Two New Hires for the Advancement Team
Sammie Emsick Becker ’05 has accepted the Director of Events position at Mercy High School and began her new role on June 13, 2022.
Since graduating from Mercy, Sammie earned a bachelor in elementary education, a certificate in Catholic School leadership, and most recently, a Master of Science in educational leadership. Outside classroom teaching, she has served as the athletic director for St. James for the past three years where, in conjunction with supervising all things athletics, annually planned the “Spring Fling” fundraiser where dollars raised went straight to the athletic program. Her most recent “Spring Fling” event set a record for money raised for St. James. She further has event planning experience by way of her time at Dundee Bank, where she was the community involvement coordinator and worked closely with various Omaha businesses to promote and grow relationships with key stakeholders of the bank via special events.
She’s married to Tyler Becker and has two boys Ty (12) and Drew (10).
Welcome back to Mercy Sammie!
Brian Altenhofen began his new position as Director of Marketing and Communications on July 5th.
He comes to Mercy with a wealth of knowledge having earned a doctorate degree in communication and technology studies from Texas A&M University and teaching at Truman State University for the past five years. He also served as the Director of the Truman Leadership Scholars, mentoring and programming leadership experiences for Truman Scholars. Prior to his academic career he spent five years as a Jesuit Scholastic.
He is married to Michaela Cullan Altenhofen who will return to Mary Our Queen Catholic School teaching 3rd grade. They have four children Dylan (16), Lily (9), Dominic (7), and Clara (3).
Mercy Grad is FIESTA Emcee
Kayla Thomas-Haire ’93, Media Relations Coordinator at Nebraska Medicine, is the Mistress of Ceremonies for FIESTA 2021. The long-time communicator worked in television news as both a reporter and producer for 21 years before joining Nebraska Medicine in 2018. One of her fondest Mercy memories is being named state speech champion her junior year with an entertainment speech that focused on not stereotyping blonds and their abilities. Those skills led her to a successful career in broadcast and communication. Her mother, Lynda Lacoma Thomas ’65, went to Mercy and her sister, Holly Thomas, graduated in 1992.
As part of her emcee duties, Kayla will be navigating new terrain as FIESTA goes virtual for the first time in the school’s history because of COVID-19. Her communication acumen will be instrumental in presenting taped and live segments during the event’s live-streaming broadcast. Learn more about these new FIESTA arrangements at mercyhigh.org/fiesta.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications from Loyola University Chicago in 1997. Kayla began her television news career in Illinois, went to several other states as a producer and anchor at other television stations and spent eight years as executive producer of Omaha KMTV’s “The Morning Blend.”
A recipient of numerous awards for her news reporting and collaborative spirit, she serves as a board member for the Douglas County Historical Society. The mother of two tries to attend as many Mercy events as she can and also supports the school by sharing her love of Mercy through social media.
“I will always be a Woman of Mercy at heart. Mercy helped shaped me into who I am today,” she said.