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2022-2023 NEWS ARCHIVE

Click on the links below to access previous editions of the St. Serra Sunday News:

March 2023
March 5
March 12
March 19
March 26

February 2023
February 5
February 12
February 19
February 26

January 2023
January 1 (New Years Day - no St. Serra Sunday News)
January 8
January 15
January 22
January 29

December 2022:
December 4
December 11
December 18
December 25 (Christmas Day - no St. Serra Sunday News)

November 2022:
November 6
November 13
November 20 (no St. Serra Sunday News due to Thanksgiving week)
November 27

October 2022:
October 2
October 9
October 16
October 23
October 30

September 2022:
September 4
September 11
September 18
September 25

August 2022:
August 14, 2022
August 21, 2022
August 28, 2022

March 23, 2023: Mrs. Suzanne Edwards to Join St. Serra as Lower School Principal
March 10, 2023: Second Trimester Student Learning Assessments
March 6, 2023: Anchor Ball Friendly Reminders
March 1, 2023: St. Serra Parent Education Series - What Parents Need to Know About the Fentanyl Crisis

February 17, 2023: St. Serra Parent Education Series - Parenting in a Digital World
February 16, 2023: Mrs. Carol Reiss Announces Retirement
February 10, 2023: Summer School is Back!
February 1, 2023: 2023-24 Registration for Current Families Update

January 31, 2023: Reserved Parking Reminder
January 30, 2023: Memorial Mass for Audrey Tellers
January 23, 2023: Important Safety Reminder
January 18, 2023: St. Serra Parent Education Series - The Battleground: Parents vs. Children
January 11, 2023: 2023-24 Registration for Current Families Reminder
January 2, 2023: 2023-24 Registration for Current Families Now Open

December 25, 2022: Christmas Blessings 2022
December 20, 2022: St. Serra Update
December 15, 2022: 2023-24 School Year Registration for Current Families
December 9, 2022: Sylvia Peterson Named St. Serra's Teacher of the Year
December 7, 2022: Charism Crusader Award Winners for Trimester 1
December 2, 2022: First Trimester Student Learning Assessments

November 24, 2022: Thanksgiving Blessings 2022
November 18, 2022: Giving Week Incentive Winners
November 15, 2022: St. Serra Parent Education Series - Raising Holistically Well-Grounded Children
November 14, 2022: Giving Week Results

October 4, 2022: Candlelight Vigil for Grace Scheipe '19

September 2, 2022: St. Serra Updates

August 30, 2022: St. Serra Welcomes New Director of Campus Safety
August 23, 2022: Display Traffic Placards
August 19, 2022: Back to School Updates
August 5, 2022: St. Serra Catholic School 2022-2023 School Year Information


Archive for the "Staff Spotlight" Category

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Diana Myers

March 19, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

When someone first walks into our School Office, they are immediately greeted by a friendly face and welcoming smile. Mrs. Diana Myers, also known as “The Face of Serra,” has been a positive fixture at our school’s reception desk for a number of years. It’s a job that, of course, involves answering the phone and greeting visitors, but Mrs. Myers has always pitched in beyond standard receptionist duties. She is often a key contributor to PTO’s administration of events, she assists students in various ways, and she regularly acts as a liaison when parents need to get in touch with their student, a teacher, or staff. Working closely with our parents and students brings Mrs. Myers great joy. She shares, “Interacting with my Serra Bears [and] getting to know our families has warmed my heart in so many ways.”

Prior to working in education, Mrs. Myers had pursued her passion in the food industry. She was forced to make a change when a back injury and subsequent surgery made it too physically challenging to continue, and found a job as a secretary for a brokerage house in Newport Beach where they dealt in gold, silver and platinum. After many years of anticipation, she and her husband, Ralph, welcomed their first and only child, a daughter named Brigette, into the world. Mrs. Myers enjoyed many years being a stay-at-home mom, and when Brigette began attending school at St. Serra, she started volunteering.

When Brigette was in her eighth grade year at St. Serra, Mrs. Myers began officially working as a staff member in the yard supervision department. A year later, she was asked to be an instructional assistant in fourth grade. She greatly enjoyed working with the fourth grade team of teachers, one of whom at that time was Mrs. Ellen Burrola, who is currently our Assistant Principal for the Lower School. When one of the fourth grade teachers had a baby, Mrs. Myers took some time away from her job as an instructional aide to provide care for him. But she could not stay away; she eventually returned to St. Serra and started working in our School Office.

Mrs. Myer’s husband, Ralph, is a retired engineer. They are looking forward to celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary this July. Mrs. Myers has decided to retire at the end of this school year, and will be spending more time doing things she loves, such as enjoying time with family, cooking, being outdoors, working in her yard, and traveling. And one of the things she is looking forward to most is traveling to Washington, D.C., where they will visit with their first grandchild, a baby boy named Dean Henry Whiman, who was born just this past December.

And while Mrs. Myers may have plans to retire, it does not mean that she will be a stranger. She plans to occasionally help out as a substitute teacher. Her love for our school stems from our parent involvement and foundation of faith. “The success of our school is apparent by all the volunteers that pass through the School Office,” she says, and she loves starting everyday “in prayer with our Serra community on SerraVision, and then [praying] the Angelus at noon.”

Posted in Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Ms. Cindy Melton (March 5, 2023)

March 14, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

Meet Ms. Cindy Melton, who works primarily as a senior accountant in our Business and Financial Operations department and spends a portion of her time supporting our Information Systems department. Although Ms. Melton originally thought she wanted to be a teacher, this is the first time she is working for a school. A graduate of the University of La Verne with a degree in English and French, she initially went to work in accounting for Rockwell International because teaching jobs were scarce at the time. Through her work experience and additional education in accounting and business administration, Ms. Melton found herself landing a job as the controller for an advertising agency. There, she had oversight of the finance and human resources departments as well as administrative staff, and managed a team of eight employees. Her time at the agency spanned more than thirty years, during which she held responsibility for two software conversions. The agency eventually closed, and Ms. Melton went on to manage all of the accounting functions for a mortgage company. She has also spent time as the accountant for a few small churches.

Having been at St. Serra now for almost a year, Ms. Melton feels that her background with various software programs and experience with all facets of accounting have helped her to succeed in her current position. She finds joy in working in a Christian environment; she loves walking by the chapel and reflecting pool each morning and hearing the Angelus at noon. Her favorite part of the day is traffic duty at 2:00 p.m., when she gets to help with the students in TK through second grade. “I love interacting with these students and keeping them safe,” she shares.

Ms. Melton lives in Lake Forest with her son, Tim, and their two dogs - a pit/shepherd mix named Moose and a chihuahua mix named Ziggy. Weekends find them attending services at Calvary Chapel Foothill Ranch and walking their dogs at a nearby park. Ms. Melton has a passion for working with dogs, and volunteers regularly at the Pet Adoption Center in Lake Forest and the Irvine Animal Care Center. Last July, she and Tim walked in the Lake Forest parade with the Pet Adoption Center, along with a chihuahua named Bud.

Having varied responsibilities at St. Serra is something Ms. Melton appreciates. She says, “I enjoy learning new things and doing lots of different things keeps it interesting.” Currently, she finds herself busy with accounting support for PTO events, as well as managing a few special projects on the technology side. “I am happy to help wherever I can,” she affirms, “and [I] look forward to contributing to the school’s success.”

Posted in Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Luciana Swoboda (February 26, 2023)

March 14, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

Meet Mrs. Luciana Swoboda, Instructional Assistant for Second Grade at St. Serra since 2019. Her position supports Mrs. Hoey and she works with students in learning elements of the curriculum, preparing classroom materials and activities, and managing daily class routines.  She also serves as a supervisor in St. Serra’s Extended Care program. "I love being part of my students’ life!” says Mrs. Swoboda. “There is nothing more gratifying than helping them learn new things and overcome new challenges everyday so they can achieve new milestones in their lives.”

Mrs. Swoboda received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at PUC-SP Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil. She pursued a career path in the banking industry and worked at Santander Bank while in Brazil.She eventually moved to the United States to complete her Master of Business Administration degree from SSU – San Diego. It was while she worked in the travel and hospitality industry that she met her husband, Jeff. After having children and volunteering at St. Serra, she found her love for teaching and is now about to receive a teaching credential from Saddleback College.

Mrs. Swoboda has two children at St. Serra; Bella in seventh grade and Christopher in third grade. The Swoboda family lives in Dove Canyon with their sweet golden retriever, Charlie.   Both she and her husband were educated in Catholic schools growing up, and after visiting St. Serra they knew that it would be the place for their children to grow spiritually and academically. She believes the opportunities provided by a strong Catholic education with a supportive faculty and staff can be life-changing for students and families alike.

Her husband, Jeff, works in the auto racing industry. Their family enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and going for hikes with Charlie. One of their favorite family traditions is to spend Christmas at their family beach house at Guaruja Island in Brazil. When Mrs. Swoboda is not working or tending to her family, she also loves serving as a volunteer at Solano Catholic Church in Rancho Santa Margarita.

In second grade, the students are currently learning math concepts about time and money.  They are also working on ocean habitat dioramas in Science. Mrs. Swoboda is currently working to prepare their classroom for the upcoming Grandparents and Special Friends Day, and is looking forward to seeing all the students that day with their special guests.

Posted in Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Mr. Jesse Lopez, Jr. (February 19, 2023)

March 14, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

He says he is known to the students as “JJ, Mr. JJ, Mr. Lopez,” or as he jokes, “the guy who stands outside the [Chapel] gate in the mornings”. Mr. Jesse Lopez, Jr., affectionately known to most of the staff as “JJ”, is currently our Help Desk Technician, and the son of our very own Director of Facilities, Mr. Jesse Lopez (Sr.). He has officially been part of the St. Serra family for five years as staff, but he remembers visiting the St. Serra campus often as a young child: “Having my dad work at the school before I was even born gave me the opportunity to be around the school a lot growing up.”

Mr. Lopez graduated from Rancho Verde High School in 2017, and continues to take classes at Mt. San Jacinto College in order to earn an Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems. Having a job in a related field at St. Serra has helped him get a foot in the door of an industry that continues to grow. It’s work he truly enjoys because it allows him to interact with many different people at St. Serra, including teachers, students, and staff, and even our parish priests who visit the campus on Mass days. He especially appreciates the opportunity to get to know some of his co-workers, who he considers to be great people - yet he says the best part of his job is “getting to be with my dad everyday.”

He is the youngest of three children in his family, his older siblings being one brother and one sister, and enjoys being a proud uncle to two beautiful nieces, Anais (age 11) and Lili (age 8). When he’s not working, he and his girlfriend, Daniela, both Disneyland Annual Passholders, find themselves enjoying rides and attractions regularly at the famed amusement park. JJ also finds time to enjoy multiple hobbies, including playing in softball and baseball leagues and making fun modifications to his car. He shares, “I am a big car guy and [I have] won a few awards at car shows.” He passionately follows his favorite sports teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Minnesota Vikings, and often attends games. “I usually go to Dodger games all season,” he says. “I have seen the Vikings play everytime they are in town and have seen them play a few times in Minnesota as well.”

Aside from managing the Help Desk and assisting students, teachers and staff with technical problems on a daily basis, Mr. Lopez also works on inventory management and internal deployment of software and devices. He feels fortunate to be working alongside his dad and the community at our school, stating, “I’m lucky to call Serra my home.”


Posted in Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Kathy Tonokawa (February 12, 2023)

March 14, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

Meet Mrs. Kathy Tonokawa, St. Serra’s Director of Information Systems (IT). Mrs. Tonokawa first joined St. Serra in 1995 as a volunteer before her children were old enough to attend the school. At that time, she supported St. Serra’s Founding Principal, Mrs. Audrey Tellers, as her assistant. She formally joined the St. Serra ranks in 1996 as the Office Manager, and has worked in a variety of positions since then. She assumed the role of Director of Technology in 2010, and has been notably influential in our school’s technology systems and infrastructure ever since.

“I love working at the school and seeing the students on a daily basis,” says Mrs. Tonokawa. “Education has always been very important in our family growing up, and with our own children. Working with the Principals, it is very rewarding to be part of the team that is making a difference in our students’ lives and preparing them for jobs which may not even exist today.”

Mrs. Tonokawa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, with an emphasis in Advertising, from Cal State Fullerton. In addition to her roles at St. Serra, she has also worked in the HOA industry for over 30 years, producing newsletters and special projects for a large association in Irvine. One of her roles at St. Serra was Director of Communications, where she put her marketing and advertising skills to good use. She shares, “Marketing all of the activities and accomplishments of the school over the years, I knew that we were doing great things.” Mrs. Tonokawa’s affinity for technology and problem solving eventually led her to her current role as our IS Director, where she feels she has even greater involvement in shaping the educational experience at St. Serra. “My team and I now have the opportunity to directly impact what happens in the classroom, supporting the teachers and students to be successful.” Her team at St. Serra is currently working to evaluate the school’s network to ensure the strongest foundation possible to support current and future projects on campus.

Mrs. Tonokawa has been married to her husband, Kyle, a Civil Engineer, for 35 years. They have two children who are both St. Serra alumni. Their son, Brandon, who graduated from St. Serra in 2005, is now practicing veterinary medicine in Naperville, Illinois. Their daughter, Emily, graduated from St. Serra in 2009. She was trained as a pastry chef at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and currently works as the Assistant General Manager at Din Tai Fung in Las Vegas.

Outside of her work at St. Serra, Mrs. Tonokawa and her husband spend time together enjoying many activities, including photography, volunteering, walking and traveling. One of their most memorable trips was to Rome to see the Vatican. There, they stood in St. Peter’s Square to see the Pope and listen to him recite the Angelus, the same prayer recited together at noon every day by all of the students, teachers and staff at St. Serra.

Posted in Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Tania Alvarado (January 22, 2023)

March 14, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

Meet Mrs. Tania Alvaradao, Instructional Assistant for First Grade at St. Serra. Her position supports Miss Mazloomian, working with students to help them understand the curriculum, keeping them focused, and preparing their learning materials. “I LOVE to get to know my students and their families,” said Mrs. Alvarado. “Helping them grow academically, emotionally, and most of all spiritually, is a blessing for me.”

Mrs. Alvarado received her Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design from the ITESM University in Mexico. She continued her studies through UCLA extension with Interior Design courses. She also earned a Certificate of Proficiency in Early Childhood Assistant Teaching from Irvine Valley College.

Prior to St. Serra, she worked for an Architectural Firm in Mexico as a furniture designer and at Kelly Wearstler Interior Design Firm in L.A as graphic designer. Mrs. Alvarado has also worked for multiple church ministries, teaching faith formation to children in Grades Kindergarten through Fourth. In addition, she has performed as coordinator for Catholic Family Missions in Dallas, Texas, where groups of families ministered to a mobile home community.

Mrs. Alvarado’s hobbies are hot yoga and running! She has two children at St. Serra, Valentina in 3rd grade and Pablo in 7th grade. Mrs. Alvarado’s husband, Juan, is an AR/VR producer for live events. They also have a lovely Aussie labradoodle named Ollie. Their family recently moved to Rancho Mission Viejo, where they have volunteered in several community events, such as Gather and Give for the Mission Basilica and the Pumpkin Patch at the Farm.

Currently, Mrs. Alvarado is working with the first grade class getting ready for the upcoming Catholic Schools Week and Open House.

Posted in Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Mrs. Jessica Martignetti (January 15, 2023)

March 14, 2023
By St. Serra Marketing Communications

Meet Mrs. Jessica Martignetti, Community Events Coordinator at St. Serra. Her position supports St. Serra’s Parent Teacher Organization in planning school events and fundraisers.

Mrs. Martignetti received her Bachelors of Science in Marketing from the University of Arizona. She came to St. Serra with fundraising and event planning experience, having previously worked as a Campaign Coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

She has three children ages 9, 11 and 13, and her husband is an IT Business Consultant. Mrs. Martignetti and her family reside in Ladera Ranch where she has been an active member of the PTOs at her children’s schools. She has been involved in various PTO events including Art Night and annual fundraising galas.

Currently, Mrs. Martignetti is working hard with our SEASONS Tuition Assistance Luncheon Event Committee as they are finalizing the final details for the luncheon taking place next Sunday, January 22. In addition, she is currently supporting the Book Fair team, Father Daughter Dance event committee and upcoming Anchor Ball event committee.

Posted in Staff Spotlight

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