New Faces at St. Martin’s!
The hallways at St. Martin’s are filled with the excitement of a new year. We are blessed to see many new and returning students to our classrooms. Veteran teachers are making plans for those favorite classroom activities, which foster academic growth and development. Our new teachers are bringing fresh ideas and opportunities to our efforts in creating life-long learners and critical thinkers. Together we are creating a faith community where lasting relationships are built.
We are pleased to introduce our new faculty members along with several current teachers who are taking on new roles. Ms. T’Juana Lee is joining us as our middle school Science and Math teacher. She is also our sixth grade homeroom teacher. Ms. Lee comes to us with over twelve years of teaching experience in the areas of math and science, along with a positive attitude and a professional approach towards education. She holds degrees in both Psychology and Biology from Grambling State University and a Masters of Education from Southeastern University. Ms. Lee strongly believes in motivating children to push beyond their comfort zone so they can truly see their potential.
Also joining our middle school team is Mr. Peter Maioriello. Mr. Maioriello will be teaching advanced Math. He studied at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and Bowie State University. His educational background is in math and history. He also studied International Business. For the past twenty-two years, Mr. Maioriello taught both here in the US and abroad in China and Korea. He taught at Bowie State University and Prince Georges and Charles County Public Schools. He is looking forward to getting to know the students and help them build on their strengths. “My goal is to make sure my students become better thinkers,” he added.
Mrs. Joanne Breiner returns to St. Martin’s in a new role this year as our new middle school Language Arts teacher. “I am very happy to be back at St. Martin’s teaching Language Arts. I believe that all students can learn when they have the right tools. Education is the great equalizer and I hope to help all students learn and enrich their lives,” said Mrs. Breiner. She learned English as a second language and received a Master’s Degree in English, Italian, and Spanish from Catholic University. Mrs. Breiner has taught at Our Lady of Good Counsel and Montgomery County Public Schools. Her favorite leisure activities are cooking and traveling with her family.
Bringing music and movement to our school is Mrs. Terra Trabelsi, our new Music and PE Teacher (PK-Grade 1). Mrs. Trabelsi received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a minor in Music from Catholic University. She has taught at Sacred Heart School in DC and St. Camillus in Silver Spring. She has also worked at Gymboree and B & B Music World, which allowed her flexibility to take care of her four children, now 10, 12, 14, and 16. “They are all dancers, and I have been taking them to dance classes since they were each three years old. You can even check them out in the Nutcracker at Olney Theatre!” she said. “Luckily, I love music as a hobby and a job, so I’m blessed enough to have my career be both. I look forward to working with the students this school year, and have lots of fun and challenging activities planned,” she added.
Ms. Christine Kolberg is our new 5th grade teacher. Born and raised in the DC area, she attended Our Lady of Good Counsel and later pursued her degree in Elementary Education and Spanish at Catholic University. Previously, Christine was working as an elementary school teacher in Madrid, Spain, where she taught 2nd and 4th grade for two years. She said, “I am excited to be working at St. Martin’s and preparing my students for middle school academically, socially, and spiritually."
Outside of school, you can find Christine going on runs, watching movies, or spending time with her friends and family.
Our new third grade teacher Mrs. Sarah Maldonado brings twelve years of teaching experience, ten of which were in Catholic schools, to St. Martin’s. “My heart is in the Catholic school setting,” she said. Along with her knowledge and expertise, Mrs. Maldonado brings flexible seating to her classroom this year. Students will be allowed to choose a seat that helps them do their best work. Seat options range from standard desks to stability balls. Mrs. Maldonado graduated from Millikin University in Decatur, IL with a degree in Elementary Education. She has a broad experience teaching in almost every elementary grade level. Mrs. Maldonado is recently married and new to the area. She enjoys traveling and experiencing new things. Mrs. Maldonado said, “I have heard wonderful things about the St. Martin’s parish and school community and am excited to be here.”
Bringing an extraordinary background to St. Martin’s, Mr. Duane Smith joins us as Language Arts and Resource/Special Education teacher. Mr. Smith has experience teaching Special Education, computer technology and programming, and cake design. He has taught in the Cape Henlopen School District and at Catonsville Community College. Mr. Smith graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History along with a Master’s Degree in Special Education. He is also a US Navy veteran. Role models are important, and Mr. Smith will set a great example for our students because as he explained, “I strive to be the best I can be and always present myself in a professional manner.” He hopes to bring his creative talents and energy to his new role at the school. Mr. Smith and his wife return to the area after years living on the Eastern Shore.
“I realized there was nothing I enjoyed as much as teaching young children after I had volunteered at a local elementary school,” said Ms. Natalia Chamandy, our new Kindergarten assistant. Ms. Chamandy graduated from the Smith School of Business from the University of Maryland. After working as a marketing specialist at a law firm, she realized business was not her calling. She added, “I was delighted how well my students responded to my teaching. My goal was to make a positive impact in their lives.” She hopes to bring enthusiasm, care, and kindness to her new position. Ms. Chamandy is the oldest of six siblings and enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys reading, dancing, and listening to Spanish music.
Several current faculty have taken on new roles. Mrs. Bridgette Bell is now the lead teacher in Kindergarten. “I love working with this age group and look forward to getting to know all the new students and their families,” said Mrs. Bell. Our school counselor, Ms. Brooksley Jones, adds 8th grade homeroom and religion teaching responsibilities to her day. She looks forward to helping her students recognize their God-given gifts and using them as they prepare for high school.
Our new faculty will enhance our school with their vibrancy and diversity. They each bring unique life experiences and gifts, which will support our students to ensure their success.