Administration & Staff

Kimberly A. Koch, School Administrator / Principal

Kim is beginning her 22nd year at St. Mary’s Academy, and her 10th year as our school administrator. 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 received her Bachelors of Science in Education from Linfield College and a Masters of Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.

Kim and her husband Brian, a St. Mary’s alum, have two children; Ethan, an SMA alum and sophomore at Linfield College, and Emma, an SMA alum and junior at TDHS.

Wendy L. Palmer, Development Director

Beginning her 15th year at St. Mary’s Academy, Wendy works on many projects simultaneously. With the work of many volunteers, Wendy 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 who are alumni of SMA; Jordan, a senior Contemporary Theater student at The Boston Conservatory, and Emily, a senior at TDHS.

Renate Rogers, Secretary

Renate begins her 2nd year at St. Mary’s Academy as our school Secretary. She is excited to work with the students and parents.

Renate enjoys baking, painting, wood-burning and hiking in her spare time, as well as spending time with her family. She has two daughters, Sofia, a fifth grader, and Evelyn, a fourth grader, both whom attend St. Mary’s Academy.

Extended Care & Pre-School

Paula Daggett, Extended Care Coordinator / Pre-School Teacher

Paula is beginning her 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy. Before joining the SMA team she spent two years as a Pre-School Aide and seven years as a Pre-School Teacher/Director.

Paula and her husband Shawn have two daughters; Anna, a graduate of the University of Portland, and Mollie, a freshmen at Oregon State University.

Ginger Ranslam, Extended Care / Pre-School Aide

Ginger has been a part of the SMA team since 2014. She was born and raised in The Dalles and has been working with children of all ages since graduating high school. She attended Eastern Oregon University where she studied Psychology and Theatre.

Her favorite part of working with kids is that they always keep her laughing.

Allison Vassar, Extended Care

This is Allison’s first year at St Mary’s Academy. Allison was born and raised in The Dalles and has been around kids her whole life. She has been a nanny for the same family for four years and is currently attending school at CGCC working on finishing her degree.

Primary School

Renee McCabe, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Renee celebrates her 11th 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 and McKenzie, who both attended and graduated from Oregon State University – Go Beavers!!

Judi B Timmons, Pre-K Aide

This is Judi’s first year at St Mary’s Academy as a teacher. Her daughter Abigail attended the Middle School. Judi comes with many years of experience volunteering in schools. She has a degree in Art and pursues her creative side in textile arts and crafts. However, during Pre-K, blunt tip scissors, play-dough, and tempera paint suffice.

Jody Brace, Kindergarten Teacher

Jody begins her 14th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our kindergarten teacher. Jody 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 attending St. Mary’s, Josie, who is in third grade, and younger sister Brandi in first grade.

Jeanne Garrett, Kindergarten Aide

Jeanne has been at SMA for 20 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 nine grandchildren.

Nora Ferguson, First Grade

While new to first grade this year, Nora was the Pre-K assistant for two years at St. Mary’s Academy. She comes from a lifetime of working with children; from owning her own preschool for 4 years to the last 10 years working for District 21.

Nora and her husband Paul have 5 children ranging in ages from 25 to 12 and two grandchildren. Nora loves to read and likes to fool around with the hobby of writing books.

Kelsey Wallace, Second Grade

Kelsey is beginning her 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy. Kelsey graduated from Oregon State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with an Early Childhood option. Kelsey is working on her Master’s program at the University of Grand Canyon.

Kelsey began going to school here at St. Mary’s Academy in the 4th grade and graduated from 8th grade. She enjoys being back here now as our Second Grade teacher.

Caitlin Espinoza, Third Grade

Caitlin begins her first year as the third grade teacher at St. Mary’s, after spending her first year at the Academy as a Teacher’s Aide. She has a passion for helping students meet their full potential, not only academically, but in many areas of their lives.

Caitlin received her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education with a Minor in English Speakers of Other Languages. She completed her degree through Fort Hays State University Virtual Teacher Education Program. While this is her first year teaching at St. Mary’s, she did complete her required Student Teaching with Mrs. Ballinger in the first grade classroom in 2015.

Caitlin and her husband Ignacio have two children, Gabriel and Adalia. Gabriel is 5 years old and attends Kindergarten at St. Mary’s and Adalia is 3 years old and will attend St. Mary’s in the near future. Caitlin spends any free time she has playing with her children, reading, and loves to go camping and hiking.

Mary Sallee, Fourth Grade

Mary begins her 8th 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 received her Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Oregon State University in 2005. She completed her Masters of Education in Curriculum Design in 2010.

Mary and her husband have a daughter, Alexa, who is in third grade at St. Mary’s and two sons; Jacob, in Kindergarten and John, age 3. When she is not at school, you will most often find her in her garden or reading a good book.

Lindsay Omeg, Fifth Grade

Lindsay is excited to return to SMA for the second year as our 5th grade teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Oregon State University and a Master’s in Teaching from Southern Oregon University. This year is Lindsay’s 12th year teaching.

Lindsay and her husband Mike have four children; daughter, Madeleine, is a third grader at St. Mary’s, sons, Wesley and Grady, are in First grade and Pre-Kindergarten, respectively, and future SMA student, Kade. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and trying new foods.

Laura Johnson, Physical Education / Athletic Director

Laura joins us in her second year teaching at St. Mary’s Academy. Laura graduated from Eastern Oregon University in 2016 with a BA in Agriculture Science and will begin her Master’s Program in Teaching.

Laura attended St. Mary’s Academy from 1st through 8th grades. She enjoys reading, soccer and spending time with her animals: dog, Sirius, and 2 cats, Ron and Neville.

Libby Ballinger, Literacy Specialist

Libby is beginning her 33rd year at St. Mary’s where she was the first grade teacher for 32 years. She appreciates teaching within a philosophy that nurtures the whole person – child and adult – spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually and artistically.

Libby 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 biking. She and her husband, Jim have one son, Peter. Jim and Peter are graduates of St. Mary’s.

Middle School

Carrie Seitz, Language Arts / Math

Carrie is the Language Arts teacher for the middle school. Her favorite reasons for teaching at SMA include the great kids, small classes, and wonderful staff; this is Carrie’s 19th year teaching at SMA.

Carrie holds a Bachelors of Arts in English and a Masters in Teaching, from Eastern Oregon University. Carrie and her husband, Tim, have two wonderful children: Hanna age 19, and Michael, age 11. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys reading, baking, fishing, and hiking with her family.


Darcey Hodges, Social Studies / Math


Greg Johnson, Science / Math

Greg is beginning his 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Middle School Science teacher. Greg moved to The Dalles in May of 1985 after receiving his Bachelors of Science in Agriculture from Washington State University. Greg is working on his Master’s in Education at Grand Canyon University.

Greg owns a farm on Three Mile Road where they grow sweet cherries, raise pigs and goats and have a pumpkin patch. Greg has played, refereed and coached soccer since he was seven years old. He also enjoys snow skiing in the winter and vacationing on the coast.

Greg and his wife Kim have been married for 29 years and have two children: Laura, age 26, and Mark age 22, both attended St. Mary’s Academy.

Natasha Monroe, Band

Natasha joins us in her second year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Band Instructor and is in her 4rd year of teaching band after graduating from George Fox University with her Bachelor’s in Music Education. Natasha has also received a Master’s Certificate in Arranging and Orchestration through Berklee Online. She has performed in six countries, in both solo and ensemble settings, on the piano, flute and piccolo. Natasha has accompanied soloists, school choirs, church choirs, wind ensembles, and concert bands; as well as performed in concert, pep, marching and jazz bands.

Her love of music is evident in her enthusiasm for teaching and spending her extracurricular time performing in orchestras, pit (for theater), small ensembles of various sizes, and singing in church, school and community choirs.

Kathryn Gilligan, Religion

Kathryn is starting her third year in teaching at St. Mary’s Academy. Kathryn is a member of the Parish at St. Peter Catholic Church and is the Religious Education Instructor.

Kathryn and her husband, Frank, have four children and three grandchildren. She enjoys reading, writing, baking, hiking and travel.

Jim Ballinger, Enviromental Services

Jim begins his 7th year at SMA in environmental services. We are very happy to have Jim on 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.