Meet the people behind the mission
Empowering our youth to become leaders of tomorrow
Shirley Heck, Co-Founder and Director of Development
Shirley F. Heck and Father Ricardo Martin are co-founders of John XXIII Educational Center. Shirley served as Volunteer Executive Director of John XXIII from Fall, 2009 to June 30, 2014. Currently, she is the Volunteer Director of Development seeking financial support for John XXIII through grants, an annual giving campaign, fundraisers, and presentations to create a greater awareness of John XXIII in the Racine community. She is a member of St. Patrick’s Standing Committee of John XXIII and the Sustainability Advisory Committee.
Shirley has a doctorate degree in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin –Madison. As a Professor and Chairperson of Early and Middle Childhood Education at The Ohio State University, she was noted for designing and writing about teacher support programs that focus on quality and equality of education for all of God’s children. The many success stories of students who attend John XXIII Educational Center have been so rewarding. John XXIII is blessed to be a ministry of Saint Patrick’s Parish.
Brother Mike Kadow, FSC, Executive Director
Brother Michael Kadow, FSC, is a De La Salle Christian Brother who serves as the Executive Director of the John XXIII Educational Center. A native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Br. Mike graduated from St. Mary's University in Winona, MN with a bachelor's degree in history and from Loyola University, Chicago, IL with a master's degree in Pastoral Studies/Religious Education. He taught high school in Stevens Point and Manitowoc, WI and Fargo, ND before becoming a part of the staff at San Juan Diego MS in Racine. He was a staff member from the origin of John XXIII Educational Center from 2009 until 2015. Most recently, Br. Mike served his religious community in leadership in the Chicago area from 2015-2019.
Br. Mike believes that the center has a unique role to play in the educational community of Racine. Offering afternoon and evening services as well as outreach in local middle schools, it strives to meet the ongoing academic, social, emotional and moral needs of young people. As the Founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers stated some 325 years ago, "the greatest miracle you can perform is to touch the hearts of the young people entrusted to your care." Br. Mike is committed to working with staff and community volunteers/partners to touch the hearts and minds of students, assisting them via relationship and accompaniment to discover their own potential for happiness, service and leadership.
Geraldine Bodi, Middle School Supervisor and Outreach Coordinator
Geraldine (Geri) Bodi is a longtime resident of Racine County. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's in Educational Science from Concordia University.
Bodi brings a wealth of experience to John XXIII Educational Center. She has 26 years of experience with Racine Unified School District and was a counselor at Mitchell school for 8 years. Her knowledge of the needs of Racine students is invaluable to facilitate the outreach sessions offered to middle schools in RUSD.
Bodi oversees several facets of our center. She recruits volunteers and works with the volunteers throughout their duration at John XXIII. Bodi also collaborates with school counselors for the outreach program. She meets with counselors to assess the school's needs and determine what courses will fit their needs.
Nicoloas Pezzola, Middle School Supervisor and Outreach Facilitator
Nicolas (Nic) Pezzola was born and raised in Northern California. He graduated from Saint Mary's College of California in 2019 with a B.A. in Ethnic studies and a minor in Chemistry.
Nic is working with John XXIII through the Lasallian Volunteers program working as the Center's Middle School Supervisor and Outreach Facilitator.
Nic enjoys utilizing his math skills to provide students with academic help during the after school program.
Noelle Steffen, High School Coordinator
Noelle Steffen is the High School Coordinator of the John XXIII Educational Center. A native of Milwaukee, Noelle graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a Bachelor of Science in Print Journalism and Mass Communication. More recently, Noelle completed a postgraduate program at Alverno College, where she obtained a Master's degree in Education, with a focus in Secondary Broad Field Language Arts and English.
Post-graduation, Noelle has worked at St. Catherine’s High School in Racine, as well as St. Anthony’s High School in Milwaukee, as a Language Arts teacher.
Noelle believes in diversifying the manner in which students engage with educational material and demonstrate their knowledge. In her current position, she strives to ensure that each student has an opportunity to meet the learning objective through an avenue that is tailored to the respective student.
Pepe Esteo, High School Supervisor and Extension Facilitator
Pepe is a first year Lasallian volunteer from Valencia, Spain. He works with our high school students by tutoring them with homework and organizing events.
Pepe is a former teacher and librarian at a school in La Salle Paterna, Valencia and He has worked with Lasallian youth in Spain and on the Lasallian Youth Council of Europe. He has also done international volunteer activities in Peru and India. He has always felt very close to the mission of helping those most in need through education and formation in free time (Salle Joven, La Salle 214 Scout Group...).
Marisol Salazar, Executive Director Assistant
Marisol Salazar is serving part-time toward the John XXIII Educational Center mission. Her role is to support and guide the personnel in their new roles and assist with program development. Marisol has an Associates in Human Services and currently obtaining her Bachelor’s in Human Services and Social Work.
Claire Wagner, ESL Instructor
Claire Wagner is a long time contributor to John XXIII Educational Center. She serves as the ESL teacher for adults during the weeks. In her role, she teaches people how to communicate and express themselves in English. Previously, she has taught Spanish, French, and English to students ranging from 4 to 65 years old. Her classes offered by our program are a mix of personal attention, creativity, and a bit of fun.
Alicia Jarrett, Assistant Director of Development Assistant
Alicia Jarrett is the Assistant Director of Development. She researches grants for John XXIII Educational Center. She assists with keeping donors involved with Center activities and fundraiser events.
Alicia graduated from Alverno College with a Bachelor's in Community Leadership and Development and is finishing up her Master's in Public Policy from Loyola University Chicago. She is an AmeriCorps alumna and is proud to serve her community and further the mission of John XXIII Educational Center.