Faculty and Staff

The St. Ambrose Academy Faculty and Staff

Scott Schmiesing - Principal | scott.schmiesing@ambroseacademy.org

Scott Schmiesing has a B.S. in Business Education from St. Cloud State University and a M.S. in Education Administration from Edgewood College. Before joining St. Ambrose Academy, Mr. Schmiesing was the principal at St. Francis Xavier School in Cross Plains. Prior to that, he spent six years at the Parkview School District as an assistant principal, athletic director, and teacher. Mr. Schmiesing also taught business, coached basketball and volleyball, and served as the Athletic Director at Juda High School for eleven years. He has 3 children enrolled at St. Ambrose Academy.

Constance Nielsen - Director of Classical Education | Latin I | Religion IV | constance.nielsen@ambroseacademy.org

Dr. Constance Nielsen received her B.S. in English Literature and Classical Humanities from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University. Specializing in the Church's social teaching, she has taught theology at Marquette University and worked in the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Dr. Nielsen has also served as a lecturer for the Madison Diocesan Lay Institute and the Seat of Wisdom Diocesan Institute. She is an adjunct professor at Edgewood College and serves as Bishop Morlino’s representative on the local Catholic Campaign for Human Development Committee.

Michael Kwas - Academic Dean | History 8, II and IV | michael.kwas@ambroseacademy.org

Michael Kwas received an M.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. He is currently writing a book on corruption and conspiracy in Wisconsin in the 1850s. Mr. Kwas has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught four upper level courses, including classes on the Civil War era and the history of Native Americans. He has also taught three semesters of Speech Communication, has a keen interest in debate and forensics, and is currently the St. Ambrose Academy Debate Team Coach.

Katie Behrens - English 7, 8, and II | History 7 | katie.behrens@ambroseacademy.org

Katie Behrens graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in English Language and Linguistics and a certificate in Integrated Liberal Studies. She then returned to the UW to earn a Master's in Library and Information Studies. In the past, Miss Behrens has served St. Ambrose Academy as an assistant teacher and a forensics coach. She spent many years involved with music at St. Paul's University Catholic Center and is currently an active member of the Cathedral parish choir.

Gregory Buchberger - Music | greg@stamadison.org

Greg received his B.A. in Music with a Vocal Emphasis and a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Before beginning at St. Thomas Aquinas as the Director of Music Ministries, he served as the Director of Liturgy and Music for several years in parishes in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and most recently at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford IL. We are thrilled that in addition to his work at St. Thomas Aquinas, he will also teaching Music to our students!

Patrick Delaney - History 6 | Religion 7, 8 and II | patrick.delaney@ambroseacademy.org

Patrick holds a Master of Divinity degree from Mt. St. Mary's College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, as well as an additional M.A. with an emphasis in moral theology from the same institution. Following a brief period working in politics, he worked in the area of public human rights advocacy, writing and speaking on Catholic moral teaching, interfacing with the media and lobbying legislators at the state, national and international levels.  Most recently, Patrick served as associate director of evangelization and catechesis for the Diocese of Madison.  Patrick is a native Madisonian and graduate of Our Lady Queen of Peace grade school and Edgewood High School.

Joseph Draves - Development Director | josephd@ambroseacademy.org

Joe earned a Bachelors of Business Administration from UW-Madison and enjoyed leadership roles for Kimberly-Clark Corp for nearly a decade - during which time he answered a renewed call to Catholic communion and apostolate work.  He transitioned to lead fundraising for Relevant Radio in Green Bay in the late 2000's and earned a Masters of Theological Studies degree from Ave Maria University IPT during those years.  After "learning the ropes" of fund development with a national, Catholic media organization (and coming to appreciate the beauty, art and science of inviting friends to be generous stewards of the resources entrusted to us), Joe is thrilled to help grow the mission impact of St. Ambrose Academy, as we pledge ourselves to the renewal of families through the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:2) - and thus contribute in no small part to the "salvific mission" of the Church in the world (SCCE, 1977).  Joe is joyfully married to Julie and daily aware of the sublime gift and responsibility to be a witness of the Father to his 6 children.

Joy Esguerra - Latin B and Latin III | joy.esguerra@ambroseacademy.org

Joy Esguerra earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, majoring in English Literature, History, and Religious Studies.  She has taken courses in many foreign languages including Latin, Spanish, German, Greek, French, and Hebrew, though her most beloved language is Latin.  She taught Latin and English at Veritas Academy, a classical Catholic school, and religion and math at Nativity Jesuit Middle School, a Latino boys' middle school, both in Milwaukee before returning to Madison.

Ahrom Gahng - Physical Science 7 and 8 | Geometry | Calculus |Calculus II | ahrom.gahng@ambroseacademy.org

Ahrom Gahng received her B.S. in Mathematics and M.S. in Curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is certified in Secondary Mathematics and English as a Second Language. She has been volunteering and teaching at St. Ambrose Academy since 2012, and is now a full time teacher!

Chris Galvin - Guidance Counselor | christine.galvin@ambroseacademy.org

Chris Galvin received her B.A. in Psychology from Muhlengerg College in Allentown , PA and an M.S. in Counseling: Higher Education. Mrs. Galvin completed Secondary Certification from West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Her past experience includes work in a variety of settings, including counseling and research. Mrs. Galvin and her husband, Andy, have homeschooled for the past 12 years and currently homeschool their youngest child. Their three middle children attend St. Ambrose Academy, and their oldest is an SAA alumnus. Mrs. Galvin helps her husband with training and facilitation of the Marriage Preparation Program for the Diocese of Madison with a special emphasis on teaching Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

Emily Hilts - Math 6 | Alegbra I | Junior High Physical Education | Earth Science | Biology | emily.hilts@ambroseacademy.org

Emily Hilts graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2014 with a BS in wildlife Ecology and a certificate in Environmental Studies. Her undergraduate work included research on invasive species in northern Wisconsin lakes and a semester studying conservation in Ecuador. After graduating, Miss Hilts led adventure programs at Camp Wojtyla in Colorado and interned at St. Paul University Catholic Center on the UW campus. Growing up on a farm in Marathon, WI fostered her love for nature and the outdoors. During the summer months she works as a kayaking guide on Lake Superior.

Laura Karlen - Senior Development Associate | laurak@ambroseacademy.org

Laura Karlen is a 2005 honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish. She served as the St. Ambrose Development Director from 2011 to 2015 and is now the Senior Development Associate.

Abby Lease - Latin II, IV, and V | abby.lease@ambroseacademy.org

Abby Lease graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Classical Humanities and American History with extensive Latin language studies. She earned a certificate in European Studies with advanced foreign language studies and incorporation of courses on ancient and modern European history.

Allison Ruedig - Religion 6 | Latin A | English 6 and IV |allison.ruedig@ambroseacademy.org

Allison Ruedig’s Great Books education at Thomas Aquinas College, from which she graduated with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, inspired her to teach the classical curriculum and Socratic Method at the junior high and high school level. Since graduation, she has taught Latin, literature, history and religion for Mother of Divine Grace Academy and the Chesterton Academy of Chicago. She looks forward to her first year teaching English, Religion and Latin at St. Ambrose Academy!

Josh Rynish - Pre-Algebra | Algebra II | Chemistry | Advanced Chemistry | josh.rynish@ambroseacademy.org

Josh is completing a degree from UW-Madison studying Secondary Education in the areas of Chemistry and Mathematics. After student teaching around the Madison area last year, he found his passion in helping students understand the importance of cognition and metacognition through the subjects of science and mathematics. Outside of school, Josh has spent time working with Habitat for Humanity and greatly enjoys the arts of carpentry and woodworking.

Kim Donohoe - School Secretary | kim.donohoe@ambroseacademy.org

Kim Donohoe received her B.A. from the Plan II Liberal Arts program at the University of Texas and an M.A. in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. She has been volunteering and helping in various capacities at St. Ambrose since 2010. Mrs. Donohoe is the mother of one future, one former, and three current St. Ambrose Academy students.