Dr. Janet "Barbara" Cummings
Dr. Janet (Barbara) Cummings was born and raised in San Francisco. She became a Christian in young adulthood and 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. She still serves as the Chairman of Assumption’s Prayer Ministry.
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) from the University of California, Davis. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Linguistics, with a Psycholinguistics emphasis, from the University of Texas at Arlington 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’s and Master’s studies, Janet taught English as a Second Language.
Janet received her second doctoral degree, an Honorary Doctor of Behavioral Health degree, in January of 2020.
While at Wright State University, Janet was awarded the university president’s annual President’s 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 served as President since its inception in 1995 until 2019. Under Janet’s direction, The Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Foundation flourished and 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 (DBH) 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, Neuropathophysiology, and Psychopharmacology.
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 enjoys working 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. She is enjoying her twin grandchildren, who were born in October of 2019, and looks forward to the birth of her third grandchild in March of 2021.
Janet is currently serving as our substitute piano and voice instructor while Mrs. Mary Denny is away on maternity leave.
Ms. Jennifer Shlicoff-Holsworth
Associate Director and 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 Biology 2 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.
Mr. Kent Geiser
Director of Information Technology
Kent Geiser is one of our graduates, 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.
Mrs. Mary Denny
Secretary & Special Subjects Teacher
We are fortunate to have Ms. Mary Denny as our piano, voice, equine, and art teacher. She is a recent graduate of online college, earning her Business Degree with a minor in Music Education in 2021. This makes her uniquely suited to both teach her special subjects, as well as help in the office when needed. 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). She has also received several Music and Art awards at the national level. Mary has also taken over the management of our social media and marketing. When she isn’t teaching at the school, Mary is busy taking care of her three babies and going to college online pursuing her Masters Degree.
Mr. Eneko Zuñiga
Middle/High School Teacher
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. Daniel Combo
State of Nevada Licensed Head Teacher
National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
Hello! I am originally from Montana. I graduated from the University of Montana (Go Griz!) with a B.S. in Business Administration and Certification in Business Education. Not long after I received a master’s degree in Educational Technology at the University of San Francisco. I spent my professional career teaching high school in Fallon, Nevada. I have a passion for teaching and utilizing technology in the process of learning. I am adept at Adobe and Microsoft Applications. Digital media is an engaging science and I enjoy sharing this passion with my students. I am a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technology Education. I am an avid photographer. I’m excited to be here at St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy.
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.
Mrs. Halie Zimmerman
Hello! My name is Halie Zimmerman, and I will be your child’s teacher this year at Saint Nicholas. I am almost a Nevada native (-2 years), and graduated from UNR with my teaching degree with my dear husband. After teaching for a few years in Las Vegas, I became a stay at home, homeschool mom. I have been homeschooling for the last 12 years. I have 3 children myself, 2 of which are also attending Saint Nicholas. You might see me and my family at Saint Anthony’s Orthodox Church, or on the football and soccer fields.
I enjoy reading, cooking, camping, and gardening, although I am not very successful at gardening. We have chickens, rabbits, dogs, and cats who rule the house. I am very excited to get back into the classroom and teach your children this year, and look forward to meeting you in person next week!
Elementary Teacher’s Aide
Presvytera Olga grew up mostly in Santa Cruz County, California. She graduated from high school, having served as yearbook editor for 2 years. She was also active in community theater and as a member of the Homecoming Court. She went to St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology following high school for a year and then continued both at Cabrillo College and San Jose State University with a major in Sociology. During college, she met Stephen Karcher, and a couple of years later they were married and starting their large family. They moved to Thessaloniki, Greece, where Stephen attended Aristotle University and pursued a graduate degree in Pastoral Theology. Olga immersed herself in the culture, language, and rich spiritual life in Greece. She and her husband cherished their time in Greece, and after 5 years and 2 more kids born there, Olga was sad to leave her new home and cried all the way back to America. Stephen has then ordained a priest and their family moved between homes in San Francisco and the San Diego area. Two more kids were born, rounding out their family to 7 children total. Olga loves her family and has seen most of her kids move out of the house, except for the youngest two, including Joey, who attends St. Nicholas Orthodox Academy. We consider Olga to be the quintessential Presvytera, as she is also the daughter, sister, and sister-in-law of priests. She is delighted that one of her sons is studying to be a priest. The church calendar of fasts and feasts is integral to her life. She enjoys being a grandmother and loves to landscape and garden, read, draw, and travel, especially back to Greece! For the past few years, she has served as the Secretary on the Executive Board of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Sisterhood of Presvyteres.
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!