IHM - St. Casimir School

Eagles Rise Above!


Staff Directory


Mrs. Angela Johnston, Principal: johnstona@ihmlansing.org, 517-882-6631

Mrs. Mary Margaret Utess, Administrative Assistant: utessm@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Andrea Trutzl, Kindergarten: trutzla@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Nancy Fink, Elementary Aide: finkn@ihmlansing.org

Ms. Sharon Kuchar, 1st Grade: kuchars@ihmlansing.org

Ms. Patricia Smydra, 2nd Grade: smydrap@ihmlansing.org

Mr. Joel Hoffman, 3rd Grade: hoffmanj@ihmlansing.org

Ms. Marsha Green, 4th Grade: greenm@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Lisa Galbraith, 5th Grade: galbraithl@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Nicole Evans, 5th/6th Grade: evansn@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Nancy Murphy, 6th Grade: murphyn@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Rose McBrearty, 7th/8th Grade: mcbreartyr@ihmlansing.org

Ms. Renee Hornby, 8th Grade: hornbyr@ihmlansing.org

Pre-School & Student Care Staff

Mrs. Mary Maher, Preschool & Student Care: maherm@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Tina Back, Preschool Teacher (3yr): backt@ihmlansing.org

Additional Staff

Mrs. Chris Wilcox, School Secretary & Tuition Consultant: wilcoxc@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Lynn Boettcher, School Secretary: boettcherl@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Rennie Madden, Library & Teacher Aide: maddenr@ihmlansing.org

Ms. Mercedes Ward, Spanish - Grade K-8: wardm@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Andrea Franz, Art - Grade K-8: franza@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Jan Tietsort, Band - Grade 5-8: jan.tietsort@lansingcatholic.org

Ms. Ruthie Munk, Music - Grade K-8: munkr@ihmlansing.org

Mr. Kofi Baker, Physical Education - Grade K-8: bakerk@ihmlansing.org

Ms. Priscila Fojan, Technology - Grade K-5: fojanp@ihmlansing.org

Mr. Ben Hahnenberg, Technology - Grade 6-8: hahnenbergb@ihmlansing.org

Mr. Burdick, School Counselor: burdickj@ihmlansing.org

Mrs. Karen Hicks, Student Success Coordinator: hicksk@ihmlansing.org

Other Useful Contacts


Father Bill Lugger, St. Casimir Church: lugger@stcas.org

Father John Byers, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church: frjbyers@ihmlansing.org


School Marketing Committee: marketing@ihmlansing.org

Jason Watson, Webmaster: watson.jason@gmail.com


IHM-St. Casimir School is fortunate to have an experienced, caring staff dedicated to maintaining a safe and loving environment that promotes learning and spiritual development. They make a concerted effort to recognize the gifts that each child brings to the classroom, and helps the child develop those gifts for life.

ajohnston.gif Angela Johnston

Education: BA in Music Therapy and MA in Education Leadership

I am the principal for IHM-St. Casimir School. I really enjoy being a part of the school and parish communities. I am blessed to have a wonderful team of teachers and staff of which make walking with Jesus a daily journey and learning challenging but fun and exciting. Together with our staff team I am blessed to assist our parents in creating an environment that works collaboratively to reach every student in our care. I am blessed to say we have great students growing to be great leaders and true disciples for Christ.

mmutess.gif Mrs. Utess is not your typical grade school administrator. She has a BS in Systems Science Engineering with minors in Math and Chemistry. She decided to become a teacher while babysitting children in high school. Mrs. Utess has lived in many places; she was born in Lansing, and has lived in Grand Rapids and Missouri. Her hobbies include reading, shopping and baking.
trutzl.gif Mrs. Trutzl took the road less traveled to become a teacher. She started college at Michigan State University as a Merchandising Management major before discovering happiness in the Childhood Development/Education program. Mrs. Trutzl taught elementary school in Lake Odessa before coming here to IHM-St. Casimir to teach Kindergarten. She likes to read, go to the movies and hang out with her friends and family, which includes one dog and one cat.
nfink.gif Mrs. Fink

Education: BS in Elementary Education from Bowling Green State University, Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College, Masters in Special Education from the University of Michigan - Dearborn

I have the privilege of serving our IHM - St. Casimir School family as a teacher mentor/aide, as well as a lunch and recess supervisor. I am blessed to have over 30 years of teaching experience in Catholic schools, and am a better person, teacher and Catholic as a result. My husband, Eric, and I have three married children, who have children of their own. I spend my days off with these precious grandchildren, who teach me something new all the time. I love to read and exercise.

kuchar.gif Ms. Kuchar teaches First Grade at IHM-St. Casimir School. A native of Owosso, Michigan, she has a BS in Elementary education from Central Michigan University. Ms. Kuchar taught at St. Gerard and Resurrection schools before coming to IHM-St. Casimir School. She really enjoys discussing the books her students read with them in class. Her hobbies include reading, walking and going to the beach.
psmydra.gif Ms. Smydra

Patricia Ann Smydra is proud to have been raised with her seven brothers and sisters in Ontonagon, which is in the western end of the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior. Patricia attended NMU, MSU (B.A.), and Marygrove College. She loves teaching and especially loves learning about literacy. Patricia has a daughter Kristine, son-in-law Derrick, and grandchildren Elizabeth, Jacob, and Sarah. She enjoys swimming, bicycling, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Hoffman2013.jpg Mr. Hoffman teaches third grade at IHM-St. Casimir School. Originally of Pewamo, Michigan, Mr. Hoffman has a BA in Elementary Education from Michigan State University with a Social Studies teaching major endorsement. Mr. Hoffman enjoys reading, music, and following Michigan State athletics along with his beloved Detroit Tigers.
mgreen.gif  Ms. Green has been teaching at IHM-St. Casimir for over 30 years. Fortunately for us, she chose teaching as a career instead of archaeology. She has a BS in Education and Psychology from Central Michigan University and has attended graduate school at Michigan State University. Ms. Green enjoys travel- she has been to Scotland, Australia and Japan- reading and has five cats.
Galbraith-Lisa.jpg Mrs. Galbraith

Education: BA in Psychology and MA in Curriculum & Teaching

In 1996, I answered God’s call to educate His children and accepted a teaching position at IHM – St. Casimir School. I love what I do and feel especially blessed to be a part of this school community. My vocation as an educator in a Catholic school is very important and I am committed to helping children know, love and serve God. I strive to create a learning environment that generates excitement for learning and meets the needs of every individual. I am married to my husband Ken and am a mother to three amazing sons, all of whom attended IHM – St. Casimir School and Lansing Catholic High School. I also have three beautiful daughter-in-laws and a wonderful grandson. I thank God for my faith and for the awesome opportunity I have to teach His children each day.

Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire. – St. Catherine of Siena

evans.png Mrs. Evans

My name is Nicole Evans and I am a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. During my course of study, I particularly focused on literacy and history, and I specialized in Early Childhood Education. In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing and spending time with my husband, Carter, our family and friends, and our 2 cats, Charlie and Daisy!

murphy.gif Mrs. Murphy

Education from Michigan State University - BA in English and Elementary Education; MA in Curriculum and Teaching

Teaching in the Diocese of Lansing since 1988, I began my teaching career at St. Therese and continuing now at IHM-St Casimir. I grew up in Lansing attending IHM, Lansing Catholic, LCC and MSU. My husband Joe and I have three grown children. I feel blessed to be able to share my faith with my colleagues and students, teach reading and English, and be a part of our wonderful school.

Mrs. McBrearty 2017-18.jpg Mrs. McBrearty

Rose McBrearty was born in Lansing but was raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During her middle school years, she took piano and voice lessons and sang with multiple choirs such as North American Coral Company and The West Michigan Academy of Music for Girls. She spent her middle school summers in Campti, Louisiana on mission trips. While attending Comstock Park High School, she attempted to run cross country, play tennis, and even tried out for volleyball. She found no favor in her sports adventures. Instead, she sang in many school choirs and acted in plays. After studying music for two years at Grand Rapids Community College, she moved to Ohio to attend the Franciscan University of Steubenville. There she majored in Middle Childhood Education, Language Arts and Social Studies with a Reading Endorsement. After moving back to her beloved Home state, she became a proud Viking when she taught summer school and writing in Alanson, Michigan. From there, she taught middle school for six years at a local charter school. She now lives in Lansing with her husband and daughter. She enjoys reading Newberry Award winning books and watching old sitcoms. She is thrilled to be at IHM- St. Casimir because of its family closeness and center on Christ's love. She enjoys finding the strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies of each of her students.

rhornby.gif Ms. Hornby always wanted to be a teacher growing up. She has a BA in Elementary Education with minors in Natural Science and Math from Alma College, and an MA in Language Arts from Michigan State University. Ms. Hornby likes teaching middle school math and science at IHM-St. Casimir because her students are "full of surprises." In her spare time, she likes to read, cook and tinker with the latest technologies.
madden.png Mrs. Madden

Mrs. Madden is the librarian and teachers' aide at IHM-St. Casimir School and loves helping the students become lifelong readers and learners. She was born in California but has also lived in Nicaragua, Oregon, Colombia, Arizona, Texas, and Maryland. Since her grandmother was born in Gaylord, she feels she has come full circle. Mrs. Madden went to the University of California, Santa Barbara where she received her BA in Spanish and Hispanic Civilization. Some of her favorite activities include spending time with family (especially the grandbabies), traveling, reading, sewing, and anything outdoors.

baker.jpg  Mr. Baker

Hi my name is Kofi Baker, I currently live in Lansing MI where I teach general physical education. I have inclusive and diverse PE classes with students varying in skill and ability. I have a master’s degree in adapted physical education that has allowed me to further my knowledge and teaching skill to assist the students I serve to reach their full potential. I have a beautiful young family, and when I am not working or taking graduate courses I enjoy spending time with them traveling, biking, and camping.

Mr_Hahnenberg.jpg Mr. Hahnenberg

Mr. Ben Hahnenberg is a graduate of St. Mary Catholic School in Lake Leelanau.  He has previously taught middle school English in Grand Rapids, where he devoted his time to improving the curriculum, creating the yearbook, and leading the school wide Spelling Bee. He has a great deal of experience teaching kindergarten at Manistee Catholic Central School and recently finished teaching first grade at Traverse City Christian where he was also the IT Coordinator for the school. Mr. Hahnenberg enjoys teaching middle school technology at IHM-St. Casimir, where he shares his love of Jesus with them, and inspires his students to reach their maximum potential. He believes in living out his favorite quote which comes from St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

fojan.jpg  Ms. Fojan

Education: BA in Elementary Education with an integrated science endorsement for middle school from Michigan State University; MA in Educational Technology and Teaching/Curriculum from Michigan State University.

I am the elementary technology teacher at IHM-St. Casimir School. I was given this opportunity through Brighton Area School's share time program and have been teaching at IHM since 2013. I enjoy working with the students through their journey of becoming digital citizens and learning how to use the many tools that God has given us through the invention of technology.

maher.gif Mrs. Maher

I am the Program Director for our preschool, child care and before and after school program. I have my Bachelor's Degree from Spring Arbor College and CDA. I have been part of this Christian Community for 24 years and feel very blessed to have met so many wonderful children and their families. I am now seeing the second generation of children coming in our Church and our Student Care Program. It is truly amazing! In my spare time I love to spend time with my three children and three grandchildren.

back.png Mrs. Back

I am a graduate from Michigan State University. (Go Green) I am married and have 5 children and one grandchild. This past summer I visited Scotland and England. I love to read books and work in my garden. I have two rabbits, fish and a wonderful dog named Winston. We are going to have an amazing year in preschool!

kerrigan.png Mrs. Kerrigan

I'm from Tiffin, Ohio where I attended Heidelberg University and obtained my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I worked in Cleveland, Ohio for 7 years in the Accounting field before moving to Lansing, where I then became a stay at home mom. I am currently working on receiving my Child Development Accreditation through LCC. In my spare time I enjoy spending my time with my husband and two boys doing outdoorsy things and traveling to Ohio to see family.

  Mr. Burdick

I am serving as the student counselor for IHM-St. Casimir School for the 2017-2018 academic year. My background is in urban planning and community development. I decided to make a mid-life career change and I am now working towards my Masters in Social Work degree at Michigan State University. I’m eager to learn from the students, all of which are special, unique individuals. In turn, I will do my best to assist students in developing the social and life skills necessary to be their best. I live in East Lansing with my wife and eight-year old son. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, attending concerts, travelling the back roads of Michigan, following sports (I’m both a UM and MSU fan) and playing board games with my son.

Mrs. Hicks 2017-18.jpg Mrs. Hicks

Karen is the new Student Success Coordinator at Immaculate Heart of Mary – St. Casimir. She has been in education for 30 years with a focus on working with students and families in the areas of improving academic and behavioral outcomes. Her experiences have included being a classroom teacher, Special Education Teacher Consultant, Reading Recovery teacher, and MSU Instructor in assessment and literacy instruction. She uses data to design intervention plans and monitor student progress. Karen is thrilled to join the IHM – St. Casimir family.