Staff

Our staff members are dedicated to the mission of Ascension Catholic School and to our scholars.

Shamir Brice

Sixth Grade Reading and Social Studies

Master's Degree in Secondary Education from Creighton University. Bachelor's of Arts Degree in History and Political Science. I appreciate that Ascension Catholic School is a unique community built around the ideals of hard work, continual improvement, and devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ascension has welcomed me to Minneapolis and is overall an inviting and supportive community.

Amy Brown

Grade 2

Education: Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a certificate in Gifted, Creative, and Talented Education. I love being able to pray and talk about God with my scholars. I love how Ascension feels like a big family - as teachers we support each other and help each other in every way we can!

Tracy Carpenter

Grade 2

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of St. Thomas. Master’s Degree in Catholic School Leadership from St. Mary’s. I am blessed to be a part of the Ascension community. I get to work with amazing teachers, staff, and families. Together we have the most important job in the world – to help our beautiful children grow into adults who are not only educated, but learn to treat all human beings with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Jean Cerisier

Physical Education

Dr. Sousada Chidthachack Grande

Assistant Principal

Dr. Sousada Chidthachack Grande has worked in the field of education for more than a decade: the first five years as a licensed high school mathematics teacher, and recently as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Teacher Coach. Dr. Grande’s educational work has included being a University of St. Thomas Mathematics Instructor, a Minneapolis Public School District teacher, a University of Minnesota STEM Education Teacher Coach on a National Science Foundation Grant, and recently, the STEM Education Coordinator at University of San Francisco. Dr. Grande was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, but was raised in north Minneapolis for over two decades. She is a graduate of Minneapolis South High School, University of St. Thomas, and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Pure Mathematics, a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in STEM Education. Dr. Grande came to Ascension Catholic School in August 2017 to serve as the Assistant Principal. She enjoys mentoring and tutoring scholars in the area of mathematics and working closely with families to ensure a holistic approach to education.

Mary Connor

Classroom Aide/Latchkey Director 3rd-5th

Theresa Culpert

Grade 1

Education: Michigan State University, bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a specialization certificate in African Studies. 1 year overseas studies at the University of Zimbabwe. Currently in the Advanced Pastoral Spanish program at the University of St. Thomas. I am grateful for the opportunity to pray with my students! I value the diversity we have at Ascension, which allows us to learn from one another and prepares our scholars to compete in our global economy.

Michael Depass

School Secretary/Latino Family Liaison

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, minor in Spanish, from Louisiana State University. I enjoy being part of this wonderful faith filled community.

Patrice DeRosier

IT Director/7th grade Technology

Education: BS in Psychology and BA in Elementary Education from the University of North Dakota. MA in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas I appreciate the scholars and staff I work with. I enjoy coming to work and helping scholars further their education through the use of technology.

Richard Eddy

Jr. High teacher

Education: Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education from Marquette University Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas. I appreciate the opportunity I have to interact and get to know eighty scholars and their families every year.

David Hoffmann

K-6 Visual Arts

Bemidji State University – Bachelor of Science in Elementary K-6 Education. I love helping scholars explore and develop their creative skills.

Meg Hoye

Grade 1

Masters of Arts in Reading K-12, University of St. Thomas, BA Elementary Education, Southwest Minnesota State University. I value Ascension’s faith-based education.

Stephanie Isola

General Music K-3rd, 6th – 8th and Choir Director

Education: Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Minnesota I love working with the talented and creative students at Ascension School.

Laura Justin

8th Grade English and Social Studies

Education: BS and MEd in Elementary and Middle School Education from University of Minnesota. The value this opportunity to unite my passions of literature, civic duty, faith, and human development.

Ben Justin

Data and Assessment Coordinator

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota, Masters of Education in Mathematics Education from the University of Minnesota. I appreciate the opportunity to support outstanding, dedicated teachers and to serve these scholars.

Bridget Younce

Grade 3 #2

I graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a degree in Elementary (grades K-6) and Special (grades K-12) Education. I love seeing the "light bulb" click on when a scholar understands something they have been struggling with.

Michele Klein

Kindergarten

BA in Elementary Education with Kindergarten Certification College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn. MA in Curriculum and Instruction University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, with English as a Second Language Certification. I have worked in the Catholic, Charter, and the Public School Systems. I have also worked as a Religious Education Director/Faith Formation Coordinator and Youth Minister within the Archdiocese. I value working at Ascension were I can teach the academics and also share my love of the Catholic Faith.

Alicia LaCroix

ELL

Education: BA in ELL Education, University of Northwestern St. Paul. Additional Licenses in Elementary Education and Bilingual Education from Hamline University. I value being part of community that can not only meet the academic needs of students, but can point them to God, who can meet all of their needs. I have supported ELL students, ELL families, and their teachers for nearly 10 years and I love what I do.

Natalie Major

Grade 3

BA Elementary Education- St. Catherine University, K-12 Masters in Reading Instruction- St. Thomas University. I appreciate the opportunity to work with scholars and families daily. I love sharing my passion for learning.

Benito Matias

Principal

Benito Matias has worked in the field of education for nearly 25 years, the last eight of which have been as a school administrator. Benito’s educational work has included being a Dunwoody College of Technology Instructor, a Minneapolis Public School District teacher, the Manager of the Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP), and the Executive Director of MetroTech Career Academy. Benito was born and raised in Minneapolis; he’s a graduate of Patrick Henry high school, Dunwoody College of Technology, and Bemidji State University, where he earned a BA in Industrial Technology. Benito came to Ascension Catholic School in 2013 to serve as the Dean of Students, and was named Principal of Ascension Catholic School in January of 2016.

CJ McGowan

School Counselor/City Connects Coordinator

BS in Therapeutic Recreation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI MA in School Counseling, Adler Graduate School, Richfield, MN. I love the variety that each day brings. I may give support to a scholar who missed breakfast or meet with a new community partner. Every day is a new day!

Jamie Meyer

Kindergarten

I have a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Abilene Christian University. I also have my teaching certificate in Gifted, Creative, and Talented from St. Thomas. I am working on my Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at St. Thomas and should graduate with that in May of this year. I love that I can pray with my students and that we can learn about Jesus. I also love working with our Ascension community.

Jill Miller

Grade 5 #1

Associate Arts Degree-North Dakota State College of Science, Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education-University of North Dakota, Masters of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction-University of St. Thomas. I love teaching 5th graders. I appreciate their curiosity about the world and social justice issues. I love teaching at Ascension Catholic School because I see a true commitment to educate tomorrow's future.

Cathy Minear

Title I K-5th

Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Augsburg College. I enjoy getting to know the students and their families.

Joy Moeller

Music, MacPhail

BA, Education and Language Arts, Ottawa University, Ottawa KS Graduate Studies, Child Development, Language Arts, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Suzuki Talent Education Violin Pedagogy Training, registered with Suzuki Association of the Americas I love being part of a community that embraces diversity — not just of ethnicity, but of culture, gender, age, life experience, education, spiritual gifts — all within the strong arms of the Christian faith.

Dominique Montognese

7th grade math and 8th grade science

Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from St. Cloud University and currently working on a Masters Degree from University of St. Thomas in Educational Studies. I appreciate my colleagues. They are supportive, creative, and so much fun to work with.

Julie O’Connell

Grade 4 #1

Jean Sanders

Classroom Aide Grades 3-5/Latchkey Director K-2

Dennis Schildgen

Grade 6 #1

Bridget Strand

Grade 5, #2

University of Minnesota Duluth Teaching Communication Arts and Literature BAA English Literature BA. Educational Technology Certificate In progress University of Wisconsin Stout Reading Specialist The process of growing, learning, and becoming can be both wonderful and difficult for scholars. It's rewarding to be a part of the process. I strive to help and empower scholars to learn and grow to be the best version of themselves.

Amber Wright

Administrative Assistant