Our Faculty and Staff
B.S., Virginia Commonwealth University
M.A., Old Dominion University
Ed.S., George Washington University
Jenny joined the PC faculty in 1989 as a teacher, and has served in many roles since then: department chair, club and class moderator, assistant principal, and in 2008, principal. She is one of very few faculty who taught at both the “old school” in downtown Newport News and the new campus on Harpersville Road. Her greatest source of joy are her two sons, Kyle (PC ‘13) and Connor (PC ‘15).
B.A., Virginia Wesleyan University
Ms. Baker has worked in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in the areas of parish, youth and adult ministries since 2009, and moved to the Peninsula Catholic staff as enrollment director in 2017. She loves meeting new families and showing them the wonderful and welcoming PC spirit! She has an awesome son, Jacob, at ODU and an adorable dog named Jasper.
B.A., Old Dominion University B.A.
M.S.Ed., Old Dominion University
Dan lives in Norfolk with his wife and daughter, and commutes through the HRBT to make sure every student who graduates from PC has a "plan". He really wanted to be a racecar driver, but guiding students to the right school with ample scholarship funding is now his passion. An ASCA certified college admission specialist and member of the Virginia School Counselor Association, Dan has been at PC since 2011.
B.B.A., Christopher Newport University
M.S.Ed., Old Dominion University
Coach Jackowski came to PC in 2003 to serve as athletic director after working in the Old Dominion University athletic department for 11 years. He lives in Hampton with his wife and two sons. John loves all things Pittsburgh sports, but especially baseball.
B.S., University of New Hampshire
Mrs. Thomas has over 17 years of experience working in development, primarily in the Diocese of Richmond. She is a lifetime Girl Scout and a huge Disney fan.
Melissa joined the PC staff in 2016, following a career of bookkeeping in the construction industry along with extensive experience in Customer Service. She has a penchant for coffee, Mexican food, and relaxing at the beach. Melissa resides in Newport News with her two demanding pups, Gunnar and Sissy.
M.A., John Paul II Institute
MT works with the Senior Retreat Team facilitating programs for all grade levels and helping to bring students closer to Jesus. She lives in Yorktown with her husband and five beautiful children and is an avid sports fan.
B.A., Norfolk State University
An Army spouse and mother of three, Coach/Chef Candiss joined the PC family in 2015. Her experience includes managing a successful catering company that she continues to maintain, but our students have most definitely become her priority. If the hallway is filled with an aroma of food, then you know she’s in the kitchen whipping up some goodies. In her free time she likes to play softball and basketball, hang out with her family, and travel… and she is always game to try out a new recipe.
B.A., College of William and Mary
Mrs. Crone grew up in a military family and is a US Navy civilian spouse, and joined the PC staff in 2015 with years of experience in coordinating events and fundraisers for military communities. As the school’s marketing and event coordinator, she manages the school’s social media platforms, writes the school blog and website content, coordinates volunteers and special events, and manages marketing campaigns for enrollment and major events. She also designs and sells lots and lots of spirit wear. She is an old Catholic school girl herself and is the proud mom of two future PC graduates.
Mrs. Freel began work at PC in 1984 as the office secretary and has held many roles since then, such as: office administrator, coordinator of campus ministry and retreats, and student community service. She retired in 2004 with 25 years of service to the Richmond Diocese, but returned to PC in 2016 when she was offered a position as “sous chef” in the kitchen working with Chef Candiss.
B.A., Elmira College
M.A., Loyola University Chicago
Mrs. Hyland joined the staff at Peninsula Catholic in 2008. As a child, she attended Catholic schools in upstate New York, so she felt naturally called to the PC family. She started as an administrative assistant and became a member of the enrollment department in 2012. She loves spreading the word about Peninsula Catholic, helping parents and students through the admissions process, and supporting the world-class faculty and staff. She lives in Newport News with her husband, John, and two future Knights, Liam and Patrick.
B.S.B.A., Colorado Technical University
Mrs. Silcox earned her B.S.B.A. and L.P.N. degrees after a career in the U.S. Army. Prior to joining the staff at PC in 2017, she worked as a nurse for ER, surgery, and infectious disease specialty groups. She is the resident CPR instructor for both the American Heart Association and the Red Cross, coordinator of blood drives and flu shot clinics, and a charter member of the PC safety task force. She is currently working toward a Bachelors of Nursing degree. Mrs. Silcox is a proud military spouse and the mother of four.
M.Ed., Liberty University
Mrs. Strickland is the 8th-10th grade school counselor. She is here to support the academic success, personal/social growth, and college/career readiness of students at PC. She is a well-traveled military spouse and mother of three.
Lisanette has been working as a translator since 2007. Her true passion lies in bridging the language gap by helping students and parents reach their full potential, as well as organize cultural events to share the beauty of diversity. During her free time she loves spending time with family and friends.
A graduate of the class of '78, Karen comes from a long line of PC alumni. Her father, Robert M. Yacobi, was a member of the class of 1949, and his seven brothers and sisters all attended St. Vincent’s. They started in 1932, and for the next 32 years, without interruption, there was at least one Yacobi attending the school. The tradition continued with Karen and her brothers Mark (‘81) and Sean (‘83). Karen's two sons are also PC graduates. Karen joined the staff at Peninsula Catholic in 2006. She is the first contact at school for most, and is the friendly voice on the other end of the line or loudspeaker every day.
B.A., Shenandoah University
No stranger to Catholic education, Mr. Wiley is a graduate of Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School. Upon graduating with a degree in mass communications, he returned to Hampton Roads and joined the PCHS family in 2018. As the alumni relations coordinator, Cody writes a monthly newsletter to keep alumni connected, and also serves as the school’s webmaster.
B.A., Christopher Newport University
M.Ed., student, Liberty University
Ms. Barry began her time at Peninsula Catholic first as a student, graduating in 2008, and "came home" most recently as a member of the faculty. It is a unique privilege to be impacting the lives of students at the same institution which first prepared her for success in the world.
USAF Academy BS
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University MS
National Defense University MS
Steve transitioned from the Air Force to Peninsula Catholic in 2011 and is currently teaching Calculus and Physics. His two children are alumni from when he lived "in town". He has since moved "out west" to Toano and has become an expert at analyzing the progress of the I-64 construction projects on a daily basis. He studies the physics of golf when possible.
B.S., Old Dominion University
Mrs. Bridges lives in Williamsburg with her husband and two dogs. She teaches Health, Physical Education, and Driver's Education. She is also the softball coach.
B.A., University of North Carolina
M.A., Hampton University
Sara Butler graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with degrees in English and Mathematics. She spent 25 years teaching math and English at PC before moving on to a large public school, and then as an adjunct faculty member at a local community college teaching mathematics. She is the author of three books, and is currently working on a new trilogy series. Sara returned to PC in 2017 to teach calculus, and also facilitates a summer creative writing workshop.
BS., Old Dominion University
M.S., Old Dominion University
Mr. Emry teaches earth science, chemistry, oceanography, foundations of engineering, and introduction to programming. He is also the moderator of the CyberPatriots and robotics clubs. During his free time, he likes to camp and hike in God's creation. Scott has been an educator since 2005, and in 2016 was named a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction.
B.A., Emory & Henry College
M.Ed., Cambridge College
Mrs. Handy earned her bachelor's degree in English from Emory & Henry College and master's degree in special education from Cambridge College. Her career began in a Suffolk high school as an assistant to a physically challenged student, and evolved into teaching and case managing in special education. A member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers since 2014, Mrs. Handy has been at PC since 2017.
B.S., Northeastern University
M.A.T., Liberty University
M.A., Liberty University
Mrs. Hatch joined PC in 2018 and teaches U.S. history and dual enrollment U.S. history. While not teaching, she spends time with her husband and two sons.
B.A., F&M College
M.S.E.E. , New Mexico State University
Ph.D., New Mexico State University
Dr. Horan teaches math and provides one-on-one assistance to math students. She is a retired full-time educator and the recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding performance, including: ODU Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology Excellence in Adjunct Instruction Award, Las Cruces Public Schools Service Award, Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Outstanding Service Award, SCIAD of the Year Award, Decade of Dedicated Service Award for Tombaugh Elementary School, and has a science room dedicated in her name in the school district of Las Cruces, NM.
B.S., Michigan Technological University
Mrs. Jensen teaches chemistry, AP chemistry, and organic chemistry. She is the science department chair and fearless leader of Mass Music Ministry. When she’s not at school, she can be found playing banjo in a folk band, cooking tasty vegan meals, or traveling around the country in her 2003 Saturn with her husband and their dog.
B.A., University of Zagreb
M.A., University of Georgia
Ph.D., University of Illinois
M.A., Johns Hopkins University
Helena has taught literature and Latin. She was born in Croatia, but now she lives in Chesapeake, and she is very interested in Virginia and its history. She likes to read and listen to music. Her favorite author is Jane Austen.
B.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University
K-12 Art Licensure Program, Old Dominion University
The "Artist in Residence" at PCHS, Mrs. Kovalcik teaches art foundations, intermediate art, advanced art, AP studio art, digital photography, and graphic art. She is a member of the National Art Education Association and the sponsor of PCHS's chapter of National Art Honor Society. Jessica lives in Portsmouth with her son (PCHS Class of ‘20) and husband, and enjoys creating art through photography.
B.A., Old Dominion University
M.Ed. student at Old Dominion University
Ms. Laffey has taught at PC since 2013. She serves as the chairperson of the Honor Code Council, the new teacher mentor coordinator, and the team leader for the class of 2020. She teaches government and psychology.
B.A., University of Texas
M.A., Virginia Tech
Mrs. Lamb joined the PC family in 2004 and teaches all levels of Spanish, including Dual Enrollment courses. She moderates the Spanish Honor Society a service organization known throughout the community for hosting an annual Trunk or Treat, tutoring at a local elementary, and providing a summer language camp for community children. Outside of PC, Nancy spends all her free time with family and her precious granddaughter, a future member of the class of 2033.
B.A., University of Montana
Mrs. Loughran has been the media specialist at PC since 2011. She is also the SCA moderator which means she makes sure every school dance and picnic are unforgettable, as well as managing the annual spirit week schedule of events. A lifelong reader, Cheryl lives by the motto, "open a book and you open a world".
B.A., Pennsylvania State University
M.A., student, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Ms. Opalka teaches theology to 8th and 11th graders, and serves as the assistant coach for the Lady Knights softball team.
B.A., Christopher Newport University
Mr. Penrod lives in Hampton with his wife and two kids. He teaches English classes for sophomores and seniors. He's also been an assistant coach for PC’s award-winning forensics team since 2003.
B.A., Virginia Tech
M.F.A., Hollins College
Mr. Pilola is a PC alum whose fond memories of English class and running on the cross country team lured him back to the school, where he's been happily teaching and coaching now since 2007. Between grad school and coming back home again, he published stories, did cost analysis, and worked as a technical writer for the government. Even though they all torment him in different ways, he loves his wife, his two kids, and Virginia Tech football.
B. A., Oregon State University
Heather joined the PCHS faculty in 2018, but she is not new to the school. She is mother to three Knights. Heather is passionate about teaching history and is excited to share that passion with 9th and 10th graders at Peninsula Catholic, where she teaches world history and AP European history.
B.S., Old Dominion University
Mrs. R. started teaching at PC in 2018 after years with the ISAEP Program in Newport News Public Schools. She has taught since January 2005, right after graduating from ODU. She teaches algebra 1 and geometry. In her spare time, she likes to listen to local music, quilt, and spend time with her husband.
B.A, Duke University
M.S., Georgetown University
M.D., Georgetown University
After working as an obstetrician/gynecologist in the U.S. Navy, private practice, medical staff leadership, and executive medicine, Dr. Wall pursued his teaching credentials in order to fulfill a longstanding desire to share his love of science with young people. He teaches biology, dual enrollment advanced biology, and anatomy & physiology.
B.S., Chowan University
Mrs. Weser holds dual degrees in business administration and printing production and image technology. She teaches the award-winning Economics and Personal Finance class, AP Micro and Macro Economics, AP Computer Science Principles, Marketing, and Intro to Business. She also keeps the school up and running in the latest of Google technologies. During lunch, she can be found helping to manage the student - run Bayport Credit Union.
B.A., Christopher Newport University
M.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University
Beth Wigley holds a B.A. in Theatre and Education from Christopher Newport University and an M.F.A. in Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a high school theatre teacher and director for more than twenty years and has directed over a hundred productions. She currently performs for the Colonial Williamsburg and directs for Stage Lights, Williamsburg’s Theatre for Children. Beth lives with her husband, son, and their two Labrador retrievers in Williamsburg.
B.A., Mary Washington University
Mrs. Wilkinson arrived at PC in 2003 after years of working in several different ministries in the Diocese. Her passion is for Jesus, and she finds him here in the students, faculty, staff, and sacraments. She is the theology department chair, teaches the senior class capstone course, and in 2018 received the Elizabeth Ann Seton award for excellence in education from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.