Saint Mary Academy School Board
The Saint Mary Academy School Board is a consultative board. The board's responsibilities are in policy matters. The board is not responsible for administration or the details of administration. Administration is the responsibility of the administrative team (pastor and principal).
If you wish to address the board, you must submit items for the agenda to the executive committee (School Board chairperson, pastor, and principal) at least seven days prior to the meeting for their consideration prior to placement on the agenda.
A Letter From Fr. Jeff
More than ever I am reminded this year that it takes the cooperation of all of us to provide the wonderful education we have come to expect here at Saint Mary Academy. As the Pastor of SMA I am grateful to those among our community who have stepped forward to serve on our SMA School Board, assisting Mrs. Kelly and myself in providing the best possible environment and programing for your families’ advancement in knowledge, grace, and wisdom. I am particularly grateful to Mrs. Pulac O’Kuma who has accepted the position of School Board Chair bringing her community-building talents to bear on our efforts. It is a joy to serve with such talented and dedicated parents! We are in this together, and together we will all rise
Peace, Fr. Jeff
A Word From Our SMA School Board Chair:
It is an honor and a privilege to be the school board chair for the 2020-2021 school year. This year has already proven to be a unique experience and I’m excited to be a part of what keeps our community together as we navigate through these uncertain times. Our board consists of parents plus our PTO and faculty representative as an advisory board for Mrs. Lisa Kelly and Father Jeff Nicolas. Specifically, we work on planning for our school’s future and giving input regarding school policies. We meet monthly and as representatives of our school community, we always welcome feedback, ideas, and suggestions from the families at our school. Please feel free to reach out to us. I’m proud to be a part of the SMA community and I look forward to finding ways for us to grow as a faith community.
School Board Chair
Pulac O’Kuma is a Louisville native who attended the University of Louisville and received a liberal arts degree with a concentration in French, business, and political science. She and her husband, Chris have three children who all attend Saint Mary Academy. Pulac worked in pharmaceutical sales for over 10 years and she currently stays home. She and her husband are both active volunteers at SMA and they are grateful for the community of the school and parish at St. Mary Academy/St. Bernadette.
School Board Vice Chair
Lucila de la Vega came from Colombia 8 years ago, because husband came to work as CFO in a Louisville Engineering Company "Messier and Associates". After working in International Trade and Vocational Training for the Colombian Government, and being trained in Finance and International Trade, I am now a Realtor with 4 years experience in Residential Real Estate. Mother of Sofia, Kindergarten and Valeria "Val" in Preschool, we love St. Mary for the warm, family treatment, catholic education and core values.
Gina has called Louisville home since she moved here in 2011. After receiving her Master’s degree in Education, she taught high school and middle school students for several years and then became an educational consultant for the state of Tennessee. Solely attending public schools during their own upbringing, her and her husband fell in love with the community feel of Saint Mary Academy. She has three children attending SMA and is excited to support students and staff in her new role as a School Board member.
Tara Brentzel has been teaching 1st grade at Saint Mary Academy since 2009. She grew up in Louisville and attended Mother of Good Counsel and Assumption High School. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Tara has been teaching in the Archdiocese since 2003. She loves helping children grow in both knowledge and spirit at SMA.
Tara and her husband have two children. Caleb is a junior at Trinity and Sophie is in 7th grade at SMA. They are members of Saint Bernadette Church. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, watching her kids play sports, reading, and exercising.
Todd grew up in Louisville and attended Catholic grade school and high school here. Todd is active in various school activities and enjoys coaching soccer. His wife Amanda hails from Missouri, and they have five children.
Alícia Krieg is a native of Louisville who attended Sacred Heart Academy and majored in Communication and Spanish Literature at Hanover College. She taught for 9 years as a Lead Spanish teacher and World Language Chair at St. Francis School in Goshen, Kentucky and the Orchard School in Indianapolis. Her husband, Chris and her have three amazing children that love SMA. She finds much joy volunteering her talents at St. Mary Academy. In recent years, she has headed up both the Middle School Dance Elective and the 8th Grade Student Leadership Elective. Her students are a constant reminder of why she loves teaching so much and is blessed that SMA has given her the awesome opportunity to be back in the classroom. As a Board Member, she loves brainstorming ideas that help cultivate the relationship between the students and their gifted teachers.
Jenny Lewis grew up in Lebanon, Kentucky and attended St. Augustine School. She has lived in Louisville now for 20 years, graduating from both the University of Louisville and then UL School of Dentistry. She and her husband, Scott, each own dental practices outside of Louisville. She has four children attending Saint Mary Academy, and is excited to be on the Board to support both students and staff of SMA.
Ana C. Feria is a Dominican living in Louisville since 2015, who attended the PUCMM (Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra) and received a Social Communications degree, while in college she discovered her passion for education, and she decided to do an Associates in Education in English as a Second language in UDA (Universidad Dominico Americana). She and her Husband have two children who all attend Saint Mary Academy. Ana worked in education, as Preschool Teacher for 10 years, she currently stays at home and has a home bakery. She and her husband are so blessed to be part of the Saint Mary Academy and Saint Bernadette community and are active volunteers. They are very invested in their childrens catholic education. She would like to follow on her mother’s footsteps who was present in everything that involved in her upbringing as Catholic, It will be an honor for her to be of service of our school and community.
Olivia Passafiume is a native of Berea, Ohio, who attended Baldwin Wallace University earning a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development with certifications in both Reading and ESL, among others. She and her husband, Nicholas, ED medical director, have two children - Giuliana, a second grader at Saint Mary Academy and Luca, a Junior Kindergartener at Vanguard Academy. Olivia taught in Florida’s Orange and Palm Beach County schools for several years prior to her marriage after which they relocated to her husband’s hometown, Louisville. Olivia is a volunteer and committee member for variety of organizations and events and is troop leader for Brownie Troop 3040 at Saint Mary Academy.
She hopes to be an effective voice for students and parents in continuing the tradition of excellence in our school community.
Originally from Chicago,
Illinois, Matthew Trzaskus relocated with his family to Louisville, Kentucky where
he attended St. Albert the Great and St. Xavier High School.
graduated with a BS in Biology from Clemson University before working as a Forensic Scientist Specialist for the Kentucky State Police specializing in Serology, DNA, and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis for nearly ten years. He supported local, state, and federal
agencies and testified in court on a regular basis.
2015, he made a career change to education and obtained his MAT from University of Louisville as part of their Alternative Teacher Certification Program. Concurrent with enrolling in this program, Matthew began teaching Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, and
Forensic Science at Seneca High School for Jefferson County Public Schools. In his tenure at Seneca, Matthew also taught Biology and Advanced Placement Environmental Science. He was a member of the school’s Budget Committee, Site-Based-Decision-Making Council,
and was head of the Racial Equity Committee.
Matthew is working as a district Resource Teacher in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for all high schools and is a member of the LGBTQ+ Curriculum development committee, the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity cohort, and is an adjunct faculty member in
the College of Education at UofL. He is a candidate for his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction where his research focuses on social justice in science as a means of relevance and engagement for students to reduce the opportunity gap. He has had research published
in Supporting STEM Education
with Limited Resources, and is currently researching other
methods of engagement for equity of instruction in JCPS. His vision for equitable education led him to SMA with their strong community outreach programs.
is married to his high school sweetheart, Kitty Samuels, who is currently serving as the Fundraising Chair of SMA’s PTO Executive Board. Together they have two children: Alexis, currently a third grader at SMA and Theo, a future-Monarch. In his spare time,
Matt enjoys golfing, traveling and spending time with his family, Pandora, their cat, and their two doodles, Parker and Piper.