Meet the Team

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Katie Abbott

Lead Teacher - Four-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Katie Abbott

Lead Teacher - Four-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Something on my “bucket list”

I would like to go back to the Grand Canyon. As a little girl, my sister and I were taken on lots of adventurous vacations. A typical spring break was spent in a national park or in the mountains of Colorado hiking, fishing, and camping in my grandpa's camper. When I was too young to remember my parents and grandparents took us to the Grand Canyon and I was so young I barely remember it. I greatly appreciate God's beauty across our world and plan to raise my son loving, respecting, and appreciating the outdoors, as I was taught to do. I know we will go to many of the places I did as a child, the Grand Canyon, included.

My favorite summer activity

I love going to the beach. I used to work in Galveston, my husband and I spent our honeymoon on Sanibel Island in Florida, and my sister lived in Corpus Christi for years, so during the summer I spent lots of time at the beach.

My favorite cartoon character

Curious George, partly because my son loves him, but also because he is always curious and exploring and when he makes a mistake he tries to fix it. There are so many new cartoons with lots of action and fancy accessories, but I’m pretty amused by a little busy monkey.

My favorite hobbies

I enjoy going to the gym. I like to take a variety of classes including yoga, Pilates, weight lifting, ballet barre, spinning, hip hop dancing, and even Thai Chi. I like to mix it up to keep it interesting. I also do lots of gardening at my house and spend lots of time working on my water garden, which also has a couple of pond goldfish in it.

I think children are happiest when . . . 

They are outside exploring. My students love to be out on the playground digging and building in the sandbox and my son loves to simply be outside exploring nature. He loves to pick up sticks and rocks, help me pull weeds in the garden, touch different plants and trees, squish his fingers and toes in mud and splash in any puddles he can find. Luckily, I’m all right with doing a lot of laundry.

When I drive, I like to listen to . . .

My son laughing in the back seat. We might be singing songs or sneaking in a quick game of peek-a-boo during a stop or he has a pair of sunglasses he is trying to figure out how to put on and he is laughing away. Whatever makes it happen, it is what I want to hear when I am sitting in traffic or just driving a few blocks.

My favorite children’s book

As an adult, my favorite children’s book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, but, one of my son’s favorite books is Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, I’m pretty sure it’s because of the monkeys, and it has quickly become one of my new favorites.

The best part of my job

The kids! I love to sit with them at lunch and have conversations with them. They say the funniest things. Also, the kids' kindness. Even when I am having a bad day, the classroom is my favorite place to be. Their smiling faces always cheer me up and if they are having a rough day I love to be able to cheer them up.

Anna Aghasandyan

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

Anna Aghasandyan

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

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Shirley Aguilar

Teacher Assistant - 2-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Shirley Aguilar

Teacher Assistant - 2-year-olds, Chapelwood School

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Arsineh Allahverdian

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

Arsineh Allahverdian

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

I am a teacher assistant and I help out the lead teacher in any way I can. I clean the tables and the mats every single day. I monitor the kids when they are playing together. I also change diapers and help them wash their hands. My job allows me to be involved in the kids’ daily routine.

My favorite cartoon characters

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, because they are classic and wholesome.

If I could go anywhere in the world for two weeks, it would be . . .

Armenia because it is my homeland and I would love to see my family.

As a child, I wanted to grow up to be a . . .

Nurse or police officer

I think children are happiest when . . .

They are allowed to be themselves and play together.

When I drive, I listen to . . .

Sunny 99.1 on the radio

My favorite childhood memory

Going to the beach with my family every summer.

My favorite food

Hamburger

The best part of my job

Working with children, seeing them grow up, and being a part of their developmental stages.

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Caris Altimore

Assistant Director, Chapelwood School

Caris Altimore

Assistant Director, Chapelwood School

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Martha Arce

Lead Teacher - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Martha Arce

Lead Teacher - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

As a lead teacher, my job is to implement meaningful lessons that cover a curriculum rich in experiences that nurture the whole child, and to ensure physical and emotional safety.

My favorite thing to do during summer

My kids and I get to go to Mexico City where we were born, and where my family lives; we get to immerse in our culture and be pampered by all our relatives. 

My favorite cartoon character

Has always been the Pink Panther because of the different kinds of trouble he would get into, and because as a young spectator I had to pay more attention to the story and the actions, rather than the spoken language.

If I could go anywhere in the world for two weeks, I would go to . . .

Greece, because I have always been amazed by what the Greek philosophers accomplished just by using knowledge and observation. 

I think children are happiest when

They PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. 

If I could trade lives with anyone for a day, I would be . . .

One of my three kids, because I think being “in their shoes” would give me a better perspective and understanding of how they see life and its many challenges.

When I drive, I like to listen to . . .

A variety of music, such as classical, 80’s pop, 90’s rock, Latin jazz, among others.

My favorite food

Any kind, what matters to me is the company.

The best part of my job

That I get to spend part of my day building a very important relationship with each and every one of my students, by coaching them, listening to them, helping them be proud of all the good things they can do, and helping them work on those big and small challenges that are part of being at school and making friends. Being a Preschool teacher makes me feel more, way more important than any CEO, because I get to nurture little kids’ minds - to me, no other job can be more important than that!

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Bonnie Arnold

Teacher Assistant - 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Bonnie Arnold

Teacher Assistant - 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

 My favorite subject in school

Texas History and European History. We learn from the past.

I think children are happiest when . . .

They are loved unconditionally; given boundaries; taught respect, control and independence.

 If I were famous for fifteen minutes, I would . . .

Visit a children’s hospital and cheer up the boys and girls as time permitted. 

My favorite movie quote:

It’s from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.  The actress, Kathy Bates, plays Evelyn, an unhappy housewife with low self-esteem who is learning to be more assertive.  One day in the parking lot of a grocery store, some mean teenage girls rush in and steal her parking space.  When she confronts them, they laugh at her and say,” Face it lady, we’re younger and faster,” so Evelyn crashes her car into their car and says with a big smile, “Face it girls, I’m older and have more insurance.”

If I couldn’t be a teacher, I would probably be . . .

A psychologist.  Both my father and brother were psychiatrists and I love to figure out people’s problems.

My favorite scripture:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. This is something I tell myself a lot, and it really helps.

If I could trade lives with anyone for a day, it would be . . .

Princess Kate of England because I would be able to be with Prince George who I think is the most adorable child in the whole world!

The best part of my job

As an assistant teacher of three and a half and four year olds at Chapelwood School, it is interacting with and nurturing the children on a daily basis.  It is also earning their love and watching them learn and grow.

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Nomik Assatouri

Teacher, 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Nomik Assatouri

Teacher, 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

My name is Nomik Assatouri. I have been in the United States for 29 years and I have been working at Chapelwood for 17 years.

If I could go anywhere in the world for two weeks, it would be . . .

I would like to go to France and Germany to visit my brother and sister.

My favorite hobbies

Walking and cooking

When I was young, I wanted to be a . . .

Teacher

My favorite music

Christian music

My favorite food is . . .

I love Mediterranean food.

The best part of my job

Being around the children and teaching them. 

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Lori Beck

Lead Teacher - 4-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Lori Beck

Lead Teacher - 4-year-olds, Chapelwood School

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Naomi Black

Music Teacher, Chapelwood School

Naomi Black

Music Teacher, Chapelwood School

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Joanne Buchwald

Motor Teacher, Chapelwood School / Director, Camp Chapelwood

Joanne Buchwald

Motor Teacher, Chapelwood School / Director, Camp Chapelwood

P: (713) 354-4460

When I wear my Sensory Motor Teacher Hat, I challenge children with motor activities that provide experiences that help their bodies develop while sharpening their perception skills and maturing their neurological systems.  Some of the life skills learned in motor class are listening skills, thinking skills, self-control and social growth.

My favorite summer activity

Working at Camp Chapelwood.  As Director this requires me to create and implement programs for elementary age students to learn new skills, develop new interests and develop spiritual awareness.  The best part of this position is that we have a reunion with former students.

My favorite hobbies

Gardening, cooking and reading.

I think children are the happiest when . . .

They are allowed to be active. They learn best when they are doing!

If I could be anyone for a day, I would be . . .

My granddog Bella. She gets to eat, sleep, swim in the lake and play ball all day and have people loving her hourly.

My worst place to be stuck

In a snowstorm in Colorado.  I backed out of a driveway and could not see the dam that was made by a snowplow. I was not even able to open my car door.

My favorite childhood memory

I was an only child so my favorite childhood memories were when I went to friends’ houses and we played board games.

My favorite children’s book

The Little Engine that Could.

The best part of my job

Watching children grow from the seeds planted in preschool, elementary, high school and sometimes college to responsible young adults.

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Maria Carter

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

Maria Carter

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

My job duties include assisting the lead teacher, making copies, and having the classroom ready.    

My favorite summer activities

I love to spend time with my family, my daughters and my grandchildren.  I also love yoga, walking and meditation. 

If I could go anywhere in the world for two weeks, it would be . . .

The Holy Land of Israel. I would like to learn more about the places there. I would like to visit the temple, the sorrow place, and the place where Jesus was baptized. 

When I was a child, I wanted to grow up to be . . .

I always wanted to be a doctor because I love to take care of and help people.

When I drive, I like to listen to . . .

Classical music and Gregorian Choirs. The music makes me feel very relaxed and cautious when I drive, ready to go work.

My favorite childhood memory

Sitting at a big table for dinner with my mother, father and ten siblings. We would talk, laugh and spend time together.

My favorite scriptures

St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, Psalms 23, 55 and 91.

My favorite food

I love international food, but my favorites are Mexican food, salmon, and fish.

 

The best part of my job

The best part of my job is interacting, educating and taking care of the children at school.  I love being with them every day. 

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Mayra Cordova

Lead Teacher - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

Mayra Cordova

Lead Teacher - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

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Maryanna Cuevas

Lead Teacher - 2-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Maryanna Cuevas

Lead Teacher - 2-year-olds, Chapelwood School

My favorite summer activity

Going swimming

My favorite cartoon character

Eep Crood from The Croods. The reason is because she is very adventurous and curious. She is not afraid to explore new things.

My favorite subject in school

Language Arts in eighth grade. The reason was my teacher, Mr. Mieres. He introduced me to great books like Tiger Eyes and Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, by Judy Blume, which are some of the best books I've ever read.

When I was a child I always wanted to be . . . 

A nurse, because I've always wanted to help people in need.

My favorite childhood memory

The summer that I went bike riding with my best friend and her older brother. That day we rode all through Memorial Park and Spring Branch, which was very fun.

My favorite scripture

“Treat others as you want to be treated.” If everybody did that every day all day long I think this world would be a better place.

Something that makes me laugh

A person – my younger sister Melissa. She’s very funny and charismatic.

The best thing about my job

Working with children. Every day what I am teaching them will help them in the future.

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Krista Drury

Communications Coordinator, Chapelwood School

Krista Drury

Communications Coordinator, Chapelwood School

I am the Chapelwood School communications coordinator. 

Something on my “bucket list”

My husband and I would love to go on one of those "Around the World" cruises one day when the kids go off to college and we both retire. Our kids are 5 and 4, so we have some time before it happens! 

My favorite subject in school

I love science! Anatomy and Physiology was my favorite subject. I still love to read and learn about the human body. God's masterpiece! 

I think children are happiest when . . .

They are surrounded by love and acceptance.

If I could trade lives with anyone for a day, it would be

My kids! I would love to spend the day playing and exploring without a care in the world! 

If I couldn’t be a teacher, I would probably be

The owner of a pet adoption/rescue resort.

My favorite children’s book

Right now, my favorite children's book is Go Away Big Green Monster! It's a bright, colorful book that is interactive and the kids never get tired of hearing it over and over! It's a playful happy book young toddlers seem to really enjoy which makes it fun to read!

My favorite food

Vietnamese food!  I could it every day!! 

The best part of my job

The children! I love the imagination and minds of our 3 year olds! They are so full of happiness and laughter and I enjoy being surrounded by it each day at work!

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Margaret Dvoracek

Lead Teacher - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Margaret Dvoracek

Lead Teacher - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

My primary job responsibility is teaching young three-year-olds in Chapelwood’s School for Young Children.

My favorite summer activity

Spending time with my dogs hiking in cooler places and volunteering for various animal welfare organizations.

If I could go anywhere in the world for two weeks it would be . . .

Floating down the Amazon River in the middle of the jungle with an extremely knowledgable guide. 

If I could trade lives with anyone for a day it would be with . . .

Any of the children in my class so I could continually strive to be the teacher they wished they had.

I think children are happiest when . . .

They’re allowed to be children and explore their world freely. 

My favorite movie quote

“There’s always tomorrow for dreams to come true,” from Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  I often sing this to the children in my class when they don’t get to finish something they were working on before they have to leave for the day.

If I couldn’t be a teacher, I would be

A veterinarian, so I could give free care to those who need it most. 

My favorite children’s book

Dragons Love Tacos, because it usually leads to a classroom taco party that the children have the opportunity to plan from start to finish. That being said, my favorite food is of course, tacos!       

The best part of my job

I’m surrounded by the love of young children all day long and I’m constantly inspired by all the love they have to share with others. 

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Susan Edwards

Lead Teacher - 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Susan Edwards

Lead Teacher - 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

I am a five days a week lead teacher working with 3½ year old children. We do have formal study units each week, and work on letter and number recognition, but our main focus is on teaching the children how to work and play together successfully.

My favorite cartoon character

Jessica Rabbit from, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? When Jessica was asked what she saw in Roger, she said, “He makes me laugh.” Now that’s a cartoon character that understands relationships and what makes them last!

My favorite subject in school

My favorite subject in school was always art. The creativity, the materials and the endless possibilities are very exciting to me. That is one of the things that I love so much about my job, every study unit includes art projects - so fun! 

My favorite movie quote

My favorite movie quote comes from The Martian. I just love it when Mark Watney says; “When you find yourself in a situation, don’t give up. Do the math. Solve the problem, then move on and solve the next one.” So my favorite movie quote is, “Do the math.” Of course, my daughter Mallory is an Applied Mathematics major at Texas A&M, so the quote speaks to me from a mother’s point of view. I’ve been saying that to her for years.

My favorite hobbies

I have two favorite hobbies, cooking and tennis. Both of these activities include my husband and my daughter. My husband, Don, is my mixed doubles partner and we love to play against our daughter, Mallory who is a champ rated player. We play California Doubles and she always beats us, but we have a great time together. We also spend a lot of time cooking together. Don is a grill master and Mallory and I love to whip up gourmet meals together to feed family and friends.

My favorite scripture

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance,” - James 1:2-3.If you can look at the joy, as well as the pain you have in your life as things that help to shape your Christian character, then I believe you are following Jesus’ example.

What makes me laugh

I just generally laugh a lot, but children probably make me laugh the most. They are so entertaining in their perspectives. The way children look at things can make you wonder why adults have so often locked out other possibilities. It is just delightful to see the world through a child’s eyes.

My favorite childhood memory

I have so many happy memories from my childhood, but one of my favorite ones would have to be family vacations every summer. We all love to go to the lake house at Possum Kingdom. My entire family would water ski, go fishing and ride around the lake on the barge. Growing up in Midland, Texas, it was a real treat for me to go to the lake.

The best part of my job

The best part of my job actually has two parts. First, being able to work with children, right at the age where their curiosity and thirst for knowledge collide into a remarkable opportunity for a teacher to have a huge impact on their love of learning is amazing. The second part would have to be being able to teach in a faith-based school. After years of working in public schools, the comparison on the surface may seem small, but in fact, is huge. Both the staff members and our school families embrace Christian values and encourage sharing Jesus’ teachings equally with teaching social skills and academics. It doesn’t get any better than that!

 

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Laura Ely

Teacher Assistant - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Laura Ely

Teacher Assistant - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

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Graeme Etzler

Teacher Assstant - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Graeme Etzler

Teacher Assstant - 3-year-olds, Chapelwood School

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Trina Favor

Lead Teacher - 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Trina Favor

Lead Teacher - 3.5-year-olds, Chapelwood School

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Virginia Fernandez

Lead Teacher - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

Virginia Fernandez

Lead Teacher - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

My favorite hobbies

My hobbies include listening to different kinds of music, reading self-help books, novels, and solving sodukos.

If I could trade lives with anyone for a day, it would be . . .

I would trade lives with myself from the future to see how all my hard work and dedication pays off in the future.

When I drive, I listen to . . .

Music in Spanish

What makes me laugh

Life makes me laugh.

My favorite childhood memory

When we used to go to my grandpas house to celebrate birthdays and holidays, because the whole family would get together at their place and we were more than 50 people!

My favorite scripture

Psalms 28-7: The Lord is my strength and my breastplate, my heart had faith in him and I am helped; for this cause my heart is full of rapture, and i will give him praise in my song.

My favorite children’s book

The Little Engine That Could by Watly Piper

The best part of my job

Interacting with children, parents, and my coworkers every day. I love and enjoy being around young children.

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Laura Gall

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

Laura Gall

Teacher Assistant - Toddlers, Chapelwood School

I assist in implementing the curriculum, carrying out various duties and ensuring safety guidelines are met.

My favorite cartoon characters

Charlie Brown and Snoopy because they problem solve together.

My favorite hobby

Photography

What makes me laugh

Me and Saturday Night Live

My favorite childhood memory

My Grandma

My favorite scripture

Luke 6:31 - Do to others as you would have them do to you.

My favorite childhood book

Nancy Drew

My favorite summer activity

Going to Chicago to relax on my Dad’s boat

The best part of my job

The kids!

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Melizant Havakian

Teacher Assistant - 2-year-olds, Chapelwood School

Melizant Havakian

Teacher Assistant - 2-year-olds, Chapelwood School

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Brenda Hebert

Lead Teacher - 2-year-olds - Chapelwood School

Brenda Hebert

Lead Teacher - 2-year-olds - Chapelwood School

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