New Staff Members Bring Plethora of Talent, Experience to NDA Community


Cassi Garrison, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

This year, not only does Notre Dame Academy have the pleasure of being joined by four new classroom teachers, but three new staff members as well: Ms. Brianna Rockwood, Mrs. Jaime Danen and Mr. John Dunlap.

These staff members perform important functions to ensure NDA runs smoothly and ensure students’ well being; they also bring valuable experience and new perspectives to the school.

Rockwood, who is originally from Wisconsin Rapids, graduated from St. Norbert College with a degree in business administration.

“After college, I moved to Spain and taught English at a bilingual school in Madrid,” she said. “I enjoyed it so much and wanted to keep traveling, so I took a remote teaching position, which allowed me to live in and travel to over 20 countries in the last four years.” 

Rockwood is currently working as NDA’s Administrative Assistant for Student Services and says that she chose to work here because of the school’s core values, mission and the support system it provides to students. 

“My first impression of Notre Dame is the incredible sense of community it has,” she said. “The faculty and staff are all passionate about what they do and everyone has been very welcoming. Everyone truly embraces the Norbertine ideal of communio.”

Outside of work, Rockwood enjoys experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, traveling and taking road trips in the summer. 

“As the Administrative Assistant for Student Services, I manage the day-to-day activities that occur in our department,” she shared, adding that her favorite part of the job is “helping students in any way I can.”

Danen, NDA’s new Student Literacy and Diversity/Inclusion Coordinator, attended University of Wisconsin-Madison prior to transferring to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) her sophomore year, where she earned her Bachelor’s in English and Secondary Education and her Master’s in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning.

“I was really excited about the opportunity to work at NDA and work on literacy and equity with everyone here,” she shared. “I have been working with students from NDA since last year on leadership programming, and they were so wonderful. I was so sure it would be a great experience.” 

Before joining NDA’s staff, Danen worked as an English teacher at Preble High School for thirteen years and as an English / Social Studies teacher at a middle school level for ten. 

Additionally, Danen taught in the Education Department at UW-GB for four years.

When asked about her first impression of NDA, she said “Everyone here has been so welcoming, helpful and kind to me. I really appreciate everyone–staff and students–who have reached out to make me feel like a part of the community.”

Outside of school, Danen enjoys traveling, spending time with her daughters, reading and cooking.

Dunlap, who attended Northern Michigan University with a major in Mathematics and earned his Master’s from Viterbo College, says that he is excited to return to NDA.

After a long teaching career at Washington Jr. High in Kenosha, Lombardi Middle School, Southwest, Preble, St. Thomas More and five years at Notre Dame Academy, Dunlap decided to retire three years ago.

“I missed the energy that comes with working with students,” he shared, adding that he enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for math with others.

Dunlap is currently working as a math interventionist, getting to share his love of math with students while not being a full-time teacher.

“An interventionist is a person who can provide direct instructional support to students,” he explained. “My favorite part of it is when a student who might not understand the concept they’re working on goes, all of a sudden, ‘Oh, yeah, now that makes sense.’ That is the main reason I pass on my knowledge of math.”

Outside of math, Dunlap is very involved in high school sports –you can find him running the clock, collecting tickets, doing the scorebook, and announcing the games at various sporting events.