Our Teachers School Phone: 408-264-4380
Grade and Name
Patty Ruzek (TK/K)
I am Patty Ruzek. I currently teach TK/K at Sartorette School. I have been in this district, and at this school since 1994, and have been teaching since 1985. (Mostly 4th, 5th, 6th and TK/Kindergarten) I have been working with children all of my adult life, and have learned that with the philosophy of mutual respect, and considering the whole child in my classroom, I can form relationships with children that span years. I grew up in Cupertino, and went to Monta Vista High School. I got a degree in psychology and a teaching credential at Humboldt State, and I also have a masters degree in counseling psychology. I love the outdoors: camping, hiking, kayaking etc. I also love to stay home and garden, read, write, sew, and play with my dog.
Karen Hoch (K)
Hello! My name is Karen Hoch, and I have been teaching Kindergarten at Sartorette since 2017. I feel very blessed to be teaching at Sartorette; it is a very special place with amazing students, parents and staff. My first teaching job was in 1985 teaching a Kindergarten/ First grade class. I grew up in Los Gatos and live 4 blocks from the house I grew up in. I went to local schools Union middle school and Leigh high school. I attended college at UCSB and SJSU where I received a degree in Speech Pathology/Audiology and my Teaching Credential. I have 2 married children and 1 granddaughter with another on the way. When I am not at school I enjoy being outdoors whether I am hiking, walking, going to the beach or the mountains. Any chance I can spend with my children and their spouses and grandbabies is my happy place. I enjoy reading, Pilates and dance/exercise/ballet parties by myself in the privacy of my home.
Patty Peckham (K)
Hello, my name is Patty Peckham, my alias is Mrs.Peckham. I began my teaching career in 1983. I have lived in Santa Clara county all my life. (San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell) I played collegiate tennis at San Jose State University before graduating in Human Performance and receiving two teaching degrees; K-12 grade health and physical Education and a Multi Subject K-8. I have taught and coached high school to kindergarten students. I am happily married and have two adult sons. I like to hike, bike, swim, read, and explore new places. My happy place when I’m not with students; is being with my family preferably in the mountains; at the beach and occasionally at Disneyland. I have been blessed to teach in Cambrian since 2002 and Sartorette since 2004. I love teaching kindergarten and k/1 students. My greatest delight is to see kids turn on to learning and also to show empathy for others. Our class mottos are: “Just keep trying, with practice you will get it!” and “Always be kind.”
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Christina Freimarck (1st)
Hello! My name is Christina Freimarck. I have been teaching for over 20 years; 12 of those years at Sartorette. I have taught various grade levels in general education and special education, and have found that I really love teaching first grade! I enjoy introducing my students to new skills, experiences, and building our "classroom family" each school year. I grew up in Oceanside which is in Southern California. I moved to the Bay Area to attend San Jose State University where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree and two teaching credentials. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, relaxing at the beach, shopping, going to Peet's Coffee shop, and seeing musicals.
Mele Kent (1st)
I have been teaching at Sartorette for my entire career which began in 1984! I have taught second and first grade and most enjoy sharing the love of reading with my students.
Raychelle Fordham (2nd)
I have been teaching at Sartorette Elementary School for 30 years. I have taught several grades
but second grade in my favorite! I received my Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Loyola
Marymount University and my masters in Educational Administration from Santa Clara
University. I am the proud mother of two grown children, Alexandra and Patrick, and a loving wife to my
husband John for 30 years. In my free time, I enjoy taking walks on the beach in Aptos, Ca. and
reading. I love teaching and appreciate the opportunity to work with your amazing children. I strive to
make a difference by teaching tomorrow’s leaders the skills they need to be successful today!
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Joy Hart (2nd)
I'm Mrs. Hart and have had the pleasure of teaching second grade in the Cambrian District for 30 years at both Farnham and Sartorette. Having interacted with so many wonderful families, my visits to the local Target are often a trip down memory lane. I was born, educated, and married in sunny South Florida, and began my teaching career in Mr. Hart's old elementary school. Before arriving in California, I worked at Michigan State University and enjoyed teaching elementary school in both Texas and Maryland. I love to be outdoors and when given the chance, will escape to a warm clear water beach or follow Mr. Hart up a steep mountain trail in the American or Canadian West. My journey has taught me, to paraphrase Maya Angelou, that we are all far more alike than different.
Erick Porter (2nd/3rd)
Hello! I am Erick Porter, a 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and often a combination grade teacher. I am a Bay Area native, San Francisco - then San Jose. Schools include Oak Grove High - Go Eagles! West Valley College - Go Vikings! And San Jose State University - Environmental Science BA / Graduate Work - Cal Teaching Credential. Go Spartans! I like enjoying Bay Area weather with my family by bike, car, kayak, and from our back yard most of the time. But we also love traveling to mountains, beaches, towns, and villages all over California and the West.
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My name is Tiffany Balak. I am so excited to be back teaching after taking a break to raise my own children. I grew up in Marin County. I graduated from UCI and earned my teaching credential from Domincan University. I like the 49ers, Warriors, and Sharks, but I love the San Francisco Giants! When I am not teaching I enjoy traveling, reading, hiking, cooking, scrapbooking and all things Disney!
Kathryn Denniston (3rd)Hi, My name is Kathryn Denniston. I was born and raised in Santa Clara County, and I can remember orchards being all over the place. I went to Lynbrook High School, and then it was off to UCLA where I earned my Bachelors of Science degree. After four years in southern CA I knew I really wanted to be back in the Bay Area, and so I earned my teaching credential and masters at what used to be called Cal State Hayward. (Now it is called Cal State East Bay, or CSUEB.) In my spare time I enjoy walking, reading and spending time with others. My students know I really love raisins, and I also think cats are the best!
Sherilyn Zammit (4th)
Hello! I am Mrs. Zammit, and I have been teaching at Sartorette for 21 years. I grew up in San Mateo and went to San Mateo High School. I received my BS in Business at Chico State. I’m so glad that I changed my mind about my career. I got my teaching credential at College of Notre Dame in Belmont. I live in San Jose with my husband Mark and my dog Tasha. I am a huge San Francisco Giants fan. I also like scrapbooking, going to the beach, and reading. I absolutely love teaching fourth graders. I always tell my students that if it’s not challenging, then I’m not doing my job.
Amanda Nelson (4th)
My name is Amanda Nelson, but students know me as Ms. Nelson! I grew up in Buellton, a small town near Santa Barbara. I went to SBCC and Sonoma State, where I received my BA and teaching credential. I moved to San Jose in 2015 where I have taught 6th, 5th, and 4th grade. During my spare time, I love watching baseball and soccer (go Giants! Go Quakes!) visiting my family in Santa Barbara, kayaking, cooking, riding roller coasters, and watching classic Disney movies. Here's to a great year of learning, adventuring, growing, and having fun in 4th grade!
Nyssa Wickemeyer (5th)
Hello! I am Miss Wickemeyer, and I have been teaching 5th grade at Sartorette since 2018. I have lived in the Bay Area my entire life, attending elementary, middle, and high school in San Jose. I received my BA from San Jose State and my Masters and Teaching Credential from Santa Clara. I am a diehard Sharks, A's, Warriors, and 49ers fan, and go to games as often as I can. In my spare time, I like to travel, read, and spend time with my family, especially my baby niece!
Marla Kramer (5th)
Hello! I’m Marla Kramer, and I have joyfully been helping kids learn and grow for 30 years. I have been teaching fourth and fifth grade at Sartorette since 2006. I grew up on a farm in North Dakota. Brrr! I got my BS in Elementary Education from North Dakota State University, and I later earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University. I love seeing the wonder in my students and helping my “Kramer Kids” to shine. I am a huge Disney fan, and Disneyland is one of my happy places. I enjoy spending time with my two college age daughters. We love to travel, cheer on the Sharks, scuba dive, watch musical theatre, eat chocolate, and snuggle with our adorable kitty, Nubby. One of my favorite quotes is by Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” Keep on dreaming!
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Special Day Classes/Therapeutic Day Class (TDC)
Dean Hodges (3rd/4th/5th Grade)
Hello Superstars! My name is Mr. Hodges, and this is my 19th year teaching Special Education at Sartorette Elementary. If I’m not in the classroom teaching, you can find me outside with my students planting flowers and vegetables in the beautiful Sartorette garden. Being able to utilize the garden has sparked a genuine curiosity for learning, which has had a tremendous impact on my students over the years. Growing up on a small ranch in San Jose I had the opportunity to raise chickens, sheep, pigs and horses for 4-H and FFA projects I was involved in. This led me to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where I studied agriculture. I also attended San Jose State University earning two teaching credentials, one in Social Science and the other in Special Education.
Leanne Johnson (3rd/4th/5th Grade)
My name is Leanne Johnson but students call me Mrs. Johnson. I grew up in Minnesota and Southern California in a small town called Hacienda Heights. I went to Westmont, Cerritos Junior College and Cal State Fullerton where I received my BA and teaching credential. I moved to San Jose in 1989 where I have taught grades K-5th grade in Special Education for the past 32 years. During my spare time I love cooking, baking, hiking and cross stitching. I look forward to a wonderful year helping all my students learn and grow academically and socially.
Carol Calomeni (TK/K/1st/2nd Grade)
My name is Carol Calomeni, but students know me as Mrs. Calomeni! I am a native Californian. Teaching is my second career, and it is my life passion! I have taught in Special Education for over 15 years. The love for my students, my skills and knowledge of teaching students with learning disabilities and helping students to grow and learn everyday makes me so happy. My husband and I have two adult children and 3 grandchildren. We love to travel/camp in our motorhome, grow veggies in our home vegetable garden, cook and of course spend time with our family. My motto for students and life is: “always do your personal best!” Here to a great school year!
Speech & OT
Upasana Bhat firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Kelly (OT)
I am a Bay Area native, born and raised in Los Gatos, CA. I began my higher education at UC Davis with a B.S. in Psycho-biology and a B.A. in Dance. I went on to earn her masters in Theater Arts in 2005 before going on to graduate with a masters in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University in 2012. As a pediatric OT in Cambrian, I am thrilled to find a career that so beautifully blends her interests in science, art, movement, improvisation, play, and education. She uses these different elements to connect with kids and make OT fun. I'm an avid runner and yogi and love to go hiking with her nieces and family.
Music & PE
Dave Sanchez (Music & Band)
Jeffery Mercado (PE)
My name is Jeffrey Mercado and the students call me Mr. Mercado. This is my 5th year teaching physical education and my 1st year teaching in the Cambrian school district. I grew up in San Jose, CA, getting my bachelor's degree in OT from San Jose State University and my teaching credential and Masters from the University of San Francisco. I love that I get to introduce students to a variety of sports and that movement is fun. In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, practicing yoga, playing with my two dogs, Teddy & Baymax, and taking care of my houseplants.