Administration & Staff

Kimberly Koch, School Administrator / Principal

Kim is beginning her 27th year at St. Mary’s Academy, and her 15th year as our school administrator. Kim desires to “motivate our youth to become respectful, responsible citizens.” One of the reasons that Kim has enjoyed her job so much is because of the students and staff, especially “how closely we all work together.”

Kim received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Linfield College and a Master of Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.

Kim and her husband Brian, a St. Mary’s alum, have two children; Ethan, a graduate of Linfield College, and Emma, an SMA alum and junior at Columbia Gorge Community College.

Wendy Palmer, Development Director / SMA Foundation Executive Director

Beginning her 19th year at St. Mary’s Academy, Wendy works on many projects simultaneously. With the work of many volunteers, Wendy oversees the school’s fundraisers, in addition to working with the St. Mary’s Academy Foundation of The Dalles Board. “My job at St. Mary’s is made easier and more interesting by the parents and their children. It is a wonderful community.”

Wendy and her husband Bob have two children who are alumni of SMA; Jordan, an actor, who graduated in 2019 from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and Emily, a wildland firefighter with the USFS and 2022 graduate of the University of Idaho.

Angela Jones, SMA Foundation Marketing & Alumni Cultivation Coordinator

Angela joined the SMA team over the summer.

 

Renate Clark, Secretary

Renate begins her 7th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our school Secretary. She enjoys working with the students and parents.

Renate enjoys baking, painting, wood-burning, and hiking in her spare time, as well as spending time with her family. She and her husband Ryan have five children. Daughters, Sofia, a sophomore, and SMA alum, Evelyn, a freshman, and SMA alum, daughters Gabbie and Geelah who attend tenth and eighth grade, respectively, and son Griffin a senior at Dufur School.

 

Extended Care & Pre-School

Paula Daggett, Extended Care Coordinator / Pre-School Teacher

Paula is beginning her 9th year at St. Mary’s Academy. Before joining the SMA team she spent two years as a Pre-School Aide and seven years as a Pre-School Teacher/Director.

Paula and her husband Shawn have two daughters; Anna and Mollie.

Ginger Ranslam, Extended Care / Pre-School Aide

Ginger has been a part of the SMA team since 2014. She was born and raised in The Dalles and has been working with children of all ages since graduating high school. She attended Eastern Oregon University where she studied Psychology and Theatre.

Her favorite part of working with kids is that they always keep her laughing.

 

Primary School

Renee McCabe, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Renee celebrates her 16th year here at St. Mary’s Academy as our Pre-Kindergarten teacher. Renee came to SMA with many years of experience teaching preschool in The Dalles.

Renee and her husband Dale have two children; Austin and McKenzie, who both attended and graduated from Oregon State University – Go Beavers!!

Brianna Reiter, Pre-Kindergarten Aide

This is Brianna’s second year at St Mary’s Academy. After homeschooling her daughter during COVID she knew she wanted to work in early education and was blessed with the opportunity to join the team at St. Mary’s.

Brianna was born and raised in the Columbia River Gorge. She loves to spend her spare time with her 2 kids (Oliver 7 & Lizzy 8) who also attend St. Mary’s, her husband Seth, and her two dogs Archie and Jughead.

Brianne enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling, cooking, reading, and DIY renovating her house.

 

Jody Brace, Kindergarten Teacher

Jody begins her 19th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our kindergarten teacher. Jody graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon State University and received her Master’s Degree from Portland State University. Jody enjoys working with the kindergarteners because they are so curious and eager to learn.

In her spare time, Jody enjoys reading, baking, biking, kayaking, and spending time with her husband Dan, two daughters attending St. Mary’s, Josie, who is in eighth grade, and younger sister Brandi in sixth grade.

 

Marisol Meza, Kindergarten Aide

Marisol begins her 2nd year as our Kindergarten Aide. Marisol grew up in The Dalles and Dufur and attended St. Mary’s from the 2nd through 8th grades. She graduated from Dufur High School. This is Marisol’s second year as a teacher but she has been a homemaker for 12 years and learns best through her kids.

Music is Marisol’s passion and she has learned to read music and picked up several instruments over the years. Marisol loves to cook and bake, and fitness has become a passion. She and her husband have three children Alessandra, Giuliana, and Carlos. They enjoy visiting new places and going on adventures.

 

Jessi Bennett, First Grade

Jessi begins her fourth year as our first-grade teacher.  She graduated from Western Oregon University with her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education.  Before leaving to work on her degree, Jessi worked for seven years in our extended care. She is excited to be back with the St. Mary’s family!

Jessi lives in The Dalles with her cat Harlow.  In her free time, she enjoys bowling, camping, and spending time with family, especially her 2-year-old nephew.

 

Kelsey Wallace, Second Grade

Kelsey is beginning her 9th year as a teacher at St. Mary’s. This will be her sixth year teaching 2nd grade. Kelsey graduated from Oregon State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with an Early Childhood option and completed her Master’s of Education at the University of Grand Canyon.

Kelsey began going to school here when she was in 4th grade and graduated from 8th grade. Kelsey is married to her High School sweetheart Grayson. They have two children, a daughter Emerson, age 2, and a son Weston, age 4 months.  When she is not teaching she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Caitlin Espinoza, Third Grade

Caitlin is beginning her 6th year at St. Mary’s. This will be her 5th year teaching 3rd grade. Caitlin graduated from Fort Hays State University with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education.

Caitlin is originally from Kansas but has spent more of her life in The Dalles, Oregon, and calls it her home. She is married to her husband Nacho. They have two children who attend St. Mary’s Academy, Gabriel in 5th grade and Adalia in 2nd grade. Caitlin enjoys reading a great book in her free time and loves camping, hiking, and traveling with her family.

 

Kathrine Murray, Fourth Grade

Katherine begins her third year at St. Mary’s. She is thrilled to be teaching Fourth Grade at St. Mary’s! Katherine comes from a long history of working with students in all age groups. She has worked as an Instructional Assistant and as a Classroom Teacher.

Katherine lives in Hood River with her husband and two college-aged children, and loves all things animals! And, fun fact, she attended Catholic Schools for 9 years growing up…she even wore a plaid skirt in High School!

 

Beth Skobkariova, Fifth Grade

Beth begins her third year as our 5th-grade teacher.

Beth is married to Igor Skobkariov and spends her spare time running, hiking, camping, painting, and traveling.

 

David Wring, Physical Education

This is David’s third year teaching Physical Education at St. Mary’s Academy. David attended Treasure Valley Community College for two years, studying Education, as well as being team captain of the Cross Country and Track teams.

Outside of school, David loves to skateboard, run, go bowling with his family, and cliff jumping into the river (please don’t try this without adult permission and supervision).

 

Middle School

Carrie Seitz, Language Arts / Math

Carrie is the Language Arts teacher for the middle school. Her favorite reasons for teaching at SMA include the great kids, small classes, and wonderful staff; this is Carrie’s 24th year teaching at SMA.

Carrie holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Masters in Teaching, from Eastern Oregon University. Carrie and her husband, Tim, have two wonderful children: Hanna age 24, and Michael, age 16. In her spare time, Carrie enjoys reading, baking, fishing, and hiking with her family.

Darcey Hodges, Social Studies / Math

Darcey is beginning her 6th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Social Studies teacher. Darcey grew up in Wyoming and moved to The Dalles during her sophomore year. She graduated from WOU and holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Darcey taught PE and Health at TDMS before joining us at St. Mary’s.

Darcey had the opportunity to play basketball and soccer while in college and has three very active kids. They love playing sports, hiking, and fishing and are always looking for their next adventure.

Greg Johnson, Science / Math

Greg is beginning his 9th year at St. Mary’s Academy as our Middle School Science teacher. Greg moved to The Dalles in May of 1985 after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Washington State University.

Greg owns a farm on Three Mile Road where they grow sweet cherries, and raise pigs and goats. Greg has played, refereed, and coached soccer since he was seven years old. Greg also coaches our SMA Cross Country Team. He enjoys snow skiing in the winter and vacationing on the coast.

Greg has two children: Laura, age 30, and Mark age 26, both attended St. Mary’s Academy.

Rebecca Gooch, Choir

Rebecca begins her second year on the St. Mary’s Academy staff. Rebecca grew up in The Dalles. She has spent much of her adult life involved in music. She has taught piano and voice for many years, participated in community musicals, and choirs, and as lead singer for the ensemble Europatopia.

She is married to Marty and has 3 adult children, 2 grandchildren, and a sweet little rat terrier named Ronnie. She enjoys CHOIR! calligraphy, all kinds of music, dancing, reading, hiking, kayaking, oh many things! Her favorite color is bluish-green, and her favorite treats are salted caramel or rosemary almonds.

 

Ann Scherzinger, Band

Our band teacher, Ann, is an alum of SMA and new to our staff this year.  She has a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon and over 30 years of experience teaching all types of music in both the classroom and private settings.

A recent returnee to The Dalles, Ann enjoys playing her flute in The Gorge Winds, spending time working in her garden, and volunteering with the Wasco County Master Gardeners.  Most of all, she treasures the time she gets to spend with her dad.

 

Marisol Meza, Religion

Marisol begins her third year as St. Mary’s Religion Teacher. Marisol grew up in The Dalles and Dufur and attended St. Mary’s from the 2nd through 8th grades. She graduated from Dufur High School. This is Marisol’s second year as a teacher but she has been a homemaker for 12 years and learns best through her kids. She grew up in the church singing in the choir with her dad before leaving for college. Marisol is looking forward to this amazing opportunity as our religion teacher here at SMA.

Music is Marisol’s passion and she has learned to read music and picked up several instruments over the years. Marisol loves to cook and bake, and fitness has become a passion. She and her husband have three children Alessandra, Giuliana, and Carlos. They enjoy visiting new places and going on adventures.

 

Environmental Services

Jose Elizarraras, Environmental Services

Jose begins his 5th year at St. Mary’s Academy. We are thrilled to have Jose on our team.

Araceli Perez, Environmental Services

Araceli begins her 5th year at St. Mary’s Academy. We are so lucky to have Araceli on our team.