Rev. Walter M. Ciesla- Pastor
Father Walter has been the Pastor at Saint Stanislaus since 1999. Father Ciesla was a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement for eight years. He joined the Diocese of Gary in 1977 and was ordained to the priesthood on July 11th, 1981 at the Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary, Indiana. He holds a Bachelor of .Arts degree in Philosophy from American University, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology, and Master of Divinity from Saint Mary of the Lake University. Father Walter also completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education from Loyola University Medical Center.
Before coming to Saint Stanislaus, he served in many area parishes including Saint Mary of the Lake Church in Gary, Saint Paul Church in Valparaiso, Saint Joseph Church in La Porte, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Kingsford Heights, Sacred Heart Church in Michigan City, Saint John Canty Church in Rolling Prairie, and served as Senior Chaplain and Director of Volunteer Services at the Westville Correctional Center. In addition to leading our parish, he is a Diocesan Spiritual Director of the Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima, a board member of Catholic Family Services, and a board member of the Diocesan Cemetery Board. Father is a music lover; he plays guitar and enjoys collecting records and computerized music.
Brother Shaun Gray
Brother Shaun has been at Saint Stanislaus for over ten years. Prior to joining us, he spent 34 years as the Residential Director at LeMans Academy in Rolling Prairie. On January 26, 1967, he made his First Profession and took his final vows in August of 1973. His hobbies include model railroading, woodworking, skiing, and sausage making. He is also a skilled rosary craftsman. One of his favorite quotes is, “You can never learn less, you can only learn more.” Brother Shaun leads the students in their Confessional prayer hour and stations of the cross at the church. He also drives the students to many of their field trips
Mr. Christopher Evans – Principal
Mr. Evans was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Indiana with his parents when the steel mills opened. He has lived in Northwest Indiana for the past 49 years. He has two children. His son, Jacob, will be a freshmen at Purdue University and his daughter, Emily, will be a senior this school year also at Purdue University in West Lafayette.
Mr. Evans attended Purdue University Calumet and graduated from Indiana State University in 1984 with a BA in Industrial Technology Education. He taught for 7 years at Fegely Middle School. During his teaching career at Fegely, the school won the “Excellence in Education” national award. While teaching, he coached hockey, football, wrestling, and track. He was also the Sponsor of Student Council. In 1989 he received his Masters from Purdue University in Secondary Administration and his Secondary Principal’s License. In 1989 he became the Assistant Principal of Fegely Middle School and served in that capacity for 5 years. He was an Assistant Principal at Portage High School for 1 year and then moved back to Fegely Middle School to serve as Principal. In 2002 he transferred to South Haven Elementary School and was principal there for over 10 years. He returned to Indiana State and Purdue Universities to attain his Elementary Principal’s License in 2005.
Mr. Evans is a graduate of the Indiana Principal Leadership Academy. During his tenure at South Haven the school achieved National Blue Ribbon status in 2007, was identified as the Indiana State Reading Association’s Exemplary Reading Program Award winner, and was a nominee for the National School Change Award, and the Title I School of Distinction. Mr. Evans has served on the executive Boards of Gabriel’s Horn Women’s Homeless Shelter, Portage Township Park Department, and Venturing Crew 999 in Michigan City.
Mr. Evans is very proud to be joining the St. Stanislaus Kostka family, serving the children, families, staff and church!
Mrs. Amy Donkersloot – Junior Kindergarten
Mrs. Donkersloot grew up in Michigan City and graduated from Rogers High School. Both of Mrs. Donkersloot’s parents are teachers and she knew from ayoung age that she would follow in their footsteps. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education with a Computer endorsement from Purdue University. She began teaching in 1994. Teaching is her calling and she looks forward to each day with her students.
Mrs. Donkersloot has been married to her husband Ron for over two decades. They have two children – a son named Ryker and a daughter named Anneke. In her free time she is an avid reader, has a passion for technology, enjoys scrap booking, and loves doing activities with her family.
Mrs. Denise Delaney – Kindergarten
Mrs. Delaney has been teaching for over 25 years. She has taught Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade here at St. Stans. She was born and raised in Michigan City, attending Notre Dame Grade School and graduated from Marquette High School. She received a B.S. in Elementary Education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana, and also received a Kindergarten Endorsement from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Upon graduating from college, she was named Outstanding Student Teacher of the Year.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband Damien and her daughter Kailyn. She loves being outdoors, family vacations, going to the beach (or anywhere sunny), reading and taking care of her three pets. Her greatest goal in teaching is to help children become the best that they can be. She understands the importance Kindergarten, for it is a year of growth, discovery, and significance for every child.
Mrs. Cindy Johnston – 1st Grade
Mrs. Johnston joined the Saint Stanislaus teaching staff in the fall of 2014 and teaches the first graders. She received her degree from Purdue University in 1991 and majored in Child Development and Family Studies with an emphasis is Child Health Mrs. Johnston worked in children’s hospitals as a Certified Child Life Specialist for several years. After marrying her husband Tony, she stayed home for 15 years to raise their three children, Claire, Colleen, and Kevin. When their youngest entered kindergarten in 2009, she began substitute teaching.
Realizing that a second career in teaching suited her very well, she completed the Transition to Teaching program through Indiana Wesleyan University and obtained her teaching license in 2013. She is very comfortable working with first graders, as she was a student teacher and instructional aide in the first grade. Mrs. Johnston works hard to “instill a spiritual and quality Catholic education for life” to all of her students.
Mrs. Johnston lives in Chesterton with her family, and attends Saint Patrick Catholic Church. In her free time, she and her family enjoy Purdue and Chicago team sports, outdoor activities, and domestic traveling.
Mrs. Melissa Huhnke – 2nd Grade
Mrs. Huhnke received her degree from Indiana University in South Bend (IUSB) but is a huge Purdue fan. She has been teaching here at Saint Stanislaus Kostka for over 15 years, all over the school, in many different grade levels. For example, Mrs. Huhnke taught first grade, second grade, fifth grade and seventh grade. She likes to keep her students motivated and engaged by doing projects and group activities that the students enjoy doing.
She has two children, Christopher and Casey. She loves sports and enjoys going to Purdue football and basketball games with her family. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors and going on bike rides with her children. When it comes down to it, she just loves being with her family and children.
Mrs. Terri Bartels – 3rd Grade
Mrs. Bartels has been teaching at Saint Stanislaus Kostka School for over 10 years. She has taught first grade for a year, kindergarten for five years, and has since been teaching third grade for over five years. She received her degree and graduated from Purdue University with Highest Distinction.
Mrs. Bartels views teaching as an honor and pleasure. “Having a job that I love is something I am truly thankful for. With each new school year comes a feeling of excitement and anticipation that sparks our enthusiasm as we encounter our fresh learning journey.”
In her spare time, Mrs. Bartels likes to read, write, exercise, hike, cook, and go to the beach. Her favorite activity is spending time with her family. To give back to the community, she volunteers at the soup kitchen. Her biggest desire is to pass on her love of reading and writing to her students.
Miss Sara Rusboldt- 4th Grade
Miss Rusboldt received her elementary education teacher’s license through Indiana University, along with a B.S. in communications. She was born and raised in Michigan City, Indiana, where she is a member of the Queen of All Saints Catholic Parish. She also attended Queens of All Saints Catholic School from grades Pre-school – 8th grade. She then attended and graduated with honors from Marquette High School in 2005.
Family and friends are extremely important to her. She is very close with her parents, grandparents, and her older sister, Monica. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her small dogs, Marley & Bailey.
Her philosophy of teaching can be summed up in three actions: encouraging, educating, and inspiring. With these actions, she feels that students will benefit from all angles by learning and wanting to learn more, all by having a positive, inspirational role model to follow. Her hope is to be that role model for all students.
Mrs. Diane Borawski – 5th Grade
Mrs. Borawski has a long and varied career in education from having taught kindergarten to directing a college program in a prison… and a good deal in between. She is a graduate of Laporte High School, and Ball State University (BS), and the University of Nebraska (MS). Lifelong learning” is a saying she likes to share with all her students and apply to herself as well, taking courses through the Hillside College online network offering and reading biographies and nonfiction historical accounts.
She enjoys family game nights with her children and sisters and their families, big family dinners and sitting on her back porch in the sunshine reading a good book while being serenaded by the birds.
Mrs. Susan McLemore – 6th Grade, Social Studies
Mrs. McLemore is a Michigan City native who graduated from Marquette Catholic High School in 2000. From there, she earned her degree in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s College in 2005, where she was honored as a St. Joseph’s College Fellow. In 2013, she earned an endorsement in Social Studies. Mrs. McLemore is also a Discovery Education Networks STAR Educator.
In her spare time, Mrs. McLemore likes to spend time with her family. She is married and has two young children, Liam and Molly. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, and cooking.
Ms. Heather Drake – 7th Grade
Mrs. Nancy Gifford – 8th Grade, Language Arts
Mrs. Gifford holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. Leadership in Teaching, both from CCSJ. She taught for the Archdiocese of Chicago for thirty-three years. She has taught grades 2-8, with about half of her career being spent in junior high. She also served as an assistant principal for six of those thirty-three years. Although a product of the Chicago Public Schools, her family life led to her deep faith and a desire to share that faith through teaching in Catholic schools.
Mrs. Gifford grew up in Chicago but later moved to Valparaiso. She has four step-children, four beautiful, brilliant grandchildren, along with three cats and a dog, Marty She is a voracious reader and also enjoys antiquing, going to classic car shows, and spending time with friends. She is a member of St. Teresa of Avila where she sings in the choir and takes part in the prayer chain and “Helping Hands Ministry”.
Ms. Laura Smith – Teacher Aide & Art
Mrs. Smith received her degree from Purdue University and has been at Saint Stanislaus for more than 15 years. Her family has been parishioners for five generations and her grandparents even helped build our current school and church.
Ms. Smith has two sons and three cherished grandchildren, two girls and one boy. In her free time, Ms, Smith enjoys golfing, tennis, and any kind of physical exercise. However, her real love is cooking and trying new recipes.
Mrs. Smith is a teacher aide and is very loyal at lending a helping hand. She is also teaching Art to grades Preschool – 5th grade. She is excited to put her creativity to use and show the students how to enhance their own creativity and imagination through the world of art. Her favorite part of teaching is watching the children discover and learn new abilities within themselves.
Mrs. Nicole Wilczynski – Physical Education
Mrs. Wilczynski, mostly knows as “Mrs. Ski,” joined the Saint Stanislaus teaching staff in the fall of 2015. She teaches Physical Education to all students, Junior Kindergarten – eighth grade. She has been teaching for over 10 years and works with other Catholic Schools in our Dioceses as well. In 2001, she received her B.S. in Kinesiology, with an emphasis in Physical Education and a minor in Health Education from Indiana University.
She is married and has 3 little boys that keep her on her toes! She loves sports and is a huge IU Basketball fan. She is very excited to be part of the Saint Stans family!