Kindergarten – Mrs. Mavros
Mrs. Mavros has 21 years of experience as an educator, with the 2023-2024 school year being her 9th year at St. Dominic School. She received her multiple subject teaching credential and Masters in Teaching from St. Mary’s College, and her areas of studies include Child Development, Teaching, and Management. Her specialities include arts based teaching, literacy, reading instruction and social emotional development. Mrs. Mavros makes it a priority to stay up to date with new teaching methods, strategies, and resources to provide her students and their families with the best kindergarten experience possible.
Mrs. Mavros is a proud mother of 3 children, 2 of whom graduated from SDS and 1 who is entering 7th grade. She enjoys cheering on the Oakland A’s and visiting the Russian River during her free time.
1st Grade – Mrs. Smith
Mrs. Smith has been teaching at St. Dominic School for 14 years. She was born in New York and lived there until she was 10, and she attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga and loved the Masters/Teaching Degree program provided by the college. Mrs. Smith loves to teach social studies and science, and she enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction books aloud to her students in the classroom.
During her free time, Mrs. Smith loves to read, run road races, watch the New York Yankees, and play at local parks with her kids. She’s been to Disney World many times, and now she enjoys visiting with her own children. You can see her and her family attending Mass on Sundays at St. Dominic Church.
2nd Grade – Mrs. Lau
After her first day of volunteering when her son was in kindergarten here at St. Dominic School, Mrs. Lau discovered what she was looking for her entire life – a teaching career. This school year will be her 7th year of teaching after a long corporate career. Mrs. Lau’s favorite part of teaching is developing connections with her students by getting to know each of them as individuals, and helping them use their unique characteristics and needs to help them grow into amazing people.
Outside of work, Mrs. Lau loves to bake and decorate cakes and cupcakes. She has 2 kids – her oldest just got married, and her youngest just graduated from SDS and is entering high school.
3rd Grade – Mrs. Elges
Mrs. Elges is a proud alumna of St. Dominic School. She feels so blessed to say that she attended SDS as a student and to have had the opportunity to come back “home” as a teacher to teach 3rd grade for 15 years. Mrs. Elges’ call to teaching came in college when she was taking education courses and volunteering in the classroom – she remembers coming home one day with the thought that she just knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her favorite part of teaching is witnessing the “lightbulb” moments when a student “gets it” and understands a new topic.
When she is not teaching, Mrs. Elges loves to spend time with her husband and 3 children. On the weekends, you can find her in the bleachers at her kids’ games, cheering them on as their biggest fans. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new places.
4th Grade – Mrs. Nolan
Mrs. Nolan has been teaching for a total of 8 years. Once she became a teacher, she found inspiration in each of her students. When she watches her students overcome, learn, and grow, it gives her motivation and inspiration to teach and it makes the long nights and hard days worth it. Her favorite part of teaching is building relationships with students and encouraging and empowering them to achieve their goals.
Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Nolan loves attending all of her children’s sporting events. She also enjoys working out, dancing, karaoke, and spending time with family and friends.
5th Grade – Ms. Zaro
In a way, teaching at St. Dominic School has been like coming home to Ms. Zaro. She has lived in Benicia her entire life, attending SDS from 1st-8th grade and teaching here for 23 years. Ms. Zaro’s favorite part of teaching is connecting with her students. She likes giving her students things to think about, enjoys the moments where she can see students mind’s stretching to make room for new thoughts or opinions, and loves when her students make her laugh.
During her free time, Ms. Zaro loves to read and she enjoys listening to the sound of life around her.
6th Grade Homeroom, Math – Ms. Brancale
Catholic education has been a big part of Ms. Brancale’s life, as she attended Catholic school from kindergarten through her undergraduate education. Her kindergarten teacher and several amazing teachers in her high school inspired her to pursue a career in education. Ms. Brancale has been teaching for 15 years, and she has a strong desire to make learning accessible for all. Her students are her favorite part of teaching – watching them solve problems, or watching them do something they enjoy makes the job worth it. She also loves planning fun activities that make school special, fun, and exciting for students.
When she’s not teaching, Ms. Brancale loves spending time with her family and her dog, Dozer. She enjoys cheering on the San Francisco Giants, finding new restaurants, and cleaning and organizing – she lives for a good make-over!
7th Grade Homeroom, STEM – Mr. Perez
Mr. Perez has taught for 11 years. His favorite part of teaching are his students, as they have so many different personalities and energy, and at the end of the day they just want to have fun and feel safe.
During his free time, Mr. Perez likes to spend time with his family, barbecue, and do anything sports related, whether it’s playing golf, softball, or basketball. Born and raised in Texas, he is a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, and Houston Astros.
8th Grade Homeroom, Middle School Social Studies, Vice Principal – Mrs. Candela:
Mrs. Candela has taught for 20 years, with the 2023-2024 school year being her 10th year at St. Dominic School. Born and raised in Vallejo, she went to school at St. Basils and SPSV, and she attended college at the University of Southern California and majored in Theater. She believes it is so important to learn about the world around us, and her favorite thing about being a teacher is helping her students do just that.
Outside of teaching, traveling is a big part of Mrs. Candela’s life. During her junior year in college, she studied in London, and after college, she spent months at a time living and traveling in Europe. Her most recent trip was to Paris, Rome, Florence, and Sicily. Other than traveling, Mrs. Candela loves books, movies, museums, good food, and her daughter, who is a 7th grader here at SDS.
Science – Mrs. Zander
Mrs. Zander was inspired to pursue a science career by her 8th grade science teacher. She pursued a pre-vet degree in Biology and Chemistry with a minor in History at the University of Puget Sound, but while working part time at the Boys and Girls Club during college, she found a passion for working with teens and tutoring. This experience inspired Mrs. Zander to pursue her teaching credentials and Masters in Education, and it has led to a 21 year career in teaching. She truly enjoys watching the “ah ha” moments with students, observing their hands-on learning with projects, and discussing cool science going on in the world around us.
During her free time, Mrs. Zander loves to craft, scrapbook, and try new cricut crafting projects as gifts for others. She loves to spend time with her family and try new things, and her family’s favorite place to go is Disneyland.
ELA – Mrs. Davis
Mrs. Davis has been teaching for 7 years at St. Dominic School. Her high school English teacher in her sophomore year at St. Francis High School inspired her to pursue a career in teaching. Her favorite part of teaching is her relationships with her students.
Mrs. Davis has a close relationship with her family, and that is very important to her. She is a big Disney fan and would go to Disneyland every month if she could. Some of her other hobbies outside of teaching include reading and spending time with her “zoo of animals.”
Math – Mr. Maguire
The 2023-2024 school year is Mr. Maguire’s 23rd year of teaching math at St. Dominic School. He loves math, and the subject inspired him to teach and share his knowledge with his students. Mr. Maguire’s favorite part of teaching is watching students grow each year in understanding how math works, and he believes that he can help any student struggling with math overcome their challenges.
During his free time, Mr. Maguire enjoys watching organized sports events. He likes to hike, travel, and discover new places to eat.
Physical Education – Mrs. Morgado
Mrs. Morgado has taught Physical Education at St. Dominic School for 25 years. Her inspiration to teach is to share her passion for fitness and movement to help others. Mrs. Morgado’s favorite part of teaching is experiencing the joy and excitement of students as they develop new skills and gain knowledge on how to be the healthiest versions of themselves. She also loves when students share their “ah-ha” moments.
Mrs. Morgado’s hobbies include reading, doing puzzles, and working out. She is a big Oakland A’s fan and attends spring training in Arizona every year.
Music, Spanish – Mr. Lechuga
Mr. Lechuga has worked in education for 15 years, teaching Spanish and music here in the United States and working in leadership and teaching positions in his home country, El Salvador. His inspiration to teach comes from St. John Bosco (commonly known as Don Bosco) and his commitment to work in favor of young people. Mr. Lechuga’s favorite part of teaching is playing his ukulele and singing with his students, and he enjoys when his students feel proud of their achievements.
Music is a big part of Mr. Lechuga’s life. He loves playing his guitar, and he writes and records music and shares his work through social media.