DMA Board Members

Ali H. Ghaffari - Founder and Board President

Ali GhaffariAli was born and raised in Vermont an atheist in a nominally United Methodist family.  After attending Phillips Academy Andover and Colby College, Ali studied his way into the Catholic Church, joining Easter of 2004.  Ali is a career naval officer, having spent time flying a variety of naval aircraft, but most notably the F/A-18 off of aircraft carriers.  His most recent job in the Navy was at the Naval Academy, teaching leadership and ethics to Midshipmen, faculty, staff, and coaches. Ali has Master's degrees in Philosophy and Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary.  Ali and his wife, Mary, decided to start Divine Mercy Academy when they were inspired by the beauty, truth, and goodness found in classical education and wanted that for their children.  Ali recently published his first book - Mount Doom: Tolkien's Prophecy Revealed

Jack Grimes - Vice President

Jack DmaJack Grimes is the Director of Math Content Development for the Classic Learning Test, a new college entrance and high school assessment exam. Jack also teaches Geometry at Israel Henry Beren High School, the secondary school for Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Pikesville, and he was a founding faculty member for Chesterton Academy of Annapolis. Jack earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Tufts University.  He worked several years as Senior Legislative Aide for a State Assemblyman in New Jersey.  After beginning graduate studies in Theology at Seton Hall, he discovered a passion and talent for teaching, which he put to use as a volunteer catechist and later as a full-time academic mentor for BrainStorm Tutoring.  For more than five years with BrainStorm, Jack worked with hundreds of students to prepare for all sections of the SAT and ACT, as well as improve in their high school Math and Humanities courses.  Jack continues to offer tutoring privately through St. Catherine Test Prep. Raised as a nominal Lutheran, Jack experienced a profound Evangelical conversion to love for Christ at the end of high school.  Fervent pursuit of understanding the faith in college led to his reception into the Catholic Church on Divine Mercy Sunday a few years after graduation. Jack enjoys steering students towards reflection on the reality behind the grammar, reading, and math they are studying.  As a tutor and teacher he love to encourage thought about invisible nouns and intangible verbs, the power of questions and distinctions, and the elegance of equations so that his students have a chance to ponder the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Stuart McGeady - Treasurer

Smcg   Dma Headshot 2Stuart joined the DMA Board in 2022 after following the school’s progress since its founding in 2018. He is a longtime proponent of independent schools, especially when his daughters Molly and Emily-Kate attended Christian Family Montessori School (CFMS) in Washington, D.C. Stu was Treasurer and Bookkeeper for CFMS, organizing and automating its books to assist the headmaster, fundraisers, and grant writers to strengthen and grow the school. Later, Stu was tutor of American History at St. Peter the Rock Academy in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. As a boy, he attended grammar school at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a long-time parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Church in Severna Park, Maryland, where he serves on the finance council, and as a lector, cantor, and chorister. He is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. Years ago, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University. Stu currently is a Senior Accountant for Powercon Corporation in Severn, Maryland, as well as Bookkeeper for Wellspring Life Ministry, which operates pregnancy resource clinics in Bowie-Crofton, Severna Park, and Annapolis, Maryland. He is proud to serve and support Divine Mercy Academy!

John Jeske - Secretary

When John Jeske was 12, he apprenticed his father, Theodore Jeske in the field of home improvement. He exhibited undivided attention to residential and remodeling homes with an eye for accuracy and details. His father taught him one of the most beneficial lessons in life and the business; pray and work hard for Our Lord. John has been doing this since he left his father to work with Klopp Design, United Gen.Contractors, and Ensor Homes. In 1991, he became proprietor to Jheta Home Services and to this day still carries the most crucial lesson in his work. His goal is to serve other people and to help improve their plans to make their homes attractive. In his spare time, he serves on the board as Vice President, at the Allview Family Enrichment Center, Allview committee for design and planning. He enjoys baking, cooking, camping, and biking with his wife and three children.

Cliff Andersson

CliffCliff Andersson joined the DMA board in 2022. He and his wife live in Ellicott City, Maryland and he has one son and two grandsons. Cliff is a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch, having been there and with predessors since 1990. He is active with Ahavas Yisrael, the only kosher food bank in Maryland and with the Piquette Avenue Ford factory in Detroit, Michigan.

Cliff was ordained a deacon in the Lutheran church in 2006, but came to realize that the fullest expression of faith is best found in the Catholic church. He is a parishioner at Mount Calvary Catholic church, part of the Ordinate of the Chair of St. Peter. There Cliff is involved with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the hospitality ministry.

Chester Bartels

Csb 20231Chester Bartels was elected to the DMA Board in 2022. He and his wife live in Crownsville, Maryland and have a daughter who attends DMA. They are parishioners at the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori. Chet is the Founder and Design Principal of Steam Collaborative LLC, a Brand driven Architecture Agency located in Annapolis. He and his family enjoy spending time on their fishing boat on the Chesapeake Bay, gardening and Bee-keeping. Chet has designed and directed several leading brand experiences, buildings and environments around the Country for many Fortune 500 Companies. His work has garnered multiple Excellence in Design Awards. His approach sits squarely at the intersection of purpose, story, and economics as his process connects design solutions to business growth. Throughout his career, Chet has led the design of sports and entertainment developments, progressive learning environments, commercial interiors, retail, and health care projects. Chet studied engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and studied Architecture and planning at Manchester University in England.

Ross Conley

RossRoss Conley was elected to the DMA Board in 2022. He is a husband and father of two boys who attend Divine Mercy Academy. Ross’s Catholic faith ignited in 2020 at the same time he discovered the Classical Education movement, through schools and programs like DMA and the Classical Learning Test (CLT). He is a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Severna Park, MD. Ross is a Naval Officer and Permanent Military Instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. There, he teaches Political Science, English, and other leadership courses to future sea service officers. Before embarking as teacher, he flew a variety of military aircraft in both the U.S. Navy and Air Force. He has travelled extensively through his service, highlighted with a year assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. After returning from Pakistan, he earned a Master’s of Arts in Strategic Security Studies (South and Central Asia) at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Ross regularly re-reads Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and enjoys strolling through the monuments in Washington, DC.   

Nora Daub, M.Ed.


Nora (Bucaj) Daub is a native New Yorker, born in the Bronx to immigrant parents who escaped communism. As the youngest of four children, she is the first to earn a master’s degree. Mrs. Daub studied biology and chemistry and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Pace University.  Upon returning home from her experience at World Youth Day in 2002, Mrs. Daub discerned her vocation and was asked to be a catechist at her home parish, Our Lady of Shkodra.  She began teaching middle school students full-time right after college.  In answer to a calling, she volunteered to be Dean of Students for one year in eastern Texas. Later, Nora taught literacy to children with learning disabilities and then began teaching at the high school level. After nine rewarding years of teaching science at Archbishop Stepinac High School in NY, she moved to Virginia to take on new responsibilities as Assistant Principal at the Basilica of St. Mary and then continued on to take on the role of Principal of St. Anthony’s in Falls Church.   While serving in the Diocese of Arlington, Mrs. Daub earned her Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from Marymount University and went on two mission trips to the Dominican Republic.  

Mrs. Daub and her husband live in Baltimore county and enjoy cooking, supporting their Ravens team, watching FIFA and inviting others into the joy of reading Sacred Scripture. 

Adam Farber

Adam is a former F/A-18 weapon system officer and currently works as a cyber security operations officer for the US Navy. With almost 20 years of leadership experience in the service including graduating from the prestigious Navy Fighter Weapon School (TOPGUN) and working with elite Navy SEALs. He trained and developed combat aviators and SEALs to perform their best under the highest pressure and achieve the greatest success. As a cyber security operations officer he led efforts to defend the 2018 and 2020 elections from malicious cyber actors.

Additionally, Adam is a certified private pilot and has two masters, one in computer science focusing on network security and one in business administration focusing on marketing. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004. He currently lives in Maryland with his family. 


William Haun

William Haun 1William Haun was elected to the DMA Board in 2022 and is excited to contribute to the school's mission of making saints through the classical educational model that is shepherded by the Catholic Church's best traditions. His wife and children live in Millersville and are parishioners at the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori. Will is Senior Counsel at a national nonprofit law firm that defends religious liberty for all faith traditions. He is also a nonresident fellow at a policy and research institute where he focuses on constitutional law. In law practice, Will has represented religious institutions, current and former elected officials, and a variety of corporate entities in many state and federal courts, particularly in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate courts. His writing on law and religion appears in a variety of popular and scholarly publications, and he is often invited to speak on those topics at major universities. He received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where he was a published member of the Law Review. He received his Bachelor of Arts in political science, cum laude, from American University. 

Michelle "Miki" Hill

Kevin McClain

KevinmcclainKevin McClain grew up crabbing and waterskiing on the Chesapeake Bay. He currently resides in Severna Park, Maryland with his wife and four wonderful children. He was an enlisted officer in the Infrastructure flight for the Civil Engineer Squadron the United States Air Force Reserves. He retired in 2018 after serving twenty-one years. While serving in the reserves, he worked as an HVAC mechanic for Johnson Controls. He took his mechanical and leadership skills and started  Bayside Heating and Cooling, a residential HVAC company, in 2015. His first goal is to raise children to do the will of God. His second goal is to develop a company that inspires individuals to become the best version of themselves so they will have a positive impact on the community in which they provide home comfort services. His hobbies include mountain biking with his two sons and home improvement projects.

Fr. David Ousley

Fr Ousley, ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1979, served as Rector (pastor) of
the Church of Saint James the Less in North Philadelphia beginning in 1983. The parish left
the Episcopal Church in 1999, and entered the Catholic Church in 2012. It later merged with
another former Anglican congregation to become Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in
Bridgeport (near Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, a parish of the Ordinariate. Fr Ousley was the
first Pastor. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2012, and retired as Pastor of Saint John’s
in 2021. He moved to Maryland for his retirement.

His experience with classical education includes founding a classical grammar school in the
inner city at Saint James the Less – with markedly less success than Divine Mercy Academy!
He was educated at Yale College and Nashotah House Theological Seminary, and holds
Ph.D. in historical theology from the University of Chicago. He lives with his wife and Corgi in
Millersville, and has three children and four grandchildren.

Monica Ruppert

Dma FacultyMonica Ruppert holds a BA in Music Education from The University of Notre Dame of Maryland. She is a veteran homeschooler of her 10 children and is distinctly dedicated to family-centered education. She believes Divine Mercy Academy will support families as essential building blocks of an ardent Catholic community on the front lines of The New Evangelization. Monica will implement the Ward Method of music education at Divine Mercy, a classical program rooted in and directed toward Gregorian Chant, in which every child learns the art of singing, sight-reading, composing and conducting. After 25 years of teaching her own children as well as many others in co-ops, tutorials, and various other unique settings, Monica is excited to share her zeal for the catholic liberal arts the full-day setting of Divine Mercy Academy. With her natural talent for teaching children and her joyful confidence in classroom management, Monica is ever grateful each Monday for another week of sharing and discovering the revelations of God with her students.

Ben Switzer

Img 16 2President - Catholic Culture Association

As a son of a military family he grew up in Abilene, Texas and moved to Virginia in high school, where he met his wife, Shirley. Following high school he attended the Virginia Military Institute and was commissioned into the US Air Force. While in the military he and his wife have welcomed 4 sons as they have been stationed in Dayton, OH, Warner-Robins, GA, Okinawa, Japan, and Annapolis, MD. He currently resides in Severna Park, MD and is stationed in Washington DC. Two of his sons attend Divine Mercy Academy. He is currently serving as the President of the Divine Mercy Academy Catholic Cultural Association, which is the school's parent teacher organizati

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