Faculty Bios

Martin Freel

In the Spring of 2020, I was hired to become the new principal at St. Jude the Apostle School. Working with young men and women in schools has always been passion of mine, but the chance to be principal at a school such as St. Jude’s has always been my dream. I feel very fortunate to work and live in a community that has such a great interest in how our students develop both spiritually and academically. As principal, I look forward to continually improving our academic programs, our religious educational opportunities and building a strong community everyday.

Before coming to St. Jude’s, I worked in the Las Virgenes Unified School District for nearly a decade. I began teaching at A.E. Wright Middle School as a Special Education teacher after three years of teaching special education for the VCOE. At A.E. Wright I oversaw the Social Communications program which was a specialized program that helped develop social skills and emotional regulation abilities for students with autism or other social/emotional learning needs. I also served as the Special Education department chair before having our program moved for two years to Lindero Canyon Middle School.

During my years as a teacher, I received my Masters in Education from Azusa Pacific University. In addition to my Masters, I also received my Administrative Credential from the LVUSD new CenterEdX program that worked with UC Santa Barbara. I was a part of the first graduating cohort and recipient of the Kaizen Award for candidate leadership. I then was appointed to be the first Dean of Student Safety in LVUSD and worked closely with local law enforcement to help reduce drug, alcohol and tobacco use on our school campuses. I oversaw 14 school campuses’ school safety plans and presented to over 7,000 students in one year about the harmful effects of vaping and drug use in teens today. Following my time as the Dean of Student Safety, I became the Assistant Principal at Calabasas High School. In this capacity, I oversaw athletics, safety and facilities in addition to our Science, Art, PE and Special Education programs.

I have always loved working with high school student-athletes as a high school football coach. I am entering my 13th season as a high school coach, currently serving as the defensive coordinator at Oak Park High School. I have been privileged to coach dozens of student-athletes that have gone on to play college football and a few have even played in the NFL. The connection between being a coach and teacher is strong and has taught me that the most important quality I can bring to any school is the ability to build and maintain relationships. Lastly, and most importantly, I am a proud husband to my wife Brenda and our four children, Colin, Dylan, Olivia and Braxton. We are all blessed to be a part of the St. Jude’s community.

It is a great honor to have the ability to work with our staff and students at St. Jude’s. I believe deeply in creating an environment that is positive and proactive. Our school is dedicated daily to safety, academic excellence, spiritual growth and positivity for each of our students.

Angelica Arisohn
Kindergarten Teacher

I have been a member of the St. Jude family since 2015.  I was previously a staff member at St. Peter Claver Preschool and Kindergarten in Simi Valley, California, for four and a half years.  Although I enjoyed working with preschool and kindergarten students very much, I was very excited about teaching first grade.  I felt it was God’s plan when I became a part of the St. Jude family.  The timing was perfect and everything fell right into place.

I was born and raised in Simi Valley, California.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from California Lutheran University.  I also received my California Teaching Credential and Masters in Multiple Subjects from Loyola Marymount University.  I hold a cleared teaching credential.

I feel students need to be educated in all aspects:  socially, academically, emotionally, and spiritually.  My favorite part about teaching is watching the students grow and make strides in their learning every day.  I love teaching at St. Jude because I can use God on a daily basis to help children make good choices.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Johnny, along with our two children, Avery and Anthony.  My favorite place to go is Disneyland.  I also like to go shopping and exercise.  I love to watch sports, especially baseball and football.  I feel extremely blessed to be part of the St. Jude the Apostle School family!

Denise Itule
First Grade Teacher

I am very excited to return to teaching full time at St. Jude the Apostle School.  This community holds a very special place in my heart.  I am a graduate of St. Jude and was in the original kindergarten class back in 1982 when the school first opened its doors.  I have educated both of my daughters here and have taught at this school on and off for the past 19 years.

I graduated from Cal Lutheran University with a degree in Liberal Studies and then went on to earn my teaching credential and Masters Degree in Education from Pepperdine University.

I love teaching first grade because I believe instilling a love of learning is an emotional endeavor that begins from the moment a young child steps foot on our campus.  Partnering with our students and parents is a privilege and responsibility that I am honored to accept .  I love cultivating young minds and helping my students grow spiritually, emotionally, academically, and socially.   I strive to create a community of lifelong learners by nurturing growth in a positive, fun, and meaningful environment.

Outside of school, I am very busy raising my two wonderful daughters and love spending time with my family and friends.  I am an avid reader, love to cook, travel, and entertain.  Teaching has always been my true passion and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to work at a school that truly is my home away from home.

Kaitlyn Theodoulou
Assistant Principal
Second Grade Teacher

I am so excited to return to St. Jude as the Assistant Principal and Second Grade teacher! I went to St. Jude from kindergarten through eighth grade, so coming back to teach is like coming home for me! I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I received a Bachelors of Science in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Child Development and a California Multiple Subject Credential.

Being able to teach at St. Jude has always been a dream of mine. Growing up with a St. Jude, Catholic education made me the person I am today. This education taught me to live every aspect of my life with compassion and love. I believe in the importance in teaching God’s love through every lesson. I hope that my graduating students know that God is and will always be there for them, and that living through Christ and His teachings will make them strong leaders of society.

As the second grade teacher, I try to make every day engaging and fun. Creating memorable moments for my students makes teaching the most amazing job in the world. My favorite part about teaching is seeing my students discover new concepts. Their look of excitement in finally understanding something that once seemed challenging is the best part of being a teacher.

As an Assistant Principal, I encourage all students to be good leaders and kind above all else. I believe that teaching important skills, such as responsibility and empathy, will greatly help the students to become successful members of society.  As a member of the Administrative team, I enjoy helping St. Jude School strengthen as a community and grow academically each year.

I am the oldest of four children and love spending time with my family more than anything. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, traveling with my husband, cooking, hiking, and doing jigsaw puzzles. My passion is teaching, and I feel so fortunate and blessed to return to the St. Jude School family!

Sara Andrea
Sixth Grade Teacher

I am from Pennsylvania where I received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Masters of Science degree in Elementary Administration.  I hold a California Teaching Credential and a Preliminary Administration Credential.  During my years in education, I have taught kindergarten, fourth grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade.  I am currently the third grade teacher at St. Jude the Apostle School.

My first teaching position was at a Catholic school in Pennsylvania where I taught fourth and fifth grades.  After I moved to California, I taught fifth grade for five years at a private school, Sierra Canyon.  While at Sierra Canyon, I was the fifth grade team leader and student council advisor.  I took on the position as testing coordinator, where I remained for eight and a half years.  I taught at Sierra Canyon for a total of thirteen and a half years.

I was very interested in the teaching position at St. Jude due to my Catholic upbringing and having started my career in a Catholic school.  I feel very blessed that the families of St. Jude welcomed me into the community.  I am so happy to be a part of it!

Gabriela Pantoja
Fourth Grade Teacher

I am ecstatic to return to St. Jude as the fourth grade homeroom teacher.  I began my journey here as an aide in the resource room, as well as supporting math intervention.  I also worked in the after-school program!  I did so while an undergraduate at California Lutheran University where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, and later my teaching credential.  I also received my Masters Degree in Teacher Leadership from Cal Lutheran in 2020!

Being a teacher at St. Jude is like coming home for me.  I grew up in the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Ventura where I received a Catholic education up through high school.  This has taught me the importance of keeping God at the center of my lessons so that each child may know that they are made in the likeness of Him.  It is my hope that my students grow to be kind, responsible members of society, living through Christ, as well as being both technologically savvy and proficient.

I am the eldest sister of two siblings in our family of four and love spending quality time with my younger brother and parents.  During my downtime, I enjoy cooking and baking, hiking, horseback riding, and traveling.  It has always been my passion to work with children, and I could not be more blessed to be a member of the St. Jude family!

Carey Novak
Fifth Grade Teacher

Being a teacher has always been my vocation since I was in Kindergarten.  I have always loved learning and have been fortunate to love what I do.

As a native of California, I was born and raised in Westlake Village and have been part of the St. Jude parish for most of my life.  I attended La Reina High School for 7th through 12th grades.  After graduating, I chose to attend the University of Portland in Oregon, where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  I then earned my Master’s degree in Elementary Education and teaching credential at Pepperdine University.

One of my goals when I began teaching was to be a Catholic school educator.  I have been teaching at St. Jude the Apostle School since 1996 and have loved it here since my first day of teaching.  My philosophy is to take advantage of each lesson that is presented, whether it is academic or just simply about life.  I want my students to ask questions and to take accountability for their mistakes and learn from them.  I want for them to work hard and to have fun.  Above all else, my hope is that they respect everyone, and most importantly, keep Christ at the center.

On a more personal note, I am so grateful for my ever-growing Catholic faith, my husband, and our son.  I very much enjoy learning, spending time with my family, traveling, cooking, playing a myriad of games with family and friends, and playing golf.

Mr. Lopez
7th Grade Homeroom, Social Studies/Spanish 

Mr. Lopez joins our team as our new 7th grade homeroom teacher. He will teach Social Studies and Spanish for 6-8th grade students. Mr. Lopez joins us from CSU-Fullerton where he has spent the last year working as a Graduate Assistant for students receiving their Master’s Degree in both Political Science and Social Sciences. He has his Masters Degree from CSU-Fullerton in Political Science.

Prior to working at CSU-Fullerton, Mr. Lopez has been the AVID teacher at Ruben S. Ayala High School. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college-readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills. All of which Mr. Lopez actively supported students to prepare for high school. He has also worked as curriculum development coordinator for Tutor Zone to prepare students for various Social Studies/History courses, including AP testing for high school students.

Jilian Vitelli
Assistant Principal
Eighth Grade Teacher

As a product of Catholic education, I knew the value in Catholic education and wanted to  share my faith with the students I teach. God apparently had the same plan for me as this  is my first job out of college, and I truly feel that St. Jude is the place I am meant to be.

I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for my undergraduate studies,  earning my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. During my time in college, I  volunteered in a public school, working with fifth grade and kindergarten students, and  realized that education was my true calling.

I came to St. Jude in 2002 as a teacher’s aide in the third grade. I learned so much from  the amazing teachers I had the privilege to work with and was given the opportunity to  apply what I was learning in my credential classes at Cal State Northridge. After two  years of experience and the completion of the credential program, I was ready for a  classroom of my own. I never would have chosen junior high, but again, God knows  better than I do, and junior high has been the perfect fit for me.

I have been able to integrate my love of teaching with my love of reading in the  Literature classes that I teach. Whether reading short stories, poems, plays, or novels, the  students and I work together to analyze what we are reading and find the overall message.  What I love most about teaching at St. Jude is that we then get to apply these messages to  our Catholic faith. The students get to discover our Catholic values in a variety of places  and not just in Religion books. I can’t imagine not integrating my faith into the Literature that I teach!

As an Assistant Principal, I strive to be a positive example of kindness and faith for the  students. With a firm but loving hand, I hope to help all students reach their full potential  and grow as individuals both through their triumphs and struggles. St. Jude is an  amazing community, and I am so proud to be a part of the leadership of the school!

Jana Sutherland
Science Teacher

I am the resident triple threat here at St. Jude the Apostle school.  I am one of the original founding classes of St Jude, the second graduating class of 1990.  I am also a participating parent at St. Jude the Apostle School community; my children currently attend SJS.  And now, I have found my way back into the classroom to teach fourth through eighth grade science.  St. Jude the Apostle School is my home, my heart, and my faith community since its humble beginnings, and I am blessed to be teaching here.

I attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and hold a Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education (K-8) and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Special Education (P-12) with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education.  Over the course of my teaching experience, I have worked in Seattle, Washington, before coming home to California to work for Conejo Valley Unified School District for ten years. I then decided to be a stay at home mom to raise my two beautiful children.  Now I am back to work doing what I love and am proud to be teaching one of my  favorite subjects to the junior high students: Science. My goal and objective is to get kids passionate about the living world around them. I want all of my students to have fun, get messy, and learn some science stuff while always remembering to “Think like a Proton and stay Positive!”

Jay Fremed
Math Specialist

 I have found teaching to be more than a job or profession; it is a calling. This calling, teaching math at the middle school and high school levels, and beyond, has brought me many years of enjoyment. I believe a solid foundation in mathematics is crucial for success in both an academic and professional career, and nowhere is this more true than at the middle/junior high school level. It is during these years that students transition from basic one-step operations to complex, multiple-step problems. That said, St. Jude has also given me the opportunity to have fun helping fourth and fifth graders solidify basic operations, as well as teach them the key concepts of fractions and decimals.

I first began educating math minds as a tutor preparing students for the SAT. I had tutored “one-on-one” since I was in high school and enjoyed this type of setting. With such a narrow focus, I found I wanted to contribute more to the students’ education rather than preparing for a single test. While I never would have believed it as a student myself, it was then that I decided to investigate the option of classroom teaching. For my first two years, I taught Algebra, including Honors Algebra, at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. My second year, I took on a sixth class and taught more than 180 students! I then taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra/H, and Honors Geometry for six years at Chaminade College Preparatory Middle School in Chatsworth.

At this point I believed I needed to try something different, so I left teaching to explore other options. I continued to tutor during this period, all the while hearing clients say, “Why aren’t you still teaching?” It wasn’t long until I couldn’t fight it anymore; I was a teacher. At that moment my professional goal was to become the best math teacher I could be, for as long as possible. I am blessed that I have been able to continue this journey here at St. Jude.

Presently Simi Valley is still where we call home. That said, our daughter is continuing her education in South Carolina, where she is learning to be (drum roll) a teacher! Our son is just finishing up his last year in high school. Where he will end up for college is still in the air, but his focus is not in question: music, and more specifically, composition.

While math is my calling, comedy is my passion. For better or worse, I can relate any event to an episode of my favorite sit-com or to a routine of one of my favorite comedians. I believe it is most important for students to enjoy the learning process to ensure success, and humor is an indispensable tool in my classroom.

Felicia Scrofano
Reading Specialist

As a product of twelve years of Catholic education, I am a firm believer in the philosophy that “A Catholic Education is an Advantage for Life!” I have been involved as a Catholic educator since 1990. I taught first and second grade at St. Genevieve Elementary and St. John De La Salle in the San Fernando Valley. In 1996, I moved to Thousand Oaks and began my long career at St. Jude the Apostle School. I started here as the third grade teacher.

Since 2005, I have been the St. Jude Resource Teacher and Support Team Education Plan (STEP) Coordinator. All students I work with have a unique and individualized academic program that the faculty puts together with the students’ parents to meet their fullest potential. I have the opportunity to work with small groups to help strengthen skills and support the learning that is started in the classrooms. I work with kindergarten through eighth grade students to reinforce what is being taught and to give the little extra time and attention some students need.

I frequently attend workshops sponsored by the LA Archdiocese and other professional organizations that focus on differentiated instruction and inclusion for all students. I also coordinate with the local public school districts for services that would benefit SJS students. These programs are very beneficial to the terrific students I am truly blessed to work with at St. Jude the Apostle School.

The best part of my position is to see the success in preparing students who needed support for the transition to high school. Many St. Jude graduates return to share their appreciation and achievements from both high school and college. The attention and support they received from teachers and staff at St. Jude has made such a great impact on their lives. The tools they learned and skills they acquired have helped them become wonderful young people.

Suzanne Schultze
Guidance Counselor

I am happily married to my husband of 20 years, Jason. We have two awesome children, Peyton, 20, who attends college in Tampa, Florida, and Delaney, 15, a Junior at Royal High School. Working with children and teaching Sports and P.E. have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My own mother was a P.E. teacher for more than 15 years at Redwood Middle School in Thousand Oaks. I attended the University of Nevada-Reno and majored in Physical Education before leaving school to start a career in Hollywood as a children’s talent agent. I left that career to start a family and haven’t slowed down since. I started volunteering as a P.E teacher at my children’s school, Vista Elementary School in Simi Valley, when my son was a kindergartener. I continued to teach voluntarily there until my daughter graduated from sixth grade. I was also in charge of more than 100 students for the school’s Junior Olympic team for ten years and served on the planning board for the event. Outside of school, I have coached youth soccer, youth basketball, and youth track. Between both my kids, our family has been a part of ten different youth sports from baseball to tennis to club soccer…and we are still going!

I am also a big advocate for academics and character education. While going back to obtain my Bachelors Degree from Cal Lutheran University in Communications in 2016, I emphasized in Sports Communication. My research into both Youth Sports and Character Education is extensive, as I hold a graduate certificate in Social Emotional Learning in Children from the University of Colorado-Boulder. I believe 100% in educating your children about character building and being their very best self. I grew up in the Catholic church and believe that my Catholic faith should show through in all that I do. It is important to me, as a teacher and staff member at St. Jude, that the kids know they are respected and safe. It is something I consciously include when teaching and dealing with all of my students.

I love working at St. Jude the Apostle School. I love the kindness and commitment of the staff and faculty, the generosity of the parents, the beautiful faith community, and the amazingly awesome students who make me laugh every day with their kind smiles and brilliant minds. I feel lucky to be a part of this school and know that the best of St. Jude is yet to come!

Kimberley Chiappetta
Physical Education

I am thrilled to return to St. Jude as the Physical Education teacher. I am blessed to be a product of Catholic education that began at St. Jude in the early 1990s and concluded upon graduation from the University of Notre Dame. Catholic school provided me with a community, witnessed to the faith, and led me to a deeper understanding of Catholicism. Here, I learned that the church is far more than a building, but is a home. St. Jude is a very special place and has always felt like home.

My husband, Tony, and I were married at St. Jude and recently celebrated 11 wonderful years of marriage. We have a daughter, Whitney, and a son, Jonathan, who both attend St. Jude. I took 9 years off from “my day job” to be a stay at home mom and raise our beautiful children, but am entering my 4th year as a high school Track & Field coach at Royal High School. As a former NCAA Cross Country and Track & Field athlete at the University of Notre Dame, athletics and physical fitness play a large role in my life. It’s been a joy to work with the next generation to encourage success in the classroom and on the track.

As a teacher at St. Jude, my goal is to inspire our students to achieve their best, develop an appreciation for health/ physical fitness, and foster the sense of community that permeates all aspects of St. Jude.

Joan Doyle

I have spent many happy years at St. Jude the Apostle School. In 1986, I began teaching second grade. The following year, I switched to first grade, where I remained for 15 wonderful years. After retiring in 2001, and spending two years missing being at St. Jude, I was delighted to be asked to return, on a part-time basis, to work as the School Librarian. Being the Librarian has been both challenging and rewarding. I have learned so many new things and met wonderful new children and families. I can honestly say that I have the best job at St. Jude School! What could be better than working with books and children?

Marilyn Enos

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to work with the students, staff, and parents of St. Jude the Apostle School! I love teaching – to help students discover their musical gifts, to grow in love with the liturgy, and be fully “active” in their faith. I was blessed to have teachers, mentors, and coaches throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years, who helped me discover my musical gifts and encouraged me to pursue, participate, and perform. My faith and participation in my faith community has always been a big part of my life. I want to pass this blessing along to our students.

My family and I came to St. Jude in the Spring of 2013. Prior to coming to St. Jude, I worked for 30 years in our previous parish as the Music Director for both church and school, taught music for kindergarten through eighth grades, and was the Religion and Liturgy Coordinator for the school. I am a graduate of Cal State University Northridge where I received my Bachelor of Music degree. I met my husband in college, and we are blessed with four grown children, who are also graduates of CSUN, the youngest graduating this Winter. Go Matadors!

I love Disney, Monterey and the beach, family “game time”, and I am a diehard Angels fan!

Sally Frawley
Administrative Assistant

I have been a St. Jude parishioner since 1992, and two of my children attended our school. I started working at the school in 2001 as an aide in third grade, and worked in several other grades before starting in my current roll as the school secretary and registrar.

Throughout the years, I have been blessed to work with so many wonderful children, parents, teachers and staff. I truly love St. Jude Church, and the school!