Our Board of Directors

Victor Mavar

Victor V. Mavar, Sr. is a native Biloxian. He is married to Gayle Donlon Mavar and together they have six children, all of whom attended Nativity BVM Elementary School, Mercy Cross High School and Sacred Heart Girls High School. Victor has served on various committees at Nativity BVM Parish. He and his family were in the seafood processing business and in the business of manufacturing pet foods. He was in the Merchant Marine during World War II and served as an engineering officer in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He served on the Board of Directors of the Walter Anderson Museum, the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Visitors of Mississippi College School of Law, and the Board of Directors of Hancock Bank Holding Company.

At one time there were a large number of Catholic Sisters who were teachers at Nativity BVM Elementary School. At that time the cost of tuition to attend Nativity School was very small because the Nuns worked for virtually no cost. We no longer have the luxury of the service of these Sisters and of course, lay teachers must be hired and paid a reasonable salary. As a result tuition has increased to the point where many hard working Catholic families cannot afford to send their children to the highly rated Nativity School which outperforms secular schools. The Foundation’s plan is to raise money from individuals and other foundations to be put into a capital account which will never be spent. Only the earnings of this capital account will be used to reduce the cost of tuition. I am happy to take part in this effort.

Peter Abide

Peter is a member of Nativity BVM Parish and is active in the Nativity Parish serving as a Eucharistic minister, Lector and Cantor. He is a former member of the Nativity Parish Council.  Peter is also active in several local civic organizations, the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, and the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. Peter is a graduate of Saint Joseph High School in Greenville, Mississippi. Since 2004, Peter has been managing partner of Currie Johnson Griffin & Myer’s law office located on the Gulf Coast. Peter obtained his undergraduate degree in accounting from Louisiana State University and his law degree from the University of Mississippi. Peter became a resident of Biloxi in 1987 and he and his wife, Judy, have been married since 1991. Together they have three daughters, all of whom have been students at Nativity Elementary School as well as Mercy Cross High School and St. Patrick High School.

Judy and I are dedicated to doing what we can to preserve the educational institutions where our children attended. Our children have thrived both intellectually and spiritually, and we attribute this, in large part, to the education they received at Nativity BVM Elementary School. The Foundation is needed to ensure that the school continues to thrive for many years to come, and I am happy to serve in support of this worthy cause.

Michael Bruffey

Michael is married to Ann Eckert of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and together they have three children: Jacob, Julia and Emma. All three children have graduated from Nativity BVM Elementary School and are currently attending or have graduated from St. Patrick Catholic High School. Michael graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi receiving a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and went on to attend the University of Mississippi where he obtained his law degree. During his legal career, he has worked in Biloxi (and St. Louis, Missouri), primarily serving as in house legal counsel in the gaming and hospitality industry. He has served on several boards, including the Board for the YMCA, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Knight Non-Profit Center. He enjoys spending time with his wife and children and coaching recreational sports in the City of Biloxi. Michael is an active member of Nativity BVM Parish and serves on the Diocesan School Advisory Board.

I serve on the Board of the Nativity School Foundation as I have seen firsthand what a gift Catholic education has been to our children. It is an education of the mind, body and spirit. While I attended public schools growing up and support public education, Catholic education is necessary in today’s world as it allows God to be made a part of a child’s educational environment. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen a push to separate God from certain aspects of life, including our schools. In my view, nothing could be more beneficial to a child than to keep God in our schools. The contributions to the Foundation will remain as a permanent means of supporting this most important mission. Nativity BVM Elementary is only one of two Catholic elementary schools operating in Biloxi. The Foundation is essential to preserve the school and its educational history of more than 100 years.

Very Reverend Dennis J. Carver

Very Rev. Dennis J. Carver, is a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is currently serving as the sixth rector of The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral for Bishop Roger P. Morin, the third bishop of Biloxi. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Loyola University, a Master’s of Divinity Degree from Notre Dame Seminary, and post graduate studies in Spiritual Direction. Prior to entering seminary, Fr. Carver worked for seven years in the field of international trade and transportation with M. G. Maher and Company in New Orleans, LA. He has served as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Dedeaux, MS and St. Paul Church in Pass Christian, MS. He is the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish, in Pass Christian, MS, a combined post-Hurricane Katrina parish. He served as a founding member of the Diocesan School Advisory Board.   In addition to his parochial assignments Fr. Carver currently serves as Diocesan Director of Vocations, Dean, Officer of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, Member of the Bishop’s Board of Consulters, Chair of the Priest Personnel Committee, Spiritual Director for Notre Dame Seminary and Board Member of the Formation, Life and Ministry of Permanent Deacons.

I have an abiding recognition of and respect for the superior quality and performance of Catholic Education. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Elementary School is the third Catholic School which I have had the pleasure to pastor. Although my personal and priestly support of our Catholic Schools is unquestionable, I understand the substantial resources required to operate our schools.   Simultaneously, our Catholic Schools function on carefully designed, practical budget requiring economic prudence and discipline. The Diocese of Biloxi requests its parishes to participate in the expenses of Catholic Education in order to keep the cost of tuition affordable to as many families as possible. At Nativity Elementary School, should families desire a Catholic Education for their children, our Cathedral parish is in a position to assist with both Tuition Subsidy and Tuition Assistance. In the case of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, this annual family tuition assistance amounts to 30% of our annual parish income. Even so, application for tuition assistance consistently exceeds the designated, budgeted cathedral parish funds. Nativity Elementary School is fortunate to have this Foundation as an extra source of tuition assistance to our families.   I am grateful to be a member of its directors and pray that its resources will provide more families with the superiority of a Catholic Education.

Elizabeth Corso Joachim

Elizabeth “Liz” Corso Joachim is a native Biloxian. She married Jack Joachim, Jr. in 1960 and together they have three children, all of whom attended Nativity BVM Elementary School. Her husband was president of the PTO at Nativity Elementary and Liz was on the school board for many years. She helped create the October School Carnival more than 50 years ago, which continues today with parents, former students and Gulf Coast residents gathering to share family fun and to celebrate the Fall season. Liz’s father helped create Nativity BVM Elementary School, with the family sponsoring two windows in the Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral honoring his memory and contributions to the parish. Liz is very active in the Gulf Coast community and is presently on the board of the Peoples Bank, Biloxi Regional Hospital and Ohr O’Keefe Museum.

All three of our children were schooled by the Irish nuns at Nativity BVM Elementary. Each of our children went on to earn both Bachelor and Master degrees. Most of the Irish nuns who retired have been replaced by lay teachers. The school requires regular maintenance, new technology and pays other expenses necessitating the school to charge tuition for students to attend. As the school’s expenses have increased, the cost of tuition has increased as well. In recent years, we have seen attendance decrease. When we ask the parents why they are no longer sending their children to Nativity Elementary, they tell us they cannot afford it. With this Foundation, we are soliciting help from other foundations and philanthropic groups to establish an endowment fund that will allow us to decrease the cost of tuition so that those parents who wish to send their children to Nativity BVM Elementary will be able to do so. I, as my father, have always felt that Nativity BVM Elementary made a positive and lasting impact on my family. I want to do what I can so that my grandchildren and beyond will be able to attend this wonderful school.

Roland Creel

Roland is a lifelong member of Nativity B.V.M Parish and a native of Biloxi. He and his wife of 37 years, Tricia Joachim, have four children and six grandchildren. Both Roland and Tricia attended Nativity B.V.M. Elementary School. Roland went on to attend Notre Dame Catholic High School for four years and graduated from Biloxi High School and Gulf Coast Junior College. He is a member of the Nativity Men’s Club and the Nativity Chapter of Men of St. Joseph. Roland has served as a board member for the former McAuley Education Center, a non-profit center, established by the Sisters of Mercy. He also served as a volunteer instructor and mentor for the center. Roland is employed as an organization manager of 60 employees for Marine Design Engineering at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.

Nativity B.V.M. Elementary School has been the cornerstone of Catholic education in Biloxi for many generations. It fosters an environment that enables children from all walks of life to embrace their full academic and spiritual potential. I am the person I am today because of the core values taught to me by my parents and positively reinforced in grade school. Numerous generations of our family were afforded the opportunity to attend and graduate from Nativity. Tricia and I are vested in the effort to continue the legacy of Nativity B.V.M. Elementary for many more generations.

Stephen P. Theobald

Stephen is married to Cheryl and they have made Biloxi and Nativity Cathedral Parish their home since 1985. Stephen is a native of Vicksburg and Cheryl is from Pass Christian. They have three children (Scott, Lauren & Tahler) and two grandchildren (Emma & Porter). All three children attended Nativity BVM Elementary School from Kindergarten through sixth grade, and now, both grandchildren are enrolled at Nativity. Stephen graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1977 receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Business with an accounting emphasis. His accounting career started with Arthur Young (Ernst & Young today) in New Orleans, and then in January of 1980 joined the firm of Piltz, Williams, LaRosa & Company, Certified Public Accountants in Biloxi (tax, audit and business consultants). He has been the Managing Director of the firm since 2003. Stephen serves with various other organizations including Nativity BVM Cathedral Parish (finance committee and lector), St Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy (treasurer); Rotary Club of Edgewater (board member).

As you may have determined from my bio, Cheryl and I are committed to Nativity School and Parish. In fact, Cheryl was a special education teacher at Nativity School from 1987 – 2004, so she and I know first-hand what that school has to offer and means to the City of Biloxi and beyond. The School is based first and foremost on the Catholic Christian principles of Christ, “Love God and Love Neighbor”. We have seen these principles put into practice over the years we have been associated with the school. The special friendships we and our children have developed are still shared to this day. The spiritual, educational and enrichment foundations our children received carried all three of them to be successful college graduates (three bachelors and one doctorate). Cheryl and I want everyone, including those who cannot afford the tuition, to be able to experience what we continue to enjoy today. To accomplish this, we must have a foundation that provides much needed tuition assistance as the cost increase beyond the means of hard working families. Please join us in this endeavor.

Dewey Brashier Mason

Dewey Brashier Mason and her husband Patrick Mason have been lifelong members of Nativity B.V.M Parish. They both graduated from Nativity BVM Elementary and Mercy Cross High School.  Dewey graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2008 receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concertation in marketing. Since graduation she has been with BancorpSouth Insurance Services, Inc. (formally Stewart Sneed Hewes) and is the regional bond manager for their MS and AL locations.  She has served on several boards, including National Association of Women in Construction, United Way, Biloxi First, Extra Table, and Gulf Coast Carnival Association.

Victor Mavar, Jr.

Victor Mavar, Jr. has been a lifelong member of Nativity BVM Cathedral 

Parish.  Victor is a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Biloxi, Mississippi.  After high school he attended the University of Southern Mississippi where he received a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.  Victor worked for his family’s seafood and pet food manufacturing business until it was sold.  Victor is currently a private investor.  He is involved in several community organizations including Biloxi Yacht Club, Slavonian Lodge and Gulf Coast Carnival Association.

Claire Mavar