Faculty Biographies

Administration

Father Lawrence Seyer Pastor

 Father Lawrence Seyer grew up with four sisters, one of whom is his twin, in Connecticut. He moved on to the University of Oregon where he earned a degree in economics in 1983. For a number of years he worked in marketing research in Los Angeles before deciding to enter St. John's Seminary. After being ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1997, Father Lawrence worked as the Associate Pastor at St. Barnabas in Long Beach. From there he served as Associate Pastor at St. Peter Claver in Simi Valley. Father Lawrence joins Our Lady of Mount Carmel after most recently spending eleven years at Our Savior Parish and the USC Caruso Catholic Center in Los Angeles. While at Our Savior he was very involved with the spiritual lives of the students, faculty, and alumni and oversaw the multi-million dollar campaign to design and build the new church and center at USC. Father Lawrence enjoys skiing, sailing, golfing, traveling, and learning in his free time.

Tracie Simolon Principal

Originally from Indiana Tracie Simolon received her bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Notre Dame. Upon graduating she moved to San Diego to serve as an Americorps volunteer teacher at Nativity Prep Academy in the Logan Heights neighborhood. As a member of the first cadre of teachers, Tracie assisted in opening the school.  While teaching fifth and sixth grades at Nativity Prep, she earned her Multiple Subject credential from the University of San Diego. Tracie joined the Our Lady of Mount Carmel School faculty in 2004 as the seventh grade homeroom and middle school math teacher. In 2005, she returned to Mount Carmel's middle school part-time following the birth of her daughter.  The Simolon family has since welcomed sons in 2008 and 2011. Before becoming principal Tracie served as the school's vice principal for five years. 

Simolon

Faculty and Staff

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Amy Zoltoski Kindergarten

 Mrs. Amy Zoltoski grew up in Santa Barbara, attending Notre Dame School and Bishop Garcia Diego High School.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at San Diego State University. After teaching for several years, she returned to school and earned a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Reading.  Mrs. Zoltoski spent six years teaching third grade in Nevada prior to returning to Santa Barbara.  This is her seventh year teaching Kindergarten at OLMCS. She enjoys sharing her love of learning with her young students and helping them build both academic and social skills during their first year in school.  Mrs. Z and her husband have two sons attending Mount Carmel and enjoy spending family time at the beach.

 

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Erica Holtgrewe First Grade

Erica Holtgrewe is originally from Vancouver, Canada but came to Santa Barbara to reconnect with her American roots and to pursue her teaching career. Erica has classroom experience in a variety of classes ranging from Kindergarten to eighth grade. Commonly known as Mrs. H., Erica was able to combine her love for sports and teaching while she taught Physical Education in Ojai for two years. She also co-taught in a third grade class where she ran reading groups, taught math centers, and did full group language arts activities. Erica decided to go back to school to further her education. She attended Azusa Pacific University and graduated with a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling. Erica and her husband became parents in 2016 to their son Hudson. Erica feels very blessed to be the first grade teacher and a part of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel community.

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Lisa Lim Second Grade

Ms. Lim was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA where she attended Immaculate Heart Middle School and High School, a Catholic college preparatory school for young women. She went on to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara and received a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Education. During her undergraduate education, Ms. Liim volunteered in various schools in the area, which further affirmed her love and passion for teaching. She decided to continue her education at UC Santa Barbara's Teacher Education Program and earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Education. This is Ms. Lim's first year at Mount Carmel, and she is thrilled to be a new member of this amazing school community! 

Larissa Feramisco

Larissa Feramisco Third Grade

Mrs. Larissa Feramisco joined the Mount Carmel School faculty in the fall of 2000 as the sixth grade homeroom teacher.  After teaching middle school for eight years, she was blessed with the opportunity to teach third grade, where she has been ever since! Mrs. Feramisco grew up in Carpinteria and graduated from Carpinteria High School.  While in high school, she volunteered in elementary school classrooms, which solidified her dream of becoming a teacher.  She attended the University of Redlands and graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. After a couple of years in the classroom, Mrs. Feramisco returned to school and earned a Masters Degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University.  When not in the classroom, Mrs. Feramisco enjoys spending time with her husband, son, and baby daughter.

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Teresa Leon Fourth Grade

 Miss Leon was born and raised in Santa Barbara. Her elementary years were spent at Our Lady of Guadalupe School. She then attended Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High School; she began her college career as a psychology major at SBCC and UCSB. Miss Leon graduated from California State University at Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies, education track with an emphasis in psychology and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. After teaching for a few years, she returned to school and earned a Masters' degree in psychology from Antioch University. Miss Leon began her teaching career at Notre Dame School in 1993 as the fourth grade teacher but later spent the majority of her career teaching middle school. During a three-year sabbatical beginning in 2009, she accepted a few long-term guest teaching positions at OLMCS. Miss Leon truly believes that God has guided her path to return to Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and is incredibly excited to be teaching fourth grade again.

Angela Carty

Angela Carty Fifth Grade

Miss Angela Carty feels so blessed to continue her role as the OLMCS fifth grade teacher. At the mere age of six, Miss Carty expressed grand plans for her future; she hoped to obtain a teaching credential through Westmont College’s teaching program and become an elementary school teacher. After graduating from Bishop Diego High School in 2007, Miss Carty did, indeed, attend Westmont, where she earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She went on to serve as a long-term substitute at Carpinteria High School, Canalino, and Carpinteria Middle School. She also taught Theology 9 at Bishop Diego High School, where she later filled in as a long-term substitute in HATT and Honors Precalculus. It was these experiences that made Miss Carty realize that her passion for teaching included not just the elementary years, but also, secondary education. This newfound awareness encouraged Miss Carty to add a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Foundational Level Mathematics to her already existing credential. In addition, Miss Carty is teaching her sixth year of hip hop dance as an adjunct professor at Westmont College, where she shares God’s gift of movement with a wonderful group of students.

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Eun Kim Sixth Grade

Miss Eun Kim was our 7th grade homeroom teacher and 8th grade math teacher from 2006 through June, 2008. She currently teaches sixth grade and also directs the Student Council. After five years of teaching middle school math, Miss Kim now teaches middle school social studies.  She grew up in Carpinteria, attended Cate School, graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in History and received and cleared her California Multiple Subject credential from Antioch University. She student taught and substituted in the Ventura, Goleta, Cold Springs, and Carpinteria Unified school districts prior to joining the staff at OLMCS. On Sundays, parishioners at St. Joseph's Church might find her behind the piano. She enjoys playing golf, hiking, and spending time with friends on the beach.

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Mary Beth Lee Seventh Grade

Mary Beth Lee grew up in the Santa Ynez Valley where she lives today. She graduated from Santa Ynez High School, attended St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a single subject teaching credential in English. After teaching seventh & eighth grade in Fremont, California, Miss Lee took a year off to do missions work, which included an outreach to Northern Ireland, where she worked in a youth coffee house and spoke in various schools and churches with her outreach team. Upon returning from Europe, Miss Lee taught sixth grade for four years at Our Lady of Grace School in Castro Valley, California. While teaching sixth grade religion, she found that she wanted to know more about the Bible, especially the Old Testament; so, in 2001 she went to the School of Biblical Studies (SBS) through Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Lakeside, Montana. SBS is an intense inductive bible school that takes the students through the Bible five times during the nine-month course. After completing SBS, Mary Beth stayed on to teach in the SBS for the next three years. During that time she also took a missions trip to Ukraine to teach in the SBS there. Miss Lee has a real heart for the Bible and a passion to see kids learn about and live out their faith. Miss Lee began teaching at OLMC in the fall of 2005 as the eighth grade homeroom teacher. This year, Miss Lee is  7th grade homeroom teacher and teaches sixth, seventh, and eighth grade grammar and writing, and religion.  Miss Lee also serves as the Religion Coordinator for Our Lady of Mount Carmel School.

Kyla Rightmer

Kyla Rightmer Eighth Grade

After graduating from Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in 1996, Mrs. Rigthmer continued her Catholic education at Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, a minor in Sociology, and a California Teaching Credential. Kyla later earned her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Antioch University, Santa Barbara.  She began her career at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Fall of 2004 teaching fifth grade.  In the Fall of 2006, after two wonderful years in fifth grade, she became the kindergarten teacher.  During this time, Mrs. Rightmer also coached the middle school girls volleyball and soccer teams. After five fun and creative years in kindergarten, she received the opportunity to challenge herself again and became the eighth grade teacher in the Fall of 2011.  

Kathie Madlem

Kathie Madlem Secretary

 

Virginia Persoon

Virginia Persoon Resource Teacher/Instructional Assistant

Mrs. Persoon is a Santa Barbara native who attended St. Raphael’s School and Bishop Diego High School.  She attended SJSU where she received her BA in History and earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.   After finishing school, she moved back to the area and worked in several local schools before taking the second grade position at Mount Carmel.  She taught the second graders for 7 1/2 years before leaving to have her two sons.  She was happy to return to Mount Carmel as 5th grade teacher for three years and is now working as the assistant in Kindergarten.  She enjoys her time at Mount Carmel, as a teacher and as a parent to sons Beau and Brett.

 

 Lauren-Bergesen

Lauren Bergesen Instructional Assistant

Mrs. Lauren Bergesen grew up in Goleta, and is a graduate of St. Raphael’s grade school and Dos Pueblos High School. Lauren got her bachelor’s degree in History from UCSB. Following college, she worked for two years in the public schools as an Inclusion Aide. She then went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Church History from the Franciscan School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. For six years she worked with teens as a Jr. High and High School Youth Minister and Confirmation Coordinator.  Lauren began working at Mount Carmel in 2013 and has loved getting to know all of the wonderful students and families!  She assists in the first grade classroom and teaches the first and third grade religion classes.

 Laura-Heredia

Laura Heredia Instructional Assistant/Spanish teacher

Before coming to OLMCS, taught Spanish at Montecito Union School for seven years.  She came to our school in 2012 and launched the Middle School Spanish program in 2013 and extended the program to K-5 in 2015.  Mrs. Heredia holds a Visual Arts degree and a B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Teacher Education.  She has attended conferences at the California Language Teachers Association (CLTA) and Harvard's Project Zero Classroom in 2010.  She is also a native Spanish speaker and is very excited about continuing her work at OLMCS!

Gloria Solano

Gloria Solano Accounting/Math Teacher Grades 6-8

Gloria Solano completed her undergraduate studies at UCSB and received her multiple subject teaching credential from California State University Northridge. For the last three years, she was the afternoon fifth grade teacher at OLMCS. Previously Mrs. Solano was a substitute teacher at Mount Carmel and the Carpinteria Unified School District.  This year she is in charge of finance, as she also has an extensive background in bookkeeping and as an accounting assistant.  She is a Mount Carmel alumna, currently has one child attending Mount Carmel, and one who graduated Mount Carmel in 2011 currently attending Bishop High School. In her free time, Gloria enjoys helping coach her daughter's soccer team and sewing. Mrs. Solano is the school bookkeeper as well as the upper grade math assistant.  

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Mary Beth DeNiro Resource Teacher/Math Assistant Grades 3-5

Mary Beth DeNiro was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She received a double credential in Special Education (Visually Impaired) and a Standard Teaching Credential (Elementary) from Cal State Los Angeles. She taught at Frances Blend School for the Blind in Hollywood and was an Itinerant Teacher for the Visually Impaired in Pasadena before coming to Santa Barbara. Mrs. DeNiro has been at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School since the fall of 1988. She taught first grade for 14 years, and has been the Resource Teacher since 2002.

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Robert Aswad Music Teacher

Robert Aswad grew up in the Los Angeles area. He graduated from UCSB where he studied conducting, piano, and music theory/history. He also studied the excellent music pedagogy system known as the 'Kodaly method'in classes at USC. For many years Mr. Aswad has maintained a piano studio in Santa Barbara and worked as an accompanist, vocal coach and soloist. He taught for several years at the Waldorf School where his chorus sang with the West Coast Symphony. He currently directs the Ojai Camerata, an a cappella choral ensemble performing music from the Renaissance to the present, as well as the Ojai Methodist Chancel Choir, and is also active as an adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers.  He started teaching at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in the Fall of 2006.

Carly Van Eyck

Carly Van Eyck Computer/PE Teacher 

A Carpinteria native, Mrs. Van Eyck attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Child Development with a Minor in Psychology. There she took a year long course on integrating technology in the classroom. After graduating from Cal Poly, Mrs. Van Eyck went on to UCSB to earn a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Education. This is Mrs. Van Eyck's seventh year at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. She is excited to begin a new year and is ready to work with the new technology for our students. When she isn't working in the classrooms, Mrs. Van Eyck loves being outside teaching PE.

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Jennifer Buur Art Teacher

Jennifer Buur is a native of Santa Barbara who joined the faculty at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 2005.  She graduated from Santa Barbara High School with honors in Graphic Design, Studio Art and Fashion Design. Jennifer earned her Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in Studio Art from Santa Barbara City College. In addition to working with the children of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, Jennifer teaches private art workshops for children, after school art courses at Montecito Union School, creates custom art work for clients and paints faces at birthday parties and events. During the summer Jennifer runs the Art Academy at Mount Carmel.  Jennifer lives in Santa Barbara with her family.

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Sara Valerio Pre-K Director

Mrs. Sara Valerio feels she has reached a major step in her career goal. Prior to her promotion as the Pre-K Director, she worked as the Kindergarten Aide and Extended Day Care Coordinator for two years at OLMCS. As an OLMCS graduate (1994), she is very happy to serve in this capacity. After graduating from Bishop Garcia Diego High School, Miss Sara obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Development with emphasis on working with preschool age children from San Diego State University. She has ten years experience working with families in the San Diego and Santa Barbara area as a professional nanny and personal assistant. In 2007, Miss Sara received the Child Development Site Supervisor Permit from the State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She says working with young children has always been her passion. "There is no other place I'd rather be at this time in my life. I feel right at home." The start of the new Pre-K program was exciting for all of us and especially Sara Valerio. Miss Sara became a mother to a son in May 2007 and a daughter in January 2012.

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Elizabeth Hanson Pre-K Teacher

Elizabeth Hanson is originally from Los Angeles. She moved to Santa Barbara in 1990 to attend Santa Barbara City College, enrolling in the Early Childhood Education Program. In addition to her studies, Elizabeth worked with children ages 2 1/2 - 6 years of age for two years at the SBCC Children's Center. She has worked with children and their families in Santa Barbara county for over 15 years. Miss Lizzy is married with two sons, the youngest of whom graduated from OLMCS in 2014.

Rosalie Galvez

Rosalie Galvez Pre-K Teacher

Rosalie Galvez grew up in Carpinteria where she attended local schools and graduated from Carpinteria High School. She was fortunate to know at a young age that she wanted a career in Teaching so she attended SBCC where she majored in Early Childhood then went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development from the University of La Verne. She has numerous years of experience having worked at St. Raphael's Preschool for 4 years and 11 years at Little Angels Preschool where she was a teacher in the Pre-K prior to joining the community at OLMCS in 2014.  Rosalie and her husband live in Carpinteria with their three daughters; two are in first grade and one in Kindergarten at OLMCS.

 

 Jocelyn Tipple

Jocelyn Tipple Middle School Music/Band Director

Jocelyn Tipple has been enthusiastically involved in music education for over 20 years. Miss Tipple is a versatile musician who plays, records, conducts, and arranges music in many genres; pop, classical, jazz and traditional with a history of performance with area symphonies, choral groups, theaters and bands. She maintains a private studio of clarinet and saxophone students in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area. Miss Tipple directs the summer Nick Rail Band Camp and you may have seen her playing in the pit orchestra of "The Music Man" this last summer. Along with OLMC music classes, she directs the band programs at Mountain View, Montecito Union, and Cold Spring Schools.  She coordinated the MERIT chamber music program at the Music Academy of the West. When she is not doing all things musical, Miss Tipple spends her time surfing and playing with her dogs.