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
Cathy Donahue attended Fr. Gabriel Richard High School and Eastern Michigan University’s School of Business. She worked at U of M Hospital during High School and while attending Eastern. After getting married she stayed at home trying to keep some semblance of order with her 8 children, all of whom have been through St. Thomas Grade School. She has volunteered at school helping in many capacities since her first child started at St. Thomas in 1992. She has substituted in the classrooms and was a Preschool Aide for a year. She is currently the Financial Manager for the school.
Email Contact: CDonahue@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
Mrs. Elizabeth (Beth) Rodriquez-McGirt teaches kindergarten at St. Thomas. She joined the staff in 2008 as a teacher in the preschool. Beth graduated from Eastern Michigan University. Her specializations include Early Childhood Education, Science and Social Studies. She possesses an endorsement in the field of Early Childhood. Beth and her husband live in Ann Arbor with their two sons Kane and Miles. Her hobbies include reading, cooking and taking long walks with her boys and their dog Pharaoh.
Email Contact: EMcgirt@STA2.org
Christa Light possesses a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and M.S. degree in Education from Western Michigan University. Mrs. Light taught for the Diocese of Kalamazoo for six years, teaching kindergarten, first, second and third grades. She moved to Ann Arbor several years ago and has taught at St. Thomas for twelve years. She is our first grade teacher. Christa’s twin daughters attend St. Thomas.
Email Contact: CLight@STA2.org
Mrs. Lisa Isserstedt earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Hope College, Holland, Michigan in 1992. With several years of experience in lower elementary education before joining St. Thomas in 2017, she has particular interests in elementary instructional strategy and positive discipline programs promoting student accountability and problem solving skills. Mrs. Isserstedt also specializes in implementing differentiation strategies across curricular areas including data driven small group and individual instruction. Mrs. Isserstedt’s experience in classroom technology, lesson planning design and professional learning teamwork make her a valuable professional development resource for the St. Thomas teaching team.
Email Contact: LIsserstedt@STA2.org
Elizabeth Recla received her B.A. in elementary education from Eastern Michigan University in 2003, with minors in Language Arts and Science. She is currently working on her masters in Reading at EMU. This will be Elizabeth’s eleventh year of teaching. She has spent most of her career teaching third and fourth grade. Elizabeth lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and two children. She is very excited to be part of the St. Thomas family.
Email contact: ERecla@STA2.org
Patricia Witt graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Mathematics Minor. She later received her Masters of Arts at California State University, San Bernardino in Educational Counseling. She has a Gifted and Talented Education Certification from University of California, Riverside. Tricia spent 30 years teaching in California in grades 2-6 and spending the most time in a 3rd grade GATE classroom. Tricia has two daughters who are biology majors at Iowa State University. Tricia was raised by devout Catholic parents on a farm in Iowa. She is excited about being back in the Midwest and is especially thrilled to be part of the St. Thomas the Apostle teaching team!
Email contact: TWitt@STA2.org
Alyssa Nett received her B.A. in 2011 from Concordia Wisconsin in elementary education and taught two years of preschool in Wisconsin. From there she has been working in the Ann Arbor Public schools as a Literacy and Math interventionist, as well as a substitute teacher. She has a range of teaching experience from pre-school through 6th grade, and is overjoyed to be teaching the fifth grade class at St. Thomas. Alyssa enjoys spending time with her husband, Alex, while enjoying the outdoors.
Email contact: ANett@STA2.org
Patti Marks has a B.A. in Education from the University of Michigan. Her masters program in Education of the Acoustically Impaired was interrupted when she married and was relocated to Europe for six years to participate with a Christian missionary group. After the youngest of her six children entered school, she began her experience as a classroom teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Stirling, NJ. The family returned to Ann Arbor in 1999 where she started at St. Thomas as an aide in grades 1, 2, and 3. The following school year she became the sixth grade classroom teacher. In recent years she has worked as a research assistant in a cancer research lab and later spent a summer as a Pfizer teacher intern. All of the Christmas children have been St. Thomas students.
Email contact: PMarks@STA2.org
Jennifer Croze graduated from the University of Michigan in 1998 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. Her certificate includes both natural science and mathematics endorsements. Over the last several years, she has been gathering credits towards a M.S. in Science Education. This is her fifteenth year teaching the seventh and eighth graders at St. Thomas School.
Email Contact: JCroze@STA2.org
Thomas Donahue earned a BS in Secondary Education with an emphasis on Social Studies from Eastern Michigan University where he graduated in April of 2016. Thomas has been a lifelong parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle and attended St. Thomas School from 1998-2007. Thomas started working at St. Thomas School in 2012 in the after-school program and has since worked as a substitute teacher at the school. Thomas also worked in the Parish Office as an administrative assistant and works maintenance for St. Thomas during the summer. Thomas is very excited to be joining the St. Thomas staff full-time and is excited to share his passion for Social Studies, as well as his Catholic identity, with his students in the coming years.
Email Contact: TDonahue@STA2.org
Veva Lashaway is from Chihuahua, Chihuahua where she attended a Catholic bilingual school from K-8. Mrs. Lashaway earned her degree in sales and marketing and completed the first year of her Masters in Languages at the University of Akron, OH. Mrs. Lashaway has taught Spanish at all levels including seniors, college, high school, elementary, kindergarten and preschool students. This is Veva Lashaway’s fourth year as the Spanish teacher at St. Thomas. She loves teaching Spanish and does her best to make learning Spanish fun. Mrs. Lashaway is married and blessed with 10 year old twins (boy and girl.)
Email Contact: VLashaway@STA2.org
Robert Peters graduated from Sacred Heart Major Seminary with a B.A. in Philosophy in 2014 and is currently working on his M.A. in Theology (with a focus on Patristics) at Sacred Heart. He has been a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle since 2001 and was an altar server for seven years during grade school and high school. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano and teaching karate. This is his first year teaching Latin at St. Thomas School.
Email contact: RPeters@STA2.org
Sharon Tewes received her B.A. in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota with studies in Systematic Theology. Ms. Tewes has been with St. Thomas in a number of capacities: working in the church office, a volunteer catechist, ESP director and as the computer and art teacher. Currently she is the art teacher and is in charge of the ESP program. Sharon has been with St. Thomas for 17 years.
Email Contact: STewes@STA2.org
Alan Warmanen received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2011. His certification includes grades K-12. Alan has completed level 1 Orff music education training for elementary music and is working towards full Orff-Schulwerk certification. Alan’s previous teaching experience includes: substitute music teacher in all grades throughout Washtenaw County, Choir Director at St. Thomas School, Southfield High School Director of Bands, Choir and Orchestra. In 2014, Alan left Southfield High School to become the Music Director for St. Thomas School teaching general music, band and choir. Alan is a U.S. Navy Veteran and a retired FAA Air Traffic Controller. He is an active musician, playing drums and percussion with the Saline Big Band and other jazz and concert groups in the area. Alan lives in Saline with his wife, Pam, and their daughters, Allison and Penny.
Email Contact: AWarmanen@STA2.org
Jeff Moyer graduated from Central Michigan University in 2008 with a B.S. in Education. His certificate is valid for teaching physical education to students in grades K-12. Since graduating in 2008 he has been a substitute teacher in Livingston County, and has also been a math tutor for middle school and high school students. This is Jeff’s fourth year teaching kindergarten through eighth grade physical education at St. Thomas.
Email contact: JMoyer@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