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St. Nicholas School

The Catholic School of St. William and St. Nicholas Parishes

12816 El Monte Road

Los Altos Hills, CA 94022 (near Interstate 280 & Foothill Expy)

Special thanks to Carla Razura-Duharte for the photographs. See her photos here.

Read the DSJ Standards for all School Workers Regarding Interaction with Youth here.

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Our Faculty & Staff

Administration
Jan Popolizio – Principal

Mrs. Popolizio joined St. Nicholas School as principal in 2017. She is a graduate of Queen of Apostles in San Jose and Archbishop Mitty High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Engineering, from Cal Poly, with Master's work completed at San Jose State University. She worked for Lockheed Martin as a Systems Engineer and Project Manager for many years, then became a business development manager before turning to education. She earned her credential from National University and taught seven years in fourth grade at St. Lucy School in Campbell. She then spent five years serving as Vice Principal at St. Lucy, focusing her attention and leadership on building the next generation educational programs in grades 4th-8th.

 

Mrs. Popolizio enjoys cooking, yoga and spending time at her mountain home in Incline Village. She lives in San Jose with her husband and has three grown children who have also attended K-12 catholic schools in the bay area.

Stacy K. French – Vice Principal

Ms. French is a Bay Area native, where she attended St. Mary’s, San Jose, Five Wounds and Notre Dame High School, San Jose. She graduated from San Jose State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, a minor in Psychology and completed the Multiple Subject Credential Program. Ms. French also has a Montessori Credential from Hayward State. In 2003, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University.

Ms. French came to St. Nicholas School in 1997 as the fifth grade teacher. She moved to the “other side of the quad” to teach second grade before stepping into the Vice Principal role. Prior to coming to St. Nicholas she taught in both the public and private sectors. She spent ten years working for a statewide Social Services organization as an Early Childhood Development Director, Program Supervisor, Human Resources Generalist and finally, a Recruiter.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, theater arts, and spending time with her family and friends. For over 30 years, Ms. French performed and taught tap, ballet, jazz and theater arts. She continues her love of dance and theatre arts by teaching the St. Nicholas Young Performers (K-3) and co-producing the Spring Drama Production.

Father John Poncini – Pastor

Fr. John was born and raised in San Jose, California. He is one of nine children and has twenty-five nephews and nieces; his older brother, Fr. Laurence, is a priest of the Discalced Carmelite Friars. Fr. John earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Master’s Degree in Theology from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, Italy. He has worked as a missionary in both Spain and Mexico.

Fr. John was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph on June 4, 2005. His first assignment was at Saint Lucy Parish. In 2009, Bishop McGrath assigned Fr. John as the Director of Vocations and Seminarians. He has served as Chaplain to the English-speaking Cursillo Movement, as well as to the Knights of Columbus. Bishop Daly worked closely with Fr. John in his capacity as Auxiliary Bishop. Fr. John became the pastor of St. Nicholas Parish and St. William Parish in July 2015, which has now been merged and is now St. Nicholas and St. William Catholic Parish.

Catheryn Sanchez
Development Director and Marketing

Mrs. Sanchez previously served as the Director of Development for St. Edward Catholic School in Newark and has also worked as a Senior Marketing Communication Specialist for an educational technology company. She attended St. Clare’s, Santa Clara and Notre Dame High School, San Jose. She graduated from San Jose State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and an emphasis in Communications. In her free time, Mrs. Sanchez enjoys gardening, quality family time, movie nights and walking her six foot tall Great Dane.

Diana Szelong Acounting Manager

Diana Szelong has worked at St. Nicholas School for the last 14 years, and was a school parent for 15 years while her 3 children attended and graduated from St. Nicholas School. She was previously employed as an Accounting Manager and received both her bachelor's degree and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

Transitional Kindergarten
Christine LoDestro
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. LoDestro was born in Frankfurt, Germany to an American dad and German mom. She lived in Germany until she was 14 years old, and moved to Illinois where her father retired from the Army. She attended a private college in Evanston, Illinois for her elementary teaching credential. The college is now known as National Louis University. She went on to get her master’s with a degree in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy. Mrs. LoDestro has always loved the young child! She has been teaching since 1989, with experience in grades K-6. This is her fourth year at St. Nicholas and her third year as the TK teacher. In her freetime she enjoys cooking and entertaining, going to country music concerts, art museums, boating and hiking with her husband and most recently has taken up horse back riding. She is married, and has four sons and four dogs!

Maria Crowder
Transitional Kindergarten
Instructional Assistant Teacher

TThis is Mrs. Crowder’s third year as an Instructional Assistant at St. Nicholas School. Prior to St.Nicholas School, she was a Preschool Instructional Aide at a neighboring Catholic School in the Diocese where she has also been an
active parishioner. She is currently in Ashford Online University Early Childhood Development Program.

Gabby Jensen
Transitional Kindergarten Aide

Ms. Jensen grew up attending St. Nicholas parish and is enjoying being part of the school all these years later. She attended Santa Clara University earning a BA in English Lit and Creative Writing. She continued her education, studying Early Child Development at Foothill College and continues to take classes each year. Gabby worked as a Preschool teacher for the past five years in Los Altos with multiple age groups.

Kindergarten
Sheila Allworth
Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Allworth is a graduate of St. Nicholas School and Sacred Heart High School, Atherton. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in English at the College of Notre Dame, Belmont and earned her credential at National University. Mrs. Allworth started her educational career at the Children’s Creative Learning Center where she was a teacher and an assistant director. She returned to St. Nicholas School to teach our full day Kindergarten class.

Christina Prudencio
Kindergarten Associate Teacher

Ms. Prudencio was raised in San Jose and graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Hawaii Pacific University. She is currently finishing her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Arts in Teaching Education at the University of San Francisco. She has taught Preschool and Pre-K for the past four years at Catholic Academy of Sunnyvale.

Margarita Mabugat- Kindergarten Instructional Assistant

Ms. Mabugat has worked for the Diocese of San Jose since 2000. This is her second year at St. Nicholas as an instructional assistant. She received her Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from SJCC. She is currently continuing her education to transfer to SJSU. Her classroom experience has been working with Preschool, Pre-K and primary grades.

Elementary School
Eve Farrington-Yen
First Grade Teacher

Mrs. Farrington-Yen, an upstate New York native, worked as our K-3 Reading Specialist for two years and is now our first grade teacher. Mrs. Farrington received a Bachelor’s of Science from Cornell University and a Multiple Subject Credential, a Reading Specialist Credential, and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Writing Instruction from San Jose State University. Mrs. Farrington worked previously in San Jose and Santa Clara, where she taught kindergarten, first, and second grades. She has worked as a reading intervention teacher, a student teacher mentor, and a new teacher coach. Mrs. Farrington is thrilled to be back in the classroom at St. Nicholas School and enjoys spending free time with her family and friends.

Cliona O'Keeffe
First Grade Aide

Ms. O’Keeffe graduated from Chapman University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Educational Studies, with emphasis in STEM and developmental psychology. She is currently working on her Masters of Arts in Education from
University of San Francisco. Ms. O’Keeffe has been working at St. Nicholas since 2016 in Extended Care and has been working as Mrs. Farrington’s instructional assistant since 2017.

Heidi Hagenlocher
Second Grade Teacher

Ms. Hagenlocher graduated from Santa Clara University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies Pre-Teaching and from the University of San Francisco in 2017 with her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Arts in Teaching Education. Her first year at St. Nicholas School she was an Instructional Assistant in 2nd grade. The following year she was the Associate Teacher for 1st and 2nd grade. This year begins her fourth year at St. Nicholas. Ms. Hagenlocher will be the homeroom teacher in second grade. In her free time, she loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, and cheer on the SF Giants!

Elise Adams – Second Grade Instructional Aide/Student Teacher

Ms. Adams will be receiving her multiple subject credential in December from University of San Francisco, and continuing on to receive her Masters. She received her undergraduate
degree in Sociology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Before coming to St. Nicholas, Ms. Adams worked with educational and literacy nonprofits, serving as an AmeriCorps member.

Ellen Jewell
Third Grade Teacher

Ms. Jewell is very excited to begin her 2nd year at Saint Nicholas and continue making this school her home. She graduated from Santa Clara University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies Pre-teaching and a Minor in History. The following year she completed her Masters of Arts in Teaching and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential also at Santa Clara. She spent her first year teaching 1st grade in the Sunnyvale School District. Ms. Jewell also coaches JV girls soccer and swimming at St. Francis High School in the winter and spring seasons and loves giving back to her alma mater!

Kerry Marzoni - Fourth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Marzoni is thrilled to be joining the St. Nicholas community as the fourth grade teacher. She comes to us from Nativity School in Menlo Park, where for the past 11 years she taught first grade and was the Reading Specialist for grades 1-3. Mrs. Marzoni grew up in Southern California and moved to the Bay Area in 1999 to attend the University of San Francisco, where she received her B.A. in Sociology as well as a Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential and a Masters in Teaching Reading. Her son, Tanner Marzoni, will also be joining us in first grade.

Kathy Ahearn- Fourth & Fifth Grade Instructional Aide

Mrs. Ahearn is returning for her second year at St. Nicholas School. She was raised in New York City and relocated with her husband to the Bay Area in 1990. Last year she assisted in fifth, sixth and eighth grades as well as working in extended care with the TK and K students.

Stacey Wilson
Fifth Grade Teacher 
Seventh Grade Math Teacher
Athletic Director

Mrs. Wilson graduated from St. Nicholas School and returned to St. Nicholas School to teach. Mrs. Wilson is the 5th grade homeroom teacher, teaching Religion, Math and Social Studies, as well as teaching junior high Math and is the Girls Athletic Director. Mrs. Wilson and her family have been active St. Nicholas parishioners for many years. Her father, uncle and brother also are St. Nicholas School Alumni. Both of her parents taught at St. Nicholas School and her grandparents have been active members in the parish and Italian Catholic Federation over the past 50+ years.

 

After graduating from St. Francis High School, Mrs. Wilson earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and worked in public accounting before returning to school to obtain her teaching credential from San Francisco State University. In her spare time she enjoys coaching, being an avid sports fan and spending time with her friends and family.

Brooke Bishara - Fifth Grade Language Arts Teacher

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Ms. Bishara earned her Master’s Degree in English Education from Columbia University’s Teacher College. Her eleven years of teaching experience span both high school and middle school. After taking time off to raise her two children, she is delighted to be starting her second year of teaching 5th grade at St. Nicholas. She lives in Mountain View with her family. She loves to read and be outside.

Junior High School
Christina Anderson - Sixth Grade Homeroom, Religion, Math & Jr. High Spanish Teacher

Mrs. Anderson was raised in the South Bay and is a graduate of Five Wounds School and Presentation High School. Prior to joining St. Nicholas School, she taught fourth grade at St. Martin of Tours School in San Jose. Mrs. Anderson graduated from San Jose State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a minor in Spanish and completed the credential program at California State University Monterey Bay. Mrs. Anderson and her husband reside in Santa Clara with their children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Carlos Eulate
Eighth Grade Teacher

Mr. Eulate (Mr. E) began at St. Nicholas as the 7th grade homeroom and 8th grade language arts teacher before taking over the role as 8th grade homeroom teacher.  Over the years he has successfully integrated technology into his curriculum, and he continues to explore innovative ways to challenge his students.  As a language arts specialist, Mr. E brings in a variety of literature to share with his students and has even written a book on teaching writing.

 

Mr. E is a Los Altos native and a graduate of St. Simon School and St. Francis High School.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Cal State, Long Beach and a Masters in School Administration from Santa Clara University.

Nancy Talesfore - Eighth Grade Geometry, Seventh & Sixth Grade Pre-Algebra Teacher

Mrs. Talesfore was born and raised in the South Bay, and attended Sacred Heart School, Saratoga, St. Catherine School, Morgan Hill and Notre Dame High School, San Jose. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts and teaching credential from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon she returned to her roots to teach at Diocese of San Jose schools; Resurrection School, St. Lucy School, St. Martin of Tours and St. Simon School.

 

Mrs. Talesfore has been a part of the St. Nicholas School community for many years and has worn many hats. She has taught 6th grade and has been in Campus Ministry. She is our Junior High Math Teacher, using the ALEKS accelerated/enrichment program, teaching Geometry and Pre-Algebra. In addition to her responsibilities at St. Nicholas, she works as a tutor and property manager. As a private tutor, Mrs. Talesfore has worked with students from 3rd to 12th grade through Algebra 2 for over 30 years. She has also taught math for Bellarmine Summer School and De Anza Extend the Year program. Mrs. Talesfore and her husband have four sons who are Bellarmine College Prep alumni.

Jin Su Seo - Fifth & Sixth Grade Science Teacher & Eighth Grade Algebra

Mr. Seo is originally from Elk Grove, California. He attended St. Mary’s College of CA where he earned his bachelor of science in biology. During his time at St. Mary’s, he traveled abroad teaching English in Cambodia as well as being a recreational aide at a boy’s orphanage in Romania. During this past year, Mr. Seo was a Lasallian Volunteer at San Miguel Middle School in Providence, Rhode Island where he taught 5 th grade and 6th grade. Mr. Seo is currently an ExCEL student completing his Masters and Single Subject credential in Science at Santa Clara University. During his free time, Mr. Seo enjoys the outdoors with his family, especially different National Parks.

Meggie Marron- 7th Grade Long-Term Sub: Homeroom, Language Arts & Social Studies

Ms. Marron just graduated from Loyola Marymount University with her California Multi-Subject Teaching credential. She is excited to fill in while Mrs. Von Raesfeld is on maternity leave. Ms. Marron will be implementing our new reading and writing program under the guidance of Mrs. Gallivan. Ms. Marron also attended St. Nicholas school and it is again full circle to have her come back now and share her expertise with our 7th grade class.

Mary Gallivan - Sixth Grade Language Arts and Seventh Grade Religion Teacher

Mary Gallivan is thrilled to be back at St. Nicholas School. Mrs. Gallivan is the curriculum coordinator and writing coach for St. Nicholas School as well as her role in 6th & 7th grade. Mrs. Gallivan is a long time member of the St. Nicholas community where she has been an active parishioner, a parent of four children who were educated at St. Nicholas, a past member and President of the St. Nicholas School Advisory Council, and a long-time substitute teacher at St. Nicholas.

Mrs. Gallivan attended the Lucy Calkins Writing Institute for middle school teachers at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to moving back to her home state of California in 1996, Mrs. Gallivan taught 4th grade in New York City public schools. Mrs. Gallivan has a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Berkeley. In her free time, Mrs. Gallivan enjoys spending time in Santa Cruz with her husband Richard and their four children.

Angela Owens - Seventh & Eighth Grade Science Teacher & Eighth Grade Religion

Angela Owens is originally from New York, where she attended Catholic K-12 schools and was actively involved in her parish. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BSBA in finance in 2015 and worked at PwC with medical providers across the country as a healthcare consultant. Her love for school took her back to complete a post-baccalaureate program in the health sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

 

Ms. Owens has taught STEM subjects, financial literacy, and English for several years with a variety of educational organizations as well as through PwC. She is actively involved with CASA for Children as an advocate in child custody cases and the Georgetown Alumni Admissions Program as an admissions interviewer. She credits her faith and Catholic education for guiding her throughout her career and looks forward to ensuring her students thrive at St. Nicholas. In her free time, Ms. Owens loves hiking, horseback riding and traveling to visit her 8 brothers and sisters who live all around the country and world!

Special Subject Teachers
Peggy Carroll
Instructional Technology

Carroll graduated from St. Cloud State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Minnesota teaching credential. She began her career as a Technology Teacher/Coordinator in the late 80’s and with
the exception of one year as a third grade teacher and one year as a fifth grade teacher, she has spent her teaching career in the computer lab!
Mrs. Carroll enjoys keeping up with all the changes in Technology and loves to explore new ways of utilizing Technology in Education.

Patricia Verity - Science Teacher (Grades K-5)

Mrs. Verity was raised in Palo Alto. She received her Bachelor of Science in Physics and a minor in Mathematics, as well as a teaching credential from San Jose State University. Mrs. Verity taught middle school math and science in the Santa Clara School District prior to joining St. Nicholas. In her free time, she enjoys tending to her garden.

Roberta Witte
Learning Resource Specialist

Witte received her bachelor’s from University of San Francisco, a master’s degree in Special Education and teaching credential from Santa Clara University. She taught 3rd grade at Sacred Heart in Saratoga then moved on to become the specialty resource teacher for eight years. Mrs. Witte provides curriculum and assessment resources for teachers, and extra assistance for students in support of their individual learning styles and developmental needs.

Judy Bayse – Music Instructor

Judy Bayse is a music educator from San Jose, California.  She has taught Music to children from preschool to 8th grade for over twenty years in public and private schools.  Her training includes Music for Minors, Orff Training,  World Music Drumming, as well as many workshops and seminars.  She has served as Musical Director for Peninsula Youth Theater and worked with Angels on Stage, a musical theater group for children of differing abilities.  In addition to her teaching role, Judy is also a singer/songwriter with a CD of Family folk music entitled Purple Cow.  She currently teaches general elementary Music at several Catholic schools in the bay area.

Support Staff
Marianne Saucedo - Office Manager

Mrs. Saucedo was born in San Francisco and attended Epiphany Catholic School.  She graduated from Mills High School, attended College of San Mateo and earned her B.S in Business Administration with a minor in Communication Studies from San Jose State University.  She has worked as a Sales/Project Manager in floor-covering, Accounts Receivable in a shoe company, Secretary for the building department in Hillsborough, Teachers Aide in Hillsborough School District, and Office Manager for St. Nicholas since 2009. She lives in for Burlingame with her husband John and 2 adult daughters Jaclyn and Natalie.

Madeleine Diaz
Administration Assistant

Diaz is the Administrative Assistant. She has worked at St. Nicholas for 17 years, aiding in the Third grade classroom for 8 years, and assisting in the Fourth grade classroom for the last 9 years.