Pictured are the newest members of the SAA Alumnae Hall of Fame: Donna Hild Russell '62, Therese Brennan Hebert '78, Kelly Lynch Mungle '97, Kathy Menkel, Maria Kastner Smith '82, Lisa Krupicka '79 and Lauren Pierotti Mitchell '99.
St. Agnes Academy honored six outstanding women during the School's recent 18th annual Alumnae Hall of Fame ceremony. The 2018 inductees are Donna Hild Russell ’62, Therese Brennan Hebert ’78, Lisa Krupicka ’79, Maria Kastner Smith ’82, Kelly Lynch Mungle ’97, Lauren Pierotti Mitchell ‘99, and Kathy Menkel. These women have made remarkable contributions to their community and churches, distinguished themselves in their careers, and supported the St. Agnes Academy mission.
The St. Agnes Academy Hall of Fame was established in 2001 on the School's 150th anniversary. The Hall of Fame honors those exceptional individuals who command respect within their careers and civic or charitable endeavors and are devoted to the mission of St. Agnes Academy, contribute to the community, and exemplify the standards instilled at St. Agnes Academy.
2018 Hall of Fame Honorees:
Donna Hild Russell ’62: Donna Russell is truly devoted to the mission of St. Agnes and has carried her education and training throughout her life. Donna attended college at the University of Mississippi where she was Captain of the Rebelettes, an officer in her sorority, a member of the Marching Band and Concert Band, and a member of the University Dancers. She was named Miss University of Mississippi and Top Ten Miss Mississippi. Donna was crowned Mrs. America in 1985, and she was named 3rd alternate to Mrs. World and voted Mrs. Congeniality. She continues to be actively involved at Ole Miss as a Lifetime Alumni Association Member and Vice President of the Rebelette Alumni Association. She volunteers as an SAA Class Agent. She has served as president of the Town Club of Mississippi, president of the Symphony League of Mississippi, and as a representative for the Mississippi State Republican Women Second Congressional District. She also served as a member of the Board of the Goodwill of Mississippi Society and Chair of the Mississippi State Republican Women Convention. Donna has excelled as a pharmaceutical sales specialist. She was named Rookie of the Year for Whitehall Labs, the “Reach the Peak” Winner for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Most Impactful SPC Rep in the region for Schering Plough. Donna and her husband have been married for 41 years and have two children, Heather and Jason, and six grandchildren.
Therese Brennan Hebert ’78 †: (Therese passed away on February 1, 2018, just a few weeks after the Hall of Fame ceremony. Please keep her family in your prayers.)
Described by her friends as generous, kind, knowledgeable, honest, and emotionally perceptive, Therese Hebert embodied the characteristics central to the vision and mission of St. Agnes Academy. She took the lead in making the world a better place for her classmates, sisters, friends, family and strangers in need. Therese had a long and distinguished career in the health insurance business starting out at Heffernan, Ballanger, Pounds, and Yarborough. She became Mr. Ballanger’s right hand person and worked there for over 20 years in Corporate Insurance. Most recently she was an Account Manager III at Regions Financial. Therese generously assisted friends, families, and strangers as they navigated the difficult and confusing terms in their healthcare coverage. She spent hours unraveling the maze of issues related to the coverage for classmates undergoing treatment for catastrophic illnesses. Being Christ-like is what is important, and Therese demonstrated this throughout her life, quietly and without drawing attention to herself. Therese had two children, Joel and Jordan Hebert.
Lisa Krupicka ’79: After graduating from St. Agnes as valedictorian of the Class of ’79, Lisa Krupicka enrolled at Rhodes College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She then attended law school at Duke University graduating with high honors. Lisa joined the law firm of Burch, Porter and Johnson, PLLC in 1987. Her practice is focused primarily on representing employers on a variety of employment- related matters, including employee handbooks, training, wage and hour issues, labor relations, and employee discipline and termination. She has won numerous awards in her field and is highly respected among lawyers throughout the community. Lisa currently sits on the Board of Directors for the National Civil Rights Museum. She served on the Board of Directors for The Work Place, Inc. and was a Commissioner for the Memphis Landmark Commission. Lisa serves as legal counsel for St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School. Lisa’s daughter, Samantha, graduated from SAA in 2013. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she was also the valedictorian of her class.
Maria Kastner Smith ’82: In her role as a Counselor in the Upper School at St. Agnes, Maria Smith has been guiding and mentoring the Dominican Charism to every freshman for 22 years. Maria has made a tremendous impact at SAA through her dedication and leadership. She established the very successful Freshman Student Orientation program, which is coordinated annually by the seniors to welcome all new freshmen. Maria serves as the sponsor of the Upper School Beta Club. Maria has played a key role in establishing the Costa Rica cultural exchange program, and every June she travels to Costa Rica with SAA students for three weeks. She organized the Peer Mentor program and worked with the peer mentors to establish and endow the Leadership Scholarship. Maria was instrumental in organizing Anna’s Closet, a fundraiser created in the memory of Anna Menkel. Maria attended the University of Memphis, earning a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and a Master Degree in Counseling and Personnel Services. She and her husband Michael have one daughter, Caroline Clare, SAA Class of 2014.
Kelly Lynch Mungle ’97: After graduating from the Academy, Kelly earned her Bachelor Degree in Science from the University of Mississippi and Master Degree in Education from the University of Memphis. She returned to her alma mater where she has taught Kindergarten for the past 15 years. She is the lead teacher for St. Dominic School Kindergarten and serves as a member of the Faith Formation Team. A dedicated and compassionate teacher and colleague, Kelly is a mentor to new teachers. She creates a welcoming, nurturing environment in her classroom and makes learning fun. She always has a “can do” attitude that instills self-confidence in her students. The Diocese of Memphis honored Kelly for her excellence as a teacher when they presented her the St. John Bosco Award for the Total Christian Formation of Students. Recently Kelly worked with former classmates to organize the dedication of the new Learning Garden in memory of their classmate, Mary Gattas Parker. Kelly and her husband Jay have two daughters, Emma (SA5) and Mary Caroline (SA3).
Lauren Pierotti Mitchell ’99: Lauren Mitchell attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology. She then earned her Master of Science in Education, Counseling and Personnel Services Degree at the University of Memphis. Lauren started her career as a guidance counselor at St. John Catholic School. She continued her work as a school counselor for the Shelby County Schools. Her job included coordinating a mentoring program for students in grades K-5, providing individual and small group counseling, teaching study skills, conflict prevention, and character development. After working in public education for 10 years, Lauren returned to work in a Catholic school as the guidance counselor at St. Louis School. You can see the Dominican Pillars of Community, Study, Prayer, and Service woven into her work with the students at St. Louis. She teaches students to be their personal best by actively engaging them in lessons on “filling each other’s buckets” and spreading kindness. Lauren is married to John Mitchell.
Kathy Menkel: Kathy Menkel searched for the best high school for her two daughters, Anna and Wesley ’03, and she chose Saint Agnes Academy. In 2005, during her junior year of high school, Anna was killed in a tragic car accident. Kathy has proudly honored Anna’s memory with positive acts demonstrating to students and adults alike, how a tragic event can help others. In 2007 Kathy and her husband Dale started Anna’s Closet, a second hand dress sale to honor their daughter and her generous spirit. Since its founding, Anna’s Closet has raised over $27,000, and SAA students have collected over 5,000 dresses. The proceeds benefitted the Anna Caroline Menkel Scholarship and the Emmanuel Center, and any unsold dresses have been donated to the Emmanuel Center for high school girls to wear to their prom. As the funds from Anna’s Closet grew, Kathy and Dale established a second scholarship, Anna’s Angel Fund, to provide financial assistance to an SAA family experiencing a crisis.