Prairie Catholic School and Parish Staff 2016


Rev. James C. Weighner -- Pastor

Fr. Weighner was born on Oct. 10, 1960 in Waukon, Iowa, the 7th of Philip and Catherine Weighnerís 13 children. He graduated from Allamakee Sr. High school in 1979 and from Loras College in 1984 with a degree in Business Management. He worked for his families manufacturing business and farming operation until entering seminary in 1997. He received his degree in Philosophy from the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum in 2001, after which he began his studies for the Diocese of La Crosse. His first two years of theology were at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Oh, and he graduated from Mundelein Seminary in 2007. On June 11, 2007 he was ordained by Bishop Jerome Listecki for the diocese of La Crosse.

His first assignment was as Associate Pastor at Notre Dame Parish in Chippewa Falls and Sacred Heart parish in Jim Falls, and as chaplain and instructor at McDonell high school and Notre Dame middle school. After one year, he was assigned to Holy Ghost parish in Chippewa Falls and St. Bridgetís parish as Associate Pastor while retaining his chaplain duties. In July of 2009 he was named Parochial Administrator of St John Nepomucene Parish and St Gabriel Parish in Prairie du Chien and Sacred Heart Parish in Wauzeka. In 2011, Fr. Weighner was relieved from his responsibilities as administrator for Sacred Heart parish in Wauzeka and named pastor of St. John's and St Gabriel's in Prairie du Chien, followed by being named pastor of the newly formed Holy Family parish of Prairie du Chien in 2012.

Father Weighner can be emailed at:

Deacon Mark Grunwald -- Parish Deacon

Deacon Mark can be emailed at:

Photo Pending

Mr. Wade Marlow -- Principal

Mr. Marlow was born in Decorah, IA and was raised in Bluffton, IA. He graduated from North Winneshiek High School in 1998. He played baseball at the University of Dubuque and graduated in 2002 with a Bachelorís Degree in Physical Education. Mr. Marlowís first job was at Notre Dame Parish in Cresco, IA as a Director of Religious Education. While in Cresco he married his wife Twyla and coached basketball at Crestwood High School and baseball at Turkey Valley High School. Mr. Marlow came to Prairie Catholic from the Dubuque Community School District where he was a physical education teacher. While in Dubuque, he earned his Masterís Degree in Educational Leadership at Loras College.

Mr. Marlow can be emailed at:

Mrs. Sandy Halverson

St. Gabriel's Church Rectory Office Manager, Holy Family Parish

Mrs. Halverson can be emailed at:

Mrs. Lana Gratace

St. John's Church Rectory Office Manager, Holy Family Parish

Mrs. Gratace can be emailed at:

Mrs. Rose Ziel

Office Manager, Prairie Catholic School

Mrs. Ziel can be emailed at:

Mrs. Janet Nelson

Librarian, Prairie Catholic School

Mrs. Annie Beinborn

Librarian, Prairie Catholic School


Mrs. Janet Steiner -- Pre-Kindergarten

Mrs. Steiner graduated from WWTC with an Associate Degree in Child Care & Development. She worked for ten years with the B.A. Kennedy Pre-K program before starting the program here at St. Gabrielís. Janet has taught since 1988 at Prairie Catholic/St. Gabrielís and has an Advanced Religious Education Certification from the Diocese of La Crosse. Janet, her husband Dirk and their four children are all graduates of Prairie Catholic/St. Gabrielís School.


Mrs. Mary Huser -- Kindergarten

Mrs. Huser graduated from Viterbo College with a B.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education. Mary has over 40 post graduate credits in the field of education and has Advanced Religious Education Certification from the Diocese of La Crosse. Over the years she has been nominated by parents for the Kohl Excellence in Education Award on several occasions. She has taught at Prairie Catholic for 30+ years. Mrs. Huser is a parishioner of St. Gabrielís and a graduate of St. Gabrielís School also. She has three children. All have graduated from Prairie Catholic School.


Mrs. Lori Hemmer -- Grade 1

Mrs. Hemmer is a graduate of U. W. La Crosse with a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education. She has 40 plus credits beyond her degree in the areas of Language Arts, Math and Science and has Advanced Religious Education Certification from the Diocese of La Crosse. Mrs. Hemmer has been nominated by parents for the Kohl Excellence in Teaching Award on several occasions. Mrs. Hemmer has taught at Prairie Catholic for 30+ years. Lori and her five children are all graduates of Prairie Catholic School.


Ms. Rachel Felten -- Grade 2

Ms. Felten was raised in Caledonia, MN. She graduated from Caledonia Area High School in 2012, where she was involved with soccer and National Honor Society. She recently graduated from Winona State University this past spring with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and minors in Reading Instruction and Middle School Social Studies.


Mrs. Jennifer Wachuta -- Grade 3

Mrs. Wachuta is a graduate of Viterbo College with a B.S. Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has many post graduate credits in the field of education, many in the field of science. She regularly attended Southwest Academy, a series of Math, Science, and Technology courses offered for teachers in the past. She has advanced certification in Religious Education from the Diocese of La Crosse. Mrs. Wachuta has taught since 1983 at Prairie Catholic. She has also tutored students and taught science at U.W. Platteville in the College for Kidís summer program. In addition Mrs. Wachuta has been nominated by her peers and school parents for the NCEA Distinguished Teacher Award on several occasions. Jennifer served as a board member of WEST (Wisconsin Elementary Science Teachers) and participated annually at the WEST Science Day in Stevens Point by holding workshops for parents and children. Jennifer has two children, both of whom graduated from Prairie Catholic.


Mrs. Joahn Post -- Grade 4

Mrs. Post graduated from U.W. Platteville with a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education. She did substitute teaching for seven years. Mrs. Postís has taught since 1990 at Prairie Catholic School. She has 24 post graduate credits in the field of education including a reading endorsement, and has attended Southwest Academy during the summer months. In addition she holds Basic Certification in Religious Education from the Diocese of La Crosse. Mrs. Post has two adult children and two grandchildren.


Mrs. Michelle Kapfhamer -- Grade 5

Mrs. Kapfhamer graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in Elementary Education with a middle school math emphasis. She started teaching at Prairie Catholic in 2015. She lives in Prairie du Chien with her husband, Kraig and their two children, Ava and Jack.


Mrs. Kathleen Igou -- 6th Grade Homeroom
Math / Reading / Student Council Advisor

Mrs. Igou graduated from UW-Platteville in 2003 with a degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in Mathematics. Mrs. Igou earned a degree in Business Management from Upper Iowa University in 1992. From 1999 to 2006 she subbed in Prairie du Chien School District. Mrs. Igou and her husband Terry and all four of their children graduated from Prairie Catholic School. The Igou’s have seven grandchildren, one enrolled in Prairie Catholic.


Miss Jean Pelleymounter -- 7th Grade Homeroom
Religion / English

Miss Pelleymounter graduated from Mount Mercy College with a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Music. She has Advanced Certification in Religious Education from the Diocese of La Crosse. Miss Pelleymounter taught for 5 years in Dubuque in the Catholic schools and one year at Bloomington where she also served as Principal. She has taught at Prairie Catholic since 1984. In addition, she was nominated for the national Disney Hand Teacher Award. Miss Pelleymounter was a Weather Spotter in the Prairie du Chien area for KCRG television in Cedar Rapids.


Mr. Bill Huser -- 8th Grade Homeroom
History / Science / Social Studies / Geography

Mr. Huser teaches 8th Grade US History and Life Science, 7th Grade Civics and Earth Science, and 6th Grade World Geography and General Science. This is his 30th year teaching at Prairie Catholic.


Mrs. Luana Steimke
Music and Art - PreK through 8th Grade

Mrs. Stiemke is a graduate of Concordia University in Chicago. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education, with a major in Humanities and the Performing Arts. This has allowed her to work in many different areas, a great advantage during the first half of her married life, when she and her family moved at least 11 times in 17 years. Prior to coming to Prairie du Chien, Mrs. S. taught in various parochial school positions, grades PK-3, in Joliet, IL; Cedarburg, Hartland, and Oak Creek, WI. She also worked as assistant children’s librarian in Sparta, nanny for a Jewish family in Milwaukee, playground supervisor (for 200 kids!) and middle school computer lab administrator in McFarland, and as an aide in an English immersion preschool for immigrant families in Madison. Along the way she worked with children’s choirs and taught piano lessons to 25 students. After moving to Prairie du Chien in 1998, Mrs. S. has worked as a childcare provider for three families, drama director for the PDC Park and Recreation Dept., assistant director for the PDC High School Musicals and Plays, ran the Middle School Choral Festival at St. John’s school in 1999 and she taught kindergarten at St. Gabriel School for three years. A life-long music lover, Mrs. S. has played viola since the age of 9, participating in many school and community orchestras, studied piano for several years in high school and college, and has sung in various choirs and groups beginning in 7th grade. The Stiemke’s have three adult children, one of whom will be the third generation music teacher in the family. Mrs. Stiemke feels so blessed to be able to “come home” to teach again at Prairie Catholic schools, and is looking forward to a challenging and wonderful year.


Mrs. Clarissa Russell - Spanish / Technology (PreK through 8th Grade)

Clarissa Russell is a first year teacher (2016) at Prairie Catholic teaching Technology and Spanish. She grew up in Prairie du Chien, WI and attended Prairie Catholic Schools through 8th grade. She recently graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA with a B.A. Degree in Spanish and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).During school, Clarissa worked as a TA for a Spanish professor as well as a Peer-tutor for Spanish in the College's Peer Learning Center. She has also used her practicum and many volunteer hours tutoring local immigrants in English while in college. Additionally, Clarissa spent her spring semester studying abroad in Guatemala learning Spanish, staying with host families, experiencing and traveling a new culture, understanding poverty, and working at a Special Needs School which have all contributed greatly to gaining a larger world-view and becoming more fluent in the Spanish language. Clarissa is very excited about teaching this year!


Mike Wallace Ė Phy Ed

Mr. Wallace graduated from Winona State University with a B.S. in Physical Education and minor in Coaching. He is married to his wife Brittany and they have two children.


Mrs. Jennifer Nack

Teacher Aide


Mrs. Judy Gillitzer

Teacher Aide


Daycare Staff

Taegan Stine

Daycare Director - Prairie Catholic School

Phone: (608-326-5383)

Mrs. Julie Schwager

Early Childhood Class Teacher

Phone: (608-326-5383)

Lunch Program Staff

Mrs. Molly Kirschbaum -- Kitchen Director



Mr. Mick Rooney -- Maintenance Director (Holy Family Parish and Prairie Catholic School)

Mr. Rooney can be emailed at:

Mr. Richard Tesar -- Cleaning (Churches and Daycare)

Dick is responsible for cleaning St. Gabriel's Church, St. John's Church, St. Gabriel's Daycare, and St. Gabriel's Rectory.

Mrs. Connie Lessard -- Janitor

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