Detroit Cristo Rey High School

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Our Team

ADMINISTRATION
 
Chris Lynch, President
Chris Lynch, President
Chris has over 30 years experience in the automotive and telecommunications industries with Continental Automotive, Ford Motor Company, and Motorola.  His career has taken him
frequently to Europe and, due to his Spanish fluency, throughout Latin America, including a long term assignment in Mexico.  Chris brings us deep business acumen and a history of mission driven efforts providing assistance and support to children and families globally as well as right here in Southwest Detroit.  After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Chris earned an MBA from Thunderbird, located in Glendale, Arizona. Chris and his wife Ruth — whom he met while working in Guayaquil, Ecuador — have three children; Alexa Grace, Nora Elena and Liam Christopher.
 
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Joellyn Valgoi, Principal
Joellyn Valgoi is part of the original team of teachers whose work set the foundation for Detroit Cristo Rey High School. She was born and raised on the eastside of Detroit and is proud to still call the eastside her home. She is dedicated to educating Detroit’s youth in a safe and empowering environment. She comes to the field of education from a first career in mental health care with the St.John Health Care System based in Detroit. Her previous work in mental health care allows her to advocate for students, families and Detroit Cristo Rey faculty from a holistic perspective. Today, she's the Principal who develops and maintains the relationships with entities that provide special services for learning. She is committed to ensuring the curriculum standards used throughout Detroit Cristo Rey remain fair, rigorous and attune to cultural factors affecting learning. Finally, she also values her role as a mentor to new teachers.

 

Rosa Gutierrez, Assistant to the President
Mrs. Gutierrez joined Detroit Cristo Rey in 2013 and has faithfully served as the Assistant to the President. 
 
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Karla Gudino, Assistant Principal 
Karla Gudino grew up in Southwest Detroit. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2008. She majored in mathematics and minored in psychology. It was Karla’s hope to teach nowhere else but right where she grew up. Fortunately, there was an opening at Detroit Cristo Rey High School and she was offered a job in the Math department. Karla has been with us since May of 2009. She has taught mathematics to all grade levels for over 9 years. Recently, she was promoted to Assistant Principal. Karla is very grateful for the opportunity and excited as the new school year begins.

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Naomi Howrani, Director of Development
Naomi Howrani is a graduate of Divine Child High School and the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. After college, she spent 3 years working in Washington, DC in the consulting industry and later spent a year abroad teaching in Thailand. Upon her return to Detroit, Mrs. Howrani enrolled in the ELMAC program at the University of Michigan to receive an MA and teaching certificate. “I think that you should leave the world better than you found it and I knew that the way I could make the most impact on peoples’ lives was through education.” Prior to joining Detroit Cristo Rey High School in July 2014, Mrs. Howrani taught 3rd grade at UPA Mark Murray Elementary. In her free time Mrs. Howrani loves cooking, traveling, all things health and wellness and spending time with her husband, Ara, and three children, Ameen, Ara and Amal.

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Dr. Payton Jackson III, Assistant Principal
Mr. Jackson received his bachelor’s degree in behavioral sciences from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University, and a Master of Education in School Leadership from Grand Canyon University. Mr. Jackson has over 20 years of experience with working in various public high schools and in the community with assisting young people to excel both academically and socially. Recognizing and cultivating the strengths of young people are his priorities.
 
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Lori Kuhn, CFO/Administration
Ms. Kuhn has over 30 years of experience in strategic planning, sales, finance, program management, and supply chain management spanning the aerospace and automotive industries. She recently retired as VP-Chrysler Business Unit from a leading Tier One automotive supplier to pursue a personal goal of joining a non-profit organization. She is elated and feels very blessed that her path led to Detroit Cristo Rey.  In her role on the leadership team, she hopes to make a positive contribution to the growth and success of the students by utilizing her business knowledge and passion for education to help the school reach its academic and organizational goals.  She is a graduate of the State University of New York (B.S. Computer Science).  Her hobbies include running, gardening, and traveling.  She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association - Greater Michigan Chapter, Board of Directors, is part of the DREAM (Dreams Realized Through Education and Mentoring) Mentoring program at a local charity and is an active church member in the church she grew up in – serving as Treasurer for several years and teaching Sunday School to 4th and 5th graders for the past 15 years. 
 
Ines G. Leal, Director of Admissions
Ms. Leal was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She moved to Detroit as a teenager and graduated from Cranbrook-Kingswood. Ms. Lealwent on to Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts where she received a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Sociology. Prior to her time at Detroit Cristo Rey, Ms. Leal spent time abroad teaching in Michoacan, Mexico, doing paralegal work in New York City and later became a private tutor to low income students in New York City through Champion Learning. Her time with these students inspired her to continue her work in the Detroit community. Ms. Leal hopes to guide as many students as possible to start their journey at Detroit Cristo Rey and continue to the college of their choice.

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Reuben Metreger, Director of Facilities Management & Transportation
Reuben Metreger grew up in a low-income family outside Chicago with no family collegiate history. After high school, he gained transportation experience working at Peapod and United Parcel Service while attending College of DuPage Community College. He was awarded a full academic scholarship to Elmhurst College where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Information Technology with minors in both Spanish and Intercultural Studies with a focus on social justice. Reuben received a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School. He spent a summer at the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica where he studied Spanish, Human Rights Law, and Refugee Law. In his professional career Reuben has had the privilege of assisting torture survivors and death row exonerees and he strives for advances in civil rights and human rights. “I love and believe in the Cristo Rey mission; learning was the key to a better life for me and I want to help as many students as possible realize their dreams and expand their opportunities through the Detroit Cristo Rey experience.”
 
FACULTY & STAFF

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Jeremy Alexander, Faculty, Theology and Campus Ministry
 
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Pauline Anderson, Faculty, College Counseling
Pauline has been with Detroit Cristo Rey since the very beginning - literally! She started as a freshman in 2008, when the school first opened its doors to students, and graduated with the school's first seniors in 2012. Pauline went on to study Psychology and Philosophy at Wayne State University as a part of the Irvin D. Reid's Honors College and graduated with her B.S. in 2017. After two years of teaching English to university students in Wuhan, China, Pauline returned to Detroit with a renewed passion for helping students in her hometown reach new, educational heights. As the college counselor, Pauline works closely with seniors and their families to bring ease and joy to the college application process - everything from making a college list, applying to schools, and getting Financial Aid. In her spare time, Pauline takes classes through UCLA's extension online to become a fully-certified college counselor by 2024. 
 
 
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Maddi Baker, Faculty, Math 
Maddi Baker graduated from Taylor University (B.A. Mathematics Education, Minor Spanish). This is her first year living in Detroit and working at DCR! She is excited about DCR’s mission, and she feels passionate about preparing students for college math through problem solving and understanding. Maddi is also coaching soccer at DCR, and can’t wait to impact students both on and off the pitch.
 
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Nick Baldwin, Faculty, English Language Arts
Nick Baldwin grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University (not Ohio State, Go Bobcats) with a degree in English/Creative Writing. Nick is actively involved in the Southwest community, helping manage and preserve the history at the Senate Theater on Michigan Avenue and also lives in the neighborhood. Nick is also an actively working artist, showcasing various paintings and photographs around town. He is the moderator for the Detroit Cristo Rey Art Club.
 
Vanessa Brooks, Custodian
 
Joe Bryant, Faculty, Mathematics
I've always been a problem solver and love seeing patterns in numbers. I have a degree from both Albion College and University of Detroit - Mercy. My gifts are to make math accessible to all students. You will probably see me in the classroom analyzing Algebra or Geometry problems!

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Michael Cleary, Faculty, PE/Wellness
Michael Cleary grew up in Metro Detroit (New Boston, MI) and currently lives in Oakland County. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI with a Major in English and a Minor in Physical Education. While at Siena Heights, he was a part of the collegiate Golf and Lacrosse teams. He then earned his MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. This is Michael's 2nd year at Cristo Rey as the Wellness/Physical Education teacher. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, golfing, and playing hockey.
 
LaRonn Davis, Maintenance and Janitorial Custodian
 
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Mackenzie Deck, Development Coordinator

Mackenzie Deck is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a degree in English Literature. While in college, she volunteered with the Prison Creative Arts Project, facilitating a photography workshop for incarcerated persons. Mackenzie joins our Development Department with experience from her time at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and she is very excited to be part of the Cristo Rey Network! Outside of work, Mackenzie enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with family. 


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Timothy Devine, Faculty, Language Arts
 
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James Dwyer, Faculty, Latin
Mr. Dwyer is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (BA in Latin and History, 2011).  He has spent his entire teaching career at Detroit Cristo Rey, and he has enjoyed every minute of it.  He loves teaching students about the ancient world and imparting to students the importance of understanding the past in order to inform our understanding of the present.  Mr. Dwyer also encourages students to take on leadership roles outside of the classroom in extracurricular activities like the Student Council and the Circle of Support, Detroit Cristo Rey's Student-Led Immigration Justice group.  Mr. Dwyer also helps coach the DCR Softball team, and he keeps score at volleyball and basketball games.  He recently completed his MA in Language Learning at Wayne State University (2020).
 
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Jeanette Echols, Staff, Driver
 
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Daniel Finegan, Faculty, Sophomore Counselor
Dan Finegan is elated to join the Cristo Rey Wolfpack. As the 10th Grade Counselor he will provide social-emotional, academic, and behavior counseling to students while encouraging personal growth. Dan graduated from Michigan State with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and the Arts and Humanities. Afterwards, he earned his master's in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. Dan's internships for his MSW included service coordination for immigrants and refugees in Allegheny County and services at a bilingual pediatric office at UPMC. Since college, his work has been dedicated to youth development in the City of Detroit, and he's excited to continue that at Detroit Cristo Rey.
 
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Maison Gappy, Faculty, Theology

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Areli Garcia, Finance & Business Manager
Ms. Garcia works in the business office along with the CFO as the Financial & Business Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy in which she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration 13’.  She lived most of her life in the same Southwest Detroit community where Detroit Cristo Rey High School is located. She is also 1 of 4 Spanish translators in the building, to which she works closely with these families to attend their every need. She loves the work that she does at the school since it is enriching Southwest’s population and providing a bright future for our up and coming generations. She hopes to continue her work at Detroit Cristo Rey for years to come.
 
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Laura Garcia, Faculty, English Teacher

Laura Garcia graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy (B.A English, Concentration Education and Minor in History and Spanish) in May 2021. She immigrated from Mexico at the age of one, settled in Southwest Detroit, and has lived here ever since. Detroit is Laura's home, and she believes that educating future generations is the best way that she can contribute to the growth of her community. She is committed to helping students develop values, new perspectives, and skills through the study of literature while simultaneously nurturing a classroom culture that welcomes her students to voice their opinions and engage in inquiry.

 

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Carina Garza, Faculty, Alumni Coordinator

A 2017 Detroit Cristo Rey graduate, Carina returned to be the Alumni Coordinator. She graduated from Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN, double majored in History and Humanistic Studies, and minored in Spanish. Carina is also a current student at Wayne State University, working towards her Master's in Library and Information Science. She came back because of her passion for helping DCR alumni get to, through, and beyond college. If alumni are in need of any help, Carina is here! She offers multiple events throughout the year to keep alumni engagement prospering, including fall local alumni dinners and the annual end-of-summer BBQ event. Alumni are also able to participate in programs such as a mentorship program to allow recent DCR graduates to have an experienced alum to help them while navigating their first year of college.

 
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Ron Gilliam, Staff, Driver
 
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Anna Guzman, Assistant to the Principal
Mrs. Guzman was born in Fort Worth, Texas and raised in Southwest Detroit, attending Holy Redeemer High School until it closed in 2005. After graduating from Cesar Chavez High School, Mrs. Guzman received her medical assistant certificate from Everest Institute. Mrs. Guzman has been with Detroit Cristo Rey High School as the Administrative Assistant to the Principal since 2008. Mrs. Guzman enjoys working in the neighborhood in which she grew up and supporting the students and their families through assistance with translation. Having gone to Catholic school herself, and as a mother who plans to send her children to DCR, Mrs. Guzman sees DCR as a unique resource for parents like her who value a Catholic school education.
 
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Chenetta Hairston, Front Desk
Ms. Hairston joined the Detroit Cristo Rey team as the front desk receptionist in 2014. She has dedicated herself to ensuring that students, staff, and faculty are kept safe. She enjoys keeping everyone informed of Detroit Cristo Rey news, events and student achievements by maintaining the school's digital communications. She especially enjoys watching students grow each year and move on to a new chapter in their lives.
 
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Regina Harris, CWSP Coordinator

Andre Hearn, Janitorial Custodian
 
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Matthew Hynes, Faculty, Computer Applications
After attending a small high school in the middle of the state, I went to Central Michigan University where I received a Bachelors of Science in Education degree with a focus in Business Education and History. I also have a Masters degree in Educational Technology from Grand Valley State University. This is my second year at Detroit Cristo Rey where I get the chance to work with seniors to create the school’s yearbook. Outside of school I enjoy playing golf, watching sports, and hanging out with my family.
 
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Pamela Jackson, CWSP Director of Sales
Pamela Jackson is The Director of Sales for Detroit Cristo Rey High School and has responsibility for bringing in targeted, year-over-year revenue for the business to operate effectively and to ensure long-term growth and sustainability within the Corporate Work Study Program.  A native Detroiter, Pamela attended the University of Detroit College earning her Bachelors degree and Central Michigan University for her Master's Degree. She has had numerous job experiences all in a sales capacity including working for Compuware, IBM, and American Express. Pamela loves entertaining, urban gardening and cooking for a healthy lifestyle.

 

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Jill Kress, Faculty, Student Enrichment Coordinator

Ms. Kress is happy to be at Detroit Cristo Rey High School after several years working in campus and young adult ministry.  A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Ms. Kress first moved to Detroit as a Jesuit Volunteer and has remained in the city ever since!  She enjoys working with students to help them identify their passion and interests and help them be ready for college and life post-high school through matching them with after-school and summer enrichment programs. Ms. Kress holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and master’s degrees from Catholic Theological Union and the University of Chicago.

 

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Anthony Kreucher, Faculty, Theology
Mr. Kreucher began at Detroit Cristo Rey as Campus Minister in 2015 and has worked for the last three years as a theology teacher.  He attended Hope College, earning a BA in Religion and later Sacred Heart Major Seminary, earning an MA in Theology. He believes that the potential for success is in all students and it is the job of teachers and parents in cooperation to draw it out and make it a reality.  His goal as a teacher is to have a lasting, positive effect on young people and their faith, especially towards forming a personal relationship with God.
 
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Andrew Kummer, Faculty, College Readiness 11
Andrew Kummer is new to DCR this year and very excited to be a part of the DCR mission! Mr. Kummer is a graduate of Western Michigan University, where he completed a B.A. in Secondary Education and English, and Central Michigan University, where he completed a M.A. in Educational Technology. As a student who often struggled to find strategies and tools to be successful in the classroom, Mr. Kummer has a passion for helping students find unique strategies and tools that will help them in high school, college, and beyond. Mr. Kummer firmly believes in the ability of all learners to grow and develop, and is committed to inspiring a new generation of life-long learners.

 

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Brittany Lovin, Corporate Work Study Program Manager

Ms. Lovin is a Southwest Detroit native. She graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2012 where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Professions and also became a member of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority Incorporated. Her goal in her new position as Corporate Work Study Program Manager is to put students on the path to success by helping them recognize and take advantage of the extraordinary opportunity that Detroit Cristo Rey affords them with the Corporate Work Study Program. She believes that giving students early access to employment at local businesses endows our students with the skills necessary to compete in the corporate world and provides our community business owners with a valuable and unmatched talent pipeline of intelligent, hardworking and diverse employees.

Pairadeau Mars, Faculty, Math and Science

 

Alex Martinez, Parking Lot Security

 

Ann McGowan, Faculty, Science
Ms. Ann McGowan came to Detroit Cristo Rey High School in 2013 as a student teacher the science department.  She has since graduated from the University of Phoenix (MAeD secondary education instruction, 2014). During her tenure at Detroit Cristo Rey, Ms. McGowan has been integral in the development of an A.P. Environmental Science course and a competitive FIRST robotics program. In addition to teaching the A.P. Environmental Science course she helps the students understand the basics of chemistry and physics. She strives to use real world examples in her teaching to help bring the content to life for her students.  Prior to coming to Detroit Cristo Rey she was a member of the educational staff at Cranbrook Institute of Science for five years coordinating the outreach and scout programs in addition to the development and implementation of a variety of life sciences classes for the museum.   Her undergrad work was completed at the University of Michigan - Dearborn (B.S. Biology, Minor in chemistry, 2002).  While a student at the University of Michigan she discovered her passion for the environment as a student ambassador for the Environmental Interpretive Center.  She continues to explore that passion with her family while exploring the beauty of her native state, Michigan.
 

Luke Miller, Faculty, Campus Minister, IT

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Elvia Murga-Zeno, Faculty, Freshmen Counselor

Mrs. Elvia joined Detroit Cristo Rey in September 2021 as the Freshman Counselor.  Mrs. Elvia was born in Mexicali, B.C, Mexico and immigrated to California when she was eight years old. She grew up in Calexico, CA, a small rural city which borders Mexico, where she developed an interest in human rights and social advocacy. She is passionate about mental health equity and has spent the past 6 years working with the Latinx community providing mental health services. Mrs. Elvia obtained a B.S. in Psychology and a M.S. in Counseling from San Diego State University. In her free time, Mrs. Elvia enjoys gardening, community organizing, traveling, and spending time with her husband and their two dogs, Akuma and Luna.

 

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Brandon Peoples, Athletic Director 
Brandon Peoples was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He is a graduate of Holy Redeemer High School. After high school he attended Grand Valley State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management. He continued his education at Wayne State University and earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration. After college Brandon worked as a Site Coordinator for Wayne State’s V.A.C. (Volunteers, Administrators, Coaches) Training Program where his duties included instructing self-esteem centered football and baseball camps for children from Metro Detroit.  His work with the V.A.C. Program developed his desire and passion to work with youth sports. Brandon works as the Athletic Director and Admissions Officer at Detroit Cristo Rey. He also serves as the Varsity Boys Basketball Coach.  Brandon prides himself on Discipline; Pride; Respect; Character; Commitment; Integrity and Responsibility which is his professional philosophy when it comes to Athletics at Detroit Cristo Rey.
 
Dr. Matthew Pfaff, Faculty, Latin
Dr. Pfaff joined the teaching staff at Detroit Cristo Rey in 2019. He is a graduate of Wayne State University (BA in English and Classics, Greek and Latin) and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (PhD, Comparative Literature), where he had the opportunity to teach courses in composition and the classics to a wide range of students. He is a master laser tagger and a devoted writer, and has published articles, poems, and translations in various magazines and journals. In addition, he has never lost a thumb war. He looks forward to seeing all that his students will go on to accomplish.
 
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Sarah Porter, Faculty, US and AP History
 
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Maria Rangel Faculty, Math

Maria Rangel grew up in Southwest Detroit.  She aspired to become an educator since high school when she started to tutor her peers in Algebra. While tutoring, she felt as she was helping the students’ progress and it felt fulfilling being able to help students learn and grow. Since then, she’s had a passion for helping others with a desire to teach. Ms. Rangel earned her degree from the University of Michigan Dearborn in May 2021. Ms. Rangel graduated from Detroit Cristo Rey in 2014. She has since returned to teach Algebra I. Ms. Rangel is very grateful for the opportunity to come back to her alum and teach.
 
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Sydney Redigan, Faculty, English
Ms. Redigan excitedly joined Detroit Cristo Rey High School after receiving her Master of Arts in Teaching at Wayne State University and working as a long-term substitute teacher with Dearborn Public Schools. As a native Detroiter and a Catholic school graduate, she believes strongly in the Cristo Rey philosophy and is thrilled to have found employment at Detroit Cristo Rey. Ms. Redigan enjoys working with her students to not only prepare them for college, but to also create opportunities for self-expression, critical thinking, and exploration of cultural knowledge. Ms. Redigan previously worked for six years as a Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Wayne State University College of Engineering, gaining experience in writing, editing, and publishing. In addition to her teaching degree, she also has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in film and media studies from Wayne State University.
 
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Mark Renas, Faculty, Social Studies
Mark Renas is one of the newest Social Studies Teachers at the school. This is his first year teaching at Detroit Cristo Rey High School, but he has taught in Catholic Schools for three years. He earned his B.S. from Wayne State University in Secondary Education with a focus on Group Social Studies and minored in Political Science. Mr. Renas has previously coached boys basketball and track at the middle school level. In his free time he enjoys jogging, reading, and traveling up north A fun fact about Mr. Renas is that he is a baseball fanatic.
 
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Hillary Sesi, Director of School Counseling
Hillary Sesi joined Detroit Cristo Rey in September 2014 as the school guidance counselor. Ms. Sesi received her bachelors degree in social work from Oakland University and her masters in social work from Wayne State University. During her undergrad, she interned at a domestic violence/sexual assault shelter answering the crisis line and completing shelter intakes. Ms. Sesi spent her gap year before grad school working at an elementary school working one-on-one with students that have autism, creating and implementing behavior plans. Ms. Sesi completed her grad school internship as a clinical social worker at a hospital, she was very interested in the medical world but realized she was passionate about working in education. Volunteering at her church's youth group lead her to pursuing a career in high school education. As the counselor, Ms. Sesi provides emotional and social support to students, as well as assisting them with academic goals and motivation.
 
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Brian Shinn, Faculty, Science
Mr. Brian Shinn teaches Biology and Anatomy/Physiology, he will be beginning his third year at Detroit Cristo Rey High School. Detroit Cristo Rey has been “ one of the most rewarding experiences in his  teaching career”. Prior to teaching at Detroit Cristo Rey Mr. Shinn taught at Southgate Aquinas, River Rouge High School and Allen Park Cabrini High School for a total of 22 years. Mr. Shinn graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor of Science degree with a major in history and Biology. He returned to Eastern Michigan University and received his Master of Arts degree in History. Mr. Shinn has also attended University of Michigan Dearborn to complete a degree in General Science. His hobbies include Golfing, Bowling and attending sporting events. Mr. Shinn lives in Allen Park with his wife Patricia.
 
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Richard Straksys, Staff, Transportation Associate
 
April Terry, Food Service Attendant

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Rose Thomas, Faculty, College Counseling
Rose is a graduate of Michigan State University, with a degree in Kinesiology, and a minor in Health Promotion. She will be continuing her education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Rose serves as the Michigan State University college advisor, a role that Detroit Cristo Rey has held for over a decade. She specifically enjoys being of assistance to students matriculating into their post-secondary careers! 
 
Sharana Wier-Brown, Faculty, Art