President & School Board

President & School Board

The Stella Maris Academy Board operates with limited jurisdiction per the approved bylaws. The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Duluth serves as the organization's sole member. This structure is different than parish-school governance where the pastor serves as the sole member with an advisory school board.

“A governance structure is intended to interpret and steward the organization’s mission on behalf of the community. It holds the organization accountable on behalf of the community and encourages the community’s support of the organization.” Managing for Mission (Page 315)

“The board not only holds the administration and other employees accountable, it also works to make sure that the institution has the resources and public support it needs to carry out its mission. Board members serve as ambassadors to the community. They set an example to the community by their personal gifts of time, talent and treasure commensurate with their capacity.”  Managing for Mission (Pages 319-320)

“An excellent Catholic school has a governing body (person or persons) which recognizes and respects the role(s) of the appropriate and legitimate authorities, and exercises responsible decision making (authoritative, consultative, advisory) in collaboration with the leadership team for development and oversight of the school’s fidelity to mission, academic excellence, and operation vitality.” National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (Page 8)

The SMA Board operates with up to 13 voting members and 2 non-voting members as appointed by the Bishop. The Diocesan Director of Catholic Schools and the President of Stella Maris Academy serve as ex-officio non-voting members. In addition to members of the Board, non-board members can be appointed to Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees. Nominations for open board positions are submitted by the Board to the Bishop prior to the Annual Meeting in March. 

The board currently maintains the following Standing Committees:

  • Executive Committee – Organizes the board’s work including preparing the meeting agenda. The Executive Committee may also serve as the nominating committee to fill open board positions.
  • Finance Committee – Assists in the development of the annual budget for approval by the full Board and by the Sole Member. The Finance Committee oversees implementation of the budget and provides periodic financial reports to the Board.
  • Development Committee – Assists in the development of the annual budget and provides active leadership in the development efforts of the organization.
  • Facilities Committee – Develops and maintains a facilities plan designed to continuously support the implementation of the educational mission of the school.

The board currently maintains the following Ad Hoc committees:

  • Technology Committee – Recommends the systems for data management and other functions necessary in the administration of the school. The Diocese of Duluth Technology Committee currently serves this role for Stella Maris Academy.
  • High School Task Force – Commissioned to prepare Stella Maris Academy for high school programming by the 2018/2019 school year.
  • Formation Model Committee – Advances the understanding and implementation of the Formation Model of Education for Stella Maris Academy.

The SMA Board meets on the first Thursday of each month at 4 pm CT unless noted otherwise. Opportunity for public comment is provided during the first 20 minutes of each board meeting. The public is welcome to stay for the duration of the board meeting unless an executive session is called for matters requiring private board deliberation. Items for consideration on the meeting agenda shall be submitted to the board via email at board@stellamaris.academy at least 2 weeks before the next scheduled board meeting. 

Interim President, Hilaire Hauer: Member and Trustee of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. Consultant in process improvement, organizational culture,Hilaire Hauer change management, employee training/organizational development, healthcare patient experience.  BAS, Community Health Education and Psychology; M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Has also served with Called To Be One planning team, high school faith formation and parish evangelization team; planning committee for the Diocesan Women's Conference; leadership council at the UMD Newman Campus Ministry.

"Hilaire has been instrumental in our success to date serving with enthusiasm during the Called To Be One planning process and continuing her service on the Stella Maris Academy Board. Hilaire's leadership and collaborative style will serve our community well as planning and work continues in support of a successful 2017/2018 school year for our children and families. On behalf of the Board, Hilaire, we thank you for your leadership and faith in the success of Stella Maris Academy." (Laura Schauer - SMA Board member)

Governing Board for Stella Maris Academy

Fr. James Bissonette: Pastor of St. James Parish and St. Elizabeth Parish, Duluth, MN.

Sr. Edith Bogue, O.S.B.: Member of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, MN.  Vocation Director and Oblate Director, St. Scholastica Monastery; Assoc. Professor, College of St. Scholastica.  B.A., History; Carleton College; M.A., School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago; Ph.D., Sociology and Social Work, University of Michigan. Has also served with the National Religious Vocation Conference, Federation of St. Benedict, Duluth Public Library Board, and Called To Be One planning team.

Paul Fitzgerald: Member of St. John's Parish.  Owner and Veterinarian, Airport Animal Hospital.  B.S., Biomedical Science, St. Cloud State University; DVM, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Has also served with the Called To Be One planning team, Animal Allies Humane Society, St. John's School Commission, Dravet.org Board, Epilepsy Foundation of MN, Northern Regional Advisory Committee.

Mary Lou Jennings: Member of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.  Executive Director, Sister Thea Bowman Foundation.  B.S., Nursing, Georgetown University; B.S., French, Michigan State University. Graduate study: Michigan State Univ. (French Literature), Fordham University (Scripture and Spirituality), St. John's University (Theology and Scripture).  Has also served as fundraiser for St. Mary's Catholic school on the island of St. Vincent.

Fr. Richard Kunst: Pastor of St. John's the Evangelist Parish, Duluth and St. Joseph Parish, Gnesen.  

Bob Lisi, Chair: Member of St. John Parish.  Civil Engineer, LHB, Inc.  B.S., M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison; M.S., Landscape Architecture, UW-Madison  Has also served with St. John's Parish trustees,  Called To Be One planning team, St. John's School Committee, Little League Baseball, AYSA soccer teams, City of Duluth flag football.

Fr. Ryan Moravitz: Pastor of St. Lawrence, Holy Family and St. Joseph's in Duluth. Director of Vocations, Diocese of Duluth.  B.A., Philosophy, St. Mary's University of Minnesota. Elementary Education studies, University of Minnesota-Duluth. S.T.B. (Theology) and S.T.L. (Dogmatic Studies), Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. M.A. in progress, Philanthropy and Development, St. Mary's University of Minnesota.  Has also served with Called To Be One planning team, Diocesan Development Director hiring team, youth ministry at Queen of Peace Parish and School, Cloquet, 125th Anniversary Eucharistic Processional Planning Team.

Fr. Peter Muhich: Rector of Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral and Pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish and Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Duluth.    

Karen Newstrom: Member of St. Michael's Parish.  Substitute teacher with St. Michael's School and St. John's School.  B.A., Elementary Education, College of St. Scholastica. Has also served in liturgical ministries at parish and Ecumen (Lakeshore),  St. Michael's Scholarship Committee, and Called To Be One planning team.

Steve Olson: Member of St. Francis Xavier, Superior Parish.  Employed as Attornye at Maki, Ledin, Bick & Olson, S.C..  B.A., College of St. Scholastica. J.D., Creighton University.  Has also served with the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce,  United Way Board, Superior Jaycee's, and Superior-Douglas County YMCA.

Laura Schauer: Member of St. James Parish.  Chief Financial Officer, ALLETE Clean Energy, Inc. B.A., Accounting and Finance, College of St. Catherine; M.B.A. (Finance), University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business. Graduate of MN Executive Program, Carlson School of Management. Has also served with Great Lakes United Way, Rotarian, and St. James School Board.

Cynthia Zook: Director of Schools, Diocese of Duluth.  B.S., Elementary Education, University of Minnesota-Duluth; M.S., Public and Non-Public School Administration, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. Has also served with the Pension Board Committee, Catechesis Committee, and Review Board of the Diocese of Duluth, The Northern Cross board, Duluth Area Catholic Schools Board, St. Michael's Church Scholarship Committee, Essentia Health Foundation Board, National Catholic Education Association and Called To Be One planning team.