Sarah Lay, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Lay holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Spanish from Sonoma State University where she also served as a Lab Research Technician and Supplemental Instructor, consulting to create study materials for college level physics course. Ms. Lay is a Naturalist, leading educational environmental courses and camp activities. Sarah has taught Kindergarten as well as Special Education for Grades 4 through 6.
Penny Buchignani, TK Assistant Teacher
Ms. Buchignani studied Early Childhood and Psychology at College of Marin and has been a Preschool Teacher for over 20 years in a variety of settings, large and small schools.
Nettie Faville, Class Teacher, Kindergarten / Grade One
Ms. Faville studied Early Childhood Education at College of Marin and has spent more than 30 years teaching preschool and kindergarten. Beyond the early childhood years, Nettie has extensive experience teaching and developing curriculum for older students that support children in academics, creative arts and social skills. Ms. Faville was the owner and program director of Kinder Nest, a private on-campus aftercare program serving 90 families with children aged kindergarten through fifth grade. As a lifelong educator, she is always contributing to the well-being of children and providing a developmentally appropriate environment that allows each child to succeed.
Monica Gonzalez, Class Teacher, Grade Two
Ms. Gonzalez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Spanish from UC Santa Barbara, and completing her Master of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. Monica has been a Program Supervisor at Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), teaching classes in Cooking, Science, Math, Computers, Dance, Reading, Arts, and Life Skills. She has also taught math and language arts skills classes, served as student aide, and substitute teacher.
Catherine Cresalia holds a degree from California Polytechnic State University where she majored in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration and raced in the 2010 Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals for Cal Poly! Ms. Cresalia has studied Universal Design for Learning methodology and the Making Math Real curriculum, has worked as a baker, crab boat deckhand and operations officer for food and environmental non-profits before coming to teaching. Catherine is a nature enthusiast, loves to cook and bake, is currently writing a book for highly sensitive children and is learning to play the mandolin.
Rod Septka, Class Teacher, Grade Four and Five
Mr. Septka holds a Bachelor of Arts, Theater Arts from Moorhead State University, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University, Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing from Mills College, a California Preliminary Administration Credential, and Certificate of Global Competence from Teachers College Columbia University. He was Marin County Teacher of the Year in 2004 and was appointed by Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Education to the Advisory Board of California Global Education Project. Rod has been a public and private school classroom teacher, literacy coach, global education coordinator/coach, school district education leader, and Bay Area Writing Project Teacher Consultant at University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. Collins studied music at UC Santa Cruz and College of Marin and has been teaching private guitar, piano, bass, and ukulele lessons for 30 years in the Bay Area, and served as musical director for student vocal workshops. Chris is a touring musician, playing guitar and keyboard for Super Diamond, the Neil Diamond Tribute. His original compositions, recordings and productions have been credited in feature films (David Fincher’s Gone Girl), international ad campaigns (Coca-Cola, IKEA , Adidas) and international recording artists (Journey’s Neal Schon, Talking Heads’ David Byrne “True Stories”) Chris has performed for numerous international live acts such as Neal Schon’s Journey Through Time, Big Brother and The Holding Company and Shana Morrison.
Alan Gulick, Movement / PE Teacher, Track and Field, Cross Country, Ping Pong and Golf Coach
Mr. Gulick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Physical Education) from Sonoma State University, and CBEST Certified California Basic Education Skills Test (Math, English, and Writing), along with a California Youth Soccer Organization National ‘D’ Coaching Certificate, a ITTF Level 1 Certified Coach with the International Table Tennis Federation. Alan has taught PE in grades K-5, facilitated Ropes Course, and coached K-12 soccer, badminton, and table tennis. In addition to coaching and teaching, he has USATT Master Level Rating and worked as a Professional ping pong player putting on exhibition matches, tournaments and for kids or corporate events. Alan lives with his family in a rural setting where he built their home and among the latest sports he enjoys are fishing and dirt bikes.
Rachel Rubinstein, Director of Education; Fine Arts and Practical Arts Teacher.
Ms. Rubinstein holds a Bachelors Degree in Women and Gender studies from the University of Redlands and her Masters Degree in Humanities at Dominican University of California where her culminating project was the development of curriculum for adolescent girls coming of age. Rachel has been a TK/Kindergarten teacher, Grades One and Two class teacher and taught Music, Arts and Handwork. She also created Girls Time, a class for middle school girls. Rachel has completed extensive professional development training in Making Math Real, SIPPS Language Arts, Being a Reader, Being a Writer, Curriculum Development and Student Assessments, and is a trained Mindfulness Educator. Ms. Rubinstein is a birth doula and certified yoga teacher and founder of Rise Parenting – A resource for parents: before kids, during pregnancy, and through the elementary years. Rachel enjoys travel, yoga, camping and rock climbing.
Ms. Verange holds a degree in Landscape Architecture from University of Oregon, and studied at UCLA and UC Berkeley, before pursuing special studies at the Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico while she lived and worked in Central and South America. Sylvia founded Tutoring for Success in 1986 and has been teaching in all subjects from Algebra to Latin to SAT prep for primarily middle and high school students. Ms. Verange was awarded ‘Best Educator in Marin’ in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022! Sylvia is also an accomplished artist, Verange Arts, presenting solo and group exhibitions since 1991.
In 1984, Sylvia Verange set off on a 500 mile journey across the Himalayas of Nepal. Hiking through the breathtaking scenery, remote mountain villages, and treacherous conditions, Verange’s book Two Breaths, One Step lays out both a historical snapshot of the region, as well as an epic travelogue of a once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Dr. Moutray received her Ph.D. and Masters in Philosophy and Religion from California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Oklahoma State University. Dr. Moutray served as lecturer at Santa Clara University, and continues to be the Aquatics Program Manager at the Boys & Girls Club in San Francisco. Throughout her career Claudia has been an Associate Producer and Editor for ABC News, Content and Video producer for local television, and worked as Administrative Assistant in UCSF Sports medicine clinic.
Ms. Slocum holds a Certificate in Financial Technology from UC Berkeley, and a BA in Mathematics from Mills College in Oakland, CA. She also has an Airframe and Powerplant License. Ms. Slocum has served as Head of Math Department & Teacher at the middle and high school level, worked as an aircraft mechanic for emergency helicopter and airplane fleet at Reach Air Medical Services and managed a ground crew at an Arbor and Property management company.
Ms. Harvey holds a Bachelors in English Literature from Whittier College, and currently serves as Chief Operations Officer of Neighborhood Garden Initiative, a nonprofit providing sustainable gardens for neighborhoods and schools. She has been a Special Education Instructional Assistant and Kindergarten Assistant in the local elementary schools for over 10 years and worked as Lead Outdoor Instructor at summer camps.
Stephanie Purcell, Admin Support and Library Manager
Ms. Purcell holds a Bachelor Degree in Sociology from Sonoma State University. She has worked as office manager for large tech firms, finance companies and tutoring companies. Stephanie also teaches chess and spin cycling in the community.