Our Teachers

Elizabeth Avakian

Teacher

Mrs. Avakian is married with two sons. She enjoys reading, listening to music, volunteering, and traveling. Mrs. Avakian has an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been a teacher for over twenty-five years with most of her work experience in the Armenian Sister’s Academy as a PreK teacher. Mrs. Avakian’s hopes and dreams for her students are that every child will grow up happy, healthy, and in a safe school environment. She hopes all students follow their dreams.

Antonia Rose (Toni) Berit

Teacher

Toni has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Mount Ida College in Newton, Ma and attended Wellesley College. She began teaching at Our Lady’s Academy in the fall of 2017 and enjoys teaching and interacting with her pre-k students. Toni is married to her husband Jonathan and they have two daughters Danielle and Tasha. She enjoys volunteering for the Catholic TV Network and Telethon.

I love to watch the children learn and grow and just love their enthusiasm and spirit!

Toni and Jon love to dance and enjoy taking family summer trips to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

Meredith Briggs

Teacher

Mary Rose Bulger

Teacher

Anna Danahy

Teacher

I graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines with a B.A. in Communication Arts and received my Masters Degree in Ministry from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA.  I am working towards my Early Childhood Teacher Certification. This is my fourth year working at Our Lady’s Academy’s and I really enjoy it.  I am married and have a ten year old son.

I believe each child is unique and can achieve their full potential in a creative and safe environment which encourages active and playful exploration as a way to learn.  I strongly believe in using positive methods in guiding children’s behavior, and being culturally sensitive and responsive to a diverse group of learners.

My goal is to guide the students to tap into their inherent creativity and energy, and effectively use all learning tools at their disposal to be the best they can be.

Donna M. Cantera-Davis

Teacher

I have been happily teaching at Our Lady’s Academy since January of 2010. I have a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from University of Lowell (now U. Mass Lowell) and studied Early Childhood Education at Middlesex Community College.  I have a Mass. Educators License to teach grades Pre-K through Grade 2, and I am a Mass. EEC Licensed Pre-School Lead Teacher.

I began my teaching career as an Elementary and Junior High School Music Teacher. In addition to teaching Pre-K, I owned and operated DCD Music Studio offering Kindermusik classes.  I believe that in a Pre-K classroom, children should gain confidence in their abilities, make social connections and be engaged in playful learning.

I am happily married and have one son and two cats.  I love singing with the Lexington Pops Chorus on Tuesday nights.  I also enjoy reading, baking, and spending time with my family.

Nicole Mary Capite

Third Grade Teacher

My name is Nicole Capite and I have been a teacher at Our Lady’s Academy since 2018. I grew up in central Massachusetts, but I have been living in Boston since 2012. I went to Emmanuel College and graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I then pursued my master’s degree in Special Education at Simmons College. In my spare time I love to read, bake, spend time with my family and friends, make crafts, and walk around Castle Island.

From a very young age I knew that I wanted to become a teacher. I had some really incredible teachers that inspired me to follow this dream and that have ultimately shaped me into the teacher I am today. These teachers made learning fun, created a comfortable and safe learning environment, encouraged every student to always try their best, and they were all a little silly. These characteristics are ones I carry into my classroom today in order to create a happy, fun, caring, and safe learning environment for all of my students.

My educational philosophy is one that motivates students to work hard, promotes kindness, and encourages independence through responsibility. In my classroom, I want my students to feel comfortable to make mistakes and to grow every day. In my classroom, I want my students to express their feelings and to be kind and caring classmates. In my classroom, I want my students to be proud of the things they accomplish and to take responsibility for their actions.

My hopes and dreams for each of my students is for them to always try their best, to be kind and caring friends, and to always believe in themselves. I hope that they leave my classroom feeling confident and ready to take on any challenge that comes their way!

Kathleen Demers

Teacher

I am happily married with a wonderful one year old daughter named Maeve. In my free time I love taking our dog Maggie for walks on the beach on Cape Cod. I received my undergraduate degree from Framingham State College and my Masters degree in early childhood education from Lesley University.

Every child is unique learner, so it is my goal to help them all reach their fullest potential.

My hope is that each of my students leaves 2nd grade with the confidence to know they can do anything they want to do if they try their best.

Jake Devereaux

Teacher

I graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in history and political science. I also attended Fitchburg State University where I earned a Masters of Education Degree. I most recently had the pleasure of being part of the History Department at Newton South High School. Prior to this experience, I moved to Washington D.C. and worked in variety of positions, inincluding at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, where I was able to teach history in one of the most interactive and immersive environments possible. Although I do not dress in costume as often while teaching, I bring that same passion, enthusiasm and ability to bring history alive to my student at Our Lady’s Academy.

Patricia Fothergill

Teacher

Hello, I am Patricia Fothergill. My husband and I live nearby in Arlington. We are blessed with  one child, Katherine. I teach seventh and eighth grade math at Our Lady’s Academy, and have been here since 2008. I came to OLA after completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Boston College.I believe it is important to educate the whole child. Focusing on academic, social, and the developmental needs of each individual student. I love sports, and always find a way to incorporate into my classroom.

Daniel Grejdus

Teacher

Darci Hamann

Teacher

I have taught 3rd grade at Our Lady’s Academy since 2002. I have my Masters in Elementary Education and love teaching here. I married my high school sweetheart, and we have a daughter and a son. I am a hockey mom for sure!! In my spare time I love to read, travel, attend my kids’ hockey games and tournaments, and spend quality time with my family and friends.

My educational philosophy is one that encourages each student to work hard, to collaborate with others, to demonstrate responsible work habits and organizational skills on a consistent basis while having a positive and respectful attitude.

My hopes and dreams for each of my students are for them to continue on the path of life-long learning. I want them to become well rounded members of society who know the importance of being charitable and respectful while living life filled with love, integrity, and faith.

Olivia Hopkins

Teacher

I have always enjoyed school and loved to learn. I grew up babysitting and learned early on that I was passionate about working with children. I love the small classroom feel of a Catholic school, where there is a focus on charity, kindness, and respect.

Danielle LeBlanc

Teacher

I got into early childhood because I love working with children. I love watching them grow and learn, and being able to be a part of that growth. I always knew I’d want to teach at OLA because I was a student here myself.

Carolyn Mabardy

Teacher

My name is Carolyn Mabardy and I am excited to be a fourth grade teacher at Our Lady’s Academy. I received both my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and Masters Degree in Moderate Disabilities from Endicott College. In my free time I enjoy boating, the beach, and spending summers on Cape Cod with family and friends. 

My past experiences working as an assistant teacher at a preschool for several years, along with tutoring young students confirmed my passion and dedication to becoming an elementary school teacher. 

I believe that every child should be able to reach their full potential in the classroom by fostering a love for learning. My students will always be surrounded with a supportive and safe learning environment that allows them to feel confident and successful in my classroom! 

Ann O’Connor Mahon

Teacher

My name is Mrs. Mahon and I have three daughters and two dogs, a yellow lab named Jake and a black shihpoo named Minnie. I love spending time outside all year round and my favorite thing to do is to walk on the beach. I also spend time gardening, doing yardwork, running and walking. I went to Boston College for my undergraduate degree and Lesley University for my graduate degree in early education.

My educational philosophy is to meet students where they are and to share my love of learning and excitement for teaching.

My goal is to take children as far as they can go in a caring, loving environment. My classroom climate focuses on kindness and modeling positive words and actions. Following the Golden Rule by treating people, animals and the environment with respect and dignity is emphasized, knowing that everyone makes mistakes and God will always forgive us.

My hope for my students is for them to be happy, to love learning and to always want to learn more!

Danielle Maidrand

Teacher

Being a teacher is the perfect job for me because I love working with children. I hope to cultivate a love for learning, charity and God in all my students.

Christine Malone

Teacher

My name is Christine Malone. I am married with two wonderful young children. I have my Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Masters Degree in Assistive Technology. I hold a Massachusetts Teaching Certificate for grades PreK through 3. I believe in meeting a child at their academic ability and helping them succeed beyond their expectations. I hope all my students grow to love school and become happy life long learners.

Kristin Carlone

Teacher

Mrs. Carlone has been teaching elementary education for nine years with four of those years being at Our Lady’s Academy. She has taught from preschool to fourth grade, but loves Kindergarten the best!

Mrs. Carlone attended Stonehill College and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and American Studies. After Stonehill, she attended Sacred Heart University and earned her Master’s of Arts in Teaching degree with a concentration in reading. Mrs. Carlone loves reading and writing and hopes to foster a love of literacy in each of her students.

Besides teaching, Mrs. Carlone enjoys traveling, relaxing at the beach, interior decorating, learning how to cook, and listening to music (especially country music).

Mrs. Carlone’s educational philosophy is to provide an organized, safe, and independent classroom community in order for all students to develop as whole, well-rounded thinkers and learners. Mrs. Carlone’s hopes and dreams are to foster a love of learning in her students as they grow and progress in their own academic journeys. She hopes and dreams that all students will follow their own successful paths, treat others the way they want to be treated, and be a positive change in today’s world.

Judith Norton

Teacher

I have been happily teaching first grade at Our Lady’s since 2004. I received an MA in elementary education from Regis College in Weston, Ma. I live right here in Waltham with my family.

I believe each child is a unique individual who will learn best in a safe, supportive environment. My goal is to help each student grow and mature intellectually, emotionally and socially and spiritually. I view the education of your child as a partnership between school and family.

I hope my personal educational goal to “Never Stop Learning” will become a goal of the first graders as well.

Kate O'Brien

Teacher

I was an Our Lady’s parent for  nine years, and am excited to now serve as the Middle School Science Teacher.  After 20+ years performing a variety of roles in the energy industry, I obtained my Massachusetts teaching license in 2018 and worked as a long-term (7-months) sub at a public middle school in Westwood, MA.  I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, an MBA from Boston College, and a certification in Leading Innovative Change from UC Berkeley.  I live in Waltham with my husband and two daughters.  Together we love to travel and cheer on the local sports teams.  I look forward to working with the OLA students to help them prepare for life beyond Middle School!

Patrick O'Brien

Teacher

I grew up in Massachusetts, graduating from BC High in 2008. I have a bachelors degree in English from Wesleyan University and a masters degree in education and instructional technology from UMass Boston. I have always had a passion for reading and writing, and I try to bring that passion into the classroom. My classes focus on writing and grammar, with an emphasis on creativity and critical thinking. My goal is help every student develop his or her own unique voice as a writer.

Lori Pasto

Teacher

I’m from the Capital Region of NYS but have made Waltham my home since 2002. I have taught and have been a parishioner only at Our Lady’s since moving here. I am married to Daniel and we have two boys who have come up through the church and are now students are Our Lady’s Academy. I graduated from The College of St. Rose in Albany, New York. I have a degree in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in Reading (I am a Reading Specialist).

My goal is to challenge my students and watch them grow to their full potential. I want to meet each student where they are and help them on their educational journey to get them to where they need to be.

Hopes and dreams for your students: That I can help instill a life long love of learning.

Jeannette Salibian

Teacher

My name is Jeannette Salibian and I am an assistant teacher for PreK4.

I have a BS Computer Science degree from LAU/ Lebanese American University and English for First Cambridge certificate from USEK/ Universite Saint Esprit Kaslik.

My career assisting in child development began after I started volunteering for my daughter’s school as a preschool teacher and a French teacher for Elementary and Middle School at Armenian Sisters Academy in Lexington.

I believe in each child. All children have something special and powerful and it is our responsibility to help them to ensure they do and they have a safe environment.

 

As a mother , I enjoy working in PreK 4 because the age of 4 and 5 years old is a challenging age of young children since they learn important and exiting things.

I am a proud mother of a 10 year old daughter who I love spending my free time with her and her two dogs.

Beverly M. Smallwood

Teacher

Beverley graduated from Framingham State University with a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education and has taught at Our Lady’s Academy since 2007. Aside from teaching, Beverley enjoys hiking in the country, especially with her dog, Bonnie. Beverley also enjoys golf and reading.

As a teacher it is important to help students meet their fullest potential and make learning an engaging experience for all students.

My dream is the hope that each individual child will grow academically and socially and will gain a curiosity and passion for learning that will last throughout life.

Michelle Malanakarot

Teacher

Michelle has her Masters degree in Early Childhood from Lesley University. Michelle obtained her bachelor’s degree from Boston College.  Michelle began teaching at Our lady’s academy in the fall of 2016. She enjoys reading and walking her dog.  Michelle is currently engaged and will be married in spring 2019. In the Pre K3 classroom, the goal is that young children will grow academically, socially and physically throughout the course of a school year.  Children will gain confidence and have a love for learning by the end of the year.  She enjoys watching children accomplish their academic goals and individual goals. It is the best when a child comes to school thrilled they are able to write their name all by themselves or they know how to put on their coat.

Sarah Treacy

Teacher

My name is Sarah Treacy, and I am a sixth grade teacher at Our Lady’s.   After years of being a practicing attorney, I decided to follow my passion and become an educator.  I left the law, completed my Masters in Education, and began my career at the school I happily call home – Our Lady’s Academy.  I love being in the classroom, and am grateful for the privilege and responsibility I have each day to impact your children’s lives.

My husband and I live in Newton and we are the proud parents of two children.  When I am not at school, I enjoy reading, walking my golden retriever Murphy, and scouting out new Young Adult literature for my students!

Alissa Whitten

Teacher

My name is Alissa Whitten and I am so excited to be teaching Fourth Grade at Our Lady’s Academy! I was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts and I  graduated from Providence College in 2019. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Elementary/Special Education as well as teaching licenses for both Elementary, 1-6 and Moderate Disabilities PreK-8. After completing my degree, I began working as an Aide in Kindergarten at the Underwood School in Newton, where I went on to procure my PreK-2 teaching license. Additionally, during these two years, I worked as a Behavior Therapist for a company called Key Autism Services, while also managing two, seven week day camp programs at the Department of Parks and Recreation in Newton. When I’m not working, I love to spend time with my family and friends, explore new and local places, drink good coffee, and listen to country music!

 

Through my many varied experiences working with a wide spectrum of children, I have expanded my knowledge, honed my skills, and solidified my devotion, passion, and love for teaching. In my classroom, I want every child to be engaged, empowered, and to feel loved and cared for. It is my goal to guide each student to success by determining what they need as individuals and finding creative ways to make material meaningful to them. In my classroom, I want to encourage kindness, collaboration, and having fun in everything we do!

 

As someone who is a product of a profoundly enriching Catholic school education that has guided me throughout my life, both in learning and in faith, I am so happy to be a part of the Our Lady’s community!  I cannot wait to start what I know will be an amazing year in Fourth Grade!

Abir Marka Zaloom

Teacher

My name is Abir Marka Zaloom and I am an assistant pre-kindergarten teacher at Our Lady’s Academy. I began my teaching career in education as a French teacher. After I received my Bachelor’s Degree in French Literature, I obtained my Early Childhood Certification from Quincy College.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, driving my son to his activities while listening to his stories, traveling, watching movies, and hiking.

I love teaching because I love to see the children’s accomplishments through their eyes when they hit milestones. Their enthusiasm and spirit always brighten my day.

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