Faculty & Staff

Mr. Christopher A. Smith, M.A.

Headmaster

Mr. Smith grew up in upstate New York and graduate from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English. Mr. Smith then attended Franciscan University of Steubenville to obtain his teacher certification and begin work on his M.A. in Educational Leadership. Mr. Smith began teaching middle school students religion, math, and social studies at St. Patrick’s Academy in Catskill, NY. Mr. Smith then moved to Michigan to work at Everest Academy in Clarkston, MI. Mr. Smith has spent the past 18 years in Michigan teaching and administrating at a variety of schools from kindergarten to 12 grade and obtaining his M.A. in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University. Mr. Smith has the blessing of a beautiful wife, Kathleen, of 18 years, and five wonderful children Grace, Glorianna, Joshua, Jesse, and Joseph.

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.

Padre Amedeo Guida

Fr. Amedeo Guida, affectionately known as “Padre” was ordained for the Diocese of Syracuse, N.Y. on June 8, 1985. Over the course of the last 31 years, Padre has held various positions and been involved in several ministries in the Diocese. From 1989 to 1995, Padre was the first full-time Director of the Spanish Apostolate for the Eastern Region of the Diocese. During that time Padre has also served as both a prison and hospital chaplain.

After the completion of that term with the Spanish Apostolate ministry, Padre was called by Bishop James Moynihan to be his priest-secretary and assistant chancellor. Since 2004, Padre has been serving as the Bishop’s liaison for the Charismatic Renewal Ministry for the Diocese. Fr. Guida served as an Administrator in two different local parishes before being appointed pastor. In 2010 he became pastor at St Cecilia’s Church in Solvay, N.Y. in 2010, following in 2011 Padre also became pastor of its linked parish, Our Lady of Peace, in Lakeland, N.Y.

This pastorate was completed in August 2014; the same year which Padre finished the two-year program from “The Pope Leo XIII Institute, on Healing and Deliverance.”

Padre was serving as a Weekend Associate at Sacred Heart Church, Cicero, N.Y. till November 2016, when he was released of his administrative duties by Bishop Cunningham to join the staff at Ave Maria University in Florida. During this two-year period, Padre will be serving as the Catholic chaplain to the University students. His weekly duties are daily Masses, confessions and spiritual direction.

Fr. Amedeo also enjoys offering Days of Recollection and Retreats, as well as being a speaker at Conferences and sought as a Spiritual Director to both lay and religious.

Ms. Madeline Adams, 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. Peter Atkinson, B.A.

Theology 7; Classical Studies 9; Humanities 10; Latin 11,12; Shakespeare 11, 12

Peter Atkinson was born in St. John’s, New Brunswick, Canada. His father, having just converted to Catholicism, had recently ceased being an Anglican minister. He grew up in Washington, DC, reading, writing, tagging along with his five siblings, rock climbing, and acting. He graduated from Ave Maria University with a degree in Classics & Early Christian Literature. During university, Mr. Atkinson was involved with the Shakespeare in Performance troupe, founded Ave Maria’s creative arts journal and political philosophy society, served as a Resident Assistant, and walked across America with Crossroads Pro-Life in Summer 2012. He has been published in First Things and Philanthropy and was the 2015 recipient of the President’s Award at Ave Maria University. Mr. Atkinson professionally trained at Shakespeare and Company and will be teaching the Shakespeare elective this Fall.

Mr. Matthew Byrne, J.D.

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 the evangelization of 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.

Mrs. Maritere Crum, B.A.

Admissions Coordinator

Mrs. Crum graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA with a degree in English Writing. She and her husband, Richard, moved their family to Ave Maria in July of 2015. They have 8 children. Their two oldest boys are in college, one at John Paul Catholic in San Diego and the other at AMU. Their four school age children attend Donahue Academy (2 in the high school and 2 in the grade school) and the two youngest girls are still at home. Mrs. Crum joined the staff of Donahue Academy in September 2016 and is thrilled to help grow the school where her children attend.

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. Carol Diodati

1st Grade

Mrs. Kathy Dittus, B.A.

Music K-4

Mrs. Dittus graduated from the College of New Rochelle with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Secondary Education. Following graduation, she worked as an actuarial assistant in Insurance Services Office in New York City. She taught music at Pinecrest Academy in Georgia during the 1993-1994 school year.  Mrs. Dittus homeschooled her 6 children for 18 years and has been with Donahue Academy since 2008.She is currently certified in Florida for grades 5-9 in Mathematics. Teaching at Donahue and singing with the children in class and for liturgies has brought her much joy. Whether teaching music or math, she hopes to lead her students to see the beauty and wonder of learning.  She has participated in many liturgical groups in parishes and has led children’s choirs and contemporary groups in several parishes. She has enjoyed sharing her love for children and music in Vacation Bible Schools and Children’s Liturgy of the Word.  She enjoys singing, playing guitar and composing music. Her song “Come to Me” is featured on a CD of the Messages of Medjugorje produced by the Mary our Mother Foundation.

Mrs. Charlene M. Doman, R.N.

Academic Advisor

Mrs. Charlene M. Doman was born in Puerto Rico, and grew up in South Florida. She is fluent in Spanish and holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH graduating Cum Laude. She is also a licensed Registered Nurse in Florida, and has been active in the medical field for over 20 years. She and her husband, Martin Doman, have lived in Ave Maria for over 6 years, and have six children, one a current student at Ave Maria University, and the other five attending Donahue Academy. Mrs. Doman home schooled her children for many years, and also has teaching experience as a clinical instructor for RN students at FL Southwestern State College in Pediatrics and Level 1 Health Care. She also has extensive clinical Nursing experience. Along with her husband, Mrs. Doman has been actively involved in helping to run a non-for-profit company, Christ Music, that seeks to ”renew the heart of the Church through Eucharistic Praise & Worship” for over 20 years. She is blessed to continue this work in evangelization with the Donahue Family! 

Mr. José P. Fuster, B.Ed.

Dean of Students, Spanish 9 -12

He was born in a beautiful town of the Spanish mediterranean coast: Benidorm. His father, Juan, founded a K-12 school in that same town and growing in an educator´s household seems to have marked Jose for all his life and it is most likely the reason he has always been linked to an educational center throughout his professional career.

He is a passionate education professional with more than 16 years of teaching experience at elementary, middle and high school levels. He always says to his students that “the knowledge is a way without rest”, that´s why, José P. has studied in various universities from Spain. For instance, he is a graduate from Valencia Catholic University in Teaching and Physical Education; from University of Valencia with a Bachelor in Education which has been regionally accredited in the United States; and Master in Leadership and Management for the quality of educational centers from University Francisco de Vitoria (Madrid).

His last position in Spain was Principal of the Colegio Edith Stein, a K-12 school in Madrid. He is married to Anna G. and they have four children: José Javier, Juan Pablo, Gabriel María and Pedro Pablo; the two older sons are currently attending Donahue Academy.

Mrs. Cassie Graham, M.A.

Math 10, 12

Mrs. Cassie Graham holds a B.A. in mathematics from Carleton College in Minnesota and an 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.

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.

Mr. Ben Houde, B.A.

Latin 6-8; Theology 8; Humanities 9

Mr. Houde graduated as Valedictorian ex aequo from Ave Maria University with a B.A. in Classics and Early Christian Literature (with pre-med requirements) in May 2015.  His love for languages and excellent Classics professors led him to change his major from Biology to Classics during his junior year.  He moved to Ave Maria from Maine to attend Ave Maria University at the same time that his family moved into town.  Other interests include music (fiddle/violin), sports (baseball, soccer, Frisbee, skiing), and traveling.  Throughout high school and college, he has spent some time in Nicaragua doing mission work.

Mr. Mark Jahnke, M.A.

Latin 9, 10; Geometry 9; Humanities 11; Contemporary Moral Questions 11, 12

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.

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.

Mr. Dan Linton, B.B.A.

Bus Driver

Mr. Linton graduated from Pace University with a BBA in Accounting and went to work as a Financial Analyst for Merrill Lynch. After 4 years he switched careers and joined the NYPD.  In August, 2011, he retired as a Sergeant Detective Squad with 28 years of service. He resides in Del Webb with his lovely wife Roberta.  He enjoys reading, following his favorite sports teams (Yankees and Giants), playing his guitars, playing golf on Tuesdays and Thursdays with his Del Webb buddies as well spending some quiet time in this paradise of Ave Maria.

Ms. Roberta Linton B.A.

Receptionist

Graduated St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, New York  with a BA in Sociology. She worked at Staten Island University Hospital as a  Discharge Planner as well as a clerk/ registrar In the Emergency Dept. She resides in Del Webb with her husband and  gift from God Officer Dan. She loves to cook, bake , crochet and relax by the pool.

Mrs. Erin Logue, B.A.

Kindergarten

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, five years’ experience teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten, and is now one class shy of obtaining her Master’s in Special Education from Governor’s State University.  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.”

Sr. Mary Magdalene, O.P., M.Th.

Theology 9-12

Sr. Mary Magdalene, O.P. obtained an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain and afterwards obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature and Spanish from Franciscan University of Steubenville. After a couple of years of teaching in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Sister entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in 1999. Sister acquired the required credits for certification in Secondary Education from Eastern Michigan University and later a Master of Arts in Theology from Providence College. She considers it a privilege to have served in the apostolate of teaching high school in Michigan, Arizona, and Illinois and now is thrilled to bring Christ to her students in Florida. Most recently, Sister had the great joy of studying at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome and hopes to bring the fruits of her studies and travel to her students.

Mrs. Marian Mandy, M.S.

Music 5-9

Mrs. Mandy was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. She holds a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism and Dramatic Arts with Music minor from Troy University and M.S. in Administration from Central Michigan University. She and her husband Norman are retired Air Force officers who are humbled by the Divine Providence that led them to Ave Maria in 2012 and allows them to share their faith, as well as their love for music and the performing arts, with the community. Their daughter Sarah is a student at Donahue Academy.

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.

Assistant of the Headmaster

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.

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.

Mr. John Russo

PE 2-8

Coach Russo was raised in Orange County, California. He received a basketball scholarship to Ave Maria University where he became the captain his senior year. He Studied Psychology at Ave Maria and continues his passion for basketball as the Varsity Basketball Coach at Donahue Academy. He enjoys helping the young kids of Ave Maria become strong catholic men and women.

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

Sr. Maris Stella, O.P., B.S.

5th Grade

Sister Maris Stella, the eldest of seven children, grew up in North Western Canada. She entered the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in 2005. After the blessing of professing vows as a Sister of Mary she obtained a B.S. in Elementary Education with a major in Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University. Sister has taught in South Carolina, Michigan and Ohio with experience in fifth grade as well as sixth through eighth grade Religion and Math, including Algebra I. She is excited to have the opportunity to serve here in Ave Maria and looks forward to bringing the fruits of her prayer to her students and their families.

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