Staff Directory

Adam Kennedy
3rd Grade Teacher

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My name is Adam Kennedy.  I have had the blessing to teach 3rd grade at St. Polycarp School since 2016.  I believe in the value of Catholic education as well as the progressive nature of St. Polycarp School. Not only does my child attend the school, but other family members are involved in St. Polycarp Church as well as the Diocese of Orange. My Masters degree in Leadership is from Saint Mary’s College of California and my undergraduate degree from Sonoma State University is in Liberal Studies with a focus in Early Childhood Education and a concentration in Kinesiology.  I enjoyed teaching Physical Education for grades K-8 for ten years and running youth athletic programs at Saint Mary’s College for eight years after that.  I wanted to become a teacher ever since my 2nd grade teacher demonstrated to me how much fun learning can be.  He showed me that a teacher can be intelligent, fun, creative, consistent and organized.  I learned that teachers can utilize their talents and interests while exhibiting their passion for teaching.
The wonderful community at St. Polycarp is family oriented and most welcoming.  Once I stepped on this campus, it felt like home to me.  As you walk down the halls you can feel the genuine care everyone has for all of the St. Polycarp community.  It is like nothing else I have experienced at a school or at any other job.

Alison Daley
Principal
Amber McGrath
Kindergarten Teacher
Dalyna Lam
6th Grade Homeroom Teacher; Middle School Math & Science

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My name is Mrs. Dalyna Lam, and I am the 6th grade homeroom teacher. I teach both subject areas of Math and Science to students in grades 5th-8th at St. Polycarp School. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Mathematics from California State University of Fullerton. I have also received my single-subject Math credential from CSU, Fullerton as well.
With a background in STEM and math education, I want to share my love for math and science with the students. My goal is to prepare my students to be scientifically, mathematically, and technologically literate and proficient. My classroom will incorporate various teaching strategies such as the blended learning model, inquiry based learning, and many hands-on activities. In doing so, this will help my students develop 21st century skills which in turn will enable students to become more confident and successful problem solvers.
Outside of school, I love to spend time with my children going to parks and enjoying the outdoors. During my spare time, as a hobby, I design, build, and launch model rockets from scratch.
I am excited to start the new year with the students and to make meaningful connections with each and every one of them throughout the year both in and out of the classroom!

Daniel Cortez
Custodian
David Vellanoweth
Business Manager
Dominic Micco
7th Grade Homeroom Teacher; Middle School Social Studies & Religion

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Hello, I am Mr. Micco the Fifth through Eighth Grade Social Studies, and Seventh and Eighth Grade Religion teacher at St. Polycarp School.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle University in 2012.

 

I completed my Master’s Degree in Education with the GRACE (Gulf Region Academy for Catholic Educators) Program at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, Texas. The GRACE program involved teaching at an  inner-city Catholic school, going to graduate school classes, and living in a Catholic community.

 

My ultimate goal while teaching is to fully engage students and ignite a burning passion for Social Studies and Religion in them. St. Polycarp School is the best place for me to grow as a teacher and in my faith.

Heather Ambler
5th Grade Homeroom Teacher; Middle School English Language Arts

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I have been an educator within the Diocese of Orange since 2003. I always knew I wanted to be an educator; in fact, I can remember spending the majority of my childhood playing “school” with my friends in the playhouse that my dad built in our backyard.  I would ask my teachers for extra worksheets to give to my “students” in our pretend classroom.  We would spend hours in that playhouse.
Both of my parents were teachers for their first career.  They actually met teaching together in Michigan before they made the move to California.  I received my B.A. Degree in Human Development from California State University Long Beach where I also obtained my California Teaching Credential.  I am currently working on my Master’s Degree in Administration.
I have been teaching at St. Polycarp Catholic School since 2014.  Before I came to St. Polycarp, I taught in the Garden Grove Unified School District, and then at Serra Catholic School in Rancho Santa Margarita.  I love being able to share my passion for reading and love of my faith with my students.  I feel that I have been blessed with their gifts every year, and I am excited to have the opportunity to learn so much from them.  The end of the school year always creates sadness for me, but it helps to know that each child that walks through my door, remains in my heart forever.

Jonna Powell
Extended Care Supervisor
Karla Yuriat
Transitional Kindergarten Aide
Katherine Mendenhall
1st Grade Teacher

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First Grade, reporting in! My name is Miss Mendenhall, and I have been teaching at St. Polycarp since 2016. I graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior in 2015, and then I returned to obtain my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2016. I am also a Google Certified Educator, Level 1.
I see myself as a lifelong learner, and I strive to ignite the same passion for learning in my students. All of my students come to class with their own strengths, passions, and struggles. It is my job to take that in and provide the best learning experience possible for each and every one them.
I teach because I want each child to find joy in learning, and to launch them on the path to the brightest possible future. Every child may learn differently, but every child can learn.

Michael St. Paul
Pastor
Minh Nguyen
4th Grade Teacher

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Hi, I’m Mr. Nguyen, teacher and basketball coach at St. Polycarp. I joined the St. Polycarp School community in 2016. I attended California State University at Long Beach where I completed and received my teaching credential with an emphasis in health sciences.

I truly love learning from my students - I am so inspired by their curiosities, unique talents, and humorous ways; what I have come to learn from them is about myself and my passion for education.

Nora Ruiz
Extended Care Aide
Paula Miers
8th Grade Homeroom Teacher; Physical Education & Athletics Director

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Hello, my name is Paula Miers, and I am the St. Polycarp Athletics Director and TK-8th grade physical education and health teacher.
I have been proudly teaching our Pirates since 2014. I love their enthusiasm for learning, awesome school spirit and devotion to our Catholic faith.
During my primary school years I attended Saint Ambrose Catholic School, in Los Angeles and continued my middle school years at Arevalos Elementary School in Huntington Beach. After graduating from Edison High School, I received an Associate of Arts degree at Orange Coast College and continued my education at California State University Fullerton receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications.  I received a California Teaching Credential/CLAD at National University. I am a life-long learner and continue my education by attending professional development opportunities and teacher education courses.
I was very involved in sports during my school years and continue to participate in many activities. During my free time you can find me walking along the seashore, paddle boarding in Seal Beach or catching a boogie board wave in Huntington Beach.
My blessings are many. I reside in Garden Grove with my husband, Tim, two cats and beloved poodle, Madison. I was raised in a very close knit Catholic family where I learned the value of faith, loyalty, love and respect.  When I’m not teaching, I spend quality time with my husband, children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, nieces, nephew, good friends and, of course, my parents.

Soledad Rios
Administrative Assistant
Tom Lawson
2nd Grade Teacher

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It has been my pleasure teaching second grade at Saint Polycarp School since 2001. I am a true believer in Catholic education. I believe Catholic values balanced with high academic standards are an important part in the formation of today’s children. I attended Saint John of God School in Norwalk where I received an excellent Catholic education. My parents, along with my elementary school teachers, helped me to develop strong spiritual and academic foundations. This has helped me to strengthen my spiritual life and love of learning throughout my adult years. I graduated from Cerritos High School. I received a B.A. in Math, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and an M.S. in Education from California State University, Fullerton.
I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a young boy. I used to play “school” with my friends. My parents also encouraged me to be a teacher by playing school with me. They were the “pretend students.” Before teaching at Saint Polycarp, I taught second grade at Saint Matthias School in Huntington Park near Los Angeles.  I enjoy seeing the excitement on children’s faces when they learn a new concept. I also enjoy seeing the curiosity of children in learning new things. I take great joy in teaching second grade because I prepare the students for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Receiving these sacraments is an important step in the student’s faith formation. I look forward to continuing my ministry as a Catholic educator in the years to come.

​Truc Huynh
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher

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Hello, I am Mrs. Truc, the Transitional Kindergarten teacher at St. Polycarp School. I started working at Saint Polycarp School as a volunteer in 2010.  In 2013, I became the Transitional Kindergarten teacher and loved it ever since!  I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Studies.

In Transitional Kindergarten, I believe that it is our job to fuel and build upon our students’ creative minds.  In order to help our students to think critically, we first have to allow them to think creatively.  Art is closely linked with cognitive and critical thinking as well as reading and fine motor skills.  Therefore, in our classroom we will be working on numerous lesson-related art projects, dances, and learning new songs.

I also believe it is important to create real-life connections to our lessons. Students will be more engaged in their learning when we create meaningful lessons that pertain to their lives.  I will empower my students to be Christ-like followers and to apply these lessons to their community.

I believe it is important to be culturally responsive when teaching our students.  I will have high expectations for all my students.  I will create a learning environment where all my students feel respected and valued.  I will incorporate a mindfulness/socio-emotional development curriculum to my classroom to teach my students to be mindful of others, to socially interact with one another and to be respectful.  I will teach my students to solve conflicts using their "I" voice to express how one's actions can affect them, and what they could do to resolve it.

I believe it is important to create a safe and welcoming learning environment consisting of community building, trust, collaboration, clear expectations and relationships. It is important to teach students to work together as a community because in the future they will be working with diverse group of people and they need to learn how to work amongst these differences.

Yen Nguyen
Kindergarten Instructional Aide