Teachers

 

Jill Mahoney • Kids Kingdom Teacher • 701-252-3397 • jill.mahoney@k12.nd.us


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Learning through art and music is something I grew up with, crave, and now share with my students. Together we play, learn, and create while we practice school-readiness skills. Language skills are important to me and in our classroom. Greeting someone properly and having the ability to convey thoughts and ideas is something we practice and integrate into our daily routines. With so much screen time available to kids, we strive to provide them with multiple opportunities to converse and share through language. Every job I’ve had, since I was a teen, has been connected to early childhood. I knew this field would become my career as I attended Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota to attain my education. Just months after graduation in 1994, I came to SJA and feel very fortunate to have been a part of our school family for this long. Spending time with young, eager learners in Kids’ Kingdom is something I have never taken for granted. Experiencing new discoveries with my preschoolers continues to be very enjoyable and rewarding. How lucky I am to witness them make connections, problem solve, accomplish a new task, conquer a new skill. I still feel the spark when they get excited!
 

Erin Neville • Pre-Kindergarten Teacher • 701-252-3397 • erin.neville@k12.nd.us

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Hi! I’m Erin Neville, and I am teaching pre-kindergarten this year! It’s my third year here at St. John’s Academy, but and sixth year teaching. My husband, Danny, and I moved here from Aberdeen, SD where I taught one year of Title I Reading, and two years of kindergarten. We also have one daughter, Emma. I attended Northern State University, and I majored in Elementary and Special Education with minors in Early Childhood and Kindergarten. I love teaching and am so excited to be a part of the SJA family!
 
 
 
 
 

Wenda LeFevre • Kindergarten Teacher • 701-252-3397 • wenda.lefevre@k12.nd.us

Growing up you always get the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My response was always a teacher. My mom taught 2nd grade and I loved going to school to help her in the classroom. I continued my desire to be a teacher by attending Dickinson State University and getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education along with Early Childhood and a Spanish Minor. I began my teaching career as a Middle School Foreign Language Teacher in Grand Forks, ND. I introduced four languages to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. I never thought my teaching journey would take me to a middle school but I am glad it did. After teaching in Grand Forks for two years my husband and I moved our family to Jamestown, ND. The next 5 years I stayed home and took care of our three children. I couldn’t stay away from the classroom, one afternoon a week I volunteered my time and taught Spanish to students at St. John’s Academy. I didn’t know at the time that my teaching journey would keep me at St. John’s Academy.
 
 
Morgan Dale Kindergarten Teacher • 701-252-3397 • morgan.dale@k12.nd.us

Hello! My name is Morgan Dale and I will be teaching Kindergarten this upcoming year. I am a 2014 graduate from the College of Saint Benedict with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a coaching certificate. My interest in teaching started at a very young age at St. John’s Academy. Ever since I was a little girl I have admired my teachers and the work that they do. I remember telling my mother that I dreamt of being a teacher and wanted to be just like the teachers I had as an elementary school student. I also enjoy many other things outside of teaching including: scrap booking, sports, being outdoors, rollerblading, going to the lake, and spending time with family and friends. I couldn’t be more excited for this wonderful opportunity to begin my education career at the place where all my dreams of becoming a teacher began. I look forward to meeting you and your child!
 
 
 
Briana Schafer • 1st Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • briana.schafer@k12.nd.us

Greetings! My name is Briana Schafer and I teach First Grade at St. John’s Academy. I love coming every day because the students are so full of energy and brighten up my day! I learn right along with my students every day. It is such a great feeling knowing that I am making a difference in a child’s life. Teaching at St. John’s Academy is especially unique for me because I went to St. John’s as a student. It’s fun to now be able to relate to my former teachers as coworkers and mentors. I can be reached by email at briana.schafer@k12.nd.us. Thank you for visiting our webpage.
 
 
 
 
 
Mary Fox • 1st Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • mary.fox@k12.nd.us

Greetings! My name is Mary Fox and I teach first grade. This is my 17th year of teaching at ST. John’s Academy. I grew up in Webster, SD in a large family of 10 siblings. I obtained a double BS degree in Elementary Ed. and Speech Pathology from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. It was there that I met and married my husband, Gary. I was a Speech Therapist in the Aberdeen Public Schools for five years. Then we moved to Jamestown and opened and operated a music business (Music Corner) for 33 years. During this time, I was a stay at home mom and taught piano and organ lessons for 21 years while our four daughters were at home. Our daughters are now married and we have 11 wonderful grandchildren. I love teaching students and am grateful for the privilege of working at St. John’s Academy.
 
 
 
 
Andrea Hournbuckle • Second Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • andrea.hournbuckle@k12.nd.us

Hi, my name in Andrea Hournbuckle. I am excited to be teaching in 2nd grade. My journey began at St. John’s Academy when I was four. I am so excited to once again be a part of the SJA community. I recently graduated from Jamestown College with a degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Needs. I was honored to have the opportunity to student teach at SJA in the second grade. I enjoy the Christian atmosphere at SJA. I am very excited to begin the upcoming school year!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Shane Hendrickson • Second Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • shane.hendrickson@k12.nd.us

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Hi to all of whom may have ventured or stumbled upon reading a little about me.  My name is Shane Hendrickson, born and raised on the family farm a few miles south of Ypsilanti, North Dakota.  I graduated high school in 2007 from Montpelier Public School.  I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (GO HUSKERS!) where I eventually found myself majoring in Elementary Education.  I received my diploma in December 2013, and then went on mission to eastern Kentucky for 2 years where I volunteered with Christian Appalachian Project as a construction hand to serve physically impoverished families by helping make their homes safer, warmer, and drier with the hope of spreading the joy of the Gospel in the process.  It was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had and I look forward to “building” up young children and “constructing” minds as I continue sharing that same love and service here at St. John’s Academy.  I strongly feel God has led me back home and I could not feel more blessed to be given the opportunity to teach at St. John’s Academy and be a part of this long-standing family tradition.  God built this house that we might continue to build His Kingdom.

10 According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it.  Let each man take care how he builds upon it.  11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.                                                              -1 Corinthians 3:10-11 

11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,  12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…                                                                            -Ephesians 4:11-12

47 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like:  48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built.                                   -Luke 6:47-48

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us…Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

 
 
 
Tamara Gapinski • Third Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • tamara.gapinski@k12.nd.us

“... I believe that each of us, no matter what our age or background or walk of life, each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation." ~Michelle Obama What or how can we contribute to our country and world to make it a better place? This question is one that often has me thinking of the sweet young faces that enter through my door every school day. I believe one of the largest components of our life is to be able to love one another and I try to carry that over into my classroom. We are all blessed with imperfections and that is what makes us so wonderful and it allows us the experience of appreciating the good with the bad. My students learn throughout the year that we are all God’s children and the importance of living our lives as life-long learners – looking for answers if we have questions and growing in love with all humans no matter race, creed, hairstyle, age, or disability. Together we can help our children become great contributors to society and I look forward to us all working together (parents, teachers, students, administrators, etc.) as a team. When we work together we are able to build a solid foundation for our children and that foundation will follow them the rest of their lives. Blessings, Mrs. Tammy Gapinski
 
Debra Hornung • Third Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • debra.hornung@k12.nd.us
 
 

Karen Eckroth • Fourth Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • karen.eckroth @k12.nd.us
 
Greetings! My name is Karen Eckroth and I teach 4th grade at SJA. I have been teaching at St. John’s for four years moving between 3rd and 4th grade. I enjoy learning with my students and watching as their knowledge and skills grow. Fourth grade is an exciting and challenging year. Students strengthen the skills and strategies they have gained through their years and apply them in their everyday activities. We work on reading skills and explore a variety of literature through AR tests as well as interesting book projects. Fourth graders also explore the regions of the United States and our great state, North Dakota. Research is a big change this year as well. Students study saints and states and demonstrate what they learned in a creative way. I can be reached by phone (252-3397) at school between 8:00 – 8:25 and 3:00 – 4:00, or by email karen.eckroth@k12.nd.us .
 
 
 
 

Brandon Gange • Fifth Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • brandon.gange@k12.nd.us

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Hello, my name is Brandon Gange.  This upcoming year will be my first year teaching.  I recently graduated from Valley City State University.  I grew up here in Jamestown and decided that this is where I want to be, and be able to work at St. John’s has given me that opportunity.  In my free time I enjoy staying active with basketball, baseball, football, and just being outdoors.  Everyone at SJA has been supportive and helpful in getting me ready for the year. I cannot wait for the year to begin, I look forward to helping students learn and also learning a lot myself!

 
 
 
 
Peggy.Vandal • Fifth Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • peggy.vandal@k12.nd.us

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Hi! I am Peggy Vandal, and I am excited to be part of St. John’s Academy again! Our two children, Jessica and Paul attended SJA, and my husband, Steve, and I have always had a love for this school. When both our children were in school, I started working in the Faith Formation Office so I had many contacts with the teach-ers and students at SJA. Then I decided to go back into teaching as a substitute teacher for all the elementary schools in town which I did for the past five years. This was a great experience, and I met a lot of nice people and learned many different things from working in all the schools. I had always thought that I would continue subbing until my son graduated from high school, but the saying holds true, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I guess God had other plans for me, and I am truly happy to be here! Since I have started back at SJA, there have been many times where my heart just overflows with gratitude, and I feel so blessed to be here. I will work hard to help bring your children closer to the Lord and to continue in their academic growth. Please feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions. God bless!
 
 
Yvette Yatskis • Sixth Grade Teacher • 701-252-3397 • yvette.yatskis@k12.nd.us

When I attended St. John's Academy as an elementary student from 1974-1980, I would have never guessed that one day I would come back as the 6th grade teacher! I am thankful and blessed that my journey has brought me back to SJA! I graduated from Jamestown High School in 1986. I attended the College of St. Benedict for one year until I followed my future husband, John, to NDSU where I graduated with a major in English Education. We married in 1989 and returned to Jamestown in 1990. I taught 9th grade English at JHS for one year and then moved to the 7th grade. I knew I had found my niche; I love working with middle schoolers! As much as I adore teaching, I took some time off to raise my children. I went back to the classroom when my children were school age and was fortunate to find myself back with 7th graders. After teaching a total of 14 years for the public school, I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to make a huge change in my career. All of the things I truly love are embodied in my new position at SJA. I love to teach, and now I will be able to teach all subjects to my students...what an exciting adventure! I've mentioned my love for middle schoolers, so 6th graders? Awesome!! I have always dreamed of being able to teach at a Catholic school...dreams do come true! My love and passion for teaching and learning drive me to be an energetic and creative teacher. My goal is that my students will find joy and success in pushing themselves to accomplish more than they ever thought possible. We will encounter challenges and work hard, no doubt, but we will also have an amazing time together!
 

Linda Dammel • Library Media Specialist • 701-252-3397 • linda.dammel@k12.nd.us

I am Linda Dammel your librarian this year at St. Johns Academy. I have been in the education field for thirty years, but I only have been in the various classrooms for 10 years of those thirty. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, with minors in early childhood and reading. In 2010, I received my master’s in education with a concentration in library and technologies. I am so excited to be your librarian and am looking forward to the school year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jeanne Tews • Physical Education Teacher • 701-252-3397 • jeanne.tews@k12.nd.us

- Graduate of Jamestown College
- 30+ years of teaching experience
- Elementary Basketball, Volleyball, and Gymnastics Coach
- Middle School Girls’ Track Coach
- Married to Mr. Tews for many, many years
- Husband is also a teacher and coach
- 3 Grown children
- 1 Grandchild
 
 
 
 



Julie Sprague • Music Teacher • 701-252-3397 • julie.sprague@k12.nd.us


Greetings! My name is Julie Sprague. I was born and raised in Jamestown, ND. I attended college at Jamestown College graduating in 1991 with majors in Music Education, Vocal Performance, Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood. I started teaching music at St. John’s Academy in 1992. While growing up I dreamed of being a singer or a teacher. I became both, a music teacher. I teach general music to grades pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Some of the things we learn about are music theory, instruments of the orchestra, and composers and their music. We also prepare for and participate in Eucharist at St. James Basilica. I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to teach at a Christian Catholic school where I can share my God given talents to teach about Christ and Eternal Life through music. God has blessed me with a rewarding job, a great husband, and two wonderful, handsome sons. We enjoy our home in the country.