Kerry Carson Explorers / Pre-Kindergarten Instructor

Kerry Carson teaches the Explorers and Pre K  classes.   Ms. Carson has earned a Masters in Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in early Childhood Education.  She has worked as our director of Crusader Care, at Peacock Child Care Center on Bainbridge Island, and most recently, as a ParaEducator at the Island School on Bainbridge Island.  Ms. Carson is a member of Saint Cecilia parish and has three children attending SCCS.

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10

Monica Loleas Explorers / Pre-Kindergarten Assistant

Monica Loleas was born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan.  After high school, she spent over eight years in the U.S. Air Force. Her first assignment was in Germany in support of a Special Operations Squadron, along with spending one year in Belgium supporting the INF treaty with Russian inspection of the Ground Launch Cruise Missile Facility, additionally she was stationed for two and a half years in Texas and two years in Arizona. After being honorably discharged,   she worked at AMGEN a biotech company in California for ten years before moving to Bainbridge Island.  Mrs. Loleas has been a parishioner of St Cecilia’s for twelve years and taught kindergarten PREP (Parish Religious Education Program) for ten years.  Monica  and husband have two wonderful sons.  She enjoys how Catholic school teaching allows her to share her faith with young children.

 “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”  It is important to remember that God is always with us and will not forget us. Isaiah 49, v15-17

Serena Zyskowski Kindergarten Instructor

Serena Zyskowski teaches our Kindergarten class. Mrs. Zyskowski has degrees in communications and elementary education from Gonzaga University. She has taught in Spokane, Houston and Sacramento and spent the past year being an active volunteer at Saint Cecilia. Mrs. Zyskowski believes that learning should be fun, that a classroom is a united team, and that each child should be nurtured and encouraged to share their unique gifts with others. She is eager to work alongside parents to best meet the needs and potential of her students.

” Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

Emily Cornell 1st/2nd Grade Instructor

Emily Cornell teaches 1st and 2nd grades. Ms. Cornell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. She believes that every child has his/her own unique way of learning and strives to appeal to every type of learner. Ms. Cornell has attended Catholic schools her whole life and feels blessed that she can now share the gifts Catholic schools have given her with her own students.

Helping students to grow in their relationship with God and their families, and assisting them in reaching their fullest potential are what keep Ms. Cornell motivated to teach. She also co-coaches our girls’ volleyball team in the fall. In her spare time Ms. Cornell enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her family (who reside in Yakima, WA and San Diego, CA), eating good food and traveling. Ms. Cornell is a member of Holy Family Parish.

The Memorare

“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.”


Liane Jennings 3rd/4th Grade Instructor

Liane Jennings teaches our 3rd and 4th grades. Ms. Jennings has a bachelor of science in psychology from Iowa State University and a master of arts in teaching from East Tennessee State University. She moved to Washington from Knoxville, Tennessee, where she taught 2nd grade at St. Joseph Catholic School for three years. In her classroom, Ms. Jennings strives to create an environment where students can feel comfortable taking risks, exploring interests, discovering strengths and working hard to become the best student they can be. She feels that it is a privilege to teach in a Catholic school, not only to help students grow in their faith and receive the sacraments, but also to be a part of a loving community of teachers, parents and students who work together at Saint Cecilia Catholic School to be more Christ-like every day.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” John 4:24

Mary Weeding 5th/6th Grade Instructor

Mary Weeding teaches Language Arts, Mathematics, and Religion to our 5th and 6th grade students. She has a Bachelors degree in Mathematics from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She taught mathematics at both the middle school and high school level for 8 years before being recruited by IBM.  She spent most of her corporate career working with computers and managing software development teams.

She came to St. Cecilia’s as the church organist in the fall of 2015 and got involved in helping with the Honors Choir and the Annual School Musical.  Mary started as a substitute teacher for the school and has subbed in most of the classrooms giving her the opportunity to meet and know most of the students.  She loves children of all ages and is especially excited when she hears one of them say ‘I get it’.

Favorite Prayer:  Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”


Amy Lee-Despard 7th/8th Grade Instructor

Amy Lee-Despard teaches our 7th and 8th grades, as she has since 2009. Ms. Lee-Despard was voted “Best Teacher on Bainbridge Island” in 2012 and 2013 by Inside Bainbridge. Amy’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SUNY, as well as a master of science in education centering on elementary and middle school education from the College of St. Rose. Prior to joining SCCS, Amy worked for the Central Kitsap School District’s curriculum department as a “curriculum guest teacher,” developing and teaching combination art and writing lessons.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”


Chasity Malatesta Science Instructor

Chasity Malatesta chose to become a teacher in second grade when a very special teacher told her to keep asking questions about frogs. B.S. Biology M.A.T. George Fox University.  I believe there is calling on my life to inspire students to ask questions, think critically  and problem solve. Mrs. Malatesta has 15 years teaching experience in High School Biology, AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Physical Science and Environmental Biology. She has also worked as a Microsoft Training Educator, College Board Pre-AP Strategies Consultant and an Equity in STEM Lead Educator. She  taught in Oregon, Minnesota, Costa Rica and China and found the biggest and most rewarding challenge of life becoming a mother.

“Science without religion is lame, Religion without science is blind” Einstein

 “As each receives a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of Gods varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10

Jennifer Cunningham Music Instructor

Jennifer Cunningham, her husband, and three sons have been active members of Saint Cecilia Parish for more than 15 years. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Washington where she studied vocal performance and sang with the University of Washington Chorale. It was there that she first began to understand the power of a vocal ensemble. Her love for this style of music has continued over the last 15 years as she has both sung and directed sacred and secular choral music. In addition to sharing the joy of singing with each and every Saint Cecilia student, Jennifer will also work as Music Director for Saint Cecilia Parish.

“O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.” Psalms 95:1

Quinton Agosta P.E. Instructor

Quinton has a BS in Exercise Science from Central Washington University. He played three years of college football and competed in college track and field for four years. Quintin has coached for the BHS football and lacrosse teams and enjoys working with youth, teaching them about sports, conditioning and strength training.

Michele Soderstrom Art Instructor

Michele Soderstrom brings her passion for teaching and art to Saint Cecilia.  Her teaching experience includes three years at Tacoma School of the Arts where she taught illustration and foundations, KidiMu, and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.  She achieved her BA in Visual Arts Teaching at Central Washington University. As a teacher she strives to empower others with skills for success. She believes that each person has a special and unique way of creating art. As a professional artist, she displays and sells her watercolor paintings locally and regionally.  Activities and passions include riding horses, mountain biking, hiking, sketching live musicians, and visiting museums and galleries.  Mrs. Soderstrom volunteers in Port Gamble Forest building trails and with Sound Experience on their tall ship, the Adventuress.

“God knows your breaking point. You simply don’t know your own strength.” Swami Satchidananda Saraswati