Faculty and Staff

Chesterton Academy of Milwaukee Staff 2018/19

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.

Mr. Eric DeMeuse, M.A. – Headmaster and Theology

Mr. DeMeuse has a B.A. in History and a minor in Latin from Hillsdale College and an M.A. in Theology from Villanova University. He is completing his dissertation as a PhD candidate in Theology at Marquette University.  Mr. DeMeuse has experience teaching at Marquette University, Villanova University, and at the high school level at Hillsdale Preparatory School in Michigan. Mr. DeMeuse has also been very active with a variety of programs in youth formation and catechesis, developing and teaching an “Introduction to Catholicism” course, instructing high school students in confirmation and Theology of the Body, coordinating and instructing a Life Teen high school youth program, and serving as the director of high school confirmation retreats. Mr. DeMeuse brings a tremendous amount of educational leadership, knowledge of youth, and practical administrational abilities to his position and is well-suited to fulfill the mission of the school and foster an ideal learning environment for students.

Samantha Marugg – Literature

Mrs. Marugg has a B.A. in English, with a minor in Secondary Education, from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. She has teaching experience in literature, classics, history, and religion courses at two classical schools. 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 the school.

Paul Guenzel, M.A. – Latin and Literature

Mr. Guenzel has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Thomas More College and an M.A. in English from the University of Dallas.  He received a full-tuition fellowship to study at the Center for Faith and Culture in Oxford, England for an intensive study of literature of English culture from the middle ages to the mid-twentieth century. Mr. Guenzel also studied abroad in Rome with a focus on the literary and art historical significance of Italy from its founding to present day. Recently, he has taught Latin and Literature at a classical high school in the Dallas area.  He is a native of the Milwaukee area and is happy to be back. Mr. Guenzel is an experienced fan of the Socratic method and enjoys leading seminars for students.

Madeline Steigerwald – History and Philosophy

Ms. Steigerwald graduated from the University of Dallas with a B.A. in History and a concentration in Political Philosophy. She has teaching experience in ancient, medieval, and modern history, as well as logic and grammar at three classical schools. She is a talented teacher who strives to pass on knowledge of the rich philosophical, historical, and cultural roots of the Western Tradition. She is convinced that the liberal arts are a sure pathway not only to the end of discovering the richness of the Western Tradition, but also to cultivating the minds and hearts of students in a way which leads them to knowledge of the truth and practice of the good. She is passionate about teaching as her life’s vocation and seeks to impart her enthusiasm for a love of learning.

Dr. Lynn Pyne – Math and Science

Dr. Pyne received her B.A. in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University and her medical degree from Vanderbilt Medical School and practiced as a pediatrician for many years. She has done medical missionary work for two years in Haiti. Dr. Pyne began teaching with her own children and in other classical schools since 1998, mainly in the fields of math and science. Dr. Pyne has been successful instructing a true understanding of the subject matter in order to reach higher complexity. She enjoys finding the key to motivate students to achieve their full potential as well as imparting a love and appreciation for math and science.

Michael Smalanskas – Math and Theology

Mr. Smalanskas received his B.A. degree in Theology and Philosophy from Providence College after spending two years in the seminary.  Prior to joining the seminary, he studied math and science extensively. Mr. Smalanskas was chosen to participate in a very selective fellowship for rising college seniors, where he was engaged in rigorous training and hands-on teaching experience. In addition, Mr. Smalanskas revitalized his parish’s religious education program by introducing a new curriculum model and implementing strategies to reach students at various intellectual and spiritual levels. He brings both practical teaching experience along with his personal witness to the classroom; he is a true warrior for the faith!

Geoffrey Butz – Art and Art History 

Mr. Butz has a B.F.A. 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, M.F.A. – Drama and Debate 

Mr. Ventura received his B.A. in the Humanities, with an emphasis on performance, from New York University and a Master of Fine Arts 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 and teaches the freshman speech/debate course.

Julie Cucunato, M.M. – Music  

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 a wealth of knowledge in office operations from her twelve years as office manager at Pro-Life WI, three years as a school secretary, and four years in computer system operations.  She was educated in computer operations and has experience in human resources, financial reporting, employee training, event planning, efficient office operations, and computer system administration.  Mrs. Zamorski brings joyful order to all operations!

Debbie Branecky, M.B.A. – 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 M.B.A. 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. She has set up computer programs for Chesterton Academy’s admissions process, grading system, and college navigation program. She also serves as assistant academic dean to the headmaster. Mrs. Branecky’s attention to detail, understanding of the college process, along with numerous years navigating undergraduate and graduate scholarships, provide our students with excellence in college advising. 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. in Professional Communications from Alverno College and an Associate of Arts in Psychology. She has worked with teens as a behavioral health technician and tutored disadvantaged children in language arts. Prior to Chesterton Academy, she worked as an operations manager for SBH Logistics, while doing freelance graphic design and photography projects on the side. Ms. Moter is passionate about the renewal of quality classical liberal arts education, Catholic family culture and professional soccer.

Dr. Michael Phillips –Lecturer, Advisory, and Substitute Teacher

Dr. Michael Phillips has a B.S. 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.  Dr. Phillips has served as forensic pathologist for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner and the Walworth County Coroner.  He has been president of the Wisconsin Society of Pathologists and Pro-Life Wisconsin and a board member of the Milwaukee Guild of the Catholic Medical Association and Pro-Life Wisconsin.  He is a current member of the National Catholic Medical Association and the Milwaukee Guild of the Catholic Medical Association. Dr. Phillip is truly a lifelong learner.  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. Dr. Phillips taught Latin to our students during the 2017-2018 academic year.