeferI have been teaching second grade at St. Mary’s since the 2005. Teaching is a second career for me. After working as a volunteer tutor with several ESL programs I decided to return to school to earn graduate degrees in elementary education and reading. I chose to teach in a Catholic school because it gives me an opportunity to not only share my love of learning, but also my Catholic faith. Catholic education provides an extra context to learning, and allows children to make a more significant connection to the world through the process of sharing prayer and their faith. It is a privilege for me to help prepare second graders for their sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion and watch them grow in faith. I particularly enjoy teaching at St. Mary’s because of the wonderful support of the school and parish community. Third Grade: Mr. Joe PaladeMy name is Mr. Palade, and I am blessed to be the third grade teacher at St. Mary School. This is my fourth year teaching here at St. Mary. I started in 2012 teaching middle school math. Prior to teaching at St. Mary I served as Character Education teacher in Rockford. I have taught middle school in Ingleside, and taught third grade for several years in both Oak Lawn and Bloomingdale. I have also had experiences in teaching art, music, and fourth grade while working with students in Bloomingdale.
Fourth Grade: Mrs. Amanda Balson I have been a part of the St. Mary family for five years. A product of the Rockford Diocese school system I hail from Streamwood, IL. I graduated from Aurora University in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. My favorite thing about teaching 4th grade is the "Blame It on the Wolf" play the kids put on at the end of each school year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, taking small road trips, and being a true Disney fanatic.
Fifth Grade: Mrs. Christy PfotenhauerMy name is Christy Pfotenhauer and I teach fifth grade at St. Mary School and this is my second year. I have been teaching for fourteen years and I have taught grades K-5 and was a reading specialist. I enjoy learning new teaching techniques and utilizing them with my students. I recently attended a workshop on Literacy in Motion at Judson College. I look forward to another great school year at St. Mary School!
Sixth Grade (Math and Social Studies): Mr. Jason Hunt My name is Jason Hunt and I am the 6th grade homeroom teacher. I am currently in my third year of teaching, but I have been a art of the St. Mary community for eight years now as a parent of three St. Mary students. I teach Math and Social Studies for the middle school students. Additionally, as the 6th grade homeroom teacher, I teach 6th grade Religion.
Seventh Grade (Science): Miss Kim BraddockMy name is Kim Braddock. I am the Seventh Grade homeroom teacher and teach Science and Literature to Middle School. This is my fourth year at St. Mary’s and I love the environment of teaching in a Catholic School. I attended St. Patricks for K-8 and appreciate my Catholic Education everyday. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2012 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Level Education. While at EIU, I was involved in the Newman Catholic Center, took Catholic Scholars courses, lead and attended retreats, weekly prayer services, and bible studies.
Eighth Grade (Advanced Math and English): Mr. Robert ReisenbuechlerWelcome! My name is Mr. Reisenbuechler. I teach sixth through eighth grade Math, sixth through eighth English, and Religion to my eighth grade homeroom. While I have been in the field of education for close to twenty years, I humbly take each and every day as a unique opportunity to positively engage the students I encounter. I have taught in a variety of educational settings and have had many job titles along the way. These experiences have provided me with an all-around view of life in a school. What I have found is that the most important aspect is the ability to grow. In my two years here at St. Mary, I have had the privilege to guide the junior high students in this pursuit of growing in their Catholic Faith and in their academics. Above all, everything we do here is for the greater glory of God. We must remember each and everyday that we are here at St. Mary’s that we have the opportunity to be part of a ‘Catholic Community Growing in Christ’. This is the greatest opportunity of all.
Art Teacher: Mrs. Elda Sirridge PE/Tech Teacher: Mr. Marc Felix Salutations; my name is Mr. Marc Felix. I graduated from Northern Illinois University and have been teaching at St. Mary School for four years. I live in Rockford with my wife, our 2 year old twins and our 2 pleasantly plump pugs. I feel very blessed, and coming to work never feels like work.
Music Teacher: Mrs. Vilma Dydas Hi there, my name is Mrs. Vilma Dydas, although students and colleagues call me Ms. Vilma, and I love that, makes me feel forever young:) I have been at St. Mary Catholic Church since 01/01/2002, and School since 2003 when my twin girls started in the newly added Kindergarten class. I love teaching music and everything that comes with music. PK through 6 grade music is general, and in 7 - 8 grade I teach Music Appreciation, which is mostly famous composers biographies and their music. You can see us performing most weeks after the School Mass, Veteran's Day show, Christmas show, Catholic Schools Week, Book Fair, First Communion, Mother's Day (with children's choir), May Crowning ceremony in May, and many more times. After receiving Master degree in 1996, I worked at St. Clotilde Catholic Church and School in south side of Chicago until 12/31/2001. Please come, see and enjoy your children and our students performing and loving music!
School Secretary: Mrs. Melissa LockMy name is Mrs. Melissa Lock. I have been the St. Mary school secretary since April of 2013 after coming from a nonprofit office setting. I've worked with children and families for all of my adult career and could not be happier in the position I'm in. I love being part of such a close knit community where everyone is made to feel like family! I am currently enrolled in classes focusing on child development and education. Outside of school I love to scrapbook and am an avid reader!