Academic Advisory Board


Meet Our Academic Advisory Board

Rebecca Castagno

Miss Rebecca Castagno is currently a 1st/2nd grade teacher at Regina Luminis Academy, a Catholic classical school. She grew up attending a Catholic classical school where she attributes learning many of the Catholic morals and values that have formed her as a young Catholic woman.  She graduated from Immaculata University with a degree in Early Elementary and Special Education.  During her time at Immaculata, she was involved in many clubs and activities. One of the most noteworthy clubs was “Macs Respect Life” where she served on the leadership board and brought awareness to students on campus about the dignity of all human life.

When she is not teaching, Miss Castagno has taken a particular interest in St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body.” She has been fortunate enough to attend a few courses with Christopher West.

As an Advisory Board member for PHL, she seeks to use St. John Paul II’s integrated vision of the entire human person to help younger generations understand the truth, beauty, and goodness of formative topics, such as living out a chaste and moral life.

Kelly Foley

Kelly Foley has been an educator for over 30 years, and is currently the Director of School Ministry at West Catholic Preparatory High School.  She has been married to her husband Patrick for 27 years, and is the mother of three.

Kelly is a parishioner at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Glenside, PA, fand has been a member of the parish for 23 years.

Lisann Castagno

Lisann Castagno is a mathematics teacher at St. Joseph’s Prep High School in Philadelphia.  She and her husband Michael and have been married since 1994, and have three daughters.  They are parishioners of Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Trooper, Pennsylvania, where they are on the marriage preparation team as well as the Alpha ministry.  They are on the board of A Baby’s Breath Crisis Pregnancy Center, and  are also certified Natural Family Planning teachers. 

Jennifer Mars

Jennifer Mars has worked as an office administrator at St. Joseph Preparatory School since 2019.  She is co-moderator for the Respect Life Club, and is also a moderator for the Prep Republicans. 

Maria Parker

Ms. Maria Parker was raised in the Philadelphia Pro-Life community following the examples of both her grandmother and mother who instilled in her a passion for Pro-Life advocacy. A graduate of Saint Basil Academy and Mount St. Mary’s University, she worked to build up the Pro-Life groups with her peers all throughout this time and attended the March for Life annually in Washington DC. After obtaining a Masters in School Counseling from The College of New Jersey in 2016, Ms. Parker joined the Theology faculty at Cardinal O’Hara High School where she is now the Theology Chair and volunteers her time with Campus Ministry programming including the Students for Life Group, encouraging students to stand up for the dignity of all. Currently, Ms. Parker is working on her EdD in Educational Leadership at Neumann University. Ms. Parker is excited about working with both the PHL Student and Faculty Advisory Boards to advance the Pro-Life work in our schools and surrounding communities.

Shana Rightley

Mrs. Shana Rightley is a mathematics teacher at Villa Maria Academy High School in Malvern, PA.   She is moderator for Villa’s Pro Life Club.

Joe Zalot

Dr. Joe Zalot joined the National Catholic Bioethics Center as a Staff Ethicist in July 2017. Among his other duties, he produces and hosts the NCBC’s Bioethics on Air podcast, compiles its bi-monthly Bioethics Public Policy Report, and responds to approximately 400 ethics consultations per year. He also lectures for the NCBC and has authored multiple statements, guides, and book chapters for NCBC publications.

Prior to coming to the NCBC, Joe served from 2015-2017 as the Regional Director of Ethics and Spiritual Care for Mercy Health-Cincinnati. In this role he chaired the regional ethics committee, reviewed and drafted ethics and spiritual care policies, and initiated a nurse ethics education program. During this time, he also served as a Lecturer at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary where he taught courses in Medical Ethics and Morality and Justice in Catholic Life. From 2004-2009, he was an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Ethics at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, and from 2009-2015 an Associate Professor with tenure. At Mount St. Joseph, he taught courses in Health Care Ethics, Business Ethics, Sexual Ethics, and Christian Marriage. He also taught student travel courses to Rome that integrated the Catholic faith with history and art. Joe earned a Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002, an M.Ed. from Boston College in 1997, an M.Ed. from Springfield College in 1991, and a BA from St. Anselm College in 1989. He has authored two books along with numerous articles, and he has presented at academic conferences both domestically and internationally.

Joe is the founder and President of Dr. Z Travel, LLC, a faith-based travel company that offers educational and parish pilgrimage trips to Europe. He is married to his wife Susan (1994) and they have a daughter, Maria.

Michael Clymer 

Michael Clymer is a theology teacher at Little Flower Catholic High school for Girls. He is also the moderator of the Respect Life Club. He is a member of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, where he works as a sacristan. He is currently working on a Master of Arts in Catechetics and Evangelization from Franciscan University.


Kyle Thompson

 I was raised in a protestant tradition and came home to the Catholic Church when I was in my mid thirties. It was during my pursuit of my Master’s in Theology that I discovered my love of the Catholic faith, its traditions, and its theology rooted in logic and reason. Feeling further called to dive deeper into my faith I once again return to LaSalle to gain my Doctorate in Theology with a focus on spirituality. As an individual that feels that we should always keep our feet grounded in the world and the people in it I have continued to work, and serve the Lord, as I explored these academic endeavors. I spent five years working in the criminal justice field as a juvenile probation officer in the City of Chester, ten years working in the City of Philadelphia as a social worker, and am now in my fifth year teaching at Merion Mercy. I am pleased to be a part of this initiative and hope that the good work we do may allow hearts to be open to the reality that all life, regardless of situation or circumstance, is valuable, worthy of God’s love and the gift that life is.

Joe Downey

Dr. Joseph B. Downey is an educator, achieving the nation’s most prestigious awards for excellence in Music.  He was previously Teacher of the Year for Burlington County, New Jersey.  He’s a former Mayor, and a Counselor for A Baby’s Breath.

Joe is a member of  St. Marks Knights of Columbus Bristol Council 906, and a Pro-Life Activist.

Aanthony Cimorelli  

Anthony is a proud product of Catholic education, having spent his whole educational career in Catholic schools. His Catholic upbringing inspired him to be a teacher. Anthony is currently a Theology teacher for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, holding that position for almost two decades. He and his wife Cristina have three children. He is very active in his school community, particularly the Pro-Life Club.