I am Cynthia Scheller and I have been a member of St. Thomas Aquinas since 2003. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Educational Leadership as well as a Principal’s certification. I have taught at STA in the middle school before becoming the principal in 2013. I have served on the Diocesan School Board for 6 years and currently serve on Bishop Olmsted’s Stewardship Council. I also serve on the Circle of Leadership Committee for the Catholic Community Foundation. I love serving in Catholic education because forming our children to be Disciples of Christ and to live their faith makes everyday a great day. God Is Good.
Mrs. Jean Herring - Nurse
For the last 12 years, I’ve been blessed to be the Nurse at St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School. I am a Registered Nurse with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Scottsdale Community College. Prior to joining our school, I worked several years at Maricopa Medical Center. It has been a pleasure to care for the wonderful students at our school and give back to a community that means so much to me.
Mr. Juan Gallego - Spanish
My experience working at catholic schools began in 2014 in Saint Thomas Aquinas. Since then I have been fortunate to be a part of a wonderful community, of teachers, parents, and students, who have welcomed the TPR method into their Spanish classes, and other interactive-based learning systems.
Mrs. Sandra Friedman - Library
After earning my Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resources from Arizona State University, I started working in the Training Department at AT&T. Ten years later, when a need arose at my two daughters’ Catholic school, I began working as a technology teacher and continued in that capacity for over 13 years. I started as Librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas in 2016 and feel so blessed that I get to see firsthand our students’ love of reading. I feel very blessed to work in a Catholic School that appreciates the uniqueness of each child and strives to support and develop them spiritually as much as academically.
Mrs. Heather Porrell - Art and Catholic Art Traditions
I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in figure drawing and painting from the University of Michigan, and a Post-Bac in Special Education from Arizona State University. I first worked as a parent volunteer to establish the Catholic Art Traditions (CARTT) program at St. Thomas Aquinas in 2004 along with school staff and volunteers. In its first year, CARTT won the 2005 Catholic Schools for Tomorrow Award for Innovations in Education & Catholic Identity. In the years that followed, I worked part-time and now since 2014, as a full-time teacher to grow the CARTT program. This curriculum includes numerous lessons I’ve created which integrate 2,000 years of Catholic visual art with feasts and seasons of the liturgical year, reception of the sacraments, and features hands-on projects for all grades and culminates with middle school field trips to historic mission churches in Arizona and New Mexico. Besides working with Pre-K through 8th grade students, I have been blessed to be able to speak to a variety of audiences ranging from RCIA candidates to fellow teachers. In 2016, I represented St. Thomas Aquinas as a program speaker at the National Catholic Education Association’s annual convention. I am thankful to have the opportunity to teach full-time at St. Thomas Aquinas and to have the freedom to discuss with students the truth and beauty of Catholicism represented in centuries of visual artwork.
Mrs. Margy Eroh - Administrative Assistant
My name is Margy Eroh. I began working in Catholic Schools in 1991. I worked for my parish school, Our Lady of Peace in Minneapolis for 9 years & St. Ambrose of Woodbury in Woodbury, MN for 6 years before moving to Arizona. I started at St. Thomas Aquinas in January of 2007. Working in Catholic schools has given me an opportunity to live & grow in my faith daily.
Mr. Todd Parent - Technology
My name is Todd Parent and I am the Technology Teacher here at Saint Thomas Aquinas. I earned my Bachelor of Philosophy from Mount Angel Seminary College in Oregon and a Master of Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. I have been involved with Catholic education since 1986 when I began teaching Confirmation classes and helping with High School Youth Groups in Arizona. After the Seminary I joined the Army and continued to work with Catholic Education assisting with various church ministries through the Archdiocese for the Military Services. After the military I became the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Raphael's parish in Glendale where I worked with Junior High, High School, and Young Adults. In 2006 I began teaching as a 4th grade teacher, Technology teacher, and Private tutor. In 2011 I began teaching at St. Thomas first as a 2nd grade teacher then again returning to teaching Technology. I am truly blessed to work and be a part of such a caring, loving, and faith-filled community where I can see the Lord working in so many different ways in the lives of so many people. The ability to share my Catholic Faith with our students, parents and my co-workers through Technology and a multitude of other facets is truly humbling and fills me with joy.
Ms. Erin Burley - Music
I graduated from Arizona State University School of Music with a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance in 2010. I also studied music and violin at the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Maryland. I have enjoyed a varied career of teaching and performing in Phoenix for the past decade. As a violinist, I have an active chamber music life as a member of the Burn City String Quartet and maintain a busy performing life freelancing and serving as violinist at Phoenix Theater. This is my eighth year serving on faculty at St Thomas Aquinas where I have built a general music program guided by state and diocesan curriculum guidelines with a program informed by Kodaly, Orff, Suzuki and Dalcroze to help inform and guide the study of music reading, listening, and music history. I am proud of my general music program and of the violin program that I have maintained and developed alongside my all school music program. It is my goal to further develop and grow our music program to offer a high quality of instruction and music making at our school.
Mrs. Lisa Albrand - Health / Physical Education
My name is Lisa Albrand and I am the Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director at St. Thomas Aquinas. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Education from ASU. I have been teaching for 15 years and have been at St. Thomas since 2007. The reason that I love teaching at a Catholic school is because I get to incorporate character education and spirituality into physical education.
Mr. John Schieffer - Art
I graduated in 1995 from Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I have worked at Mercer Mayer Productions as a children's book illustrator. I have a written and illustrated a book of my own that is awaiting a publisher. I then worked in the field of graphics at Leslie Roy Designs where I became production manager. From 1999 to 2006 I had been a full time conservator for Yost Conservation. I have now switched to painting my own art full time and have been painting professionally for 11 years. I have received numerous awards, including the National Society of Illustrators LA Professional Competition award, and have displayed my artwork in various shows. I enjoy teaching art at a Catholic school because I share my Catholic identity as an artist with the students and I can expect their work to be modeled in those ideals. Art and the Catholic Church have grown together and worked together throughout history.
Mr. Arthur Reichart - 8 th Grade – 8B Middle School Social Studies
I’m looking forward to starting my nineteenth year of teaching in Catholic schools this fall as I move from the Midwest to your beautiful Valley of the Sun. I was born and raised in St. Louis where I taught at a Catholic middle school for eight years. After receiving my master’s degree in history, I moved to Southern California where I taught Social Studies at an all-girls Catholic high school for nine years. After returning briefly to St. Louis, I decided that my future was in the southwest with its warm, sunny weather. I’m excited to start a new chapter at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School. I’m ready to prepare my middle school students for the academic rigor and high expectations of high school and beyond.
Mr. Greg Emerson - 7 th Grade – 7B Middle School Mathematics
I look forward to starting my new position teaching middle school mathematics. I just finished teaching 22 years at Mary of Lourdes Middle School in Little Falls, MN. I finally decided, along with my wife of 27 years (Kim) to make the move to a much warmer and sunny destination. I feel blessed to be able to continue teaching at a Catholic School, as I was given the gift of a Catholic Education from K-8 at St. Matthew's and from 9th-12th at Cretin High School(all boys, Catholic, military High School) , both located in Minnesota. I have 2 amazing daughters, Kaitlyn (age 24) and Arielle (age 19). Kaitlyn is married and living in Brainerd, MN, and Arielle will be starting her freshman year of college at the University of Minnesota Duluth. My wife Kim is an RN at Banner Boswell in the Chemo Infusion Unit. I have coached and played many sports over the years (and am willing to continue coaching as needed). I enjoy tennis, pickleball, bowling, and disc golf. I also love to play video games. It was very tough to leave my daughters and family in Minnesota, but decided Arizona and St. Thomas Aquinas will be the new chapter in my life. I have very high expectations of myself and of your child/ren, and I know they will strive to achieve them. I look forward to meeting my new STA family very soon.
Ms. Christina Martinelli - 6 th Grade – 6B 8th grade Religion /6th and 7th grades English
I am excited to join your school community. I grew up in Albany, New York, where I attended Catholic grade school and high school. I spent the past six years in Steubenville, Ohio, where I received a B.A. in Psychology and M.A in Theology with a concentration in Catechetics from Franciscan University. As part of my education, I had the privilege of putting my catechetical skills to use in an eighth grade Religion class. I believe that learning should be a continual striving to become the best version of ourselves, and that education should compel us, in the words of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, “Verso l’Alto (To the heights!)” I am excited to begin this new chapter in beautiful Arizona, and am especially looking forward to meeting the wonderful students and families of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Mrs. Erin Frlekin - 5 th Grade – 5B
My name is Erin Frlekin and I am a fifth grade teacher here at Saint Thomas Aquinas. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management from California State University, Long Beach and a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education at Loyola Marymount University. I have been teaching since 2002 and I have taught first grade, third grade, middle school math, fifth grade and I was a math specialist for K-8. I was blessed to become a member of the Saint Thomas Aquinas community in the fall of 2013. I love teaching at a Catholic school because of the students’ eagerness to learn and the wonderful school community.
Mrs. Lizeth Segoviano - 4 th Grade – 4B
Hi, my name is Lizeth Segoviano, and I am very blessed to be a part of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Grade School Family.
I have been teaching at Saint Thomas since 2016, teaching in 4th grade. Before 2016, I taught 4th and 5th grades for a public school, as well as being a site assistant where I worked with students from preschool to 8th grade. I hold a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision. The reason I love to teach is because I love to see the joy on a student’s face when they feel they have accomplished greatness through Christ.
Mrs. Julie Frink - 3 rd Grade – 3B
I joined the staff of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Grade School as a third-grade teacher in July of 2016. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2015 from Colorado where I taught for over 30 years in second through eighth grade. I began the first eight years of my career in a Catholic school, and it is so good to be back where I belong! I am blessed to be able to share my faith and the Word of God with the students and love preparing my third graders for the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
Mrs. Leslie Munson - 2 nd Grade – 2B
My name is Leslie Munson and I have been teaching at St. Thomas Aquinas since the fall of 2012. I started my teaching career in Dubuque, IA after graduating in 2003 with a B.A. in Elementary Education from Clarke College (now Clarke University). I received my Master’s Degree from Graceland University in Lamoni, IA in 2010, and moved to AZ in 2012. My many years of teaching include a mixture of 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade, all of which have been in Catholic schools. I enjoy infusing our faith into each day with my students, helping them learn to give God both praise and any worries in their lives, teaching them how to pray, and guiding them during their preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation, and First Eucharist.
Mrs. Karin Goto - 2 nd Grade – 2A
My name is Karin Goto. I’ve lived in Arizona and have been a parishioner of St. Thomas Aquinas since moving here with my parents in 1992. I attended Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!) for my undergraduate degree in elementary education and began teaching in 2007. I earned my masters in reading from Grand Canyon University. My first four years were spent in the Dysart District teaching Kindergarten. I’ve been at St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School ever since and just love it. My favorite part of being in a Catholic School, though this may be unique to us, is that we gather for prayer every day. United by the Holy Spirit, our Morning Prayer routine ensures that I start every day on the right foot.
Ms. Olivia London - 1 st Grade – 1A
I am very excited to join the STA family. I recently moved from Reno, NV where I finished teaching at Little Flower Catholic School. I have a Bachelor of Education from University of Alabama. This will be my fifth year of teaching. I have taught preschool, first grade, third grade, and middle school computers. I look forward to working with you and your children. God bless!
Mrs. Hilda Trujillo - Kindergarten - KB
Hello and welcome to St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School. My name is Mrs. Hilda Trujillo and I am one of the Kindergarten teachers here. I have been teaching since 2000 and have been blessed to be part of the STA family since 2006. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University (Go, Sun Devils!) and my Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2006 (Go, ‘Lopes!). I am an Arizona native, am married, have 2 wonderful children and 1 beautiful grandson. Our family has been a part of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church since 2002. I am honored to be part of such an amazing Catholic learning community where we can all learn and grow in our wonderful Catholic faith! I look forward to working with you and your amazing children throughout the school year. May God continue to bless you and your families.
Mrs. Allison Dotson - Kindergarten - KA
I feel blessed to be a part of the Kindergarten team here at STA. This will be my second year of teaching Kindergarten. I have previously taught first grade and pre-k for the Diocese of Phoenix as well as Basis. I thoroughly enjoy working with children and helping them reach their full potential academically and spiritually. My husband and I have two wonderful children and a few four legged children as well. I look forward to meeting you all and being a part of the STA community.
Mrs. Jolanta Puskarczyk - Preschool 4 Year Old Half Day
My name is Jolanta Puskarczyk. I am the lead teacher in the 4 year old half-day morning and afternoon program. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. I have been assisting as well as teaching preschool at St. Thomas Aquinas since 2013.
It has been a privilege to work in a Catholic school, where I can honor God first and foremost. I enjoy sharing my faith, my knowledge, and my experience with children, parents, and colleagues.
Mrs. Kelly Minten - Preschool 4 Year Old
Hello, my name is Kelly Minten. I have been an early childhood educator for over 27 years. I have been fortunate enough to be a teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas since 2004. I received my bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University. I was given the opportunity of 12 years of Catholic education growing up in Wisconsin. The best part of working at STA is teaching the future of our church how to become closer to Jesus, and the best little people that they can be.
Mrs. Jan Miller - Preschool 3 Year Old
I am Mrs. Miller and I am the lead teacher in the 3 year old classroom here at St. Thomas Aquinas. I have worked in preschool since 2012 starting as an assistant. I have been the lead teacher now for 3 years and currently completing my associates in early education. Being a teacher in a Catholic school is a beautiful opportunity to see children discover Jesus and to watch their spiritual and academic growth begin to blossom.
I absolutely love teaching at a Catholic Grade School! It is such a blessing to be able to live our faith without hesitation and speak openly about Jesus. After graduating from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Advertising, I felt called to become a teacher. I received my Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University and taught 10 years in the public school system. While my children were young, I taught privately for seven years, and began teaching here at STA in 2008, where I am honored to teach English and religion.
Mrs. Nichole De Battista - 7 th Grade – 7A - Middle School Science
My name is Nichole De Battista and I teach middle school science. I have been teaching science since 2002 after receiving my Bachelor Degree from Northern Arizona University in Elementary Education. During this time I have taught both middle grades and high school, I am elementary and secondary certified as well as, highly qualified at both levels. Prior to teaching at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Grade School, I taught Freshman Biology, upper level Forensic Science, and AP Biology at the high school. I enjoy teaching at a Catholic School because I believe it is important to remember that God is the Master and Creator of all things, past and present. So to be able to infuse the teaching of science with the presence & facilitation of God is a powerful and necessary thing. I am blessed to teach here.
Mrs. Kristen Pierski - 6 th Grade – 6A - Middle School Literature
I began my teaching career in 1999. My journey as a teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School started during the 2006-2007 school year. Teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade literature, I enjoy preparing my students for high school. My passion for literature has led me to manage the school’s Scholastic Reading Counts Program. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Communications from the University of Illinois and a Master’s of Education Degree from DePaul University. The faith filled, supportive families and students of St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School continue to be a tremendous blessing to my career and family.
Mrs. Kelly Klinger - 5 th Grade – 5A
My name is Kelly Klinger and I am a fifth grade teacher here at Saint Thomas Aquinas. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Indiana University Bloomington and a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University South Bend. I have fourteen years of elementary teaching experience in both general and special education. I have been teaching at Saint Thomas Aquinas since 2013 and believe it is truly one of the greatest blessings God has given me. I am so fortunate to be a part of a faith-filled community that strives every day for academic excellence.
Ms. Rachel Rohrer - 4 th Grade – 4A
My name is Rachel Rohrer and I am one of the fourth grade teachers at St. Thomas Aquinas this year. I started at STA in 2017 and am certain that the time here will be filled with lots of learning and many new adventures for your child as well as myself. I was born and raised in Southern California and attended a preschool through grade 12 religiously affiliated college preparatory day school in Orange County. I moved to Flagstaff Arizona for college at Northern Arizona University. There I earned my undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. After receiving my undergraduate degree, I immediately began working on my Master’s and received it in Elementary Education with certification.
I am so thrilled to be teaching at STA and getting to know each individual student. I feel so blessed to teach at a Catholic school and am looking forward to watching your child thrive in their learning environment through God. Blessings!
Mrs. Jennifer Lombardo - 3 rd Grade – 3A
My name is Jennifer Lombardo and I teach third grade at STA. I earned my bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville in 2004. A few years later, in 2007, I earned my master’s degree in elementary education from Plymouth State University. I began my teaching career in 2005. I taught in the Glendale Elementary School District for six years, before taking a few year to stay home and begin a family. In 2015, I returned to teaching. I was thrilled to teach at St. Thomas Aquinas. I love being an educator in a Catholic school because of the strong faith community. It is wonderful to see our students being an active part of the Mass by lectoring, singing, serving, and bringing up the gifts. Overall, the love the students have for Jesus Christ and their Catholic faith is the best part of working at a Catholic school!
Mrs. Judy Bosch - 2 nd Grade – 2A
I have been blessed to teach in Catholic schools for twenty seven years. Most recently, I taught third and fourth grade as well as third-sixth grade religion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before moving to Pittsburgh, I taught first grade for seventeen years and second grade for three years in St. Louis, Missouri. I have been at St. Thomas Aquinas for two years as a substitute teacher, and I am presently a part time second grade teacher. I received my B.S. degree from North Dakota State University and my elementary education degree from the University of Nebraska. I have truly loved my vocation as a catholic school teacher, and I am very grateful to be part of such a loving, compassionate, and supportive school community such as St. Thomas Aquinas.
Mrs. Victoria Salazar - 1 st Grade – 1B
My Name is Victoria Salazar. I began my teaching career here at St. Thomas Aquinas in 2011. I attended Catholic Elementary School and graduated from St. Mary’s High School. I attended Arizona State University; earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy Education. I absolutely LOVE being an educator in our Catholic Community and hope to encourage that same love and faith in all my students.
Mrs. Kristen Nigh - Kindergarten Teacher’s Aide
My name is Kristen Nigh. I was born and raised in San Jose, California and moved to Goodyear, AZ with my family in 2002. My family and I have been part of STA since the opening of the school in 2002. Our children attended Pre-K through 8th grade and my husband was the founder and first president of the Wildcat Dads Club.
I have 14 years of experience working at the Santa Clara County Children’s Shelter working with abused children as a child counselor, cottage manager, shelter supervisor, and a rehabilitation counselor/milieu therapist. I worked with children from infants to 18years old but specialized in younger children.
I earned a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from San Jose State University and hold a current substitute teaching credential from the state of Arizona. I was the Kindergarten Aide here at STA from 2004 -2006 and again 2015 to present and I look forward to this school year with your kindergarten students.
I'm very excited to be returning to STA for another great year. I'm an Arizona native, born and raised. I previously worked as a nanny for 16 years, while attending college and working for the American Heart Association. I have my Bachelors in Mass Communication and I'll soon have my degree in Early Child Development. I'm very excited to be a part of the Kindergarten family and to work alongside Mrs. Dotson. Yay, for STA! God Bless!
Mrs. Peggy Medley - Preschool Teacher’s Aide
I came to St. Thomas Aquinas Grade School in 2005 as an assistant in Kindergarten with Mrs. Tartaglia. I had the opportunity to put into practice my skills as a Religion teacher. I am a Certified Religious Education Teacher and I have taught Religion for 12 years as well as a Eucharist Minister here at STA church. I am a nurse by trade and servant of catholic students by choice. I have watched the students grow into young men and women seeing them at Mass and serving at the altar. It is a pleasure to work here at St. Thomas Aquinas and participate in student’s spiritual growth in the image of God.
Mrs. Angela Brown - Preschool Teacher’s Aide
My name is Mrs. Angela Brown and I have been Mrs. Minten's aide since 2014. Like our students here at St. Thomas Aquinas, I was fortunate to have a Catholic education. I love how Catholic education allows me to share my faith with our young children.
Mrs. Pamela Costanzo - Preschool Teacher’s Aide
I am Mrs. Costanzo and I have been the teacher’s assistant for the Pre K 3’s and 4’s at St. Thomas Aquinas since 2014. I love working in a Catholic school because, let me quote St. John Bosco, “It’s not enough to love the children, it is necessary that they are aware that they are loved.”
Ms. Kristen Blankenship - Receptionist
I joined the staff of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Grade School in 2012. Working in the school office I am very fortunate to interact with students of all grades and ages throughout the day. The dedication of our Catholic community to the students here is evident in the amazing young people they become while attending our school. It is a pleasure to work with our amazing staff including the dedicated and innovative teachers. I am truly blessed!