Meet the Staff

Dr. Janet "Barbara" Cummings

Executive Director & Substitute Music Teacher

Dr. Janet (Barbara) Cummings was born and raised in San Francisco, where she attended Lutheran and Catholic schools. She became an Orthodox Christian in 2006. She and her children currently attend St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Reno, Nevada. However, Janet considers Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Scottsdale, Arizona to be her home away from home, as she learned of the Orthodox faith and was Chrismated there.

Janet has spent considerable time in academia. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-med (with a minor in Genetics/Molecular Biology) and Linguistics (with a Classical Languages minor). She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Linguistics, with a Psycholinguistics emphasis, before deciding to earn a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University, which she completed in 1992. During her Bachelor and Master’s studies, Janet taught English as a Second Language.

While at Wright State University, Janet was awarded the university president’s annual Presidents Commendation, the first to be earned by a graduate student in psychology. In 2007, she was named Wright State University’s Alumna of the Year.

Janet has supervised over 60 mental health practitioners, many of whom were involved in faith-based counseling. Under her direction, the faith-based counseling center where she functioned as a supervisor earned a national reputation for excellence.

For two years, Janet served as the Clinical Director for a Christian substance abuse treatment program for children and adolescents.

In 2010, Janet and her two children moved from Scottsdale, Arizona to Reno, Nevada in order to be close to her parents and the headquarters of The Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Foundation, for which she has served as President since its inception in 1995. Under Janet’s direction, The Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Foundation has flourished and has funded a number of worthy projects in integrated healthcare.

Janet is the author of over two dozen journal articles and book chapters, and she has co-authored or co-edited ten books. She served as adjunct professor for both the University of Nevada, Reno and The Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, MO. She was Co-founding Associate Director of the Doctor of Behavioral Health Program at Arizona State University, and served as a Professor and Co-founding Sponsor until 2014 when she decided to move the DBH Program to a different venue. She then formed The Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies, an independent online college, where she teaches Pathophysiology, Psychopharmacology, Neuropathophysiology, and Behavioral Interventions for Medical Settings.

Janet has started and successfully run a number of businesses, including a sewing business, two non-profit behavioral health foundations, an online college, and a psychological practice. She sees these endeavors as preparation for eventually starting St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian Academy, where she works as the unsalaried Executive Director.

Janet no longer has hobbies, because, as she says, ” There aren’t enough hours in a day. ” Of the many jobs that she has held, she considers motherhood to be the most important and the most rewarding. Janet is also substituting our music program from Mrs. Denny as she’s on family leave.

Ms. Jennifer Shlicoff-Holsworth

Academy Administrator 

Jennifer Shlicoff-Holsworth joined our team in December 2018 as our Administrator.  Jennifer is a college graduate (Psychology Major) and came to us with extensive business experience from her previous jobs in management, website administrator/design, and customer service.  More recently, she started a business that she successfully ran for several years and was not only featured in countless different news media outlets but she also received many awards.

Jennifer is very skilled in all aspects of computer software used for business management and has proven herself highly capable of managing our social media, website, staff as well as bookkeeping.  She took it upon herself to “rebrand” the Academy, and our beautiful new letterhead and PowerPoint templates are just some of her excellent work.  She has brought much-needed organization to our Administrative Office, and keeps it running smoothly and efficiently. Furthermore, she is now our Field Studies Biology 2 teacher where she teaches our students (alongside Father Paul) equine biology.

Jennifer’s native language is English, but she is able to converse in both Spanish and Russian, as well.  She loves animals and proudly takes care of our new mini horses used for our Biology2  class as well as several extracurricular equine classes. Jennifer has a lively and engaging personality and is loved by everyone at St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy.  She is a very hard worker, passionate and always looking around for additional tasks that she can take on.

Jennifer’s son Nikolai was baptized and chrismated into the Holy Orthodox faith in June of 2019, and Jennifer was chrismated the following November.  She chose to be named after St. Xenia (of St. Petersburg).  Nikolai is, of course, named after the Academy’s patron saint, St. Nicholas.  His Russian name reflects his mother’s Russian heritage.  Our Executive Director, Barbara, is godmother to both Jennifer and Nikolai.

Father Paul Zuñiga


Father Paul Zuñiga is a priest of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Father Paul was born in 1968 in Los Angeles, California, where he frequented St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral throughout the seventies and eighties. He was brought into the Orthodox Faith by Rev. Father John Hondros at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle.

His academic education includes a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts from University of San Diego and subsequent coursework in computer science at EHU-UPV University in the Basque Country (Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain). He completed his theological studies under the mentorship of Stavrophore-Archpriest Joan Garcia at Instituci de Teologia Ortodoxa Sant Gregori Palam’s (Barcelona), in partnership with Institut St.-Serge (Paris).

Father Paul has returned to the United States after fifteen years of pastoral service in the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of France, as priest of missionary parishes: in Bilbao (2012-2017); in Irun (2008-2016); in Errenteria (2002-2008). He is the past director of Doxolog a Byzantine Music Association of Gipuzkoa (Spain; 2002-2017), overseeing its icon painting instructional programs in two locations. He most recently held a position teaching church history at Fundaci Ortodoxia (Barcelona), where he led the implementation of an interactive, web-based, distance learning platform employed by the Serbian Diocese of France for theological training of clergy candidates and on-going clergy formation in Spanish, Catalonian and Portuguese.

Father Paul’s professional endeavors in secular education include experience as: head of studies for two campuses of W.S.I. San Sebastian, S.L. (Spain); teacher of English and Writing and Composition since 2002; and consulting editor of scholarly works for publication in English by faculty of the EHU-UPV philosophy and mechanical engineering departments.

Father Paul is able to serve the Divine Liturgy in six languages: English, Spanish, Basque, Greek, Romanian, and Church Slavonic. He enjoys teaching these liturgical languages to our students.

Father Paul and his wife, Amaya, were married in 1995 and have three children. He currently serves as chaplain of St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy, under the omophorion of Metropolitan Ilia of Philomelion Father Paul and his family attend St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Reno, Nevada, where he assists the proistamenos, Father Stephen Karcher, during Divine Liturgies.

Ila Mishra


Licensed Teacher- State of Nevada

Hello! My name is Ila Mishra. I was born in India and came to the United States when I was a toddler. I have been teaching for the past 25 years. Prior to teaching in Nevada, I began my career as an educator in Illinois and Iowa.

I received my undergraduate degree (B.Ed) from Saint Ambrose University located in Iowa. After teaching for a few years, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Education and Interdisciplinary Studies from Western Illinois University.

My educational philosophy is to support each student in being academically successful. I strongly believe that as an educator, I have the opportunity to motivate and encourage all students to achieve. Teaching is my passion, and I am delighted to be a part of SNOA’s staff.

During my spare time, I enjoy reading/participating in book clubs, cooking, and spending time with my son and two dogs.

Mr. Eneko Zuñiga

High School Teacher’s Aide

Born in Seattle, Washington, Eneko Zuniga is a second-year student at Western Nevada College in Carson City, pursuing a science degree. Growing up in the Basque Country, he most recently attended the EHU-UPV University (Donostia-San Sebastin, Spain). His interests include soccer, rowing and fencing. He has recently been promoted to a high school teacher at the Academy. He also engages the students in soccer and other athletic activities during recesses. In fact, Eneko leads our P.E. program and has taught our student’s several sports, including fencing!

Mr. Jacob Neef

Middle School Teacher’s Aide

A native Nevadan, Mr. Jacob Neef is a university student pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. Jacob comes from a family of teachers and has been involved in everything from after school programs (like 21st Century) to traditional classroom operations.

In his spare time, Jacob enjoys a variety of things including outdoor activities, movies, music and animals.

Emily Tiehm

Elementary Teacher’s Aide

Born in Lodi, California, Ms. Emily Tiehm moved to Carson City, Nevada at the age of 10. Since, she has completed her high school education and went on to begin her studies of Elementary Education at Western Nevada College. She spent two and a half years working the City of Carson’s Latchkey program and also worked for Division of Child and Family Services. She also recently assisted in opening an In-Home Daycare located in Carson City.

After the school day, Emily loves to go to some of the local race tracks with her family. Emily’s family has been involved in dirt track racing her entire life. She also enjoys painting, curling up with a good book, or catching a good movie at the theater. She is the aunt to 8 nieces and nephews and spends her free time with them playing board games and doing crafts.

Kaitlin Howard

Teacher’s Aide

My name is Kaitlin Howard. I was born in Washoe Valley but spent many years in Incline Village, NV where I graduated with an honors diploma from Incline High School. I attended the University of Nevada, Reno and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. After college, I completed an Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL) program and I am currently pursuing my teaching license.

I have a deep passion for learning and education, which is why I am so honored to be a part of the team at St. Nicholas. I look forward each day to making a difference in our community and helping to shape young minds.

In my free time, I enjoy being in the outdoors and doing activities such as hiking and rock climbing. I also love to read and spend time with my pets, Bella and Sweetie.

Mrs. Mary Denny

Extracurricular Music Teacher

We are fortunate to have Ms. Mary Denny as our piano and voice teacher for these extracurricular activities.  Mary is a proficient piano player, and has trained under some top vocal instructors, including Richard Lee (formerly a star performer with the San Francisco Opera).  When she isn’t teaching music, Mary is busy taking care of her twin babies and going to college online with a business major and music minor.

Kent Geiser

Maintenance and Administration Assistant

Kent Geiser is one of our High School students, who has been a student at St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy since we opened.  Kent is excellent with technology, including coding.  In fact, several years ago, he did much of the coding on our online learning platform.  Kent started helping Jennifer with our website, and his help was so valuable that we decided to hire him part time.  When Kent isn’t doing his school work or coding, he enjoys building elaborate Lego structures, playing video games, and playing with his German Shepherd.



Rodent Control Officers

Our music teacher, Mary Denny, made a trip to the humane society and fell in love with Perlix as a kitten. Since Gordi needed a apprentice, Mary decided to make a decision and adopt the adorable creature. Besides, there was no way that Mary was going to leave without Perlix, so St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy gained a second mouser to work under Gordi’s direction. Both Gordi and Perlix love people and enjoy being around our students during the day. When students and staff go home for the evening, Gordi and Perlix begin the hunt!

Yophie and Carly

Grass/Weed Control Officers and Biology Class Specimens

Yophie and his mini horse wife Carly are a adorable mini horse couple whose job is to keep the grass and weeds under control on our acreage. They are very friendly, and especially love being around our students. Both mini’s have been great volunteers for our children to get hands-on learning during the field study of this course.

Our students are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity for hands-on experience with these 2 amazing mini horses that are housed in a private stable facility right next door to the school!

Photos from the Academy

St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy
16255 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89521

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St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy is operated as an exempt school under the provision of NRS 394.211 and as such is exempt from the provisions of the Private Elementary and Secondary Authorization Act.
Our curriculum, exclusive of religious instruction, provides equivalent instruction of the kind and amount approved by the State Board of Education (NRS 392.070, 394.125, 394.130, NAC 389 Standards).

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