Meet our Administration Team
Patrick Gallivan (Principal)
Fr. Ralph Talbot (Moderator)
Fr. Joe Bambenek (Chaplain)
Peggy Kemp (Administrative Assistant)
I graduated from Mankato State University with a degree in Elementary Education. I was a special education teacher for 5 years and earned a Master’s Degree from St. Mary’s University. I then made a career change and worked at my father-in-law’s insurance agency for many years. When he retired I decided to make a change as well and went to work at St. Pius X (where my daughters were students). I am happy to have been a part of the Frassati team since its inaugural year.
In my free time I enjoy laughing, reading, crossword puzzles, walking, going to the cabin and spending time with my family and friends.
Meet our Teachers
Pat Barry (Preschool)
I joined the preschool staff of St. Mary of the Lake in 1999, and have been fortunate to be a part of Frassati Catholic Academy Preschool from its beginning in 2014. I hold a B.S. in Vocal Music Education (K-12) from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and love the opportunity to sing and dance with the children! I have a passion for working with young children and cherish the energy, creativity and curiosity they bring to each day. Sharing and nurturing the love of God with these little ones continually renews my own faith.
Outside of school, I enjoy reading, running or walking (usually with my dog!), teaching water exercise classes at the White Bear Area YMCA and traveling with my family.
Dawn Follmer (Preschool)
In 1999 I joined the preschool staff at St. Mary of the Lake, and I’ve been blessed to be part of Frassati Catholic Academy Preschool since its inaugural year. I received my B.A. in psychology from Hamline University. After living in Italy for two years I decided to return to school. I went to St. Catherine University to complete my Prekindergarten license. Later I earned a K-6 Elementary with Preprimary Specialty License and Masters of Art in Education degree at St Catherine University.
I love working everyday with young learners, and sharing my love of God with my students.
I am married with two children and have two grandchildren. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, country music, traveling and Italian cooking.
Debra Christensen (Kindergarten)
I have been teaching at Frassati Catholic Academy, St. Pius X and St. Mary of the Lake for many years in Kindergarten, 2nd grade and as Preschool Director/Teacher. I have degrees in K-6 and Special Education from Dakota State University in South Dakota, Early Childhood from the University of River Falls, and am very excited to have recently had the opportunity to complete a certification program through the University of St. Thomas in Autism Spectrum. I truly enjoy working with young children as their love for learning and excitement for school is amazing. Teaching is always exciting, ever changing and never boring. I love the experience of seeing the children learn and develop confidence in all they do.
I am married, have 3 daughters, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters. I enjoy a variety of hobbies including traveling, sewing, and especially spending time with my family and friends.
I look forward to getting to know you and your child!
Rebecca Munns (Kindergarten)
Hi, my name is Rebecca Munns. I have lived in White Bear Lake since I was 2 years old. I graduated from Saint Mary’s University-Winona with a B.A. in Elementary Education K-6. In the fall of 2014, my teaching career began here at Frassati Catholic Academy as a Preschool After Care teacher and a PreK-8 substitute teacher. I strive to create a classroom environment where students feel welcome, take risks, and learn and grow in the Catholic faith. Together, we will help your child strive to reach his/her fullest potential as both a student and a child/disciple of God.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, reading, traveling, attending concerts, watching movies, and am an avid fan of the Minnesota Twins. I’m looking forward to a great year of learning, laughing, and praying with your child!
Mary Lindley (Grade 1)
I grew up in Green Bay, WI in a family that valued Catholic education. My mother and father were willing to make great sacrifices to send my three sisters and me to Catholic schools. I admire my parents’ sacrifice and remain forever grateful. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education at St. Norbert College and completed my Master of Arts in Reading at the University of Minnesota. It has been a blessing and a privilege to teach in Catholic schools for over thirty years. Helping students grow in their Catholic faith and become the “best versions of themselves” is what I strive to do and what brings me joy!
Rebecca Lynch (Grade 1)
In 1981, I began my teaching career as a music teacher. I received a BA in Music education from Luther College, and a MA from the University of Iowa. In 1991, I earned an elementary education license (1-6) from the University of St. Thomas. I have been teaching first or second grade ever since. I completed work on an ELL certificate in 2011.
I live in St. Paul with my husband, David. We have two adult children, both of whom graduated from St. Pius X School and Cretin-Derham Hall. I enjoy playing the piano and singing in the choir at Lumen Christi Catholic Church.
One thing I love about teaching first grade is the enthusiasm first graders bring to school each day. It is my goal to provide a loving and caring classroom environment where that enthusiasm will be nurtured and each child will be encouraged to develop to their full potential.
Debra Lehn (Grade 2)
My name is Deb Lehn and I have had the privilege of being a part of Frassati Catholic Academy since 2014. I graduated from Mankato State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. I started my teaching career as a Chapter I teacher in Wells, Minnesota. I taught first and second grade at Sacred Heart in Waseca, Minnesota for 11 years. Then, my husband and I moved to the Twin Cities and I became a second grade teacher at St. Pius X in White Bear Lake. My husband and I have a son. I like to read, watch movies, and spend time with family.
I love teaching and believe every child can learn to be successful. I am excited for every new day with my class. I look forward to working with you. Together, we can help your child succeed.
Elizabeth Sierminski (Grade 3)
Originally from Racine, WI, I graduated from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) in 2008 with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Italian. I taught in the Mounds View school district for one year before coming to St. Mary of the Lake School, where I taught kindergarten. At Frassati Catholic Academy, I taught first grade for three years and am now teaching third grade. In my free time I enjoy outdoor sports and compete in various sporting events. I also enjoy reading, drawing, and ice cream.
Maddi Smith (Grade 3)
I grew up in Little Canada, MN where I was fortunate enough to attend religious schools throughout my entire education. I graduated from St. Catherine University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a STEM certification. From my positive school experiences, I was inspired to become a teacher that cares about the personal and religious lives of my students as well as their academics. In addition to teaching, I love being involved with sports, shopping at Target, and spending time with my big family. I am very excited to be a part of the Frassati school community!
Patti Cibuzar (Grade 4)
I grew up in beautiful Duluth, MN and graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a double major in Elementary Education and German. I received a Masters degree in Public Administration from Hamline University and have taught in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for more than 20 years. Since 2003, I have had the great privilege of teaching many, many wonderful fourth and fifth grade students at St. Mary of the Lake/Frassati Catholic Academy. I am a lover of books, dogs, gardening and sports and am thrilled to be a member of the Frassati school community.
Meet our Grade 5 & Middle School Teachers
Michelle Heinz (Math)
I received my BA degree at Bethel University in St. Paul MN, major in History/minor in math. Upon graduation I wanted to see the world so I became a flight attendant and flew for five years. I went back to school to earn teaching licensure in 2005 through the College of St. Scholastica. Currently, I am licensed K-6 and middle school Math. I had taught middle school math for six years at St. Croix Preparatory Academy in Stillwater; 5th grade through Algebra II. I have three children; one at Frassati and two in high school. With three kids in hockey, I can often be seen at one of the White Bear hockey arenas. I run year round and am usually training for a 10 or 12K. I live for summers and enjoy anything outside. I enjoy the eagerness middle school kids have to explore their independence and their courage to try new things.
Catherine Urban (Religion)
Rheanna O’Brien (Literature - grade 5 & Social Studies - grades 6-8)
I am from the great city of White Bear Lake. I have a degree in elementary education from the University of St. Catherine with a specialty in middle school social studies and a STEM certification. I also hold a Bachelor of Science from Winona State University in paralegal studies.
In addition to teaching, I currently serve as board president and educational liaison for the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society and enjoy spending time with my husband, family, and my German Shepherd Mica.
Sue Schmidtbauer (Language Arts & Literature - grades 6-8)
I have been teaching since 1990. I enjoy teaching because I believe that education is important to helping students become responsible, creative citizens and learning is a never ending adventure. I am licensed in elementary education, and also have middle school licenses in English, science, and social studies. I have a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Critical Pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas. I have a Doctorate in education from Hamline University.
I have participated in other activities that have enhanced my understanding of STEM. I spent time working on STEM curriculum for the MN Zoo. I spent a summer as a TWIST (Teachers Working in Science and Technology) teacher at 3M. Both of these experiences added to my understanding of the engineering process and have enabled me to share the experiences with the students.
In my spare time I enjoy kayaking, gardening, working out and enjoying time outdoors when it isn’t too cold. My future goal is to try paddle boarding.
Andy Olson (Science)
Hello my name is Andy Olson and I am the science teacher. I have a science degree in Forestry from the U of MN and a Masters in Teaching from St. Mary’s University of MN. I love all science topics especially natural resources and ecology. I have a wife and 3 sons. I enjoy fishing, hunting, and assisting my sons with water sports like tubing and water skiing. I am the coach for my son’s hockey team and have coached baseball and football for all 3 of my boys. My goal is to expose and introduce science to the students so they can relate all science topics to their lives. Getting children excited about science and encouraging their curiosity and interest is so important.
Meet our Specialists
Rebecca Jacobson (Music)
Sandy Reibel (Physical Education)
Brenda Barrett (Spanish & Art 5-8) & Social Studies (5)
I hold a B.A. in Theater with a Spanish and Linguistics emphasis from Macalester College, a Master’s in Education and a MN teaching license from St. Catherine University, and a certificate in teaching ESL from the University of St. Thomas.
One approach to teaching a language may not work for everyone, so I use recognized curriculum ( Viva el español series and Realidades series) TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling), skits, listening and response exercises featuring native Spanish speakers, readings from Spanish books and on-line writings, and integrated lessons in Social Studies, Math, Art and Science.
In my spare time I teach with my family for the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth (MITY). I also run a Spanish summer camp for students in grades 2-8. I enjoy spending time with my family and our dogs, ethnic cooking, and working out, especially ZUMBA and Latin Dance.
I love getting to know the students as the unique individuals they are, and the thrill of the “ah-ha!” moment students have when they make new connections with their learning.
Sarah Geppert (Technology Grades K-4 & Spanish Grades PreK-4)
Sarah Geppert is pleased to be teaching at Frassati Catholic Academy. She graduated in 2007 from Evangel University with dual bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and Spanish and a mathematics minor. She has also completed graduate coursework for a master’s of science in chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She has been a substitute teacher in the Rochester Public School system for four years, teaching everything from Spanish immersion kindergarten to high school English. She has also tutored for many years.
One of her favorite things about teaching is the final “lightbulb” moment when a student realizes he or she understands the concepts. She also enjoys the “new confidence” smile a student has after accomplishing a task that was previously very difficult. She looks forward to introducing students to computer science basics, including programming, using a variety of resources.
Courtney Bona (Learning Lab)
I grew up in Shoreview, MN and attended the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University where I graduated in 2011 with an Elementary Education degree (K-6) and a concentration in Communications Arts and Literature (5-8). I worked for one year in the Mounds View Public School District as a Learning Resource Teacher, working with small groups on reading comprehension skills, and as a Substitute Teacher. Then, I worked for New Millennium Academy for five years as a middle school English Language Arts teacher before teaching fourth grade for one year at Twin Cities International Elementary School.
I teach in order to experience those wonderful moments when a student is finally able, through perseverance and courage, to understand something that he or she did not understand before. I am so excited to now be part of the teaching team at Frassati Catholic Academy and look forward to working with all of the staff, families, and students to ensure that every child is able to reach his or her highest potential and feel successful.
Meet our Support Staff
Karen Brogan (Educational Aide)
With a secretarial and music background on hold to raise a family, I volunteered at St. Mary’s and Holy Family Middle School while my four children attended these fine schools as students. I became a teacher aide at St. Mary’s in 1994 when an opening became available. Soon after, I initiated after-school piano lessons for community enrichment and have had the pleasure of working with many wonderful students and families as their piano teacher. I am committed to the emotional well being of children and the support we need to give our hardworking teachers. In 2012, I started a pop tab collection program for the Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest Charities. Every May, our school families make an annual donation to this worthy children’s cause. In my spare time, I enjoy family time, theater and the performing arts, travel, baking, working in my yard and a quiet walk in the woods.
Nicolette Olson (Extended Day)
I grew up in Stillwater and currently live in the wonderful city of White Bear Lake where I have been a resident for the past 21 years. I have worked for the Extended Day program for St. Mary of the Lake and Frassati Catholic Academy for a combined total of 23 years. I have also worked in special education for the past 16 years. I attended Metro State University with a specialty in at risk youth. In the past, I served on a child development committee for the Northeast Metro 916 program.
In my free time I enjoy the outdoors and Minnesota sports with family and friends. I feel blessed to be able to come to work each day and love what I do.
Ann Stelter (Food Service & Media Aide)
Coralie Kroll (Health Aide & Business Admin.)
Catholic School Advisory Committee
FCA School Advisory Council
The School Advisory Council (SAC) is a consultative body that reports to and advises the principal and moderator on issues of policy, budget, practice and program, includes seven subcommittees: Curriculum, Strategic Planning, Advancement and Marketing, Co-Curricular, Hospitality, Finance, and Technology. Members serve a three-year term on the SAC which include monthly full committee meetings and subcommittee meetings as needed.
Additional information about roles and responsibilities of SAC members can be found here.
If you have concerns, ideas/opportunities or questions regarding any of these areas of the school please direct them to the committee’s attention by sending your email to one of the school administrators (Mr. Gallivan, Fr. Talbot, or Fr. Bambenek).
Staff Members serving on SAC:
Moderator Fr. Ralph Talbot FrTalbot@stmarys-wbl.org
Chaplain Fr. Joe Bambenek firstname.lastname@example.org
Principal Patrick Gallivan email@example.com
English (5) & Social Studies Rheanna O’Brien firstname.lastname@example.org
The current 2017-2018 SAC members are listed below:
Barb O’Brien, SAC Vice-Chair, Curriculum & Policy Committee Co-Chair
Growing up in a small town where Catholicism was at the epicenter of our community provided me with a solid life-long foundation in our faith and fueled a fire for fostering learning. As an architect, I have had a variety of opportunities to bring diverse learning environments to students of all ages, most notable are STEM programs, incorporating multi-layered mechanisms of experiencing the world around us. With enthusiasm and a passionate for Catholic education I have dedicated my time and talents to the treasure of our school for over a decade. I enjoy building our faith-based community and being integral in carrying out the mission and vision of our school. Beside my husband, I strive to ensure a solid faith based education not just for our children, but for all. I aspire to bring my history of experiences to a future of faith for many.
Brian Bonin, Finance Committee Co-Chair
I am a father of three boys that have experienced Frassati Catholic Academy and I am an alumni of St. Mary of the Lake. I am grateful that children in our area can experience the Catholic Faith and the STREAM program provided at Frassati Catholic Academy and it’s part of my mission to share this opportunity with others.
Bridget Heintz, Marketing and Advancement Committee Co-Chair
I have lived in the White Bear Lake area all my life. I fell in love with the Catholic faith after I met my husband, and I completed the RCIA program before we married in 2004. I am a member of St. Pius X Church. My son is a student at Frassati Catholic Academy and has been since year one. Before that he went to St. Pius X School.
I have three dogs, who are all rescues, and they keep my family very busy! In my spare time I enjoy traveling with my family, and playing softball two nights a week in the summer.
Elyse Sienko, Secretary, Co-Curricular Committee Co-Chair
My husband Ryan and I moved to White Bear Lake 6 years ago and have fallen in love with the area. We are so happy that we have found Frassati Catholic Academy as a place for our three young children to learn and grow. I have worked with children for the past ten years as Pediatric Occupational Therapist and currently work supporting them in the schools. My hobbies include outdoor activities, gardening, walking/running, boating, golfing and knitting/crocheting. I look forward to serving the SAC committee watching the school continue to thrive.
Erin Da Rosa, Strategic Planning Committee Co-Chair
I have been volunteering in Catholic Schools for over 10 years and am dedicated to providing more students the gift of education in a Christ-centered environment. I believe strongly in our school’s mission: “The Frassati Catholic Academy is dedicated to educating students in a nurturing and encouraging environment grounded in the Catholic Tradition, inspiring a love of learning, and empowering students to grow in faith while sharing their gifts for the common good.” These are not just words- they are the guiding principles that staff, parents, leadership, volunteers and administration practice each day to create a one of a kind experience for students. I am committed to making sure that our mission is strong and our kids continue to grow academically in a safe, and nurturing environment.
In addition to preserving our mission, I am dedicated to innovation and exploring new ideas for our school. The opportunities that await our children are more than I can even imagine and I am thrilled that FCA inspires life-long learners. Our children are gaining a strong foundation and are prepared to meet the demands of the future.
My husband, James and I have 4 children in Catholic School and have experienced that the product of Catholic Education works! It has provided academic excellence, a caring environment, a strong community and should be celebrated for instilling moral values that children will carry with them through their life.
Jess Cherrier, Marketing and Advancement Committee Co-Chair
My name is Jess Cherrier and I am a co-chair on Marketing & Advancement for Frassati. Previously a kindergarten teacher, I love opportunities to volunteer in my son’s classroom and school! I love to read and travel and in the summers you will find me and my family on White Bear Lake soaking up the sun!
Jessica Parrucci, Finance Committee Co-Chair
Kelly Ennis, Technology Committee Chair
I have been a member of the St. Mary of the Lake parish since 2003. I have two sons (kindergarten and 4th grade) who have been attending Frassati since pre-school and could not be happier with their faith, education and friendships that have developed along the way.
I am currently employed as a Network Engineer for a firm in Minneapolis and look forward to being able to utilize those skills in further developing technology for both the school and parish. In my free time, I mainly enjoy spending time with my two wonderful boys exploring the outdoors and a renewed love of fitness.
Ken Jensen, SAC Chair
I have volunteered for many years and do so because I believe in the mission of Catholic education, and understand it takes a commitment from everyone to make it successful. I love that my children can live their faith while receiving an outstanding education. My wife Jaime and I have a fifth grader at Frassati, with two older children having previously graduated from Frassati and St. Pius X.
Melissa Gacek, Fundraising Committee Chair
Raising my daughters (1st and 7th grade) in a Catholic STREAM-based educational environment has allowed them to thrive in a safe, challenging, faith-based and family-oriented community.
I run my own marketing consulting, graphic and web design business and served on the Steering/Advancement Marketing Committee that created the new website and branding for Frassati after the school merger. I enjoy using my time and creative talents to serve my community, developing and creating new ideas and ways to improve things.
I live in White Bear Lake with my husband, Jonathan, and like to travel, spend time around and on White Bear Lake, run competitively, coach volleyball and swimming, read and encourage my kiddos in their activities.
Rebecca Conroy, Strategic Planning Committee Co-Chair
I grew up in St. Paul and credit my personal and professional pathway to my family’s involvement in our church and the strong educators who shaped my passion for public service. These values led my husband and I to choose a faith-based education from Frassati for our two daughters. Our family lives in Hugo and in my free time I enjoy reading and cooking for friends and family. I am honored to serve on the School Advisory Council to carry forward the Frassati mission of love of learning, growth in faith and sharing our gifts for the common good.