Principal: Ms. Susan Degnan
Born in Milton, Massachusetts, I moved back to my hometown four years ago after living north of Boston for several years. My family has always been actively involved in Saint Agatha Parish and my siblings and I all attended Saint Agatha School for grades one to eight. Catholic school education was an important part of our lives, so after graduation from Saint Agatha School I attended Fontbonne Academy. Graduating from Fontbonne I went on to Worcester State College, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology, with a minor in Physical Education.
Upon graduating college, I had a variety of jobs. That was until finding my vocation in Catholic education. Growing up with 2 great-aunts who taught in the Archdiocese of Boston, Sister Corona and Sister Patricius, both Sisters of Saint Joseph, I have always been comfortable in the Catholic school environment. My career has been dedicated to educating children in Catholic schools at St Joseph’s in Holbrook, St Jerome’s in North Weymouth and Saint Paul’s in Wellesley. During this period, I continued to broaden my education and experience, earning both a Master in Education from Curry College and a Master in School Administration from Emmanuel College. I taught courses at the college level at Stonehill College and Merrimack College. For the past 20 years, I have been the principal at Cheverus School in Malden and Trinity Catholic Academy in Brockton, as well as Head of School at Fontbonne Academy in Milton.
I have a very close-knit family. We spend close to every summer weekend together at our family’s beach house, which is next door to our cousins’ house. I am a very proud aunt with three nieces and two nephews. Feel free to ask me about them!
Office Administrator, Mrs. Kathy Flynn
Director of Admissions & Grade 5 Teacher Mr. Mark Smith
Hello, my name is Mark E. Smith and I am the fifth grade teacher and Director of Admissions here at St. Peter School. After 10 years of working in film production I decided to change careers and work towards my Masters degree in Education. I received my Masters in Education in the spring of 2008 from Lesley University with a focus on the creative arts.
St. Peter School offers so much more than a great education, I feel it is our goal not only to provide a great academic education, but to instill and teach the core values that will benefit all the students who pass through this school for years to come. I like to think that students are constantly being challenged and engaged in my classroom, from working on a group project turning one of our literature novels into a “graphic novel”, to our overnight trip in April to Nature’s Classroom on Cape Cod. Students here at St. Peter will always be encouraged, treated with respect and challenged to be the best that they can be.
To find out more about what we do in Grade 5, please visit the Grade 5 page.
Director of Advancement, Mrs. Eve Encinas-Lončar
Welcome to St. Peter School! My name is Eve Encinas-Lončar. As the Director of Advancement, I manage and direct all of the School’s fundraising which includes the major gifts program, annual fund, planned giving, alumni giving, special events, capital gift campaigns, and work with the Parent Association. As a Hotel Management graduate, I bring the St. Peter School community a combination of 20+ years experience in all areas of event planning, fundraising, and business development. I have a passion for “giving back” to the community as a volunteer by fundraising at local non-for-profit organizations.
I love spending time with my husband and our two kids – Autumn and Luka. I also live close to St. Peter School. You might see me at Fresh Pond running with my Goldendoodle, Maxwell, during my free time. Fun fact: I am a St. Peter School mom too! My daughter graduated from St. Peter School in 2014.
Thank you for your support of the St. Peter School community. Your contributions are essential to our future!
Director of Technology: Mrs. Abigail Lewis-Bowen
I’m very happy to be overseeing school technology and information systems at Saint Peter, where I have been a parent and volunteer since 2011. Prior to having a family, I had a career at IBM where I managed User Experience Standards and Information Discovery for the IBM Corporate Intranet. I also worked as an Intranet consultant at Johnson & Johnson, Stand for Children, and with the Intranet Benchmarking Forum. I have a B.A. in French from the University of Connecticut and an M.S. in Information Management from Syracuse University.
Sheila O’Shaughnessy, RN, School Nurse
Hello! My name is Sheila O’Shaughnessy and I am delighted to be joining the wonderful staff at St. Peter School as one of the school nurses. After graduating from college with a degree in Psychology, I traveled around Ireland and North Africa and worked as a cook for almost two years on boats in the Caribbean. Having gotten the travel bug out of my system, I decided to go back to UMass Boston and pursue a degree in nursing. While at nursing school I met my husband and after graduating, we moved to New York City where I worked at Mount Sinai Hospital as a maternity nurse. My teenage daughters were born there, and started school in Queens, New York where there were 138 languages spoken at their school! We moved back to Boston to be closer to family and I feel blessed to be back at my alma mater, the place of my baptism and the church where my elderly parents were married over 60 years ago! I look forward to meeting all your children in sickness and in health and will do my best to spread love, kindness, and healthy habits their way.
K1: Ms. Margaret Somerset
Miss Somerset came to St. Peter as an intern in 2012. After graduating from college, she worked in a neuroscience lab at the VA Hospital before returning to St. Peter to teach full-time. In previous roles, she has taught math to elementary school students through the Math Rules! program for Boston Partners in Education and has provided individualized and small-group math and science support in the middle grades as a Resource teacher. Miss Somerset has worked with students in K1 through Grade 8 at St. Peter and is especially grateful for her experiences in Grade 1 as an intern and in K2 as an assistant.
Miss Somerset grew up in Salem, MA and attended a parochial school that has since closed. As an elementary school student she frequently produced extra credit projects and posters with matching manipulatives to “help” her classmates with math and science concepts like place value and kinetic energy. Though well-intentioned, her class’s response was less-than-enthusiastic and she quickly entertained other methods of helping. She formally revisited her interests in “helping” and in the science of learning as an undergrad at McGill University. Miss Somerset’s approach is firmly rooted in the tradition of Catholic education and is strongly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach, which honors parents as the “first teacher” and the environment as a “third teacher.” She is committed to keeping K1 an academic but creative and expressive place, where students acquire the skills to think critically, the discipline to work hard, and the character to be kind and generous–for their first years at St. Peter and beyond. Miss Somerset has a degree in psychology from the Harvard Extension School and is thrilled to be teaching K1!
K1 Aide & After School Assistant: Mr. Ethan Selby
Hello! My name is Ethan Selby. This will be my 2nd year teaching at St Peter School. My two new roles will be as a K1 Aide as well as the Assistant Director of the After School program. I have a BA in Film Studies & Theatre from Keene State College in New Hampshire. Previous work has included teaching in After School at John F Kennedy Elementary in Somerville, MA, performing Children’s Theatre at the Boston Children’s Museum, and teaching theatre at Watertown Children’s Theatre and Arlington Center for the Arts. I look forward to another great school year at St Peters!
K2 Aide: Mrs. Kathy Smith
My name is Kathy Smith and I am the aide in the K2 classroom. I graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science degree. After working for Verizon for many years, I was fortunate enough to stay home with my children while they were young. During this time I discovered the world of non-profit and education. As a site coordinator for Boston Partners in Education, I promoted reading as a fun and relaxing as well as a learning activity. I was also the Director of Religious Education for Saint Peter Parish for 3 years. The highlight of each year was First Communion in May. I am a big advocate for St Peter’s education. My son and daughter are both graduates of St Peter. Their education has been academic, spiritual, social and cultural. They have had an enriching experience in the St Peter environment.
Grade 1: Ms.Rachel Sminkey
Welcome! My name is Rachel Sminkey and I am so blessed and excited to be the first grade teacher here at St. Peter School. I have earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Wheaton College and a master’s in Elementary Education from Lesley University.
First grade is an exciting time as children embark upon new adventures in the world of learning. I am looking forward to a very exciting and productive year working with your child. I will strive each day to make learning a fun and enriching process for your child. I believe we are a team, working together, to help your child thrive academically. Our collaboration is a key component of a successful year.
Grade 2: Miss Carly Conway
Hello! My name is Carly Drew Conway and I am so excited to be teaching second grade at St. Peter’s! I grew up in Wellesley Massachusetts, but left the area to earn my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Delaware. I am currently enrolled at Lesley University and in the middle of the Masters of Elementary Education Program. I am not new to St. Peter’s, I was a substitute teacher last year and could not be more grateful to have my own classroom and be a part of such an amazing school. I believe that open minds and curiosity are the best learning tools and have created a safe environment for my students to further their creativity and thinking in order to reach their fullest potential.
Grade 3: Ms. Taylor Petersen
BIO will be posted shortly.
Grade 4: Ms. Jillene Cadigan
Hello! My name is Jillene Cadigan and I am thrilled to be teaching fourth grade here at St. Peter School. I grew up in Arlington MA where I have had the determination to become a teacher since I was a child. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education & Counseling Psychology in 2015 and my Masters Degree in Integrated Elementary and Special Education in 2016, both from Wheelock College in Boston. I posses a Massachusetts Elementary 1-6 teaching license as well as a Moderate Disabilities PreK-8 license.
Prior to coming to St. Peter School I worked within the Cambridge Public schools for 3 years as a student teacher, an intern and most recently as a special education paraprofessional.
As a teacher I help students meet their fullest potential by always providing a classroom that is safe and inviting. I firmly believe that creativity, kindness, and growth can only be achieved if a warm and respectful environment is established prior. I value inclusion, transparency, and candor and work to bring these qualities into any and all environments.
I am excited to shift my focus back to the front of the classroom and to use all my experiences thus far as a catalyst for growing and creating an exceptional classroom community at St. Peter School.
Grade 5: Mr. Mark Smith
(See bio under Director of Admissions)
Grade 6: Mr. Dan McDonough.
Mr. Dan McDonough is the Grade 6 ELA, Math and Religion teacher, as well as the Grade 5 Math teacher. Mr. McDonough has a Bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University in Educational Studies. Mr. McDonough was the former St. Peter School long-term substitute teacher. He has taught at Cambridge Friends School in Cambridge for six years, Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington, and Oak Middle School in Newton.
Grade 7 and Middle School Math and Religion: Mr. Robert Gray
I received a B.S. from Boston College and a Masters Degree from Suffolk University and have taken post-baccalaureate classes at Bridgewater State College. For many years I worked for the Gillette Co. in Boston and I was also a ten-year member of the Adjunct Faculty at Suffolk University. I live with my wife in Norwood, MA, and am the father of two grown sons.
I teach Mathematics and Religion to grades 7 and 8. The Mathematics curriculum includes pre-algebra for advanced students and basic seventh and eighth- grade math for on-track students. Both courses include the operations of math for whole numbers, integers, and fractions and decimals. In addition, the concepts of currency, measuring, equations, word problems, and geometry are studied. In summary, the seventh and eighth-grade classes enjoy a rich and full academic challenge supported by a Catholic-Christian atmosphere that stresses self-discipline and character development.
Grade 8 and Middle School ELA: Mrs. Beth Adams
My name is Beth Adams and I am delighted to join the Saint Peter School faculty as the 7th & 8th grade English Language Arts teacher and the middle school resource teacher. Both my children attend the school and I am thrilled to teach in such a wonderful community.
I graduated from Occidental College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Comparative Literature. After college, I attended a two-year teacher education program at the Rudolf Steiner College. I later earned a Master of Arts in Human Development, with an emphasis on adolescent development, from St. Mary’s University.
Over my career, I have taught middle school and high school humanities in both public and private schools. In addition to teaching in the classroom, I spent many years leading wilderness trips for teenagers. I also volunteer for a local organization that educates people about climate change and works to ensure a healthy and livable climate for all children and future generations.
Elementary Science, grades 1-5: Dr. Max Ciarlet
I am Max Ciarlet and I am excited to join the St. Peter community as the Elementary Science teacher for grades 1 to 5. My initial vocation was to become a school teacher but life took me in a different direction to become a scientist. After obtaining my BSc in Biological Sciences and my phD in Microbiology/Virology, I became an Assistant Professor in the Molecular Microbiology and Virology Department at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas). Subsequently, I joined Merck to pursue another dream of mine: To develop a safe and effective vaccine against the main causative viral agent of gastroenteritis in infants worldwide. This vaccine has been licensed in almost every country in the world and is helping to save thousands of children lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. I have authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and several chapters in scientific textbooks and one encyclopedia. After working for nearly 25 years developing vaccines, I realized that it was time to start making a difference here at home, with all our children in the St. Peter community. It is a privilege to join the staff of St. Peter School and be an integral part of what makes St. Peter such a special and warm place where our children thrive together within a Catholic environment. I will be using the Nancy Larson Science curriculum as baseline, and I will help the children discover their passion for their scientific selves through plan lessons to add real-world relevance and practicality, and connect science with other disciplines with the goal to allow students to combine several school subjects in a creative, well-rounded investigation. I am a firm believer that children become effective students and analytical thinkers when they learn to integrate different fields of knowledge.
Middle School Science, Grade 6-8: Mrs. Ashley Davis
I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and received my degree at Eastern Michigan University in elementary education and integrated science. Yes, I am a Bill’s fan. I have recently completed my Masters degree in science education at Lesley University. I have been lucky to have had a variety of classroom experience. I believe that teaching is what I was born to do and hope to make learning an engaging experience for all students.
Middle School Social Studies, Grade 5-8: Dr. Alison MacAdams
I’m Alison MacAdams, the Social Studies/History teacher for grades 5 through 8. I’m excited to be part of this welcoming community of students, teachers, and parents! I am half Brazilian and was raised in beautiful Rio de Janeiro. Before moving to the USA, I finished high school in Paris, France, and attended one year of college at the Sorbonne. I have a B.A. in Romance Languages and Comparative Literature from Brandeis University, where I also completed the requirements towards my M.A. and PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies. I love teaching and have worked with many different and diverse student populations over the years. More recently, I had been teaching college courses in writing, world literature, history, Portuguese, and education. I believe a well-educated student is one who can think critically and communicate effectively. I enjoy helping my students find connections between topics and disciplines and like bringing creativity to class activities. I am looking forward to having a fantastic year at St. Peter School!
Grade K-4 Reading Specialist: Mrs. Anita Kinkead
My name is Anita Kinkead and I am excited and happy to have been asked to return to St Peter’s this school year as the Reading Specialist, Grades: K1 through Grade 4. I am a native French Speaker and have been in education since 1999. I have taught French in elementary, middle and high school settings in both public and private schools. I have completed two courses at the Carroll School in 2017,” – Assessment of Reading, Cognition, and Learning Abilities Part I and II.” My most recent job was at L’école Internationale Française in Cambridge. I hold a Master’s in Education from Cambridge College and 24 credits towards a Masters in French. In addition to French, I speak Portuguese, Cape Verdean, Wolof and some Spanish.
Spanish Teacher and After School Director: Mrs. Patricia Carazo
Hola! I am the Spanish teacher for all grades from K1-Grade 8. I am originally from Madrid and came to the United States in 1996. After a career in finance I realized my passion was teaching. I began as a parent volunteer and room parent and then became a teacher. I have taught at Our Lady’s Academy in Waltham and St Francis of Assisi in Braintree. I enjoy focusing on not only the language the culture of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries.
Library and Technology Teacher, Hoff Technology Center: Mrs. Lisa Gentile
My passion for teaching and coaching comes from my life’s experiences, and I attribute my diverse background to my travels and growth in my commitment to learning and passing that knowledge onto others. I believe school is a place where students can learn about different cultures, build friendships and create foundations for the future. My recent accomplishments include going back to college to earn my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and starting my Masters at Merrimack College. I have spent the last two years working as a Paraprofessional and after-school Site Coordinator at the Hoover Elementary School in Melrose. Before Hoover, I worked at Brown Rudnick LLP as a Corporate Legal Executive Assistant, then IT Help Desk Analyst, where I became certified in Microsoft Office and HDI. I hold a Professional Chef’s degree from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and studied a semester of law at North Shore Community College, of finance at Northeastern University and Art History at Springfield College. I am an active Girl Scout and a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi), the Massachusetts Psychology Association, and the Massachusetts School Library Association. I am very excited to be teaching at St. Peter School where I can teach students to understand and use technology effectively, efficiently, purposefully, and creatively in a manner that will enhance their learning and engagement with curriculum.
Art: Ms. Elizabeth Blessing
My name is Elizabeth Blessing and I am very excited to be a part of the Saint Peter School community as the K-8 Art teacher this year! I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with students of all grade levels in the school. My goal as a successful art teacher is to make art a fun, creative and enriching experience for every student. I graduated from Boston College in May 2017, where I double majored in Elementary Education and Studio Art. My background in education, combined with my dedication and passion for art, have enabled me to effectively apply both of these disciplines in my practicum experiences. Before teaching at St. Peter School, my practicum experiences were at Winship Elementary School in Brighton, Thomas A. Edison School in Brighton, and St. Mary of the Assumption School in Brookline. My commitment to education is a motivating force in and outside of the classroom. As a member of the St. Peter School community, I really look forward to working together with the faculty and parents to successfully educate the whole child.
Kitchen Manager/Chef: Mr. Douglas Pollander
Chef Pollander is a proud graduate of St. Peter School. He went on to earn an Associate’s Degree in Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, and is currently completing his bachelor’s degree there. Mr. Pollander is an energetic Chef offering over 10 years of experience in the food industry including the Daily Catch in Boston and Servizio Cafe & Corporate Catering in Burlington, MA. His blend of creativity, passion for food, and exceptional cooking skills demonstrate a hardworking, truly dedicated restaurant management professional. He has extensive experience in daily planning and operations experience and is focused on high standards for taste, quality, and nutrition.