Bios

Katie Jupena - Director

Katie Jupena has been working with the students at SMMCP since her two youngest children began the program in 2004. She is a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Special Education. Following college, Katie lived in Florida for nine years where she taught students with varying exceptionalities.

Katie is married and has 4 beautiful children. She and her family spent 4 years back in the Pittsburgh area before moving to Greenville in 2001. She has had such a positive experience in our preschool that she decided to stay long after her children moved on to the "big school."


Christine Picillo - K5

Christine Picillo joined the SMMCP staff in 2012 as a K4 teacher.  After three years, she welcomed the opportunity to lead the High Fives class.  She is originally from New Jersey where she attended the College of St. Elizabeth. There, she acquired her Bachelor's Degree with a double major in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and Psychology. She spent five years teaching first grade in the NJ public system before leaving to raise her own children. Since joining SMMCC in 2011, she has enjoyed being a catechist for Christian Formation as well as helping with VBS and the EDGE middle school program. She feels blessed to be able to help children of all ages grow in their Catholic faith.

She is married to her best friend, Ross. They have two children, Joshua and Rebecca. She enjoys time with her family and friends.


Katie Waldthausen - K4

Katie Waldthausen arrived at the doors of the newly-formed SMMCP as a mother of a 3 year old student in 2003. In the fall of 2004, Katie was excited to have the chance to teach three year olds and be a "fly on the wall" at her daughter's school. She feels extremely blessed to still be a part of the preschool family as a lead teacher and coordinator. As a Furman graduate with her degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education, she knew about the wonderful schools available for each of her three children and was fortunate enough to also find SMM, which has fulfilled her wish for a wonderful Church family. Katie loves her job, especially being able to help "her babies" grow, not only academically, but in their love of God as well. After 8 years in the K-3 class, Katie "graduated" to K-4.


Tassia Goehring - K4

In 2008, Tassia Goehring came to work at SMM Preschool as a teacher. Tassia has worked with children ranging in age from 0 - 18 in a variety of church settings since 1996.

Although Tassia has lived in the United States since 1995, she is of Greek origin and lived in Germany, where she studied for three years in culinary art school. Tassia is married and has two children. She loves cooking, drawing, and photography.
 


Margaret Zwolski - K4

Since 2005, Margaret Zwolski has been a staff member at SMMCP. Margaret was born and raised in Poland, where she also received her degree in Education. She and her family have been members of SMM parish since 2000. Providing educational services that are enjoyable and beneficial is a dream come true for Margaret, particularly as she works with such a cohesive team of staff members.
 

 


Darlene Varriale - K4

Darlene Varriale has been teaching at SMMCP since 2005. In her years as a parishioner, she has served as a Girl Scout Leader and a member of the Hand Bell Choir. Being an experienced parent of a premature child, she also volunteered as a March of Dimes Support Mom.

Darlene moved to Greenville from New York where she received her degree from Berkeley Business School. Darlene has three active teenagers.
 


Jenny Grooms - K3

Jenny Grooms found a position in the preschool program at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Preschool in 2008. After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University in 2000, Jenny and her family relocated to Simpsonville, where they became parishioners at St. Mary Magdalene.

In addition to teaching, Jenny has participated in church stewardship with An Angels Attic Consignment Sale and linen maintenance. She also enjoys volunteering in both of her children's classrooms, reading, and traveling with her children and her husband.


Jaclyn Lavigne - K3 

Jaclyn Lavigne and her husband Mark moved to Greenville in 2006 from Kentucky and joined SMM in 2007. She and her husband have two sons, Christopher and Daniel, and their boxer, Abby. Jaclyn has a BA in Middle  School math and social studies and an MS in Middle School mathematics. She spent 11 years teaching 6th, 7th or 8th graders before joining the team of preschool teachers at St. Mary Magdalene in 2012.

 


Sarah Hodges - K3

Sarah Hodges has been at SMMCP as a parent since 2005 and joined the staff as a K-3 teacher in 2016.  Sarah graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education.  She taught Kindergarten in Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina before becoming a stay at home mom to her 4 sons for the last 16 years. 

In addition to teaching preschool, Sarah is a certified personal trainer and is a core member of the Women's Bible Study at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. She and her husband, Brian, have been married for almost 20 years and have been parishioners at St. Mary Magdalene since moving to Greenville in 2000.


Sonia Villamizar - K3

Sonia Villamizar was born in Maracay, Venezuela. She graduated from the University with an Electronic Engineering degree, but loves to teach children. Before she moved to the United States she taught preschool (3 year olds) in Venezuela for one year. She currently teaches K-2 in the preschool AND works at the church as the childcare coordinator. Sonia and her husband have two children, a 12 year old boy in 7th grade at Langston and a 9 year old girl in the 4th grade at Oakview. 

 

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Sandy Agosto - K2

Sandy Agosto has a love for all children and has worked with them in a variety of settings since 2001. Sandy joined the SMM staff in 2008 as a teaching assistant. She currently teaches K-2 in the preschool and works for the SMM childcare program.

Outside of SMM, Sandy volunteers in her own church nursery. She and her husband have three adult children. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. 


Bridgette Repenning - K2

Bridgette is a native of Cleveland Ohio and graduated from Mercyhurst University, in Erie PA, with a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel Restaurant Institutional Management. She moved to Greenville and was employed with Aramark Corporation, at both Clemson University and Wofford College for seven years before becoming a stay at home mom in 2008.  Bridgette has been a member of St. Mary Magdalene since 2001 where she has volunteered as a catechist and a crew leader in VBS. She has been employed with SMM Childcare since 2011.

Bridgette and her husband, David, stay busy with their childrens' activities and sporting events.  They have 2 daughters, one who attends Oakview Elementary and another who is attending her first year of preschool at St. Mary Magdalene!  They are excited to see her learn and grow in a Catholic preschool setting. 
 


Kathy Reed - K2

After all three of her boys were enrolled in elementary school in 2008, Kathy Reed joined the preschool staff as a K-3 teacher aide. She grew up in Virginia Beach, where she earned her Associates Degree at Tidewater Community College. After living in Atlanta for 10 years, she moved to Greenville with her husband and children. Kathy enjoys spending her free time with her family and volunteering at her children's school.

 

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Laura Franco - K-2 and Spanish

Laura Franco was born in Mexico City and as a native Spanish speaker, she finds it rewarding to be able to teach children the beauty of the Spanish language. Since joining the staff in 2005, SMM Catholic Preschool has become Laura's second home. Laura currently works as the Spanish coordinator and assistant teacher for the K-2 class.

 

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Tammy Aho - Reading

Tammy Aho attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. There she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Elementary Education and Science. She also has an Associate Degree in Pharmacy. After moving to the upstate, she taught for 3 years at the Child Development Center at Prince of Peace. She has been at SMMCP since 2009.

Tammy and her husband have 2 children; one attends Blue Ridge Elementary School and the other is a graduate of Greenville Tech Charter School. Some of her hobbies/interests include scrapbooking, sewing and photography.