Teacher and Staff Profiles
Your child’s teachers and staff provide one of the most direct influences on his or her education. We pride ourselves in the quality of our teachers and staff, all of whom hold degrees and are certified. Our teachers also participate in ongoing professional development. Below is a brief profile of each faculty and staff member.
Kitty LaBlance – Principal
Mrs. Kitty LaBlance has held the position of principal since August 2007. She was a teacher on staff for seven years before being hired as the administrator and is fully certified. She graduated from the University of Waterloo and St. Jerome College, Ontario and received her B. Ed. at Brock University in Ontario. After a 27 year stay in Ontario raising her family and various community involvement opportunities, Kitty with her husband Albert, returned to Michigan when hired to teach at Bishop Baraga Catholic School in 2000. Further education development consisted of a Masters in Education and being certified as a Reading and Literacy Specialist through Central Michigan University.
Aside from her regular duties as principal, Kitty is also very involved in several of the boards and committees, including School Advisory Board, Marketing & Development Committee and the Educational Foundation. Prior to becoming principal, Kitty held the different positions of 4th and 5th grade homeroom teacher at Bishop Baraga Catholic School.
Ann Couture – Secretary
Ann Couture is the secretary at Bishop Baraga School. She is a lifetime resident of Cheboygan and graduated from Cheboygan High School. Mrs. Couture has two grandchildren, alumni of Bishop Baraga. When Mrs. Couture is out of the office she likes to keep active spending time outdoors kayaking, playing pickleball, biking, watching her grandchildren play baseball, softball and spending time with her husband, Jim.
Kayte Schryer – Preschool
Lead Preschool Teacher/Director, Kayte Schryer has been teaching at Baraga since 2006. She has her degree in Early Childhood from Spring Arbor. Along with teaching preschool Ms.Kayte also teaches PE to the lower elementary classes? Kayte and her husband Todd have three boys that also attend Baraga, Parson (2nd), Elliott (Kindergarten) and Reid (preschool 3’s). Ms.Kayte is also involved in Cooking Club, Running Club, Boosters and the Playground Committee. Kayte enjoys running, camping, boating and hanging out with her boys.
Brenda Dunham – Preschool Assistant
Brenda Dunham has been working at Bishop Baraga for the past three years in the preschool room. She has her degree in Art History from CMU. Along with working in the preschool Ms. Brenda is involved in Cooking Club, and the Birthday Board. With her husband Andy and their two children Grayson (10th grade) and Tess (7th grade) their hobbies include: downhill skiing, active members of Cheboygan Music Boosters, and motorcycling.
Natasha Camper – Kindergarten
Ms. Camper is the new kindergarten teacher. She is currently finishing her degree in Early Childhood Education and has been granted the opportunity to work in our school as our Kindergarten teacher as she completes the final stages of her program. She is extremely excited to work with our students and staff as the newest member of our Bishop Baraga family.
Jan Franz – Kindergarten and First Grade Assistant
Mrs. Jan Franz is the new teacher’s aide in first grade also helping in second grade when needed. She can be seen greeting students and parents on the front cement apron before school. Mrs. Franz also helps serving lunch and patrols the playground for the first lunch recess.
Mrs. Franz is a Cheboygan native graduating from Cheboygan High school. She moved back to Cheboygan after her husband Terry retired from the Air Force. Her interest in children has led to working 16 years in education. She is certified as a Para-professional under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Family is very important to Mrs. Franz. Her free time is spent watching her daughter Caitlyn playing basketball and softball and visiting her daughter Briana at CMU. When not visiting her daughter or viewing a sports activity, Jan can be found relaxing at the family cabin.
Jennifer Budzinski – First Grade
Mrs. Budzinski is the first grade teacher and a graduate from Lake Superior State University in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. She grew up in Cheboygan and is an alumna of Bishop Baraga. She currently lives here and enjoys many extracurricular activities including kayaking, camping, boating, reading, and farming.
Outside of the classroom Mrs. Budzinski is busy with helping the 7th grade class fund-raise for their annual Washington D.C. trip. She also sits on the P.T.O board as the school liaison and their treasurer. The school’s annual Track and Field Day event is put on with the help of her, as is March Reading Month, and she also sits on the Crisis Management Team. She is also an active member of Sacred Heart Church were she is a regular Eucharistic Minister.
Jenifer is excited to be at Bishop Baraga, where she helps her students grow both in their academics and their faith.
Tyson Eustice – Second Grade
Mr. Tyson Eustice is the new second grade teacher. He graduated from Central Michigan University and has previously worked in special education. He will also be furthering his education this year through Saginaw Valley State University. Mr. Eustice currently lives in Cheboygan and as an alumni of Bishop Baraga, is very excited to return to teach at his elementary alma mater. In his free time, Mr. Eustice enjoys being on the water, reading, golfing, playing and coaching hockey, skiing, and being outdoors. Mr. Eustice is excited to join the Bishop Baraga team.
Molly Mousseau – Third Grade
Mrs. Molly Mousseau teaches third grade, as well as fourth grade social studies. Mrs. Mousseau received a Bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College in 1987 and has been teaching in Catholic schools ever since. She also did Graduate work at Central Michigan University.
Mrs. Mousseau is the Scrip Coordinator and sits on the Retreat Committee. She has also been a faculty advisor for Student Council.
Mrs. Mousseau sings in the choir at school masses and is a cantor and choir member at Cross in the Woods in Indian River. She performs sacred music with the musical group Per Crucem. Mrs. Mousseau is also a certified yoga teacher.
Katherine Lentell – Fourth Grade
Mrs. Lentell is the 4th grade Homeroom Teacher and Science Chair at Bishop Baraga. She holds degrees from Cape Cod Community College and Central Michigan University, and is currently enrolled in a graduate program as well. Katherine is an active member of the Marketing Committee and the Emergency Management Committee. She also dedicates time to St. Mary’s St. Charles as a Lector, and Eucharistic Minister.
Jill Kwiatkowski – Middle School Teacher & Fifth Grade Homeroom
Jill is a retired Bishop Baraga teacher returning to teach part time after a short retirement having taught at Cheboygan Catholic Schools since 1976 after graduating from Northern Michigan University. She has taught in all grades K-8. Some long term positions have been the Social Studies teacher for 5th thru 7th grades, Art Electives, Math Differentiated Learning, and 5th Grade Religion. She has filled in as Acting Principal when Mrs. LaBlance was away. Jill has been a longtime member of the Baraga Boosters raising funds to help keep tuition at an affordable cost and was a faculty facilitator for the Student Council and Battle of the Books.
Chase Closs – Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, Middle School Teacher & Sixth Grade Homeroom
Mr. Closs is an experienced teacher of 6 years and currently teaches science, math and language arts in our junior high hall. He is a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University and is currently seeking a Master’s degree in elementary education. He recently earned his Catholic School Leadership Certificate through Loyola Marymount University and has continued to bring newfound knowledge and educational trends to BBCS. Mr. Closs has taken the role of Vice Principal in our school, which allows him to be highly involved in our curriculum development, school policies, strategic planning and staff development. He oversees all school
athletics and extracurricular programs, as well as sits on various boards and committees within the school. Mr. Closs and his family are happy to be a rooted in our school and part of the Baraga community.
Cynthia Homant – Middle School Teacher & Seventh Grade Homeroom
Cynthia Homant is the Seventh Grade Home Room and one of the Upper Hall Social Studies, Math and Language Arts teachers. She is the tutor for the Study Table after school program. Ms. Homant is a veteran teacher of 30 years having experience in both public and Catholic schools (St. Ann’s and All Saints in Alpena and St. Jude in Grand Rapids). She brings with her experience as a Gifted and Resource Teacher in Colorado and comes with a Highly Qualified endorsement for Middle School Social Studies and will challenge and set high goals for students. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.
Bob Derris – Maintenance Mechanic
Mr. Bob Derris is head of maintenance for both Bishop Baraga and C.P.R. Parishes. He is the parent of 5 past alumni’s. He has interests in motorcycles, golf, scuba diving, pickleball, bowling, and a number of other physical activities. One major accomplished activity was a cross country bicycle trip from Virginia to Oregon taking 82 days. You may also see him at mass frequently cantoring or playing his cello
Mitch LaPorte – Custodian
Mitch was born in Jackson, Michigan and later came to Cheboygan in 1970. He has been married to Lois almost 40 years with one son, Nicholas, and three grandchildren living downstate in Jackson.
Spare time for Mitch consists of working among his flowerbeds, deer hunting and serving the Inverness community as a volunteer firefighter. Since 2002, he and his wife Lois have been short term advocates for the Cheboygan Sheriff. They help families against crime by giving immediate moral support. He has been a Cursillo member and is now involved in “That Man Is You” recently started at St. Mary St. Charles Parish.
Mitch worked 25 years at Cheboygan Community Hospital then was hired on at Salvation Army for another 15 years. He is now at Cheboygan Catholic Community with the majority of his custodial duties at Bishop Baraga Catholic School. He feels very blessed and humble to work for Cheboygan Catholic Community and taking care of the school. Mitch is always ready to help.
Lorraine Leightner – Middle School Teacher & Fifth Grade Homeroom
Mrs. Leighter is a retired special education and Language Arts teacher with 35 years experience. Although she has taught students of all grade levels in K-12, most of her years were spent in middle school classrooms.
Mrs. Leightner earned her undergraduate degrees in Special Education and Language Arts, with an emphasis on teaching reading from Central Michigan University. Later in her career she earned a Masters in School and Personal Counseling. She is happy to be back in the classroom and contributing to the education of youth.