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.

Toni Berit

PreK 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.

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

Fourth Grade Teacher

This will be my first year at Our Lady’s academy.  I am excited about joining the Our Lady’s Academy team. I am a graduate of Emmanuel College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Emmanuel College and a Master of Education degree from Simmons College. I have experience teaching fourth grade at the Glenwood  School in the Wachusett Regional School District.  I have the passion and the desire to continue to be an excellent teacher and promises to bring all my teaching  experiences to the classroom.

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.

Alicia Druid

Teacher

This is my third year teaching at Our Lady’s. I have a 4-year-old Lab named Riley. I went to Merrimack College for my Undergrad. I am in the final year of my master’s program to get my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. I spend my weekends and most of my free time coaching marching band. This is my fifth year teaching fourth grade and I absolutely love it!

I believe that all children have the capacity to learn. There are many more outlets for student growth now more than ever before. School is a place where children learn academics such as math and writing, but it is also a place for students to find their own path in life. School shapes students through different influences like social interactions with their peers that shape their emotional connections to the world.

My personal goal for my classroom is to challenge my students to grow to their fullest potential. In my classroom, I want all of my students to have the freedom that allows for expression and creativity. I want to teach my students in a way that has some straightforward instruction, but that also gives them room to grow and expand on their own.

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.

Matthew Giles

Teacher

My name is Matthew Giles and I teach Middle School Religion. I earned my B.A. in Philosophy and my M.Ed. from Emmanuel College in Boston. As a graduate student I focused on educational technology as well as classroom management and school discipline. I also have a certificate in Catholic Theology and Evangelization from the Institute for the New Evangelization in Braintree. I have been a religious educator in some capacity for approximately 10 years and began my career in education at St. Michael’s School in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve worked as a teacher in Boston and Natick as well as a high school and middle school Youth Minister in New York State and at St. Brendan’s Parish in Bellingham, Massachusetts.

As a Catholic educator, it is my primary goal to make God known, loved, and served and to teach the Truth of the Gospel. I also hope to give kids the tools to analyze and understand the Faith and the world around them with critical eyes, especially through classroom debates, Socratic Seminars, and other discussion-based teaching methods. I seek to integrate technology as best as possible into my classroom to help prepare my students to succeed in the modern world.

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.

Kaitlyn Hogan

Teacher

I have been at Our Lady’s Academy for 3 years and love every second. At UMass Dartmouth, I earned a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a Masters in Elementary Education with and a Minor in Special Education. My favorite thing to do is laugh. When I’m not at school, I love coaching volleyball, going to the beach, and reading. I am the oldest of six children. Three of my siblings serve in the military. I love teaching grade three and I truly enjoy working with my students in helping to make them be the best that they can be.

Kristina Kovacevich

Teacher

My name is Kristina Kovacevich. I am from Biloxi, Mississippi and I graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I also have a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on language-based learning disabilities. In 2012, I completed my National Board Certification in early childhood education. I love to travel and learn about different cultures. I also love sports, especially baseball. Go Sox!

It is my philosophy that children are born with a curious mind and innate desire to learn.  I believe through authentic engagement, teachers have a responsibility to nurture that desire.  As an educator, my role is to build a strong relationship with each individual student, to help them discover their interests and passions, and to use those to help foster a love of learning. I understand the importance of building a strong foundation in literacy and math to diverse young learners. Inquiry-based and experiential learning is instrumental in engaging young, curious minds. Through science and social studies, children are given the opportunity to explore the world around them.  My goal is for all children to celebrate their uniqueness, appreciate various cultures, become lifelong learners, and grow to be global citizens.

My hope and dream for each of my students is that they develop a sincere and deep love of learning. I hope that they find their passions and use what they are passionate about to achieve their goals and reach their fullest potentials.

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!

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 Marconi

Teacher

Miss Marconi 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!

Miss Marconi 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. Miss Kristin loves reading and writing and hopes to foster a love of literacy in each of her students.

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

Miss Marconi’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. Miss Marconi’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.

Amanda Normoyle

Teacher

Amanda Normoyle has been working as a teachers assistant at Our Lady’s Academy since 2017, and has been involved with the school since 2012. She is a Waltham resident, a wife and mother of two current OLA students. Amanda believes in equality, celebrating diversity, and understands the importance of developing relationships with students, their families and the community.
Before joining the OLA staff, Amanda worked for fifteen years in children’s media, mainly with Scholastic, producing children’s audio books and managing animation teams on the PBS animated series Clifford’s Puppy Days and the locally produced WordGirl. When she’s not assisting Ms. K., Amanda volunteers with local charities and food banks, and assists with school functions and activities. She enjoys traveling with her family, camping with friends, and cheering on her children, whether they’re playing a sport or entering the school talent show.

Judith Norton

First Grade 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.

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.

Peter O’Callaghan

Teacher

Peter O’Callaghan is married to Kim and we have 4 children and Molly (poodle/terrier mix). My hobbies are outdoor activities: hiking, biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and carpentry. I  graduated from Bentley University, BS MIS, Framingham State University, Post BS Ed., and Regis College M.A.T.

My teaching philosophy is to engage students the sciences and to open their mind to how things in nature work, by explaining concepts with physical demonstrations and experimentation.  I expect to instill in students a love for learning and to have an inquiring mind as they grow. I have always kept this Chinese proverb in mind while with students: “Every child is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark”

My hopes and dreams for all the students I have taught and will teach are to find a rewarding and fulfilling career, and to keep their faith in God.

Kian Olia

Teacher

Mr. Olia graduated with a BA in elementary education from The Catholic University of America. He then attended Boston College and received his master’s in curriculum and instruction. Prior to working at Our Lady’s Academy, Mr. Olia worked in various public and private schools as both a teaching assistant and a learning specialist. In his spare time Mr. Olia enjoys running, cooking, and reading.

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 Tavener

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.

Courtney Terry

PreK-3 Teacher

I am excited to join the learning team at Our Lady’s Academy and will be teaching the Pre-K three class.  I want to share a little bit about myself.  I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s Degree in Special Education at Endicott College.  I completed a Fellowship at the Glover Elementary School in Marblehead, MA.  This experience was invaluable. The incredible feedback I received from working alongside different teachers and administrators helped me to grow as an educator and as a person.  My goal as a teacher is to be sure I am able to meet every child’s needs and allow each to succeed in his or her own way.  I believe in the whole child and that it is important not only to meet academic needs but also social and emotional needs so that each of my students will  grow into well-rounded people.

Sarah Treacy

Teacher

My name is Sarah Treacy, and I am a fifth 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!

Abir Marka Zaloom

Assistant Pre-kindergarten 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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