Faculty/Staff News

Andy Cavacos (Principal) was in Pensacola, Fla., to honor Commander Michael R. Felber, McQuaid Jesuit ’01, USNA ’05 as he assumed command of Helicopter Training Squadron Twenty-Eight. Mr. Cavacos coached Mike in lacrosse, where he earned high school All-American honors. Cmdr. Felber played lacrosse at Navy, and started on defense against Syracuse in the 2005 national championship.

Michael Gambone (Religious Studies) finished his second Master’s degree (this time in theology) at Villanova University. Also, he and his wife Victoria are expecting their third child (and third daughter) in July.


Courtney Pinto P ’25 (College Counseling) and Dino Pinto P ’25 (Religious Studies) will be instructors at a mountain bike camp with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association at Burke Mountain Academy in Burke, Vt.


Mr. Cavacos and teachers Kristin Ashcom (Science), Kevin Hensler (Religious Studies), and Bill Kuncken (Religious Studies) will be attending the Notre Dame foundations program. In addition, Mr. Cavacos will be joining Nailah Brown (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), Susie Cook (English), Dino Pinto P ’25 (Religious Studies), Courtney Pinto ’25 (College Counseling), Dan Ranalli ’00 (Assistant Principal), and Leslie Ryan (English) at the Jesuit Schools Network Colloquium in Los Angeles.

Kelly McGlynn (College Counseling) married Ryan Wolfe this year.

Jim Stinsman (Athletics) graduated from West Chester University with a Master’s in public administration and a certificate in sport management and athletics.

Bill Conners ’80 (History), Leo Vaccaro ’05 (History), and Ligia Baland (Modern Language) will take 12 students to Bonn, Germany, for our German Exchange with Collegium Josephinum Bonn, the Redemptorist high school in Bonn. The trip ran from June 6-23.

Geoff Nunes (Science) will attend the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he will give a presentation on “Graphing and Curve Fitting for Introductory Physics.”

Rev. Stephen Surovick, S.J. (Mission and Ministry) recently completed Tertianship, the final stage of Jesuit formation (read more in Perspectives).

Bill Avington ’90 P ’18 ’20 and Megan Russell P ’20 (Marketing/Communications) attended the annual CASE/NAIS Independent Schools Conference in Denver, Col., in April. Also, the Marketing and Communications Team, in conjunction with the President’s Office and Institutional Advancement, won two CUPPIE Awards from CUPRAP (Colleges and Universities Public Relations and Associated Professionals) Association. 


Nailah Brown

Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Ms. Brown joined the Prep community in March as the new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She arrived at the Prep after serving as Associate Director of Residential Life and Operations at Temple University since March 2020. She also served as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within that department. Prior, she held positions in Residential Life at Rutgers University and The College of New Jersey.

In her DEI role at Temple, Ms. Brown designed and developed a comprehensive diversity and inclusion curriculum that resulted in a more integrated and cohesive approach to inclusion as well as addressed needs in talent management. She created diversity and inclusion strategies that supported organizational initiatives for over 200 employees in the department, and partnered with departmental leaders to drive university DEI initiatives. Ms. Brown also facilitated and advised affinity groups to provide safe spaces for identity exploration.

During her first weeks at the Prep, Ms. Brown met frequently with students, especially the Black and Latino Culture Club and Breaking Barriers. She implemented a system where students can nominate faculty and staff who help to increase inclusion at the school and a system to help diffuse issues surrounding bias. She has created a series called “Family Prep Talks” that allows families to meet and support one another.

Ms. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and social work from Temple University as well as a master’s degree in counseling from Salisbury University. She and her husband Shannon have one son and live in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia.

John Dougherty ’04

Director of Mission and Ministry

Mr. Dougherty comes back to his alma mater 13 years after serving in the Alumni Service Corps in 2008-09. He has worked for more than a decade at Saint Peter’s Prep, the Jesuit high school in Jersey City, where he most recently served as Director of Campus Ministry. Dougherty is active in the Ignatian Solidarity Network and has served on the steering committee for the Ignatian Family Teach-In. He is also a writer, with credits at America Magazine, the Grotto Network, and the Jesuit Conference of the U.S. and Canada. He and his wife Cecilia have two children, Rose (6) and Johnny (1).

“The Prep is where I learned that I could find God in all things,” says Dougherty, who will begin his new role in July after leading a service project at Saint Peter’s. “I’m thrilled to come back home and share our rich tradition of Ignatian prayer and reflection with a new generation of Prep students.”

Charlie Van Kula ’14

Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Mr. Van Kula returns to the Prep three years after finishing his time as a member of the Alumni Service Corps. He was also an assistant coach with the Prep Hockey program. Since leaving the Prep, he has earned a master’s degree from Georgetown University in sports industry management while working as a full-time hockey referee. His understanding of the Prep’s mission and his aforementioned love of his alma mater make him the perfect person to lead the alumni relations efforts and also to fundraise for the school. Charlie will begin in his new position in July. In addition to his master’s degree from Georgetown, he also holds a B.A. in economics from Boston College.

“The year of working at the Prep demonstrated to me that the mission and values that I encountered as a student are still present and continue to positively influence Prep students and colleagues to be men and women for others,” says Van Kula. “I have been eager to find an opportunity to return to the Prep to help foster that mission ever since, and working with our alumni is a great way to do that.”

Charlie Van Kula

Nick Shields ’16

English/Fine and Performing Arts

Mr. Shields takes a permanent full-time faculty position after spending last year in a one-year position. In the classroom, Shields brought energy and a student focus to his classes. He also brings a wealth of music experience and will be an excellent addition to our Fine Arts faculty. Shields, who spent 2020-21 as a member of the Alumni Service Corps in both English and Music, will also lead one of the musical ensembles. A graduate of Temple University, Shields holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in education.

“During my time at the Prep, I have been able to grow as an educator in many aspects and I am glad that I will be able to continue to serve this community,” he says. “I have found that every day at St. Joseph’s Prep is better than the last. I see the community continuing to grow and evolve in extraordinary ways and I am happy to be a part of that positive change.”

Garwood O’Connor ’15


Mr. O’Connor returns to the Prep two years after serving as a member of the Alumni Service Corps. O’Connor, who taught American History and Government as an ASC, spent one year at Scranton Prep as a World Cultures Teacher and one year at Holy Name School in Camden, NJ, where he taught social studies and religion to sixth through eighth graders as part of Saint Joseph’s University’s Alliance for Catholic Education Program. He will remain part of that program here at the Prep while he pursues his Master’s in Education at SJU.

“While the Prep shaped who I’ve become, both as a student and as a teacher, my experiences outside of the school have been just as integral to my journey as an educator,” says O’Connor, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Temple University. “My experiences will allow me to return to the Prep and shape lessons and discussions that can help the young men of the Prep grow into the leaders that we know they can be.”

Alumni Service Corps 2022–23

James Brenner (Admissions, Mission and Ministry, Prep Advantage)

Riley Burns (English, Admissions, Mission and Ministry)

Stephen Dierkes (Mission and Ministry, Classics, Prep Advantage)

Brendan Farrell (Institutional Advancement, Prep Advantage, Athletics)


The following Prep employees are leaving at the end of the academic year. We wish them well on their future endeavors:

Reverend George Bur

Rev. George Bur, SJ ’59
(Mission and Ministry)

Mark Dushel
(Mission and Ministry)

Tom Johnson

Alumni Service Corps 2021–22:

Alec Boyce ’17 (Prep Advantage)

Taron Hampton ’17 (Admissions)

Brian Jones ’17 (English)

Jack McCormick

Mac Riga ’17 (Computer Science).