Teacher Profiles

We are excited to share with you the profiles of our incredible NCCS teachers!



Assistant Principal & Pre-K4 (Half & Full Day)

Mrs. Barbara Crossan 


Mrs. Crossan began her teaching career in 1990, joining NCCS in 2016 as the PreK3 teacher.


Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Provide an environment conducive to learning

  • Teach the children to think for themselves

  • Teach the children all subjects so as to expose them to all aspects of learning

  • Instill the love of learning at this early age


Special Highlights:

  • Caldecott Award Study and projects

  • Letter and Month Songs


STREAM curriculum is incorporated into even this earliest grade, i.e. performing age-appropriate science experiments, Kindle use for educational games, weekly religion lessons, teaching music and sounds for educational purposes, and reading and discussing literary genres to develop auditory comprehension.



  • Buffalo State College

  • Curriculum Instruction Masters Degree, Elementary and Early Childhood Education Bachelors Degree

  • NYS Certified 

In addition to her full time teaching position Mrs. Crossan is also the Assistant Principal.  Called on to oversee many different things, she provides counseling to teachers when they need advice.

Pre-K 3

Mrs. Abbey Whitcher

Mrs. Whitcher began her teaching career at NCCS in 2020, though she has been a part of the NCCS family for many years. She and her five siblings all attended NCCS, and she has most recently served the school as secretary. Mrs. Whitcher is excited to bring her background in education to the Pre-K 3 classroom!

Classroom objectives/goals: 

  • Develop a positive learning atmosphere where my students are able to learn without judgement and feel safe to ask questions.

  • Encourage the motto that Mr. Ludwig sets forth each day to be Kind and Christ-like in our words and actions.

  • Have fun! Learning is all about what we make of it. I want my students to know that learning can be fun! 


Throughout the school year we will be participating in educational crafts and projects incorporating math, science, language development, music and art just to name a few! 



  • Jamestown Community College, A. S. in Childhood Education

  • SUNY Fredonia, studying Childhood Inclusive Education

PreK Teacher's Aide

Rebecca Eckstrom

Start Date at NCCS

Sept. 2012

Currently Teaching:

PreK Aide

Elementary, HS, College(s) attended:

Dunkirk High School

Reasons I love NCCS:

NCCS is a family! Our teachers are amazing and the education our children receive from them is the best! I have 6 children who all graduated from NCCS and now have 3 grandchildren attending. I wouldn't want them anywhere else. Here we learn and live our faith everyday! NCCS will always have a piece of my heart!

Hobbies and Interests:

I love to paint and am ready to share my talent where ever and whenever I can. I love to read and belong to a book club with many of our alumni families.

Favorite Prayer:

Serenity prayer

Awards, acknowledgements, community service, leadership roles, etc...

NCCS-HSA treasurer for the past 17 years.


Mrs. Melissa Zakrajsek (new information coming soon)

Mrs. Elizabeth Privitera

Mrs. Privitera began her teaching career in 2009, joining NCCS in 2012. She provides full-day Kindergarten instruction with individualized student attention.


STREAM is interwoven throughout Kindergarten classroom activities.  Technology is used in the Kindergarten classroom when they take "brain breaks" using the Go Noodle website and when they use the Teach Me Kindergarten and ABC Mouse apps weekly on the iPads.  Our BOCES science kits provide experience with both science and technology with topics on force and motion, sunshine and shadows, growing plants, building structures, conservation, shapes and colors, and plant and animal needs.

Students begin each day with prayer and then a Religion lesson.  Religious values and Bible stories are discussed throughout all subject areas each day.  Every day, students begin Morning Circle by singing songs.  They have songs that they sing with some of their Religion lessons, and every week they learn a new song with their Reading lessons.  They are create at least one classroom craft each week, and one of the daily play centers is Arts and Crafts (painting, stamping, stencils, coloring, etc.)

Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Provide a Christ-centered classroom community encouraging prayer and diversity

  • Provide multiple real life experiences through play (math, science, reading, writing, art)

  • Prepare children with the social and emotional skills needed to solve real world problems and problems with peers.


Special Highlights:

  • May Crowning- A special ceremony in which we crown Mary and receive rosaries

  • Saints- Every month, Kindergarten focuses on a patron saint for that month and makes statues for our prayer table

  • BOCES Science Kits- Children explore science and engineering through play based kits, i.e. force and motion

  • TeachMeKindergarten- Kindergartners use the Teach Me Kindergarten App on iPads all year long to practice addition, subtraction, number and letter writing, and sight words while moving at their own pace

  • Dramatic Play- Various dramatic play centers allow children to imitate real life experiences, i.e. restaurant, apple picking, farm

  • Holidays- On Halloween the children trick or treat around the school to different classrooms.  For Christmas, we have a Polar Express party.  The children decorate heart shaped cookies to enjoy for Valentine's Day.


Master's Degree, Literacy Birth-6th Grade

Bachelor's Degree, Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Mathematics

Associate's Degree, Early Childhood Development

Jamestown Community College, State University of New York of Buffalo, State University of New York at Fredonia

NYS Certified


1st Grade

Miss Maitland Langworthy


Miss Langworthy began her teaching career in 2020. She started at NCCS in 2020. She teaches 1st Grade.



  • Create engaging lessons based on student’s varying interests and skill levels

  • Become a strategic reader and writer through diverse books and writing activities

  • Explore the community around the school to showcase real life experience

Special Highlights

  • Visit from a local ice cream truck, “Serving Up Smiles”

  • Make spooky slime for Halloween

  • Playing and learning outside as much as possible


  • Bachelor's Degree from Niagara University in Early Childhood/Childhood Education, graduated with minors in Literacy and American Sign Language & Deaf Studies 

  • Master’s Degree from SUNY Oneonta in Literacy B-6th Grade, anticipated graduation 2021


2nd Grade

Ms. Linda Valone

Mrs. Valone began her teaching career in 1972 joining the staff at NCCS in 2018.

Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • To make each student all that God has meant them to be

Special Highlights:

  • Hands on experiments in science

  • Activities in Social Studies

  • Research saints sharing facts about their lives



  • Permanent NYS Teaching Certificate

  • Permanent T.E. S. O. L Certification

  • Master’s Degree in Education

I love NCCS because it feels like family to me.  I love God and children and especially love teaching children about God.

3rd Grade

Mrs. Maureen Saunders

Mrs. Karen Nalepa

Mrs. Nalepa started her teaching career in 2004.  She joined the staff at NCCS in 2018.

Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Has a passion for math and related activities and has a strong desire to share that with her students

Unique Classroom Activities/Projects:

  • Celebrate Pi Day

  • Organizes Service Projects


  • Master’s degree in elementary education

  • Provisional NYS Certification pre-K-12th grade

I love the small class sizes and family atmosphere.

New information coming soon!

4th Grade

Mrs. Candice Lopez

Mrs. Lopez started her teaching career in 2018 and joined NCCS that same year



  • Prepare students for prep school and future endeavors academically

  • Emphasize making good choices through instruction and modeling 

  • Teach students to enjoy life and live in the moment


Unique Classroom Activities/Projects:

  • Brain breaks

  • Go noodles

  • Science mysteries

  • Math codes

  • Longhouse and wigwam building

  • Class Dojo as a way to communicate with parents



  • Master’s Degree Science

  • Master’s Degree Education

  • Master’s Degree Childhood Education


Why I Love NCCS:

I love the small class sizes allowing be to be a very effective teacher.  The parents and staff are very supportive.  NCCS is like family.


What I would like parents to know:

My #1 priority is to keep the children safe while learning.  I feel as if they are my own children.


5th Grade

Ms. Deborah Mourer


Ms. Mourer began teaching at NCCS in 2007.  She teaches Social Studies Grades 5-8 and Grade 5 Religion.


Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Students will learn to love Social Studies through creative projects

  • Students will learn to love God and serve him by providing area Veterans with monthly greetings of thanks


Special highlights:

  • Veteran Art given to area Veterans monthly at the VA Clinic

  • Social Studies projects completed for Prep School throughout the year


STREAM is a focus, where Religion is incorporated into all Social Studies content along with ELA, Math, Science and Technology at various times throughout the year.  Computers are used for group projects.

In addition to her classroom duties Ms. Mourer is the Religious Education Coordinator for NCCS Liturgies and Paraliturgies.  She also oversees the annual Dunkirk VA Clinic outreach project during the Advent season.



Permanent Certification and Masters Degree, Nursery School – Grade 6 (Elementary)

Permanent Certification Social Studies, Grades 7-12

Coaching Athletics- Football, Track & Field, Softball, Basketball



6th Grade

Mr. Dan Vona

Mr. Vona began his teaching career in 2012 joining the NCCS Staff in 2017.


Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Building character through education

Special Highlights:

  • Current events presentations

  • Christmas time carnival

  • Mapping escape room activities

I love the close-knit family atmosphere here at NCCS.  It’s one of the main reasons chose to teach here.

I also love golf, music. My dog and of course a good BBQ.

7th Grade

Ms. Krissy Potter


Prep School Math 


Kristine started her teaching career in 2007.  She joined the staff at NCCS in 2019.


Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  •         To have a safe, healthy, engaging learning environment

  • I hope my students come away with a love of math, science, reading and the arts


  • Bachelor of Science

  • Certified Middle School math specialist

Why I love NCCS: I feel like I am part of one big family

8th Grade

Mr. Pete Howard

Mr. Howard began his teaching career in 1980.  He joined the staff at NCCS in 2018.

Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Help students understand and appreciate the arts

  • Teach strategies and ideas to improve communication skills


Special Highlights:

  • Mr. Howard is a professional singer/song writer

  • Has traveled the world gathering a wealth of experiences to share with his students


Unique Classroom Activities/Projects:

  • Word Games

  • Competitions that contribute to a better understanding of sentence structure and creative writing



  • Master’s degrees in ELA, American Studies and African American History



Mr. Michael Oliva

Grade Level and Subject(s) taught: Pre-K-Grade 8 Spanish


Year Started Teaching Career: 2017


Year Joined NCCS: 2019


Credentials:    Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Arts in History, Masters in Secondary Education-Social Studies, 


Certificates:  Teaching Certificates in New York, Arizona and Pennsylvania


Classroom Objectives and Goals 

  • To build our youth of today into the leaders of tomorrow


 Unique Classroom Activities/Projects:  

·      Monthly Fiestas.  

·      Spanish presentations on all Latino/Hispanic subjects.


Why I Iove NCCS:  

  • the whole school is one big family. It felt like home the minute I first walked in the door. This is where I belong; I couldn’t be happier being here. 

Special Education

Miss Victoria Patchkofsky (new information coming soon!)

Miss Patchkofsky joined the staff at NCCS in October 2021. 


Ms. Tina Cooper


Ms. Cooper joined NCCS in 2015 as Art teacher for PreK4-8th grades after beginning her teaching career in 2002.  


Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Acquire the basic principles of the elements of art

  • Achieve a comprehension of the visual fundamentals of design

  • Begin to discover their own individual vision, voice and creativity


Special highlights include the school-wide Annual Art Show and the Empty Bowls Fundraiser.  Students submit their annual art projects to be placed on display for the NCCS family and local community at the Annual Art Show.  The Empty Bowls Fundraiser is a Community Projects where students make pottery bowls for donation to an auction that raises money for the local soup kitchens in Chautauqua County.

Ms. Cooper incorporates STREAM by using general study integration through multiple courses such as: Math, Science, History, Art History and Religion.  Integration provides the students opportunities to make connections between the subject matter and visual examples. The students can then begin to find their creative confidence by using analytical thinking and reasoning through integration of studies, which in turn keeps them engaged to express their own voice.


In addition to her teaching duties Ms. Cooper also acts as Chairperson of NCCS’ annual Chautauqua County Fair Art Exhibit.



  • Indiana University South East

  • Niagara County Community College

  • Majors/Concentrations: Fine Arts, Art Education, Liberal Arts/Social Science

Physical Education & Health

Mr. Vince "Coach" Fogarty

Mr. Fogarty began his teaching career in 1978, joining NCCS in 2018.


Classroom Objectives/Goals:

  • Develop and master positive character traits through physical activity and sports.

  • Develop and apply lifelong healthy habits throughout their adult lives.

  • Provide each student with an understanding of the role nutrition and exercise play in leading a healthy lifestyle.


Unique Classroom Activities/Projects:

  • Established physical fitness records for grades 2 -8.

  • Spearheaded Santa for Solders and NCCS Kindness projects.



  • Bachelor of Science Degree Brockport State

  • Master’s Degree Fredonia State

  • Permanent Certification: Physical Education K-12, Health Education K-12,                                 Special Education K-12, Elementary Education K-6


Why I Love NCCS:

The students are bright and energetic with a desire to learn.

The staff led by Mr. Ludwig and Father Dan inspire me to inspire others.

Music and Band

Miss Reagan Pieniazek (new information coming soon!)

Ms. Jane Sharon (new information coming soon!)


Substitute Principal

Mr. Roger Pacos


Mr. Pacos began his teaching career in 1986 and joined NCCS in 2019. Although he is now with our Lord, Mr. Pacos' spirit -- his kindness, generosity, and devotion to our students -- is still a part of our school, and he is greatly missed.



  • Continue the exciting growth at NCCS by assisting Mr. Ludwig, the teachers and students in reaching their goals

  • Sharing my wealth of educational experience with all members of the faculty, staff and student body in order to make NCCS the finest school in the county



  • Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree Biology and Nursing

  • Certificate of Advanced Study


Why I Love NCCS:

After many years as a teacher in the public school system I am excited to work in a school with smaller class sizes.  Blending academic studies with the teachings of Christ is a very exciting concept to me.

Computer Education/Technology

Mr. Vona and Mrs. Nalepa