It takes a host of people to make a school like St. Mary's run smoothly and efficiently, let alone provide the fine education that your children are receiving. We are blessed to have many dedicated faculty and staff working with our children.
Mr. Michael Neis, Interim Principal - This is my forty-fourth year in the field of education. I have taught all grade levels from Kindergarten(Music) through college (Composition and Literature). I have a BA from Benedictine University, an MA from the University of Illinois (English – concentration in Romantic Literature and Native American Studies) and an MA from Lewis University in Education. I have been a principal for eleven years and an assistant principal for twenty. I live in Warrenville where my wife and I raised our daughters. We have 13 grandchildren. Most recently I served as the Principal at Saint Therese of Jesus School in Aurora. While I have only been at St. Mary's a brief time, I am already impressed with the tremendous spirit of our faculty, staff and parents. It is so impressive to see how you operate as a family and work always for the good of our students. I, too, believe in those students and the bright future of Saint Mary School.
Mrs. Melissa Lock, Administrative Assistant - My name is Mrs. Melissa Lock. I have been the St. Mary school secretary since April of 2013 after coming from a nonprofit office setting. I've worked with children and families for all of my adult career and could not be happier in the position I'm in. I love being part of such a close knit community where everyone is made to feel like family! I am currently enrolled in classes focusing on child development and education. Outside of school I love to scrapbook and am an avid reader!
Mrs. Kelly Johnson, Preschool - My name is Mrs. Kelly Johnson and I have been the preschool teacher at St. Mary School since the 2013 opening of the preschool program. I am responsible for developing and implementing the preschool curriculum for Math, Phonics, Reading, Religion, Science and Social Studies. I also served as our Athletic's Concession Coordinator. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Sociology and hold a type 03 Teaching certificate. My family has called St. Mary parish home since 2005 and my children have been students of St. Mary School since 2008. I believe that children learn in a variety of ways and it is my duty to instill a love of learning for future success. I know the value of receiving a Catholic education and want to provide that same experience and value to my students. As a parent of St. Mary students I know how fantastic this Catholic school community is, along with the incredible dedication of its teachers, it is an honor to work beside all these teachers who depict the Catholic community.
Mrs. Jennifer MacRitchie, Kindergarten - My name is Jennifer MacRitchie, I have been teaching kindergarten at St. Mary School since 2017. I grew up in Southern California and in the Northern suburbs of Chicago. I graduated from St. Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services and Psychology. I then continued on at St. Mary’s University in the Master of Art in Teaching program. Upon completion of that program I started teaching full day kindergarten for St. Joseph Catholic School in Libertyville. I taught kindergarten at St. Joseph’s for 9 years and was nominated for the Golden Apple Award in 1999, the Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award in 2000 and the Disney’s American Teacher Award in 2001. In 2002 my husband and I started our family and I stepped away from teaching for 7 years to raise our family. In 2009 I returned to the education field as an instructional aide in the Geneva public schools. I was an aide for 5 years before I started teaching at St. Mary School. I live in Geneva with my husband and our two wonderful children. In addition to being a teacher, I enjoy running, swimming and kayaking. I am very excited to be apart of the St. Mary community
Mrs. Christy Pfotenhauer, 1st Grade - My name is Christy Pfotenhauer and I have been part of the St. Mary staff for 4 years. I was a fifth grade teacher for two years and I am now the first grade teacher. I have over 14 years of teaching experience. I graduated from Elmhurst College with a degree in Elementary Education. I have taught all grades from K-5 and was a reading specialist. In my classroom we do many hands on activities in several subject areas. Your child will be encouraged to challenge their minds and take risks. My goal is for us to support each other in a positive, productive, Christian atmosphere while implementing a balanced approach to developing lifelong skills. In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband and son.
Mrs. Pam Azzolin, 2nd Grade - Hello! My name is Pam Azzolin. This is my 1st year teaching at St. Mary and my 18th year teaching and working with students. Over the years, I have had the pleasure teaching Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 4th, and special education students. I received my undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Geography with a minor in Art. I have my Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Roosevelt University. I live in Roselle, with my husband Mike of 31 years and we have two amazing son’s, Ray and Dom. I enjoy spending my free time with my family, at our lake house, and time on the beach. Some of my favorite activities are walking, water and snow skiing. When I am not at school, I am busy socializing with my family and friends. I like reading a good book and working on a Soduko puzzle to help keep my brain active! I am excited about this new teaching opportunity at St. Mary and looking forward to a FANTASTIC year in 2nd grade!
Danelle Stoner, 3rd Grade - I am a graduate from Aurora University with a bachelor's of science in Elementary Education. I worked in another private school in Aurora for 17 years. Seeking a career change, lead me to the doorsteps of St. Mary's. I am blessed with a loving husband and 2 wonderful sons (one is a sophomore in high school and the other is an 8th grader). We are an active boy scout family that truly enjoys hanging out together in the great outdoors.
Mrs. Amanda Balson, 4th Grade - I have been a part of the St. Mary family for six years. A product of the Rockford Diocese school system I hail from Streamwood, IL. I graduated from Aurora University in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. My favorite thing about teaching 4th grade is the "Blame It on the Wolf" play the kids put on at the end of each school year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, taking small road trips, and being a true Disney fanatic.
Mrs. Molly Lund, 5th Grade - Hello! My name is Molly Lund and this is my first year teaching fifth grade at St. Mary School. I have eleven years of teaching experience K-5 and I am a National Board Certified Teacher. I am a St. Edward High School graduate and a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles. In my free time I like to spend time with my husband and two children. I am excited to be here, and can't wait for what this year is going to bring.
Mr. Jason Hunt, 7th Grade (Math and Social Studies) - My name is Jason Hunt and I am the 7th grade homeroom teacher. I am currently in my fourth year of teaching, but I have been a part of the St. Mary community for nine years now as a parent of three St. Mary students. I teach Math and Social Studies for the middle school students. Additionally, as the 7th grade homeroom teacher, I teach 7th grade Religion.
Mrs. Sarah Wagner, 8th Grade - My name is Sarah Wagner and I am the eighth grade homeroom teacher, I teach 6-8 Language Arts and Literature, and 8 Religion. I am originally from Aurora and graduated from Aurora University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, with endorsements in Middle School Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and also have my ESL endorsement. I am in my third year of teaching and my second year at St. Mary’s School. I currently reside in Waterman, Illinois and am the proud mom of one son.
Mrs. Vilma Dydas, Music - Hi there, my name is Mrs. Vilma Dydas, although students and colleagues call me Ms. Vilma, and I love that, makes me feel forever young:) I have been at St. Mary Catholic Church since 01/01/2002, and School since 2003 when my twin girls started in the newly added Kindergarten class. I love teaching music and everything that comes with music. PK through 6 grade music is general, and in 7 - 8 grade I teach Music Appreciation, which is mostly famous composers biographies and their music. You can see us performing most weeks after the School Mass, Veteran's Day show, Christmas show, Catholic Schools Week, Book Fair, First Communion, Mother's Day (with children's choir), May Crowning ceremony in May, and many more times. After receiving Master degree in 1996, I worked at St. Clotilde Catholic Church and School in south side of Chicago until 12/31/2001. Please come, see and enjoy your children and our students performing and loving music!
Mr. Marc Felix, Physical Ed. and Technology - Salutations! My name is Marc Felix. I grew up in Sycamore and graduated from high school there before continuing my education at Northern Illinois University. During my time in school, I had some really amazing teachers and some really awful teachers; I give credit to all of them for why I wanted to become a teacher. Gandhi once said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I never understood why learning couldn't be fun. The things I've loved and the things I've remembered were things that I had fun doing. My teaching philosophy is that learning should be fun because that's when you retain the most information.
After college, I got married to my girlfriend of 5 years. We now reside in Rockford with our 3 children and 2 pleasantly plump pugs. Shortly after getting married I became a permanent staff member, which now feels like a permanent family member of St. Mary’s. I've been teaching for 8 years and this is my 6th year with St. Mary school. I teach Physical Education for all grades twice a week and I teach Technology for all grades once a week. I am not in the building on Thursdays because I teach Physical Education at St Joe's Catholic School in Elgin to all the grades there as well.
So, from me to you, St. Mary students and families, “Welcome from Mr. Felix!"
Mrs. Cynthia Costa, Reading Resource Teacher - I am a retired teacher from district U46 where I taught 5th grade for 19 years. I earned a Bachelor's Degree from National Louis University in elementary education and a Master's Degree from Northern Illinois as a Reading Specialist. I am the reading resource teacher, where I work with students to help improve their reading skills. I have 5 grandchildren, 3 of which attend St. Mary School. I am very happy to be part of the St. Mary School family.
Mrs. Darla Byrnes, Paraeducator - I feel extremely blessed to be a part of St. Mary School as a paraeducator. My role at the school is to assist the teachers by helping students fully comprehend the lessons being taught. Previously I was a paraeducator at U-46 for 12 years. St. Mary is my home parish where I have enjoyed volunteering as a sacristan, Eucharistic Minister and most currently as a second grade Religious Education teacher. My husband Jim and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I enjoy quilting, reading and family time.
Mrs. Vicki Winter, Aide - Hello, my name is Vicki Winter. I have been a member of the St. Mary’s Parish since September 2014. I am a veteran of the Air Force and have lived in Carpentersville since 1975. When I was a younger I wanted to be a teacher but joining the Air Force changed my path. The Lord works in mysterious ways because he has brought me full circle to be able to fulfill my childhood dream.
I am presently the third-grade teacher’s aide. I enjoy working with all the children. Along with being a teacher’s aide, I am also the lunch program organizer. I have been working at St. Mary’s School/Parish in different roles: lunch volunteer, catechist aide for 5th grade, substitute teacher, teacher’s aide and 7th grade catechist.
I look forward to working at St. Mary’s every day so I can try to put a smile on everyone’s face that I meet! Have a Blessed Day!