Administration & Staff

Kimberly A. Koch, School Administrator / Principal

Kim is beginning her 21st year at St. Mary’s Academy, and her 9th 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 freshmen at Linfield College, and Emma, an SMA alum and sophomore at TDHS.

Wendy L. Palmer, Development Director

Beginning her 14th 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 junior Contemporary Theater student at The Boston Conservatory, and Emily, a junior at TDHS.

Renate Rogers, Secretary

Renate begins her 1st year at St. Mary’s Academy as our school Secretary. She is excited to work with the students and parents. While this is Renate’s first position in the school setting, she has held numerous jobs working with people of all ages around the world.

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 fourth grader, and Evelyn, a third grader. Both girls 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 senior at TDHS.

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.

ELEMENTARY 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, an OSU graduate, and McKenzie, who attends Oregon State University – Go Beavers!!

Nora Ferguson, Pre-Kindergarten Aide

Nora is beginning her second year 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 one grandchild. Nora loves to read and likes to fool around with the hobby of writing books.

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 second grade, and younger sister Brandi in Kindergarten.

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.

Libby Ballinger, First Grade

Libby is beginning her 32nd 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.

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.

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.

Joan North, Third Grade

Joan begins her 8th year at St. Mary’s Academy. As a mother, Joan says, “Teaching a class of students is often easier than mothering seven.”

Joan was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and received her Bachelors of Science from Utah State University in Nutrition Education. After teaching for one year, she returned to Utah State University to work on her Masters.

Joan and her husband Mike have seven children ages 22 to 35. Joan loves reading, cleaning, outdoor activities, and all sports, especially football.

Mary Sallee, Fourth Grade

Mary begins her 7th 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 second grade at St. Mary’s and two sons; Jacob, in Pre-Kindergarten and John, age 2. 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 join the SMA staff this 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 11th year teaching.

Lindsay and her husband Mike have four children; daughter, Madeleine, is a second grader at St. Mary’s, sons, Wesley and Grady, are in Pre-Kindergarten and Pre-School, 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 begins her first 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.

Caitlin Espinoza, Elementary Aide

Caitlin begins her first year at St. Mary’s 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 4 years old and attends Pre-Kindergarten at St. Mary’s and Adalia is 2 years old but 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.

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 18th 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 18, and Michael, age 10. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys reading, baking, fishing, and hiking with her family.

Amelia Teyner, Social Studies / Math

Amelia joins the St. Mary’s staff as our new Middle School Social Studies teacher. Amelia was born and raised in the state of Ohio and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education, majoring in History and Language Arts from The University of Findlay. After graduating from The University of Findlay she went on to work in higher education at The University of Toledo as well as The University of Michigan as The Director of Marketing, Director of Communications, and Director of Special Events and Image Projection for the University. Over the past 13 years she has had much experience in recruitment, retention, marketing, communications, and PR. Amelia says, her “passion is working with students and teaching. Providing meaningful learning opportunities to each student is important to me. The St. Mary’s family involvement, school environment, and the team of teachers/staff have made such a strong impression on me”.

Amelia and her husband, Louie, moved to The Dalles when he accepted a position at Mid-Columbia Medical Center as the Director of Quality. Amelia is an avid runner and this past year accomplished a goal and dream by qualifying and running in the 2017 Boston Marathon. The steep hills here in The Dalles, after leaving Ohio, definitely helped her train and prepare! She is the oldest of three children, and time with her family and friends is very important. She enjoys traveling, learning, reading, teaching, and mentoring.

Greg Johnson, Science / Math

Greg is beginning his 3rd 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 28 years and have two children: Laura, age 25, and Mark age 21, both attended St. Mary’s Academy.

Natasha Monroe, Band

Natasha begins her 1st year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Band Instructor and is in her 3rd 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 second 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 6th 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.