Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee Staff 2017/18
Following Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, all Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee faculty and staff pledge an Oath of Fidelity to teach always and only that which accords with the Sacred Magisterium of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Each faculty member makes this solemn pledge during the Academy’s annual, inaugural Mass. This ensures that every student receives a true understanding of their Catholic faith, without admixture or doctrinal confusion.
Samantha Marugg – Headmaster, Literature and History Teacher
Mrs. Marugg has a B.A. degree in English, with a minor in Secondary Education, from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. She has experience teaching literature, classics, history, and religion courses. Mrs. Marugg is an avid reader and a field hockey referee, with four prior years of field hockey coaching experience. She also worked for four years as a columnist and editor for the Emmitsburg News-Journal. She shares her talent and love for writing with our students throughout class and the literature lab. Her interest in classical, liberal education has fueled participation in several classical reading groups, conferences and workshops. She has led our new teacher training and our efforts to implement the Chesterton Network curriculum version 2.0 with our staff. Her outstanding organizational skills and cheerful attitude are a tremendous asset to school leadership.
Dr. Michael Phillips – Latin Teacher
Dr. Michael Phillips has a B.S. degree from UW-Milwaukee in Zoology, an M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is certified in Clinical and Anatomic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology. He also served as chief pathologist and laboratory director at Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, WI and one term as chief of staff. He has served as forensic pathologist for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner and the Walworth County Coroner. He has been president of both the Wisconsin Society of Pathologists and Pro-Life Wisconsin and on the board of the Milwaukee Guild of the Catholic Medical Association. He is a current member of the National Catholic Medical Association, Milwaukee Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, and board member at Pro-Life Wisconsin.
In addition to Latin, his language studies include German and Irish. Dr. Phillips’s interest in Chesterton Academy stems from his high regard for the founder, Dale Ahlquist whom he first met at the 2007 Annual Chesterton Society Conference. He feels privileged and honored to teach at Chesterton Academy.
Philip Steigerwald – Theology and Philosophy Teacher
Mr. Steigerwald has a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College, where he also served as a resident advisor, providing coaching and advice to dozens of students in the areas of academics and time management, while inspiring them to reach toward even higher goals. He served as a link between the student body and the assistant dean of the college. He has also served as an educator/coach for multiple years with Summit Educational Association in South Milwaukee, where he mentored students from underprivileged backgrounds and prepared and taught academic lessons as well as daily presentations on virtue and character. Mr. Steigerwald graduated withhigh honors from Thomas Aquinas College, a classical liberal arts college with the education centered on original works and the incorporation of the Socratic method, thus allowing him to bring this great expertise to Chesterton Academy. He has declared it his life vocation to “attend to the ministry of the intellect.” He is a passionate Catholic with a youthful vigor sure to engage and inspire our students.
Dr. Bernoli Baello – Teacher and Chair of the Math and Science Departments
A native of the Philippines, Dr. Baello received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Philippines, a Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Lewis University. For the past 17 years, he has served as math and science teacher as well as the department chairs for math and science at Northridge Preparatory School in Illinois. Dr. Baello has coached a high school math team at NPS to receive the top ten in State Finals for Division 1A for more than five years. He has numerous affiliations including American Association of Physics Teachers and Chemical Society, as well as the National Science Teachers Association. In addition, numerous grants have been awarded under his leadership including: Target field award, Best Buy Te@ch Award, American Society of Metallurgy Foundation, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Teacher Grant, and SAS Outstanding New Member Award, to name a few.
Dr. Baello enjoys promoting field trips and company visits to inspire students to consider math and science-related fields for future study. He has also participated almost yearly in different workshops and conferences to further his own development in teaching and science expertise and continues to facilitate a materials science summer workshop for middle and high school teachers. We are blessed to have Dr. Baello as chair of our math and science departments at Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee.
Edward Collazo – Math, Science, and Music Teacher
Mr. Collazo received his B.A degree from Creighton University, where he majored in philosophy and economics and minored in music and psychology. While in college, he tutored high school students in a variety of subjects, including geometry, physics, and ACT prep, and spent three years as a volunteer coach for the Elkhorn High School speech team in Nebraska. He also spent one summer serving on the ropes crew for a Catholic summer camp in Kansas, his home state. As impactful as his collegiate experience was, his high school years were nearly as formative. He spent that time competing at the local, state, and national levels in a variety of math competitions, often earning top honors. He also fell in love with and converted to the Catholic faith during his sophomore year. Mr. Collazo has come to Chesterton Academy to combine his deep appreciation for education with his love for the Catholic Church and his passion for working with youth. When he’s not teaching, you can often find Mr. Collazo singing, enjoying a game of soccer, re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or continuing his education through books, podcasts, lectures, or any other means he can find.
Geoffrey Butz – Art and Art History Teacher
Mr. Butz has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Not only does he have experience teaching, ranging from young children to adults, but he is also an artist and freelance graphic and web designer with over 25 years of experience. He has worked with apostolates such as EWTN, St. Joseph Communications, Lighthouse Catholic Media Inc., Catholic Book Publishing Corp, and others. He has participated in various art shows, both juried and solo exhibitions, and we are blessed to have him share his talents with our Chesterton Academy students.
Matthew Ventura – Drama and Debate Teacher
Mr. Ventura received his B.A degree in the Humanities, with an emphasis on performance, from New York University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has extensive performance experience, and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses of the Alexander Technique and the Performer at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee since 2011 in the Peck School of the Arts, working with dancers, actors, singers and musicians. Mr. Ventura skillfully directs all our drama productions at Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee.
Julie Cucunato – Pianist and Music teacher
Mrs. Cucunato has a B.M. in Piano Performance from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music as well as an M.M. in Piano Performance from Michigan State University. Before this, she completed the degree requirements in mathematics and science at Mount Mary College and worked with the DEA in Chicago. Mrs. Cucunato decided to take some summer private piano lessons at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and as a result, was strongly encouraged to pursue a degree in piano performance, teach piano at the WCM and be the private pedagogy student of the renowned pedagogue, Adelaide Banaszynski. Mrs. Cucunato then went on to receive a graduate degree in piano performance, studying with the winner of the first Van Cliburn Competition, Ralph Votapek, who was also a former student of Adelaide Banaszynski. After graduating and years of teaching piano, Mrs. Cucunato founded and directed The Adelaide Banaszynski School for Piano Studies, which flourished for several years until she entered the world of Catholic Church music and ten years later founded and became the director of Musicā Oramus with the mission of bringing glorious music to the Holy Mass. In the Fall of 2017, Mrs. Cucunato joined the faculty of Chesterton Academy and is enjoying working with these wonderful young people!
Bonnie Zamorski – Director of School Operations
Mrs. Zamorski oversees all office operations at Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee. She has wealth of knowledge in office operations from her 12 years as office manager at Pro-Life WI, three years as a school secretary, and four years maintaining computer systems operations at Donohue Intelligraphics. She was educated in computer programming and has experience in human resources, financial reporting, employee training, event planning, efficient office operations, and related computer software/hardware maintenance and support.
Debbie Branecky – Manager of Admissions and College Advising
Mrs. Branecky has a B.S. degree in Finance and Business Economics from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University. She has done consulting work in the retirement benefits and financial sectors and pro bono work in schools, as well as for individuals seeking to maximize their financial aid eligibility in the college application process. Mrs. Branecky is very detail oriented, a critical quality for a college advisor. She has set up computer programs for Chesterton Academy’s admissions process, grading system, and college navigation program. Mrs. Branecky conducts college information sessions and is available for individual appointments throughout all four years of high school to help students and parents discern the right college or vocational path for their unique circumstances.
Rose Moter – Marketing and Development
Ms. Moter has a B.A. degree in Professional Communications from Alverno College and an Associate of Arts degree in Psychology. In the past, she worked with teens as a behavioral health technician and also tutored disadvantaged children in language arts. Before coming to Chesterton Academy, she worked as an operations manager for SBH Logistics in Waukesha, while doing freelance graphic design and photography projects on the side. Ms. Moter is passionate about quality education, Catholic family culture, and professional soccer.