Mr. Lawrence Fitzgerald


Mr. Fitzgerald was the principal of Sacred Heart School in Groton, CT for 6 years, and principal of the Holy Family Catholic School in Fairfield, CT for 8 years. He is also a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonol.

He serves on the Commission for Independent Schools for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the agency responsible for accrediting all Catholic schools in New England. He has served on the Professional Development Committee, Curriculum Committee, and Technology Committee for the Diocese of Norwich. In addition to his CT state certification as a school administrator and physical education teacher, he also possesses a 6th year professional certificate in administration from Sacred Heart University and has completed the Emmaus Leadership Program for Catholic School Principals.

Ms. Tiffany Ruvolo

Director of Advancement, Communications, & Marketing

Mrs. Ruvolo has been teaching in Catholic Schools for nearly 30 years and has taught PK through 8th grade. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of N. Florida and is certified in Elementary Education, Middle School Social Studies as well as Middle School Integrated Learning.  Mrs. Ruvolo has a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi honor society for educators. She is also a member of  the NEASC visiting accreditation committee in New England.

She is the mother of a beautifully blended family of 6 and grandma to 5 girls and 2 boys. She enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Mrs. Betsy Leyden

Business Manager

Mrs. Leyden is an experienced accountant in private industry who has also worked in Catholic Schools.  Mrs. Leyden manages school finances. She and her family are active members of St. Joseph, Rockville and her children attend Catholic school in Manchester.

Mrs. Karen Hoover

Technology Coordinator & STREAM Curriculum Coordinator

Mrs. Hoover is an Educational Technologist who brings many years of experience to this position. She graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta, and has a MS in Instructional Design Technology from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. She has been teaching, and writing for the education industry,  for over 20 years. She is an avid reader, puzzler, and golfer and enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. 


Mrs. Joan Smith


Mrs. Joan Smith graduated from Bentley (College) University with a BS degree in Marketing Management. She has nineteen years of teaching experience and has worked with students from Pre-Kindergarten through High School.  She has fifteen years experience in Early Childhood education in Catholic Schools.  She has been an active member of the Middletown Early Childhood Network and has attended numerous workshops that assist in supporting Early Childhood Education.  She is a product of Catholic education and so are her grown children.   Her son and daughter attended St. John School, in Middletown, as well as Xavier and Mercy High School.

Mrs. M. Patricia Cala


Mrs. Cala graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is certified in Elementary Education and has taught Grades K-2. Her experience includes teaching in: Alabama, Georgia, and Germany. Mrs. Cala enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. 

Mrs. Nicole Kelly

First Grade

Mrs. Kelly graduated from Pace University with a degree in Elementary Education and received her Masters of Art & Teaching from Sacred Heart University. She has been teaching for 26 years, 18 of those years have been dedicated to working in Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Norwich as well as the Archdiocese of Hartford. Mrs. Kelly also holds Connecticut State Certification in Pre-K through grade 6.

Ms. Sarah Layton

Second Grade

Mrs. Ulli Dzimian

Third Grade

Mrs. Dzimian has 19 years of experience educating young learners on the elementary level.  She grew up in Germany and moved to the U.S. where she earned her B.A. degree summa cum laude in Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Hartford.  Her German educational background uniquely qualifies Mrs. Dzimian to blend European teaching concepts with American methodologies.  Mrs. Dzimian and her husband have two daughters who both attended St. John School and Mercy High School.   She has traveled extensively with her family throughout the U.S. and has a special affinity for the American Southwest.

Mrs. Melanie Bruckner

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Bruckner has been teaching in Catholic Schools for 17 years.  She has a B. A. in Mathematics from Trinity College and an M.A. in Education from Central CT State University. 

Mrs. Kathy Riordan

Fifth Grade


Ms. Emilia Lynch

Middle School Literature & Religion

Ms. Lynch is a recent summa cum laude graduate of the University of St. Joseph.  She is certified in secondary English/Language Arts.  She was active in campus ministry, theater and student leadership at college and brings this leadership to her students at JP2.  Ms. Lynch advises the eighth grade and is Yearbook Advisor and Drama Coach.

Mrs. Allison Donnelly

Middle School Math

Allison earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Eastern Connecticut State University and her Masters in Mathematics for Certified Secondary School Teachers from Central Connecticut State University.  She is a Connecticut Certified Professional Teacher in Mathematics for grades 7 – 12.  Prior to joining St. John Paul II, she taught mathematics for over 13 years including 10 years at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford and over 2 years at Xavier High School in Middletown before taking time to be at home with her youngest son.  Allison lives in Middletown with her husband Kevin and their three sons Aidan (JPII alum), Tristan (JPII student) and Kylan (JPII student).

Mrs. Tara Serio

Middle School Science

Mrs. Serio has been teaching for 13 years, the last five here at JPII. She graduated from Quinnipac University in 2003 with a B.S. in Health Science and a double minor in Biology and Psychology. She continued on at Quinnipiac to earn her Masters in teaching in 2005 for middle and secondary school Biology. She is certified in the state of Connecticut for middle school science and has taught in private, public and in boarding schools.

Mrs. Patricia Holmes

Resource Teacher

Mrs. Holmes graduated from Bryant University with a B.S. in Education. She received her M.S. degree in Educational Technology from Eeastern Connecticut State University. She holds dual Connecticut certifications in Business Education and School Business Administration and has several years experience in both the business and educational arenas.

Dr. Victor Triay

Middle School Spanish

Dr. Triay has over 25 years of Spanish teaching experience. He has a B.A. from the University of Florida and a  Ph.D. from Florida State University. He is a full time history professor at Middlesex Community College and a published author. His wife, Emy, is the elementary Spanish teacher at the school.  Dr. Triay also guests lectures in Social Studies and Religion classes at the school.

Mrs. Emilia Triay

Spanish Grades 1 - 8

Mrs. Triay implemented our Spanish immersion program in grades 1-5. Spanish classes meet 3 times a week and students experience only Spanish in her interactive conversational lessons.  She also teams with her husband, Victor, to teach conversational Spanish as part of the middle school program. 

Mrs. Jill Hernandez

Music & Band

Mrs. Hernandez teaches general music preschool-Grade 8 and middle school choir.  A staff member of Future Musicians, Inc., she is also the instrumental teacher and Band Director for Grades 4-8.  Mrs. Hernandez has over 25 years teaching experience and is CT certified in PreK-12 music. She earned her B.A. in music from the University of Hartford and her MA from Central CT State University. 

Ms. Taylor Savage

Athletic Director


Support Staff

Mrs. Patty Vadasz

Pre-Kindergarten Instructional Aide

Mrs. Patricia Vadasz has eighteen years of Early Childhood instruction experience. She has instruction experience with both three and four year olds, and is an active member of the Middletown Early Childhood Readiness Network. She has attended numerous workshops to support early childhood education. She has two grown children who attended St. John School, Mercy and Xavier High School. 

Mrs. Kathy Pelletier

Kindergarten Instructional Aide

Mrs. Pelletier is a product of Catholic Education. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Connecticut University where she graduated with honors. She has been part of the JPII community for 8 years. She is a past president of the Home and School Association and has led many programs and fundrasiers. She has three children who have all gone to Catholic schools, two of whom attend JPII. 

Mrs. Nicole Milardo

Primary Instructional Aide

Mrs. Milardo has nineteen years of early childhood teaching experience.  She is a graduate of Briarwood College with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She enjoys cooking, Girl Scouting, family and her pets. 

Mrs. Sophie Formica

Primary Instructional Aide & Extended Day Program

Mrs. Formica has been a paraprofessional over the last several years in local elementary schools.  She obtained her Associates degree in Human Services from Middlesex Community College.

She is a parishioner of St. Sebastian's Church in Middletown and was a C.C.D. teacher there. She is also a past Mentor through the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce. 

Her interests are reading, arts and crafts, and volunteering. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters.

Ms. Sarah Dewey

Extended Day Program

Ms. Alicia Ruiz

Extended Day Program

Mrs. Patricia Elmore

Extended Day Program

Mrs. Roseanne Dahn

School Nurse


Mr. Andrew Avalone


Mr. Avalone is a lifetime Middletown resident and 3rd generation to attend St. Mary School. He graduated from Xavier High School and is an Eagle Scout and soon to be Boy Scout Leader. He enjoys rock climbing and outdoor activities.