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 my Masters in Educational Leadership from Oakland University. 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 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 a school that students and parents want to be a part of and the parish is proud of.
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.
Ashley Gryszkiewicz – First Grade
Mrs. Gryszkiewicz has her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University. She will be teaching first 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.
Lisa Kiger – Second Grade
Mrs. Kiger has her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Wayne State University. Her favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is that our school community is like a family. She shares, “I love teaching at Holy Cross School, our school is like one big family. I can go to any one of the staff members for help.” Mrs. Kiger comes to us with a variety of experience. She has previously taught preschool, kindergarten, second, fourth, and sixth grades. When Mrs. Kiger is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. She enjoys camping, golf, playing cards, and finding rocks on the beach.
Andrea Tersigni – Third Grade
In 2002, Ms. Tersigni got her first taste of a life in education by teaching and coaching at Regina High School and enjoyed engaging with her students and athletes daily. She made a tough decision to further her education beyond her Bachelor of Business Administration and pursue a Master of Business Administration, which took her down a different career path. She had a successful career in banking, but always felt something was missing. During this time, to fill that spiritual void that people encounter in the corporate setting, she chose to share her talents in religious education. She had the opportunity to teach religious education to 5th graders and then 8th graders. Both gave her a great sense of fulfillment. In the fall of 2015, she began to substitute teach at another local Catholic school. She shares, “being back in the classroom and positively impacting young minds made me realize that this was a great time to finish what I had started.” She has experience in early elementary, upper elementary, and middle school. She most recently received her teaching certificate and is thrilled! Ms. Tersigni says, “I hope to help my students grow spiritually, so that they can be ready to navigate this world while following their Catholic faith! I am looking forward to an awesome school year!” In the spring of 2021, Ms. Tersigni was awarded the Bishop Quinn Archdiocese of Detroit Teacher of the Year Award.
Leslie DeMeulenaere – Fourth Grade
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 year. 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.
Michael VanderGraaff – Middle School Social Studies and Religion
Mr. VanderGraaff has his Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan-Flint, majoring in Language Arts and Social Studies. As a Catholic convert, he especially enjoys sharing our faith and teaching religion. His favorite thing about teaching at Holy Cross is the family atmosphere. He shares, “Working at Holy Cross is such an honor. The students, families, and staff are really extended family! The close knit atmosphere makes it a true joy to come to work each day, and the teachers are some of the best I’ve ever worked with.” When Mr. VanderGraaff is not teaching, he enjoys reading and outdoor activities. He also likes spending time with his eight children.
Carrie Johnson – Middle School English & Language Arts
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, as well as our school’s data and assessments coordinator. As the data and assessment coordinator, she is responsible for analyzing data from our Star Renaissance standardized testing, DRA reading assessments, and Gates-Macginitie assessments on all of our students and coordinating informed instruction and personalized learning for each student here at Holy Cross. 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.
Annie Doan – Academic Success Interventionist
Mrs. Annie Doan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Saginaw Valley State University, focusing on Language Arts and Science. She is our Academic Success teacher. She says, “My faith is the most important aspect of my life. I love being able to share my love of Christ with my students every day.” Mrs. Doan loves being an interventionist. She shares, “What I love about intervention is that the small group aspect allows for more individualized instruction. It provides students the opportunity to improve their academic skills at their own instructional level and pace.” When Mrs. Doan isn’t at school, she enjoys spending time with family, drawing, and going to concerts.