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 is also a highlight.

Fourth Grade: Rita Schoenheit

Hi!  My name is Rita Schoenheit, and I am your 4th grade teacher for the 2017-2018 school year.  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.  I 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.

Contact information:
email: rschoenheit@sjfschool.org
Phone:  503-246-3234  Extension 23

Fifth Grade: Colleen Ronchelli

Hello! I am originally from Northern California and grew up with a wonderful and large extended family. Even though this is my third year at St. John Fisher, this is my twelfth year teaching. I have taught in the second, fourth, and fifth grades. I completed my undergrad work at Santa Clara University and earned my credential and Masters from Loyola Marymount University. I hold both a California credential and Oregon license.

I strive to connect to 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! I am so excited for the 2017-2018 school year!

Sixth Grade: Julianne Joyce

My name is Julianne Joyce and I will be teaching 6th grade this year. I moved to Portland 3 years ago from Boise, ID. This is my second year teaching at St. John Fisher and my seventh year overall. I have taught 7th-12th grade Social Studies in Nebraska and Oregon. I earned my bachelor’s degree in History and my teaching license from Gonzaga University. For graduate school, I was a part of the Magis Catholic Teacher Corps through Creighton University in Omaha, NE, and earned my master’s degree in Teacher Leadership. I look forward to exploring the Portland area and am excited for the 2017-2018 school year!

Grades 5-8 Science; Grade 7 Math; 6-8 STEM: David Jenney

Though originally from Houston, TX, I have called Portland my home since 1985. I have a BS in Forest Management from Stephen F. Austin University, an Oregon teaching license from PSU and a Master’s in Education from Framingham St. College. I have taught in Saudi Arabia, China, S. Korea, Latvia as well as St. Anthony in Tigard. Prior to becoming an Educator in 1988, I worked for the US Forest Service in Colorado and lived abroad for several years as a sales and marketing representative. My wife, Cathy, and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary this December. I am the proud “Duck Dad” of our 25-year-old daughter, Natalya, who is currently in her second year of graduate school at MGHI in Boston. Since moving back to the US this summer, Cathy and I were finally able to bring a puppy Labradoodle into our (formerly quiet) lives and her name is Anastasia. My wife is currently in her second of year of retirement and I am thrilled to be a part of the St. John Fisher community.

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 experiences 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 in 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.

7th/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.  Recently, I began 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 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.

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 as 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: Sundi Pierce

Excited to be at St John Fisher as the new teacher librarian.  My husband and I moved to the Portland area from Tampa, FL in October 2016.  I was born and raised in Florida.  I have been in education for seventeen years – eleven of those in school libraries.  I received my master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida in December 2004.  Go Bulls!
Reading, information literacy and technology are all very important to me. Helping students look for just the right book for them is very rewarding and can make an avid reader for life.  The library makerspace movement has been an important part of my library for the past couple of years.  I created a successful makerspace program where students learned to create things they wanted to learn more about. I hope to incorporate some of that into our library at St John Fisher.
I strive to teach my students to use their skills, resources and tools to…
  • Inquire, think critically and gain knowledge.
  • Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create knowledge.
  • Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society
  • Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.
(AASL 21st-Century Learning Standards)

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 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: Kelly Gray

I teach physical education (K-8) and health (3-8) at St. John Fisher School.  I graduated from Gonzaga University with a Bachelors of Education in Physical Education and Elementary Education.  Several years later, I earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching from University of Great Falls.  My goal in teaching is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need to make healthy choices throughout their lives.

Research shows, and I believe, that there is a vital link between mind and body. A healthy body enables children (and adults!)  to more fully enjoy all aspects of learning and assures a greater likelihood of success in desired endeavors.  Recognizing this, SJF’s physical education program focuses on skilled movement, competitive and noncompetitive games, personal fitness, sport skills, and responsible behaviors.  In health, students learn principles of nutrition, body systems, exercise, and lifelong wellness.  Every student has the opportunity to be and feel successful in a safe and fun learning environment.

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”  — John F. Kennedy

Technology and Innovation Specialist: Jan Tullis

I am so excited to be at St. John Fisher. This position is my “dream job” with a perfect mix of tech work, innovation, and student/teacher interaction. As a bonus, it is right in my own neighborhood!

I’ve had over twenty years of experience in Portland Public Schools in a variety of positions, the last one was Tech Support for schools and offices. I had 14 sites to support myself. Before that I was at Chapman Elementary for six years and loved every minute of that. I’m so happy to be back in a school environment. 🙂

Can’t wait to meet everyone. Have a great school year!

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” — Steve Jobs