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Faculty & Staff

Aquinas Academy is a faithful Catholic school that seeks out and hires faithful and practicing Catholics who are outstanding teachers, who view teaching is a vocation from Almighty God, and who serve as role models of faith and virtue for our students. They are the kind of people whom you can trust to share in the lives of your children.


Secondary Educators

The Catholic understanding is that teachers are secondary educators whose role is to support parents in their role as primary educators. Whereas a parent's authority comes from Almighty God through nature, a teacher's authority comes in part from the parents, in part from nature, and in part from the Church. In order to coordinate their efforts effectively, parents and teachers need to share a Catholic understanding of human nature and the purpose of education. When they do, Aquinas parents and teachers work together to help their children center their lives on Christ and seek to do His will in all things.


Oath of Fidelity

At the beginning of each year, our faculty and staff take an Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in the presence of the entire school community. This sets a tone of respect for authority and reminds the Aquinas community that our first responsibility is to be obedient to the Church and the Catholic faith.


Quality Educators

Aquinas seeks to hire practicing and faithful Catholics who are outstanding teachers. Outstanding teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have education degrees. Some have years of experience dealing with young people in the classroom, on the sport's field, in the parish, or from participating in various service projects. Others have a Humanities degree from a quality Catholic college. Still others have more than one of the above.

The heart of the issue is that Aquinas teachers have a deep understanding of and commitment to our mission and they are ready to work as a team with parents to meet each child's needs. They are dedicated to forming Catholic leaders who will love Almighty God, seek to do His will, and thus transform their various communities in which they find themselves.

All members of the teaching faculty, staff, and administration are required to complete the Virtus program of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and pass a background check.

Mr. Andrew Denten - Principal

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy - 14 years experience in education
  • Master's Degree, Educational Leadership and Administration - Cardinal Stritch University
  • Master's Degree, Education - Loyola University of Chicago
  • Bachelor's Degree, History - Marquette University

Mr. James Berry - Dean of Students, Middle School Catechism, and 7 & 8th Grade Literature

  • 6th year at Aquinas Academy
  • Licentiate Communications - Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome
  • BA Political Science and Economics - Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia
  • 3 years as translator for the Vatican Press Office
  • 4 years under Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke as Executive Director for the cause of beatification and canonization of Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
  • Specialty Areas: Journalism, Writing, Italian, Spanish

Mrs. Kristin Heppe - Operations Manager

  • 9th year at Aquinas Academy
  • Microsoft Certified Professional
  • 20 years experience in Information Technology
  • 20+ years experience in office administration
  • Specialty Areas: Microsoft Operating Systems, Microsoft Office Productions, Training and Documentation, Certified Hardware and Software Computer Repair Technician

Mrs. Marie Larson - 5th & 6th Grade Literature, School Secretary

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy
  • St. Xavier University - B.A. English, minor in Spanish
  • UW-Milwaukee - Masters Degree - Spanish-English Translation
  • English and Spanish Teacher for four years
  • ESL Instructor for one year
  • Office Admin for six years

Mrs. Martha Ebent - Music & Elementary Latin

  • 11th year at Aquinas Academy - 20 years teaching experience
  • M.S. in Music Education - University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign
  • B.S. in Vocal Performance - Millikin University
  • Certification in Kindermusik International
  • Music Teaching Certification
  • Specialty areas: Choral singing, vocal training, theater

Mrs. Jessica Kurth - Physical Education and Athletic Director

  • 12th year at Aquinas Academy - 12 years teaching experience
  • B.S. in Physical Education - University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
  • Certification in Exercise and Sports Science-Teaching in the State of Wisconsin
  • Specialty Areas: Tennis, Softball, Archery, Basketball, Certified Fitness Specialist, Life Guard 

Ms. Katy Oberst - Elementary Art and Middle School Art History

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy

Mrs. Laurie Frank - Pre-Kindergarten 3 & 4 Teacher

  • 17th year at Aquinas Academy
  • B.S. in Social Work - University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • B.S. in Sociology with a Psychology minor - University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
  • 25+ years experience working with various age levels
  • Specialty areas: Early Childhood Development, Education

Mrs. Mary Ann Berry — Kindergarten

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy
  • Master's English & Creative Writing - Mount Mary University
  • English\Writing Teacher 2nd Grade Aquinas Academy
  • Pre-K Teacher's Aide

Mrs. Julie Braun - First Grade

  • 5th year at Aquinas Academy
  • B.A. in Early Childhood Education - Concordia University, Wisconsin
  • Certified Minor in Early Exceptional Needs Education - Cardinal Stritch University
  • 20+ years experience in educational settings (various age levels)

Mrs. Lisa Frederick - 2nd Grade

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy
  • AS in Early Childhood Education - Villa Maria College Buffalo, NY
  • BS Elementary Education - Medaille College Buffalo, NY
  • 6 years of teaching experience in Rochester, NY


Mrs. Kathy Gasper - 3rd Grade

  • 1st year at Aquinas Academy
  • PK-3rd Grade Teaching Certification
  • Special Education Teaching Certification

Mrs. Melissa Wood - 4th Grade

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy
  • Bachelor of Arts - Elementary & Middle School Education - Mount Mary University
  • Reading Teacher Certification Program - Cardinal Stritch University

Mrs. Paula Gotthardt - 4-8th Grade Latin

  • 16th year at Aquinas Academy - 20+ years of teaching experience
  • B.A in Liberal Arts - Thomas Aquinas College, CA
  • Graduate studies in education at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee
  • Specialty areas: Elementary Education, Latin, English, Religion, History, Catechism

Mrs. Kathy Keleher - 6-8th Grade Math

  • 2nd year at Aquinas Academy
  • Bachelor of Science - Elementary Education - UW-Madison
  • 11 years teaching experience

Mrs. Cathy Padgett - Middle School Science, 5th Grade Math and Robotics Club

  • 3rd year at Aquinas Academy
  • B.S. Microbiology - Colorado State University
  • M.A. Education - Instructional Design Specializing in Adult Education -  Alverno College
  • M.A. Education - Science Education- Alverno College
  • Skilled professional with 18 years experience with student-centered teaching
  • Taught biology for 11 years
  • Evaluated student performances at Alverno College

Miss Madeline Steigerwald - Middle School History

  • 1st year at Aquinas Academy
  • University of Dallas - Bachelor of Arts Degree - History Major with a concentration/minor in Political Philosophy.