Meet our Pre-K Teachers

Mrs. Gracelin Emmanuel, Pre-K Director & Teacher

Mrs. Emmanuel has been teaching at St. Agnes since 1994. She has five children, all of whom graduated from St. Agnes. She has been teaching for over 30 years, and was trained as a Montessori teacher. She holds a Master’s of Education in PreK-6th and a Graduate Certificate in Special Education. She has also received training in Orton Gillingham.

Mrs. Kathleen Hofer, Teacher

Mrs. Kathleen Hofer began teaching at St. Agnes in 2014. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from George Mason University and a Certificate in Special Education from Marymount University.  ‎Kathleen has worked in diocesan schools for 9 years.  She has served as a lead preschool teacher and instruction assistant as well as a 3rd grade teacher.  Prior to‎ her career in primary education, Kathleen worked at George Mason University as Assistant Director of the Alumni Association and the Assistant Director of the Annual Fund.  Kathleen is also the mom of three St. Agnes graduates.

Mrs. Dawn Jones, Teacher

Mrs. Jones’ has been teaching in the Early Childhood Program at St. Agnes Preschool since 2010. Prior to teaching, her career focused on Child Advocacy in the dependency and family courts in Tampa, Florida. She obtained a B.A. in Criminology from the University of South Florida and is an active member of the Virginia Catholic Education Association. Her oldest son, Colin,  graduated from St. Agnes and attends Penn State University, her daughter, Caroline, graduated from St. Agnes and attends The University of South Carolina and her youngest daughter, Claire, graduated from St. Agnes and is attending St. John’s College High School. In her spare time, the sandy shore of the beach with her family is a source of complete contentment and fulfillment.

Mrs. Gina Lockland, Teacher

Ms. Gina has been a part of the Saint Agnes school community since 2005, either as a parent, volunteer, substitute teacher, assistant teacher or lead teacher. Both of her daughters graduated from Saint Agnes and attend Wake Forest University. Ms. Gina graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business. After many years in the non-profit sector, she changed careers and began teaching. Ms. Gina has Orton Gillingham training, VCEA certification, and loves spending her day with her Little Lions.

Mrs. Ana Canales, Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Ana Canales has more than fifteen years of professional experience as a childcare attendant, five of those years specializing in Pre-K and Kindergarten at St. Agnes School. She has worked with students of all ages, ranging from Pre-k to 8th grade. In those thirteen years, she was the team lead for extended day; this is her first year serving as a teacher assistant, where she assists in day to day activities helping the teacher and aiding students prepare materials needed for after-school and classes. She has her certifications in CPR, food & allergy, including MAT and Applebun Training. She has lived in North Arlington for nearly 35 years and currently resides in Annandale, VA.

Ms. Sara Holland, Assistant Teacher

Ms. Sara came to St. Agnes after working at Congo Summer Camp and has been a part of the Saint Agnes community since 2021 as an assistant teacher. She has worked with PreK-8 through the Extended Day program, but loves to spend most of her time with the Little Lions. Ms. Sara graduated from Washington State University in 2021 with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science with two Minors in Communication and Criminal Justice. She will be completing a Masters in Elementary Education in Spring of 2024.

Mrs. Margaret McFadden (Beth), Assistant Teacher

Mrs. McFadden’s began as a Pre-K Teaching Assistant in 2012. Prior to that she was a substitute teacher at Faith Lutheran Preschool. She attended Louisiana State University and The Art Institute of Houston, receiving a degree in Visual Communications. Mrs. McFadden came to St. Agnes first as a parishioner and school parent in 1997; all three of her children graduated from St. Agnes, where she was active as a room parent and served as a Girl Scout Leader for nine years.  She considers New Orleans her hometown and loves to visit her friends there whenever she can.

Mrs. Ana Penado, Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Ana Penado has more than ten years of professional experience as a food safety manager, where she has helped St. Agnes students of all ages, ranging from Pre-K to 8th grade during their lunchtime.  Mrs. Penado has worked in the Pre-K & Kindergarten extended day program since 2017.  She has helped the students with crafts, coloring, reading, music and movement.  She loves serving as a teacher assistant in a Pre-K 4 class where she assists in day to day activities helping the teacher and aiding.  She has certifications in Food Allergy and Concussion.  Mrs. Penado is mother to three children, ages seventeen to eleven.

Pre-K Program At A Glance

Our Preschool program encourages the joy of learning in a Catholic environment that nurtures the whole child.  We focus on development in the following areas:

  • social-emotional (which includes spiritual)
  • physical
  • cognitive (including language).

Our program integrates all aspects of a young child’s development in a way that acknowledges their active learning style.  This involves learning through both large and small group settings.  Our four-year-old classes follow two curriculum: Handwriting Without Tears and Sing, Spell, Read and Write.  These fun, hands-on approaches introduce the children to:

  • letter and number recognition and formation
  • language arts
  • early math concepts.

Preschool teachers are trained in Responsive Classroom techniques to foster a strong sense of community. Every day starts with a morning meeting where the children practice greeting one another and sharing and listening. They will also learn to cooperate, converse, help, and negotiate with one another and adults. Through their religious instruction, the children will discover God’s goodness, their own God-given uniqueness, and God’s presence in all that is good and beautiful around them. Above all, they will come to know of God’s presence in themselves, in their families, and in their friends.

Each Preschool class has a full-time teacher and an assistant.  Preschool classrooms are on the lower level of the school, providing a safe environment geared toward our youngest students.

St. Agnes offers the perfect transition from home to school for children age 3 by September 30 in our three-year-old program and children age 4 by September 30 in our four-year-old program.  The three-year-old program is half-day (8 am – 12:15 pm).  The three-year-old students may attend after care (12:15 pm – 3:15 pm) and extended day (3:15 pm – 6 pm).  The four-year old program is full day (8 am – 3:15 pm) with a half day option (8 am – 12:15 pm).  Four-year-old students may attend extended day (3:15 pm – 6 pm).  Aftercare and extended day is housed in Preschool classrooms.

7:50 am – 12:15 pm

  • Circle time and large group sharing
  • Fine and gross motor skill activities
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Sing, Spell, Read & Write
  • Specials classes: Art, Music, PE and Computer
  • Snack
  • Outdoor recess play
  • Imaginary play and free time
  • Small group activities
  • Exploratory play

12:15 pm – 3:15 pm

  • Lunch
  • Rest time and quiet activities
  • Science/Social Studies activities
  • Outdoor recess play
  • Imaginary play and free time
  • Small group activities
  • Exploratory play
  • Specials classes: library

Academic excellence in a Christ-centered community

Saint Agnes Catholic School
2024 North Randolph Street
Arlington, VA 22207-3031
Office: 703.527.5423