Marisa Alcorn, Ka'iulani Moku-Paiva, Anne Storm, R.J. Tagorda
Marisa Alcorn, Ka'iulani Moku-Paiva, Anne Storm, R.J. Tagorda
One says anyone can love math. Another majored in Latin and Greek in college and has a bubbling personality. A third wants children to learn to express themselves in writing and a fourth was named one of the nation's best Catholic school teachers.

These are the new faculty members at Holy Cross.  

Marisa Alcorn, a recent mathematics graduate of Gonzaga University, will teach math to upper grades and religion to seventh graders. "I'm a big math person," says Alcorn, who attended Seattle Prep. "I want to help students have confidence, to find their own path, not just the right answer."

To help in that, she'll discern students' interests — automotive math for car lovers, sports problems for athletes, art equations for artists.   

R.J. Tagorda, 23, will take over the technology program and teach middle school language arts. A Latin and Greek major at Tulane, he is in his second year of teaching, having led classroom in New Orleans as a student-teacher.  

Tagorda, who exudes enthusiasm, says teaching is as much about creating excitement as transferring knowledge. His nightmare is turning kids away from a subject because of uninspired teaching. His dream is hearing students embrace what he teaches.  

A survivor of Hurricane Katrina as a teen, Tagorda with his family spent six months away from home in Houston. He decided to stay upbeat and it turned out to be a valuable experience.  "I like to keep things very positive," he says. "Kids do well when there is a lot of positive energy."  

Ka'iulani Moku-Paiva will teach 4th grade while Amanda Louie is away on baby leave. She graduated from the University of Portland in May.

"I want students to feel I am meeting them at their level instead of making them fit a mold," says Moku-Paiva, who focused on special education. She plans to use writing as a way for students to express their feelings.  

Anne Storm, a former National Catholic Educational Association teacher of the year, joins Holy Cross after 14 years as kindergarten teacher at St. Luke School in Woodburn. It's a homecoming, since Storm graduated from Holy Cross before going on to Central Catholic and University of Portland. Key qualities of a kindergarten teacher, she says, include flexibility and patience.

"Faith is really important to me," says Storm, whose first students are now in college.

"I want to be somewhere where I can live that out and teach it."
Early in the year, Holy Cross kindergartners are focusing on play as a way to make friends and learn social skills.