About Our First Grade Teachers


Mrs. Monea
First Grade Teacher

Monea Photo

Establishing a loving, caring atmosphere for her students is important to St. Hilary School first grade teacher, Mrs. Monea. “I try to build confidence and self-esteem in every child,” she says. “I like to instill the joy of learning in each of them.” A member of the St. Hilary faculty since 1995, Mrs. Monea previously taught third grade, worked as a reading specialist, and served as a kindergarten teaching assistant. She enjoys teaching first grade because "as much heart as you put into a day of learing, the children give you ten times more,” she says.

Mrs. Monea especially loves teaching reading, and frequently plans special activities to make books a part of her students’ lives. Her classroom presents learning in a creative and positive approach.  First graders enter the year on all different reading levels.  She states, "It is amazing to see the transformation at the end of the school year.  The students work very hard to become confident and fluent readers." 

Pleased that she is able to incorporate religion in everything she teaches, Mrs. Monea feels that is one of the best attributes of St. Hilary School. Additionally, she says parents, teachers and students work together to make the learning process successful. There is a great sense of community at St. Hilary, says Mrs. Monea. “People go out of their way to help,” she adds.  She truly enjoys working with parents, as well.  "I am so blessed to have so many parents who help me, even after they leave first grade," she says.

A graduate of Kent State University, Mrs. Monea holds bachelor’s degrees in both communication and teaching (1-8).  She proudly states that her family is her hobby.  Her husband and sons are her greatest joy.  Faith, family and love are the building blocks of her life.


Mrs. Morrocco

First Grade Teacher

Morrocco Photo

Since 2000, Mrs. Morrocco has enjoyed helping St. Hilary School first graders get off to a good start. She especially enjoys teaching because it allows her the opportunity to help children succeed. “I love it when students ‘get it’,” she says, describing the excitement for both teacher and student when a new concept is understood. Although Mrs. Morrocco teaches all first grade subjects, she is most fond of math and science.

Mrs. Morrocco feels the religious aspect of the St. Hilary educational experience really enriches the school’s offerings. “It is great to be able to approach situations with prayer,” she says. The fact that religion is incorporated into all aspects of classroom teaching in every grade is particularly important. Mrs. Morrocco adds that there is a feeling of community at St. Hilary that is not as common at other schools.

Students in Mrs. Morrocco’s classroom have many opportunities to learn through various techniques. She says her students seem to most enjoy rotating through centers in which they perform various activities. She divides the class into groups, and as the children spend time at each center, they have hands-on opportunities to reinforce what they are learning in class.

Mrs. Morrocco says she enjoys talking with former students who come back to visit her. She says they often recall details from her class that have impacted them in later years. It is gratifying to know that she has made a difference in the lives of her students, she says.

A graduate of the University of Akron, Mrs. Morrocco holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education (1-8). The youngest in a family of six siblings, she and her husband have three sons. Mrs. Morrocco enjoys camping and boating with her family, as well as reading.

Miss Riley
First Grade Teacher


Recalling her own school days has inspired St. Hilary School first grade teacher Miss Riley to create a memorable experience for her students.  “I still remember all of my grade school teachers to this day because they made such an impact on me, and I hope to do the same for my students!” she says.  “I love how students get excited about topics that many adults take for granted.  I also love when the children’s minds are stimulated by a new topic.  Their excitement excites me!”  A St. Hilary School alumna, Miss Riley says her experience at the school was unique and rewarding.   She describes the school as being structured, but allowing room for individuality and expression.  “St. Hilary prepared me for a successful high school and college education,” she shares.  “I was able to form lifelong friendships with peers who grew up with the same faith and values as me.”

Incorporating hands-on learning that engages and excites students is Miss Riley’s classroom philosophy.  She enjoys giving her students opportunities to show their strengths and help build their confidence.  Although especially fond of teaching reading, Miss Riley says her favorite subject to teach depends on the students in her class.  Professionally, she says, “My favorite area of study is anything to do with education or child development.  These areas interest me and help me learn about my students and profession.”

New to teaching in the 2013-2014 school year, Miss Riley previously spent time in a second grade classroom while pursuing her master’s degree, and worked in pre-schools and tutored while earning her bachelor’s degree.  She looks forward to a successful first year of teaching, knowing her students in and out of the classroom, having a good relationship with her students and their families, guiding her students in their academic and religious lives, and collaborating with the first grade team.

Miss Riley holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with a concentration in child development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a master’s degree in early childhood education from John Carroll University.  She has a four-year resident educator license for Pre-K – Grade 3.  The lone girl among four siblings, Miss Riley is proud that she and her brothers are all St. Hilary School alumna, and have gone on to become a doctor, a firefighter/paramedic, a senior IT consultant, and a teacher.  She has wanted to become a teacher since she was in first grade, thanks to her teacher, Mrs. Starkey, who now teaches third grade at St. Hilary.  Miss Riley is also proud that she is still the school record holder for the long jump and the 4x100 relay!

 Mrs. Herideen
First Grade Teaching Assistant


First Grade teaching assistant Mrs. Herideen enjoys mentoring students and bringing out the best in each one.  Blessed with artistic talent, she especially looks forward to helping to make the classroom a brighter place with colorful bulletin boards, fun paint on the walls, and making crafts with the students.  Also an avid reader, she looks forward to assisting the emerging readers in first grade as they hone their skills.

As the parent of three St. Hilary School graduates, Mrs. Herideen knows what makes the school special.  “My three children attended St. Hilary School from grades K-8.  My daughter is now a junior at John Carroll University, and my twin boys are sophomores at Walsh Jesuit High School.  St. Hilary prepared them very well for their college prep courses.  The religion classes and the teachings and beliefs at St. Hilary helped them develop into caring and compassionate adults,” she explains.

Mrs. Herideen has been involved at St. Hilary in many roles over the years.  “I loved working with the students in the past at St. Hilary, for example, when I coached volleyball for many years, served as a room mom numerous times, planned tailgating parties for the football players, and organized eighth grade graduation activities.”  Now, Mrs. Herideen is looking forward to working with younger children in the classroom where two of her own children attended first grade.

A graduate of The University of Akron with a degree in graphic design, Mrs. Herideen designed educational books for several years before working in sales.  “I’ve always wanted to teach, though,” says Mrs. Herideen, “so I’m excited to have this opportunity to help Mrs. Morrocco!”

In her free time, Mrs. Herideen enjoys traveling, planning parties, being creative, planning activities with her family, and being with friends.

Mrs. Houser

First Grade Teaching Assistant  


 “I love seeing the pride and joy on the children’s faces when they master something new,” says first grade teaching assistant Mrs. Houser.  “Their enthusiasm inspires me!”  Having worked with children for roughly the past five years,  Mrs.  Houser has served as a Girl Scout leader, school volunteer, and substitute teaching assistant prior to joining the school staff.

Mrs. Houser observes that the addition of religion in the daily lives of the students is what sets St. Hilary apart from other schools.  “Along with the great education, that is what drew me to St. Hilary for my own children,” she notes.  “It helps the kids find their moral compass and makes them strive to be the best person they can be, not just the best student. “  Mrs. Houser also says she is amazed at the level of parent involvement at St. Hilary, further setting the school apart.

With a career background that includes improving tire compounds for Goodyear and working as a derivatives trader dealing with banks on Wall Street, it is no surprise that Mrs. Houser’s favorite subjects are math and science.  Whether relying on these skills or others, Mrs. Houser hopes to make a positive and lasting impact on each child in the classroom by helping them learn new concepts and reinforce previous achievements.

Mrs. Houser holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Master of Science degree in Financial Engineering from Kent State University.  Her daughter and son attend St. Hilary School, and her entire family recently earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do.  Their family free time includes skiing, golfing and hiking.  An avid reader and crafter, Mrs. Houser looks forward to incorporating some of her crafting ideas into student projects and classroom decorations.

First Grade Teaching Assistant


First grade teaching assistant Mrs. Kleinman finds her job to be a rewarding experience.  "Watching the children grow as students and in their faith is very exciting," she says.  "I feel blessed to have the chance to work one-on-one with the children and get to know each of them."  One of the highlights of the first grade year, says Mrs. Kleinman, is the first grade reading party.  She calls it a turning point for the children, the culmination of weeks of reading activities through which they hopefully develop a love for reading that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Mrs. Kleinman feels St. Hilary School stands apart for its focus on Christ at the center of everything.  The sense of community, academic excellence and many long-standing traditions all help to make the school special.

St. Hilary School alumni themselves, Mrs. Kleinman and her husband are the parents of three children, two of whom currently attend the school and one of whom attends a Catholic high school.  She holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Akron, where she completed additional coursework in elementary education.  Spending time with her family is Mrs. Kleinman's greatest joy.

Mrs. Olack
First Grade Teaching Assistant


First Grade Teaching Assistant Mrs. Olack loves working with young children, and describes it as rewarding because every child is unique.  “They come to school with enthusiasm and an excitement for learning.  They are busy and full of energy.  My favorite thing is to watch how much each child grows from the beginning of the school year to the end,” she notes.

An alumna of St. Hilary School, Mrs. Olack appreciates the sense of community and the dedication of the faculty and staff to the success of the students.  She explains, “St. Hilary School realizes every student’s God-given potential, and that is what sets it apart from all other schools.”

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Mrs. Olack holds a degree in Family Relations and Human Development, and worked in a number of career capacities, including conducting and monitoring clinical trials for a top-tier pharmaceutical firm, before staying home with her two young daughters and switching professional gears.  After three years working in preschool setting, Mrs. Olack is excited to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who was also a first grade teaching assistant at St. Hilary.  She feels working with young children on greetings and eye contact is important, and will incorporate manners in the classroom daily.

A product of Catholic education from elementary through high school, Mrs. Olack values her family and enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters playing games, watching movies, rooting for Cleveland sports teams, and especially cheering for the Buckeyes.  She also relaxes by cooking, decorating, shopping, and playing tennis.

Mrs. Paterakis
First Grade Teaching Assistant 

paterakis 1

Mrs. Paterakis loves being a part of the St. Hilary School staff as a teaching assistant.  “I have gotten to know many of the teachers, and have made some great friendships," she says.  "St. Hilary has the best staff and people who truly love teaching and kids.  It’s not just a job, but a passion.”

What means the most to Mrs. Paterakis, though, is working with the students.  “I love getting to know each and every one of the students personally, finding out their strong points, and working with them to do their best.  It is great seeing how happy they are when they achieve more and more,” she says.  “I hope to help them be happy in school and enjoy learning.  I want them to have a positive experience all day long!”  A highlight of working with primary students is helping them learn to write, Mrs. Paterakis says.  “It’s such a joy to see at the end of the year how far they have come.”

A graduate of The University of Akron, Mrs. Paterakis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.  Married for 19 years, Mrs. Paterakis and her husband have a son who attends St. Hilary.  She enjoys spending time with her family on the weekends, biking, golfing, watching movies, or just hanging out.  She especially enjoys family spring break trips to Florida.