Questionable Data Used as Basis for Prep School Press Release


Headmaster Father Jonathan Licari, OSB and Saint John’s Preparatory School reportedly use five anonymous online reviews as basis for a glowing press release.

Questionable Data Used as Basis for Prep School Press Release

According to a July 29, 2015 press release from Saint John’s Preparatory School:

  • Saint John’s Prep faculty ranked as #2 on the list of best private high school teachers in Minnesota
  • The ranking comes from and is a comprehensive assessment of the quality of the teachers at private high schools in Minnesota. The ranking was supported by surveys of students and parents.


The “comprehensive assessment” of Saint John’s Prep School teachers was actually five anonymous reviews.

Four of the reviews were submitted between November 6, 2013 and March 25, 2015.  A fifth review is not available on the web site. [ Link ]

The Teachers

Certainly, the teachers (below) who have chosen to remain at the Prep School (despite a compromised leadership and the school’s long history of sexual abuse) are undoubtedly likely committed, engaged and interested in the well being of their students. Half of the reviewers, however, said there was room for improvement.

Included in the four available reviews at regarding the teachers at Saint John’s Prep were these comments:

  • Teachers are friendly and knowledgeable but have very little variety in lessons.
  • the EXPERIENCED teachers are very good, but the newbies make me want to cry.

Number 2?

The five reviews (of 5, 5, 5, 4 and 3 stars) were enough to give the Prep School a 4.4 ranking, higher than all but one other private school in Minnesota. Convent of the Visitation School [ Link ] in Mendota Heights received a 4.7 rating from 9 reviewers.

However, there were at least two schools that ranked the same or higher than the Prep School:

  • The International School of Minnesota in Eden Prairie [ Link ] received a 5.0 rating but was not listed.
  • St. Paul Academy & Summit School in Saint Paul [ Link ] received the same 4.4 rating, by more reviewers, but was not listed.

These two schools didn’t show up in the final teacher rankings, though St. Paul Academy & Summit School ranked as the #1 overall private school [ Link ]  in Minnesota, The International School of Minnesota in Eden Prairie was #6. Saint John’s Prep was ranked #8.

Copy and Paste (and Delete)

Pulled right from the web site and added to the Prep School’s press release was this:

“A high ranking indicates that teachers are intelligent and engaging, the school is invested in its teachers and provides a good learning environment, and students and parents rate their teachers favorably.”

and this:

“A high ranking in Teachers generally indicates that: Students are very happy with the instruction they receive, and educational outcomes reflect the quality of instruction; The school is invested in its teachers and provides a good environment for teaching and learning; Teachers are invested in the school and the students and work to ensure the best outcomes for students.”

Though the Prep School excluded the word “generally” from the second paragraph.

Getting the News Out

The Prep School press release was mentioned in articles posted by WJON and the Saint Cloud Times.


Saint Cloud Times:


Current Faculty and Staff at the Prep School (July 30, 2015 Data) [ Link ]

Anderson, Mary – 6th Grade Teacher
Backes, Bryan – Activities and Athletics Director
Battig, Sally – Executive Administrative Assistant to the Headmaster
Beck, Matthew – German Teacher and Camp Director
Bergstrom, Michael – Math Teacher
Crawford, OSB, Richard – Theatre Technical Director and Instructor
Daiker, Jen – Social Studies Teacher
Dwyer, Patrick – Art Teacher
Ellenbecker-Johnson, Mary – Science Teacher
Ellenbecker, Robert – Middle School Teacher
Engholm, Jeff – Music Teacher
Erickson, Robert – English Teacher
Ernst, Sandy – Student Accounts and Records
Fitch, Kelly – English Teacher
Fremo, David – Interim Assistant Principal & Theology Teacher
Fremo, Kris – Art Teacher
Grandy, Thomas – Math Teacher
Heim, Sue – Administrative Assistant and School Secretary
Hendrickson, Brett – Director of Residential Life
Johnson, Stephanie – Library/Computer Lab Specialist
Koffi, Kim – International & Multicultural Student Advisor
Kolb, Susan – English Teacher
Krebsbach, Sherry – Executive Director of Finance and Facilities
Larson, Steve – Math Teacher
Lawrence, Sondra – Guidance/Counseling
Leighton, Mary Jo – Associate Director of Admissions/United States
Licari, OSB, Fr. Jonathan – Headmaster
Lopez, OSB, Br. Lucian – Theology and Spanish teacher
Meyer, Jeremy – Associate Director of Admissions/International
Miller, Charles – Science Teacher and Knowledge Bowl Coach
Niebauer, OSB, Br. Paul-Vincent – Theatre Director
Nydeen, Lance – Social Studies Teacher
Paulson, David – Music/Band/Choir Teacher
Pauly, Jill – Director of Communications and Events
Reichert, Matt – Principal
Rueter, Mary – Math Teacher
Sack, Emmerich – Retired German Teacher/Austrian Student Director
Schrup, Myra – School Nurse
Stark, Dan – Middle School Teacher
Talic, Martina – Spanish Teacher
Thorman, Dave – Director of Major Gifts
Waldorf, SSND, Sister Bridget – Campus Ministry
Whitehead, Jennifer – Guidance/Counseling

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Topics: Jonathan Licari, PR Machine

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