Father Todd Unger
Fr. Todd Unger is the pastor of St. Thomas Catholic Church and St.Thomas Academy. He has been pastor here for four years. He has served several parish in the Diocese of Baker over the last thirty years of his priesthood. He was born and raised in Redmond, where he attended schools in Redmond and then went on to study for the priesthood and was ordained on June 29, 1982. For 20 of those years he was a volunteer fireman and EMT in several parishes. That was the closest he got to following in his parents footsteps in the medical field. He is looking forward to many years of ministry in the St. Thomas Parish.
Mrs. Mooney graduated from Concordia University with her Masters in Administration and from Eastern Oregon University with a Bachelors Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a focus on Elementary Education and received a minor in English for Speakers of Other Languages. She completed her administrative practicum at Redmond High School and at St. Thomas Academy. Some of her undergraduate work was completed at Chaminade University in Honolulu. While at Chaminade and Eastern Oregon she was the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, active member of the Education Club, and competed in NCAA cross-country and softball. Mrs. Mooney is dedicated to making a positive impact and connection with all of the students at St. Thomas Academy. In order to successfully make this happen she has dedicated her afternoon to being with the students by teaching physical education and conducting a leadership/counseling class.
Every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up o them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be." -Rita Pierson, Educator
"Mrs. Lisa Velasquez, known as “Mrs. V” to the students, joined St. Thomas Academy in 2011. She is honored to be part of the dedicated staff at STA. Prior to joining our team, she worked for several years as an Admissions Counselor at therapeutic programs for teens and young adults and understands the dynamics and importance of a solid education where morals and values are practiced and learned. She is a certified Parent Coach and finds much joy and fulfillment in helping empower families to make the choices that are most important for them. Mrs. V loves to spend her spare time camping, traveling, watching soccer, cooking, and spending time with family and friends ~ especially with her 5 grandchildren.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”. - Nelson Mandela
Mrs. June Hayes is a native of Central Oregon since 1972. She is a graduate of Magdalen College with a Catechetical Apostolic Diploma where she studied the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Church Documents and the Nature of Man in a Classical Socratic method of learning. June also acquired a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Western Oregon University. She continued her education through Portland State University’s Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education. She has been teaching since 1989 in a variety of school settings primarily in the areas of Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.
I want to seek out a means of going to Heaven by a little way…. - St. Therese of Lisieux
I am originally from Mobile, Alabama where I completed my undergraduate at Spring Hill College. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education. As part of my undergraduate experience I completed an internship at Mary B. Austin Elementary School teaching in the second grade. I obtained additional teaching experience in Kindergarten at E.R. Dickson, which is also in Mobile, Alabama. As part of a volunteer program from Spring Hill, I worked with deaf students using American Sign Language at the Regional School for the Deaf and Blind in Mobile. I am currently getting a Master’s degree at the University of Portland with an endorsement in reading. I am part of the Pacific Alliance of Catholic Education also known as PACE, at the University of Portland. This program is for teachers who want to serve in Catholic schools for 2 years while working on their Masters degrees.
My energy for teaching comes from the enthusiasm of my students rooted in the belief that what I teach helps them in many ways. I want a classroom that my students will feel safe in as well as accepted. My students will be able to explore the depths of who they are and grow through the experiences they have in my classroom. I want to share my faith with my students by incorporating it into the classroom and the different subjects that I will be teaching. I grew up Catholic and I express my faith in all that I do. I believe that every child is a gift from God and that all students have unique gifts that should be shared. Aside from teaching in the classroom I enjoy participating in community activities and look forward to becoming an active member at St. Thomas.
1st Grade Teacher
Ms. Elaine Ellsworth is a graduate of George Fox University where she received a Master of Arts in Teaching and an ESOL endorsement. Prior to joining the staff at St. Thomas Academy in 2009, she taught third grade, first/second grade blends, and was an instructional assistant for thirteen years, teaching Title 1 reading and ESL students. She is a native Oregonian and grew up in Springfield. In addition to teaching, she is passionate about traveling, language learning, sporting events, hiking, camping, and reading. Elaine is looking forward to a great school year with the first graders at St. Thomas Academy.
There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose. - Unknown
2nd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Lynn Fleenor joined St. Thomas Academy as the upper elementary grades teacher in 2008. She earned her Masters of Art in Teaching from George Fox University after graduating with highest honors from Oregon State University with a BA degree in Liberal Studies. Her teaching experience before STA include such diverse positions as being a guest teacher in several Japanese universities and creating and conducting English conversation classes for children.
For me one of the greatest thrills of teaching is seeing students excited about what they are learning. Last year one of our class high points was creating our own illustated books of the Oregon Trail. For the fall I have another storyline theme that will integrate the subject areas and get the class, including me, inspired to learn more.
Andrea Gibson is excited to join the St. Thomas Academy team teaching the third grade. Andrea holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Science and a Master of Arts in Teaching both from Oregon State University. She specialized in English to Speakers of Other Languages, spending time in a dual-immersion Spanish speaking bilingual school. Andrea has also worked in the non-profit field, fundraising for youth activities, higher education and faith-based organizations. The opportunity to teach in a small classroom with a wonderful community brought her to STA after several years volunteering with our school.
She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, being outdoors, cooking and watching sports, especially the OSU Beavers!
4th and 5th Grade Teacher
Welcome to the 4th and 5th grade! I feel very blessed to be a part of the St. Thomas community and family. A little bit about my training and experiences as a teacher. I graduated from Portland State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in History. After working with elementary kids in non-profit after school programs, I fell in love with teaching. I started graduate school at Oregon State University, Corvallis finishing two years of student teaching at Highland Elementary and Pilot Butte Middle School in Bend. I took my Masters in Teaching degree to a remote Yupik village in Alaska where I taught a 5th/6th grade blend while running a suicide prevention grant. From there I taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade ELD and Native American Studies at Jefferson County Middle School. I was subbing the following year at Highland Elementary, teaching with the Scottish Storyline model. I look forward to creating a safe, motivating and stimulating classroom for all my students!
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sister Fortunata Nubuduwa
Sister Fortunata is a Sister of Mary and a Ugandan by nationality. She has a Bachelors Degree in English Language and Literature from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and a Diploma in Theology from Hekima College for Jesuits in Nairobi - Kenya. She earned a Masters degree in Education from Uganda Martyrs University in Uganda. She joined Sisters of Mary in 1984 and she has served as a teacher in 5 schools. While in Uganda she loved to work with Young Christian Students (YCS), besides teaching. I treasure the Project Approach in Teaching and Learning because it promotes creativity and empowers the students to explore their God-given talents. I have taught Religious Education at St. Thomas Academy since Oct. 2010. I find it really awesome to interact with children of different cultures and share with them the Catholic Faith and Values. My goal is to help the students to know and love God through the Bible and the Catholic Doctrine. As a Religious Missionary, Mother Mary’s ‘Fiat’ and Christ’s Command to the Apostles, remains my inspiration.
Go out to the Whole World and Proclaim the Good News… - Mark 16:15
Learning Support Teacher
Ms. Marissa Manza is a recent graduate of the University of Portland where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood/ Elementary Education and a Special Education endorsement. She is currently part of the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education program (PACE). Through PACE she is working towards gaining her Master’s in Education and an ESOL endorsement as well as living in community with other PACE teachers. Ms. Manza grew up in Tacoma, Washington where she attended Catholic schools and was raised in a big Catholic family of eight. In addition to education, Ms. Manza is passionate about dancing, exploring nature, watching sports, working with adults with developmental disabilities through an organization called L’Arche, and spending time with her family and friends. Ms. Manza is excited to have the opportunity to build a learning support program at St. Thomas Academy and feels blessed to be joining the vibrant and loving STA family.
But let us not put our sights too high. We do not have to be saviors of the world! We are simply human beings, enfolded in weakness and in hope, called together to change our world one heart at a time. -Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche
Anna Contreras is a classically trained Chef and graduated from The California Culinary Academy, San Francisco in 2004. At the age of 12 Anna self-taught herself how to cook, and started cooking many of the weeknight dinners for herself and her family often times not following a recipe! At the age of 16 she got her first restaurant job and fell in love with the industry. During her career she has worked and gained experience in just about every facet of and type & style of restaurant. Just some of the places Anna has worked includes a private party planner for a very popular San Francisco restaurant, in the kitchens at fine dining establishments in Alaska and San Francisco, catering companies, running the employee dining room for a remote resort, a bar and grill in Lake Tahoe, and others.
Anna is excited to bring healthy options to our kids with a focus on scratch made items whenever possible. Anna knows we have students with different dietary restrictions, and while she may not be able to keep every meal within these restrictions, she will do what she can to ensure all kids are able to participate in our hot lunch program as often as possible.
If you have any concerns or special requests please feel free to reach out to Anna at 541-788-2940 or email@example.com.
Music has always been a part of my life. My parents always encouraged and supported me with my musical interests. My involvement in music started when I began taking accordion lessons at the age of six years old. Then at the age of eight, I began taking piano and organ lessons. Those lessons continued for about fifteen years. My career as a music teacher began when I attended “Oregon College of Education” (now known as “WOU”) in Monmouth Oregon. After five years of higher education, in 1968, I obtained my Oregon teaching certificate for teaching music, grades K-12. My first job was teaching grades K-8 for the Willamina, Grand Ronde School District. This assignment included teaching band, general music, and choir. After seventeen years at Willamina, I then taught in the Dallas School District for eleven years. My specialty and favorite assignments were teaching elementary and middle school choirs. I have also played the pipe organ and piano in various churches for fifty-five years. My teaching philosophy is to teach the basic elements of music. These basic elements of music are rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and tone color. While learning theses basic elements, all students will experience the enjoyment of music.
Señora Larson has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Portland State. While pursing her bachelors degree, she took all pre-requisite classes for teaching degree, but plans changed when she and her family moved from Portland to beautiful Central Oregon 9 years ago. After moving to Central Oregon, Señora Larson became a Real Estate agent and loves every aspect of it. She has been married for 13 years and has 2 children at St Thomas. She enjoys golf, crossfit, running, dancing, volunteering at St Thomas, and the exciting outdoor lifestyle of Central Oregon.
Señora Larson has a latin background, studied Spanish in high school and college, and lived in Spain for a short time. She loves working with kids and enjoys bringing them a fun and enthusiastic focus on Latin culture and language.
Before and After Care Coordinator
Mrs. Roberts has been coordinating before and after school care for 14 years. She worked at Bend Park and Recreation for 9 years before moving over to Redmond Area Park and Recreation where she worked for 5 years. She has learned many things over the years while working with children. Her most valuable lesson is that the children in the program must trust you before they will learn from you. Mrs. Roberts has a fun school year planned for your children; specialize in something different each day of the week.
Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your school and be part of your childrens' lives.