Faculty

David Beskar | Superintendent and Headmaster, Edina Campus

Laura Ahlquist | Director of Operations
Theresa Krueger | Dean of Women
John Niemann | Academic Dean

Father Adam Tokashiki, PES | School Chaplain

Faculty Bios

Mr. Julian Ahlquist | Humanities
A founding faculty member of Chesterton Academy, Mr. Ahlquist has played a role in developing the school’s curriculum in the areas of history, philosophy and literature. Mr. Ahlquist attended Trinity High School at River Ridge, receiving the River Ridge award for Leadership. He double majored at Christendom College in Philosophy and Theology, graduating magna cum laude. In addition to having been in dozens of theatrical productions and independent films, he has taken part in dramatic productions on EWTN (Eternal World Television Network) and has worked as personal assistant and film editor to Ronald Maxwell (Director of the Hollywood films Gettysburg and Gods and Generals).

Mrs. Laura Ahlquist | Fine Arts
Mrs. Ahlquist was a founding member of Chesterton Academy and has played a role in developing the Fine Arts Curriculum at Chesterton. Currently, in addition to her teaching responsibilities in the areas of Spanish and Drama, Mrs. Ahlquist serves as Director of Operations at Chesterton Academy. Mrs. Ahlquist was born in Treviso, Italy, and grew up in Mexico City. During her youth, she traveled extensively throughout Europe and is proficient in Italian, Spanish, English and French. She taught Spanish and Italian with a company specializing in translation and the training of corporate executives doing business in foreign countries. Mrs. Ahlquist received her B.A. from Carleton College where she continued her studies in languages and majored in music (piano, choir, music history and music theory). In addition to her long experience in the performing arts, including music and drama, Laura also taught and performed Russian Classical Ballet for ten years. In the past nine years, she has written two children’s plays and directed twenty eight theatre productions, both at Holy Family Academy and Chesterton Academy. She is a parishioner at Church of the Holy Family in St. Louis Park.

Mr. David Beskar | Math and Science
Mr. Beskar joined Chesterton Academy as Superintendent and Headmaster of the Edina campus in 2015. He has served as a high school math/science and humanities teacher, coach, and administrator since 1990. During his career, he served in roles including faculty member, computer network manager, Academic Dean, and Associate Head of School at Trinity School at River Ridge. In 2011, he took a position as headmaster with Great Hearts Academy, a network of classical liberal arts charter schools, to found and led two new academies, a K-5 academy and a 6-12 college preparatory academy. During the 2014-15 academic year Mr. Beskar led the effort of opening a third academy and the building of a new campus for the original two academies. Mr. Beskar holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Economics from the University of Minnesota. He, his wife, and two daughters are parishioners at Saint Peter’s Church in Mendota.

Miss Alyssa Bormes | Humanities
Miss Bormes is a founding faculty member at Chesterton Academy and teaches Theology and Speech. In addition to teaching, she is a popular author, speaker, and radio host. Miss Bormes helps ignite in her students and wider audiences a newfound sense of wonder in the Church, through humor, analogy, and an innate gift of storytelling. Her passion is to inspire others to take on greater personal responsibility for their faith and to grow in spiritual maturity. She received a master’s degree in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas with study at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a parishioner at Church of the Holy Family in St. Louis Park.

Mr. James A. Broberg | Math and Sciences
Mr. Broberg is a graduate of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in physics, mathematics, and astronomy and a minor in philosophy. The following year, he received a master’s degree in physics from the Ohio State University. Before coming to Chesterton Academy, he taught physics and astronomy at Savannah State University and Savannah Technical College in Savannah, GA, where he supervised undergraduate student research in astroparticle theory and cosmology, and led professional development seminars for educators in astronomy and geology. In addition to his interests in the sciences, he trained from early childhood as a classical concert pianist, and has played the Renaissance vielle with the Goliards Early Music Ensemble in Savannah. He and his family enjoy reading and discussing theology and philosophy, and are parishioners at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

Mr. Nick Chalmers | Fine Arts
Mr. Chalmers earned a Bachelor of Arts in music and history from St. Olaf College in May, 2007, where he studied voice under Robert Smith and was tenor section leader of the St. Olaf Choir under the direction of Anton Armstrong. Mr. Chalmers is the Artistic Director of the Mirandola Ensemble, and performs with various groups around the Twin Cities and nationally. He is a second year M.M. candidate in Choral Conducting and is a teaching assistant in music theory and aural skills at the University of Minnesota. Nick is the Associate Director of Music at Holy Family Church in St. Louis Park.

Mr. Gino Charmoli | Humanities
Mr. Charmoli is a graduate from Chesterton Academy in the Class of 2012. Upon leaving Chesterton Academy he attended the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. While pursuing a degree in Social Studies Education, he also participated in many extracurricular activities such as Student Government and Theatre. Mr. Charmoli graduated in the spring of 2016 with his intended major of Social Studies Education. After completing student teaching in Lima, Peru, He has now joined the Chesterton Academy faculty for his first year of teaching.

Dr. James Chastek | Humanities
James Chastek, M.A. Ph. L, Ph.D graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in 2000, received his MA from Claremont Graduate University, and a Ph. L and Ph. D. from the Pontifical University of Thomas Aquinas in Rome (The Angelicum). Dr. Chastek began teaching in 2000, and has since taught every grade from 1-12. He has taught at two different Classical-curriculum high schools: St. Michael Academy in Dallas, Texas and St. Monica Academy in Pasadena, California, in addition to constructing and teaching a classical curriculum as private instructor in West Covina CA and working as a philosophy instructor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He joined the faculty of Chesterton Academy in 2010 and was made the Head of Humanities in 2015.

Mr. Shane Dowell | Humanities
Mr. Dowell teaches Latin, History, and Ancient Literature at Chesterton Academy. He graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in 2004 and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in philosophy from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2006. In addition to previous teaching experience at several Twin Cities schools, Mr. Dowell has owned and operated an organic vegetable operation over the last seven years with his wife and daughters. Their farm is located near the St. Croix River in Scandia, MN. Mr. Dowell is excited to bring his passion for the Great Books, the Socratic method of discussion, and sustainable agriculture to the classroom. He and his family attend St. Michael’s in Stillwater.

Miss Lydia Eby | Humanities
Miss Eby is a graduate of Wyoming Catholic College where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. While there she was active as a prefect. She has experience tutoring as well as working with students in outdoor leadership programs and is currently working on getting a Masters in art history at the University of St. Thomas. Her diverse interests include martial arts and firearms. She is a parishioner at Sts. Peter and Paul in Medina.

Mr. Christopher Ganza | Fine Arts
Mr. Ganza is the Associate Director of Choirs, and assists Mr. Chalmers in all aspects of the choral program at Chesterton Academy. Mr. Ganza received a Bachelor of Music in Church Music from St. Olaf College, a Master of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Oklahoma, and recently completed doctoral coursework at the same institution, and hopes to defend his research in 2017. In addition to his duties at Chesterton Academy, he is the Organist and Choirmaster at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Minneapolis, where he directs an active sacred music program that includes the semi-professional parish choir, cantors, and the choir of Vespers at Lourdes.

Mrs. Denise Hirl | Math and Science
Mrs. Hirl spent five years designing curriculum and teaching many mathematics levels at St. John’s Catholic School in Hopkins, MN. Prior to that, she taught high school math at two prestigious high schools in the East. She also has professional experience as a data technician and actuarial assistant. Mrs. Hirl holds a master’s in teaching from St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul as well as a bachelor of science in honors mathematics and secondary education from the University of Notre Dame.

Mr. Timothy Jones | Fine Arts
Mr. Jones has taught and developed the fine art curriculum at Chesterton Academy since 2012. His prior experience includes teaching undergraduate university courses, private students, professional workshops, public school classes, and summer youth programs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine art in 1984, and master’s degree (University of Arkansas) in 1987, and worked as a professional designer and illustrator before beginning his full time career as a painter in the classical realist tradition. He is a member of Oil Painters of America and National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society. He continues to paint and exhibit, and has earned recognition and a number of awards in regional, national, and international competitions. He is a parishioner at Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids.

Mrs. Theresa Krueger | Math and Science
Mrs. Krueger is a veteran teacher of private, public, and homeschool education. She began her career at Trinity School at River Ridge in Eagan, MN, teaching history, literature, writing, drama, Scripture, geometry, pre-Calculus, physics, and biology over her nine year tenure. Mrs. Krueger then took on the role as a homeschool teacher to her three children, developing a classical elementary curriculum. She took this experience to her next position as an elementary teacher at Archway Classical Academy – Trivium in Phoenix, AZ. After two years of serving as a fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Krueger moved into the position of Headmaster at Archway Classical Academy-Trivium. In this role, she implemented a new math and science curriculum for the upper elementary grades, a new reading program for the lower elementary grades as well as oversaw the completion of construction of a new campus for the K-12 school. Mrs. Krueger holds a bachelor degree in history from the University of Minnesota. She and her family are parishioners at St. Joseph’s Church in West St. Paul.

Mr. John Niemann | Humanities
Mr. Niemann serves as Academic Dean, in addition to his teaching responsibilities. John has a law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law, a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Saint John’s College, Santa Fe, NM, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative History from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. He was a teacher of English, history, literature and economics at Eagle Ridge Academy in Eden Prairie from 2005 to 2009 where he also served on the Board of Directors, spending one year as Chairman. Prior to that, he was a teacher at Trinity School in Bloomington, MN for four years. He joined the faculty of Chesterton Academy in 2010.

Mrs. Pamela Patnode | Humanities
Mrs. Patnode is a Catholic wife, mother of five children, and a Benedictine Oblate. Her love of the Spanish language and cultures of Spanish speaking countries began at just 13 years of age when she took her first Spanish class. Mrs. Patnode studied Spanish throughout high school and college, and she has had the privilege of both traveling in and living with families in Mexico and Spain. Professionally, she has taught high school level Spanish for seven years, she has translated, edited and interpreted in Spanish, and she has presented (in Spanish) at national and international conferences. In addition, Mrs. Patnode holds a BA-Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she graduated magna cum laude with a Master of Arts-Theology degree from the Augustine Institute, and is a Registered Instructor with the Institute for Excellence in Writing. Pamela has authored four books (all of which carry the Imprimatur), she is a regular guest of the national Catholic radio station Relevant Radio, and has been a guest of EWTN television and radio.

Father Adam Tokashiki, PES | Chaplain
Fr. Adam Tokashiki, PES, joined Pro Ecclesia Sancta in 2006. He was studying classical guitar in the National Conservatory of Music in Lima, Peru, when the Lord called him to religious life. He also served for two years as a youth minister in the Catholic Advance (Pro Ecclesia Sancta’s lay movement) before becoming a brother. He arrived to Minnesota in 2009, where he helped lead a variety of apostolates at the Church of St. Mark in St. Paul and in the University of St. Thomas. He made his perpetual vows in 2014 and in May of 2016 was ordained to the priesthood. Fr. Adam has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas and a Masters in Divinity from the St. Paul Seminary.