Meet Our Team!

Notre Dame Summer Programs are staffed with experienced, enthusiastic faculty. Learn a little bit about them in the biographies below.

Photo of Coach John Amarillas

John Amarillas

Coach Amarillas has served as Notre Dame’s strength and conditioning coach since 2002.  He brings over three decades of experience training both junior high and high school athletes. His passion for strength and conditioning is manifest as he helps young people to become the best that they can be. He will meet the athlete where they are at and move them forward in a planned and safe manner. Coach Ammo holds two certifications (CSCS, USAW 1) from the only two nationally accredited insitiutions in the country.


Carmen Eugenia Barba

Carmen teaches social studies at Notre Dame and is a graduate from the class of 2010.  She studied history and French Interdisciplinary at Notre Dame de Namur University, and has her masters in teaching and special education.


Ali Bueno

Coach Ali is an alum ('06) of Notre Dame San Jose. She played basketball at NDSJ and also played four years at the University of Redlands. She is the varsity head coach at NDSJ and is entering her 8th season. Coach Ali is passionate about helping players reach their potential on and off the court. She also trains basketball athletes through Bueno Basketball Academy.


Nicholas Carrillo

Nick is a veteran digital media teacher in the San Mateo Union High School District, having taught there since 2011.  He received his B.A. in studio art with an emphasis in graphic design from Long Beach State University. Nick continues to work in his free time as a freelance graphic designer and amateur filmmaker, while also spending time with his two children and wife in the garden. 

Jennifer Chen

Jennifer Chen is a science teacher at Notre Dame, and teaches CP Biology and Biotechnology. She received her B.S. in biological science from UC Davis, and her teaching credential from San Jose State University. In her free time, she enjoys finding new tea places to try and playing with her cats.

Alexandra Cunningham

Alex lives in South Africa during most of the year and travels to her alma mater, Notre Dame High School in San Jose, for the summers.  She studied urban community development and art at New York University and has a masters in fine arts from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the managing director and founder of Boundless City.

Eran DeSilva

Eran is the director of teaching and learning at Notre Dame and a social studies teacher.  She holds degrees in international relations and art studio from UC Davis, as well as a masters in teaching from the University of San Francisco.

Aidan Ferrer

Aidan Ferrer is the robotics co-director at Notre Dame, leading the school’s robotics team The Janksters. He has been a participant, mentor and volunteer with the FIRST Robotics Competition program for the past nine years. Aidan graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in technology information management.

Tanisha Fitzgerald

Tanisha Fitzgerald is a math teacher at Notre Dame, and teaches the Algebra course for ninth graders.  Tanisha also oversees the student leadership program at Notre Dame.  She received her math and education degrees from U.C. Santa Cruz.

Susana Garcia

Susana serves as the assistant head of school at Notre Dame.  She previously taught religious studies classes at Notre Dame and teacher education courses at the University of San Francisco.  At Santa Clara University, she received degrees in sociology and Spanish, as well as her masters degree in spirituality.

Elliott Gavino

Elliott has been teaching English and drama for over a decade at Evergreen Valley High School in East Side San Jose. He has been part of many productions including Rent, The 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee, and High School Musical and holds a B.A. from San Jose State and an M.A. from USC.

Emily King

Emily King is the dance teacher at Notre Dame High School. She teaches dance classes in jazz, ballet, modern, and choreography. Emily also runs the after school dance company and teaches one section of English. Her passion lies in helping students find their creative voice, whether that be on the page or on the stage!

Karl Lawson-Henz

Coach Karl grew up playing soccer in Canada and Germany before moving to California.  He loves the game and has been coaching for the past ten years including eight years at club level with West Valley Vision SC (from Bronze to NPL level and age groups from U10 to U19) and for the last four years at Notre Dame.

Cecilia Perkins

Cecilia Perkins is director of college counseling at Notre Dame High School. She works with all grade levels, but her focus is on juniors and seniors and helping them prepare for and navigate the college search and application process. The college search process should be fun and exciting! Ms.Perkins loves watching students figure out what their passion and interests are and seeing students find colleges that align with these! 

Hector Sanchez

Hector is a college professor at the College of San Mateo and Skyline. He grew up in the rainforests of Mexico with a native tribe known as the Huichol and later moved to San Jose for high school. He has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans and a master's degree from the University of Kent in Paris.
Photo by Joe Shields on Unsplash

Patrick Talesfore, Jr.

Patrick Talesfore, Jr. is a drum set artist from Sunnyvale. He has been teaching drum lessons since 2010 and has traveled to San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, and Hartford to teach music. Patrick currently teaches at School of Rock San Mateo and NorCal Music & Arts Center. No matter their musical path, all of Patrick's students live musically enriched lives playing for themselves and for their community.