Lynette Schmitz

  • Bachelor of Science in Education Degree magna cum laude: English/Language Arts Secondary Education (University of Missouri-St. Louis)
  • 500+ Continuing Education hours

  • Lifetime Certification in Secondary School English/Language Arts 7-12
  • Career Continuous Professional Certification in Elementary Education 1-6
  • Adult Education Certification, renewable

Mrs. Schmitz has been an educator in small Catholic schools for nearly her entire career, teaching at the high school, middle school, and elementary school levels, as well as instructing special-needs students, homebound students, GED students, and at-risk inner city students.  Education is her vocation, and she is perpetually aware of the privilege of serving God by building His kingdom.   Catholic educators and administrators must create a setting that teaches virtue, encourages the love of our faith, and provides opportunities for both academic and spiritual growth in our children.  She is grateful for the opportunity to provide academic excellence and assist teachers and parents to make an important and lasting difference in the lives of the young people at JPII.

What Mrs. Schmitz loves about JPII:

o   JPII is first and foremost a community of authentic Catholics striving together to live, protect, and defend the Faith.

o   JPII’s classical curriculum provides an appropriate and challenging progression of study that similar to that which educated the greatest minds of Western Civilization.

o   JPII’s teachers work closely with their parent co-teachers to ensure seamless application of our university model; they challenge students with every step to analyze, compare, evaluate, and create.

o   JPII’s students are knowledgeable about their faith and are anxious to learn more, serve the Church, and continue their growth in God’s grace.

o   JPII’s close-knit “community of friends” works together with a level of courtesy, generosity, helpfulness, and kindness that is seldom experienced in organizations; people treat one another with a high degree of Christian charity and respect.



Seana Tetzlaff

Sebastian Garren

Grade School Dean
Board President Emeritus
High School Academic Dean

Amy Steppig

Pam Olimpio

Dean of Home and School

Dean of Religious Formation


Kathleen Cupples


Tammie Mushinski

Betsy Masalskis

Grace Malinee

Office Manager


Carla Boyer

Grade School Art

Anna Catalano

Composition/Rhetoric in Ancient Literature,
Middle School Writing, Literature 6 and 7 
  • B.A. in English Education, minor in Communication (Maryville University, 2014, summa cum laude)

While at Maryville, Ms. Catalano completed several secondary education practicums at various public schools where she worked primarily with at risk students.  She also worked as a university teacher’s assistant and tutor in the university’s writing center working with ESL students.  Ms. Catalano began teaching at Saint John Paul II Preparatory School in the fall of 2014 and has loved every minute of it!

As a cradle Catholic, Ms. Catalano appreciates St. John Paul II Preparatory School’s strong Catholic identity and emphasis on virtue and character building.  As a former homeschooler and graduate of Kolbe Academy, she enjoys teaching in a collegiate model school which encourages organizational and motivational skills in its students as well as close parental involvement. 

Virginia Colombatto


Dr. Brian Cowell

Biology, Anatomy and Physiology
  • PhD Entomology (University of Arkansas, December, 2015)
  • M.S. Natural and Applied Science (Missouri State University, 2011)
  • B.S. Biology, (College of the Ozarks, 2008)
  • A.A. Human Anatomy and Physiology (St. Charles Community College, 2005)

Science Teacher at Saint John Paul II Preparatory School, 2016 – Current
Adjunct Professor at Lindenwood University, 2017 – Current
Adjunct Professor at Fontbonne University, 2017 – Current
Adjunct Instructor at Jefferson College, 2016 – Current
Graduate Researcher and lecturer at University of Arkansas and Missouri state University.

Dr. Cowell loves JPII for many reasons, but first and foremost is the faith-centric learning environment which not only creates a loving family-like environment for the students to learn in but also extends to the faculty and staff as well. He believes that this close knit school creates the perfect environment for students of all ages to not only master their school work but to also develop their moral self as a strong Christian.

Rocio deErausquin

Latin I,  2nd Form Latin,  6th Grade Spelling and Grammar

Lynn Dery

Church History, Scripture, Public Speaking/Religious Topics, 7th and 8th Grade Religion, Middle School Musical
  • B.S. in Physical Therapy (UW-LaCrosse, WI)

Mrs. Dery's first teaching experience was as a Physical Therapist, creating a back school that educated people about proper posture and body mechanics.

She felt the call to homeschool when her third child of five was born, and she and has very much enjoyed that journey of teaching. While homeschooling developed a a public speaking DVD curriculum, John Paul II Beginning Public Speaking Class.  

Mrs. Dery has been part of the directive team for RCIA at each of her parishes for over 10 years and has also taught religious education classes. In Boston, as well as here in St. Louis, she leads a youth formation apostolate called Challenge Girls Club, which incorporates catechesis along with leadership and virtue formation. She has also been the spiritual formation coordinator for Regnum Christi while living in Florida, Boston, and St. Louis. In this role, she has written numerous study circles and speaks at retreats and other formation events. She has led numerous Bible Studies for over 15 years and has a great love for the Catholic Faith. 

As a teacher, Mrs. Dery loves being able to share what she perceives to be the most important aspect of our lives: our faith. To her, the Catholic Church is a goldmine and she loves being able to share it with her students in a fun and meaningful way. JPII is a unique environment, and she feels blessed to be part of it!

As a parent, Lynn loves JPII because it slows life down for her children. She likes the combination of the school days and home days as it allows me to be more involved in the lives of her children. This school allows them to be kids.  

Billijean Erard

Second Grade
  • B.A. (National Louis University)
  • Certified Director of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis

During her over thirty year career, Mrs. Erard has taught every grade, Pre-K through adults.  She has been a LaLeche League Leader, Mother’s Hotline Volunteer, Youth Minister, CampFire Girls Leader, and a Director of Religious Education.  Seven of her eighteen (and counting!) grandchildren attend JPII.


Father Peter Fonseca

Biomedical Ethics, Apologetics
  • B.A. Philosophy
  • M.A. Theology
  • M.Div. from Kenrick Glennon Seminary
  • M.S. Biomedical Ethics
  • Certification Catholic Healthcare Ethics

Fr. Peter Fonseca is the second oldest of 11 children. His father is a physician and his mom is a nurse.  He entered the seminary after graduating from St. Louis Priory School in 2007. After completing a BA in Philosophy, an MA in Theology and a Master of Divinity, he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Carlson in May of 2015. He spent the first three years of his priesthood as the associate pastor at Queen of All Saints Parish in Oakville while also completing a MS in Biomedical Ethics as well as a certification in Catholic Health Care Ethics. Fr. Peter is currently associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Florissant and chaplain of the Florissant Police Department.  In addition, as a medical ethicist, he conducts seminars and consultations for medical personnel in hospitals all over the country in the area of Biomedical Ethics.

Julie Forbes

Third Grade
  • Master of Education Elementary Education from Saint Michael’s College in Winooski, VT
  • B.S. from School of Natural Resources from University of Vermont, 1985

Mrs. Forbes taught second grade for five years at Mater Christi Catholic School in Burlington Vermont. She also spent one year in Southeast India volunteering at a Carmelite mission, working with teachers and students at an English medium school. She has had the opportunity to work with young adults through various Church outreach programs. Mrs. Forbes spent seven summers as a team coordinator bringing high school and college students on mission trips to Haiti. She was also privileged to be part of team that organized and worked with various religious orders to present “Youth 2000” retreats, which focus on Eucharistic adoration and the teachings of the Catholic faith, at parishes throughout the Northeast.

 Marriage to her husband, John, and the gift of their five children began her vocation as a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling mother. For the past fourteen years she has been challenged to strengthen her teaching skills, strategies, and techniques in order to accommodate the individuality of each of her children, recognizing their gifts and responding to their limitations through the development of individualized curricula.

Mrs. Forbes philosophy of education has been greatly influenced by one of the great classical educators, Saint Thomas Moore, who said, “Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills or ability - that's training or instruction – but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed.” She prays daily for the grace to assist parents by helping their children to recognize their strengths and their weaknesses, helping them to understand that in recognizing their weaknesses they can discover hidden gifts, helping them to develop and use their gifts for the glory of God, helping them to desire the lifelong discovery of the awesomeness of God and their uniqueness, and helping them to grow to become fully the person that God created them to be. 

Mary Beth Franzen

Fourth Grade
  • B.A. in Elementary Education magna cum laude (Western Illinois University)
  • Coursework in mild/moderate and severe disabilities (Webster University)
  • Religion Teacher Certificate (Paul VI Pontifical Institute)
  • Catechism Certificate (Paul VI Pontifical Institute)

Mary Beth was a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler for 13 years.  She has taught PSR at St. Joseph-Cottleville for eight years. She has held various volunteer positions, including founding a Little Flowers Catholic Girl’s Club, leading a St. Charles County support group for families of children with Down syndrome, and serving on the board of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. Mary Beth has also been a presenter at various local and national conferences, including the St. Louis Catholic Homeschool Conference, Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis Annual Conference, and the National Catholic Educators Association-Teaching Exceptional Learners Conference.

Her classroom teaching experience includes middle school and first grade at All Saints School in St. Peters, third grade in the Francis Howell School District, and gifted education coordinator/instructor for 2nd-5th grade students at St. Joseph School-Cottleville.

As an educator, Mary Beth knows that each student is a unique being with gifts and talents in a combination like no other person. In addition to instilling a love for Our Lord and a love for learning, she challenges each child to use whatever gifts God has blessed them, to bless others. Mary Beth is excited to be part of the faculty at JPII and to partner with the parents in educating the future of the Catholic Church.

Mary Kay Fulton

First Grade
  • B.S. in Applied Computer Science (Illinois State University)

Mrs. Fulton has been a teacher at JPII since 2012.  Before that, she spent ten years of homeschooling (1st through 8th grade), and worked for Arthur Andersen Consulting as a computer programmer, systems analyst, and project leader.

Mrs. Fulton likes JPII because here "everyone is treated like a child of God."


Sebastian Garren

Ancient History, Medieval Studies, British Literature, Latin II
High School Academic Dean
  • B.A. in Classical Languages, Philosophy, Medieval Studies (Wabash College, 2013)
  • Classical Civilization (Instituti per Studi Classici)

Experience: St. John Paul II Preparatory School, 2015 - present

Christina Heddell

Special Music Events, Schola
  • M.A. in Theological Studies (Ave Maria University, 2008)
  • B.S. in Economics, Minor in Piano Performance (Miami University, 2002)

After working for a private economic forecasting firm out of college, Mrs. Heddell landed her first dream job at the Respect Life Apostolate in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, a position she left in 2009 for her next dream job as stay-at-home mother. She has two children enrolled at JPII and two at home this year, with a fifth baby born in January 2017. Mrs. Heddell is thrilled to join the workforce again as a music and fine arts teacher at JPII. In addition to playing piano for Masses, weddings and the occasional cocktail hour, Mrs. Heddell’s current focus is on teaching music to young people. Mrs. Heddell has trained with Making Music, Praying Twice, a music and movement program for 0-8 year olds. She started a children’s choir at her parish, has been a volunteer music and choir teacher at JPII, and is the Chorus Director for Joyful Noise Musical Theater. She is grateful to JPII, both the school and the saint, for loving and promoting the arts, and she looks forward to working with the students to make beautiful music that gives glory to God! 

Joann Heffernan

Middle School Writing,  American History, 
Middle School Literature
  • Masters of Arts in Education (Northwestern University, 1978)
  • B.S. in Communicative Disorders (University of Illinois at Champaign, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1977)
  • Post Graduate Elementary Education Coursework (College of Charleston, 1997)
  • Missouri Certification, Elementary Education 1-8
  • Special Education for Mild to Moderate Disabilities, 1-12

The vast extent of Mrs. Heffernan's teaching career was from 1999-2009, at which time she taught Religion, Social Studies, Science, and Math for grades 3rd through 8 at Linda Vista Catholic School. She has also spent thirteen years tutoring for Huntington Learning Academy as well as doing independent tutoring for grades 3-12. After Linda Vista closed, Mrs. Heffernan worked as a teacher aid for Rockwood School District for one year, and then as a Supervisor for student teachers at St. Louis University for one year in 2011. 

During her years of teaching, she has enjoyed several years of coaching students for the Bellarmine Speech Contest, coordinating the Scripts National Spelling Bee, and fulfilling the role of Primary grades department head.

Mrs. Heffernan's philosophy of education includes love, individuality, and respect. Every student must know that he/she is loved in order to learn. God makes each of us an individual. Each student needs to embrace this fact and embrace his/her own gift. Learning to accept and use these gifts are the challenges the student must accept in order to learn. And finally, all learning is meaningless without respect. Her classroom is a loving and safe environment where each individual student is accepted, celebrated, and respected by teachers and peers.

Anne Henning

Fifth Grade, 6th, 7th, 8th Grade Science
  • B.A. in Political Science (Northern Illinois University)
  • NCATE Teaching Certification, Grades 6-12, IL and MO
  • Religion Teacher Certification (Paul VI Pontifical Institute)

Anne has renewed her teaching certification with classes at UMSL and SIU and professional development in the QUEST (Quality Elementary Science Teaching) program, College of Elementary Education, MU, Columbia, MO. 

Anne served as volunteer Pre-School Director at Holy Innocents Catholic School for ten years, then part-time science teacher for 4th-8th grades. After the school and parish closed, Anne taught fourth and fifth grades at St. Ambrose Catholic School on the Hill through June 2011.

In 2012, substitute teaching called her to new experiences at Cabrini Academy, St. Cecilia Catholic School, Loyola Academy, DeLaSalle Middle School, Marian Middle School, and, in the spring of 2013, to JPII.

Anne is delighted to be part of the JPII faculty and its mission of educating students, both academically and spiritually. Joining parents and her teaching partners, she looks forward to preparing her students to become faith-filled adults living and defending the Catholic faith with confidence and joy.  Each day and each student is a gift in which she learns more deeply the Gospel message.

Mary Beth Hercules

  • B.A. of Interior Architecture from Kansas State University, Honors, emphasis in product design

Upon graduation, Mrs. Hercules worked for a local Saint Louis architecture firm then shortly after joined her husband, David, in his budding business designing and building furniture.  She then moved into a corporate environment, working as the lead designer with Brown Shoe Company for many years.  When her first child was born she began her own company, Mantis Design, and worked for a diverse clientele.  The work was challenging and rewarding, but as her family grew she knew she wanted a new role.  Mrs. Hercules closed my business and began her venture as a homeschooling mom.

As much as she enjoyed seeing the ah-ha moments in the eyes of her children, after several years of trying, Mrs. Hercules came to the conclusion that God was not calling her to homeschool.  It was a painful reality, but she knew that she would simply have to trust God to find a better alternative, and He did.  Less than one year after she gave up homeschooling, Jessica Zuniga called her to say that there was going to be a lower school opened at John Paul II.  She was offered a position as an assistant in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade classroom.  Mrs. Hercules absolutely loved working alongside Mrs. Erard that year.  In addition, with Mrs. Erards’ encouragement, she began teaching some basic art classes to the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes.  She had so much joy seeing the eyes of the students light up as we worked together on their projects.   At this point Mrs. Hercules was certain God had answered her prayers and had led her along a road that made use of her unique skills and strengths.

Each year she enjoys more and more her time teaching art and design.  She is grateful to have such amazing students with such a zest for learning and is privileged to see their creative wheels moving as they produce their unique interpretation of each project. She looks forward to many years to come!

Mrs. Hercules is thrilled to be teaching at St. John Paul II because of the loving community that surrounds this learning environment.  She has always felt that parents, teachers and administration have been of one mind in our priority of first raising God-loving children who know why they exist.  The absolute passion of everyone she works with towards allowing each student to develop individually and find the path God designed for them is evident in the teaching methods and spirit of cooperation that exists.  Mrs. Hercules believes the students here feel loved and supported by both their peers and teachers and it is evident in the work they do.

Alysia Horst

Algebra I, History of the Modern World, American Literature, Composition/Rhetoric in Ancient Literature, Physics
  • B.S. in Secondary Education
  • B.A. in English (University of Missouri-St. Louis, summa cum laude, 1998)
  • Catechist Certification (Paul VI Pontifical Institute)

After her college graduation and marriage, Mrs. Horst taught second grade at her parish school, as well as a PSR class. The following two years she taught honors literature/grammar classes at New Haven High School.  While homeschooling her children, she continued to teach PSR, even taking on Confirmation preparation for twelve years. 

Anne Klein

Pre-Calculus, Algebra I, Pre-Algebra, 5th Grade Math
  • B.S. in Elementary Education, Extended Teaching Certificate in Mathematics K -12,  (University of Missouri-St. Louis, summa cum laude)

Mrs. Klein taught math and science to grades 7 and 8 for three years at St. James the Greater School. Subsequently she worked for two years as a Mathematics Specialist in the Parkway Math Project, in coordination with the University of Missouri/Columbia to research the best methods for teaching mathematics. She traveled to different elementary schools in the Parkway School District to share those techniques with grade school teachers.

During this time Mrs. Klein also helped to write a series of enrichment mathematics workbooks for the Houghton-Mifflin Mathematics textbook series, as well as several instructional manuals for Parkway math teachers, and gave presentations at national teacher workshops and conventions. She then taught math for more than a year at Parkway South Middle School until the birth of her first child.

During her time at home raising her four children, Mrs. Klein helped to write math practice and enrichment workbook pages for the Grade 7 Silver Burdett Mathematics Textbook.

Mrs. Klein has been teaching high school and middle school mathematics at St John Paul II Preparatory School since the school began in the Fall of 2009.

Mrs. Klein loves teaching at JPII because she enjoys helping students to understand and appreciate the subject of mathematics. She is fortunate to work with wonderful teachers, principal, and staff, and to have great support from the parents and families.  She feels that she is so blessed to be able to teach at JPII where she can integrate the study of mathematics with the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church!

Mary Kutchback

Grade School Music

Michael Martel

Philosophy, Calculus

Elaine Maxwell

  • Coursework in Biology, Psychology, and Elderly Care  (Maryville University)
  • Degree from Healing Arts Center (St. Charles Community College)

Mrs. Maxwell worked at St. Peter’s Catholic grade school in St. Charles as a substitute teacher for grades K – 8th.  She was, also, the director of their Sunday school program and VBS program.  Her children started at JPII in 2013 and she joined the JPII faculty in 2015 as the teacher assistant for Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Now Mrs. Maxwell teaches the Pre-K students and helps with student transcripts.

Mrs. Maxwell enjoys teaching Pre-K and helping our youngest students love God, love learning, and love school.


Kelsey Murphy

Latin III, Logic, Algebra II, Grammar,
Third/Fourth Form Latin
  • National Merit Scholar
  • 2230/2400 on the SAT (top 99%)
  • Mathematics and Latin at Saint Louis University 
  • High School Diploma from Barat Academy

Mrs. Murphy has been a professional tutor for five and a half years. She has worked with children with learning challenges, improved students’ skill and confidence in math, taught high school students test strategies to prepare them for the ACT, and taught individualized summer courses in Latin and algebra prep, and now teaches Third Form Latin, Latin III, Algebra 2 and Logic at St. John Paul II Preparatory.

Mrs. Murphy loves the Classical education philosophy, and fidelity to Catholic truth and doctrine. She also think that JPII combines the best attributes of traditional schooling and homeschooling in a unique and effective approach.

Pam Olimpio

5th and 6th Grade Religion
Dean of Religious Instruction
  • Communications and Broadcast Journalism (Southeast Missouri State University and St. Louis University) 
  • Theology (Institute of the Holy Doctors)
  • Five year education/formation program at Carmel of St. Joseph; professed 2001 Order Carmelites Discalced Secular
  • Coordinator of Religious Education Certification (CRE) (Paul VI Pontifical Institute)
  • Catechism/ Religious Studies Certification (Paul VI Pontifical Institute)

Mrs. Olimpio has taught Religion grades fourth through seventh and Math grades second to sixth at JPII.

Mrs. Olimpio loves St John Paul II Preparatory School because it has been a gift to her children and family. St. John Paul II Preparatory follows the Catholic Church’s mandate to promote parents as the primary teacher of their children by providing an excellent Catholic education that is focused on utilizing the best materials available to educate a young Catholic, scholastically and formatively in the complete teachings of Jesus Christ, and of the Church he founded, faith without compromise. At the same time, the school provides the gift of time to families to provide the family with the necessary time to bond and remain unified through the formative years of a young persons life, according to the will of God. Mrs. Olimpio finds that working for JPII has been a calling, which has been supported by much grace.

Dr. Stephen Pieper

Moral Theology
  • M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine
  • Board Certifications: Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Electrophysiology, Internal Medicine
  • Fellow:  Heart Rhythm Society, American College of Cardiology
  • M.A. in Theology from Ave Maria University


Stephen J. Pieper, MD, FHRS, is board certified in cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular electrophysiology, and internal medicine. He is a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society and the American College of Cardiology.

Following graduation Magna Cum Laude from Washington University, Dr. Pieper received a medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1988. He completed his internship and residency at Barnes Hospital/Washington University School of Medicine, where he received the Internal Medicine Award, and served a Chief Residency year at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. He completed his cardiovascular disease and electrophysiology fellowships at The Mayo Clinic. He subsequently earned a Master of Theology from Ave Maria University. Dr. Pieper has authored numerous articles in medical journals and has been a research investigator in multiple research studies, including an NIH study. He has been elected a St. Louis Best Doctor annually since 2005.

Dr. Pieper’s professional interests include consultative electrophysiology, pacemaker and defibrillator device management, and ablation procedures.

On a personal level, Dr. Pieper is currently participating in the Deaconate program through the St. Louis Archdiocese and will soon be ordained a permanent Deacon of the Church.

Julie Sims

Geometry, American Government,  6th Grade Math,
Famous Men of Greece, Rome, and the Early Church

Amy Steppig

First Form Latin,  American History, Grammar, Logic
Dean of Home and School
  • B.A. in Theology from St. Louis University magna cum laude
  • B.A. in Fine and Performing Arts, emphasis in Theatre and Music magna cum laude

Amy Steppig has been an active member the homeschooling community since 1997.  Once introduced to the Classical homeschool methodology, she spent years learning about and collecting Classical curriculum and books, while teaching her own children.  Mrs. Steppig has also worked as a youth minister and catechist at several area parishes and is a certified catechist for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  

Seana Tetzlaff

Grade School Dean
  • Psychology at University of South Florida
  • Associate in Arts degree from Hillsborough Community College
  • PK & K Teacher Certification, North American Montessori Center

Mrs. Tetzlaff has been privileged to be a part of JPII from the very beginning as one of the founding families. Over the last 9 years she has been involved as a board member, teacher and now dean. She has been married to her husband Marcus for 30 years and has a daughter Hailie, who is a 2013 JPII graduate.

Mrs. Tetzlaff worked in Atlanta in the public school system with autistic preschoolers and a private Catholic school as a kindergarten assistant and co-teacher. She had worked at Gateway Academy as a temporary 2nd grade teacher, as a substitute teacher for grades PK through 6th grade, co-teacher for Pre-K and an assistant to first grade. After receiving her certification as a Preschool/Kindergarten teacher from North American Montessori Center, she began to implement a Montessori program for Pre-K until the school's closing.

Mrs. Tetzlaff has a deep desire to share Christ with the children she teaches, support parents in their God given role as primary educators of their children and help form young people who know and love our Lord.


Julia Walker

Grade School Aide
  • Communication Disorders, Truman State University
  • B.S. Speech-Language Pathology, Fontbonne University

While at Truman, Ms. Walker began working at a daycare where she still holds the position as the director’s assistant. There she has been assisting the other teachers and the director, but has also been a lead teacher and loved having a classroom of her own.

Ms. Walker's family has been at JPII for several years now and she has heard nothing but wonderful things about the school and community of faith. When she learned a position had opened in the grade school for an aide, she felt called to apply for the job. During her last two years of college, she spent a lot of time discerning whether she was called to be a teacher or a therapist, and taking this job is another step in that journey. She has learned so much and gained invaluable experience this year and have loved getting to know all the students and teachers at the school.