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Transitions, By Chaim Heller, Head of School

Chaim final constant contact

Dear Parents,

As our 2015-16 school year draws to an end in a few weeks, we recognize that change is a big part of school life, and is inevitable. In particular, we find ourselves saying farewell to teachers who have been part of our community and have had a profound impact on our school and our children.

Jim Corum is retiring from education and moving with his wife to New Mexico. Jim joined our team three years ago as our first-ever computer science teacher. In addition to designing courses in computer science, Jim served on a variety of key faculty committees where his experience and wisdom was greatly valued. We wish Jim the best in his next chapter of life and offer our sincere thanks.

After eight years as a faculty member and the mother of two SDJA graduates, Vivian Guefen is relocating to Miami where she will continue her teaching career. Vivian designed and implemented the robust Spanish language program that is a hallmark of SDJA. When we think of Vivian, one thought always comes to mind – Vivian loves kids. It permeates everything she does and all her students know it. We will miss Vivian and wish her much happiness

A note from Vivian…

It is impossible to describe in just a few sentences the very profound feelings I have for this school that have grown throughout my time here; first as a parent, then as a volunteer, a substitute teacher, and now, for the past eight years, the Spanish teacher. I will miss everyone at SDJA tremendously. And to the parents – Thank you for lending me your children for a few hours every day. It has been an honor to be their teacher and to be a part of this wonderful school. All of you will forever hold a very special place in my heart.

With love, Vivian

Cyndee Nikzad has been a wonderfully versatile teacher for us! Given that she has teaching experience ranging from preschool through middle school, it was no surprise that she could so masterfully teach both kindergarten general studies and fifth grade math. Cyndee’s instructional expertise was very valuable this year as we transitioned to an ambitious new Language Arts curriculum. We wish her much happiness during her next chapter in Sacramento!

A note from Cyndee…

It is with a heavy heart that I am leaving SDJA.  I am relocating to Rancho Murieta, CA to be closer to my family and children.  I have loved my time at SDJA.  I will miss my students, parents and the amazing group of teachers and administrators I work with. I have appreciated the opportunity to be a part of all the great things that happen here. SDJA is truly a special place.


 In the last two years, Alanna McGlynn has been a lovely breath of fresh air for our staff. Last year, she worked regularly as a substitute teacher in all grades and this year she taught fourth grade math and kindergarten reading. Alanna’s strong work ethic and dedication to doing her very best, combined with her gentle spirit and love of children, have been a real gift. We are so excited for Alanna and her husband as they welcome their son this fall.

A note from Alanna…

It has been such a wonderful experience getting to know everyone here at SDJA the past two years. SDJA has truly become my second family and I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me with open arms. I will be taking a leave of absence next year as I welcome my baby boy, due in October. My husband and I are so excited for this new adventure.


Although it is difficult to say goodbye, we know they take with them cherished memories of SDJA. Join me in thanking them over the coming weeks.

Moving on – We have already interviewed excellent candidates for the open positions as well as redesigned some courses to better utilize our current faculty. We will keep you posted as we continue building for our best year yet at SDJA.

Thank you,

Chaim Heller

Kelley King

Mike Quigley

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