ADMINISTRATION AND STAFF
Kimberly A. Koch
Kim is beginning her 16th year at SMA. And her 4th year as our faithful school administrator. She enjoys encouraging students in hands-on curriculum based activities. This helps students become more aware of what they are learning. Kim desires to “motivate our youth to become respectful, responsible citizens.” One of the reasons that Kim has enjoyed her job so much is because of the students and staff, especially “how closely we all work together.”
Kim and her husband Brian, a St. Mary’s alum have two children attending St. Mary’s, Ethan, who is in 8th grade and Emma in 5th grade.
Jorge begins his 17th year as SMA’s Accountant and his 19th year in Environmental Services. He spent several years working at the Parkdale Child Development Center, the Migrant and Indian Coalition, and the Federal Head Start Program. Before moving to Oregon, Jorge was a CPA in Guadalajara. “There are so many reasons why I love my job; the staff are very professional and the kids are such good kids.” Jorge is bilingual in English and Spanish and says that he uses both languages daily while working, “I am able to speak Spanish with both Hispanic and American families.”
Wendy L. Palmer
Beginning her 9th year at St. Mary's Academy, Wendy works on many projects simultaneously including the Welcoming Committee/New Parent Night, the Grandparents’ Tea and National Catholic Schools’ Week. With the work of many volunteers, Wendy also runs the Annual Appeal and oversee's the schools fundraisers, in addition to working with the St. Mary's Academy Foundation of The Dalles Board. “My job at St. Mary's is made easier and more interesting by the parents and their children. It is a wonderful community.”
Wendy and her husband Bob have two children: Jordan, a sophomore in high school, who is an alum of St. Mary’s and Emily in 6th grade. In her spare time, Wendy enjoys reading, stamping, scrap booking and spending time with her family.
Pam begins her 7th year at St. Mary’s Academy. Pam brings with her 12 years of experience as a secretary at an elementary school in Nampa, Idaho. She moved to The Dalles to be closer to her family.
Pam enjoys reading, gardening and being outdoors. She has three grown children; Jennifer and her husband Lethal and granddaughter Madilyn, Angela and her husband John, and Joe (stationed in Fort Lewis) and his wife Alison and three grandsons Anthony, Matthew and Jonathon - with one on the way.
Renee celebrates her 6th year here at St. Mary’s Academy as our Pre-Kindergarten teacher. Renee came to SMA with many years of experience teaching pre-school in The Dalles.
Renee and her husband Dale have two children; Austin, a sophomore in college, and McKenzie who is a junior in high school.
Jody begins her 9th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our kindergarten teacher. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon State University and received her Master’s Degree from Portland State University. Jody enjoys working with the kindergarteners because they are so curious and eager to learn.
In her spare time, Jody enjoys reading, baking, biking, kayaking and spending time with her husband Dan and two daughters, Josie and Brandi.
Libby is beginning her 27th year as the first grade teacher at St. Mary’s. She appreciates teaching within a philosophy that nurtures the whole person – child and adult – spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually and artistically. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Oregon State University and many hours of graduate study in Early Childhood Education. She enjoys all areas of the early childhood curriculum; however, helping young children become readers and writers is her special love.
In her spare time Libby enjoys rug hooking, quilting, knitting, reading and Mahjong. She and her husband, Jim (a St. Mary’s alum), have one son, Peter (also a St. Mary’s alum).
Lise begins her 7th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our second grade teacher. She truly enjoys exploring different cultures and countries with her students throughout the second grade curriculum. Lise thoroughly enjoys enlightening students to concepts through the arts, literature and technology.
Lise attended Catholic schools from her primary grades through her first years of college at Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio, where she earned a degree in Fine Art. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Oregon State University in 2005. She received her Masters of Art in Teaching from Oregon State University in 2007. Lise worked in the South Wasco County School District for 13 years; through the years she held various positions, including the position of pre-school teacher and that of the high school art teacher.
Lise's daughter Clare, is an alum of St. Mary’s Academy, and now a sophomore in high school. She also has two sons, Jake, 21, who graduated with a business degree from OSU this summer and Ben, 23, who graduated with a degree in Geography from Western Oregon University.
Joan begins her 3rd year at St. Mary's Academy. We are very happy to see Joan remain at St. Mary's Academy. Joan is the mother of seven children and says, "Teaching a class of students is often easier that mothering seven."
Joan loves reading, cleaning and all sports, especially football.
Mary begins her 2nd year as our fourth grade teacher. She feels that it is an honor to be an educator and is thrilled with the opportunity to be part of the SMA Family. Mary enjoys all the subjects she teaches, but she particularly enjoys teaching about the Oregon Trail.
Mary and her husband have a two year old daughter, Alexa. When she is not at school, you will most often find her in her garden or reading a good book.
Paula is starting her 7th year with St. Mary’s Academy. She received her master’s degree in teaching from George Fox University in 2005. She enjoys all areas of the 5th grade curriculum but Space Science and U. S. History are her favorites. Paula loves seeing "the light bulb" turn on in students heads.
When Paula is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her husband Cory. Paula has one child, Julian, who is in 2nd grade at St. Mary's.
Language Arts / Math
Carrie is the Language Arts teacher for the middle school. This year, Carrie’s teaching goals include improving “reading, writing, and speaking skills for all of my students; and to make sure that my classroom is an environment conducive to learning.” Her favorite reasons for teaching at SMA include the great kids, small classes, and wonderful staff; this is Carrie’s twelfth year teaching at SMA.
In her spare time, Carrie enjoys reading, baking, fishing, and hiking with her family.
Social Studies / Math
Kendra has taught at SMA middle school for 15 years; prior to this she was a substitute teacher for three years in Washington and Oregon. She teaches 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies and Math. Kendra’s teaching goals include “challenging students, and teaching students to be responsible for their learning.” One of Kendra’s favorite things about SMA is that she can discuss religion in her classes, “I can talk about Jesus!!”
Out of class, Kendra enjoys playing basketball and race walking. She has two daughters: Sohaila and Olivia. Both girls attended St. Mary's Academy.
Science / Math
Lindsay begins her 2nd year as the Middle School Science teacher.
As our volunteer band instructor, Greg puts in several hours each week teaching our students the importance of music! Greg has been at St. Mary's Academy for 25 years and throughout that time has traveled with our band throughout the Northwest and Canada to play concerts for the young and old. As a teacher, Greg’s goals include, “providing our students with the opportunity to experience music and excel in their pursuits of music and education.”
Previous to his teaching experience at SMA, Greg taught for five years the public schools, one year in Alaska and four in Oregon.
Rod is beginning his 2nd year at St. Mary's Academy as our Middle School Religion teacher. Rod has been a member of St. Peter Catholic Church for 36 years, was the volunteer Rite of Initiation (RCIA) facilitator for 18 years and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Rod was installed as a permanent minister of acolyte and reader by Cardinal Frances E. George. Rod is retired from the Army Corps of Engineers, and is presently working for Oregon Department of Transportation. He enjoys sharing and echoing his Catholic faith with middle school young adults, passing on the Teaching of Jesus through Scripture, Tradition and The Catholic Church.
Rod and his wife Ida have been married for 44 years and have two grown children; son, Ronnie and his wife Tina and grandchildren Sol Rey and Lily Sue; and daughter Lynda.
This is Susan Erickson's eleventh year of teaching Spanish at St. Mary's Academy. Susan loves teaching kids about Hispanic culture as well as giving them an introduction to the language.
TEACHER AND INSTRUCTIONAL AIDES
Molly begins her 8th year as the aide in our pre-kindergarten classroom. Molly enjoys working with the pre-kindergarteners as they begin this “new adventure in their lives.” She is very happy to be a part of the St. Mary’s family.
Molly and her husband Marty live in Moro and have three girls, Melanie, a sophomore in college, Maddie, a senior in high school and Meghan who is in the 8th grade at St. Mary’s.
Jessi is in the Pre-Kindergarten classroom three days a week. Jessi really enjoys working with the children and is currently taking classes at Columbia Gorge Community College in Early Childhood Education.
Jeanne has been at SMA for 15 years now. She has previously worked in After School Care and been a teacher’s aide. Jeanne is a St. Mary’s Alum and all five of her children attended SMA. She believes the values taught at St. Mary's have been an important foundation for all of them.
Jeanne and her husband Steve enjoy spending time with their five grandchildren.
AFTER SCHOOL CARE
Kristy has been at SMA for 12 years, and begins her 6th year as the Director of our After School Care Program. Kristy loves watching the children grow. She says, “It’s very rewarding to see a child who has finally conquered a challenge that they have been working on.” The smile on their faces is worth everything to her and brings a lot of love into her heart. Making a difference in a child’s life makes teaching worth it to Kristy.
Jessi begins her 6th year in our After School Care Program. Jessi really enjoys working with the children and is currently taking classes at Columbia Gorge Community College in Early Childhood Education.
Jorge begins his 19th year in Environmental Services. Jorge is bilingual in English and Spanish and says that he uses both languages daily while working, “I am able to speak Spanish with both Hispanic and American families.”
Jim began working for St. Mary's Academy this summer in environmental services. We are very happy to have Jim join our staff.
Jim, an SMA alum, is the husband of our first grade teacher Libby Ballinger. They have one son, Peter, who is also an alum of St. Mary's Academy.