Father John Connell, Pastor
Karen LaMendola, Principal
My husband Tony and I were married in 1992 and have been blessed with four children. After growing up in Michigan, I attended Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio) where I received my bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a coaching minor. My Masters in Educational Administration was earned at the University of Dayton. I began my education career in Ohio at Huber Heights City Schools as a 6th grade teacher and then as the Dean of Students at the middle school before taking over as principal of Kitty Hawk Elementary. After moving to Arkansas, by way of Michigan, I was blessed to begin St. Raphael Catholic School. It has been such a wonderful experience building the school. The past six years have shown the work that God can do through each and every person. The staff, families and most importantly the students are constant reminders of the GRACE of God. I continue to strive to build the school as a community of God each and every day.
Nancy Phillips, Registrar
Cal. State Univ. at Sacramento, BA in Liberal Arts
SUNY Cortland, 24 credit hours towards Masters in Education
ASU, Child Development Associate
I am so excited to be a part of a child’s early exposure to God and our Catholic faith. I enjoy serving our parish and interacting with a great staff and wonderful families who all share common values and morals. My husband, Rob, and I have been married since 1990. We have lived in 5 states and are glad we have been able to raise our two children, Ben and Elizabeth, here in Arkansas where they run us ragged with their active schedules and social lives. Working with the preschoolers reminds me how cute and sweet my kids once were!!!
Alisha Samarin, Administrative Assistant/Food Service
My husband, Joe, and I have been married almost eleven years. We have two girls, Alexis and Josie. We also have a little boy, Eli, who is due in April. I was very blessed almost a year ago when I had the opportunity to come and work at St. Raphael. The students, families, and staff are an absolute blessing in my life and I enjoy each and every day of it.
Denise Sanchez, Pre-K Director/Pre-K 4 Head Teacher
I was born in Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico. We moved to Arkansas in 2001. I am married to Fernando Sanchez who supports me in everything for our well being and for the well being of our kids. God has blessed us with two daughters, Monica and Fernanda, and a son, Jose Antonio. Fernanda
and Jose Antonio currently attend St Raphael school and they love it! God has also blessed us with two new additions to our family, my son-in-law Louis and a grandson Jayden.
Most of my studies were completed in Mexico. After high school I went to Conalep College in Cozumel where I received my Associate Degree in Hotel Management and Commercial Secretary. Here in Arkansas I went to NWACC and received my Child Development Associate Degree. I am continuing to
take courses and workshops pertaining to Child Development.
In November 2010 I was blessed to become a part of the St Raphael staff as the PreK-4 Head Teacher and this school year I happily accepted the position of PreK-4 Teacher and Preschool Director. I really enjoy the duties that my job requires of me such as working with wonderful kids, parents, and staff.
Working at St Raphael School has given me the opportunity to share the Catholic Faith with my students. To share our love of God by loving and respecting one another, our neighbors, and ourselves. I always say to my own children and my students, “Always remember God loves us and I love you too!”
Mary Engledowl, Pre-K 3 Head Teacher
I was born and raised in Springdale, Arkansas with my two older and two younger siblings. We all grew up attending St. Raphael’s and I have seen it grow into the large and wonderful parish it is today. I graduated from Springdale High School in 2008 and am currently working on finishing up my Child Development Associate. In 2009 I was blessed to have the opportunity to work at St. Raphael School as an After School Care teacher. Then, in 2011 I became lead teacher in the Pre-K 3 class. I enjoy working with preschoolers and I love to see the way their minds work as they learn something new or the joy on their face when they master a skill! I love being able to give back to the parish I grew up in and love being able to share my Catholic faith with the children throughout the day. Children are a very special gift and I consider it a great and wonderful blessing to be able to teach and guide them, especially at such a young and wonderful age!
Sarah Cobb, Kindergarten
Teaching in a Catholic school allows me to share my faith, teach my faith, and grow in my faith. I attended Catholic schools as a child and will never forget the values and lessons that I learned. Being able to pass them on to the students every year is very rewarding. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Master of Arts in Teaching in 2001. I started my teaching career at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Rogers where I taught fourth grade and kindergarten. I spent one year teaching kindergarten in North Carolina at St. Mary Catholic School in Wilmington. I have two brothers, one sister, and 10 nieces and nephews. I recently got married and am now enjoying my first year of wedded bliss!
Debi Seifritz, Lower Elementary
I am Debi Seifritz. I have been teaching since 1978. I grew up in a Navy home and we moved a lot until Junior High and then settled in Huntsville, Arkansas. I graduated from High School in Huntsville and then from the University of Arkansas with my Bachelor and Master’s degrees. I taught for 12 years in Huntsville and 12 years in Fayetteville. I took early retirement and went to nursing school, but, I was too old to do that at age 54! I have been at St. Raphael Catholic School since it opened in 2007. I love teaching in a Catholic school because I can bring religion into our lessons all day whenever it fits in and not only in religion class. I love going to Mass and praying in our classroom. I never had this experience in my first 24 years of teaching and I love having this as part of my classroom. I have 3 grown children and a 3 year old grandson!
Every day is good!
Hannah Guzman, Lower Elementary
Springdale High School graduate: 2003
Undergrad work at NWACC in Rogers and UofA in Fayetteville – 2003-2005
St. Gregory’s University – Bachelor of Social Sciences in Elementary Education (1- 8 grade) 2009
I was born and raised in Springdale, Arkansas along with my twin brother and three younger siblings. I am happily married to my husband. We have a son, Gabriel, born on June 23, 2011. He is my pride and joy. My spiritual life is very important to me. I believe that it is critical to keep the center of my life focused on God. Throughout my life, the Church has been an essential part of who I am. St. Raphael’s Catholic Church has been my home parish my whole life. Between school and home I spent more time at the church than I did anywhere else. During my school years I was highly involved in church activities for PRE and CYM aged students. This helped me to grow in my faith and love for God.
Teaching in the Catholic School system allows me to better serve the spiritual needs of the students on a level that cannot be reached within a public school setting. I believe that it is vital to instill in our children a love for God. Teaching our children about the Catholic faith is the most important aspect of being a teacher in a Catholic school and a commitment that I do not take lightly. St. Raphael’s is my home and I could not serve God and the Church to the utmost of my ability unless I was able to help spread God’s love and His word within our schools. Education provides a foundation for children to base the rest of their lives on. Students who do well in school are better equipped with the knowledge they need to benefit themselves and the world around them. Bringing our faith into the curriculum allows the students to see that God is a part of their lives in everything that they do. It isn’t just “religion time”; it’s being completely immersed in the faith and God’s unconditional love.
Learn more about my class on my website: http://hguzman.snappages.com/
Denise McDonald, Upper Elementary
I graduated from Mtn. Home High School in 1991. I then went to the University of Kansas where I obtained my B.S. in Environmental Science. Upon graduation, I worked at an outdoor education center working with 5th graders in Texas. At this time I went to graduate school to get my teaching certificate. I taught 9th grade physical science and then once again returned to work at another outdoor education center in Eureka, Missouri.
I then took a 10 year break from my professional life to begin our family. We spent a year in Minnesota and then relocated with my husband’s job to St. Louis where we spent 9 years. We have four children, and I feel very fortunate to have had that time at home with them.
During the summer of 2010, we moved to Springdale to be closer to my family. I have a sister in Fayetteville and a brother in Rogers. They both have four children and I wanted my kids to grow up knowing their cousins. I also have a brother in Texas and a sister in Florida. I am very close with my siblings.
I began working at St. Raphael’s school in fall of 2010 as a reading and math teacher working with grades 2-5. I currently teach a 4th and 5th split class in the mornings and teach 4th-7th sciences in the afternoon. I have really enjoyed the student population and being part of the Catholic community. I am a cradle Catholic from a strongly Catholic family and my faith has always been a huge part of who I am. I love that I get to share that faith with my students instead of being unable to talk about religion in school.
Amelia Simpson, Upper Elementary
Springdale High School graduate 1995
Undergrad work at NWACC in Rogers, Arkansas and UCA in Conway, Arkansas
Bachelor of Science in Education degree at U of A in Fayetteville, Arkansas
I have always lived my life based on my Catholic faith. That faith is based on the truth. As the Gospel of St John says, “In the Beginning was the Word, but Truth was there before we were there.” Within the truth are the many values I cherish. It is important to me to incorporate those essential values in my curriculum. As a Catholic educator, I am looking forward to giving my students the knowledge they need to succeed, by embracing them intellectually, socially, emotionally AND spiritually. I LOVE children and their craving for a safe and fun learning environment. I am a hands-on teacher who believes each child should play an active role in learning. I make sure everyone feels successful in the classroom. I utilize multiple resources in planning lesson activities and collaborate well with other faculty members. I believe a school is a community where teachers and students alike are lifelong learners. I was born and raised in Springdale, Arkansas and have always been a member of St. Raphael Catholic Church. My husband and I were married in 2002 and have two sons, Bo and Cale. I love life and all the family, friends, students, co-workers, and spiritual leaders that make it up. I thank God for giving me all the opportunities and people that have made me who I am today.
Cheerfully in Him,
Carol Laury, Music
I was born and raised in Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where I received a Bachelor of Music degree. I am certified to teach both elementary music and band. After teaching elementary music for a few years, my husband and I decided to start a family, and I became a stay at home mom to my four kids.
Six years ago, my husband’s job brought us to Northwest Arkansas, and we love it here! After thirteen years at home, I was very excited to get back into teaching. Working with the students at St. Raphael’s has been a joy and a blessing. Being able to teach in a Catholic school setting is very rewarding, because I get to share my faith, and see the beautiful faith of the children. Thank you for sharing your very talented children with me!
Laura Linares, PE
BA Hendrix College, Conway, AR
MS Health Science University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
I grew up in Fort Smith and attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School for Kindergarten through the 9th grade. As a graduate of a Catholic School, I have first-hand knowledge of the goals and expectations of a Catholic education. I understand the impact it has on the continued spiritual and intellectual growth of a student. I feel very blessed to play a role in helping to establish this foundation for the students at St. Raphael Catholic School.
After graduating from Hendrix College I moved to Fayetteville to attend the University of Arkansas. In 1995 I married my husband Victor. We have two children, Max and Mia, who are both St. Raphael Archangels. After working for many years in healthcare and fitness, I made the decision to return to my original career goal of working with children. I am grateful to be a part of St. Raphael Catholic School and the values it represents. I look forward to being a part of this community for years to come.
Lupe Palacious Alex Sequeira Stephanie Hernandez