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Jean Hernandez, Director2009

Mrs. Hernandez is very proud to be returning to the DECATS team for her fifteenth year!  She worked as a mentor for many years, then moved into the position of Administrative Assistant for three years. She is currently a Second Grade teacher at Epiphany Catholic School in Katy.  Previously,  she worked in Katy ISD for 13 years. After working in the business field for over 14 years, she discovered that working with children was her calling while performing with a children’s theater. She has been teaching ever since. She looks forward to another fun, enriching, and memorable summer in her new role as director of DECATS Sugar Land!

Christine Powell, Administrative Assistant, 2008

Mrs. Powell is returning to DECATS for her 15th year.  This will be her first year as Administrative Assistant. She teaches 5th and 6th grade math at St. Anne’s Catholic School.  Math was always her favorite subject in school.  Now, as a mom and teacher, being with her kids, reading, playing golf, and being outdoors are her favorite things to do.


Adriana Gutierrez, Leadership Team, Communications Director, 2009

Mrs. Gutierrez is part of our DECATS Operations team. She is our webmaster and is in charge of our communications and social media. She has over 28 years of experience as a bilingual educator and has worked with students of all ages. She has been working at St. Laurence Catholic School for the past 18 years. Her greatest satisfaction is seeing scholars get excited about learning new things. She is eager to meet another outstanding group of gifted scholars who want to join a new learning journey. This is her 16th year with DECATS.

Wendy Santos, Leadership Team, Leadership Director, 2004

Mrs. Santos has been in education for over 20 years.  She is passionate about writing integrated curriculum and loves to help students and teachers think about their thinking.  She believes that each person has something to offer the world and her mission is to help students discover who they are meant to be.  At home, Wendy works to raise her two teenagers, the most adventurous part of her day. In addition, she volunteers at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church as a member of the Choir and the Meals Ministry. When she finds a moment to herself she enjoys meditation, reading, writing, cooking, and crafting.  This is Mrs. Santos' 21st year with DECATS.



Johanna Bonno, 2010

Ms. Bonno is thrilled to be a part of the DECATS team for the 15th year! After performing for years in musical productions in theaters throughout Houston and coaching young performers in voice, she is so happy to be teaching Music and Theater Arts at St. Laurence. A classically trained singer, she earned her degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and while Ms. Bonno can often be found on the stage during much of her free time, she cannot wait to share her passion for music/theater and Italian Culture with DECATS scholars this summer!

Shannyn Brinker, 2019

Mrs. Brinker is excited to return for her second summer at DECATS! She just wrapped up her 8th year of teaching. She is currently a 4th grade teacher at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic School in Katy. She enjoys sewing, especially baby blankets & quilts. She also enjoys baking for her family and friends. She is excited to teach the students basic sewing techniques this summer! Shannyn is also an avid volunteer and board member with Houston Collie Rescue. She and her husband are parishioners at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy.


Jill Cantu (Nurse), 2022

Mrs. Cantu earned her first degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas. Wanting to pursue a career in healthcare, she earned her A.D.N from Wharton County Junior College and her B.S.N. from the University of Texas at Arlington.  She served as the School Nurse for Saint Theresa Catholic School in Sugar Land for two years, combining her love for early childhood, nursing care, and the Catholic faith. Jill and her family live in the Sugar Land and love exploring parks, restaurants, and coffee shops!

Ashley Chabarria, 2024

I am so excited to be a part of the Decats team this year! I have worked in education for almost 15 years years with 9 of those years being an educator.  I have been at Epiphany for 5 years and living in Katy for 9 years.  I originally moved from Odessa, TX and have loved being in Katy so much.  I enjoy reading books, trying new foods and new coffee shops, and going on fun adventures with my 3 girls.  

Beth Dodson

Mrs. Dodson is so happy to be returning to DECATS this summer, for her 7th year.  This native Texan is thrilled to see and work with the Mentors and Scholars in this wonderful program again. She has taught 10 years of second grade in public school, 25 years in PreK at St. Laurence, and now is a paraprofessional in middle school at St. Laurence enjoying other levels of teaching and having a diverse schedule.  She has raised three daughters with her husband of 39 years, Jeff, and has a grandson and granddaughter.  In her spare time, she enjoys crafting, reading, traveling, games, baking/cooking, and spending time with family and friends.  Mrs. Dodson is ready to "walk like an Egyptian" as she leads Scholars to do their 'Pinterest best' as we "think like a champion"!

Magen Glaude, 2023

Ms. Glaude is currently a 4th grade math, science, and social studies teacher. She has worked in education for over 10 years and has been a classroom teacher for the past 4 years. She loves to read, try new foods, and spend time with her family and friends. Ms. Glaude fell in love with science at a very early age so being able to teach and empower students through science is truly rewarding. This is her second year at DECATS and she is very excited to be a part of the team!

TC Karpinski,  2024

Meet TC Karpinski.  Mr. Karpinski has worked in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for the past 20 years.  He has taught PE from PreK3 – 8th grade as well as coached football, soccer, basketball, baseball and track. He is a proud alumni of St. Thomas High School.  He was blessed to play professional soccer for 8 years and is a professional soccer trainer for one of the biggest nationally known soccer clubs in the country.  He also personally trains up to 75 soccer player weekly.  He also currently serves as the Lower School Athletic Director at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic School as well as teaching PreK – 8th grade PE.  He is looking forward to working with all the students this summer during DECATS. 

Chris Lee, 2024

Mr. Lee grew up in Austin, TX, but has taught in Katy for the past 10 years. He studied history in college, earning a BA and MA, and began his teaching career in Spain. He is married and has three beautiful children, aged 3, 5, and 8. He teaches AP US History and AP Government at St. John XXIII College Preparatory in Katy. Mr. Lee loves scuba diving, traveling, hiking, and playing guitar in his free time. He and his family are parishioners at St. Theresa in Sugar Land. He can’t wait to start a new summer with DECATS.  

Pam McCollom, 2021

Meet Pam, a native of Kansas whose passion for math, nature, art, and holiday festivities infuses every aspect of her mentoring at DECATS. She channels her love for education through engaging games, exploration, and artistic endeavors. With over 20 years of teaching experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her students, ensuring that each child is encouraged to embrace curiosity and creativity.    

Melissa Mejia, 2022

Ms. Mejia grew up in New York but moved to the Houston area after graduating college to start her teaching career as a special education teacher!  She taught kids of all ages in Spring Branch ISD at Northbrook Middle School and Cornerstone Academy and in Katy ISD at Fielder and Hayes Elementary Schools.  After 26 years in public schools, she took a leap of faith and became the Learning Specialist at St. Cecilia Catholic School. She believes that all kids need opportunities to shine and foster their own interests, gifts, and talents, and she is excited to be a Mentor with DECATS for the third year!

Liz Morris, 2022

Elizabeth Morris was born and raised in Houston but moved to the Chicago area at the end of high school.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois and has worked in a variety of science fields including as a zookeeper and in a virology lab.  She went back to school to earn a Master's degree in Education and taught middle school science for 10 years in the suburbs of Chicago.  She moved back to Texas in 2018 to Round Rock and coached and taught Robotics before finally moving back home to Houston in 2020.  She currently teaches middle school technology and coaches the middle school robotics team. This is her third year working at DECATS!

Sanchia Myrie-Familia, 2023

Mrs. Myrie-Familia has worked in education for ten years in multiple grade levels and has a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  Art has always been her passion and she cannot wait to explore what creativity lies within each of us!  This is her 2nd year with DECATS and she looks forward to meeting all her aspiring artists.


Quyen Rebollido, 2016

Mrs. Rebollido is the STEAM teacher at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic School. Sugar Land has been her home since 1992, and she raised her four children: Ty, Lia, Khue, and Kara. Her favorite pastimes are cycling with her husband, eating out with the family, and playing with their new lab puppy, Juno. Mrs. Rebollido and her family have been parishioners at St. Laurence Catholic Church since 1992. This will be her seventh year teaching DECATS, and she is excited to be back!

Theresa Rebollido, 2011

Mrs. Rebollido is very excited to be returning to the DECATS team for her 10th year! She lives in Sugar Land with her husband Fred, and two sons, Lucas and Anthony. For the past 10 years, Mrs. Rebollido has taught 3rd grade at St Laurence Catholic School.  After being in education for the past 24 years, she finds that science is her true passion. Finding ways to explore the different aspects of the world around us is the BEST part about what we teach. DECATS allows us to not only learn about things but also find out "what if.." She can't wait to meet this year's group of scholars!

Allison Riebe, 2021

Allison Riebe graduated from St. Agnes Academy this past May. She is headed to Texas A&M this fall to study Business. She absolutely loved being a DECATS scholar for 4 years and a Scholar Aid, and can’t wait to be back this summer as a Junior Mentor!

Vince Santos, 2019

Mr. Santos serves on the DECATS service committee.  He is passionate about working with young people and giving back to the community.  He is on the Confirmation Team, in the Choir, and in the Meals Ministry for St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.  He also serves as a Spiritual Director and Retreat Master for multiple churches in the Archdiocese.  This is his 4th year with DECATS.


Stephen Simmons, 2024

Mr. Simmons has a background in the airline industry where he worked in sales, marketing, revenue market analysis, and target market programs. He also built a business where he specialized in the hospital and medical center industry designing interior, exterior, wayfinding systems, and garage parking signage. After retirement, which he found extremely boring, he started substitute teaching and has been doing this for the past 14 years. He has taught all grade levels including Special Education classes. He is currently asked to cover long-term assignments for various private schools. Teaching young students and opening their minds to the world of education has become his new passion. He strongly believes his varied background has allowed him to find new ways to reach today’s students. Each one is different, and it requires great patience and a willingness to adjust to help each one grow to meet their fullest potential. If he can help just one succeed, then his goal has been accomplished. It is a true pleasure and an honor to work with DECATS scholars this summer.

Liz Thompson, 2011

Ms. Thompson is happy to be back with DECATS for her 12th year! Prior to teaching at Parsons Open Campus and Houston Community College, she was an elementary teacher at St. Laurence Catholic School. She has approximately 15 years of teaching experience in online (virtual) and brick-and-mortar environments with students of all ages. Ms. Thompson has both a Master's in Education and a Master's in Fine Arts. She enjoys participating with scholars as they explore their ideas in creative ways.

LeeAnn Trufan, 2022

After being born and raised in Sugar Land, TX, Mrs. Trufan ventured out to Huntsville, TX to attend Sam Houston State University to obtain her degree in finance. She worked as a financial analyst for a couple of years until she finally decided to pursue her passion for teaching. Mrs. Trufan began teaching 7th grade math in Fort Bend ISD in 2022 and loves being in her dream job. She is extremely excited to work her third summer with DECATS and get to know all the amazing scholars who are pursuing lifelong learning!

Lana Zimmermann, 2024


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