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.

Joseph Draves - Business Development Director | josephd@ambroseacademy.org

Joe earned a B.B.A. from UW-Madison and enjoyed leadership roles for Kimberly-Clark Corp for a decade; during which time he answered a renewed call to Catholic communion. With new zeal for apostolate work, Mr. Draves transitioned to lead fundraising for Relevant Radio in Green Bay and earned a Masters of Theological Studies degree from Ave Maria University IPT during those years.  Combining business management with joy in motivating friends to generously empower God's Work, Joe is thrilled to help grow the sustainable 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).

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 graduated from Mt. St. Mary’s College and Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree and Master of Arts degree in Sacred theology. Mr. Delaney then worked for a presidential campaign and later in the field of human rights advocacy: writing and speaking on Catholic moral teaching, interfacing with media, and lobbying legislators.  Called to assist young people, Patrick returned to Madison and served on the faculty of St. Ambrose Academy in its earliest years prior to serving the Diocese of Madison as associate director, and then director of Evangelization and Catechesis.  There, Patrick was responsible for the growth and improvement of evangelization efforts across the diocese; notably by helping create the Seat of Wisdom Diocesan Institute. With a persistent inclination toward the direct formation of young people in the mind of Christ, Patrick happily returned to St. Ambrose in 2015.

Kim Donohoe - Assoc. Development Director | 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, three former, and one current St. Ambrose Academy students.

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.

Kim Gilmore - Administrative Assistant

Kim Gilmore has a Master of Science degree from Edgewood College in Organization Development, and a Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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.

Emily Preisler - Latin A

Emily Preisler has a BA in Classical and Ancient Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and served as a retreat intern at the St Paul University Catholic Center in Madison.

Patrick O’Loughlin - Business Math

Patrick O’loughlin graduated from Christ the King High School in Lubbock, Texas, and studied at Regis College in Denver, Colorado, before receive his BBA in Accounting from Texas Tech University. Before becoming the Business Manager for St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, he worked in public accounting, in both audit and tax, and as a corporate controller in the private sector. Patrick is a CPA.

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.

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.

Laurel Sauer - Art

Laurel Sauer has Bachelor's degrees in Fine Arts and Applied Arts from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Mary Skemp - Assistant to Principal and DCE | College Guidance | Latin I | English III

Dr. Skemp holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in French Literature. While at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Skemp studied Latin and worked briefly as the coordinator of their first year French language program. She also taught English in France for two years between her M.A. and Ph.D.Dr. Skemp held a tenured position as French professor at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, where she taught for 7 years and covered everything from beginning level French to the upper level literature and civilization courses. Since moving to Madison she has worked part time at the University of Wisconsin, Edgewood College, UW-Whitewater, and Madison College.

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

Ahrom Thompson 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!