Teri Dwyer: Principal and Director
Teri is the founding principal of St. Raphael School and has served as the director of St. Raphael Nursery School since 1990. She has a Master of Education from Marymount University, a Bachelor of Arts from Immaculata College, and she has taken post-graduate courses at Penn State, Trinity College, University of Virginia, and Loyola College of Maryland. Teri has been director of St. Raphael Nursery School since 1990. She has taught grades 3, 4, 6, and 8 and has substituted in all grades from preschool through junior high. She is certified as a catechist for the Archdiocese of Washington and has conducted sacramental preparation classes in the dioceses of Washington, Arlington, and Philadelphia. Teri coordinates St. Raphael Parish's baptism program. She is part of the Archdiocesan Curriculum Committee, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Catholic Educational Association. A Philadelphia native, Teri and her husband, Dick, have lived in the area for more than 30 years. They have three adult children, Maureen, Richie, and Meghan.
Faculty & Staff
Charlotte Amaya: Aftercare Provider
Charlotte was born in Front Royal, Virginia, and moved to Maryland when she was a child. She graduated from Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville (which later merged into Walter Johnson High School). In 1978, she started working at The Forum, her first full-time job, and is still employed there today. Her daughter, Sofia, was baptized at St. Raphael Parish and attended St. Raphael Nursery School and St. Raphael School (Class of '17). Charlotte has worked in the Aftercare Program at St. Raphael School since 2012. She spearheads the Box Tops for Education fundraiser for both SRS and SRNS, and, in her downtime, she enjoys cooking, sewing, and watching Hallmark movies.
Donna Batch: 4-Plus Assistant
Donna grew up in Somerville, New Jersey, and graduated from Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Science in human ecology–dietetics. She and her husband, Jim, live in Potomac Woods. Her daughter, Lauren, and her son, Jordan, attended SRNS. Donna was a Lunch Bunch parent, substitute teacher, and member of the St. Raphael Nursery School Board. A certified catechist for the Archdiocese of Washington, Donna has taught second-grade Religious Education at St. Raphael’s and currently serves as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. She has been active in scouting, PTA, and St. Elizabeth’s Home and School Association. Donna’s son is a graduate of the 4-Plus class, and she loves being a part of this special program.
Chris Beall: 3's Teacher and SRNS Enrichment Teacher
Chris grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through college. She also taught Religious Education classes while in high school. Chris received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and has taken courses toward her master's in early-childhood education at Hood College in Frederick. Chris and her husband, Tom, have been active members of the St. Raphael community for many years. They live in the Kentlands with their two children, Katy (SRS '15) and Jack (SRS '17). Chris has been involved with SRNS since her daughter first attended preschool in 2003. She has served on various committees, helped with fundraising, been a Lunch Bunch parent, and substituted in the classroom. Chris joined the staff of SRNS in 2008 and also enjoys teaching the Fitness and Nutrition enrichment class.
Jody Bosnick: Resource Teacher
Jody grew up in a small town in rural New York and moved to this area in 1972. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in child study and special education at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut, and her master’s in special education at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College). She joined the faculty of St. Raphael School in 2009 as the fourth-grade teacher. Jody was a special education and resource teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools for 14 years, and a K-8 resource teacher for 13 years at another archdiocesan school. She is dually certified as an elementary and special-education teacher, is a certified catechist, and continues to take courses in various areas of education. Jody and her husband, Tony, live in Gaithersburg, where they are members of St. John Neumann Parish. They have four grown children.
Cindy Buzby: Eighth Grade Teacher
Cindy is a native of New Jersey. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. During her teaching career, Cindy attended Georgian Court University, where she was awarded a master's degree in educational leadership. Cindy holds teaching certifications in Maryland and New Jersey. She taught for 28 years in the Diocese of Camden in New Jersey. She was certified by the Diocese of Camden as a catechist and completed a four-year Biblical Institute. She was an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at her local parish and continues to serve in that role here at St. Raphael's. Cindy and her husband, Paul, live in Silver Spring. They have two adult children.
Christian Carpenter: SRS Enrichment Teacher (Math)
Christian is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. Although he graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in history, Christian is comfortable with higher-level math and has tutored algebra and geometry. Christian spent all four years of college playing on the Maryland Terps football team. He joined the SRS teaching staff in 2016. In his spare time, Christian coaches football at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.
Rosa Cevallos: Spanish Teacher (4–8)
Rosa was born in Portoviejo, Ecuador. She studied architecture at the Catholic University in Guayaquil and completed her bachelor’s degree at Central University in Quito. Rosi, as she is known by her friends, and her husband, Gustavo, moved to the area in 2002. Both a Spanish and religion teacher, she started teaching catechism at Mother Seton Parish in 2006. She taught Spanish to elementary school children for five years under Big Learning Foreign Language (FLES) at various Montgomery County schools. With the help of visual aids, educational songs, and active participation, the children learned extensive Spanish. Rosi also serves as a private Spanish tutor. She and her husband live in Germantown. Their three adult sons live in Spain, Ecuador, and Portland, Oregon.
Emily Chesterton: 3's Teacher
Emily was born and raised in Vail, Colorado. She completed her undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies with a minor in Spanish at Santa Clara University in California. Shortly after graduating from Santa Clara, she moved to Oregon, where she worked as a high school Title 1 classroom assistant while earning her Masters of Arts in teaching. In 2007, she and her husband, Steve, moved to Colorado, where Emily taught high school Spanish and language arts at a Catholic high school in Broomfield. They moved to Rockville in 2011 after her husband accepted a position with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. Emily taught middle school Spanish at Mary of Nazareth School in Darnestown for three years until she made the decision to stay home with her two children, Peter and Gracie. Peter attended SRNS for two years, and Gracie is a current SRNS student. Emily has also served as a Lunch Bunch parent.
Maura Chongpinitchai: Sixth Grade Teacher
Maura is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she attended Catholic grade school and high school. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in writing. At Gettysburg, Maura was a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology, and was also a varsity field hockey player and captain. Upon graduation, she enrolled at Saint Joseph’s University and earned a Master of Education. At Saint Joseph’s, she was a member of Alpha Epsilon Lambda, an honor society for graduate students. Maura is certified to teach all subjects from kindergarten through sixth grade, as well as math and science for seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. For two years, she taught fifth grade in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia before joining the St. Raphael's family in 2011. Maura also coaches varsity field hockey at the Connelly School of the Holy Child. She, her husband, Joe, and their son, Leo, live in Rockville.
Natalie Coene: SRNS Enrichment Assistant
Natalie grew up in Twinbrook and is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish. She has a master’s in school counseling from Johns Hopkins University. For several years, Natalie worked with the developmentally disabled as a career counselor at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities. Natalie and her husband, Michael (a graduate of SRNS), have six children, five of whom are SRNS graduates, two of whom are SRS students, and one of whom is an SRNS student. As a St. Raphael’s parishioner of more than 20 years, she has been active in the school community by teaching in the 3’s program for five years and helping to pioneer the Spanish Fiesta class when it launched in 2004. She is currently an assistant teacher in the Spanish Fiesta program. Natalie grew up speaking Spanish in her home and loves sharing the gift of learning a second language with her students.
Julie Cress: Administrative Assistant
Julie grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and received a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior and management from the University of Michigan. In 1997, she moved from Columbus, Ohio, to Maryland, where she joined St. Raphael Parish and her oldest child started in the 4's program at St. Raphael Nursery School. She was on the board of St. Raphael Nursery School from 1998 to 2000 and started working at the nursery school in 2000. Julie was also an aide in the 3’s program for four years. She and her husband, Scott, have three children, Tom, Joey, and Annie, all of whom are alumni of St. Raphael Nursery School.
Terri de Raet: SRNS Enrichment Assistant
Terri was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, and moved to Maryland after graduating from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in marketing. She joined our nursery school staff in 2012 as a teaching assistant. She previously worked as a teacher's aide for 3- and 4-year-olds at Children of the Cross Preschool in Rockville. She and her husband, Philippe, live in the Fox Hills West neighborhood of Potomac with their children, Nicholas, Christopher, Caroline, and Emily.
Ben Desmond: Media Specialist
Having spent nearly 20 years living in North Carolina—but born and raised in New York—Ben studied professional writing and information technology, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and his Master of Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University. He caught the teaching spark as an adjunct instructor of English at Cape Fear Community College and has followed that passion to SRS, becoming the Media Specialist in 2015.
Maureen Everling: Second Grade Assistant
A native of Potomac, Maureen attended Our Lady of Mercy School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana. She worked at Georgetown Prep Day Camps prior to her career in public relations. Two of her three children attended St. Raphael Nursery School, where Maureen enjoyed working as a Lunch Bunch supervisor and substitute teacher, and her daughter Lauren currently attends SRS. She is an active volunteer with both of her daughters' Girl Scout troops. Maureen and her husband, Larry, reside in the Potomac Woods neighborhood.
Serrita Francois: Third Grade Assistant
Serrita was born and raised in Seattle, where she attended St. Theresa grade school and Holy Names Academy. She made her way to the Washington, D.C., area and graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts and Science. Serrita worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative correspondent for Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. After eight years on the Hill, Serrita and her husband, Allen, moved to Louisiana and Mississippi to work on post-Hurricane Katrina housing projects. Serrita then chose to stay at home full time with their three children—Tatum, Holbrook, and Oliver—and, in 2012, the family moved back to the D.C. area and enrolled the children at St. Raphael. Serrita has enjoyed being on the Nursery School board, serving as a Lunch Bunch parent, and teaching an after-school beginners’ knitting class for middle- and upper-school students. Before joining the staff of SRS in 2017, Serrita served as an assistant at SRNS in the 4’s program.
Deborah Gredder: SRS Enrichment Teacher (Reading)
Deborah is a native of Long Island, New York, and moved to Rockville in 2009. She earned her degree in elementary education from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1997 and her Master of Education from the City University of New York at Queens College in 2005. Upon graduation, Deborah became a substitute teacher for the West Islip School District and the following year a teaching assistant for the Massapequa School District. Deborah was offered her first elementary classroom position in 1999 as a sixth-grade teacher for the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District. She spent the next six years teaching fifth grade for New Hyde Park-Garden City Park, where she received tenure from New York State. Deborah had her first child, Brian Jr., in 2007 and became a stay-at-home mom. In 2009, Deborah's husband took a new job in Chevy Chase, at which point the family relocated to Rockville. That same year, Deborah had her second child, Madison, and welcomed her third child, Lauren, in 2011. In 2015, Deborah was given the opportunity to teach small-group math at SRS. She loved being back in the classroom and, in 2017, began teaching small-group reading to third-graders.
Christina Hainer: Kindergarten Teacher
Chrissy is a Rockville native. She attended St. Jude Catholic School and The Academy of the Holy Cross. She graduated with a degree in elementary education from the University of Maryland and earned a Master of Education in elementary reading. Chrissy taught second grade in Montgomery County Public Schools before taking leave to start her family. She lives in Montgomery Village with her husband, Greg, and their three daughters, Grace, Caitlyn, and Olivia. Grace and Caitlyn attend SRS, and Olivia attends SRNS.
Ann Healey: 3's Teacher
Ann is a native Washingtonian and grew up in the Potomac area. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. history, Ann hired on with the U.S. Department of Justice. Her duties as a research analyst led to a transfer to San Francisco, where she lived for seven years. In 1994, Ann and her husband, Steve, returned to the Potomac area with their children, Michelle and Shannon. Ann resigned from her full-time position to spend more time at home with her daughters. Both Michelle and Shannon are graduates of SRNS, where Ann started out as a Lunch Bunch parent and has served as a teacher since 1999. She holds a certification in early-childhood education.
Megan Heitzmann: SRS Enrichment Teacher (Math)
Megan is originally from State College, Pennsylvania. She attended the Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a dual major in early-childhood and elementary education. After moving to Michigan with her husband, Colin, she taught fourth grade for four years in the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools District. While teaching, she obtained her master’s degree in educational media and technology at Eastern Michigan University. Upon moving to Maryland in 2002, Megan taught fourth and fifth grades in Montgomery County until she had her first daughter, Madison, in 2007. As a stay-at-home mom, Megan added two more daughters to the family—Lily in 2010 and Caitlyn in 2012. All three girls attended St. Raphael Nursery School. Megan has subbed at SRNS and SRS and enjoys working with small groups as an SRS enrichment teacher.
Lindsay Howley: 3's Assistant
Lindsay grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, where she attended Catholic school and graduated from Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. After earning her Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Loyola College of Maryland, Lindsay worked in advertising in Baltimore, then relocated to Bethesda and worked as a legal assistant for a large Washington, D.C., law firm. She and her husband, Patrick, live in Potomac Woods with their three children, twins Morgan and Patrick, and Caroline. All three children graduated from St. Raphael Nursery School. While her children attended SRNS, Lindsay was a Lunch Bunch parent and a substitute in the classroom. Lindsay joined the SRNS staff in 2008.
Nichole Isola: First Grade Teacher
Nichole is from Kensington. She attended Holy Redeemer Catholic School and The Academy of the Holy Cross. She graduated from La Salle University with bachelor’s degrees in elementary and special education as well as American studies. She earned her Master of Education with a reading specialist certification from La Salle. Nichole was the coxswain on La Salle’s varsity rowing team and was a member of the American Studies Honor Society and Pi Lambda Theta, an education honor society. Nichole is certified to teach all subjects from pre-K through fourth grade.
Rachel James: 4’s Assistant
Rachel grew up in Potomac and attended local public schools. She and her husband, Brian, have been involved in the St. Raphael’s community since their oldest came to the nursery school in 2006. They live in Potomac with their three children, Mary, Michael, and Thomas, all of whom loved their time at SRNS. After their youngest graduated from the 4-Plus Program, Rachel continued volunteering at St. Raphael’s, where she helped out with Lunch Bunch and substituted in the classroom. Rachel joined the SRNS staff in 2017.
Melissa Kelly: Science Teacher
Melissa is a native of Montgomery County. She lived in Towson for 17 years and returned to the area in 2002. She has a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Towson University and after graduation conducted research with a professor at Johns Hopkins University. While at home with her children, Melissa volunteered for five years in the art program at Immaculate Conception School. She also taught biology at Towson Catholic High School. Melissa has six children. Her youngest attends St. Raphael School.
Cecilia Kent: 4's Teacher
Ana “Cecilia” was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social communications at the Sacred Heart University in Lima and began her career working with the American Chamber of Commerce in Lima. Work brought her to San Francisco and ultimately to Washington, D.C., in 2001. She has been a member of St. Raphael Parish since moving to the area. Cecelia joined the St. Raphael Nursery School staff in 2009 and also works in the After Care program for SRS and SRNS. Her daughters Cristina and Sarah attend SRS/SRNS, and her oldest, Natalie, is an alumna (SRS '17). Cecilia and her husband, John, reside in Gaithersburg with their children.
Judy Kettl: Nurse
Judy was raised in Fort Washington. She graduated from Towson State University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and worked at Georgetown University Hospital from 1981 to 1996. She and her husband, Dave, live in North Potomac with their three daughters, Caroline, Lauren, and Sarah. They have been members of St. Raphael’s since 1995. All three girls attended St. Raphael Nursery School, where Judy was an active board member. She worked for Montgomery County Public Schools as a special-education paraeducator for four years and completed a nursing refresher course through Montgomery College. Judy has worked as a school nurse here at St. Raphael’s and at the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville.
Stephanie Klinger: 4's Teacher
Stephanie is originally from New Mexico and spent her childhood years in Houston before moving with her family to Frederick. She graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in business computer systems. After graduation, Stephanie spent eight years as a software engineer with AOL and MapQuest in Dulles, Virginia. She now resides in Montgomery County with her husband and son, who is a graduate of SRNS and currently attends SRS. Stephanie has happily served as a Lunch Bunch parent and a substitute in the classroom for SRNS and SRS. She also enjoys her time volunteering on various committees for St. Raphael School.
Francine Krivka: SRNS Enrichment Teacher
Francine grew up in Beltsville, where she attended St. Joseph's Catholic School and High Point High School. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in education. Francine worked for five years for Montgomery County Public Schools as a third- and fifth-grade teacher and as a math assistant before having her children. She volunteered at both St. Raphael Nursery School and St. Raphael School for several years before joining the SRNS staff in 2012. She lives in Gaithersburg with her husband, Mike, and sons Mak (SRS '17) and Jak. Both of her sons are alumni of St. Raphael Nursery School.
Helen Landers: Librarian
Helen was born in Prince Frederick and attended Longwood College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She taught third grade in Calvert County and fifth grade in Prince George’s County before turning her attention to her three sons, Ben, Drew, and Chris. Helen taught kindergarten at St. Elizabeth School for 12 years and also taught at St. Raphael Nursery School. In 2006, she began teaching kindergarten at St. Raphael School. She retired from full-time teaching in 2011 and began assisting in the School Library. Helen and her husband, Jim, are kept busy by their grandchildren.
Rosa Lombardo: Receptionist
Rosa was born in Italy and moved to the United States when she was 8 years old. She worked as a secretary in the Special Education Department for Montgomery County Public Schools. In 1974, Rosa and her husband, Vito, founded their family business, Associated Tile & Marble. They have three grown children, and some of their grandchildren attended St. Raphael Nursery School. When she is not multi-tasking at the receptionist’s desk, Rosa enjoys cooking and going to the beach.
Donna Long: SRS Enrichment Teacher (Reading)
Donna has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Maryland and a Master of Education in reading from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified reading specialist. Before coming to St. Raphael School, Donna taught third, fourth and fifth grades for nine years at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Bethesda. Donna grew up in College Park and attended Holy Redeemer Catholic School. She lives in Kensington with her husband, David, who is the assistant principal at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bethesda. Since 1998, Donna and her husband have run A Long Summer Camp at Lourdes. They are members of the Lourdes parish.
Alicia Madlala: Third Grade Teacher
Alicia was born and raised in Durban, South Africa, and moved to the Washington, D.C., area with her family in 2009. She attended Holy Family College from first grade through 12th grade. She began her higher education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal before transferring to the University of Maryland, where she majored in psychology. Alicia then worked as a teacher’s assistant at a large day-care company in Montgomery County before starting graduate school. She received a Master of Arts in school counseling at Marymount University, where she was a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma honor society. Alicia joined the staff of SRS in 2017. She lives in Bethesda, where she is a member of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church.
Julie Mahon: SRNS Enrichment Teacher
Julie was born and raised in Long Island, New York. She has been a member of St. Raphael Parish for more than 15 years and volunteered with the Religious Education Program for six years. She worked as a substitute teacher in the nursery school before joining the staff in 2014. Julie received her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Loyola University Maryland and her master’s degree in special education from Johns Hopkins University. She was a classroom and special-education resource teacher for Baltimore County Public Schools before leaving to raise her family. Julie currently resides in Gaithersburg with her husband, Patrick, and their three children, Shannon, Ryan, and Grace, all graduates of St. Raphael Nursery School.
Lisa Malay: Third Grade Assistant
Lisa is originally from Binghamton, New York, but has lived in Rockville and North Potomac for most of her life. She attended Elon University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in public administration. Lisa’s interest in teaching started when she was a volunteer at St. Mary’s School and at Georgetown Preparatory School, and while working at The Academy of the Holy Cross with the senior class special projects. Before joining the staff at St. Raphael School, Lisa worked at The Primary Day School in Bethesda as the physical education teacher and as a teaching assistant. She resides with her family in North Potomac.
Cleofe “Fely” Martínez: SRNS Enrichment Assistant
Cleofe was born and raised in Cuzco, Peru. She completed her early education and then earned her sewing certification from the prestigious high-fashion Selene Institute in Lima. Fely, as she is known by everyone, has been a member of St. Raphael Parish since 2004 and has volunteered with the Religious Education program. She has been active in the Lunch Bunch program for several years, previously as a volunteer and now as a supervisor, and also works in Before Care. Fely lives in Rockville with her husband, Ernesto, a U.S. Amy retiree with 23 years of service now working with the Department of Homeland Security, along with their daughters, Emily and Brianna. Both girls attended St. Raphael Nursery School, and Emily currently attends SRS.
Grace Martínez: 4's Assistant and SRNS Enrichment Assistant
Grace was born in Cotuì, Dominican Republic. She holds a certification in early-childhood education and a Child Development Associate credential. Since 2012, she has worked as a teaching assistant at St. Raphael Nursery School and has served as an aid in a kindergarten class in our Religious Education program. She also provides childcare Sunday afternoons for St. Raphael Church. She is an active member of the Hispanic Council and helps with ministry to the sick. In 2011, she started as a receptionist during the evenings at St. Raphael, and in 2013 she began as a daytime receptionist. Passionate about helping others, she volunteered for many years for the Housing Opportunity Commission of Montgomery County, where she received recognition as a dedicated volunteer. Previously, she had a career as a hair stylist but always wanted to work in a school, so she pursued her dream by earning her certification. Grace and her husband, Gustavo, have lived in Rockville since 2000. They have raised four children, Christopher, Christina, Jessica, and Ashley, and are also proud grandparents.
Elinor Metz: Counselor
Elinor grew up in Pittsburgh and earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hill College with a double major in psychology and history. She has 28 years of teaching experience. Before leaving Pittsburgh, Elinor taught at St. John the Baptist School, Elizabeth Seton High School, and the Allegheny County Juvenile Detention Center. She also worked for the Allegheny County Office of Opportunity as a community organizer and staff trainer and as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County. After taking some time off to raise three children, and while teaching for Montgomery County Public Schools, Elinor returned to graduate school to earn a master’s in counseling from The Catholic University of America. She taught psychology and advanced-placement psychology at Wootton, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, and Churchill high schools. Elinor is a licensed professional mental health counselor with a private practice in Rockville. She is also certified by the state of Maryland as a guidance counselor. She has been a member of St. Raphael’s Parish since 1978.
Charlene Moniz: Co-Chef
Charlene is a native Californian, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She and her family relocated to Gaithersburg in 2014 to support her husband, Mario’s, new job. Charlene is a registered nurse. Since 2009, she has worked in hospital emergency rooms, with stints in gastroenterology, pediatrics, and most recently as a substitute school nurse serving at various locations in Montgomery County, including St. Raphael School. She has two children, a college-age daughter, Darian, and a son, Benjamin, who attends SRS. Charlene has been an active volunteer at SRNS and SRS, including serving as a class rep for the Home & School Association. Charlene, Mario, Darian, and Benjamin are big-time “foodies” and love to discover new places to dine in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.
Jerry Nash: Seventh Grade Teacher
A native Washingtonian, Jerry graduated from The Heights School, earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola College of Maryland and his Master of Arts in English and American literature from the University of Maryland. He taught several third- and fourth-grade math and language arts groups at SRS in 2009-10, and he taught sixth-grade language arts and social studies in 2011-12. He became the seventh-grade homeroom teacher in 2012 and continues to teach language arts and social studies as well as seventh-grade religion.
Kim O'Connor: Kindergarten Assistant
Kim is a native Washingtonian who grew up not too far from St. Raphael Parish. She attended Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda from kindergarten through high school. She graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and education. She spent time in the classroom at Little Acorns Early Learning Center and Geneva Day School, both in Potomac, before staying home with her four children, Grace (SRS '15), Katie (SRS '17), Timmy, and Patrick. All four children went to St. Raphael Nursery School, and the younger ones currently attend St. Raphael School. After subbing in the preschool and working as the supervisor of the Lunch Bunch program for two years, Kim joined the staff of St. Raphael Nursery School in 2012 as a lead teacher in our 3-year-olds program. In 2017, she transitioned to St. Raphael School as the assistant in the kindergarten class.
Angela Orr: Enrichment Teacher
Angela was raised in Potomac and attended Walt Whitman High School. She has a Bachelor of Science in human and organizational development and psychology from Vanderbilt University. She earned her master’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America. Angela has worked in numerous schools in Maryland and Virginia, assessing the educational needs of students as well as conducting workshops for parents. Angela and her husband, Grant, live in Darnestown, with their two children, Olivia (SRS '15) and Tony, who currently attends SRS.
Daniel Phillips: Physical Education Teacher and SPARK Instructor
Daniel is a native Washingtonian and a graduate of the University of Delaware. He has coached lacrosse at Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. Vincent Pallotti, and St. John’s College high schools. He has instructed P.E. classes at Annunciation Catholic School and St. John’s College High School, and he has taught business classes at St. Vincent Pallotti High School. Danny has two children who attend Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Bethesda. He joined the staff of SRS in 2017.
Yesenia Pineda: Co-Chef
Yesenia was born and raised in Honduras. She came to the United States in 1992, where she met her husband, Rene. Yesenia was a stay-at-home mom for several years and the creator and coordinator of a group of women who prepare food and serve it to the poor once a month. She enjoys helping people, which applies well to her position on the hot lunch team. She loves being around the students, especially her daughter, Isabella, and son, Rene, both of whom attend SRS.
Jen Polsky: First Grade Assistant
Jen grew up in Rockville and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Mount St. Mary’s University. After college, she worked at Microbiological Associates and George Washington University in the field of pharmaceutical research. She and her husband, Bobby, live in Rockville. Their son, Ryan, is a graduate of St. Raphael Nursery School. Before working in first grade, Jen was a teaching assistant in our nursery school.
Yolanda Prinsloo: Art Teacher
Yolanda studied art at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, where she is originally from. She has taught art for more than 20 years at both the elementary and high school levels and has also taught at her studio in Gaithersburg. The world of art has brought Yolanda much happiness and has allowed her to have wonderful experiences, including meeting and painting a portrait of former South African President Nelson Mandela in 1998. Yolanda illustrated the book “Christmas Rose,” by Dalton Delan, which published in 2012. In 2011, she began teaching a popular extracurricular art class at St. Raphael School. The following year, Yolanda officially joined the staff as the art teacher for all grades, where she is passing along her love of art to her students.
Patty Quinn: Fifth Grade Teacher
Patty graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in early-childhood education and attended Loyola College of Maryland, where she earned her master’s degree in education with a specialization in reading. She holds a Maryland teaching certificate and is also certified as a catechist for the Archdiocese of Washington. Patty has been a Catholic school teacher in this diocese since 1987, and, in 2014, she earned the prestigious Golden Apple Award from the Archdiocese of Washington. A native of Maryland, Patty comes from a large Catholic family and is the ninth of 11 children. While growing up, she was a member of St. Bernadette Parish in Silver Spring and graduated from St. Bernadette School.
Lara Roach: Administrative Assistant
Lara is a native of the Washington, D.C., area. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She started at St. Raphael's as a receptionist and after a few years began working as an administrative assistant. Lara has various duties in supporting the day-to-day operations of the school, including billing and payroll. She also assists with clerical duties for CYO, hot lunch, and after-school programs. Lara and her husband, Joe, have four children, Amelia, Joey, Antonia, and Angela, all of whom attended St. Raphael Nursery School.
Michelle Roche: Fourth Grade Teacher
Michelle is a native Washingtonian. She worked for 15 years in Family Court Social Services for the District of Columbia Courts System and has a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Salisbury University. While employed at the court, she earned a Master of Arts in nonprofit organizational management from the University of Maryland. Upon the birth of her twins, she stayed home to raise her three daughters. She went back to school to receive her elementary education certification and taught in the Montgomery County Public Schools system as well as at St. Augustine Catholic School and Mary of Nazareth School. Michelle lives with her family in Poolesville.
Camila Ortega Samper: Spanish Teacher (K–3), SRNS Enrichment Teacher, 3's Assistant
Camila was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where she studied hotel and tourism management and co-owned a restaurant. She moved to the area more than 25 years ago. Using the Foreign Language in Elementary Schools program, Camila has been teaching Spanish at SRS since the school opened. Through songs, games, and repetition, she teaches vocabulary and expressions in the hopes that the children will be able to converse comfortably in Spanish. She has been on the staff of our preschool since 1999. Shortly after joining SRNS, she began teaching Spanish Fiesta, the preschool's Spanish program. Camila also manages our Before/After Care Program. She and her husband, Rudy, live in Rockville. Their three grown children, Mateo, Lina, and Cami, all attended St. Raphael Nursery School.
Karen Shantz: Music Teacher (3–8)
Karen is originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude from The Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Music in musical theatre. While attending Catholic, she was president of the University Chorus and performed in such venues as the Waldorf Astoria New York and the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, as well as with the Newark Symphony Orchestra. She also had the privilege of studying at the London Dramatic Academy. Much of Karen's past is rooted in children's theater as both a performer and teaching artist. She spent several years on the artistic staff at Upper Darby Summer Stage in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, one of the most well-respected children's theater programs in the nation. She believes that the arts are integral to a well-rounded education.
Gerri Stoner: Secretary
Gerri has a Bachelor of Science in management science and statistics from the University of Maryland. Upon graduation, she worked in the technology sector and spent 19 years with General Electric Information Services in various leadership positions. Gerri joined the staff at St. Raphael's in 2005 and loves being a part of the school community. A Long Island native, Gerri and her husband, Dick, have lived in the area for more than 30 years. They have three grown daughters, Alyssa, Bailey, and Jamie.
Kasey Trees: Second Grade Teacher
Kasey grew up in Bethesda. She earned her degree in elementary education from Mount St. Mary's College. She has worked at a number of area Catholic schools, including St. Jane de Chantal, St. Patrick’s, and St. Raphael Nursery School. Kasey's three adult children are former students of the St. Raphael Nursery School program, and her two daughters are also elementary school teachers. Kasey resides in Kensington with her husband, Jeff.
Silvia Urdanivia: SRNS Enrichment Assistant
Silvia grew up in Lima, Peru, where she attended Catholic school and completed her studies in international business administration. After working for several years in administration, including jobs for international corporations, Silvia decided to move to the United States in 2000. She has lived exclusively in Maryland. Silvia attended Montgomery College to improve her English. As a full-time mother, she has always worked with children, including serving as a teacher’s assistant for four years in the Silver Spring area. Silvia and her husband, José, live in Derwood with their three girls, Tamara, Camila, and Natalia, all of whom attend St. Raphael School.
Mary Ellen Vassallo: Music Teacher (SRNS and K–2), SRNS Religion Teacher
Mary Ellen has been part of the St. Raphael's family for many years. She attended the Levine School of Music, where she completed an early-childhood music program. In 2011, she received her certification in Making Music Praying Twice. Mary Ellen is also a certified catechist. Since 1994, she has taught music at St. Raphael Nursery School, where she also teaches religion, and she has been part of St. Raphael School’s music program since the elementary school opened in 2006. Mary Ellen enjoys instilling a love of music in her students. She has also worked as a registered nurse and has volunteered innumerable hours of community service. Mary Ellen and her husband, Joe, live in the Potomac Woods neighborhood of Rockville. They are the parents of three grown daughters, Lauren, Megan, and Liz.
Catherine Williams: 4's Teacher and SRNS Enrichment Teacher
Catherine was born and raised in Rockville. She graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a certification in early-childhood education. She earned her master’s degree in elementary education at Loyola College in Baltimore. Before having children, Catherine worked in Montgomery County Public Schools as an elementary classroom teacher and as a teacher of Reading Recovery, a research-based early intervention program. She stayed at home to raise her four children, Hannah (SRS '17), Hayden, Caitlyn, and Brandon. Catherine lived in Kensington, where her two older children attended Holy Redeemer Nursery School, then moved to Rockville, where her younger two attended St. Raphael Nursery School. Catherine is certified in Handwriting Without Tears® early childhood and elementary programs.
Stacey Woodward: Marketing & Development Co-Director
Stacey was raised in Bronxville, New York, but relocated to Darnestown from Darien, Connecticut, with her husband and daughter in 2011. She holds a master’s degree in history and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education and history from Boston College. Stacey also obtained an Advanced Business Certificate in finance from the University of Connecticut and worked for 11 years in the financial industry at UBS and Morgan Stanley. In addition, Stacey worked for nine years in education, including as History Department chair at the School of the Holy Child in Rye, New York, and as a teacher at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York City as well as at Seneca Academy in Darnestown. Stacey leverages her professional background in business management and education in her development position at St. Raphael School, which she joined in 2016. Stacey’s daughter, Caitlin, attends SRS.
Susan Wooten: 4-Plus Teacher
Susan was born in San Antonio and raised in a military family. She spent a large portion of her childhood in Europe. Susan is a graduate of High Point College in North Carolina, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in art education (K-12). After graduating, she lived in San Diego, where she was the secretary to the director of billeting at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. Susan has lived in Montgomery County since 1986 and has two grown sons, T.C. and Kevin. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks, dinner with friends, and, whenever possible, sailing. Susan started teaching the 4-Plus program in 1992.
MJ Zafis-Garcia: Marketing & Development Co-Director
MJ has a background in newspaper editing and design that spans more than 20 years, with stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. She graduated with honors from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a minor in health science. While working in the newspaper industry, she earned her certification from the American Council on Exercise and taught fitness classes in California and Minnesota. MJ also has a graphic design business and believes her skills in communication and design lend themselves well to promoting the strong programs that St. Raphael School and Nursery School have to offer. MJ has been part of our staff since 2004. Before joining the Marketing and Development Office in 2010, she was on the staff of the nursery school. MJ and her husband, Emilio, live in the Potomac Woods neighborhood of Rockville with their daughters, Alexis and Sophie.