Our staff is divided by department as outlined in the adjacent graphic. Our staff listing is divided accordingly. If you do not see the staff person you are looking for, please contact Deb Royals-Mizerk at 919-847-8205×222.
We are located at:
11401 Leesville Rd, Raleigh, NC 27613
Office Hours 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Main Phone Number 919-847-8205
Parish Fax Number 919-870-1790
The Franciscan School Fax Number 919-847-9558
Marc Kielty x227
Director of Facility Operations
Along with his team, Marc oversees the day to day operations of the parish. The Parish Operations staff view their primary role as supporting all of the church’s ministries. Providing a safe, clean and well maintained environment conducive to safety and successful ministry work is paramount. Additionally, as can be seen below, the operations staff is also responsible for assisting parishioners identify and use their personal gifts to serve the Lord, and one another; keeping parishioners informed through the communications office; maintaining the vast membership records and databases of our large parish; operating our active community center and many programs; and conducting classes under the Diocese’s guidelines in relation to providing a safe environment for our youth. We hope that you find our campus and staff welcoming, and are pleased to serve you.Operations Staff
Rob Neppel x243
Director of Finance and Planning
Rob is responsible for the financial well-being of the parish, parish schools and columbarium. He establishes annual budgets and works with the school principals and ministry leaders to ensure their operational needs are addressed while staying within their overall budgets. Rob serves as a financial advisor to the pastor as well as the parish Finance Council, Pastoral Council, and School Advisory Councils. He also provides support to the various parish oversight committees. Rob’s responsibilities also include overseeing the administrative and human resource aspects of the parish community as well as strategic long term planning.
Esperanza Neri x229
Coordinator of Finance for the Parish
Esperanza loves that living her faith is part of her job. She is one of those rare people who always has a smile for another. She handles parish finances and has been a long-time member of the parish.
Reji John x228
Coordinator of Finance for the Schools
Jennifer Fiduccia x238
Director of Family Fomation
Serving professionally as a cantor since age fourteen, Jenn began her full-time career as a Youth Minister while completing her degree in vocal performance at New York University. Having served in many ministerial and musical roles for parishes and the Archdiocese of Newark, Jenn, her husband Pat, and four children, moved to North Carolina in 2009. She began her service at St. Francis in 2011 as Coordinator for Families with Youth and now serves as Director of Formation. Aside from her roles in ministry at the parish and diocesan level, writing and performing music (https://soundcloud.com/jennjinks), and raising her young family, Jenn is pursuing her Masters in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas.
Thomas Bulick x239
Coordinator, Middle School Formation
Thomas joined the Formation Team as the Coordinator of Middle School Formation in June 2017. In addition to leading formation for youth in grades 6 through 8, he also coordinates sacramental preparation and celebration for Confirmation. Thomas recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and has extensive experience working in the Newman Catholic Student Center Parish at UNC as a middle school catechist, and he also served as a student minister for Junior Youth Ministry and as Student Minister for Catechesis K-8. In addition to the Newman Center, Thomas volunteers weekly at Culbreth Middle School as an ESL Volunteer.
Sarah Bowser x496
Coordinator Children's Formation
Sarah is part of the formation team as the Coordinator of Children’s Faith Formation. God has blessed her immensely in the past year: She graduated from the University of Notre Dame (where she studied psychology and theology) in December. She married her seventh grade crush on June 11th, and moved from Michigan down to Durham shortly afterwards.
Marisa Ferrara x223
Coordinator of Youth Ministry
Martina Dumberger x264
Martina supports the Family Formation Team in the logistical aspects of youth Confirmation and Youth Ministry retreats. Her tasks include preparing and facilitating the registration process, managing the Confirmation database, guiding families through the sacramental preparation process, recruiting and managing volunteers, among others. She enjoys working with her team and serving her faith community.
Jennifer McCourt x269
Jennifer joined the Family Formation team in September 2014 to provide administrative support for children’s faith formation (grades K-5). This includes Cross Walk (K-5), sacramental preparation for Reconciliation and First Eucharist, and Vacation Bible School. Jennifer can be found emailing registration announcements or program updates and working with parents to ensure the details are in place for their child to attend these events. When not at St. Francis Jen’s often cruising around the Leesville area with her three kids – who are also in the Faith Formation program.
Patti Panizza x237
Patti joined the Formation team in October of 2016. She supports the Team by coordinating the weekly Cross Walk, Cross Train, Cross Road and Home School /FIRE newsletters for the Formation Team, and maintains the Formation web pages. Anticipating her oldest son’s graduation from The Franciscan School this year, she wanted to continue to be a part of the St Francis community where she’s been a parishioner for 20+ years. Patti was born and raised in the Boston suburbs, and enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, a good cup of coffee, and reading in her spare time.
Justice and Peace Ministries
Trevor Thompson x270
Director of Justice and Peace
If you are looking to do some service in the community, go on a mission trip, or learn more about how our faith calls us to be in solidarity with and be an advocate for others, Trevor can find an opportunity that works for you and your family. Inspired by Pope Francis’ challenge for the church to be a people of communion and mission, Trevor provides pastoral leadership in the area of pastoral care, outreach, social justice, and adult formation. He loves walking with people on a journey of faith seeking understanding. He also loves to cook, care for his homestead, and watch and play ball with his kids.
Becky Cawley x267
Justice and Peace Specialist
Becky is responsible for developing, presenting and facilitating educational and faith formation programming and for collaborating with and assisting other parish ministries, especially youth, integrate justice and peace into the overall mission of the parish. She is also responsible for promoting justice and peace programming, events and ministries and for supporting and assisting these ministries. What brings Becky the greatest joy in her role is inspiring and engaging parishioners in this most important work of justice and peace and then walking with them as this reality unfolds in their lives. She also loves spending time with her husband and kids, especially outdoors.
Jim Wahl x230
Director of Liturgy and Music
A native of Southern California, James has been on staff at St. Francis since 2010. He is the Director of Music and Liturgy and has served as a pastoral musician since high school and professionally for over twenty years. Before moving to the East Coast, he ministered at parishes in California and Arizona, including the Cathedral of Phoenix. Aside from his role at St. Francis, James composes and presents children’s music for World Library Publications. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Liturgical Music Composition from St. John’s University in Minnesota. He and his wife Tami have four boys, two still in the house!
Tim Hetzel x 244
Coordinator of Liturgy and Sacraments
As the Coordinator of Liturgy and Sacraments, Tim works to form and minister to over 800 liturgical ministry volunteers at our parish. Tim works seamlessly between Formation and Liturgy, highlighting the collaborative necessity of these two important aspects of parish life. In this capacity he is an important resource not only for our weekly liturgical life, but also for sacramental preparation and rites.
Parish Life Ministries
Kathleen Owen x241
Director of Parish Life
Kathleen helps support the many ministries of Care and Wellness as well as funerals. After years in the business world, she found that being on staff at St. Francis provided her the opportunity to really make a difference. Her favorite parts of being at St. Francis are meeting new people, hearing their stories, helping them find a deeper connection to the parish and open doors for people to see the ways their spiritual life can guide, comfort and make a difference in their own lives. Oh, and hugs! Kathleen loves hugs! When she has time, Kathleen loves to knit, cook, walk on the beach, watch the sun set into the ocean, sit with a cat or dog in her lap, and laugh.
Jackie Adamo x268
Administrative Specialist, Care and Wellness
Jackie shares her many skills aiding, and serving others in a positive and uplifting way. She provides administrative support to the Coordinator of Care and Wellness and collaborates with all Care and Wellness ministries supporting them with organizing events, advertising, managing volunteer needs and creating flyers/postcards/brochures and web pages etc. Jackie also provides administrative and website support to Justice and peace. Jackie has worked at St. Francis since 1999 and has loved the opportunity to help many people both in and out of the parish and to be able to spread & share God’s love with others. What brings Jackie the greatest joy in her role is sharing happiness and helping others. Jackie also loves spending time with her husband and kids, traveling, and volunteering in care facilities.
Ashley Watson x444
Coordinator of Community Programs
Ashley has been a part of the St. Francis parish since 1988 when she moved here with her family from Florida. Being only 5 years old when she moved here she has grown up in the St. Francis Community and now she’s excited to raise her son in the same community she grew up in. What began as a part time job in 2010 working for and with her Community quickly developed into a full time career. Ashley is not only organizing and managing the summer camps of Camp Francis, Exercise and Parent Child Classes throughout the year, but now the Coordinator of Community Programs. When Ashley is not at work, she is a busy mom to her 9 year old son Jack! She loves to go on fun outings with him and coach his soccer team. She enjoys scrapbooking in her down time, perhaps while drinking a cold glass of sweet tea or Dr. Pepper!
Some other fun facts… She is one of 4 children and loves to wear flip flops ALL THE TIME!
Mary Arleth 358
Coordinator of Athletic Programs
Mary comes to us from Staten Island, New York, where she was born and raised. For 20 years, Mary worked for the N.Y.C. Police department. Sergeant Mary has been a part of our St. Francis community for four years and joined OUR force here at the Community Center in 2014. Mary is our coordinator for the Athletics program and loves working with the kids! When she is not here, she and her husband, James run a household full of boys! She has a 18 year old, 14 year old and a 9 year old. They are all very active in sports!
St. Francis of Assisi Preschool
Heidi Hobler x240
Heidi and her husband relocated from upstate New York in 2001 and joined the St. Francis community later that year. Heidi not only has a background in education, but also in speech-language pathology. Her twins are alumni of the preschool and she joined the staff in 2010 as a teaching assistant while also working as a pediatric speech therapist. Before becoming director, Heidi was a teacher in one of the 3-year old classes. She feels blessed to be able to work with children, to serve with caring staff, and to worship all in one place. She hopes to share her passion and commitment to the children and families of the preschool with the whole church community. Heidi is excited to combine her education and therapy knowledge in her role as director of the preschool.
Shelley Freeman x262
Shelley has been a member of Saint Francis since 1999. She began working in the preschool in 2003 teaching in the two year old program and then in 2012 became the administrative specialist. She has three children that have all gone through the preschool, The Franciscan School and Cardinal Gibbons. She loves working with the families and helping out in the classroom so that she can still interact with the children. When not working at the preschool she enjoys running, reading and spending time at the beach.
The Franciscan School
Mike Watson x301
Mike is the Principal at The Franciscan School. He works closely with the faculty on their professional development, implementing the Diocesan Curriculums at the school, and ensuring the best educational environment for the students. Prior to his role as Principal, he was the Assistant Principal since 2010 and was a middle school science teacher at the school prior to his appointment to administration. He is professionally licensed in the State of North Carolina as a K-12 Principal and Middle Grades Science teacher.
Michele Northington x254
Assistant Principal, K-5 Grades
Michele serves in the education ministry at St. Francis of Assisi as an assistant principal at The Franciscan School. She works closely with students, parents, and colleagues to help provide an atmosphere that supports and enhances our mission and allows each student the opportunity to have a successful educational experience. Michele’s responsibilities also include overseeing the Bridges Programs, our morning care and after school care programs.
Colette Dziadul x651
Assistant Principal, Middle School
Lura Ellenberg x469
Coordinator of Marketing and Admissions
As the Coordinator of Marketing and Admissions, Lura is responsible for the development and implementation of all marketing activities for the Franciscan School, as well as leading families through the admissions process at the school. She conducts private tours of the school campus for prospective families, plans and organizes Open Houses and helps families apply and enroll their children at the Franciscan School. Originally from Anderson, South Carolina and a graduate of Clemson University, Lura embraces hot, sunny days and enjoys dancing ballet, running and watching college football.
Diana Chapman x255
Joanne Sullivan x 251
Joanne has been a parishioner since August 1992. She graduated from Catholic University of America, with her BSN and worked in the hospital setting for several years before becoming a school nurse at The Franciscan School in August of 2000. She and her husband Kevin have 3 grown children, 2 dogs and a cat. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, biking, swimming and trying out new recipes. What she loves best about St. Francis is that everyone is welcome.
Laureen Wacenske x314
Laureen is the counselor for all grades at The Franciscan School and has been a part of the school since it opened its doors in 2000. As counselor she provides classroom guidance, individual and group counseling for children, and consultation with teachers and parents, ultimately seeking to assist each student in having the best school experience possible. Laureen received a BA degree in Psychology with a teaching license from Lenoir-Rhyne University and an MS degree in Community and School Counseling from NCSU. She is married to her college sweetheart, Jeff, and together they have one son, Matt. Her role as school counselor at TFS enables Laureen to combine her passions for children, faith formation, and education.
Strategic Planning and Communications
Tricia Henry x375
Director of Strategic Planning and Communications
Realizing her two beautiful babies were headed to school and her gifts of organization and planning were maxed out at home, Tricia found her calling working in the parish world. After leaving IBM software project management roles, crossing over into the non-profit world was a natural fit where she started with organizing our beautiful community center with parish athletics & classes, building the Assisi Café, developing Camp Francis, and acting as social director for parish events. Next, she moved into her current role of Strategic Planning and Communications for the parish. Working with the pastor, parish staff, and leadership councils to develop short-term and long-term strategic initiatives has brought new avenues to apply those project skills. Throw in the balance for family times at the beach or in the backyard with friends, Tricia still enjoys planning the next big family adventure or pastoral planning for our St Francis parish.
Trish Adamkowski x236
Coordinator of Human Resources
Trish is a long time member of the parish and joined the staff in 2012 as part time administrative specialist in youth ministry. In October of 2016 she transitioned into the position of Human Resources Coordinator. She is also the contact person for the Columbarium and Memorial Plaques. In this new role Trish is able to utilize her background in human resources while continuing to work with the parish and the schools. Born and raised in Upstate NY, Trish is happy to be in the South where the snow only makes brief appearances.
Diogenes Ruiz x271
Diogenes (he’s the one on the right) is responsible for creative support to the many ministries at St. Francis, design and updates to the parish website, coordination of parish social media, and layout of the bulletin. He also provides video and photography support to the various ministries. Diogenes enjoys writing and is the author of two Christian fiction novels on Amazon, A Rabbit’s Tale: An Easter Story, (winner of two awards), and Persistent Evil. He and his wife, Karin, have been St. Francis parishioners since 1987. Diogenes is a licensed real estate agent and helps clients on evening and weekends. He is also the recipient of the “Entrepreneurial Spirit Award” from Hispanic Business Magazine.
David Crout x234
Dave has several responsibilities that mainly revolve around technology and communication. He works on the parish website and database web portal, St. Francis Connect. He also assists with room reservations and the bulletin. He often conducts one-on-one tutorials and group training sessions to help the staff effectively use technology in their ministry.
Toni Hammes x265
Administrative Specialist - Stewardship
Toni is one of the founding members of St. Francis, joining on April 25, 1982. She works in the areas of stewardship and membership and assists with the financials for the Franciscan School and St. Francis Preschool. Toni is also a tireless volunteer for the liturgical ministries group as a Eucharistic Minister, Master of Ceremonies, and Emmaus Minister. Toni also the church receptionist contact. In the past year, she has crocheted dozens of beautiful hats for the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Toni handles all of this and more, so long as nothing conflicts with the Hokies football schedule.
Trina Sugrue x245
Admin Specialist - Safe Environment & Welcome
Deb Royals-Mizerk x222
Director of Stewardship