NDHS Faculty & Staff Changes for 2023-2024

Detailed below are new staff and coaches, position changes and retirements for the 2023-2024 school year.

Jeremy Brinkmeyer

Jeremy Brinkmeyer has been named the head boys’ basketball coach for Notre Dame.

Brinkmeyer, a 2005 Notre Dame graduate, has 15 years of coaching experience at Oran High School, Notre Dame Regional High School, and most recently at Kelly High School. Brinkmeyer took over the boys’ basketball program at Kelly High School in 2021 where he led the program to a district championship. He was named the 2021-2022 Scott-Mississippi Conference Coach of the Year.

“We look forward to having Jeremy lead our boys’ basketball program,” said Principal Tim Garner. “His time as a head coach at Kelly has been very instrumental in his development. He is an individual that has always been passionate about everything he does. He understands the mission of the school, and understands how leading a program can influence the lives of the young men that he will be coaching well beyond the basketball court. As someone who has been around Notre Dame for such a long time, he is invested in the long game and the overall success of the basketball program and of the high school.”

Brinkmeyer spent over a decade coaching and teaching at Notre Dame where he assisted with two baseball state championships in 2009 and 2015, and two final fours in basketball in 2015 and 2020.

“I am excited to come back to Notre Dane because it is home. This is where I went to school, this is where I met my wife, and this is where my children will go to school. It’s something bigger than me, and I am excited to give back to the community that helped mold me,” said Brinkmeyer. “Notre Dame is a prestigious basketball program. We have 17 district championships, 10 final fours, and four state championships. My main vision of our basketball program, though, is that basketball is simply a vessel. I believe basketball is my vessel to teach our athletes to become better young men so they will be great husbands and fathers, but most importantly it’s to teach these guys about the love of Jesus Christ.”

“Jeremy has a passion. A passion for people, a passion for basketball, but most importantly a passion for Notre Dame. Nobody will outwork him,” said Athletic Director Jeff Graviett.

Brinkmeyer’s wife, Meridith (’07), is a Math teacher at Notre Dame and the head girls’ volleyball coach. They have three kids, a daughter Brett, and two sons Gavin and Tate, who will all be at St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School next year.

Martina Dannenmueller

Martina Dannenmueller will be the school’s new administrative assistant in the main office, taking over for the newly retired Karla Essner.

Dannenmueller is currently the administrative assistant at St. Ambrose School in Chaffee, Mo. Her oldest son, Jacob, is a 2023 graduate of Notre Dame, and her son, Kaden, will be a freshman this coming school year. Dannenmeuller has served on the Notre Dame School Board, but will be stepping down from that position as she transitions to a staff member.

“Martina brings a wealth of experience, not only in terms of running an office but also in terms of understanding the high school. She has been an office administrator with St. Ambrose School and has been a member of the Notre Dame School Board for a number of years,” said Notre Dame Principal Tim Garner. “Martina’s experience will allow her to step into our front office with immediate effect. We look forward to her being a part of the school on a day-to-day basis, but will miss her as a member of our school board.”

“I know they have a great team of faculty and staff members that go above and beyond for their students and families,” said Dannenmueller. “I believe I am going to fit right in. I know there are many blessings in working at a Catholic school and I’m ready to join at the high school level. I am faith filled, hardworking, and have a big heart to help make a positive impact.”

Karla Essner

Karla Essner is retiring from Notre Dame Regional High School after 15 years as a mainstay in the school’s office.

“Karla has been such a blessing to work with all of these years. She is always someone I can go to as a sounding board and get solid feedback along with a bit of good humor. I appreciated her as a parent, a colleague and a friend,” said Principal Tim Garner.

Her job started in October 2007, but she had been a volunteer at Notre Dame in various capacities since 1995 when her oldest child entered high school.

In 2000, Essner was one of the founding members of the group that dubbed themselves the Notre Dame Press Club. It was a group of volunteers who gathered each month to process the monthly mailing of the school’s newsletter. Part of the job was “pressing” (folding) the multipage newsletter to fit in the envelope.

Essner was also a co-chair of Notre Dame’s Capital Campaign – Phase II, 2001-03, and worked bingo as a group member, then as a team captain, and later as a manager.

“Karla has been a staple in the main office for the last 15 years. Her work ethic, attention to detail and support of all things Notre Dame is admirable,” said Assistant Principal Paul Unterreiner. “…not only has Karla been an amazing co-worker, but I’m proud to call her a friend.”

Read more about Essner’s time at Notre Dame here.

Meg Garner

As part of the school’s strategic plan, Notre Dame has created the position of an Assistant Director of Advancement for Enrollment Management. In the spring, a hiring committee selected Meg Garner (’93) to fill this new role.

Housed in the Advancement Office, this position will be responsible for creating and executing a comprehensive enrollment management program; including, student recruitment, admissions, financial assistance and student retention.

“Meg’s previous counseling experience at Notre Dame, along with her involvement in youth ministry, and most recently as a teacher in a local Catholic grade school, has definitely given her a good feel for youth in the area,” said Principal Tim Garner.

“Staying connected to Notre Dame, while not being physically in the building, has given her a wider lens in which to approach her new role in enrollment. As a graduate and a parent within the school, she understands the school’s mission and the importance of a Christian based Catholic education in our area,” said Principal Tim Garner. “We are excited to have her returning to Notre Dame in this new position, and being able to use her broad experience to enhance our connections to the community and to help the school’s enrollment stay strong for years to come.”

“I’m excited to return to Notre Dame,” said Meg Garner. “Leaving so many years ago was not an easy decision, but I knew then that the Lord was leading me elsewhere so I trusted and followed, not fully understanding why or where He was taking me. But it’s been a good journey – I’ve had some challenging and fulfilling experiences, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve come to know and understand myself better, and more importantly, I’ve learned to trust the Lord’s goodness and providence. But I’m ready to come home. Notre Dame has always been in my blood, and this just feels right. I’m grateful the Lord led me back here.”

“In my new role, I will aid in promoting the great place that Notre Dame is, and to build relationships in an effort to bring students to and keep them at Notre Dame,” said Meg Garner.

Meg Garner lives just outside the Cape Girardeau city limits with her husband and three children. Caleb (’22) attends the University of Arkansas; Annalise (’23) will be a freshman at Mississippi State; and Clare will be an eighth grader at Immaculate Conception in Jackson.

Joe Graves

Joe Graves stepped down as the boys and girls swimming and diving head coach after six seasons with the Bulldogs.

Graves, a 2005 Notre Dame graduate, had been involved in the southeast Missouri swimming scene since his own swimming days. He joined the Bulldogs coaching staff in 2018 as an assistant coach to Dan Rau for the boys’ team, and then took over both the boys’ and girls’ programs in 2019.

Graves has coached many individual state qualifiers, and his 2020 boys team won the conference title and had an eighth-place team finish at the state meet.

“I am grateful for Joe’s commitment to the Notre Dame swimming program, especially through all of the pool changes in the area,” said Athletic Director Jeff Graviett. “Joe will be missed at Notre Dame.”

Jeff Graviett

After 27 years of coaching baseball and softball at Notre Dame Regional High School, Coach Jeff Graviett is hanging up his cleats after this baseball season.

“Jeff has been synonymous with Notre Dame baseball and softball for the past 20+ years. He has left his mark in both arenas across the state of Missouri and especially here in southeast Missouri,” said Principal Tim Garner.

Graviett began his coaching tenure at Notre Dame as an assistant baseball coach in 1997, then taking over the program as head coach in 1999. In 2000 he joined the softball coaching staff, assuming the head coaching position in 2003. He has since amassed a record of 938-259 between both baseball and softball.

His baseball teams have won 11 district championships and made five final four appearances, bringing home state titles in both 2009 and 2015. Under his tutelage, the Notre Dame girls’ softball team won a state title in 2009, along with 17 district championships and nine final fours.

When asked what he’ll miss most about coaching, Graviett said, “I will miss the relationships with both parents and athletes. I have made many wonderful lifelong friendships through coaching. I will also miss seeing kids achieve their goals, whether getting that big strikeout, game winning hit, or winning a state championship. That look on the athlete’s face is what made it all worth it.”

While he is retiring from coaching, Graviett will remain at Notre Dame. The change will allow him to focus solely on his role as Notre Dame’s athletic director.

“I began my tenure at Notre Dame coaching alongside Jeff,” said Principal Tim Garner. “I know how much he has cared about the young men and women he has coached; more than the wins and losses, that is what makes a hall of fame coach. Although he is leaving the coaching realm, Jeff will continue to offer that same level of care and expertise to student-athletes year-round in his current role as Notre Dame’s athletic director.”

Read more about Graviett’s coaching career here.

Laura Halter

Laura Halter has spent the last two years splitting her time as the assistant athletic director and director of student activities. She will be stepping into the newly visioned role of director of student life for the 2023-2024 school year.

Halter said, “I am so excited to get started in my new position as the director of student life! This role is a continuation of my last position as the director of student activities, but the new position will give me the opportunity to expand and create more excitement and fun for our ND student community.”

“As the director of student life, Laura will work closely with the Advancement Office to improve the school’s outreach to its students and their families. This will allow us to clearly convey our message and live out our mission of apostleship to the community,” said Principal Tim Garner.

“My vision is to empower all of our students to find what brings them joy and how they can bring that joy to the student body,” added Halter. “With help from the Holy Spirit, I want each student to feel God’s purpose for them and live it out not only as they walk the halls of Notre Dame, but follow as they go out and live their lives as Notre Dame alumni. I am humbled and honored to have this opportunity to lead the spirit of Notre Dame. We have a rich history of spirit and pride in being Notre Dame Bulldogs and I intend to do my best to bring it BIG!”

“Laura has been vital to the mission of Notre Dame High School for many years as a teacher and then involved in student life. She brings an energy and passion that is unmatched,” said Principal Tim Garner. “I’m very excited that we were able to take her role as the part-time director of student activities and create the full-time position of director of student life.”

Dave Lawson

Dave Lawson has been named the head baseball coach for the Bulldogs. Lawson comes to Notre Dame with coaching experience from Southeast Missouri State University, the Cape Catfish and the Missouri Bulls Baseball organization. He coached the Notre Dame junior varsity team this past season.

Lawson, an Imperial, Missouri native, was a three-sport varsity athlete in high school, and played baseball at Jefferson College as an all-conference infielder. Lawson also played two seasons at Southeast Missouri State University as part of an OVC Championship and NCAA Regional team.

Athletic Director Jeff Graviett said, “Dave has a wealth of baseball knowledge and is a great fit to our program and the mission of our school. I have no doubt he will take the baseball program to the next level.”

Lawson’s vision for the Notre Dame baseball program is centered around God.

“My vision is to let God lead me into the journey and give me the strength and leadership to set the example for all things Notre Dame, and all the young men who have the honor of being a part of Notre Dame baseball,” Lawson said. “I believe with my experiences as a player, coach, and a father that I can help grow these young men into not only better baseball players, but successful young men and future leaders. I am truly humbled and grateful, and thank the Lord for every opportunity he provides.”

Principal Tim Garner said, “We are excited with Dave’s plans for the program going forward. He has expressed his understanding of the history of the ND baseball program and his desire to continue the long tradition of excellence. David will serve as an excellent role model for the young men that will be a part of the baseball program and we are looking forward to the impact that he will have on their lives long after they graduate.”

Lawson and his wife Ashley, who is the head gymnastics coach at Southeast Missouri State University, have two sons. Bryce, 12, and Notre Dame sophomore Chase, 14, are both active in baseball and basketball, and all love to play golf, hunt and fish. The Lawson’s live in Cape Girardeau.

Ray Reinagel

The Notre Dame softball program will be led by Ray Reinagel for the 2023-2024 season. Reinagel, a 1976 Notre Dame graduate, agreed to help Jeff Graviett coach the Notre Dame girls’ softball in the fall 2003. He has since spent over two decades with the program.

Reinagel has been a pioneer for fastpitch softball in the area, and is a member of the Missouri Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame.

“Ray is the softball ‘guru’ and knows more about softball than anyone I know,” said Athletic Director Jeff Graviett.

“Ray’s name has been synonymous with fastpitch softball for decades. He has had success as both a player and a coach at the state and national level. He brings his passion for the game of softball and his love for Notre Dame’s program to the field each and every day,” said Principal Tim Garner. “It is fitting that Ray would take his longtime experience as Notre Dame’s assistant coach to the head coaching position. I am excited for the opportunity to have Ray lead the softball program.”

“After 20 seasons coaching together, Coach Graviett decided to change course and give up coaching for the time being. I decided to take the head position with coach Mallory Siebert,” said Reinagel. “We look forward to continuing the success here on the softball diamond. We will teach the girls all we know about the game and how it applies on and off the field. Go lady bulldog softball!”

Reinagel lives in Kelso with his wife Lisa, a 1977 Notre Dame graduate, and is lifelong parishioner of St. Augustine in Kelso. He has two daughters, Lindsay (’04) and Lauren (’10), and five grandchildren.

Mallory Siebert

Fulfilling the varsity assistant coaching position for Notre Dame softball next season is Mallory Siebert. Siebert, a 2010 ND graduate, has been the Bulldogs’ JV head coach for the past seven years. She currently teaches sophomore English and Junior Composition at Notre Dame.

“Mallory has a love and a passion for Notre Dame High School,” said Principal Tim Garner. “She pours her heart and soul into so many of the programs that we have at the school.  As she expands her role with the softball program and takes on more responsibilities, I am excited for the impact that she will have on our young women within the program. Mallory is a role model for what a young Catholic woman should be, and I can think of no better person that I would want around the young women of Notre Dame.”

Siebert played softball for four years at Notre Dame, continuing her softball career at Three Rivers Community College and then Williams University in Arkansas.

Principal Tim Garner said, “As a recently named inductee to Three Rivers Community College’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Mallory has proven her ability to compete.  She continues to bring that competitiveness and love for the game of softball to Notre Dame.”

Graviett, who coached Siebert during her high school playing days, said, “I am excited to see Mallory’s growth as a coach. She has the ability to lead a program someday.”

“I am so excited to step into this new role and continue to learn and grow as a coach,” said Siebert. “Coach Ray is such an amazing and knowledgeable coach, and I feel extremely blessed to get to continue to learn from him, both on the field and off. This softball program means a lot to so many people and is something I take extreme pride in being a part of, and I hope to leave a positive impact on Bulldog softball and in the lives of each of the girls I get the blessing to coach.”

Paul Unterreiner

Paul Unterreiner has stepped down as the boys’ basketball head coach.

Unterreiner took over the basketball program for the 2014-2015 season, accumulating a 159-94 record. During his time as head coach, his teams had two final four appearances, won two SEMO Conference championships and one Christmas Tournament championship. He also spent four years as boys JV coach, four years as the girls’ basketball JV coach and nine years coaching track.

“I’ve been blessed to have spent a lot of time with great assistant coaches, quality young men who poured their heart and soul into our program, supportive parents, and two fantastic athletic trainers. I’ll miss getting to know young people in a way that can only be done throughout the roller coaster of a basketball season,” said Unterreiner. “It’s all about the people. I’ll miss the people. Every single one of them. Thanks for the ride.”

Unterreiner’s departure from coaching will allow him to focus solely on his role as an assistant principal and the Dean of Academics at Notre Dame.

“Coach Unterreiner has always seen the big picture,” said Principal Tim Garner. “He understands that what makes a good basketball program is what makes a good school. Relationships. He has worked hard to build strong bonds with his players and the student body. He also knows that having high standards, along with player and coach accountability, is what will define a program long after players and coaches move on. This knowledge describes his approach to his role as assistant principal.

“As he will now be able to focus full time on the day-to-day responsibilities as an assistant principal, his gifts will help Notre Dame become even better than it’s been.”

Read more about Unterreiner’s coaching career here.

Tennis Coaching Duo Retires

Donna Ryan and Linda Ruddy have both announced their retirements from coaching tennis. Ryan and Ruddy have coached Notre Dame Regional High School’s boys and girls tennis teams for the past 10 years. The duo has coached numerous individual state qualifiers, and has taken both the girls’ and boys’ teams to the state team competition once. The boys’ program has collected five district championships under their tutelage.

“Donna and Linda have been a blessing, not only to our tennis program, but to Notre Dame. They took our tennis program to the next level with consistently producing individual state qualifiers. They have given so much to the tennis program over the past 10 years, and I am excited for them to start a new chapter in their lives,” said Athletic Director Jeff Graviett. “Because of them, our tennis program has a lot to offer and I am excited about the future of this program.”

Pershard Owens

Meet Pershard Owens, Notre Dame’s new tennis coach!

Owens, the youngest of nine siblings, is from Charleston, Missouri, and began his education at St. Henry School. He graduated high school from Scott County Central, and then attended Missouri Baptist University on a tennis scholarship where he was named athlete of the week multiple times.

Owens works for Lincoln University as an area educator, and has served as an assistant coach for the Sikeston High School tennis team. His father is a police officer and his mother is a teacher.

“One reason I’m excited to be working at Notre Dame is because of the atmosphere here. For me, it’s extremely important to be somewhere, where faith is a foundation. From the moment I stepped foot on the campus, I felt welcomed and I could definitely feel the educators cared deeply about the students and wanted the best for them,” said Owens. “My vision for the tennis program is to continue building on the amazing foundation and legacy that Coach Donna and Coach Linda have created here. I’m extremely honored to not only be named the new head coach, but follow in the footsteps of these two amazing individuals. I’m not looking to change the program, but instead add to it. I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to help continue the growth of the tennis program and to go to new heights!”

Michael Seaman

Notre Dame is excited to welcome Michael Seaman to the school’s Track & Field coaching staff as the pole vaulting coach.

Seaman was a four-time state champion pole-vaulter for Bardstown High School in Kentucky. He earned five all-state titles, also competing in the 110m and 300m hurdles. Seaman was a four-year letter winner in soccer, being named the team’s best offensive player three times and team MVP twice.

After high school, Seaman continued his pole vaulting career at Samford University where he is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. He was a five-time All-American and four-time Southern Conference champion. While at Samford, Seaman broke the school’s record in the indoor and outdoor pole vault, and the Southern Conference record in the indoor. He qualified for the NCAA Championships five times, playing sixth during the 2012 season. He won three-straight indoor Southern Conference championships, and won the outdoor championship in 2011. Seaman was a second and first-team All-American during his collegiate career. After college, Seaman trained at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.

Seaman brings a wealth of experience to the ND coaching staff. “It takes a long time to build a great pole vaulting program, and luckily Notre Dame is already there,” said Seaman. “I still pole vault today and really enjoy the sport. I envision a program that catapults athletes to their full potential in record time. If we do that, there will be plenty of state championships and collegiate vaulting opportunities.”

Seaman is the CEO of Swipesum. He lives in Cape Girardeau with his wife, Kelsey Dacus, and three kids Piper, Juniper and Bodhi.

Brad Walters

Brad Walters has been named as Notre Dame’s next boys swimming coach.

Walters has been part of the local swimming community for over 10 years. He has been a USA Swimming Official and served as president of the board for a local swim team.

“With both of my kids being competitive swimmers, I have seen what it takes to have a successful swimming program on all levels,” said Walters.

“Faith is a huge part of my family’s life and I’m excited to work with an organization that is faith focused and supports the swimming community,” said Walters. “My goal is to expand on what Coach Joe Graves has built over the last few years. I know what this sport can do to strengthen kids mentally and physically, and I plan to engrave those skills into the program to raise up leaders for the school and community.”

Walters has been married to his wife, Joni, for 24 years. They have two children, Brayden (20) and Ava (16), who have been swimming competitively year round since they were eight years old.