Faculty and Staff

Sr. Mary (Principal) mlawrence@clnschool.comI have been principal since we began at Christ Light of the Nations, and I feel very blessed to be working with the faculty, staff, parents and students here, as together "We Light the Way of Learning" for our children. In 1973, I began my educational ministry as a School Sister of Notre Dame at St. Andrew’s School in Affton as a third grade teacher. I then moved to Washington, Missouri where I taught middle and junior high for seven years at Our Lady of Lourdes School. During my time in Washington, I attended St. Louis University and received my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. From Our Lady of Lourdes, I moved back to St. Louis and began my ministry as the principal of St. Aloysius School in Spanish Lake, where I stayed for 19 years. In 2000, I closed St. Aloysius and moved with my families to a newly consolidated school called St. John Neumann. When it closed in 2005, I stayed with my families in the newly consolidated school called Christ Light of the Nations where I have been ever since. The Christ Light Family is a wonderful place for your children to grow in faith and knowledge.
Mary Beth Akers (8th) 8thgrade@clnschool.com I am Mary Beth Akers, the homeroom teacher for 8th grade at Christ Light of the Nations! I teach 8th grade Religion, Math and Science; 7th grade Science and Math; and 6th grade Math.I received my Bachelor's degree in ELementary Education from Atchison, KS.I have been teaching since 1987 with my first position at Our Lady of Good Counsel as 5th grade teacher. I taught fifth grade for ten years and then moved up to a 7th grade homeroom teaching junior high math, religion, English and science at various times. I stayed there until the school consolidated in 2002 to become Pope John Paul II in the same building and then moved here with the consolidation to Christ Light of the Nations in 2005.I am the middle of eight children with my father still living in the house where I grew up in Normandy. I have been married since 1991 and have a 23 year old daughter and 19 year old son. It won't be long until I am an empty nester as my son just graduated.


Jane Zappia (7th) 7thgrade@clnschool.com I am the homeroom teacher for 7th grade at Christ Light of the Nations! I teach 7th and 8th grade English, reading, and social studies. I'm beginning my sixth year at Christ Light of the Nations in 2018-19 and I can't believe I have been teaching for eleven years now! The first five years of my teaching career was a sixth grade classroom in southern Illinois. I am continuing my education at University of Missouri in St. Louis and pursuing my doctorate in Education with an emphasis in creativity and design. I currently live in Edwardsville, IL. I have four daughters, and four grandchildren. My youngest daughter attends CLN and is in fourth grade! I also love animals and nature, writing, and connecting with each of my students and their families.
Erika Whitfield (6th) ewhitfield@clnschool.comThis is my 7th year as a teacher but my first year at Christ Light of the Nations. I am honored to lead the 6th grade scholars this year. I also have the privilege of teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th grading reading, 5th and 6th grade social studies, along with 6th grade English. Our classroom quote comes from Maya Angelou, “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” In our classroom, we will explore and celebrate diverse writers and cultures and celebrate the diversity within our own classroom community. My expectations are simple - students must be responsible, respectful, and their very best.
In 2004, I earned a bachelors of science in Mass Communications from Southern IL University Edwardsville. In 2007, I earned a masters in writing from Lindenwood University. I also began working on a special reading certificate and plan to have it completed May 2019.
I am a mother of two wonderfully smart future world leaders who also attend school at Christ Light of the Nations.
In my spare time, I am a self-proclaimed bibliophile who reads incessantly, and I freelance write. My most recent publication byline included a nationally published editorial in the Washington Post. With my passion for writing, I hope to instill in my students the power of the written word.
Melissa Mroz(5th) 5thgrade@clnschool.com My name is Melissa Mroz, and I teach fifth grade at Christ Light of the Nations School. I started teaching at Christ Light in 2005 and have been part of the CLN family ever since. I have taught a variety of grade levels and subjects but have primarily been teaching middle grade Language Arts for the past twelve years. Prior to teaching, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and my Master’s in Elementary Education from Truman State University. I studied abroad during college and attended classes at Imperial College in London, England. I had the opportunity to travel much of Europe during this time. I hope to have the opportunity to travel again. In the meantime, I enjoy reading books, cooking, and spending time with my family.


Jen Fite(4th) 4thgrade@clnschool.com My name is Jennifer Fite and I am the fourth grade teacher at Christ Light of the Nations. I also teach our fifth grade Religion and Math and 6th grade Religion. This makes me happy because teaching Religion is my favorite subject to teach. I have been in this building for 28 years, although our school name has changed a couple of times due to consolidations. I went to grade school here so Christ Light really is like home to me. I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education at the University of Missouri in Columbia. I graduated, had my first interview and have been here ever since. I am married and have two sons and a daughter. I spend most of my free time cheering my kids on from the sideline of some sporting event. I feel blessed to be a part of such a caring community. I love having the opportunity to build our future leaders and to help them develop a closer relationship to Jesus.
Michelle Mueller (3rd) mmueller@clnschool.comHello! My name is Michelle Mueller and I am so excited to be your third grade teacher this year! I have been teaching for ten years. This is my first year at Christ Light of the Nations and my ninth year in the St. Louis Archdiocese. I am happily married and together we have eight children ages 26 to 5 and we have one grandbaby who will be 2 in September. My hobbies are reading, swimming, and watching all my kids play sports. I can’t wait to get to know you!
Mary Catherine Webb (2nd) mwebb@clnschool.comMy name is Mary Catherine Webb and I am the second grade teacher at Christ Light of the Nations. I recently graduated from Lindenwood University and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. This is my first year at Christ Light teaching! I am very excited to join the Christ Light family and working with our amazing faculty. I have a rescue dog named Charlotte Webb (after my favorite book) and she brings so much laughter to my day. I enjoy hiking and being on the water when I am not in the classroom.
Sara Prince (1st) sprince@clnschool.comI am Sara Prince, the First Grade teacher at Christ Light of the Nations School. In 2005 I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from UMSL. During the last 13 years I have been a Third Grade and a Second Grade teacher at Christ Light. I am excited to begin a new journey in teaching First Grade. I am a wife and mother to three boys. My boys will be in Preschool, Second Grade, and Third Grade this year. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and discovering new places with my children.
Samone Smith (Kdg) ssmith@clnschool.com My name is Samone Smith and I am the Kindergarten teacher at Christ Light of the Nations. I joined the Christ Light family at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. I graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. I recently enrolled at Lindenwood University to pursue my Master’s degree in Educational Technology. My career in education began in 2007 working for the Normandy School District. In 2010 I transitioned to the St. Louis Public School District until I started teaching for the St. Louis Archdiocese in 2016. Throughout my career as an educator I have held positions as a substitute teacher, early childhood and special needs paraprofessional, as well as a classroom teacher. I have been married for 14 years. My husband and I have two children, a son age 13 and daughter age 11. I enjoy reading, writing, and spending time with my family.
Amy Hogan (Pre-K) ahogan@clnschool.com Hi, my name is Amy Hogan and I have been the Preschool teacher here at Christ Light of the Nations for ten years. I previously taught at Our Lady of the Presentation for nine years. I attended Northeast Missouri State University (Truman University), where I met my husband. We have been married for 40 years, have 6 amazing kids and 8 beautiful grandchildren. Teaching has been my passion for so long, I love to see the smiles and a few tears as these precious children walk into my world. God has given me a wonderful opportunity to teach them about how good he is. My goal is to make a child’s first school experience something they enjoy and look forward to coming. We all know they have a long road of education ahead of them.
Whitney Compas (Art) mrscompas@clnschool.com Wow I can’t believeI have been teaching since 1992. This is my 14th year at Christ Light of the Nations. I have taught everything from first grade to eighth grade. Now, I teach K to eighth grade art, and help run the Makerspace. I grew up in Greenville, Illinois and went to SIUE. I have been married to Tim my husband since 1992. We have two college age boys. I love to read, cook, draw and spend time with my family and friends. I am blessed to work at Christ Light of the Nations.
Lisa Delise (PE) physicaleducation@clnschool.com My name is Lisa Delise I am the Physical Education teacher at Christ Light of the Nation. I have a BS in Physical Education K-12 grade and a minor in Health. I have taught at Christ Light for thirteen years and I have taught in the Archdiocese for thirty two years. I enjoy teaching and keeping my students moving and staying fit.
Alicia DuHadway (Computer) aduhadway@clnschool.com I am Alicia DuHadway and I have been teaching at Christ Light of the Nations since 2011. I started in August 2011 as a Student Teacher. I did my Student Teaching under Mrs. Mroz. I graduated from Fontbonne University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. I was then hired on for the remainder of the 2011-2012 school year as a Teacher’s Aide. During the 2014 - 2015 School Year I became a part time 3rd Grade Teacher with Mrs. Steimel. During the 2015-2016 school year I became the Computer and Resource Teacher. In the last year I have become Level 1 and Level 2 Google Certified. I grew up in the area and attended St. Jerome's Elementary School which merged to become Christ Light of the Nations. I love being able to teach in the school that I attended. I get to teach with some of the teachers that taught me. In my spare time I enjoying reading and traveling. I truly enjoy working at Christ Light of the Nations School with its wonderful Faculty and Students.
Ms. Erin Emeric (Music) eemeric@clnschool.comMy name is Erin Emeric and I am excited to be joining the Christ Light family as music teacher! I have my Bachelor’s from The University of Tulsa, where I studied psychology, music, and education. This school year, I begin my second year in the Billiken Teacher Corps, an intentional faith community of teachers earning a Master’s degree from Saint Louis University. Growing as a teacher, musician, in my faith, and in connection with my students is what drives me. I play french horn, harp, piano, I sing, and I love to find the fun and wonder in the world while helping my students to do the same.
Kim Buchanan kbuchanan@clnschool.com My name is Kim Buchanan, and I am the bookkeeper here at school. I have worked for the Archdiocese for 21 years. I have been married 37 years to my husband Ken. We have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. I love working with our families and getting to know each of them. Working with your children fixing scrapes, giving out ice and giving a hug is my special time with them.
Judy Krenn (CRE, Atrium) Judy Krenn jkrenn@clnschool.com Mrs. Judy Krenn I have always wanted to be a teacher. I feel it is the best way to make the world a better place. I graduated from Northeast Missouri State University and began my teaching career at St Mary’s Special School in 1978. I was blessed with a son in 1981 and although I loved teaching, being a mother was even more important to me. I was also a musician and then music director for 3 different parishes from 1980 to 2000. I went back to teaching as a preschool teacher at Our Lady of Good Counsel which became John Paul II, which became Christ Light of the Nations as we consolidated to our present location. I taught preschool until I was asked to become Director of Faith formation. My responsibilities include preparing students to serve as readers, song leaders, musicians, gift bearers and greeters. Along with the students, I lead music for our liturgies. I teach Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Atrium to grades K-2. I have other duties which include sacrament preparation, para-liturgical celebrations and parent meetings. I schedule and drive students, serving with them in the community for 2 hours each week. I also attempt to connect the parish and the school through pictures posted in the back of church. There are other duties I have also taken on such as writing the Christmas play and taking class pictures as well as acting as the youth minister for the parish. I see my main purpose at CLN as sharing Christ with those I meet through what I say and what I do.
Karen Dafilitto kdafflitto@clnschool.com My first teaching assignment was a surprise! I applied for a job in Valley Park as a "paraprofessional" (Teacher Aide) when I was a sophomore in college. I was quite shocked when I went to the first faculty meeting and was handed my homeroom list! With the help of some wonderful teachers and our co-principals I successfully completed my first year of teaching 3rd-5th grade math and 5th grade reading, social studies and religion. I learned some very valuable lessons,and my decision to make teaching my career was affirmed! I went on to finish my degree at UMSL and 30 "plus" hours primarily in math, science, religion, teaching children with special needs and "Gifted Education." With the exception of two years, when I was a substitute and permanent substitute teacher in Hazelwood, I have been privileged to teach in the Archdiocese. For all but three years I have taught in this building as it transitioned from Our Lady of Loretto to St. John Neumann to Christ Light. I feel so blessed by all of the wonderful coworkers with whom I've shared my life. Most of all I thank God for the opportunity I've had to teach what I have learned, and to share my faith with so many children!