Meet this year’s new educators

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Megaphone file photo

Most of the this year’s new educators pose with Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel and Assistant Principal Mr. Mark Matthews during a break in their professional development meeting on Aug. 4.

Megaphone Staff

Editor’s note: The Megaphone staff emailed a survey to this year’s new educators. For those educators who returned their survey by the start of the school year, their responses follow. The newspaper staff welcomes these educators to the Irish family. 

Latin teacher Ms. Lainey Adams

College degree: BA in classics and anthropology, University of Notre Dame

Why Cathedral?: During my time at the University of Notre Dame, I fell in love with teaching, Latin, the Holy Cross tradition and the state of Indiana in some order. I had known about Cathedral for a couple years and when I heard that a Latin teaching position was open, I knew that there was no place I’d rather be!

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I have just graduated from college, so all my previous experiences have been volunteer work. I am so excited to start out my career at Cathedral.

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I love to travel and geography. I’ve been to 43 states, six countries and I can place every country on a map. 

Science and religion teacher Mrs. Meg Ahnert

College degrees: BS, elementary education, Butler University; MA, education leadership, Marian University

Coaching/moderator positions: Assistant men’s and women’s swim coach

Why Cathedral?: I have been an assistant swim coach for the past six years and have loved working with Cathedral athletes. It took me a few years to decide I wanted to be at Cathedral full time, and not just as a coach. I loved working with the swimmers so much and I could not wait to join them on the Hill as a teacher. I am excited to join the academic side of Cathedral and get to see more of what makes Cathedral such an awesome family.

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I graduated from Butler in 2015 and taught fifth and sixth grade science for three years before moving up to seventh and eighth grade science and religion, which I taught for three years before coming to CHS. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I love to travel, specifically to national parks. We have a map in our kitchen of the U.S. and every time we visit a new state, we add a picture to the map over the specific state. This summer we added Kansas, Colorado, Arizona and Utah.

Vice Principal Mr. Brett Blondi

College degrees: BA in history and secondary education, Mt. Mercy University; MS in school counseling, Missouri Baptist University

Why Cathedral?: I chose Cathedral because my values live up with Cathedral’s. The opportunity to serve this amazing and unique institution aligned with the goals and needs of my family. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve the students, faculty and staff and the community. Cathedral is a family that I am privileged to be a part of and I look forward to working with everyone to help achieve their goals. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I was a self-contained inclusive teacher in Iowa; a resource teacher, emotional disorder teacher, special services coordinator, guidance counselor, special services department chair and head baseball coach for 16 seasons in Illinois.

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I was part of a pilgrimage to Rome with the Knights of Columbus where they had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI and my daughter was blessed by Pope Benedict. 

Geometry teacher Ms. Beth Caruana 

College degree: BA in economics, religion and writing and rhetoric from Colgate University

Coaching/moderator positions: Assistant swimming coach

Why Cathedral?: Cathedral reminded me of my own high school. I grew up on Long Island, New York and attended St. Anthony’s High School. We were well known for our athletics and we were often referred to as the sports high school of Long Island. However, this title failed to acknowledge the outstanding educational and religious environment that helped prepare me for college. I recognized these same traits in Cathedral, and wanted to be a part of producing that experience for someone else. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I am a first-year teacher at Cathedral, so I have no teaching experience; however, I believe my many years as a student have well prepared me to make the transition from student to teacher. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: In my sophomore year of college, I played roughly four hours of Fortnite every day… and no, I was not good. 

English teacher Mr. Vincent Corsaro ‘14

College degree: BA English, Indiana University

Coaching/moderator positions: Assistant wrestling coach

Why Cathedral?: I’m an alumni, so I am aware of how great Cathedral is. I loved the culture/family aspect. Likewise, I remember how strong the English department is, and with my degree, I want to be the same type of teacher I so fondly remember. I firmly believe in giving back to and supporting the communities that made me. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I’ve taught middle school writing camps, I was a teaching fellow at Butler and helped run two first-year seminar courses in the humanities and I’ve spent time as an athletic tutor. I also hold a BA in English and am completing an MPA in teaching/writing fiction. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I’m an active musician, both playing jazz at bars and gigging around the city with my indie rock band, Feverdream.

Gifts and Financial Aid Manager Miss Melissa Curtis

College degrees: Bachelor’s degree in tourism, conventions and event management, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; business foundations certificate, Kelley School of Business at IUPUI

Coaching/moderator positions: Assistant men’s and women’s volleyball coach 

Why Cathedral?: I support the Catholic values as a Catholic high school and grade school alumni. I believe it’s important to educate and coach youth to ensure a foundation for a successful future. Also, my mom is a Cathedral alumni. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: Previously, I was the development and event coordinator at Susan G. Komen Central Indiana. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: Purple is my favorite color. I coach volleyball. I love puzzles and sudoku. I enjoy TikTok. I’m getting married. 

Social studies and religion teacher Mr. Jeffrey Darnold

College degrees: A.S., Lincoln Trail College; BS in social studies education, Indiana State University

Why Cathedral?: I chose Cathedral because it was a great opportunity for me to work in Catholic education in an environment that has passionate educators, incredible students and an unapologetically Catholic environment. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I have two prior years of teaching experience in social studies education at Terre Haute North Vigo High School. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: My great uncle (times 10) is Patrick Henry, founding father and first governor of Virginia. 

Mr. Josh Dygert

Specific teaching position not listed on survey 

List your degrees, majors and colleges: BA in English and theater, Hillsdale College; secondary education certificate, Taylor University

Coaching/moderator positions: Brain Game co-coach

Why Cathedral?: As a teacher in public schools, I felt that something vital was missing from the education my students were receiving. I knew Cathedral by reputation, and I was inspired by Cathedral’s commitment to Holy Cross values. The more I interacted with educators at Cathedral, the more I saw those values in action. I am so excited to be a part of this school and to discover that missing element that seems to be a fundamental part of a Cathedral education. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: For the last six years, I taught middle school English in Brownsburg. I spent two years with eighth graders and four with seventh graders. Before that, I worked for schools in Zionsville with students with special needs. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I love creative writing. My short stories have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. Last year, I had a fantasy novella called Stella published.

Science and religion teacher Mr. Elliot Gray

College degrees: BS in chemistry, Butler University; MEd in Educational Leadership, Regis University

Coaching/moderator positions: Assistant men’s cross-country coach

Why Cathedral?: I believe in providing a Catholic education for young people. Specifically, the Holy Cross values resonated with me. I believe in educating the heart and mind. Additionally, I am passionate about social justice issues and appreciate the emphasis that Cathedral places on providing service and an option for the poor. Finally, I grew up in the Indy area and know the excellence in academics and athletics at Cathedral, and am proud to provide a quality education to all young people. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: Previously, I worked at Lawrence North High School for one and a half years. I taught chemistry and AP Chemistry. Before my time at LN, I worked at Mullen High School, a Catholic LaSallian school in Denver, Colorado, for five and a half years. There, I taught all levels of chemistry and directed the service learning program. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I love to travel. I have been to over 30 countries. Some of my favorites include Croatia, Ethiopia and Costa Rica. 

Math coach and Learning Resource Center director Mr. Michael Meyers

College degrees: BS in finance, BS in international studies (specific institution not listed on survey)

Why Cathedral?: Cathedral is a great school that has many opportunities for its students. The concept of teaching Holy Cross values and applying that to all facets of student life. Finding purpose is a very important part of education and Cathedral provides all sorts of ways to do just that. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I have worked in the Learning Commons Model for about three years at IUPUI, before taking a brief hiatus to improve my statistical and business skills at a few firms. I am excited to return to the model at the high school level and help learners learn how to learn. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I have a life goal to travel to every national park in the United States and get a stamp. This led me to Alaska and up to the Arctic Circle this past summer.

English teacher Mrs. Molly Mohrfeld ‘12

College degrees: Bachelor’s in secondary education from the Indiana University School of Education, finishing a Master’s degree in English at Butler University 

Coaching/moderator positions: Assistant women’s cross-country coach 

Why Cathedral?: I chose Cathedral simply because it is an amazing place. As a student, I loved how I could explore my unique interests and make friends with so many different types of people. I was equal parts challenged and encouraged. The teachers and staff members at Cathedral helped shape me into the person and teacher I am today. I can’t believe I get the opportunity to serve Cathedral students in the same way I was supported by my teachers. I am so looking forward to teaching and coaching at Cathedral this year. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I student taught at Roncalli High School and then went on to teach at Bishop Chatard High School as an English teacher for four years. In addition to teaching, I was the Freshman Class moderator and also an assistant cross-country coach for three years.

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I love long distance challenges. I have run a marathon and plan on running another in the fall. I have also climbed the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney. 

Director of Campus Ministry Mr. David Neeson 

College degree: BA in Communications, University of Dayton

Coaching/moderator positions: assistant varsity football coach

Why Cathedral?: Every time I came onto the Hill, I felt a presence that was comforting. The students and the educators have constantly impressed me, but the reason I decided to accept the position as director of campus ministry is because I felt God’s encouraging push while spending a week up at Holy Cross College. I learned more about the Holy Cross values and felt a lot of support from current and past Cathedral family. I’m excited to grow upon the incredible foundation that Mrs. Witka created in campus ministry and I look forward to serving our Cathedral family in any way I can.  

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I served as a coordinator of high school ministry as well as confirmation for the past four years at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church in Fishers. Prior to SLDM, I coordinated high school and junior high youth ministry for two parishes in Louisville, Kentucky. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: Prior to working in youth ministry I was a nightclub promoter, professional flair bartender and worked at an animal shelter. At my peak, I could juggle four bottles and I could stack eight to nine bottles on my forehead. 

Theatre Director Ms. K.T. Peterson

College degrees: BA in musical theater, Indiana University; MFA in theater, Towson University; MFA in playwriting, Iowa Playwright Workshop

Coaching/moderator positions: Spinprov coach 

Why Cathedral?: I was looking for a way to serve my community and support my family. I am a better artist when I am teaching. 

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: I am an actor, director, playwright, screenwriter and educator. I have performed in Ohio, Indiana, Chicago, New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. My nonfiction publications include a piece of narrative. I’m working toward an off Broadway premiere of my newest musical in 2023, and I just finished Draft 1 of a novel. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I wanted to be a paleontologist or Egyptologist.

Social studies teacher Mr. Gregory Smith

College degrees: BA in history, Mars Hill College; MEd in education, Francis Marion University; EdM in education leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University

Why Cathedral? Originally from South Carolina, I moved to Indianapolis in 2015. I have spent the last 10 years in public schools. I am excited to teach U.S. history and economics, and eager to share the love of Christ with the young men and women of Cathedral. I look forward to developing scholars and student-athletes.

Professional experience prior to Cathedral: Prior to coming to Cathedral I have taught eightth grade social studies in South Carolina and fifth grade in Indianapolis. I have worked as an instructional coach and assistant principal. Most recently, I was part of the founding team of The PATH School, restarting IPS School 67 on the west side of Indianapolis. 

What is an interesting fact about you that your students would be surprised to know: I worked for a short time as the Chick-fil-A cow mascot.