Meet the new teachers


Mr. Scott Higdon

New and returning faculty met their counterparts for the first time on August 11, 2022, where they exchanged plans for the coming year.

Big changes are afoot on the Hill this year. Seven new faces join us this year, including Dr. Kristen Besinque, Ms. Marina Francis, Dr. William Hambleton, Mr. Eric McGee, Dr. Olanna Mills and Mr. Chad Ribordy. There is also one teacher returning to the Hill after five years, Ms. Beth Bauer-Capocci. Teachers and Tologs alike are looking forward to seeing what they bring to their classrooms at FSH. With the new collection of versatile and seasoned faculty, expectations are high.

What are you looking forward to this school year? 

“Halloween. I can’t wait to see what the science department comes up with and how Sister Celeste, the legend, is going to dress up,” said Dr. Besinque, French Teacher.

“I think what I’m looking forward to most is getting to know the student body a little better, and the culture here,” said Mr. Ribordy, Religious Studies Teacher. “I am also a big fan of theater, so I’m looking forward to the musicals, and hope to catch a couple of sporting events too.”

“I think, being new, I’m looking forward to seeing the whole cycle. I’ve been in schools a long time, and you see the way they do different things around holidays and celebrations. I’m looking forward to all the seasons here and the way that Tologs celebrate each one,” said Dr. Hambleton, Religious Studies Teacher.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

“Ever since high school, I wanted to be a teacher,” said Mr. McGee, Social Studies Teacher. “I’ve always loved history and wanted to be a teacher. When I was a freshman — I’m a graduate of Cal State Fullerton — I was a member of the Freshman Future Teachers Club. All of us wanted to be teachers, and I really enjoyed being a part of that club. I observed high school classes starting when I was eighteen years old.”

“I decided to teach because I had some professors and teachers that were just so amazing, inspiring and wonderful. I saw what they could do and what they could be, and they inspired me to follow their path,” said Mrs. Bauer-Capocci, Math Teacher.

“After college, I did a year of volunteer work in Brooklyn, New York. I spent a year at an inner-city parish, and my main job there was working in youth ministry. They had a whole program for high school students, and I really loved being with them… It inspired me to step into the classroom,” said Mr. Ribordy.

What is your favorite unit/topic to teach?

“Algebra I in general is my favorite, that’s why when the position turned up I asked: ‘Could I please teach Algebra I?’. But as for what topic in Algebra I, I’m not sure I have an answer to that,” said Mrs. Bauer-Capocci.

“I really like the New Testament,” said Ms. Francis ‘18, Religious Studies Teacher. “I think the Gospels are fascinating, the differences between them, and looking at the historical influences of the different authors and how it influenced how they wrote the story. I also like early Christianity, as well, and how the practice transitioned from what we see in the text into the actual practice of religion, the early practices when it was just little communities scattered across Rome.” 

“I love teaching about the Constitution, and how the Articles of Confederation were an act of failure, but there’s so many aspects of history,” said Mr. McGee. “My area of specialization in college was the United States since WWII, and I love teaching about civil rights in this country, and how a lot of areas of history don’t even get taught when we’re younger. A lot of people are only taught in high school until WWI or WWII, and I love teaching more recent history. I love teaching the 1920s, that’s a fascinating era, and when they banned alcohol and then gangsters had all the power in this country, and then they had to repeal that ban because of all the crime.”

Why did you choose to teach at FSHA?

“It was an obvious choice for me. I applied to a couple different schools, but this was always my top choice of where I would want to work because I loved my time here, and it was always my top priority,” said Ms. Francis.

“I always have felt like I chose to work here, but they also chose me,” said Dr. Besinque. “It was like a mutual decision, which is the most beautiful relationship in life when you both choose each other.”

“I have been in Catholic education a long time and for a while, I was in all-boys schools. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on single-gender education models, and I started working in all-boys schools. I think when my own daughter was born I felt a real draw toward strong female educational models, so I transitioned, and I was the head of a couple of all-girls Catholic schools,” said Dr. Hambleton. “This last year when I decided I wanted to teach, I was really looking for the kind of place where I would want my daughter to go to school and this checked all the boxes for me, so I ended up coming here.” 

What is your favorite aspect of FSHA?

“The supportive community, and the faculty and administration, and literally just the location. It’s so calming to be able to take a second outside and look around where we are,” said Ms. Bauer Capocci. “How can you have a rough day when you’re here? You have that ability to look outside and take a breath of fresh air, and see the beauties of nature around us.”

“There are so many things. I love coming to a place and looking out across the vastness of this city and how beautiful the campus is. The students are so kind, and I love that it’s young women. I really am so happy to be with groups of young women who are discovering their journeys. So yeah, my favorite aspect is teaching young women. As a woman it is so important to me, to empower, lift up, and just kind of promote this environment. The food– great. The people here, love them. Everybody’s so kind, that’s been really good. I could go on forever about the things that are my favorite here,” said Dr. Besinque.

“Definitely the students. I think they’re bright, they’re engaging and they’re just enjoyable to be around. Definitely, the people here are the highlight for sure,” said Dr. Hambleton.

What advice would you give students? 

“I’d say respect,” said Ms. Francis. “Not just for your friends, people in class and teachers, but also respect for yourself and allowing yourself to know that you’re growing, you’re getting the hang of things still, taking time for yourself and not being too hard on yourself because high school is a learning period. Respect yourself, make time for yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself.”

“To just be yourself and to always have confidence in your abilities, and slay– that’s my favorite phrase,” said Mr. McGee.

“We live in kind of this hurried world, and we don’t give a lot of space for the silences in our life. We’re always rushing from one thing to the next, and so, whenever the opportunity presents itself, appreciate the silence, appreciate the quiet, appreciate the rest. I think it really helps to focus less,” said Mr. Ribordy.