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St. John the Baptist
Catholic School
12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20904 | 301-622-3076

Faculty and Staff

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Kailyn Aspanthiya-Gedara
Delegating Nurse
Bio
As designating nurse, Kailyn Aspanthiya-Gedara supervises the SJB health room and medication technicians on the school staff. For the past 10 years, Mrs. Aspanthiya-Gedara has been a staff nurse at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Catholic University and her Master’s Degree in Nursing Leadership and Management from Western Governor’s University. She and her husband, Dharsan, have two children at SJB: Amory in Kindergarten and Napalia in 2nd grade.
Georgine Baugher
Administrative Assistant
Brian Blomquist
Principal
Bio
Brian Blomquist been principal of St. John the Baptist since 2014, coming from St. Ann's in Washington, DC., where he was the vice principal and middle-school language arts teacher. He previously taught 3rd grade and 5th grade in DC public schools. Mr. Blomquist was a reporter for 17 years for newspapers in North Carolina, on the Maryland Eastern Shore, and for the Washington Times, New York Post, and Washington Post. He and his wife Trish, an art teacher at Blessed sacrament, live in Washington, DC, where they raised four children who are now grown. Mr. Blomquist has masters degrees in journalism and education and state certifications in teaching and school administration.
Shannon Calabrese
Homeroom 5, Math 5-8
Bio
Ms. Calabrese was born and raised in Rockville, Maryland. She attended St. Jude’s Catholic Elementary School and St. John’s College High School. Ms. Calabrese went to Coastal Carolina University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Upon graduating Ms. Calabrese taught for two years at St. Joseph’s in Beltsville, and then moved back to Myrtle Beach. While in Myrtle Beach she taught grades 1, 2, and 5 for a total of six years. Ms. Calabrese has been a part of SJB for the past four years teaching the wonderful 4th grade. Ms. Calabrese is currently working on her Master’s degree in Mathematical Leadership from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Lisa P Case
Resource 4 - 8; SSkills 8
Bio
Dr. Case began as the resource teacher at SJB in August 2012 but has worked in the field of special education for over 30 years. Her teaching roles have ranged from a vocational instruction for adults with intellectual disabilities, to public school teacher, to a college research associate in the field of learning disabilities at the University of Maryland. She also received her doctorate in learning disabilities from the University of Maryland but is a die-hard Cavalier fan, as she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Dr. Case is blessed to have a family of three children, a special dog, and a husband who understands her quirks. Outside of school she loves to exercise, travel to the beach, visit family, go to concerts, and watch the Capitals!
Liz Castillo
LA 6; Library
Bio
Mrs. Castillo is originally from Iowa, and she started her teaching career 17 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska. Mrs. Castillo graduated from Briar Cliff University in Iowa and holds a Maryland State Teaching License, certified to teach multi-grades with a specialty in Reading. She taught 3rd grade for four years and currently teaches 5th grade Language Arts. She is also the SJB Librarian, so she teaches Library classes and maintains the library while helping place amazing books into children's hands. She lives in Lanham with her husband and three children.
Elisabeth Chakmakian-Lodge
Counselor
Bio
Elisabeth Chakmakian-Lodge is a licensed social worker who has served children and families as a case worker and therapist for many years Dr. C serves SJB students as a staff counselor on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Dr. Chakmakian-Lodge received her doctorate from Smith College in 2019, her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland in 1998, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from James Madison University in 1996. For several years Dr. Chakmakian-Lodge has taught social work as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland. Previously she worked as a psychotherapist in private practices and as a social worker and supervisor at mental-health clinics and social-service programs for children and families including the Kennedy Krieger Institute Therapeutic Foster Care Program. She and her husband, Dave, have two children: Milo in 5th grade at SJB and Gus, a freshman at St. Vincent Pallotti High School.
Patti Crowley
Teacher Aide 1 - 4
Bio
Mrs. Crowley has been involved with St. John the Baptist for over 20 years. She began as a volunteer when her oldest son started school there in 1995; all four of her children have since graduated from SJB. Over the course of the past 16 years, she has been employed in various positions within the school, including first grade aide, playground supervisor, and aftercare supervisor. Prior to SJB, Mrs. Crowley stayed at home to raise her children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time at the beach and with her two grandchildren.
Nancy Dalton
Social Studies 6; Math 5-7
Bio
Mrs. Dalton is originally from Ithaca, New York. Mrs. Dalton received a Bachelor of Arts from Potsdam University In Elementary Education and Psychology. Her Masters in Guidance Counseling was awarded to her from Bowie State University in 1993.She is certified to teach Elementary Education in Maryland and New York. Prince Georges County hired her to teach Kindergarten in Suitland, Maryland. There she also taught first and second grade. After her children were born, she stayed home until her youngest went to Kindergarten. then she started substituting at St John the Baptist. She is currently the 3rd grade teacher of Math, Science and Social Studies. She also teaches 5th grade Math, 6th grade Math and 5th grade Social Studies.
Kevin Daly
Homeroom 6; Science 6 - 8; Math 4
Bio
Kevin Daly has a B.S. in Chemistry/Biology from Xavier University of New Orleans. He has an M.S. in Biology from Tennessee State University in Nashville. Mr. Daly was formerly a Forensic Chemist and Federal Investigator. He is certified by the Center for Teaching Excellence to teach Classroom Management and is also a certified Personal Trainer. Mr. Daly's last teaching assignment was at the International High School of New Orleans where he taught IB Biology, LEAP Biology and Chemistry. Mr. Daly has experience teaching at the College level and has travelled around the world to teach communication courses to investigators. In his spare time Mr. Daly enjoys gardening with his wife, building and playing guitars, writing poems and music and being a DJ. Occasionally you may find Mr. Daly on the tennis court. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Jessica Dodson
Second Grade Teacher
Missy Eaton
Pre-Kindergarten Aide
Bio
Mrs. Eaton is a longtime SJB volunteer and parent. She previously worked in the Resurrection Preschool Program.
Patty Galan
Spanish K - 4; Preschool Teaching Assistant
Bio
Sra. Galan was born in Guatemala and has been a teacher of English/Spanish for more than 15 years. She loves to try different approaches to teaching a second language, including both technology and TPR, (Total Physical Response.) She teaches Spanish K-4 at SJB.
Chris Guerra
Music Teacher
Bio
Christopher G. Guerra retired in June 2022 from Montgomery County Public Schools, where he was a choral director and music educator for 20 years. He is the founder Emeritus of the Strathmore Children’s Chorus and a founding member of the A. Mario Loiederman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Silver Spring. Mr. Guerra’s choral ensembles achieved national recognition and consistently placed in competitions. In 2012, his Chamber Choir performed at the National Middle School Choral Directors Conference in Dallas, and he received Maryland Music Educators Association’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Mr. Guerra has directed choirs at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Strathmore Music Center. Mr. Guerra attended the Chicago Music College, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Ball State University, and studied at the University of Maryland, Towson University, and George Mason University. He has conducted workshops and adjudicated stateside and abroad. He was music director for the Chicago and D.C. Churches of Christ and featured vocalist with the 566th Air Force Band. His daughter is a choral director in Atlanta, Georgia, and his son is a project manager with Ruppert Landscaping Company. Mr. Guerra maintains a private voice and piano studio and lives in North Potomac with his wife, Dr. Veronica Guerra. Mr. Guerra has Maryland certification in music teaching.
Anne Irwin
Technology Director; Social Studies 7 & 8, Math 8
Bio
Mrs. Irwin has been teaching at SJB since 2003 beginning with 5th grade homeroom and religion and 5-8 Social Studies. In 2013, she began working as the Technology Director. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Media from Wilkes University. She lives in Laurel with her husband and four children.
Nicole Hennig
Before Care Director
Bio
Miss Nicole Hennig was born in Silver Spring, MD and has never left! Graduating from the College of Education at the University of Maryland - College Park in 2005, she has taught children in various daycare & school settings focusing on her passion for reading and children's literature. Miss Hennig has been a member of the SJB Catholic Community all of her life & is happy and very excited to begin her first year as part of the SJB Catholic School staff!
Judy Jenkins
Homeroom 8; LA 7; Writing 3 - 8; SSkills 7
Bio
Mrs. Jenkins has been teaching at St. John the Baptist for 15 years. She attended the University of Maryland where she received a BS degree in Journalism and then earned her Masters of Education degree at Johns Hopkins University. Certified in Secondary English in the state of Maryland, she has been instrumental in developing and building the Writing Program at SJB. Helping each child develop the necessary skills and confidence in the writing process that leads to success is one of her goals along with having some fun with words. In addition to teaching language arts, Mrs. Jenkins teaches writing to 3rd and 4th grade as well as the upper school and assists with study skills classes. She feels blessed to be part of the SJB faculty.
Tom Klotz
Maintenance Supervisor
Amy Krupka
Homeroom 6; PE; Science 5; SSkills 5 - 6
Bio
Ms. K is a Maryland native who graduated from Academy of the Holy Cross and University of Maryland, College Park, with a degree in Elementary Education. She received certifications in Elementary Education, Middle School Science, and Middle School Social Studies. Then, she graduated with her Masters Degree in Physical Education and Exercise Science from McDaniel College. Ms. K has taught kindergarten and 4th grade before coming to SJB. She loves to ride horses, all Pittsburgh sports, and competing in triathlons.
Chrissy Leishear
Art
Bio
Mrs. Leishear has been a Catholic school educator since 2008 and at SJB since 2009. She teaches PK-8 Art and enjoys challenging her students to find their inner artist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Stevenson University in Art, a Master’s degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Leadership in Education, and holds a Maryland State Teaching license in PK-12 Art. She resides in Derwood with her husband and daughter.
Helen Lyon
Preschool-3 Teaching Assistanrt
Bio
Helen Lyon has taught 1st grade and preschool. At SJB, she will be assisting Ms. Stept with our Preschool three-year-olds. Mrs. Lyon received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. Helen worked as a medical laboratory technician before deciding to change careers and go into teaching. Mrs. Lyon taught children ages 3 and 4 at Four Corners Community Nursery School in Silver Spring for 23 years. Most recently, she taught first grade at Silver Oaks Cooperative School in Adelphi. Helen has a Maryland child-care certification as well as over 150 hours in early childhood education.
Concetta Lucey
Kindergarten
Bio
Mrs. Lucey is a graduate of the University of Maryland where she majored in Elementary Education and minored in Psychology. She taught fourth and first grade in Prince George’s County before becoming a “stay at home” mom raising a family. During that time she earned a Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins University in Early Childhood Education. During the summer of 1993 she established a kindergarten program at SJB where she is currently teaching her 23rd year. She and her husband Richard live in Silver Spring. Their four grown children and three grandchildren all reside locally.
Juliena Martin
Fourth Grade Teacher
Bio
Mrs. Martin was was born and raised in Wisconsin, attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, and graduated with a double major in elementary education and political science. She spent a semester teaching reading in South Africa. She taught for one year in Milwaukee. In her free time, Mrs. Martin takes her rescue puppy for walks, cheers for the Green Bay Packers, and finds new places to explore in the DC area.
Tracy McGowan
Third Grade Teacher
Bio
Ms. McGowan has had many roles at SJB over the years. In addition to teaching 2nd grade, she has been a classroom aide and substitute in many of the upper and lower grade classrooms. Ms. McGowan has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master's Degree in Developmental Reading from Loyola University of Maryland. When she’s not busy raising her two teenage sons, she likes to read, play tennis and walk her rescue dogs, Penny and Chance.
Comfort Mingot
After Care Director
Bio
Comfort Davis Mingot joined the SJB family in 2018, working as an After Care worker and rising to become director of the program. She holds a masters in education with expertise in religious and early child education, education policy, curriculum development, family involvement, multicultural education, language acquisition strategies, and learning styles. She believes that each child has a voice and an opinion that deserves to be heard.
Christine Morin
First Grade Teacher
Bio
Ms. Morin received her Master’s in Arts in elementary education and early-childhood education from St. Mary's College in St. Mary's, Maryland, in 2019. Ms. Morin graduated from St. Mary's as an undergraduate in 2018. She was a student teacher in Kindergarten at White Marsh Elementary in Southern Maryland, and she is a parishioner at Holy Redeemer in Kensington and a graduate of St. John's College High School. At St. Mary’s, Ms. Morin was on the All-Academic Team and played basketball. Her passion for teaching started at a young age learning from her mom, who was a para-educator in Montgomery County.
Kathleen Morris
Vice Principal, Homeroom 8; LA 8
Bio
Mrs Morris has been at St John the Baptist for many years and is married to a great guy. They have four children, three of whom are also teachers. Mrs Morris is SJB’s Vice Principal and middle school LA teacher. Reading is Mrs. Morris’ passion and she loves teaching language arts in the middle school. Her hope is that all kids will love to read in some capacity—whether novels, plays, short stories, poems, graphic novels or drama. She tries to choose books for classroom use that are both high interest for students and have a lot to offer for discussion. Her classroom library is extensive and she believes that books “make a person rich.” In addition to teaching language arts, Mrs. Morris teaches Religion in Grade 8 and Grade 6. Having the opportunity to teach any subject with a faith centered foundation is one of her most treasured blessings.
Laura Pifer
ELL; Language Enrichment
Bio
Mrs. Pifer earned her Bachelor Degrees in Urban Planning and Elementary Education from Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts. She moved to Maryland in 1987 and taught with Montgomery County Public Schools for nine years. During that time she earned a Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Maryland. After that, she “switched gears” and became a stay at home mom for seventeen years. She began substituting at SJB while her three daughters attended the school. Mrs. Pifer fully joined the staff in 2010 and is currently teaching ELL and Reading Enrichment in grades K-2. In her free time, Mrs. Pifer performs with the Rockville Concert Band and The Maryland Band Directors Band. Mrs.Pifer is married and resides in Silver Spring.
Jeanine Regan
Preschool Director and PreK-4 Teacher
Bio
Jeanine Regan taught 3rd grade and 5th grade for ten years in Montgomery County Public Schools before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Two years ago, Mrs. Regan started teaching in the preschool program at Resurrection in Burtonsville. Mrs. Regan is a graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School and the University of Maryland College Park, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Regan is a Maryland-certified teacher and holds a Master's degree in Middle School Mathematics. She and her husband, Chris, live in Silver Spring with their daughter Madelyn, who is in First Grade. They are active SJB parishioners and school parents.
Carol Schwab
Assistant to the Principal
Erin Sample
Homeroom 7, Religion 3 & 6-8, Liturgy Coordinator
Bio
Erin Sample was a missionary in Georgia with a Catholic organization called Life Teen. Ms. Sample is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University. She loves "track and field, Dunkin Donuts, iced coffee, and Acts of the Apostles."
Ashley Stept
Preschool-3 Teacher
Bio
Ashley Stept knew she wanted to be a teacher when she was five years old. She began student teaching during high school and continued throughout college. Miss Stept graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Stevenson University in May 2018 and Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University in May 2021. For the past four years, she has been the second grade teacher at Mother of God School in Gaithersburg. Miss Stept is excited to start the 3-year-old program in the preschool at SJB. She said she looks forward to learning and growing with her students. Outside of school, Miss Stept enjoys making crafts with her mom and sister and playing with her niece. She also knows how to play the violin and tap dance.
Jennifer Tifford
Band
Bio
Mrs. Jennifer Tifford has been the Band Director at SJB since 1993. She graduated summa cum laude from Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Music Education.
Victoria Vargas
Spanish 5 - 8, Social Studies 5
Bio
Fluent in both English and Spanish, Victoria Vargas hopes that her students may one day become bilingual. She loves teaching Spanish and all about Latin culture. In her free time, Señorita Vargas enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her dog. Señorita Vargas is a proud Marylander through and through. She grew up just a 10-minute drive from SJB and remains close with her family. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland. She loves her family roots to El Salvador and visits any chance she gets.
Sarah Wendell
Kindergarten Aide
Bio
Sarah Wendell graduated from the University of Rhode Island, class of 2016, with a B.S. degree in conservation and wildlife biology. She has held several previous teaching roles, including kindergarten to second grades at the Audubon Society in Chevy Chase MD and at the small mammal and bird house of the Smithsonian National Zoo. In addition, she has had direct experience with exotic, domestic, and wild animals in training and rehabilitation positions. Sarah is an alumna of SJB (Class of 2008), and is excited to return and join the teaching staff of SJB and work with the students. In her spare time she enjoys solving puzzles, reading, and training for half marathons.
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