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We are so excited to finally help you match some official new photos to the names of 12 new Faculty members and our Assistant Principal! We’ve provided a quote from each of them below to help you get to know them and why they chose to be a part of our Mighty Monarch community.

Amanda Esparza, Assistant Principal

Mrs. Esparza is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Mary-Ann Remick Leadership Program in Alliance for Catholic Education. She most recently served as Academic Dean at the Benedictine Schools of Richmond. In her own words: “I was surprised by the number of faculty and staff who have children who are SMCS students and alumni. It is a great testament to how wonderful our school is!”

Dawn Slagle, Instructional Resource Teacher (Grades 5-8)

Most recent work history: For the past seven years, Mrs. Slagle served as a Student Success Teacher at Manchester High School. She worked in Chesterfield County for a total of 15 years after five years in Hanover County at the start of her career. In her own words: “I feel so blessed to be a part of the Saint Mary’s family! God has truly called me to the perfect place!”

Will Caulder, JK Teacher (veteran Monarch, new role)

Mr. Caulder served last year as the 1st Grade Instructional Assistant. He is known for his infectiously “sunny” attitude and a deep love for flaming hot Cheetos! In his own words: “Everyone has been so supportive and helpful. We have a very kind and generous staff.”

Amanda Cosby, Instructional Assistant for Kindergarten (returning Monarch)

In her own words: “I worked at Saint Mary’s from 2007-2009 as a first grade aide, and I am THRILLED to be back!” Last year Mrs. Cosby worked with exceptional education students in Powhatan County after working five years as a Dispatcher.

Nancy Hartgrove, Instructional Assistant for 1st Grade / IB MYP French Language Teacher

Mrs. Hartgrove and her family have been in Richmond for about a year. Prior to working at Saint Mary’s she homeschooled her children for 5 years. Before that, she was a music educator in both public and private schools, including Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School in Birmingham, Alabama. In her own words: “I can’t wait to see the finished construction!”

Tylar Harrod, 2nd Grade Teacher (veteran Monarch, new role)

Last year she served as a 4th Grade Teacher and prior to that taught Kindergarten at a Catholic School in St. Louis. In her own words: Mrs. Harrod is most excited about “getting to know my 2nd graders and getting the opportunity to continue to love my now 5th graders!”

Trisha Potter, Instructional Assistant for 4th & 5th Grades

In her own words: Ms. Potter most looks forward to attending “School Mass as a community.” Prior to joining Saint Mary’s, she worked at Richmond Montessori School.

Sarah DiFazio, 5th Grade Teacher (veteran Monarch, new role)

In her own words: “I am really looking forward to getting to experience all of the joys of the Saint Mary’s community with my own class such as the Christmas Show, May Crowning and Field Day.” Last year, Mrs. DiFazio was an Instructional Assistant in 4th and 5th Grades.

Mary Morris, 5th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Morris comes to us from Blessed Sacrament School in Alexandria, Virginia where she taught fifth grade for six years. She looks forward to creating a welcoming classroom and to collaborating with students, staff and parents to help students reach their full potential. In her own words: “I enjoy reading Shakespeare and writing. I also have coached basketball to elementary school students. In addition, I have performed in musicals.”

Karinna Bordas, IB MYP Spanish Language Teacher

In her own words: “Everybody is kind and helpful. I love that more than one teacher has thanked me for being here. I also appreciate that Mr. Hess checks in on my classroom and asks how I am doing. Mrs. Esparza is always there too. Mr. Schaefer and Mrs. Forkey are already excellent and helpful colleagues. I am grateful to be part of a great team.” Mrs. Bordas most recently worked at Loudoun Country Day School in Leesburg as a Preschool through 5th grade Spanish Teacher.

Vicky Oliver, IB MYP Math & Science Teacher (returning Monarch)

Having previously taught at Saint Mary’s from 2012 through 2018, Mrs. Oliver returns to us as a Middle School Math and Science Teacher. She also helps coordinate aspects of school wide digital learning. She most recently taught 4th and 5th Grades at Echo Lake Elementary in Henrico County. Before her career in teaching, she was a systems engineer developing software. In her own words: “I am excited to return to Saint Mary’s and look forward to sharing my knowledge of technology to provide interactive and engaging instruction.”

Chrisopher Birkland, IB MYP Math Teacher

In his own words: “So far I have really appreciated the atmosphere and overall supportiveness of the school community.” Mr. Birkland worked in Chesterfield County prior to joining Saint Mary’s IB Middle Years Programme Faculty.

Michael Hicks, IB MYP Language Arts Teacher

Mr. Hicks comes to us from Rome, Italy, where he served as assistant principal and English Teacher at an IB, Catholic, pre-K to Grade 12 international school. He and his wife are both Virginia natives who returned stateside to be closer to family after teaching internationally for eight years. Mr. Hicks looks forward to sharing his experiences abroad as well as his faith with our community at Saint Mary’s.

This full page layout will be featured in the Church Bulletin on the weekend of September 24/25.