Fr. John David Ramsey became pastor of St. Benedict parish in 2019. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Richmond in 2010, and served as Parochial Vicar at St. Bede, Williamsburg, and Chaplain to Catholic Campus Ministry at the College of William and Mary, before being named pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Newport News, in 2012, where he served until coming to St. Benedict. Fr. Ramsey was born in Charlotte, NC, raised in the United Methodist tradition, and entered full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 2000.
Fr. Ramsey holds degrees from Davidson College (A.B., Classical Studies), Duke University (M.Div., Ph.D., Systematic and Moral Theology), and the Catholic University of America (S.T.L., Sacramental Theology and Liturgical Studies).
Sean Cruess has been principal at Saint Benedict since 2007. He has guided the school in making the transition to classical education. When he can find the time, Mr. Cruess still enjoys being in the classroom, especially leading the eighth grade seminar. Pope Saint John Paul the Great has been a great inspiration throughout his life. One favorite quote is, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
Originally from the West Coast, Mr. Cruess has lived in Virginia since 2001 with his wife, Tracy, and their six children – five of whom attend St. Benedict. In his free time Mr. Cruess, enjoys reading a good book or playing board games with his family.
Mr. Cruess earned a B.A. in History and M.S. in Education, both from Franciscan University of Steubenville. His favorite class was The History of World War II taught by the late Dr. John Carrigg. As an undergraduate, he participated in the 4-year Great Books Honors Program at Franciscan. Mr. Cruess also holds a Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Dean of Faculty
After a short career as a banker and several years as a stay at home mom, Michelle Cisik followed God’s call to serve our Church and our children as a Catholic school teacher. She worked for many years as a substitute teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes School and Saint Gertrude High School. She joined the Saint Benedict School family as a Pre-Kindergarten Aide in 2012, and then moved to Middle School Language Arts. Michelle, a life long Catholic and member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, has been married to her husband, Dave, for 26 years. They have two children currently attending University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. She is committed to ensuring students receive the instruction and support they need to be academically successful and to deepen their relationships with God.
Michelle Cisik has a B.B.A. in Business Administration from The College of William and Mary, an M. A. in English Literature from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Post Baccalaureate Teaching Certificate for English in grades 6 through 12. She enjoys historical fiction, Jane Austen novels and is passionate about Shakespeare.
Dean of Students
Jeffrey Cronheim joined Saint Benedict in 2015 after working at independent schools in the Midwest and South. He has taught Latin, Greek, History, and Philosophy and has coached football and wrestling. Mr. Cronheim is originally from New Jersey where he acquired a love of reading from his mother and a fascination with classical civilization from an early introduction to mythology and etymology. His enthusiasm for Catholic education was inspired by Sr. Francis and Fr. Mike at Immaculate Conception High School, and he credits Pope Benedict XVI with deepening his love for the Mass. Mr. Cronheim has a special devotion to Our Lady and to John the Baptist.
Mr. Cronheim earned a B.A. in Classics from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Classics from the University of Oxford. Herodotus, Horace, and Seneca the Younger are his favorite authors, and he has recently developed an interest in New Testament Greek, Mediaeval Latin, and fly-fishing.
Director of Admissions and Communication
Gretchen Ridgely returned to Saint Benedict in August 2018. Having served previously as Director of Development and on our School Board, Gretchen is well positioned to serve in this capacity. Gretchen and her husband, Chuck, have two students at the school and are longtime parishioners at Saint Benedict Church. Gretchen's dedication to the school is inspired by the Holy See's Teaching on Catholic Education and she values the timeless success of classical education and faithful Catholic formation.
Gretchen earned her B.S. in Marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University. In her free time Gretchen enjoys cycling, tennis, golf, and painting. She also serves as a facilitator for the ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) program, which seeks to educate women on Saint Pope John Paul the Great's teaching on the 'new feminism' and inspire women to transform the culture by living the fullness of their God-given feminine genius.
Director of Finance
Elizabeth Hanson joined Saint Benedict in 2013, after having worked at several other independent schools in Richmond. She began her career in teaching and served on the faculty at the Virginia Military Institute and the United States Naval Academy. She also served as a Naval Officer for eleven years.
Dr. Hanson is a native of Richmond, and returned with her family in 2006. Her mother was a teacher and school administrator. She has two daughters in high school.
Dr. Hanson earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Williams College, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan.