Amalia Francisco, Interim Head of School
“To me, the best thing about Saint Thomas is the sense of community it fosters: the boys do everything together, and their bonds with each other and with their teachers run deep. As a result, they feel safe here to be themselves, to explore their interests, and to grow as students, musicians, and people. Seeing the young alumni return for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner and join together so naturally with each other and with current students in everything from dodgeball games to dinner conversations is a real testament to the deep impact that friendships they form here continue to have on them throughout high school and beyond.”
Amy Francisco grew up in Groton, Massachusetts surrounded by her two younger sisters and her family’s dogs, and attended Groton School for high school. This experience, particularly the close bonds she developed with her teachers while she was there, inspired her to want to work in boarding schools herself, and led her to a variety of teaching-related activities during her time as an undergraduate at Middlebury College.
After graduating in 2012 with a BA in Literary Studies, Amy moved to New York City to teach full time at Saint Thomas. While she has come to love city life—who knew how useful having corner stores willing to sell ice cream at 3 in the morning could be?— she still refuses to cheer for the New York sports teams.
An avid reader all her life, Amy enjoys putting her favorite childhood books into the hands of her students and reading on her own, a pastime she has much more time for after completing her M.A. in English and American Literature from Columbia University in the spring of 2017. She also enjoys running, biking, baking, and board games, as any of the students who have participated in her cookies and board games elective at Camp can attest.
Columbia University, M.A. English and Comparative Literature
Middlebury College, B.A. Literary Studies, Minor in Portuguese
Miriam Allman, Houseparent
“I enjoy creating a nurturing environment that promotes the choristers’ physical and emotional growth. It is a real pleasure getting to work with such a talented and motivated group of faculty and students.” Miriam Allman joined the Choir School as a nurse and housemother in 2009.
She received a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee and is board certified as a pediatric and family nurse practitioner. Prior to moving to New York, she spent 8 years working at pediatric hospitals. She enjoys travelling and has sailed over 26,000 nautical miles visiting countries on four continents. Miriam resides at the school with her husband and their two children.
University of Tennessee, M.Sc. Nursing
Tennessee Tech, B.Sc. Nursing
Karen Wentling, Houseparent
“I enjoy working at STCS because the environment is very supportive of both students and faculty. It feels like a family because we live together and share residential, athletic, and academic life with the boys. I see the boys and the faculty in so many different situations and roles which allows me to really know who they are! I also very much enjoy those quiet special moments when tucking the boys into bed.
Karen spent her childhood years in Bergen County, NJ. After receiving her BS in Physical Therapy at Hunter College, she worked at Stamford Hospital before becoming a full-time mother to six children. Karen has moved up and down the east coast: she lived in Greenwich CT, followed by many happy years in Acton MA, before returning to NYC. Her youngest son was a chorister at the Choir School for five years.
Besides her role as Housemother at the Choir School, Karen maintains a small Physical Therapy practice. She is an avid tennis player, and enjoys attending a weekly Bible study.
Hunter College, B.S. Physical Therapy
Victoria Vanasco, Director of Admissions
“STCS is simply extraordinary. I first joined this community as a choir mom, and have seen firsthand the deep commitment of faculty, staff and parents in bringing out excellence in every student. I never thought I could send my young son 400 miles away to boarding school. Would this really be okay? But when he was all smiles after his overnight audition, it was clear we had to try STCS, and it has been amazing. He has been so happy here, flourishing as a thoughtful young man, musician, and scholar among this ‘band of brothers.’ It isn’t something he is doing alone, but rather something we are doing as a family in partnership with STCS’s outstanding musicians, faculty and staff and with the mutual support of and friendship with other choir families. Now as the Director of Admissions, I am thrilled to share our story and to spread the word to other families with talented and high-potential sons.”
Victoria Vanasco holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts, New York University, and Yeshiva University. As an undergraduate, she won the American Academy of Poets prize two years in a row, was the poetry editor of the campus literary magazine, was a teaching assistant for two sections of English Composition, and began teaching lower-level creative writing classes on an ad hoc basis. Between grad school and law school, she was a set dresser and property master in film production in New York City, paying her dues with jobs that paid “lunch” and working her way up to major Hollywood productions.
In law school, she was a property law research assistant, a legal writing teaching assistant, and a member of the Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal. She wrote her law journal note on moral utility issues in some biotech patents involving human DNA. She also interned at the U.S. Court of International Trade and with the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations. After graduation, she practiced commercial real estate law in New York City at DLA Piper. When her son was born, she retired from the bar. Together, they lived in Guatemala for 14 months where she taught legal English and eventually they settled in Buffalo, NY. There, her son started singing with the Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and she joined the Music Committee. She discovered a love of Anglican sacred music and choir program-building, and brought the chorister roster up from 8 to 22 in one year. She is a published poet, a former jazz singer, and an avid yet mediocre gardener.
Yeshiva University, J.D.
New York University, M.A. English and American Literature
University of Massachusetts, B.A. English Literature, Minor in Italian, summa cum laude
Wanda Matos, Office Manager
“As the newest member of the Choir School, I immediately realized how amazing and unique the school is. The faculty are friendly and helpful towards one another and the students. This openness made me feel right at home. The boys are not only learning and singing, they are creating friendships that will last a lifetime. It is my pleasure to be part of the St. Thomas community.”
Originally from New York City, Wanda now lives in Westchester County with her husband Victor and son David, who is currently in the process of applying for colleges. She also has a daughter, Angelica, who resides in Connecticut with Wanda’s grandson Wesley. Wanda previously worked at a realty company for almost 30 years as the Accounts Receivable Manager. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to the movie theater, and reading.
Robyn Rosenthal, School Counselor
“A dear friend suggested that our oldest son, Gerry, audition for the Choir School and we took him up on his suggestion. It became immediately clear that this was, as the video says, “the opportunity of a lifetime”. Gerry’s younger brothers, Mitch and Hank, followed him on the same path and all three boys attribute a big part of their formation as young men to the excellent education, musical experience and sense of community they were given at the school. (Their sister, Meredith, was quite indignant when she learned that there wouldn’t be a place for her at the school!) Our sons have made lifelong friends here, and our oldest and his fellow alum, Seth, even stood up for one another at their weddings. St. Thomas became a second family for us, bringing us close to other parents as we all shared our common task of coordinating our lives in a boarding school setting, helping one another with car-pools, overnight visits, friendship and support.”
Robyn Rosenthal grew up in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the eldest of five children. She attended the Northfield Mount Hermon School for two years as a boarding student, and finished high school in Morristown, New Jersey, where her father had taken a job. She has a BS in Elementary Education from The College of New Jersey, an MA in Counseling from Kean University, an Ed.S (Education Specialist) in Marriage and Family Counseling from The College of New Jersey and is an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) in the State of New Jersey. She spent a few years as a classroom teacher, but for most of her career has served as a School Counselor at Arbor Intermediate School in Piscataway, NJ, working with 4th and 5th graders, their teachers and parents. She lives with her husband Tom in Branchburg, NJ. Robyn has also spent a great deal of her career as a stay-at-home mom, raising four children, including three sons who all attended St. Thomas Choir School. She not only brings the perspective of teacher and counselor to the Choir School, but can also relate to and provide support
College of New Jersey, Ed.S. Marriage and Family Therapy
Kean University, M.A. Counseling
College of New Jersey, B.Sc. Elementary Education