New teachers join the ranks of BSM faculty


Meghan Ortizcazarin

Mr. Tanner Stevens aids students with a physics lab.

Leo Drissen and Carolina Jimnez , Staff Writers

The BSM administration has hired 22 new faculty and staff members to com- pensate for last year’s retirements and for the upcoming workload of the 2014-2015 school year. While the new faculty is com- prised of primarily theology teachers, the math, art, science, social studies, and world language departments have also received additions.

BSM utilizes a rigorous hiring process when searching for new faculty, ensuring that both the mission of the school, as well as the necessary professional qualifications are met. “We hire for mission, which is our biggest thing, so people that buy into who we are as a school, and really can get on board when it comes to some of the things BSM is all about. Then you look at creden- tials,” BSM principal Dr. Sue Skinner said.

Yet, there is one thing that stood above all else to Skinner when searching for the new faculty members. “I always look for teachers that like kids. If you don’t like high school kids, then you probably shouldn’t be in teaching,” Dr. Skinner said.

Thus far, the new hires have proven that they can fill the shoes of their prede- cessors. “The new group of teachers we have are excellent,” Dr. Skinner said. “I’ve been around, just kind of to actually see them now that school has started, and I’m still very impressed.”

Mr. Matthew Brounstein

As a teacher’s assistant in doctorate school, Matthew Brounstein fell in love with being in the classroom. His ex- perience includes religious education at parishes, teaching other adults how to teach, and high school theology, in- cluding his current role at BSM. When he’s not teaching, Brounstein loves to fish. From normal fishing to ice fishing, he claims to be willing to fish anywhere. When asked his favorite book, Brounstein answered: “Besides the Bible, I like Les Miserables and the Account of Monte Cristo.”

Mr. Jeremy Cramer

Growing up and attending elementary school in Chadron, Nebraska, Mr. Jeremy Cramer, a new hire in the theology department, worked with his father to help fix fences on a ranch. Cramer’s past qualifications made him an easy choice for a theology teaching position here at BSM, due to his role in a religious order. “I was a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit) from 2003-2014,” Cramer said.

Mr. John Hamre

John Hamre is the newest math teacher at BSM and aspires to continue his career as a hockey or golf coach for BSM. “I’ve always been an athletic coach and always believed in the value of education. I want to combine teaching and athletics as an educator,” said Hamre “I’ve enjoyed supporting kids that were moving on to college [and] seeing those kids moving on to what their dreams were,” Hamre said.

Ms. Michelle LeBlanc

Even from a young age, Michelle LeBlanc would play school at her house, knowing that she wanted to be a high school teacher when she grew up. Before coming to BSM, this mother of four taught theology at Cretin Derham Hall. Today, LeBlanc works side-by-side with her lifelong best friend. “I grew up in Robbinsdale and Lisa Lenhart- Murphy was my best friend. We had slumber-parties at her house, they were the best,” LeBlanc told the Knight Errant.

Mr. Steven Schmidt

“Mentor, advocate, campus minister, teacher”…Steve Schmidt. Famously known by his stage name Joey Stevens, Schmidt is a theology teacher and campus minister. In his role, Schmidt hopes to teach students about how to serve the poor and wants to translate what he’s learned from mis- sion trips and past teaching experiences to the classroom. “I’m excited to be a part of the spiritual side of my stu- dents’ educations, which I believe brings our humanity to the next level,” Schmidt said.

Mr. Tanner Stevens

Originally planning on a career purely in physics, Mr. Tanner Stevens did not initially consider teaching. “I was majoring in Physics at the University of Minnesota, and late one night I was staring into the tiny window in the cor- ner of our basement lab, thinking to myself that I was too much of a ‘people-person’ to spend my entire life working in a lab,” said Stevens. His lifelong loves include his wife Diane, classic sports movies, and owning cats in spite of his allergies.

Mme. Frédérique Toft

Though her role in the language department is teach- ing French, Frederique Toft is fluent in Spanish, Portu- guese, French, and English. Before she taught French, Toft worked actively in the business world. “I want French to be seen not just as a subject at BSM but as a real tool that people use everyday,” Toft said. In her free time, Toft walks with her dog Jasper the Monster around the lakes, and en- joys being near water and her family, as they are calming and grounding to her.

Ms. Cheri Vroman

Originally from Washington, Cheri Vroman has very high standards when it comes to fresh peaches. Vroman came to Minnesota to attend school at the College of St. Benedict. “I had never even visited the college…[my parents] stuck me on a plane in August and said ‘Good luck. Have fun,’” Vroman said. After graduating, Vroman worked in business and volunteered at her church’s educa- tion program and soon found out that she had a passion for teaching.

Mr. Zach Zimny

After getting his degree in graphic design and working from nine to five in a cubicle, semi-authentic Mexican food aficionado, Zach Zimny, decided the art room was where he belonged. Even if that art room was on the other side of the world, “Before I came [to BSM], I was teaching English in South Korea last year. Also I taught art for three years in Alaska,” Zimny said.