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.
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. She lives in Chevy Chase, DC with her husband and has two grown children.
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.
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.
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.
Sister Ghennet Ogbamichael is from Eritrea, East Africa and belongs to the order of Daughter’s of Saint Anne. She lives in her convent in Camp Springs, MD. Prior to joining our school, she was an elementary school teacher in Eritrea. Since her arriving in the United States, 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 aide. This year she will join Ms. Zwald as the PK assistant. She earned an Associate Arts in Teaching Degree last June fron Prince George's Community College, conferred "with high honors."
Ms. Hulette’s begins her fourth third year at St. Peter School as the lead Kindergarten teacher. She graduated with honors from The Catholic University of America (CUA) in May 2018 and holds a BA in Early Childhood Education. While Ms. Hulette was in the teaching program at CUA, she received the Hattie M. Strong Scholarship 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, "Increasing Writing Motivation in Second Grade Students."
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.
Ms. Abdo is the Grade 1 Teacher Assistant. Ms. 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 four years in the liturgical ministries at Holy Cross Catholic Church as a cantor. Ms. Abdo is looking forward to working with Ms. Berg this year.
Ms. Padulla 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 incluldes 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 with Ms. Lopez in
Grade 2. The goal of my classroom, says Ms. Padulla, 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. Padulla 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.
For the past 10 years, Mrs. Trujillo worked as the office manager in another Archdiocese of Washington school. She lives with her husband Adrian, their two children, Andrew and Jeremy, and dog Isaac at Joint Base Andrews. Daughter Erika is a college sophomore.
Ms. Lauren Janes quicky integrated into the St. Peter School community last year, teaching Grades 4 and 5 Religion in addition to overall substituting. This year, she will be the Grade 4 homeroom teacher. Born and raised in Michigan, Washington DC is her first stop following her 2020 graduation with Distinction from the University of Michigan, where she studied English and American Culture. Ms. Janes is a Catholic school “lifer,” spending K-12 at Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She practiced her faith at St. Mary’s Student Parish in Ann Arbor and now at Saint Peter’s. In 2016, she walked the Camino de Santiago (a Catholic pilgrimage in Spain and France) and has since participated in numerous meditation and faith-based retreats. Before teaching, Ms. Janes worked in radio and freelance journalism. She is thrilled to settle into one classroom and get to know her students even better.
Nicole Schaechter begins her third year at St. Peter as the Grade 5 teacher. Mrs. Schaechter graduated in 2010 from the University of Central Florida, where she earned her degree in Psychology. After graduating, she taught Grade 1 for three years at Round Lake Elementary in Mount Dora, Florida. 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, Mrs. Schaechter taught Grades 2 and 4 and was the Primary Lead Teacher and Equity Liaison. Mrs. Schaechter loves building relationships with students and their families. Also, she enjoys a student-centered classroom, with high expectations and even more fun. She and Coach Shack, her husband, have two children, Hailey and Zayde, and a mischievous dog, Maverick.
Danny Schaechter, also known as Coach Shack, is beginning his seventh year as the middle school Language Arts teacher and Grade 7 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. He then 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. In 2014, he moved to Washington DC 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 children, Hailey and Zayde, and a mischievous dog, Maverick.
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. Erin Havrilak is excited to join the St. Peter School community as the middle school science teacher. Originally from Virginia, Mrs. Havrilak received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science and an Education Certification from Bridgewater College in Virginia; an M.A. in science education from Western Governors University; and an Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Leadership from
Lincoln Memorial University. She taught one year as a middle school science teacher in Nelson County, Virginia before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, where she has been high school biology teacher for the past five years. Mrs. Havrilak is thrilled to be moving to Washington DC and continuing to pursue her passion of teaching. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in nature hiking or kayaking. You also can find her reading, usually multiple books at the same time! Mrs. Havrilak is moving to the area with her husband, Cody, and their cat,Totality.
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.
Mrs. Blomquist has been at St. Peter School since 2014 and is thrilled to be teaching art. She previously taught art and Grade 3 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.
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.
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.
Ms. Claire Jolly is the reading resource teacher for Kindergarten through Grade 5. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her MA 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. 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.