Saint Francis High School celebrates the start of the school year by welcoming nine faculty and staff members who are ready to tackle new responsibilities and share their expertise. Among them are two former college basketball players, five alumni and two interns.
The science department receives three new additions in Garrett Benjamin, David Cobb and Rebecca Kanakis ’07. Mr. Benjamin, a graduate of CSU Fresno with degrees in kinesiology and biology, teaches biology and AP Biology and will coach wrestling. He is joined by Mr. Cobb, who teaches chemistry and conceptual physics and similarly will coach wrestling. Mr. Cobb is a graduate of UC Davis and San Jose State University, where he received his master’s degree in biology. Ms. Kanakis returns to her alma mater to teach physics and conceptual physics, as well as coach soccer. Ms. Kanakis graduated from Sonoma State University as a physics major.
The English department welcomes Robby Gibbs and Natalie Lai ’06. Mr. Gibbs was a student-athlete at Willamette University, where he majored in English and philosophy and played basketball. Mr. Gibbs, who also received a master’s degree in education from UC Santa Cruz, teaches English 1 and English 2 and will coach basketball in the winter. Ms. Lai, as a former Lancer, will share stories of her experiences as a Saint Francis student with her English 1 and British literature classes. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Lai will help lead the mock trial team and launch Link Crew, a peer mentoring program to help freshmen be successful in their transition to high school. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara, majoring in English and minoring in applied psychology. Ms. Lai also received her master's degree in education from UC Santa Barbara.
David Watts ’96 is another proud Lancer returning to campus. He is the new director of the Holy Cross Achievers, a program that provides financial aid and academic and counseling resources to qualified students. Mr. Watts, who is a graduate of UC Berkeley, also teaches behavioral psychology.
Kate Kennedy joins Saint Francis as the new strategic communications director. She is an experienced strategic marketing, communications and public relations professional. Ms. Kennedy leads the communications team and oversees the school’s communications projects and strategies.
In addition to these new faculty and staff members, two recent college graduates return to Saint Francis to work alongside their former teachers as the school’s first alumni interns. Benjamin Hadrovic '12 and Khalid Johnson '13 will spend the year exploring their interests in teaching and counseling. Both will also work in the Learning Resource Center and the Guidance and Counseling Office and with Campus Ministry and the Holy Cross Achievers program. Mr. Hadrovic graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in classic civilizations, while Mr. Johnson received his degree in sociology and American multicultural studies from Sonoma State University, where he served as the captain of the men’s basketball team.