Meet Our Teachers and Staff
Everyday our teachers create opportunities for exploration and learning by establishing engaging environments where students feel safe, comfortable, and confident.
Global Village Academy has some of the most qualified teachers in the country and we are extremely proud of the qualities of our teaching staff. All our teachers have college degrees and many have advanced degrees. Each teacher holds a current license/certificate from the state of Ohio, along with all required endorsements for the particular grade and subject level that he/she teaches. Our amazing instructors are caring, enthusiastic, and dedicated to helping students exceed their every expectation—read some of their stories below.
Mr. Holowatyj is the founder and Superintendent of Global Village Academy. Prior to starting GVA Major Holowatyj spent over 20 years in the Military in various positions; Infantry, Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger, Aviator and Foreign Area Officer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Kent State University as well as earning his private pilot’s license. He later went on to earn a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs while still on active duty. After retiring from the military, Mr. Holowatyj and his family moved back to Ohio where he taught all subjects at Richmond Heights Middle School. He retired from Richmond Heights in 2014 to dedicate his time to Global Village Academy. Although his superintendent responsibilities keep him busy, he still finds time to share his knowledge and experiences with GVA students. His many hobbies include Racket Ball, Skiing, Hockey, SCUBA diving, going to antique shops with his wife and helping his children with anything requiring construction.
Nataliia Gunchak was born in Ukraine. She received a Master’s Degree in Business Economics from Lviv Academy of Commerce, and Ph. D Degree in Economic Sciences from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Mrs. Gunchak is the author of 32 scientific articles in the Economic field and 1 monograph "Government Regulation of Economy’s Intellectualization of Ukraine." Her research interests comprise intellectualization, intellectual migration, and noospherization. In 2017, with a lovely family she started their new American life. Mrs. Gunchak additionally works as interpreter at Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland. Her hobbies are inspirational tourism, reading, poem recitation, and singing of Ukrainian folk songs. Her life credo: Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible (Francis of Assissi).
Maja Sulovari has been teaching first grade at GVA since the school opened. She was born and raised in Croatia, part of former Yugoslavia. After a war in 1995, her parents decided that it was in their family’s best interest to move to the United States. Although this transition proved to be difficult, Mrs. Sulovari quickly adapted to American culture and the English language. In 2005, she graduated from Lakewood High School and decided to further pursue her interests in teaching at Cleveland State University, where she received a BS Degree in Early Childhood Education. In her free time, Mrs. Sulovari enjoys watching movies with her husband, cooking, traveling, and reading.
Amanda Simmons began teaching at GVA in 2012. She has taught Kindergarten, first and second grade at GVA and now she is the third grade teacher. Mrs. Simmons is a versatile and accomplished teacher and we are grateful for her flexibility and calm demeanor. She graduated from Kent State University in 2011 with a BS in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Simmons also has a K-12 Reading Endorsement from Heidelberg University. She lives in Lakewood, OH with her husband, Jake, and their cat, Ella. Her interests include gardening and interior design.
Kenneth Mattern earned a BS in Sociology from Kent State University and a Master’s in Teaching. He has participated in language development training for the Seneca language (Ono’do’waht’gat Gawe:no), and is able to speak some Bahasa Indonesian. During his student-teaching experience, Mr. Mattern traveled overseas to Auckland, New Zealand. He began his career in Arizona as a 4th grade teacher and since then, he's taught in New York State, Missouri, and recently as an ESL teacher in Indonesia. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Mr. Mattern now lives in Hiram with his wife, Purniasih. When he's not teaching, Mr. Mattern spends his time enjoying outdoor pursuits such as canoeing, biking, and hiking. He also enjoys traveling across parts of the U.S.. His favorite sports are soccer and basketball, both of which he still participates in.
Grade 7/Middle School ELA
Melissa Boehnlein is the middle-school science teacher and seventh grade homeroom teacher at Global Village Academy. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a BS in teaching. Before GVA, she taught junior-high math and science at a Catholic school for nine years. Mrs. Boehnlein is married and has one son, Cory. She also has two dogs, Abbie and Eugene, and a snake named Monty. During her free time, she enjoys reading, playing with her dogs, and just being with her family,
Natalia Ockunzzi graduated from Kharkiv National Pedagogical University in Ukraine with a BS in English and Ukrainian. She also has TESOL Endorsement from Cleveland State University. After teaching in Ukraine for a few years, Mrs. Ockunzzi got involved in international business and moved to America with her new family. Taking care of her children was always a priority which eventually led to a job as an educational aid at a local school. She began teaching at Global Village Academy in 2016. She lives in Brooklyn, OH with her husband and three sons. Mrs. Ockunzzi's interests include reading, skating, hiking, gardening, and traveling.
Marissa Kabat began at GVA in August of 2018 as the Theatre Director. She is a graduate from Baldwin Wallace University with a BS degree in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship, with a minor in Theatre. She has a passion for animals and enjoys volunteering at animal shelters, going to concerts, hiking, and spending time with family and friends!
Katie Schwab started at GVA in 2020. She graduated The College of Wooster in May, getting a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has previously worked at Fedkids Daycare in Cleveland. Katie loves spending time with her family and traveling across the country with hopes of traveling globally. Katie's interests include hiking, reading and painting.
Mr. Havelka has provided psychological services in suburban, urban, and charter settings in both Columbus and Cleveland since 2013. Being of service to students and families in need is both his great honor and life’s dedicated work. He specializes in trauma informed practices, ELL evaluations, and has extensive experience working in underprivileged settings. He has conducted several years of supervision for Ohio State University's School Psychology graduate students. His continued work in diverse environments affords him the opportunity to grow and is one of the most rewarding aspects of this profession.
Jonathan Hejnal has been working at Global Village Acadmey since 2015. Early on he was ever present in the main office, but has transitioned into food service, and is the acting Food Service Manager and Wellness Coordinator for GVA. He enjoys seeing the students daily and hearing them speak of how much they enjoy the food now that we are cooking fresh meals in the cafeteria kitchen. Outside of GVA, he is heavily involved in the Ukrainian community, especially with Ukrainian Dance. Currently he is the Assistant Artistic Director of Kashtan Ukrainian School of Dance. In what free time he has left, he enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, and traveling any chance he can—especially to Ukraine.
Dean of Students/
Title IX Coordinator
Michael Migielicz is paraprofessional educator at Global Village Academy. Mr. Michael attended the University of Akron and has a background in Communication and Marketing. He previously worked in food service management and as an administrator for bulk sales at the Benjamin Moore paint company. Currently, Mr. Michael lives in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland. He spends his free time camping or volunteering in his community with his fiance, Emilee.
Mr. Zgrabik joined the GVA staff in February of 2020 serving as the Treasurer. Mr. Zgrabik has been an Ohio school district business administrator since 1978 and currently serves as the Business Manager for the Bedford City School District in addition to his service at GVA. He was named the Ohio School Business Manager of the Year in 2000. Jerry earned a BBA degree from Cleveland State University in 1978, with a major in Accounting. He has since earned Master’s degree credit in school law, finance and labor relations. Jerry resides in Garfield Heights with Donna, his wife of 40 years. They have two grown children and two grandchildren, George (3 years old), and one year old, Lucy. Donna is a second grade teacher at St. Thomas More School in Brooklyn.
Anna Holowatyj has been the Principal at Global Village Academy since 2012. She has a BS degree in Elementary Education and a Master's in Special Education from Kent State University. Mrs. Holowatyj has a wide variety of teaching experience both within the continental U.S. and overseas as her family traveled extensively for the military. At GVA, you can find her in the halls and classrooms, getting to know each student and supporting their learning. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, bird watching, listening to music, and reading educational literature.
Jennifer Petrovets began at GVA in January of 2019 as a classroom aide, but is now the Kindergarten Teacher. She is a graduate of the University of Akron, earning a BS degree in Early Childhood Education. She comes from a family of ten, and loves to spend time with her nieces and nephews. When she is not at school, Ms. Petrovets enjoys baking and reading and being with her husband and two cats.
Amber Mattila has been teaching since 2005 with experience in Title I, preschool, first grade, and now second grade at GVA. She attended Cleveland State University for her Bachelor’s Degree and also earned a Master's Degree in Reading. Mrs. Mattila resides in Middleburg Heights with her husband, children and 3 huskies. Together with her family, she loves to go camping, white water rafting, and going on road trips.
Mary Doerge is the fourth grade teacher at GVA. She taught for 33 years with Parma City Schools in kindergarten, pre-first, 5th grade, 6th grade, and even special education. She also taught preschool for a year. Mrs. Doerge earned a BS in Education from Bowling Green State University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Marygrove College. She lives in Medina County with her husband and children. They have a small hobby farm where they raise Nigerian Dwarf goats—miniature dairy goats. Mrs. Doerge enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and scrapbooking.
Grade 6/Middle School Math
Jeremy Tesny is the fifth grade teacher at Global Village Academy. He graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in Middle Childhood Education and a focus in math. Mr. Tesny is also the coach for the GVA Golf Team. He lives in Medina with his wife, Leah, who is also a teacher. He enjoys all kinds of sports including baseball, basketball, and golf. During the summer, Mr. Tesny likes to spend his time watching the Cleveland Indians play at Progressive Field.
Grade 8/Middle School Science
Mrs. Perkins graduated from Cedarville University with a BA in Middle Childhood Education. In her senior year at CU, she was recruited to teach with a company called International Schools of China. Mrs. Perkins spent six years teaching math and science to international middle-school students in Wuhan, China. After moving back from China in 2015, a few job changes, marriage, and a couple more moves, she now lives with her husband, Drew, in Berea, OH. She loves attending festivals and small-town fairs. Mrs. Perkins also enjoys discovering new places, trying different ethnic foods, and decorating cakes!
Natalia Yarosh has been teaching Art and Ukrainian at GVA since the school opened. She was born and raised in Ukraine and earned a Master of Arts in Education and Bachelor of Visual Arts from Ivano-Frankivsk Pedagogical University in Ukraine. She also completed Coursework for a Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering in Cleveland State University. Mrs. Yarosh has also taught at the School of Ukrainian Studies “Ridna Shkola,” in Cleveland since the 1990's. Mrs. Yarosh is married and has a daughter and son. Her kids are involved in many activities including dance, tennis, orchestra, hockey and soccer. After work, most of her time is spent watching, supporting, and enjoying her children at practice and competitions. Her hobbies include fine art, flower designing and travel.
Born in Ukraine in the city of Ternopil, Ms. Valnytska moved from Ukraine to NYC in 2002. She graduated with an AA in Liberal Arts from Kingsborough Community College and a BS in Business Management and Finance from Brooklyn College. In 2015, Ms. Valnytska moved to Ohio and for the next five years she worked as a preschool teacher at a daycare center. She loves working with children and serving families and communities, and in her free time, she enjoys listening to books, writing, taking pictures, and traveling.
Title 1 Teacher
Desiree DeFelice grew up in Chardon, OH and graduated from Chardon High School. She attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and earned a Bachelor degree in Intercultural Communications. From Chicago, she moved to Washington State where she earned a Master's degree in Education and taught 1st grade and 6th grade. After spending 7 years away from family, Ms. Defelice felt it was time to move back to the Charon area. She loves being a teacher and is passionate about working with children from different backgrounds and cultures. In her spare time, she like to play Ultimate Frisbee and go hiking with friends. She also really enjoys painting and drawing.
Galina Yuskiv began working at GVA in 2015. She was born in Ukraine and graduated from Buchach Technical with a degree in Veterinary and Animal Husbandry. Mrs. Yuskiv moved to America with her family in 1992. In 1994, she married her handsome husband, Anatoly. Together, they live in Parma and have six beautiful children . Some are students at GVA. Mrs. Yuskiv worked at Willcare home for ten years, taking care of the elderly. She enjoys working in the GVA cafeteria and is a friendly face for the students. When she's not at school, Mrs. Yuskiv enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, and spending time with family.
Brenda joined the GVA staff in July 2015. She graduated from Kent State University with a degree in accounting and received a second degree from Lake Erie College in Finance. She has worked as a school and government finance officer for 34 years—30 of which were as a Public School Treasurer. In her spare time, Brenda owns and operates a restaurant in Saybrook, Ohio where she enjoys baking many pies. For stress relief, she enjoys working in her vegetable garden and flower beds. She resides in Chardon, Ohio with her family, including her four-legged, furry, chocolate-lab, Brittany.
Alexandra earned a BA in Humanities at Saint Mary's College and then went on to study Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She has worked at GVA since it opened in 2011. It brings her great joy to see the school grow and she loves getting to know the students and their families. Outside of GVA, Mrs. Alexandra is involved with a Ukrainian Music Camp, Kobzarska Sich, where students learn to play a traditional Ukrainian instrument called the bandura. In her free time, she takes traditional Irish step-dance classes, and enjoys crafting. Although Toronto, ON is her favorite city, she currently lives in Cleveland with her husband, Michael, and their fluffy cats, Sichka and Ptchykh.