Diane Wepking, Principal
Mrs. Wepking has served in Catholic education her entire 35+ year career. She joined St. Mary’s School in 2016 and continues the tradition of experiential learning, faith focus, and loving discipline that make Catholic schools strong. Mrs. Wepking welcomes each student through the doors in the morning, and she is a strong but gentle leader of St. Mary’s School.
Deborah Caulk, 8th Grade Homeroom & Junior High English Teacher
Mrs. Caulk has taught at St. Mary’s School for 16 of her 24-year teaching career. In addition to teaching 8th grade and Junior High English, she sponsors Student Council and moderates Speech Meet. Her specialties include local history and high school tutoring for English and ACT preparation. Mrs. Caulk makes 8th grade an outstanding and memorable experience by taking her class on a historic tour of Edwardsville; a class trip to Trout Lodge; a graduation retreat at Lake Williamson; and field trips to Springfield, City Museum, and Holocaust Museum. Her class chooses an architectural project each year that incorporates cross-curricular study, assembly, and presentation. The year culminates with a beautiful graduation that highlights each student’s many accomplishments and plans for the future.
Leah Huelsmann, 7th Grade Homeroom & Junior High Math Teacher
Mrs. Huelsmann started her St. Mary’s School teaching career in 2015. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with middle school endorsements in Mathematics and English Language Arts. Mrs. Huelsmann’s 7th graders attend Space Camp, are responsible for school-wide paper recycling, and take part in many extracurricular activities — in addition to sports, many of the students participate in band, chorus, robotics, and service projects. The whole class learns the value of service by doing projects with nursing homes and senior centers during the school year.
Kirsten Tucker, 6th Grade Homeroom & Junior High Science Teacher
Mrs. Tucker joined the St. Mary’s School faculty in 2017. She brings over 30 years of teaching experience with her to St. Mary’s! She is excited to continue St. Mary’s tradition of hands-on learning in the Junior High Science Lab. She especially looks forward to the 7th grade class trip to Space Camp and inviting guest speakers from different fields of science.
Anna Shannon, 5th Grade Teacher
Mrs. Shannon has taught at St. Mary’s School for 14 of her 25 years of teaching experience. She has an Elementary Education degree from St. Louis University. Besides teaching 5th grade, Mrs. Shannon helps moderate the Spring Play, Speech Meet, Spelling Bee, Young Authors, and Red Ribbon Week. She keeps her 5th grade class fun and interactive with Veterans Reports and Interviews, an extensive Native American unit, and the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program/graduation.
Stacy Henke, 4th Grade Teacher
Mrs. Henke has 19 years of teaching experience and a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education. In addition to teaching 4th grade, Mrs. Henke helps with Science Olympiad, creates professional development activities, assists with the Science Fair, works on Green Schools Project, and helps with the Young Authors program. Mrs. Henke loves hands-on science projects and makes learning the states and capitals fun throughout the year with state-centered activities and projects.
Michelle Dant, 3rd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Dant has taught at St. Mary’s School for 20 years! She has a Bachelor of Science in Education from McKendree College and endorsements in middle school language arts and social sciences. Before teaching 3rd grade, she taught 1st grade and Kindergarten at St. Mary’s. As St. Mary’s School’s 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Dant keeps learning fun and interactive with a Flat Stanley project, building and erupting volcano models, and extensive president reports and book reports. 3rd graders present many of their projects for public speaking experience.
Deana Strack, 2nd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Strack has been teaching at St. Mary’s School for 21 years! She particularly loves teaching 2nd grade where she teaches sacramental preparation for First Communion and First Reconciliation in her own St. Mary’s Parish. Mrs. Strack attended Eastern Illinois University and SIUE and holds an Elementary Education Certification with an emphasis in Social Sciences. Among the highlights of 2nd grade at St. Mary’s are a traditional Thanksgiving feast and a field trip to attend mass at the Old Cathedral the day after First Communion. Mrs. Strack also co-moderates St. Mary’s Girls on the Run program.
Amber Hill, 1st Grade Teacher
Mrs. Hill started teaching at St. Mary’s School in 2016. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Her warm, nurturing nature fits right into St. Mary’s primary wing. Mrs. Hill’s 1st graders enjoy learning in a very hands-on classroom. Because of Mrs. Hill’s love of science, our 1st grade scientists learn to explore their world led by their curiosity. Story time is also a favorite part of the day!
Laura Guetterman, Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Guetterman has taught at St. Mary’s School for 15 of her 17 years of teaching experience. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Science degree specializing in Reading. She is a Certified Reading Specialist and Title 1 teacher in Reading and Math. The highlights of Kindergarten for Mrs. Guetterman are center time, the 8th grade buddy program, and guided reading groups. The Kindergarteners enjoy a healthy combination of technology and traditional learning, including art, music, and PE each week.
Kathy Blumberg, 4-Year-Old PreK Teacher
Mrs. Blumberg has been teaching Kindergarten or Preschool for 28 years! Her 4-year-old PreKindergarten class includes music, art, and computers along with learning letters, numbers, colors, shapes, prayers, and problem solving. St. Mary’s PreK class is especially blessed to meet baby animals from Mrs. Blumberg’s own farm each spring! Mrs. Blumberg has brought in chicks, ducklings, piglets, bunnies, and her own pet goat! Mrs. Blumberg designs St. Mary’s Yearbook and has served as Athletic Director and Volleyball Coach in past years.
Katie Croxford, 3-Year-Old PreK Teacher
Miss Katie brings a vibrant energy to our youngest St. Mary’s students! Growing up on a farm, she looks forward to sharing her love of the outdoors and animals with her class. In addition to her B.S. degree in Early Childhood Education, Miss Katie is also certified to teach Special Education in Preschool. Her experience at the Jersey County Head Start program and Kindergarten PSR at Holy Ghost Parish in Jerseyville before joining the St. Mary’s faculty give her a great background working with 3 to 5-year-olds.
Marsha Etzkorn, Computer and Music Teacher, Band Director
Mrs. Etzkorn teaches Computers and Music to St. Mary’s School Kindergarten through 8th grade. She also serves as the Coordinator of St. Mary’s Technology Committee and leads the school’s liturgical chorus. Mrs. Etzkorn has over 30 years of teaching experience at various levels in Technology, Vocal Music, General Music, Instrumental Music, and Physical Education.
Leigh Janes, Art Teacher
Ms. Janes teaches Art to St. Mary’s School Kindergarten through 8th grade. She has been teaching for over 25 years! She holds two Master’s Degrees and is a professional artist. In addition to teaching as the dedicated art teacher at St. Mary’s, Ms. Janes works with seniors in their homes, has worked with developmentally disabled adults in a group home, and teaches private and small group art lessons in her home. Besides everyday teaching, Ms. Janes looks forward to the 4th and 5th grade field trip to the New Cathedral Basilica and the St. Louis Art Museum each year.
Matt Bettlach, Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director
Mr. B has been teaching P.E. at St. Mary’s for 5 years. He teaches Kindergarten through 8th graders every week. In addition to teaching P.E., Mr. B coordinates St. Mary’s Field Day in the Spring. It is one of his favorite things about St. Mary’s — seeing the hard work of the teams, faculty, and volunteers payoff when the students are enjoying themselves. Another highlight of each year is the St. Mary’s Hockey Tournament during Catholic Schools Week. Outside of St. Mary’s, Mr. B has been coaching high school soccer for 16 years. He coaches girls varsity and boys freshmen teams at Triad High School in Troy, IL.
Desiree Gerber, Resource Teacher
Mrs. Gerber works one on one with many of St. Mary’s students who need a little extra help. She also provides some extra-challenging work for students who excel in certain areas. Mrs. Gerber has over 11 years of teaching experience, including substitute teaching at St. Mary’s over the years since her own children attended St. Mary’s. She is a St. Mary’s parishioner and a past School Board member.
Cheryl Sauer, Teacher’s Aide and Extended Care Director
Mrs. Cheryl has over 20 years experience working with children as an Aide and as the Extended Care Director. She helps St. Mary’s School in many ways. Every student in St. Mary’s School knows Mrs. Cheryl, and she welcomes them each by name in the morning and in the hallways throughout the day.
Katya Hessel, Teacher’s Aide and Extended Care Supervisor
Ms. Katya has been a Preschool Aide at St. Mary’s for three years. When she is not at St. Mary’s, she coaches boys and girls soccer and spends time with her three daughters who attend St. Mary’s School. Ms. Katya has worked with St. Mary’s Extended Care program for four years.
We are St. Mary’s – a school to believe in!