STA says farewell to teachers and staff members alike

Seven members of the STA faculty and staff will be leaving the school after the current year.


English teacher Lindsay Duff and her advisory pose for a photo during Frosh Fest at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. photo courtesy of Maureen Burns

by Annabelle Meloy, Writer

Patrick Nielsen

Patrick Nielsen has been the freshman geography teacher for the past two years and will now sadly say goodbye to STA.

Nielsen says he and his wife will be moving back to Omaha after the end of the school year to be closer to family and find something new.

“I won’t be teaching next year at least,” Nielsen said. “I’ll be doing something different so that’ll be a little sad, and I’ll be a little nervous to just try something new for the first time in a little while but still excited to get back home. It’ll just be different.”

Although he will be leaving, Nielsen is grateful to have been a part of the school community.

“This was probably by far my easiest teaching job,” Nielsen said. “There’s a lot of really committed students. For the most part, that was one of the biggest draws about the school.”

Nielsen thinks he’ll be able to stay in contact with some of his students, but they’re also a big part of what he’ll miss most.

“I mean it’s two years, it’s kind of tough,” Nielsen said. “I know it’s sadly a short amount of time, but there’s just being involved with a lot of the students. Anytime that I can spend time and actually just talk to the students not just about school, but about other things is really fun. That’s always a good time.”


Meredith Snyder

As someone who always offered a big smile, a nice compliment or an uplifting prayer, Meredith Snyder will truly be missed around STA as the head of Campus Ministry.

“[I’m leaving because] the movements of the holy spirit, and more specifically than that, I think just a general questioning about what God wants me to do with my life at this point,” Snyder said. “And coming to kind of see that maybe He’s trying to open some doors to other things for me. And so my choice to step away from my job is in order to be able to be more open to where those paths may be leading me.”

Snyder says she will miss the students dearly and hope they can understand why teachers have chosen to leave in the first place.

“It’s good for students to know that teachers and people who work with them do it because we care, and I’d like to think for myself and the other teachers leaving probably, these decisions to leave are very difficult,” Snyder said. “When we make those decisions, we are also keeping in mind what’s in the best interests of the students as well.”

Snyder believes it’s important to keep those bonds between those she met at STA and would love to return.

“Yeah, I think I’ll give probably some of my personal contact information to anybody who would like to stay in touch. And I would like to go to graduations. But I love STA’s musical theater and art performance programs, so I imagine I’ll continue coming to see [them].”


Terry Conner

After a long run of ten years at STA, beloved science teacher Terry Conner will also be stepping down from her job.

“My mom died unexpectedly in February, and it caused me to reevaluate my priorities,” Conner said. “I realized that teaching three courses, coaching the robotics team [and] working on the STEAM initiative was making me neglect the people who really cared about me.”

Although she won’t be teaching at STA any longer, Conner will still be putting her knowledge to work through programs here in Kansas City.

“What I’m doing in the immediate future is working for the Astronomical Society of Kansas City and making training videos on how to use their observatory telescope,” Conner said.

A new teacher has already been hired to replace Conner, and as she departs, she will carry wonderful memories with her from STA.

“A crazy favorite memory is the year that Mrs. Montag, Mrs. Blake and I learned to use the green screen, and we made ridiculously crazy videos with Mrs. Montag in an aquarium, and I was lost in space,” Conner said. “Mrs. Blake was flying on a magic carpet at the Taj Mahal.”


Amy Carlson

Like Conner, Amy Carlson has been a part of STA for over 10 years both as a teacher and a coach. She has decided to step away after deciding to take a different career path.

“It’s been a combination of things like health and just wanting to do something different,” Carlson said.And along with change comes nerves, and I left here once before, and I came back. I am nervous but also really excited.”

After coaching at STA, Carlson’s favorite memories have come from the sports environment and what it brings to the school.

“It has to be the Sion [and] STA matches,” Carlson said. “It’s just so shocking. Anybody who plays in them is blown away by it, and you’ll never, no matter what level, experience anything like that. Being on the opposite side of screaming students all dressed up is such a unique, cool STA experience. And I think that it is like a memory that’s just embedded.”

Like most, Carlson’s favorite part of STA was the students.

“I think I’ll just miss how proud I was to always be a part of this community and just how much respect that this school gets, and I’ll miss definitely the kids and my coworkers, just going to class and laughing and them making me laugh every day,” Carlson said.


Ashley White

The math department will be missing teacher Ashley White next year as she prepares to have her first child and become a stay at home mom.

“I am sad to leave STA, but I am so excited for our new adventure as parents,” White said. “I know that next year will be a big adjustment for our family, and I am so excited for the challenge.”

White says some of her best memories have come from her beloved advisees.

“I got engaged the summer after my first year at STA” White said. “During freshman orientation, some of my returning advisees surprised me with a cake to congratulate me. The cake had cutouts of me, my husband and the two students in wedding attire. The two girls were our bridesmaids. It was so funny!”

Like many other teachers, White’s best times have come from forming relationships with others and becoming close with her students.

I will miss seeing my awesome coworkers on a daily basis. I will also miss teaching math. I have some wonderful students, and I love helping them develop their math skills. I have been so fortunate to form lasting relationships with some of my students.”


Lindsey Duff

You may have confused the two blondes of the math and English departments as Lindsey Duff will also be leaving to take care of her children.

“My husband and I found out I was pregnant with our 2nd child in September,” Duff said. “We discussed various options, but we ultimately decided it was best for our family if I stayed home with our children full time.”

As Duff departs, she will miss her students and colleagues the most.

“I will miss my colleagues a ton,” Duff said. “They have supported me throughout my transition to STA and both of my pregnancies. I love the conversations I have with them when I get a chance to get out of my classroom. I’ll also miss the students at STA. I have such a special relationship with my students, and it is hard to imagine my life without them in it.”

Sarah Taber, another teacher from Pembroke, has been hired to take the place of Duff and will work in the English department full time. According to Duff, she will be taking over a great advisory.

“My advisory has created some wonderful memories together,” Duff said. “We began our advisory my first year teaching at STA with only 4 freshmen. It has been a great experience to watch those girls grow up and become leaders as we have grown into a full advisory.”


Jackie Hershewe

The friendly face of the STA library will also be saying farewell as Jackie Hershewe prepares to go into retirement. She met so many students over 18 years at STA and was able to and was able to impact their education through reading and literature.

Hershewe has thought about retiring for a long time, and it just never came to the right moment until this year.

“I’ve thought about it for a while,” Hershewe said. “In fact, I am friends with Kathy Mccarthy who used to work here. When Kathy said she was going to retire, which was like four years ago, I said, ‘Why don’t you wait one more year, and we’ll retire together?’ And Kathy said no, and the next year came, and I didn’t retire. I just feel like it’s time.”

The change hasn’t been easy, but she believes it could be really good for her.

“Well change is hard, but I’m also looking forward to it,” Hershewe said. “I am retiring, I’m not going on to another library position or anything like that. Most of my friends are retired. They all tell me how wonderful it is. I’m looking forward to maybe a little less structure in my time where I can do the things that I think I need to get done.”

Hershewe said she will miss all the students at STA and all the fun activities that were always occurring such as STA book club.

“I will miss all the students and my great coworkers here,” Hershewe said.

Hershewe also confirmed that next year, current English teacher Carrie Jacquin will take over the position of librarian.