Administration & Staff

Kimberly Koch, School Administrator / Principal

Kim is beginning her 24th year at St. Mary’s Academy, and her 11th 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 senior at Linfield College, and Emma, an SMA alum and freshmen at Columbia Gorge Community College.

Wendy Palmer, Development Director

Beginning her 17th 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 school’s 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, an actor, who graduated in 2019 from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, and Emily, a junior at the University of Idaho.

Renate Clark, Secretary

Renate begins her 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our school Secretary. She enjoys working 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 and her husband Ryan have five children. Daughters, Sofia, a seventh-grader, and Evelyn, a sixth-grader, both who attend St. Mary’s Academy, and daughters Gabbie and Geelah who attend seventh and fifth grade, respectively, and son Griffin a freshman at Dufur School.


Extended Care & Pre-School

Paula Daggett, Extended Care Coordinator / Pre-School Teacher

Paula is beginning her 6th 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 and Mollie.

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 3rd 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 five years and is currently attending school at CGCC working on finishing her degree.

Jeanne Garrett, Extended Care

Jeanne retired from her position as our Kindergarten Aide in 2019 after 18 years. She returns to help out as needed in our Extended Care program and reading with students in the first grade classroom.  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 eight grandchildren.


Primary School

Renee McCabe, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Renee celebrates her 13th 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-Kindergarten Aide

This is Judi’s 3rd year at St Mary’s Academy as a teacher. Her daughter Abigail attended the SMA 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 16th 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 fifth grade, and younger sister Brandi in third grade.

Lacy Joseph, Kindergarten Aide

Lacy is beginning her second year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Kindergarten Aide.

Lacy and her husband Patrick have two children attending SMA. Connor is in the fifth grade and Allison is in first grade.

Jessi Bennett, First Grade

Jessi is back at St. Mary’s and begins her first year as our first grade teacher, before leaving to completed her teaching degree Jessi worked in our Extended Care Program. We are thrilled to have Jessi back on our staff at St. Mary’s

Kelsey Wallace, Second Grade

Kelsey returns to St. Mary’s Academy as our Second Grade Teacher. Kelsey graduated from Oregon State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with an Early Childhood option and completed her Master’s 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. Kelsey and her husband Grayson welcomed daughter Emerson in December.

Caitlin Espinoza, Third Grade

Caitlin begins her 3rd year as the third grade teacher at St. Mary’s. 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.

Caitlin and her husband Ignacio have two children, Gabriel and Adalia. Gabriel is 7 years old and attends second grade at St. Mary’s and Adalia is 4 years old and in our pre-kindergarten program. Caitlin spends any free time she has playing with her children, reading, and loves going camping and hiking.

Mary Sallee, Fourth Grade

Mary begins her 10th 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 fifth grade at St. Mary’s, and two sons; Jacob, in second grade, and John, in pre-kindergarten. 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 fourth 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 13th year teaching.

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

Allison Vassar, Physical Education

Allison is excited to begin her 2nd year as our Physical Education Teacher, in addition to working in our Extended Care Program.

Allison was born and raised in The Dalles and has been around kids her whole life. She is currently attending school at CGCC working on finishing her degree.


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 21st 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 21, and Michael, age 13. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys reading, baking, fishing, and hiking with her family.

Darcey Hodges, Social Studies / Math

Darcey is beginning her 3rd year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Social Studies teacher. Darcey grew up in Wyoming and moved to The Dalles her sophomore year. She graduated from WOU and holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Darcey taught PE and Health at TDMS before joining us at St. Mary’s.

Darcey had the opportunity to play basketball and soccer while in college and has three very active kids. They love playing sports, hiking, fishing and are always looking for their next adventure.

Greg Johnson, Science / Math

Greg is beginning his 6th 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 30 years and have two children: Laura, age 28, and Mark age 24, both attended St. Mary’s Academy.

Natasha Monroe, Band

Natasha joins us in her 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Band Instructor and is in her 6th 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 5th 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.


Environmental Services

Jose Elizarraras, Environmental Services

Jose begins his 2nd year at St. Mary’s Academy. We are thrilled to have Jose on our team.

Araceli Perez, Environmental Services

Araceli begins her 2nd year at St. Mary’s Academy. We are so lucky to have Araceli on our team.