Emily Yantz -Principal

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July 2019-Present

Emily Yantz has served in education for over 23 years, with the last 10 years at St. Patrick Catholic School in Kansas City, Kansas.  She graduated from Emporia State with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education.  Emily is also a graduate of Benedictine College with a Master of Arts in School Leadership.  Emily and her husband, Dave, have been married for 23 and have two children, Samantha, a senior at Leavenworth High School, and Darren, a sixth-grade student at Xavier.   Emily and her family are members of Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph Parish.  

 

PRESCHOOL STAFF

Shannon Holcomb - Preschool Director

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July 2003-Present 

Shannon Holcomb began her undergraduate work at Fort Hays State University in Kansas and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from Panhandle State University in Oklahoma.   She began her Master's in Early Childhood Education while working eight years with the Army Child/Youth Services as an Early Childhood Education Specialist and Training and Curriculum Specialist.  Shannon and her husband met in high school in Southwest Kansas and have been married for 33 years.  They have three children; Jennifer, Brad, and Cory. They also have two grandchildren, one of whom attends Xavier Preschool. The Holcombs have been in Leavenworth (through two Army deployments) for 16 years.  They now live on a farm where one of Shannon's favorite activities is to ride her ATV to visit the cow calves in the pasture.

 

Kathy Benjamin - Administrative Assistant

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August 2019-Present

 Kathy Benjamin graduated from the University of California, Sacramento with a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing.  Kathy has three children and is excited to work with children at Xavier.

 

 

Meredith Claycomb - Preschool Teacher

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August 2012; August 2019-Present

Meredith Claycomb is returning to Xavier Catholic Preschool after a two-year break to stay home with her son.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Kansas State University and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Saint Mary.  In addition to teaching preschool, Meredith has also taught kindergarten, first, second, and third grade.   

 

 

 

 

Mary Hood - Preschool Teacher

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August 2018 - Present

Mary Hood attended The University of St. Mary where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in theology, education, and psychology.  She then attended Rockhurst University where she received her Masters of Arts in Elementary Education.  This is Mary’s first-time teaching, but she has worked with children for over 5 years in school districts as a paraeducator, a teacher’s aide, and at the Child Development Center on Fort Leavenworth as a Child and Youth Specialist. She married Andrew Hood in 2010 and they have two children; Matthew who is a third-grader at Xavier and Felicity who is two.  

 

 

Hannah Wilson - Preschool Teacher

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August 2018 - Present

 Hannah Wilson graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Family Studies and Human Services.  She is currently working on a master's degree from Wichita State University in education.   

 

 

Julie Winters - Preschool Teacher

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August 2017 - Present

Julie Winters is a graduate of Emporia State University with a Bachelor of Elementary Education degree.  This is Julie's fourth year teaching preschool and her second year teaching at Xavier.  She attended Xavier Catholic School for grades first through fourth and is a supporter of Catholic Education.  Julie and her husband have two children.  Wyatt is a second-grader at Xavier, and Sadie is a kindergartner.  Julie enjoys reading and rolling buncos in her spare time.   

 

EXTENDED CARE STAFF

Shelly Sommerfield - Director of Extended Care

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August 2017-Present

Shelly Sommerfield has an education and background in professional theater.  She has performed in New York and abroad. While living in Paris, Shelly was an au pair to the children of The Second Secretary of The U.S. Ambassador.  She graduated from Southampton University’s College of Nursing in England as a registered nurse.  More recently, Shelly has returned from teaching English in China and working as Director of Foreign Teacher Training and Recruitment.  While in China she did extensive voice-over over work for companies and Universities.   Shelly also designed and authored a series of kindergarten English texts and materials including over 80 original songs and chants.  These texts are still being used in China today.  She has said there is nothing more special than to walk into a school and hear children singing a song you have written for them.  Shelly has taught preschool in Overland Park, Kansas and is delighted to be part of the team at Xavier Catholic Preschool.  Her desire is for every child to come to know our Lord Jesus Christ and to know they are uniquely created and loved.

 

Angela Meinert -Extended Care Operations Lead

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August 2008-Present

Angela Meinert is beginning her twelfth year working for Xavier Extended Care.  This is her first year as Operations Lead.  Angela graduated from Pleasant Ridge High School and attended Kansas City Kansas Community College studying early childhood education and business.  Angela has previously worked as a nanny and as an in-home and in-center childcare provider.  She has 25 years of experience caring for children.  In her spare time, Angela enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, embroidering, and playing with her dog, Buddy.  

  

 

Nathan Graves -Lead Teacher

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August 2017-Present

Nathan Graves graduated from Leavenworth High School and is currently attending college at Kansas City Community Kansas Community College. He has worked in education for three years, previously working as a before and after school care provider at David Brewer Elementary and as a special education paraprofessional at Lawson Elementary. This is Nathan's second year working for Xavier Extended Care.  

 

 

 Sarai Taylor-Lead Extended Care Teacher

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August 2019-Present

 Sarai Taylor is originally from Pasadena, CA, and moved to Leavenworth in 2017.  This is her first year working for Xavier Extended Care.  Sarai loves God, animals, and working with children.  She is excited to work at Xavier. 

 

 

 

 

 Ilani Mann- Lead Teacher

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August 2019-Present

 

 

 

  

 

 Candi Daniels-Extended Care Provider/Lead Teacher

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August 2019-Present

Candi Daniels is originally from Columbus, Georgia and moved to Kansas as a child.  She has six grandchildren and loved photography and teaching.  

 

 

 

 

Samantha Jennings-Extended Care Provider 

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August 2019-Present

Samantha Jennings is a military wife who recently moved to Kansas.  She has two children, James, a fifth-grader at Xavier, and Catherine, a second-grader at Xavier.  

 

 

 

 

Paula Santana-Extended Care Provider 

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August 2019-Present

Paula Santana is originally from Brazil.  She is currently attending college studying early childhood development.

 

 

 

 

Brendale Taylor-Extended Care Provider 

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August 2019-Present

Brendale Taylor graduated from Colorado Technical University with her bachelor's and master's degrees.  she previously worked at St. Paul Lutheran Church's Kid Connection Program and as a management analyst for the Army Management Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.  She is a member of First United Methodist Church, where she serves as an usher, The Leavenworth Lions Club, The Leavenworth Historical Society, and Brendale is the vice president of the Ladies Missionary Society at Bethel AME Church.  

 

 

Sarah Yenney-Extended Care Provider 

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August 2019-Present

Sarah Yenney is from Inchon, Korea.  She has lived in Leavenworth for 19 years and is a graduate of Leavenworth High School and from Kansas City Kansas Community College.  Sarah is also a published author of Beauty in Unexpected Places.  

 

 

 

Brittan Young-Henderson-Extended Care Provider 

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August 2019-Present

Brittan graduated from The University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology focusing on Early Childhood Development.  She has two daughters who attend Xavier.  

 

 

 

 

Traci Baker -Administrative Assistant

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August 2009-Present

Traci Baker graduated from Pittsburgh State University with a bachelor of business administration and a minor in accounting. She worked at Premiere Conferencing for eight years until her daughter was born. She stayed home to raise her family and started at Xavier when her son started kindergarten in 2008. Both of her children attended Xavier Catholic School. 

 

Marihelen Bassett -Administrative Assistant

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August 2000-Present

Marihelen Bassett is originally from Ottawa, IL, where she attended Catholic schools from first thru 12th grades. She attended Quincy College, a Franciscan school in Quincy, IL, to study music. Marihelen has five children, all five of whom graduated from Immaculata High School between 1996 and 2008. Marihelen joined Xavier Catholic School as secretary for the Kickapoo Campus in 2000. She has been serving Xavier students, teachers and families ever since.   

 

Seth Parres - Athletic Director/Physical Education

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August 2018 - Present

 Seth Parres is originally from St. Louis, Missouri.   Seth graduated from Fort Hays University with a bachelor's degree in sports management.  He participated in cross country and track in college. 

 

  

Wendy Dunwiddie - Kindergarten 

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August 2017-present

Wendy Dunwiddie is beginning her tenth year as an educator after previously teaching in the Kansas City, Kansas school district and at St. Patrick School.  Wendy has a Bachelors of Arts in English and sociology from Benedictine College.  She earned her education certification through Avila University and is working on her master's degree from Avila University.  Wendy and her husband Scott have been married for 23 years and have three children; Brendan, Patrick, and Molly.   

Andrea Luchen- First Grade

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August 2018 - Present

Andrea Luchen grew up on the east coast and moved to Missouri for college.  She graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Business.  She received her elementary teaching certificate from Avila University and began her master’s degree at Ottawa University.  Andrea has been teaching in both Catholic and public schools since 2000.  She and her husband have been married for 30 years, and they have one son who is also a Catholic school teacher. 

 

Tristin Martin - Second Grade

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August 2018-Present

Tristin Martin is from California but grew up in Indiana.  She attended Catholic school for grades 7 - 12. She was a Catholic missionary for two years before deciding to teach.  Tristin has previously taught in second and first grades. Her background is in special education.

 

 

Kelly Hanson -Third Grade

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August 2018-Present

Kelly Hanson graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Sociology.  She earned her Master's in Elementary Education from The University of Saint Mary.  Kelly and her husband live on a honey bee farm.  

 

  

Janet Meyer -Fourth Grade

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August 1989-Present

Janet Meyer graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1982 with a bachelor of science in education. She taught special education in Arkansas and Missouri for seven years before moving to Kansas to teach 4th grade at Xavier in 1989. Meyer has three children who graduated from Xavier and Immaculata. 

 

Cindi Thiele - K-Eighth Media/Technology Specialist (School Librarian, Fifth and Sixth Social Studies)

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August 1995-Present

Cindi Thiele was born on Good Friday and grew up in New Castle, DE, where she attended St. Peter's Catholic School. She attended the University of Delaware, the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and graduated from the University of Saint Mary with a bachelor of science in business administration. She later returned to USM and earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. She has been teaching computer applications at Xavier since 1995. She also operated the libraries at the former Kickapoo and Osage campuses of Xavier starting in 1999, and she continues in that role at the Muncie campus. In addition, she coached volleyball at Xavier from 1996-2016, when she retired from coaching. Her husband has been a dentist in Leavenworth for over 30 years. They have four children, three of whom graduated from IMAC: Bill, Chris ‘99, Cara ‘02 and Alison ’05. 
  

Bruce Carter -Seventh Grade Homeroom (Fifth through Eighth English Language Arts, Seventh Religion)

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August 2015-Present

Bruce Carter is beginning his 47th year of teaching.  He is from Overland Park and graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School.  Bruce holds an associate’s degree from Johnson County Community College, a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Fort Hays University, a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from UMKC, and a Master’s in Education focusing on curriculum from MidAmerica Nazarene University. Bruce also holds a Doctorate in Teaching and Leadership from the University of Kansas.  Bruce has seven children and six grandchildren.

  

Cindy Scheier - Fifth/Sixth Homeroom, Fifth through Eighth Science, Fifth and Sixth Math, and Fifth Religion

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August 2019 - Present

Cindy Scheier attended the University of Missouri in Columbia and earned a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. This is Cindy's 27th year of teaching. Cindy lives in Overland Park, Kansas and is a parishioner at Ascension Catholic Church.  Cindy and her husband Jerry have 4 children Zach, Ben, Noah, and Abigail.   Cindy says that the best part of teaching in a catholic school is being able to meet lots of amazing families and being able to go to Mass every week.



 

Kassie York - Seventh and Eighth Grade Math and Sixth Religion

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August 2018 - Present 

Kassie York is from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan.  Her husband’s military career brought their family to Leavenworth.  Kassie has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Master in Secondary Education from Austin Peay State University.  This is her 6th year teaching.  Kassie has a four-year-old son who attends Xavier Preschool.   

 

Cristy Quinn - Spanish Teacher K-Eighth Grades, Art Coordinator

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August 2001-Present

Cristy Quinn attended Catholic School from K through 12th grades. Quinn then graduated from The Jorge Tadeo Lozano University with a degree in Advertising and Marketing. She received a scholarship from The International Advertising Association to pursue graduate studies in Santiago, Chile, South America where she studied advertising with an emphasis in creativity. Cristy has taught for the Leavenworth Regional Catholic School System for seventeen years. Here, she has taught 8th-grade Religion, K-12th grade Spanish, and 6th - 8th Art.  

 

Andrea Sladky - Preschool-Eighth Grade Music, Fifth-Eighth Grade Band and Choir 

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August 2017-Present

Andrea Sladky graduated from Emporia State University and holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in Music Education.  In her 13 years of teaching, she has instructed general, choral and instrumental music.  She is an adjunct faculty member for Allen Community College and serves in the Kansas Army National Guard with the 35th Infantry Division Band.  Mrs. Sladky is a member of St. Francis de Sales Parish and lives in Leavenworth with her husband and 3 children; Michael, a third-grade student at Xavier, Maddux, a preschool student at Xavier, and Grace, who attends Xavier Preschool.   

Elaine Averna -Achievement Center Coordinator

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August 2014-Present 

Elaine Averna grew up in Omaha, NE, attending Catholic schools from 1st to 12th grades. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a degree in elementary education and special education. She has been a paraprofessional teacher, a substitute teacher and has taught first grade and special education. This is her fourteenth year of teaching and her fifth year as the Xavier Achievement Center Coordinator.  She is married to Rick Averna and they have three children: Nathan, Emma, and Will Averna.  She loves working with Xavier students, families and teachers to facilitate student success. 

Mary Stean - Custodian

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July 2012 - Present

Mary Stean is a member of Sacred Heart in Tonganoxie.  She has been with the Leavenworth Catholic Schools for 7 years.    

Mike Connelly -Director of Student Financial Support and Family Assistance

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August 1980-Present

Mike Connelly attended Old Cathedral Grade School (now Xavier) in Leavenworth and graduated from Immaculata High School in 1966. He attended Donnelly College, graduated from the University of Kentucky and received his master’s degree in building administration from Baker University. Mike is married to Glenda (Stark) Connelly ’79, and they have two children, Bill ’09 and Ailey ’11. Mike has coached football, wrestling, volleyball, girls and boys basketball, track, and golf at Immaculata. His teams have competed on the state level many times, winning four Kansas State Championships; most recently as the golf coach winning state in 2015 and 2016. Through the years, Mike has also served as President of LRCSS, Principal of Immaculata, teacher, substitute teacher and now development associate. Mike was inducted into the Immaculata Hall of Fame in 2014 and was the coach of the 1991 State Volleyball team inducted into the Immaculata Hall of Fame in 2016. 

 

Lisa Forge -Director of Marketing and Recruiting/Enrollment Management

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August 2015-Present

Lisa Forge attended Xavier from first grade until eighth grade and graduated from Immaculata High School ‘01.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Kansas in 2005, and her master’s in teaching and learning from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma.  Lisa taught high school language arts for five years in Oklahoma and previously worked for Johnson County Community College.  She is married to Justin Forge '99, and they have three boys together; Ethan, a fourth-grader, Kason, a second-grader, and Peyton a kindergartner at Xavier. 

 

Lisa Hancock -Director of Business Operations

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July 2011-Present

Lisa Hancock graduated from Leavenworth High School ’93 and went on to get an associate’s degree in accounting from Kansas City Community College. She worked in the banking industry locally for four years before moving on to Browing-Ferris Industries as a Customer Service Supervisor/Payroll & Benefits/ in administration in Ohio, Kansas City, and Kentucky. After having children, she started back to work as a Real Estate agent with Reece & Nichols for seven years. She then took a job with Larkin Excavating as their Accounts Payable Manager before coming to work for the Leavenworth Catholic Schools. Lisa is married to Bobby Hancock who has been a coach for the schools and they have two children, Luke an eighth-grader at Xavier and Joey, who graduated from  St. Thomas Aquinas, and is attending Queens University of Charlotte, NC.