Betsy Davenport – Principal
Welcome to Holy Cross Catholic School! I am humbled and proud to serve this community as principal. Here is some information about me:
I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Oakland University and have taken graduate classes to further my education in the areas of special education, reading, early childhood, and math interventions. I am pursuing my Masters in Educational Leadership. While I have worked here at Holy Cross for the last three years in early childhood and intervention, I have previously taught in Memphis Community Schools. I was a Consumer Programs Presenter for the Michigan Attorney General for three years prior to teaching at Holy Cross. I also have experience early in my career in urban school settings, as well as a unique opportunity to teach at Cranbrook Institute of Science.
I utilize my experience and approach to education and leadership to work hard for Holy Cross Catholic School. As a parent of two children in the school, I always have a parent’s lens through which I see things as well. As an educational leader, I always strive to lead by example in all facets – in my faith, professionalism, dedication, and consistency. I want to play a key role in creating an educational environment in which the staff is happy to work in, students and parents want to be a part of, and the parish is proud of. As the principal, I will diligently work towards Holy Cross Catholic School’s goals.
Fr. Douglas Terrien – Pastor
Fr. Douglas Terrien began his ministry at Our Lady on the River parish in July of 2018. He says: “I was born September 24, 1952 at St John’s Hospital on the east side of Detroit. I attended St. Brendan grade school and went to St. Rose of Lima High School in Detroit. St. Rose clustered and moved to St. Catherine Parish and became East Catholic High School. It clustered once again and moved to St. Anthony parish. I graduated in 1970. Fall of that year I entered Sacred Heart Seminary and in the fall of 1974 I entered St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. I was one year as a transitional deacon at St. Agatha in Redford Township. On April 28, 1979 I was ordained by Cardinal Deardon and sent to Sacred Heart parish in Roseville, MI. Then 1980 to 1983 I was assigned to St. Mary, Queen of Creation in New Baltimore. From 1983 to 1985 I was assigned to St. Veronica’s in East Detroit now East Pointe. From 1985-1988 I was assigned to St. Isaac Jogues in St. Clair Shores. From there I went to St. Justin in Hazel Park as administrator also being the administrator of St. Paul’s Albanian Church in Warren. In 1993 I became the pastor of Immaculate Conception in Lapeer, Michigan and was there for almost 25 years. I thought I would retire from Immaculate Conception in a few years but Archbishop Vigneron got on the phone and personally asked me to come to Our Lady on the River parish. I think he remembered I spent my summers as a youth on Harsens Island and knew I was familiar with this parish. I have to smile when I am welcomed to Harsens Island because my family has been on the Island for five generations. When I say mass at St. Mark’s I am flooded with memories. In fact I think my memories go back as far as or even further than the oldest parishioners on the Island. I am so pleased with the welcome I have received from the whole parish and I am happy you are patient with me as I climb up and down the stairs in church. I am living at the rectory at St. Mark’s because it is a ranch style house–few stairs and everything is on one level. I am also happy to be sent to a parish named in honor of the Blessed Virgin once again. Her powerful intercession is most valuable in my deliverance ministry. I also want to mention I was State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus from 1994-1996 so I am ready to do all I can to make both K of C councils in the parish successful.”
Cynthia Jondron – Kindergarten
Ms. Cindy earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University and her Early Childhood Endorsement from Oakland University. She utilizes her early childhood experience and extensive training to teach some of our youngest learners – our kindergarten students. Ms. Cindy’s favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is the family atmosphere. She says, “In my career, I have had the opportunity to teach in many places and in various environments, but my favorite school has been Holy Cross. Its small class size and number of staff members gives the school a “family atmosphere.” Our families are very active in the school and truly care about their child/children’s education. Our staff works together to help each student reach and grow beyond the expected goals set for each grade level. That collaborative effort also extends to each staff member, sharing special skills and ideas we each possess.” When she isn’t teaching, Ms. Cindy enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to the theater and concerts, traveling, or just “hanging out” at home.
Julia Rock – Grades One and Two
Mrs. Rock received her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Wayne State University. This year, she will be teaching a combined group of first and second graders. Mrs. Rock shares that her favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is her ability to teach her Catholic faith. She says, “I feel it is a great blessing to share the love of Jesus Christ with my students and watch them grow in their relationship with our Savior. Watching children grow and learn academically is the reward all teachers share, but for me, it’s the reason I chose to follow my vocation.” When Mrs. Rock is not teaching, you will probably find her relaxing with a good book and enjoying time with her family. She loves all summer sports, boating, and riding on the back of the Harley. When she spots a garage sale, you can bet she is stopping!
Ashley Gryszkiewicz – Grade Three
Mrs. Gryszkiewicz has her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University. She will be teaching third grade this year. Mrs. Gryszkiewics’s favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is that our school community is like a family. She shares, “I love teaching at Holy Cross because our school community is more like a family. We love, support, and respect each other. I love that with our small class sizes I get to know my students and their families, and the students learn to accept each other. Also, I love sharing my love for Jesus with my kids.” When Mrs. G (as she is affectionately known to our school family) isn’t at school, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family. They enjoy camping, bonfires, and watching movies together. She also enjoys reading.
Leslie DeMeulenaere – Grade Four
Mrs. DeMeulenaere has her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Wayne State University and her Masters Degree in Reading and Literacy from Marygrove College. She will be teaching fourth grade this fall. Mrs. DeMeulenaere’s favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is the small community. She shares, “The people at Holy Cross have become like family. I feel that it is a great place for my kids and my students to grow. I love the flexibility we have with our teaching, so we can use our unique styles to teach to the individual needs of our students.” When Mrs. D (as she is affectionately known to our school family) isn’t at school, she loves to paint furniture and do arts & crafts with her Cricut. She also enjoys lots of family time, exercising, and bike riding.
Anna Wade – Middle School Math and Science
Mrs. Wade received her Bachelors in Education from Western Michigan University and her Masters of Art in Teaching from Marygrove College. She is our middle school math and science teacher. She is well known in our school for the exciting science experiments and hands-on learning she provides to her students. Mrs. Wade shares that her favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is the shared vision of our school community. She says, “We are a family that focuses on every child to make sure they succeed.” When Mrs. Wade is not teaching, she enjoys nature walks, photography, and spending time with her husband and two dogs.
R. Brian Cherry – Middle School Social Studies
Mr. Cherry served our country for over 18 years in the United States Air Force. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History with double minors in Religion and Political Science from the University of North Carolina and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Oakland University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in History at Arizona State. Mr. Cherry’s favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is the small class sizes. He shares, “I love the small class sizes. I really get to know the students well, and can spend time on interesting facts that the students enjoy.” When Mr. Cherry isn’t teaching, he enjoys gardening, travel, and playing basketball.
Carrie Johnson – Middle School ELA
Ms. Johnson earned her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, from Oakland University, majoring in Language Arts. She is our middle school english/language arts teacher. Ms. Johnson’s favorite things about teaching at Holy Cross are the community and our technology. She says, “I love the sense of community and family at Holy Cross. I know all of the students who attend our school. I have a personal relationship with each of my students. The families are very supportive, caring, helpful, and loving. I love that Holy Cross is a faith based school, focusing on the dynamics of the common good for everyone. I love the staff members at Holy Cross and the support we provide for one another. I love that I am free to explore different ways of teaching and that I can provide opportunities for the students to explore their own learning according to their needs and wants. I love that the students have Chromebooks, which allow them to research, create and utilize all the tools of technology at their fingertips. I feel very comfortable and valued at Holy Cross, and I am very humbled.” When Ms. Johnson isn’t at school, she enjoys spending time at her cottage on Russell Island with her family and friends. She enjoys sunning, swimming, fishing, floating down the river, reading, and boating. She also enjoys painting and decorating. During the cold winter months, she likes to snuggle in the house with the fireplace on and watch movies, read, and cook. She has two children, Sloan and Alex, and they are the light of her life. Her mom is her very best friend and she loves spending time with her.