Ss. Simon & Jude School

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Junior High: 7th & 8th Grade

Mr. Ray Gaynor

I was given a gift, the ability to teach. And I’m blessed to be able to do this for this great community that my family has been a part of for over 15 years.





Mrs. Mary Sue Palazzolo
Mrs. Mary Sue Palazzolo has taught in Catholic grammar schools and high schools in Chicago and Phoenix and has taught at SSJ since 1999. She teaches 7th and 8th grade Literature, 8th grade Public Speaking, and is also the Director of our annual Spring Musical, which showcases some of our awesome talent here at SSJ! For the past two summers, Mary Sue has travelled to the Broadway Teachers Workshop in New York City to take classes taught by Broadway directors, choreographers, and other artists. Mary Sue has her bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and Education and has recently completed 18 graduate credits from the University of Notre Dame which earned her an English as a Second Language endorsement in Arizona.

Howell, MikeMr. Mike Howell




MFischetti, Lindars. Linda Fischetti

Mrs. Linda Fischetti has been teaching at SSJ since 2001. She says, “I began my teaching career in 1984 as a high school teacher and school campus minister. During the time my children were small, I was home and stayed active in this wonderful vocation helping with Confirmation preparation through youth ministry, assisting in Religious Education, and even spent a few years teaching adults to use desktop computers. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Psychology, and a post-baccalaureate in Elementary Education. I love teaching at SSJ and can’t imagine being anywhere else. I am continuously in awe that we get to share our faith on a daily basis, pray together, and celebrate the Eucharist as a community.”

Tellez, SaraMs. Sara Tellez
Ms. Sara Tellez has been teaching at SSJ since 2015,  but before this, she was working as an aid in our school office since 2007. She jokingly refers to those years in the office as “Staple Camp”. She is a proud SSJ alum and product of 17 years of Catholic schooling. She credits those years for developing her passion for working with and helping others. Ms. Tellez has lived, taught, and mentored in various settings around the globe. One of her not-so-hidden passions is her love of the theatre. She studied theatre, art, history, and writing in England, and considers herself a bit of an Anglophile. Speaking about her teaching she says, “I feel blessed to continue to work with children and young adults from various backgrounds. It is for this reason that social justice is at the core of every subject I teach. It doesn’t matter what subject one is learning, it is how the material is applied in the world that is the true test. Each student is unique and has a different story to tell.  At SSJ we value the development of the whole person, and I love knowing that every day that I am preparing the next generation of diverse students who will respond to the needs of the world and its human family.”

hillMs. Maureen Callaghan
Ms. Maureen Callaghan has been teaching in the Diocese of Phoenix since 1995, and began teaching at SSJ in 1998. She is currently the seventh and eighth grade science teacher, as well as the Science Curriculum Committee Chairperson. She completed her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in ‘05, and is a member of NSTA (National Science Teachers Association), ASTA (Arizona Science Teachers Association), and AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). Using the new state-of-the-art science labs, Ms. Callaghan strives to allow students the opportunity to experience valid success related to science, and enable them to enter high school with an open mind related to their interest in and the possibility of pursuing a science-related career. She says, “Science is everywhere and should be experienced, not simply studied in a classroom or read in a textbook.”


  • First and Second Grade Buddies
  • STEM project
  • 8th Grade Christmas Pageant
  • 8th Grade Marine Biology Trip to Catalina Island
  • 8th Grade Living Stations of the Cross
  • School Sports
  • Student Council
  • Student Ambassadors
  • 7th Grade STEM Field Trip to Tonto Creek
  • 7th Grade one day Retreat
  • 8th Grade – Field Day Leaders
  • 8th Grade Overnight Retreat
  • SSJ Recommended Reading List – Level 7
  • SSJ Recommended Reading List – Level 8+