Faculty & Staff
Adam Dickerson, J.C.L., M.A.
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.
Director of Classical Education | Science | Philosophy
Mrs. Jocelyn Jekel, a Massachusetts native, is a graduate of the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University. While Templeton's Great Books curriculum and classical Christian approach to the liberal arts formed the backbone of her education, Mrs. Jekel earned a B.S. 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, Mrs. Jekel was confirmed in the Catholic Church at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Overbrook.
Prior to joining the faculty at Martin Saints, Mrs. Jekel lived in Jackson, WY. She taught middle school science, literature, and math, worked as Science Curriculum Advisor, and served as the Dean of Students at a classical Christian school. Striving to teach science in a distinctly classical Christian way, she incorporates primary texts and thoughtfully planned experiments into her science lessons, and is always looking for ways to draw connections between science and the humanities.
Mrs. Jekel is currently earning a MA in Classical Education through the Templeton Honors College, and she also teaches a variety of subjects at The Mason Academy in Newtown Square. In her spare time, she loves to hike, bike, read, and cook, and she especially enjoys doing these activities with her husband, Levi Jekel. They were married in October 2018.
Deacon Christopher Roberts, Ph.D.
President | Theology
Deacon Roberts lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife Hannah and their four daughters. He is chairman of the theology department 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. 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 helped teach the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, as well as homeschooling the Roberts daughters. She and her friend Betsy Puntel wrote a book together, A Child's Book of the Mass, in order to help both adults and children understand the liturgy more deeply.
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. Pope Francis awarded him the Benemerenti Medal for being the primary writer and editor of Love is Our Mission: the family fully alive, which was the official catechism for the 2015 World Meeting of Families.
Chris also 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.
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.
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."
Adam J. Franz, M.A.L.A.
Mr. Franz was raised in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. He earned his B.A. in History at West Chester University where he concentrated on American History and Education. He served as an altar boy throughout childhood and adolescence, even singing in his school’s choir.
After he graduated from West Chester, he moved to Asheville, North Carolina and worked at a folk art gallery. It was during this time that he began to informally read the Western Canon. Subsequently, Mr. Franz moved to Annapolis, Maryland, to study the Classics in a formal setting at St. John’s College. He earned his Master’s in a calendar year and focused on medieval poetry, philosophy and ancient Greek. He translated pieces such as the opening to St. John’s Gospel and the Homeric Hymn to Hephaestus.
He fell away from the Faith and spent several years traveling and wandering - in both a geographical and spiritual sense. Eventually, though, he returned to Pennsylvania to serve as best man in a friend’s wedding. Around the same time, his longing for truth and wisdom brought him back to the Church. Frequent attendance at the traditional Latin Mass helped too, and he began to receive the sacraments again. It was during this final homecoming that he would also meet his future wife, Heather.
He and Heather were married on November 7, 2015 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Lancaster. They now have two daughters, Matilda and Greta.
Franz is excited and honored to be a part of the Martin Saints staff and hopes that his life experience and studies can help young minds to become stalwart in their Faith and knowledgeable of their past and heritage.
Erika Harnett, Ph.D.
Erika Harnett earned her B.A. in Classics from Temple University in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College in 1986. Her dissertation centered on the study of Roman sculpture in its civic context at the ancient town of Minturnae in southern Italy. She has worked as a field archaeologist in Israel, Romania, and at Franklin Court, the site of Benjamin Franklin’s house in Philadelphia. With over 40 years of teaching experience, Dr. Harnett has taught Latin at every level- from 4th graders to graduate students. For most of her career she was at Friends’ Central School, where she received an award for excellence in teaching.
Although Dr. Harnett was prepared to retire from teaching high school in June of 2018, she reconsidered after leading a group of her students on a tour of Italy at the end of the academic year and realized how much she was going to miss the enthusiasm and energy of this age group. Because her academic specialty is in classical archaeology, her method of teaching is multidisciplinary, incorporating archaeology, history, art, and music into the language curriculum. A number of her students over the years have been gold medalists for their performance on the National Latin Exam and, several who chose to continue their study of Classics at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been recipients of awards in Latin and related disciplines at their colleges.
Dr. Harnett is also an adjunct professor of Latin at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Her current hobbies are playing Baroque music on the viola and gardening. She has lived in nearby Glenside for thirty-one years and is excited to be part of the learning community at Martin Saints, a school that for the first time in her life is within walking distance.
Mr. Hurtsellers is a convert from the Evangelical Protestant tradition and a graduate from the Christian and Missionary Alliance College, Toccoa Falls. While at Toccoa Falls, Mr. Hurtsellers studied theology and received various honors and awards, such as the Theology Student of the Year for his graduating class. However, his greatest achievement while studying as an undergraduate was meeting his wife, Kellie, and falling in love through the light of the Church!
Mr. Hurtsellers and Kellie have recently relocated to Narberth, PA (from Atlanta, GA), so that he can continue his theological studies at Villanova University. Though he has aspirations of continuing in the world of academia, Mr. Hurtsellers’s primary interest is providing theological education and guidance to the faithful, so that they might be further conformed to holiness.
Mr. Hurtsellers is excited to synthesize his deep love for Scripture, philosophy, and the arts within the comprehensive framework of faithful Classical education that makes up Martin Saints. When he is not reading, writing, and researching, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Chicago Cubs baseball, going on walks with his dog, Special Agent Dale Cooper, painting, playing the piano, and watching movies.
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.
Keara Mooberry, M.I.T.
Mrs. Mooberry moved to Elkins Park from Phoenix, Arizona in 2016 with her husband and two young sons. Prior to moving, Mrs. Mooberry taught mathematics at Bourgade Catholic High School in the Diocese of Phoenix, where she also served as the Junior Class Moderator, helped lead student retreats, and sat on the Diocesan Digital Content Committee.
Before Arizona, Mrs. Mooberry earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Washington State University, where she enjoyed taking extra math classes as electives. After completing her undergraduate studies, Mrs. Mooberry felt called to become a teacher, and pursued a Master of Initial Teaching degree from Gonzaga University with a concentration in secondary mathematics and science education. Her favorite aspect of teaching high school math is helping students make connections between math and their world at large. Particularly, she likes to help students discover that in understanding the language of math and using it as a set of building blocks, we are able to begin mathematically describing patterns that God has placed before us.
Besides living in Washington, Arizona, and now Pennsylvania, Mrs. Mooberry grew up and graduated high school in Chester, Virginia. She loves living on the East Coast again, and she and her family have enjoyed making the Philadelphia area their home. Mrs. Mooberry is excited to be teaching at Martin Saints and to be part of such a wonderful Catholic educational community.
Michael J. Patterson, M.A.
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.
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.
Benjamin W. Richards, Ph.D.
Dr. Richards lives in Havertown PA with his wife Amy and their three daughters. He will be joining the faculty of Martin Saints Classical High School to teach philosophy in the Fall of 2018.
Ben is a native son of Virginia. Having been born and raised amidst the Appalachian mountains in Roanoke, he received his Artium Baccalaureum in Philosophy and Classics from the College of William and Mary. Ben went on to attain his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. It was in graduate school that he met his wife Amy: they were married in 2011.
The newly formed Richards family moved to Pennsylvania in 2011 so that Amy could take up a position teaching philosophy in the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University. Since 2012 Ben has also taught philosophy courses at Eastern University. Ben and his wife Amy are Catholic converts and were received into the arms of Holy Mother Church on All Saints Day in 2015.
Ben’s research and studies have centered on ethics and the history of philosophy with a particular focus on ancient Greek thought. He is especially interested in how ancient Greek thought has been integrated into the Christian philosophical tradition. He is excited join the Martin Saints community.
Carol Sargeant, M.T.S
DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE COUNSELING
Way back before the Common Ap, in the days of carbon paper and white-out, Mrs. Sargeant applied to colleges on a borrowed typewriter. Without the aid of a guidance counselor, SAT prep courses, or spell check, Carol fumbled her way through the personal essays, standardized tests, and interviews. She sent off her applications by registered mail, then chewed her nails awaiting a verdict. It was stressful. God was working out His purposes in Carol’s life, but she was too anxious to notice.
The following September, Carol packed her thesaurus and headed to Harvard, where she quickly learned that she needed waterproof shoes and a heavier coat. She graduated with an honors degree in Literature, then moved south (to warmer climes) and earned a Masters in Theological Studies, where – in God’s amazing providence – this Presbyterian Californian Suburbanite met and married a Greek Orthodox New Yorker. They moved to Havertown, converted to Catholicism, and raised four children to appreciate cheese steaks, water ice, and Phillies baseball.
Carol has been homeschooling for over twenty years. In addition to launching three sons off to college (Yale, Lehigh, and Notre Dame) and a daughter into high school, Carol teaches creative writing courses, administers the annual National Mythology Exam for the Association of Roman Catholic Homeschoolers, and coaches anxious high schoolers through the process of writing a well-constructed college admissions essay. Carol attends Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Philadelphia, is a Cooperator with Opus Dei, and is active on the local UNBOUND Prayer Team through Heart of the Father Ministries. UNBOUND prayer and college counseling actually have a lot in common. Both aim to help individuals overcome fear and move forward with confidence in Christ.
“I’m excited to join the team at Martin Saints,” says Carol. “I see college counseling as a ministry. The college application process can be overwhelming and bewildering. It was tricky back when I applied to schools, and it’s only gotten more competitive and complex. I’d like to help Martin Saints families navigate this byzantine undertaking. Together, we can seek to hear the Lord and search for each student’s ‘best-fit’ school. With God’s help, we can transform a haphazard college search into an exciting journey of discernment and self-discovery.”
Jacqueline Sergio, A.A., B.A.
Mrs. Sergio is an experienced professional and learning specialist in the fields of language and remedial education. Moreover, her multilingual background and ongoing travel continue to enhance her working with students from other countries as well as American students who struggle with Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., A.D.D., and other obstacles to academic study and concentration. Relevant teaching experience was acquired at a specialized school for students with learning differences, employing not only the Orton-Gillingham method, but the use of kinesthetics and various teaching methods acknowledged to produce positive outcomes. (See Delaware Valley Friends School)Since students have proven her ability to enhance their acquisition of language skills, Mrs. Sergio is always encouraged to develop new ideas and techniques. One is the learning motivation of adult student groups. This opens exciting educational vistas in the fields of E.S.L. and World Languages in both classroom situations and one-on-one learning, e.g. facilitating language use in the rapidly advancing health field plus intensive preparation for domestic and international business travel.
Tutoring remains a prime skill and interest for Mrs. Sergio, whether optimally long-term, or short-term. She specializes in year-long tutoring for Writing, Reading, Latin, English, E.S.L., Spanish, Italian, French, and Humanities. She has also led three student tours to Italy and Spain.
From the moment she left her two young sons at Norwood’s Montessori School, the die was cast. Mrs. Sergio knew that she would teach. A self-described nerd as a child, she was excited to return to the books. The formality and eloquent structure of the Latin language appealed to her. When she was given all four levels of language and literature to present to her students, her joy was indescribable. Yes, the Romans had gravitas but even more, humanitas.
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.