Sacred Heart Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71 and Principal Sr. Kathleen Mary Coonan, ASCJ have announced appointments for the 2019-20 academic year:

Raymond Degnan III will serve as the new director of athletics. He will be responsible for the development, supervision, and maintenance of the Academy’s athletics program. Ray received a B.A. degree in English from Boston College and an M.A. in secondary education from Sacred Heart University. He comes to us from North Haven High School where he taught English coached baseball, basketball, flag football, and was the co-founder of the school’s Unified Sports program. Ray is an avid sports enthusiast and continues to compete in athletics, but most of all enjoys spending time with his family.He and his wife, Kristen, have four children, Dylan, Ella, Shay, and Kasey.

Clara Johnson is happy to join the Campus Ministry team as an assistant. Originally from Sacramento, CA, she recently moved to Hamden and, in August, entered the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a postulant. Clara received a B.A. in theology and secondary education from Creighton University and taught theology for the past two years at Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, KS. She will complete her M.S. in educational leadership from Creighton University this year. When not working, Clara loves reading, knitting, and playing tennis.
Ahmed Maklad is joining the English, History and Business Departments. With an M.A. in English and comparative literature from the American University of Cairo, Ahmed taught English literature in Egypt and Qatar. His journey then led him to become principal of a primary school in Bahrain; he also taught evening classes in the University in Bahrain. Subsequently Ahmed was asked to become a vice principal of an American International School in Saudi Arabia that enrolled more than 2,000 students. He moved back to the United States in 2017 and worked at an inner city school in the Bronx teaching English literature and last year served as a long-term substitute in the Social Studies Department here at the Academy.
Maricele Cornejo Riemann ’90 returns to Sacred Heart Academy as the director of institutional advancement. Maricele earned a B.A. in politics, with a minor in fine arts, from New York University, and an M.A. and M.Phil. in political science and methodology from Columbia University. Most recently, Maricele served as the director of the Graduate Support Program at Grace Academy, a tuition-free, private school for underrepresented girls in Hartford. There she launched several college and career readiness initiatives, including the Pathways through College Program, which was funded by the Aurora Foundation for Women and Girls. She and her husband have four children and her interests include running, music, and vintage clothes. Maricele is thrilled to be back at her alma mater with her daughter, Emma ’22.
Kelly Ryan, the newest member of our Math Department, recently retired from Hamden Public Schools. Over the course of her teaching career, she has taught math for grades five through twelve and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Gateway Community College. Kelly received a B.A. in English literature from Albertus Magnus College and an M.A. and CAS in educational administration from Fairfield University. She is a professional figure skater and has coached at the New Canaan Winter Club for more than thirty years. She joined the cross country team in college and has since completed seven marathons, though she no longer looks at the time on her watch when crossing the finish line! Kelly and her husband enjoy hiking, theater, and travel.
Peter Swan is pleased to join the Science Department as the new physics teacher and looks to continue to advance the physics program here at the Academy. With a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University, he worked as a design engineer for ten years. He then joined the faculty at Hopkins School, teaching physics and coaching the wrestling team. In his twenty years at Hopkins, he helped develop the advanced physics curriculum and the middle school physical science curriculum, and created an Introduction to Engineering course, while also earning his M.S. in science education from Southern Connecticut State University. For the past two years, Peter and his family lived on Cape Cod, where he taught physics and advanced physics, and created a middle school physical science program at Cape Cod Academy. Peter and his wife, Dianne, are the proud parents of two children, Monte and Aquinnah, and dog, Finnegan.

Patricia Young will teach freshman theology. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where she also studied history and secondary education. She moved to Hamden from her hometown of Tallahassee, FL, where she worked in a Catholic high school for six years, teaching, coaching, and serving as the athletic director. Patricia is currently in the last semester of her master's program in educational leadership at Florida State University and is discerning religious life as a postulant with the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her outside interests include painting and playing volleyball.
Allison Zink will also serve as an assistant in our Campus Ministry program. She earned a B.S. in communication sciences and disorders from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. In August 2018, Allison moved to Hamden to join the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a postulant. Allison volunteered with two high school youth ministry programs in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and has worked as a gymnastics coach before moving here. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and baking and is thrilled to be at Sacred Heart Academy.

Left to Right: Kelly Ryan, Peter Swan, Raymond Degnan, Ahmed Maklad, Maricele Cornejo Riemann ’90
Missing from photo: Clara Johnson, Patricia Young, Allison Zink