Faculty

The research on quality schools typically speak to 3 commonalities: strong faculty and staff, strong family engagement, and strong leadership all with a commitment to high expectations. In all 3 areas, STS is highly regarded with proven results: The faculty and staff are well trained, experienced and have a firm grasp of children’s learning styles, their respective subjects and the 3 R’s of rigor and high expectations, relevance and best teaching practices, and relationships and the ability to love and care for every student unconditionally as well as build bridges with parents;

Strong family engagement is evidenced by parent(s), guardians, faculty and staff working together in a partnership and actively supporting the welfare of the STS students. STS is a Hawaiian school and as a school rooted in both faith and the Aloha spirit, the sense of Ohana is strong and connected to our cultural values.

The Faculty of Saint Theresa School

   

Conception (Bernie) Gora

Principal

I have been blessed by the many people I have come in contact with my entire career as an educator; lay and religious who have guided me here at St. Theresa School. Through the children I taught, the trusting relationships with teachers and mentors who motivated and inspired me to teach with love, patience and respect all have molded me to be who I am today. I continue to remember those people, celebrate with the present faculty, staff, STS families and parishioners, and I look forward to building a future based on God’s foundation of love.

My husband and I have 5 successful children and 9 beautiful grandchildren.  Both of us have devoted much of our time and talent to STS and the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa.

As principal, I want everyone to know our mission: The mission of Saint Theresa School is to provide a quality Catholic education rooted in the teachings of Jesus and the education of the whole child: spirit, mind, and body. Knowing this mission will help the vision and direction of our school be transparent and free of adverse and disrespect. My hope this year is to see students, teachers, parents, alumnae, parishioners and volunteers all working together for the same mission.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all my predecessors: Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet, many religious Sisters and Clergy, and the lay leaders of St. Theresa School and Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa communities. I have been blessed with many mentors in my life, but my first educators and never forgotten are my parents, Juan and Josephine Castro.

Education: I am a product of Catholic education from Holy Family School in Honolulu and the former Star of the Sea High School for Girls. I have earned a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with an emphasis in Literature from the University of Hawaii, Master of Science in Secondary Education with a focus on Literacy from Kaplan University and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Chaminade University.

Roxanne Casielle

Roxanne Casiello

Executive Administrative to the Principal

B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in I.T. 
I.T.P.S (Institute of Theology & Pastoral Studies) Certification in the following disciplines. Catechetical Studies, Theological Studies Pastoral Studies, Advanced Theological and Pastoral Studies Background information:  B.S. from Bay Path College, Longmeadow Ma I.T.P.S Certifications, Our Lady of the Elms College, Chicopee Ma

 I believe that each child is a unique individual. When nurtured with caring love they will feel secure in his/hers surroundings, and will find a stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. I enjoy playing golf when I can, reading at the beach, snorkeling and cooking.

Librarian - Lenie Macadangdang

Librarian and Resource Teacher

Education: Graduated at Heald Business College

Background information: I have been working at St. Theresa School for almost 12 years. I will continue to be a librarian for Pre-K to 8th grade. I also help out as an aide and a sub teacher.   I love working with these young learners!  I have 2 children, both of them graduated here at St. Theresa School.  My oldest one is in her second year of college at Sacramento State University and the youngest one is in his first year of college at Honolulu Community College.

When I’m not working I enjoy doing things with my children, watching movies, going to the beach, playing games and reading books.

 I look forward to many more years of being here with these brilliant students at St. Theresa School.

Stephanie Ondayog

Admissions Clerk - Office Assistant

Aloha, I have been known as Ms. Steph in the Administrative Office at Saint Theresa School for the last 8 years since 2009 and have the role duties as the Admissions Clerk – Office Assistant. Should you need any assistance or have any questions, please feel free to stop by the office to say hello and I will gladly be able to help you. I am also grateful that I have that opportunity to meet new families and to help your children.

I was raised and grew up in Kalihi Valley and graduated from Farrington High School in 1981.  I pursued my education at Cannon’s Business College, Honolulu Hawaii which was also known as Heald.

I have been married for 32 years, a mother of three children and a step-son. I am a grandmother of 15 which includes additional lovely step-grandchildren ranging from ages 19 to a new baby grandson who was born the first week of August.  My family now resides in Ewa since 1998.  I enjoy being with family and friends during my spare time.  The best part in life is watching my adult children and grandchildren be together and spending every moment - making memories.

I am also blessed to be part of the STS & Co-Cathedral Ohana as I consider them as my extended family.  Mahalo for all the powerful prayers that is bestowed upon my family and for everything that you do .

Maggie Collins

Preschool Director

Miss Collins was born in the Philippines and raised in Hawaii. She has one younger sister and 2 dogs, Simba & Boo-Radley. She grew up in Kaimuki and graduated from Chaminade University. This is her 10th year as an Educator.

Miss Collins has had a love of teaching her entire life. She knew she wanted to become a teacher when she was in the First Grade. She had an amazing teacher, Mrs. Chiogioji, who continued to inspire her as she grew up. Miss Collins had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Chiogioji while she was attending Chaminade University studying Elementary Education.  

During her last year of college, Miss Collins fulfilled her Student Teaching in the Kindergarten Classroom here at Saint Theresa School. She met many wonderful and inspiring teachers and administrators.

Miss Collins spent 8 years working as a Kindergarten Teacher at Cathedral Catholic Academy in Nu’uanu. She was a part of the school’s Leadership Team and the head of several school committees including yearbook advisor, Junior High Student Council Advisor, and the Social Committee.

Miss Collins is an avid runner, and runs 5 to 6 miles almost every day, running long runs of 10 to 12 miles on the weekend. She ran her first Honolulu Marathon in December of 2014 and plans to train for the LA Marathon in February.

She enjoys working out and hiking in her spare time. She spends her weekends taking care of her 1-year-old nephew, Brandon. He keeps her very busy as he is always on the move. She loves being an Aunty!

Miss Collins feels very blessed to be a part of Saint Theresa School’s Preschool and is looking forward to meeting her new little ones and to work hand in hand with their families.

Wendy-Ashley Lim

Preschool Aide

We welcome Miss Wendy to the Saint Theresa School family as our Preschool Teacher’s Aide. Miss Wendy is a Mommy to Tyler who is attending the First Grade here at Saint Theresa School.  Before coming to STS she was volunteering/working for over a year and a half as a Preschool Teacher’s Assistant/Substitute Preschool Teacher’s Aide at Makiki Christian Church Preschool where both she and Tyler graduated from.

Miss Wendy received her Certificate of Competence and has satisfactorily completed 9 credit hours in Early Childhood Education as well as received her Career Access and Navigation of Early Childhood Systems Registry (CANOES) Certificate. She is qualified and certified as an Early Childhood Practitioner.

Miss Wendy focuses her energy on working with our preschool students and their success is her first priority.

Maggie Herndon

Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Kindergarten Families,

         My name is Mrs. Herndon.  I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain and like the students at STS, I attended a Catholic School. I have wonderful memories of the beautiful missionary nuns who were great faith examples for me and gave me a love for learning.   My wonderful husband was a US army soldier and as part of the military we have traveled all over the world. I have five beautiful children all grown up. One of my biggest passions is reading and collecting books in English, Spanish or French. I also love the arts.  I love drawing and painting using different media and knitting and crocheting while watching TV.

            I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in World Languages with a concentration in Spanish and a M.A in Education grades K through 12.  Hawaii will always have a special place in my heart. On and off I have been a part of the Hawaiian Catholic school system for over seventeen years.  Once again I have the privilege to be teaching at St. Theresa Catholic School.  A truly great and blessed place. 

Lynette Seto

Kindergarten Aide

Graduated from the University of Hawaii – Manoa

B.S. – Human Development

This is my 7th year as a kindergarten aide at St. Theresa. My first kindergarten class is entering the 7th grade this year. I enjoy working in kindergarten because the children are so open to learning. They are eager, excited and love learning about new things. One of their favorite times is when we read bible stories especially the ones from the Old Testament.

What I admire about the teachers and staff at STS over the years is that they instill the love of God and Jesus in the hearts of our students. This love transpired STS into a loving and compassionate place – students who attend St. Theresa form lifelong relationships with their classmates, friends and teachers. It is so gratifying when students return to St. Theresa to visit.

I have been a parishioner at St. Theresa since I was little. In fact, my roots at St. Theresa Parish go back to my younger years as I attended St. Theresa School from kindergarten through seventh grade. I have fond memories of my classmates and the Sisters of St. Joseph. Even to this day, I have kept in touch with my classmates and even some of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Prior to working at St. Theresa School, I worked seven years in the Parish office at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa.

Marvin Macadangdang

1st Grade Teacher

Bachelor of Education

I was born and raised in Wailuku, Maui. There, I attended St. Anthony Elementary, Iao School, and Baldwin High School. On Oahu I attended Chaminade University and graduated from the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor of Education degree with an academic major in mathematics. I received the Catechist Certificates from the Diocese of Honolulu. My educational experience has included teaching pre-school, kindergarten, and first and third grades.

My interests include music, especially guiding the little ones to sing on key and in harmony; exploring the various media in art; and immersing my students in children’s literature. Using technology as a tool to enhance my lessons is also a priority for me. My philosophy of teaching as an educator in a Catholic School 
is nurturing the whole child--mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and especially spiritually, with a strong emphasis on a prayerful and faith-filled life.

It is important to me that my students find JOY IN LEARNING and explore the world around them with enthusiasm and a sense of wonder.

Francine Fontanilla

First and Second Grade Teacher's Assistant & K-5 Health Teacher

This will be my first year at Saint Theresa School.  I am very blessed to become a part of the Saint Theresa Ohana.  Saint Theresa has been my parish for many, many years.  In my earlier years, I was very active in the youth ministry/ choir at Saint Theresa’s Parish.

I started my career in banking for 10 years. After 10 years of banking I changed careers and decided to focus on the medical field. I was trained in the field of Ophthalmology and attended the American Ophthalmology Academy in San Francisco, California for classes.  As an ophthalmic nurse and eventually a unit coordinator, I spent 15 years working with doctors and patients.  I was asked by the Dominican Sisters of the Most Holy Rosary, to become their administrative assistant, health room coordinator and to teach health to their students.  I accepted the position and worked at the school under the Hawaii Catholic Schools for 20 years.

During my twenty years of working with the Dominican nuns and students I was their choir director for two choirs (Keiki choir (grs K-3) & youth choir (grs 4-8) for 18 years, and their athletic director for 17 years.  I am still very active with the CSL (sports program) and a CSL board member.

 I love working with students and young adults.  My position at STS will be assisting grades 1 & 2 as their teacher’s aide and teaching health for grades K-5.  I look forward to meeting all the STS families and their children.

Lauren Sayapheth

Third Grade Teacher

Education: BA Liberal Studies & MA Education

Background Information: My name is Lauren Sayapheth and I am the 3rd grade teacher at St. Theresa School. This is my fourth year teaching at STS. I grew up in Los Angeles, California being one of four girls in my family. I moved to Hawaii in 2012 where I met my husband. We have one dog and are expecting our first child this coming June 2017. I completed both my undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of La Verne located in Southern California.

I enjoy a variety of activities such as reading, watching movies, hiking, playing soccer, and dancing hula. The thought that children are our future keeps my passion for teaching burning. I’m always looking for new ways to ignite students’ engagement, interests, and curiosities to help them develop the basic skills needed for a successful life. I hope to inspire my students to always want to be better and to help others. I choose to lead by example, which has given me the drive to always be my best.

Working here at STS has been a great experience. We’re such a small, yet strong group of individuals who come together bringing different talents to help our school be the best it can. Being a part of the STS family has helped me strengthen my faith and pursue professional development opportunities to excel in my career in teaching our future.

   

Michele Honold

4th Grade Teacher

Undergraduate:  University of Hawaii Hilo  (Psychology, Elementary Education)

Graduate:  University of Hawaii Manoa  (School Counseling)

Aloha St. Theresa Ohana,

My journey of serving children and their families has been a long and happy one.  From 1986 thru 2011 I worked in the Hawaii Department of Education as a teacher and school counselor. From 2012 to today I have taught and counseled in Catholic Schools.  I love God so much and it is a joy to be in a school where Jesus’ name can be mentioned and spiritual values are encouraged.  My being here this year at St. Theresa School is truly a blessing.  I am so thankful that God has placed me here.

In the hours outside of school I love spending time with my family, gardening, swimming and volunteering in the community.  Three of my focus areas are; serving homeless people, rehabilitating and finding homes for dogs that have led sad lives and taking care of our natural environment.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you and your child this year.  It is going to be a wonderful adventure.

Blessings,

Mrs. Michele Honold

Liane Bilonta

 Liane Bilonta

5th Grade Teacher

Education: BA from Notre Dame University De Ne Mur in Belmont, California

Background Information: 

My name is Mrs. Liane Bilonta.  This is the beginning of my eleventh year of teaching at St. Theresa School.  My first 13 years of teaching was at St. Joseph School in Waipahu.  I taught 2nd grade for eight years and first grade for six years. 

Here at St. Theresa School, I started teaching in 7th grade, then moved to 8th and I was in Kindergarten for 3 years and this is my third year in 5th  grade.

I attended Notre Dame University De Ne Mur in Belmont, California and graduated with my BA degree.  I graduated from Kamehameha High School and am an alumnae of St. Theresa School.

Carolyn Buted

Shaun Agtarap

Middle School Technology Teacher
 

 

Sally Majia

Middle School Mathematics Teacher

Bachelor of Science in Education

I finished my college degree in Manila, Philippines, and my first teaching experience was at Sacred Hearts Academy in La Loma, Manila.  My family moved to Hawaii in 1983 and I have been a teacher at STS middle school for 12 years.  I love to teach and I believe that teaching and learning happens at the same time. The teacher teaches to the child but at the same time, he/she also learns something from the child.

I love to shop and to watch my favorite soap operas. I enjoy teaching math and science. I believe that Catholic education develops the mind, body and most importantly the soul and inner being of the child.

Marylee Mafua

Middle School Science Teacher

 BEd in Secondary Education Specializing in General Science from University of Hawaii Manoa.

Aloha! I am Marylee Mafua and this is my first year teaching Middle School Science at St.Theresa School. I am excited to teach the wonderful students of St. Theresa School who are eager to learn new things. I was raised in Hau’ula and Kahuku. I now reside in Kaneohe with my husband, two daughters and three dogs. When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, picnicking at the beach, trying new restaurants or lounging at home.

I believe that our students are the future and we as educators are responsible for providing them the tools to be valuable assets in the community. Learning never stops, you learn something new everyday.

Carolyn Buted

Middle School Religion Teacher/Study Skills Teacher

School Counselor and Resource Instructor

Faith Leasiolagi

Middle School Language Arts Teacher

Faith Leasiolagi was born and raised in American Samoa. She is the proud daughter of Deacon Francis and Alofa Leasiolagi who are currently serving in the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa Parish. She is the youngest of 6 and an aunt to 3 nieces and 10 nephews. She attended Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Pago Pago which were influenced by the Little Sisters of the Poor, Marist Brothers, and the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary. In 2007, Faith and her family moved to Hawaii in pursuit of better medical needs and attention. In 2011, she graduated from Waipahu High School and was accepted at Chaminade University of Honolulu in which she graduated in Dec. 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Historical and Political Studies. She is a member of the La'a Kea Marianist Lay Community, which is the first formally educated student Marianist lay community at Chaminade University. She loves to read and write and hopes her students will develop a love for reading and writing too. She looks forward to working with St. Theresa School this academic year!

Thank you,

Ms. Leasiolagi

 

 

Fay Pabo

Music/Drama Teacher

Middle School Religion Teacher

Education: A.A – University of Hawaii – Kapiolani Community College campus

Background information: I will do my very best to be that advocate of music and drama for your child. With my years of experience working in various church parishes and schools in Hawaii, and starting off my third year of teaching here at STS and nine years as the Assistant Director of Liturgy at the parish level of the Co-Cathedral of Saint Theresa Church, I am willing and able to help our students excel in diverse aspects of music and drama. I was very fortunate to have so many great mentors throughout the years, and thus my mission in life is to be able to pass on the same faith and knowledge to the children and youth of the future.

I truly believe in lifelong learning and encourage them to learn something new every day. I have my Associates in Arts degree in Liberal Arts and will continue on to Chaminade University in January 2014. And God’s work for me doesn’t stop there! I am also a volunteer and advocate for the American Cancer Society, as a counselor for Ho’oulu Me Ka Ikai’ka (Growing with Strength), a camp for teens/young adults that have been touched with cancer, as a cancer patient and/or cancer survivor. I am fortunate to say that I am a cancer survivor (12 years cancer-free and counting!!). As an educator/mentor/survivor, I believe that it’s important to know where you come from because it will set you up for your future endeavors.

I am proud to be an alumna of Saint Theresa School (Class of ’96)! I am very privileged to not only be a product of this wonderful school but more so to work with such wonderful teachers and an exciting student body! I am so happy to be here and share my gifts and knowledge of music and drama with your children. I look forward to a great year of learning, loving, and living music & drama!