Faculty & Staff Directory
Karen Clay has served as an educator in the Archdiocese of Washington for 12 years. Ms. Clay taught fourth grade and served as the assistant principal at Holy Trinity School in Georgetown, then served as the principal of St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School in Camp Springs, MD before transitioning to St. Peter’s. She has an additional three years of PreK to 4th grade classroom experience in a DC Public School on Capitol Hill.
Ms. Clay holds a Master of Education degree (summa cum laude) in Administration & Supervision (also known as the Catholic School Leadership Program) from Marymount University; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and English from the University of Michigan; certification in Elementary Education (K-12) in the District of Columbia; catechist certification (K-adults) with the Archdiocese of Washington; and licensure in Administration II (K-12) from the Maryland State Department of Education.
Ms. Clay fosters a school community based on Gospel values, and strives to promote the academic, social, and spiritual development of the students of St. Peter School.
Ms. Hamilton is the office manager at St. Peter School; she is excited for another great year as a staff member! Her son, Matthew Hamilton graduated from SPS in 2017 so she is very familiar with the school environment. She has a background in elementary education and taught for fifteen years on Long Island before moving to DC. Ms. Pawlowski is looking forward to a fantastic year and continuing to be part of the St. Peter School community.
Mrs. Debbie Duff is a veteran school administrator and writer/editor. Her most recent post was as a Development Associate at National Presbyterian School. Before that, she spent seven years as Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, MD and five years as Director of Admission at Concord Hill School in Chevy Chase. Before transitioning to school administration, Mrs. Duff was an editor with the George Washington University and the League of Women Voters of the United States. She taught Grade 7 Language Arts for one year in Barre, VT after graduating from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Mrs. Ackerman, who is available at the school four out of five days a week, came on board in 2008 as the school nurse. Mrs. Ackerman has 15 years hospital nursing experience, predominantly in critical care, working in New York City and Washington, DC. She also has had experience as the manager and co-owner of a small business. As a member of St. Peter’s Church and a former St. Peter’s School parent, she finds herself back in the nursing profession, this time serving school children in her health clinic on site. Mrs. Ackerman holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing in NY and a current license in the District of Columbia as a registered nurse.
Ms. Christine Murphy obtained her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. Her previous assignment was serving as the school mental health counselor at a Charter School in Boston as well as gaining valuable clinical experience from her time spent at a top-ranked Boston hospital. Ms. Murphy enjoys working from a strengths-based perspective and hopes to encourage each child to see the unique strengths they already possess that will help them succeed in the classroom and beyond! Ms. Murphy is excited to join the team and start promoting social-emotional well-being within the St. Peter School community.
Miss Zwald began at St. Peter School in 2006, after serving 17 years as an elementary/early childhood teacher. She holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Clarion University of PA, Bachelors of Science Degrees in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Lock Haven University of PA, and maintains a full teaching certification. Miss Zwald has spent most of her career in early childhood education, but has worked with youth up to 21 years of age. She has taught both Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten at St. Peter’s. Miss Zwald has had a great deal of experience working with children and is dedicated to understanding how young children respond to their environment.
Mrs. Yeroushalmie (Mrs. Y) has been working at St. Peter School since January, 2004 as a Pre-Kindergarten Teacher’s Assistant. She moved to the USA in 1996 from Romania where she attended The Art School of Brasov. Mrs. Yeroushalmie greatly enjoys working with children and her experience has given her an excellent understanding of early childhood development.
Ms. Nicole Pender joins us as a Kindergarten teacher upon graduating in December 2017 from The Catholic University of America (CUA) with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Pender was a CUA student intern during the first semester of 2017-2018 working with Ms. Lopez in Second Grade. During Ms. Pender’s final month, she managed the second grade class, delivered the instruction, and performed assessments – as expressed by the CUA education program agreement. In addition, she wrote and conducted an action research project titled Math Enrichment for Advanced Second Grade Students. Ms. Pender is looking forward to working with Mrs. Kiyonaga and Sister Ghennet, and teaching Religion, Math, and Science to the kindergarten students.
Ms. Katy Hulette will be joining Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Nicole Pender, as the Kindergarten teacher assistant. She graduated with honors from
The Catholic University of America (CUA) in May of 2018 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. While Ms. Hulette was in the teaching program at CUA, she received the Hattie M. StrongScholarship and was inducted into the Pi Lambda Theta Education Honor
Society. During her student teaching, Ms. Hulette also wrote and conducted a 60-page action research project titled, Increasing Writing Motivation in Second Grade Students. Ms. Hulette is looking forward to working with Ms. Pender and being part of the wonderful St. Peter School community.
Mrs. Hale has been an elementary educator since 1996. After beginning her career as an elementary school teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland, Mrs. Hale joined the faculty of St. Peter School in 2001 as a Reading Resource teacher. She loves teaching early readers best of all, and she is so happy to be in first grade full time! Mrs. Hale has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Vermont and a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Trinity Washington University. She is fully certified to teach in the District of Columbia. She lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and her two sons.
Mrs. Tanisha Raymond, who was our 1st grade aftercare teacher during the 2018-2019 school year, was born on the island of Saint Lucia and moved to the United States when she was in 9th grade. Through the years, Ms. Raymond has worked with children and their parents to ensure they reach their academic and personal goals. Soon after discovering this passion for education, Ms. Raymond decided to pursue her Master of Arts in Teaching. She enrolled at Trinity University in DC and, this fall, will earn an MA in Elementary Education. Ms. Raymond shares, “I look forward to working with Mrs. Hale, you and your children in the new school, and am excited to see the countless milestones each child will reach in the upcoming school year.”
Ms. Erica Lopez is in her fifth year as the second grade teacher at St. Peter School. She graduated with honors from The Catholic University of America in 2015 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. During her time at CUA, Ms. Lopez received numerous awards and scholarships, most notably being inducted into the Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society and receiving the Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship, which both have a strong focus on education. In 2019, Ms. Lopez graduated with a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from The George Washington University.
Ms. Lopez loves being part of the St. Peter School community and is looking forward to another fun-filled school year!
Mrs. Mandel joins the St. Peter community as the third grade teacher this year. Her love of the classroom grew through experiences teaching English in Thailand, coordinating international education projects, and leading enrichment programs in DC public schools. Upon graduating from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Mrs. Mandel joined the ACE Teaching Fellows program at the University of Notre Dame and received her Master of Education in Elementary Education. Mrs. Mandel returns to DC after five years of teaching in Catholic schools in her home state of Texas.
Mrs. Atherton is in her sixth year as the fourth grade teacher at St. Peter School. Prior to accepting this appointment, Mrs. Atherton taught third grade in Alexandria, Virginia. Mrs. Atherton graduated with honors from George Washington University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and religion. In 2013 Mrs. Atherton earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from GWU and in 2018 earned a Post Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration also from GWU. She loves being a part of the St. Peter School community and is looking forward to another wonderful year!
Nicole Schaechter begins her first year at St. Peter as the 5th grade teacher. Mrs. Schaechter graduated from the University of Central Florida where she earned her degree in Psychology in 2010. After graduating she taught 1st grade at Round Lake Elementary in Mount Dora, Florida, for three years. During that time, her life changed forever when the handsome and revered Coach Shack walked into a teacher orientation and swept her off her feet. One year later, Mrs. Schaechter moved to Maryland and began teaching at Overlook Elementary in Linthicum, Maryland. While at Overlook for five years, Nicole has taught 2nd and 4th grade. Furthermore, she was the Primary Lead Teacher and Equity Liaison. Mrs. Schaechter loves building relationships with students and their families. Also, she looks forward to having a student-centered classroom with high expectations and even more fun. She and Coach Shack, her husband, have two awesome children, Hailey and Zayde, and a mischievous dog, Maverick.
Ms. Mills is in her fourth year as a middle school teacher at St. Peter School. Originally from Connecticut, Ms. Mills attended Loyola University Maryland where she double- majored in Classics and Theology as a member of the Honors Program. After graduating Magna Cum Laude, she additionally received her Masters in the Art of Teaching from Loyola, where she received the Reverend John E. Wise S.J., Medal for Distinguished Achievement in Education. Ms. Mills taught Latin and Social Studies for two years at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Baltimore, MD. Ms. Mills loves working with middle school students and is involved in many activities at St. Peter's including the coordinator for Before Care, Safety Patrol, Academic Challenge, Student Council, Running Club, and 8th Grade Confirmation! Recently married, Ms. Mills lives with her husband Brendan and cat Penelope in Navy Yard.
Danny Schaechter, also known as Coach Shack, is beginning his fourth year at St. Peter as the middle school Language Arts teacher and 7th grade homeroom teacher. Coach Shack graduated from Illinois State University where he earned his degree in English with a certification in secondary education in 2007. After college he taught English and coached football at Jack Britt High School in North Carolina for a year. Then, he moved to Miami, Oklahoma, to coach football at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College. After one season, Coach Shack earned a Graduate-Assistant football position at Arkansas Tech University (nicknamed the Wonderboys!) where he coached for two years and earned his Master's in Liberal Arts with a focus in Communication. Wanting to have a bigger impact on young adults and enjoy more family time, he moved to Leesburg, Florida. He taught freshmen and junior English at Leesburg High School for three years and coached football as well. Finally, he moved to Washington D.C. in the summer of 2014 to coach football at Gonzaga College High School. Coach Shack loves English and hopes to use his class to enhance student reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills while teaching and discussing life issues as well as promoting integrity, honesty, responsibility, and caring. He and Nicole, his wife/better half, have two awesome children, Hailey and Zayde, and a mischievous dog, Maverick.
Mrs. Debra Rheault joins the faculty of St. Peter as a seasoned middle school math educator and Grade 8 homeroom teacher. Her passions are math education, social justice, and the impact of poverty on education. She believes all children can learn, thrive, and excel under the direction of teachers who are passionate about teaching and learning – regardless of circumstances.
Mrs. Rheault holds an Advanced Professional Certificate from the State of Maryland Department of Education for both elementary and middle school grades. She also is certified by the Maryland State Department of Education as a highly qualified teacher of mathematics for grades 1-9. Her educational experiences include: an earned Associate of Arts in Business from Ashland Community College, with distinction; a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio University, summa cum laude; a Master of Divinity from The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, with honors; as well as, several graduate credit hours in Curriculum & Instruction, Mathematics, and Educational Justice.
Mrs. Rheault was recognized in February of 2009 by the Society of African American Engineers and the former State of Maryland Department of Education Superintendent Nancy Grasmick for her work in STEM education at her local school. Moreover, she was recognized by Ronald S. Thomas, PhD, Center for Leadership in Education Towson University, for her participation in the making of an instructional video on the CFIP (Classroom-Focused-Improvement Process) for middle school, which is currently being used on the Maryland State Department of Education website www.mdk12.org
In addition to her teaching experiences, Mrs. Rheault has served in leadership positions in the United Methodist Church and as a Director of a neighborhood center in a small rural community in Southeast Ohio where she worked with at-risk youth and their families. In case you are asked in a trivia game, she also served honorably in the United States Navy in the 1970’s.
Other than teaching, Mrs. Rheault enjoys spending time with her husband, Charles and their four adult children. Her interests include: playing her flute, gardening, knitting, canoeing, and camping. She is looking forward to serving the students and parents at St. Peter School.
With Mrs. Debra Rheault’s retirement in June 2020, Mr. Cullen Casey will begin his first year at St. Peter under Mrs. Rheault’s tutelage. Mr. Casey, one of Camp St. Peter’s Assistant Camp Directors this year, graduated from Old Dominion University where he earned his degree in Business Admiration in 2017. After college he worked as a Senior Business Development Executive for memoryBlue. During this time, he coached football at Bishop O’Connell. The following fall, Mr. Casey began teaching middle school science at St. Jane de Chantal School. Also, he joined the Gonzaga College High School football coaching staff in the spring 2018. Coach Casey loves Math and hopes to bring a positive attitude in order to inspire students to work hard, persevere, and enjoy school.
Ms. Greene obtained her Bachelor’s in Health Sciences from Howard University in 2006. She began her career in Philadelphia as a behavioral health specialist for children then transitioned to the classroom. Ms. Greene has taught Grade 2 Math and Science and Grades 5 and 6 Science. She is pleased to return to the Washington DC area and join St. Peter School for this school year.
Ms. Brawner obtained her Master of Arts in Special Education from George Washington University. Her last assignment before joining us was Lead Training Specialist in Early Childhood Special Education for Tools of the Mind – an organization that believes as children are taught and practice an increasing number of mental tools, they transform their external behaviors and their minds. Ms. Brawner also was an elementary teacher for KIPP DC where she used the Tools of the Mind curriculum to lead daily math and literacy lessons. In addition, Ms. Brawner coordinated the development and implementation of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) for Montgomery County Public Schools. Ms. Brawner is excited to begin supporting our students and teachers\ in their classrooms and our school community!
Ms. Jolly is the reading resource teacher for grades Kindergarten through fifth grade. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and her master of arts in teaching from American University. Ms. Jolly is trained in Orton-Gillingham I and II, and works with individuals and small groups to help students access the wonderful world of reading. She will also be spearheading the Playworks recess initiative during the 2019-2020 school year. Ms. Jolly can often be found tapping out phonemes with students, greeting families at morning carline and running around with children at recess. She lives in Capitol Hill with her family.
Ms. Evans is in her fourth year at St. Peter School. Upon graduation from the College of William and Mary, Ms. Evans took a substitute position in a Catholic school while waiting to enroll in a graduate program and so enjoyed teaching, she never left! She has been teaching for more than 30 years in Florida and Virginia, with experience at all grade levels. She considers it a great privilege to be part of a young person's education.
Mrs. Blomquist has been at St. Peter School since 2014 and is thrilled to be teaching art. She previously taught art and third grade at St. Ann’s Academy in Tenleytown. Mrs. Blomquist received a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Services and Psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Formerly a social worker, teaching is a second career that Mrs. Blomquist feels is her “true calling.” Mrs. Blomquist's goal as the art teacher is to showcase the boundless creativity of the students throughout the hallways of the school. She wants them to love and enjoy their time in the art room.
Mrs. Blomquist and her husband have lived in Chevy Chase, DC for 25 years. They have raised four children who attended Blessed Sacrament and Gonzaga College High School. Her husband is the Principal of St. John the Baptist School in Silver Spring.
Mrs. Kay Ossio is beginning her third year at St. Peter School as the Instructional Technology Specialist. She is a graduate of The George Washington University and Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru. Mrs. Ossio holds a MA of Education and Human Development in the field of Educational Technology Leadership and a BA in Translation and Interpretation. Mrs. Ossio has worked in different educational settings such as Rosetta Stone and the Foreign Service Institute from the Department of State. She strongly believes that Technology is an essential piece of living in the 21st century and students should be provided with the necessary tools to survive in the current digital world. Technology is a wonderful and exciting thing when used correctly!
Mrs. Foresi-Perrotta (Mrs. Perrotta) has been working at St. Peter School as a library assistant since 2013. She earned a MA in Political Science from the University of Rome, Italy, La Sapienza. After moving to the Washington DC metropolitan area, Mrs. Perrotta worked as an Italian and French language instructor for adults and children and as a K-8 substitute. On Sundays, she enjoys volunteering at her local Parish as a School of Religion instructor. Mrs. Perrotta is particularly happy to share her love of reading with the students of St. Petes School!
Mrs. Freed earned her degree in elementary education from the University of Kansas and was selected to do her student teaching overseas in England at a Department of Defense school. Mrs. Freed taught fourth grade for several years in Kansas before moving to Washington, DC in 2002. She taught Head Start and frst grade before teaching third grade at St Peter School. During this time, she was awarded the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund Teaching Scholarship sending her to Japan for an educational and cultural exchange. In 2006, Mrs. Freed took a break from the world of education to start a family. In 2014, she returned to teaching as a food and gardening teacher in DCPS where she led the implementation of the FoodPrints Program at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School. The opportunity to join the St Peter’s team allows her to pursue her passion for early literacy and inspiring the love for a good story.
Having completed his Master’s in Sacred Music from Catholic University, Mr. Lewis has spent his DC sojourn in the professional music scene in the chorus of the Maryland Lyric Opera, assistant conducting the Catholic University Chamber Choir, and singing professionally with the Washington Master Chorale, with whom he was recently the tenor soloist featured in the album “Past Made Present” on the Albany Record label. He is a member of the early music ensemble Chantry, and concurrently serves as a regular sub at the National Shrine and at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew.
At Saint Anselm’s Preparatory School in Northeast, he has served as pit orchestra director / pianist for their fall musicals, and holds the position of music director at the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II, whose liturgies include a daily sung mass, the Fauré Solemn High Latin Mass for All Souls and the annual Lessons and Carols, a favorite of the Shrine’s congregants.
After earning his BA in English with a concentration in Latin from the University of Dallas, he spent many years teaching at independent Catholic schools throughout the country, including Faustina Academy, Saint Gregory’s Academy, Cistercian Preparatory School, and the Brookewood School. He is thrilled to be a part of the community of teachers at Saint Peter’s and looks forward to continuing to development the school’s choral and music program, accompanied by the church’s new organ in all its grandeur.
Ms. Allen is beginning her eighth year at St. Peter as the Health and Physical Education teacher and Summer Camp Director. Ms. Allen graduated from Delaware State University, where she earned her degree in Health and Physical Education. She also earned her Master of Sports Science degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy in Mobile, Alabama. Prior to becoming a teacher Ms. Allen was Director of Personal Training for Tenley sport and Health club for 18 years. Once her son Quincy started School, she began teaching at St. Michael The Archangel in downtown Silver Spring where she taught PE for five years. Ms. Allen has a Son, Quincy, a dog Sweetie Pie and two Fire belly toads, named, LeBron and KD.
Sister Ghennet Ogbamichael is from East Africa, Eritrea and she belongs to the order of Daughter’s of Saint Anne. She lives in her convent in Camp Springs, MD. Prior to our school she was an Elementary school teacher back in Eritrea. Since her arriving in this nation she has always loved teaching children God’s love. She has been working in Catholic schools as a religion instructor for the lower grades and also as a teacher’s aid. She enjoys teaching and preparing second grade for their First Holy Communion at Her parish. She is currently the aid to Mrs. Kiyonaga and Ms. Pender. Sister Ghennet is taking classes to earn an Associates Degree in elementary teaching.
Señor Hector Alfonso is a 27-year master teacher who will work part-time (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday) teaching Spanish in PreK-Grade 3. He has two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Elementary Education and the other in Special Education, as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language and Its Culture. Señor Alfonso has taught in Panama City, Panama as both a general and special education teacher, and in Loudoun County, District of Columbia, and Alexandria City Public Schools as a dual language special educator. He creates standards-aligned Spanish materials, integrates technology to reach academic goals, informs parents about students’ achievement and needs, and is a team builder. Señor Alfonso says, “I look forward to creating a motivational, stimulating, and safe learning environment for St. Peter School students.”
Señora Margarita Lopez will work part-time (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) teaching Spanish in Grades 4-8. She has taught privately, at Berlitz Academy in Rockville, and in elementary schools in Rockville, Potomac, and Bethesda. She also has taught adult learners in Panama City, Panama. Señora Lopez’s students have ranged in ages from Kindergarten through adults. She pays attention to the use of Spanish in daily life and the use of correct grammar, and creates a community that grows comfortable speaking Spanish. Señora Lopez has used online portals to communicate with parents about student progress, grades, and expectations. Señora Lopez shares, “Respect, behavior, and attention are very important and the time students spend in class must be organized and productive.” Let’s welcome Señora Lopez beginning Wednesday, November 6.
Ms. Claudine Nash is happy to begin her fifth year at St. Peter School. She grew up in Washington D.C., completed her Bachelor of Music at the Catholic University of America, and earned her Master of Science degree in administration from Trinity College, Washington D.C. Ms. Nash has over forty years of experience working with children. She is thrilled to be one of the PK-K aftercare teachers and is looking forward to a wonderful year of aftercare.
Ms. Veronica Baskin is very happy to begin her nineteenth year at St. Peter School. She grew up in Washington D.C., enjoys being the Aftercare receptionist, and is looking forward to another wonderful year at St. Peter School.
Mrs. Saundra Johnson is very happy to begin her seventh year at St. Peter School. She grew up in Durham, North Carolina and completed her education in Business Administration. Mrs. Johnson has over eleven years of experience working with children. She is thrilled to be the 4-8th grade aftercare teacher and is looking forward to another wonderful year of aftercare.
Ms. Vanessa Chambers is very happy to begin her third year at St. Peter School. She grew up in Washington D.C. and has over ten years of experience working with children. Ms. Chambers loves being the aftercare receptionist and is looking forward to another wonderful year of aftercare.