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. 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 15 years on Long Island before moving to DC.
Prior to joining St. Peter School last year as the Grade 3 Teacher Assistant, Mrs. Jeanette Trujillo was the office manager in another Archdiocese of Washington school for 11 years. Mrs. Trujillo is a certified Medical Technician and understands the administrative functions of ADW Catholic schools. She lives with her husband Adrian, their two children, Andrew (SPS Class of 2022) and Jeremy (Rising Grade 6), and dog Isaac at Joint Base Andrews. Their daughter Erika is a college junior.
Mrs. Ackerman joined the community as school nurse in 2008. She has 15 years of hospital nursing experience, predominantly in critical care, working in New York City and Washington, DC. She also has experience as the manager and co-owner of a small business. Nurse Ackerman sees students Monday through Thursday in her expanded health clinic, which offers more space to isolate students in case of COVID-19. 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. She is a member of St. Peter’s Church and a former St. Peter School parent.
Ms. Chamoun is a graduate of the American University of Beirut with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education. She began working as a shadow teacher and an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapist for children with autism. Ms. Chamoun then joined Sagesse High School, a Catholic private PreK-12 school in Lebanon, as a behavior therapist in their Special Education Department for ten years. She primarily worked with students with learning difficulties and provided guidance and positive direction for their emotional and academic wellbeing. During Ms. Chamoun’s last year at Sagesse, she was promoted to Special Education Coordinator for the school’s Intermediate division. Ms. Chamoun recently moved back to Washington DC to pursue her master’s degree in School Counseling at George Mason University. She is dedicated to helping all students reach their full academic, social and emotional potential in addition to providing them with a supportive environment.
Ms. Lauren Janes has been part of the St. Peter School community for two years, most notably as the Grade 4 teacher. Ms. Janes has classroom and curriculum knowledge paired with meaningful relationships with teachers, staff, and families. In the upcoming school year, Ms. Janes will join the leadership team as the Director of Community Engagement in which she will partner with the Home-School Association to plan community-building events and programs. Ms. Janes earned her bachelor's degree with academic Distinction from the University of Michigan in the Departments of English and American Culture. Ms. Janes’ purpose is to promote understanding, be it in education or storytelling. In this role, she looks forward to bringing creativity and enthusiasm to build community.
Mrs. Jessica McFaul comes to SPS with 18 years of experience in communications and public affairs. She has served the last several years on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Before joining the public sector, she worked in manufacturing and minor league baseball. A Florida native, Mrs. McFaul has a B.A. in Public Relations and an M.A. in Leadership Communication from the University of West Florida.
She and her husband, Dan, live on Capitol Hill with their three children and dog.
Miss Zwald began at St. Peter School in 2006, after 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 School. Miss Zwald has had a great deal of experience working with children and is dedicated to understanding how young children respond to their environment.
Miss Kathleen Abdo will move from being the teacher assistant in Grade 1 to Co-Teacher with Miss Jean Zwald. Miss Abdo graduated from Towson University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in both Elementary and Special Education and a minor in Vocal Performance. She worked as an Assistant Special Educator at the Delrey School located in Baltimore County, a nonprofit school for students with severe mental and physical disabilities. She has served for the past six years in the liturgical ministries at Holy Cross Catholic Church as a cantor. Ms. Abdo is looking forward to working in Pre-K this year with Miss Zwald.
Miss Elizabeth Little is eager to join St. Peter School as the Kindergarten teacher. She will complete her senior year in May 2022 at The Catholic University of America with an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education. Miss Little is from Littlestown, PA where her love for teaching began. She plans to create an environment where each child feels supported and safe and is given the tools to grow academically and in their faith. Outside of teaching, Miss Little loves to spend time with family and friends, walk her dog, and explore DC.
Miss Jailen Hawkins joined St. Peter School during the 2021-2022 school year as an aftercare teacher. With her professionalism, team spirit, and love of her young aftercare students, Miss Hawkins will join us full-time as the teacher assistant with Miss Little. Miss Hawkins has a wide variety of experiences working with early childhood and elementary school students. Prior to joining SPS, she served with the program City Year where she specialized in ELA small groups for reading intervention, as well as behavior management where she was responsible for creating and implementing individual behavior plans. Miss Hawkins is thrilled to be joining us full-time.
Ms. Berg joined the Kindergarten team in January 2021 but will be the lead Grade 1 teacher for SY 21 - 22. She has lived in Washington DC for almost three years and has loved getting to experience the museums, restaurants, mountains and the East Coast. Before moving to the area, Ms. Berg spent several years in Springfield, Illinois, where she worked for an education non-profit, wearing many hats to help facilitate both an afterschool program and an academic-intervention summer camp for underserved K-5 students. She completed her student teaching practicum at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary in Capitol Hill. Ms. Berg, a third-generation educator, has lived in many places throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest and brings diverse experiences and an enthusiasm for life to the classroom.
Ms Berg has worked with Kindergarten through Grade 5 students for many years in various capacities. . When the pandemic hit, she transitioned to a fully virtual classroom in March after spending the first five months in person. During virtual learning, she has taught from her home in Capitol Hill, and as a result, her two cats, Atticus and Eleanor, have become classroom celebrities.
Ms. Katie Berg has lived in Washington, D.C. for a little over a year, and enjoyed the museums, restaurants, mountains, and coast before the pandemic. She looks forward to further exploring the area in the years to come! Before moving to D.C., she spent several years in Springfield, Illinois, where she worked for an education non-profit, wearing many hats to help facilitate both an afterschool program and an academic-intervention summer camp for underserved K-5 students.
What she loves most about kindergarten students is their natural curiosity and zeal for learning, which she sees as gifts to nurture. She has lived in many places throughout the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest and bring diverse experiences and enthusiasm to the classroom. She is a third-generation educator and thrilled to be partnering with St. Peter School.
Miss Ashley Louden joined us as a permanent substitute this past year and stepped into middle school to assist the teachers and manage the Grade 6 classroom. She will now join us as the Grade 1 teacher assistant with Ms. Berg. Miss Louden moved to the DC area from Little Rock, Arkansas, to be closer to family. Miss Louden earned her degree in early child development.
Ms. Padula is thrilled to rejoin St. Peter School, this time as the lead Grade 2 teacher. She comes from another Archdiocese of Washington school, where she taught Grade 3 for two years, in addition to Grade 5 Religion. Ms. Padula is a graduate of The Catholic University of America, with a BA in Elementary Education. She is the recipient of Catholic's Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship, which includes a strong focus on education.
Ms. Padula will be a familiar face to some students and families, as she completed her practicum here at St. Peter School. The goal of my classroom, says Ms. Padula, is to "promote the love of learning and foster the growth of independence." Activities are widely discussion-based as students shift from learning to read into reading to learn. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Padula enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and playing piano. Her goal as an educator is to help her students strive for academic success, while cultivating their emotional, physical, and spiritual growth as individuals.
Ms. Jennifer Vilky will join Ms. Padula as the Grade 2 teacher assistant. For the past 22 years, Ms. Vilky has been the kindergarten assistant teacher and kindergarten religion teacher at another Archdiocese of Washington school, where she also served as Coordinator of Religious Education. Ms. Vilky began her career in daycare centers then felt the call to join Catholic school setting. She enjoys working with students in small groups and delights in their smiles when accomplishing challenging tasks. Outside of school, Ms. Vilky likes spending time with family and friends and crafting diamond artwork.
Ms. Genevieve Bent is the the lead Grade 3 teacher. Before joining St. Peter School in SY 20 - 21, she taught Grade 3 in a DC public school and Grade 4 at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School. Ms. Bent graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. She is currently pursuing a master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Maryland. Ms. Bent also taught drama in the SPS afterschool enrichment program.
Jack Besser is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied Anthropology and Spanish and played baseball. Following a career in political communications, Jack is thrilled to be joining the St. Peter School community as the Grade 3 Teacher Assistant. Outside of work, Jack loves cooking, photography, and is a huge Atlanta sports fan.
Mrs. Erin Leavitt joined the St. Peter School community this school year as a PreK - Grade 8 substitute teacher. She is thrilled to transition to be the Grade 4 homeroom teacher for the 2022-2023 school year. Mrs. Leavitt earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at Central Connecticut State University. She was selected to participate in an international student teaching program where she completed her student teaching in a 1st grade classroom in Connecticut and in a 4th grade classroom in Great Britain. She taught Kindergarten in a K-6 elementary school in Connecticut. Mrs. Leavitt earned her graduate degree in Political Science with a concentration in American Government at Northeastern University. She was selected for the Federal Government Presidential Management Fellowship program and served as an analyst for The Department of the Treasury. Mrs. Leavitt has been a soccer coach for 4 years. She coaches two Soccer on the Hill teams for Grades 4-9 children. She lives in the District of Columbia with her husband and three school age children.
Ms. Ashley Ardolini is thrilled to join SPS as the Grade 5 teacher. Ms. Ardolini has lived in the DMV area her entire life, where she attended Catholic school. For college, she attended East Carolina University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in science. During a semester in college, Ms. Ardolini spent time in Haiti helping rebuild schools and learning more about the education system. In her free time, she loves helping in the community, traveling, reading, running, and spending time with family and friends! Ms. Ardolini shared, “Teaching is my passion, and I am very excited to join the St. Peter School community and teach 5th grade!”
Mr. Evan Schafer is excited to teach Religion, Latin, and History to middle school students at St. Peter School. Mr. Schafer grew up in Minnesota before moving to New Hampshire for school. He will graduate from Dartmouth College in May 2022 with a bachelor's degree in both Religion and Government and as a Latin Learning Fellow. Mr. Schafer’s father and grandfather (both Mr. Schafer) also are middle school social studies teachers, and he is excited to carry on their tradition. He is passionate about Latin literature, the history of Christianity, and world history, and he looks forward to sharing his interests with St. Peter School students. Mr. Schafer shared that his top priority is “instilling a love of learning and the humanities in his students and is looking forward to doing so in our nation’s capital."
Mrs. Carrie Maynard is excited to join the St. Peter School team teaching middle school English and Literature courses. She earned her bachelor's degree in English education at Boise State University and currently is completing her Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. Mrs. Maynard has been teaching for 5 years, two of which have been in DC and the others Brazil and Bahrain. She taught English language arts, US history, civics, and economics at a private school in Brasilia, Brazil, and literature at an International Baccalaureate school in Manama, Bahrain. When Mrs. Maynard is not teaching, she enjoystraveling, scuba diving, and spending time with her husband, Dan, and their two dogs, Romeo and Mercutio. Mrs. Maynard shared, “I truly enjoy being a teacher and I look forward to calling St. Peter School my new home."
Enejan Jorayeva joined the St. Peter School community last year as the Middle School Math teacher and Grade 8 homeroom teacher. Ms. Jorayeva has 14 years of teaching experience in middle and high schools. She has taught Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and Statistics and has prepared students for the SAT. Most recently, she taught middle school Math in Alexandria, Virginia. Ms. Jorayeva earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Math and Computer Science Education in Turkmenistan. She immigrated to the United States in 2017 with her husband and two sons.
Mrs. Havrilak will continue to teach middle school science while also joining the leadership team as the Director of Teacher Engagement. With an educational specialist degree in instructional leadership Mrs. Havrilak will coordinate standardized assessment completion and help teachers analyze the data to inform instruction. She also will assist the Principal with teacher evaluations and help new teachers acclimate to the school culture and curriculum.
Ms. Allen is beginning her tenth year at St. Peter School as the Health and Physical Education teacher, Summer Camp Director and now Co-Director of the Aftercare Program. 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. In addition to Quincy, Ms. Allen has a dog called Sweetie Pie and two Fire Belly toads, named LeBron and KD.
Ms. Jolly will continue in her role as a resource teacher and will join the leadership team as the Director of Student Engagement. In her new role, Ms. Jolly will help cultivate a dynamic and student-centered environment and provide a model of excellence for community building. She willstrive to create welcoming and innovative opportunities for students to build connections through meaningful involvement and positive social emotional development.
Ms. Evans is please to be starting her sixth 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. 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 Grade 4 for several years in Kansas before moving to Washington, DC in 2002. She taught Head Start and Grade 1 before teaching Grade 3 at St Peter School. During this time, she was awarded the Japanese Fulbright Memorial Fund Teaching Scholarship, which sent 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. Working at St. Peter School allows Ms. Freed to pursue her passion for early literacy and inspiring the love of a good story.
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 DC metropolitan, 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.
Sister Mónica Garcia, originally from Colombia and a member of the Dominican Sisters of Charity of the Presentation, will join St. Peter School as the PreK-Grade 8 Spanish teacher. For the past 29 years, Sister Mónica has dedicated her life to teaching children and adults in Colombia, South Korea and the United States. Most recently, she taught Spanish and Religion at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Landover Hills, MD.
Ms. Esther Probst is delighted to join the St. Peter School community as its Art Teacher. Ms. Probst has taught in many settings including elementary and middle school as well as the undergraduate level. Previously, Ms. Probst worked with the Education Department at The Phillips Collection, where she partnered with many Washington D.C. public schools to integrate the arts across their curricula. Ms. Probst received her B.A. in History and Studio Art from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana in 2006. In 2010, she received a MFA in Video Art at Syracuse University. In 2015, she received an M.A. in Art Education from the University of Florida. Ms. Probst currently lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Dan, their two sweet daughters Margaux and Bernadette and their new puppy Fritz. Ms. Probst loves spending time with her family, exploring DC, and spending time in nature. She loves to watercolor, draw, and take pictures on her 35mm camera. She is so excited to share her passion for art with the St. Peter School community!
Mr. Paul Griffin is the Music Teacher and Children’s Choir Director. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Maine and will be completing a master’s degree in Sacred Music at The Catholic University of America. While living in Maine, Mr. Griffin served in the Greater Bangor Area as Intern Organist at St. John’s Catholic Church and as a music teacher in the public school system. He has a passion for choral programs and helping young singers achieve their fullest potential.