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


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

Hobbies: Traveling

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

Alumni Children:

Brandon Barron '12

Nichole Barron '15


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

Chief of Maintenance Operations

John Patriarca

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - American International College

"I enjoy working at St. Joe because my line of work (facilities) is interesting. We also have great staff and management."

Hobbies: "I enjoy the beach, playing golf, traveling, and gambling."

Fun Fact: "I ride my bike or walk to work."

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."


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."


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!"

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."


Samantha Delaney

Bachelor of Art in Biology - Saint Anselm College

Master of Education Candidate - The University of Notre Dame

"I chose to teach at SJA because I love my Marist family. Saint Joseph Academy is more than just a school - we are a community trying to help each student reach college and heaven." 

Hobbies: "I love to bake. Last year, I made my cousin's wedding cake!"


Daniela Espinosa '00

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

"What I love most about teaching at St. Joe is 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!"


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


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."


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."


Language Arts

Patricia Tillman-Gonzalez

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

"I choose to teach at SJA because religion is the basis of all learning."

Hobbies: "I enjoy playing card games with friends, barbeques, and concerts."


Jeff Gowen

Bachelor of Science in Education - The University of Houston

Master of Arts in History - Norwich University

"I choose to share my talents at Saint Joseph Academy because I enjoy educating children at a higher level."

Hobbies: "I enjoy bicycling and traveling."

Alumni Children:

Logan Gowen '02

Christian Gowen '07

Jeffrey Gowen '15


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!"

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."

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."


Kathryn Lieder

Bachelor of Arts in English - Boston College

Masters Candidate - The University of Notre Dame

"I love that St. Joe has a strong sense of community rooted in our shared faith. Students, teachers, and administrators care deeply about one another and are committed to fostering a faith-filled community."

Hobbies: "I enjoy running and spending time outside with my family and friends."

Fun Fact: "I'm from Connecticut, and I'm grateful to be here at SJA as part of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education."

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