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Staff

Chris Simpson
VSH Director
Chris attended UC Davis, CA and continued her education at St. Mary’s College, Moraga, earning two teaching credentials and her Master’s in Education. She worked for 20 years in the field of Special Education. Chris has completed her Level 1 & 2 national certification for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and is currently a catechist and the Director of Valley of the Sacred Heart Academy. Chris has been an active member of Catholic Advance since 2009. She lives in Dixon, CA with her husband  and their three children.

Michelle Kim
Atrium Coordinator
After a five-year stint in nursing, Michelle decided to leave that field altogether to focus on her family. Eventually she discovered the joy of home education, and since 2002, Michelle has been homeschooling all of her children. She is passionate about strengthening marriage and family life for others, too. Michelle earned her Bachelor’s Degree in University Studies from Eastern New Mexico University and is nationally certified in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for children ages newborn through 12. She is also a recognized CGS Formation Leader for adults. Michelle and her husband Edison are parents to five sons. Their family has belonged to the Catholic Advance Movement since 2013. Michelle currently serves as a catechists and the Atrium Coordinator.

Laurie Fio
Chesterton Literature Instructor/ Co-op Art Instructor
Laurie Fio has been teaching art for over 17 years to children and adults. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both English and Psychology from UC Davis, but art has been a passion of hers since she was a young child. She is a self-taught professional award-winning artist specializing in animal portraits, and many of her students have also won numerous awards. She enjoys all mediums, but colored pencil is her favorite because of the fine detail it allows. She looks forward to continuing to share her talent with children. I truly love teaching art. Being able to share my passion with others and help them create what is in their hearts is very exciting for me, she said. Laurie is currently teaching art for the co-op and Literature for Chesterton Academy.

Jesse Akers
Co-op Science and Geography Instructor
After attending Napa High School, Jesse started and completed an apprenticeship working for the Navy at Mare Island interrupted by doing two years in the army. Later he started a successful light-commercial/domestic electrical repair business. Jesse’s education continued at UC Davis getting his undergraduate degree in fine-art-studio and then on to graduate school at UCD in education winning his multiple subject teaching credential with CLADD added. Immediately, Jesse was hired and worked for Vacaville Unified until he retired. He was always a 1st or 2nd grade general education teacher at the same Title 1 school. Currently, Jesse is substitute teaching at the K-4th grade level in Vacaville, Dixon and Winters.

Kenneth Endrizzi
Co-op Science Instructor
Over thirty year career Ken was an Inflight Refueling Operator on KC-135 and KC-135 tankers in the United States Air Force. During that service he was an instructor for over twenty five years as well as a quality control inspector and manager in that specialty. After leaving the service, Ken completed a California Multi-subject CLAAD credential and obtained a Montessori 6-9 certification and worked at the California Montessori Project charter school program in Elk Grove for eleven years. He taught in multi-age classrooms at the K1 for three years, 1-2 for one year, 4th /5th for six years and 4th / 5th / 6th level for the last year. For the past 35 years he has been an Aerospace Education officer in the nonprofit corporation Civil Air Patrol. In that capacity he has been teaching and mentoring teenagers in Aviation, Space and Leadership areas.

Terri Heynen
Chesterton History and Philosophy Instructor
Terri received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in 1986 and completed master’s degree in Theology at Franciscan University in 2018. Terri served as a munitions officer in the US Army from 1987 to 1991. She was a substitute teacher for two years, 2002-2004, in the Dixon Unified School District. Being a mother of 5 children, Terri has volunteered numerous hours in elementary school classrooms over a twelve-year period. She was a religious education teacher for ten years at St. Peter Church in Dixon. Terri is a Level 1 catechist and is currently teaching Philosophy at Chesterton Academy. Terri is an active member of the Catholic Advance Movement.

Jennifer Vega
Montessori Instructor/Co-op Spanish Instructor
While attending UC Davis, Jennifer Vega studied Psychology, Spanish and Biological Sciences. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2008. After working several years as a banker, she left the workforce to be a stay at home mom to her three young daughters. Jennifer discovered her love for teaching in 2015 when she began working with Kim Schroeder-Evans as a Spanish Instructor at the Dixon Language Center. Jennifer is currently assisting in the Montessori full-time program teaching art and Spanish and completing her Montessori teaching-training certificate. When she is not teaching, Jennifer enjoys spending time at home in Dixon with her husband and daughters.

Jennifer Corbelli
Co-op History Instructor
Jennifer Corbelli is a credentialed history teacher and a certified catechist. Since getting a B.A. in history from Sacramento State University she has worked in several areas of education, from teaching English as a second language to directing summer camps to leading teacher training workshops to teaching history full time for junior high. While in college Jennifer studied abroad for a semester in Austria. After graduating from Sac State, she joined the Peace Corps and served in Kazakhstan for over 2 years where she learned Russian. She enjoys traveling and has been to over twenty countries. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, reading, and various arts and crafts. She lives in Vacaville with her husband and son.

Christina Veneracion
Montessori Instructor
Christina Veneracion is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Theology from Catholic Distance University. Using this online-based program has given Christina the ability to stay in the area and continue working at VSH. She has been assisting in the Atrium since our beginnings in 2013 and later began teaching Music to the VSH Kindergarten children as well. In high school she played clarinet for the school’s Wind Ensemble and was accepted into the North Bay Honor Band three years in a row. Along with playing the clarinet, she is a self-taught guitarist. Currently Christina is working in the Montessori classroom and teaching Kindergarten Music and PE.

Patty Baldwin
Montessori Lead Instructor
Patty Baldwin was born in Northern California but moved at a very young age to Mexico where she completed Elementary and High School. She returned to the United States to get a college education and met her husband of 22 years. After graduating college, she moved out of the Bay Area to Dixon, where she has now lived for 22 years. She and her husband have two sons in high school and college. Patty received her Bachelor’s Degree at Menlo College in Business Administration. After a 10-year business career, her children inspired her to become more involved in both the community and their education. Through her frequent volunteer work in her son’s Montessori classroom, she became highly interested not only in her own children’s education but also in that of all the children in the class! From that experience she became a Teaching Assistant and earned her Montessori Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Education at the Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies in Castro Valley, CA. From there, she received her California Teaching Credential through Calstate Teach at California State University, Monterey Bay. She is also a member of the American Montessori Society. Mrs. Baldwin has now been teaching for 10 years. She cannot think of a more wonderful career than using the beautiful learning method that Maria Montessori brought to the world through her faith and her belief that all children have the opportunity to meet their potential in this world.

Stephanie Baker
Co-op and Chesterton Writing Instructor
Stephanie Baker’s education background is in early childhood development and education. She taught for six years in various early childhood education schools and left her position as a director when she had her first child in 2002. She began homeschooling in 2009 when her oldest child was in second grade and is currently homeschooling all five of her children following the classical method. Since she began homeschooling, Stephanie has taught multiple subjects in classes with children of all ages. She has always had a passion for Language Arts and has been teaching the IEW class at Valley of the Sacred Heart since 2017.

Peter Chu
Chesterton Math and Science Instructor

Peter Chu is a graduate of UC Davis, Class of 2018. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy with minors in Mathematics and Economics. Originally from Southern California, he currently calls Davis his home. He first found the wonders of teaching through tutoring his peers in math and science classes. From there, it was a short step to teaching. During his undergraduate years at UC Davis, he worked with math teachers at Douglass Middle School and completed his Mathematics CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers). He has always loved math for its complexity and its applicability to the world. His interests include basketball, magic, attempting new recipes, cycling, and watches. Currently he is the math and science teacher for Chesterton Academy.


Esther Nickell
Chesterton Latin and Music Instructor
Esther Nickell was born and raised in Davis, CA, and currently lives there with her husband and two children. During an exploratory class in middle school, she first encountered Latin and ancient Greek and promptly fell in love. She spent several years singing in a Latin Mass choir and studying Latin at home. In 2013 she graduated with honors from UC Davis with a degree in Classics. After spending a few years working in various event planning and project management roles, she is happy to be back doing what she loves best – singing and reading Latin!