Staff Directory

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish 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.

Patrick Weber

I was born in Lansing and attended Immaculate Heart from 1985-1988. My family moved to Williamston where I attended St. Mary School through 5th grade. Graduating from Williamston High School, I attended Defiance College in Ohio, playing football and earning a Presidential Service Leader scholarship devoted to community service. In 2003, I was selected into the Teach for America Corps and taught Employment English in the Mississippi Delta Region. I returned to Williamston High School in the fall of 2005 teaching a wide range of subjects grades 6-12 (including Spanish, Home Economics, World Cultures Cooking, Civics and AP Government). I was also a high school football coach and varsity wrestling coach for 10 seasons. This last April, I earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State. My wife Kelly and I live in Haslett with our two boys Teddy and Luke, and our wonder dog, Wendy. We attend St. John’s Student Parish. This last fall is when I was drawn back to Immaculate Heart through the Adoration Chapel, praying for the right path to present itself in my journey.

My mission as an educator is to provide “excellence for every child, in all that we do, every day.” As a Catholic school, our mission includes a higher standard of maximizing the potential in each learner to prepare them for their mission in this world as a disciple of Christ Jesus.

 Mary Margaret Utess
Administrative Assistant

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.

Mrs. Chris Wilcox
School Secretary & Tuition Consultant

Mrs. Wilcox LOVES being the “teacher of the office”.  She has four daughters who attended this school, so she thinks she understands what communications and support the parents need to be part of the school team.  Mrs. Wilcox started working here part time at the St. Casimir site in 2005 when her youngest child was in eighth grade.  She attended Lansing Community College studying Secretarial Science and worked at MSU until her first child was born.  She then spent the next 23 years being mom at home and taking care of other children, too.  She thinks being a Grandma is the BEST!  Her fun fact: Mrs. Wilcox grew up at IHM and attended this school, too!


Marisa Strom
School Office Records Clerk


Andrea Trutzl

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 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.

Nancy Fink

Elementary Aide

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 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.

Sharon Kuchar 
1st Grade

Ms. Kuchar teaches First Grade at IHM 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 Immaculate Heart. She really enjoys discussing the books her students read with them in class. Her hobbies include reading, walking and going to the beach.

Patricia Smydra
2nd Grade

Ms. 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.

Hilary Pratt
3rd Grade

Mrs. Hilary Pratt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and is a trained Catechist of the Good Shepherd. She is thrilled to teach surrounded by a fun and inspiring staff. While we await world peace, the love and diversity within this community will be sufficient for her. She is proud to be involved in a school family that values service, generosity, acceptance, and moral development. Mrs. Pratt believes spending time in the joy and purity of childhood makes her a better person. It is fitting that she teaches third grade since her third grade teacher was a major part of her pursuit of a career in education. When she isn’t in the classroom, Mrs. Pratt enjoys travel, music, and (most of) nature with her husband, their three sons, and their peaceful pet Boxer.


 Nicole Evans
4th Grade

 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!

Lisa Galbraith
5th Grade

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. 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. My husband Ken and I love spending time with our sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren. They bring us joy, peace and love! 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


Mary Ann Casey
6th Grade Homeroom, MS Math

I grew up in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan and attended Grosse Pointe public schools until 1988. From there, I went to Wayne State University and I received my Bachelor of Science in Education. My major was in math and computers. Later, I attended the Central Michigan University campus in Troy and graduated in 2000 receiving my MS in Instructional Education.

I got married in 2013 to my husband Tom. We have one child together named Gabriel, but my other two sons, Vincent and Viktor, are his too. We like to camp up north, fish, and just hang out. As long as we’re all together!

My passion is math plus teaching and I dedicated 12 years of my life in serving the children I teach. They always inspire me and make me happy. When I’m at my home, in my spare time I like to cook, antique shop and play with my 3 kids. I also like to jump rope, dance and journal write when I get inspired by Jesus! My interests are decorating, shopping, organizing, and going to church with my family, allowing us to spend even more time together.

My goals for this year are to learn how to sing the hymns on key. I was so moved by the Holy Spirit one day, my voice sounded fantastic. I hope this can happen again and again.

Mrs. McBrearty 2017-18.jpg

Rose McBrearty
7th/8th Grade

Mrs. 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 Immaculate Heart of Mary because of its family closeness and center on Christ's love. She enjoys finding the strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies of each of her students.

Mrs. Andrea Franz 
Art - Grade K-8

Ms. Ruthie Munk
Music - Grade K-8

Mrs. Jan Tietsort
Band - Grade 5-8

Rennie Madden
Library & Teacher Aide

Mrs. Madden is the librarian and teachers' aide at IHM 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.

Kofi Baker
Physical Education - Grade K-8

Hi my name is Mr. 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.

Ms. Mercedes Ward
Spanish - Grade K-8

Ben Hahnenberg
Technology Grade 6-8

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, 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.”

Mary Maher
Preschool & Student Care

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.

Shonna Kerrigan
Preschool Aide

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.








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Immaculate Heart of Mary Church

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