Faculty

Meet our Faculty & Staff

Rev. Cory A. Mayer, Ph.B, S.T.L, S.T.D.c

Pastor of Ave Maria

Fr. Cory A. Mayer began his philosophy studies in Rome, Italy in 2001. After his philosophical formation, he went on to complete his Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology and is currently completing a doctorate at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy. After serving at the cathedral of the Diocese of Venice, he was appointed administrator then pastor of Ave Maria Parish by Bishop Frank Dewane. Since 2013, Fr. Mayer has enjoyed watching the children here at Donahue Academy grow in their academic and spiritual life.

Dr. Dan Guernsey, Ed. D.

Principal; Freshman Rhetoric

Dr. Guernsey holds a B.A. in English  from University of San Francisco; a M.A. in English from University of California Berkeley; a M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision from California State University, and an Ed.D. in Education from Eastern Michigan University.  He has worked with various entities associated with Tom Monaghan’s Ave Maria projects for more than 17 years as a consultant, and college level associate professor, department chair, dean, and President. He is the founding principal of the Donahue Academy, and an experienced principal and high school teacher. He also serves as Director of the Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 Programs and is a Board Member of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools.

Mark Jahnke, M.A.

Vice Principal; Junior Renaissance Humanities

Mr. Jahnke graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in Philosophy and in Catholic Studies as well as an M.A. in Catholic Studies.  He has taught humanities, Latin, algebra and held various administrative positions over the past several years both in Minneapolis and here at Donahue Catholic. He is grateful for the blessing of leading such an excellent school where students joyfully pursue Truth, Beauty and Goodness through Catholic classical education.  Mr. Jahnke, his wife and six children reside in Ave Maria and are blessed to send the eldest four to Donahue Catholic.

Abril Borjon, B.A.

Spanish I and II

Mrs. Abril Borjon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from St. Thomas University. Her extensive experience in international law and historical fundamentals offered an opportunity to begin her diplomatic career with the U.S. Department of State in Mexico, as an Immigrant Visa Arrests and Detentions Specialist.

Blessed with a multicultural family that nurtured her love for Jesus through service and a Catholic education, Mrs. Borjon had the opportunity to serve and lead various church ministries around the world, expanding her skills in languages, folklore, and the arts. In 2006 Mrs. Borjon became the leader of SANCTUS, a Catholic Movement centered in the Eucharist and the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. She also founded VIRTUSTALENTUM, a bilingual (English-Spanish) educational enrichment program that nurtures values and virtues through a process and traditional arts.

Furthermore, being a passionate teacher and life-long learner, Mrs. Borjon feels extremely blessed to be part of Donahue Academy and the Ave Maria Community along with her husband Richo and soon to be five children.

 

Marie Bruce B.A.

Pre-Kindergarten  Teacher Aid

Mrs. Bruce graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Early Childhood Development.  She has over 25 years of experience teaching preschool age children.  Mrs. Bruce has two grown children, Jack and Annemarie.  Her son Jack, his wife and two children also live in Ave Maria.

 

Matthew J. Byrne, J.D.

Mathematics 6; Humanities 7; Freshman Logic; Junior Economics; Senior Economics

Mr. Byrne graduated from Manhattan College with a B.A. in Government and Politics with a minor in History, and from Pace University Law School where he earned his Juris Doctorate. He also engaged in graduate course work at the Archdiocese of New York’s Institute of Religious Studies while teaching religious education in his local parish. Mr. Byrne has had a 20 plus year legal career as the managing partner in his own law firm, as a senior attorney in county government, and as a municipal attorney and prosecutor. He was an elected Judge in New York for 16 years and completed his elected public service as a Trustee in local government. For more than 16 years, Mr. Byrne was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Manhattan College, The College of Mount Saint Vincent, Iona College and Dominican College where he taught courses in American Government, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, and Business Law, among others. He also was instrumental in helping develop a new curriculum in Criminal Justice at Dominican College where he taught the first courses offered in Criminal Law, Criminal Justice and Mental Health Law. He and his wife Maribet and their sons, Matt and Jack have relocated to Ave Maria from New York and are thrilled to be a part of the Donahue Academy family.

Melody Curtis, M.Ed.

Third Grade

Mrs. Curtis recently moved from the Midwest to Ave Maria in June 2016 with her husband, Michael.  She holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Childhood Education from Lourdes University.  Teaching, leading and serving is her passion, as previous experiences and accomplishments in Catholic school administration and teacher-leadership roles have been fueled by witness to the faith and a firm belief in the power of Catholic education for almost 20 years.

Mary Claire Dant, M.L.S.

Media Specialist

Mrs. Dant has lived in Florida since she was two years old.  She has her B.A. degree from Barry University and her M.L.S. from the University of South Florida.  She thought she would retire after 25 years with the Collier County School system, but then decided she loved children too much to stay away.  So she is now at the Donahue Academy on a part-time basis as Media Specialist.  She is the mother of three and grandmother of 5.

Janet DeLiso, B.A.

Athletic Director, Admissions Coordinator

Mrs. DeLiso earned a Bachelor of Arts from Governor’s State University in the Chicago area where she grew up. She was a Technical Sergeant in the Illinois Air National Guard for nine years working as an electronics mechanic. Mrs. DeLiso is a Florida Master Gardener and enjoys working with the students in our school garden. She and her husband Vito have lived in Florida since 1994, and three of their four children have graduated from Donahue Academy.

Dr. Dianne Fabii, Ph.D., NCC, MCC, LPC

Guidance Counselor

Dr. Fabii, comes to the diocese with a unique background in both providing counseling services and coordinating advancement programs. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in special education from LaSalle University and Master’s degree in education from St. Joseph’s University. After teaching both in Philadelphia and in England, she moved to New Jersey and completed requirements to obtain several certifications in counseling. She conducted a private counseling practice there for over fifteen years. Dianne has worked in K-8 schools, colleges and the non-profit sector providing school counseling and career development services. A committed life-long learner, Dianne completed her Ph.D. at Rutgers University in 2017 in the field of Childhood Studies, the first program of its kind in the United States.

She has traveled extensively throughout southern India on many mission trips to assess needs and to determine sources to raise funds for a variety of needs. Dianne relocated to southwest Florida in 2015 and is happy to combine her passions for helping children reach their greatest potential and raising funds to support Catholic education. She divides her time between Donahue Academy and St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples.

Lacey Fairchild, B.S.

Receptionist

Mrs. Fairchild graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from the Florida State University College of Business.  After college, she worked in the sales industry as a pharmaceutical sales representative.  A native Floridian, she grew up in Fort Myers and has lived in Florida her entire life.  She moved to Ave Maria in 2016 with her husband, Quentin, and their 4 children so that her children could attend Donahue. She is so excited to be a part of Donahue Academy!

Linda Fox, B.A.

Second Grade

Mrs. Fox graduated from Ohio Dominican College Summa Cum Laude with majors in English, Theology, and Education. She has 16 years of teaching experience in Catholic high schools and grammar schools, and over 30 years of teaching experience. She and her family were among the founding families of Donahue Academy. Her three oldest children graduated from the Academy, and are now practicing engineering, in law school, and in nursing school. She has a passion for teaching, especially the young, and introducing them to the love of Christ and His Church.

Amy Gawron, B.A.

PreK

Mrs. Amy Gawron graduated from Franciscan University with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After having a family, she was blessed to be able to homeschool her six children for many years.  Eventually, she came to love a beautiful Catholic school in Providence, RI and entrusted the kids to the care of the Nashville Dominican sisters. During this time she was still blessed to stay home with her little ones while volunteering extensively in the school. One highlight from this time was writing and directing a play of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the students, teaching them to commit to memory the words of Our Lady to St. Juan Diego, “Do not fear any illness, anxiety, or pain. Am I not here who is your mother? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”

In 2016, she moved to Ave Maria with her family and a large group of extended family that included her mom and two siblings!  Her six kids all entered Donahue Academy, the youngest in Kindergarten and the oldest as a senior in high school. Amy signed up to help substitute teach and was soon asked to assist in first grade as a co-teacher. When Donahue added a pre-k program the following year, Amy was invited to be the head teacher. She finds great joy in welcoming the littlest ones into the Donahue family.

 

Angélica M González, M.B.A.

Information Technology Director

Mrs. Gonzalez graduated with a Bachelors degree in Engineering Computer Science and Telecommunications and a Masters in Business Administration.  She has broad working experience of over 25 years. She and her family have been part of Donahue Academy since 2007 when she moved to Ave Maria with her husband, Alex, and their three children who graduated from Donahue Academy.  She sees her job at the Academy as an opportunity to contribute to evangelizing the youth.

 

Cassie Graham, M.A.

Pre-Algebra 7; Algebra I 8; Sophomore Pre-Calculus; Junior Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry; Senior Statistics

Mrs. Cassie Graham holds a B.A. in mathematics from Carleton College in Minnesota and a M.A. in mathematics from the University of Washington. She has taught everything from pre-algebra to calculus in various settings, including a public high school, college classrooms, and a boarding school in Wisconsin where she lived prior to moving to Ave Maria and where she first discovered the joy of teaching statistics.

Preparing students for the AP Statistics exam gave her a newfound respect for the field of statistics and she has since had a passion for this field in particular. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach statistics as an elective to seniors this year and is excited to begin integrating her AP Statistics background into the Catholic classical model. She is also ecstatic to be able to bring her passion for teaching to the school that four of her six children now attend.

Ethan Graham, M.Th.

Freshman Ancient Humanities; Junior Calculus; Senior Modern Humanities and Calculus

Mr. Graham graduated in 1995 from Stanford University with an honors degree in humanities, earnings from tutoring calculus to pre-meds, and a baptismal certificate from his conversion to the Catholic faith.  Thus, he is thrilled to be putting these things to good use, teaching both humanities and math in a great Catholic school.  Moreover, his religious studies master’s degree at Syracuse University (which focused on the work of René Girard) and his Ave Maria University Pastoral Theology Master’s Degree (which engaged the rich Catholic tradition within a Thomistic perspective) have cemented a key aspect of his educational philosophy: Truth is naturally desirable, but teachers are important models of desire for the Truth.  Another key element of his philosophy is that authentic teaching must imitate the Divine pedagogy: Truth is revealed in stages, respecting the fact that “what is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.”  Thus, the Catholic classical mission of Donahue (which respects the grammar, logic, and rhetoric “stages” of learning) is magnificently in line with what he sees as an ideal school.  Mr. Graham has been a high school teacher for 15 years and has had articles published on St. Augustine, Durkheim, St. John Paul the Great, and high school pedagogy (all exploring the ramifications of the Girardian hermeneutic).  At the end of the day, though, his greatest happiness lies in prayer and fulfilling his vocation to family life with his wife, Cassie, and six children: Catherine, Andrew, Lucy, Emily, Matthew and Veronica.

Lisa Guernsey, R.N.

Nurse

Mrs. Guernsey graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in Philosophy and BSN in Nursing.  She moved from Ann Arbor, MI   to Ave Maria in 2007 with her 6 children and husband Dan who started up the Donahue Academy. In addition to her time here as a school nurse, she has experience in medical/surgical nursing, wound care and currently works part time in home health care.   She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and sports.

Jeremy Johnston, M.A, Ph.D.c

Latin 7; Theology 7,8; Sophomore Medieval Humanities; Senior Theology

Mr. Johnston has an M.A. in Theology from Ave Maria University and he is currently a Ph. D. candidate with a concentration in Moral Theology. He has worked with various youth organizations, including the Salesians of Don Bosco, and taken leadership roles in several national and international mission trips. Mr. Johnston is a convert to Catholicism with a zeal for teaching the Catholic faith and he has a deep love for every student under his care. His relationship with Christ and the blessing of his beautiful wife, Lily, and their four amazing children fulfills his every need in this life. By the grace of God, he is a teacher at Donahue Academy which fills his heart with immense joy.

Craig Kadlec, B.S.

Business Manager

Mr. Kadlec graduated with a B.S in Accounting from West Chester University. After college, he became a small business owner, operating his own copy, print and shipping business. In addition to owning and operating that business, he also became the V.P. of Finance for a warehousing & fulfillment company.  He, his wife, Beth, and their 4 children moved to Ave Maria in 2014. All of their children attend the Donahue Academy and Mr. Kadlec is extremely excited to be a part of the Donahue Academy staff and to be working in the school his children attend!

Margaret Kelly, M. Ed.

First Grade

Ms. Kelly earned a B. A. in Elementary Education at the University of Florida in 2016, and completed her M. Ed. in Special Education at the same institution the following year. While finishing her graduate studies, Ms. Kelly began working as a Resource Teacher for grades K-2 in a rural public school. She feels very blessed to extend her vocation as a teacher by sharing the Catholic faith with students and to be a part of the Donahue family!

Dcn. Thomas Kinnick, S.T.L.

Theology 6-8; Freshman Theology;  Sophomore Theology; Junior Theology

Deacon Kinnick graduated from St. Norbert College with a B.A. in Psychology and later earned a M.A. in Theology from St. Mary’s College of Ave Maria University and a S.T.L. from Mundelein Seminary-University of St. Mary of the Lake.  In 2007, he was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin.  He has spent the last 35 years in education—working as teacher, administrator, campus minister, and coach.  He also has extensive experience working for the Catholic Church: as full-time permanent deacon, Director of Faith Formation, and spiritual director; as instructor of both the Lay Formation Institute and the Formation Program for the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of La Crosse; as speaker/presenter conducting parish missions, delivering motivational and catechetical speeches for men’s and women’s conferences and youth, parish, and school events and diocesan staff, school, and clergy training as well as appearing as guest apologist for Relevant Radio and Spirit Radio; and as theological consultant for the USCCB, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and the Dioceses of La Crosse and Madison.  In conjunction with the North American Lourdes Volunteers organization, Deacon Kinnick also has led 6 youth/adult service pilgrimages to Lourdes, France, a place he describes as the intersection of the Cross, the vertical with the horizontal—where we offer perfect glory, honor, and praise to God through our service of the disabled, the sick, and the dying of the world.

Deacon Kinnick moved to Ave Maria with his wife of 35 years, Yvette, and two younger children (who attend Donahue Academy) in the summer of 2017 to be close to his two older children (graduates of AMU) and grandchildren, fulfilling a promise he made to himself in 2010, after his initial visit to Ave Maria, to move his family to Florida and to be part of this community of Our Lady dedicated not only to the search for goodness and truth and beauty but also to developing young people of virtue eager to take part in JP II’s call for the New Evangelization.

Laura Klucik, M.A.

Office Manager

Ms. Klucik is delighted to be back at the academy.  Her previous experience is as an international humanitarian assistance program liaison and monitor, a student exchange program coordinator, and a college instructor, though she considers being a mother her absolute best job of all.   Serving our school community, individual by individual, with excellence and a smile is her goal.

Jennifer Klucinec, B.A.

Fourth Grade

Miss Klucinec received certification in K-6 Elementary Education, and has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Magdalen College.  She has been in Catholic education for over 20 years, with a specific love for teaching Grammar and History. She was born in Pittsburgh, PA, but grew up in Dallas, TX.  She has also lived in Wisconsin, Illinois and New Hampshire.  She enjoys playing musical instruments, golfing, softball, cooking, and watching sports. Go Steelers!

Daniel Lendman, M.Th.

 Freshman Geometry and Latin II ; Sophomore Latin III

Mr. Lendman, STL, MA Theol., MA Phil, is married and a father of three young children. He has worked in a variety of fields, but most recently he taught high school at Santa Clara Catholic High School in Oxnard, California. Before that, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts at Thomas Aquinas College, and his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley. In between his time teaching high school and coming to Ave Maria, Mr. Lendman obtained in Master’s degree and his Licentiate in Theology at the International Theological Institute in Trumau, Austria. Mr. Lendman is a current PhD student in the Graduate Theology Program at Ave Maria University, and his overjoyed to have the opportunity to teach, which has long been his passion.

Conner McCormick, B.S.

Science 6-8

Mr. McCormick graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a B.S. in Forensic Science in December 2016. Before this he was a senior in UCF’s Civil Engineering program when he decided to change his focus. While attending college, he also served as a Life-teen Missionary, where he ministered to middle school aged youth in the United States. Teaching at Donahue is an excellent opportunity to follow God’s obvious call to serve middle school youth and to show them how science and faith complement one another. He married his wife, Jasmine, in July 2015 and they have two daughters: Lily and Violet.

Jasmine McCormick, B.A.

Freshman Biology; Sophomore Chemistry; Junior Anatomy and Advanced Scientific Topics; Senior Physics

Mrs. McCormick graduated from Ave Maria University with a B.A. in Biology in May 2016.  While studying at AMU, she worked as the Director of Youth Ministries but science and medicine has always been her true passion.  Teaching at Donahue offers an amazing opportunity to teach students about the beautiful relationship between God and science, she is excited to start this chapter in her life.  She married her husband Conner in July 2015 and welcomed their first daughter, Lily, in April 2016.  She enjoys spending time with family, walking her two (crazy) dogs, listening to music, reading, and cooking.

Nathan Morris

Facilities Manager

Mr. Morris moved to Ave Maria in 2008 from Illinois where, after spending 2 years in the seminary and desiring to continue studies, he sought out a Catholic University and found himself enrolling at Ave Maria University.  Liking the Florida weather, he decided to start working for AMU’s facilities department, allowing him to remain in his new found home.  He met his wife at AMU where she is a professor.  They have one daughter so far.  Six years later, he earned his Florida Community Association Manager’s license and began managing many of the associations in the town of Ave Maria.  With his previous experience of maintaining the school when he worked for AMU, he was excited to come back and manage the facilities for Ave Maria Parish and the Donahue Academy.

Jackson Reeves

Music K-8; Latin 8; Sophomore Music Appreciation

After high school, Mr. Reeves spent seven years in seminary formation at St. John Vianney College Seminary and St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. While there he completed a B.A. in Philosophy. After discerning that God was not calling him to be a priest, he worked as a music director at a parish in central Florida for two years. Mr. Reeves then returned to school at Ave Maria University’s Graduate Program of Theology for two years, and now finds himself here at Donahue Academy where he hopes to instill in all students the love of music by sharing with them the Catholic Church’s treasury of sacred music.

Lisa Rochefort, M.S.

Humanities 6,8

A native Floridian, Ms. Rochefort began undergraduate studies with Gannon University in Erie, PA and Christendom College in Front Royal, VA, earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL and a Master of Science in English Education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  She embarked upon her vocation as a homeschooling mother until God led her into the Diocese of Palm Beach as a Florida-certified instructor teaching in grades PK3 – 8 in addition to serving at various times as Media Specialist, Director of Religious Education, and Director of Family Life Ministry. Additional teaching experience outside the Diocese includes public and private schools grades 6-12, private tutoring, and volunteering as an adult literacy tutor.  She remains passionate about teaching and learning while continuing to enjoy the blessings of her six adult children, scuba diving, and target practice.  She loves being at Donahue Academy to walk with and guide her students in the pursuit of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.

Dené Rosser, B.A.

Kindergarten

Dené Rosser graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education. She most recently served as the Director of Religious Education for Holy Spirit Parish in Montgomery, Alabama. Prior to that role, she and her husband, Tyler, served four years as missionaries with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, helping college students grow in their Catholic faith and evangelize their peers. Dene’s passion is working with children and she is excited to be a part of the Donahue Academy. Dene’ and Tyler reside in Ave Maria with their two sons, James (3) and John (1).

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Joshua Small, B.A.

Assistant Athletic Director; Physical Education 1-10

Mr. Joshua Small was raised in Evansville, IN, where he attended Catholic School throughout his schooling years.  After graduation, he continued his education at Aquinas College in Nashville, TN.  While at Aquinas, he received his Bachelor of Science in History with a Secondary Education minor.  In 2017, he married his high school sweetheart, Hannah.  Newly married, he moved to Ave Maria, FL to begin work at the Academy.  “I am so happy to be here working for Donahue.  I look forward to all of the different experiences during my time here.”

Anne Thelen, B.A.

Art K-8; Sophomore Art appreciation; Junior and Senior Art elective

Ms. Thelen graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD with a B.A. in Fine Art. There, she was a member of the Varsity Women’s Swimming program, earning many points for the squad in her four years. For the last three years, she has served as a campus missionary with FOCUS, the Fellowship Of Catholic University Students, inspiring and equipping college students to love the Lord and teach their peers to do the same. She is very excited to introduce students to the goodness, truth and beauty in art history, theory and practice.

Wendy Thong

Kindergarten Teacher Aid B.A.

Mrs. Thong moved to Ave Maria from Michigan in August 2018 with her husband Stephen. She received  a B.A. in economics from Northwestern University and a certificate in elementary education from Northeastern Illinois University.  Mrs. Thong taught second grade at a Catholic school in Chicago until her first child was born. She was blessed to be able to stay home with her children. Now that her children are all grown, she is happy to be working in a Catholic school again and loves sharing her faith with the little ones.

Mary-Ruth Traver, B.A.

Fifth Grade

Mary-Ruth Traver is a 2011 graduate of Donahue Academy. Before attending college, she did a year of mission work with N.E.T. Ministries. Then she attended Benedictine College where she received her B.A. in Secondary Education and Social Sciences. After teaching for a year in Kansas, she has returned to Ave Maria where she is excited to explore with her students all that is true, beautiful, and good.

Dr. Joseph W. Yarbrough, Ph.D.

Freshman Latin I; Sophomore Latin III

Dr. Yarbrough grew up in East Lansing, Michigan and remains an ardent fan of Michigan State football and basketball. He earned a B.A. in Classics and Philosophy at Valparaiso University in Indiana where he also ran cross country and track. He received an M.St. in Hebrew & Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford. He completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Cornell University with a dissertation on the question of the eternity of the world in the Middle Ages. He taught Latin, Greek, and the occasional course in Philosophy at Ave Maria University for 11 years.  Dr. Yarbrough led summer study abroad trips to Rome for Classics students from 2013-2019.  His passion for Latin was kindled during graduate school when he spent a summer in Rome with Fr. Reginald Foster, who showed his students the incredible range of authors, the beauty of expression, and the profundity of thought to which a knowledge of Latin opens the door. He hopes to share the same with his own students while also helping them to become better readers and writers through a careful attention to the study of grammar.

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