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The St. Ann's Academy Team

Teaching & Administrative Staff



Deanna Williams

Deanna Williams

Pre Kindergarten

This is Deanna's sixth year teaching preschool at St Ann's Academy. Before teaching preschool, Deanna taught a character education program to K–6 students in the inner-city schools of Oklahoma City. After completing her internship in Oklahoma City, she returned home to New York. While attending college for early childhood education, Deanna completed her teaching hours at St. Ann's Academy. Upon completion, St. Ann's offered Deanna a teaching position. One of her passions is to give preschoolers a positive first experience in the school environment. She is thrilled to be a part of the St. Ann's Academy team and enjoys teaching children in her hometown community.

Kirsten Lawrence

Kirsten Lawrence

Pre K4

Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alfred University and a Master of Science in Education from Alfred University.  She holds provisional NYS certification in Elementary Education, Grades 1-6; permanent certification in Early Childhood Education, Birth Ė Grade 2; and permanent certification in Literacy. Her husband, Travis, is the assistant nurse manager at Highland Hospital. They have three daughters: Ellie is 4 and attends SAA.  Kate is 2 and Samantha is 8 months old. This will be Kirsten's 5th year teaching at St. Ann's Academy.


Jessica Leib

Jessica Lieb

Grades K-1

Jessica Lieb joined St. Annís Academy in the Fall of 2019, after accumulating ten yearsí experience teaching Pre-K kids at the Hornell Y, serving as a teacher aide for 5-12 year olds in the Yís after school programs and leading summer programs and sports camps. She also has coaching skills, gained from her experience as a volunteer Girls Basketball coach at Arkport Central School.  The Board is excited to have Jessie join our teaching team and looks forward to putting her enthusiasm to work helping our PreK children learn and grow in a safe, nurturing environment. While at SAA, Jessica will continue to pursue her Bachelorís degree in early childhood education.


Mary Stewart

Pre k 3 Teacher




Tonya Cornish

Tonya Cornish

Teaching Assistant/Bookkeeper

Tonya was born and raised in Rochester, NY. She worked in the Hospitality field for 14 years mostly as a Regional Support Manger for the East Coast. That is where she met her husband now of 11 years. In 2014 Tonya and her husband moved to Hornell to help take care of his mother. Shortly after moving to Hornell Tonya began to volunteer at St. Annís Academy.  In the coming school year Tonya was asked to join the St. Annís Academy team part-time as a teacherís assistant. The following school year Tonya was asked to be our bookkeeper as well as a teacher's assistant. Tonya is going into her fifth school year between volunteering and working at St. Annís Academy. Tonya and her husband welcomed their daughter in September of 2017. They also have a son who is 8 years of age.  Tonya also volunteers with the Hornell Little League board and recently with Cub Scouts of America. For the past year Tonya has also been the bookkeeper for Hornell Partners for Growth.


Jean Pilgrim


Jean Pilgrim

2nd and 3rd grade Teacher

Jean was born in Chambersburg PA and lived in State College PA and Sykesville MD In 1993, she and her husband, Steve, moved to Almond and raised their two now adult children. She graduated from Alfred University with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Literacy with NYS Permanent Certifications in Pre-K -6 and Literacy. She has taught UPK through 2nd grade at various schools, including Jack's and Jill's Nursery School, Head Start, Centerpoint Christian Academy, and Lisa's Daycare. She led two STEM outreach programs at Alfred University and has been active in science outreach in schools. She volunteered on the Almond Library board for many years and was church financial secretary, board member, VBS and Sunday school teacher, and event planner at church. Jean enjoys cooking, gardening, reading and traveling. She is excited to be part of St. Ann's Academy.

Emily K Smith

Emily K. Smith

4 - 6 grade Teacher

I grew up in Canisteo, New York and from an early age I always wanted to teach. I attended public school for my elementary years, went to St. Ann's School for sixth, seventh and eighth grade and was homeschooled for my last years in high school. This gave me a unique insight into various teaching methods and learning styles! I stayed local and graduated from Alfred State College with an Associates in Adolescent Education and then finished at Alfred University with my Bachelors in Global Studies with a minor in American History. Most days, I am outside working hard with my hands - landscaping, finishing little projects, pressure washing houses, just about anything. I LOVE music! I love to play piano and sing, shoot hoops, meet new people and go on adventures. In everything I do, I want to love Jesus more and inspire the next generations to know who God is and who they were created to be.


Christopher Yarnal

Christopher Yarnal

On-Site Administrator

Chris has a Master Degree in Management from the University of Mary and a Bachelor's Degree from Marist College. Chris most recently has served as the Director of Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Buffalo at St. Jude in Alfred NY. He also teaches Religious Studies at Alfred University. In 2006 Chris and his family moved from Minnesota State University at Moorhead where he was Director of the Newman Center to Almond, NY. Chris and his wife Carla have two children; Grace and Anna. Chris is eager to work with students, parents, volunteers and teaching staff a t St. Ann's Academy


Administrative Volunteers

Jim Moore (mysticmedia.com): Website Hosting

Ron Norman, CPA: Accounting & Payroll Services

Eric Jones, Professional Landscaping

Board of Directors

Back row: Jerome O'Connor, Eric Jones, David Gray, Hector Hoyos,

Grant LaFrance, Penny Sherburne Gray

Front Row: Sister Dolores Ann Stein, Joan Coleman,

Laura Dagon Picco (board member emeritus).

Missing from photo: Pat Moore

Our board members are unpaid volunteers. We thank them for their time and commitment!

Jerome O'Connor, President

Jerome OíConnor graduated from St. Annís School, attended HHS and then Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a professional engineer who worked at the DOT for 20 years, 10 as a Bridge Management Engineer.  He joined the earthquake research center at University at Buffalo in 2002 to manage research on bridges and is now Professor of Professional Practice.  His wife is Nancy Brink-OíConnor.  All their children (Kate, Kevin, & Kerry) graduated from St. Ann School.  Jerry formerly coached a Modified Cross Country team at St. Annís called the Running Rebels.  He says that he wants todayís kids to have the same opportunity that he and his 8 siblings were provided when his parents chose to send them to a Catholic school.  ďThe transition to St. Annís Academy was hard but the bright side is the financial independence will allow us to control our own destiny, while continuing a fine tradition of faith-based education.Ē

David Gray, Treasurer

Dave holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri - Rolla and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is the President & CEO of Gray Manufacturing Industries, LLC.  Dave also serves on the Board of Directors of Maple City Savings, is a current Board Member and past Board President of the Hornell YMCA, and is a past Board Member and Finance Committee Member of St. James Mercy Health Systems. He brings 20+ years of financial and operations management experience to St. Ann's Academy.  Dave and his wife, Penny, have been a part of the St. Ann's family for many years.  Their son, Nicholas, is in 6th grade at St. Ann's Academy; their son, Matthew, attended St. Ann School for 7 years, graduated from Hornell High School, and is now a sophomore at St. John Fisher College; and their daughter, Kaelyn, attended St. Ann's for 10 years, graduated from Hornell High School and Syracuse University, and now works as a Graphic Designer in Syracuse.

Sister Dolores Ann Stein, RSM, Secretary

Sister holds a Bachelor of Science from Marywood College and a Master of Science from the State of New York at Albany. She holds NYS Permanent Certification in Business Education and NYS Permanent Certification in Administration and Supervision.  She taught in Catholic Schools throughout the Diocese of Rochester from 1958-1984: St. Andrew School in Rochester from 1958-1961; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Rochester from 1961-1966; St. Maryís School in Corning from 1966-1968; and Notre Dame High School in Elmira from 1968-1984.  In 1984, Sister was appointed Principal of St. Annís School in Hornell, NY, and kept that position until her retirement in 2007.  After her retirement, she worked from 2007-2012 as the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendents in The Diocese of Rochester, Department of Catholic Schools.  Currently, she works as an Administrative Assistant at Nazareth Elementary School in Rochester. Sister is also Co-Director of Mercy Bridges, a Sponsored Ministry of the Sisters of Mercy.  Mercy Bridges provides tutoring for adults, including refugees and immigrants, in English

as a Second Language.

Patricia Moore

Assistant Principal & Ex Officio Board Member

Bio coming soon!

Hector Hoyos

Hector Hoyos Graduated with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla and did his Graduate studies at Ball State University in Urban and Regional Planning.  Hector Has worked in a variety of projects such as the construction of Medical Facilities for the Mexican Institute of Social Security to the ďLaguna VerdeĒ Nuclear facilities and the Petrochemical Complex ďLa CangrejeraĒ in his native Mexico.  He also taught Math and Structures to Architecture students in the Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, and was a Partner in an Engineering Consulting Firm prior to moving to the US. Hector worked in the private sector with Infra Tech Associates in New York City prior to taking a position with the NYS DOT where he has worked for the last 26 years in different capacities, presently working  as Assistant Regional Bridge Maintenance Engineer for the last 10 years. During his early education years he attended Catholic Schools through High School in his native City of Puebla, his wife also attended Catholic schools in the different countries where she lived and attended Saint Columba in Indiana. Both their children attended and graduated from St. Annís School.

Grant LaFrance

Grant has studied at Alfred State College and also attended RIT, where he studied Business and IT Administration.  He and his family have owned and run the Country Kitchen in Hornell for the past 30+ years.  Grant and his family reside in Hornell, his children Angelina and Adam are both students at St. Ann's Academy.  Grant's wife Lauren (Marino) has been a member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish for many years.  Grant completed the RCIA program last year and is now a member of the Catholic faith and OLV.  He is thrilled to now be a part of the SAA family and honored to be on the Board of Directors.  Grant looks forward to helping SAA grow and thrive for many years to come.

Laura Picco, Board Member Emeritus

Laura holds a BA in Elementary Education and an MS in Literacy from Alfred University.  She also holds an AAS in Mortuary Science from Hudson Valley Community College.  Laura has 13 years teaching experience.  During that time, she served as grade level chairperson and was active on several committees to develop curriculum maps, scheduling, and unit planning guides.  Laura currently works at the Dagon Funeral Home and is a Parish Council member and communicant at Our Lady of the Valley Parish.  Laura and her husband, Pasquale, have four children: Gennaro is a graduate of St. Ann's Academy and is currently a 7th grade student at Houghton Academy; Pasquale is in 6th grade at SAA, and Marco is in 5th grade at SAA.  Their son, Nicholas, is a senior in college.  Due to time constraints and a busy schedule, Laura no longer serves as an active SAA board member, but she remains available to us as a valuable consultant.

Mark Morrissey

Mark Morrissey is perhaps best known for his work at the Hornell YMCA, where he had extensive experience with parents, staff and children. Mark also comes from a teaching background having taught early in his career in Penn Yan, NY. Through the years, Mark has served in many Board capacities, including the Hornell School Board. Mark has also coached in youth soccer, basketball and baseball and been active in the community as a member of the Kiwanis Club and many community committees. He currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee for St. Brendan and Jude Parish in Alfred. Mark is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo with his Bachelor’s Degree in English, with provisional secondary school certification.

Mark and his wife Kathy have three children; Christopher, Rebecca and Amy. Mark and Kathy have spent most of their lives living in Hornell, enjoying the quality of life the rural area has to offer for families. Mark looks forward to working with students, parents and the teaching staff.


Website Design: Penny Gray

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