Weekly Letter (May 07, ’18)

Dear Star Parents,

It is Teachers Appreciation Week. This week, we take some time to pay tribute to our hardworking, dedicated instructors who work tirelessly to help guide and promote the academic and spiritual growth of each child in their classrooms. Not only do Star’s faculty members teach and inspire our students, they do the same for one another and especially for me. My colleagues have been central to both my professional and personal growth and are among the chief reasons I stayed at Star for nearly 18 years. These men and women are among the most thoughtful, prayerful, loving, humorous, and intelligent co-workers with whom I have had the pleasure to work. It is with great pride that I have always spoken of my Star colleagues. And it is with great pride and joy that I welcome into the fold our most recent hires for Grades 3 and 8 (see below).

As we begin this very busy week, I have to give an advanced shout out to all of the parents volunteering to cover yard duty and for those planning the much-anticipated Friday teachers’ lunch. How wonderful it is to hear from so many parents who have had such wonderful things to tell me about our amazing instructors. While the teachers have asked to keep things simple this year, I know from experience that a handwritten card, or a thoughtful email, has always been a most cherished teacher gift. Such a sentiment would be very well received if you are wondering (and hopefully not stressing over!) what to give.

I also want to take this opportunity to give a very special, heartfelt thank you to Ms. Meghan Parent, and all of the volunteers on the Hospitality Committee. Each has given so generously of their time, talents and treasures this year to help put Star in her best light – from each of our fall Open Houses, to this week’s most anticipated Grandparents & VIP Day. I would not have been able to have managed all of this, or dealt with the initial jitters of talking to a room full of adults (and not just 5th/4th graders) without Ms. Parent’s assistance, pep-talks, and good cheer.

As I close this letter, I offer my deepest condolences to the Sellai family – and to all our Star family members who have lost a loved one this school year. It is truly a testament to the strength of our community that despite the many collective and personal hardships, we still continue to lean on and love one another.

I am so grateful to each of you for all that you do for Star and this school family. See you at the festival!

Have a wonderful and happy week,

Mrs. Theresa Poon


Ms. Michaela Ruiz, well known to our Kindergarten parents, will be our 3rd Grade teacher next year. Ms. Ruiz is graduating this month with an M.A. in Teaching and a California Credential from USF. She earned her B.A. in Sociology, Minoring in STEM Ed with an emphasis in Computer Science and Asia Pacific American Studies. She has recently been published with UCLA’s Amerasia for her work on Pacific Islander linguistic and cultural maintenance. This year, she has additionally acted as our substitute teacher covering just about every grade level (our not-so-secret way of putting her through the rigors of Star’s unique teaching practicum). It was a pleasure for me to observe Ms. Ruiz put into daily practice all that she’s learned at USF. But, as each teacher in the building knows, everything we ever really need to learn about running a classroom we learn teaching Kindergarten. Ms. Ruiz has truly earned her stripes under Mrs. Robinson’s tutelage, going solo with our youngest students for what will be a total of four weeks before the year’s end — a most daunting task even for this long-time educator! We are so pleased to officially welcome Ms. Ruiz onto the faculty.

We also welcome Ms. Debra Dharmer, our new 8th Grade teacher. She comes to us from Kittredge School where she has served as the 7th and 8th grade Literature and Language Arts teacher for 12 years and is well-versed in navigating San Francisco’s high school admission processes. She is a seasoned educator with a dual degree in History and English from SUNY Stony Brook and an MFA in Creative Writing from USF. Ms. Dharmer began her teaching career in high school at both public and charter schools in Massachusetts and in California, but serendipitously found her way to teaching middle schoolers, a population she finds engaging and inspiring. A crux of her teaching philosophy is that the teacher must take into account the mind as well as the heart of each student and seek to educate the whole child. Not only do we welcome Ms. Dharmer to our faculty, but she also recently joined our Catholic community. We are delighted that she has chosen to begin her career in Catholic education with us here at Star of the Sea.

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