Our Faculty and Staff

Lumen Verum Academy is blessed to offer our students an exceptional faculty, who are each first and foremost fervent followers of Jesus Christ and His Church. Additionally, our faculty’s diversity of gifts, talents, passions and areas of expertise inspire and guide our students to respond to God’s call for them to be true lights in the world.

A Conversation With Our Educators

Karen Celano

B.A. History, Johns Hopkins University
M.T.S. Theology, University of Notre Dame

My childhood was spent in Atlanta and I went to Catholic schools from first through twelfth grade. As a lifelong Catholic, I know the importance of a Catholic education in shaping and nurturing a child’s faith. In college and graduate school, I studied the history of Catholicism in the United States. After attaining my master’s degree, I began my teaching career at an all-girls’ Catholic high school in New York City. I also continued my graduate theology studies at Yale University. I have taught at the college and graduate school levels, served as an elementary level, high school, and adult catechist in my parish, and worked as a staff member in parochial schools. I had the honor of teaching theology at Boston College High School for three years before being appointed Director of Instruction at St. Paul’s Choir School. Now, I am thrilled to be joining Lumen Verum because of its wholehearted embrace of the beauty and wisdom of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

I have a special devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Thomas More, St. Benedict, and St. John Henry Newman. At various times in my life these saints have been my lodestars as I have pursued wisdom and virtue in my own imperfect way. In my spare time I enjoy reading (especially 19th-century British literature and anything about Catholic liberal arts education), hiking with my family, and visiting monasteries.

Hayden Guy Cowart

Science Faculty
B.S.A. Neuroscience, Certificate in Computer Science, University of Texas at Austin
M.T.S. Theology and Ministry, Boston College

As a young man in high school, my fascination with the mind eventually led me to the cognitive sciences, particularly neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. My awe at God’s designs has only deepened with my explorations in these disciplines, as has my assurance that the Catholic understanding of the human person is unsurpassably beautiful and true. I have a special devotion to Sts. Paul the Apostle, Basil the Great, and Francis Xavier because these men subordinated their erudition to a more foundational desire to live and proclaim the Gospel. My hope as a science teacher at Lumen Verum Academy is to pass along a wonder for creation and a love for empirical observation, both of which nourish robust theology.

Matthew Lewis

Matthew Lewis

Faith Formation Assistant, Theology Faculty
St. Thomas More Teaching Fellow
B.A. Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, Suffolk University

I recently graduated from Suffolk University in Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics and a minor in Religious Studies. I grew up in Lakeville, Massachusetts, attending public schools. While I wasn’t raised in any particular faith, I encountered Christ during my freshman year of college. I entered into the Catholic Church in April 2019. I received most of my formation through the Boston University Catholic Center and the FOCUS missionaries that I met there.

I love soccer and follow Liverpool FC closely throughout the Premier League season. You can usually find me reading a book or practicing guitar. I’m excited to be starting at Lumen Verum and especially look forward to teaching in an environment where I can be a witness to the faith. I’m excited about the project of Catholic education and the mission to share Christ in the classroom, especially having come from public schools and a secular university.

My favorite saint is St. Thomas More because of his radical witness to the faith and his willingness to stand up for it in the face of great adversity to the point of martyrdom. He has continually and surprisingly popped up throughout my conversion and in my life of faith, so it is fitting that I am a part of the teaching fellowship bearing his patronage.

Bridget Maricich

Director of Admissions and Enrollment, Humanities Faculty
B.A. History and Political Science, Boston University
J.D. Boston University School of Law

Born and raised in Chelsea, Massachusetts, I attended Boston University for both undergraduate studies (history, political science, and economics) and law school. After attaining a J.D., I practiced law for a number of years, during which time I married my wonderful husband, had two children, and traversed from Massachusetts to Virginia and then back to Massachusetts again. Raising a now eighth grader and sixth grader, my husband and I are constantly evaluating our approach to their education. This discernment has led us to utilize a variety of educational models over the years – from homeschooling to Catholic/private schools – depending on the need of the particular child at the particular time. What has remained constant across these decisions is our deep hope that our children receive an education that forms their whole person – one that not only develops their intellect and plants seeds for a lifelong love of learning, but also one that encourages growth in the human and supernatural virtues and prepares them for whatever path to which God calls them. This is precisely the type of education Lumen Verum Academy seeks to provide and why I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful school community as Director of Admissions and Enrollment and English teacher.

I have many friends among the Saints, but I have particular devotions to St. Joseph, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Josemaria Escriva, and St. John Henry Newman. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking (especially homemade pasta!), reading, playing board games with my family, and enjoying good food and conversation with friends.

Anna Maziarz

Math Faculty
B.S. Chemical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

I was born and raised in Krakow, Poland. At 14, I moved to the US along with my family. I have four younger brothers – a good start to becoming a teacher! I often had to take care of them or help my cousin with math homework. I didn’t realize I liked it, though, until I had graduated from WPI as a Chemical Engineer. The truth is, people are more fun than machines, so I converted to education.

I believe it’s imperative that we share what we know (math in my case) and what we believe in (a loving God!). But the most beautiful part about teaching is that it works both ways. I have received so much joy through my students, that I honestly think that teaching is more about the human relation than anything else. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide us in our educational endeavors at LVA.

Connery McFadden

Math and Science Faculty
St. Thomas More Teaching Fellow
B.A. Theology and Political Science, Holy Cross College

Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, I am the youngest of three to Monique and Patrick McFadden. After attending St. John Neumann Regional Academy for 12 years, I graduated and found myself attending Holy Cross College at Notre Dame. After my freshman year of college, I transferred into the Old College Undergraduate seminary program at the University of Notre Dame under the direction of the Congregation of Holy Cross. After graduation in May of 2022, I was offered a job with the Archdiocese of Boston as a 6th grade Science and Math teacher at Lumen Verum Academy..

After writing my senior thesis titled “Reclaiming the Role of Catholic Education in America with the Influence of Saint John Nepomucene Neumann and Blessed Basil Moreau, I can say without a doubt that Catholic Education is an extremely holistic and beautiful way to educate our children and to make our world a holier place. This charismatic way of learning invites the children to have a very personal and intimate relationship with Christ and His creation!”

My favorite saint is St. John Neumann. The reason for this is because of how dedicated he was to God, his family, and Catholic education. All three of these things are something I strive to dedicate myself to each and every day. I could also see a lot of the same passions between my life and his, especially with the love of Catholic education and passing on the faith to the next generation.

Jacob Nolan

Assistant Principal, Theology Faculty
B.S. Criminal Justice, Northeastern University
M.A. Theology and Christian Ministry, Franciscan University of Steubenville

What makes Catholic Education truly unique is the conviction that the truth students seek and discover in their education is not an idea or a system, but a person—Jesus Christ. Catholic schools should not only teach about Christ, but help students come to know, love, and follow Him.

While in Steubenville, I was privileged to work with Dr. Scott Hahn as a teaching assistant and I have taught various elements of Catholic theology for 2 years at the high school level. I am excited to be a part of Lumen Verum Academy and its role in the broader renewal of Catholic Education.

I am blessed to be a husband to my wonderful wife Megan and a father to my two sons, Ambrose and Augustine. I deeply enjoy reading great literature, listening to music and teaching myself to play piano, lifting weights, and discussing theology, philosophy, etc. Important saints in my life include first and foremost the Blessed Mother Mary, as well as St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel, and St. Philip Neri.

Jennie Richer

English Faculty
B.A. Political Science, U.C. Berkeley
M.A. Education, St. Mary’s College of California

I have seven years teaching experience in California, Massachusetts, and New York. As an avid reader, I aim to share my love of Literature with my students. Together, we will traverse the realms of classic stories to learn about the complexities of human nature and the pervasiveness of natural law. Middle school is such a formative time for young people, and I enjoy fostering student growth, both academically and spiritually. I am excited to join the LVA community because of my devotion to academic excellence and to the Catholic faith. I find inspiration from the words of St. John Bosco who once said, “education is a matter of heart.”

When I am not reading, I can often be found spending time with my husband and children. I also enjoy hiking, running, and baking desserts.

Fr. Edward Riley


I was ordained to the priesthood in May 2000 for the Archdiocese of Boston. I was assigned to three different parishes in the Archdiocese from 2000-2010 before my appointment to the Faculty of Saint John’s Seminary where I was Dean of Men and Director of Pastoral Formation from 2010-2022. I was then appointed Chaplain to the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese, with particular care for the Lumen Verum Academy, and Chaplain for the Office for Homeschooling for the Archdiocese. I am also the Spiritual Director for the World Apostolate of Fatima in the Archdiocese and perpetually professed into the Institute of Jesus the Priest of the Pauline Family.

Emily Schwartz

Humanities / English Faculty
B.A. English, B.A. Communications & Media Studies, Tufts University

I fell in love with reading and writing at a very young age, but it was in middle school, upon encountering classic poetry for the first time, that literature began to unlock the door to a deeper understanding of the world around me. Every aspect of studying English excites me. I cannot wait to study grammar, vocabulary, writing, and literary themes alongside middle schoolers! If I accomplish my mission as a teacher, every student will leave my class with a sense of joy and wonder about the world of literature.

Outside the classroom, I love to paint portraits, sing, explore New England farms, get lost on long bike rides, and practice Lectio Divina. My house rabbit, Chester, might be the only creature on Earth that loves fruits and veggies more than I do! I have a special devotion to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. For reasons unbeknownst to me at the time, she chose me at my confirmation as my patron saint. She ultimately gave me the push I needed to answer the call to teach in a Catholic school.

I felt called to join LVA because I believe in educating the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. A Lumen Verum education promotes this holistic mindset while keeping what’s most important at the center: Jesus Christ. I loved middle school. Now I never have to leave!

Rita Shann

School Nurse, Science Faculty
B.S. Exercise Physiology, Ball State University
M.S. Cardiac Rehabilitation, East Stroudsburg University
A.S. Nursing, New Hampshire Technical Institute

While not at all new to our community, Mrs. Shann will be expanding her role at Lumen Verum Academy for the 2022-2023 School Year. In addition to serving as our School Nurse, Mrs. Shann will also be teaching our seventh-grade Life Sciences class.
My 25-year professional journey began in the field of cardiac rehabilitation as an exercise physiologist and health educator at the New England Heart Institute at Catholic Medical Center, in Manchester, NH. After several years, I returned to school for my nursing degree and I continued to care for cardiac patients in the ICU. Later, I worked at Danbury Hospital, in CT as a cardiac nurse. As our family grew and motherhood became my priority, I hung up my stethoscope to concentrate on nurturing our five children.

Raising our children in the tradition of our Catholic faith and educating them in a meaningful way has become the centerpiece of my life. In 2014, I was blessed to be trained in The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and it opened my eyes to the beauty of the pedagogy of the child. I immersed myself in education philosophy, and eventually pulled my children out of public schools because I was convinced that it was both ineffective, and damaging to their souls. My husband and I sought to homeschool in the tradition of Classical Catholic Education– the type of education that seeks truth, acknowledges that Christ IS the truth, and places Him, therefore, at the center of all study. Upon learning about Lumen Verum Academy – Latin for the “True Light” – we were thrilled to find a partner in education for our children, and we became part of the LVA family. I was honored to step onboard at that time to serve as school nurse.

This year, I am excited to play a dual-role at LVA as school nurse and science teacher. It is the perfect marriage of all my interests and talents. I am eager to meditate with your children on the beauty of God’s creation in Life Science while caring for their health and wellbeing at school.

I hold three saints especially dear: Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who inspired me to be a nurse, St John Paul the Great, who inspired me to be holy and pray without ceasing, and my grandmother, Rose, who (although not canonized) was a model of Christian virtue and inspired me to be a life-long learner.

Mark Smith

Humanities and Latin Faculty
B.A. Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

I grew up in Southern New Hampshire as the youngest of 5 kids. While I recall attending Mass occasionally and receiving First Communion as a young boy, it wasn’t until I was nearly 20 years old that I experienced a powerful conversion. Since then, I have been absolutely fascinated by the endless beauty of God Himself, as well as the mysteries of our Catholic faith.

After completing RCIA and finally getting Confirmed at age 22, I bolted out to Steubenville to study Theology at Franciscan University and complete my Bachelor’s Degree. It was there that I felt the desire in my heart to help others become enlightened to the love, mercy, and truth of Jesus Christ. What drew me to Lumen Verum Academy was its strong drive to do this very thing. I am beyond excited to have been welcomed aboard!

I currently live in Central Massachusetts with my amazing wife Jessica, and our 8-month-old son, Joseph. My interests include skateboarding, graphic design, lifting weights, and reading and learning about all things Catholic. My favorite Saint is St. Augustine – he just always has the right things to say.