The de Saisset is fortunate to have a committed group of California History Docents who are our resident history buffs on all things related to Mission Santa Clara's past. Having each undergone extensive training, our docents serve as an important resource for the community, leading informative and interactive tours of the museum's permanent California History exhibition, Mission Santa Clara de Asís, and the Mission Gardens.
Pat Alves joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History docent in 2006 because of her love of history, her desire to work with children, and her personal connection to the area. Pat has lived in Santa Clara Valley her whole life. She attended Santa Clara schools, graduating from Santa Clara High School in 1953. She married at age 21 and later had three children. As a grandmother of two, Pat returned to school and graduated from De Anza College in 1995 with a degree in Liberal Arts. Pat enjoys reading, working in her garden, and ballroom dancing. She also likes to travel and is particularly interested in Amsterdam, a city she finds to be welcoming and rich with art and history. Pat's favorite part of the de Saisset's California History Docent program is the curiosity of the kids—she never ceases to be amazed at the questions they ask.
Lois Anderson, Catala Club Liaison
Lois Anderson has been a docent at the de Saisset Museum since 2007. She joined the program because it creates great opportunities for her to interact with people who enjoy being around children, art, and California History. She also loves Santa Clara University, which she finds to be an amazing and stimulating place. Lois has two grown daughters and has been a hair dresser for thirty years. Her favorite hobbies include horseback riding, reading (her favorite book is Siddhartha by Herman Hesse), golf, painting, and traveling. Her favorite things about the California History Docent tour include the permanent exhibition at the de Saisset, watching the children's eyes light up when they first see Mission Santa Clara, and showing them the old Adobe wall.
Shirley Blaker, Docent Emeritus
Shirley Blaker has been part of the California History Docent Program since 2004. She likes to travel and to discover how people live in other parts of the world. She enjoys trying new foods and taking part in events that are unique to a particular culture. She also finds that seeing the art and architecture of a country is a wonderful way to experience it. She has been fortunate to visit many countries in the world—among her favorite trips are hiking in Bhutan, Myanmar, and Mongolia. Shirley is an avid reader, whose bookshelves overflow with great reads. She loves to share the Touching Cart with the children on the California History tour since it gets the students more personally involved since they are able to physically handle the artifacts.
Mary Braley joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012. She grew up in Santa Clara and is now very involved with Santa Clara University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The docent program presents an opportunity for her to combine her experience working with children and teaching history with her desire to give back to the community and continue enhancing her own learning. Though born in San Francisco, Mary grew up during the "orchard years" in Santa Clara on her paternal grandparents' ranch. She attended San Jose State University and upon graduation began her career as an educator, which lasted 41 exciting years. She has two sons and five grandchildren. Mary is an experienced traveler who has visited 39 countries! She enjoys gardening, reading, concerts, plays, playing bridge, and spending as much time as possible with her grandkids and friends. Mary finds giving tours very rewarding; she especially likes talking with the children and leading them through Mission Santa Clara and the Touching Cart.
Marion Bratton, Co-Secretary
Marion Bratton came to the docent program in 2000 because she was looking for an opportunity to volunteer in the community. She feels honored to be a part of the docent group because she has a chance to learn about herself and to appreciate the art and objects she sees. Marion moved to the Bay Area from Oregon, where she taught elementary school. After having her two children, she changed careers and ended up working in the computer industry. She continued to delight in raising her kids and now has three wonderful grandchildren. Her hobbies include sewing, crafts, and baking. She loves to travel, especially to Venice, Italy, where she enjoys the art and deep-seeded history of the city. Marion loves every aspect of giving California History tours. She says the people she meets as a docent "enrich me, they challenge me and enrich my life!"
Laura Brickman, Docent Emeritus
Laura Brickman has been giving docent tours at the de Saisset since 1983. She first joined the program because of her interest in art and California history. Prior to volunteering as a docent, Laura worked as a business woman and was co-owner of Santa Clara Aircraft, Inc. Following her retirement, she returned to school to earn a B.A. in Art History. She also took up creative art and ceramic pottery. Laura enjoys reading The Ohlone Way by Malcolm Margolin because of the descriptive way he describes the life of the Ohlone Indians. Her favorite part of the California History tour is the comments and questions she receives from the students.
Carmen Blake, Docent Emeritus
Carmen Burke joined the California History Docent program in 1994. She was born in Guatemala City. After high school, she wanted to perfect her English and moved to Boston where she worked as a bi-lingual secretary for a large corporation while attending college. Carmen later moved to New York, San Francisco, and finally San Jose. She retired from Foothill College in 1993, and joined the California History Docent program the following year. Her hobbies include water color painting, taking French classes, and traveling. Carmen's favorite destinations are Italy, Turkey, Toronto, and Washington D.C. among other places. Her favorite part of the California History tour is the Touching Cart because the children really enjoy touching everything connected with the life of the Ohlone Indians.
Rosanne Cortese-Compitello joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012. She was attracted to the program because of her interest in art and local history and her passion for helping educate children, which she gained as a Girl Scout leader and as a coach to her daughter's academic decathlon team. Rosanne was born and raised in San Jose, where she grew up on her grandfather's cherry and apricot orchards. She attended Notre Dame High School and Santa Clara University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Art and an M.A. in Counseling. She spent 22 years working in Human Resources in the Bay Area. Her favorite place to relax is Starbucks with a cappuccino and a good book. She enjoys sharing the history of the Ohlone and Mission Santa Clara with her tour groups since her own family's history is rooted here as well.
Patricia Enfantino-Toschi, Docent Emeritus
Patricia Enfantino-Toschi joined the docent program in 1994 because she was looking for an opportunity to get involved with the community. She is a retired nurse, who has five children, eighteen grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Patricia loves to work in her garden and has been a Master Gardener for 11 years. She enjoys the outdoors, including snow shoeing, hiking, and biking. Patricia also likes to travel. Some of her favorite destinations include Italy and Tanzania on African Safari. She says the most enjoyable part of giving tours at the de Saisset is the children who keep her on her toes with their great questions!
Julie Ferrario, Docent Emeritus
Julie Ferrario entered the docent program in 2008 after her friend and neighbor Julie Tomlin, a long time California History docent, invited her to join. Julie Ferrario found the program to be the perfect fit for her because she loves working with children and learning about local history. Julie is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, where she earned a degree in developmental psychology and obtained her teaching credential. A former 6th grade teacher, Julie is a full-time mother of two boys. She has been an active volunteer in her sons' schools, serving as Art Docent Coordinator for seven years. Julie is an avid painter, who teaches students out of her home. She loves to travel, especially to Europe. She is fascinated by archaeology and enjoys learning about the latest discoveries around campus from the University Archaeologist. It brings history to life for her!
Diane Gatto, Program Director
Diane Gatto joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012. As a 4th grade teacher, she brought her classes to the de Saisset for California History tours. Her students were always mesmerized by the enthusiasm and stories told by their tour guides and she pledged to become a docent upon her retirement. Diane was born and raised in Santa Clara and SCU holds a special place in her heart. After graduating from San Jose State University, she taught elementary school and then became a mentor for new teachers. Diane is an avid reader and loves traveling and exploring new places. Her favorite destinations include Vietnam, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Budapest, and many places around the U.S. She finds the curiosity and enthusiasm for learning that children display to be the most rewarding part of volunteering as a docent.
Marciel Ingraham, Docent Emeritus
Marciel Ingraham came to the docent program in 2005 because of her strong interest in California history. She attended San Jose State University before pursuing a career in advertising. Outside of work, Marciel loves to play tennis. She has also served as a docent at the Coyote Point Museum, given tours of the tide pools in Half Moon Bay, and provided hiking tours in San Bruno. Her favorite book is The Piano Teacher: A Novel by Janice Y.K. Lee. Marciel also enjoys traveling to Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. She enjoys sharing the Touching Cart with her tour groups because it engages the senses through sight, sound, and touch.
Rosanna Kennedy joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012 because of her love for history, her desire to connect with the community, and her commitment to helping educate and enrich the lives of the next generation. Rosanna spent many years working in the dynamic business software field in Silicon Valley. She also worked at the local non-profit, Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT). She has Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science, as well as a Master's in American and modern European History. Her favorite part of the California History tour is being able to show students real objects and structures from the past. She believes this greatly enriches and supplements their classroom learning experience.
Victoria Lance, Emeritus Docent
A retired middle school librarian and substitute teacher, Vicki Lance joined the California History Docents in 2004. She was looking for a volunteer position that would allow her to learn about art and history, work with young students, and meet new people; the de Saisset's program was the perfect fit. Vicki graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English and later completed a Master's in the subject at San Jose State University. She is the mother of two and has been actively involved in her community. She has traveled to England, Scotland, and Paris and hopes to return someday soon. She also dreams of visiting Italy in the near future. Her favorite part of the docent tour is the beautiful Santa Clara Mission. She also enjoys seeing her fellow docents at the monthly meetings and on tour days.
Sue Matthias, Docent Chair
Sue Matthias began volunteering as a docent in 2007. She joined the program because it provided her with opportunities to work with children, to learn about and share her knowledge of California history, and to have fun! Prior to becoming a docent, Sue taught elementary school and worked as a programmer for 35 years. She is a talented piano player and now plays at Nordstrom in Valley Fair and in Palo Alto once a week. She can also be found playing piano at Filoli and other venues around the area. Her hobbies include reading, knitting, walking, and spending time with her children and four grandchildren. Her absolute favorite color is purple, or "rupple" as she says. Giving tours provides an interesting, fun, and sometimes challenging experience, which Sue enjoys. She says you never know what "gems" the students will ask or say.
Vicky Nanawa, Field Trip Director
Vicky Nanawa joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012. She was drawn to the program because Mission Santa Clara and the University have been an important part of her life. She was born in San Jose and attended Santa Clara University, where she enjoyed studying history. After graduating from SCU, she attended the University of San Francisco where she earned her teaching credential. She taught 4th grade for two years before the birth of her three children. She later returned to elementary education with a part-time position in the Santa Clara Unified school district. She is an avid reader and counts Ordeal by Hunger, the story of the Donner party's trip from Missouri to California, among her favorites. Vicky's favorite aspect of being a docent is sharing her love of history with young students.
Carol Reber, Co-Secretary
Carol Reber joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012. She has lived in the shadow of the missions, first in San Francisco where she was born and now in Santa Clara, where she lives and serves as a choir member. She majored in Theology and English with a minor in fine arts. Carol has experience teaching in local private elementary schools. She also has worked as a family counselor at O'Connor Hospital and has been involved with the development of housing for homeless families and persons with disabilities in Santa Clara County. She enjoys meditative reading, cooking, Zumba, writing, and fabric art. One of her favorite travel destinations is Jerusalem, where she met her husband on pilgrimage. She is thrilled that her role as a docent allows her to pass on oral history traditions, from adult to child, in much the same way as the Ohlone once did.
Betty Ross, who has been involved with SCU since 1963, began volunteering as a California History Docent in 2004. She came to the program because of her love of history. Betty graduated from SCU in 1967 with a degree in Sociology and later returned to the University to earn her Master's in Marriage and Family Counseling. She served as a social worker for 37 years, working with children and the elderly. Her favorite hobby is photography and she enjoys traveling to New England in the fall to photograph the beauty of the changing seasons. Betty enjoys sharing the Touching Cart, the Adobe Wall, and the Mission with the students because they can touch history and it becomes more real for them. She also likes to give tours to adult groups because they keep her on her toes with their great questions.
Carolyn Schmidt, Tour Director
Carolyn Schmidt came to the California History Docent program in 2007, shortly after retiring from teaching. She was attracted to the program because she thought it would provide a great opportunity to expand her horizons while continuing to use the skills she had developed as an educator. She holds a B.A. from San Jose State University and an M.A. and Teaching Credential in Special Education from Santa Clara University. She is also the mother of two. Carolyn enjoys learning about other cultures and likes to share her knowledge of the Ohlone Indians with her tour groups. She enjoys working with people, especially 3rd and 4th graders, and students with disabilities.
Maureen Standifer, Docent Emeritus
Maureen became a California History docent in 2004 after being in the classroom, where she taught K-12 for many years. Born and raised in San Jose, Maureen has a deep connection to the Santa Clara Valley and has been an active member of the community for years. She enjoys gardening, traveling, photography, baking, and cooking. The highlight of the California History tour for Maureen is the chapel of St. Francis, as it represents so well what the earliest days of Mission history were like. She finds that giving tours is a rewarding experience because she is able to share her knowledge of the history of Mission Santa Clara de Asís with others. It also brings back memories from her childhood and the stories her father shared of his days as a student at the University during the 1930's.
Spike Standifer, Docent Emeritus
Spike Standifer has been a docent at the de Saisset since 1992. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Gonzaga University and took classes in SCU's former Paralegal Program. He retired from the Santa Clara County Transit District. His favorite book is Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Greg Boyle, S.J. He enjoys cruising and traveling to Hawaii. He is a spectator sports enthusiast and a fan of history, trains, and genealogy. Spike likes the California History Docent program because it enables him to learn new and important facts about the area in which he lives. He also finds it to be a great way to pass the legacy and history of Mission Santa Clara on to others.
Maureen Susino joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012 because the program represented an opportunity to blend her interests in art, architecture, and history with her passion for teaching. Maureen was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she earned her B.A. at Loyola Marymount University. She then moved north to study at Santa Clara University, where she graduated with a Master's in Education. Recently retired, Maureen taught Advance Placement Art History, Studio Art, and Special Education at local schools for 35 years. In her spare time, Maureen enjoys making art in various media, ranging from clay to watercolor to metals and jewelry. She likes to explore the back roads of small towns and cities both here and abroad. Though she enjoys eating at a nice restaurant, she loves a great burger, a slice of pizza, or a satisfying dish of pasta. Maureen loves to see the enthusiasm of the children on her tours as they begin to make "real world" connections with the past. She especially likes to talk to the groups about the statues, paintings, and devotional objects in the Mission Church.
Julie Tomlin, Docent Emeritus
Julie Tomlin has volunteered as a California History Docent since 1995. She initially joined the program because she wanted to work with children, foster her love of California history, and volunteer at a museum. She finds the ongoing educational aspect of being a docent rewarding and enjoys learning more and more about the settling of California. Julie holds a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley and an Elementary Teaching Credential from St. Mary's College. She loves the book The Madonnas of Lenningrad: A Novel by Debra Dean, which tells the story of a docent who helped save precious collections during World War II. Her favorite part of the California History tour is showing the students the beautiful Mission and surrounding grounds. She is delighted when she can excite the children about the history of the area.
Ida Tonelli, Docent Emeritus
Ida Tonelli joined the de Saisset Museum docent program more than twenty years ago because of her love for children and art. Ida has been an active volunteer in the community for many years and formerly served as a docent at St. Joseph's Cathedral. In addition to volunteering, Ida loves to garden, read, and travel. Her favorite destination is Italy, with its rich history and beautiful art. The best parts of being a docent in Ida's opinion are being with the 4th graders, learning about the art, and working with the wonderful staff and docents at the Museum.
Marge Verga, Docent Emeritus
Bob Welker, Docent Emeritus
Bob Welker joined California History Docent program in 2007. A graduate of Bellarmine High School in San Jose, Bob attended Santa Clara University and San Jose State University before joining his family business, Welker Brothers. Bob became an owner of the business in 1954 and worked there until his retirement. His hobbies include golf and exercise. He also volunteers to read to 100 first graders once a month. Bob loves to listen to books on his iPod and to eat home-cooked meals with his wife. Though he likes all aspects of giving the California History tour, he most enjoys presenting the slide show overview to the students and introducing them to the tour.
Janet Wright joined the de Saisset Museum as a California History Docent in 2012. She was attracted to the program because of her love of the history of Santa Clara University and her experience as a teacher. Janet holds a degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master's in Education and Administration from San Jose State University. She taught in local schools for forty years, serving as a classroom teacher, elementary school principal, and a mentor to new teachers through the Silicon Valley New Teacher Project. Janet loves to travel and counts Hawaii and Ireland among her favorite destinations. She enjoys sharing the Touching Cart with students and loves that the groups get to see such a variety of things on their tours.