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. Schulte is a native Oregonian, originally from McMinnville, she graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Science. I spent 33 years with the Redmond School District as teacher and administrator. This past year I was the "Librarian" at St. Thomas Academy. I feel extremely blessed to become a part of the staff and community at St. Thomas. I enjoy spending time with my husband, daughters and grandchildren. I love reading, flowers, baseball and traveling.
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
Andrea Gibson is excited to join the St. Thomas Academy team teaching the Preschool class. 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. Andrea has a certificate in Infant and Toddler Montessori education and is very excited to be teaching preschool.
She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, being outdoors, cooking and watching sports, especially the OSU Beavers!
Originally from Orange County, California, Miss Jones attended the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Special Education. As part of her undergraduate experience, she completed her student teaching at Christ the King Catholic School in Milwaukie, Oregon, where she taught
kindergarten. She also completed a Special Education practicum where she gained experience with special needs students from second to fifth grade in the Portland Public School District. Beginning in June, she will start working towards obtaining a Masters in Teaching degree at the University of Portland and be a part of the Pacific Alliance of Catholic Education program (PACE). As a member of PACE, she is committed to serving at St. Thomas Academy for the next 2 years while working on my master’s degree.
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.
3rd Grade Teacher
Meghan Gray graduated from Western Oregon University with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Masters in Education with an authorization in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. She spent several years as a kindergarten teacher in Redmond as well as other districts in Oregon. Her teaching career was put on hold when her family moved to Northern Idaho. After moving back to Central Oregon, she began homeschooling her two daughters who are now enrolled at St. Thomas Academy. This past year Meghan has spent many hours at the school volunteering and substituting in many classrooms. Her other life experiences include being a corporate trainer and running her own business. Meghan is excited to join the staff at St. Thomas Academy.
4th and 5th Grade Teacher
Colleen Kane is originally from Seattle, but attended the University of Portland to complete my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She graduated with over 1,000 hours of classroom teaching experience in grades ranging from K to 5. She is currently completing my Master’s degree, also from the University of Portland, in Elementary Education with a specialization in reading.
She believes that when it comes to educating the whole child, little will be accomplished where there is not mutual respect between teacher and student. Because of this, she goes out of her way to make sure each child feels believed in, listened to, cared for, and important. Walking into her classroom you will witness a nurturing, safe environment, full of engaging, interactive lessons run on high expectations and academic rigor. In this type of environment, she has seen her students flourish tremendously, not only academically, but socially and behaviorally as well. In her classroom they are a family, a unit. She truly loves her job, and is excited to see the growth and development of this wonderful school.
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 Specialist
Throughout his educational experiences, he struggled academically because of a learning disability. However, with the help of some inspiring and encouraging teachers he was able to learn the power of perseverance and a strong work ethic, which helped him overcome his academic difficulties. Eventually it would be these experiences that would inspire him to pursue an undergraduate degree in the field of Collaborative Special Education so that he too could help struggling learners believe in themselves and find strength in their struggles. More recently, he returned to school to begin a post-graduate degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on reading intervention. He has always had a passion for reading and the adventures you can take through a good book. He also believes that reading is the cornerstone to all academic success and that achievement in this area will lead to growth in other content areas as well. However, this is not applicable for all students. Every student has different needs and he feels it is his duty to ensure that they receive intervention in their area(s) of need whether that be academically (math, writing, reading, etc.), behaviorally, or socially.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.