The academy is blessed to have a dedicated group of faculty that contribute tremendous work to further the education of our children. Meet the heroes of today's society:
Mrs. Juli Korten:
It could be said that Mrs. Korten's optomism is the spirit of the staff. A Monrovia, California, native, Mrs. Korten has thirty years of teaching experience at Natomas charter school; Saint Maria Goretti school in Loomis, California; Saint Thomas Aquinas school; and PCPA Theaterfest at Allan Hancock College. For the last fifteen years she was teaching at St. Michael’s Academy (SSPX) in Carmichael. Mrs. Korten has a profound enjoyment of theater and acting and brings her enthusiasm to the school. She has served as the academy's Vice Principal since 2019.
Mrs. Laura Studebaker:
Having taught at Our Lady of the Angels for over twenty years, Kindergarten has become second-nature to Mrs. Studebaker, and she will have her class marching in a line with their hands behind their backs by the end of the first school day. Her father's work ethic as a chemistry professor at East Los Angeles College gave her a strong sense of family. Mrs. Studebaker teaches Kindergarten religion, math, phonics, and handwriting and enjoys ballroom dance. She could pride herself in having the most memorable class among all alumni, who always remember that excellent first year of education at Our Lady of the Angels. If you feel so inclined, chocolate, Starbucks, and school supplies are of utmost importance in her classroom.
Mrs. Lisa Villafranca:
Born in Torrance, California, she is one of seven children of Robert and Elvira Atkinson. Her mother also taught at this Academy for many years. Mrs. Villafranca has been a parishioner of Our Lady of the Angels and her sister parish Mission Maria Stella Maris her entire life. In 1995, she graduated from Our Lady of Victory Homeschool Program, and she attended El Camino College in Torrance, California. She also received the Montessori Teacher’s Certificate at University of California Irvine Extension. She married Roderick Villafranca in 2011 at Our Lady of the Angels. They have a daughter named Amelia who also attends the academy. Mrs. Villafranca has taught elementary and preschool and taught for three years when the academy opened in 1997. She then taught at Montessori Schools in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Soon after she started, she was named assistant director, and her last year teaching she was director of teachers. Mrs. Villafranca has taught at Our Lady of the Angels for a total of six years.
During the interview to gather information for her biography, it soon became clear that Mrs. Villafranca, being homeschooled since second grade, is very much aware of how blessed this parish is to have a traditional Catholic School. In her words, "I am humbled to serve Our Holy Mother and help all of the children grow their love and devotion to God." The legacy of sacrifice, perseverance, and generosity left behind for us by the Atkinson family and numerous others who remained loyal to Monsignor Donahue during the property's acquisition and development is an example Mrs. Villafranca will never forget.
Miss Bernadette DiVita
A native of Santa Clarita, California, Miss Divita is the middle child out of five. She has used her associate degree in elementary education from COC Community College as a preparation for teaching children of the Society. Her preference is doing anything outdoors and spending time with family and friends. She now teaches 2nd grade in Our Lady of the Angels Academy.
Mr. Jose Romero
Mr. Romero was born in Mexico and has three brothers and two sisters. He holds a bachelor's degree of Arts in Sociology along with a minor in Spanish literature from the University of California in San Diego. He is married to his lovely wife, Maria, and they have nine wonderful children, four of whom have graduated from Our Lady of the Angels. Mr. Romero has been a parishioner of Our Lady of the Angels for over seventeen years. Having retired from LAUSD after thirty years of service, he has taken on the role of third grade teacher.
Miss Maribel Nuno
Maribel Nuno was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved with her parents and two of her seven siblings to Pasadena, California when she was fifteen years old. She has been a teacher for the last seven years. She obtained her Multiple Subject and Education Specialist Credential at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She loves teaching, having a desire to help students succeed academically and develop virtuous character through firmly embracing their Catholic principles and morals. We are most pleased to welcome Miss Nuno and her years of experience to our Academy!
Miss Catalina Garcia
Born in West Covina, California as the second of two children, Miss Garcia attended Our Lady of the Angels Academy and graduated in 2015. As a young girl, one her favorite past times was Irish dancing. She completed her degree at Saint Mary’s College in Kansas and is the current fifth grade homeroom teacher.
Miss Maria Gerszewski
We are very pleased to welcome Miss Gerszewski and her Wisconsin flavor back to the Academy. In the past, she has taught a combined class of seventh and eighth graders, music for all levels, and multiple subject areas anywhere else she was needed. Much of her experience is in piano performance, and our school is greatly blessed to benefit from that expertise.
Miss Caroline Ertl:
Born in Porterville, California, she is one of four children. She studied Education and Studio Art at California State University, Bakersfield. She was a Math Teacher's Assistant at Harmony Magnet Academy for a year. And now she has already taught 7th and 8th grade Math, Science History, and Language Arts for a year.
Mrs. Donna Lee:
Legend has it that if the fourth graders could calculate the time Mrs. Lee dedicates herself to the secretarial work of the school, they could pass their arithmetic course. A Los Angeles native, Mrs. Lee was a checker for fifteen years and studied finance at California State University, Fullerton campus. She is now the academy's faithful secretary. Students and two German shepherds at home know Mrs. Lee by her perpetual smile that endures even in the midst of fire drills.