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    Name & Grade

    Bio

  • Rose Navarro – Principal

         It is with great honor that I am serving Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary school as its principal.  As a product of Catholic education I experienced first hand the beauty of a faith-based education. I owe my professional success to the love and support from my parents and being a product of 12 years of Catholic education. I am an alum from San Gabriel Mission High School.The lessons I learned in those 12 years have guided me throughout my life.  They taught me that with faith in God, there is no obstacle in life that couldn’t be overcome. They taught me the meaning of discipline, unconditional love, my obligation towards supporting social justice, and how important it is to use the gifts that God has given us productively. 

          God has blessed me with a career that has been rich in culture and experiences. My professional experiences range from working with PK – Jr. College within private, public, and Catholic school settings. I last served in the Diocese of San Diego for 14 years; 4 years as an elementary school principal, 6 years as a vice principal along side 10 years as a Middle School Social Studies Teacher.  One of my greatest professional achievements was being a Catholic school teacher selected for Teacher of the Month in April 2007 by the Teachers are Heroes Program in San Diego.  Prior to working with the San Diego Diocese I worked for 5 years with 1st and 4th grade second language learners and gifted students for Oceanside Unified School District. I  had the opportunity to teach abroad for 12 years in 3 different countries for American and International Schools. While I was overseas I also organized after school programs and summer programs for the American Embassies where I was posted. It has been a wonderful experience working with children around the world and in diverse communities. 

           It is my endeavor to ensure that the students at ABVM continue to be provided with a learning environment that meets the needs of all its learners.  The students will continue to be provided with highly qualified teachers who have a passion for teaching and a passion for learning. The school has prided itself on ensuring each child reaches their full potential. It is our goal to provide them with the foundation needed to go forth in life with strong faith, confidence and skills to pursue their dreams, and to use the gifts God has given them productively and wisely.  

     


  • Jennifer Barako – TK

    • Bachelor of Arts, Theater- Loyola Marymount University
    • Master of Science, Education- University of Southern California
    • Professional Clear Multiple-Subject Credential (Bilingual)- University of Southern California

    I am a proud graduate of Assumption (class of ’91) and I’ve been a teacher at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary since 2011. ABVM prepared me well for high school at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. The skills I learned as a theater major at LMU continue to be useful tools in my “bag of tricks” as a primary grades teacher.  I’ve enjoyed using my theater background as director of the annual Assumption Spring Concert.  I received my Master’s degree and teaching credential at USC. Upon completing my program I worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 3 years as a 1st grade teacher at Hobart Elementary.  I helped open up Mariposa-Nabi Primary Center, a new LAUSD school in Korea town.  I was a first grade teacher there for 6 years before I had the wonderful opportunity of coming back to Assumption as the first grade teacher for 9 years.

    I enjoy teaching primary grades because I love teaching my students how to grow academically by learning the phonetic building blocks that unlock reading and writing. I enjoy incorporating singing, dancing, skits, and structured play to learn. I strive to guide my students to not only become proficient readers & writers, but to be mathematicians, scientists, athletes, artists, caring citizens and loving Catholics.

    When I’m not teaching I enjoy going to the movies, having dance parties at home, cheering on the Dodgers, Lakers, & Trojans, going to the beach, and taking walks in my neighborhood. I’m married to Mike, a fellow educator, and the proud parent of three wonderful children: Rose Mia, Jack Sebastian, and Hope Marie.


  • Nicole MacLennan – Kindergarten

    • Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies – California State University, Northridge
    • Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential – California State University, Bakersfield
    • Masters of Education, Early Literacy – Walden University

    Hello and welcome to Kindergarten!  My name is Mrs. MacLennan. I am very excited to be your student’s kindergarten teacher.  We are going to have so much fun in kindergarten! We will sing, dance, and learn! This is my second year at ABVM and I have over ten years of teaching experience. I have a diverse background in teaching since I have worked in both public and private schools. I have also taught kindergarten, first, second, and third grade in the past. My experience in schools ranges from classroom aide, lead teacher, one on one specialist, to reading specialist. I am looking forward to spending this year with your children and working together to give your child the best education possible!


  • Nicole Ostrander – 1st Grade

    • Bachelor of Arts in General Education – Aquinas College; Grand Rapids, MI
    • Elementary Education Certification – Michigan
    • Early Childhood Special and General Education Certification – Michigan
    • California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

    I am Nicole Ostrander, the First Grade teacher at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year will be my fourth year teaching at ABVM. I am eager to begin my adventure along with the First Graders this year! I have previously taught Transitional Kindergarten for three years. First Graders are active learners. Our classroom will be a safe and loving learning environment for all students. Each day will be filled with Reading, Writing, Religion, Math, Social Studies, Science, and much more. As a graduate of Catholic Schools at the Elementary, High School, and Collegiate levels, it was the involvement and support of students, families, faculty, staff, along with the parish community, that drew me to a career in education. In college, I had the opportunity to work as a Reading Tutoring Coordinator at a Grand Rapids Public School, intern at an Early Childhood Center and taught First Grade at a Grand Rapids Diocesan School. Other than teaching,I love reading,cheering for the Dodgers, watching movies, and spending time with family.


  • Ms. Demyla Rodriguez – 2nd Grade

    Hello!  My name is Ms. Rodriguez.  This will be my first year here at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School but my sixth-year teaching 2nd grade within an Archdiocese of Los Angeles School.  I truly believe God has called me to assist, teach and guide students in their education and faith journey.  Prior to my work experience in Los Angeles I worked as a part-time Kindergarten teacher and preschool special education teacher in Honolulu, Hawaii. My personal education journey has been highlighted by Catholic Schools.  I attended St. Mary of the Assumption School in Whittier, CA for my elementary studies, graduated from St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, CA and I earned both my Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from Chaminade University of Honolulu.

    I enjoy running 5k’s, half marathons and marathons. I have completed marathons in California, Hawaii, and Dublin, Ireland! If its summer time you can find me on the lake jet skiing with my family.  In the fall and winter months you can find me enjoying my season tickets for Los Angeles Kings hockey.  I also enjoy traveling to watch the Los Angeles Kings play; I’ve been to games in Arizona, Colorado and Canada!

    I am blessed that God placed me within this school location.  I am eager to immerse myself in the culture and community of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School and Parish!


  • Mrs. Wendy Quezada – 3rd Grade

    • Bachelor of Arts Psychology – California State University, Los Angeles
    • Master of Science Education, Specialized in Elementary Reading and Literacy – Walden University
    • California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential

    Education has been my calling and joy since 2004. I have been teaching at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School since 2008. Over these years, I have enjoyed working in early elementary classrooms-kindergarten through third grade. I also worked as a program manager at Sylvan Learning Center and as a certified Kid Fit instructor. These two early experiences allowed me the opportunity to gain additional experience, and valuable insight, pertaining to young learners and their varying needs.

    As a product of many years of Catholic education, I believe in the strength of an education rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church. I cherish the daily opportunities to teach children about the love of Jesus Christ. Working with Assumption students and families is a true blessing!


  • Mrs. Ilinca Voinea – 4th Grade

    • Bachelor of Arts, English and German Language and Literature – University of Bucharest, Romania
    • Certificate in Teaching Methodologies – University of Lancaster, Great Britain
    • Professional Clear Multiple Subject Credential – California State University Los Angeles

    I have been the 4th grade Homeroom Teacher at Assumption School since 2001. I have also taught Latin in grades 5-8. I am proficient in multiple languages, including English, German, French, Latin, as well as Romanian. My interest in foreign languages and reading was fostered by the desire to learn more about other cultures and to acquire a better understanding of all people. I also enjoy teaching math by showing my students how to apply problem solving skills in everyday situations.

    In teaching all subjects, I try to inspire my students to develop a positive academic attitude and to encourage them to explore their God-given talents. I firmly believe that a Catholic education offers students a moral foundation and spiritual guidance for life.


  • Mrs. Rae Lynn Jensen – 5th Grade

     

    • Bachelor of Arts, Diversified Liberal Arts – University of San Diego
    • Master of Education, Reading – University of La Verne
    • Professional Clear Multiple Subject California Teaching Credential
    • Reading Specialist Teaching Credential

    As a product of 20 years of Catholic education, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher in Catholic Schools. I truly believe in a Catholic Education.

    I started my teaching career 25 years ago as a second grade teacher at local Catholic School. I loved teaching second grade and did so for 10 years. After having my daughter, I changed schools and spent 4 years as a Reading Specialist, Librarian and Vice Principal. I feel extremely lucky to have then been hired at Assumption. I have enjoyed all my  jobs that I’ve  had at ABVM; a Reading Specialist for 3 years, starting up our Transitional Kindergarten class and teaching it for 3 years, and teaching second grade for 3 years. I am looking forward to my newest position as fifth grade teacher for homeroom, Religion, ELA, and Social Studies as well as seventh grade ELA. 

    In addition to teaching in elementary school,  I cultivated my love of reading by being an Adjunct Professor for 10 years at the University of La Verne teaching two courses, Literature for Children & Adolescents and the Reality of Teaching.

    I love reading, going to Disneyland weekly (which I’m really missing due to the COVID-19 quarantine) and sitting by the pool watching my daughter swim her little heart out. #futureolympianhopeful.


  • Jocelyn Kamura – 6th Grade

    • Bachelor of Arts – Art and Art History, C.A. State University, San Bernardino
    • Masters in Education – Loyola Marymount University
    • C.A. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential – Loyola Marymount University

    Welcome! My name is Jocelyn Kamura and I am so happy to teach the brilliant minds of sixth grade!

    I hope to help our wonderful students make a smooth transition into middle school, and develop their independence, organization, and critical thinking skills that will benefit them in all that they do. I have been teaching for over five years, and I have found that each and every day is a new experience. I love when students discover their potential, and begin to unfold a love of learning that is sure to last a lifetime.

    In my spare time, you will find me rooting for the Dodgers, painting Star Wars characters, or reading Harry Potter. I also enjoy playing board games with friends and family, and keeping up with the latest Netflix shows.

    I can’t wait to take this journey with all of you at Assumption School!


  • Mrs. Annette Faenza – 7th Grade

    • Bachelor of Science, Business – California State University, Los Angeles
    • Master of Arts, Education and Elementary Teacher Education Multiple Subject Credential – University of Phoenix
    • Clear Credential Program – San Diego State University

    I am very excited to be working with our 7th grade students! I have been working in the classroom at Assumption since 2007. In addition to being the homeroom teacher, I teach 5th- 8th grade science  and 7th grade religion. My goal is to make science fun and interesting with hands-on experiments. I believe children learn by asking questions and investigating ways to problem solve. Through participation, I am hoping the students will gain positive attitudes towards science that will carry through their life.

    I come to teaching after almost a decade in a successful career in pharmaceutical sales. After a couple life-changing experiences, I returned to school to become a teacher. My 3 children attended Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from K-8th grade. They were very well prepared for the challenges of high school and for college.

    In my spare time I enjoy running, reading and playing with our German Shepard-Duke. My husband Chris and I enjoy traveling and spending time in the desert.

    I have a great passion for teaching and look forward to continue working with the students at Assumption School.


  • Mrs. Kerry Holtz – 8th Grade

    • Bachelor of Science, Business – University of San Diego
    • Master of Arts, Education – University of Phoenix
    • Clear Elementary Education Multiple Subject Credential – San Diego State University

    My name is Kerry Holtz and I am excited to be the homeroom teacher for Assumption 8th graders as they prepare to transition to high school. I will be teaching social studies in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades this year, as well as 8th grade religion. Our goal at Assumption is to educate our students in a nurturing environment, rooted in Gospel values and Catholic traditions, where each child is recognized, respected, and cherished as a child of God.

    As a product of 17 years of Catholic education, I believe wholeheartedly in the spiritual and academic benefits of Catholic schools. I believe that teaching in a Catholic school is more of a calling than a job. I believe in the need to provide opportunities and experiences, centered around the Catholic faith, where each child can strive to reach their potential and be proud of their effort. Finally, I believe that the sense of community and belonging offered at Assumption School and developed during our Religion classes is an integral part of each child’s success.

    I fell in love with Assumption when my oldest son began Kindergarten here in 2005, and have been teaching and working here since 2007. I am currently a proud parent of three Assumption graduates!

    Go Gators!


  • Mrs. Olivia Gamboa – Math 5th-8th

    • B.A. in Math from UC Berkeley
    • Clear Teaching Credential from Antioch University

    Hi there! My name is Olivia Gamboa, and I’m teaching math for grades 5th through 8th. My B.A. is in math from UC Berkeley, and I hold a clear teaching credential from Antioch University. I have been working in schools for 7 years, though this will be my first time with the middle grades! I teach using the mastery learning philosophy, where students have clear learning objectives with rubrics that indicate what level of mastery is expected. I also will be encouraging students to focus on learning a math as a ‘algebraic way of thinking,’ as opposed to a set of rules or methods. While there are certainly endless algorithms that a student can memorize and use to solve a given problem, students gain a deeper understanding, and perform better with less effort, when they focus on using logical and algebraic thought to analyze the problem set before them. Further, students deepen their Catholic faith in seeing that humans share a universal logic, and universal notion of truth in math and abstract thought more broadly. I am looking forward to working with your students and encourage parents to email me with any questions or concerns.


  • Mr. Alex Suriano – Visual Arts Teacher, Math Teacher 6th-8th grade

    • Bachelor of Arts, Urban Learning (Multicultural Education) with an emphasis in Multiple Subject Elementary Education – California State University of Los Angeles

    Hello, welcome to Assumption! My name is Alex Suriano and I have one of the coolest jobs here. I teach art with 1st through 8th grade! That’s right, I get to let these kids’ creative minds run wild in a safe and caring environment. It is so fun and rewarding to see their artistic skills develop throughout their time here. This marks my 21st year working at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School. I have filled many different roles at the school throughout my time here. I have taught 8th grade social studies, 5th grade math, 2nd grade writing, I have worked as an instructional aide for a variety of grade levels, and also worked in Gator Club. I have traveled across the country numerous times with our 8th graders as the head chaperone for our Washington D.C. trip. I perform duties as a sacristan for our weekly school Mass. I have also collaborated with an amazing group of colleagues to develop a multicultural themed summer school program. I am very fortunate to be one of the few teachers who gets to work with almost all of the kids on a weekly basis. Getting to know them, seeing them grow, and graduate is pretty remarkable.

    This year, aside from teaching art, I will also be teaching math to grades 6th-8th. We have a phenomenal math program here at our school. We strive to have all of our students graduate 8th grade with the successful completion of Algebra 1. We also offer an accelerated program for students who are capable of moving through the material at a faster pace.

    In addition to teaching, I also coordinate our Certificate of Merit Program, which offers students the opportunity to complete an in-depth, independent study on a subject area of their choice. It is a great option for students to explore their interests outside of the daily curriculum. I also plan and host our yearly Talent Show which I started in 2008. Seeing these kids perform their hearts out on stage every year is absolutely incredible. It is one of my favorite days of the school year.

    When I am not teaching or planning lessons, you can usually find me playing with my two year old son, swinging in hammocks and reading books with my wife, digging through old record shops searching for the soundtrack to my life, or doodling characters and letters for my next art project. I am grateful to be a part of our Assumption family and I look forward to many more years of educating our children as they learn, play, create, and grow.


  • Mrs. Amanda McGeough – Learning Specialist & STEP Coordinator

    • Bachelor of Arts, English – California State University, Northridge
    • Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential – California State University, Los Angeles
    • Master of Arts in Education, Option in Reading Instruction – California State University, Los Angeles
    • Reading and Literacy Leadership Specialist Credential – California State University, Los Angeles
    • Dyslexia Screener  and Consultant

    Welcome! My name is Amanda McGeough and I am the Learning Specialist and STEP Coordinator for grades K-8.

    The call to education came late in life for me–the wise old age of 30. Prior to coming to Assumption, I taught 5th grade, as well as  6th-8th Math and Science at St. Thomas More School in Alhambra from 2002-2008. In the three years from 2008-2011, I actively pursued my teaching credential and masters, with the goal in mind of becoming a reading specialist. Why? It is best answered with the following quote by Rick Lavoie, noted education specialist, “Fairness doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing. It means giving every child what they need.” Knowing what a child needs allows for effective instruction and leads to student success.


  • Charlemagne Rafols – Media/Performing Arts & Choir Director

    • Bachelor of Arts, Communications – University of Southern California
    • Master of Fine Arts, Film (Screenwriting specialization) – UCLA

    I have the exciting job helping lead ABVM’s music and drama – while putting together some of the school’s fun productions! I enjoy teaching students to discover their voices, stories, and joys as they create, sing, act, and play. The arts can also strengthen writing skills, communication, leadership, confidence, and more. Immigrating from the Philippines (MABUHAY!), I grew up with a passion for the arts – wanting to be a DJ, movie star, or rock star (who sings a lot of love songs). I thank my parents for their own passion -especially in their Catholic faith and the value of education. Catholic schools inspired me throughout my life, starting at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Riverside. That’s where I met people who amazed me – including teachers, classmates, and my best friend since 6th grade!

    My professional media experience started at L.A. radio station 104.3 FM, writing copy and becoming the Music Director (with a lot of love songs!). I left that to pursue the performing arts…while wanting to try TEACHING. I’ve taught full-time many years, beginning at St. Dominic Catholic School in Eagle Rock. There, I met my beloved teaching mentor Mr. Castro (he loved Mondays!). I also instructed at a Catholic college for 5 years in Mexico City – serving as Film Department Director for Universidad Panamericana. There, I was so inspired by my students; after the 2017 earthquake, I witnessed these millennials use their energy, selflessness, and social media to connect and help others throughout the city.

    Returning to the US, I was recruited to be the dean of students for a Catholic high school – but decided to focus on professional creative work again, while teaching part-time. I realize that both are indeed my passion. Now at ABVM, I once again am inspired by people who amaze me – this time, they’re the teachers I work with and the students I teach. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you hear our choir sing a love song…or lots.


  • Mrs. Gabrielle Suriano – Athletic Director and Physical Education

    • Bachelor of Arts – Theology with an emphasis in Church History – Azusa Pacific University

    I began my time at ABVM as a student in the Kindergarten class. After graduating from ABVM, I went on to attend La Salle High School and then attended Pasadena City College. While at PCC, I earned my Associate of Arts degree in Humanities and was part of their Early Childhood Development program. I transferred to Azusa Pacific University where I gained my Bachelors degree in Theology with an emphasis in church history.

    During my time at ABVM, I have filled multiple roles. I started working at ABVM in the Fall of 2009 as the Kindergarten Unit Leader in Gator Club. Eventually, that position led to the classroom where I worked as the kindergarten aide for seven years. In addition to my aide duties, I have also taught religion to 7th and 8th grade, filled the position of the Student Council moderator, and coached several sports. I have now happily moved into the position of Athletic Director and P.E. teacher.

    I have been given the unique opportunity to help develop and strengthen a program that I was once a part of as a student myself. I have always been actively involved with sports and I am eager to share my enthusiasm for exercise with the students. I strive to teach them to remain active throughout their lives, whether that’s by participating in team sports or just simply being active outdoors on their own. Movement is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and I hope to expand the students’ love and appreciation for all forms of physical activity.


  • Veronica Silva – Spanish

    • Bachelor of Science, Communication Studies – Woodbury University, Burbank, CA

    My journey as a Spanish teacher began at St. Louise de Marillac, Covina where I was fortunate to teach for two years before joining ABVM in 2018. I have lived in the San Gabriel Valley including Pasadena for most of my life but lived in Mexico during my childhood. In high school, I was a fervent community service volunteer, Junior Civitan International member, and Police Explorer. I attended Pasadena City College with an A.A. in English Literature and earned my B.A. in Communication Studies from Woodbury University.

    My past professional experience includes bilingual instructional support at the public school level in the areas of Speech and Language, Resource Specialist, and Kindergarten through 8th grades. I also used my Spanish bilingual skills to advocate for adults and youth with developmental disabilities at the Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center and as a Director for The Mentor Network in the Greater Los Angeles area.

    As a Catholic Spanish teacher, I feel fortunate to share my Catholic faith and the diversity of the Spanish language cultural heritage with my students. In the classroom, I like to promote and nurture creativity and expression by allowing my students to feel relaxed and unafraid to participate in activities. I feel very blessed to be part of a nurturing and supportive community such as ABVM and look forward to being part of your student’s academic career.