Certified Staff

Mrs. Erica Alder

Preschool Paraeducator

I am married to Jason Alder and we have 3 boys. Dalton a 7th grader at St. Marys age 12, Jason a Marine age 18, and Kody a junior at O'Neill Public age 17. I've been employed as a preschool para-educator at St. Mary's for four years and have loved it. I love spending time with my family and watching Dalton play sports. I'm currently taking college classes for early childhood education. I graduated in 1998.


Mr. Tony Allen

Activities Director, K-12 Computers, Business

I have been teaching at St. Mary's for 19 years. I have taught Accounting 1 & 2, Personal Finance, Marketing, JH Computer Apps., Elementary Keyboarding, Adult Living, Weight Training, and Biology. I have been the Activities Director for 13 years. I have been the head FB coach for 19 years, head Boys Track coach for 19 years, head Girls Track coach for 9 years, and assistant boys BB coach for 9 years. I am also the head JH FB and boys and girls track coach. I was also the girls head BB coach for 7 years. I live in O'Neill with my wife Angie ('91) and our three kids Cody ('09), Ty ('13), and Hailey ('17).


Mrs. Paula Atkeson

Elementary Vice-Principal, Guidance Counselor, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish III/IV

I graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1984.  I attended Creighton University, taught language arts in McCool Junction for ten years, then returned to St. Mary’s in 1998 as a guidance counselor and English teacher. This is my 20th year at St. Mary’s. I have loved working at St. Mary’s and helping high school students prepare for their futures.  It is rewarding to guide students through the process of choosing a career and a college, applying for financial aid, and fulfilling all the requirements to graduate high school, then to see them succeed as they take the next steps toward their futures.  My husband, Robert, and I have four children.  Molly and Will have graduated from St. Mary’s and are attending college.  Jared is a senior, and Ellie is a 7th grader at St. Mary’s.


Mr. Steve Bahrij

7-12 Math, Physics, Geometry, Spanish I

I have been teaching at St. Mary's since 1973. Throughout the years I have taught Algebra I, Physical Science, Freshman Theology, Calculus I, Geometry, Physics, Algebra II, Advanced Math, and Computers.

Currently, I am teaching Extended Algebra 1 grade 8 and Algebra 2B grade 12, Algebra 2 grade 10, Geometry grade 9, Pre-Calculus grade 11, and Calculus grade 12.

I am looking forward to another good school year with students eager to learn and faculty looking forward to drawing out the best (educating) in our students.


Mr. Phillip Baumgart

K-12 Health and Physical Education, Biology II

I am a 2013 graduate the University of Nebraska-Kearney with a degree in K-12 Health/Physical Education.  My first 2 years out of school, I subbed in the Hastings area and was an assistant coach for HS Boys basketball and JH track at Hastings St. Cecilia.  I am in my 3rd year at St. Mary's.  I teach K-6 PE, JH PE, PE/Health I, PE II, Strength Training and Biology II.  I am the head Boys Basketball coach, Head JH Boys Basketball coach and assistant JH Football coach.  In my free time I like to play/watch sports and play with my dog.


Mrs. Traci Berg

Resource / Title Teacher

I graduated from Loup County High School in 1999. I received my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Early Childhood & Coaching from Midland Lutheran College.  Later, I earned my Master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Doane College.

I taught and coached for 9 years in Mead, Nebraska before moving to O'Neill with my husband, Ryan.  Since moving to O'Neill, I have continued to coach basketball, but have taken 6 years off from teaching to raise our 4 children: Drake, Max, Mallory, and Kinsley.  I enjoy spending time with my family, usually at the ball fields or in the gym. 


Mrs. Brittany Boyle

6th Grade Classroom Teacher

I attended St. Mary's PK-12, and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. I teach sixth grade and I will receive a master's degree for K-12 school counseling, through Creighton University, in May. My husband, Matt, is also a St. Mary's graduate and we have one son, Tuck. I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends, traveling, reading, and watching sports. 


Mr. Luke Bulau

7-12 Social Studies

I graduated from O'Neill High School and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Kearney with a Bachelors degree in Education.  I taught and coached for 3 years in Bassett, NE.  This is my 4th year at St. Mary's.  My wife, Michelle, is a Surgery nurse.  We have been married for 8 years and have 5 kids: Lily (7), Jack (6), Emma (4), Ellie (2), and Hatti (2).  In my spare time I like fishing, woodworking, and coaching my kids' athletics. 


Mrs. Leah Chohon

Preschool Classroom Teacher

I graduated in 2008 from St. Mary’s High School. After graduation, I took general education classes at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. I then transferred to Wayne State College where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.  The O'Neill area had my heart and I decided to move back here where I subbed for 2 years at surrounding schools. I was then offered a teaching position at St. Mary's where I am on my fourth year of teaching Pre-K/Preschool. My husband, Eric, and I have three amazing children, Rook (2), Trake (10 months), and Liv, who was born at the end of May, 2018. As a family we enjoy spending time outside, boating, fishing, and being with family and friends. 


Mrs. Sara Cole

3rd Grade Classroom Teacher

I graduated from St. Mary's in 2002. I went on to Wayne State College to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. I am in my 12th year of teaching 3rd grade at St. Mary's. I am married to Matt, and we have 3 children. Cooper is in 3rd grade, Zane is in 1st grade, and Olivia is in preschool.  We enjoy spending our summers at Ft. Randall lake with family and friends. 


Mrs. Carol Fuhrer

Grade School Library

I am a 1971 graduate of St. Mary's High School and a graduate of Nettleton Business College. I am married to Joe Fuhrer ('71), and have two daughters: Lisa Brester ('92), and Tricia Thompson ('95); 6 grandchildren: Alex ('12), Andrew ('17), Joey, Tate (8th grade), Matt, and Peyton (5th grade).  I work in the elementary library every day from 10:30 until 3:30 and wherever else I'm needed around the school.  My hobbies are reading, reading, and reading!


Ms. Amber Ginter

7-12 Math, Spanish I

I am originally from Spearfish, South Dakota, and graduated from Chadron State College in December of 2009 with a B.S. in Secondary Math Education and a coaching endorsement.  St. Mary's was my first actual teaching job. Beforehand, I did some long term substitute jobs back at my hometown schools. I am the Head Volleyball Coach, assistant to the junior high program, assist with the One-Act and Speech teams, and help wherever else is needed.  This is my seventh year here at St. Mary's. I teach a range of subjects, from Pre-Algebra to Geometry, Algebra I to Statistics, and Algebra II to Intermediate Algebra.  Among my favorites, are Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and now Statistics!  Although, I did not graduate from St. Mary's, this place has captured a huge part of my heart and has become my family away family.  

In what free time I find, I love to spend time with family and friends and my dog, Leon.


Mrs. Sarah Hartmann

Elementary Resource

I graduated from St.Mary's High School  in 2005 and received my Bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education from Mount Marty College in 2009. I taught two years of 2nd grade in Savoonga, Alaska. Then I moved back to Nebraska and taught 4th grade for 4 years at St. Joseph's School in Beatrice. I earned my Masters degree in Education in 2013 from Concordia University while teaching there. Most recently, I lived and taught 3rd grade for three years in Homer, Alaska. I am excited to be back here at St. Mary's as the Title I/Resource teacher. My husband is Ben and we have one son, Sam, who is 2. We love camping, hiking, kayaking, and traveling. 


Dr. MJ Kersenbrock

Theology IV

I attended St. Mary’s High School and both my wife, Jane, and I graduated in 1974. I attended Creighton University and received the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1981. 

Jane and I were married on June 8, 1979.  We moved from Omaha to O’Neill in 1982, and have been blessed with 4 children: Claire, Mary, Anne, and John.  All 4 children attended St. Mary’s Catholic Schools in O’Neill.  Currently, we have 4 grandchildren.

I have been a dentist in O’Neill since 1982 and I now work with my daughter, Mary, who joined the practice in 2010.  I have been involved with St. Patrick’s parish, serving on the finance committee since 1990.  I have assisted in coaching basketball and track at St. Mary’s High School for many years.  Additionally, I have taught senior theology at the school for the last five years.  I was ordained a deacon of the Archdiocese of Omaha in April 2017, and currently serve St. Patrick’s parish in O’Neill.


Mrs. Mary Novak

5th Grade Classroom Teacher

I have been teaching 5th grade at St. Mary's since 2002. I grew up in Scotland, SD . I graduated from Mount Marty College in 1985, got married that same year, and moved to O'Neill. My husband, Scott ('81), and I have 3 children: Sarah ('05), Tony ('07), and Zachary ('15).  I previously taught at two Holt County Rural Schools, as well as was the Religious Education Director here at St. Patrick's.  I enjoy every day at St. Mary's.  It is a special experience here that brings us all together as a family.  We are blessed with our rich history of our school, and strive to continue into the future.  I enjoy traveling, reading, walking, and spending time with our four grandsons.


Mrs. Melinda Podany

2nd Grade Classroom Teacher

Coming Soon....


Mrs. Candice Schindler

Kindergarten Classroom Teacher

I graduated from Wayne State College in 2002 and taught K & 1st grade in Norfolk for 8 years.  When my husband, Jason, and I started our family, I stayed home to spend time with our children.  I returned to teaching here at St. Mary's just last year.  Our children are Sam (3rd grade), Sophie (kindergarten), and Sutton (3 years old).  

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, being outside with them and going on new adventures!  


Mrs. Becky Schmeichel

7-12 English and Language Arts

"Find a job you love, and you'll never work another day in your life."  Well - I LOVE my job.  I always knew I wanted to teach, but I switched from P.E./coaching to English when I returned to college after my children were older.  I went to NECC and WSC to get a degree in secondary English.

I taught adult ESL for six years through NECC and loved it.

I used to have hobbies, but now reading and grading seem to fill that position (smile) although each summer I try to do an art-type project.

I have three beautiful daughters and five wonderful grandchildren with one on the way.

I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 23 years old and have sought to walk with Him consistently.  Each day is precious, and I seek to follow Thoreau's advice to suck the marrow out of life.


Ms. Bridget Schneider

Theology I, II, III, 7, 8

I graduated from St. Mary's in 2015, and spent two years at NECC and one year at WSC.  This fall, I will be completing my student teaching under Mrs. Traci Berg in the 2nd grade classroom.  I will graduate with a bachelor of science in elementary education from Wayne in December.  I am so excited to be 'home' at St. Mary's and I look forward to getting to know all of the students again and working with the student athletes. 


Mrs. Jennie Schneider

High School Vice Principal, Pre-Algebra, HS Librarian

I graduated from SMH in 1984.  I have taught at St. Mary's since earning my bachelor's degree in Elementary Ed from UNL in 1989, first teaching 3rd grade, then moving up to high school to become the school librarian.  I earned my master's degree in Instructional Technology from UNK in 2011.  In December, 2017,  I completed coursework through Wayne State College for an Administration endorsement.  I am married to Tim ('86), and we have three daughters; Katie ('09), Megan ('12) and Bridget ('15).


Mrs. Christina Spader

7-12 Journalism, Theatre, Speech, Digital Media

I graduated from St. Mary’s in 2005. I earned my B.S. in Secondary English Education with a coaching endorsement from Chadron State College. I am in my 4th year at St. Mary's, teaching Junior High Reading, Sophomore Literature, Journalism, Theology 7, and am also the head One-Act, Speech, and Junior High Volleyball coach. I am currently working on earning my master’s degree from UNO. I met my husband, Kenneth, during my first teaching assignment in Elba, Nebraska. We were married in 2014, welcomed our first child, Mackson, into the world in 2016, and we welcomed Alla in 2018. I am continually amazed at the support the St. Mary’s and O’Neill communities offer, and am so blessed to be back home teaching at a school I love with kids I love!


Mrs. Karen Tschida


I am entering my 4th year of teaching, but am new to O'Neill! I am originally from La Vista and my family resides there. I went to college at Wayne State College where I got a Bachelor of Arts degree in K-12 Music Education with a Field Endorsement of Vocal & Instrumental Music. I am currently taking classes for my MSE degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Wayne State College as well. My first three years were spent teaching Kindergarten - 6th grade general music with the Schuyler Community School system in Schuyler, Nebraska. I love to spend time with my family, especially my nephew! In my free time, I enjoy crocheting, reading, going to movies, and cooking. 


Mrs. Carole Willis

1st Grade Classroom Teacher

I grew up in Columbus, NE, and graduated from Scotus High School. I attended Duchesne College in Omaha and got my B.A. from Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois. I attended graduate school at UNL in history and received my MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College in 2001. This is my 38th year of teaching, my 33rd at St. Mary’s. I was the reading resource teacher for 8 years and this is my 25th year of teaching first grade. 

My husband, Keith, and I have six children, all graduates of St. Mary’s. Katie (’92) is the ESU 8 Instructional Technology Facilitator; Amy (’94) is the Director of Speech-Language Pathology at Monroe-Meyer Institute at UNMC; Andrew (’97) is an attorney in Lincoln; Anne (’01) is a homeschool teacher; Matthew (’03) is an optometrist for Midwest Eyecare; and Elizabeth (’06) is a pharmacist for Avera McKenna Hospital. We have 19 grandchildren.

I love teaching First Graders to read and getting them excited about books. Phonics is my favorite subject to teach. I love to collect children’s books. I also like to walk, take photographs, travel, go on camping trips with my family, spend time with our grandchildren, and make all kinds of muffins!


Mrs. Erika Winkelbauer

7-12 Science

I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in secondary science education, along with a minor in chemistry.  I taught high school science for three years at Papillion-LaVista High School in Omaha before I moved with my family to O’Neill in 2005.  I remained at home to raise my four children, until all were school age, and I returned to teaching in 2015 at St. Marys.  My husband, Matthew, and I have four children: Grant, Emma, Lauren, and Walker.  Grant is a freshman, Emma a 7th grader, Lauren a 4th grader, and Walker a kindergartner.  All are students here at St. Mary’s.  In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, landscaping and gardening, reading, and traveling with my family.  I currently teach 7th Grade Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry I, Chemistry II, Anatomy and Physiology, and Physics.  In addition, I am the head junior high girls basketball coach, and assistant high school girls basketball coach here at St. Mary’s.


Mrs. Marlene Zurovski

K-12 Art

I graduated from The School of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, MO with a double major in K-12 Art and 7-12 German. Since then, I have added a K-12 ESL endorsement.​ I also have an associates degree in Architectural Drafting from Northeast Community College in Norfolk, NE. I have 5 daughters, 3 of whom are married and my youngest is in college at Bryan Medical College in Lincoln pursuing her nursing degree.  I have 8 grandchildren.


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Classified Staff

Mrs. Judy Crumly

High School Administrative Assistant

I graduated from West Holt High School in Atkinson.  I attended Omaha College of Health Careers.  After graduation, I worked as a Dental Assistant in Omaha, and then after my marriage (to my husband, Jerome), I worked in O’Neill.  Later I worked as a secretary at the Page Public School for 13 years.

I have been at St. Mary’s for 18 years.  Our 3 children all graduated from St. Mary’s (Jacqueline '00, Mary '01, and Ross '08).

We have 4 grandchildren, and enjoy spending time with them and their families.  I also enjoy reading and embroidering.

I feel very blessed to be part of St. Mary’s family, and look forward to the years to come.


Mrs. Brenda Hupp

Grade School Administrative Assistant

I am a 1987 graduate of the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science.  My husband, Randy, and I have two children who are St. Mary's graduates, Wilson ('14) and Sydney ('16).  I enjoy spending time with family and watching sports.  


Mr. Jim Summers


I was born in Rapid City, SD at Ellsworth AFB.  I graduated from O'Neill High School in 1976 and served in the United States Army from 1979-1984.  I lived in Las Vegas for 15 years, in Utah for 15 years, and now reside in Page, NE.  


Mrs. Susan Babutzke


I was born and raised in Atkinson, Nebraska.  I graduated from West Holt High School.  I have 4 brothers and 1 sister, 1 son, 1 daughter, and 3 grandkids. My husband is a farmer.  In my spare time, I like to play with my grandchildren.  My favorite music is the 80's and this past summer I got to see Rick Springfield in concert and touched his hand.  Something that a lot of people don't know is that my aunt (my mom's sister) is married to Mike Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan.  I have enjoyed working at St. Mary's the last 6 years as a custodian.


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