SPECIAL PROGRAMS TEACHERS
Miss Toni Stolo is a native Californian. She received her Nursing degree from Ohlone College and her B.A. from Holy Family College, both in Fremont, California. Miss Stolo continues her professional education, and maintains a current Registered Nurse’s license from the State of California. Miss Stolo was awarded the California State Science Fair Teacher of the Year in 2008.
Miss Stolo joined the faculty of St. Cyril in 1988. Among many of her loves in teaching is to excite students about science. There is no age or grade limit for the students with whom she shares her passion. Her motto is “God has left so many things behind for us to discover. Science allows us to discover these wonders." Miss Stolo shares another passion with her students-that of love for the poor and needy. She established a student outreach program, Angel on My Shoulder in 1991, which allows students to practice their faith by servicing the poor and needy on the streets of Skid Row.
Mrs. Marylou Lia has been the librarian at St. Cyril since September 1980. Her interest in children’s books began while her own children were young and attended a nearby Catholic school. It was there she helped plan and organize a new library and where she became its volunteer librarian. Early in 1980, she was asked by the principal at St. Cyril to become librarian and, as the saying goes, “The rest is history.” As of this year she has a new incentive to continue with us…her first grandson began in our Pre-Kindergarten class!
Our library is a busy place and supports our curriculum with books and visual aids. During daily class visits, stimulating activities are employed to help students learn to use research materials. All students are encouraged to use our “Accelerated Reader” testing program which assists teachers in evaluating student progress. As with any library, keeping things current is a continuous process and ours is assisted by a yearly book fair run by Mrs. Lia and her volunteers. Additionally, the “Readers Are Leaders” program encourages book donations from parents to celebrate special occasions. Amid all the day-to-day activities, nothing pleases Mrs. Lia more than a visit to a local book store to purchase a book for a student who wants to complete a series.
Computer Lab Technician
Our computer lab technician, Marie Kisar came to St. Cyril in the fall of 1991 working in the after-school program ADESTE run by Catholic Charities. After four years, she became a full time employee as the Kindergarten aide. In 2001, she transferred into our computer room to run the lab.
As a former U.S. Air Force "brat" and a foreigner (she was born in Paris, France), Mrs. Kisar has a broad outlook on different cultures and people. "The internet is an exciting learning tool for children to open their eyes to the wonderful world of knowledge. When a child begins to appreciate all forms of life, they can begin their journey to understanding their role in the world and who they really are. Live well and let live."
Susan Durham came to St. Cyril with an extensive background in music liturgy, musical theatre, and an active professional career in classical vocal music. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Chapman University, in addition to a Master’s Degree in Education from Grand Canyon University. Mrs. Durham has been teaching music and theatre at St. Cyril since 2001, developing a curriculum which nurtures the student musician from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She introduces all grade levels to choral singing, music theory, instruments (guitar and recorder), and musical theatre production. Students regularly participate musically in parish liturgies, children’s choir, and junior high vocal ensemble. The 7th grade’s presentation of The Stations of the Cross, performed in the style of ancient Japanese Noh theatre, is a moving and poignant experience for the entire parish community.
Mrs. Durham’s philosophy is informed by her experience as a professional musician. She believes that developing musical skills, disciplined practice, and confident performance in her students provides them with a solid foundation for academic and social growth throughout their lives.
Our art teacher, Patti Akesson, is an alumni of California State University, Northridge, Cal Arts and Otis-Parsons Art Institute. After earning her degree, she started teaching art for St. Francis de Sales and St. Cyril of Jerusalem Schools. In 1989 she decided to work solely at St. Cyril and has been here ever since.
“Anybody can draw! It’s a learned skill. There is no is this good or is this bad in art class. We have fun making art and learning the basics for a good foundation in art. At the same time we are creating, we are also developing invaluable skills that are useful for academics and other daily activities. We are thinking outside the box, exploring, risk taking and building confidence while at the same time, having fun!”