Elizabeth Barr Assistant to the Principal
Ms. Barr assists in the daily operations of the school and offers administrative support to Principal Gomez. She is a graduate of Villanova University (B.A. Human Services, Minor in Psychology and Sociology, 2010). During her time at Villanova, she was active in ministry and made a lifelong commitment to service. Her experience in the Cristo Rey Network extends back to a year of volunteer service she gave after graduation with the Lasallian Volunteers. During the 2010-2011 school year, she served as Campus Minister/Student Activities Director at De La Salle North Catholic High School, a Cristo Rey school in Portland, Oregon. Ms. Barr has lived most of her life in the Greater Philadelphia area and has been in Catholic education since she was five. She loves being part of the new possibilities for Catholic education that Cristo Rey offers in her hometown.
Montana Basilio Academic Administrative Assistant
Ms. Basilio is a graduate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (B.A. in Foreign Language and Literature - French, minor in Psychology). She will be attending Villanova’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program starting in May 2016. She will be working alongside the Academic Support Team and closely with the Administrative Team. Ms. Basilio is passionate about the success of high school students during high school and into their future. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, traveling, and running.
Jamila Bassett School Counselor
Ms. Bassett is proud to be a member of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team. Ms. Bassett has over 13 years experience in counseling. She was the Behavioral Health Liaison for the Chester Upland School District for 3 years and the Counseling Intern for 1 year. Ms. Bassett graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (B.A. Sociology, Minor in Criminal Justice, 1998), Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (M.S. Organizational Development and Leadership, 2006) and Capella University (M.S. Counseling, 2012). She is a current Ph.D. candidate at Capella in General Psychology. Ms. Bassett is well versed in supporting students academically using a person-centered approach that promotes encouragement and development. Ms. Bassett is a proud mother of her two sons, Malik and Marcus.
Lyanna Berry Work-Study Program Coordinator
Ms. Berry is happy to join to Cristo Rey Philadelphia team as a member of the Work-Study department under the Service Corps program. As a recent graduate of La Salle University earning her B.S. in Psychology, she wants to help students reach their full potential in both the academic and work realm. As a native New Yorker, Lyanna is no stranger to the Cristo Rey mission, having graduated from Cristo Rey New York in East Harlem. During her undergraduate years at La Salle, Ms. Berry was an avid volunteer, participating in programs such as Pheed Philadelphia, Habitat for Humanity, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. In her free time, Ms. Berry loves to read, write, and binge-watch novelas.
Sister Nancy Bradbury, IHM Faculty, Principles of Math
Sister Nancy was born and raised in south Philadelphia to a loving family. She was blessed to attend Mount Carmel Catholic School and J.W. Hallahan High School. There she met the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With their inspiration and a deep love of God, Sister Nancy decided to give her life to the service of God and God's people. Her service to Catholic Education spans elementary, middle, and high schools in urban and suburban parishes and beyond in the countless families and friends met along the journey. She earned a Master's degree from the University of New Hampshire (M.S. Mathematics). When presented with the opportunity to serve Cristo Rey Philadelphia, she was all too willing as she firmly believes its model "We Believe. We Dream. We Lead. We Serve." to be a reflection of the Gospel.
Eric Clark Faculty, Athletic Director
Mr. Clark is a graduate of Towson University (B.S. Sports Management, Minor in Business Administration) and Grand Canyon University (M.Ed Secondary Education). He has a special interest in sports and athletics, as he was a member of the Towson University football team throughout college. Now, he enjoys coaching athletes in their sports. In addition to his role as a Health and Fitness Instructor, he also serves as the Athletic Director where he oversees all varsity and club sports. Mr. Clark coaches our girl’s basketball and assists with indoor/outdoor track and field. Mr. Clark also coaches football at Northeast High School and has worked as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at Drexel University. Mr. Clark enjoys helping individuals work toward health and fitness goals while inspiring others to develop a lifestyle full of healthy habits and recreational activities.
Meredith Cocker Jesuit Volunteer Corps Member
Ms. Cocker is a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and is excited to join the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team for her volunteer year. Jesuit Volunteers spend a year living in community and working towards the Jesuit ideal of being men and women for and with others. During her volunteer year, Ms. Cocker will be living with her community in Camden, NJ. At Cristo Rey, she will be working in Campus Ministry and Academic Support. She will also provide transportation for our Camden students. Ms. Cocker graduated from Gonzaga University (B.A. Psychology) in Washington State where she was active in University Ministry, Improvisational Theater, and Eye to Eye (a national mentoring program). She is excited to use her knowledge to help students grow and better understand themselves through retreats, small groups, and academic support.
Quintel Coles Executive Chef
Mr. Coles is the Executive Chef at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. As the Executive Chef, he and the kitchen staff bring to life the "Eatiquette" food program in partnership with the Vetri Foundation at Cristo Rey Philadelphia. Mr. Coles bring over 25 years of professional cooking experience. Throughout his career, Mr. Coles worked at a number of restaurants across the Philadelphia region. At school he is affectionately known as "Chef Qu." He loves cooking for the students, faculty and staff and is grateful to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team.
Harry Crimi Faculty, Latin
Mr. Crimi is thrilled to teach Latin at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. Born and raised in Havertown, PA, he is very passionate about the mission of the Cristo Rey Network and is honored to make a difference in the city he loves most. Mr. Crimi attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Classics. He believes that the study of Latin is crucial to the development of strong anayltical skills and effective communication. Having lived in both Athens and Rome, he plans on engaging students with an all inclusive and interdisciplinary approach to the classical world from his own experiences. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Crimi has extensive experience in ballroom dancing, singing in choir and A-Capella groups, producing college musicals, and organizing service trips. He is very excited to bring all of these passions to the Cristo Rey family!
Christina D’Emma Faculty, English
Ms. D’Emma is inspired by learning with her students and colleagues. She is moved by the mission of the Cristo Rey Network and is thrilled to be a part of the CRPHS community. She was a teacher coach for AmeriCorps volunteers in the Response-Ability program, a ministry of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus. Prior to that she taught ninth and tenth grade English at her alma mater, Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung, NJ. She was a seventh and eighth grade Language Arts and Religion teacher at St. Denis School in Havertown, PA, and at the Gesu School in Philadelphia, PA, beginning her career as a Response-Ability volunteer. Currently, she serves on the board of the McNamee Scholars Program. Ms. D’Emma is a graduate of Rosemont College (B.A. English, 1999, M.Ed. Mid-level Education, 2002) and Villanova University (M.A., English, 2010).
Dan DiPasquale Faculty, Math
Mr. DiPasquale is excited to join the Cristo Rey team as the senior math teacher. Originally from the Greater Philadelphia area, Mr. DiPasquale attended Fordham University, Rose Hill (B.S. Mathematics, Minor in Classics, 2009). He then spent two years in the Cristo Rey New York High School Volunteer Program, teaching math and computers, coaching soccer, co-directing plays, accompanying the school choir, and running the math club. In the time between, Mr. DiPasquale worked at Villanova University, first in Campus Ministry and then in the Center for Multicultural Affairs, while completing graduate school (M.A., Theology, 2013; M.S. Counseling, 2014). He loves playing the piano, doing crossword puzzles, and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Lili Dodderidge Faculty, Math
Ms. Dodderidge is thrilled to join the Cristo Rey community as part of the Service Corps teaching Principles of Math to sophomores. She enjoys the challenge of fortifying math skills to ensure success on the ACT, and she hopes to empower all of her students to feel confident and capable when assessing any problem, whether in the classroom or out. Prior to Cristo Rey, Ms. Dodderidge worked as the Administrative Coordinator and Communications Coordinator at the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, a research and advocacy center at Drexel University's School of Public Health. Ms. Dodderidge is a proud graduate of Georgetown University (B.A. English, 2013) and a Philadelphia-area native.
Alicia Donahoe Development Associate
Ms. Donahoe is delighted to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia Team as the Development Associate. She graduated from the University of Delaware (B.A. Communications, Minors in Organizational Leadership, Theater, and Human Development and Family Studies) and is thrilled to make the beautiful city of Philadelphia her home. Previously, Ms. Donahoe worked with student affairs at UD Residence Life and Housing and the Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative, she also managed the public relations at The Geographical Society of Philadelphia. Ms. Donahoe is impassioned by the Cristo Rey mission and honored to be a part of its development.
Jared Epler College Counselor
Mr. Epler joins the team at Cristo Rey Philadelphia after spending over five years helping students on their path to a college degree. After graduating from Albright College (B.A. Communications, Minor in Music), he spent time as an admission counselor at his alma mater. During this time, he recruited students from Philadelphia and Camden and quickly realized he had found his passion. Mr. Epler, spent the past three years as a college counselor at Summer Search, a nonprofit in Philadelphia that supports low-income, first generation youth on their pathway to college completion by exposing them to life-changing travel opportunities coupled with a circle of supportive relationships. Upon receiving his masters degree from University of Pennsylvania (M.S. School Counseling), he jumped at the opportunity to join the team at Cristo Rey Philadelphia as their first college counselor.
Robert Fabiszewski Director of the Work-Study Program
Mr. Fabiszewski has 29 years of commercial real estate experience with both debt and equity investments. Retired in 2011 from TRECAP Partners, LLC, he now serves on its Board of Directors, and formerly its Executive and Investment Committees, after founding the company's real estate investment advisory business under predecessor companies Capmark Investments, LLP, GMAC Institutional Advisors and GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corporation in 1996. He developed and directed the company’s real estate private equity business model (approximately $5 billion in assets under management and supervision) and portfolio and related asset management activities on behalf of third-party investors. Mr. Fabiszewski directed the Real Estate Equity Group’s business operations, strategic planning, relationships with investor clients and property acquisition/joint venture programs with existing and new operating partners. From 1982 to 1996, Mr. Fabiszewski was responsible for the acquisition and underwriting of real estate investments for The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and developed its national origination network. Mr. Fabiszewski is a graduate of La Salle University (B.A. Finance), is a retired member of the Pension Real Estate Association and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers, and has lectured for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America on real estate finance and negotiation skills. He also currently serves on the boards of area education-based non-profit organizations.
Robert Fest Director of STEM Initiatives and Program Facilitator of the Tiger Woods Learning Center at Cristo Rey Philadelphia
Mr. Fest is the Director of STEM Initiatives and Program Facilitator of the Tiger Woods Learning Center at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. His goal is to develop and inspire Philadelphia’s next generation of world-class scientists and critical thinkers. Mr. Fest taught biology and environmental science in the public and parochial school systems of New Jersey for 12 years prior to joining Cristo Rey Philadelphia. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska (M.S. Biology) and Salisbury University of the University of Maryland System (B.S. Biology). Mr. Fest is the recipient of many national and international awards, grants, and fellowships both in education and science. In the fall of 2014, he was chosen as a TEACH fellow by the US-Arab Bilateral Chamber of Commerce to collaborate with educators in Qatar and Bahrain on STEM teaching best practices. During the summer of 2015, he worked with the Organization for Tropical Studies at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica on a Rainforest Inquiry Digital Media project. He has also worked in Japan, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania on global education, health, and scientific research projects. Mr. Fest serves on the Board of Directors at the Mtaala Foundation, as an Advisor for the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, and as a Council Member for Polar Educators International. In his free time, he enjoys building giant tree houses and traveling to far off lands with his wife Elizabeth and their two young children, Fionnula and Ranger.
Sister Regina Flanigan, IHM School Administration
Sister Regina serves in School Administration for Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School with responsibilities that include counseling, student attendance, family contacts and assistance to the Admissions Office. She is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She also serves as an ambassador, sharing the Cristo Rey mission with students, faculty, and administrators at local grade schools and community organizations. She attended Millersville University (M.A. Spanish) and Immaculata University (M.A. Psychology). Her most formative years were spent as a missionary at IHM apostolates in Santiago and Lima. Sister Regina has been the recipient of various Pro-Life awards and was honored by Pennsylvanians for Human Life as their award winner in 2004. Being a member of our Cristo Rey team is the fulfillment of years of interest in and work for the establishment of our new school.
Taylor Fleming Faculty, Math
After spending a year in the marketing department at the school, Ms. Fleming joins the Cristo Rey Philadelphia math team as the Algebra 1 teacher. She is very excited to be teaching the freshmen students and helping with their transition into high school. Prior to joining the team, she worked as an Assistant Account Executive at Devine + Partners, a public relations firm located in Philadelphia. Ms. Fleming graduated from Duke University (B.A. Psychology, Markets and Management Certificate, 2011) where she was a member of the women's lacrosse team. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys running, coaching, and photography. Ms. Fleming is very excited to be part of a group that is so passionate about education and helping to create a bright future for its students.
James Giblin Faculty, Principles of English
Mr. Giblin is excited and honored to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School team as a founding member of the school's Service Corps. At CRPHS, Mr. Giblin is an instructor of the Principles of English course. Mr. Giblin believes that a mastery of the English language begins at the fundamental level, and is thrilled to aid in his students' development as critical readers and writers. He is a graduate of Villanova University (B.A. English). In his free time, Mr. Giblin is an avid reader and enjoys an active and healthy lifestyle.
William Gillis Faculty, History
Mr. Gillis is honored to join the Cristo Rey Philadelphia community as a founding member of the junior faculty. He is a native of Seattle, WA where he attended St. Anne School and Seattle Prep, the city's Jesuit high school. Mr. Gillis is also a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Princeton University (A.B. Politics, 2014). He is excited to share his love of American history, government, and the social sciences with all of his students. An athlete in college, Mr. Gillis is also looking forward to stepping into a new role and coaching at Cristo Rey. When not in the classroom, he can be found out rowing on the Schuylkill River, reading the newspaper, or enjoying time with family and friends.
Michael Gomez Principal
Dr. Gomez is principal of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. He previously served as principal of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School where he had direct responsibility for the daily operations and educational development of the school since his appointment in July of 2006. Prior to that he was the Assistant Principal for Student Affairs at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE. He began his career in education as a teacher, director, and coach at his alma mater, St. Peter’s Preparatory School, in Jersey City, NJ. He is a Trustee at St. Peter’s Preparatory School. Dr. Gomez is a graduate of Providence College (B.A. English, 1995) and Binghamton University (M.A. English Literature, 1997). He also holds a Master of Arts in Private School Administration from Teachers College, Klingenstein Center at Columbia University and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania (Ed.D., 2012). In May 2013, Dr. Gomez was selected and honored as one of "Philadelphia's 40 Under 40" by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Dr. Gomez also teaches a graduate-level educational leadership class at the University of Pennsylvania.
Nancy C. Green Director of Development
Ms. Green is responsible for all aspects of fundraising for Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. She has over 30 years of nonprofit fundraising experience, primarily with social justice organizations. Particularly relevant are her six years as the first full-time development director for White-Williams Scholars, which recently merged with Philadelphia Futures and supports college-bound public high school students from low-income families. She is well versed in the challenges faced by students from families of modest means and is passionate about the importance of education in changing the trajectory of their lives. Ms. Green is a former board member and current development committee member of Lifecycle WomanCare (formerly The Birth Center) in Bryn Mawr, PA. She is a Philadelphia native and mother of three.
Yesenia Guzman Faculty, Math
Ms. Guzman was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is fluent in Spanish and English. Her parents were born and raised in Mexico, so she loves to dance and eat, especially fajitas and rice. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX (go, Rattlers!), where she received her Bachelor’s in Mathematics with teaching certification for grades 8-12. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, she pursued a Masters of Education at the University of Notre Dame (Go, Irish!) through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). As an ACE teaching fellow, Ms. Guzman taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math in the Rio Grande Valley along with coaching volleyball and basketball. Now Ms. Guzman is at Cristo Rey, ready to teach her favorite subject: Algebra 2 She's excited to be part of this family, and hopeful to become someone the students can rely on.
Lauren Hamilton Faculty, Chemistry
Ms. Hamilton graduated from Saint Joseph’s University (B.S. Biology, Minor in Gender Studies, 2012) and University of Notre Dame (M.Ed.). After multiple service trips to Honduras, she began an organization at Saint Joseph’s University designed to provide a better education for the children in Honduras. As part of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program through the University of Notre Dame, Ms. Hamilton taught middle school science, coached, and led a girls STEM program in Dallas, TX. Born and raised in Jenkintown, PA, Ms. Hamilton is looking forward to bringing her passion for science and education to Philadelphia as part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia community.
Rodney Hardee Work-Study Program Coordinator
Mr. Hardee is proud to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia Work-Study team. He works alongside Mr. Fabiszewski, Ms. O’Neill and Ms. Wusinich and assists in the daily operations of the Work-Study Office. Mr. Hardee is a graduate of La Salle College High School and the Pennsylvania State University (B.A. Communications Arts and Sciences).
Rachel Hodas School Psychologist
Dr. Hodas was born and raised in Philadelphia. She studied Psychology and Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania and recently earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Temple University.
Dr. Hodas has worked in a variety of clinical and school settings with children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds exhibiting academic, behavioral, social, and emotional difficulties. She has also taught courses in education and psychology at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Dr. Hodas is committed to improving the educational opportunities for students in the Philadelphia area and is thrilled to be joining the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team. As CRPHS’s school psychologist, Dr. Hodas supports students by helping them identify and develop areas of strength, addressing areas of need, and collaborating with teachers, staff, and families to improve student outcomes.
Taylor Holko Faculty, Fitness
Mr. Holko was born and raised in Allentown, PA. As a Parkland High School graduate of 2007 he excelled in soccer and track. He then went west and graduated from Slippery Rock University (B.S. Health and Physical Education). While at Slippery Rock, he also studied athletic training and exercise science. Since graduating in 2011, he has been honing his skills as a strength and conditioning coach for high school and collegiate athletes. Mr. Holko has helped to train athletes from various colleges including: UNC, Temple, University of Massachusetts, and University of South Carolina. In his free time he enjoys working at a local country club as a caddy for the golf members. His love of sports, health, and fitness can be seen in his every day life as he motivates others to achieve their goals.
Mary Beth Irwin Faculty, English
Ms. Irwin is thrilled to spend time with Cristo Rey 9th and 11th graders studying English. She pushes for varied sentences, structured paragraphs and clear purpose statements because of a conviction that deeper lives can be lived through more accurate and eloquent communication. Fueled by a belief that high school students lead lives that matter, she encourages students to read, write and debate their way toward understanding. Ms. Irwin is a graduate of Villanova University (B.A. in English Literature) and the University of Notre Dame (M.A. in Secondary Education).
Jaleyne Jud Faculty, Math
After a few years' hiatus, Ms. Jud is excited to be back in the classroom and teaching Principles of Math to the sophomore class. Prior to joining Cristo Rey, she worked in IT for a public school district, taught technology at a local Catholic elementary school, and taught Algebra to 9th graders. She has been tutoring for many years and loves working with students in one-on-one and small group settings. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she is no stranger to the neighborhood as she is a proud alumna of Central High School. Ms. Jud is a graduate of Penn State (B.S. in Mathematics with a focus in Education) and Philadelphia University (M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology). To help strengthen her Spanish, she spent a semester abroad at La Universidad Interamericana in San Germán, Puerto Rico. She has also studied German. In her free time, Ms. Jud enjoys being with her husband and two young children.
Ryan Kelley Faculty, English
Prior to his appointment in 11th grade English at Cristo Rey Philadelphia, Mr. Kelley taught writing, literature, and public speaking at area colleges, including Gwynedd Mercy University, Bucks County Community College, Arcadia University, and the Community College of Philadelphia. He is eager to bring this experience to the college preparatory environment and aid students in the development of transferable analytical and communication skills for use in the classroom and life. Further, Mr. Kelley is excited to explore and discuss American literature with Cristo Rey juniors and to engage students with classic works, great thinkers, essential questions, and big ideas. Mr. Kelley is a graduate of Temple University (B.A. English and Journalism, 2005) and Chatham University in Pittsburgh (M.F.A. Creative Writing, 2007).
Andrew Kelly Admissions Counselor
Mr. Kelly is excited to serve as the Admissions Counselor, working with Ms. Saunders to recruit the next generation of Cristo Rey students. Mr. Kelly graduated from the University of Scranton (B.S. Exercise Science with a concentration in Nutrition Studies, Minor in Psychology). Prior to joining the team at Cristo Rey Philadelphia, Mr. Kelly served as a full time volunteer in the Alumni Service Corps program at St. Joseph’s Prep. While at the Prep, Mr. Kelly worked in the Admissions Office, served as the Assistant Swim Coach, and assisted with the drama program. Additionally, Mr. Kelly currently serves as a mentor with the McNamee Scholars Program.
Anne Marie Kochersperger Human Resources Manager
Mrs. Kochersperger has extensive experience working in Philadelphia area independent schools, Villanova University and for the federal government in the financial, budget and human resources arenas. She received her PHR from Villanova University and is a current member of the Society of Human Resources Management as well as a member of the HR committee of the Philadelphia Area Independent School Business Officers Association. Mrs. Kochersperger is a lifetime resident of the Greater Philadelphia area and was educated in the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Catholic school system. She has 3 children working in the Philadelphia area education and medical fields and is the proud grandmother of 5. Mrs. Kochersperger is very excited to be part of such an amazing educational institution and strongly believes in the Cristo Rey Philadelphia mission.
Marlene Lally Director of Finance and Operations
Mrs. Lally graduated from La Salle University (B.S. Finance and Marketing, 1984). She obtained her Wilson Reading Specialist certification in 2002 and still tutors children with reading challenges. Marlene brings over 20 years experience in business management and administration with non-profit organizations -- mostly small, independent schools in the Philadelphia area. Most recently she was operations manager of the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Affiliate before joining the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team. Mrs. Lally's family is completely engrossed in the Jesuit tradition. Her husband Chris is a graduate of St. Peter's Preparatory School in Jersey City, NJ. Her twins Christopher and Michelle graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and Loyola University in Maryland, respectively.
Leah Mafrica Communications and Development Associate
With a love of writing and a passion for education, Ms. Mafrica is thrilled to join Cristo Rey Philadelphia as the Communications and Development Associate. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Ms. Mafrica ventured across state to attend Temple University, where she earned a B.A. in journalism and made Philadelphia her home. Prior to joining the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team, Ms. Mafrica worked in marketing and communications at Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit located in West Conshohocken, PA. In her free time, Ms. Mafrica likes to run and teach writing workshops to high school students.
Armando Martinez Admissions Representative
Mr. Martinez joins the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team as an Admissions Representative under the Service Corp program. Mr. Martinez graduated from Providence College (B.A. in Public and Community Service), where he assisted the Admissions Office as a Friars Club member, a team that provided tours for prospective families and assisted the college with other events. Prior to joining Cristo Rey, Mr. Martinez served as a full-time volunteer at St. Joseph’s Prep as an Alumni Service Corp member. While there, he worked in the Diversity Office leading workshops promoting respect and love, facilitating difficult conversations on race and social justice, co-moderating student clubs, organizing intramural sports, and running a program called Camp Magis. Mr. Martinez is excited to inspire and recruit the next generation of Cristo Rey students on a path leading them to their future college and dreams.
Richman Mathis II Faculty, U.S. Government and Politics
Mr. Mathis is honored and eager to join the Cristo Rey team and teach U.S. Government and Politics to seniors, and connect our complex government policies and social norms to how they impact our everyday lives and the world around us. Following a passion for urban education, Mr. Mathis studied and graduated from DeSales University (B.A. Secondary Ed.) in Center Valley, PA, where he also currently pursues his M.Ed. with an additional teacher certification in TESOL (May 2017). Mr. Mathis has previously taught American History, African American History, Civics, and World History in the Philadelphia Public School System. In 2015, he was awarded the Camelot National Teacher of the Year award. Prior to teaching, he worked as a teaching assistant and training instructor for seven years at Hunterdon Developmental Center in Clinton, NJ. Mr. Mathis enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, awesome daughter, and cool dog, Eli.
John R. McConnell Founder and President
Mr. McConnell is the head of the school’s leadership team and represents Cristo Rey to the Philadelphia community. He retired as a partner at the management consulting firm Deloitte in order to lead the founding of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. He has served as Chairman of the Board at St. Joseph's Prep and is an active parishioner at St. Katherine of Siena in Wayne, PA. Mr. McConnell is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep (1970) and Georgetown University (B.S. B.A., 1974). He earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1982. A Philadelphia native and father of four, he lives with his wife, Gwen, in St. David's, PA.
Audrey Merck Faculty, Theology
Ms. Merck is honored and overjoyed to join the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team as a member of the Service Corps and a founding member of the senior class faculty. She will be teaching Theology to our seniors, and is looking forward to exploring some of the great philosophers, theologians, and growth of ideas with her students. Ms. Merck is a recent graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville (B.A. Theology, Catechetics) and feels blessed to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia mission as a "Catholic school for students of all faiths." Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and continuing her quest to find the World's Best Cup of Coffee – even if it's in her own kitchen.
Sean P. Murray Assistant Principal
Mr. Murray provides instructional support and feedback to the Cristo Rey Philadelphia faculty and is responsible for the planning and implementation of the school's academic support program. He also focuses on staff recruitment, curriculum development, and data analysis. Mr. Murray joined the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team in May 2012 as a founding faculty member. He taught 9th grade theology and was a member of the 9th grade literacy team until his appointment to the Assistant Principal position in 2015. Prior to his work at Cristo Rey, he spent 5 years teaching theology at Bishop Eustace Prep in Pennsauken, NJ. He is a member of the Contemplative Leaders in Action, run by the Jesuit Collaborative. Mr. Murray is a graduate of the University of Scranton (B.A. Theology, 2nd Major in Counseling, 2003) and Villanova University (M.S. Counseling Psychology, 2006). He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Theology and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from St. Joseph's University.
Erik Nelson Faculty, English
Mr. Nelson is looking forward to the challenge of preparing Cristo Rey seniors to develop the skills needed in order to read, write, and reason at the college level. He believes deeply in Cristo Rey’s vision for the students of Philadelphia, and is excited for the opportunity to be part of such a driven and committed team. Prior to joining the English Department to serve as the 12th grade English teacher, Mr. Nelson studied at Stockton College (B.A. English) in New Jersey and the University of Pennsylvania (M.S. Secondary Education), where he developed a passion for urban education and a love for the vibrant city of Philadelphia.
Ryan O’Connell Faculty, Theology
Mr. O’Connell is a native of Long Island and a graduate of Fordham University (B.A. English and Theology). Upon graduating from New York’s Jesuit University, he served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a Youth Minister in Bethel, Alaska. After returning to the east coast he worked at Commonweal Magazine as an intern and Editorial Assistant before coming to Philadelphia for his Master’s in Theology at Villanova University. Mr. O’Connell is thrilled to be working at Cristo Rey as the freshmen Theology teacher.
Flannery O’Connor Faculty, Theology
After serving two years as the Director of Admissions, Ms. O’Connor is very excited to back in the classroom as a Theology teacher. She began her career in education as a member of the Alliance for Catholic Education Program (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame. As an ACE teacher she taught fourth grade, coached, and moderated student clubs at All Saints Catholic School in Fort Worth, TX. Ms. O’Connor is a graduate of Boston College (B.A. Theology, Minor in Philosophy, 2006), University of Notre Dame (M.Ed.) and Villanova University (M.S. Counseling with a concentration in clinical mental health). She is a member of the Gesu School Young Friends Committee and co-founded Philadelphia Advocates for Catholic Education, an organization that advocates for and supports Catholic schools in the city.
Denis Okema Faculty, Business Literacy
Mr. Okema is excited to join the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team as the Business Literacy teacher. Originally from Uganda, Mr. Okema graduated from Makerere University (B.S. Development Economics and International Affairs). He went on to work for different international development programs for eight years and later private consultancy for international agencies such as USAID, Danish International Development Agency, World Vision, Mercy Corps, and International Alert. He gained critical skills in conflict mitigation, resolution management, peace building, poverty elevation, and intervention to address HIV/AIDS prevalence. Mr. Okema later graduated from Chestnut Hill College (M.S. Administration of Human Services), where he also teaches as an adjunct professor, and is also in the process of completing a Masters Certificate in Agile Project Management from Villanova University (2016). Mr. Okema is a motivational speaker and an advocate for peace and human rights.
Lori Boccuzzi Okema Director of Pathways to Success in College
Mrs. Okema enthusiastically joined the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team after working for six years in college admissions, most recently as the Director of Admissions at Chestnut Hill College. As the Director of the Pathways to Success in College, Mrs. Okema helps students and families understand the college search process, find a college that is the best fit for a successful future, and develop education partners in the Philadelphia area to support the mission of the school. Mrs. Okema is a graduate of Fairfield University (B.S. Marketing) and Chestnut Hill College (M.S. Administration of Human Service). She completed a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in San Diego, CA. Mrs. Okema loves spending time with friends and family, discussing how Ignatian Spiritually can transform lives, and traveling to new places.
Jessy O'Neill Assistant Director of the Work-Study Program
Ms. O’Neill is the Assistant Director of the Work-Study Program; managing Job Partner relationships, daily transportation of our students to and from work, and many of the annual events that the Work-Study team hosts. She is a graduate of the University of Scranton (B.S. Marketing). Before joining the team at CRPHS, she was a full-time volunteer at the Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem. As a Northeast Philly native, she is thrilled to be a part of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School.
Kimberly Pohl Faculty, Geometry
Ms. Pohl is honored and thrilled to be a part of the math team at Cristo Rey Philadelphia. She is responsible for teaching geometry to the sophomore class. Prior to this position, Ms. Pohl served as part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team as a founding member of the school's Service Corps. She taught Principles of Math to the sophomores in order to properly prepare them for the ACT math test. Ms. Pohl is a graduate of Temple University (B.S. Mathematics, concentration in education, 2014). She also holds a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate in Mathematics grades 7-12. Outside the classroom, Ms. Pohl assists in coaching the girl's soccer team.
Donna Pinkney School Administration
Ms. Pinkney is thrilled to work at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. She believes strongly in the school's mission and is very committed to serving the staff and students to help them achieve their goals. Her pervious experience in education is at the university level, working with both liberal arts and medical students. Ms. Pinkney is a Philadelphia native and the mother of two. She graduated from John W. Hallahan Catholic High School. After graduation, Ms. Pinkney pursued majors in English and Business at both Community College of Philadelphia and LaSalle University. She enjoyed an extensive career in banking and also served proudly as a United States Woman Marine. Ms. Pinkey currently teaches religious education to middle school aged students and volunteers for her church.
Eva Porter Faculty, Science
Mrs. Eva Porter came to Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School in 2013 as the founding Biology teacher. She is a graduate of Manhattanville College (B.A. Biology, Minor in Religion, 1999). In 2000, she started teaching science at the Academy of Mt. St. Ursula in the Bronx, NY and continued to teach there for seven years. She taught General Biology, Biology Honors, AP Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. She completed her graduate training at Fordham University (M.S.T. Biology, 2004). In 2007, Mrs. Porter relocated to Florida and continued to teach Biology and Advanced Placement Biology for the School District of Osceola County. Throughout her years as a teacher, Mrs. Porter always emphasized higher education and challenged her students to go beyond their comfort zones. Mrs. Porter love sharing her passion for biology and education with her students and serving as the advisor for the Cristo Rey Honor Society. As a native New Yorker, she enjoys exploring the rich cultural experiences that Pennsylvania has to offer with her husband, Justin, and baby boys, Aidan and Matthew.
Richard Pugh Director of Campus Ministry and Student Activities
Mr. Pugh is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University (B.A. English and Theology, minor in Faith-Justice Studies). Upon graduation in 2005, he served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where he taught at St. Ignatius School in The Bronx. Mr. Pugh spent the next four years at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Winter Park, Florida working as a full-time Youth Minister. He earned a M.A. in Theology from Villanova University where he also worked as a Campus Ministry Intern. Mr. Pugh is grateful for the support he receives from his wife, family, and friends and is grateful to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School community.
Scott Pyzik Faculty, Studio Art
Mr. Pyzik was inspired by the mission and community of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School through his volunteering as a tutor and assisting with student retreats during his undergraduate studies at Saint Joseph’s University (B.A. in English, minor in Secondary Education). Upon graduating, he followed the opportunity to live a year of service in Ecuador with the foundation, Rostro de Cristo, where his neighbors and fellow volunteers challenged him to grow in new and authentic ways. With ecstatic gratitude, Mr. Pyzik joins the Cristo Rey Philly team as the founding Studio Art teacher and member of the Service Corps. Seeing students connect the creation and critique of the arts to their personal and professional lives energizes his passion for teaching. Mr. Pyzik appreciates gardening, cooking, biking, writing letters, dancing, and spending time with his supportive family and friends.
Brandon Rothenberg Faculty, History
Mr. Rothenberg is excited to work with the sophomore class as they discover complex mysteries, ask tough questions, and grow more aware of the world in which they live. Mr. Rothenberg is a graduate of Dickinson College (B.A. History, Minor in Secondary Education, 2011). He holds a PA Teaching Certificate in Secondary Social Studies (7-12). Prior to joining the team at Cristo Rey Philadelphia, he taught World History, Psychology, Sociology, and International Relations in two suburban high schools. While teaching, he supervised a student theater group.
Troy Sams Dean of Students
Mr. Sams was born and raised in West Philadelphia. He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and Temple University. Before joining the Cristo Rey team, Mr. Sams was previously employed at the Gesu School, where he worked for nine years as a teacher and administrator. Mr. Sams has over eighteen years of experience working with young men and women, focusing on character development and behavior modification. During his free time, Mr. Sams enjoys relaxing with his wife and two children.
Mary Santiago Student Billing Manager
Ms. Santiago is a proud member of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team. Ms. Santiago serves in School Administration and her main responsibilities include operating the Front Office. Prior to joining the team, she held numerous positions in nursing and social work. Ms. Santiago was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Upon graduation from college, she relocated to Philadelphia to start her career and a family. Ms. Santiago is a graduate of the Interamerican University (B.S. Nursing) and is the proud mother of six.
Unique Saunders Director of Admissions
Ms. Saunders is no stranger to the Cristo Rey network, having been a part of the nation’s 2nd Cristo Rey high school. She was among the first graduating class of De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon in 2005. Ms. Saunders is excited to share her experience with students and is enthusiastic about guiding them through this journey. Born and raised on the west coast, Ms. Saunders relocated to Philadelphia in 2012 to join the Cristo Rey team as the Admissions Coordinator. In the past, she worked for a nonprofit agency in Seattle, Washington helping families move from poverty to self-sufficiency through programs and advocacy. Prior to that, she served as the Marketing Coordinator for a nonprofit musical theatre, promoting the arts throughout the city. Ms. Saunders is a graduate of Seattle University (B.A. Journalism, Minor in Creative Writing, 2009.) She is currently in Villanova University's Master in Public Administration program.
Laura Schmidt Head of Counseling
Mrs. Schmidt is the founding School Counselor for Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. She was born and raised in a Philadelphia-area suburb. Mrs. Schmidt is a graduate of Merion Mercy Academy and Villanova University (B.A. Theology with a concentration in Ethics, M.S. in Secondary Educational Counseling grades 7-12). Prior to joining the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team, Mrs. Schmidt was the school counselor for a Nativity/San Miguel-modeled middle school in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. She began her career in education as a teacher in an all-boys prep school in Wilmington, DE. Mrs. Schmidt is grateful for the loving support of her husband and daughter at home.
Olivia Sharkey Faculty, Theology
Ms. Sharkey is a native to Northeast Philadelphia, a proud Nazareth Academy High School alumna. After graduating from Saint Vincent College (go Bearcats!) with a degree in Theology, Ms. Sharkey participated in a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where she taught at the Cristo Rey school in Newark, NJ. It was there that she was introduced to the Cristo Rey mission, and she is now more than excited to share in that great mission back in her hometown. Ms. Sharkey teaches junior Theology, and very much enjoys learning from her students, viewing faith through their perspective, and witnessing the Church alive in their actions. She is an eternal optimist who wholeheartedly believes that each day offers us the opportunity to learn something new.
Sister Janice Shaw, IHM Faculty, Science
Sister Janice grew up in Southampton, PA. After graduating from Bishop McDevitt High School, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants, of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She taught in elementary and high schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Harrisburg. She also served as an elementary school principal. Sister Janice comes to Cristo Rey from West Catholic High School in Philadelphia, where she taught physics and chemistry. Sister Janice is a graduate of Immaculata University (B.A. 1972, B.S. 1981) and Villanova University (M.S. 1989).
Ed Turner Faculty, Latin
Mr. Turner is honored to join the Cristo Rey team as its Latin 2 teacher. Prior to his arrival at Cristo Rey, Mr. Turner spent ten years at his alma mater, St. Joseph's Preparatory School, where, before serving as admission and summer school director, he spent several years in the classroom teaching Latin and Ancient Greek. During his time at the Prep, Mr. Turner was also an assistant coach on the varsity baseball and football teams. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross (B.A., Classics) and Villanova University (M.A. Classical Studies). He is an avid Phillies fan and voracious reader. A native of Drexel Hill, PA, Mr. Turner lives in Manayunk with his wife and daughter.
Tawana Washington Assistant Dean of Students
Mrs. Washington is excited to join the Cristo Rey team as the Assistant Dean of Students. She is a graduate of Temple University (B.S.W. Social Work) and Widener University (M.S.W. Social Work) where she focused on Clinical Therapy practices. Mrs. Washington brings over 12 years of progressive experience in providing therapeutic services to individuals, families, and groups using innovative evaluation and behavioral modification techniques. She focuses on the holistic approach when addressing the needs, concerns and challenges of the individuals she serves. It is her passion to empower, promote, and elevate young men and women academically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Gillian Wible Faculty, Latin
Mrs. Wible is a proud graduate of the University of Iowa (B.A. Classics) and the University of British Columbia (M.A. Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity). Prior to joining the Cristo Rey team, she taught Latin, Roman history and literature, and Greek history and literature for two years at a suburban high school. She is excited to share her love of the ancient world and the Latin language with the students of Cristo Rey Philadelphia.
Sarah Winn Faculty, English
Ms. Winn is excited to be joining the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team as the sophomore English teacher. She is inspired by students and loves the energy they bring to the classroom every day. Ms. Winn is a Boston native who graduated from Harvard College with her B.A. in English. While working towards her teaching credentials as an undergrad, she spent a semester student teaching at Cristo Rey Boston High School. It was there that Ms. Winn fell in love with the Cristo Rey mission and decided to spend the 2014-2015 school year serving as an AmeriCorps volunteer and teaching 10th grade English at Cristo Rey Boston. Ms. Winn is looking forward to working with passionate colleagues and students. In her free time, Ms. Winn can be found playing tennis, volleyball, reading, or exploring her new home.
Anna Winter Director of Communications and Community Affairs
As the Director of Communications and Community Affairs, Ms. Winter is responsible for all Cristo Rey Philadelphia internal, external and online communications, branding and community relations. Prior to joining the Cristo Rey Philadelphia Team, she served as the Communications Coordinator at Elwyn, a multi-state nonprofit organization located in Media, PA. Ms. Winter is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University (B.A. Public Relations and Advertising, Minor in Business, 2010). Ms. Winter is honored to be a part of the Cristo Rey Philadelphia team.
Joanna Wusinich Business Skills Teacher, In-House Counsel
Ms. Wusinich is a member of the Work-Study Office and teaches Business Literacy. The Business Literacy course focuses on the development of the professional, technical and communication skills that are essential to the needs of our Job Partners and the professional development of students. Prior to joining the team, Ms. Wusinich serves as an associate attorney at Reilly, Janiczek & McDevitt, one of Cristo Rey Philadelphia's founding Job Partners. As an attorney, she specialized in the defense of businesses and individuals in civil litigation matters involving products liability, toxic torts, premises liability and motor vehicle liability. She is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Ms. Wusinich obtained her Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law and is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross. As a legal intern for the Honorable Sherry Hutchins-Henderson, Ms. Wusinich assisted the Court with proceedings relevant to child custody, child support and restraining orders. Prior to law school, Ms. Wusinich served for two years as a Jesuit Alumni Volunteer at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, IL. At Cristo Rey Chicago, Ms. Wusinich taught American Government and English as a Second Language and coached mock trial and basketball.
Kristine Zeiset Faculty, Health and Fitness
Ms. Zeiset is a graduate of Eastern University (B.S. Exercise Science, Minor in Accounting, 2012). She has a special interest in athletics, as she was involved in sports throughout high school and college. Now, she enjoys coaching athletes in these sports. Ms. Zeiset has worked as a camp counselor and group fitness instructor at a Health and Fitness camp in Vermont for girls who desire to make physical and psychological improvements to their daily habits. She has also invested as an intern at Bryn Mawr Hospital in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department. In addition, Ms. Zeiset has done personal training with individuals to work towards health and fitness goals. She enjoys teaching and inspiring others to develop a lifestyle full of healthy habits and recreational activities.