Faculty and Staff

Sr. Mary (Principal) maryssnd04@gmail.comIt has been my honor to lead the Christ Light of the Nations School community for the last 14 years. My other 24 years in administration have also been in North County. I consider it my home. I hold a Master’s degree from St. Louis University in Educational Administration. We, at Christ Light really do live our mission of Lighting the Way of Learning for our students. Come and visit us. I would love to meet you and show what Christ Light of the Nations can offer your family.

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.

Dr. 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 completed my education at University of Missouri in St. Louis and earned my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) with an emphasis in creativity and design. I live in Illinois with my husband and youngest daughter, Hayley. I have four daughters, four grandchildren, and love my pets and nature!

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. I currently teacher 4-6 Science and 4-5 English. Prior to teaching, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and my Master’s in Elementary Education from Truman State University. 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. 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 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.

Mary Catherine Umgelder (2nd) mumgelder@clnschool.comMy name is Mary Catherine Umgelder and I am the second grade teacher at Christ Light of the Nations. I graduated from Lindenwood University and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. I am very excited to join the Christ Light family and working with our amazing faculty.

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 also earned a Master's in Educational Technology from Lindenwood University in 2019. I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership. 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 15 and daughter age 12. 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. 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 believe I 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. I teach K to eighth grade art. I grew up in Greenville, Illinois and went to SIUE.

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 Keplinger (Computer) akeplinger@clnschool.com My name is Alicia Keplinger and I have been teaching at Christ Light of the Nations since 2011. I started in August 2011 as a Student Teacher. I graduated from Fontbonne University with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. I am currently teaching Computer and 7th Grade Religion. In the last year I have become Level 1 and Level 2 Google Certified. I also have a digital citizenship certification through Google and Common Sense Media. 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 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 (Coordinator of Religious Education, Atrium Teacher (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd) Judy Krenn jkrenn@clnschool.com I am blessed to be able to prepare students to serve as readers, song leaders, musicians, gift bearers and greeters. Along with these students, I lead music for our liturgies at CLN. I teach Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the Atrium to grades k-2. I have other duties which include sacramental preparation, para-liturgical celebrations and parent meetings. I schedule and transport students, serving with them in the community for 2 hours on Mondays. I also attempt to connect the parish and the school through pictures posted at church. I see my main purpose at CLN as sharing Christ with all those I meet.
Karen Dafilitto kdafflitto@clnschool.com I am the learning consultant at Christ Light. I have a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education from UMSL and 38 plus hours in math, science, religion, special needs and gifted. With the exception of two years. I have been privileged to teach in the Archdiocese. For all but four years I have taught in this building as it transitioned from Our Lady of Loretto to St. John Newman to Christ Light. I thank God for all of the wonderful coworkers and children with whom I've shared my life and faith.