Teachers and Staff

Rev. Cory A. Mayer, Ph.B, S.T.L, S.T.Dc

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.


Dr. Guernsey holds a B.A. in English  from University of San Francisco; a M.A. in English from University of California Berkley; a M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision from California State University, and an Ed.D. in Education from Eastern Michigan University.  Director of the Cardinal Newman Society’s K-12 Programs, Board Member of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools, Founder and Headmaster of a Classical Catholic School, experienced principal, high school teacher.

Mr. Mark Jahnke, M.A.

Vice Principal

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 five children reside in Ave Maria and are blessed to send the eldest three to Donahue Catholic.

Mrs. Madeline Rappley, B.A.

Art 3-10

Miss Adams was born in South Bend, Indiana. Born and raised a Hoosier, she loves the Cubs and Notre Dame Football. Miss Adams was homeschooled until 6th grade, attended Trinity School at Greenlawn until senior year, and finished her education at Ave Maria University with a B.A. in Voice and graduating in May, 2016. Her whole life, Miss Adams has been active in the arts and currently works illustrating children’s books, private commissions, and adding to her ever expanding personal collection. Moving to Florida permanently, Miss Adams is excited to be a part of the Ave Maria community and to play her part at Donahue Academy as an art teacher.

Mr. Matthew Byrne, J.D.

Dean of Students; Math 6, 8; Humanities 7; Civics 10

Mr. Byrne graduated from Manhattan College with a B.A. in Government and Politics and from Pace University Law School where he earned his J.D. Mr. Byrne has had a 20 plus year career as an attorney in private practice and as a senior attorney in county government. He was the elected Judge in New York for 16 years, and completed his public service an elected Village Trustee. For more than 16 years, Mr. Byrne was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Manhattan College, Iona College and Dominican College of Blauvelt where he taught courses in American Government, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Justice and Business Law, among others. 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.

Mrs. Angelica Chaparro, M.B.A.

Information Technology Director

Mrs. Chaparro graduated with a Bachelors degree in Engineering Computer Science and Telecommunications and subsequently a Masters in Business Administration.  Her broad working experience for over 20 years includes a variety of industries. She and her family have been part of the Donahue Catholic family since 2007, when she moved to Ave Maria with her husband Alex and their three children:  the oldest one graduated from Donahue Academy, and the other two are current Donahue Academy students.  She sees her job at the Academy as an opportunity to contribute to evangelize the youth.

Mrs. 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.

Ms. Melody Curtis, M.ED.

3rd 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.

Mrs. Janet DeLiso, B.A.

Athletics Director and PE K-1

Mrs. DeLiso earned a Bachelor of Arts from Governor’s State University in the Chicago area where she grew up. Mrs. DeLiso was a Technical Sergeant in the Illinois Air National Guard for nine years working as an electronics mechanic. She is very involved in 4-H and the Collier County Fair. She and her husband Vito have lived in Naples since 1994 and have four children.

Mrs. Cassie Graham, M.A.

Math 10, 12

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.

Mr. Tyler Graham, M.Th.

Math 11; Science 11; Calculus 12; Humanities 12

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.

Mrs. Lisa Guernsey, R.N.


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.

Mr. Jeremy Johnston, B.A.

Spirituality 11, 12

Mr. Johnston graduated from Ave Maria University in 2011 with a B.A. in Theology. He is currently in graduate studies at the same institution and is expected to graduate on May 9, 2015 with an M.A. in Theology. In the fall of 2015 he will be entering Ave Maria University’s Ph.D. program 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. He currently lives in Ave Maria with his wife Lily and their two sons.

Ms. Jennifer Klucinec, B.A.

4th 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!

Mr. Daniel Lendman, M.TH.

Theology 8

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.

Mrs. Erin Logue, M.ED.


Mrs. Logue moved to Ave Maria from Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2012. She came with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from St. Xavier University and a Master’s in Special Education from Governor’s State University, five years’ experience teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten.  She also taught an additional year at the local Montessori. New on staff, Erin says, “My passion and love for children and the church is what brought me to teach at Donahue Catholic.”

Mrs. Jasmine McCormick, B.A.

Science 9, 10,12

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.

Mrs. Susan Nutt, B.S.

Office Manager

Mrs. Nutt holds a B.S. in Mental Health with a minor in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has served in the Church in various capacities, including missionary work with NET Ministries and three years on the staff in the Pontifical Council for the Laity (Vatican City). Prior to joining Donahue Academy she worked in higher education administration at both Aquinas College (Nashville) and Ave Maria University. She has lived in Ave Maria with her family since 2007.

Mr. Michael O’Donnell, B.A.

Pre-Calculus Honors 10

Mr. O’Donnell was raised in Aurora, IL and when it came time to pick a college Michael was more than happy to leave the freezing winters of Illinois for the sunshine of Ave Maria, Florida. In his senior year at the University, Michael was happy to be a part-time teacher at Donahue Academy. Michael graduates with a B.A in mathematics and minor in education. Mr. O’Donnell enjoys exploring the beauty and order of mathematics and delights in sharing these discovers with his students.

“Mathematics is the Language in which God has written the Universe” – Galileo Galilei


Ms. Lisa Rochefort, M.S.

Humanities 6,8; Writing Program K-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.

Ms. Regina Russo, B.S.

2nd Grade

Miss Russo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Theology from Ave Maria University. She was very active in her collegiate career, achieving academic honors multiple semesters, maintaining an active membership in the top University choir, and being a founding member of the Ave Maria University Women’s Lacrosse team who ranked as high as seventh in the NWLL during their second varsity season in 2016.

Miss Russo is a native of Florida, raised in Jacksonville, FL. She is a lover of all genres of music and plays four instruments. She teaches private music lessons to students of all ages and strives to increase a love and understanding for music in each of her pupils.

She is certified in Music Education and is in the process of completing her Elementary Education certification in Florida and plans to return to school to receive her Master’s degree in Music Education.

Miss Russo is excited to be in the beautiful town of Ave Maria.  She is looking forward to her teaching career and being part of the unique Catholic classical formation that Donahue Academy offers!

“Children are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work.”
~C.S. Lewis