Mrs. Shelly Rose


My name is Shelly Rose, and I have been at St. John the Baptist School for 25 years. I have taught preschool through high school before I came here. I taught grades 5, 6 and 7, and I also taught 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. 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. van Noordwyk

Second Grade

My name is Desiree van Noordwyk. My 13-year-old son, Ethan,and I came, from Durban, South Africa. I am in constant search of gaining as much knowledge as possible to assist my students in embracing their strengths and supporting their individual needs. This passion, as well as one of my life goals, is what brought us to the USA. I am currently attending Springfield College in the Special Education Masters Program. I earned my bachelor's in Elementary education at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. I have seventeen years of teaching experience, mainly in grades two and three. For the last three years, I have been a Special Education teacher ranging in Grades from Pre K to Grade 6.

We love the outdoors. We are avid rugby supporters, one being the the Sharks and our South African team, the Springboks (who recently retained the title of World Cup champions)!

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that God has given me to pursue my master's degree and teach at St. John the Baptist School. I am excited to teach my second-grade students with fun, hands-on, student-engaging lessons. 

Mrs. Simpson

Third Grade

Mrs. Mentekidis

Fourth Grade

My name is Louisa Mentekidis, and I am very excited to be the Fourth Grade Teacher here at St. John the Baptist School.  I have a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Secondary Education as well as a Masters Degree in Education.  I taught for fifteen years in public and parochial schools in New York City and Indiana before I left teaching to stay home with my children. During this time, I was actively involved with my Adult Education Program at my parish, St. Cecilia’s in Wilbraham.  I have lived in Ludlow for twenty years with my husband and three children, two of whom are 2016 graduates of St. John the Baptist School. 

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.

Mr. Laurent-Wood

Sixth Grade

5 - 8 Religion/7th Grade ELA

My name is Jonathan Laurent-Wood and I will be the 6th grade homeroom teacher. I will be teaching grades 5 - 8 Religion and 7th grade Language Arts classes. I have been an educator for 20 years and have a background in philosophy, history and theology. I am an active member in my parish community of Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church and have strong ties with Christ the King parish in Ludlow. I am an active member of the Ludlow Knights of Columbus and on the board of directors of Montague Catholic Social Ministries. I have taught both confirmation and first communion classes. My teaching experience began at Saint Francis and Clare International School in Rome where I was studying theology.  

Mr. Lowney

Seventh Grade 

5 - 8 Science/N- 8 Physical Education

My name is Matthew Lowney, I am very excited to join the St. John the Baptist School team. A passion of mine is the outdoors and traveling, I love to see and experience new places and cultures. I am a very active person, engaging in just about any activity. I also have a love for food, and trying new delicious dishes! 

I have had the experience of working with a wide range of age groups in mixed settings of education and rehabilitation. I received my Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science Degree from Westfield State University. I have always held an interest in the sciences and physiology. I look forward to sharing my combined interests and education in the Sciences and physical fitness fields with the students.

Mrs. Gaj


6 - 8 Social Studies/8 Grade ELA

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.

Miss Crespo

Grade 5 - 8 Math

My name is Amanda Crespo, and I am very excited to be the Fifth through Eighth Grade Math Teacher here at St. John the Baptist School. I earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Westfield State College with a concentration in Math in 2009. I have over 10 years of experience with young children from working in the Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke communities. I'm excited to start a new journey and hope to inspire the kids to be the best they can be. My goal is to teach and guide all children in a positive way. When not in school you will find me on the beach, cuddled up reading a book or playing with my fur baby Lola.


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.

Mrs. Will


Mrs. Shannon Chaves


I am a graduate of Holyoke Catholic and went on to college to become a nurse. I worked many years at Baystate, and most recently started as the nurse at St. John the Baptist School, which I love. I am a mother of three active girls who love to play soccer. I am happy to do what I love, and do it in a such a great environment.