St. Joseph School Faculty and Staff
Mr. Jason Pohlmeier began as principal of St. Joseph in Fall 2014. Prior to St. Joseph, Mr. Pohlmeier served as principal of St. Edward Catholic School in Little Rock from 2009-2014. Mr. Pohlmeier got to know St. Joseph very well by serving on the ANSAA accreditation team that visited the school in January 2014. He holds a Master of Catholic School Leadership degree from the University of Dallas and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Theology and Religious Education from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Mr. Pohlmeier taught Religious Studies, Sacred Scripture, and Oral Communications at Subiaco Academy in Subiaco, Arkansas from 2005-2009. He was also Religious Studies Department Chair and assistant baseball coach at Subiaco. He served on the school board for St. Joseph Catholic School in Paris, Arkansas for one year prior to moving to Little Rock. Mr. Pohlmeier believes it is the duty of Catholic educators to create a Christ-filled environment in the school that will allow students to grow into the well-rounded persons that our world needs. Mr. Pohlmeier is a native of the Arkansas River Valley. He and his wife Erin have four children and are members of St. Joseph Parish. As much as possible he enjoys watching and coaching baseball (St. Louis Cardinals fan), playing ultimate Frisbee, camping/hiking, reading (mostly Sci-Fi/Fantasy), and playing Settlers of Catan.
Mrs. Hightower was a part of starting our middle school program in the fall of 1999. She holds a Bachelors of Education from the University of Arkansas. Her love of reading permeates everything that the students do in her classroom including author studies, Greek Mythology, literature circles, and historical fiction units. Mrs. Hightower’s classroom library consists of over 600 novels! Reading and the use of the Accelerated Reading program from Renaissance Learning are a big part of each middle school students’ day. Mrs. Hightower also puts an emphasis on writing. Students are encouraged to write almost every day. Programs such as Step-Up to Writing, Six Trait Writing, and writing workshops are infused with grammar lessons to bring out the author in every student. Mrs. Hightower is a born and raised Arkansas girl and enjoys spending time with her husband, Andy and their four children. As she and her husband are both alum of the University, and her two oldest daughters attend today, the Hightower’s love supporting the Razorbacks. She claims that tailgating is one of her favorite hobbies! Mrs. Hightower and her family are members of St. Joseph Church.
Barbara Lupton joined the staff in 1992. She and her husband, Paul, moved here from Memphis in 1977 and found their way to St. Joseph Church soon after. When their children Jessica and John began school, there was never a question that they would attend the very best school in the city, St. Joseph. Their family has been blessed to be a part of St. Joseph School since Jessica began Kindergarten in 1984. Both of their children are SJS graduates. While her children were students, Mrs. Lupton served on the school board, worked as a substitute teacher and volunteered in several positions. She also was a substitute teacher and held an aide position in a special education classroom in the public schools. This gave her an inside view of “both worlds” which confirmed daily that she had certainly made the right decision for her family! She knew that this was the place she wanted to be and when she was offered a position in 1992. Mrs. Lupton's positions at St. Joseph include Kindergarten aide, 2nd grade science and phonics teacher and the first PE program teacher. In 1994 she took the position as school secretary and she has been happy to be here ever since!
Lynda Starr is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She has a B.S. in Business Administration and her teacher certification in Elementary Education. Ms. Starr started working for St. Joseph as a first grade teacher in 2005. She realized that she enjoyed working with the younger children, and she has been working as a teacher in our PreK4 program since 2008. She will move to the Kindergarten Centers teaching position in the fall of 2013. Ms. Starr loves the bright and creative questions and thoughts that her PreK students so often vocalize to her. During her free time, she loves walking, playing with her dog, and spending time with her young daughter.
Rebecca Dunahoo graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science. She started working at St. Joseph Catholic School in 2006 and is currently teaching preschool. Rebecca loves working where children can and desire to learn about the Lord. The decision to send her children to St. Joseph’s was an easy one. Rebecca, her husband David and their two children Delaney and Kenna, are very blessed to be a part of the St. Joseph’s family. They are also members of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Amanda Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Johnson's first calling was to The Arkansas Better Chance preschool program where she spent eight years fueling young children with the desire to learn and stay on the path of education. As a second grade teacher at St. Joseph's since 2002, she feels fortunate to teach children who, are by and large, above the national average in student performance. She believes children should possess a strong sense of self and faith in their abilities. Her most rewarding part of teaching second grade was helping to prepare the students for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. She will return to teaching PreK in the fall of 2013. In addition to her career at St. Joseph Catholic School, she moonlights as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant. Ms. Johnson’s family in Fayetteville is her dog, Winston. Ms. Johnson enjoys watching movies and listening to smooth jazz. She has been a member of a Bible study group since 1998 here at St. Joseph.
Suellen Mee is a graduate of William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. She began teaching at St. Joseph School in the Fall of 2012 in the Kindergarten Centers Room, and is so excited to be teaching now. Prior to that time she taught Kindergarten for 15 years in a Fayetteville private school. Mrs. Mee teaches using hands on learning techniques and loves to be at a school where the students are excited to learn. She and her family have been members of St. Joseph Parish for 20 years.
Robyn Neumeier earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood/ Elementary Education from Arkansas Tech University. She spent 17 years teaching in the Arkansas Public School System before joining the St. Joseph faculty in 2002. After experience in both first and third grades, Mrs. Neumeier found her special niche as a Kindergarten teacher. Robyn’s teaching experience has been focused at the kindergarten level since 1988. She loves the excitement for learning this age group displays. Mrs. Neumeier wants her students to love school and wake up each morning looking forward to another day of fun learning activities! Robyn’s family consists of her husband, Tim and a fury canine named Sadie. She enjoys flower gardening, watching wildlife, camping with friends and trout fishing on the White River. Mrs. Neumeier and her husband are members of St. Joseph Parish.
Toni Been graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Education and had 8 years of previous teaching experience in public school before she made St. Joe's her permanent home. Since 2000 she has had the good fortune of teaching her most favorite students - SJS 1st graders! Her ultimate goal is built around helping her students succeed in a fun and challenging environment. Mrs. Been and her husband, Dennis, have three children. She enjoys reading and spending time with her family and friends. She and her family are members of St. Joseph Parish.
Melissa Lewis is a graduate of the University of Bellarmine where she received her Master’s Degree in Teaching and she also has a Master of Catholic School Leadership degree from the University of Dallas. She began teaching at St. Joseph Catholic School in the fall of 2014. Prior to that she worked at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Rogers, including 10 years as a first grade teacher. She loves to incorporate hands on learning and individualized instruction to meet each student’s needs. She lives in Rogers with her husband and their two children. She enjoys traveling to new places and is leading her third EF student tour the summer of 2015 to Italy, Greece and Spain.
Ivy Leahy began teaching elementary school after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arkansas in 2003. After teaching kindergarten for six years, Ivy joined the faculty of St. Joseph School in 2009 as a Second grade teacher. Because Ivy and her two daughters were already members of St. Joseph’s Parish, they felt right at home in St. Joseph Catholic School. Teaching second grade is especially important to Ms. Leahy because she gets the opportunity to participate in the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion each year. You can catch her smiling proudly as she watches former students take communion at mass. Ivy and her family enjoy walking their dog, Sally, who was rescued from an animal shelter. They also love to attend the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market and visit Ivy’s hometown, Eureka Springs. Ms. Leahy loves to teach using hands-on methods whenever possible, utilizing almost anything for math games to enhance learning and interest in school. And, if they are a little loud during literacy, they are probably just playing Baseball Spelling!
Ashley Orlicek began teaching at St. Joseph in 2006 after graduating from the University of Arkansas. She taught other grade levels for several years at St. Joseph School, and she currently teaches second grade. When asked about her impressions of teaching she commented, "I love children and I love preschool; it’s my dream job! The children here are so incredibly smart and respectful." Mrs. Orlicek has found it rewarding to use her skills to help children grow academically, spiritually and emotionally. When not at school, Mrs. Orlicek enjoys spending time with her husband, Mark, and her children. She also loves to water ski and shop. Mrs. Orlicek says she has a special appreciation for the wonderful parents and very supportive staff at St. Joseph. She and her family are members of the Parish.
Kristi Maurer is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She began teaching at St. Joseph Catholic School in 2005. Prior to that, she taught at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Rogers. She just loves working with the students and believes that their curiosity and eagerness to learn, along with their enthusiasm, makes her job so much fun! When she is not working with the students she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and watching movies. She and her family are members of St. Joseph Parish.
Moira Foltz has a Bachelors of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas. Her teaching career started here at St. Joseph in 2008. Her enthusiasm and desire for teaching and learning is the reason that teaching is her passion. She taught her first year in second grade and then moved up to fourth grade, where she has been since 2009. Mrs. Foltz was born in Rhode Island but has lived in Fayetteville for most of her life. Many of her family members still live in New England. She loves her summer vacation when she gets to go back home to visit her family and eat her favorite kind of food: seafood. Her family here in Fayetteville includes her two sisters, mother, husband and 18 year old son Alek, who attends the University of Arkansas Business College. She also has a daughter Ryla, who will be two in February. She and her family enjoy a faith-filled life.
Jenny Krier has a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Oklahoma. She has been teaching fourth grade at St. Joseph since 2009. She began her teaching career in 1990 in Texas, teaching first, second, and third grade for nine years. After some time at home with her two children, she returned to her teaching career while living in Alaska. She remains in close contact with a fourth grade teacher there by having her class exchange pen pal letters with them. The students love learning about the different life experiences in AR and AK!! Her extended family brought her to Fayetteville, where she spent one year with the Fayetteville Public Schools as a math interventionist before joining the staff at St Joseph. After attending Catholic Schools for most of her life, Ms. Krier was thrilled at the chance to become a teacher in one. She and her family are members of St. Joseph Parish.
Middle School - Fifth and Sixth Grade
Lee Anderson began teaching at St. Joseph in 2008, where he has taught both Social Studies and Math. This year, he will be teaching U.S. and World History. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University with a double major in History and Political Science; he also completed the University’s Honors Program. Mr. Anderson served four years in the U.S. Army before going to college. He has also taught in the Rogers School District and at Vista Health. He lives in Lowell with his wife Lori and his daughter Sarah. Mr. Anderson loves music, especially classic rock and roll. He also loves and owns two german shepherds, and has a keen interest in geo-politics and security issues.
Mrs. Polach recently moved to Fayetteville with her family from Godfrey, Illinois. She has lived in several states since marrying her husband, Charlie, 25 years ago. They have two young adult children and two teenaged children all of which attended Catholic school in Illinois. Mrs. Polach attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through high school and believes that Catholic teachers should make a constructive contribution to student’s spiritual and moral development. She graduated from Stephens College in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in both early childhood and elementary education. To further her education, she attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and obtained a Master of Science in Literacy Education in 2007. Over the years, she has taught Pre-K, First, Third and Fifth Grades in public school settings and is excited that she can now combine her love of teaching with her faith. She and her family are members of St. Joseph parish where her son attends Religious education classes. With her family, she is exploring all that Northwest Arkansas has to offer.
Lisa Tice holds the distinction of being at St. Joseph Catholic School longer than any other teacher. She began teaching in 1981 and has given unselfishly of her time by dedicating most of those years to St. Joseph School. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and is known around the school for teaching hands-on lessons. Lisa has taught 5th through 8th grade in a variety of subjects. If it's a matter of being resourceful, Lisa will get what is needed to challenge or excite her students. She has been married to “a wonderful husband" since 1982 and has twin boys born in 1984 and another son born in 1993; all three sons graduated from St. Joseph School. Mrs. Tice has also been a tireless champion for St. Jude's Hospital for Children by leading our students in a yearly Math-a-Thon that supports the hospital. Her hobbies include reading and sewing. She is a member of St. Joseph Parish.
Junior High English and History
Mrs. Middaugh is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in English Education. She began her teaching career in Indiana in 2009 and continued in Florida in 2012. She has experience teaching 7th-12th grades in English, Reading, and Speech. She incorporates group learning, Socratic seminars, reading, and writing into each Unit. Mrs. Middaugh has been a Softball Coach, Student Council Sponsor, Quiz Bowl Coach, and Cross Country Coach at her previous schools. She is excited to be a part of the St. Joseph community! In her spare time, Mrs. Middaugh enjoys kayaking and exploring Northwest Arkansas, reading, going to the Farmers Market, and spending time with family and friends. She is married to Chris Middaugh, a PhD student in Biology at the University of Arkansas, and she is mom to their daughter, Ruth.
Junior High Science
Erin Wragg is a graduate of the University of Arkansas where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and her Masters Degree in Secondary Science Education. She began teaching at St. Joseph Catholic School in the fall of 2004. She loves to incorporate hands on learning and projects using experimental design. Mrs. Wragg directs the Middle School Science Fair and is very involved in the Northwest Arkansas Regional Science and Engineering Fair. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband and enjoys traveling to new places. The Wragg family members are active parishioners at St. Joseph Parish.
Junior High Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra
Christi Welcher started teaching at St. Joseph School in the Fall of 2011. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1998 with a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, Christi worked at the Exxon/Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas as a mechanical engineer. Before graduating from college, Mrs. Welcher completed several engineering internships at Arkansas Nuclear One and at an engineering firm specializing in the design of mass production machines. In completing her degree in engineering, Mrs. Welcher has taken many math courses including Algebra I and II, Trigonometry, Calculus I, II and II, Differential Equations and Numerical Methods. She offers a special insight into the field of engineering and showing how important math is in everyday life. Besides being a math enthusiast, Mrs. Welcher enjoys running and exercising as well as completing remodeling projects in her home. She is married to Richard Welcher, who is a structural engineer, and is the mother of five children: Sarah, Peter, Luke, Jacob and Clare. The Welcher family are members at St. Joseph Parish.
Kim Ratliff has lived in Fayetteville since 1965. She attended the University of Arkansas where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Journalism. She and her husband Sam have two children and they are both graduates of St. Joseph Catholic School. Kim started substituting in 1991 and has been with us ever since. In 2011 she started working as the Enrichment Teacher and in 2013 she added teaching math to upper grade classes. As well as math, grammar is one of her favorite things! She is an avid reader, enjoys knitting in her spare time, and enjoys Razorback athletics. She loves traveling to visit her children and enjoys her four grandchildren that live here in Northwest Arkansas.
All School Specialists
Thomas J. Barnes (or T.J.) began teaching Physical Education at St. Joseph Catholic School in the fall of 2014. He holds a BS in Education from the University of Kansas, and has been accepted to the Master of Education program at John Brown University. He worked in college and professional athletics both during and after his time at KU. While working as a small business owner for the past 12 years, Mr. Barnes has coached youth football, basketball, softball, and baseball at St. Joseph and with other organizations. He is passionate about physical education and teaching children proper fundamentals of sport, physical education, teamwork and health. As a Kansas farm boy, Mr. Barnes played football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was also an Eagle Scout. His hobbies include playing and watching sports (he loves the Kansas Jayhawks, KC Chiefs and Royals), mountain biking, and spending time with his family. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Kansas Alumni director for the NWA Chapter, and the Panthers Boosters Club . Mr. Barnes lives in Fayetteville with his wife, Dina Davis-Barnes and they are members of St. Joseph Parish. Their two children Taylor Ann and Tate Joseph both attend St. Joseph Catholic School.
Sharon Busteed graduated from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in Middle School. After marrying her husband Rob, she decided to stay home for a while to care for their four children. Mrs. Busteed has previously taught Middle Math and Science at Seton Catholic Middle School in Menasha, Wisconsin and has been educating our bright third graders at St. Joseph’s since 2007. She will become the Librarian in the fall of 2013. She feels that being a parent has helped strengthen her skills as a teacher. One thing she is known for is her “Classroom Themes”, which always has the upcoming (and even her previous students) wondering what she’ll come up with next! Mrs. Busteed has a great love for Technology, and she feels that it is very crucial that her students get exposed to a variety of modalities. The Busteed family have been members of the St. Joseph Parish family since they moved to Fayetteville in the summer of 2006.
Lucie Cape earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Oklahoma State University in Art Education. Lucie began her teaching career in 1995 at Fayetteville Public Schools where she taught 7th grade art until moving to New Orleans, Louisiana. After staying home for her children’s early years, Lucie returned to the classroom, first at Metairie Ridge Presbyterian Church Child Development Center in Metairie, Louisiana, and then at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in New Orleans. She taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, as well as Lower School Art. Lucie returned to Fayetteville in 2011 and started the Art Teacher at St. Joseph School in the fall of 2013. She is very happy to return to a faith-filled environment in education. Lucie has passion for art and adores the opportunity to nurture children’s creativity through artistic expression. She is trained in fine arts and is excited to be part of the St. Joseph’s family. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband (an alum of U of A Law School), her son and daughter.
Jacqueline Dumond joined the St. Joseph Catholic School staff in August 2012. Jackie was born and raised as a first-generation Mexican-American in El Paso, Texas, with roots in Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico. She is a native Spanish speaker, fulfilling her foreign language credentials at the University of Texas at El Paso before receiving her B.S. in Geosciences at Texas Tech University. Following that time, Jackie served in various capacities doing science education and outreach, substitute teaching, and raising two children with her husband, Greg. Jackie is passionate about her bi-cultural experience in El Paso and seeks to share a love of her culture and the Spanish language with all the students she encounters at St. Joseph. Jackie and her family enjoy the outdoors. They have been active members of St. Joseph Catholic Church since their arrival in August 2010.
Carol Laury graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree. She is certified to teach both elementary music and band. She began teaching at St. Joseph Catholic School in February 2013, and previously taught at St. Raphael Catholic school in Springdale. Mrs. Laury and her husband Chris have four children. Two are graduates of St. Joseph Catholic School, and two are current students. They have been members of St. Joseph parish since moving to Fayetteville in 2005. Mrs. Laury enjoys reading, spending time outdoors with her family and, of course, making music!
As a graduate of St. Joseph School, Mrs. Porta knows the value of a Catholic education. The location and the buildings have changed, but the focus of teaching children in a Catholic environment has remained. Mrs. Porta is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and holds a Bachelor of Science in Education. She began her teaching career in 1980 at Columbia Catholic School in Missouri. After teaching in Catholic schools in Omaha, NE, for 15 years, she returned to Fayetteville and joined the staff of St. Joseph School in 2001. Helping students learn to be good digital citizens is the main focus of her classes in the Computer Lab. Using Twenty-first Century tools in a responsible manner is part of “Mrs. Porta’s Perfect World.” Mrs. Porta has one daughter who is a lawyer in New York City. She loves to travel, read and help all our students improve their knowledge in the world of computers. She is a member of St. Joseph Parish.
Aimee Hicks is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelors of Science of Education and has Dyslexia training from The Apple Group in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Aimee has one year previous teaching experience at St. Boniface Catholic School in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She began teaching at St. Joseph Catholic School the Winter of 2015. Her goal as a teacher is to make sure every child excels in a fun and hands-on learning environment. She enjoys time with her adorable Maltese Maggie, spending time with friends and family, traveling, shopping, and monogramming.
Courtney Flynn is a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She has been married to her husband Mike since 1994. They have three children: Connor, Cole and Carly. Connor graduated from St. Joseph in 2012 and Cole and Carly currently attend. Courtney began working at St. Joseph in 2012, and before joining the staff she taught preschool for the last seven years. She feels so blessed to be apart of the St. Joseph Catholic School and Church family.
Margaret Howell was delighted to join the staff of St Joseph School as a school nurse in 2003. Prior to that, she worked for eight years as a preschool teacher at Fayetteville Creative School and 13 years as a neonatal nurse at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. Margaret and her husband Evans have one daughter, Sarah. Sarah attended St Joseph Catholic School from Kindergarten through seventh grade and is now a college student in Washington, D.C. In her spare time Margaret loves to travel, read, horseback ride,and volunteer at the animal shelter. She spends most of her summers visiting family and friends in Ireland. Margaret and family are members of St Joseph Parish, and they love being part of the St Joseph family.
Accredited by ANSAA Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association
Photographs by Terrell Rohrbach Photography, Fayetteville, AR 72701 © 2011