Administration & Staff

Kimberly Koch, School Administrator / Principal

Kim is beginning her 26th year at St. Mary’s Academy, and her 14th 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 Bachelor of Science in Education from Linfield College and a Master of Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.

Kim and her husband Brian, a St. Mary’s alum, have two children; Ethan, a graduate of Linfield College, and Emma, an SMA alum and sophomore at Columbia Gorge Community College.

Wendy Palmer, Development Director / SMA Foundation Executive Director

Beginning her 18th year at St. Mary’s Academy, Wendy works on many projects simultaneously. With the work of many volunteers, Wendy oversees 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 Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and Emily, a wildland firefighter with the USFS and 2022 graduate of the University of Idaho.

Jamie Kerr, SMA Foundation Administrative Assistant

Jamie is beginning her 2nd year with St. Mary’s. Jamie has a diverse background, including but not limited to; owning a childcare business, substituting in the P.E. department for Mr. Wring, and helping Mrs. Palmer with ” administrative school development stuff.”
Jamie enjoys working at St. Mary’s getting to know the kids and their families and is looking forward to Igniting the future of St. Mary’s.
Jamie also enjoys gardening, cooking & learning about food, hanging out with her family including their dog and chickens, riding bikes, and mostly anything outdoors.

 

Renate Clark, Secretary

Renate begins her 6th 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 freshman, and SMA alum, and Evelyn, an eighth-grader, at St. Mary’s Academy, and daughters Gabbie and Geelah who attend ninth and seventh grade, respectively, and son Griffin a junior at Dufur School.

 

Extended Care & Pre-School

Paula Daggett, Extended Care Coordinator / Pre-School Teacher

Paula is beginning her 8th 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.

 

Primary School

Renee McCabe, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Renee celebrates her 15th 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!!

Brianna Reiter, Pre-Kindergarten Aide

This is Brianna’s first year at St Mary’s Academy.

 

Jody Brace, Kindergarten Teacher

Jody begins her 18th 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 seventh grade, and younger sister Brandi in fifth grade.

 

Marisol Meza, Kindergarten Aide

We are pleased to welcome Marisol back to St. Mary’s as our Kindergarten Aide. Marisol grew up in The Dalles and Dufur and attended St. Mary’s from 2nd through 8th grades. She graduated from Dufur High School. This is Marisol’s second year as a teacher but she has been a homemaker for 12 years and learns best through her kids.

Music is Marisol’s passion and she has learned to read music and picked up several instruments over the years. Marisol loves to cook and bake, and fitness has become a passion. She and her husband have three children Alessandra, Giuliana, and Carlos. They enjoy visiting new places and going on adventures.

 

Jessi Bennett, First Grade

Jessi begins her third year as our first-grade teacher.  She graduated from Western Oregon University with her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education.  Before leaving to work on her degree, Jessi worked for seven years in our extended care. She is excited to be back with the St. Mary’s family!

Jessi lives in The Dalles with her cat Harlow.  In her free time, she enjoys bowling, camping, and spending time with family, especially her 1-year-old nephew.

 

Kelsey Wallace, Second Grade

Kelsey is beginning her 8th year as a teacher at St. Mary’s. This will be her fifth year teaching 2nd grade. 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 of Education at the University of Grand Canyon.

Kelsey began going to school here when she was in 4th grade and graduated from 8th grade. Kelsey is married to her High School sweetheart Grayson and they welcomed their first daughter Emerson in December of 2020. Kelsey is also the head cheerleading coach at The Dalles High School. When she is not coaching or teaching she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Caitlin Espinoza, Third Grade (Co-Teacher)

Caitlin is back at St. Mary’s as our Third Grade teacher after taking a one-year sabbatical. We are thrilled to have her back.

Barbara Heitz, Third Grade (Co-Teacher)

Barbara was a welcome addition who joined the SMA staff midway through the 2021-2022 school year. St. Mary’s is lucky to have her back this year.

 

Kathrine Murray, Fourth Grade

Katherine begins her second year at St. Mary’s. She is thrilled to be teaching Fourth Grade at St. Mary’s! Katherine comes from a long history of working with students in all age groups. She has worked as an Instructional Assistant and as a Classroom Teacher.

Katherine lives in Hood River with her husband and two college-aged children, and loves all things animals! And, fun fact, she attended Catholic Schools for 9 years growing up…she even wore a plaid skirt in High School!

 

Beth Skobkariova, Fifth Grade

Beth begins her second year as our 5th-grade teacher.

Beth is married to Igor Skobkariov and spends her spare time running, hiking, camping, painting, and traveling.

 

David Wring, Physical Education

This is David’s second year teaching Physical Education at St. Mary’s Academy. David attended Treasure Valley Community College for two years, studying Education, as well as being team captain of the Cross Country and Track teams.

Outside of school, David loves to skateboard, run, go bowling with his family, and cliff jumping into the river (please don’t try this without adult permission and supervision).

 

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 23rd year teaching at SMA.

Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters in Teaching, from Eastern Oregon University. Carrie and her husband, Tim, have two wonderful children: Hanna age 23, and Michael, age 15. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys reading, baking, fishing, and hiking with her family.

Darcey Hodges, Social Studies / Math

Darcey is beginning her 5th 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, and fishing and are always looking for their next adventure.

Greg Johnson, Science / Math

Greg is beginning his 8th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Middle School Science teacher. Greg moved to The Dalles in May of 1985 after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Washington State University.

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

Greg and his wife Kim have been married for 33 years and have two children: Laura, age 30, and Mark age 26, both attended St. Mary’s Academy.

Rebecca Gooch, Choir

We are pleased to welcome Rebecca to the St. Mary’s Academy staff. Rebecca grew up in The Dalles. She has spent much of her adult life involved in music. She has taught piano and voice for many years, participated in community musicals, and choirs, and as lead singer for the ensemble Europatopia.

She is married to Marty and has 3 adult children, 2 grandchildren, and a sweet little rat terrier named Ronnie. She enjoys CHOIR! calligraphy, all kinds of music, dancing, reading, hiking, kayaking, oh many things! Her favorite color is bluish green, her favorite treats are salted caramel or rosemary almonds.

 

Natasha Monroe, Band

Natasha joins us in her 6th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Band Instructor and is in her 8th 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.

Marisol Meza, Religion

We are pleased to welcome Marisol back to St. Mary’s as our Religion Teacher. Marisol grew up in The Dalles and Dufur and attended St. Mary’s from 2nd through 8th grades. She graduated from Dufur High School. This is Marisol’s second year as a teacher but she has been a homemaker for 12 years and learns best through her kids. She grew up in the church singing in the choir with her dad before leaving for college. Marisol is looking forward to this amazing opportunity as our religion teacher here at SMA.

Music is Marisol’s passion and she has learned to read music and picked up several instruments over the years. Marisol loves to cook and bake, and fitness has become a passion. She and her husband have three children Alessandra, Giuliana, and Carlos. They enjoy visiting new places and going on adventures.

 

Environmental Services

Jose Elizarraras, Environmental Services

Jose begins his 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy. We are thrilled to have Jose on our team.

Araceli Perez, Environmental Services

Araceli begins her 4th year at St. Mary’s Academy. We are so lucky to have Araceli on our team.