Meet The Staff
Alicia Conliffe (Principal)
Rebecca Thomas (Kindergarten)
My husband and I moved to Ridgecrest from the Los Angeles area in 2004. I pursued my education and training as a Montessori teacher and have been teaching Kindergarten and preschool in the Ridgecrest community for the past thirteen years. I believe young children have an innate curiosity for life and a love of learning. As a Kindergarten teacher, I strive to recognize the potential in all children, encourage their enthusiasm for learning and ignite a passion for life. This will be my third year teaching Kindergarten at Saint Ann School . . . and I feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community.
Belia Chavez (1st Grade/Co-Teacher)
Originally from Los Molinos, California, I have lived in Ridgecrest since 2009. I received a B.A. in Child Development and a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Bilingual Education from CSU, Chico and have received a CA teaching credential. I have eight years of experience teaching Kindergarten and 1st Grade (with one year in a Dual Immersion Program) with six of those years at Saint Ann School. My husband Ricardo and I have four beautiful children which keep us very busy!
Gina Silong (1st Grade/Co-Teacher)
I have been married to my husband Rick since 1992. Our son Garrett and daughter Paige both graduated from Saint Ann School. I received a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University Northridge and my teaching credential from Chapman University in 1993. Prior to moving to Ridgecrest, I taught for four years and have now taught Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 5th Grade during my years teaching at Saint Ann School. I am originally from Palmdale but my husband’s past military career took us to different locations in and out of the U.S.
Shelbie Firouzi (2nd Grade)
I grew up in Ridgecrest and taught at Saint Ann School as my first job out of college. Fifteen years ago I met my husband, who was stationed here at the time, and we set off on a Navy adventure. I have been lucky enough to teach in school districts throughout the country, meeting different people and children from all walks of life. Last summer we returned to Ridgecrest for another Navy tour and I am thrilled to be back at Saint Ann School! I have a Bachelor's Degree in Education and a Clear Multiple Subject Clear Credential. I also earned my Masters of Science Degree in Education with a concentration in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment.
Tina Rockdale (3rd Grade)
I grew up in Ridgecrest and received my B.S. degree at Cal State Bakersfield. I met my husband Ed while working on the base. We have three beautiful grown children and a handsome Australian Cattle dog named Jarrah. In my classroom, I strive to promote an atmosphere of academic rigor, trust and respect. I believe children learn differently and want to learn. I love teaching at Saint Ann School and feel honored to have served the school for more than sixteen years.
Laura Lopez (4th Grade)
I grew up in Ridgecrest and acquired my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Cal State Fullerton. I have ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) training/experience, a child development certificate, and several years of teaching experience in a variety of age groups. Currently, I am taking graduate courses from Cal Southern University in Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. This is my fourth year teaching 4th Grade at Saint Ann School.
Tracy Sherrick (5th Grade)
My husband Vince and I have two children who both graduated from Saint Ann School. Ashley recently graduated from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, and Christopher is attending Cerro Coso Community College. I received a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in World Cultures and Civilizations from Cal State Bakersfield in 1999, and I obtained my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the University of La Verne in 2001. I have taught Middle School and a 4th/5th combination class in Sierra Sands Unified School District, and I have taught 5th grade and Middle School at Saint Ann School for 13 years.
Lauren Johnson (Middle School)
I grew up in Ridgecrest and received my B.A in Liberal Studies with a minor in Human Development at California State University Monterey Bay. I married my high school sweetheart and we have two children together. For 6 years I taught levels from pre-school to sixth grade at Heritage Montessori. I feel that my previous training and experience with the Montessori curriculum has helped me observe the natural curiosity and learning processes that children have so that I can better understand and teach each child according to their individual needs. I am enjoying my journey here at Saint Ann School.
Susannah Millar (Middle School)
Our military life brought us to Ridgecrest three times in 2007, 2012, and most recently 2016. I married my husband, Jeff, in 2001 and together we have three amazing children. I received my B.A. from Saint Leo University in Tampa, Florida and am currently at Fresno State finishing my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I had the joy of being a stay-at-home mom and raising my children before returning to the classroom 6 years ago. I am originally from Virginia and try to visit as often as I can. I have a love of traveling with my family that has taken us to parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe to name a few. I enjoy sharing my travels with my students when it pertains to curriculum.
Laurie Harrison (Middle School)
Being a military family, I recently moved to Ridgecrest with my husband and two children. I acquired my undergraduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. This is my second year teaching at Saint Ann School. I have years of experience teaching various grade levels/subjects, developing curriculum, and differentiating instruction to meet learners needs.
Erica McArthur (Music)
I began studying violin in Ridgecrest at age 3. Since returning to the area in 2012, I have taught music at both private and public schools and am excited to begin my first year at Saint Ann School. A few of my passions as a musician include early music performance, medieval musical texts, and ethnomusicology. It is a joy to share music from throughout history and around the world with students and to hear the beautiful music they create each week.
Lori Amster (Art)
Before moving to Ridgecrest, I grew up in Southern CA, then the central coast. After moving to Ridgecrest, I met my husband and continued my education. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Statistics. A few years after graduating college, we had two children, Bryce and Emma Lilette. I chose and was blessed to be able to stay home with the children until they reached school age. When my son started Richmond Elementary, the school was in need of an art teacher and stayed at Richmond for 10 years. Art is an important part of my life and my family’s life. Both of my in-laws were accomplished artists. I have participated in the Sierra Art Guild as well. As a family, we plan our vacations around museums and galleries. This is my first year teaching art at Saint Ann School and it is a privilege to share my knowledge about art and art concepts with the students. The most wonderful part of teaching art is seeing students’ creativity shine through their projects.
Cathy Haugen (Bookkeeper)
I received my B.S. degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fresno. I have been married to my husband Chris for six years and we have a son named Miken who is in 1st Grade. I also have a stepson named Jeff who attends Burroughs High School. I have been working as Saint Ann School's bookkeeper for six years and have taught science in Sierra Sands Unified School District.
Jean Persico (Office Manager)
I grew up in Long Island, NY. As a military wife, we moved to Charleston, SC, where my two daughters, Sydney and Eryan, were born. We also lived in the Azores Islands, Puerto Rico, and then moved to China Lake in 2000. I worked at the All Faith Chapel on base from 2002 to 2006 in the Religious Education Office and then in the Saint Ann Church office until I accepted the school office job in 2018. I’m excited for a great year!
Mary Anders (K)
Cienna Horn (1st Grade & Extended Day Program)
Manuela Ponce (2nd Grade & Extended Day Program)