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- Leadership Team -
Julia V. Fanara P'01, P'03, P'05 Head of School
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Julia V. Fanara P'01, P'03, P'05 - Head of School

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University; Master of Arts in Secondary School Administration from the University of San Francisco; Master of Arts in Inclusive Education from Loyola Marymount University; and California Secondary Credential, English

Favorite Quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day – I love seeing the school come together as a community for this annual celebration

Megan Hoover Dean of Students and Director of College Counseling
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Megan Hoover - Dean of Students and Director of College Counseling

  • Teaches: Senior Seminar in College Preparation
  • Moderator: National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts from Elon Univeristy and Master’s in Education in School Counseling from Catholic University of America

Favorite Quote: “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in/ my heart) i am never without it (anywhere/ i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done/ by only me is your doing, my darling)” – E.E. Cummings

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight – all of the lights are magical on that night

Kari Irvin Assistant Head of School and Social Studies Department Chair
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Kari Irvin - Assistant Head of School and Social Studies Department Chair

  • Teaches: AP World History and AP U.S. History
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Art History from University of St. Thomas and Master of Arts in History from Cal State Northridge

 

Sara A. McCarthy '05 Director of Enrollment and Student Engagement, Director of the Alverno Summer Institute and Middle School Conservatory for Girls
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Sara A. McCarthy '05 - Director of Enrollment and Student Engagement, Director of the Alverno Summer Institute and Middle School Conservatory for Girls

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in American History and Sociology from the University of San Francisco; Master of Education and California Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Studies from Azusa Pacific University; and Certificate of College Counseling from UCLA.

Favorite Quote: “FORTI ET FIDELI NIHIL DIFFICILE” meaning “To the brave and faithful, nothing is difficult.” – McCarthy Family Motto

Favorite Alverno Tradition:  The plays and musicals. I was actively involved in the plays and musicals during my time at Alverno including Godspell, Hamlet, Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Into the Woods. In 2014, I even had the opportunity to appear as Elle’s mom in Legally Blonde! I love all of the hard work, dedication, talent, and love our students and Ms. Cales bring to these shows!

Cam Werley-Gonzales Director of the Alverno Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG)
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Cam Werley-Gonzales - Director of the Alverno Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG)

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University and Master Catechist Certification from Archdiocese of Los Angeles 

Favorite Quote: “I raise up my voice — not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day because it is an example of just how the entire community of students, faculty and staff, parents, and alumnae show how strong the bond of sisterhood and family is at Alverno Heights Academy.

Faculty
Suzanne Ares '93 and P'17 Science Department Chair
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Suzanne Ares '93 and P'17 - Science Department Chair

  • Teaches: Chemistry, Chemistry Honors, Forensics, and Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology
  • Moderator: Junior State and Unicorn Club
  • Education: M. Ed.  Loyola Marymount University (Education) and M.S. California State University at Los Angeles (Forensic Science)

Favorite Quote: “Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.” – Frida Kahlo

Favorite Alverno Tradition: the Science Department tradition of taking students to Costa Rica (student travel) every 2-3 years. It is a gift to offer students an opportunity to travel to see a beautiful part of our scientific world.

Yasmine Balkis Math Department
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Yasmine Balkis - Math Department

  • Teaches:  AP Calculus AB, Algebra I, and Pre-Calculus
  • Education: Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from California State University, Los Angeles

Favorite Quote: : “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”  Franklin Roosevelt

Favorite Alverno Tradition: The plays and musicals because it is obvious how much time and effort is put in to the shows, and more importantly, how much fun the members are having.

Monica Barsever Science Department
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Monica Barsever - Science Department

  • Teaches: AP Biology, Biology (Honors), Honors Independent Research in Science, and Physics Honors
  • Moderator: Harry Potter Club, Science Club, and Science National Honor Society
  • Education: Master’s of Arts in Teaching from University of Southern California, Ph.D. (ABD) in Engineering from UCLA, and Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from UCLA
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Favorite Quote: “A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician; he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.” – Marie Curie

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight because it is peaceful and joyful

Ken Berry Director of Athletics
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Ken Berry - Director of Athletics

  • Teaches: Kindler and Gentler Physical Education and Walking/Hiking/Running
  • Education: Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology from Cal State University, Northridge; Preliminary Credential, CSUN; Clear Credential, University of San Diego

Favorite Quote:  “Come with me and you’ll see a world of pure imagination.” – Willy Wonka

Favorite Tradition: Blessing of the Jerseys

Lucinda Buchan Varsity Softball Head Coach
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Lucinda Buchan - Varsity Softball Head Coach

  • Education: Master’s of Arts in Education from UCLA 

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Alverno’s winning softball seasons! 

Cynthia Cales P'12 Dance, Drama, and English Department, Production Director
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Cynthia Cales P'12 - Dance, Drama, and English Department, Production Director

  • Teaches: Theatre I and II, Advanced Theatre, World Literature, Improvisation/Stagecraft, and Dance I and II
  • Moderator: Drama/Improv Club, Dance Club, ComedySportz, Fall Play, and Spring Musical
  • Education: Master’s of Arts in Theatre and Dance Cal State Los Angeles and Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre from Cal State Sacramento

Favorite Quote: “This, too, shall pass.” 

Favorite Alverno Traditions: Fall Play and Spring Musical – I love working with our talented students on our productions and seeing them explore their limitless creativity.

Eileen Cameron English Department
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Eileen Cameron - English Department

  • Teaches: AP English Literature and Composition, World Literature Honors, World Literature, and Creative Writing 
  • Moderator: Sophomore State and Fashion Club
  • Education: Master of Arts in English from Cal Poly Pomona

Favorite Quote:  “Still waters run deep” by Mrs. Van Hopper in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day. It’s great to see the all of the girls come together for Mass and then see each class unite in their quest for the spirit stick.

Deanne Carnighan English Department Chair
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Deanne Carnighan - English Department Chair

  • Teaches: AP English Language and Composition, English 9 Honors, English 9, and English 12
  • Moderator: Frosh State
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in History from UC Berkeley; Master of Arts in Education from Cal State Los Angeles; and Clear California Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University

Favorite Quote: “Empowered women empower women.”

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day 

 

 

Lisa Edwards P'14 Choir Director
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Lisa Edwards P'14 - Choir Director

  • Teaches: Alverno Singers and Musical Theatre/Instrumental Ensemble
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Music from University of North Texas; Master of Music (Keyboard Collaborative Arts) from University of Southern California

Favorite Quote:  “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you’ve imagined.”  – Henry David Thoreau

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Baccalaureate Mass. I love seeing our students so proud of their accomplishments after 4 years.

Giselle Grams Spanish Teacher, World Languages Department Chair
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Giselle Grams - Spanish Teacher, World Languages Department Chair

  • Teaches:  Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish II Honors, Spanish III Honors, and AP Spanish
  • Moderator: Spanish Club
  • Education:  Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Master of Arts in Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona; and CLEAR dual California credential in Multiple Subjects and Single Subject Spanish from UCLA

Favorite Quote: “Every truth has four corners: As a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.” – Confucius

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight – because it is a preamble to “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” my favorite Holiday.

 

Alexandra Grimstad '03 Science Department, Cross Country Coach, and Track Coach
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Alexandra Grimstad '03 - Science Department, Cross Country Coach, and Track Coach

  • Teaches: AP Environmental Science, Physics, Physics and Applied Engineering, and Public Health
  • Moderator: Senior State and Running Club
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from University of California, Irvine and Master’s of Public Health from Benedictine University

Favorite Quote: “Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.” – Henry David Thoreau
Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day because it amazing day to experience all the best talents of the our young women. It is also a culmination of all the hard work of every young woman on campus revealed in a fantastic package known as the Troubadour, or as everyone else knows it, the yearbook.

Katharine Guerrero Campus Minister and Theology Department Chair,
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Katharine Guerrero - Campus Minister and Theology Department Chair,

  • Teaches: Morality and Social Justice; World Religions; Campus Ministry; and Christian Service
  • Moderator: Senior State, Campus Ministry/Christian Service Club, Rainbow Club, and Peace of Mind Club
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts from Whittier College and Master of Arts in Education from Whittier College 

Favorite Quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Senior Retreat – Witnessing these young women come together as a class for their final retreat is something truly special, and I am honored to be a part of this annual ritual.

Kari Irvin Assistant Head of School and Social Studies Department Chair
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Kari Irvin - Assistant Head of School and Social Studies Department Chair

  • Teaches: AP World History and AP U.S. History
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Art History from University of St. Thomas and Master of Arts in History from Cal State Northridge

 

Corrine Jimenez Theology Department and Junior State Moderator
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Corrine Jimenez - Theology Department and Junior State Moderator

  • Teaches: Sacramental Theology, Christian Lifestyles, Scripture, and Christology
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from Cal State Los Angeles and Master Catechist Certification from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles 

Favorite Quote: “People are more than the worse thing they have ever done in their lives” – Sister Helen Prejean

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Community Service Projects on Founders’ Day – I love watching the students working together enthusiastically as a community
Tim Lewis P'19 Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair
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Tim Lewis P'19 - Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair

  • Teaches: Arts in Contemporary Society, AP Studio Art, Open Studio, Photography, 2D Art A/B, 3D Art, 
  • Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pitzer College; Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California, and Master of Arts from Loyola Marymount University 

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Opening reception for the AP Art exhibit in May – All year the AP Art students have been working hard on their portfolios, and it is so exciting as their teacher to watch them exhibit their work and share it with an audience.

 

K.C. Merchant Director of Technology and Social Studies Department
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K.C. Merchant - Director of Technology and Social Studies Department

  • Teaches: United States History, AP Human Geography, and World History
  • Education: Master of Arts in Social Studies from State University of New York at Albany and Bachelor of Science in Social Studies from State University of New York at New Paltz

Favorite Quote: “All that is gold does not glitter,Not all those who wander are lost;” Lord of the Rings

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight

Lisa Primero-Solano Math Department Chair and Sophomore State Moderator
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Lisa Primero-Solano - Math Department Chair and Sophomore State Moderator

  • Teaches:  Algebra I, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry Honors, Geometry Fundamentals, and Geometry Honors
  • Education:  Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University and Master’s in Education in School Administration from Loyola Marymount University

Favorite Quote: “Another Day, Another Dollar” Edward Primero (Dad)

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Feast on Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day –  It is a beautiful time to sit down and enjoy a meal with the whole community.

Mike Sifter Social Studies and Theology Departments and Supreme Court Moderator
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Mike Sifter - Social Studies and Theology Departments and Supreme Court Moderator

  • Teaches: Big History, History of Christianity, AP Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government, Government, and Economics.
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from UCLA; Master of Arts in Government from Georgetown University; Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from Cal Poly Pomona
 
Favorite Quote: “Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not – C.S. Lewis
 
Favorite Alverno Tradition: 1st Day of School – the anticipation, hope, unlimited possibilities and new beginnings are so exciting
Phyllis Vandeventer Math Department
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Phyllis Vandeventer - Math Department

  • Teaches: Independent Math, AP Calculus BC, Geometry, Statistics, Pre-Calculus Honors, and Algebra II
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics from UCLA 

Favorite Quote: “In the end, it doesn’t matter how long have you been living, but what you have been doing with your life.” – Debasish Mridha

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Fall Play and Spring Musical – Whether they work backstage or play a role on stage, our students will never forget their experience of putting on a show at Alverno.

Lindsay Weishaar World Languages Department, Social Studies Department, and Freshmen State Moderator
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Lindsay Weishaar - World Languages Department, Social Studies Department, and Freshmen State Moderator

  • Teaches: American Sign Language I, American Sign Language II, American Sign Language III, and Global Studies
  • Moderator: Frosh State
  • Education: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from New York Institute of Technology. Two National Certifications in American Sign Language: RID: NIC and ED:K-12

Favorite Quote: “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” – Brené Brown

Staff
Lee Ann Bechthold Business Manager
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Lee Ann Bechthold - Business Manager

  • Education: B.A. in Liberal Studies from Ambassador College

Favorite Quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Favorite Alverno Tradition:  Candlelight, especially in the rain
Sue Behrens '78 Administrative Assistant
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Sue Behrens '78 - Administrative Assistant

Favorite Quote: “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” – Marie Shear

Favorite Alverno Tradition: I love Coffee House.  It’s great to see the amazing talents of our girls in a less formal setting than the play or musical.

Andrea Bertollini '91 Director of Facilities and Film Liason, Advancement Assistant
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Andrea Bertollini '91 - Director of Facilities and Film Liason, Advancement Assistant

Favorite Quote: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl 

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day– it’s a wonderful way to end the school year and see the entire community come together. 

Silvia Bolanos Receptionist
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Silvia Bolanos - Receptionist

Favorite Quote: “Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in Success.” – Shiv Khera

Melissa Campos '08 Director of Alumnae Affairs and Advancement, Basketball Head Coach
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Melissa Campos '08 - Director of Alumnae Affairs and Advancement, Basketball Head Coach

  • Education:  Bachelor’s of Arts in Business, Social Work, and Kinesiology from Whittier College and Master of Arts in Education from Whittier College

Favorite Quote: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day. It is a day filled with such spirit that is contagious, not just among the students but faculty and staff as well.

Gary Campos Junior Varsity Basketball Coach
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Gary Campos - Junior Varsity Basketball Coach

Susana Capra '04 Director of Marketing
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Susana Capra '04 - Director of Marketing

  • Teaches: Media Production
  • Moderator: ASU
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Studio Art from Loyola Marymount University 

Favorite Quote: “Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.” – Frida Kahlo

Favorite Alverno Tradition: the Science Department tradition of taking students to Costa Rica (student travel) every 2-3 years. It is a gift to offer students an opportunity to travel to see a beautiful part of our scientific world.

Julia V. Fanara P'01, P'03, P'05 Head of School
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Julia V. Fanara P'01, P'03, P'05 - Head of School

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University; Master of Arts in Secondary School Administration from the University of San Francisco; Master of Arts in Inclusive Education from Loyola Marymount University; and California Secondary Credential, English

Favorite Quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day – I love seeing the school come together as a community for this annual celebration

Wendy Finch-Burk Director of Development and Institutional Advancement
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Wendy Finch-Burk - Director of Development and Institutional Advancement

  • Education: Bachelor of Science in Communications from Cal Poly Pomona

Favorite Quote: “If of thy mortal goods thou are bereft, And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left, Sell one – and with the dole, Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul!” – Moslih Eddin Saadi, Medieval Persian Poet

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Annual Gala – What could be more fun than a big party with all the members of the Alverno community in attendance and raising funds for Alverno Heights Academy in the process?

Michelle Gray Registrar
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Michelle Gray - Registrar

Favorite Quote: It is what it is.

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day – I love the competition between the different states and being able to take part in it by being a judge for the cheer and dances and getting to be behind the sports part of it with the athletic games.

Megan Hoover Dean of Students and Director of College Counseling
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Megan Hoover - Dean of Students and Director of College Counseling

  • Teaches: Senior Seminar in College Preparation
  • Moderator: National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts from Elon Univeristy and Master’s in Education in School Counseling from Catholic University of America

Favorite Quote: “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in/ my heart) i am never without it (anywhere/ i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done/ by only me is your doing, my darling)” – E.E. Cummings

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight – all of the lights are magical on that night

Hoku Janbazian Librarian
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Hoku Janbazian - Librarian

  • Moderator: Book Club
  • Education:  Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Arts in History from Occidental College; Master of Library Science from UCLA

Favorite Quote: “Books, cats, life is good”- Edward Gorey

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Graduation – the students have done their work, the faculty and staff have done their jobs, and the new alumnae are on their way to great accomplishments

Maria Jones P'11 Director of Finance
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Maria Jones P'11 - Director of Finance

  • Education: Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration from Warren Wilson College

Favorite Quote: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ~ Mark Twain

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight – because Christmas is just around the corner.

Akil Lewis Varsity Soccer Coach
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Akil Lewis - Varsity Soccer Coach

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Afro Studies and English from Howard University
Nina Lopez Housekeeper
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Nina Lopez - Housekeeper

Sara A. McCarthy '05 Director of Enrollment and Student Engagement, Director of the Alverno Summer Institute and Middle School Conservatory for Girls
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Sara A. McCarthy '05 - Director of Enrollment and Student Engagement, Director of the Alverno Summer Institute and Middle School Conservatory for Girls

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in American History and Sociology from the University of San Francisco; Master of Education and California Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Studies from Azusa Pacific University; and Certificate of College Counseling from UCLA.

Favorite Quote: “FORTI ET FIDELI NIHIL DIFFICILE” meaning “To the brave and faithful, nothing is difficult.” – McCarthy Family Motto

Favorite Alverno Tradition:  The plays and musicals. I was actively involved in the plays and musicals during my time at Alverno including Godspell, Hamlet, Cinderella, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Into the Woods. In 2014, I even had the opportunity to appear as Elle’s mom in Legally Blonde! I love all of the hard work, dedication, talent, and love our students and Ms. Cales bring to these shows!

Elmer Melara Utilities Engineer
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Elmer Melara - Utilities Engineer

K.C. Merchant Director of Technology and Social Studies Department
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K.C. Merchant - Director of Technology and Social Studies Department

  • Teaches: United States History, AP Human Geography, and World History
  • Education: Master of Arts in Social Studies from State University of New York at Albany and Bachelor of Science in Social Studies from State University of New York at New Paltz

Favorite Quote: “All that is gold does not glitter,Not all those who wander are lost;” Lord of the Rings

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Candlelight

Godwin Mordi Volleyball Coach
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Godwin Mordi - Volleyball Coach

  • Education: Corrective Exercise Specialist Certification and Master of Science in Applied Health Sciences from Northwest Missouri State University 
Cam Werley-Gonzales Director of the Alverno Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG)
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Cam Werley-Gonzales - Director of the Alverno Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG)

  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University and Master Catechist Certification from Archdiocese of Los Angeles 

Favorite Quote: “I raise up my voice — not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” – Malala Yousafzai

Favorite Alverno Tradition: Mary’s Day because it is an example of just how the entire community of students, faculty and staff, parents, and alumnae show how strong the bond of sisterhood and family is at Alverno Heights Academy.

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