Meet the New Teachers

This year, there are six new staff members who all have something new to bring to STA.

by Victoria Cahoon and Libby Hutchinson

Renee Fietsam smiles for the camera Sept. 2. Fietsam teaches Algebra I and II. photo by Libby Hutchinson

Renee Fietsam teaches Algebra I and II as well as being an advisor. For three years, she taught at a small public school where she was the only math teacher and taught all four levels of math. After those three years, Fietsam was looking for someplace new and fresh.

“I really like the environment,” Fietsam said. “After I visited the school I realized it was really what I wanted.”

Fun Fact: She does mosaic art. Mosaic art is creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass. It is a technique of decorative art or interior decoration.


Steve Perry the new music and choir teacher.
Steve Perry smiles for a picture Sept. 2. Perry is the new music and choir teacher. photo by Libby Hutchinson

Steve Perry teaches Concert Choir, STA Singers – Advanced Choir, Introduction to Piano, AP Music Theory and St. Teresa’s Academy Chorale. He also works with the music director for the fall musical and co-directs Varsity Singers.

“All of the amazing students [and] the positivity and loving energy is here,” Perry said. “You feel it the first time you walk on campus.”

The 2015-2016 school year marks Perry’s 32nd year of teaching; for the last 31 years he has been teaching at public school.

Fun Fact: He loves mid-century modern style and likes refurbishing houses and furniture.


Maura Lammers the substitute teacher for Lindsey Duff.
Maura Lammers poses for a picture Sept. 2. Lammers is a substitute and soon-to-be part-time teacher in the English department. photo by Libby Hutchinson

Maura Lammers had her first day as teacher Aug. 27, exactly two weeks after the start of school. After Mrs. Duff went on maternity leave, Lammers took her place substitute teaching AP English Language/American Literature. Once Mrs. Duff comes back after Thanksgiving break, Lammers will become a part-time teacher teaching British Literature. After college, she worked in publishing, but later became a student teacher in Washington.

Lammers is an alumna of STA. She graduated with the Class of 2009 and was very excited for her first day back.

“This is my dream job,” Lammers said. “Today has been very surreal and it felt like coming home.”

Fun Fact: She was co-editor-in-chief of Teresian, the STA yearbook.


Dr. Liz Baker the new principal of Student Affairs.
Dr. Liz Baker smiles in the quad Sept. 3. Baker is the Principal of Student Affairs. photo by Libby Hutchinson

The newest addition to the administration is Dr. Elizabeth Baker, the Principal of Student Affairs. Her responsibilities include discipline, making sure the calendar and schedules are on track, helping with any extra curricular activities, promoting the mission of the school and being part of student life.

Baker’s new job isn’t her first encounter with STA. Back in 1982, Baker, who played on St. Mary’s High School basketball team, played the Stars – and lost. Nor is this her first year as a principal. Baker was a principal at Nativity of Mary Elementary School in Independence for 12 years and a teacher for 15 years prior.

After preparing for the coming year, Baker said it was exciting to see the students on campus.

“I really enjoy seeing students on campus and being a student advocate,” Baker said.

Fun Fact: She loves to golf and has scored a hole in one.


Katie Weber the new teacher in the English department.
Katie Weber, the new teacher in the English department. Katie Weber grins Sept. 3. Weber teaches in the English department. photo by Libby Hutchinson

Katie Weber is the new English I and World Literature teacher. Her new roles this year include being an advisor and leading the Social Justice Club. Though this is her first year teaching, Weber worked with Dianne Hirner as a student teacher last year.

One of her favorite parts about working at STA so far is the students.

“To watch everyone grow up and graduate with those sisters of St. Joseph values is amazing,” Weber said.

In St. Louis, Weber attended St. Joseph’s High School, a sister school to STA.

Fun Fact: She is already saving to retire in Florida.


Patrick Nielson the new teacher in the social studies department.
Patrick Nielsen poses for a picture Sept. 2. Nielsen is a social studies teacher. photo by Libby Hutchinson

Patrick Nielsen teaches World Geography, U.S. Government and AP U.S. Government and Politics. Though he does not have an advisory this year, he is also the moderator of the Political Issues Club. Nielsen taught for three years at O’Hara before arriving at STA.

“It was a great opportunity to teach here,” Nielsen said. “I enjoy teaching at a Catholic school because I’m also Catholic. The whole college prep was a very important factor as well.”

Fun Fact: He has been playing hockey since the age of five and still plays a couple times a week.