It should be noted that teachers and staff willingly receive lower salaries than the norm for their experience and credentials. This sacrificial dedication is a sign of their apostolic zeal for what they see as a vocation. Such sacrifice contributes substantially to the financial stability of the Academy.
The Administrative Team
Board of Directors:
Eric Wassmuth, President
Ken Bock, Vice President
Brandon Rehder, Treasurer
Alex Frei, Secretary
Sheryl Nuxoll, Voting Member
Fr. Paul Wander, Tri-Parish Pastor
Statement of Faith
Every year, our faculty and staff willingly express their faithfulness to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church by publicly signing the Oath of Fidelity.
Mr. Jim Hickel: Principal
Mr. Hickel was born and raised in Alaska along with his sixteen siblings. He attended the College of Saint Mary Magdalen and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Theology and Philosophy. He then received a Masters in Educational Leadership from Texas A & M University. He began teaching in 1980 to "help students learn how to learn and to share the excitement and beauty of learning."
He began at St. John Bosco Academy in August of 2013 after having been involved in Catholic education and administration for thirty-five years. He first heard of St. John Bosco Academy from a colleague who had worked at here. His best memory at St. John Bosco Academy was when he first arrived:
"When we arrived at our house in Cottonwood with the truck and trailer loaded with all of our household furniture, there were at least a dozen people already at our new home to greet us. They all stayed to help us move in. They even brought food for the day and a stock of groceries. We had never felt so welcomed anywhere before. I will always remember that day and cherish the wonderful families at Summit Academy."
In order to improve St. John Bosco Academy, Mr. Hickel would like to continue to encourage the many good traditions already in place at Summit and to do his best to learn from the Summit families the true spirit of charity and good will. He wants to do his best to assist the students to excel in all of their endeavors as future leaders and soldiers of Christ.
"I have noticed that the students have a good work ethic from home life and are therefore willing to engage in academic rigor when directed. I hope and pray that each will become great saints."
Ms. Amy Gorges: Administrative Assistant and School Secretary, Junior High Athletic Director
Mrs. Gorges grew up in Greencreek, Idaho near Cottonwood where she attended Prairie High School. She then graduated from Boise State University with a degree in Horticulture. Currently, she is the Administrative Assistant at St. John Bosco Academy, and resides in her hometown of Greencreek. She joined the St. John Bosco Academy Staff in November 2012 because she fell in love with the school once her children enrolled and because she enjoys working with people and helping them with whatever she can. She said she loves the kids here because they are very respectful, hard-working, intellectual and a joy to be around as they have good grades and live up to our motto, "Excelsior".
Her favorite part of St. John Bosco Academy is the parent volunteers. Their dedication and love for the school always shows through in any event the school puts on. “The accomplishments of our school’s parents help motivate me to put my best into everything I do.”
In her free time, she enjoys hunting, camping, and hiking with her family. She also operates a firearms training business with her husband, Jim. Mrs. Gorges states, “The wonderful part about living in Idaho is having the wilderness for your backyard!”
Mrs. Alea Wassmuth: School Communications & Development
Mrs. Wassmuth was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho. While attending Lewis-Clark State College, majoring in Business Administration, she met her husband who was raised on a farm on the Camas Prairie. After graduation, they moved back to take over the family farm. She became involved in the St. John Bosco Academy community in 2006 when their oldest child began preschool. She has four children attending St. John Bosco Academy in grades 4-11. She was a stay at home mom until 2015 when her youngest began 1st grade.
One of her favorite things about Summit is the family atmosphere. “Before school you can often see students of all ages playing basketball together”, she said. She enjoys working in a Catholic environment and giving and receiving encouragement in the faith.
The Faculty Team
Mrs. Denise Mager, Director, Christ the King Daycare
Mrs. Mager was born and raised in Billings, Montana. She moved to Cottonwood in 2008. She is certified in pre-education and previously ran an in-home daycare. She and her husband John have eight children between them, the youngest is enrolled at SJB.
She subbed at the school and daycare before becoming the daycare director in 2019. She and John also own Mager Bargains.
Mrs. Mager "strongly believes that children are a beautiful gift from God and each and every one of them are precious in their own way."
Miss Tara Stubbers: Preschool
Miss Tara Stubbers was born and raised on the family farm in Greencreek, a small community near St. John Bosco Academy. She attended the local public school before transferring to St. John Bosco Academy in 7th grade. She loved how God was brought into every subject and remembers being amazed that God could even be a part of math. She enjoyed having teachers that wanted her to succeed academically as well as socially and spiritually. After graduating in 2010, Miss Stubbers attended the University of Idaho and graduated from there in 2014.
Miss Stubbers worked in the agriculture industry for a few years before returning to her alma mater in 2017. "I had such a great experience when I went through St. John Bosco Academy as a student and I love that I get to be a part of giving that same great experience to current students of St. John Bosco Academy."
Mrs. Kelsie Duman, Kindergarten
Mrs. Duman was raised in Lewiston with her three siblings. A born teacher, Mrs. Duman began her 'classroom time' at home playing teacher with her younger brother and sister. Her grandparents live in the Cottonwood area, so she spent much time here growing up. She graduated from Lewiston High school and attended Lewis-Clark State College, studying elementary education.
Mrs. Duman married Nate in 2011 and they have three children who are enrolled in 1st grade, Kindergarten and Preschool. They enjoy spending time as a family on their farm and ranch.
"I felt called to move our children to St. John Bosco Academy after using the daycare for about a year and seeing the love of Christ throughout the school. When God opened the Kindergarten teaching position door for me I knew it would be an amazing experience for myself and my family. I love the small classroom sizes and the close relationships with other teachers, faculty and students. "
Mrs. Jenny Baldwin: 1st Grade
Mrs. Jenny Baldwin was raised in North Idaho and always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. She graduated from the University of Idaho in 2005 with a degree in Elementary Education and minor in Reading. She taught 1st grade for three years before her oldest child was born.
"I am so happy that I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom until all of my kids were in school, but I always knew I would start teaching again. I am very grateful for the opportunity for myself and my kids to be at St. John Bosco Academy."
Mrs. Shelly Dempsey: 2-3 Grade
Mrs. Shelly Dempsey was raised in Grangeville and attended Sts. Peter & Paul School. She attended Gonzaga University, majoring in Elementary and Special Education, then earning a Master's Degree in Special Education. After working out of the area for a few years and marrying Ray, they returned to Grangeville to raise a daughter and son.
She taught in both mainstream and special education classrooms for several years. The last 14 years she has worked with developmentally disabled adults and children.
Mrs. Susan Wassmuth: 4th Grade
Mrs. Wassmuth was raised on the Prairie in a farming and ranching family. She attended the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College, majoring in Elementary Education.
Mrs. Wassmuth taught Preschool at St. John Bosco Academy before taking a break to be home with her children. In 2019 she returned to teach 4th grade. She has four children enrolled at SJB.
She enjoys spending time with her family, hunting, fishing, and working with their cattle herd.
Mrs. Abigail Haight: 5-6 Grade
Mrs. Haight grew up in Grangeville, ID. She has 4 younger sisters, and all 5 girls attended St. John Bosco Academy (then Summit Academy) in gradeschool. She earned a dual Bachelor's in Biology and Spanish from Lewis-Clark State College. She and her husband Clayne live on a ranch in Glenwood with their two sons. She loves growing her little family on the ranch where they raise cattle and hay.
Mrs. Haight says, “I owe a very dear amount of my formative and intellectual education to SJB, and I would like to see this school and all it represents and stands for continue on for my children, and many other children.”
Mrs. Haight enjoys spending time with her family, and any outdoor activities, including horseback riding, fishing, skiing and running.
Mrs. Cassi Enneking: 7-8 Homeroom, 6 Math, Algebra 1/2, 7-8 Science, Geometry
Mrs. Enneking was born and raised in western Washington. She moved to Idaho in 2012 where she met her husband. She has 2 daughters with a 3rd soon to arrive! She has attended Lewis-Clark State College and Western Governor’s University. She and her family enjoy horseback riding, pack trips, hunting, camping, and swimming.
“After originally thinking that we would solely homeschool our children we looked into St. John Bosco Academy and quickly fell in love. Our oldest daughter has been a student at SJB since her first year of preschool in 2016.” Mrs. Enneking began working at St. John Bosco Academy in 2018.
Miss Abigail Howard: 7-8 History & Literature, 7-8 Religion, 9-10 History
Miss Howard was born and raised in the Treasure Valley where her family has lived for generations. She has three siblings and a large extended family in the area. She graduated from Thomas More College in 2016.
Before coming to St. John Bosco Academy, she spent a year working at a ranch for at risk youth. Miss Howard loves to travel and has plans to visit the three major Christian pilgrimage sites of Rome, Santiago and Jerusalem in the next year. In addition to traveling, she enjoys hiking, theatre, dance, folk music, art reading, swimming and skiing.
Miss Howard received a classical education growing up and is excited to pass on the same education to others.
Mr. David Counts: 9-12 Boys Homeroom, 9-10 Literature, 9-10 Theology, 11-12 Humanities, 7-8 Latin/Grammar
Mr. Counts was raised in Coeur d'Alene with his eleven siblings. Needless to say, loud groups of students don't phase him at all. Mr. Counts graduated from Thomas More College where he also served as a counselor for the Great Books camp.
Mr. Counts like to had advantage of the great outdoors for hiking and also enjoys illustrating and cooking. He has played in several folk music bands as well.
The classical education and strong Catholic identity of St. John Bosco Academy appealed to Mr. Counts. He enjoys personalizing each student's education, something that is possible with small class sizes and not at larger schools.
Mrs. Jordan Wasem: 9-12 Girls Homeroom, Calculus, Physics, Biology, Accounting
Mrs. Wasem was raised in Lewiston Idaho and moved to the Prairie after marrying. She and her husband have a daughter and two sons. She attends Lewis-Clark State College.
Mrs. Wasem was a regular sub for a year before beginning to teach full-time in 2019.
Mrs. Rachel Gehring: 11-12 Theology
Mrs. Rachel (Nuxoll) Gehring is a native of Cottonwood who loved growing up on a ranch with horses. After graduation from Seton Home Study School in 1994, she discerned with the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi. Feeling called to marriage, she attended Franciscan University of Steubenville from 1995-1997, graduating with an Associates in Theology. In 1998, she married Mark, and, together, they have four beautiful children. For years, Mrs. Gehring was a stay-at-home mom who frequently volunteered in Regnum Christi and at the local Catholic school and parish. They moved from Lewiston back to the Camas Prairie in August of 2015.
Ministry has always been on Mrs. Gehring’s mind and heart. In 2013, she was certified in spiritual direction at the Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spirituality in Florida (associated with Franciscan University of Steubenville) and now offers spiritual direction through transformedbymercy.net. In 2016, Mrs. Gehring finished her Bachelor’s in Theology online through St. Joseph’s College of Maine. She is now pursuing a Masters in Pastoral Studies at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Her favorite Scripture is, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life!” (Jn 8: 12). She is excited to teach about the Lord at St. John Bosco Academy!
Mrs. Julie Sonnen: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mrs. Sonnen moved to the Camas Prairie with her family to live on the family farm when she was in 7th grade. She graduated from Prairie High School, then attended the University of Idaho to earn a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a reading endorsement. She has also completed certification for Level I and II of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. After college she returned to the Camas Prairie to teach 1st and 2nd grade at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Grangeville. She married her best friend, Norm Sonnen in 2001. They reside in Greencreek where they run a cattle ranch and own and operate a custom meat processing plant. They have 6 children, five of whom currently attend Summit Academy.
Her initial exposure to St. John Bosco Academy came when her youngest brother began attending in the early years of the school’s operation. A more committed involvement began when their oldest child began preschool in 2006.
Mrs. Sonnen says,”Being a part of the St. John Bosco Academy family has been such a blessing for us. The Catholic culture present at the academy is a rare treasure; one that has helped our family live out our vocation to love. Summit Academy is a Catholic school where faith formation is integrated throughout the entire school day. It is a school where every class, practice, game, or field trip incorporates prayer. A school where students learn about God not just in "religion" class, but in science, history, and humanities as well. A school where sportsmanship is valued above winning. Our kids are given a life where religion, faith, and prayer are not delegated to one class period a day or one hour on Sunday; but rather, it is interwoven throughout everything they do, and I am so thankful!”
Mrs. Theresa Schwartz: Librarian