Mrs. Shelly Rose


My name is Shelly Rose, and I have been at St. John the Baptist School for 22 years. I have taught preschool through high school before I came here. I taught grades 5, 6 and 7 and id remedial help at St. John's before I became principal. I earned the Grinspoon Teacher of Excellence Award in 2003. I am a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Belchertown. I love being a part of the St. John the Baptist School family!

Mrs. Ratkiewicz


My name is Christina Ratkiewicz. I earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Elms College and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood with Special Education from American International College. I have over 20 years of experience teaching young children. In 2015, I earned The Grinspoon Teacher of Excellence Award.

I am a parishioner of St. Catherine of Siena Church. My family and I live in Wilbraham. I am so happy to be part of the St. John the Baptist School family!

Mrs. Vale


My name is Helena Vale, I live in Ludlow with my wonderful husband, two children and fun little Olaf..(our family dog - not the real one :) I have been happily working and teaching here at St John the Baptist school alongside Mrs. Hewes, while also helping other wonderful teachers in various grades. I received my Bachelors degree and education at Western New England University. Graduated summa cum laude in my class. I decided I wanted to try the corporate world and did that for a while. I was working full time until I had my two daughters who are both successful graduates of St John the Baptist school. While my children attended school here, I became increasingly engaged in the entire school community and decided that I wanted to be part of the staff to help teach and guide children in positive ways. The years I have spent with students and faculty here have been the most rewarding and gratifying experience anyone could ask for. I believe that there is always something to learn and share each and every day. My mission as a teacher is to help children discover the joy of learning, and to help each child develop a strong belief in his or her own ability to achieve success in everything they do. I want them to recognize and respect each other, for who they are. To know that their hard work will push them to be their personal best. When not in school, you will find me anywhere out in nature. Hiking, Biking, skiing, swimming... and/or snuggled up with a good book.

Mrs. Danyow


My name is Virginia Danyow. This is my fourth year teaching. After years in the financial industry and then being a stay at home mom, I returned to school and earned my Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Westfield State University where I was named the top early childhood education student in my class. I hold my license to teach pre-k through 2 in Massachusetts and pre-k through 3 in Connecticut. I plan to return to school in the fall (2021) to pursue my Masters Degree.

I live in Agawam with my husband, Joe, my daughter, Eileen Ann, and our dog Archie. I like to walk, bake, and read in my spare time. I am so happy to be part of the St. John the Baptist School family!

Mrs. Aghjayan

First Grade

My name is Abby Aghjayan. I attended Holyoke Catholic and went on to receive my Bachelor’s Degrees in Elementary Education and English from Assumption College. After graduating, I spent 4 years as an Instructional Assistant in the Nashoba Regional School District, working with grades K-4.

I live with my husband, Alex, and our Great Pyrenees, Luna. In my spare time I am often found with a book in my hand or in the kitchen baking sweet treats. I am so honored to have joined the St. John the Baptist School family and be able to teach these wonderful students!

Mrs. Pilon

Second Grade

My name is a Trish Pilon. I am looking forward to another wonderful year at St. John the Baptist School as the school’s second grade teacher. For the past few years, I have been working with Springfield Public Schools in special education. Over the years, I have also taught in other schools within the Diocese of Springfield as both a primary and middle school teacher. Recently, while working as a certified licensed teacher, I received my Masters in Special Education and Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement from Springfield College. Prior to this, I attended Bay Path University as well as Our Lady of the Elm’s College with a concentration of studies in education.

I live with my husband and son. We are new members of the St. Elizabeth Parish. I have served the community over the years by working with various Catholic education programs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H for over a decade. In 2015, I was awarded the Saint George Award from Bishop Mitchell Rozanski for my many years of dedication to Catholic Scouting. I am a local artist and belong to several art leagues in the area. I love sharing stories about my silly dog, scouting, and family adventures.

Mrs. Meneke

Third Grade

My name is Laura Meneke. I am excited and looking forward to being your child's 3rd grade teacher! I am originally from Texas, but moved to Massachusetts a few years ago. I am certified in both Texas and Massachusetts in Elementary Education grades 1-6 as well as Mild to Moderate special needs, grades K-8. I also hold a Sheltered English Immersion endorsement. I have over twelve years of teaching experience, half of which was as an elementary classroom teacher and the other half as a special education teacher.

I’ve been married to my husband for 26 years. We have three grown children, two boys and a girl. We also have several pets. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, working in my flower beds and relaxing by the ocean.

Mrs. Gaj

Fourth Grade

My name is Heather Gaj, and I graduated from Westfield State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Arts in History. I am certified with the state of Massachusetts to teach grades 1-6. I have been teaching in the Springfield Diocese at St. John the Baptist for sixteen years. I belong to Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Granby. I am married to my husband Peter, and I have two daughters; Madyson and Kyrsten.

Mrs. Szwarckop

Fifth Grade

My name is Stacy Szwarckop, and I earned a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Human Resources from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. My experience includes working for the Department of the Navy, Judge Advocate General, as a Human Resources Manager and management analyst, which included supervision of its training program. Enjoyment of adult learning and education inspired me to redirect my attention to the foundation of learning. I returned to college to earn a Master's Degree in Education. Prior to joining Saint John the Baptist School in 2008, I worked at Saint Stanislaus in Chicopee, teaching 5th and 6th grade.

Sr. Jeanne Branchaud

Sixth Grade

I’m Sister Jeanne Branchaud, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield. I have taught in various Catholic and public schools in Vermont and Massachusetts over the last 30 years. I have two BS degrees, one in Human Services and the other in Education. I also hold two Masters Degrees, one in Theology and the other in Special Education. I also just earned a Certificate in Woman's Leadership and Spirituality from Hartford Seminary. I have served as a campus minister and a chaplain for the Springfield Police Department. I also teach kayaking and rowing on the Connecticut River in my “spare” time.

Mrs. Willis

Seventh Grade

My name is Wendy Willis, and I have a Bachelors of Science Degree in Chemistry from Western New England University. I have worked at Metals Analyst at Fountain Plating Co., Colt Firearms Corp., The Hartford Insurance Company and Con-Test Environmental Laboratory.

I worked as a substitute teacher while earning my teaching certificate. I came to St John the Baptist in 2006.

I have nine graduate credits in education.

Mrs. Jagodowski

Eighth Grade

My name is Maureen Jagodowski, and I was born and raised in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Graduating from Holyoke Catholic in 1967, I studied and earned my undergraduate degree and Master in the Art of Teaching degree from The College of Our Lady of the Elms. I taught for nineteen years at Blessed Sacrament School in Holyoke and have been a member of the St. John the Baptist faculty since 2005. Currently, I am president of a non-profit organization, For the Health of It in Western, MA, that is dedicated to suicide prevention for local middle and high school students presented by certified counselors through educational programs.

Mrs. Nogueira

Math Grades 5 - 8

My name is Donna Nogueira and I am a Ludlow resident. My family and I are parishioners of St. Elizabeth. I am a graduate of SJBS, as are my three children. I received my teaching degree from AIC and a certificate of middle school math from the Elms. I began teaching at SJBS in 1982. Over the years I’ve held various positions. Presently, I teach grade 5 - 8 math.

Mr. Gallagher


My name is Conor Gallagher and I teach Computers. Previously, I volunteered at the Vacation Bible School camp (VBS) as the Games Counselor for seven years and enjoyed it immensely. I served as an Alter Server for over 10 years at my parish, Christ the King Church in Ludlow, and found it to be a rewarding experience. I attended college at HCC. I enlisted in the Air National Guard and took a year off of teaching in order to complete my initial training. I am at Barnes AFB as a traditional guardsmen in addition to teaching at SJB. I love working with children in a setting where I can use my knowledge of Catholicism and my passion for technology and exercise together to help children grow in the faith and knowledge.

Mr. Bradley


My name is Al Bradley. It is a pleasure to be part of the SJB faculty, students and parents. I earned a BFA in Art Education and an MFA in Visual Design/Printmaking. I was chosen to be a fellow at Skidmore College in Painting and won the Margot Neugebauer award for Art Education at UMass.

I have been teaching art in Massachusetts and Connecticut for 26 years. Art is my passion, my life! I enjoy bringing happiness and knowledge to students. I come from a family background of successful artists. I exhibit my art and have won numerous awards as well as sold many pieces. I enjoy donating my art to various charities and organizations. My goal is to enrich souls and make aware to students the beauty and importance ART plays in our lives and in society. My door is always open so feel free to contact me.

Mr. Zulch

Physical Education

Mrs. Pereira


My name is Irene Saloio Pereira, and I am a lifelong resident of Ludlow and communicant of St. Elizabeth’s Parish. I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where I received my BA in Music Education with a Vocal Music emphasis.

My career started in the Spencer/East Brookfield School District in 1976. I taught music in 4 different schools within the District ranging from grades 1-8 and Chorus at David Prouty HS.

I was married in 1978, and took a hiatus from teaching as my husband pursued his career as a professional soccer player. We settled back in Ludlow when our first child was born. Between 1984 and 1986, though I spent the majority of my time at home with our daughters, I taught 2 classes- 4 days a week- at Wilbraham and Monson Academy. In 1990, when our second child began Kindergarten at SJBS, I started working at Wilbraham Middle School. I stayed there for 12 years. I then decided to fill a vacancy here at SJB, where by then our two daughters had graduated, and our son was in 1st grade. I stayed at SJBS for two years before accepting a position as the Chorus and Drama teacher at Ludlow’s Paul R. Baird Middle School in 2001. After 32 years of teaching, I retired at the close of the school year 2016.

My heart has always been with St. John the Baptist School …and as God would have it… there was a music vacancy here that allowed me the perfect part time schedule. I am thrilled to be able to continue sharing my love of music and drama with our students in a God filled setting once again.