New Faculty Welcomed

September 15, 2016

President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71 and Principal Sr. Kathleen Mary Coonan, ASCJ, ’76 announce new appointments for the 2016-17 academic year:sha9-1-16-004

Patrick Grady teaches Biology, Genetics, and Microbiology. Born and raised in Connecticut, he is a graduate of Xavier High School in Middletown. He received his Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science in Entomology from the University of Illinois. Patrick has been involved in genetics research for six years, focusing on DNA sequencing and the use of DNA technology for research and health applications. An avid triathlete, obstacle runner, hiker, and tennis player, Patrick loves to travel whenever he can, and has spent a month in the rainforests in Panama and made many trips to his favorite city, Dublin, Ireland.

Nicole Granucci teaches Physics, AP Physics, and Astronomy and co-moderates the Science National Honor Society (SNHS). She earned a B.S. in Physics from the University of Connecticut, a M.S. in Science Education from the University of New Haven, and is currently pursuing an additional Master of Applied Physics – Optics/Astronomy at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Nicole comes to us from Oxford High School where she taught Physics for eight years. She adjuncts at SCSU and Quinnipiac University teaching General Physics and Physics of Music. Nicole has participated in astronomy research with a team of teachers, students, and astronomers for five years and has presented multiple times at the American Astronomical Society Conference with her research students. She enjoys playing piano, trumpet, and bass in addition to spending time with her family.

Mary Beth Lombardi-Mack is our new Spanish teacher. She is a graduate of Stonehill College where she earned a B.A. in Spanish and Criminal Justice and The Graduate Institute where she earned a M.A. in Hispanic Oral Traditions. Mary Beth brings with her more than 25 years of experience teaching Spanish to middle and high school students. Prior to entering the field of education, she worked as a news and traffic reporter throughout New England and was instrumental in developing the first Spanish speaking traffic reports in the Northeast. Outside of work, Mary Beth keeps busy with her four young adult children, her rescue dog, Xena, and kitten, Zoey. She enjoys biking, hiking, skiing, baseball, volleyball, and escaping to the beach…any beach…but especially the beach in Old Lyme.

Vesna Mehinovic, the newest member of the Fine Arts Department, teaches Concert Choir, Honors Chamber Choir, Orchestra, Music Theory with Keyboard Proficiency, and Introduction to Fine Arts. She graduated from the University of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the first women conductor in her native country. Due to war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vesna came to the U.S. with her husband and two sons. She earned a M.A. in Conducting from Wesleyan University and became a U.S. citizen on the basis of her extraordinary artistic talent and pedagogic excellence. Vesna specialized in conducting at the Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, and has received multiple awards as an orchestra and choir conductor, as well as a pedagogue. She conducted Sarajevo Philharmonics, Symphony Orchestra of Radio Television of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zagreb Philharmonics, and Mostar Symphony Orchestra. Vesna is currently music director and conductor of the Hamden Symphony Orchestra and a professor and conductor of the Quinnipiac University Orchestra.

Mauricio Mayorga teaches Pre-calculus, AP Statistics, and Statistics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Mathematics at Western Connecticut State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in mathematics. He has taught secondary math for seven years; three in Columbia and four in Connecticut, most recently at Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport. Mauricio has participated in math research with a team of teachers in face recognition. Fluent in Spanish, Mauricio enjoys playing and watching soccer, in addition to spending time with his two boys, Alejandro, 7, and Gabriel, 5.

Anna Patel is our newest guidance counselor. A 2000 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Anna was a member of the women’s basketball team and coached there for five years. After working in the College Counseling Office at Milton Academy in MA, Anna returned to school to complete her Master of Arts in School Counseling at Assumption College. Anna comes to us from St. Joseph High School in Trumbull where she worked in the College and Guidance Office. She loves spending time with her children, ages six and four, cooking, and relaxing at the pool in the summer. Anna’s husband works in the Quinnipiac University Athletic Department so the family loves going to games to cheer on the Bobcats!

Sr. Lisa Retort, ASCJ teaches Theology I and Theology IV. Her undergraduate work was completed in 1983 at Duquesne University where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science. In 1987, Sister earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law in OH. Prior to entering the congregation, Sr. Lisa, who is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, served a one-year judicial clerkship. The Academy is a familiar community to Sister as she taught at here from 1998 to 2002. She has also taught at Cor Jesu Academy, St. Louis, MO, Immaculate Heart Academy, Washington Township, NJ, and John Paul II Catholic High School, Tallahassee, FL. Most recently, Sister served in congregational leadership as the provincial secretary for the U.S. Province of the Apostles. She shares her love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Apostle charism through teaching, witness talks given at discernment retreats and vocation events, and by her listening presence as she witnesses to the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus through her own vocation. Sister celebrated her silver jubilee as an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus this June.

Sr. Lauren Elizabeth Zak, ASCJ is excited to join the Theology Department. She comes to Sacred Heart Academy from St. Louis, MO, where she taught Theology at our sister school, Cor Jesu Academy, St. Louis, MO. Sister earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion from Albertus Magnus College. In addition to teaching theology, Sr. Lauren works with the students who run the live-broadcast morning show every day. When Sr. Lauren Elizabeth is not teaching, she enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her religious sisters.

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