Staff & Faculty

Staff & Faculty
Title Name
Pastor Father Bernardin Mugabo
Principal Christie Horton
Bookkeeper Don Gibbs
Programs Teacher
Preschool Director Maria Chagolla
Preschool Sarah Castellon, Belinda Hussey, Lesley Luppino
Transitional Kindergarten Tasha Clutts
Kindergarten Lisa Smith
First Grade Miranda Myers
Second Grade Maggie Williams
Third Grade Cathy Dang
Fourth Grade Karla Henning
Fifth Grade Kira McKechnie
Sixth Grade Justin Fritzsche
Seventh Grade Joe Kann
Eighth Grade Colleen Ennis
Math (7th - 8th) and Science ( 6th - 8th)
Physical Education (K-8th) Kevin Rogers
Extension Director Stacia Paluch
Art Natalie Hardwick
Resource Teacher Hanna Price
Music/Choir Cara O'Shea
Drama Joanne Giffard
School Aides Michel Bakkie, Kelli Ramos
Extension Staff Shelby Strickley, Anthony Bagley

Katie Basten

This is Ms. Basten’s first year teaching at Saint John the Evangelist School. She attended another Catholic elementary school in our diocese, Saint Ignatius, from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Ms. Basten attended California State University of Sacramento for her Bachelor’s Degree. Following this, she attended the University of San Francisco for her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s Degree in education. She worked at Saint Ignatius for three years as the fifth grade aide, as well as the science aide for grades 1 through 4. In her free time, Ms. Basten enjoys spending time with family, going to the American River, and playing tennis.

Being hired at Saint John the Evangelist has been one of the greatest blessings in my life thus far. The community, faculty, staff, students, and families have been nothing but welcoming and warm hearted towards me. Thus far, I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from many talented teachers and staff members. The students have been a joy to work with and have only deepened my passion for teaching. My goals for each and every student this year are to show kindness at every opportunity, to always put forth your best effort academically, and to live up to our SJE Beloved Student Learning Expectations.

Please email me if you have any questions or would like to set up a tour/meeting. My door is always open!

Christie Horton

Mrs. Christie Horton has been on faculty at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School since 2008. She began working at SJE as the 8th grade teacher, and after a year at home to care for her three small children, she returned to our junior high as the history, religion, and math teacher. She became Principal in 2018.

Mrs. Horton holds a BA in Liberal Studies from CSU Long Beach and a MA in History from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. She previously worked as a Congressional Aide in Washington, D.C., and she began her teaching career in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia prior to relocating to Sacramento.

I love St. John the Evangelist! Our school is a nurturing, faith-focused environment for students. When children arrive on campus, they know they are safe and loved; they can truly focus on school and becoming the best versions of themselves. Our teachers are passionate and talented, our parents are welcoming and community-driven, and our students are friendly and hard-working--what a combination!

When my husband and I needed to make our choice in where to educate our own children, there was no question that St. John the Evangelist is where we want our three sons to grow up. I trust my faculty and staff whole-heartedly to bring out the best in my boys and shape them into young men who have a strong sense of virtue and responsibility. My children are genuinely happy at school, and I'm not sure I could ask for more.

Please stop by the school office to meet with Mrs. Horton and take a tour of the campus.

Karla Henning

Mrs. Karla Henning began at SJE in 2018. Prior to her return to the Sacramento area, she served as a fourth-grade teacher for the Archdiocese of Seattle for twelve years, and also taught fourth and fifth grades in Roseville, CA, and Mesa, AZ.

Mrs. Henning holds a BA in Communication Studies from CSU Sacramento, a Multiple Subject Teaching Certification from National University, and recently completed the English as a New Language Certification at the University of Notre Dame.

I am very excited to be part of the St. John the Evangelist community! The staff, parents, and students are welcoming and committed to providing a faith-filled learning environment for all. I am happy to be part of a staff that strives to recognize and develop students’ gifts and meet their academic and emotional needs.

My husband and three children are enjoying the warmer climate and blue skies. I am happy to be back in my home town and look forward to many years at SJE.

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss our classroom and curriculum. Please call the office to set up a tour.

Maria Chagolla

Ms. Maria joined SJE School in March 2016 as Preschool Director for the school’s preschool program. She has experience in Early Childhood Education for over 18 years. She has had the opportunity to work with children ages ranging from 6 weeks to 5 year old.

Ms. Maria has been a Preschool Director for 7 years. When she is not too busy handling administrative paperwork, she enjoys interacting with children and watch them grow and flourish. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time outdoors. Ms. Maria loves hiking, kayaking, camping, spending the day at the lake or beach and is a big sport fanatic, especially baseball. She also enjoys spending time with her family

I realized I wanted to work with children when I was in high school and started babysitting for my teachers. I also had the opportunity to get summer jobs through a program for high school students as an elementary school aide in my hometown. After moving to the Sacramento area in 1997, I pursued in completing my ECE courses and worked as an infant teacher, preschool aide, and lead preschool teacher throughout the years. After many years in early childhood education field, I had the opportunity to become preschool director at a previous school before joining SJE school community. Although I’ve only been SJE for a little over 3 years, it was the best decision I made. From day one, families in this community welcomed me with open arms and made this school feel like home. I enjoy working with children at this age level because I love seeing the enthusiasm on their faces eager to learn. I enjoy bonding with the children and help them build the confidence to shine and to always do their best!

Please stop by for a tour of our preschool program and visit with Ms. Maria!

Sarah Castellon

Sarah Castellon (Miss Sarah) joined the SJE faculty in 2013 as a preschool classroom aid in the second year of the SJE preschool program. Sarah was inspired to serve the families of our parish community and eventually found her ‘home’ educating the ‘little ones’ in mind and spirit. She currently is teaching the 2 and 3-year-old “Bumble Bee” class.

“Miss Sarah” finds joy in the introducing the children to: letters, numbers, shapes, virtues, and the Catholic faith. The 2 and 3 years olds are filled with ‘yearning for learning’. They are sponges. They are filled with wonder and understand Christ’s message to Love God and Love each other!

I love teaching SJE preschoolers! Getting to be their first teacher and making an impact is such a privilege. Everyday is exciting because I am always introducing something new to them and to watch them grasp it is so fun and rewarding.

Please stop by and visit SJE Preschool and see the joy of learning.

Tasha Clutts

Tasha Clutts grew up attending Catholic schools from elementary school through college. She holds a B.S. in Organizational Communication, M.A. in Early Childhood Education and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has taught in Catholic schools since 2008 and came to St. John's in 2012. Tasha also teachers our 3rd through 8th grade computer science classes and coaches our Academic Decathlon and Cross Country teams. In her off time she loves spending time with her family, hiking, BBQ's, sports games (especially watching her own children play).

I love working with children especially in TK because of their enthusiasm to learn. I am very passionate about early childhood education. I love finding the balance between fun and movement, and great academic success. My students bring so much joy to my life and I am eager to inspire them everyday! My husband and I are honored that our children attend St. John's. St. John's is a family and an amazing community! I wouldn't dream of having my children attend anywhere else. When you walk on campus you get "that feeling." The feeling that you're home. When I am not at work I love spending time with my family and friends. I would love to meet you and show what a fun adventure TK is.

Come for a tour and visit Tasha and our TK classroom.

Belinda Hussey, 4 Year Old Butterfly Classroom Teacher

Mrs. Belinda Hussey is an Early Childhood Education Master Teacher certificated by the state of California and holds a certificate as a Paraprofessional in Special Education. She has completed an Associate Degree as a Master Teacher with 30.5 ECE units and has completed another 6 units in ECE Administration.

Mrs. Hussey has been on staff with Saint John the Evangelist Preschool since 2013. She has approximately five years of experience working as a Special Education Paraprofessional with the Deaf, and has been an aide in both special day and mainstream classrooms. She has two years of experience as being both the teacher and director in a private Accelerated Christian Academy in which she taught kindergarten through twelfth grade.

I have loved teaching at Saint John the Evangelist Preschool from day one. This is not just a day care; this is a preschool. The families and staff are concerned about the whole child; spiritually, academically, socially, and emotionally. Everyone comes together for the betterment of the children. This is a family!

I have no grandchildren of my own, and I am blessed that our families allow me to share in the love of their children. I enjoy watching them grow and flourish in our main school as they move up in grade, and I particularly love it when they come to visit me again and again. I feel that here, I can be the teacher that is so dearly quoted by Justin Tarte, "Teachers who put relationships first don't just have students for one year; they have students who view them as 'their' teacher for life."

Please stop by for a tour of the campus and a visit with Ms. Belinda!

Lesley Luppino, Preschool Teacher

Lesley Luppino has been assistant teaching in the preschool since Spring of 2019. She and her husband initially chose SJE as a school for their children in 2013 because they value placing the social teachings of the Catholic faith at the center of all facets of life, especially education, and they appreciate SJE’s family-oriented community. Since then, Lesley has made strides to obtaining her Catechist certificate through the worldwide program Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Lesley holds a BA from Saint Mary’s College of California, and enjoys freelance writing and editing.

I firmly believe that all children deserve the very best possible start to life, beginning at home and continuing on through schooling and education. I have always enjoyed children, and I’ve been babysitting and working as a nanny since I was 13. When I was blessed with four children of my own, I realized just how important those early years are in terms of relationships, social interaction, and exploring the world. It is my great joy to accompany these wonderful children along their journey through early childhood.

Please contact Lesley if you are interested in contributing to the Atrium project for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd here at Saint John’s.

Lisa Smith

Mrs. Lisa Smith joined the St. John’s family in 1997 as an Extended Day worker. She started the Transitional Kindergarten program at SJE in 2000. Mrs. Smith moved up to Kindergarten in 2011.

She received her BA in Liberal Studies from CSU Sacramento and has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a concentration in English.

I love working at Saint John the Evangelist! This truly is my second family and home away from home! There is a warm, welcoming spirit here that allows our students to feel safe and loved as they grow academically, spiritually, physically, and socially. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to educating the whole child, our parent community is open and inviting, and our students are kind and respectful. I could not ask for a better work environment!

I love working with the younger students and seeing the growth that they make throughout the year. Every day is filled with new milestones and achievements. The students’ energy, enthusiasm, and joy for learning make even those tough days worth it!

Please contact the school office to set up a school tour and to meet with Mrs. Smith.

Miranda Myers

Miss Myers joined our St. John the Evangelist faculty family in the 2020-2021 academic year as our first grade teacher. She attended St. John’s herself from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, as did her two younger sisters. Miss Myers went on to attend St. Francis High School where she continued her Catholic education. She then attended Northern Arizona University where she received her BA in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Social Studies and ran for the Division 1 Cross Country and Track and Field teams.

With Ms. Myers's background in Catholic education, she understands the school's unique learning philosophy that encourages growth in many aspects of life for all students. Some of the things Miss Myers likes to do in her free time are cooking, experiencing nature through mountain biking or running, and spending time with her family and friends.

Teaching at the elementary school that I attended and have so many fond memories of is very special to me. My experience as a new teacher at Saint John the Evangelist feels, in part, like a continuation of the learning that I had when I was a student. This year, I have gained valuable new perspectives on inclusion and faith, among other things. The experiences, life long memories and faith based education that I received as a student at St. John’s was an immense blessing. Now, I feel so lucky to do the same for the children that I teach. My goal is to provide that same love, nurture and knowledge to my students that I still carry with me today.

Maggie Williams

Mrs. Maggie Williams became a faculty member at St. John the Evangelist School in August of 2015. She has taught both fourth and second grades at SJE. Prior to this, Mrs. Williams had recently retired from Sacramento County, where she worked in the area of early childhood/community development.

Mrs. Williams holds a BS in Human Development from the University of California, Davis; a MA in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix; and several certificates of study in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has over 25 years experience in the area of Early Childhood Education and was also Adjunct Faculty at American River College for 10 years.

Mrs. Williams adapts her teaching to accommodate all her students’ different styles of learning and strives to make each child realize their potential to become the best version of themselves. She definitely loves her job!

I attended Catholic school in Rhode Island until we moved to Napa when I was 8 years old. The Catholic schools were impacted so I had to go to public school. What a different experience that was! It was high school before I had the opportunity to once again attend Catholic school and I graduated from Justin Siena High School in Napa.

I love St John the Evangelist School and its wonderful sense of community. The entire staff is amazing and very passionate about their teaching. Students are individually greeted each morning when they arrive, providing them with a safe and welcoming environment in which to grow and flourish in all areas of their development. Everyone is truly welcomed and included at SJE.

It’s hard to put into words the “feeling” that you get when you become a part of our SJE community. Staff, parents and students all naturally work together to provide the best possible educational experience for all.

Please contact me at or just stop by the school office to arrange a tour of our school and experience it for yourself!

Cathy Dang
3rd Grade Teacher

Ms. Dang began teaching at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in 2014. She started her teaching career in Early Childhood Education and joined SJE’s preschool program as the lead teacher for the 3 year old class. She immediately fell in love with the faith-focused community where excellence of education is achieved through compassionate and understanding teachers.

Ms. Dang graduated from California State University of Sacramento with a degree in Liberal Studies and an emphasis in Linguistics. She then went on to complete her Multiple Subject Teaching credential with a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. She is now teaching 3rd grade and loves every second of it. She is also the advisor for the California Junior Scholarship Federation chapter at SJE.

Coming from over 12 years of Catholic Education, my positive experiences and inspirational teachers during those years helped to foster my passion for teaching. My goal is for each student to appreciate the value of education while also learning the value of community to help one another grow. I hope to instill a foundation of curiosity in my students in order to become lifelong learners. These goals are achieved at St. John the Evangelist because it is a place for community, deep relationships, individual attention, parental involvement, excellent education, and most importantly-- faith.

Please feel free to email Ms. Dang with any curiosities or to schedule a time to discuss curriculum. Her door is always open!

Justin Fritzsche

Mr. Justin Fritzsche has been on faculty at St. John the Evangelist School since 2014 as the 6th grade homeroom teacher. In addition to teaching various 6th and 7th grade subjects during his time at SJE, he has coached the 7th and 8th grade girls’ volleyball teams and been a coach for the religion decathlon team.

Mr. Fritzsche holds a B.A. in Communication from Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. He also has his multiple subject teaching credential from Saint Mary’s as well. He previously worked for the Diocese of Oakland for almost 5 years after graduating from college and was employed by another school in the Sacramento Diocese for 4 years prior to coming to SJE. Mr. Fritzsche was born and raised in Oakland, California and moved to the Sacramento area in 2010. He has a wonderful family that includes his wife, an almost 3 year old daughter, a 6 year old Golden Retriever named Sydney and coming soon, baby boy Fritzsche due in December.

I first realized my passion for teaching when I was in high school and I volunteered to coach a youth soccer team in my hometown of Oakland. After that, I began to help out my sister, who was a principal at the time. At her school I taught just about any age level, any subject, helped with coaching sports teams, and assisted the tutoring program. Being able to assist students in setting and reaching goals has always been my motivation, but my favorite part of education is to help children understand how to treat each other and become better human beings.

I have loved St. John the Evangelist ever since my first day as the 6th grade teacher. The community has always been so warm and welcoming. The staff and faculty that I work with are truly dedicated and are always willing to help each other. I am looking forward to sending my own kids to this wonderful school when the time arrives.

Please email Mr. Fritzsche with any questions and if you stop in for a tour, say hello to 6th grade.

Joseph Kann

Mr. Kann has been a teacher at St. John the Evangelist since 2014 and has 18 years of veteran teaching experience under his belt. He has taught grades ranging from 2nd to 8th and now finds himself right where he wants to be: inspiring students in history and religion. He has a unique, project-oriented repertoire and he strives to develop each student academically and socially.

Mr. Kann recently finished his Masters in Education from Purdue University and currently holds a double B.A. in Theology and Philosophy from Loyola Marymount University. He has a lovely family of five (three of his children attend St. John’s) who enjoy traveling and spending time cheering on sports teams.

I work hard to inspire every student I encounter to be the best student he or she can be. I never thought I’d develop a passion for teaching, but it is those challenging moments with the students that help me realize I am right where I should be, helping, motivating and stimulating their young minds.

Mr. Kann has an open door policy and would love a visit. Please feel free to contact him however you feel most comfortable.

Colleen Ennis

Ms. Colleen Ennis has been on faculty at St. John the Evangelist since 2014. During her five years at St. John the Evangelist, she has served as the 8th grade homeroom teacher, teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th English, as well as 8th Literature and History.

Ms. Ennis is an alumna of St. John the Evangelist herself. After graduating from Loretto High School ('08), she left for sunny Southern California and attended the University of California Irvine where she graduated with a BA in Social Ecology ('12). She attended graduate school through the University of San Francisco where she received her multiple subject credential, English single subject credential, and her MA in Teaching ('15).

I could not be more happy to return to my old grade school. As a student, I spent an amazing nine years at St. John Evangelist learning and serving in a Catholic environment. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be an educator at SJE and carry on the traditions of academic excellence, Christian service, and well-rounded students.

My favorite part of St. John the Evangelist is the welcoming and kind community. Everyone is treated with respect on campus and the welcoming environment is felt the minute you walk on campus. At St. John the Evangelist each student is given the opportunity to thrive, truly promoting excellent for all. At SJE, we really are a family and I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it.

Please stop by 8th grade to meet Ms. Ennis and discuss any questions you may have regarding middle school Language Arts or the 8th grade.

Kevin Rogers

My name is Kevin Rogers and I am excited to start another year at St. John the Evangelist school teaching Physical Education. I am also the Athletic Director and 7th-8th grade boys basketball coach, as well as, a varsity football coach at Del Campo high School, I have been teaching here for over 25 years I have also had the privilege to teach Math and computers.

I grew up in the Monterey Pennisula where I attended Robert Louis Stevenson and then transferred to Seaside High School. I then attended CSU Sacramento where I received my BS and credential in Physical Education, along with a Supplement in Math..

I have an amazing wife Holly and three energetic boys Kaden, Kellen and Kole. When I am not coaching I enjoy hanging out with the family at barbecues, camping, fishing, water activities, watching the boys play sports and friends.

I believe every student has a gift and talent. it is my job to bring out the best in all students regardless of skill level.I will provide a variety of activities to help build self-esteem and self-confidence, while improving movement efficiency. While I hold high expectations for all my students, I do not expect the students to be the best, but I do expect them to give their best effort.

Leah Newton, Art Teacher

Leah Newton has a Masters Degree in Education with a California Clear Credential for Multiple Subjects, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has been teaching since 1996 in both public and Catholic schools in grades K-12. Currently, Leah teaches art for grades TK – 8 at SJE, as well as at The Crocker Art Museum, in downtown Sacramento. Her students have won several local and national art awards. Leah also hosts paint-night style fundraisers for students and adults.

Over the past five years Leah has been showing artwork at venues including the Blue Line Arts Gallery (Crocker-Kingsley Art Competition and Exhibition), the Sacramento Fine Arts Center, and the California State Fair. She published her first children’s book, “Of Wonder and Dreams” that she both authored and illustrated.

When my husband and I were looking for a school for our daughters, we were specifically looking for three things. First, we wanted a Catholic school where our daughters could receive a foundation in their faith and spirituality. Second, we wanted a school that not only offered variety, but one that felt like a community, with students from various ethnic, economic and learning needs. Third, we wanted a school that supported the arts. We love St. John's! Our girls have received their Sacraments, utilized the school resources, sung in the choir, performed in the plays, and have created cherished artwork that hangs in our home. Our eldest daughter now attends Christian Brothers High School. I cannot thank St. John's School enough for preparing her, and us, for that transition.

Please come visit me in the art room!

Cara O'Shea

Cara O’Shea is from Providence, Rhode Island. She is Berklee College of Music Alumni and has also attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. In addition, she holds degrees in Liberal Arts and Social Science. She has an extensive background in paralegal studies and is in the final stages of finishing her paralegal degree and certificate with a concentration in Entertainment Law.

Cara is the Director of Music Education at St. John the Evangelist School and is the youth choir director. She has been teaching music since 1999 and specializes in vocal performance, songwriting and piano. She was featured on Showtime at the Apollo in New York, has performed with the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra and was also nominated best female singer songwriter in the LA Music Awards in 2006.

Cara is married to professional bassist, Jimmy O'Shea and their three children also attend St. John the Evangelist School.

We started our journey at St. John the Evangelist in the Catholic Faith Formation program on Sunday mornings. My second grader at the time was studying to make his First Communion. Each time I brought my children for Sunday School, I would wonder why we didn't have them a part of the school. I would see art work on the walls and the beautiful classrooms. It became very obvious to me that this was where we needed to have our children. Once touring the school and meeting the teachers, we enrolled our children the same day and mid year. We have not looked back! I love the creative freedom at SJE and the strong fine arts programs. But most of all, we love the sense of community at SJE.

Hanna Price

This is Ms. Hanna Price’s first year teaching at Saint John the Evangelist School. Though it may be her first year teaching here at our school, she actually attended Saint John the Evangelist from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. After attending Saint John’s, Ms. Price went on to further her academic career at Del Campo High School. She participated in Student Government and Honors courses throughout her four years at Del Campo High School. She then went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Honors Child Development with a Minor in Psychology from California State University, Chico.

Ms. Price has a variety of work experience both within the walls of the classroom as well as within the community as a whole. She has worked in Early Childhood Education as a lead infant teacher, a lead toddler teacher and as a lead preschool teacher for children ranging from 6 weeks through 5 years of age. She is a credentialed substitute teacher and has experience substituting students ranging from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Ms. Price also has a huge passion for working with children who possess a wide variety of differing developmental skills, strengthens, and abilities. She especially enjoyed her time as a behavioral therapist, working with children diagnosed with Autism, both within the school and home setting environments. Additionally, Ms. Price also works as a Broista at Dutch Brothers Coffee in her spare time, and she truly enjoys bringing smiles and happiness to members within the community on a daily basis.

When I was given the opportunity to teach at Saint John the Evangelist School, I truly cannot express how simply I was able to make that decision. Words cannot express the enthusiasm that I held in my heart when I returned back to my old elementary and middle school. When I first walked back onto this campus, I did not simply feel as though I was returning to a school campus but rather a home community. Having the opportunity to teach at Saint John’s allows me to not only teach academics but also faith, kindness, and spirituality. Ever since I can remember, I have always had a passion for working with children. It truly brings me such joy to discover all of the unique gifts, strengths, and talents each and every child possesses. It is also so rewarding to see their faces come to life when they have their “ah-ha” or light bulb learning moments. Each and every morning, I live for the laughter and smiles that glow on the students faces here at SJE. It is incredible to know that by being a teacher here at Saint John the Evangelist I am not just teaching students how to become academic scholars, but most importantly, how to become caring and compassionate Christian citizens.

Please stop by our school office to receive a tour of our brand new resource classroom and schedule a time to meet Ms. Price!

Lilia Farmer

Father Bernardin Mugabo

Jessica Fuentes

Jessica Fuentes was an SJE parent for five years before becoming our school’s administrative assistant in 2017. A graduate of San Jose State with a BA in Child Development and an MBA, her education and work experience create the perfect fit for a school office. After years of guest service and project management in the hospitality industry, Mrs. Fuentes stayed home with her two sons before starting at SJE. When the opportunity to work at their beloved school presented itself, she jumped at the opportunity. An avid recreational marathoner, Mrs. Fuentes enjoys coaching cross country. She is also a stickler for dress code, regularly reminding students to tuck in those shirts!

It is a joy to greet both the children and parents in our school office every day. I enjoy getting to know every child on campus and helping them whenever I can. From providing band aides for scratches to assisting with special events, it is a pleasure being part of so many lives at SJE.

Call or email the front office so Mrs. Fuentes can answer any questions and schedule a tour for your family!

Diane Marshall

Stacia Paluch

Michel Bakkie

Kelli Ramos

Mrs. Kelli Ramos joined St. John the Evangelist School in 2017 as an aide and yard duty attendant. Mrs. Ramos’ job title expanded in 2018 when she became a teacher’s aide in our preschool program. She is currently attending American River College in pursuit of an Early Childhood Education Teacher Certificate. She is also our resident “crafty person” and you will see some of her crafting skills at work in our classrooms. She loves getting to know our children, and watching them become who they were meant to be.

My name is Mrs. Kelli Ramos also known to some as “Mrs. Rainbows”. I was born and raised in Sacramento. I have lived in Carmichael for the past ten years. I am a wife and a mother of two boys. When my boys began preschool, I found that I truly enjoyed volunteering at the school. I found great satisfaction in working with the children. As my children have now moved onto elementary school, I have decided to go back to work and pursue a new path in Early Childhood Education. I am CPR certified and have a certificate by Serve Safe for food preparation. I attend American River College and I am currently enrolled in Early Childhood Education classes. I am in pursuit of an associate teacher certificate and permit. I am very thankful to be a part of St. John The Evangelist Preschool as their philosophy and Catholic beliefs are parallel to my own. I enjoy sending time with my family, crafting, watching baseball (Go Giants!), and volunteering. I love engaging, assisting and watching the children learn and grow.

Joanne Giffard

Mrs. Joanne Giffard has been the fifth grade teacher at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School since 1979. In addition, Mrs. Giffard is the Drama Director of the SJE Drama Club, and she is the Special Sacraments Teacher for her school.

Mrs. Giffard graduated from St. Francis Catholic High School in Hawaii and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Chemistry/Biology major and Education minor at Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado. She was received her calling to teach with guidance first from the Sisters of St. Francis, and then by the Sisters of Loretto. The past three summers have been spent polishing her performing arts skills participating in teacher’s workshops on Broadway in New York City.

In her first year as an educator, she taught Fifth Grade at Madison Elementary in North Highlands, where she also directed the Nutcracker Suite for the School. She spent a hiatus away from teaching as she followed her husband’s military postings to Tucson, Arizona, Goldsboro, North Carolina, and back to Sacramento. She vacationed in Arizona with her family while he served combat tours flying out of Vietnam and Thailand.

When she returned to education, while raising a family of two sons and a daughter, she developed and taught an aviation and optics unit for gifted children as a special projects ALPS teacher in the Rio Linda School District. Her deep Catholic faith, and subliminal urging from the nuns of St. Francis and Tralee, brought her to start teaching at St. John’s.

Her Catholic education had finally come full circle: she was once a shy, quiet schoolgirl at Sacred Heart School in Dayton, Ohio, who was always happy to quietly observe. Now she endeavors to give to her students what was once invested in her by years of nurturing by those many caring nuns. While she had found satisfaction in teaching, she still felt a void which was finally satisfied by accepting a teaching assignment with St. John’s.

Ultimately it has been her goal to provide an environment which strengthens Catholic faith, and nurtures heart, mind, and spirit in the children. She challenges students to study in depth the many accomplishments of our American geniuses and summons them in science projects to satisfy their wonder in quest for answers as to “how and why” things happen. Likewise, they collaborate in research of holiday customs around the world, and also portray characters from time period novels. As the year progresses, drama students create a charismatic musical as they sing, dance, perform, and also engage in the art of technical theatre to showcase their artistic talents.

Kira McKechnie

Ms. McKechnie is thrilled to be the 5th grade teacher at St. John the Evangelist. Prior to coming to St. John's, she worked at St. Robert's Catholic School as the first grade aide and the middle school PE teacher. After graduating from the University of Texas, El Paso in December 2019 with a degree in Multidisciplinary Studies, she returned back to Sacramento to work as an instructional aide for Learning Solutions. For K-8th grade she attended St. Mary's elementary school and then went on to attend Christian Brothers for high school. She is a practicing Catholic and values the importance of a Catholic education. She is also currently working towards her teaching credential and Masters in Elementary Education through the University of San Francisco-Sacramento Campus. She is very passionate about working with children to help them grow spiritually, academically, and emotionally.

Ms. McKechnie is also the Head Varsity Softball Coach at her alma mater Christian Brothers High School. A fun fact about her is she had the opportunity to play softball at the collegiate level all through college.

St. John the Evangelist is such a great community to be a part of. I am so excited to begin my teaching career here and become a part of this supportive group of faculty and staff. It has been a blessing to be able to work here and help students learn and grow every day. I felt so welcomed right from day one and still feel that warm welcome to this day. I am thankful to be at SJE!

Please contact her to learn more about the 5th grade.

Natalie Hardwick

Please contact her to learn more about the Art Program