Meet Our Staff

Despina Hrousis


Mrs. Hrousis has been the Director of the Academy for 8 years. Before that she was a very active member of the school as a parent with her 3 children who are all proud graduates! Mrs. Hrousis went to Moravian College and spent many years in the classroom with the BASD before taking on an administrative position here.  She and her family are active members of St. Nicholas Cathedral and Annunciation Orthodox Church in Easton.  Mrs. Hrousis loves when the students draw pictures for her and proudly displays them on her desk and walls! She believes every child is unique and beautiful and strives to create a loving environment for them to be successful! 


Carmen Saemmer


Mrs. Saemmer has been the St. Nicholas Academy Kindergarten teacher for 17 years!  Through her days she has had a daughter graduate and has a son in the 4 year old program.  Mrs. Saemmer went to Bloomsburg University and Moravian College.  She spends most of her free time running her daughter and son to their various activities like dance and baseball!  Mrs. Saemmer loves when her students are excited to learn and appreciates when parents can see how much their kids have grown through the year! 

Amanda Lewis


Miss Amanda is the Pre-K 4s teacher and is teaching at SNA for her 7th year! A graduate of Penn State LV, she has 2 boys who are involved in swimming and cycling.  They are all Eagles and Phillies fans and enjoy trying out new recipes to share while watching games with family and friends. Miss Amanda says her favorite part of teaching is watching a student understand a new concept! It is never boring watching a little mind grow! She loves when parents recommend her class and SNA to other parents because it means their children are truly loving their preschool experience. 

Eleftheria Kapsalis


Mrs. Kapsalis, a graduate of St. John’s University, is in her 3rd year at the Academy.  This year she is teaching one of our PreK 4s classes!  When she isn’t running around after her 3 boys, you can find her in the kitchen baking.  She has been known to show up with a batch of still warm cookies for the teachers to get their day started!  Mrs. Kapsalis loves when her students are listening to a lesson because she can see them learning!  Mrs. Kapsalis has a laugh that makes other people laugh, too and brings joy to every room she enters. 

Melissa White


Miss Melissa is in her 3rd year at the Academy and has taken over as 3 year old teacher.  A graduate of Temple, she has strong Philly ties and loves her Phillies and Eagles! Her two children keep her quite busy.  She especially loves helping her son with baseball since she is a great softball player herself.  Miss Melissa also goes to the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade every year as a New Year's Day tradition! Miss Melissa loves to see her students smiling!  And she believes one of the keys to their success is when parents are involved with the school!  

Joanna Athanasiou


Miss Joanna is in her 6th year of teaching at the Academy.  She is also a life long member of the St. Nicholas Community and has two daughters who both attended the Academy. A graduate of Kutztown University, Miss Joanna is known for her musical parades through the halls of the school! She loves when the parents of her students get involved in the school and it makes her day to see her students happy and having fun in class! She knows that for her 2 year old friends their first experience at school is very important!  

Aggeliki Gentis


Mrs. Gentis is in her 10th year of teaching the PreSchool 2s at St. Nicholas.  In addition to all her 2 year old friends she has three children of her own, the youngest of which still attends the Academy. Mrs. Gentis is a graduate of Moravian College.  A lifelong member of St. Nicholas Cathedral, she is very involved in all aspects of the church.  She loves when she hears her students enjoy coming to school and the best part of her day is being greeted with hugs and smiles! In her spare time she and her children enjoy going to Chocolate World at Hershey Park! 

Carmen Hodson


Miss Carmen is the newest member of our St. Nicholas Academy family! She has two boys, one currently at the Academy, and she loves to paint!  She is enjoying her time with the students, especially when she helps them accomplish a goal! She loves getting hugs from the kids.  Miss Carmen lived in Italy for 3 years before coming to the United States and has many stories to share from her adventures abroad! Please join us in offering her a warm welcome to the Academy! 

Julia Marques


Miss Julia is in her 6th year as a PreK 4s assistant.  A University of Pittsburgh grad, she has a daughter who is an Academy alum. They enjoy training for obstacle races and fun runs together.  During football season you'll find her cheering for her Pitt Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers! Miss Julia has a Frenchie, Max, and shares silly stories about him to make the kids laugh!  She loves seeing how each student grows and learns from September through May! She is happiest when the Academy Families participate in the Walk for Education-hint hint!

Aggeliki Sitaras


Miss Aggeliki has been with SNA for 4 years.  She not only assists in the 3 year old room, she is our Greek teacher as well.  The kids love when she comes in to do her lessons and they are very eager to learn and please her!  She is also a favorite among the teachers because she knows where everything is.  If we can’t find something, we just ask her. What a memory she has!  Miss Aggeliki became Mrs. Aggeliki this summer at her beautiful wedding in Chios, Greece!

Eva Condoulis


Miss Eva is in her 3rd year of helping out our awesome PreSchool 3’s!  She has three St. Nicholas Academy graduates of her own who keep her very busy! Miss Eva is a graduate of Moravian College and is an avid runner.  She completed the Greek Fest 5K last year and is looking forward to doing it again this year.  Miss Eva is always up for an adventure and even took a helicopter ride over a volcano in Hawaii! She hopes her students all feel excited to come to school and learn.  She loves it when parents tell her their child loves school! 

Mayda Rivera


Miss Mayda has been working at the Academy for 6 years!  When she isn’t here helping out the 2 year old friends, she is busy with her two boys or cheering for the Dallas Cowboys!  Miss Mayda loves when her students sing songs to her.  She also tries to get all her students to like purple as their favorite color, too! Her former students now in the 3 and 4 year old programs still color her purple pictures to take home! In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her family and friends and cheering on her son at football!

Elise Quintana


Miss Elise is in her 3rd year with St. Nicholas Academy.  This year she teamed up with Mrs. Saemmer in Kindergarten!  Miss Elise is very busy at home, too because she has two children of her own.  Her older daughter is a  graduate of SNA and her little one is still here at the Academy!  Did you know that Miss Elise has lived in 5 different states?  We are so happy she chose to stay in Pennsylvania! As a traveler of the country, Miss Elise attended college at the University of New Mexico.  Her favorite part of the day is when she gets a hug from a student. When she has a few free minutes she loves to read a good book and hopes to pass on a love of reading to her students! 

Fr. Nicholas Palis


Since 2006, Fr. Nicholas Palis has been our beloved spiritual pastor at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral and spiritual advisor to the Academy.  After graduating from high school, he attended Hellenic College in Brookline, MA. After graduation, he went to Greece on vacation and ended up enrolling in the Aristotelian School of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, from which he graduated in 1983.  While in Greece, Fr. Nick was informed by Orthodox elders that it was his calling to return to America and tell people about Orthodoxy, monasticism and the saints. Fr. Nick and Pres. Irene were married on Sunday September 27, 1987 and have been blessed with five beautiful children. Father has always believed in the importance of instructing the children about their faith and loves sharing  stories about the saints lives and encouraging the children to learn from their examples. 

Fr. Alexandros Petrides


Fr. Alexandros Petrides joined the St. Nicholas Community in Bethlehem on June 1, 2013.  He grew up in Stroudsburg, PA, and remembers visiting St. Nicholas as a youth to participate in its many ministries.  After graduating from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Minor in Engineering Leadership Development, Fr. Alexey followed his call to serve Christ, and shifted his focus from water resources to "living water," placing his trust in Christ's words that "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:38)  He and Pres. Stephanie were married in 2010, and have three sons.  Fr. Alexey conducts weekly spiritual lessons with our students and leads our morning prayers every day. The children love when Father comes to visit, especially because he tells the best jokes! 

Despina Kotsatos


Despina, or Miss Deb, as the kids call her, is the Parish Secretary. She is always happy to see the kids and offer them kind words.  She is often the first face you see when you enter the school and is alway willing to help out! Miss Deb is also special to the Academy as she has a grandson who is in the 3 year old program! 

Abe Sabbagh


Mr. Abe is the custodian at the church and school and is always ready to lend a hand.  He pops in our classrooms daily to offer assistance and is ready to fix anything we ask him to.  Mr. Abe is definitely a student favorite and they are always happy to see him and say hello!