ST. John the Baptist Our Staff

Our Staff

Nicholas Fonte
Principal
nfonte@stjohns-excelsior.org

Mr. Fonte has dedicated his life to Jesus Christ and is committed to serving him through Catholic education. He graduated from the University of  Notre Dame with a Bachelor's Degree in Great Books in which he studied the major works of Western philosophical, theological, scientific, and literary thought. He lived and worked in an Honduran Catholic orphanage for two years, and upon returning to the United States, Mr. Fonte continued his commitment to the poor through serving homeless families in Los Angeles. Early in 2005, the Lord called Mr. Fonte to Catholic education, in which he served as a high school teacher and campus minister before pursuing a Master's Degree in Theology at the Pontifical John Paul ll Institute in Washington, DC. Mr. Fonte joined a team of educators that founded Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Virginia. He served as a religion teacher and the Dean of Instruction & Student Life for eight years, while also earning a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Fonte now finds himself blessed to lead St. John the Baptist Catholic Montessori School.

 

Fr. Alex Carlson
Pastor
fr.carlson@stjohns-excelsior.org

 

Robin Kragness
Administrative Assistant
rkragness@stjohns-excelsior.org

After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English Literature, Robin began teaching third and fourth grade in a private Christian school. Robin created curriculum for a 5th grade enrichment class when her children started going to school while living on the island of Maui. The Kragness family felt led to move to Minnesota, exchanging perfect weather for top notch schools and snow. Robin worked for several churches in the West Metro as Children's Ministry Director, Office Administrator and Administrative Assistant. The Lord led her to St. John's after much prayer and trust in him for a long term fit. She is grateful to God for the challenges of learning TADS, supporting Mr. Fonte along with the guides and teachers, encouraging the children, as well as enjoying the entire staff of God's people here at St. John's Parish and School. 

 

Toddler Program:

Carissa Posch
Toddler Community Guide
cposch@stjohns-excelsior.org

Carissa studied Philosophy at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL, and she is currently enrolled in the AMI Assistants to Infancy credential program at the Montessori Training Center of Saint Louis. She has previously taught in the Toddler Community of two Montessori schools in Florida as well as worked as a nanny for many years. She enjoys volunteering as a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd aide in the Level I Atrium and is excited to pursue catechetical training for the Toddler Community at St. John the Baptist. She is also an auxilliary member of the Order of Malta. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, volleyball, and travel. A passionate believer in the Montessori method, Carissa delights in seeing the world through a child's eyes and has a profound respect for the dignity of the young child.

 

Cassie Gierszewski
Toddler Assistant
cgierszewski@stjohns-excelsior.org

Cassie earned bachelors degrees in Biology and Wildlife Ecology Research and Management with a Captive Wildlife minor from the University of Wisconsin: Stevens Point in December 2014. After graduating, she interned at Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua, Wisconsin and at the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. While there she gained a passion for education. In the fall of 2015, She gratefully started working at Saint John the Baptist after school care. As the school was changing into a Montessori school, Cassie fell in love with the method and its practices and joined the school full time working in before care, after care, and as the Children's House Assistant. Cassie is excited to be working with Carissa as the Toddler Assistant. Cassie has completed the AMI Assistants course for Assistants to Infancy at the Montessori Institute of North Texas. Caasie feels very blessed to be growing in ways of Montessori with Saint John the Baptist.

 

Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten Program:

Stephanie Bandas
Children's House Guide
sbandas@stjohns-excelsior.org

Stephanie earned her bachelor's degree in early childhood education birth-third grade in 2003.Stephanie has a teaching license from the Department of Education from the State of Minnesota in Early Childhood Education. She is licensed to teach children ages Birth-Third Grade.  She is a master's prepared Montessori educator earning her credential in 2012. Stephanie studied Montessori education at The Center for Contemporary Montessori Programs at The College of Saint Catherine. Stephanie began her career in education in a Montessori Children's House as an educational assistant. She was mentored under the guidance of a veteran Montessori teacher who challenged her to look to the needs of the child first. Stephanie felt the desire to work as a teacher in the classroom and at that time began working in the Catholic school system teaching students of multiple ages in various roles. In 2011, Stephanie felt a desire to work within the Montessori system and began her training to become certified as a Montessori educator. During her training, Stephanie worked as a Children's House teacher in a charter school setting. She felt a desire to also go back to her roots as a Catholic school educator and has spent the last three years working in the role of Kindergarten instructor at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Hutchinson, Minnesota. Stephanie is excited to begin her experiences at the Children's House classroom as she is looking forward to working in a faith community that recognizes the value of a quality Montessori education. As an educator Stephanie believes that the child is best served by seeing the value within their capabilities. She always puts this quote from Maria Montessori at the beginning of everything she does in education. "Teach me to teach myself!" Stephanie also believes that the most important thing she can do for her students and families is to always invest quality time every day listening and observing the children in her classroom. Our days will be productive and filled with lots of activity as we grow and learn together through the wonderful materials Maria Montessori created.

 

Robin Goetz
Children's House Assistant 
rgoetz@stjohns-excelsior.org

 

Sierra Anast
Children's House Aide
sanast@stjohns-excelsior.org

 

Elementary Program:



Angela Wroblewski
Elementary Guide
awroblewski@stjohns-excelsior.org

Angela has spent over 17 years as a Montessori teacher in private as well as public charter Montessori schools at both the lower and upper elementary levels. She obtained her B.A. from University of St. Thomas with majors in both Education and Spanish. It was during this time that Angela took on the Summer Coordinator position for an afterschool and summer program in Minneapolis. After the invitation of a friend, Angela founded a Montessori Elementary school (1st-6th grade) in Blaine, returned to the University of St. Catherine's to complete her Montessori training and M.A. while teaching and sharing administration duties. Taking the opportunity to be the Director of Montessori Education committee and intern administrator at Bluffview Montessori School in Winona, Angela simultaneously completed her Principal's license through St. Mary's University of MN while teaching at the E2 level. At Bluffview Angela gained greater experience with closing the achievement gap during the process of writing and implementing a school improvement plan. Wanting further experience with Montessori charter schools, she took an E2 level teaching position at World Learner School in Chaska and became involved with the board and finance committee. Feeling called to a new challenge, Angela accepted a position to begin an E2 level at Great River School in St. Paul. After getting the program up and running, Angela took a Head of School Position at Bright Water Montessori and Elementary School in North Minneapolis but is very excited to be teaching again in the elementary classroom. Currently, Angela lives in Chaska with her husband and 5 children.


Christa Gawarecki
Elementary Assistant
cgawarecki@stjohns-excelsior.org

 

Middle School Program:

Nicky Schafer
Adolescent Guide
nschafer@stjohns-excelsior.org

Mrs. Schafer earned bachelor's degrees in Catholic Studies, Spanish, and Theology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas. She has studied internationally in Spain, Argentina, and Italy. After her undergraduate studies, Mrs. Schafer served in the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) where she earned a Master's degree in Education. She has taught courses at the Middle & High School levels in Religion and Spanish throughout her 10 years of experience at both Providence Academy in Plymouth, MN, and previously at St. John the Evangelist School in Southern Louisiana. Mrs. Schafer has also collaborated with students as a Student Council Advisor and retreat leader. She has led student groups abroad in Costa Rica and Ecuador. Mrs. Schafer found her path into the Montessori community through her training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori-based religious educational program, which she implemented in her parish. She is currently earning her credential as a Montessori Adolescent Guide, a three-year program, with completion expected in 2018. Mrs. Schafer is a dedicated life-long learner, with a passion for evangelization, who seeks to help each student discover and release his or her God-given gifts for the service of the Church & the world, thus pursuing their particular vocation and lasting happiness.

 

Specialist Staff:

Sue Dressel
Librarian
library@stjohns-excelsior.org

 

Before Care/After Care Staff:

Robin Goetz
Before Care
rcooper@stjohns-excelsior.org

Carissa Posch
Toddler Before Care
cposch@stjohns-excelsior.org

Dave Zenz
After Care
kidsofthekingdom@stjohns-excelsior.org

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