Administration & Staff Bios
We are happy to share more about ourselves with you. Please take a moment to preview our brief bios and feel free to reach out to us directly as we encourage an active, open door policy. You are welcome to email our staff or call us directly at (407) 841-4432 anytime.
Dawn Helwig, M.A., M.Ed. – Principal
Mrs. Helwig is an accomplished elementary and middle school principal with a strong commitment to the spiritual and academic development of students. She is experienced in teaching, school operations supervision, promoting and enhancing the school vision, mission statement and culture. She has a strong commitment to teacher oversight and support, and curriculum and program development. Mrs. Helwig holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education and a Master of Arts degree in counseling/psychological services from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis, MN. Her undergraduate studies were done at St. Mary’s University in Winona, MN where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.
She joined the St. James Cathedral School staff in 2007 as a Guidance Counselor and was promoted to the Assistant Principal role in 2009 while also serving as the guidance counselor through 2011. Prior to her educational career, she worked as a therapist and social worker in Illinois. Her contribution to education continued at a collegiate level where she served as an Adjunct Professor at Valencia College, Osceola campus. Mrs. Helwig was promoted a second time in 2015 to Principal of St. James Cathedral School and continues to serve through academic and spiritual ministry in this role.
Fr. Miguel González, Rector
Fr. Miguel A. González currently serves as the Rector for St. James Cathedral School. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Orlando of May 23, 1998. He first served as parochial vicar at St. James Cathedral Church, Orlando, and was transferred to St. John Vianney Parish in the fall of 2000. Four years later, on December 15, 2004, Bishop Thomas Wenski named Fr. Miguel full time Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Orlando. In March of 2011, after seven successful years as the Vocations Director, Bishop John Noonan named him Parish Administrator of St. John Vianney Parish. In early October of 2016, Bishop Noonan named him Administrator of St. James Cathedral Parish. In addition to his priestly duties, Fr. Miguel is the spiritual advisor to the Orlando Council of Catholic Women and enjoys games of dominoes, cooking and visiting the area’s theme parks. Prior to becoming a priest for the Diocese of Orlando, Fr. Miguel worked as an on-air personality and music program director for a commercial Spanish music radio station in Orlando, Florida.
Fr. Martin Nguyen, Parochial Vicar
Fr. Martin arrived in Orlando on June 15, 2006 from Vietnam. Father completed his final year of high school at Dr. Phillips High and entered St. John Vianney College Seminary in August, 2007. On May 11, 2011, he graduated with a BA in Philosophy. On August 15 of the same year, he began his theological studies at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, FL. Fr. Martin was ordained to the Diaconate on April 18, 2015. During his final academic year at St. Vincent’s, Deacon Martin served at St. Juliana Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, FL. He graduated from the major seminary on May 5, 2016 with a M.Div., and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Noonan on May 28, 2016 at St. James Catholic Church. Fr. Martin currently serves as our 2nd grade religion teacher where his love for Catholic education excellence helps build the foundation for the students at St. James Cathedral School.
Fr. Matthew Hawkins, Parochial Vicar
Matthew Hawkins was born in Miami, but considers himself an Orlando native. His family moved to Orlando when he was only 7 months old and he has lived in the same house ever since. Describing his family as a “clash of two cultures,” he explains that his mother was raised Eastern Orthodox and his father, a member of the Assembly of God. “Very much two worlds coming together and colliding. I think they settled,” he said. “They compromised somewhere in the middle and raised my sister and me in the Presbyterian Church.” It was not until he was in college at the University of Florida that he was introduced to the Catholic Church. His discernment eventually took him to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach by way of a Franciscan community, which he had considered. However, the Lord was calling him, “…towards the people, their families and their daily lives—walking with them throughout the journey from Baptism to Marriage to their daily sustenance in the Eucharist and Confession and ultimately laying them to rest in funerals and Anointing of the Sick.” Although his family struggled to understand his calling at first, his parents and sister fully support him. Hawkins is quick to note the joy they are taking in the preparations and how far they have all come since he first shared news of his vocation. He is thankful for their love and the support of his community, Annunciation Parish in Altamonte Springs. Fr. Matthew was ordained by Bishop John Noonan to the priesthood May 26th, 2018 at St. James Cathedral.
Anthony Gutierrez – Assistant Principal
Mr. Gutierrez specializes in curriculum and instruction where he is currently pursuing his Master in Educational Leadership at American College of Education. Having been part of the St. James Cathedral School family since 2011, Mr. Gutierrez joined the team as a guidance counselor before being promoted into the Assistant Principal role. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lee University and a Master of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University, Mr. Gutierrez has taught Psychology 101 at a collegiate level as an Adjunct Professor for Valencia College. His teaching experience extends into the high-school level where he taught Psychology and Sociology. Mr. Gutierrez has been an active coach through our PAC Athletic program where he has coached our girl’s soccer teams.
Merry Harrison – Guidance
Mrs. Harrison possesses over 30 years teaching experience across all subject areas for grades K-12. Having completed her undergraduate work at Marymount College, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Fordham University. Being certified in Special Education and ESE for grades K-12, as well as Special Needs EH, ED, LD, Mrs. Harrison brings forward her passion to work and assist students with varying levels of learning abilities. She has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2003.
Maria Marcano – Business Manager
Graduated from Bryant University with double major in accounting and finance. My career began in a “big” accounting firm (Ernst & Young) as an auditor in Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, PA and then here to Orlando where I went into private accounting as the comptroller of a local company. Joined St. James Cathedral School in 2007.
Jennifer McMullen – Director of Student Life & Activities, PE 7th & 8th
Mrs. McMullen did her undergraduate work at the University of South Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. She is seeking certification in Physical Education. Mrs. McMullen comes to us from the private school sector where she taught Elementary and Middle School Physical Education for 5 years. She also is heavily involved in volleyball coaching. This will be her first year serving St. James Cathedral School.
Courtney Byrnes – Advancement Office
Jean Wilkes – Director of Admissions
Bachelor of Arts from The College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY. Taught elementary school for five years. Started working part-time in the front office at St. James Cathedral School and volunteering for a multitude of school activities. My job eventually led to the position of admissions director, which I have held for over 20 years. My love for this school, the children, the staff, and most importantly, its mission and the blessing it has been to our family, keeps me coming back year after year.
Linda Shaughnessy – Accountant
I have been working at St. James Cathedral School as the accountant/business manager since January of 2000. I am blessed to have been a parent here since our eldest children began kindergarten and Montessori preschool in 1986. Our last child graduated from St. James in 2010! I graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana with a BA in accounting. I learned my craft at Arthur Andersen & Co., both in Washington, D.C. and here in Orlando specializing in taxation with a concentration in nonprofit accounting. I then serviced my own clientele until the school needed an accountant, and I needed a part-time job which allows me to attend therapies with my hearing-impaired son.
Julie Markiewicz – Administrative Assistant
I joined the SJCS staff in 1991 and have had multiple roles over my career. I started as a substitute teacher, then became the after school director, and for the last 21 years, I have been the school’s administrative assistant. In 2012, we added facilities manager to my job responsibilities. I am your administrator for the Rediker school management program.
Anne Pellegrino – Technology & Facilities
Bachelor mathematics with minor in physics, Alvernia College, Reading, PA. – Worked many years in IT for Cardinal Industries and CBIS. Later, Anne worked as sr. management for Oracle Worldwide Customer Support in handling escalations. She has been part of the SJCS community for over 11 years as a parent and volunteer. Anne serves on the Home and School Board as the corresponding secretary.
Linda Puntel – Front Office/Clinic
Attended St. Francis de Sales Elementary School, Coventry High School and took classes at International Data Center and Akron U. I have worked for St. James Cathedral School since 1992, and I have been the after school director and the clinic and summer camp coordinator since 2002. I am now the Front Office Secretary.
Officer Keith Gibson
Officer Keith Gibson is a retired police officer from the Orlando Police Department. He served OPD for 28 years. Officer Gibson continues to serve the greater Orlando community by providing security for Howard Middle School, Bishop Moore Catholic High School, and St. James Cathedral School. He serves as a mentor for the Boys and Girls Club and has donated 15 gallons of blood. Officer Gibson has two adult daughters who are a product of Catholic Education. Officer Gibson has been serving SJCS for 4 years.
Michael Walker – Facilities & Maintenance
Mr. Walker has a corporate background in banking as well as distribution with Winn Dixie where he enjoyed managing people and delivering a high level of customer service. Mr. Walker also enjoyed a wonderful athletic past in his high school and college careers. He is a local Hall of Fame athlete from Oak Ridge High School and was a heavily recruited football player going on to play at Florida State University. Mr. Walker has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2011.