Meet Our Leadership
Mrs. Gerry Dolan
Head of School
Head of School
P.E. (Grades K - 1)
As headmistress, Mrs. Dolan loves helping teachers continue to develop and expand their teaching skills and use their gifts to engage the students in order to help them grow in knowledge, wisdom and virtue. “It is a great privilege and joy to work with such a talented group of Catholic educators. The collegiality is beyond compare. We read, learn, discuss, and analyze together. We are a team, giving the best to our students, each other, and the school community! We engage the heart, mind, and soul of our students… We connect what we teach to the children's lives and form the whole child.” Outside the halls of St. Austin, Mrs. Dolan can be found spending time with family, biking, walking, working out, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, taking in a Cardinals’ baseball game, or listening to Christian music. Her favorite saints are St. Anthony of Padua and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She truly lives by her favorite scripture verses: Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” and Proverbs 9:9 “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
M.A. in Educational Leadership, Saint Louis University
B.S. in Elementary Educations, Eastern Illinois University
Mr. Thomas Capps
Assistant Head of School
History (5, 6)
Assistant Head of School
Latin (Grades 1 - 8), History (Grades 5, 6)
Mr. Capps is a graduate of Harvard College where he received a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He uses his passion for classical education to help his students grow in faith, pursuing the virtue of excellence in education which, in turn, brings us closer to Christ. Mr. Capps’ favorite saint is St. Cuthbert, the patron saint of Northumbria (origin of the Capps family), a British monk who united Celtic and Benedictine monastic traditions, and an exceptionally kind individual. He has previously led St. Austin summer camps including “Calligraphy,” “Create your own Language,” and “Tolkien” (author of his favorite book The Silmarillion).
B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard College
Meet Our Talented Faculty
Mrs. Julie Riley
PreK Lead Teacher
PreK Lead Teacher
Julie Riley is enthusiastic about teaching Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. She believes that faith-based education is enhanced by a classical style of instruction because it gives the students a philosophical understanding of their faith. Knowing the truth of the Catholic faith frees the student to choose the good. Julie’s favorite saint is St. Catherine of Siena, and her favorite prayer is the Memorare. Outside of school, Julie likes to read and garden.
M.A. Theology, St. Louis University
B.A. French, Kansas State
B.A. English, University of Missouri Kansas City
B.S. Secondary Education, Kansas State
Mrs. Brigida Leonard
PreK Teacher Assistant
Pre-K Teacher Assistant
Mrs. Leonard earned her B.S. in Education from Maryville University. She brings a deep faith to The St. Austin School and loves to see a child light up with happiness when their understanding of what is being taught “clicks.” Her favorite saint is St. Michael the Archangel who helped her feel brave while battling cancer. She loves the quote by St. Mother Teresa, “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” Outside of school you can find Mrs. Leonard baking and enjoying the outdoors with her family.
B.S. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education, Maryville University
Mrs. Ann Murphy
PreK Teacher Assistant
PreK Teacher Assistant
An experienced PreK assistant, Mrs. Murphy brings warmth and enthusiasm to the PreK classroom. She has a devotion to St. Josemaría Escriva, because he taught her how to sanctify her ordinary work. Her favorite liturgical season is Christmas because she loves to remember that God came to us as a little child. Mrs. Murphy loves to play board games, do crossword puzzles, and spend time with her family.
St. Louis University, BA English and French
Miss Elizabeth Houser
Form I (Kindergarten)
Miss Houser earned her B.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She has a passion for teaching reading and is fascinated by the amazing capabilities God has given the human mind. She loves the beauty and richness of the liturgical year and seeks to bring this into daily life in her classroom. Miss Houser’s greatest joy in the classroom is getting to know each of her students individually and helping them grow. She is inspired by classical education’s emphasis on forming students in every aspect of their lives. Outside of the classroom, you can find her singing and listening to music, praying in Adoration, and spending time with her family. Her favorite school supply is her desk stash of chocolate.
B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Special Education, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Mrs. Tracy Mohon
Form II (Grade 1)
Mrs. Mohon brings warmth and joy into her classroom of first grade students. Her favorite saint is St. Therese of Lisieux because of her sweetness and simplicity of faith. Her favorite part of The St. Austin School is how the staff values each student as a gift from God. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Mohon loves to read Charles Dickens, draw, bake, and play board games.
BA in English and minor in Classical Education, Hillsdale College
Miss Barbara Redington
Form III (Grade 2)
Miss Redington loves children and finds joy in providing a loving and nurturing environment where the students are enthusiastic about learning. Prior to teaching at St. Austin, she has nine years of elementary teaching experience. She has a great love for the Catholic faith and is excited to teach the students more about their faith. Her favorite saint is St. Faustina and her favorite prayer is the Te Deum. She enjoys reading, attending Adoration, going to farmers' markets, and visiting with friends in her free time.
B.A. in Elementary Education, Indiana University
Miss Lauren Prize
Form IV (Grade 3)
Miss Prize brings great tenderness and a world of discovery to her students. “This is what teaching is for me - sharing the experience of learning.” She especially loves introducing her students to the work of artists and musicians. Miss Prize’s favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Her favorite saint is St. John the Evangelist, who rested his head near Christ’s beating Sacred Heart at the Last Supper and remained at the foot of the cross. “I want to be like St. John, full of confidence in the love that God has for me and returning an overflowing love and confidence in Him.” Miss Prize’s hobbies include hiking, discussing philosophy, creating/designing/sewing clothing, and reading. She has offered St. Austin summer camps including Crochet Camp, Jane Austen Camp, and Embroidery Camp.
AMI Montessori diplomas for both Primary (ages 3-6) and Elementary (grades 1-6)
B.A. in Philosophy, Holy Apostles College and Seminary
Mrs. Pat Luna
Form IV Co-Teacher
Mrs. Pat Luna has a long history of teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master’s in Educational Processes with certification from Maryville University. Her favorite saint is Mother Teresa who said, “It was never between you and them anyway.” Her favorite subject to teach is history because she always learns something new. She likes to focus on the spiritual life that faith-based education offers. Mrs. Luna has been married to her husband for 54 years and they have two children who have blessed them with nine grandchildren.
B.S. in Education, Harris Teacher's College
M.A. in Educational Processes, Maryville University
Miss Claudia Sahm
Form V (Grade 4)
Claudia Sahm’s favorite part of The St. Austin School is how central the Catholic Faith is to the teachers, students, and families. She is happy to be a part of a school that is founded on a deep love for Christ and a desire to form students in virtue. Miss Sahm said, “A classical approach to education emphasizes helping children learn how to think instead of what to think which then sets them up for success in making the faith their own when they leave the confines of a strictly Catholic environment. While the teacher must instruct, discipline, and manage the classroom, she must also enter the classroom with humility, being open to learning from the students’ thoughts, questions, and experiences.” When she is not in the classroom, Miss Sahm is playing ultimate frisbee, learning new languages, playing the piano, or reading a book by Dostoyevsky.
BA Theology and BA Evangelization & Catechesis, Minor in Mathematics, Benedictine College
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Level I
Dr. Kent Pettit
Homeroom Form VI Co-Teacher
English (5, 6)
Homeroom Form VI Co-Teacher, English (5-6)
Dr. Kent Pettit brings a smile and lots of enthusiasm to The St. Austin School. He likes how we are one big happy family. Dr. Pettit admires St. Paul for his total surrender to God’s grace. His favorite quote is “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Outside of PE, Dr. Pettit’s interests include literature, theology, Country music, and Pittsburgh sports. His favorite school supply is his whistle!
PhD in English, Saint Louis University
MA in English, Valdosta State University
MDiv in Theology, Emmanuel School of Religion
BA, Biblical Studies, Milligan College
Mrs. Michele Chronister
Homeroom Form VI Co-Teacher
Theology and Logic/Philosophy (5-8)[.
Form VI Co-Teacher and Theology and Logic/Philosophy (5-8)
Mrs. Chronister has a passion for Catholic and classical education. She said, “The classical style of instruction invites our students to enter into contemplation of what is true, good, and beautiful, and our faith helps them to seek Christ in everything, and to allow Him to be the lens through which they view everything else.” Mrs. Chronister’s favorite liturgical season is the Triduum and her favorite quote is “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire” by St. Catherine of Siena. In her free time, Mrs. Chronister enjoys kayaking, painting, good coffee, and good conversation. She has a deep devotion to our Lord in the Eucharist and loves to visit Him in the tabernacle throughout the day.
MA Theology, University of Notre Dame
BA Theology and BA Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
Dr. Jeff Pauls
Homeroom Form VII
Form VII Homeroom, English (5,6), Math (5), Religion (5, 7/8)
A well-seasoned teacher, Dr. Jeff Pauls is passionate about encouraging his students to become life-long learners. He has taught at every level from fifth grade through post-graduate and looks forward to training the minds of his students to think deeply, analytically, and classically in union with the truth of Christ and His church. His favorite saint is St. Joseph, and his favorite quote is from St. Catherine of Sienna who said, “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.” He enjoys competing in triathlons, visiting national parks with his family, and eating grilled salmon and sweet potato fries.
Ph.D. Education (Teaching and Learning Processes), U of Missouri-St. Louis
M.A. Educational Administration, Lindenwood U
B.A. History, Truman State U
Mr. Jose Silva
Homeroom Form VIII
Homeroom Form VIII, Science (5-8), and Spanish
Mr. Silva’s teaching experience includes being an adjunct instructor at Missouri Baptist University for the last ten years as well as a private tutor for the past twelve years in various subjects, including Spanish. He also worked at the Special School District for five years. He admires St. Peter for his passionate faith in Jesus, and his favorite prayer is the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles. His favorite school supply is post-its, and his favorite book is “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell. In addition to teaching Spanish at The St. Austin School, he enjoys teaching music theory at the university level.
EdD (ABD), Missouri Baptist University
MA, Webster University
BM, Missouri Baptist University
AAS, Community College of the Air Force
Mr. Nicholas Cook
Mr. Cook is a certified teacher and has about ten years of experience working in schools with grades six through twelve in addition to math tutoring experience. Throughout his career, he has taught a variety of subjects and is excited to teach math this year. His favorite scripture verse is “God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). In his free time, Mr. Cook enjoys hiking, reading, and watching movies.
MA Education (M.Ed.), University of Missouri-St. Louis
BS Business Administration (Finance), St. Louis University
BA Philosophy, Cardinal Glennon College
Mrs. Lynn Hellmuth
Lower School Teacher's Assistant
Mrs. Hellmuth studied Early Childhood & Family Development. After spending nearly 30 years as an at-home Mother, she feels fortunate to be a part of the St. Austin school mission. She is happy to be surrounded by the joy of children while having the opportunity to help them grow in faith and knowledge. She loves all the Saints because each one pushes her to greatness however, she has a special devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. (If you ask her why she'll be happy to tell you!) Outside of school, you will find Mrs. Hellmuth spending time with family & friends, entertaining, taking walks, gardening, and working on art or some home project.
Miss Ashley Herr
Miss Herr loves watching students discover new things through their education, and relishes the opportunity to help them grow in faith and knowledge. She appreciates the high standards that students are held to at St. Austin and likes how respectful and caring the students are. She particularly loves to teach catechism and history, and her favorite book is Dante’s Inferno. Miss Herr’s favorite saint is St. Philomena who stood firm in her faith even to the point of martyrdom. In her free time, she enjoys leatherworking, carpentry, and kayaking.
Mrs. Carrie Blase
Art (Grades K - 8)
Mrs. Blase brings to her students a great appreciation for the significance of art to society and the human person. Often, the Catholic faith is first learned through art. Western culture was built upon art and an appreciation for truth and goodness as reflected in the beauty of art. Mrs. Blase enjoys introducing her students to many different mediums and witnessing their unique take on a given project. Her favorite prayer by St. Clement of Rome concludes, “May every nation come to know that You alone are God, that Jesus Christ is Your Child, that we are Your people, the sheep that You pasture.”
B.A. in Graphic Design and Communication, Florida Atlantic University
Dr. Patrick Bergin
Music (Grades K - 8)
Dr. Bergin brings his love of music history to the classroom teaching students not only how to sing and read music but also its rich and engaging history. Dr. Bergin’s favorite time in the liturgical calendar is Passiontide “for the liturgical pruning and its beautiful solemn chants that draw us deeper into Lent at the approach of the mysteries of the Triduum.” Outside of the classroom, he can be found playing board games with his children or reading, likely a work by his favorite author J.R.R. Tolkien.
M.A. and Ph.D in Musicology, Ohio State University
B.A. in Music Education, University of Missouri- St. Louis
Ward Method Certification
Mrs. Jackie Spellmeyer
Library (Grades K - 8)
Mrs. Spellmeyer truly opens the world of good literature to the students of The St. Austin School. She especially enjoys reading to the children about American History and the saints. Her favorite saint is St. Anthony who is always helping her find often misplaced items. Mrs. Spellmeyer’s favorite quote is by St. Mother Teresa, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!” Her recommended summer reads are: The World’s Fair by T.L. Tedrow & Nothing to Fear by Jackie French Koller.
Bachelor of Health Science, University of Missouri
Fr. Dominic Lenk, OSB
Mr. Mark Kraus
Mark Kraus is passionate about the St. Austin mission. He has extensive experience in both fundraising and program management, and he will use these skills to help us find our school’s next home. He is retired from an impressive career with Emerson and most recently led the strategy development and fundraising for the Maryville University Hockey Center. He is the father of five boys, two of whom attended The St. Austin School. His favorite thing about St. Austin is the community of positive, generous, smart, and caring people who become friends for life. In his free time, he likes to fish, hunt, and organize youth hockey. Mark hopes to continue St. Austin’s legacy by helping The St. Austin School thrive for years to come.
Bachelor of Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin
Mrs. Danielle Morgenthaler
Mr. Jim Spellmeyer
Check back for Mr. Spellmeyer's bio!
Mrs. Tracy Stemler
Mrs. Stemler displays her devotion to The St. Austin School in the many ways she ensures the school runs smoothly. Her favorite saint is St. Therese of Lisieux because she reminds us to do little things with great love. Mrs. Stemler enjoys “seeing Christ made present throughout the school day in each classroom, and being reminded that all we do, we do to glorify God.” Mrs. Stemler couldn’t live without colored pens to create her very organized lists. When she is not working, Mrs. Stemler enjoys watching her son’s sporting events and spending time with family. Her idea of the perfect day would be hiking on a hot summer day followed by sweet tea and board games.
B.S. in Accounting, University of Missouri
Ms. Pat Nieberding
Ms. Nieberding is always ready with a smile to welcome those who enter the doors of The St. Austin School. Her favorite book is Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre de Caussade. Ms. Nieberding’s hobbies include participating in prayer groups, spending time with family, and last but not least, her dog Max. Her perfect day would be spent at the Zoo with her grandchildren, a trip to Ted Drewes, and reading with grandchildren.
B.A. in Psychology, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Mrs. Mary Clare Florentin
Mrs. Florentin has a passion for Catholic and classical education, and she is happy to support The St. Austin School in the capacity of administrative assistant. Mrs. Florentin’s favorite part about The St. Austin School is “the small, family-oriented environment where everyone shares similar values which creates trust and unity between the families, teachers and staff.” In her free time, Mrs. Florentin loves to read, solve jigsaw puzzles, and write calligraphy. She also likes to take “mini road trips” with her family to nearby towns to explore historical sites and small towns outside St. Louis.
B.A in Art History, Santa Clara University
Mrs. Amanda Lowe
Mrs. Lowe brings joy and enthusiasm to her role as an administrative assistant. She loves The St. Austin School community and has multiple children currently enrolled in the school. When asked about the Catholic and classical dimensions of St. Austin, Mrs. Lowe said, “Classical education teaches our children how to learn. Our faith and rich tradition teach our children how to live. It is at the intersection of these two that our school so beautifully guides these little ones.” Her favorite saint is St. Rita, and her favorite liturgical season is Lent. A perfect day consists of a clean house, dinner made, and a day outside with her family.
Kennesaw State University, BA Early Childhood Education
Mrs. Claire Andrews
Mrs. Andrews earned her B.A. in English from the University of Dallas where she first fell in love with Catholic and classical education. She enjoys the friendly, faithful, and optimistic atmosphere at The St. Austin School and is excited to support the mission of the school through communications. Her favorite saint is St. Edith Stein who said, “All those who seek truth, seek God, whether this is clear to them or not.” Mrs. Andrews’ favorite book is Emma by Jane Austen, and she enjoys cooking, board games, and reading in her free time.
B.A in English, University of Dallas