Meet the St. Thomas School Faculty and Staff
Learn more about Saint Thomas’s dedicated, committed, and qualified staff.
Learn more about Saint Thomas’s dedicated, committed, and qualified staff.
Fr. Bill was ordained a priest in 1993. Fr. Bill Ashbaugh was studying to be a scientist when God called him in a different direction. Find out how he made the transition from a doctoral program to the seminary at the Diocese of Lansing’s priest discernment stories page.
Email contact: FrBill@STA2.org
Mr. Tim DiLaura is an educator of 35 years’ experience in classroom instruction, school leadership and district supervision. Mr. DiLaura has served in leading schools to significant growth in their impact on student learning and character development, while developing strong school community among staff and parents. Mr. DiLaura holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, is a third order Carmelite, belongs with his wife Michelle to Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor, and is father to a son and daughter.
Email Contact: TDilaura@STA2.org
Laura Steffy attended Wayne State University studying computer science. She stayed at home to raise her daughter, and did extensive volunteer work at the American Red Cross, a daycare for children at risk and at her daughter’s Catholic elementary school. In 2001, Mrs. Steffy joined the staff at Fr. Gabriel Richard High School and in 2003 came to St. Thomas when FGRHS moved. Laura and her husband, Gary, have one daughter, Heather, who is a Bilingual Speech Pathologist in Atlanta.
Email Contact: LSteffy@STA2.org
Theresa Henderson received her RN degree from Idabelle Firestone School of Nursing in Akron, Ohio. She attended the University of Akron and received her nurse anesthesiologist degree from Altman Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia. She moved to Michigan in 1983 to teach at the University of Michigan School of Nurse Anesthesia. From 1989 to 2009 she taught anesthesia at Wayne State and U of D Mercy. Mrs. Henderson was chief of the Acute and Chronic Pain Service at Oakwood Medical Center. She has been a volunteer Catechism teacher since 1968 and is currently the Liturgist at St. Thomas School. Mrs. Henderson is the mother of six children and the grandmother of 15. She has retired from anesthesia and is spending her time at St. Thomas.
Email Contact: Thenderson@STA2.org
Denise Gruetzmacher recently moved to Ann Arbor from Massachusetts. Denise holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the College of St. Elizabeth (Morristown, NJ) and a Bachelors of Arts from Regis College (Weston, MA), as well as certifications from the American Montessori Society and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Her teaching experience over the past 13 years has involved the techniques of Waldorf, Reggio Emilia and Montessori philosophies, and she served as the assistant director of a NAEYC certified school. Denise and her husband Bill have two adult sons.
Email contact: DGruetzmacher@STA2.org
Kathryn Simpson received her Associate Degree from Washtenaw Community College in Early Childhood Development, and a Nursing Degree from The University of Michigan. Ms. Simpson is an aide in the Little Saints Preschool. She has been part of St. Thomas School for many years as both a teacher and parent. She has two children.
Email contact: KSimpson@STA2.org
Mary Sue Ortiz received her bachelor’s degree in education from Central Michigan University. She has been teaching for 20 years. The most recent nine years have been with preschool children. She is looking forward to beginning her first year at Little Saints Preschool – sharing her faith, excitement and love of learning with the preschool children. Mary Sue has moved back to the area after living in Rochester Hills for 25 years. She and her husband, Fernando, have three daughters and two son-in-laws. Mary Sue will be in the “yellow room,” continue with her students in the afternoon BRIDGE program, and stay for aftercare two afternoons per week.
Email contact: MOrtiz@STA2.org
Laure Dallas has been teaching at St Thomas Little Saints Preschool since 2007. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development, and is trained and experienced in working with children with special needs. Laure, resides in Ann Arbor with her husband, Andrew. They have four boys, the oldest was married last year and he and his wife both work in Washington DC, the two middle sons are recent graduates of Virginia Tech, and their youngest is starting his second year at Penn State. Laure enjoys spending her free time being with family, friends and traveling.
Email contact: LDallas@STA2.org
Sue Heemstra received her B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. Four of her nine children have graduated from St. Thomas, and her youngest is currently enrolled. She is an aide in the second grade class after having worked in the preschool and kindergarten. Mrs. Heemstra and her husband Ron enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren.
Email contact: SHeemstra@STA2.org
I am a 2015 graduate from Eastern Michigan University. In 2017-18, I served as a 2nd grade teacher within Ypsilanti Community Schools. My wife, Michele, and I were married at St. Thomas in December of 2016, and currently live in Ypsilanti with our two black cats, Axle and Princeton. I am thrilled to share my passion, humor, and thirst for learning with the Kindergarten students of St. Thomas. As I continue to deepen my own relationship with God, I am excited to mentor the children in my classroom to explore their own relationship with God. Thank you for welcoming me into your community, school, and family. God Bless!
Email Contact: Apietryga@STA2.org
Hello Saint Thomas community! I am very excited to be joining the Saint Thomas staff this coming year! A native of Cleveland, Ohio, I moved to South Bend, Indiana to attend the education program at Saint Mary’s College. As an elementary teacher and reading specialist, my goals are to instill a love for learning in my students while helping them develop their own relationship with Christ. I believe that books are a wonderful tool through which we can explore the world and I can’t wait to share in their incredible stories with my class! When I’m not teaching, you can find me reading, baking, spending time outside, and enjoying many, many cups of tea. I look forward to meeting all of you!
Email Contact: Mkelly@STA2.org
It is a great blessing to serve at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School. I deeply understand the value and importance of Catholic Education, having taught in both public and Catholic schools. Catholic Education has been part of mine and my family’s life for generations. My brother, sisters and I have all attended Madonna University. My goal at St. Thomas will be to set high learning expectations for my students in employing a Catholic Classical Curriculum. I will help them discover that God is the goal of their knowledge and by working with their natural gift of learning they will experience great joy and satisfaction in school.
Email Contact: Sjohnson@STA2.org
I graduated from Madonna University with a degree in Secondary Education with a certification in both Social Studies and English. I have been a member of the community of Consecrated Women of Miles Christi since 2015. As the primary focus of my ministry, I work with young adults, especially young women, leading faith formation groups, camping trips, and retreats. I am very excited to be teaching at St. Thomas in the 5th through 8th grades! I am looking forward to guiding the students on an adventure through History and Literature using the Socratic method of questioning and dialogue. My goal is that they see through these subjects the workings of God’s Divine Providence in the world and are drawn to His truth, goodness, and beauty!
Email contact: Grex@STA2.org
Greetings! I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master Degree in General Science from Eastern Michigan. I’ve taught both Math and Science in several settings, including at-risk self-contained classrooms and served in several roles including teacher, assistant and mentor. My instructional background includes classically homeschooling my children before returning to the classroom, most recently in Brighton as a long term substitute, tutor and Algebra teacher. I have a certification in General Science, 6 -12 Grades. I am excited to meet my students and being classically exploring Math and Science with them at St. Thomas Catholic School.
Email contact: Slaird@STA2.org
Greetings~! I have a BFA from the University of Michigan and Teaching Certification in Art for Elementary through High School in Art from Eastern Michigan University. My teaching experience has been at the elementary and middle school levels. In teaching, my goal is to help students develop skills so they can create two dimensional and three dimensional compositions that are pleasing to the eye and reflect the beauty of God’s creation. Students will explore using different mediums and techniques so that the lessons will be interesting and fun. I also use examples from the art history of inspire their sense of aesthetics and educate them in how the history of western civilization has influenced the development of art from prehistory to the present. Looking forward to it!
Email contact: Smangan@STA2.org
I’ll begin my third year teaching Latin at St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Grade School. I currently have a Master’s in Theology and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. I actually started learning Latin as a child from my father, who is also a Canon Law and Latin professor at Sacred Heart Seminary. I have studied Latin at the undergraduate and graduate levels. My goal in Latin class is to give the students a strong grounding in Latin grammar with which they can excel in further studies in high school and beyond. In addition, student learn several Catholic prayers in Latin and discuss other relevant topics such as the history of the Roman people and the relation between Latin and other languages.
Email contact: Rpeters@STA2.org
Hola! I am originally from Chihuahua, Mexico where I attended a Catholic bilingual school from K-8. I earned my degree in marketing, and completed the first year of my Masters in Languages at the University of Akron, Ohio. I am currently attending Madonna University to further my studies in Languages. I have taught Spanish at all levels including seniors, college, high school, elementary, kindergarten and preschool students. This will be my sixth year as the Spanish teacher at St. Thomas. I love teaching Spanish and look forward to making it a great experience for our students in the classical curriculum at St. Thomas. I am married and blessed with 15 year old twins (boy and girl.)
Email Contact: Vlashaway@STA2.org