faculty and staff
Our teachers and staff are excellent educators, qualified to bring superior education to Saint Catherine Labouré School. We are honored and grateful to our faculty whose dedication, love, and service to our students continues to prepare them for the challenges of life.
Dr. Tricia Holmquist, Principal
I have heard many people say that there is something very special and unique about St. Catherine Labouré School (SCL). Some describe this school community as being like one big family. I have found SCL to be a place where everyone feels welcome; a place where everyone IS welcome. SCL is a place where you feel the presence of Christ in all aspects.
I come to St. Catherine Labouré School with many years of experience in Catholic education. I attended Catholic elementary (St. Gregory the Great, Whittier), high school (St. Paul HS, Santa Fe Springs) and graduate studies (Loyola Marymount University). My husband and I were blessed to have been able to raise our five children in Catholic education (Kindergarten through Post Graduate Studies). As a student, parent, educator and administrator there is nothing better than to be able to learn about and live your faith, in our exceptional Catholic education system. I look forward to working in partnership with the members of our faith community and I look forward to witnessing God's plan for us.
To quote a favorite passage of mine: Let it be known to all who enter here that Christ is the reason for this school, the unseen, but ever present teacher in its classes, the model of its faculty, the inspiration of its students.
Dr. Tricia Holmquist
BA Family and Consumer Sciences (emphasis: Interior Design), CSULB
Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, CSULB
MA Educational Technology, CSULB
MA Catholic School Leadership & Administrative Credential, Loyola Marymount University
Ed.D. Educational Leadership, CSULB
Cheryl Hebestreit, Vice Principal
I enjoy teaching at St. Catherine Labouré because of the loving, community atmosphere at the school. After a long term substitute position during the 2012-2013 school year, I was thrilled to say “yes” when asked to permanently join the staff the following year. Having taught previously at schools with modest diversity, I also greatly appreciate how diverse the students and their families are at SCL.
BA Arizona State University
MA University of San Francisco
Vivian Vu, Transitional Kindergarten
As an alumnus from SCL, I am thrilled to be back here to teach the little ones. Early on in my high school and undergraduate education, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in education. I have always loved working with children and helping guide their learning process. I truly feel passionate about education and helping my students learn and grow throughout the year. I am a life-long learner, and I wish to encourage a love of learning in each and every one of my students from a young age. I believe in creating a safe and welcoming environment for students to succeed in school. I am so excited to be teaching at SCL!
BA Psychology, Minor in Elementary Education, Loyola Marymount University
MA Educational Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Nora Jimenez, Kindergarten
I started my teaching career working for LAUSD as a kinder and dual-immersion TK teacher. After taking some time off to be home with my children, I later worked for the Wiseburn Unified School District as a 5th grade teacher and 3rd -5th intervention teacher. But the call to share my faith is what has brought me here to SCL, having myself gone through the Catholic school setting when I was a child. It gives me great pleasure that I will be working as an intervention teacher for St. Catherine. I am looking forward to not only sharing out faith with our students, but having a small influence in guiding our children to a much brighter future that involves faith, spirituality and responsibility for a better tomorrow!
BA Liberal Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills
MA Elementary Education, Loyola Marymount University
BCLAD Credential, Loyola Marymount University
Annalisa Prieto, Kindergarten
I believe one never stops learning. I am a lifelong learner and I want my students to love school just as much as I do. Learning is NOT a race, but a journey through life. It is an exciting adventure, with something new to be learned each day. It is my privilege to guide and encourage a child as he or she gains a love of learning, self-confidence, and the academic skills that form a foundation for continued success.
BA Human Services, California State University, Dominguez Hills
MA Curriculum & Instruction, Concordia University, Irvine
Julia Bartlett, Grade 1
I have been teaching primary students for more than 20 years, and I believe that I have the best job in the world! When students leave my classroom and advance to the next grade, they do so as academic achievers and committed Catholics. With PBL (project-based learning) my students "Learn by Doing", they gain the confidence to ask questions, make connections, teach others, and be enthusiastic about learning as they advance in the world of education. I have always made the learning environment a place in which students can feel safe to share their ideas and thoughts as well as develop social and interpersonal skills. SCL is more than just a school, it is a family, filled with faith, where the members follow in Jesus' footsteps.
BA Industrial Education, California State University, Long Beach
MA in Teaching, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Saint Mary
Early Childhood Certificate, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, CLAD
Lifetime Reading Certificate, University Of California, Los Angeles
Mariela Gonzalez, Grade 1
Hi! I am Mrs. Mariela Gonzalez. Teaching is an absolute passion of mine. I am so excited to work with you and your child.
This is my second year at SCL, but have taught for the last 20 years in both public and private schools. Twelve of those years have been as a first grade teacher. It is my absolute favorite grade to teach. I hope to create a happy and safe learning environment for my students so they can develop a love for learning.
BA Liberal Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills
M.Ed, Crosscultural Education, National University
Reading Certificate Teacher's College, Columbia University
Cassidy Carlson, Grade 2
I feel so blessed to be a part of the St. Catherine Labouré community! I have always known I wanted to be a teacher, to help my students find their voice, reach their fullest potential, and develop a lifelong love for learning. In my classroom I strive to educate, captivate, and challenge each of my students. I am dedicated to fostering a welcoming and nurturing environment, rooted in faith, where each student feels valued and supported. I am beyond grateful to be given the opportunity to grow alongside my students at SCL, while surrounded by a loving and dedicated community.
BA Liberal Studies, Loyola Marymount University
MA Educational Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Loyola Marymount University
Margaret Emis, Grade 2
A person is led to teach because someone high above knows that this person can lead. Ever since I became a teacher my life's purpose gets more vivid every day.
When I experienced a job outside the classroom, the feeling of fulfillment I got at the end of the day did not match the feeling of fulfillment I was used to having when I was teaching. That is why I was so happy when I was accepted as a teacher here at St. Catherine Labouré School. I was even more thankful to find out that this school is a community of warm people who dedicate themselves into bringing out the best in everybody.
Education is an everyday adventure. With the vastness of knowledge, as students learn a lot from their teacher, likewise, a teacher may also learn a lot from her students. It is essential that a firm ground of creativity, respect, patience and discipline is established inside the classroom for the effective flow of learning to take place.
BA Elementary Education, De La Salle Lipa University
MA Education Administration, University of the Philippines
Jennifer Martin, Grade 3
As a parent and teacher at SCL, I have not only seen the great achievements of my students, but in my own children as well. When my husband and I decided to bring our oldest child to SCL, I recall sharing with him the many success stories of past students I had taught in my years at SCL. For example, one past student not only excelled at SCL, but continued to excel throughout high school, and was accepted in LMU. She graduated, went into a master’s program, and is now teaching. She has visited me on several occasions and has attributed much of her success to SCL and the teachers who gave her the drive and inspiration to succeed in life. It was the stories of success that helped us make our decision. I believe this is why parents should send their children to SCL. We are part of that driving force that leads into success in life for so many of our children.
BA Child Development with a Multiple Subjects Waiver, California State University, Los Angeles
Pauline Skinner, Grade 3
I teach at St. Catherine Labouré School because I believe that Catholic education is the means by which to educate the whole child. I taught for 12 years in the Parish School of Religion before joining the day school. I am a member of this parish and my four children graduated from this school. The success of my children, I attribute, in part, to the foundation they received at this school. Their religious background supported the academic challenges and endeavors that were put before them. The caring faculty helped develop their conscience, stewardship, and work ethic that became the foundation for success.
The parents, staff, and teachers are supportive of one another. This brings a family-like feel to the school. I am happy to be a member of this family and I love what I do.
BA Psychology, California State University, Long Beach
Clear California Multiple Subject Credential
Candice Doyle, Grade 4
It is an honor to be part of the teaching staff here at St. Catherine Labouré School and I am thrilled to be a part of this very exciting year of learning! As an SCL alumni, I truly value the community of faith here at St. Catherine Labouré. The amazing staff members are dedicated to providing ALL students with a rigorous curriculum so they can grow in academic excellence, as well as in faith. Student are challenged to exceed grade level expectations and inspired to be the best in everything that they do. I am looking forward to working with the families here at SCL with great expectations this year!
BA Liberal Studies, California State University, Long Beach
Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
Victoria King, Grade 5
Teaching is one of my biggest passions, and helping all of my students reach their full potential is my top priority. It is very important to me that all of my students feel successful, safe and loved every single day in my classroom.
This year will be my 10th year teaching. I am looking forward to the new experiences I will make and create at St. Catherine Labouré School.
BA Spanish, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Alternate Teaching Credential Program, Central New Mexico CC, Albuquerque
MS Educational Leadership, Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles (Exp. May 2023)
Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
Christina Luna, Grade 5
It is a pleasure and joy to be a teacher in the St. Catherine Labouré community. Since going to school here, when I was younger, and getting married here, I have come to realize that St. Catherine is a community of love, the exact community and energy I want to continue to build in the classroom. I was inspired at a young age and felt safe and comfortable at St. Catherine and those feelings are being felt by students today. I am privileged to have the opportunity to inspire students today, just as I was inspired many years ago.
BA Sociology with a minor in Business, Loyola Marymount University
MA Curriculum and Instruction, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. California State University, Long Beach
Mario Hernandez, 6th Grade Homeroom and Junior High Spanish and Religion
I have been an educator for over five years and believe this is my true calling in life. I was fortunate to have come from a family of educators and I want to continue their legacy and be able to give back to the community. I feel blessed to have been given an opportunity to teach at a Catholic School, like St. Catherine Labouré. Educating the youth academically and spiritually is a blessing. My goal is to prepare my students for their future endeavors and to empower them to promote social justice and equality.
BA Ethnic Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
CA Teaching Credential, Loyola Marymount University
Kristina Kyle, 6th Grade Homeroom and Junior High Literature
Being a teacher isn’t my job, I believe it is my calling. Helping students grow and come to love reading is one of my greatest joys. Since 2008, I have been teaching and sharing my love of books with my students. I even spent a couple of years as a school librarian. It was in middle school that I truly became a reader, and I think that is why my heart has always been in teaching Middle School. Having taught in both public school and private Christian schools, I am passionate about the importance of faith based education. I am looking forward to not only sharing my love of literature with my students at St. Catherine’s but also growing lifelong relationships in this community.
BA English Education with and Emphasis in Literature California State University, Long Beach
Clear Subject Teaching Credential (English)
Michelle Fierros, 7th Grade Homeroom and Junior High Social Studies
As an educator, I believe that an individual's education is a journey that nurtures a love for learning, which prepares them to be successful leaders in their community as well as evolve intellectually. My role is to ensure that students learn how to use critical thinking skills to solve problems, to communicate effectively and to analyze information, which will provide students with the necessary skills to be successful in today's global society. I am very excited to be given the opportunity to join the wonderful staff at St. Catherine Labouré School. I look forward to guiding SCL students to grow in their faith and relationship with God and to live as disciples of Jesus.
BA English, Mount St. Mary's College
MA Education, Loyola Marymount University
Rebecca Schempp, 7th Grade Homeroom and Junior High Science
Community is one of the key elements in any school environment and what keeps families returning. This is certainly true for me. Being a military spouse, we have moved all over the country. I have taught 6th-8th grade in every subject at some point or another for over 10 years. When we were lucky enough to be moved back to California last year, my first hope was to be able to teach at Saint Catherine’s again. We were so blessed to be able to do so!
BS Mass Communication, University of Colorado
MA Education Curriculum and Instruction, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Elizabeth Westendorf, 8th Grade Homeroom and Junior High Language Arts
The 2021/2022 school year is my eleventh year of teaching. I spent my first four years teaching third and fourth grade at a charter school in Detroit, Michigan. Soon after I moved to sunny California, I began my journey as a junior high teacher in 2015. After teaching both elementary and junior high, I have grown very fond of working with junior high students and love teaching the rigorous curriculum it entails. I believe as an educator it is crucial not only to support my students academically, but also in their social emotional growth. I am honored to be a part of this supportive and loving community at SCL.
BA Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Wayne University, Michigan
Maureen Ward, 8th Grade Homeroom and Junior High Math
Being an educator is like no other job, and I am thrilled to continue my ministry of teaching at St. Catherine Labouré. Everyday is a new day filled with excitement and curiosity and a step towards preparing the youth for our future. As Nelson Mandela brilliantly said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” A classroom is more than memorizing facts and figures; rather it is being able to think critically and being able to apply that knowledge to real world situations. My goal is to instill confidence in all students and have them realize that knowledge is power and they can make a difference. Teaching at a Catholic school, like St. Catherine Labouré, is an added bonus. It is a blessing to integrate our Catholic faith into the curriculum and help guide students through their spiritual journey with Christ. I look forward to providing a challenging and inclusive curriculum to reach all types of learners, as well a structured environment that allows students to grow personally.
BA Liberal Studies, Math Concentration, Loyola Marymount University
MA Child and Adolescent Literacy, Loyola Marymount University
Reading Certificate, Loyola Marymount University
California Clear Credential
Rachel Pittock, Athletics and Community Director
I am a strong believer in the power of sport and the everyday impact it can make on children. Previously, I worked for Special Olympics Southern California, after obtaining my Masters in Coaching & Athletic Administration, I decided it was time to make the switch into the world of education. I couldn't be more happy with that decision and this wonderful community I ended up in.
CIF Certified High School Coach
BA Communications, University of California, Santa Barbara
MA Coaching & Athletic Administration, Concordia University
Francine Buitron, Technology Director and Technology Teacher
St. Catherine Labouré is the best private school in the South Bay because it has a strong academic program and a faith-filled community. St. Catherine’s also offers a variety of extra-curricular programs, such as Arts Alive, Yearbook, CYO sports, and Academic Decathlon. In addition, SCL provides an art program, a physical education program, and an advanced technology program. These programs allow the students to explore their creativity and become well-rounded students.
BA History & Political Science, University of Texas, San Antonio
MA International Relations, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio
Maritza Martin, Technology Education
It is truly a blessing to be a part of the St. Catherine Labouré family. The growth and use of Computer Science in Education will only continue, and I am truly honored to be a part of the advanced technology program we have here at SCL. With over 23 years experience in the industry of technology, I am happy to offer my knowledge, and hands-on experience in all levels of Computer Science and Technology support to our staff, teachers and students.
BS Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles
Professional and Leadership, US Air Force
Professional Technology Development, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Kristy Narey, Art Teacher and Daycare Director
I believe that families should choose SCL for their child(ren) because we provide a loving and safe environment where the entire community is committed to academic and personal success. Students are given a very strong foundation on which to build their academic futures. SCL is everyone’s home away from home.
25 years in education
Janette Blake, Spanish Teacher (Grades 1-5)
I am honored to join the St. Catherine Laboure community teaching Spanish as a second language. It is a privilege to be a part of a school that is both faith-based and academic. As a student of English as a second language, I know that learning a second language is challenging. I hope to motivate students to learn Spanish by making the content accessible and engaging.
At the age of 17, I had my first teaching job. Living in the mountains in Peru, I traveled with my father to remote villages outside of the city to teach Spanish to the indigenous peoples who only spoke, Quechua. Currently, I am in the final stages of completing my Single Subject Credential for Teaching Spanish as a second language.
AS Early Childhood Education, El Camino College
BA Spanish, Cal State University Long Beach
Emergency Teaching Credential