Middleschool - Saint Leo The Great Catholic Church/School


Our middle school team of teachers work collaboratively to deliver rigorous instruction to all the students. Students are educated in the doctrines and beliefs of our Catholic Faith. Teachers begin and end class with a prayer on a daily basis.

Meet our Middle School teachers:

Language Arts

Dr. Joan Withum

Email: [email protected]

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA/Lancaster for 21 years

Favorite Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Education: Queens College, CUNY – BS in Secondary English Education; MS in Reading Education K – 12 Immaculata University – Ed.D. in Educational Leadership

The 2022-2023 school year is Dr. Withum’s 4th year teaching at St. Leo the Great School. This year, in addition to teaching, she has taken on the role of Director of Middle School Affairs where her duties include: partnering with teachers and families to promote a positive growth mindset in students through the tenets of our Catholic faith as outlined in the SLTG School Handbook; supporting teachers in ensuring they implement consistent classroom management protocols, especially as it relates to issues of discipline and school culture in accordance with SLTG expectations; and developing, maintaining and exemplifying consistency in the enforcement of the SLTG School Handbook rules and procedures. Through inquiry, research, presentation and reflection, Dr. Withum works to encourage her students to learn to love literature. She always wanted to become a teacher because she wants to share her love of reading with her students. The greatest joy she receives from teaching is when her students are able to relate literature to their lives. Click here to explore the Diocesan ILA curriculum for grades 6-8. 

Words to Live By: “What would Jesus do?” This is the question that helps guide my teaching each and every day. Although all educators follow a professional code of ethics, the actions that a Catholic School Teacher needs to demonstrate and model, are those of Jesus. He taught us, among other things, to be compassionate, loving, forgiving, prayerful and committed. Compassion is recognizing that each student has special needs that are addressed in different ways. A teacher shows love every day to students through caring and listening. Although teachers demonstrate forgiveness to others every day, a teacher in a Catholic School goes one step further by reminding students that it is okay to make mistakes because Christ knows that we are human and that we will make mistakes, yet he loves us still. In this busy life, being prayerful can be a challenge. In order to help students be more prayerful, teachers must be continually mindful of their own prayerfulness. Teachers can model commitment through working with students to build a Christian Community within the classroom, the school, the church, and society. Helping students set goals and commit to reaching those goals can be a daunting task, but as Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Dr. Withum and her husband (also Dr. Withum), live in Mount Joy and are members of Mary Mother of the Church. They enjoy spending time with their 11 grandchildren, traveling, and volunteering at the Lancaster Liederkranz, where they help promote German culture and traditions.

Language Arts

Mrs. Kelly Hensley



Miss Rosanne Settino

B.A. – Mathematics, George Mason University

M.Ed. – Educational Learning, Alvernia

Secondary Certification – Mathematics

2nd year at St. Leo the Great. Previous teaching experience at Holy Trinity, Columbia; St. Joseph, Dallastown; Lancaster Catholic High School

I have more than 32 years of teaching experience in grades 7 through 12. I retired from Lancaster Catholic after 25 years, 10 of which were spent as Mathematics Department Chairperson. At the request of Chris McClean, I returned to the classroom as a middle school math teacher in 2021. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. There is nothing like the excitement in the classroom when the lightbulb goes on and students grasp the meaning of a concept. There is nothing like the excitement generated by a student’s eagerness for learning more. And as a bonus, I have had the opportunity to work as a colleague with former students as well as the opportunity to teach the children of former students.

Outside of the classroom, I enjoy art, reading, and movies. And I LOVE the beach!

Present Courses Taught:

Algebra 2 (8th grade), Algebra 1 (7th & 8th grades), Pre-Algebra (6th grade)

Algebra 2 (8 students) – prepares students to transition into high school Honors Geometry/Trigonometry

Focuses on function analysis (Linear, Quadratic, Polynomial, Square Root, Rational, Exponential, Logarithmic) as well as Probability/Statistics

Algebra 1 (5 – 7th grade, 14 – 8th grade) – prepares students to transition into high school Honors Algebra 2/Trigonometry

Focuses on linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, factoring, evaluation of square roots and exponential expressions, rational equations and statistics

Pre-Algebra (12 students) – this is the first whole-class 6th grade pre-algebra course offered at St. Leo

Prepares students to transition into Algebra 1 in 7th grade

Focuses on reinforcing middle school math concepts while providing a foundation for Algebra 1 

Mathematics and Art

Mrs. Kathryn Hemlick

Quote: “Hazard Yet Forward”- This is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s motto, which means, to keep moving forward, even when there are challenges!

Hometown: Saltsburg, PA (near Indiana, PA)

MFA Industrial Design – Rochester Institute of Technology

MFA  Art – Ceramics – Pennsylvania State University

BFA  Art – Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA

PA Certifications: Art K-12, Mid-Level Math Grades 6-9

Teacher at SLTG: 8 years

Favorite Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

Favorite Saint: Hildegard of Bingen – She was an abbess, artist, composer, author, mystic, and theologian. 

Mrs. Hemlick enjoys sharing her passion for art with the children. Nothing compares to seeing a kindergartner’s facial expression when they ooh and ahh with delight at the new colors they create when they first begin to mix paint.

Likewise, before doing a chalk drawing of Botticelli’s painting of the Annunciation, she has the fifth-grade students pose like the Virgin Mary and the Angel Gabriel. The students are joyful and excited as they twist and turn to mimic the postures, which helps them to make sense of what they are drawing.

All students are artists when they step into the art room! 

Recently, Mrs. Hemlick has also been teaching math classes. She has kept this nerdy side of her out of the spotlight until now. She enjoys seeing the students learn new concepts and master skills as they solve math problems. Confidence in math is an important skill that she likes to see grow along with math skills. This is especially important in middle school, when some students might begin to question their abilities. It is important for students to keep trying, persevere, and find joy in their successes. To find out more about what we are studying in math, check out the 8th-grade math curriculum


Mrs. Marissa Schwartz

Education: During college I started as an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major but through coursework became passionate not only about the bioelectrical signals that our nervous  about understanding how brains process information and we come to learn about the world around us. My Bachelor’s Degree in Brain & Cognitive Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology served as a springboard for my graduate education in Clinical & Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. After staying at home with my four children (who have all attended Saint Leo the Great) I decided to bring together my love for science and passion for seeing how students curiosity is ignited through questions about the world that God created. I then went back to school to earn my PA certification in Secondary General Science. 

My Teaching Philosophy: “In every young person there is a point of goodness that is accessible and it is the primary duty of the educator to discover that sensitive cord of the heart so as to draw out the best of the young person. ” Saint John Bosco

Saint John Bosco, an amazing saint who profoundly changed the lives of the many children, believed that all education begins with children knowing that they are loved by their Creator and by the adults who teach them. This crucial foundation forms a springboard from which students can have the confidence and motivation to master the content of each subject area.

Class Objectives:

Together we will learn about the universe that God created (6th Grade Earth Science), building blocks and systems of life from the microscopic to human life (7th Grade Life Science), and the forces, energy, and laws that govern our world (8th Grade Physical Science).

Through each discipline of science we will seek to:

  • know, love and understand our God more closely through and investigation of the world that He created
  • master knowledge of science concepts and vocabulary
  • develop reasoning skills to think critically about evidence and how to test hypotheses
  • foster students’ ability to convey their reasoning and understandings both in written and oral form

We reach our goals by:

  • Students frequently design up their own experiments and practice carrying them out. 
  • Engineering projects where students explore the engineering design process and iterative testing.
  • Creating models in various modalities to illustrate and better understand Earth, Life, and Physical Science topics.

Additional Opportunities for Learning:

Science Olympiad – Science Olympiad is an extracurricular activity where students in grades 6-8 together to compete in regional tournaments through different science events including building, forensics, chemistry, and biology. 

Our team has made it to the State Level for the last two years! 

Science Fair – All 6th and 8th Grade students 

Social Studies

Mrs. Danielle Cox

Email: [email protected]

Hometown: Lancaster, PA


Franklin & Marshall College – BA in Psychology; 2003

Eastern University – MEd in Curriculum & Instruction with a Middle-Level Teaching Certification; In Progress

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

St. Catherine of Siena 

The 2022-2023 school year will be the 6th year working at St. Leo the Great. Mrs. Cox has been teaching Social Studies to Middle School students for the last 2 years. She encourages her students to experience history in order to better understand it through analysis, contextualization and research. As 6th graders, students become world explorers as they travel from continent to continent learning about the geography and cultures of different countries. In 7th and 8th grades, students become U.S. Historians as they investigate important historical events like the American Revolution, Westward Expansion, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War 2. 

As a recipient of 13 years of Catholic education, Mrs. Cox knows the value and impact it can have on a student. She attended St. Leo the Great and is a graduate of Lancaster Catholic. She lives in Lancaster with her husband and 3 children, all of whom benefit from a Catholic education. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and cheering on her children at their sporting events.