Faculty and Staff
Mrs. Kelly Sangster is in her second year teaching at Holy Spirit School as the Title I Interventionist. Kelly graduated from The University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education and a Masters from Kennesaw State University in Instructional Technology. Before moving to Huntsville she lived in Atlanta, GA, and taught both 7th and 8th grade math and social studies for 8 years. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, working out, and doing crafts!
Mrs. Jessica Mayer hails from the great state of New Mexico where she grew up on a small farm. She has well over 20 years of nursing experience, ranging from CCU, NICU, PACU, and school nurse. She has been working at Holy Spirit School since 2013. She is married and both of her daughters are lifelong Holy Spirit students. One is 7th grade and the other is in the 10th grade at St. Pope John Paul II Catholic High School. Besides nursing, Mrs. Mayer has a certificate from Cornell University in Nutrition. She enjoys hiking, kayaking and boating, but her passion is helping people with their health and nutrition goals.
Mrs. Julie Baldwin graduated Summa Cum Laude from Auburn University in 2009 with a degree in Elementary Education. During her time at Auburn, she became a member of both Delta Epsilon Iota National Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She has taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Huntsville City Schools and is starting her second year in the Resource Department here at Holy Spirit School. She is Orton-Gillingham trained and looks forward to working as a reading specialist for grades K-4. She enjoys spending her free time with her daughter and husband as well as traveling, camping, and learning to golf.
Mrs. Angie Gilchrist is from Northern Virginia. She has worked at Holy Spirit for over 5 years mostly as an aide in both kindergarten and first grade. After taking a year off, she has returned to help in the clinic with Nurse Mayer. She is married and has two kids; one attends St. John Paul II and her youngest attends Holy Spirit School. In her spare time she likes to work out, bake and volunteer.
Catherine Doran is a 2013 graduate of Saint John Paul II Catholic High School. She graduated in 2016 from the University of North Alabama where she majored in Sociology and Family Studies. During her time at Walden University, she interned with Elk River Teen Treatment Program and Bradford Health Services. Catherine has been a member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church since moving to Huntsville in 2009. She joined the Holy Spirit Regional School family in January 2017. Catherine obtained a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University in February 2020. She currently has her Associate License in Counseling (ALC).
Mrs. Cathy Jodon holds a BA in Business Management from Marshall University and a Masters in Human Relations from Oklahoma University. She began working at Holy Spirit School in 2013, and in January 2016 was promoted to Business Manager and is now the Events Coordinator. Mrs. Jodon is married and has two caring daughters who attended Holy Spirit School and now St. John Paul II Catholic High School. She enjoys reading, cooking, and gardening.
Mrs. Alonso was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in Miami, Florida. She received her Bachelor in Management with a double major in International Business from Florida International University (FIU) in 1987 and received her Teacher Certification from Athens State University. Mrs. Alonso and her family moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1997 and she has been teaching Spanish at Holy Spirit School since 2009. She loves her job at Holy Spirit because it’s like her home away from home. She is married and has three wonderful children that have all attended Holy Spirit School and St. John Paul II Catholic High School. Mrs. Alonso enjoys spending time with her family, taking pictures, making rosaries to donate to charity, and making photo books. Faith is very important to Mrs. Alonso.
Mrs. Cecilia Byrne was born and raised in Lima, Perú where she earned an Associate Degree in Advertising from the Instituto Peruano de Publicidad. She has lived in the US for more than 20 years along the Gulf Coast. While living in Mobile, AL she started working with kids and taught Spanish at a Catholic preschool. In 2018, Mrs. Byrne and her family moved to the Huntsville area and in August 2020, she began working at Holy Spirit School. Mrs. Byrne loves spending time with her husband, their two sons, and their little dog, Viral.
Mrs. Candace Jacobs, who is a Huntsville native, has been teaching at Holy Spirit School since 2003. She graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, where she was top of her class as Sum Cum Laude. Candace attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville on a full cross country scholarship and later ran track and field for the university. She got married to her wonderful husband, Erik, in October 2004. They have two boys: Jonathan, who graduated from Holy Spirit School, and Aarron, who is in 2nd grade. She still runs today and competes at a competitive level.
Karen Lico is a native New Yorker. She received her Bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University and a Master of Science in Education from Southern Connecticut State University. Mrs. Lico taught middle school Language Arts and Literature, directed a Library-Media Center and integrated a Digital Literacy program in grades preK-8 at St. Luke’s School in Barrington, Rhode Island. Mrs. Lico was excited to be the first facilitator of the Fr. MacMahon STREAMLab and to begin to develop the STREAM curriculum here at HSRCS. Beginning in the 2021 school year, Mrs. Lico will assume responsibility of the Library Media Center, and mentor our students as they explore the very best of the world of literature and its connection to the 21st century technological world in which they will live. A mother of two, and a recent transplant with her husband to Huntsville, Mrs. Lico is passionate about teaching in the faith-filled community of Holy Spirit School.
Mr. John Onder received a bachelor’s degree in Commercial Music from the University of North Alabama and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Alabama A&M University. He is in his 22nd year of teaching: (All at Holy Spirit)! He teaches General Music along with two afterschool activities, Spirit Fuel Choir and Guitar Ensemble.
Mr. Onder loves to record and perform, especially with his daughter, Adrianne. Along with playing several venues in the community, he is also Youth Music Minister at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. He is responsible for the Sunday 11:45 AM Youth/Young People’s Mass. Mr. Onder has been writing and recording music over the past several months. His plan is to release two new albums by May 2022, so stay tuned for more details! He also loves to cook, exercise, and walk his dogs.
Joe Rist began teaching at Holy Spirit in 2003. His degrees include Elementary Education and a minor in special education from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a degree in Finance from Auburn University. During his free time he enjoys competing in triathlons, trail and road running, and spending time with his wife and three children. He is an active member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Mrs. Aynslee Smithee is an artist, a minister, and a teacher. She has a B.F.A. in painting from the University of Mississippi and an M.F.A. from the University of Alabama. Before joining Holy Spirit she taught Drawing Foundations, 2D Design and Color Theory, Painting Introduction, and Figure Painting at UAH. For Mrs. Smithee, creating art is a way to express the magnificent and beautiful love of God and a way to reach out and invite others into an exploration of scripture and the liturgical life of the church.
When she isn’t at Holy Spirit surrounded by the amazing, creative kids, she enjoys spending time on projects in her studio, painting en plein air, watching the Great British Baking Show, singing in the choir, and having spontaneous living room dance parties with her two children, her husband Jacob (who is a much better engineer than dancer), and their two sweet doodles, Poppy and Chloe.
Mrs. Kim Knight is in her third year at Holy Spirit and loves teaching Holy Spirit’s smallest Tigers! She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education.
She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Third, Fourth, and Fifth grades, as well as Seventh and Eighth grade Math. She has covered the states of Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, and even Germany, and now Alabama! Her husband is retired from the U.S. Army, and they have a son and daughter, both in college.
When not teaching her littles, Mrs. Knight enjoys reading, working in her yard, and spending time with her family and friends.
Mrs. Rebecca Conrad is from Prescott, Arizona and has worked with children for over 20 years. The Conrad family joined the Army in 2004, and this gave them the amazing privilege of traveling the world as well as providing Rebecca with opportunities to teach children of various ages worldwide. She has taught at a DODEA school in Baumholder Germany, a Montessori school in Hawaii, and just prior to moving to Huntsville, she taught at Sacred Heart Catholic school in her hometown of Prescott, Arizona. She has been in Huntsville just over a year and was a substitute teacher at Holy Spirit School for the 2019/2020 school period. She received her degree through North Central University. She has three daughters; two attend Holy Spirit and the third is attending NAU in Flagstaff, AZ. Rebecca is an accomplished artist who has taught painting and has been awarded for several pieces of work in Europe.
Alex McNichol graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where she earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education for grades K-6th. She has been teaching kindergarten at Holy Spirit School since the Fall of 2017. Miss McNichol loves to play board games, read, hang out with family, and spend time with her beloved cat, CC. She is excited for another wonderful year!
Mrs. Stephanie Wagner is a Huntsville native, alumni of Holy Family School (then St. Joseph’s School), and an active church member at St. Joseph’s Catholic Community. She is an ETS Certified Para-Professional and came to Holy Spirit with 20+ years in elementary education. This is her fourth year with Holy Spirit, where she has worked as educational support in 1st grade and Middle School.
She and her husband of 40 years relocated back to Huntsville after spending over 23 years in Charleston, S.C. They have five grown children and four grandchildren that are spread out among the Southeastern states. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, her dog Riley (a tricolor Welsh Corgi), water aerobics, bicycling, pickleball, and almost any outdoor activity. She also is a member of the St. Joseph’s Folk Choir.
Ms. Maggie Robinson earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University (Hail State!). She is a licensed educator in Mississippi (K-6 Elementary Education and 7-12 English and Social Studies Secondary Concentration) and Alabama (K-6 Elementary). She taught Kindergarten last year for Huntsville City Schools and is looking forward to being part of the Holy Spirit family as a first grade teacher! When not at school, Ms. Robinson enjoys reading, traveling and playing with her cat, Sterling.
Ms. Christie Alonso received her Bachelor’s degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL in Early Childhood Education and her Master’s of Education from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. After graduating from Spring Hill, she taught English to 1st and 2nd graders and assisted in an afterschool program as a Jesuit Volunteer in Tacna, Peru for two years. Following Peru, she pursued her Master’s degree and taught PreK4 for 1 year and Kindergarten for 3 years within the Diocese of Memphis. As a Holy Spirit Alum and Saint John Paul II Alum, she is excited to come back and teach 2nd grade with the Holy Spirit Family! When she is not at school, Ms. Alonso enjoys dancing and painting.
Mrs. Caruso holds a BA degree from UAH and is certified through the State of Alabama Department of Education to teach grades K-6. She has been teaching at Holy Spirit Regional Catholic School since 1995 in the roles of primary aide, first grade teacher, and second grade teacher. Mrs. Caruso is co-creator of the yearbook and serves on the Holy Spirit Foundation Board outside of school. When she is not at school, Mrs. Caruso enjoys reading, playing games, and working as a volunteer usher for local theater groups.
Mrs. Komara has been a student, parent, and supporter of Holy Spirit School. She is now an aide and loves it! Mrs. Komara has four adult children, three sons and one daughter. Her favorite pastime is spending time with them. Mrs. Komara also loves attending her son’s basketball games (Go UAH Chargers!), traveling, reading and spending time with her kitty, Ollie and her puppy, Charlie.
Miss Taylor Fuller began working at Holy Spirit in 2020 as a Middle School Aide and is now teaching 4th grade. She is completing her degree requirements in Elementary/Collaborative Education at Athens State University in Athens, AL. She loves hiking, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. She considers herself blessed to be a part of the Holy Spirit family and looks forward to a wonderful year with her fourth graders!
Laura Stout began working at Holy Spirit in 2008 as a substitute and has been teaching 3rd grade since 2010. She is originally from Granite City, IL (St. Louis area). She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Ms. Stout has previously taught 6th grade Title 1 and 3rd grade in Missouri, and Pre-K at a catholic school in Illinois. In her spare time, Ms. Stout likes to read, craft, play games, and spend time with her daughter.
Miss Elen Dunn graduated from the University of South Alabama with a B.S. in K-6 Teacher Education. Prior to college, she graduated from Pope John Paul II Catholic High School. In her free time she enjoys reading, trivia, and board games. She is looking forward to another exciting year at Holy Spirit!
Miss Courtney Giddings was born and raised in California but has lived in North Carolina, Massachusetts and moved to Huntsville 2 years ago. She is a graduate of Grand Canyon University with a BS is Elementary and Special Education. She spent 6 years working with children with learning and behavioral disabilities and as a substitute teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling and playing with her pets! She is so excited to join the Holy Spirit family!
Mrs. Kelly Backer is so excited to be at Holy Spirit School to teach English Language Arts for grades 6-8. She holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education and an M.A. in English from the University of Alabama Huntsville. She has been teaching in Catholic schools for 14 years and has previously taught English Language Arts in grades 6-11. Mrs. Backer loves spending time with her husband, Alan, and two young boys. In her free time, she enjoys going running, baking, and shopping. Mrs. Backer attended Holy Spirit School as a student, so she is grateful to return as a teacher.
Mrs. Jane Buxton has a Bachelor of Science degree in Math and Biology Education from Troy State University and a Masters of Science degree in Math Education from Troy State University, Dothan. She has experience in teaching math and biology at John T. Morgan Academy in Selma, Alabama, and at New Century Technology High School here in Huntsville. Mrs. Buxton joined the faculty of Holy Spirit Regional Catholic school in 2014. While at Holy Spirit, she has taught middle school math and K-8 art. When not teaching, Mrs. Buxton enjoys spending time with her husband, John, and being a mother to her fourteen-year-old Australian Shepherd, Ozzy. Mrs. Buxton also enjoys traveling, reading, listening to music, and watching movies.
Mrs. Leah Caraway is a native of Huntsville, AL. She has a BS and MS in Education from Auburn University. Prior to coming to Holy Spirit School, she taught in several public school systems. She began teaching at Holy Spirit Catholic School in 2001. She and her husband, Will, enjoy spending time with their five adult children, as well as traveling, reading, and watching movies.
Mrs. Lynn McQueen was born and raised in Huntsville, a graduate of Grissom High School. She has degrees from Jacksonville State University in Recreational Therapy and Sociology, Calhoun Community College as an Alabama Licensed EMT, Athens State with a degree in Elementary Education, and A&M with a Masters in Elementary Education. She retired from Huntsville City Schools after 36 years of teaching 6th grade Environmental Science.
She has been married to her husband, Dr. Fitzgerald McQueen, for 26 years, and they are blessed with two children, Gerald (25) and Hope (20). In her spare time, she manages her own businesses as a Tupperware Consultant and A”DOOR” able Designs, selling handcrafted vinyl apparel, wreaths, and bows. Mrs. McQueen is a BIG Star Wars fan and Yoda is her favorite character. She loves cross stitching, quilting, and gardening.
Ms. Michelle Wall has a B.S. and M.S. in Secondary Education Math. She has been an adjunct professor at Calhoun Community College since August 2002 and a math teacher at Holy Spirit School since August 2016. Ms. Wall enjoys board games and number puzzles. She is the proud mother of a son who is getting a Master’s degree at UAB, in the hopes of researching a cure for cancer. She is a first-generation American, whose family immigrated from Germany in the mid-1950s.
School Support Staff
Ms. Susan Jensen has been working at Holy Spirit School for 15 years. She worked in the After Care program as a leader and moved to manager. She now works as a Cafeteria Assistant. Ms. Jensen has two daughters who attended Holy Spirit School and in her free time, she enjoys reading, exercising and swimming.
Mrs. Ava Joly is the mother of 6 children, 5 lifers of Holy Spirit, and 8 grandchildren. Ava and family began school at Holy Spirit in 1986. She was employed by Holy Spirit in 1993 and became the before/aftercare manage for many years. She was also the “milk Lady” in the cafeteria for many years. Currently, Ava is the Kitchen Manager.
Ava has been involved in various church activities and organizations over the years. She has been a member of the choir since 1986.
Scouting has also had a special place in her heart. She has held many leadership positions with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls since 1989. She has been an active member of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting for almost as long.
Hobbies are Reading, Backpacking, Hiking, Swimming and Biking. She is also a member of Canine-Cruisers and Huntsville Obedience Training Club and is an instructor for Foundations agility. She and her dog also participate in Freestyle and agility events. One of their favorite things is performing their routine with the Canine Co-Motion freestylers for the elderly, children and anyone else that enjoys watching dogs.