Fourth Grade

Barbara Lacy

Hello, My name is Barbara Lacy. I have been a teacher with the Downey Unified School District for 15 years. I have taught first, fifth, and I am currently teaching fourth grade at Old River Elementary School. I received my teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach. I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I also love to knit and crochet.

Ms. Avina

Mrs. Kissell

Hi, my name is Mrs. Casey Kissell.  I am an alumni of the Downey school system and now I have been a teacher in the Downey Unified School District for 14 years.  6 of those years have been here at Old River teaching 4th grade.  It is important for me help create an environment where we all feel respected and equal; an environment where we are free to take risks, be silly, and embrace our true selves as well as the authenticity of others.   When I am not teaching, I am with my husband and two children. I have a love for the outdoors and all things nature.  I appreciate music, and I love sports (watching and playing). I truly love anything active especially dancing.

Mrs. Garcia

Hello. My name is Griselda Garcia. I have been a member of the Downey Unified School district for over 16 years. I have taught kindergarten, second, and third grade. I am now a fourth grade teacher at Old River School. I am proud to call myself a Gator! I obtained my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Cal State Dominguez Hills. My favorite past time is spending time with my children and curling up with a good book.

Miss Hertzmann

Miss Neill

Hello! My name is Kirsten Neill. I have been a 4th grade teacher at Old River Elementary School since 2015. I am a Long Beach State alumni with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies and a multi subject teaching credential. While at CSULB I also competed as a member on the cross country and track and field teams. Currently, I am working towards a Master’s Degree in Technology in Education through Cal State Fullerton. Teaching is my passion and I truly believe our students at ORS deserve the best! My promise is to provide my students with the best possible instruction to support their needs in order for them to become future ready. When I am not teaching I enjoy spending my free with family and friends, traveling to tropical destinations, or watching my favorite sports teams!

Mrs. Rivas

My name is Wendy Rivas. I have taught in Downey Unified School District for the past 13 years. This is my 8th year at Old River Elementary School teaching 4th Grade. Prior to teaching at Old River, I worked at Williams Elementary School teaching Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade. I graduated from California State University, Fullerton with my Bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Studies. While getting my credential, I worked as a 1:1 instructional assistant with a child with special needs. After graduating from college I went on to get my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at California State University, Fullerton. In my free time, I love spending time with my wonderful husband and two small children, Kaelyn and Cameron. I absolutely love my job! Teaching has been a dream of mine since I was a young child. I love that I get to live my dream each and every day!

Gerise Viramontes

Hello! My name is Gerise Viramontes. Before coming to Old River School, I taught third grade for seven years. I started at ORS as a Reading Interventionist in 2015. Happily, this will be my second year teaching fourth grade amongst a group of talented teachers.

I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Language and Literacy in 2005. I returned to CSULB for my credential in 2007. Teachers never stop learning and pursuing their goals. In 2013, I completed my Masters in Education.

I wholeheartedly love teaching and working with my students. Nonetheless, in my spare time I enjoy supporting my husband, Eduardo, at Spartan races, adding ideas to my Pinterest boards, traveling, and baking.

Samantha Vanden Berge

Hello! My name is Samantha Vanden Berge and this is my second year at Old River. I was educated through the Downey school district and I love working for the district that I grew up in. I received my Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA where I was on the UCLA swim team (GO BRUINS!). I also lived in Hawaii for three years where I received my Masters degree from Hawaii Pacific University. My goal as an educator is to ensure the success of each student by providing them with a positive and challenging learning environment that guides and inspires them in realizing their individual potential. GO GATORS!!

Tayler Weiland

My name is Tayler Weiland. I have been at Old River for only one year, but previously taught at Ward in 3rd grade, along with other districts. I have taught kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade. I am excited to be apart of the Old River Family. I have 3 children; ages 8, 11, and 17. I consider my students to be part of my family and I want them to grow not only academically but emotionally and physically as well. “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.” -Albert Einstein.