Faculty and Staff

Meet our Faculty & Staff

Rev. David M. Vidal, Ph.D.

Pastor of Ave Maria Parish

Father David Mariano Vidal was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 13, 1973, the fifth of seven siblings. His parents, Alicia and Julio, live in Buenos Aires. He attended public primary schools and a private Catholic secondary school. In 1993, he began studies for the priesthood, and he was ordained in La Plata, Buenos Aires, on August 9, 2001. Father Vidal’s two brothers are missionary priests, and three of his sisters are nuns. After some years of missionary work in the United States, Fr. Vidal entered the graduate program in the School of Philosophy of the Catholic University of America in the fall 2009. He received the Licentiate degree in Philosophy in 2012, with a thesis on “Nature and Suppositum in the Metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas” under the direction of Msgr. John F. Wippel. He received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 2020, with a dissertation on “Res as Transcendental in the Metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas” under the direction of Gregory T. Doolan. He has been a lecturer at Saint John Vianney College Seminary, in Miami. In the Diocese of Venice, Father Vidal was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Ave Maria Parish, Ave Maria, in August 2017, Administrator of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish, LaBelle, in May 2018, and Pastor of Ave Maria Parish in February 2021.

 

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.

Ronald Garcia, M.Th.

 Humanities 7
Mr. Garcia comes to Ave Maria from Phoenix, Arizona where he spent six years teaching second grade and middle school as well as serving as Dean of Students at Great Hearts Classical Academy.   For 10 years prior to that he was in the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin and the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri where he taught, worked with inner-city youth, and had a variety of positions in the Church, including Director of Religious Education.  Born and raised in Jamesville, Wisconsin, Mr. Garcia was in law enforcement for 11 years before becoming an educator.   He earned an MA in Theology from the Institute of Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University, and when offered this position at Donahue Academy, he felt like it was Divine Providence.  Mr. Garcia and his lovely wife, Nicole, have been married seven years and have three living children, Therese, Dominic and newborn Augustine.

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.

 

Maureen Boylan

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

 

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.

 Humanities 8; 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.

Thomas Carroll, B.A.

Director of Marketing and Development

Mr. Carroll is Donahue Academy’s Director of Marketing and Development. With a background in Philosophy, Theology, Institutional Social Communications, Web and Radio Marketing, he brings a wide array of skills and insights to Donahue Academy.

He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Marquette University where he also minored in Theology and completed Pre-Dental studies in 3.5 years by taking Chemistry, Biology and Physics concurrently while winning the Organic Chemistry and Philosophy Subject Awards, working as a Physics Lab TA, Chemistry Research Intern and graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

After Marquette University, Thomas enrolled in La Pontificia’ Universita della Santa Croce in Rome, Italy. His thesis for his Licenza in Institutional Social Communications, “I’m Having a Baby, Not an A-Word: Abortion in Cinema” earned perfect marks from the panel.

 

Alexis Casterline, B.A.

Third Grade 

Alexis Casterline graduated with a B.A in Elementary Education from Ave Maria University in 2019. She taught first grade for two years at Eden Park Elementary School in Immokalee. Miss Casterline grew up in Northeast Ohio and moved to Florida in 2015.  She is excited to be at Donahue Academy where she gets to give and receive the goodness of Christ daily.

Melody Curtis, M.Ed.

Second 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.

James Dillon, M.A

7,8,9 & 10 Latin;  10, & 12 Theology

Having lived in Florida for the majority of his childhood before heading to the Southern California coast, Mr. Dillon is pleased to return to the community where he did his Master’s studies in theology to share what he has learned with his students. Mr. Dillon earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College and his M.A. from Ave Maria University. Mr. Dillon also studied Music Composition at the college level. He comes back to Ave most recently from Annapolis, MD, where he taught high school Latin and Rhetoric. Some of his personal interests include fishing, guitar, basketball, and fine art.  He is thankful for the opportunity to pursue St. Anselm’s principle of “faith seeking understanding” in theology classes and study the language of the Church with the wonderful students at Donahue Academy.  

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

School Counselor

Dr. Fabii, comes to the diocese with an extensive background in education and counseling services. 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 and licensure in counseling. She conducted a private counseling practice there for over fifteen years. Dianne has worked in K-12 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 relocated to southwest Florida in 2015.

Passionate about helping children reach their greatest potential, Dianne has traveled extensively throughout southern India on many mission trips. She has lectured there on mental health topics, as well as raised funds for a variety of schools and programs, both locally and abroad.

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.

Fifth Grade

Mrs. Fox graduated from Ohio Dominican College Summa Cum Laude with majors in English, Theology, and Education. She has 18 years of teaching experience in Catholic high schools and grammar schools, and over 40 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 an engineer, a federal prosecutor, and a postpartum nurse. She has a passion for teaching, especially the young, and introducing them to the love of Christ and His Church.

Mary Catherine Froula, B.A.

Latin III

Mary-Catherine grew up in Connecticut in a classically homeschooled family of ten children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at Thomas Aquinas College in California, graduating in 2019 with the equivalent of a double major in philosophy and theology and a minor in mathematics. It was there that she discovered a love for learning and Catholic education that brought her to Ave Maria University to earn a Master’s in theology and teach Latin part time. After finishing graduate studies she hopes to continue teaching full time (preferably within the subject matter of Humanities), and until then is grateful to be a part of forming the students at Donahue in the scholastic tradition. In her free time she enjoys reading novels (and attempting to write some of her own!), running, biking, and listening to Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.

Amy Gawron, B.A.

PreK

Mrs. Amy Gawron graduated from Franciscan University in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. In 2016, she moved from Rhode Island to Ave Maria along with a large family group that included her mom and two siblings! Her six children all entered Donahue Academy: the youngest in Kindergarten and the oldest as a senior in high school. Amy was happy to get involved too, first as a substitute teacher and then as co-teacher in first grade. When Donahue added a Pre-K program, she was invited to be the lead teacher and opened the Donahue Pre-K in 2017. She has since earned a Director Credential with the Florida Department of Children and Families. She finds great joy in welcoming the littlest ones into the Donahue family!

 

Cassie Graham, M.A.

8th Grade Algebra I; Freshman Geometry; Sophomore Pre-Calculus; Junior Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry; Senior Honors 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. Since 1998, when she started teaching, she has taught everything from early childhood math fundamentals to algebra to calculus to statistics in many varied settings, including a public high school, college classrooms, a boarding school, and at home with her small children.

Though Mrs. Graham cannot imagine a more exciting or fulfilling job than teaching math, she is grateful for the many other opportunities she has at Donahue to work with students, including coaching cross country and hosting formational lunches for the high school girls. She is also ecstatic to be able to bring her passion for teaching to the school in which her husband teaches and at which her six children attend.

Ethan Graham, M.A, M.T.S.

Sophomore Humanities; Junior Calculus; Senior Modern Humanities and Calculus

Mr. Graham graduated in 1995 from Stanford University with an honors degree in humanities; he then completed a religious studies master’s degree at Syracuse University in 1998 and a pastoral theology degree through Ave Maria University in 2010. He is currently completing a doctoral dissertation in theology of pedagogy. Mr. Graham has been a high school teacher for over 20 years and is currently Dean of the upper school academics while full-time teaching alongside his wife, Cassie, who teaches mathematics.  Mr. Graham also coaches cross country and soccer, runs the Model UN program, and assists with the Shakespeare in Performance play each year.  Mr. and Mrs. Graham currently have all 6 of their children attending the school from 3rd to 12th grade.

Lisa Guernsey, B.S.N, 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.   She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and sports.

Carole Hart, B.S.N.

Kindergarten Aide

Mrs. Carole Hart grew up in a military family, where she lived in different places such as Greece and Germany. After college graduation, she joined the Air Force and met her husband in Turkey.
She is grateful for the marriage vocation, being a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, and loves to encounter Christ in His little children.

Mark Jahnke, M.A.

9th & 11th Humanities, 11th/12th Latin IV

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. 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 seven children reside in Ave Maria and are blessed to send the eldest five to Donahue Academy.

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.

Athletic Director; 7, 8, 9; & 11th Moral Theology; Youth Ministry

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.

Jennifer Klucinec, B.A.

Fourth Grade

Ms. Klucinec has taught 4th grade at Donahue Academy for 13 years and counting. She has previously taught at other Catholic schools in Illinois and Wisconsin, totaling a 28-year career thus far. She has also enjoyed being a teacher-author for companies such as St. Benedict Press and Teachers Pay Teachers, Inc. She enjoys golf, cooking, softball, composing music, and watching the Steelers! The best part of teaching is seeing her former 4th graders graduate from high school, and then come back and visit their old classroom!

B.A. Liberal Arts, Magdalen College; State of Florida K-6 Elementary Educator Certification; Diocese of Venice Intermediate Catechetical Degree.

Veronica Lendman

Admissions Coordinator

Born and raised in Ojai, California, Mrs. Lendman has an extensive background in medicine, having earned EMT and Paramedic licenses followed by a Master’s program in pediatric physical therapy at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia. She and her husband, Daniel, along with their children, moved from Trumau, Austria to Ave Maria in 2016 so he could pursue and complete his doctoral studies at Ave Maria University. With three of their five children currently attending Donahue Academy, Mrs. Lendman loves being a part of such a nurturing community and is eager to welcome other students and their families into the school.

Conner McCormick, B.S.

Science 6-8; 10 Algebra

Mr. McCormick graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a B.S. in Forensic Science.  While attending college, he also served as a Life-teen Missionary, where he served middle school aged youth in Georgia.  He also volunteered with  the youth ministry group at Ave Maria Parish.  Teaching at Donahue provides an even better opportunity to serve and minister, as well as share a deep appreciation for the sciences and the pursuit of all that is True, Good, and Beautiful. Mr. McCormick married his wife, Jasmine, in July 2015 and they have four children. 

Jasmine McCormick, B.A.

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

Mrs. Jasmine McCormick holds a B.A. in Biology from Ave Maria University and a M.A. in Bioethics from Creighton University in Nebraska. While studying at AMU, she also worked as the Director of Youth Ministries for Ave Maria Parish where she discovered her love of working with teens. Teaching the rhetoric level sciences allows her to continue to minister to teens while also sharing her deep love of science and passion for bioethics. The profoundly Catholic and classical environment of Donahue Academy offers a truly unique environment in which the science courses can be fully integrated with philosophical, theological, and ethical inquires as the students are taught that “the scientist loves truth wherever he find it” (Langford). It is this unique educational environment that convinced her and her husband, Conner, that Ave Maria needed to be their home. They feel abundantly blessed to work at Donahue and raise their four children in such a supportive and faithful community.

Jennifer Minter, B.M., M.M.

1st Grade Aide

Mrs. Minter grew up in the Washington D.C. area where she earned her B.M. and M.M. in Music Education from Catholic University. She lived in Atlanta, GA for 13 years before moving to Ave Maria in 2019 with her husband and 6 children. She has been both an orchestra/band teacher, and an elementary school classroom teacher. Her 3 youngest children attend Donahue Academy.

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.

Theresa O’Hern, M.S.

Assistant Athletic Director/ PE K-12

Miss O’Hern holds a B.S. in Communications from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a M.S. in Exercise Science from Georgia State University. She transitioned into education after working in the health and wellness industry as she felt God calling her to serve Him through teaching. Originally from New York, Miss O’Hern worked for the Diocese of St. Petersburg as a PE and Religion teacher prior to joining Donahue Academy. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, cooking, baking, reading, and learning about the richness of our faith. She is grateful to be part of the Donahue Academy family and hopes to instill virtue and a love of Christ in her students.

 

Jackson Reeves, B.A.

Music K-8; 9 Latin, Choir

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.

6 Humanities, 6 Math, 6 Theology, 7 Grammer

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

Mrs. 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. Mrs. Rosser’s passion is working with children and fostering a love of learning from the early years and she is excited to be a part of the Donahue Academy. The Rossers reside in Ave Maria with their four children.

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Wendy Thong, B.A.

 Teacher Aid

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.

Ana Umana, B.S.

Office Manager

Ana holds a B.S. in Business Administration, with a Major in Hospitality Management. She worked for renowned hotel chains in Venezuela, Holland and in the US (Miami), where she worked as a Catering Manager for 5 years. But something was missing and she decided to discern God’s Will for her life.

During process, Ana started working as an assistant teacher at St. Gregory School, while pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.  She served in various ministries in her Parish, worked with the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart leading mission trips to El Salvador and for the past 4 years, she was the Office Manager at St. Gregory.

Ana, her husband John Paul, and their daughter Sophia fell in love with Ave Maria on their first visit! One year later, she joined our team and Sophia attends 5th grade at Donahue Academy. Ana is passionate about serving our community and is looking forward to meeting each and every one of you.

Mr. Carlos Villegas, B.S.

IT Director

 

 

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