Faculty & Staff Directory
Ms. Abdo joins St. Peter School as the Grade 1 Teacher Assistant. Ms. Abdo graduated from Towson University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in both Elementary and Special Education with a minor in Vocal Performance. She worked as an Assistant Special Educator at the Delrey School located in Baltimore County, a nonprofit organization for students with severe mental and physical disabilities. She has served for the past four years in the liturgical ministries at Holy Cross Catholic Church as a cantor. Ms. Abdo is looking forward to working alongside Ms. Pender and being part of the St. Peter School community.
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. Allen is beginning her ninth 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.
Ms. Genevieve Bent joins St. Peter School as the Grade 3 Teacher. Previously, she taught Grade 3 in a DC Public School and Grade 4 at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School. This past winter Ms. Bent taught drama in our afterschool enrichment program. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science 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 is thrilled to join our school community.
Ms Berg has worked with Kindergarten through Grade 5 students for many years in various capacities. She completed her student teaching practicum at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary in Capitol Hill. She also worked as a kindergarten assistant there. 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.
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 30 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.
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.
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.
Ms. Evans is in her fifth 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. 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.
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.
Mr. Paul Griffin joins St. Peter School as 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 this summer. 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. Griffin is very excited to join the staff at St. Peter School and hopes to become deeply involved in all aspects of the school.
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.
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. Hamilton is looking forward to a fantastic year and continuing to be part of the St. Peter School community.
This is Ms. Hulette’s third year here at St. Peter’s but her first year in Pre-K! Ms. Hulette is joining the Pre-K team this year with Ms. Zwald 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.
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.
Enejan Jorayeva is pleased to join the St. Peter School community as the middle school Math teacher. Ms. Jorayeva has 13 years of teaching experience in middle and high schools. She has taught Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, 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.
Thérèse Kelly is thrilled to join the St. Peter School community and foster scientific curiosity and inquiry in Grades 5-8 Science. Before moving to Washington D.C., Thérèse taught physics at All Hallows High School in the South Bronx. She graduated from Manhattan College with a B.A. in Biology, where she founded a compost program in her senior year as president of the campus Green Club. While at Manhattan, Thérèse conducted research on sustainable biodiesel synthesis and was awarded the Frederick Mortati Medal for Italian following the completion of her studies as an Italian minor. She enjoys participating in local volunteer projects, visiting museums, and playing the fiddle.
Ms. Erica Lopez is in her sixth 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. This year, Ms. Lopez began a new position as the Director of Student Culture, focusing on fostering positive relationships throughout the school by using the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) approach.
Outside of school, Ms. Lopez loves seeing students around Garfield Park or taking her puppy, Odin, to the Navy Yard Dog Park. Ms. Lopez adores being part of the St. Peter School community and is looking forward to another fun-filled school year!
After a year leading Grade 3, Mrs. Mandel begins her second year at St. Peter as the Grade 4 teacher. 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, 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.
Ms. Mills is in her fifth 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 first 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!
Ms. Christine Murphy obtained her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. Her previous assignment was serving as the school 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 for her second year at St. Peter's and is passionate about promoting the social-emotional well-being of the entire school community!
Mrs. Kay Ossio is beginning her fourth year at St. Peter School as the Instructional Technology Specialist. Mrs. Ossio recently became an ISTE Certified Educator. 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!
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.
Danny Schaechter, also known as Coach Shack, is beginning his sixth 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.
Nicole Schaechter begins her second 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.
Mrs. Washington 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. Mrs. Washington 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, coordinated the development and implementation of PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) for Montgomery County Public Schools. Mrs. Washington is excited to begin supporting our students and teachers\ in their classrooms and our school community!
Mrs. Yeroushalmie (Mrs. Y.) is happy to be the Kindergarten Teacher Assistant. 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.
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.