Teachers


Kindergarten: Lisa Kaiser

Born and raised in western New York as one of seven children, I graduated from the
State University College at Buffalo with a B.S. in Curriculum and Development,
Elementary and English. I began my teaching career in Los Angeles and most recently taught in Connecticut. I have taught first, second, third grades, as well as served as a K-5 literacy interventionist. When I came to SJF as a long-term
substitute, I fell in love with this little school community. It is a real honor to be your new kindergarten teacher.
I have been married for 27 years and have two grown daughters. I am an avid
reader, gardener, and a “foodie” with a love for travel!

First Grade: Joanne Grenz

I come to you with a B.S. in Education with a Reading Endorsement and an emphasis in Art.  I have been teaching since 1986 and have rewritten my teaching philosophy many times. As my years in teaching increase, the length of my philosophy seems to decrease.  For me, learning is a never-ending series of steps.  When a child feels safe, supported, interested and is enjoying what is being taught, they will proceed to the next step.  It is my goal to do these things while addressing the spiritual, academic and developmental needs of each individual child to the best of my abilities and insight.  And for first graders, the more hands-on the better!

Second Grade: Darlene Sheridan

I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon all my life. Growing up in a rural area, I loved to play outside and learned much from the world around me. When my little sister was born I fell in love with the idea of working with children.  Being a lifelong learner myself, I received my reading endorsement and master’s degree in education from the University of Portland. I love to hike, travel, read my Bible and spend time with my family.  We have so much to be thankful for. Children show me every day the joy of life as they make me laugh.

Third Grade: Arden Albertini

I was born and raised in Montana and am part of a large extended family with several aunts, uncles, and cousins that were, or are, teachers.  So I was destined to go into the “family business”.  I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Montana State University, “Go Bobcats!” and I did my fifth year at Portland State.  I love going to movies and visiting art museums and galleries.

I try to create an atmosphere in the classroom where every student will feel successful, safe, and enjoy coming to school.  Third Graders enjoy reading many good books, doing art projects, and learning new things about the world through their Travel Buddies.  They also look forward to visiting OMSI, the Portland Art Museum, and seeing an Oregon Children’s Theater play.  Our visits to the West Hills Retirement Center several times during the year are also a highlight.

Fourth Grade: Rita Schoenheit

Hi!  My name is Rita Schoenheit, and I am your 4th grade teacher.  I was born in Portland, Oregon and am the oldest of 7 children.  I enjoy being part of a large family and believe it has helped prepare me for life in the classroom.

I attended Central Catholic High School and loved the opportunities the school provided for service in the community, as well as the academic and spiritual environment.  Following high school, I attended Gonzaga University where I studied Psychology and Elementary Education and received my Bachelor’s Degree.  In December 2008, I also completed a Master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction at Portland State University.

It has been my privilege to work as part of the St. John Fisher community for the past ten years.  In November 2007, I was hired as a substitute teacher for Robbie McGinty while she was on maternity leave.  I then worked in the first grade classroom for Joanne Grenz.  The following school year, I was Amy Lawrence’s assistant in the fourth grade classroom, then I finally received a classroom of my own in 2009.  My experiences here at St. John Fisher have been very rewarding and it is a blessing to be part of such a wonderful community!

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, cooking meals with my sister, attending trivia, taking trips to the coast, and playing with my precious nieces and nephews.

Fifth Grade: Colleen Ronchelli

Hello! I am originally from Northern California and grew up with a wonderful and large extended family. I have taught in the second, fourth, and fifth grades. I completed my undergraduate work at Santa Clara University and earned my California credential and Masters from Loyola Marymount University. I hold both a California credential and an Oregon license.

I strive to connect with all my students while treating them with respect and dignity. Along the way, I hope to help them grow academically and spiritually while challenging and preparing them for middle school and beyond. I have a passion for teaching especially when it comes to Catholic school. I love not only being able to teach my faith but also to journey with the students on their own faith journeys as well. It is truly a blessing to work in a Catholic school!

Sixth Grade: Nick Campagna

I was born and raised in San Rafael, CA, attended Marin Catholic High School and then the University of Portland where I graduated with a B.S. in Secondary Education. During my time at UP, I was able to student teach in a variety of different classroom settings from elementary to high school. 

My experience with such passionate and inspiring teachers from my years as a student is what really motivated me to become a teacher. I have been blessed to have such great, compassionate, intelligent, and inspiring teachers in my time of being a student and I want to be that teacher for my own students. 

I strive to help my students grow both academically and spiritually in order to prepare them for the later stages of middle school and lay the groundwork to prepare them for high school and beyond. I am looking forward to this school year and all of the unique experiences it brings!

Grades 5-8 Science; Grade 7 Math: Jennifer Willits

I was born in the Central Valley of California. I am the oldest and have two sisters, one of whom is also a teacher. After college, I went to beauty school and worked as an esthetician for10 years. I became fascinated with skincare products and the science behind them, so I decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in biology. Once I completed my first genetics class I was hooked and changed my degree to biotechnology. A graduate student and I collaborated on his thesis and we were published for our work during my undergrad. 

My husband and I met when I was in Portland visiting my sister and we had instant chemistry so we were in a long-distance relationship for three years. After college, he proposed and we got married. I moved to Portland because I love the city and the weather here, I actually enjoy the rain. 

After college, I went back to esthetics and became an educator at the salon and was fascinated with the learning process and how each person has their own learning style. I decided to become a teacher because of that reason. I earned my MAT at Pacific University while working full time and student teaching in a local high school. This is my first job. This is where I was supposed to be all along. 

When I am not working I enjoy traveling. I have been to 15 other states and 4 other countries already but I plan to explore more every summer. I am also passionate about animals, I have three dogs myself. I also love gardening and spending time with family.

Eighth Grade: Amy Lawrence

I was born and raised in Portland.  I went to Central Catholic High School and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in psychology.  After graduation, I became a golf professional and spent several years in that field.  I decided to make a career change and went to graduate school at Concordia University and earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching.

It was my experience as a student at Central Catholic High School that made me want to become a teacher.  The teachers were more like family and had a very positive impact on my life.  They took a genuine interest in me and my family and there was a real sense of community.  I loved the Catholic values and faith dimension as well as the academic environment.

I like to spend my free time with my family doing most anything outdoors.  I love to walk, run, hike, bike, raft, ski, and snowshoe.  I also love to read, listen to music and go to concerts and sporting events.  I like to travel, get out on foot and explore the world.

6th-8th Religion, Spanish, 8th Math, Ceramics: Deacon Scott Kolbet

For fourteen years I served as pastoral associate at St. John Fisher, teaching 7th-grade religion for all of those years. Since 2015, I have been teaching full time at SJF school. I have a BA in Religion and MA in Theology, mainly because I love learning about the faith. The focus for 6th grade is God’s covenant as we explore the Old Testament. The focus for 7th grade is “To know and follow Christ” as we learn about the New Testament and Morality. The focus for 8th grade is “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi” (the law of praying is the law of believing). My hope is that the Christian faith becomes a personal experience as we grow more fully in the community at St. John Fisher.

When not at SJF, you may see me serving as a deacon at Cathedral, or I’m spending time at home with my wife and kids, or woodworking in my garage.

Middle School Math: Scott Osborne

Hello! I am a native Portlander and product of Catholic schools and I am pleased to say I have been teaching at St. John Fisher since 2007. I attended Jesuit High School and graduated from Gonzaga University after studying art and elementary education. I also have earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University. I enjoyed all eight of my years teaching 5th grade, but am very happy to have made the transition to middle school math, which has long been my favorite subject to teach. In my classes, I value critical thinking and problem-solving skills and encourage my students to do the same. Math can be a challenging subject if approached with a closed mind but offers a look at how the world works that is unrivaled.

Academic Support Coordinator: Reyni Racklin

I was born and raised in Oakland, California, the child of Italian immigrants who instilled strong Catholic and humanitarian values in me. Education was so important to my parents that they made many sacrifices to allow me to attend Catholic schools through High School. Following graduation, I studied psychology and public health at UC Berkeley and then went on to receive a Masters of Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, CA.  As a counselor, my focus was on school-aged children and families.  Life can and does take some interesting turns, however, and I found myself with a PT job working with an autistic child in his home-based program.  My work with this child led me back to school for a Masters in Education at Holy Names University in Oakland as well as a certification in Educational Therapy.  While in Oakland I worked at Raskob Day School and Learning Institute as a classroom teacher as well as a 1:1 educational therapist.  Following that, I was the K-5 Learning Specialist at a private school in San Francisco.

After my husband and I had our daughter and twin boys, we headed up to Portland and I have never looked back!  Joining the SJF community is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I can’t believe my fortune in landing such a special place.  Over the past five years here at SJF, I have become Tier II certified in Collaborative Problem Solving, which is powerful was to look at behavior and work collaboratively with children to durable resolve unsolved programs.  I am currently in a program to receive my certification in the Orton-Gillingham approach, a highly researched methodology in working with at-risk and dyslexic readers.  I welcome the opportunity to get to know as many children and families as I can, whether or not there are learning issues on board.

Library: Margaret Burd

I have come full circle at St. John Fisher School. My own children attended school here and I was an avid volunteer in the library. During that time, I realized my passion and calling to become a school librarian. I returned to school to earn my MEd. with a Library endorsement from George Fox University. For the past 16 years, I was the Librarian Teacher at a local archdiocesan school. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to return to this heart-filled community. I am passionate about building a love of reading into each child and endeavor to keep that flame alive as they move through their school years. As reading motivation rises, so do their skills. Reading can be fun in whatever format that might be! I love supporting students in finding that “just right book,” and in sharing the excitement of reading through Battle of the Books, book talks and activities. 

In coordination with our classroom teachers, I also support our students’ journey in the research process, particularly focusing on becoming wise users of information. Twenty-first-century learners need to be savvy in locating quality information, disseminating it and then creating a unique product to showcase their learning. 

Besides reading, I love to exercise, hike in the good weather, and spend time with friends and family, especially if it involves travel!

Music: Don Vecchione

My name is Mr. Don Vecchione (Vek-ee-own-ee) and I am honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing community.

I was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in the central part of the State as the son of a cattle rancher. After graduating from Atwater High School, I returned to Southern California where I received my degree in Applied Liberal Arts, with an emphasis in education, from Concordia University, Irvine. I have worked in the field of education for over 25 years, both as a classroom teacher (7th grade – St. Anthony’s School, San Gabriel, CA) and as a specialist in the areas of drama, music, and drill team competition. Before joining the SJF family, I was a substitute teacher, as well as being a resident substitute on the middle school level. In this capacity, I also served as the assistant choir director, choreographer, and the spring musical director and choreographer. I am a firm believer that the arts are an integral part of a child’s education and I am passionate about sharing my expertise so that my students can appreciate and excel with their God-given talents.

On a personal note, God has blessed me with four wonderful children and three beautiful grandchildren. He as also blessed me as an award-winning actor, singer, choreographer, and director of numerous theatrical productions, both on the community and regional professional level. I enjoy bowling, amusement parks, listening to MOST styles of music and watching ANYTHING “Disney”. Oh, and chocolate is my guilty pleasure.

Physical Education: Michael Rittman

Hello! My name is Michael Rittman and this is my first year at St. John Fisher! I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I am the product of 17 years of Catholic education. I attended St. George elementary school in south Seattle, O’Dea High School in downtown Seattle and then the University of Portland. I was a Criminal Justice major with an education minor in sports science and physical education. I received my Masters in Teaching from Antioch University in Seattle. I spent the last ten years at St. George School in South Seattle working as the PE teacher, math teacher, Athletic Director, and ran the afterschool daycare program. I coached our school’s Track & Field team and was an assistant coach for high school football and baseball.

I have been married to my wife Linda for 4 years and together we have a daughter named Stella Brielle and a Mini Aussie named Henri! When not working with the awesome students of St. John Fisher, I enjoy hanging out with friends, visiting other cities, states and countries, trying new food, playing in adult sports leagues, working on my house or in my yard, and listening to music. I feel blessed to be a part of the community here at St. John Fisher!

Technology and Innovation Specialist: Pat Maher

I was born and raised near Toronto, Canada. Through my high school education, I learned to follow my school motto and pursue a lifelong journey in service. My BA is from Creighton University, in Omaha, NE and I have also earned my M.B.A. from Saint Peter’s University in New Jersey. While living and working in the New York City/ NJ area I worked in the financial services industry and learned many things about providing a high level of service while educating our customers on investing. I had the opportunity to learn about the Bloomberg terminal and then teach the details of the program to my coworkers. From this point, the passion for teaching was developed and grew.

In 2004, my family moved out here to the Portland area and we have loved the great northwest ever since. A similar experience with teaching occurred when I was asked to teach my team a workshop on Diversity and Inclusion at the bank where I worked. The feedback I received was inspirational and with that, I decided to switch careers and move into teaching. I earned my Master of Arts in Teaching from Concordia University with endorsements in math, business, and technology. I have been working with students of all grade levels and thoroughly enjoy showing them new technology and how it can inspire students to think creatively and to respectfully embrace technology. 

While away from school I enjoy time with my two daughters and finding ways we can explore the pacific northwest, camping, hiking, going on a new foodie adventure, or just embracing our inner silliness. I  am looking forward to teaching the students of St John Fisher all that our modern 21’ st century has to offer with new technology and ways to help our society embrace it positively.