A Common Passion and Mission
Each of us at St. Michael Academy share a love of children, a love of teaching and learning, and a love of kindness and wisdom. We are thankful for God’s grace, and we share joyfully in the common challenge of spreading that grace, and the lessons of the Christ’s exemplary life, to our students and beyond.
Dr. Christopher Hampton
BA International Studies – Johns Hopkins University
MEd Education – University of Hartford
EdD Educational Leadership – University of Hartford
23 years in Education, 1st year at SMA
After college and a stint in business, Connecticut native Chris worked with Mother Teresa and other missionaries to help children in need throughout India, gaining insight into the motivations of youth. He then served as a faculty member and freshman dean for 20 years at Miss Porter’s School, before returning to his alma mater Avon Old Farms in 2014 to lead its development team. Dedicated to a life of service, Chris was youth minister for St. Patrick’s Church. Married for 26 years, he and his wife Rene are proud parents of four grown children.
Father Jose Kallukalam
Pastor St. Michael Catholic Church
MS Religious Comm. – Loyola of Chicago
33 years in Ministry, 6th year at SMA
Born, educated and ordained in Kerala, India, Father Jose has served faithfully throughout India and the US since 1983. He served for 15 years as Director of the Kerala Diocesan communication center, then variously as Associate Pastor and Pastor of several parishes, for dioceses in Corpus Christi, Texas and throughout the greater Jacksonville area. At St. Michael, he serves joyfully as both Pastor of our parish and spiritual leader of our school.
BS Psychology – University of North Florida
8 years in Teaching, 2nd year at SMA
Raised in Jacksonville, Donna is married with two wonderful sons. She’s so happy to be in Pre-K, where for her the best thing about teaching are the “light bulb moments” where she helps children accomplish new tasks for the very first time.
BS Geography & Env. Science – Sofia Univ.
13 years in Teaching, 5th year at SMA
Born and raised in Bulgaria, Penka is married with one son. She taught in her native country for six years before moving to the US. In 2009, she returned to teaching at a preschool program in Fernandina Beach, then joined our SMA preschool team two years later. Her favorite part of teaching is that she gets to learn every day!
Pre-K Teaching Assistant
BA Early Childhood Ed. – Florida State
9 years in Teaching, 4th year at SMA
Katie started teaching right out of college, as a kindergarten aide in Tallahassee. She began at SMA as a 2nd grade teacher before moving to Pre-K. Married with three children, she most loves the daily interaction with her students, seeing each child’s potential and helping him or her learn and grow throughout the year.
BS Elementary Ed. & Sociology – Hollins Univ.
29 years in Teaching, 5th year at SMA
Hope and her husband, also a teacher, have two teenage daughters. Thankful for every day as a kindergarten teacher at such a wonderful school, she loves teaching children because of the chance to find that special unique quality inside every child.
Kindergarten Teaching Assistant
BS Comm. & Recreation – Georgia Southern
9 years in Teaching, 6th year at SMA
Happily married for 27 years, with two adult daughters, Alicia’s favorite part of teaching is watching her students grow. She appreciates the awesome privilege of getting the children as they first experience school, then seeing them in the halls in 1st and 2nd grade all grown up!
1st Grade Teacher
BS Early Childhood Ed. – University of Georgia
MS Early Childhood Ed. – University of Georgia
15 years in Teaching, 7th year at SMA
A native of Atlanta, Francis taught eight years in the public school system there before moving to Amelia Island. Married with three children, she loves teaching first grade and loves seeing her students flourish in all they do.
1st Grade Teaching Assistant
2 years in Teaching, 2nd year at SMA
Born and educated in Massachusetts, Lynne and her husband relocated to Fernandina Beach in 2001. She was an international flight attendant for 25 years, and most recently she directed and taught adaptive rehabilitation programs for stroke and Parkinson patients at our local YMCA. She’s delighted to be working with Ms. Richardson to teach the 1st graders at our school, where Lynne’s two girls both currently attend.
2nd Grade Teacher
BA Education – Western Kentucky
26 years in Teaching, 18th year at SMA
Originally from Philadelphia, Judith taught for many years in both public and private schools in the Northeast before coming to SMA when it reopened in 1999. She has a grown, married daughter and one grandchild. Teaching 2nd grade is her favorite thing to do, and she loves working with her children, seeing them change and grow, their enthusiasm and willingness to try new things exciting her each day.
2nd Grade Teaching Assistant
BS Recreation – University of Florida
26 years in Teaching, 2nd year at SMA
Originally from New England and raised in Florida where she attended UF’s laboratory school, Susan is happily married with grown children, moving to Amelia Island 26 years ago. With a well-rounded career, working with mentally disabled adults, as a preschool teacher, a classroom aide in public schools, then 20 years as a teaching assistant at our local Montessori school, she’s fulfilled being part of children’s learning experiences, and she believes in giving them the tools they need to lead successful lives.
3rd Grade Teacher
BA Elementary Ed. – University of Idaho
26 years in Teaching, 16th year at SMA
Raised in a large Catholic family as one of eleven children, Mary has taught and coached in both public and private schools. Happily married for 25 years, she’s blessed with two step children, a beautiful daughter, and five grandchildren. She loves making a positive difference for her students, educating each child both spiritually and academically.
4th Grade Teacher
BA Comm, Advertising & PR – Jacksonville U.
13 years in Teaching, 9th year at SMA
After starting a family, Natalie fell in love with education and began teaching Pre-K, then returned to college and completed her degree in education. Married with 4 children, including 3 SMA graduates, she enjoys incorporating faith, graphic art, music, creative projects, and drama into the classroom so that learning is enjoyable and exciting for all her students.
4th Grade Teacher
BS Biology – Middle Tennessee State
MS Teaching – Univ of Louisiana at Monroe
9 years in Teaching, 8th year at SMA
Jill found a joy of teaching as a 2nd grade substitute, seeing the light shine in students’ eyes when first grasping new concepts. This led her to earn her Master’s degree, and after a few years teaching, she and her family moved to Fernandina Beach. With 2 SMA-graduate daughters, and a 3rd now starting Pre-K, she’s been a proud member of our school since 2008. Each Mass, she thanks God for allowing her the positive impact she has on her students’ lives.
5th Grade Teacher
BS Elementary Ed. – University of Dayton
MA Reading – Hofstra University
22 years in Teaching, 16th year at SMA
Born and raised in New York, Jackie taught public school while attending graduate school, later moving to Florida to teach for a Jacksonville private school. After getting married and having a son, she came to SMA, where she’s taught middle school students ever since. She most enjoys what she takes away from her students each year, feeling truly blessed to be part of our special learning community as she contributes to their spiritual, emotional, and academic growth.
6th Grade Teacher
BS Education – University of Central Florida
17 years in Teaching, 1st year at SMA
Born and raised in New York, Suzanne moved to Florida in 1990. Shortly after graduation from UCF, she moved to Fernandina Beach, where she began her teaching career in the Nassau County Public Schools. Serving as Mathematics Department Chair and Mathematics Intervention Specialist for children with special needs, she has successfully completing the Teacher Leader Cadre through Texas Instruments. With a son who also attends SMA, Suzanne loves teaching mathematics and enjoys seeing her students make connections between concrete and abstract mathematical concepts.
7th Grade Teacher
BS Middle Education – Illinois State
3 years in Teaching, 2nd year at SMA
Jamie taught for just half a year before making the best decision to join SMA full time. Moving here from Illinois in 2014 with her parents and sister, she will never trade our warm weather and beach views for the cold and snow! Of teaching, she loves most the drive to keep learning, to find new possibilities, and to foster students’ abilities to discover their own questions and exceed their own potential.
8th Grade Teacher
BA English – Siena College
13 years in Teaching, 5th year at SMA
Born and raised in New York City, JP taught at a Catholic school in the Bronx for 8 years before moving to Fernandina Beach, first teaching at SMA from 2004-2006. He and his wife have one son, a 1st grader at SMA. JP loves teaching and interacting with his students every day, amazed at the joy they have, and happy to be a small part of their lives.
BFA Music – University of North Florida
19 years in Teaching, 8th year at SMA
Katie’s been teaching elementary school music since 2005 and piano lessons since 1999. She and her husband, who’s construction company built our Parish Hall and Pre-K facility, have 2 children who attend SMA. Blessed to be such a part of our family, her favorite part of teaching is helping her students express themselves through music, watching them grow spiritually as they praise The Lord through song.
BFA – Savannah College of Art and Design
Teaching Certificate – University of North Florida
16 years in Teaching, 16th year at SMA
After discovering the love of teaching, Mary went back to school for her teaching certificate and has been at SMA ever since. With a daughter in college and a son in high school, her favorite thing about teaching is the children and the “oh, now I get it” moments.
BA Hispanic Studies – Spring Hill College
Teaching Certificate – Jacksonville University
3 years in Teaching, 3rd year at SMA
Married with three wonderful young children, Melinda’s favorite part of teaching has been getting to know her students, watching them grow both academically and as individuals. She considers it both an honor and a privilege to teach the wonderful group of children at SMA.
Computer Technology Teacher
BBA Marketing – University of Georgia
MAT Early Childhood Education – Piedmont College
11 years in Teaching, 1st year at SMA
A Georgia native, Tracy worked in real estate development for 15 years. Her love of working with children eventually led her to pursue a graduate degree in education and teach at a Christian school in Athens. With her son and daughter both in college, Tracy moved to Amelia Island, where she joined St. Michael Academy this year. She feels blessed to see God’s children exploring and discovering new things in their world.
Dario del Castillo
Physical Education Teacher
Master Chief Electronics and Mechanical Engineer – US Coast Guard
3 years in Teaching, 1st year at SMA
Born in Hollywood, California and raised in San Bernardino, Dario attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School before entering the US Coast Guard, where he served as emergency medical technician and chief advisor to his commanding officer. After retiring from active duty in 2014, he settled in Kingsland, Georgia. Dario taught physical education in Fernandina Beach and ran the ocean rescue division of our local fire department before joining St. Michael’s, where he loves teaching and guiding the young lives in his care.
BS Psychology – Baldwin Wallace University
ME School Counselor Ed. – Univ of North Florida
4 years in Counseling, 3rd year at SMA
Counselor at both SMA and St. Patrick’s Catholic, Rosemarie lives in Jacksonville with her naval-veteran husband of 15 years. Her greatest reward is helping individual students grow emotionally and academically, to achieve their potential and to identify and achieve their unique dreams in life.
BS Education – University of Tennessee
2nd year at SMA
A native of Knoxville, Tracy was a teaching tennis professional, including being Director of Tennis at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, for several years. Taking a break from tennis, she served at Café Karibo for several years before joining SMA. Her daughter is in the 2nd grade here, and Tracy’s loves having her and all her classmates just down the hall.
Graduate Anoka High School
16 years in Teaching, 16th year at SMA
Originally from Minnesota, Kristi served in the US Navy for 4 years before moving to Amelia Island, joining us at SMA soon after it reopened in 1999. Happily married with 3 sons and 3 grandchildren, she loves her job simply because she loves taking care of the children.