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Staff

 

Adam Dickerson, MA - Headmaster

Mr. Dickerson and his wife Sarah live in Willow Grove, along with their seven children. Their oldest daughter, Faith, is a member of the inaugural class at Martin Saints Classical High School.

Adam attended high school seminary and diocesan seminary, where he received his bachelor's in philosophy, before discerning that the priesthood was not his calling. He also has a licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America.

Three years after seminary, Adam met Sarah in the library at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, where they both obtained master of arts degrees in theology. Six weeks later they were engaged. Adam knows when to seize the day!

Adam taught moral theology for almost ten years at Archbishop Ryan High School. Next he worked for nearly another decade as a canon lawyer at the Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal, working with couples on marriage annulments. Working at the tribunal inspired Adam to want to proactively help couples form solid sacramental marriages so that they would never need the tribunal. Before long, working in marriage prep programs convinced Adam that he had a calling to help provide Catholic moral formation to young people long before the threshold of marriage. Today Adam is thrilled to return to high school teaching to better equip young people, including his own children, to run hard after truth, beauty and goodness despite the challenges of our post-Christian era.

Jocelyn Paul - Director of Classical Education | Science | Philosophy

Miss Jocelyn Paul, a Massachusetts native, is a graduate of the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University in St. David's, PA. While Templeton's Great Books curriculum and classical Christian approach to the liberal arts formed the backbone of her education, Miss Paul earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry with double minors in Philosophy and Theology. Deeply interested in both the sciences and the humanities, some of her favorite undergraduate experiences include researching plant viruses and nanoparticles in the lab and studying history and theology during a summer abroad at Oxford University.

During her senior year of college, Jocelyn was confirmed in the Catholic Church at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Overbrook.

For the past two years, Jocelyn has been teaching middle school science and math at a classical Christian school in Jackson, WY. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she has led a curriculum-mapping project as Science Curriculum Advisor and has served as the Dean of Students. Striving to teach science in a distinctly classical Christian way, she has incorporated primary texts and thoughtfully planned experiments into her lessons, and is always looking for ways to draw connections between science, history, and the humanities.

While Jocelyn has thoroughly enjoyed the abundance of opportunities to hike, bike, fish, and ski in the Tetons, she is looking forward to returning to the Philadelphia area and thrilled to be joining the Martin Saints team.

Deacon Christopher Roberts, Ph.D. - President | Theology

Deacon Roberts lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife Hannah and their four daughters. He teaches theology at Martin Saints Classical High School and is the president of the board. He is also on staff at Holy Martyrs parish as the parish's permanent deacon.

Chris is a convert who grew up in Baltimore. Chris and Hannah met when they were both theology students at Oxford University in England. Hannah is from a small village in North Yorkshire, England. When she was a child, the real life James Herriot was her family's veterinarian. Chris and Hannah were married at Ampleforth Abbey, a Benedictine school and monastery also in Yorkshire. As an adult, Hannah worked for poor churches in the East End of London to help them restore their buildings. More recently, Hannah has been an assistant catechist in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, as well as homeschooling some of the Roberts daughters.

The Roberts family moved to Philadelphia in 2005 so that Chris could teach in the Ethics Program at Villanova University. Chris has also worked for the Collegium Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to prepare Love is Our Mission: the family fully alive, the catechism for the 2015 World Meeting of Families.

Chris once wrote a book called Creation and Covenant: the significance of sexual difference in the moral theology of marriage (you can read a review here). Earlier in his career, he was a reporter for the PBS television program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

Chris is a graduate of Yale (BA, Religious Studies and Environmental Studies), Oxford (MPhil, Christian Ethics) and the University of London (PhD, Theology). He also received a further MA in theology from Philadelphia's St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2017.

Faculty

Rebecca Vitz Cherico, Ph.D. - Literature | Spanish

Mrs. Cherico, her husband Colin, and their five children live in Blue Bell. A native New Yorker, Rebecca grew up in a three bedroom apartment in Manhattan with her parents and five siblings, which meant that her college dorm rooms always felt spacious and quiet! Rebecca attended a Catholic grade school and then Loyola School, one of the few co-ed Jesuit high schools on the East Coast.

Rebecca majored in Italian at Yale University, living in Florence during her junior year. After working in San Francisco and New York, she went back to high school, this time to teach Italian, Spanish, and a little French at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn. This experience lead her to graduate school. Rebecca met Colin at New York University while he was pursuing a law degree. She received her doctorate in Spanish Literature from NYU.

The family moved to Philadelphia in 2002 and enjoyed five years in the Fairmount neighborhood of the city before moving to the suburbs of Montgomery County. Rebecca taught in Villanova's Augustine and Culture Seminar for over a decade, a class which integrates freshman composition, seminar-style teaching, and a great books reading list. She has also taught Spanish language classes at Montgomery County Community College, UPenn, and Villanova.

Rebecca has been part of the ecclesial movement of Communion and Liberation since she was 15, and is an active member of St. Helena's parish. For three years, she served on Philadelphia's Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Rebecca's parents are both converts - and she is technically one herself, since she was received into the Church in second grade. She was a breakout speaker at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (the Knights of Columbus have posted a summary of what she said).

Rebecca had a brief stint as a radio host interviewing converts on Radio Maria. She also edited a book of conversion stories and a book of family devotions based on the writings of Pope Francis. She contributed a chapter to Helen Alvaré's book on Catholic women, as well as meditations in Praying with St. Paul from Magnificat.

Elena Cipolla - Studio Art

Mrs. Elena Cipolla graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelors of Science degree. A self-taught artist, while she was at home with her five children, she continued to develop her artistic talent, creating commissioned pastel portraits.

Mrs. Cipolla started her Art Workshop program at Immaculate Conception School, her children's grade school, in 1993 as a lunch-time activity. The program grew into an after-school activity by 1999, and eventually expanded to a 3 days a week art program with an enrollment of 25-30 students. Many of Mrs. Cipolla's students are awarded high school art scholarships. Art Workshop students also participate each year in the Jenkintown Festival of the Arts, and have been awarded prizes in the Middle School category.

Mrs. Cipolla's Art Workshop program was nationally recognized in 2007, when the students received an award in the category "Catholic Identity" from Today's Catholic Teacher for the painting projects they created for the school, Christ Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother.

Mrs. Cipolla is excited about the opportunity of teaching the studio class at Martin Saints Classical High School. She strongly believes that the role of the art teacher is to motivate and encourage personal expression, while exposing the students to all types of art. "The best part of being an art teacher is watching what happens in the classroom when the students grab onto an idea. The students keep me exploring new ideas."

Stephen Córdova - Latin

Stephen C. Córdova is an expert Latinist with over twenty years of teaching experience. His teaching interests include Latin, the Great Books, Ancient and Medieval History, and Dante. He did his graduate work in Toronto at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, where he did course work for a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies (MSL), and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, from which he received an MA. He has a BA in English (summa cum laude) from St. Mary's College of California. He also studied Latin and Italian at the University of California Berkeley and literature at UC Santa Cruz.

Since 2011, Stephen C. Córdova has taught summer intensive Latin in Philadelphia for the International Institute for Culture at Ivy Hall. He brings a lively teaching style and a passion for Wisdom to the classroom.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Stephen C. Córdova grew up in San Jose, CA. He was educated at St. Francis Cabrini school and Bellarmine College Preparatory. He has two sisters, a brother, two nieces, three nephews, and four godchildren. He is passionate about his family, his Church, baseball (Giants), college football (Cal Bears), film, crime novels, the opera, early music, red meat, red wine, and the slow food movement.

Rebecca Jekel - Mathematics

Mrs. Jekel was born and raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After high school, she attended the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University, earning a double major in Mathematics and PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). Upon graduation, Mrs. Jekel moved to Phoenix, AZ where she worked as a mathematics and economics teacher for the Great Hearts Classical Academies.

While in Phoenix, Mrs. Jekel learned a lot. For example, she learned how beautiful mathematics is, how awesome and challenging it is be a teacher, and how to coach cross country and run a community service club. She also learned how beautiful desert sunsets could be, how many prickly things could grow in one place, and how it was possible to run and hike in weather even hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And she learned how much a person could miss green and moisture and autumn and her family, so in the summer of 2017, she moved back to Pennsylvania, got married to a Mr. Jekel, and took a job as the assistant director of a Mathnasium tutoring center in Rosemont.

Mrs. Jekel currently lives with her husband in Conshohocken and is looking forward to the many more things she will learn as a part of the Martin Saints faculty.

Michael J. Patterson - History

Mr. Patterson is a veteran of Catholic education, having spent over 44 years as a teacher and administrator. Mr. Patterson has recently completed a great mission as the founding headmaster of The Regina Academy at St. John the Baptist Church in Ottsville, PA. During his time there, he guided the school in its transition from a parish elementary school to a classical Catholic academy. He is excited to share this knowledge at the new Martin Saints Classical High School.

He received his B.A. from Belmont Abbey College in Economics and Business, and holds an M.A. from Villanova University in Elementary School Administration. Mr. Patterson's experience is long and deep as both a teacher and administrator. Over the course of his career in education, he has acted as principal in five Catholic schools in the archdiocese and has taught history classes to numerous students. The focus of his history lessons is always the greatness of our Faith, the greatness of our country, and the greatness of Western Civilization.

Mr. Patterson has been an adjunct professor at Neumann University, where he focused his instruction on improving the classroom skills of teachers. He has been a guest lecture and consultant to first-year teachers and administrators; a number of his former staff members are now in administration positions throughout the Delaware Valley.

Mr. Patterson (Mike) and his wife, Susan, have been married for over forty years. They are the parents of three daughters -- all of whom attended Catholic schools -- and the grandparents of three granddaughters.

Ariel Pearce, Ph.D. - Art History

Dr. Pearce was raised in Bucks County PA and now lives in Manayunk with her husband Kostas and their daughter, Daphne. She attended Chestnut Hill College and graduated Suma Cum Laude with a B.A. in both history and art history. An influential study abroad program in Greece led her to graduate studies at Temple University where she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Aegean Bronze Age Art.

For the past ten years, Dr. Pearce has worked on various archaeological projects on the island of Crete and has excavated numerous Bronze Age sites and is primarily interested in the way in which art functions in society. Dr. Pearce has enjoyed nine years of teaching art history and history at several Philadelphia colleges and is now ready to bring her passion for our collective heritage to the Martin Saints community.

Sean Wood - Music

Mr. Wood is a Philadelphia-area native, raised in Wayne. He graduated from McGill University in 2011 with a BA in Philosophy and Western Religions and a minor in English Literature.

Music has been a major part of his life since he was in kindergarten, when he saw a first-grade girl play the violin and was star-struck. He asked his mom for a violin the same day. He went on to study violin at Temple Music Prep for 10 years, and in high school, was a member of the Delaware County Youth Orchestra, Philadelphia Sinfonia, and in 2007, of the Pennsylvania All-State Orchestra. He also studied jazz and classical guitar with Pete Smyser.

He sought out and received a well-rounded liberal arts education at McGill, which has proved immensely useful and for which he is very grateful. He remained active in music while there, performing in a bluegrass band, a rock band, and a choir.

He has spent the last four years working as a piano, voice, guitar, and violin instructor at the Meridee Winters School of Music, an in-home music-lesson company that emphasizes student creativity. He supervised many student-composed pieces to performance, and guided students in their instrumental studies.

He is currently the parish music director at St. Agatha-St. James Parish in University City and a Master's candidate in music history and literature at West Chester University.