Administration

President

Michael Motyl

Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and Mathematics - Boston College

Master of Education and Master of Arts - The University of Notre Dame

"Working at SJA brings me much joy. I love the community of students, faculty, and families and the spirit they have for St. Joe."

Hobbies: "I enjoy time at the beach with my family." 

Fun Fact: "I played rugby in college."

Alumni Children:

Eliut Motyl '19


Principal

Melissa Valadez '90

Master of Education in Educational Leadership - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"Coming to work at St. Joe was like coming back home. People of all ages support one another in our academic and faith journeys."

Hobbies: "I love to read! I read a new book almost every other day."

Fun Fact: "I'm a Netflix junkie."

Alumni Children:

Cristobal Valadez '10

Cristian Valadez '10

Eros Valadez '17


VP of Academy Advancement & Alumni Affairs

Donna Barron

Bachelor of Social Work - Texas State University at San Marcos

"St. Joe for me is more than a job; it's a family."

Hobbies: Traveling

Fun Fact: "I married my SJA high school sweetheart, Eric Barron '83."

Alumni Children:

Brandon Barron '12

Nichole Barron '15



Comptroller

Marcia Martinez '88, CPA

Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting

"I chose SJA because of the community. When you work here or if your children attend here (like mine), this place becomes a second family."

Hobbies: "I enjoy working out."

Fun Fact: "I have a long history with Saint Joseph Academy. My siblings and I graduated from here, my son graduated from here, and my daughter will graduate from here this year, too!. We're a Bloodhound family, for sure."

Alumni Children:

Jason Martinez '18

Alyssa Martinez '20


Athletic Director and Head High School Football Coach

Tino Villarreal '99

Bachelor of Business Administration - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"I choose to share my talents at St. Joe because it helped me become the person I am today."

Hobbies: "I enjoying hunting, cooking and playing golf."


Chief of Maintenance Operations

Israel Barela

"I look forward to growing as an individual this year in areas of leadership, facilities management, and helping all by the example of a humble, teachable attitude. My goal is to be a blessing in all I do and say."

Hobbies: "One of my favorite hobbies is riding my motorcycle especially when the weather is cooler. I also love to do carpentry and other construction projects."

Fun Fact: "I enjoy all kinds of music. One of my daughters has me jamming out to BTS, a Korean pop band."

Faculty

Chemistry

Jesus Abrego

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry - The University of Texas Brownsville

Master of Science in Chemistry - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

"I do not want to be a teacher anywhere else. I just want to inspire people to learn some science, and if it takes memorizing the periodic table or a little explosion, then so be it.”

Hobbies: "I enjoy reading some books, playing video games, doing mud runs, learning, joke-writing, and woodworking (just starting).​​​​​

Fun Fact: "I worked on an electrochemical testbed component for the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander. I was 1st chair in Marching Band and Concert Band in High School. My favorite actor of all time is Jim Varney, but my 2 favorite people are my wife and son."

 

Religion and Computer Technology

Leslie Abrego

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"The main reason I teach at SJA is because of God. I believe He placed me here at the right time. I believe in Catholic education."

Hobbies: "I enjoy dancing, drawing, painting, and being creative."


Religion and Engineering

David Bonnet

Bachelor of Science - Mechanical Engineering - The University of Memphis

"I find sharing my talents at SJA a calling. I get to teach the subjects I love and share my Catholic faith in a family setting."

Hobbies: "I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren and working on small home projects."


French

Dylan Burns

Bachelor of Arts - The University of Colorado at Boulder

"I chose SJA for the faith-based education. What I love most is the trust placed in teachers to use their expertise in an effective way."

Fun Fact: "I've written and produced two full-length records, written one novel, and fallen into a glacier crevasse (I made it out ok!)."


Campus Ministry

Antonio Cantu '75

Bachelor of Arts - The University of St. Thomas

"I have truly learned to walk with people. It's a blessing. Through retreats and our mission program, I have the very unique ability to show people the face of God AND I see His face continually."

Hobbies: "I LOVE to travel. My goal is to visit Southeast Asia and Tibet extensively. The Northern Lights and The Great Migration are definitely on my bucket list. The New York theatre is always a must!"


Geometry and Algebra

Rafael Cantu

Bachelors of Science - Secondary Education, majoring in Kinesiology and minoring in Mathematics from Texas A&I (currently known as Texas A&M Kingsville)

Rafael is a dedicated educator that has served 4 school districts for a total of 30 years. His teaching career began in Los Fresnos CISD at the junior high level, teaching 7th and 8th grade math while coaching football and basketball. In the spring of 2002, Rafael continued his career teaching geometry and Pre-AP geometry. Before transitioning to St. Joe, Rafael taught math at Lackland ISD in both middle and high school. 

Besides his passion for coaching and teaching, he enjoys outdoor activities, logic puzzles and problems, and traveling. 

 

Rafael has checked off a couple of items from his bucket list such as: attending a baseball game at every Major League Baseball park and traveling to every state in the U.S.


Guidance Counselor

Olga Cisneros

Master in Education - Texas Women's University

"What I love about our students is that they are focused and understand the importance of going to college"

Hobbies: "I enjoy being with family and traveling with them."


English 

Mathew Curoe

Bachelor of Arts in English (Magna Cum Laude) and Minors in Eduation and Philosophy - The Ohio State University 

Master of Education Candidate - University of Nortre Dame

 

Matt is a proud Ohio native and has lived in all three of the major cities: Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. In his spare time, Matt enjoys being outside, reading, watching football and hockey, and spending time with his friends. 

 


History

Letty Davila

Bachelor of Government - The University of Texas-Pan American

"I love the Marist community, my students, my classroom and SJA!"

Hobbies: I enjoy playing bingo and following politics on Twitter."


Science

Daniela Espinosa '00

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"What I love most about teaching at St. Joe are the students!"

Hobbies: I love to hunt.

Fun Fact: "I love coaching/directing our dance team. As a matter of fact, I was on the school's very first dance team!"

Proud Parent of a Current Bloodhound:

Manny Torres '26


Math

Dr. Stella Filizola

Education Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction - The University of Houston

"I choose to work at Saint Joseph Academy because it truly is my family."

Fun Fact: "I have been involved with St. Joe for 60 years."

Alumni Children:

Ricardo Filizola '93

Betty Filizola '97


Spanish

Manuel Gamez

Bachelor in Education - Escuela Normal Superior

"I love that Saint Joseph Academy has given me the opportunity to do what I love in a spiritual community with a wonderful mission."

Hobbies: "I enjoy photography, designing, reading, writing poetry and running."


Religion

Bro. Francis Garza '58

Bachelor of Art in Chemistry - St. Mary's University

Master of Art in Science - Marist College

Master of Art in Religious Studies - The University of Missouri

"I chose Saint Joseph Academy to give back what I was given - a sense of family and a religious environment."

Hobbies: "I enjoy fishing and gardening."

 



Spanish

Edith Guerra

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"I choose to teach at Saint Joseph Academy because it strives in the Marist tradition and I truly believe it is the best middle and high school in our community. I love teaching here because our programs show results. We have quality. It brings together the past, present, and the future"

Hobbies: "I am a photographer at heart. I love to read and travel."

Fun Fact: "I have four kids at home and still find time to bake!"


English and Language Arts

Eric Gonzales

Bachelor of Liberal Arts in History - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Born and raised in Brownsville, Texas. This will be the start of the seventeenth year in education for Mr.Gonzales. He will be teaching Language Arts at Saint Joseph Academy as well as coaching football this upcoming season. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his family, reading history books, and listening to music.

 

Fun Fact: Mr. Gonzales is a former radio disc jockey and has worked for various radio stations in the valley, including KVLY, KFRQ, KJAV, KVPA, KHKZ, KQXX, KBFM, and KTEX. He still works in the voice-over industry and you can hear his voice on local commercials.  


Government and History

Kevin Hickson

Bachelor of Science - The University of Texas at Austin

Master of Arts in History - Pan American University

"I enjoy teaching and working with students. St. Joe is also like an extended family."

Hobbies: "I enjoy reading, running and cheering on UT, the Astros, the Celtics, and the Cowboys."

Alumni Children: Kevin Hickson '03


Language Arts, Government, Speech, Theatre Director

Chris Ikner

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre - New York University

"I'm so thrilled to be part of the SJA family! It feels great to be part of such a positive, family environment. I am looking forward to working with students of all ages and seeing them grow not only in the classroom but also as well-rounded artists."

Hobbies: "I'm a runner, an animal lover, I love music and art of all kinds, and I enjoy spending time with my friends and family."

Fun Fact: "My very first job was a Disney Prince at Walt Disney World."


Guidance and Counseling

Lindsay Irwin

Bachelor of Music - The University of Texas at Austin

Master of Education - Pan American University

"I choose SJA because I believe in the Marist philosophy that says 'to teach them, you must love them first'. I want to help our students reach their potential and follow their dreams."

Hobbies: "I enjoy reading, sewing, playing the piano, and spending time with my three grandchildren."

Alumni Children: 

David Irwin '02

Bill Irwin '04


English

Hanna Kennedy

Bachelor of Arts in English - University of Notre Dame

Master of Education Candidate - University of Notre Dame

"I'm excited to join the community at SJA. I can't wait to share the subject I love in such a welcoming and faith-based setting."

Hobbies: "I love to handwrite letters and mail them to family and friends."

Fun Fact: "Even though I'm from Seattle, I managed to grow lemon and lime trees at home."


Physical Education

Eduardo "Teddy" Lopez '87

Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology - Texas A & M University

"I love the community and family atmosphere that you find here at St. Joe."

Hobbies: "I enjoy fishing, running, and kayaking."

Alumni Children:

Megan Lopez '15

Michael Lopez '18


Religion

Joseph LoGiudice

Bachelor of Art in History - St. Joseph's College

Masters in Theology - St. John's University

He has taught in elementary, junior high, and high school settings in all grades and subjects, as well as ministered in both the parish and school settings. When he is not at SJA, you can find him reading on the couch, at the movies, or volunteering over the summer. In fact, he has been to 3 of the 7 New Wonders of the World while on summer mission trips. He looks forward to settling into the Brownsville community and welcomes any suggestions for restaurants, local events, and fun activities to enjoy here.


English and Religion

Mary Beth Martin

Master of Education in Elementary Education/Curriculum & Instruction - Boston College

"I love the Marist values and the supportive family atmosphere at St. Joe. I am grateful for the privilege of being able to pray together every day as a school community."

Hobbies: "I enjoy reading and traveling."

Fun Fact: "I grew up in the small town of Freehold, NJ, which is also the hometown of Bruce Springsteen."

Alumni Children:

Daniel Martin '18

Claire Martin '19


Human and World Geography, Economics, and U.S. History

Rosendo Munoz

Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

From the Harlingen area, born and raised. I have also lived in Virginia and Tennessee too.  I have worked with professional boxing and amateur for the past few years as a strength and conditioning coach.

I will be teaching human and world geography along with US history and will be helping with our athletic department. I like a great many of things and can talk on a number of topics 


Calculus and Algebra

Phong Nguyen

Bachelors in Mathematics - The University of Texas at Brownsville

Masters in Mathematics - The University of Texas at Brownsville

Phong Nguyen is Vietnamese and immigrated to the US at a young age. He grew up in California but eventually moved to Brownsville and graduated from Hanna High School. After graduating college, he taught for 5 years as a mathematics lecturer at the university. Now he’s excited to be teaching math at SJA.

He enjoys reading a good fantasy/sci-fi book, watching tv/movies, and playing catch with his Pekingese named Pabu. 


Business Management & Computer Science

Roberta Pacheco

Master of Education in Educational Technology - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

"I whole-heartedly support the Marist mission for the school. I love making Jesus known and loved while helping students see how precious they are to God."

Hobbies: "I enjoy hiking and camping with my dog."

Fun Fact: "I walked the Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela."

Alumni Children: 

Katrina Pacheco '15


Librarian

Pam Quantz

Master of Fine Arts - The University of North Texas

"Saint Joseph Academy is such a wonderful place to teach because it is founded in faith. It is a blessing to be able to speak openly about our faith and pray with each other."

Fun Fact: "I read over 100 books every year. I love Harry Potter books and hope to go to Universal Studios to see Diagon Alley and ride Hogwarts Express!"

Alumni Children

Olivia Quantz '12


Learning Center Director

Ida Saenz

Masters of Education in Secondary Education, Certified Education Supervisor, Certified Mid-Management Administrator - Texas A & I University and Stephen F. Austin University

"I love the children at St. Joe - it is such a pleasure to get up and come back to work because I know that the children will be coming to my room during the day."

Fun Fact: "I love the Hallmark Channel. I love happy endings. I enjoy fellowshipping with my peers."


Theatre Arts

Zachary Stutts

Bachelor of Arts in Music-Voice Performance - Mercer University

"I came to SJA to re-establish a theatre presence on campus through elective courses and provide performance opportunities for students at large. Theatre arts is a truly meaningful area of study that allows a student/participant to expand on personal, artistic and expression skills, It also helps students improve on the ability to collaborate with peers, confidence, critical analysis,  public speaking, and teamwork."

Fun Fact: "I am the Operations Director of Camille Playhouse. Since coming to the valley, I have worked on over 60 productions in addition to regularly serving as music director and scenic design to most of the productions we have had the last three seasons at Camille.


Math

Faviola Sosa

Bachelor in Mathematics - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"I love the fact that at Saint Joseph Academy I can help students wisdom grow both intellectually and spiritually."

Fun Fact: "I am a loud and proud soccer mom!"


Physical Education

Monique Carré Stachowiak '87

Bachelor of Business Administration - The University of Texas at Austin

"I choose to share my talents at Saint Joseph Academy because I truly believe it's the best school in the valley."

Hobbies: "I enjoy fishing and skateboarding."

Alumni Children:

Eric Stachowiak '19

Alison Stachowiak '20


Guidance and Counseling

Vilma Barbosa-Wolfe

Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"My role as a counselor helps achieve my genuine passion and commitment to the education of our youth. My greatest reward for the work that I do at SJA is the direct acknowledgment I receive from students and their families."

Hobbies: "I enjoy traveling and skiing."

Fun Fact: "If I could, I would be a life-long student. I enjoy learning new things."

Alumni Children: 

Tatiana Wolfe '18

Daniel Wolfe '20

 


Biology and Physics 

Markus Villanueva '16

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering - Texas A&M University

Masters in Engineering Systems Management - Texas A&M University (in progress)

This 2021 summer, he was a Recruitment, Strategy, & Sales Intern at Continental Technology Solutions in Houston, TX. 


An alumnus of Saint Joseph Academy, he returns to teach middle and high school science to the next generation of students.

Fun Facts: When not grading assignments or working on his own coursework, he can be found relaxing watching Survivor or any other reality show. Looking forward to the new school year, he is grateful to be a part of an amazing group of educators, administrators, and faculty to facilitate the spiritual, intellectual, and vocational development of SJA’s students. 

 


Staff

Registrar

Leatrice Bradford

Bachelor of Science - Texas A & M University-College Station

"I love working with the kids in Marist Youth and Model UN. I've enjoyed the new friendships I've made with my transition from the classroom into the office."

Hobbies: "I enjoy watching college football, traveling and being with my family."

Alumni Children:

Nick Bradford '04

Mitchell Bradford '06


Director of Communications and Foundations

Brianna Cantu

Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communications (Cum Laude) - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

"Being a part of St. Joe is truly a wonderful experience. The presence of God is filled through every area of our campus. The work of God is active here and there is nowhere else I'd rather be."

Brianna has formerly worked with the Houston Texans and the National Football League (NFL) for Super Bowl 51 in the Corporate Communications department. On her spare time, she enjoys working out, being outdoors, teaching dance with ADTS, watching sports and spending quality time with her two dogs and family.


Facilities Manager

Tony Chavez '80

"I love Saint Joseph Academy because it's my second home."

Hobbies: "I have too many to list!"


Executive Assistant to the President & Vice President of Academy Affairs & Alumni Relations

Felipa L. Gamez

"I had the honor of working for two Marist brothers at SJA - Brother Charles Imbergamo and the late Brother Richard Sharp. These great men were kind, faithful and devoted. They worked ardently to continue the mission of Marist educators and leaders. They both instilled in me a love and devotion to my work."

Fun Fact: "I love Christmas, and start listening to Christmas music in July. I also love to organize so much that I swear I'm more organized than the FBI."

Hobbies: "I enjoy watching Hallmark movies as well as horror films."


Administrative Assistant to the Principal

Linda De los Santos

Bachelor of Arts - The University of Texas at Brownsville

"I choose to share my talents at SJA because I can assist in the mission of preparing our students to meet the social challenges that await them at the university level. Being at SJA allows me the opportunity to use my education and natural God-given skills in a Catholic school setting."

Hobbies: "I enjoy dancing, singing, swimming, exercising, and listening to music."

Fun Fact: "I enjoy mowing the lawn, and using a weedeater. I was captain of my drill team in high school and college!"


Bookkeeper

Lupita Schlater

Master in Business Administration - Universidad Autonoma del Noreste

"A positive workplace can be difficult to find these days but I have that here at Saint Joseph Academy."

Hobbies: "I enjoy gardening, painting and arts and crafts."

SJA Alumni Children:

Michael Schlater '14

David Schlater '16


COVID-19 Coordinator and Athletic Trainer

Lark Starkey

Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science/Health and Wellness - Arizona State University

"I love helping kids see their potential and what they didn't even know was possible. It is exciting to encourage and teach them the skills and mindset necessary to turn dreams into goals that can be accomplished."

Hobbies: "I love attending sporting events, traveling, and experiencing new cultures and foods."

Fun Fact: "I grew up in a small town in Northern Arizona called Sedona but I was born in Premont, TX where my dad's family is from."

Proud Parent of a Current Bloodhound:

Reid Starkey '26


Security Guard

Raul Treviño

"I love that I get to promote the moral values of young people into society by working at St. Joe."

Hobbies: I enjoy going to classes to practice martial arts and do different sports with the family."


Director of Admissions

Normalinda Vera

Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication - The University of Texas at Brownsville

Master in Organizational Leadership - Our Lady of the Lake University

"As I was driving in and the gates were opening, I knew Saint Joseph Academy was where I would settle and make my second home. Most of my career has been in Enrollment Management beginning from admissions, to advising, registrars, and financial aid. I find fulfillment in seeing the smiles on student's and parent's faces when they have been accepted. Especially knowing that they are coming here not just for the collegiate level education but for the values and morals that have been established by the Marist.”

 

My hobbies include, well it’s more of an addiction, is buying purses and jewelry!!!

 

Fun Fact: "I danced in a Flamenco/Folkloric group for over ten years. I did a little hip-hop dancing too!!”