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 School Marketing, Events and Communication Director. She has been part of the St. Monica staff since 2006, managing several roles such as Auction Coordinator, Parish Events, Bulletin, Calendaring, Communication and Evangelization.
Mrs. North's history and commitment to this community goes way back. She and her husband Kevin were married at St. Monica over 24 years ago and they have 3 daughters who were baptized here and attended St. Monica School. Her 15 years as a parent at St. Monica Parish School were some of the best memories ever and her closest friends today are from those days.
She is thrilled to continue contributing to the vibrant future of our school and supporting the parents and staff through all the efforts that come from the office.
Mrs. Carton has been the Administrative Assistant, Office Manager & Registrar at St. Monica Catholic School since August 1997.
She was raised in Bellevue and graduated from Bellevue High School. She has completed courses in accounting and business at Bellevue Community and Everett College.
Prior to St. Monica Catholic School, she worked 20+ years in the life insurance industry, in which 17 of those years was with Farmers New World Life on Mercer Island WA.
For a short time in 1995, her family moved to Spokane to raise Alpaca’s and Llama’s. They moved back to the area in 1997, and currently live in Snohomish WA.
She and husband Ken, have been married for 27 years. They have one daughter and were foster parents to her sister's three children. And are expecting Grandchild number two in spring 2018.
She and her family love to travel, cook, garden, and LOVE the Seattle Sounders and Mariner’s.
Working at St. Monica Catholic School is both an honor and pleasure.
Stephanie T. Creswell, MA, LMHC, CMHS, NBCC -Child / Adolescent Psychotherapist and School Counselor offers support and counseling on all issues relating to child/adolescent and parenting. Her specialties include mental illness, relational issues, parent coaching, learning differences, conflict resolution and academic coaching.
Mrs. Creswell is available by appointment on Tuesdays throughout the school year. She is also available for outside counseling appointments.
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.
Miss Pomada loves teaching 2nd grade at St. Monica Parish School. Although this is her eighth 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.
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!"
Mrs. Schneider is in her 31st year of teaching at St. Monica Parish School, from '74 – '80, and '92 to the present. Since returning to teaching in '92, Mrs. Schneider has been teaching science and math in the middle school and doing science enrichment with the lower grades.
Mrs. Schneider received her BA, teaching certification, and 5th year requirements from Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University/University of Washington where her focus of studies has been in science.
Mrs. Schneider enjoys cantoring at St. Louise, reading, Sudoku puzzles, hiking, and jogging on the beach at Ocean Shores.
Mr. Briardy is in his 18th year of teaching at St. Monica School and in his 20th year of education overall. He has a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Seattle University. Mr. Briardy is the eighth grade homeroom teacher responsible for U.S. history, ethics/religion, literature, seventh grade social studies, sixth grade social studies, and a sixth grade tech ethics class. He also heads up the Student Leadership Council and the school’s Family Program. Prior to going into education, he was a bond trader for various Wall Street firms. His interests outside of school include jazz, blues, and rockabilly; the financial markets, and horse racing. An avid reader, his current interests include behavioral economics and the “science” of decision making.
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.
Mrs. Gaskill was born and raised in Seattle and attended St. Matthew School and Bishop Blanchet High School. She received an elementary education certification with a reading endorsement at Gonzaga University and went on to UCLA for a masters degree in education. She has been teaching in Catholic Schools for 10 years, and this is her second year as the St. Monica reading specialist & speech team coach. Her favorite things about St. Monica are the supportive families and getting to watch students develop a love for reading. In her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking, and cheering on the Zags, Seahawks, and Mariners!
"Music is especially rewarding and fun to teach as it interfaces with faith, history, culture, and movement."
Mrs. Foster has been teaching music at St. Monica Parish School since 1989. Her own three children graduated from St. Monica Parish School and now her three grandchildren are students here.
Mrs. Foster graduated from Ursuline College (Ohio) with a B.A. in Music Education and received her M.A. in Music Education from Michigan State. She loves teaching at St. Monica Parish School which feels like a home away from home. St. Monica has been her parish for over 30 years. Mrs. Foster enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to concerts, reading, the outdoors, and traveling.
Learning another language opens the doors to communication and understanding of different perspectives of the world that surrounds us.
Senora Gómez is very excited to teach Spanish at St. Monica Parish School. She has been teaching Spanish for 10 years. She received a B.A. in Business Administration and her teaching credential from the University of Washington. She is a native Spanish speaker from Colombia. She likes to share her background, her culture, and the language with all the children at St. Monica.
Senora Gómez enjoys traveling, hiking, and the outdoors. Her favorite pastime is to be with her family and friends sharing a good meal, good conversation, and great music and dancing.
"My favorite artists are Van Gough, Matisse, Picasso and Monet."
Mrs. Park begins her 14th year of teaching this school year, and the last ten of those years have been spent teaching Kindergarten through 8th grade as the Art Specialist at St. Monica Parish School. Prior to coming to St. Monica Parish School, she was a first and second grade elementary teacher and has taught junior high and high school students. Mrs. Park earned a double Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture and Art History from the University of Toronto, Trinity College in Canada and received her graduate degree in K-8th Art Curriculum at the University of Western Ontario. She received her Professional Certification from Seattle Pacific University in 2010.
When she is not teaching, she enjoys traveling, visiting the museum, painting, reading, making jewelry, photography and spending time with her family and friends. Her passion for art makes her job joyful at St. Monica Parish School. She loves being able to see each student's creativity, imagination and talents everyday!
"My driving force and philosophy is “curriculum demands, technology supplies” and "we are teaching to their future, not our past."
Mrs. Porter is beginning her 19th year at St. Monica Parish School. After many years in elementary class settings in various roles, Mrs. Porter moved to educational technology in the late 80s, at McKnight Middle School, Newport High School and Islander Middle School. She finds great pleasure working with students that are not only consumers of technology but also innovators.
When not at school, Mrs. Porter and her husband travel with a group called Let’s Start Talking – sharing conversational English throughout the world. She also loves to walk. Her favorite spots for walking include Alki, Twin Falls, Mercer Slough Nature Park, and both of her two favorite islands, Mercer Island and Kauai.
Margo received a BA from Washington State University. She earned her teaching certification from Seattle Pacific University. Her first teaching experience was at St. George School in Seattle. This is her seventh year at St. Monica where she works as an aide in the school and is Director of Extended Care. Her favorite hobbies include; power walking, hiking, skiing, kayaking and cooking.
Shanni Perez is new to St. Monica's staff and 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!
Michelle Maher has been continuously involved in Catholic education for 33 years. As a student, parent, catechist, substitute, and teacher, she has a passion for the mission of Catholic schools: to provide a first class education, while making disciples of Jesus. She has experience teaching preschool to 8th grade, but is most excited about joining the St. Monica staff at the 5th grade level.
Michelle is the mother of four children, three attending St. Monica, one attending O'Dea High School. She enjoys running, hiking, cooking, and reading.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14