Faculty and Staff

Father Gregory Abbott
Pastor and Board Member
It is a blessing for me to be the new Pastor of the St. Dominic Parish and School family!
My parents’ blessed me and my three older brothers with the gift of a Catholic education at St. Matthew’s (now Community of Saints) Grade School in St. Paul and Archbishop Brady High School in West St. Paul. I earned a Business degree from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a Masters of Divinity from the St. Paul Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
I have served as an associate priest at St. Michael in St. Michael and Epiphany in Coon Rapids. More recently, I served as the pastor of the clustered parishes of Ascension in Norwood Young America and St. Bernard in Cologne. Before I came to St. Dominic I served for 15 months as a chaplain at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis.
I love being a priest!  But if I didn’t become a priest I could see myself in a Catholic School as a Physical Education Teacher and a Coach because I love sports and teaching children life and faith lessons through sports. Growing up, I played lots of sports–football, basketball, hockey, baseball and tennis. I also enjoyed fishing, bicycle riding and hunting.
I look forward to meeting and getting to know all our students and families. I pray that St. Dominic School can play a vital role in assisting parents as they teach their children about God’s personal and profound love for them and about the marvels of His creation. I am especially excited to worship God with students, faculty, families and parishioners at our weekly Mass.
There is a beautiful passage from Luke 2:52 summarizing Jesus’ growth as a child. It says, “And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” My earnest hope is that each of our St. Dominic students will do the same!
Dawn Biren, Principal

I am honored to be the new principal of St. Dominic School!  Catholic education is a passion of mine both as an educator and a parent.  I have worked in Catholic schools within the Archdiocese since 2006, holding positions as a Development Director, Teacher, and now in my second year as a Principal.  I am excited to continue serving Catholic education in the Northfield community.

I grew up in Catholic education having attended Nativity of Mary in Bloomington, the College of St. Benedict for my Undergraduate degree, the College of St. Scholastica for my Masters degree, and I am currently finishing my K-12 Administrator Licensure program through St. Mary’s University.

My family and I live outside of New Prague where my husband and I have raised our three children.  The College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University hold a special place in our hearts, and we are proud that our two boys have chosen also to attend SJU.  Our daughter is currently a student at New Prague High School and a future Bennie.  Personally I know the dedication and commitment that Catholic school parents exemplify, and I cannot wait to meet the students and families of St. Dominic School!


Kati Reak Sletten, Advancement Director
Advancement Director

Hello! My name is Kati Reak Sletten and I am the Advancement Director at St. Dominic School. My position at school is to work specifically in three areas: retention/recruitment, development, and marketing. I enjoy working with our staff, students, and families daily.

I grew up in Minneapolis and five years ago I moved to Northfield. I spent my formative years in Catholic education and I firmly believe that is what shaped my strong religious background and work ethic. I attended the University of St. Thomas and received a B.A. degree in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Communications. Professionally, I have experience in marketing and personal finance where I have fine-tuned a strong analytical skillset. In my free time, you will find me outside, sewing, and spending my time with my family; especially my three nieces and nephew. My husband and I are welcoming our first child in March of 2021 and we are thrilled about this next adventure!

This year, I look forward to building even stronger community relationships, enhancing our student and family experiences, and effectively communicating the unique opportunities that St. Dominic School provides our students and our school community.

Kayla Paro, Administrative Assistant
Administrative Assistant

Hi! My name is Kayla Paro, and I am the Administrative Assistant. I will be the first person you see when you walk into the building. Before starting at St. Dominic School, I spent 12 years working at St. Olaf with Bon Appetit, most of that time as a Catering Manager. I needed a change and some calm.  I heard about the Administrative Assistant opening at the school and knew it would be a perfect fit. 

When I am not at school, you will find me spending time with my husband Chris, our son Oliver, and our new puppy Phoebe. We enjoy lazy days at home and adventures outside.
This last year has been amazing. SDS is a wonderful community!
Amanda Rauenhorst, Preschool Teacher
Preschool Teacher

I am originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. My family moved to Minnesota from Mississippi after my husband retired from the military. We looked at many different places to live and decided Northfield best suited our family. I feel my best traits are my patience and taking time for those around me.

Everyone has a story to tell and it is important to embrace the joys and challenges in our company. Through these interactions, I hope to bring them as much joy as I know they will for me. My favorite thing about working with children is watching them grow and develop. Each day in the classroom is a learning experience for me as much as it is for them.

I look forward to the upcoming school year and teaching Preschool. I feel very blessed to be part of the St. Dominic School staff and to have my three daughters attend. I am excited to get to know your children and am grateful for this new chapter in my life.

Anna Wagner, Prekindergarten Teacher
PreKindergarten Teacher

I have been teaching here since 2013, and I am so blessed to be the Prekindergarten teacher at St. Dominic School. Catholic education helps build a strong foundation for our future leaders.  I am an alum from St. Dominic School and would be considered a “Townie.”

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls in Elementary Education. I knew from a young age that working with children was where my heart was meant to be. I love being able to help my prekindergarteners grow in social, emotional, mindfulness, spiritual, and academic skills.

I enjoy spending time with my family, my husband and two boys, Harrison and Nolan. I also love reading, being outside, sporting activities, and learning from my amazing students. I look forward to helping each student persevere, learn, and become who God wanted them to be this year.

Karen Lyons, Prekindergarten Aide
PreKindergarten Aide

I received a B.S. degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa and taught first and second grade at a Catholic school in Northeast Iowa. After getting married and starting a family, I decided to be a stay at home mom and provide daycare out of my home. In 1997, we moved to Northfield and I have been a part of St. Dominic School and Parish ever since! I have volunteered countless hours and have also done some subbing. A couple of years ago I assisted in the Kindergarten room and thoroughly enjoyed it. The PreK teacher, Anna Wagner, and my oldest daughter attended St. Dominic School together and are still the best of friends. I enjoy working with such an amazing teacher!

My husband Doug and I are passionate about providing a Catholic education to our four children. All three of our daughters graduated from St. Dominic School and our son, Thomas, will be in seventh grade this year. We love the small class sizes, excellent education, and the fact that students can learn about God and live out their faith daily. I adore working with young people and have a special interest in instilling the love of reading. Teach a child to love books and they’ll be a life-long learner. I can’t wait to get to know all of the PreK students and their families! It’s going to be a wonderful, faith-filled year at St. Dominic School!

Jackie Chatelaine, Kindergarten Teacher
Kindergarten Teacher

Hello! I earned my degree in Elementary Education from The College of Saint Benedict. This year, I am headed back to school to pursue my Master’s in Educational Leadership from The University of Concordia St. Paul.

This is my third year with St. Dominic School! I am excited to continue this journey and have a positive impact on my next group of students in education and faith.

Currently, I live in Lakeville, Minnesota, and attended Lakeville South High School. While in high school, I fully realized my passion for working with children. It was not until my student teaching and long-term subbing experience that I recognized my enjoyment and love of teaching primary-aged students. I love the genuine interest and excitement that children in the primary grades have and I hope to support that throughout kindergarten!

When I am not at school, I can be found spending time with my family and friends and exploring neighboring communities.

Jane Jeffrey, 1st Grade Teacher
1st Grade Teacher

My name is Jane Jeffrey, and I am St. Dominic School’s first-grade teacher. I grew up in central Iowa and attended college at Augustana in Sioux Falls, SD and North Texas State where I majored in elementary education with an emphasis in special education. Since then, I have earned many continuing professional hours of credit at a variety of institutions in both Iowa and Minnesota. I began my teaching career in Iowa where I taught children in grades K-4 with learning disabilities, and I also taught third and second grade there.

My family then moved to Minnesota where I taught third, first, and second grade in New Prague for several years. We moved to Northfield in 2004, so I am thrilled I will now be working in the community I consider home. St. Dominic School has been a longstanding asset to Northfield, and I feel very fortunate in becoming a part of that legacy. An additional bonus for me is teaching first grade again. It is such a wonderful time in a child’s life. As a teacher, it is extremely rewarding to see young children progress so much and be excited about their learning.

My personal time is spent flower gardening and working in the yard. I like to walk and go hiking whenever possible. A good book is a joy as is a crossword puzzle or two—not too hard! I am also a member of my church choir. (And yes, I have done binge-watching on Netflix.)

I look forward to my partnership with the St. Dominic staff and families as we guide the children’s academic and spiritual growth!

2nd Grade Teacher

Hello! My name is Judy Hefer and I am very excited to be joining the faculty and staff of St. Dominic School. My years serving as an educator in this diocese includes both teaching and being a principal. My recent teaching experience includes teaching 5th, 6th, and 7th grades on the Standing Rock Reservation at St. Bernard Mission School. When I returned to Northfield seven years ago, I expanded my work experience by working at Three Links Apartments as a Service Coordinator where the duties included my area of expertise – lifelong learning.


My husband and I raised our family here in Northfield over the past 20 years, and we are parishioners of St. Dominic. I think of Northfield as my home, however, I am originally from St. Louis, MO. When I have spare time I enjoy quilting and embroidery, playing cards and board games, going for walks, and traveling.

Jed McGuire, 3rd Grade Teacher
3rd Grade Teacher

My name is Jed McGuire; in 2010, I received my B.S. degree from North Central University in Minneapolis in Youth Development Studies. After completing a Graduate teaching license program in 2016, I began working at St. Dominic School as the Kindergarten teacher before moving to 3rd grade. I completed my Masters of Education in Teaching in the Winter of 2019. Every day is a new story. Seeing my students’ growth both academically and socially is extremely rewarding. The growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year is tremendous, especially in 3rd Grade!

During my free time, you will find me spending time with my family (Wife Sheila, Daughter Brynnlee, and a little one due in early 2021)  enjoying the outdoors, playing sports, and coaching ninth grade baseball at Northfield High School. I am also the Youth/Young Adults Director at Canvas Church. I love St. Dominic School and know that it is a special place to be a student and child of God. 

Jennifer Klaers, 4th Grade Teacher and Middle School Math Teacher
4th Grade Teacher and Middle School Math Teacher

Hello!  It is an honor to be teaching 4th grade and Algebra this year at St. Dominic School! This will be my second year teaching here.

I am originally from New York and attended St. Peter’s Catholic school from K-8. I am the youngest of five and have three children with my husband Daniel. Prior to teaching, I was a design and product engineer for eleven years in the automotive industry.   Currently, I am enrolled at St. Mary’s University to obtain my master’s in education with a middle-level math endorsement.

Although it may look and feel different this year, I will continue to find ways to connect with my students and the St. Dominic community through hard work, respect, and flexibility.

Andrea Peterson, 5th Grade Teacher
5th Grade Teacher

I am so excited to be teaching fifth grade at St. Dominic School! I was a Northfield High School graduate, and I am excited to have the opportunity to be teaching in the community I grew up in! I was very active in gymnastics, cross-country, and many of the youth formation groups and activities at St. Dominic Church. Being on team sports and participating in activities through the church community in high school and college instilled the importance of teamwork, responsibility, respect, compassion, and faith in my everyday life and teaching.

I graduated from St. Cloud State and have my Masters in Literacy Education from Hamline University. Before moving back to Northfield, I taught 4th and 5th grade in Spring Lake Park for seven years. My husband Kris and I have two children – Walter and June. During my free time I enjoy exploring the Arb, watching Walter play baseball, June do gymnastics and dance, going on bike rides, going for walks, doing yoga, reading and spending time with friends and family!

I look forward to all the new experiences we will share this year!

Lori Beumer, Middle School Teacher
Middle School Teacher

I started teaching at St. Dominic School in 2001. I have a B.S degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota Mankato, with a Coaching Certification, and a Health/Physical Education Concentration. I also have my Master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas in Curriculum and Instruction, with a K-12 Reading Certificate.

As most of my former students will tell you, I LOVE to read. It is my passion. I want to share this passion with all of my students. I try to show them it is not important what you read as long as they reading. My favorite moment is when you can match a reader with a book, and see that look in their eyes of true enjoyment. I am also passionate about math. I love to share this passion with kids who are hesitant or think that math is not one of their strengths. Once we start the process of breaking the problems down, they realize that they too can be a successful mathematician!

In my tenure here at St. Dominic School, I have taught 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th grade, and now I am in 6th grade. I loved each grade and I am always amazed at how much the students teach me! It is truly an honor to be work in a profession where we get to work so closely with parents to help educate their children. With this partnership, we can share in their child’s growth over the school year, both physical and academic. I look forward to new experiences that I will have this coming year and I am excited to be working with all of our amazing families!

Lynette Battles, Middle School Teacher
Middle School Teacher

I attended Catholic elementary school and graduated from Bethlehem Academy High School in Faribault.  I earned a BS in Communication Disorders from the University of Minnesota and a few years later earned my teaching license through the College of St. Kates. I have been in Catholic Education for 14 years where I have taught Kindergarten, fourth grade, and fifth grade.  I’m very happy to continue my teaching career at St. Dominic and look forward to working with Middle School students.

I currently live in Faribault with my husband Josh.  We have four children, Jacob, Noah, Alissa, and Shae.  In my free time, I spend time on the lake,  attending music concerts, and cheering on my daughter’s dance team.    

I look forward to working with the St. Dominic staff and families,  engaging students in learning and guiding them in their spiritual journey.  


Alicia Jacobsen is available on Tuesdays at St. Dominic School.

I started my career as a middle school teacher after graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a Bachelor of Science. I went on to earn a Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School and then worked briefly in the field before staying home to raise our children. After earning post-graduate licensure in School Counseling, I have worked as a contract school counselor and graduate school advisor. I love being a school counselor because I can combine my interests in teaching, parenting, and ministering to students and families.

My husband and I live in rural Lakeville and we’re now empty nesters who spend way too much time with our dog. We have three grown children and in their years at home, we were an active family of skiers, hikers, and foodies. Reading and cooking are my favorite pastimes. I grew up in Owatonna and just love small-town life and community. It brings me great joy to be back at St Dominic School for another year.

Brooke Johnson, Enrichment and 4th Grade Social Studies

I  graduated from Bemidji State University, where I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. I received my undergraduate degree at Vermilion Community College in Ely, Minnesota. While living in Ely, I fell in love with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Spending time outdoors is a true passion of mine. When I’m not at school you can also find me at Mainstream Boutique downtown Northfield, where I help empower women through fashion.

My goal as the Enrichment Teacher is to motivate and challenge all students to maximize personal growth and meet their individual educational needs. I have found this teaching position to be so rewarding, seeing each of my students grow so much academically. In addition, I am excited to assist Mrs. Klaers and teach 4th grade Social Studies this year!

I feel blessed to be part of the St. Dominic School family and I look forward to another wonderful school year!

Kelly Lynn Stanton-Nutt, Art and STEM Specialist
Art and STEM Specialist

It has been a joy to be part of the St. Dominic School family since 2008. I have expanded my role as an Art Specialist to include the STEM program. I have also been the afterschool STEAM Club coordinator since 2010.  Our Preschool through Grade 8 students enjoy the creative environment Art and STEM provides in their school day. My classrooms are safe places to gain skills, learn from and build beyond our mistakes, make bold statements, and problem solve knowing that there can be more than one right answer.

I grew up right here in Northfield. I attended Bemidji State University and worked as a designer in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York City before I returned to school to earn my MS in Art & Design Education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I taught Art for five years in New York City before returning to Northfield with my family. I have since earned a Master’s Certificate in Technology Education from the University of St. Thomas; where I am currently working on a Master’s Certificate in Engineering Education.

Travel with my family is an important part of my life outside of school and shapes many parts of my curriculum. We often do volunteer work in our travels, embracing common values with the local people we have met along the way. I am fascinated by the many ways history and culture have shaped Art in different parts of the world. It is my hope to inspire my students to be curious about and accepting of the world around them. I want to build confidence in them that they can have an impact on the local and global community as creative individuals and as agents for positive change through Art and STEM.

Melodi Van Roekel, Music Specialist
Music Specialist

The music of the children, their voice, their movement, and their ability to let the music take them to another place, another time, is genuinely heartfelt – so pure, simple and beautiful. As I guide and lead children in daily music lessons, I watch, listen and take from them – never forcing. I respect the capabilities of children and believe the experience of making music together enables children to grow and achieve a richer and more fulfilled life.

I am excited to begin my fourth year (back at St. Dominic) as the Music teacher! In 1991 Sister Lois hired me to teach K-5 music. I taught at St. Dominic for 7 years, growing a private piano studio while here and being very blessed with the support students and families gave to music education, the arts, and to me. After that, I taught K-12 music in South Dakota, Ohio, New Prague (MN), at Prairie Creek, and in Nerstrand. I received my B.A. degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. I have also completed many classes at Hamline University and the University of St. Thomas towards my Masters in Music Education. I am a member and member at large of the American Orff-Schulwerk Associated and Minnesota Orff, I stand by the mission of our work as music educators dedicated to the creative music and movement approach developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman.

Nick Bornhauser, Physical Education Specialist
Physical Education Specialist

I graduated from Northfield High School and Concordia College, Moorhead, where I obtained my B.A. degree in Physical and Health Education. I also played baseball all four years for Concordia College and was an Assistant Coach for the baseball team after I graduated from college.

I am looking forward to seeing the growth in skills and confidence of every student as they participate in physical education. I have enjoyed being physically active my entire life and it has shaped me into the person I am today. I hope to bring that same joy and excitement out in each student.

In my free time, I enjoy working out and spending time with friends and family. In the summer months, you will find me out on the baseball fields playing for the Northfield Knights and also coaching local high school baseball players.

Mary Lazaro-Hefer, Kitchen Manager
Kitchen Manager

Ever since I was a second-grader here at St. Dominic School I loved to cook and bake. It has always been a big passion of mine. After graduating from Northfield High School I decided to enroll in the culinary arts program at Hennepin Technical College (Eden Prairie Campus) and received my Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. Over the past 10 years, I have worked in a variety of foodservice settings and at that time I believe I have found my perfect fit.

My two biggest passions are kids and kitchens so a school cafeteria is ideal. I have many wonderful memories in this cafeteria and the school from when I went here as a child. It has shaped me into the person I am today and has left me with some of the strongest friendships a person could ask for.

I am very happy to have my son now in this school and to allow him those same opportunities. I am glad God lead me back to this school and look forward to getting to know all your children!

Karen Grieger, Kitchen Assistant
Kitchen Assistant
Jen Saffle- School Custodian
I was born and raised in Farmington and graduated from Farmington High School. I lived there until February of 2020, and now my husband, Chris, and I live in New Prague, and we love it there! My husband, Chris, and I wed in 2014, and we have three dogs together.
Every weekend from spring till the snow flies, you will find me camping in our travel trailer just outside of Northfield with close family and friends.
I have been a custodian at St. Dominic School for a very short time but hope to be here for a long time.
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