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The faculty and staff of Benilde-St. Margaret’s are excited for the start of a new school year and are pleased to welcome new members to our team. They come from a variety of backgrounds, with great experiences and a depth of knowledge making the BSM experience more enriching for our students and community.
Let’s meet the new members of the BSM team:
Nathan Schlepp, Theology
Nathan graduated from Saint John's University with a degree in Philosophy and the School of Theology at SJU with a master's degree in systematic theology. For the last 15 years he has taught philosophy, world religions, and ethics at Holy Family Catholic High School. He and his family happily resides in St. Louis Park. You might find him running barefoot on the Cedar Lake trail.
Alena Paulson, Spanish
Alena grew up in Waconia MN where she studied dance and Spanish. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2020 with dual degrees in Spanish education and dance. Alena spent the last year teaching fourth grade Spanish immersion for the Eastern Carver County school district. At BSM, Alena will be teaching Spanish 1 and 2.
Andrew Joerger, Social Studies
After studying history and visual communication at Loyola University, Chicago, Andrew completed his master's degree in social studies education at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus. He previously taught at Northwest Passage High School, Coon Rapids, and is looking forward to teaching U.S. and world history at Benilde-St. Margaret's. When not teaching, Andrew enjoys traveling across the country, spending time participating in numerous outdoor activities, and listening to music at live shows.
Josey Gruba, Band Director
Josey spent most of her childhood in rural North Dakota where her mom was the town piano teacher. Josey annoyed her into giving lessons at age five and hasn’t stopped playing since, earning her Bachelor of Music in music education from Concordia College in Moorhead in 2019. Josey has taught grade 5-12 band, and elementary school music. Josey is excited to be joining BSM and rejoining civilization after being in the (truly) tiny town of Remer, MN (the alleged home of Bigfoot).
Chuck Dudek, Science
After graduating from St. John's University with a BA in chemistry, Chuck was a volunteer teacher in Newark, NJ at St. Benedict's Prep while also coaching soccer and baseball. Following that wonderful experience, Chuck taught at his high school alma mater Mount Michael Benedictine in Nebraska. Realizing he missed Minnesota, Chuck moved north where he taught at St. Therese School in Deephaven as well as coached soccer and ultimate frisbee at Edina for the last three years. Chuck is excited to be teaching science and helping coach soccer and ultimate frisbee at BSM.
Jeff Cohen, Social Studies
Jeff did his undergraduate studies and master’s in education program at the University of St. Thomas. He also has a law degree from William Mitchell and taught a number of classes at St. Louis Park High School for 12 years, most famously AP Euro. At BSM, Jeff will be teaching world history and AP US history.
Peg Hodapp, Theology
Peg went to St. Mary's University, Minnesota for her undergraduate degree and the University of St. Thomas for her graduate degree. She previously worked at DeLaSalle High School for the past 29 years, serving in many roles, most recently as the full-time theology teacher and Lasallian animator. Peg is excited to join the BSM staff, teaching part time and working in campus ministry, and looks forward to the coming year. Her heart belongs to her adult daughter Maddie and her three-year-old grandson, Taj.
Matt Miller, Engineering
Matt is transitioning to secondary education after a 25-year career in science and engineering. He is a community faculty member at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, where he taught evening courses in calculus-based physics since 2012. Matt has B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Michigan State University. At BSM, Matt will be teaching AP computer science A (Java Programming), AP computer science principles, and assisting students in engineering courses. Matt and his wife Lori have been married 27 years and are the proud parents of 21-year-old triplet daughters.
Barbara Watson, English
Barbara attended the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and taught most recently at Centennial High School and Anoka Middle School for the Arts. She is married to a math teacher, and for a few years, taught at the same school as he does. She parents two adult children whom she also homeschooled in grades K-8. At BSM, Barbara will teach senior high English classes, and in her free time, she writes young adult novels, hoping to one day be published.
Michael Kautzman, Senior High Assistant Principal (M-Z)
Michael is a native of Mott, North Dakota and a graduate of Dickinson State University, with degrees in Secondary Education and BS Social and Behavioral Science Composite with a PE Minor. Michael also has a BA in Humanities from North Dakota State University, and a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology Ed.Specialis from the University of St. Thomas. Most recently, Michael spent the last 11 years as the athletic director at the Academy of Holy Angels. His diverse background and dedicated faith life makes him very excited to be joining the BSM team. He and his wife have two sons and enjoy being active.
Andy Witchger, Theology
Andy completed his undergraduate and seminary education at St. John’s University and completed St. Mary’s University’s (Moraga) institute for Lasallian education. He taught in the Edina school district as a special education paraprofessional during graduate school, and later at Holy Family in Victoria, MN for 12 years. At BSM, Andy will be teaching Freshman seminar courses. He enjoys concerts, hiking, and fly-fishing.
Justin Knapp, Chemistry
Justin graduated from Bethel University with degrees in Physics and Biochemistry, and Philosophy. He also has a Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master of Science from the University of Edinburgh. Most recently, Justin taught at Maranatha Christian Academy, and will be joining the BSM Science team. In his free time, Justin enjoys hiking, skiing, boating, and remodeling his home.
Katrina Garcia-Eveloff, Theology
Katrina is thrilled to be returning to BSM, having taught as a long-term substitute in the Theology Department last year. This year she will be teaching Discipleship in Society. Most recently she taught at Breck School in the Religion Department. She received a bachelor's degree in the comparative study of religion from Harvard College and a master of theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her doctoral studies, also at Harvard, focused on modern Christian thought and gender. Outside of the classroom, Katrina can be found driving her two school aged children to their various extracurricular activities.
Annie Smith, Math
Annie earned her BS from Central Michigan University in Secondary Mathematics and her Masters from Southern Methodist University while living in Dallas. Annie joins BSM from Providence Academy. As a member of the BSM Math team, Annie will be teaching Geometry, Intermediate Algebra and Algebra II. After living in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., Annie enjoys being in Minnesota so she can spend time with her nieces and nephews. She also enjoys coaching and spending summer on the golf course.
Tim Frye, Spanish
Tim has a Ph.D. in Hispanic and Lusophone Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics from the University of Minnesota. His undergraduate work was in Spanish Studies and Psychology. Tim has published a variety of papers on Hispanic Studies and environmental humanities. Tim previously taught Spanish at Macalester College, St. Catherine’s University, and the University of Minnesota. He joins BSM’s World Language program.
Steve Dornbach, English
Steve received his BA in English from Saint John's University, his MA from the University of St. Thomas and has been in education for the past 30 years. He is coming from the Visitation School in Mendota Heights, and also previously taught at Edina High School and internationally in Belize, South Korea, Japan and Bulgaria. He will be teaching junior high English at BSM and is very excited to be a part of the community!
Katherine Johnson, Learning Variations
Katherine did her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and earned her master's degree at the University of Minnesota. She has taught special education for the past 13 years at St. Anthony High School. Katherine is looking forward to being a Learning Lab Specialist at BSM, coaching the BSM swim team, and co-leading the student council. She lives in New Hope with her husband and two daughters (ages 7 & 10). Katherine loves to run and workout in her me time and enjoys doing photography in her free time.
Moni Berg-Binder, Science
Moni attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for her undergraduate education where she was a biology major. For graduate studies, Moni attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning a PhD studying an invasive plant species. Over the last decade, Moni has taught in the liberal arts program at Saint Mary's University’s undergraduate college in Winona, MN. Moni is excited to be at BSM and will be teaching Biology and Honors Biology. Moni and her husband have two kids (ages 3 and 7) and a dog, and they love exploring the outdoors together!
Sandra Nelson, French
Sandra began her studies at the University of Bordeaux and received her Masters in
Poetry from the University of Avignon. Over the past twenty-two years, Sandra has taught French at Macalester College, Augsburg University, Hamline University, the University of Saint Thomas, the International School of Minnesota, and the Saint Paul Academy. Sandra also taught Middle and High School French in Graz, Austria for three years. This year at Benilde-St. Margaret, Sandra will be teaching French III, French IV, and AP French.
Laura Esping, Chemical Health Counselor
Laura is a Twin Cities actor and educator holding a BA in Speech and Dramatic Art from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Acting from the University of Minnesota. She received her diploma in addiction counseling from Minneapolis Community and Technical College and is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve students and their families at BSM supporting their ongoing chemical health. Laura enjoys walking in nature, tending her yard, and being an attentive aunt for her many nieces and nephews.
Tim Ellefson, Math
Tim is very excited to start his new journey at Benilde-St. Margaret's. He has spent the last 16 years in Hutchinson as a math instructor and coach. Along with teaching math at BSM, he will be leading the girls' varsity basketball team as their new head coach. Go Red Knights!
Ivy Matson, Visual Art
Ivy is a Concordia College alum who majored in both Art Education and Spanish. After graduating, she spent a few years in the Fargo/Moorhead area teaching art in Moorhead Area Public Schools and teaching at the Ah Haa School for the Arts in Telluride, CO during the summer. When Ivy isn't teaching, you can find her throwing down (with clay) at the Northern Clay Center or out for a hike.
Erin is BSM's new Director of Technology and Digital Learning Technology. A member of BSM's Class of 1997, Erin has a degree in Sociology and Leadership from Saint Norbert College, a certificate in teaching from Hamline University, and a certificate in Engineering Education and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas. Erin previously spent 14 years teaching third grade in two different Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Erin also was the director of digital learning at Saint Hubert Catholic School where she was responsible for device rollout, maintenance, and account management. During that time, Erin developed and taught the Digital Learning Lab curriculum for all K-8th grade students. In her free-time, Erin enjoys gardening and being with her family.
The entire BSM team is ready for orientation on Monday, Aug. 29, the arrival of all 7-9 grade students on Tuesday, Aug. 30, and the full student body returning to BSM on Wednesday, Aug. 31. To meet our full faculty and staff, visit the BSM Directory.