School Staff

Mr. Jerry Van Dyke
Mr. Jerry Van DykePrincipal
I live in Chippewa Falls with my two sons, who are students at McDonell High School. Prior to coming to St. Joseph School, I worked as Guidance Counselor, Athletic Director, and Dean of Students at McDonell. I am excited to be part of the St. Joseph School family and am looking forward to continuing the tradition of excellence here.
Mrs. Julie Mazourek
Mrs. Julie MazourekSchool Secretary
My husband and I have been residents of Rice Lake since 1991. We are the parents of one young adult, and two teenagers attending Rice Lake High School.
In 2009 I began working in the St. Joseph School office. When I am not at school, I enjoy attending my kids’ sports and school events, yardwork, and exercising.
Mrs. Jenny Oestreich
Mrs. Jenny OestreichPre-Kindergarten
My name is Jenny Oestreich and I am so blessed to be the preschool teacher here at St. Joseph school. My husband, Andy and I moved to Rice Lake in 2001. Our two daughters, Rayna, and DrewAnne, also both attend school here at St. Joseph School. I have a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from UW-Oshkosh. In my free time I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, running, and being with my family. I am excited to share God’s love with the young children in my
classroom this year.
Mrs. Pat Western
Mrs. Pat WesternKindergarten
I grew up in Thorp, WI on our family dairy farm. I have very fond memories of living in the country and playing with my seven siblings. I attained my teaching certificate from the UW – Eau Claire in 1988 and have enjoyed the profession ever since. My husband, Mark, and I moved to Rice Lake in 1994. We have two children, Ellen and Eric, who attended and graduated from St. Joseph School. I started teaching kindergarten at St. Joseph School in 2001. I feel very blessed to be a part of the St. Joseph School family.
Mrs. Melissa Handorf
Mrs. Melissa Handorf1st Grade
Teaching children and learning are my passions. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work at St. Joseph’s School. I am very excited to be teaching 1st grade in a Catholic School. My husband and I moved to Rice Lake in November 2012. We have two wonderful children with a third on the way. I graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I have had the privilege of working in a variety of classroom settings, including a charter school in Colorado and more recently working with the 1st- 3rd grades in the Chippewa Falls School District. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, taking my dogs to the dog park, reading, playing volleyball, and rollerblading.
Mrs. Diana Grabowski
Mrs. Diana Grabowski2nd Grade
Teaching is a second career for me; my first career was in banking. I decided to change occupations 13 years ago and began working in a daycare in Illinois. I loved working with children. My husband and I moved to Chetek in May 2000 where I continued my education at Mt. Scenario College. I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Education in May 2003. I have been teaching at St. Joseph School since January of 2004 and cannot imagine being anywhere else. The parents, students and staff are the best. I have a high regard for Catholic education after having attended a Catholic elementary and high school, which were the best years of my life. I currently reside in Cameron with my husband and our two adorable four-legged kids: Tilly and Tammy.
Mrs. Barb Kinnick
Mrs. Barb Kinnick3rd Grade
My teaching career began with St. Joseph in 2012. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of such a wonderful, caring educational community. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in elementary/middle education at UW-Eau Claire and my Master’s through Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. Being a teacher has always been my calling in life. Children are a gift from God and it’s a blessing to be a part of their lives. My husband, Jeff, and I live in Haugen. We have been blessed with a wonderful son who keeps us busy, and a loving Golden Retriever, Gracie, who keeps us laughing with her antics! I love to garden, read, make homemade soap, spend time with family & friends, and relax at our cabin.
Mrs. Stephanie Bowers
Mrs. Stephanie Bowers4th Grade
I was born and raised in the country near Weyerhaeuser, WI. After I graduated high school I attended UW-Superior to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I taught 5th grade for three years prior to joining St. Joseph School as the 4th grade teacher in 2014. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and traveling when I can!
Sr. Claudine Balio
Sr. Claudine Balio6th Grade Homeroom, Religion 5-8, & Language Arts
I am a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis. Our Motherhouse is in Stevens Point. Our sisters own the property in Rice Lake known as Heart Island. Besides my teaching responsibilities, I am Agent-In-Place for the Heart Island Campus, a heart-shaped piece of property that houses many different ministries which I oversee: The Guest House (a transitional house for the homeless), Benjamin’s House (an emergency shelter that can offer housing for up to 24 or our homeless neighbors throughout Barron County), Women, Infant, and Children program (WIC), and Heart Island Family Enrichment Center (including the Sisters’ Emergency Food Cupboard and the Sisters’ Clothes Closet). I am also a Board Member for the Family Enrichment Center. Since 1992, I have been a part of St. Joseph School. I enjoy teaching and being a part of this family, faith-based community. Teaching children is my passion and I feel blessed and honored to be a part of the St. Joseph Community. During my free time I enjoy reading, fishing, gardening, bike riding and playing with my two dogs, Sophia and Mica. I treasure the sisters of my religious community and am grateful to be able to live with Sister Jeanne, one of the sisters.
Mr. Nick Merkt
Mr. Nick Merkt7th Grade Homeroom, Religion 5-8 & Social Studies 5-8
I was born and raised in the Milwaukee area. I attended St. Dominic School in Brookfield, WI where I received 10 years of Catholic education which made a lasting impact on my life. It has shown me the importance and warmth of a small, faith-based school setting which I am pleased to help offer at St. Joseph School. Upon graduating high school, I attended St. Mary’s University of Minnesota where I was educated in the Lasallian tradition. In 2010, I received my B.A. in History and Social Science with the intent of staying at St. Mary’s to complete my M.A. in Instruction. In summer of 2011, I received my M.A. program certificate from St. Mary’s University. In the fall of 2011, I was very fortunate to be able to start teaching at St. Joseph School and have continued to do so since. I am very excited to come to St. Joseph School every day to teach about current global events, past historical movements and most importantly about living the Christian life. I feel as though I have the greatest job in the world at the greatest school around. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family, enjoying the great outdoors, and playing and coaching soccer.
Mrs. Rochelle McRaith
Mrs. Rochelle McRaithK-8 Art, Religion 5-8, & Playground Supervisor
I am originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range. I graduated from UM-Duluth with a degree in Elementary Education and Physical Education. I taught at St. Anne’s School in LeSeuer, MN for 20 years. I have now been at St. Joseph School for almost 20 years. I have seven children and four grandchildren. I enjoy reading, being outdoors and spending time with my family. Children have been the focus and joy of my life.
Mr. Tony Brunette
Mr. Tony BrunetteCustodian/Maintenance
I graduated from St. Joseph School in 1995, attended high school at RLHS and then continued my schooling at WITC-Rice Lake earning a degree in Wood Techniques. I have worked primarily in residential construction, in addition to some light commercial and flat concrete work for many years. During my free time I love to be with my wife and two children, whether it’s going on road trips or just hanging out at home. I love to hunt, fish, camp and pretty much anything else you can imagine that involves the outdoors. My children will be the fourth generation of Brunette’s to attend St. Joseph School, which makes the school feel like an extended family to us. I am very excited to come back “home” and be able to help out and work here.
Mrs.Wendy Denison
Mrs.Wendy DenisonLower Elementary Art
I graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a degree in Elementary Education. I have taught and done substitute work at both the elementary school levels within many different schools. I have been teaching art at St. Joseph School in the elementary level for the past two years, and often substitute teach in other classrooms throughout St. Joseph School. My husband and I have one child who has graduated from St. Joseph School, and two that are current students here. I enjoy spending time with my family as well as walking, gardening and
Mrs. Catherine Willger
Mrs. Catherine WillgerCook/Drama Director
My husband and I own and operate a dairy farm east of Rice Lake. We have four children who have all graduated from St. Joseph School. I have been a volunteer here since 1999 and part of the kitchen staff since 2001. I have been working with the Christmas Pageants and the Spring Dinner Theaters since 2002. I enjoy working with the students and watching them grow and achieve things they never thought they could do. They constantly amaze me! I love being part of this school because of the faith they instill in the children, the sense of community, a positive learning atmosphere, and caring environment for the children to continue to grow and mature into young adults.
Mrs. Deb Wold
Mrs. Deb WoldPreschool Aide