OLM School Welcomes Several New Teachers, Programs and Curriculum Enhancements

OLM School New staff photo Oct 2015 (1)

OLM School has welcomed a new crop of teachers this fall: (l to r) Mr. Michael LaChimia, MS Religion and Science; Ms. Erika Watson, PreK; Ms. Courtney Shea, Grade 4; Mrs. Bea Lukens, Computer Science and Engineering; Mrs. Christie Cambio, Library; Sister Lourdes de Leon, FAS; Sister Emma Salvador, FAS; Mrs. Catherine Catucci, Pre-K Aide; Mrs. Cheryl Xavier, Academic Support Coordinator; Mrs. Kathleen Kerin, MS English. Missing from photo: Spanish Teacher Wendy Russell.

East Greenwich, RI – Our Lady of Mercy Pastor Father Bernard Healey and Principal Scott Fuller have spent the first part of the 2015-16 school year welcoming a talented, highly motivated crop of teachers and staff. According to OLM Pastor Father Bernard Healey, “We are truly excited about the new energy and enthusiasm our new faculty have brought to the already excellent faculty. Their varied backgrounds and educational experience further enhance the great things happening at OLM School.” Principal Fuller adds, “We are blessed to have a group of new educators that are not only committed to the Catholic faith, but also bring a level of teaching expertise that will enhance the educational experience of all students.”

Ms. Erica Watson joins OLM as the Pre-Kindergarten teacher, where the classroom is at a record-high 18 students. Previously, Ms. Watson had taught at Happy Hearts Learning Center since 2011. She graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Early Childhood Education in 2011 and is currently enrolled in the master’s degree program at RIC. The OLM Pre-K classroom welcomes students for five full days, five half days or three full days.

Ms. Courtney Shea of Smithfield joins the OLM 4th Grade team. Ms. Shea has taught 2nd grade at Our Lady of Mercy in Dayton, Ohio and 1st grade at Holy Family Elementary School in Grand Blanc, Michigan. She graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education.
She recently completed her Master’s Degree in Literacy at the University of Dayton, Ohio. Ms. She loves teaching in a Catholic school for many reasons. As she puts it,”One my favorite parts of the week is spending” five minutes with Jesus” every Friday afternoon in the church. Getting to spend time praying with my students and sitting quietly with Jesus after a busy week is just one of the many blessings of teaching at OLM.”

Mrs. Kathleen Kerin of East Greenwich joins the OLM middle school team as an English teacher. Mrs. Kerin has taught in Catholic grade schools and public secondary schools. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Christendom College and has done graduate work at the Notre Dame Catechetical Institute and Providence College.

Mr. Michael LaChimia of Providence teaches Middle School Religion and Science. Mr. LaChimia graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in 2015. In addition to
teaching, he is the Youth Activities Coordinator at Our Lady of Mercy Parish. As Mr. LaChimia puts it, “Teaching both subjects (science and religion) allows me to develop in students an appreciation for a fundamental aspect of the Catholic tradition-the notion of a complementary relationship between faith and reason. This is an exciting venture, because it allows me to tackle some of life’s hardest questions from a variety of angles.”

Mrs. Christie Cambio of East Greenwich is the Library teacher. Mrs. Cambio has earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University. She began her teaching career in 1999 in North Haven, CT as a 4th grade teacher. She also taught grades 1, 2 and 3 in MA, CA and NY. She is thrilled to be sharing her love of books and learning with the children of OLM school.

Mrs. Bea Lukens of East Greenwich is the Computer Science and Engineering teacher. She has worked in both the Westerly (4th grade) and North Kingstown (technology) School Districts. In North Kingstown, she introduced Google Classroom and Programing into both 4th and 5th grade classes. This summer she taught Computer Coding to students aged 8-14 years at CCRI’s Kids College. According to Mrs. Lukens, “Learning how a computer operates and how programming works with robotics and gaming is just the beginning of the excitement here in Technology class. Here the students begin to innovate.” Mrs. Wendy Russell joins the OLM Cultural Enrichment team as the Spanish teacher. Mrs. Russell will be teaching Spanish to grades 1 through 8. She taught at LaSalle Academy High School for almost 10 years beginning in 2001 and for the last 3 years has been teaching Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Rhode Island. She completed her undergraduate degree in Spanish at Rhode Island College and completed her Master’s Degree in Spanish at the University of Rhode Island.

Mrs. Cheryl Xavier of Wakefield is the Academic Support Coordinator. In that role, Mrs. Xavier has the opportunity to meet with parents and teachers in creating Student Support Plans, work collaboratively with teachers and students in the classroom, and work with students one-on-one in providing academic, social, and emotional support. Mrs. Xavier received her undergraduate degree from Providence College and a Masters of Arts in Teaching for the University of Rhode Island. For 26 years, she was a teacher in the Narragansett School district working with students from Kindergarten through 12th grade in the areas of both Special and Regular Education. According the Mrs. Xavier, “I feel very blessed to be working at OLM , a caring community of teachers, staff, and parents. In addition, it is a an exceptional school because it provides students a supportive and nurturing learning environment that is God-centered.”

Another new addition to the OLM Community recently is the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters, Sister Lourdes de Leon, FAS and Sister Emma Salvador, FAS, who began their ministry at Our Lady of Mercy Parish this month. The good Sisters are very excited to be living and working at our parish and come to OLM with extensive experience in parish work. Sister Lourdes and Sister Emma are now working with OLM School students in the after-school program and with Sacramental Preparation. They also serve our parish in our Religious Education Program, visitations to the sick and homebound, and most importantly through a ministry of prayer for our parish.