St. John Paul II Faculty and Staff, 2016-2017
The Holy Spirit has been at work in many ways throughout the life of this project, and this has been seen as we sought to hire the team of teachers and professionals to do the real work of building a Catholic high school from the ground up. We have been provided an impressive collection of women and men from our communities, who bring a great deal of experience to their work at SJPII.
Collectively, there are five ‘doctors,’ eighteen MA’s, and as teachers, collectively, they bring over 300 years of experience to the classrooms of our school, an average of fifteen years of experience in education. They all have been attracted to the school for the mission we have, and the great privilege of forming a school. We are pleased to be able to lift them up as the faculty of St. John Paul II Catholic High School.
Pam Acker, Sarah Anderson, Sarah Brinkman, Paul Foster, Jacob Friesenhahn, Sherry Garrett, Mary Ann Gonzales, Roy Gonzales, Danielle Gonzalez, Deacon Robert Gorman, Colton Hermes, Meredith Hernandez, Andrew Iliff, John LeBlanc, Mary Ledford, Mirla Leon, Gabe Macias, Ed McCabe, Michael O'Bryan, Heather Patillo, Sandee Phelan, Martha Sweeney, Laura Sullivan, Amy Thomson, Patricia Yznaga, Michael Travis +
Pam Acker joined our faculty in the 2014-15 school year. She teaches chemistry and upper level biology courses. Miss Acker earned a Master's Degree in Biology from the Catholic University of America. While at CUA, she was a teaching assistant, an adjunct instructor, and worked in both the Rao and Corsi Laboratories. Prior to SJPII, she taught at an all-boys Catholic military high school in Virginia. She brings real lab experience and a deep Catholic faith to her classroom.
Sarah Anderson graduated from Texas A&M University in 2004 with a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. Upon completion of her degree, she accepted a position as a Biology and IPC instructor at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, where she taught for two years, earning her Texas teaching certificate. In the summer of 2006, she married and moved to Burlington, Iowa. For three years, she taught at Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School in Burlington. Her teaching experience at Notre Dame included Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, and Physical Science. Mrs. Anderson moved to Seguin, Texas with her family in July of 2009 in order to begin teaching at St. John Paul II Catholic High School in its inaugural year. She has taught technology and various science courses at SJPII over the years. Along with her husband, Mrs. Anderson serves on their parish RCIA team. She also assists with parish retreats and is a member of the school council at St. James Catholic School in Seguin. Mrs. Anderson teaches Biology I, Pre-AP Biology and Ecology and is the Science Department Head.
Miss Brinkman recently graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics (with a concentration in secondary education) and a minor in Theology. During her time student teaching and teaching summer school, Miss Brinkman has taught all of the typical math classes available at the high school level. She teaches Pre-AP Geometry, Geometry, and AP Statistics. She is also the new Director of Formation for the 2016-2017 school year. A San Antonio native and graduate of Incarnate Word High School, Miss Brinkman is happy to be back home and to serve the diocese that shaped her as a young woman and as a Catholic! Miss Brinkman is excited to join the St. John Paul II Catholic High School community.
Dr. Paul Foster, Ph.D.
Dr. Foster received his BA in Government and International Relations from the University of Notre Dame, and his Ph.D. in Political Theory from the Catholic University of America. He has taught at the Heights School in Washington, DC as well as at George Washington University and Catholic University. Dr. Foster's other professional experiences include working as a staff writer at the White House during the Reagan Administration, as a program officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce, and as a counselor for a non-profit clinic in the Bronx. His writings have appeared in the Review of Politics, the International Philosophical Quarterly, Chronicles, and Notre Dame Magazine, among other publications. Dr. Foster has also worked as a lay volunteer for the Mission of Divine Mercy, a Catholic religious community located near Canyon Lake. Dr. Foster currently teaches World History I, AP U.S. History, and the dual credit course in American Government.
Dr. Jacob Friesenhahn, Ph.D.
Dr. Friesenhahn earned his doctorate in Theology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and his undergraduate degree in Theology from the University of Dallas. He has taught at UD, Holy Trinity Seminary, North Lake College, St. Mary's University, and Mexican American Catholic College. Before coming to SJPII, he taught theology for many years at TMI - The Episcopal School of Texas. He is a product of Catholic education in our area (OLPH and CCHS). His PhD dissertation has been published as a book, and he is a frequent writer for theological publications.
Dr. Sherry Garrett, Ph.D.
Dr. Sherry Garrett is an alumni of the University of Texas at San Antonio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, a Master of Arts Degree in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Guidance, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision. Dr. Garrett has a Texas Teacher’s Certification in English for grades 6th-12th, and a Texas School Counselor Certification for grades K-12th. She has been an English teacher and Counselor at East Central High School. She has also worked as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, teaching Graduate School Counseling and Community Counseling courses. Additionally, she has years of experience counseling college students at The University of the Incarnate Word. Dr. Garrett has supervised and mentored numerous school counselors in training throughout the years. She is an active member of St. James Catholic Church in Seguin, where she serves on the Pastoral Council. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two teenage daughters. Dr. Garrett is excited about being able to fully integrate her faith and counseling work at St. John Paul II and looks forward to building the Counseling Program.
Mary Ann Gonzales
Mrs. Gonzales serves on the school's maintenance staff and is responsible for keeping the school clean, safe, and shining. She has served schools and businesses in this context for over fifteen years in this area. This is her seventh year on staff.
Mrs. Gonzalez works as our Communications Manager. She is a graduate of three Catholic schools in San Antonio: St. Martin Hall, Incarnate Word High School, and Our Lady of the Lake University. She is also our head volleyball coach. Mrs. Gonzalez is entering her fourth year at SJPII.
Deacon Bob Gorman, Ph.D.
Robert F. Gorman is University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Honorary Professor of International Studies at Texas State University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on international relations, international law and organization, refugee and asylum policy, ethics, patristic era philosophy and the history of ideas. His recent books include What’s Wrong with Global Governance (Acton Institute Christian Social Thought Series, 2016) and Toward the Common Good: A Catholic Critique of the Discipline of Political Science (Scarecrow, 2011). He is a member of the Catholic Society of Social Scientists, serving as editor of its book series. He is a former Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, and has worked in the U.S. Department of State's Refugee Program Bureau and at Africare, an American nongovernmental organization. He has an undergraduate degree in political science from Seattle University, and an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Oregon. He was ordained a deacon in 2000 for the Archdiocese of San Antonio and serves at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, where he specializes in catechetical and retreat ministries. He writes regularly on the subjects of Church teaching, history, liturgy and homiletics for the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. His wife, Mary, is a retired Catholic School elementary teacher. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Deacon Gorman teaches government and theology, including a dual college credit course in global studies.
Mr. Hermes teaches Fine Arts courses at SJPII, including Art I, Art II, Art III, AP 2-D Art, and Yearbook. He has a BFA from Schreiner University in Kerrville, specializing in graphic design. He is a certified art teacher, and has served our school since 2012-13 as our head baseball coach.
Mr. Iliff is the school's principal, now in his ninth year in the role. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Trinity University. He is a certified English teacher, earning his certificate through coursework at St. Mary's University. He was a teacher, coach, and administrator at Central Catholic High School, and was the principal at St. Luke Catholic School in San Antonio. He also taught in the Bronx at Cardinal Spellman High School, through a volunteer program run by the Archdiocese of New York. He has taught courses at SJPIICHS (Economics and AP Language & Composition), and will teach Economics again this year.
As a native of San Antonio, she began college at Incarnate Word, attended various colleges in Mississippi, Georgia, and Oklahoma during her husband's Air Force career, and earned Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Latin and Latin Literature from the University of Oklahoma. Upon returning to settle in San Antonio, she did her educational certification courses at Trinity University, becoming certified to teach Latin and History. For the past 23 years, she has been a teacher in North East ISD, 21 of them at Roosevelt High School and the last 8 as the Department Head of Foreign Languages. She and her family have been active members of OLPH-Selma for the last 21 years. She has led Adult Scripture studies, served on ACTS retreats and ACTS Core, been a member of the Pastoral Council, and currently is a lector, communion minister, and member of the Liturgy and Art & Environment committees. Mrs. Ledford teaches Latin I, Latin II and Dual Credit Latin III.
Mrs. Leon received a BA in English as a Foreign Language from Instituto Universitario Pedagógico de Maracay, Venezuela and a Master's in Community College Teaching with an emphasis in Spanish from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS. She taught Spanish at Bethlehem Catholic High School in Bethlehem, PA from 2001 to 2016. From 2000 to 2001, Mrs. Leon taught at St. Thomas More and St Michael’s the Archangel Schools in Allentown and Bethlehem, PA respectively. She has also taught at Jenks High School in Jenks, OK, and Neodesha High School in Neodesha, KS. Mrs. Leon also taught English as a Foreign Language at Independence Community College in Independence, KS, and Liceo Jose Martí in Puerto Cabello, Venezuela.
Gabriel (Gabe) Macias - Raised a military brat. Lived all over the United States and Europe growing up. Graduated High School from John Marshall High School in San Antonio. Received a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences from the United States Air Force Academy. Received a Masters in Aeronautical Business Administration from Embry Riddle University. Took part in the "troops to teachers" transition program to receive qualification to become a teacher after serving 21 years as an Electronic Warfare Officer flying on the B-52H. He taught Algebra I and Algebra II at Central Catholic High School during the 2014-2015 school year before becoming full time with St John Paul II Catholic High School in the 2015-2016 school year. Gabe is also the head women's soccer coach. He was a four year Varsity letter man in high school in: Football, Wrestling and Soccer. He then walked on to the Air Force Academy soccer team where he was a three year varsity letter man and captain (senior year). Following the Academy he played for the All Air Force team and the Shreveport-Bossier Lions USISL Semi-Pro team. He has coached girls Varsity soccer programs in Utah, Germany and Texas.
Mr. McCabe is our athletic director and head of facilities. He has been able to amass a solid career of varied experiences, all the while at one school before coming to SJPII. He is a licensed CPA, has earned an MBA, taught business classes at the high school and college level, coached seven different sports, and helped to lead a school from 2A to 6A. At St. Michael's, his primary leadership role was as athletic director. He served for one and a half years as their admissions coordinator and helped to rewrite the school's strategic plan. Mr. McCabe also has worked as a CPA, serving in leadership roles at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for six years. He was a manager within the fund accounting and internal audit departments, responsible for large teams and all phases of management.
As an athletic director, he has an incredible reputation within the TAPPS league and the state of Texas. He has served on the TAPPS State Athletic Executive Committee and played a role in creating it. As a football coach, he is similarly highly regarded and respected in the state. He is a long-time proponent of Catholic education, attending Strake Jesuit in Houston himself. He played football at the University of Texas, before moving on to graduate from Southwest Texas in both accounting and MBA.
Mr. O'Bryan joined our staff in 2014-15,and is currently teaching Speech and Health. He has a thirty year career in teaching around this area of Texas, primarily as an English teacher. He has a Master's degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville and is certified in both high school History and English. He is a very experienced coach as well, serving as both head and assistant coach levels in football, track, and basketball. He has also worked with students in academic team speech events.
Mrs. Patillo has over twenty years of teaching experience in schools throughout the country (Colorado, California, and Virginia) as her family has moved to different military bases. She has taught middle school through community college and has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Colorado State University. She also served ten years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Mrs. Patillo has been teaching English I and English II at SJPII since 2010.
Ms. Phelan is our librarian and freshman technology teacher. She earned a BS in psychology from Texas A&M University-College Station and an MS in library science from Simmons College in Boston, MA. She grew up all over the country with her military family, but has always called New Braunfels home. Ms. Phelan leads our academic team and has assisted with retreats, and has worked very hard to build our school's library collection.
Mrs. Sullivan has been actively involved in the application of funds management, contract negotiations, and strategic planning for 15 years. Prior to joining John Paul II, she was employed by the City of San Antonio as Fiscal Planning Manager with the Department of Community Initiatives. She has extensive knowledge in accounting principles and has managed multiple general fund, grant, and capital programs and budgets of up to $150 million. Mrs. Sullivan has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Southwest Texas State University (currently Texas State University) and attained Certified Public Manager and Certified Contracting Officer designations. Mrs. Sullivan is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, is married with two children (both children attend SJPII), is active in retreat ministries and serves as an Eucharistic minister. Mrs. Sullivan serves as the school’s office and business manager.
Ms. Sweeney has a long career in education, over thirty years of teaching Mathematics in Texas high schools. Most recently, she helped to open a new high school in Katy, Texas, the 5A Seven Lakes High School (Katy ISD). She served as the math department chair there previously, and has taught just about every Math course offered in high schools. Ms. Sweeney attended Catholic schools as a young person. She has a Master’s in Education and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, and is excited to have the chance to give back to Catholic education, knowing how much she received from the schools she attended in Memphis growing up. She teaches upper level math courses here and directs our mathematics instruction.
Mrs. Thomson has earned two degrees from Trinity University, an English undergraduate degree and a Master's in Teaching, and is currently in the process of earning a third, a Master's in Educational Leadership. Before coming to SJPII, she spent a year abroad teaching English as a foreign language in Chile, and then worked as a ninth grade teacher and team leader at Lee High School in North East ISD. She taught upper level English courses at SJPII from fall 2012 to spring 2016, and also became the Professional Development Coordinator in the fall of 2014. In the fall of 2016 she became the Academic Dean; along with continuing to lead professional development, she works with teachers to maintain and improve SJPII's college preparatory curriculum, and with students to help ensure their academic success.
Michael Travis - emeritus
Michael Travis taught 9th and 10th grade mathematics and brought thirty-eight years of experience to the classroom, twenty-one of them at Fox Tech and the rest in high schools in Massachusetts. He passed away in February 2013, and is survived by his wife of thirty-one years, Jackie. We consider him to be an enduring presence on our campus and among our teachers.
He earned his Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. He and his wife have been active members of St. Helena's Parish, where Mr. Travis was a member of Knight of Columbus Council #7965 and a Fourth Degree Knight Assembly #2102. While at Fox Tech, Mr. Travis served in a variety of departmental leadership roles, and was a part of a team of math teachers that consistently overcame difficult situations to improve student learning. Mr. Travis - we love you - keep us in prayer.