top of page

New Staff 2017-18

Mary Mallahan Hicken

Director of Campus Ministry / Religious Education Teacher

Mary Mallahan Hicken joins O’Dowd as the Director of Campus Ministry and a Religious Education teacher. Mary received her Master of Social Work from UC Berkeley and bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Gonzaga University. She has also completed graduate studies in

Cross-Cultural Counseling at Columbia University and Theology/Justice at Maryknoll School of Theology. Mary brings a holistic, cross-cultural approach to her work which has been deeply shaped by living with her family in a barrio slum in Caracas, Venezuela, working with youth; being part of a team of indigenous healers in Oaxaca, Mexico, promoting holistic health and the recovery of plant medicines; counseling low-income children, families and victims of crime in the Bay Area; teaching/supervising Master of Divinity students at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, and guiding immersion trips to El Salvador and Kenya. Her most profound source of wisdom and knowledge has come from economically poor people and their lands in South America, Mexico, East Africa, Asia and the US.

Nicole Gonzalez

Teacher – English & Social Studies

Nicole Gonzalez joins the O’Dowd teaching faculty in the English and Social Studies departments. Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Mary’s College of California. She has taught at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep, Archbishop Riordan High School and Notre Dame Belmont High School. In addition to teaching, Nicole has coached volleyball, basketball and beach volleyball, and moderated classes and clubs. In her past work, Nicole has particularly valued her experiences collaborating with colleagues and has found that is one of the best ways to grow in teaching excellence. Nicole is excited to join the O’Dowd community.

Ricca Sarmiento

Teacher – English

Ricca Sarmiento joins the O’Dowd teaching faculty in the English department. Ricca holds a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from California State University, Fullerton, and is completing her Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of San Francisco. She previously taught English at St. Ignatius College Preparatory. Ricca was particularly drawn to O’Dowd by our charism – particularly the values of community in diversity and social justice – and our inclusive community. Ricca believes that teaching offers a tangible and visible result of hard work, displayed not only through students’ work but also in their growth as individuals.

Robbie Blasser

Teacher – English

Robbie Blasser joins the O’Dowd teaching faculty in the English department. Robbie holds a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters in Social Philosophy from Loyola University, Chicago. Robbie taught religious studies as a

long-term sub at O’Dowd last spring and was impressed by the vitality of the community. He is finishing up his teaching credential in English and is excited to formally join the O’Dowd community.

Liz Remigio

Teacher – Religious Studies

Liz Remigio joins the O’Dowd teaching faculty in the Religious Studies department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology & History from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of San Francisco. Liz has worked with teens for more than 20 years in religious education programs. After more than two decades in the insurance industry, Liz is thrilled to be in the classroom following her first passion – teaching.

Joe Tortolani ’11

Alumni Relations Intern

Joe Tortolani ’11 joins the Development team as the Alumni Relations intern. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business from Whittier College. Prior to working at O’Dowd, he wore many hats as the sales & marketing intern for a tech company. He assisted with prospect research, cold calling planning and executing presentations at trade shows and events, and conducting research and data analytics.

Charemon Cooks


Charemon R. Cooks is a new addition to the Dragon family. She will work in the front office helping students, families, faculty, and staff to access resources at the school. Charemon holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley. Ms. Cooks has worked in a variety of health education and education roles over the past 20 years and is excited to join the O’Dowd staff.

Shannon Woodworth Academic Support Tutor

Shannon Woodworth joins the International and Academic Support Departments as the Academic Support Tutor for international and St. Elizabeth High School transfer students. Shannon holds a master’s degree and certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. Prior to coming to O’Dowd, Shannon served as an American Language Program Coordinator and TESOL Instructor at CSU East Bay, UC Santa Cruz, Notre Dame de Namur University, North Seattle Community College, and the Professional Language Institute in Queretaro, Mexico. Shannon is also fluent in Spanish.


bottom of page