Meet Our Academic Faculty

Professional 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. All emails will receive a reply within 24 hours. Scheduling of parent/teacher conferences can be done directly with your child’s teacher(s) by contacting them via email or calling our main office at (407) 841-4432.


 

Kelli D’Amato – Preschool Director

kelli.damato@stjcs.com

Kelli brings a wealth of Catholic education knowledge and experience to us as she is a current parent of SJCS with two children attending our school. She is a personal alumni of Bishop Moore Catholic High School and has been actively involved in contributing her time and talent to St. James over the past few years. Her professional expertise brings 10 years forward as she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master of Education. Her educational background is strengthened by several certifications to include: Florida Educator Professional Certificate, Early Childhood Pre-K through 3rd Grade, Reading K-12, and ESOL Endorsed K-12.

Kelli has taught in the public school system where she held classroom teaching positions for 2nd & 3rd grade along with being a Reading Resource teacher. Her instruction based positions also included working for University of Central Florida as an Adjunct Instructor where she taught Foundations of Reading.


 

Ranata Farnell – Pre-K 3

Ranata.Farnell@stjcs.com

Ms. Farnell did her undergraduate work at Ashford University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. She is certified in Pre-kindergarten/ Primary Education (age 3- grade 3) and with the American Montessori Society. Ms. Farnell has served St. James Cathedral School since 2000.


 

Stephanie Barksdale – Pre-K 4

stephanie.barksdale@stjcs.com

Mrs. Barksdale is a seasoned teacher with over 7 years of teaching experience. She has held various teaching positions throughout the primary grades. She comes to us most recently from OCPS. Mrs. Barksdale did her undergraduate work at Florida State University and holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida.


 

Nicole DiLoreto – Kindergarten

Nicole.DiLoreto@stjcs.com

Ms. DiLoreto did her undergraduate work at the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Ms. DiLoreto is certified in Elementary Education grades K-6. She has served St. James Cathedral School since 2014.


 

Mahassan Rusnak – Kindergarten

Mahassan.Rusnak@stjcs.com

Mrs. Rusnak was born and raised in Orlando where she graduated from Bishop Moore High School and then attended the University of Central Florida, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education (K-6). She comes from OCPS where she taught first grade for 5 years. Mrs. Rusnak brings her personal experiences of Catholic education forward to help establish the same foundation for our students. Having children of her own, she understands the importance of building solid academic and spiritual roots for our Kindergartners at St. James Cathedral School. Mrs. Rusnak is currently taking classes toward her Master degree in Educational Leadership.


 

Ann Marie Bridges – 1st Grade

AnnMarie.Bridges@stjcs.com

Ms. Bridges did her undergraduate work at the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Ms. Bridges is certified in Elementary Education grades K–2, and is a Master Teacher. She has served St. James Cathedral School since 2004.


 

Erin Kelly – 1st Grade

Erin.Kelly@stjcs.com

Ms. Kelly is a product of local Catholic Education. She attended St. Mary Magdalen and then graduated from Bishop Moore High School. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and brings a wealth of fresh knowledge and energy.  Ms. Kelly did her undergraduate work at the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. Ms. Kelly is certified in Elementary Education grades K–2. This is Ms. Kelly’s first year serving at St. James Cathedral School.


 

Mary Lou Briggs – 2nd Grade

MaryLou.Briggs@stjcs.com

Mrs. Briggs did her undergraduate work at the University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Military Studies from The University. Mrs. Briggs is certified in Elementary Education (grades 1-6). Mrs. Briggs has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 1986.


 

Robin Urena – 2nd Grade

Robin.Urena@stjcs.com

Mrs. Urena did her undergraduate work at Syracuse University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Mrs. Urena has a Temporary Certificate in Elementary Education grades K-3. She has served St. James Cathedral School since 2015.


 

Charlotte Becker – 3rd Grade English/Language Arts

Charlotte.Becker@stjcs.com

Ms. Becker did her undergraduate work at the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. She is certified in Elementary Education (grades K-6) and Montessori Method for ages 3-5 from the Northeast Montessori Institute. Ms. Becker has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 1992.


 

Fr. Martin Nguyen – 3rd Grade Religion

 

mnguyen@stjamesorlando.org

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. 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 Cathedral. With the passing of Fr. John McCormick, Fr. Martin was instrumental in the ministry and guidance of our school. His love and passion for Catholic education shines through as he serves to help build the foundation for our children at St. James Cathedral School.


 

Melisa Stobie – 3rd Grade Math, Science & Social Studies

Melisa.Stobie@stjcs.com

Mrs. Stobie did her undergraduate work at Northeastern University (Boston) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Elementary Education. She is certified in Elementary Education (grades K-6.) In 2010, she originally came to St. James Cathedral School as a Title 1 teacher for Orange County. Mrs. Stobie has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2012.


 

Mark Danner – 4th & 5th Grade Math

Mark.Danner@stjcs.com

We are excited to welcome back Mr. Danner to our teaching staff! Mr. Danner is a St. James Cathedral School graduate who taught 5th and 6th grades here before for 8 years. After departing to teach in New York for a year, Mr. Danner relocated back to Florida. Mr. Danner graduated from Florida State University.


 

Kristana Reitz – 4th & 5th Grade Science & English/Language Arts

Kristana.Reitz@stjcs.com 

Ms. Reitz did her undergraduate work at Florida State where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She is certified in Elementary Education (grades 1-6.) Ms. Reitz has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2013.


 

Marisol Searles – 4th & 5th Grade Social Studies & Religion

Marisol.Searles@stjcs.com 

Mrs. Searles has taught for the Diocese for over 10 years where she has been a team leader in cross curricular projects with Science, Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts. As a graduate of Bowling Green State University, Mrs. Searles graduated with a Bachelor of Arts where she majored in Fine Arts and Interior Design with a Minor in Business. She holds a Professional Educator’s Certificate (K-12) through the State of Florida Department of Education.


 

Kelly Zimmerman – 4th & 5th Grade English/Language Arts

Kelly.Zimmerman@stjcs.com 

Ms. Zimmerman brings over 6 years experience in teaching with a focus on utilizing digital technology in designing detailed curriculum. As a facilitator of learning, she fostered learning environments that consisted of small groups, hands-on activities and personalized experiences for her students. Ms. Zimmerman completed her undergraduate work at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Business Administration, with a minor in Psychology. She is certified in Elementary Education (grades K – 6).


 

Judy Bright – 6th Grade Science & Social Studies

Judy.Bright@stjcs.com 

Mrs. Bright has taught a variety of sciences, through differentiated instruction, to students from grades 6th through 12th. As a teacher, facilitator and coordinator of the science curriculum, science fair and food fundraising events, Mrs. Bright has been deemed highly efficient. She completed her undergraduate work at Hood College (Maryland) where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition. Mrs. Bright has been teaching and coordinating the sciences for 11 years and holds certifications in the biomedical sciences and food safety. Her Biology (6-12) certification is in process. Mrs. Bright is an active member of the Dr. Nelson Wing Orange County Science Exposition.


 

Claudia Lefkowitz – 6th Grade English/Language Arts

Claudia.Lefkowitz@stjcs.com 

Mrs. Lefkowitz is a veteran teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience in middle school and high school ELA along with teaching AP high school courses. She brings specialized experience in working with students of multi-cultural backgrounds of varying linguistic abilities. Before moving to Florida, Mrs. Lefkowitz did her undergraduate study at the University of Dayton, Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She has completed additional studies at Seminole State College and Florida Southern College and is certified in English (grades 6-12).


 

Juan Valentin – 6th Grade Religion

Juan.Valentin@stjcs.com 

 


 

Alyssa Lutz – 6th & 7th Grade Mathematics

Alyssa.Lutz@stjcs.com

Ms. Lutz did her undergraduate work at Rider University (New Jersey) where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Education and Economics. She is certified in Mathematics (grades 5-9.) Ms. Lutz has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2014.


 

Mark Bruno, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Social Studies

Mark.Bruno@stjcs.com

Mr. Bruno did his undergraduate work at Slippery Rock University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He is certified in Social Studies (grades 5-9.) Mr. Bruno has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2006.


 

Rachel Gutierrez – 7th & 8th Grade Science

Rachel.Gutierrez@stjcs.com

Mrs. Gutierrez did her undergraduate work at the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She is certified in Elementary Education (Pre-K – 6,) ESE K-12, and ESOL. Mrs. Gutierrez has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2013.


 

Marcia Ochinero – 7th & 8th Grade English/Language Arts

Marcia.Ochinero@stjcs.com

Ms. Ochinero did her undergraduate work at the University of Maryland where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is certified in Science (grades 5-9,) Social Studies and English (grades 6-12.) Ms. Ochinero has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 2012.


 

Elizabeth Sayers-O’Neill – 7th & 8th Grade Mathematics

Elizabeth.SayersONeill@stjcs.com

Mrs. Sayers- O’Neill did her undergraduate work at Rollins College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History.  She is certified in History (grades 6-12) and Mathematics (grades 5-9.) She has been serving St. James Cathedral School since 1981.


 

Peter Odenbach – 7th & 8th Grade Religion

Peter.Odenbach@stjcs.com

Mr. Odenbach comes to us with a diverse background in corporate sectors and education. His most recent experience includes teaching Religion and Language Arts to 7th through 11th grades. Mr. Odenbach did his undergraduate studies at Bellarmine University and holds a Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology from St. Joseph’s College.