top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Spartan Press

Meet the New Humanities Teachers!

By Julienne Cancio & Jessica Ferrer '21

We are pleased to bring back our popular “Meet the Teachers” series, where we get to hear from ICA Cristo Rey’s newest faculty and staff. Today we introduce Mr. Isaac Cardenas and Ms. Kelley McCann.

Ms. Kelley McCann, (AP) Government & Politics

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a small town in Southern Connecticut of about 5,000 people, which is super different from San Francisco.

Where did you go to college?

I went to Santa Clara University. I majored in Sociology and minored in Political Science.

What subject are you teaching and why?

I’m teaching U.S. Government and Politics and AP U.S. Government and Politics to only seniors- which I am very proud of and excited about. I’m teaching it because I have a Social Sciences credential and I've always loved history and social studies, it’s the field I’m most passionate about.

Why did you apply to ICA?

I had learned about ICA decades ago because my oldest sister had taught at ICA in Chicago right when it got started a long time ago. So I’ve always known about ICA and the mission of Cristo Rey. Then, I taught for years in Los Angeles and I wasn’t in a Cristo Rey School, but I had friends teaching in the Cristo Rey Network. I’ve always admired the Cristo Rey Network and the model, so I leaped at the opportunity to be able to teach at ICA. I was very fortunate to find a school that not only had a Cristo Rey model but also had a Catholic background. I also loved the fact that it’s all girls. I went to an all girls high school so I love that aspect too.

What have you been doing to teach during this pandemic, and what are some of the challenges you have encountered, if any?

I use breakout rooms a lot and also small groups. I guess Padlet is also one I use quite a bit, too. I’d like to use Pear Deck more, which I don’t use enough of yet.

Which Disney character are you most like and why?

I was thinking of Mary Poppins. Has anyone else chosen her yet? She loves to have fun, is really silly and quirky, and she loves music. Also, if I had to choose a superpower, I'd love to be able to fly... so she's perfect! I love her perspective on making things fun and choosing to be optimistic - ‘Everything is possible, even the impossible!’

Mr. Isaac Cardenas, Assistant Director of Student Activities

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Los Angeles, specifically in the San Fernando Valley which is right behind the Hollywood sign.

Where did you go to college?

I went to Loyola Marymount University. I majored in Theology, which is like spiritual studies and religion and a minor in Sociology. In my last semester I took two Women’s and Gender Studies and those were awesome.

What is your role at ICA?

I’m a Mercy Volunteer. The Mercy Volunteer Corp is a program that has lots of different service placements around the United States. My official title is the Assistant Director of Student Activities, Campus Ministry, and Family Engagements. So I sort of do everything that involves reaching out to students’ families when the students don't feel connected to school. Sometimes girls won’t show up to class so I have to see why that was and how we can support some of your peers better.

How have you been fulfilling your position during this pandemic, and what are some of the challenges you have encountered, if any?

I think the biggest challenge is the fact that I haven’t met any of these students in person or having to work with someone in Student-Family Engagement. To do all of that online it’s sort of hard to do and make true connections with all of you. On the other hand, I’ve been going to Campus Ministry meetings. I was also in-charge of the Back to School Night presentation and Welcome Video. I wanted to give the students that type of energy, to know that they’re being missed. Hopefully sooner or later I’ll be able to interact more with the clubs, be a point person to make more events happen, and meet more students.

What are some of your recommendations to students who may be struggling at this time of the year?

I would say to reach out. Talk to someone whether that’s someone in your class or a teacher. I’m definitely available to get emails from anyone who is struggling right now. Also, for me particularly, I think my spirituality is something that has helped me in my toughest times. I would encourage people to find a sense of spirituality within themselves, something that’s personal to them and help them when they just feel really alone and hopeless. At the end of the day I believe that there we are not alone. There is someone or something out there that loves us and wants the best for us.

Which Disney character are you most like and why?

Probably Nemo. I think because I’m energetic and also lowkey scared of a lot of things. I resonate with his little journey. Yeah, right now that’s who I'm vibing with.

Dr. Patrick Holian, English

Where did you grow up?

I grew up here in San Francisco, California. I’m very lucky to have been raised here by a single mom, who is a teacher in the public school system in San Francisco… I have a lot of wonderful memories from going to Giants games as a kid, to 49ers games and the Symphony. I was raised around a lot of strong women--a lot of my mom’s friends. I feel very grateful for the lessons that they taught me… as well as for the role models of all the strong, independent, and inspiring women I grew up around.

Where did you go to college?

I went to a few schools. I got my BA for creative writing at UC Riverside, which is an excellent school in Southern California an hour east of Los Angeles. I found the faculty there were very supportive, nurturing, really attentive, and [there were] a lot of brilliant writers down there. I got my masters here in the Bay Area from Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. I was really lucky to just be surrounded by really inspiring, accomplished writers that have really made a name for themselves in the Bay Area, namely my thesis advisor Lysley Tenorio, [who] was a big model in my writing career. I went on to pursue a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I lived in Louisiana for about five-and-a-half years getting my degree and then teaching at the University.”

What subject are you teaching and why?

I am teaching English 1 and English 3. I’m teaching English because that’s the field I’ve really fallen in love with. Going back to my childhood, my mom would have “reading hour” and it’d just be the two of us sitting in a room. She’d set a timer and read for an hour, so I fell in love with reading from a very early age. So in the pursuit of my PhD, I started teaching English. One of the big attractions of teaching English for me is helping people hone their critical-writing and critical-thinking skills to really articulate their thoughts, [to] interact with text and kind of understand the power of their voice and that their own readings of text are really vital because they bring experience and identity to creating the text that they read.

Why did you apply to ICA?

I have a few connections to ICA, but a friend from high school--I went to high school here in the city at St. Ignatius--substituted at ICA in the past. I grew up in the city so I always knew about ICA and how it was a great school with a really wonderful mission and a lot of really talented, intelligent young women. Things kind of lined up really well for me to be able to step in for Ms. Hoffman for this final quarter.


bottom of page