Mrs. Cathy Bevirt is the Holy Cross Kindergarten teacher. She earned her BA from Eastern Illinois University with a Music Education degree. She later went to Concordia University Chicago to complete the Colloquy Program and secure her K-8 education degree. Mrs. Bevirt has taught for 23 years. In addition to teaching and leading music for early childhood students, Mrs. Bevirt teaches Sunday School at Holy Cross. She is married to Larry, who farms and works at Focal Point Landscaping. They have one daughter, Sherry. In her spare time Mrs. Bevirt enjoys reading, cooking, and antiquing with her husband.
Mr. Brian Dunnette received his BS degree in Physical Education from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota, in 1987. He has taught in Lutheran schools for 27 years. For 17 years he was Physical Education Teacher, Athletic Director, and coach at Advent Lutheran in Boca Raton, Florida, coaching four girls basketball teams to state championships. He has also coached football, baseball, and track. He has been at Holy Cross for ten years, currently serving as Fifth Grade teacher, physical education teacher, Athletic Director and coach. He is married to Laurie, who is also a teacher in the Lutheran school system, currently at Salem Lutheran in Afton, Missouri. They have two children, daughter Taylor and son Travis. Brian enjoys spending time with family, fishing, and watching sports.
Mrs. Karen Kellar is serving as the Pre-K Teacher at Holy Cross Lutheran School. She has taught at Holy Cross since 2001. Karen was born and raised in Miami, Florida, where she earned a degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Kellar enjoys the company of her husband Rob, three children, two dogs, and a cat. She has spent 23 years in education and has had the privilege of teaching children ages two through five. Mrs. Kellar’s students do many hands-on activities, lots of moving around, and learn to use their imaginations and creativity. Teaching Prekindergarten is a wonderful and fulfilling profession. God has blessed her in many ways. She is especially grateful to be able to teach children about Christ and all that he has done for us.
Mr. Peter Kileff grew up in Houston, TX although his mother is originally from Alton, IL and his dad is from Zimbabwe. He earned his BA in English from Lake Forest College in north Chicago. He went on to study at National Louis University where he completed his Master of Arts in Teaching degree while working as a substitute teacher in Chicago Public Schools. In 2010, Mr. Kileff and his wife, Christa, joined the U.S. Peace Corps. They served as volunteers in the Kingdom of Jordan, where Mr. Kileff taught English as a Second Language in a small, rural school and conducted teacher training. Returning to the U.S., the Kileff’s moved to St. Louis. Mr. Kileff taught 6th grade English and Social Studies for the past two years at Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis. The Kileffs have two sons, Clive (3), and Theodore (1) and are members of Village Lutheran Church — Ladue. Mr. Kileff enjoys music, playing tennis, swimming, reading, and spending time with his family. He’s looking forward to the new school year and being part of the Holy Cross community.
Miss Donna Kirst is the first grade teacher. After receiving her teaching degree from Concordia College – River Forest, IL in 1983, she began her ministry at St. Peter’s Lutheran School is Big Rapids, Michigan. During her 16 years at St. Peter’s she had a variety of teaching positions in first through fifth grade with most of her experience at the first grade level. Since coming to Holy Cross-Collinsville in the fall of 1999 she has continued to teach first grade. Donna also serves as the school library coordinator. Combining her love of travel with a heart for missions, she has enjoyed being a member of various short term mission teams. Her summer mission travels have taken her to foreign countries where she has participated in English camps, Vacation Bible Schools, women’s ministry, and eye glass clinics. Donna is single and values time with family and friends in the St. Louis and Chicago areas.
Mrs. Nancy Lochmann is the principal and teaches 8th grade home room in the Middle School. Mrs. Lochmann has taught at Lutheran schools in Louisiana and Texas, and has been at Holy Cross since 1988. She received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia University – Nebraska and her Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. In 2011 she received the Peabody Logos Leaders in Education Award. Mrs. Lochmann ‘s husband, Bill, is currently teaching at St. Louis Community College. She has two married children and four granddaughters. In addition to the joy of serving at Holy Cross, she likes to travel, read, and spend time with her family.
Mrs. Deborah Meier has been a member at Holy Cross since 1976 when she moved to Collinsville to become third grade teacher at Holy Cross School. She grew up in Moorhead, Minnesota and later attended Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, where she received a B.S. in Education. She taught 3rd and 4th grade at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, Missouri for two years. After accepting a call to teach at Holy Cross, she taught for another seven years and obtained her M.S. in Edcuation at SIU-Edwardsville. Deb and her husband, John, have two children, Katie and Nick, both graduates of Holy Cross Lutheran School and Metro East Lutheran High. Deb is a member of the Chancel Choir, has played in hand bells and the recorder group, and presently helps as a substitute organist and choir accompanist. She also plays organ at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Caseyville and fills in as choir accompanist for the choir at Lutheran High. Besides teaching piano lessons to students at Holy Cross, she has maintained a home studio for the past 30 years.
Mrs. Kathy Reuter is the Preschool teacher and Childcare Director. Earning her Bachelor of Science degree at Southern Illinois University and Teacher Certification in elementary education, she returned for post-graduate work in Early Childhood education. Mrs. Reuter is married (Ken) with two young adult children. Mrs. Reuter has been a member of the Early Childhood department since 1999 and has taught the three-year old Preschool class since 2004. Mrs. Reuter is the sponsor for the cheerleading squad and is a member of the yearbook staff. In her spare time she enjoys riding horses, sewing, and reading.
Mrs. Kara Rull earned her BA from Concordia University – Chicago. She received her MA from SIUE. She has continued her education by attending workshops, seminars, and conferences. Mrs. Rull has taught for 18 years, the last 9 years at Holy Cross. She is married to Clay; they have two daughters, Shanna and Emily. Mrs. Rull’s hobbies include reading, word puzzles, watching movies, and playing music on the piano and organ.
“My mission is to teach each student with respect and love, as Jesus would. Therefore, with open hearts and minds, each child will know that God has created him/her as His special child and that He has a plan for each of our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” I want to share my love and enthusiasm for Christ so that my students will each grow to know Jesus as his/her Savior and friend. Then, I hope and pray that each would share the good news with family and friends by word and example.”
Mrs. Mary Ann Sachtleben is the 6th Grade Homeroom and Computer Lab teacher. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville in 1997 with a B.S. in Education and a minor in Sociology. Mrs. Sachtleben has taught 15 years; three years at Holy Cross Lutheran School as a Kindergarten teacher, 3 years in the public school system as a long-term substitute teacher and 9 years at St. Mary’s-St. Augustine Catholic School in Belleville as a 5th Grade Homeroom (Language Arts, Social Studies), and K-8 Computer Teacher. Mary is married to Dennis Sachtleben who is a software engineer for Chameleon Integrated Services in St. Louis. They have two grown children, Eric and Matthew, who attended Holy Cross Lutheran School from Kindergarten through 8th Grade. Also, both attended and graduated from Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville.
“My mission statement is to touch the lives of my students I teach with the love, grace and forgiveness of our Lord, Jesus Christ. My goal is that my students will know that by Jesus’s unselfish and ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross for our sins, they have been redeemed and their salvation is secured!”
Mrs. Stephanie Schuler teaches part time in the Middle School. She previously taught for two years in the Triad School District as an Elementary Music and Art teacher, as well as substituting for Collinsville School District. Mrs. Schuler received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a Fine Arts/Music concentration from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. She attended Holy Cross School, and is still an active member, participating in the choir and adult hand bells. Her husband, Brian, is also active in the choir and on the technology committee for Holy Cross. He works at Washington University in the technology field. They have three daughters: Lorelei, Celia and Hazel; and one son: Henry. While teaching is her passion, Mrs. Schuler also enjoys reading, knitting and crocheting, and spending time with family.
Mrs. Karen Shimkus is the music director for both church and school at Holy Cross. Mrs. Shimkus graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy as a cello major, and holds a BA in Parish Music and Youth Ministry (DCE) from Concordia College (now Concordia University) in Portland, Oregon, and an MA in Organ Performance from SIU, Edwardsville. She has worked as a youth minister, church music director, elementary school music teacher, professional accompanist, and private music instructor of various instruments. Mrs. Shimkus has additional training in choral conducting and vocal techniques and pedagogy. She loves to teach music to both children and adults and help them reach the highest level of musicianship they can. Karen is married to Congressman John Shimkus and they have 3 sons who are all singers and instrumentalists.
“I believe making music is a gift from God and raises our spirits, hearts, and minds to be closer to Him. Making music together should also be satisfying and fun as we work to achieve the highest level of accomplishment that we can reach. I believe we should strive for excellence in everything we do – from the youngest little violinist learning to play ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to the most accomplished vocalist singing an aria in church or performance. Teaching music to children gives them the skills of self-discipline and poise that are useful throughout their lives, as well as raising their consciousness to the beauty and wonder of the arts which God has placed all around us. Making music with older students and adults continues this process as well as being an offering to our church and our Lord as we perform meaningful and moving works.
Although performance is important both for entertainment and a feeling of achieving a goal, my primary emphasis is on leading the congregation and individuals in worship as we make music. Instrumentalists and singers can raise our worship to wonderful heights as we support the singing and praying of everyone who gathers at Holy Cross.”
Mrs. Michele Stock will be the 8th grade mornings teacher at Holy Cross this year. She is originally from the Green Bay, WI area, where she grew up with her three brothers. After graduating in 2004 from Concordia, Mequoun WI with a degree in elementary education, and a minor in social studies, Michele received a call to teach at Grace Chapel, St. Louis. At Grace, Michele taught 6th grade homeroom, social studies, was athletic director and coached many sports for the last 11 years. During that time, Michele also received her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from SIUE. The past 6 years, Michele has taught mornings to be able to stay home with her children in the afternoons. Alexa is 8 and will be in the 3rd grade this year, and Chase is 5 and will be in kindergarten. Michele’s husband Rob, is the assistant principal / athletic director at Metro-East Lutheran High School. They have been married since 2004.
Miss Alyssa Teschendorf was born and raised in Collinsville, IL. She grew up at Holy Cross Lutheran and was blessed with knowledgeable teachers and a strong background in the Lutheran faith. It was at Holy Cross that she realized her strong passion to be the teacher she is today! She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2013 and has taught fourth grade teacher here at Holy Cross since August of 2013.
“I believe that each day provides me with the opportunity to encourage and inspire my students to become the best versions of themselves within an uplifting, Christian environment. Each student plays an active role in their learning and is provided with opportunities to interact with one another by working in cooperative groups and learning from one another. In addition, since no child learns the same way, differentiation is used in order to accommodate the various learning styles within the classroom. Overall, each and every child is unique and special and should be allowed to learn in the best and most effective way possible.”