Faculty and Staff
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.
On a personal note, I have a passion for “giving back” to the community as a volunteer by fundraising at local not-for-profit organizations. I enjoy spending time with my husband Marko and our two kids – Autumn and Luka. During my spare time, you might see me at Fresh Pond running with my Goldendoodle, Maxwell, since I live near Cambridge. Fun fact: I am a St. Peter School mom too! My daughter is a St. Peter School in 2014 alumni, now attending Connecticut College.
In conclusion, you are invited to visit and see, firsthand, the difference your gift is making in the lives of St. Peter students every day. Please contact my office to schedule a visit at (617) 547-0101, ext. 130.
On behalf of St. Peter School, we are grateful for your generosity towards making Catholic education accessible for future generations of St. Peter students.
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. At St. Peter I manage our Google G-Suite Student and Faculty accounts and I oversee the distribution and maintenance of our school Chromebooks and other computers. I also manage the school Student Information System (RenWeb). I recently completed certification as a Hapara Champion Educator, a program we use at St Peter to enhance students and teacher interaction with G-Suite. My daughter graduated from St. Peter in 2018, and I have a son currently in the 6th Grade.
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. Michelle Kith
Hello! My name is Michelle Kith and I am very excited to be the K1 teacher at St. Peter School. I enjoy creating a fun, safe, and engaging environment where students can maximize their potential. My passion is working with young children. They truly inspire me each day! I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from University of San Francisco and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Tufts University. I have taught in private and urban school districts. I am an enthusiastic teacher motivated by the belief that all children can be successful learners. I see all children as competent, creative thinkers and learners who are actively engaged in the process of making sense of their world. I feel blessed to be a part of this school community!
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: Ms. Emily Miller
Hello! My name is Emily Miller and I am very excited to be the K2 Classroom Teacher at St. Peter School. I am originally from Boxford, Massachusetts and just recently moved to Concord. I graduated from Boston College with my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Applied Psychology in May 2017, and my Master’s of Education in Reading and Literacy in May 2018. While I was in college I worked as a preschool teaching assistant for several years at the Commonwealth Children’s Center in Boston and the Boston College Children’s Center in Newton. I also completed three full-time internships in elementary classrooms at various schools in the Boston area.
I believe that early childhood education should have equal emphasis on the academic, socio-emotional, and religious development of a child. I greatly look forward to getting to know my students and their families so that I can build meaningful relationships with all of those in my classroom community. Kindergarten will be a wonderful year of learning and excitement and I couldn’t be more blessed to be in this position.
Picture will be posted soon.
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
Hello! My name is Taylor Petersen and I am the third grade teacher at Saint Peter School. You may remember me from last year when I taught Elementary science! I am originally from Arizona but I moved to Washington for college. I received my B.A. in psychology, an ELL endorsement, and an elementary education certification. I then moved to Massachusetts, during which time I completed my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Lesley University.
I am thrilled to be teaching such an important grade level. I believe that a well organized environment with clear expectations can help any learner realize his or her full potential. There is a world of potential within every child! We just need to work together to find the learning style that works best for each student. Together we can make dreams a reality!
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. I am the 8th grade homeroom teacher, and I teach 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts and Literature. In the fall, I also oversee the high school application process and write recommendations. In the spring, I organize Awards Night and the Graduation Ceremony.
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 and received a high school teaching certificate. I later earned a Master of Arts in Human Development, with an emphasis on adolescent development, from St. Mary’s University. I am also certified by the state of Massachusetts to teach English Language Arts in grades 5-12.
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.
It is a pleasure to teach at St. Peter School.
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
Spanish Teacher and After School Director: Mrs. Patricia Carazo
Hola! I am
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
Hello! This is my second year at St. Peter School. I am grateful to have this opportunity to teach and learn with your children. 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 pass that knowledge onto others. I believe a 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 am in my second year of my Masters. Before St. Peter School, I had the pleasure of working as a one-on-one Paraprofessional and the Site Coordinator for the after-school program at Hoover Elementary 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, have taken classes at North Shore Community College (Legal), Northeastern University (Finance) and Springfield College (Art History). 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 look forward to this year at St. Peter School. I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to join the Hoff Technology Center Family and make it a place where students can collaborate, think critically, and problem solve. I live in Melrose with my husband, I have three children (who are all taller than me), and our dog Ramsey.
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 andparents to successfully educate the whole child.
Music: Ms. Elena Snow
Dear students and parents of St. Peter School: My name is Ms. Elena Snow and I am thrilled to join a fabulous team of teachers at St. Peter this fall as your new music teacher. I graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with my Masters’ degree in opera performance and voice pedagogy. I sing professionally with several ensembles, churches, and opera companies in the area. And with many years of teaching behind me, my students regularly excel in various different styles of music. I believe that there is a place for every child in the music classroom, regardless of age, skill level or ability. I believe in developing a joy for making beautiful sounds by running a fun, inclusive classroom and engaging learners of all types, as well as fostering self-agency and confidence. I am originally from Chicago, but have made my home here in the Boston area. In my free time, I enjoy spending time watching Netflix with my husband and our two cats (Evee and Mole.) I also enjoy knitting, cooking, and traveling almost every summer. This past summer, after a gig in New York, I was able to travel around Spain!
Physical Education/Resource Teacher: Mr. Matthew O’Donnell
PE is an exciting time for each child to get out some energy. Through movement, I will provide each PE class with a fun and safe environment for each class. I am also excited to be the resource teacher as well. In the resource room I hope to provide a safe space for your child to learn and grow in different ways. In addition, I also coach varsity baseball at Matignon High School and freshman basketball at Somerville High School. I am a Lesley University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.
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.