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ST. STEPHEN’S FACULTY & STAFF
CONTACT AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF OUR STAFF
Fr. Bennet Tran
Pastor and Superintendent
Fr. Bennet Tran was assigned by Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda as Pastor of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church effective July 1, 2018.
Fr. Bennet is a native of Saigon, Vietnam. He is the fifth of eight children in his family; he has five sisters and two brothers. He is a transplant to the Twin Cities having lived many years in Western Michigan.
He completed undergraduate studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Psychology. He worked for several years in banking and information technology prior to entering the seminary.
While at Saint Paul Seminary, Fr. Bennet interned at our neighbor parish of Epiphany in Coon Rapids and his deacon summer internship was at the Church of Saint Bernard on Rice Street in St. Paul. He was ordained a priest April 26, 2008 by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn. He served St. Stephen as Parochial Vicar (Associate Priest) June 2008 until June 2011. He then served St. Vincent de Paul as Parochial Vicar (Associate Priest) June 2011 until June 2012. He was appointed Pastor of St. Joseph in Waconia July 2012 and served there through June 2018.
Fr. Bennet enjoys reading, travel and is a University of Michigan Football fan. He is praying for a conversion of heart so that he might earnestly cheer for the Golden Gophers.
Ms. Diane Morri
Ms. Morri joined the St.Stephen’s staff as Principal in July 2016. Prior to St.Stephen’s she worked at St. Vincent de Paul school as a Fourth grade teacher.
She grew up in Maple Grove, MN and attended St. Vincent de Paul school, Totino Grace and the University of St. Thomas.
Ms. Amsler started at St. Stephen’s in the Fall of 2016 and is teaching Kindergarten. She has been in the early childhood realm for the past 7 years including working in Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st grade. She loves to go for bike rides, hang out with friends and read new interesting books. Fun fact about her: She has been to 5 out of the 7 continents!
Middle School Religion Teacher
Ms. Berchem did her undergraduate work at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul with degrees in both Philosophy and Catholic Studies as well as a minor in History. She attended graduate school at Augsburg college in Minneapolis and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education in 2013. She is currently licensed in Minnesota to teach 5-12 Social Studies. This is her seventh year working at St. Stephen’s and she loves the opportunity to work with our middle school students.
Mrs. Branca Rosenow
4th Grade Teacher
Mrs. Branca Rosenow joined the St. Stephen’s staff as a 4th grade teacher in August 2016, and now teaches 2nd grade. She received her Elementary Education degree from St. Cloud State University, and her M. Ed. from the University of MN. She has taught in the archdiocese for over 20 years.
Middle School Math Teacher
Mrs. Bundy joined our staff in 2014 as the middle school math teacher. Prior to St. Stephen’s School she taught middle school math for 8 years at other Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese. She is a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a BS in Elementary Education with an emphasis in math.
She was baptized at St. Stephen’s Church and has been a member her entire life. She attended St. Stephen’s School and is proud to be back as a member of the staff. She is married and has two children.
Mrs. Derksen joined the school staff as an Administrative Assistant in September of 2017 coming from St. Vincent’s.
Terry graduated from college with a BA in Communications from St. Cloud State University. She and her husband Brad live in Maple Grove, MN , where they raised their 4 children. They became first time grandparents in September, 2017 to Elle Irene. Terry enjoys playing volleyball and reading and is very happy to be a part of the St. Stephens community.
Third Grade Teacher
Mrs. Diederichs teaches third grade and has been teaching at St. Stephen School for 31 years. She grew up in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. After graduating from high school, she attended St. Cloud State University and got a BS degree in Elementary Education. She lives in Champlin and is a member of St. Stephens Church.
Mrs. Douglas joined the St. Stephen’s staff in 2014. She had previously taught at St. Alphonsus, Epiphany, and Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary schools. She also has been working with the Totino-Grace show choir program since 1997. She has been a private vocal coach since 2002.
She grew up in Mounds View, Mn and attended St. John the Baptist School, Totino-Grace High School, and Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. Heather graduated with a B.F.A. Degree in K-12 Music Education. She is married and has 3 boys, all attending St. Stephen’s School.
Ms. Fiedler started has been working as a kindergarten teacher at St. Stephen Catholic school since the 2015-2016 school year. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Catherine University. She majored in Elementary Education and has a minor in Pre-Primary. Prior to St. Stephen’s she was a Title One teacher for first grade, intervention teacher for 4th and 5th grade and taught 4th grade. She loves teaching kindergarten because they always have something to say and are eager to learn. The best thing about teaching at St. Stephens is the wonderful staff and families that help build a caring community.
Second Grade Teacher
Ms. Furness has been working as a second grade teacher at St. Stephen’s Catholic School since the 2014-2015 school year. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. She became a licensed K-5 teacher in the state of Ohio with a K-12 reading endorsement. After graduating, she returned home and received a K-6 Minnesota teaching license. She has spent the entirety of her teaching career at St. Stephen’s and has so enjoyed getting to know the students and families in this faith-filled community.
K-8 Art Teacher
Mrs. Kocher has been the Art Teacher at St. Stephen’s School since 1990. She grew up in North Dakota and moved to the Twin Cities after marrying her husband, Dale. They have two boys, Alex and Max, who both attended St. Stephen’s School.
She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1989 with a BA in Visual Arts.
In her free time, she loves to do anything artistic. She also loves to garden in the summer, snowshoe in the winter, and go for long walks, and travel.
Third Grade Teacher
Shortly after graduating from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1981, Mrs. Kowalski started her teaching career at St. Stephen School. She began teaching in the fourth grade, but she soon found her niche in third grade. Over the years, Mrs. Kowalski returned to school and received her M.ED in Teaching and Learning from St. Mary’s University. She was educated in the Catholic schools attending St. Peter’s and Holy Angels in Richfield and felt called to teach the catholic faith along with the ABCs.
Mrs. Lieder holds a degree from Augsburg college in Elementary Education. She’s been teaching for over 18 years and joined St. Stephen’s School in 2015. Before that, she taught Kindergarten for nine years at Mary Queen of Peace in Rogers. Mrs. Lieder loves animals and nature and enjoys live music on a regular basis!
Middle School Literature Teacher
Mrs. Lysdahl started teaching at St. Stephen’s School in 1998. She began as a fifth grade teacher, but is now teaching MS literature since 2003. She grew up in Osseo and went to school at St. Vincent de Paul. Shelley and her husband have three grown boys who all attended school at St. Stephen’s. She received a BS in Elementary Education from the University of MN and a K-12 Reading License and Masters of Art from Hamline University. Reading is her passion and loves to ignite that desire of reading with her students.
First Grade Teacher
This will be Ms. Miller’s 4th year teaching at St. Stephen’s. She was previously teaching 5th grade but will be in 1st grade this year! Prior to this she taught 2nd and 3rd grade at St. Mary’s in Pine City. She graduated from St. Mary’s University in Winona with a bachelor’s degree in 2014. She spent a year after college volunteering as a literacy tutor with AmeriCorps. In her free time she enjoys reading, sewing, playing video games, and enjoying the outdoors.
Media and Technology Specialist
This is Mrs. Polston’s 3rd year teaching at St. Stephen’s. She comes to us from the Anoka-Hennepin school district, having taught there for 7 years. She has a MA Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa and a BA Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She and her husband, Roger, live in Ramsey with their two teenage sons, Alex and Sam. Mrs. Polston and her family love spending time up at the lake, where she can spend quiet, quality moments out on her kayak.
Physical Education Teacher
This is Mr. Rehder’s 9th year teaching in Minnesota. He has a K-12 Physical Education Degree and D/APE Licensure from Bethel University. The other districts he has taught in are Mounds View, Elk River, and Eden Prairie. He also has 10 years of girls basketball coaching experience. Most recently he spent 4 years as the Assistant Varsity Coach at Spring Lake Park High School. He is excited to bring his past teaching experiences to the St. Stephen’s community and help to build on the great tradition of Physical Education at St. Stephen’s!
5th Grade Teacher
2019-20 is Mr. Robinson’s 3rd year teaching 5th grade at St. Stephen’s. Mr. R. holds degrees from Northern Arizona University and most recently Western Governor’s University, where he studied Elementary Education. Mr Robinson spent 10 years in the U.S. Army before moving to Minnesota and working in corporate sales. He loves 5th grade. The Robinson family has 3 children and they have all attended St. Stephen’s, their home parish. He is excited to be at St. Stephen’s and lucky enough to teach the most fun grade!
Mary Schaeppi attended the University of Minnesota attaining a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreational Administration. Which lead to a variety of recreational leadership positions along with a 24 year career as a Flight Attendant.
In 2006 she attained a two year Certificate Program: Teachers as Educational Leaders K-6 Elementary with Preprimary Specialty License at the University of St. Catherine. She taught kindergarten for two years, was an after school and summer care program and substitute where she taught at St. Vincent de Paul School where her two sons attended.
The past three years she lived in Salt Lake City and enjoyed the mountains of Utah leading many recreational activities, serving elementary age children to senior citizens, at Skaggs Catholic Center as an after school care teacher and Basin Recreation Fieldhouse in Park City as a “Fun Over 50” Coordinator.
She is excited to be at St. Stephen’s School offering students fun activities while Coordinating the Before and After School Enrichment, B.A.S.E. and Summer Adventure Club, S.A.C.!
Mrs. Staggert joined the school staff as an Administrative Assistant in September of 2009, after staying at home with her children for 12 years. Prior to that, she bought advertising for McDonalds and Volkswagen in the media department of Arnold Advertising in Milwaukee, WI.
Upon graduating from Anoka High School, Heidi graduated from college with a BA in Mass Communications/Public Relations and a BA in French Language. Heidi resides in Andover, MN with her husband and two children. Madison (21) is a senior at the University of MN – Twin Cities and Theo (19) is a sophomore at Bemidji State University. They have been members here at The Church of St. Stephen since 2001.
Middle School Science Teacher
This is Mrs. Thamert’s 5th year as the Middle School Science teacher at St. Stephen’s, and her 10th year as a teacher. Prior to working at St. Stephen’s she was a stay-at-home mom for 3 years with her 6 young children, now ages 1-11. Her previous teaching experience was with high risk youth in alternative educational settings. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Saint Benedict and completed the Graduate Teacher Licensure Program with the College of Saint Scholastica.
She grew up on the south side of Mille Lacs Lake in the town of Onamia, and was drawn to the familiar small town feeling of St. Stephen’s Parish and School. She and her husband have been married 13 years and enjoy spending time with their children camping, going on walks, projects around the house, and enjoy their family tradition of Friday “Pizza and Movie” night.
Fourth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Toenjes grew up in Anoka and attended and graduated from St. Stephen’s School. Susie graduated from Totino-Grace High School. She continued her education and graduated from the University of St. Mary’s in Winona, Minnesota with licenses in Special Education and Elementary Education. She received her Autism Certification through the University of St. Thomas. Susie has spent her entire teaching career at St. Stephen’s teaching third, first, fifth, and currently four grade.
She is a lifelong parishioner of St. Stephen’s Church and lives in Anoka with her husband Ken, children Ben, and Mary Ann. Susie loves to volunteer, spend time with her family, go for walks and vacation.
First Grade Teacher
Mrs. Tyminski attended Catholic schools her entire life (with the exception of kindergarten). She attended Our Lady of Victory in North Minneapolis (1-8), Totino Grace High School, and St. Catherine University. She graduated with a B.A. in business administration, concentration in marketing and minor in psychology. She worked for a local retail drug chain (Snyders Drug Stores) for 25 years, with the last 15 years working as a data center manager.
Teaching is her second career and she loves it! She went back to St. Catherine for a post bac degree (second major) in elementary education and is licensed in grades prek-grade 6.
Mrs. Tyminski feels so lucky to be able to teach at St. Stephen’s School. Both of her children attended St. Stephen’s and she knew that she wanted to teach here!
She has worked at St. Stephen’s for 18 years both as a 2nd grade and 1st grade teacher. She lives in Champlin, MN with her husband Mike.
Mrs. Willers has been teaching at St. Stephen’s School since 2016. She has previously worked in child care centers, but is glad to be back in the school community. She grew up in Champlin and graduated from Champlin Park High School. She graduated from Bethel University in 2005 with a degree in Elementary Education and a Specialty in Pre-Primary Education. She now lives in Brooklyn Center with her husband, Rick, and their son, Wyatt. She enjoys drinking coffee, reading, spending time with friends and family, and going to the family cabin in Aitkin, MN.