Lietz HSC January Newsletter


 Happy New Year, Lietz Families!

Each and every year,
every person on the planet gets 365 presents.
365 brand NEW days.
And every day, in countless ways,
we can choose to be little –
or we can choose to be BIG.

I love that message from our Project Cornerstone book, BIG by Coleen Paratore.

Thank you so much for your generous support of our GIVE THANKS initiative. We are so excited to expand our staff appreciation to a year of celebrations of those who teach and care for our children, in spite of the most unpredictable of years! This month, we are excited to introduce more of our fabulous Lietz teachers in our Teacher Spotlight. Please join us in celebrating our first grade team: Katherine Donlon, Christy Frost, Rebecca Lacy, and Anna Uhm. We also have such a strong team of support at Lietz and we are looking forward to learning more about one of our RSP teachers, Karen deCastro, and our reading specialist, Annemarie Paiga. We are so grateful for the gifts that our teachers continue to share with our children, patiently reinventing the wheel on a daily basis.

As we welcome 2021, may we all be filled with hope for a time of reconnection and gratitude for many things that we may have taken for granted just a year ago. This will be the year that we come back together, less than six feet apart, no masks, and less hand sanitizer; I can’t wait! Please join us for our first HSC General Meeting of the year on Wednesday, January 13 at 7pm. Here’s to new beginnings and all the amazing things that you will do with your 365 brand new days.




A Staff Appreciation Initiative

One of the things that many of our children miss most about being at school is our teachers. They are missing their visits to past years’ teachers and we are all looking forward to the day that they can sit in their classroom, getting to know their current teacher beyond the screen of their chromebooks. We asked our teachers to share a bit about themselves – some of their favorite things, what they love and, maybe find challenging, about teaching, how they like to spend their free time, where they like to shop for themselves – helping to build the connection between home and school. This month, we are so excited to introduce our First Grade team, as well as one of our RSP teachers and one of our Reading Specialists.

Kelli Martines | Staff Appreciation Lead


Katherine Donlon


Tell us a little about yourself…

I am married to my wonderful husband, and we have a puppy, a cat, and a red-eared slider turtle.

This is my 5th year teaching. I am so excited to join the Lietz Lions this year! I absolutely love first grade! First graders LOVE to learn and it’s a joy to watch them grow throughout the year. I’m so glad we are able to connect and learn through Zoom! I love watching them greet their classmates the instant they log on Zoom, and add a heart emoji ❤ when we have special guests or when it’s time to leave our meeting. 

What would we find you doing on your ideal weekend?

On the weekends, we love to take our puppy on walks and grab a cup of coffee along the way. We love to explore new places and are looking forward to traveling again!

Where are your favorite places to shop?

My favorite places to shop are: Michaels, Target, J Crew, or Amazon

Christy Frost


Tell us a little about yourself…

This is my 32nd year teaching mostly first-grade. This year I really miss the hugs, but I love seeing my kids every day on Zoom.  Seeing their happy faces and hearing them say good morning as they pop up on my screen just brightens my day immediately. I love watching them get so excited about learning new things and seeing the pride they take in their accomplishments. First-graders are so genuine and very forgiving of my mistakes (and even though I’m getting better, I still make a lot of them!)

What would we find you doing on your ideal weekend?

I am a homebody, so my favorite kind of weekend would include:  sleeping in, wearing something warm and fuzzy all day, drinking tea, reading and cuddling with my cats, going for a long walk, then having a game night with my husband and all three of my kids. 

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Amazon is my go-to for most everything for home and school, but you can also find me at Target or looking for a bargain at TJ Maxx!

Rebecca Lacy


Tell us a little about yourself…

I have a wonderful, goofy husband and two dogs. 

Teaching is one of my greatest joys.  I love watching first graders grow and mature into creative, smart individuals ready to conquer this crazy world we live in.  They come to Zoom ready to learn.  It’s so hard not being able to see them in person right now.  We’re all making the best of it!  

What would we find you doing on your ideal weekend?

You can find us playing on the beach or letting our dogs run around in an area under the San Mateo Bridge.  When I’m not teaching, I like to be outside in the sunshine. 

Where are your favorite places to shop?

I love my dogs, candles, Peet’s Coffee and Amazon.

Anna Uhm


Tell us a little about yourself…

I am now the proud mom of 3 boys!

First grade is one of the most rewarding grades to teach. You see so much growth and I love it! Distance learning has been challenging for us all, but I’ve been encouraged by everybody’s positive attitude and support. We truly are in this together. 

What would we find you doing on your ideal weekend?

On the weekend, you’ll see me spending time with my family- chasing after my wild boys. My family and I love to get out of the house and do fun things together- go to the park, beach, mall, etc. 

Where are your favorite places to shop?

Favorite places to shop would be Target and Amazon. 

Karen deCastro


Tell us a little about yourself…

I have been teaching for 26 years, mostly in special education. I also direct the school choir. This is my 20th year at Lietz. I am passionate about teaching children to be kind and to believe in themselves. I believe that every child is capable of learning and being successful. I love music, reading, writing, and creating works of art!

My greatest joys as a teacher come from being able to connect with students from so many different grade levels and backgrounds. I love seeing students light up when they learn new concepts and overcome challenges.  My biggest challenge with distance learning has been not being able to be in the same room with my students and teach them face to face. 

What would we find you doing on your ideal weekend?

My ideal weekend would be spent exploring a new place with my family then coming home for a relaxing evening with a good book. 

Where are your favorite places to shop?

My favorite places to shop are Amazon and Target. 

Annemarie Paiga


Tell us a little about yourself…

I have been teaching for the past 25 years. I taught Kindergarten and first grade in another district before finding my wonderful home at Lietz as a Reading Teacher.  My husband Barry and I have been married for 28 years. We have two sons, Kyler and Nolan, and a puppy Gracie.

My greatest joy in teaching is watching students blossom as readers.  What fun!  I really miss working in person with students, but I am thankful that I can still host reading groups on Zoom all day long!

What would we find you doing on your ideal weekend?

My perfect day would include taking a long walk with family and friends, especially at the beach.  I also enjoy chatting with friends while sipping a delicious cup of coffee or eating a good meal.  Playing a board game with my family or working on a puzzle would round out my perfect day.

What are your favorite places to shop?

My favorite places to shop are Target, Trader Joes and Ann Taylor Loft. 


Even though we weren’t able to do an in-person full fledged holiday workshop, a small Holiday Workshop Material package was sent out along with the Student December pickups. Hope they got a chance to enjoy it during the Holidays! 

Amy Lee-Elrite | Holiday Workshop Lead

The holidays are typically a time for gathering, sharing and giving to others, but we recognize that this year the worlds of our children have become so small due to the Pandemic. We discussed the challenges of spreading kindness while keeping apart in our discussion of this month’s book, “BIG”, by Coleen Paratore. The book continues the theme of empathy and encourages children to explore what it means to care for themselves, for others, the greater community and even the world! We discussed how being BIG can start with doing a small act of good now and strategies to be BIG during the pandemic, often starting at home with family. To keep the discussion going at home, please explore with them how their acts of kindness at home impact you and brainstorm ideas for how they can spread kindness to others, even in the virtual classroom.

Our Kindergarten team read the book “Have You FIlled a Bucket Today” by Carol McCloud. 

The theme is about expressing kindness and appreciation for others. Students were taught how to be “bucket fillers” and empowered to fill their own buckets and the buckets of others. They were also coached on how to keep a lid on their bucket so that others cannot “dip” their bucket. To keep the lesson going at home, please talk to your children about what are the “warm fuzzies” and whenever you “catch” their positive behaviors, name and celebrate them! 

Like most of the community, we look forward to 2021 as a year of recovery and healing. The Project Cornerstone Team hopes to facilitate this process in our monthly readings and discussion, and eventually back in the physical classroom. If you are interested in joining our amazing group of volunteers, please contact Sarah Rizvi at

Sarah Rizvi and Lisa Valera  | Project Cornerstone Leads

We hope that all students enjoyed completing Sets A & B this fall. In January, students will be completing Set C.  We would like to send a huge thank you to our teachers, office staff, and Art Vistas classroom docents. This now virtual art program is only able to continue because of the support, time and care spent by so many.  We are amazed by the way all have been willing to rise to the challenge of teaching art virtually. Thank you Lietz family, and Happy New Year!
Art Vistas Lead Docents
Rebekah Frederickson (K-1)
Caitlin Samenfeld-Specht (2-3)
Priya Vartak (4-5)
The Union School District Art Vistas organization has volunteer positions available:
TREASURER (5-10 hours/month) for 2021-2022
TRAINING COORDINATOR (10-15 hours around September 2021 and January 2022)
PORTFOLIO STUFFERS (1-2 hours 10 times during 2021-2022 school year)
If you are interested in volunteering for our wonderful program, and see full descriptions at 
Please contact with questions.


HELLO 2021!
Let’s celebrate the new year by helping our school!
  • Buy Box Tops grocery products on your next shopping run.
  • Scan your receipt on the Box Tops app OR turn in the labels to the office for free money for our school! 
  • Each unexpired Box Top label equals $0.10 for Lietz!
  • All funds raised thru Box Tops program will go towards our wonderful teachers/staff!
Win a “Mystery Gift Card” too!
  • Scan or submit 2 unexpired Box Tops labels to enter the drawing
  • One student AND one teacher/staff will win! 
  • Drawing ends January 29th.
Click here for all eligible Box Tops products:
Earn Easy, Give Easy Sweepstakes!
Enter to win 5,000 Bonus Box Tops for Lietz and $50 Visa gift card for you!

SoYun Kim | Box Tops for Education Lead


The HSC Board is completing some modifications to our Bylaws, most of which were originally proposed last spring. Along with a few grammar and spelling corrections, there are updates in the sections on officer voting/offices and finance. These changes have primarily been made to more accurately reflect our current practices. Notable changes include: 

(1) Our bylaws previously stated that voting for officers would be done by ballot at the Spring Open House. Lietz HSC typically discusses officer elections during our General Meetings, so the wording of this section has been changed to say that officer elections may be done at either venue.

(2) An allowance has been added to officer terms. In the (unlikely) event that no new officers have stepped forward to fill a vacant position on the HSC Board by the third General Meeting of a new school year, any officer(s) who were ineligible for the position due to term limits may become eligible to fill the role if they wish to do so.

(3) Clarification around timing and information of budget-related voting has been added. Information regarding such a vote, including details of the expenditure and instructions on how to cast votes, must be sent to all members at least five days in advance of the vote.

For a complete review of the proposed changes, please refer to this link on HSC website. Changes are marked with bold italics and will be available for all members to review until January, when a vote for approval will be held at our next General Meeting January 13, 2021 (please note change in date from 1/20 to 1/13).

Please contact us with any questions or comments at

Chef’s Night Out

Chef Vectors by Vecteezy

Thank you all for coming in support for our Chef’s Night Out at Chipotle on December 2nd. Future events are cooking! Please keep your eyes and ears (and mailbox) open to find out more.

Jessica Steed | Chef’s Night Out Lead


Volunteering opportunities

Current Volunteer Sign-up Sheets

Title Start Date End Date Open Spots
Winter Workshop 2023 December 15, 2023 December 15, 2023 4

Please login to view and edit your volunteer sign ups.


Are you thinking of starting a new program that would benefit the Lietz community? If so, please head to our website to complete and submit a simple Program Proposal Form.

We will work with you to make it a reality!  


If your company is giving you money to give it to your favorite organization, please consider giving it to HSC either for General Donation or for Staff Appreciation. Or if you are planning to donate money, please check if your company matches the contribution. Please visit the Donate! page for making donation


To find all the HSC events, go to the Events page here. To have always up-to-date HSC events directly on your phone, tablet or computer, just Subscribe to the calendar feed.


Contact US

Please use this link to find information to contact your HSC board. Please note that now HSC newsletter is only delivered digitally on the HSC website.