Meet the Teachers

St. Raphael teachers are members of our Catholic community called to work in partnership with parents and administration.  Our teachers are called to a sanctity of the highest order.  The nobility of the task to which they’re called demands that – in imitation of Christ, the only Teacher – they carry the Christian message not only by word but also by action.  These partnerships enhance faith formation and improve learning outcomes for all students.

All our teachers hold appropriate state certification, and they receive continuous professional development so that they can offer their students a combination of the best traditional and contemporary instruction.  As a small faculty, St. Raphael teachers are highly engaged in all facets of our school, everything from planning service projects, to selling pull tabs at the parish picnic, to writing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum.  Our teachers are a special group of creative and caring professionals, committed to the education and well-being of each and every student.

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Mrs. Julie Hayes

Hello, I am Julie Hayes the principal of St. Raphael the Archangel.  I come to St. Raphael with experience in various roles as an educator.  I began my career as a second grade teacher at St. Sabina Catholic School in Florissant. While at St. Sabina, I also taught fourth grade and taught reading as a resource teacher.  I feel very blessed to have called St. Sabina my home for many years.  After teaching at the elementary level, I became the learning consultant at Incarnate Word Academy High School for six years.  I loved teaching at the high school level because I was able to help students appreciate their own growth in learning and take pride in their numerous successes.  It was during this time of my career I decided to go back to school myself.  I attend the Catholic Leadership Master’s Degree program at Saint Louis University.  Once earning my Master’s Degree and certification in administration, I became the assistant principal at St. Norbert Catholic School which is my home parish.  For the past two years, I served as principal at St. James the Greater School in Dogtown.  I bring with me a little part of each of those wonderful communities, and now I am excited and blessed to be a part of the St. Raphael the Archangel community.

On a personal note, my husband, Jim, and I have three grown children, two sons and a daughter.  Our family has grown over the past few years with the addition of our two daughter-in-laws and three grandchildren.  We have been members of St. Norbert Parish for the past 36 years, and it is where our children attended elementary school.  During my time away from school, I enjoy to cooking, reading a good book, and spending time with my family.

hayes@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
Southeast Missouri State University Elementary Education

B.S.

Saint Louis University Catholic Educational Leadership Master’s Degree

Paul VI Religious Institute

Religious Education Certificate

 

Other Information:

Missouri Lifetime Teaching Certificate K-8

Missouri Certificate in Leadership/ Administration

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Miss Stephanie Amsler

We are all learners. It is that simple. I believe that, no matter how long I teach, I will learn something new every year. The students learn from me just as much as what I learn from them. Teaching is a give and take kind of job. While it may seem like the teacher does nothing but give, the students too are giving, allowing the teacher to take and learn from the students. Relationships are the most important thing to have within a classroom. Without relationships there is no trust and therefore no learning.

I believe that it is my job as the teacher to create a trusting environment in the classroom so that the students and I can learn together. At the center of any trusting and loving relationship is, of course, God. He is the foundation of all that is good and He is the teacher that never stops giving. It is my hope that students come to realize the greatness of God and understand that we were all created in His image. If we take that to heart, we can truly become co-learners with God as the teacher.

amsler@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degree
Rockhurst University Elementary Education Bachelors
Balicki
Mrs. Louise Balicki-Smith

I have a diverse amount of experience working with polarly different populations; throughout these different opportunities with various titles, I have maintained one constant and passion-teaching.  My experiences have taught me so much about people of all demographics and shaped me into a better, stronger, and more passionate person and educator.  Additionally, I am a practicing Catholic and active member of the Saint Vincent de Paul parish.  I personally know the value of a Catholic education, preschool to university.  My Catholic education fostered my spiritual and moral values, instilled a strong sense of community and a sense of service in addition to my secular academics.  I am proud to provide that same opportunity to my students.  I also have 4 years of experience as a Catholic Youth Leader and Religious Educator at the Scott AFB Chapel.

I am so thrilled to be a part of the Saint Raphael the Archangel family! Teaching is a privilege as well as a tremendous responsibility to me. I strive to create an environment where each student has a motivating and safe learning experience filled with love, learning, faith and positive character.  I am passionate about learning and enjoy reading, math, life science, and the world around me!  When I am not teaching, I enjoy visiting Forest Park and spending time with my husband Mr. Christopher, daughter Vivien Rose, and three dogs Lemieux, Oscar, and Gordie.  

balicki-smith@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
St. Louis University Elementary Education BA
Lindenwood Arts in Counseling Working on Masters

Other Information:

Certified in Elementary Education, grades 1-6

John Bruno
Mr. John Bruno

I have been teaching Physical Education in the Catholic schools for 16 years and feel my number one goal is to be a role model for good Christian values and demonstrate passion to inspire and develop each student as a whole person.  As a PE teacher, I have enjoyed teaching, coaching and working in the area of strengthening and conditioning.  I hope to see my students achieve and grow both physically and spiritually.  To that end, my students participate in a variety of activities that develop and teach the whole child. Guiding my students to achieve overall wellness by staying active, building self-esteem and having fun in the process are my goals for all at St Raphael the Archangel’s school.

bruno@straphaelarchangel.org

 

 

 

 

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
University of MO St Louis General Studies Bachelor
University of MO St Louis Elementary Education Masters

Other Information:

Strength and Conditioning Training

Certified Weightlifting Club Coach

CYC Coach

Sara Carrill
Mrs. Sara Carril

My name is Sara Carril. I am the art teacher. I love teaching and I love art so put the two together and I get to do a job I love.  I went to school at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and got my bachelor's degree in art education.  I am certified to teach art kindergarten through 12th grade. 

I previously was the art teacher in 2014 to 2015 at st. Rapheal the Archangel and I really loved it.  I took a break so I could be a mommy.  But now that my little girl is getting older it is time that I start trying to work again so here I am and I couldn't be more happier to be back at the SRA family.

carrill@straphaelarchangel.org

 

 

 

 

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Art Education Bachelor

Other Information:

Certified to teach art kindergarten through 12th grade.

Connor
Mrs. Christy Connor

As a Catholic school educator, I will demonstrate a positive attitude towards my students and colleagues.  I will strive to motivate my students to learn about their world through history and the language arts.  I am committed to helping my students learn the skills they will need in order to be successful during their time at St. Raphael the Archangel School.  I also want them to be able to develop what they have learned as they continue along their educational journey.  I will endeavor to the best of my ability to help my students discover and develop the gifts that God has blessed them with and to help them understand their role as a child of God in today's world.

 

connor@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degree
Fontbonne ED MUS ED Bacc
Loyola (N.O.) REL ED Master


 

 

 

Other Information:

Fine Arts-Vocal Music Grade  Level K – 12

Fine Arts-Instrumental Music

Life Certificate

Kathy Dot
Mrs. Kathy Doty

My name is Kathy Doty, and it is an honor to be teaching pre-K-8th Grade Music at St. Raphael.  The 2017-2018 school year will be my first year teaching at SRA, having previously taught vocal and instrumental music for nearly 25 years in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia.  For the last 6 years, I have been teaching in the state of Missouri at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. In addition to my classroom teaching background, I also provide private music lessons to individual instrumental students. 

My love of music began at a very early age.  I’ve been involved with music programs of one kind or another my entire life.  I learned to play the clarinet entering fifth grade.  While attending high school in Pennsylvania in my hometown, I played clarinet in Concert Band, Marching Band, and in a Woodwind Ensemble at a local college.  I also sang in my school choir in elementary and middle school.  I’ve directed adult choirs both past and present, from a church in PA to a current position I hold as the adult choir director at John Calvin United Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton.

It is my firm belief in engaging a student in music with both hands-on experience and visual instruction, with techniques such as playing rhythm instruments and experiencing movement with a song.  These techniques help the student become involved in the learning experience, and in turn allow them to embrace the music and make it their own.

Outside the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my husband Paul, our son Eric, and my dog Ringo.  For relaxation I also enjoy baking, knitting, and cross-stitch.

 

doty@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:
University Major Degrees
West Liberty University (West Virginia) Music Education (Instrumental) K-12 BA



 

 

Other Information:

 

 

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Mrs. Chris Federspiel

I am the lead teacher of Room B, otherwise known as the home of Bears and Blessings! If you come into my classroom, the students will tell you that they are called “The Bears!”  I received my certificate in Early Childhood Education from Fontbonne University, and after staying home to raise my 3 beautiful children, I have been teaching preschool for the past 11 years. I absolutely love teaching preschool aged children for MANY reasons. I am extremely passionate about creating an atmosphere where each and every child feels safe and loved. I also firmly believe that a child’s preschool experience will set the stage for their general feelings toward school, and will continue into their Kindergarten year and beyond.

My number one priority is establishing confidence, building trust and developing a love for school. I believe that real learning can only occur if a child feels secure in his/her school environment.  I teach the children who will be moving on to Kindergarten, so my curriculum is designed as a Kindergarten Readiness program. I also place a strong emphasis on religion and learning/living through Jesus. We set aside time daily to learn from reading Bible stories, singing songs, discovering important people of the Bible,  and most importantly, focusing on Jesus and His love for us!

I absolutely love doing what I do and know that I am extremely blessed. I am one of the lucky ones who loves going to work every day.  I firmly believe that God has led me to the St. Raphael family, and I feel extremely blessed! My passion lies in working with preschool age children! My approach to teaching has always been to create an atmosphere where the children feel safe and loved, and learning will naturally occur. I feel that young children learn best through hands-on experiences, in which they can explore, create and learn. I believe each child is a gift from God and is unique and special. My students will learn about Jesus and his love for us through a program that I created called "Jesus Club."  I feel privileged to be able to prepare these little ones to be successful in Kindergarten as well as helping them get to know Jesus and develop a relationship with Him. I will strive to reach each child on an individual and personal level as I get to know their strengths and the gifts each one possesses. I consider myself to be among the lucky ones who truly love their job! I learn so much from my students as they never fail to teach me something new every day!

federspiel@straphaelarchangel.org

Imo
Miss Amanda Imo

As a teacher, I feel that everyone needs and deserves to have an excellent education. I want to be the one to make that happen. I want to be a part of a child’s life by specifically helping him or her learn.  I have the passion and drive to do the best that I can.  I am creative in constructing lessons that are exciting but also have meaning and purpose.  I know that it is the students who come first and I make it my job to ensure each and every child maximizes their learning potential.  It is rewarding being a role model and someone the children look up to and admire. Children are wonderful people to work with. The greatest thing I could ask for is to work with them as my job.

imo@straphaelarchangel.org

 

 

Education Background

University Major Degrees
Rockhurst Elementary Ed B.A.

Other Information:

Certified in Elementary Education

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Mrs. Molly Indelicato

Dear Parents, Welcome to Preschool A or better known as the Animals at SRA Preschool.  My name is Molly Indelicato and I am the Lead Teacher in Preschool A. This is my sixth year at Saint Raphael and my first year as Lead Teacher. I am the Director of the Aftercare program, as well as the Director of the SRA Summer Camp. I have four children and they have all attended Saint Raphael.

I love my job and the children who come through our doors. I believe that a three-year old is just like a sponge and absorbs so much more then we will ever understand. I feel if we feed their minds with knowledge in a loving and patient manner, they will thrive in our school. Our curriculum is targeted to a three-year old so that they grow throughout the year and are ready to move to Pre-K. The environment in my class is a safe, loving and fun place to learn. I am currently working on my Certification in Early Childhood Education

indelicato@straphaelarchangel.org

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Mr. Mark Messmer

Hello! My name is Mark Messmer, and I am excited to be spending my first year teaching at St. Raphael the Archangel.  I am originally from Queen of All Saints Parish and am a graduate of Saint Louis University High School as well as Saint Louis University, where I studied Elementary Education.

I believe that each child comes to school with a unique set of gifts, talents, and needs.  As the teacher, it is my role to create a safe, positive classroom community in which each student can strive to meet their personal goals.

As a graduate of Catholic, Jesuit education, I believe that one’s faith should not be limited to the Mass but should guide every aspect of one’s life. Second grade is a great time to explore our faith through discussion, hands-on activities, and personal reflection. If students leave my class with a sense of curiosity about their faith and the world around them, I know that I have done my job. 

messmer@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
St. Louis University Elementary Education BA

Other Information:

Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with family and friends as well as trying new restaurants around St. Louis.

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Miss Abigail Morris

My name is Abigail Morris, and I am a proud graduate of St. Peter Catholic School, St. Joseph’s Academy, and Miami University of Ohio. I studied Early Childhood Education during my college career.

My mission is to have every student leave my classroom inspired. I believe in continual learning and I seek to instill my own love for learning in my students. Kindergarten is a place to play, explore, discover, and question. My goal is for students to develop a love of learning and a desire to be curious about their religious faith and the world around them.

I enjoy working in a wonderful community in which religion and education are interlaced. I strive to prepare children to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners in their academics and faith.

morris@straphaelarchangel.org

 

 

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
Miami-Ohio  Early Childhood Eduction BACC

Other Information:

Early Childhood  Grade Level PK – 3

Special Ed. Early Childhood Special Grade Level K – 3

Polson
Ms. Susan Polson

"Life is an Open Book” is a favorite quote of mine.  Third graders do a lot of reading in all the genre.  Having come from a long line of teachers and played “school” with dolls as a young girl I know have a dream job: working with the minds of children.  I love the imaginative nature, curiousity, positive energy and wonder students have and design learning activities to teach them.  We play educational games and write a giant leaf report.  Third grade is a transitional year; I set high goals and expand their thinking while encouraging independence and maturity.  Learning is a life long journey.  To love to learn and read will make the travels so very enlightening, with the Spirit as our guide.  St. Raphael, Pray for Us.

polson@straphaelarchangel.org

 

 

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
St. Louis University ED ENG LA ED BACC
Webster University ED RDG MAST

Other Information:

Elementary Education Grade Level K – 8

English Grade Level 7 – 12

Life Certification

English: Special Reading Grade Level K – 12

CCPC Certification

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Mrs. Jennifer Runiewicz

My teaching career began in my mid-twenties in Atlanta, Georgia, where I taught in self-contained 5th and 2nd grade classrooms.  In 2000 I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where I began my Middle School teaching journey with 6th grade Literature and Religion.  Upon moving to St. Louis in 2003, I continued teaching Literature and Religion to students in 6th - 8th Grades at Holy Redeemer School in Webster Groves, and have been at St. Raphael, in a number of teaching assignments, since 2009.

Currently, as the Upper School Director and Eighth Grade Teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure that all students who graduate from St. Raphael are equipped with the tools they will need to be successful in their high school careers.  As such, I am constantly reviewing the curriculum to confirm the absence of gaps between grade levels, as well as collaborating with both teachers and students to check for cyclical instruction in all academic areas.  In addition, I am entrusted with the charge of planning innovative professional development opportunities for our teachers to maintain cutting edge practice and pedagogy in the classroom. I believe we are all meant to be life-long learners, students and teachers alike.

My role as a Catholic Educator is to teach the whole child.  I aim to fill students’ hearts with the understanding and faith of our Catholic Church as well as open their minds to a world of unending possibilities of knowledge throughout our rigorous academic curriculum.

In the classroom, I strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment where students feel comfortable taking risks in their learning.  I know that students learn best when teachers serve as guides rather than the primary source of information.  I lead students to the discovery of knowledge which opens doors to unimaginable avenues. It is my job to create engaging and relevant experiences to keep students motivated and wanting to learn more.

In my classroom, students receive direct instruction followed by guided instruction until they become independent learners.  To accomplish these goals, I use technology, multi-tasking, working in cooperative groups and the usage of relevant resources to help students become strategic learners. 

It has been my experience that students learn best when there is a personal and trusting connection on a professional level.  We talk openly in my classroom about how every lesson affects their lives, answering the question, “Why do I need to know this?”  In addition, I have found that by providing students with a solid curriculum, clearly stated goals, and aligned assessments, they are successful in their learning.  I encourage students to “learn” rather than to “memorize” materials.  It is important for students to climb the ladder of critical thinking: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create, to achieve their greatest levels of learning. 

Most importantly, I do not teach for students to pass tomorrow’s test; I teach for them to pass the test of life with the necessary tools in their tool box and with God at their sides.

In addition to my responsibilities as Upper School Director and 8th Grade Homeroom Teacher, I teach Literature to 6th, 7th, and 8th Grades, Keyboarding to 4th and 5th Grades, act as Moderator for our Student Council, and serve as the Coordinator of our Bellarmine Speech Team.

At home, I am the mother of two wonderful girls, Timlyn, a Nerinx Hall 2015 graduate and current student at The University of Alabama (Roll Tide) and Peyton, a junior at Ursuline Academy.  I also have 2 lovable cats, Leo and Maggie

runiewicz@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
Eastern Kentucky S SCI/PSYC BACC

Other Information:

Elementary Education Grade Level 1 – 6

Miss Ashley Schaaf
Miss Ashley Schaaf

As an educator, it is my job to make sure the needs of my students are being met, and that they are being provided a conducive learning environment.  I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Science and Challenged Mathematics.  Within that job description is the responsibility to challenge and encourage each one of my students in hopes of maximizing his or her potential.  In doing that, I believe in a structured support system – every student comes from a different background with his or her own set of unique circumstances and qualities.  It is my overarching motivation to let these factors help guide, sculpt, and therefore, improve, my teachings within the classroom as I get to know all of my students as individuals.

schaaf@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degree
Saint Louis University Education

B.A.

Other Information:

Magna Cum Laude from St. Louis University

Certification in Middle School Mathematics grades 5-9

Theresa Schmidt
Mrs. Theresa Schmidt

Hello, My name is Theresa Schmidt and I am privileged to be teaching first grade at St. Raphael.  While this is my first year teaching at SRA I have twelve years of experience which include the positions of Second Grade Teacher, Computer Teacher K-6, and Physical Education Teacher K-8.  The professional requirements of the positions, the challenging responsibilities given to me and the very capable manner in which I have performed  will enable me to thoroughly and successfully meet the needs of my first grade students.  

My Catholic faith was instilled in me at a very early age by my parents and reinforced and nurtured  continuously during my thirteen years of Catholic education at St. Clement of Rome and Ursuline Academy.  Today my Catholic faith is stronger than ever and I have the desire to share my Catholic faith with my first grade students, giving them the same opportunity that I was given as a young student.

When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, running, coaching and traveling.  My husband and I have three children, ages twelve, ten and eight who are students at our parish school.

schmidt@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
University of Missouri-St. Louis Elementary Education BA

Other Information:

Certified in grades 1-6

Woods
Miss Patti Woods

It has always been my ambition to be an educator, to help shape the minds of young children and to be a positive influence in their lives. Teaching is a lifelong process, and the children in my care are the leaders of the future. I enjoy watching them grow, pushing them further than they think they can go, watching them succeed, and witnessing the pride they demonstrate as they conquer new skills.  Each child who comes through the door deserves a secure and nurturing environment. It is my job to provide this for them. I want to foster an equal balance of mutual respect within the student/teacher relationship. Each child learns in their own way. I want to provide a caring, safe atmosphere which will help students meet their fullest potential. I want to help them take ownership of their education. As a teacher in a Catholic School, it is also my job to instill in the children a love of God, to deepen their faith. I, in turn, learn from the children as well. I can identify with the values taught at St. Raphael at the very basic of levels. It all starts with God. He needs to be in the forefront of our minds as we travel through the day. All my personal education, as well as all my teaching experience has been in a Catholic School setting. I cannot image being in a different location where I cannot freely talk about our creator.

woods@straphaelarchangel.org

Education Background:

University Major Degrees
Fontbonne Early Childhood Ed Bacc
UMSL Elementary Ed Masters

Other Information:

Certified Pre-K through 3

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society