My husband, Eli, and I have been happily married for over 23 years and have been blessed with the gift and responsibility of nurturing and loving our three amazing daughters: Kaitlynne(21), Margaret(17), and Haylee(14).
Kaitlynne just graduated from Michigan State and began her PhD program at Washington State this August. Margaret is a senior and Haylee a freshman in high school. Needless to say, they keep us busy and make us super proud.
I am a product of Catholic schools, elementary through graduate. I attended St. Irenaeus Parish school in Cypress and St. Joseph High School in Lakewood, CA then I earned my bachelors and masters degrees from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. We moved to Southern Washington right after getting married and I started teaching in the public school system in Longview and Yelm, WA, but knew that I needed to go "home" to Catholic school. I wanted and needed to be able to teach the whole child; to be able to share my faith simultaneously with the core curriculum.
I spent the last 20 years teaching and leading in Catholic schools. I went back to my elementary school, St. Irenaeus.
While there, I was given the added responsibility of Assistant Principal and returned to LMU for my Masters in Catholic Schools Administration. After two years of the leadership role and graduation from the program, I was blessed with a new ministry, the principal-ship of St. Cyprian in Long Beach, CA. It was six of the best years of my career as I was able to share my faith and spirit to a larger community than just my little classroom.
Upon returning to the beautiful Pacific Northwest two years ago, I returned to the classroom and was the math specialist at St. Catherine of Sienna in North Seattle. I knew that I wanted to return to a leadership role and was extremely blessed and honored to be given the opportunity to be principal at St. Monica. It is my goal to ensure we continue to teach to the whole child with a Christ-centered approach, nurture healthy relationships with our friends through kindness and respect, motivate and push for academic excellence, ensure that our children remain safe and continue to work on self discipline all while providing consistent discipline and positive reinforcement. All of this will happen while keeping the spirit of love for learning alive through opportunities to show our spirit and love of St. Monica Catholic School.
In my spare time, I love to play board games, read books, listen to true crime podcasts and watch Forensic Files on TV.
Mrs. North is the St. Monica Catholic School Development Director. Jamie has been part of the St. Monica staff since 2006, managing several roles including marketing, events and communications.
Mrs. North's history and commitment to this community goes way back. She and her husband Kevin were married at St. Monica over 26 years ago and they have 3 daughters who attended St. Monica School. Her 15 years as a parent at St. Monica Catholic School were some of the best memories ever and her closest friends today are from those days.
Miss Allain was born and raised in Seattle. She attended St. Luke School for Kindergarten through eighth grade. She graduated from Shorewood High School and then attended Central Washington University for 2 years before transferring and finishing her B.A. in Psychology at Seattle University. After graduating Ms. Allain worked for several years as a counselor at Ryther Child Center. It was during her time working as a counselor that she decided to return to school to follow her passion and obtain her teaching credentials. Ms. Allain attended City University of Seattle where she received her Master in Teaching of Elementary Education. After graduating she worked at a number of schools as an instructional assistant and taught first grade for the past three years at St. Mark Parish School.
In her free time Miss Allain enjoys reading, baking, hiking, hanging out with friends and family and playing with her roommate’s new Goldendoodle puppy!
Miss Finnerty will be joining the St. Monica community as the new First Grade teacher. She is passionate about Catholic education and is excited to engage her students through faith-filled learning. Miss Finnerty was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she had the privilege of attending Catholic schools. From there, she went on to attend Gonzaga University where she earned a degree in Sociology and a Masters in Initial Teaching, with an endorsement in Reading. During her time at Gonzaga she fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and stayed in Spokane to teach Kindergarten.
She is inspired by the honesty and enthusiasm young students have for learning and for the world around them. In her free time, she loves to challenge herself with new water sports, spend time with her family, go horseback riding and learn how to play golf. Miss Finnerty can't wait to meet you and St. Monica's lifelong learners.
Mrs. (Pomada) Farrell loves teaching at St. Monica Catholic School. Although this is her ninth year at St. Monica, Catholic education has always been a part of her life. She grew up in Catholic schools in Bothell and South Everett and went on to attend the University of Portland, earning a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a major in Spanish. After finishing her undergraduate work, she taught first grade through the PACE program at the University of Portland (Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education) at a Catholic school in Yakima, WA while earning her Masters in Education and a reading endorsement. Her study abroad experience in college began in her a love for Spain and Andalucia that she enjoys sharing with her students.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, playing board games, and spending time with her family and friends.
Mrs. Malone is excited to be teaching her 15th year at St. Monica Parish School.
Her 20+ years of teaching has mostly been in the third and fourth grades. She earned her B.S. degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in math and science from Penn State. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida which included an endorsement for teaching students whose first language is not English.
She is an outdoorsy person who loves to hike, snorkel, and explore. When she is not out having an adventure, she is at home reading about them as she is an avid reader of young adult books. Why does she call this her dream job? She will tell you it is because she loves celebrating Mass and sharing her faith with her students.
Shanni Perez is honored to be a part of the St. Monica community. She attended Western Washington University in Bellingham for college and graduated in 2015 with a degree in human services and Spanish allowing her to learn a lot about caring for people in all situations and circumstances. While in college she was involved with Newman Catholic Campus Ministry coordinating RCIA and Confirmation.
After graduation from Western Washington University, she attended graduate school at Seattle University to earn her Master In Teaching degree. Shanni was a student teacher in a third grade classroom at Stevenson Elementary in Bellevue and gained experience working with a variety of learners. She was able to continue working with third graders as a teacher at Saint Joseph school in Issaquah. Catholic education is important to her and she loves being able to share her faith with her students. She is very happy to now have the opportunity to teach at St. Monica School! She knows it is an awesome school and is looking forward to working with her fellow teachers, parents, and incoming fourth grade students of St. Monica achieve all they can!
Miss McDonald works as a para-educator at St. Monica School. Your children will be greeted each morning by her smiling face at drop off, be cheered and supervised during recess by her never-ending patience, helped during class with a helpful whisper…and so much more.
Miss Pottenger is honored to join the St. Monica Parish School community this year. She is a recent graduate of Concordia University-Portland, holding a Bachelor's degree in Education: English Language Arts at the Middle/High School Level. Not very many things in life excite Miss Pottenger as much as the adventure of pursuing Truth, Beauty, and Goodness with other lifelong learners, but other passions of hers include reading young adult / juvenile literature, writing poetry and fantasy stories, frequenting coffee shops, tea parlors, and movie theaters, and attending plays and concerts anytime she can. Originally hailing from rural Oregon, she also enjoys camping, horseback riding, watching a good game of football or baseball, taking long drives on beautiful backroads, and traveling to places she's never been before. As fully and in as many ways as she can, Miss Pottenger seeks to live out the exhortation of one of her favorite Saints, Catherine of Siena: "Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire!"
Ms. Takemori is honored to join the St. Monica Catholic community this year as our Social Studies Specialist. She is a graduate of Seattle’s own University of Washington, holding a degree in History with Honors. After four years of in-classroom service through Seattle Public Schools, she is incredibly grateful God has granted her the opportunity to teach at a devout Catholic school.
When Ms. Takemori is not lesson planning, one can usually find her trail running, devouring a book, navigating archives, praying the rosary, or mobilizing the Asian American community. She often reminds her students of the following message from Pope Benedict XVI: "The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness."
Mrs. Tavishi Dewan was born and raised in India and studied math and sciences in order to earn her degree in Engineering and Computer Technology. While working within her field of study, she was drawn to having a greater impact on others and to teaching in order to give back and serve the higher purpose that God had intended for her (the interview committee agreed that that was the most beautiful statement of a teacher's / servant leader's heart and a perfect fit for our community). This led her to change her career and to start her vocation in teaching. She has taught 7th grade through high school math, English, SAT Prep, high school computer science and is eager to share her science expertise with our 5th - 8th graders. She spent the last three years in London, England and Boston, Massachusetts teaching in various Charter schools and Private Academies but wanted to teach in a Catholic school in order work with students formed in values that seek to form young people toward caring for others and their community. Mrs. Dewan brings a diversity and uniqueness to St. Monica that will surely be a blessing for years to come.
Talina Birashk has been the St. Monica PreK Program Director and lead teacher since 2010. She has a BA in human development and early childhood education from Washington State University. While attending WSU she specialized in brain development in children ages birth to third grade and continues her education with online classes and early childhood education conferences. She has designed the St. Monica PreK program to give students time to explore their environment, collaborate with peers, practice social skills, increase independence and problem solving, and help them reach their academic potential.
Mrs. Birashk lives in North Bend with her husband, Joey, their two children and three cats. They spend their weekends with family, cheering on the WSU Cougars and Seattle Seahawks, and eating delicious food!
My name is Sarah and I will be in the Pre-K classroom this year as the instructional aide. I was born and raised in Seattle, WA and have grown up with two younger siblings. I attended Holy Family in Seattle from K-8th grade and graduated high school from John F. Kennedy in Burien. I studied at Western Washington University and graduated from there with my BA in Early Childhood Education. I have spent the past four years teaching preschool at the Stroum Jewish Community Center here on Mercer Island. When I am not in school learning or teaching young children I enjoy spending time outdoors, attending Seattle sporting events, and most of all spending time with my big loving family and wonderful group of friends.
Evelyn Zwolski has five years of experience working in early childhood education as a teaching assistant at a Spanish immersion preschool in West Seattle. She also has two years as a lead Preschool Teacher at Holy Family Parish School in Seattle where they also had a bilingual program. Mrs. Zwolski brings her Spanish speaking background into the Pre-K classroom.
Mrs. Zwolski's family consists of her husband Cody, daughter Jaelynn, and son Caden. Her hobbies include reading, arts and crafts, going on family hikes, and doing fun projects with her children.
She loves being a preschool teacher because it gives her the opportunity to work in a fun, energizing environment where she is able to mold little minds and watch how they grow. She also appreciates being uplifted by the joy that accompanies working with young children. She feels very blessed to be able to be a part of St. Monica School and is excited to meet the new Pre-K families.
Mr. C is excited to be teaching Physical Education at St. Monica. He received his BS in Physical Education from WSU and his Masters in Ed. Tech. from City University. Mr. C has been a Physical Educator for over 20 years.
In his spare time, he loves to ride motorcycles, playing baseball, traveling the world, and raising his 3 children.
My name is Lourdes Velázquez de Pérez. People know me as Mrs. Pérez. Some of you already know me as I’ve been a school parent and a parishioner for many years. I am very excited to be the new Spanish Teacher for the 2018-2019 school term. I was born in Mexico City and moved to the US in 1999. I have been working in the Education field since 2010. I started in Preschool and then as a Spanish Teacher for Elementary and Middle School K-8th.
My passion has always been teaching and sharing my native language and my culture as well as –Latin American cultures are very rich in history and traditions. As a Spanish Teacher and been bilingual myself, I am convinced learning and practicing a second language is very important. I am eager to work with all the students to help them learn and improve their Spanish. In addition to a professional advantage when they grow, learning a second language will help them to be familiar and value other cultures and traditions.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your children´s new Spanish teacher. I look forward to teaching your children and meeting you.
Mrs. Lourdes Pérez
Rebecca Wilkinson is very excited to be a part of the St. Monica learning community!
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with minors in French and Communications, from Central Washington University. After starting a family, she went back to school at St. Martin’s College in Lacey for her teaching credential, completing her student teaching at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma. From there she spent 15 wonderful years at Holy Family School in Auburn, mostly as the middle school English/language arts teacher. She has also spent a few years as 6th and 4th grade homerooms.
Her two sons keep her busy. When she has a few moments to herself, you can find Rebecca indulging in a few favorite hobbies such as gardening, horseback riding, walking the dogs, glamping (camping in an RV is the only way to go!), and looking for seashells on the beach. She also love reading, crocheting, the occasional cross stitch project, and spending weekends with family.