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ND Foundation Board of Directors

Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau 

Most Rev. Edward M. Ricewas appointed 7th bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese in 2016.

Principal of Notre Dame Regional High School

Brother David Anthony Migliorino, O.S.F. is a member of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York. Br. David has been involved in elementary and secondary Catholic education for more than 40 years. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from Catholic University, a B.A. in History from St. Francis College, and a Masters degree in Secondary Education from St. John's University. He holds a Certification in Social Studies and Administration from New York State and an Educational Specialist degree from Saint Louis University. Br. David is a member of the National Catholic Education Association, North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, The Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He has led Notre Dame Regional High School as principal since 1999.


Dr. Jim Dufek, is a Professor and the TV and Film Operations Manager for the Department of Mass Media at Southeast Missouri State University. He received his Ph.D. from SIU-Carbondale in 1992, his M.A. degree in Radio/TV/Film from the University of South Dakota in 1982 and his B.S. in Media/Business Administration and Theology from Mt. Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota in 1981. He has been teaching at Southeast for 28 years.

He serves on the State Board of Directors for the Missouri Motion Media Association. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Southeast Missouri Hospital, member of the Board of Trustees for the Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences, member of the Marketing Committee for the United Way of Southeast Missouri, and a member of the Education Committee for the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jim is married to Susie, who is co-chief CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) at Southeast Missouri Hospital. They have three children, all graduates of Notre Dame: Joseph ('04), Jacob ('05), and Madeline ('12). They are members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish.

Vice Chairman

Joseph C. Blanton, Jr. is a member of the Sikeston law firm, Blanton, Sidwell, Rice, Nickell, Cozean & Collins, LLC.; The firm was founded by his grandfather in 1914. He is married to Felecia Richmond Blanton. They have one son, Mark David Blanton, Notre Dame Class of 2012. He is a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.
Blanton graduated from Sikeston High School, the University of Virginia and the University of Texas School of Law. From 1985 to 1987, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and Superb by and has been named Missouri Super Lawyer every year since 2006.

In 2010, Blanton received the Purcell Professionalism Award from The Missouri Bar and has also received The President's Award and an Award of Merit from the Bar. He is a member of The American Bar Foundation and Litigation Counsel of America. He has been honored by the Missouri Jaycees as one of Ten Outstanding Young Missourians and by the Sikeston Jaycees with the John H. Armbruster Key Man Award, the Community Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award.

Blanton is a former member of the Board of Governors of The Missouri Bar and the Missouri Supreme Court Civil Rules Committee.  He is currently serving as Chairman of the Justice for All Fundraising Campaign for Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Charleston Section and as a member of The Missouri Bar’s Appellate Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee.

He is a former president of the Sikeston Jaycees, the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo Association and the Sikeston Rotary Club.  He served as a member of the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities for ten years. Blanton is a member of the Board of Directors of Montgomery Bank, N.A. Blanton was the chairman and campaign director of the Vote Yes for Sikeston Committee, which ran a successful campaign to maintain the Council/Manager form of government in Sikeston. He was the Campaign Director for the Committee to Secure Sikeston’s Future, which successfully advocated passage of a one cent sales tax for the City of Sikeston. In 2006, he managed the voter turn-out effort for a successful school bond issue for the Sikeston Public Schools.


Robert P. Essner is a partner in Bucher, Essner and Miles. L.L.C. in Sikeston and has been a Foundation board member since 1986. He is a 1973 graduate of Notre Dame and a 1976 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University in with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Missouri Society of CPAs. He is a past president and officer of the Kelso Jaycees and has served as treasurer of the Kelso Youth League, Inc. He is a member of St. Augustine Parish, Kelso, and its parish finance committee, Notre Dame Booster Club, and Knights of Columbus Council 6420. Essner and his wife, Karla, have three children, all graduates of Notre Dame High School;-Nathan ('99), Bonnie ('00), and Lee ('04).

Board Members

Robert J. Basler,CPA, is a retired Senior Vice President/Treasurer of Drury Industries, Inc. A graduate of St. Louis University and Southeast Missouri State University, Basler and his wife, Betty, have four children, all of whom are graduates of Notre Dame, and grandchildren now in attendance. Basler has served the Notre Dame Foundation since 1980 and is a charter member. He has also served as president of the Notre Dame School Board and the Notre Dame Booster Club. Basler is a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs. He is a member of the St. Francis Medical Center Foundation, Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, and Knights of Columbus Council 1111. He has served on boards for the United Way, City of Cape Girardeau Parks Recreation, St. Francis Foundation, and Marian Charities. Basler is a member of St. Vincent De Paul Parish, where he has been an officer on the Parish Council, Home and School Association, and Men’s Association.

Carolyn F. Bohnert is Senior Vice-President/Treasurer of Drury Southwest, Inc. She and her husband, Bill, are 1960 graduates of Cape Catholic High School, predecessor to Notre Dame. The couple has three children -- Jeff (’83), Tammy ('82), and Lindsay (’01) -- all graduates of Notre Dame. Their grandchildren continue to graduate from Notre Dame. Bohnert is a member of the Notre Dame Booster Club. She has been a tireless volunteer in Notre Dame Bingo fundraising since its inception in 1991, and received the Foundation Annunciation Award for her efforts. Bohnert was treasurer of the Show-Me Blades Figure Skating Club for 10 years. A member of St. Vincent De Paul Parish, she has served as president of its Parish Council of Catholic Women and is a member of Friends of St. Francis, a support organization of St. Francis Medical Center.

Melinda Dodd is a self-employed realtor presently working with Prudential Bridgeport Inc. Realtors. She and her husband John have two daughters Tatum '13 and Riley ('19). The family are members of the St. Vincent de Paul Parish.

John Edwardsis the president of Cape Polymers Incorporated, is a broker and distributor of plastic raw materials. He has been in the plastics industry for over 20 years. Edwards graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in Business Management and minor in Economics. He is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, and Knights of Columbus Council 11205. Edwards is a member of Notre Dame Booster Club, as well as contributing in various other ways as an active volunteer. Edwards and his wife, Pat, have three children, graduates of Notre Dame Class of 1998, 2000, and 2005.

Katie M. Fennewald, M. Ed., is employed at Eyecare Specialists, LLC. Cape Girardeau, in the role of Patient and Professional Relations Liaison. A graduate of the University of Missouri, with a bachelor of Science in Agriculture (1990) and a Masters of Business Education, Katie has been a strong supporter of Catholic education throughout her life. In 2010, she was named Volunteer of the Year at Incarnate Parish, Centerville, OH, where she taught her religious education classes, served on the school board, coordinated Pro-Life events, and led bible studies. Fennewald is active in a variety of civic and Catholic organizations in the area including the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocesan Endowment Board, Camp Renewall, Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), and she serves on the Fitness Plus Advisory Board at St. Francis Medical Center. Katie is an active parishioner of St. Augustine Parish, where she is chair of the School Auction Business Committee and a member of St. Anne's Sodality. In addition, she is a member of the Notre Dame Booster Club, and Knights of Columbus Women's Auxillary 6420. Katie and her husband, Kevin, have three children. Their son, John, attends Notre Dame ('15) and their daughters Clare and Ellie, attend St. Augustine School.

Dr. Shawn Parker, graduated from Murray High School and Murray State University, where he received a B.S. in Biology. He returned to his hometown of Louisville and attended medical school at the University Of Louisville School Of Medicine, where he served residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Louisville and was Chief Resident. He continued his education, completing a Corneal and Refractive Fellowship in Indianapolis, IN.  After his Fellowship in 1998, he joined the Ophthalmology Practice of Eye Care Specialists, where he practices today.

The family is active at Notre Dame and as members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. He is currently chief of Ophthalmology at St. Francis Medical Center and Southeast Hospital.  He is an Associate Professor at UMSL, a member of the Cape County Area Medical Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Society of Corneal and Refractive Surgeons.

JP Thompson,is a Financial Advisor, a ND graduate of 2007 is with Mass Mutual Financial Group and R&F Financial Group where he is a Financial and Registered Investment Advisor, specializing in holistic planning and execution of retirement, investment, and insurance solutions for businesses and individuals. He has created the Alumni Mentoring Program at the University of Missouri that has created 100+ Professional and Student relationships for professional development and job replacement. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO with a B.S. in Business Administration, Finance, Banking and Real Estate and Bergamo University, Bergamo, Italy. He serves on the University of Missouri young business advisors and Eagle Bank & Trust Trend Board.

Herb Wedemeier
is employed as the corporate lawyer for DSW, Inc. Herb and his wife Leslie are members of St. Mary Parish in Cape Girardeau. All three of their children are graduates of ND, Jack '07, Luke '09, and Ben '14.

Development Director

Tony Buehrle, a 1972 graduate of Notre Dame is married to Donna, a 1972 graduate. He has been Development Director since 2002. His four children are graduates: Nichole ('95), Mark ('99), Amy ('02) and Emily ('04). Buehrle has been in sales and marketing for more than 40 years. He is a member of the Notre Dame Regional High School Board, Finance Committee, Bingo Oversight Committee, Booster Club, and Home and School Association. He is Treasurer of the Southeast Missouri Council on Philanthropy, past vice president of the St. Louis Planned Giving Council, past president of Cape West Rotary, a member of K of C Council 11205, St. Vincent De Paul Parish, and a lifetime member of the Friends of St. Francis with St. Francis Medical Center.