Staff Directory 2022-2023


Photo of Dr. Bernadine Mahar Dr. Bernadine Mahar Principal
425-353-7559 ext. 102

I am so blessed to be a part of the St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School Community.  I am in my first year, here, as principal.  I have been working at SMM for 3 years.  I hold a Doctor of Education from the University of Washington, A Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Antioch University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Psychology from Michigan State University.…

Photo of Melissa Morrier-Turk Melissa Morrier-Turk Admissions/Bookkeeper

My name is Melissa Morrier-Turk. I am a graduate of SMM (class of 1986) and have been a member of the parish community much of my life. I have a B.S. in Business with an emphasis in Human Resources from Central Washington University and have spent my 23 years working in this field before coming to SMM last year.…

Photo of Colleen Olson Colleen Olson Office Manager

I graduated from Washington State University with a BA and went to work in Seattle as a Clothing Buyer, which was my dream!  This career eventually took me to Portland where I met and married my husband. When we decided to have children, I had to end my career as a buyer due to the hours and travel.…

Support Staff

Angela Crabtree

This is my 1st year working as an aid in KA with Mrs. White. I have spent the last 10 years at home with my children and before that, I worked for 10 years in Youth and Young Adult ministry at St. Thomas More. All four of my children attend SMM and I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful community!

Photo of Maria Elsa Flores Maria Elsa Flores Support Staff

I am Mrs. Flores and I studied in a Catholic School for 12 years old in my country. I have experience working as a teacher in different grades for 13 years. Currently, I have the privilege of being a part of SMM as a teacher assistant since 2018. It brings me joy to be part of this wonderful team of teachers, kids and families!

Photo of David Hookfin David Hookfin IT

My name is David Hookfin and I’m the technology/security representative for SMM. My focus is to see kids learn, and teachers teach, while remaining safe. My responsibilities are to support the networking, computers, and security cameras to ensure they run correctly and efficiently. I have been a parent volunteer/staff member at SMM for last the six years.…

Photo of Erin Saparto Erin Saparto Support Staff

This is my 2nd year as an aid in PreK with Mrs Castro. I had an in home daycare business for 15 years and now, I’m enjoying being in the classroom. I’ve been married for 32 years and have 5 wonderful children. Not including, my fabulous daughter in law and my first grandson. All my children attended SMM and I am very excited to work at place where I feel very at home.…

Vivian Valenzuela Support Staff

I graduated with an AA in Early Childhood Education and a BA in Child Development at the University of La Verne in California. I worked for Options State Preschool for 5 years. My husband and I have 2 amazing children. I decided that I wanted to stay home and raise our children so I didn’t work for many years.…

Photo of Jennifer Zahn Jennifer Zahn Extension Staff

I’m Jennifer Zahn.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology with a specialty in Archaeology.  This is my fourth year at Saint Mary Magdalen.  Before that I was a stay-at-home mom, and before that, I worked at Saint Cecelia’s on Bainbridge Island.  I have loved working for the Archdiocese all these years.  I love children and the loving atmosphere of this school. …

Instructional Staff

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Preschool Educators

Photo of Felice Castro Felice Castro Pre-Kindergarten
(425) 353-7559

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Guam. This will be my 23rd year of teaching and my 5th year at SMM. My husband Cris and I met on Guam and moved to Washington state in 2000. We have a daughter who is 13 years old and a son who is 9.…

Photo of Irma Mendoza Irma Mendoza Preschool 3 yr olds

Teaching runs in my blood! I graduated in the year of 1999 in Guadalajara, Mexico. I have a BA in Elementary Education and over 20 years of teaching experience in Mexico and Puerto Rico. In 2001, I got married and moved to Puerto Rico. Shortly after, I started working in a Catholic school as a third-grade teacher, roaming the halls of the Colegio Ponceño for nearly 8 years.…

Primary Years Educators

Photo of Heidi Harris Heidi Harris 1st Grade

I have been teaching at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School for fifteen years. I grew up in Seattle and attended Assumption-St. Bridget’s School and Bishop Blanchet High School. I graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Education degree and Communication degree. I also completed my Master’s Degree in Literacy and Special Needs at Seattle University.…

Photo of Bernie Houghton Bernie Houghton 3rd Grade

I have been a part of St. Mary Magdalen School Faculty for thirty-six years, teaching both 2nd grade and 3rd grade students. I feel blessed to work with students, parents, and teachers in a faith-filled community that cares for each other. I enjoy teaching all subjects, religion being my favorite because I can teach my students about their Catholic faith.…

Photo of Nicole Martin Nicole Martin 2nd Grade

I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English-Elementary Education from Western Washington University (2007) as well as a Master of Arts in Literacy for Special Needs from Seattle University (2014). Learning is a life-long process, so I often enroll in professional development to learn skills and strategies for meeting the needs of all learners. I have taught at St.…

Photo of Jeanine O’Connell Jeanine O’Connell 1st Grade

Jeanine O’Connell has been teaching grades K-6 in public and private schools for over thirty years. She earned her undergraduate degree in art from Gonzaga University and her teaching certificate from Seattle University. She holds two Master’s degrees. One is in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum from Lesley University. The other is in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling.…

Photo of Elaine Panwar Elaine Panwar 3rd Grade
Photo of Jennifer Stemerick Jennifer Stemerick Kindergarten

I enjoyed going to St. Mary Magdalen School K-8th grade and Archbishop Murphy High School. I received my Bachelor degree in Elementary Education from Western Washington University (2007) and Master’s Degree in Literacy Instruction at Seattle University (2015). I recently studied Slingerland’s Multisensory approach to reading, writing, and spelling. I have taught at S.M.M. since 2011, mainly in third grade, and I am very excited to be teaching kindergarten!…

Photo of Haley Ure Haley Ure 2nd Grade

I am so happy to join the SMM community. I have been working with children for over 12 years and enjoy exploring new places, dancing, and walking with my dog!

Photo of Katie White Katie White Kindergarten

I have been at SMM since 2014 and have been teaching in Catholic schools since 2002.  I love being part of the early learning process in kindergarten and seeing the amazing connections students make every day.  I graduated with a BA in education and history from CWU (go Wildcats!), earned a M.Ed. from Seattle U (go Redhawks!), and earned a ENL certification from Notre Dame (go Irish!)  I live in Everett with my husband, two sons, and two dogs. …

Intermediate Educators

Photo of Dan Juhl Dan Juhl 5th Grade

This is my first year teaching at SMM and my second year as a parent, here at SMM. I hold a BA in English from Wartburg College and a Master’s leadership certificate from the University of Washington.  My prior teaching experience was teaching ESL but, I have spent the past twenty years in banking and finance. …

Photo of Meghan Mason Meghan Mason 4th Grade

This is my second year teaching as SMM’s 4th Grade teacher. I attended St. Mary Magdalen and Bishop Blanchet High School. I graduated from Carroll College with a BA in Elementary Education and Special Education. I am grateful to be back and a part of the SMM family. My favorite quote is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!” from Winnie the Pooh and I make sure to incorporate it into my classroom every day.…

Photo of Margaret Sprague Margaret Sprague 4th Grade
Photo of Alisa Yee Alisa Yee 5th Grade

This is my second year as an SMM teacher and I am very excited to be joining this amazing staff. I completed my student teaching here during the 2019-2020 school year and received my MA. in Elementary Education/Teaching Certification in May 2020. I taught in the Everett School District last year and subbed as a Para Educator and Guest Teacher position since 2014.…

Middle School Educators

Photo of Cory Kellogg Cory Kellogg 6th Grade History/ELA/Religion

I am a proud Husky graduate from The University of Washington where I majored in journalism, and went on to earn my Master’s Degree in Education from Western Governor’s University. This is my 11th year teaching, but first here at Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic School. I am so honored to work with a group of educators and families who put the learning and well-being of the students first – it simply is not that way at every school.…

Photo of Dawn Lesniak Dawn Lesniak 6th Grade Math/Science

Hello, my name is Dawn Lesniak, and I am our 6th Grade Math and Science teacher. I attended Queen of Angels Catholic School in Port Angeles and graduated from Gonzaga University in Education and Psychology (Go Zags!). I have been teaching at SMM for 28 years and adore middle schoolers. I love spending family time with my husband, Jeff, and kids Elise (17) and Charlie (15), both SMM graduates, and current students at Archbishop Murphy High School.…

Photo of Jocelyn O’Donnell Jocelyn O’Donnell 7th/8th Grade History

An SMM Alumna, I grew up in the Puget Sound region and graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in English with an emphasis in Literature. I worked in communications and hospitality before continuing to my true calling: secondary education. I pursued my Master of Education (M.Ed.) with an emphasis in Secondary Education with independent endorsements in both English Language Arts and History.…

Photo of Julie Tyndall Julie Tyndall 7th/8th Grade Science/Religion

This is my seventh year as a teacher at Saint Mary Magdalen.  I previously taught 5th grade at SMM, but this year I had the amazing opportunity to teach one of my favorite subjects, Science.  I am currently the Middle School Science Teacher.  I received my Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and a minor in Spanish from California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) in 2000. …

Photo of Elizabeth Wilson Elizabeth Wilson 7th/8th Grade Math

I have a Mechanical Engineering degree from Kansas State University (Go Cats!) and worked as an Engineer at Boeing for years.  I left Boeing to stay home with my daughter who went through school here at St. Mary Magdalen.  During this time, I returned to school at UW-Bothell to obtain a teaching certificate with a Middle School Math endorsement. …

Photo of Ryan Wirtala Ryan Wirtala 7th/8th Grade ELA

I have a BA in English Education from Washington State University (GO Cougs!!). Growing up, I attended St. Brendan for K-8 education and then went on to attend Bothell High School. I worked for Archbishop Murphy High School for a year and a half, before coming to SMM as the 7th and 8th grade English teacher.…


Photo of Gilda Barata Gilda Barata Middle School Spanish Specialist
Photo of Maureen Buennagel Maureen Buennagel Library/Media Specialist
(425) 353-7559

I hold a B.A. in Elementary Education from Seattle University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in literacy from Lesley University. I am in my 26th year teaching at St. Mary Magdalen. This is my first year as the school librarian and media specialist where I am combining my passions for literacy and technology.…

Photo of Raven Daley Raven Daley Physical Education Specialist

This is my 3rd year working at SMM. I graduated from Western Washington University and currently live in my mother’s basement…(yikes). I love to skateboard, play golf and tennis, and exercise. However, my main obsessions are primarily comedy, the UFC, and all things mixed martial arts.

Photo of Annalise Latta Annalise Latta Reading Specialist

This is my 17th year in education and 14th year at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School.  I graduated from the University of Portland with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and later became a certified teacher at the Slingerland® Institute for Literacy.  I have worked as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist. I love to travel and spent 3 years teaching abroad in Warsaw, Poland. …

Laura Lynch School Counselor

I am excited to be the school counselor at St. Mary Magdalden! My undergraduate degree is in communications from Washington State University (go Cougs!) and my M.Ed. is in School Counseling from Seattle Pacific University. My husband and I have three boys, now mostly grown, and we love traveling, hiking and hanging out at our cabin near Leavenworth.

Photo of Houston Schmutz Houston Schmutz Physical Education Specialist

Hi, I am Houston Schmutz (Mr. S) and this is my first year at SMM. I attended St. Alphonsus in Ballard, and Archbishop Murphy High School located in Everett. I played college baseball at a couple schools, before transferring to Western Washington University to pursue a degree in Physical Education and Health. I love sports, hiking, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.…

Photo of Olivia Seidel Olivia Seidel Music Specialist

Hello, my name is Olivia Seidel. This is my first year of teaching at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School and I am very excited to join the school! For the past 3 years I have been teaching private instrumental music lessons for a variety of string instruments and piano at Half Note Music School in Bellevue.…