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Faculty and Staff

Ms. Lynne Kennedy Mullen

Ms. Lynne Kennedy Mullen

lmullen@csdo.org
Principal

Lynne Kennedy Mullen has served students and families in schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Diocese of Oakland for 34 years as a teacher, youth minister, and principal. She attended Catholic school from the first grade at Holy Name of Jesus Elementary and Presentation High School in San Francisco through college at Santa Clara University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. Mrs. Mullen earned her Master of Arts degree from San Francisco State University, her California Clear Multiple Subjects teaching credential from San Jose State University, and her Administrative Credential from California State University East Bay. She is currently a doctoral student at California State University in the Educational Leadership for Social Justice program studying how trauma affects the learning environment and how schools can implement trauma-informed learning strategies. She is married with two grown sons, a beautiful daughter-in-law. She enjoys reading, knitting, and gardening.

Principal
Ms. Vanessa Cordova

Ms. Vanessa Cordova

vcordova@csdo.org
Kindergarten Teacher

Vanessa Cordova is in her third year teaching Transitional Kindergarten/Kindergarten and fifth year working at St. Elizabeth School. She began working in St. Elizabeth as a program leader for the 21st Century Before and After school program, an Instructional Assist for 6-8th grade, and 1st grade substitute. Herself is a product of the Oakland Diocese, being an alumni of St. Elizabeth Elementary School (2007) and St. Elizabeth High School (2011), she is grateful to be back and be a part of the community that formed her. She began volunteering at the St. Elizabeth School in her sophomore year in High School, went camping with 6th graders and earned 85 hours of service. She continued to volunteer in her sibling classroom as well. In her third year of undergrad Vanessa wanted to go into Pediatrics and became a Certified Nurse Assistant and Medical Assistant. As well, is a former Oakland Children’s Hospital Volunteer in the playroom. Vanessa completed her undergraduate at Holy Names University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Vanessa is currently attending Holy Names University to obtain her Multiple Subject teaching credential and hopes in the future to get a Master of Arts in Child Life Specialist. Vanessa enjoys working with children. She enjoys decorating her classroom, watching Dancing with the Stars and Grey's Anatomy, and spending time with her two siblings.

Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Cecilia Fernandes

Ms. Cecilia Fernandes

cfernandes@csdo.org
First Grade Teacher

Cecilia Fernandes grew up in San Francisco, California and graduated from University of Southern California where she earned her M. A. in teaching multiple subjects.During this program she was a student teacher for third graders at KIPP Excelencia in Redwood City and an elementary student teacher at Thomas Edison Elementary School.When she is not teaching, she enjoys playing the piano at church, trying out new restaurants and spending time with her family and friends.

First Grade Teacher
Ms. Minerva Corona

Ms. Minerva Corona

mcorona@csdo.org
Second and Third Grade Teacher

Minerva Corona is in her sixth year of teaching at St. Elizabeth! She has previously taught two combo classes of 1st and 2nd grade. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies with a focus on Minorities in Education. While at UC Berkeley, she volunteered at St Elizabeth and felt a strong connection with the community here as it reminded her of home. She loves seeing the excitement in her students’ faces when they accomplish a goal and learn something new. When not teaching, she likes visiting her family in LA, trying new food, and spending time with friends.

Second and Third Grade Teacher
Mr. LaRon Mitchell

Mr. LaRon Mitchell

lmitchell@csdo.org
Fourth Grade Teacher

I am Mr. Mitchell and I am the 4th grade teacher at St. Liz. I am a
native of San Francisco, CA and a graduate of San Francisco State
University. I have been a teacher at St. Liz since 2014 and I am
blessed to be a part of the St. Liz community. I look forward to best
serving our students to ensure their success.

Fourth Grade Teacher
Ms. Christine Frea

Ms. Christine Frea

cfrea@csdo.org
Fourth Grade Teacher

Ms. Christine Frea grew up in Fresno, California and graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in Urban Education and Spanish. She served as a teacher in PLACE Corps (Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education) through Loyola Marymount University, during which she earned a M.A. in Elementary Education and her California teaching credential. Most recently, Christine was a member of the University of Notre Dame’s ChACE program (ACE in Chile) through which she taught English in Santiago, Chile. In total, she has over seven years of teaching experience, ranging from kindergarten through high school. Christine enjoys cheering on Bay Area sports teams, trying out new restaurants and dessert spots, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Fourth Grade Teacher
Ms. Michelle Escobar

Ms. Michelle Escobar

mescobar@csdo.org
Assistant Principal, Seventh and Eighth Grade ELA, Social Studies and Religion

Ms. Michelle Escobar is thrilled to be a part of the beautiful Saint Elizabeth Elementary School community! Ms. Escobar has over fifteen years experience as a teacher in Catholic schools. She has taught many grades in her career including first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. She is delighted to teach fifth grade at Saint Elizabeth. Ms. Escobar’s philosophy of teaching is simple, ‘Every child’s potential is limitless” which is how she sees each of her students’ potential and ability. For as long as she can remember, teaching was her calling. Learning, for her, has always been fun and challenging, which is what she hopes to instill in her students. Her passion for education began as a small child when she took on the difficult challenge of teaching her cats to write. While her first teaching endeavor presented challenges, she never gave up on her calling in education! When not teaching, Ms. Escobar enjoys going on adventures with her two brilliant daughters. If her daughters would allow, she would love to travel, read and watch movies other than Disney again!

Assistant Principal, Seventh and Eighth Grade ELA, Social Studies and Religion
Ms. Maricela Vázquez

Ms. Maricela Vázquez

mvasquez@csdo.org
Seventh and Eighth Grade Math, Science and Religion

Growing up, Maricela Clara Vázquez attended Lazear Elementary and both Saint Elizabeth Elementary & High School. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Language and Literature (Filosofía y Letra) and minored in Studio Art at Saint Mary’s College of California, including a school year abroad at Universidad Internacional, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mx. Immediately after graduating, she taught as a long term substitute teacher at her alma mater, St. Elizabeth High School. It was there where Ms. Vazquez confirmed her mission to work as an educator. After taking time to take care of her family, she returned to the classroom as a long term substitute teacher at St. Elizabeth Elementary and St. Leander School.

Catholic education has been a vital and continuous influence for Ms. Vazquez. A mother, poeta, and teacher, she proudly identifies as a Xicana, Queer, Oakland native, daughter of immigrant parents. Her earliest memories of strong and positive influencers were her teachers, from preschool through college. Now, she is committed to stringently encourage, motivate and spark a desire to never stop learning… to find solutions and ask: Why? How? For what?

Ms. Vazquez genuinely believes that we are all artists, math is everywhere, and science is real.

When she is not preparing lessons, Ms. Vazquez likes to read, meditate, dance, watch indie/international films, hike, draw, paint, travel and eat (she LOVES food!). Currently, she is working on an experiment with music, teaching herself the Italian language with various tools, and learning to design using Adobe programs, for fun!

Seventh and Eighth Grade Math, Science and Religion
Ms. Laura Ruffridge

Ms. Laura Ruffridge

lruffridge@csdo.org
Fifth and Sixth Grade Math, Social Studies and Religion

My name is Ms. Laura Ruffridge (Himelstein) and I am so happy to be here at St. Elizabeth as the middle school Social Studies and Religion teacher. I have been at St. Liz for 6 years now and I could not imagine myself being anywhere else! I am blessed to have a wonderful husband, two young sons, and a dog at home. I went to California State University, Chico for my Bachelors and Loyola Chicago for my Masters in Elementary Education. Fun fact about my family is my Grandmother Genevieve graduated eighth grade from St. Elizabeth in 1931!

Fifth and Sixth Grade Math, Social Studies and Religion
Mr. Liam Dodson

Mr. Liam Dodson

lidodson@csdo.org
Eighth Grade Homeroom & Middle School ELA

Mr. Liam Dodson is in his second year at St. Elizabeth School, and his third year total of teaching. Himself a product of the Oakland Diocese, having graduated from both St. Theresa School (2004) and Bishop O'Dowd High School (2008), he is excited to be back working in the community that formed him. After graduating from Bishop O'Dowd High School, Liam completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied Philosophy. Thereafter, he went on to complete a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Maitripa College, in Portland, Oregon, before deciding to work in K-12 education. In the fall, Mr. Dodson is considering attending the University of San Francisco to obtain a specialized literacy and English teaching credential. In his free time, Mr. Dodson enjoys bike riding, reading, agonizing over crossword puzzle clues, and gardening.

Eighth Grade Homeroom & Middle School ELA
Ms. Maria L. Carrillo

Ms. Maria L. Carrillo

mcarrillo@csdo.org
Director, Mother Pia Program

Ms. Maria Carrillo joined the Mother Pia team at St. Elizabeth in 2016 as an Educational Therapy consultant (Early Learning Specialist) and was delighted to have been offered the position as Director of the Program for TK-5 in 2017, and TK-8 in 2018. Over the previous twelve years, Ms. Carrillo co-founded and implemented the Learning Specialist Program at Berkwood Hedge School in Berkeley and also held multiple consulting assignments in the field of Special Education. Prior, she spent over ten years as a classroom teacher in public and private school settings in diverse classroom environments, spanning three countries. Ms. Carrillo holds a Master’s degree in Education and Educational Therapy from Holy Names University, where her master thesis work centered around bilingual assessments. Ms. Carrillo was born in Spain and is bilingual in Spanish and English, which she believes is a skill that serves her well here at St. Elizabeth. When she is not at St. Elizabeth, she is working in her private Educational Therapy practice or spending time with her family, exploring the outdoors, cooking, reading and traveling.

Director, Mother Pia Program
Mr. Alan Perlberg

Mr. Alan Perlberg

aperlberg@csdo.org
Learning Specialist

Mr. Perlberg is delighted to be a long-standing member of the St. Elizabeth community. This year he serves as the TK/ kindergarten/ first grade learning specialist and the Mother Pia assessment specialist. Alan has worked for over 30 years as a public and private school special educator and as a Board Certified Educational Therapist in both clinical and private settings. Alan holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and severalcertificates in regular and special education.

Outside of work, his activities include making music, doing yoga, and attending theater, as well as gardening, hiking, and nature journaling. Alan and his wife Lisa are long-term residents of Oakland. His work at St. Elizabeth is both challenging and rewarding, and he is grateful to serve in such a wonderful community.

Learning Specialist
Ms. Jamie Lee

Ms. Jamie Lee

jlee@csdo.org
1st - 5th Grades Reading and Writing Intervention

Ms. Lee is celebrating her fifth year with the St. Elizabeth community. In the past, she has been able to serve as a 21st Century Program Leader and as a Title 1 Teacher. This year, Jamie continues as the Mother Pia Program Reading and Writing Intervention Teacher for first through fifth grade. Jamie grew up in Austin, Texas but moved to California after finishing high school. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016 and currently enrolled in graduate studies at San Francisco State University. In her spare time Jamie loves to hike around the area, read, and try new foods.

1st - 5th Grades Reading and Writing Intervention
Ms. Victoria Bettencourt

Ms. Victoria Bettencourt

lbettencourt@csdo.org
Middle School English Language Arts Intervention (ELA)

Victoria Bettencourt joined the St. Elizabeth community this year as the English Language Arts Intervention Teacher (ELA) for Middle School. Vicky is originally from Spain where she taught at a bilingual school for 5 years before moving to California in 2013. Here in California, Vicky worked at Berkwood Hedge School in Berkeley for 2 years where she was the K-5 Spanish Teacher. She has ample experience working with English Language Learners (ELL) at the middle and high school level. Vicky is currently working on transferring her teaching credential from Spain and is very excited to be able to work with the middle schoolers and offer them the support they need to have a successful year. When Vicky is not working with her students, she is enjoying time with her family and friends, traveling, reading or exploring the great California outdoors.

Middle School English Language Arts Intervention (ELA)
Sister Jo McFayden

Sister Jo McFayden

jmcfayden@csdo.org
1st - 8th Grades Math Intervention

Sr. Jo McFayden is a Religious of the Sacred Heart. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska along with her six brothers and one sister. She was fortunate to attend Catholic schools throughout her life and though she did most of her undergraduate work at the University of Nebraska, she finished her studies at Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois with a degree in English and a minor in Educational Psychology.

Sister Jo has over 35 years experience in education most of which in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, a network run through her religious congregation. Over the years she has taught a variety of subjects. Her experience in math began about 15 years ago when she began tutoring students after school in math, which led to a full-time position.

After moving to the Bay Area, she came to St. Elizabeth as a volunteer working with a small group of sixth graders in math. She is grateful this has turned into the opportunity to work with more students through the Title One Program.

1st - 8th Grades Math Intervention
Maddy Malicdem Fifth and Sixth ELA, Science, and Religion.