Staff

Administrators

Cassandra Bridge

Executive Director

Cassandra holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University and has a wide variety of experience as a manager and educator. She was educated and has worked in Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. She is currently pursuing her Juris Doctorate and Master’s in Legal Studies. Her administrative experience includes working with the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet as the Program and Personnel Manager providing college-level courses on board ships and submarines. As the MBCS Board Chair she was instrumental in securing the school’s charter and obtaining a $400K Charter School Implementation Grant in 2006. She became the school’s Executive Director in 2008. Her daughter is an MBCS Alumnus (2013) and her son is in 8th grade.

Jessica Guzzi

Director

Jessica Guzzi has been a teacher and teacher leader for 20 years in traditional and alternative educational programs. Her career in education began the same year MBCS opened in 1998. Before teaching elementary she taught in the field of early childhood education for 12+ years as a Master Teacher in California and Pennsylvania. In 2012, Jessica graduated from Chico State University with a double credential in English and Multiple Subjects. She recently completed her master’s degree at Brandman University. Locally, she worked in Salinas for two years teaching 6th and 3rd grade and Bay View Academy for four years as a 3rd grade teacher.

Jessica and her husband are transplants from Pennsylvania. Mr. Guzzi is a teacher in Carmel. They moved here from the mountains near Truckee with their 3 children about 7 years ago. The Guzzi family loves the natural beauty of the peninsula! Jessica is new to Waldorf education and knows she would have loved to be a Waldorf student because of her interests in folk tales of the world, eco-literacy, fiber arts, drawing, sewing, puppetry, gardening, herbal medicine, and singing.

Managers

Kim King

Business Manager

Kim brings over 10 years experience working in a school administrative setting, over 30 years experience in business management and a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Santa Clara. She recently comes from Bay View Academy Charter School in Monterey where she served as it’s inaugural Office Manager for 4 years. Kim has also worked in retail sales, banking, food service, medical offices, and ran her own small business. Kim has also been an active volunteer at many local organizations. Kim is 4th generation born and raised in Monterey. Kim enjoys time with her family and friends, reading, and exploring our local history and beautiful environment.

Candace Villarta

Communications & Development Manager

Candace Villarta was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula. She is the mother of four children, three of which attend Monterey Bay Charter School. Candace attended San Jose State University as a hospitality management major and graduated from Humboldt State with a BA in Organizational Leadership. Candace is working towards her Certified Fundraiser Executive Certification while also obtaining a master’s degree in Leadership and Nonprofit Management from Arizona State University. Candace has served as the MBCS Parent Circle Chair for the last three years and as a member of the MBCS Development Team and Foundation Board. In the last five years, she has helped plan numerous MBCS school events and fundraisers. She plans to incorporate her extensive background in hospitality, special events and fundraising to help Monterey Bay Charter School build community relationships and achieve new levels of fundraising success.

Perla De La Torre

Office Manager

Perla was born and raised in Salinas and attended Hartnell Community College. She worked for the Monterey County Office of Education as an Instructional Assistant in the Special Education Department, which she found rewarding. Perla completed a certified nursing program and worked with the elderly and with children and adults with disabilities. She loves working with children and families making their day better. Perla enjoys the outdoors, hiking, yoga, traveling and spending time with her husband and family.

Staff

Faculty

Lisa Wespiser

Rosemary Kindergarten Teacher

Lisa Wespiser

Rosemary Kindergarten Teacher

Lisa is passionate about serving the community through public education. She joined the Waldorf movement as a parent over twenty years ago. Since then she has journeyed through the grades, immersed herself in early childhood, and worked in school administration. The magic and joy of working with children and parents has been a highlight in her life. In her free time, Lisa loves to explore the great outdoors with her loved ones and her dog Fergus, work with her hands, or curl up with a good book in front of the fire.

Lisa earned her Waldorf teaching certificate at the Center for Educational Renewal. She also holds an Administrative Services Credential and a Multiple Subjects CLAD Credential. She is trained in Kim John Payne’s Three Streams of Student Support and early literacy development. She earned her undergraduate degree in French from Santa Clara University.

Email: l.wespiser@mbcharterschool.org

Malia Rives Smith

Lavender Kindergarten Teacher

Malia Rives Smith

Lavender Kindergarten Teacher

Malia Rives Smith has been working in the field of education since 1997, and in 2015 found her love in the Waldorf Kindergarten. “I look forward to continuing the beautiful and sensible system that is Waldorf and combining it with all that I love about teaching Kindergarten-age children. I believe that Early Childhood education is profoundly important as a foundation for life, and I have a deep reverence for maintaining the magic and wonder that is a part of the Kindergarten years.”

Malia earned her B.A. in Fine Art from Humboldt State University, MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder and holds her Waldorf Early Childhood Education certification from Rudolf Steiner College. Some of her passions include international travel, bike touring, sculpting with wool, metalsmithing, enameling, and ceramics. She was trained as a ballet dancer for over two decades, and has been practicing yoga and meditation since 1997.

Email: m.rivessmith@mbcharterschool.org

JoAnn Holbrook

Morning Glory Kindergarten Teacher

JoAnn Holbrook

Morning Glory Kindergarten Teacher

Jo Ann earned her B.A. and Clear California Teaching Credential from CSU Chico and her Waldorf Kindergarten Teaching Certificate from Rudolf Steiner College. Mrs. Holbrook has been involved with Waldorf education on the Monterey Peninsula since 1986. Her roles and jobs have included parent, After School Care Director, Kindergarten Teacher, Kindergarten Mentor, and Substitute. She has also chaired and been a member of a variety of school councils and committees including the MBCS Governing Board.

Email: j.holbrook@mbcharterschool.org

Jazmin Ventura

First Grade Teacher

Jazmin Ventura

First Grade Teacher

Jazmin grew up in Los Angeles, earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University, her M.A. in creative writing from UC Davis and attended the Waldorf Institute of Southern California. She served on the Highland Hall Waldorf School faculty for over ten years and worked as a third grade dual language Title I teacher at an IB charter school in Lubbock, Texas.
Jazmin was a member of the summer faculty at Rudolf Steiner College and, most recently, graduated her eighth grade class at Live Oak Waldorf School in Meadow Vista, CA. She is the recipient of a creative Fulbright and is co-publisher of LettersAt3AMPress with her husband, Michael.

Nicolle Frazee

First Grade Teacher

Nicolle Frazee

First Grade Teacher

Nicolle is a passionate educator and artist with over 30 years of experience empowering, inspiring, and educating young learners. She comes to us from Highland Hall Waldorf School in Los Angeles, where she taught 1st and 2nd grades.

Nicolle completed her Waldorf Teacher training at the Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene (WTEE) program in Oregon. Prior to that she earned her teaching credential and BA from Concordia University in Irvine, California.

Nicolle is a lover of art, the sea, vegan food and all life, especially animals. She volunteered at a marine mammal center for two years rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing seals and sea lions in Laguna Beach. Nicolle is thrilled to relocate to the Monterey Peninsula among an abundance of marine life, sprawling seascapes, and in a community that values Waldorf Education. Nicolle is mom to Eden, who lives and teaches in the bay area and has two cats, Buddha and Freyja.

Anne Wyatt

Second Grade Teacher

Anne Wyatt

Second Grade Teacher

Info TBA

Giulie Garland

Second Grade Teacher

Giulie Garland

Second Grade Teacher

Giulie received a B.A. from Union University, a California Teaching Credential, and a Waldorf Teaching certificate from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. Giulie was MBCS’ Office Manager for ten years when the school first opened in 1998. For many years she taught needle felting, clay modeling and beeswax modeling to the children of the school. In 2008, she left the office job at the heart of the school to become the heart of her own first grade class. Giulie has been married 30 years and has three grown daughters, two of whom graduated from MBCS. She also enjoys two grandsons, organizes workshops for educators and sings with I Cantori Choir. She serves as a faculty representative on the school’s governing board.

Email: g.garland@mbcharterschool.org

Janaka Stagnaro

Third Grade Teacher

Janaka Stagnaro

Third Grade Teacher

Janaka has been a Waldorf teacher for over 20 years. He has taught in private, charter and public Waldorf schools, including teaching at MBCS over 12 years ago. Janaka credits his Waldorf training in fostering his talents in storytelling, art, drama and music. He is the author of five books for adults and three for children and youth. His Peace Corps service in Cameroon, West Africa, and subsequent world travels and studies has given him an appreciation for world cultures and religions. He says he is a fun-damentalist, that is, if he is not having fun in the classroom, most likely the children are not either. Education is an adventure of world and self-discovery. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and his son, Aiden (13) in Carmel Village, having just returned to the Peninsula.

Email: j.stagnaro@mbcharterschool.org

Jennifer Naccarrato

Third Grade Teacher

Jennifer Naccarrato

Third Grade Teacher

Jennifer Naccarato received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Kindergarten Endorsement from Ball State University, Muncie, In. Upon graduation she worked as a long-term substitute teacher in third and sixth grades. In 2001, Jenn married Vince, a Naval Aviator. This began 17 years of many adventures and moves. Most notably was 3 years overseas in Atsugi, Japan. She had the opportunity to use her love of early literacy to teach English to Japanese children and adults. She most enjoyed teaching English to sixth grade Japanese students at the local Japanese Junior High School.

Jenn’s first experience with Waldorf Education came in the fall of 2012. Vince received orders to attend Naval Postgraduate School. Their son, Dominick joined Ms. Weaver in his 4th grade year. Jenn and her family became smitten with the education, musical and theater opportunities that were offered to Dominick. The family was blessed to receive military orders that would keep the family here in Monterey. Her youngest son, Jack joined MBCS in the 1st grade. Jack is now in the 4th grade. Jenn loved Waldorf Education so much that she became an Aide for the First Grade. Jenn spent 3 years in the classroom learning all she could while working alongside 3 lovely, talented, and knowledgeable teachers. When not teaching, she enjoys hiking, trips to the beach, knitting, watching baseball, and spending time with her family. Vince is now retired from the Navy and working with Northrop Grumman. Jenn, Vince, and the boys live in Seaside.

Email: j.naccarrato@mbcharterschool.org

Joy Scarola

Fourth Grade Teacher

Joy Scarola

Fourth Grade Teacher

Joy is originally from Southern California and has recently made the move up to Monterey. She earned a BA in Economics with a minor in Italian at the University of California, Los Angeles. She also completed a portion of her undergraduate coursework at the University of Bocconi in Italy. Joy worked in finance after college before taking time off to travel. While traveling it became clear that she was drawn to the world of learning and education. She realized she could potentially impact students in the same way the world and her experiences with its many people and cultures had impacted her. She has been a substitute teacher for the past three years and is currently working towards her Masters in Education through Brandman University. Joy also works for Adventures by Disney as an adventure guide during the summer months. She enjoys traveling, the outdoors, hiking, reading, scuba diving, and finding new adventures.

Jeanette Mogensen

Fourth Grade Teacher

Jeanette Mogensen

Fourth Grade Teacher

Jeanette was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Monterey two years ago with her husband along with their spunky dog and shy cat. She attended California State University, Fullerton earning a B.S. in child development/elementary education, a multiple subjects teaching credential, and a M.S. in curriculum and instruction. From Azusa Pacific University, she earned an education specialists credential in mild to moderate learning disabilities as well as a G.A.T.E. certification from her prior school district in Anaheim. Jeanette knew from a young age she wanted to be a teacher and she is excited to start her eleventh year teaching at MBCS! Her hobbies include enjoying activities in nature, cooking, trying new things, and most importantly; spending time with family.

Dru Milligan

Fifth Grade Teacher

Dru Milligan

Fifth Grade Teacher

Dru Milligan is looking forward to becoming a part of the MBCS community! Dru received her BA in Liberal Studies with a minor in Jewish Studies and a concentration in Spanish. She attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. While studying at LMU, she completed her multiple subjects teaching credential. Dru spent her last semester at LMU teaching third grade in Los Angeles, which was a wonderful experience that confirmed her passion and love for teaching. During her studies, Dru also lived abroad in Spain to help fine-tune her Spanish speaking abilities. Dru would then travel various times with colleagues to experience vastly different cultures and histories: spending time in Poland, researching in Germany, and studying world religions in Israel. After graduation, Dru worked as a substitute teacher in the Monterey area. She then became a long-term substitute in a SPED Transition Kindergarten classroom in Marina, California. Dru loves to travel, loves the outdoors, and loves to experience new cultures and adventures.

Natalie Croft

Fifth Grade Teacher

Natalie Croft

Fifth Grade Teacher

Through teaching, Natalie Croft inspires students to thirst for knowledge through creativity. She is very excited about her move to Monterey Bay Charter School from Carmel Unified, where she was the head teacher at the Cachagua Children’s Center. She also taught 2nd grade, ELD, preschool, sewing, photography and mixed media arts in Carmel. With a credential from Cal State Teach and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, she teaches her students how to observe the world around them through activities and lessons that promote curiosity. Mrs. Croft is looking forward to blending her passion for the arts and education together as a Waldorf educator. Through a Waldorf approach, her goal is to give students the skills and tools they need to achieve academic success and become confident members of their community.

Mrs. Croft lives in Carmel Valley with her husband Rusty Croft and their three children. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Croft has a passion for learning anything and everything in the science realm. It is quite possible, that is if you run into Mrs. Croft outside of school, you will find her looking down. That’s because she is fascinated with geology, which has turned her into a bit of a rock hound. On the weekend she also enjoys making art with her sculptor husband, crafting with her girls and reading astrophysics books. Yes, she likes the outer space realm too…even her cat’s name is Jupiter.

Gelavij Myrold

Sixth Grade Teacher

Gelavij Myrold

Sixth Grade Teacher

Mrs. Gelavij Myrold is the holder of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education (Concentration: Mathematics) from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota. Gelavij has several years of teaching experience in diverse and dynamic public and independent elementary school settings. Before MBCS, she taught 4th Grade at All Saints’ Day School. Gelavij has also taught Preschool, 2nd and 5th grades, and has engaged in extensive professional development throughout her career. She has also worked with families to provide support in the areas of health & nutrition education, parenting skills, psychosocial, and mental health. Gelavij’s spouse is the Director of Tennis at Carmel Valley Ranch, and she is mom to two children, both of whom attend Monterey Bay Charter School.

Email: g.myrold@mbcharterschool.org

Sneha Kolar

Sixth Grade Teacher

Sneha Kolar

Sixth Grade Teacher

Miss Kolar received her B.A. in Liberal Studies and a minor in Hearing Impaired from San Jose State and a teaching credential from CSUMB. In addition, she holds a Masters from the University of Phoenix in Curriculum and Instruction and another M.A. in Computers in Education. She has 17 years teaching experience at Carmel Unified School District and 3 years at Robert Louis Stevenson School in Carmel. Miss Kolar loves handwork such as stitchery as well as hiking, scuba diving, traveling.

Email: s.kolar@mbcharterschool.org

Aaron Joseph

Seventh Grade Teacher

Aaron Joseph

Seventh Grade Teacher

Aaron earned his B.A. in Religious Studies (2002) and his M.Ed. and teaching credentials from UCSB (2007) and has been working in the field of education since 2002. He has taught nearly every grade from K-12, in addition to ESL for youth and adults. Aaron met Waldorf Education as a new parent and soon found that it aligned with his core beliefs about what nourishes children and makes for joyful learning. All of his four children have attended MBCS and other independent Waldorf schools.

Aaron joined the MBCS faculty in 2014 and took a class from 1st-4th grade. He then taught in the Kindergarten for two years, and is happy to be rejoining his previous class in 7th grade. Outside the classroom, Aaron focuses on meditation, the arts, nature and parenting. He is also a certified teacher of Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), a powerful training that integrates Eastern contemplative practice with the Western science of emotion.

Email: a.joseph@mbcharterschool.org

Sharon Love

Seventh Grade Teacher

Sharon Tiner

Seventh Grade Teacher

Sharon Tiner is a passionate and caring sixth grade teacher who earned both her BA in Liberal Studies and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University. In 2010 Ms. Love went on to earn her GATE Certification. Ms. Love has taught in both private and public schools for the last ten years before coming to MBCS. Ms. Tiner is the loving mother of two wonderful children and five amazing grandchildren. She loves spending time at the beach, traveling to faraway places, and cooking for the love of her life.

Jamie Allaire

Eighth Grade Teacher

Jamie Allaire

Eighth Grade Teacher

Jamie Lynn Allaire is a 7th grade teacher who is committed to student success both inside the classroom and in life. Inspired to enhance professional learning through teacher story-telling and hands-on classroom experiences, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. Jamie taught 3rd grade at Gannett Peak Elementary in Lander, Wyoming for five years, and 6th grade at Walter Colton Middle School here on the Monterey Peninsula. This is her ninth year teaching, and she is happy to be a part of the Monterey Bay Charter School team!

Aaron Vasquez

Eighth Grade Teacher

Aaron Vasquez

Eighth Grade Teacher

Aaron moved back to the Monterey Bay Peninsula to raise his family in 2018. After graduating from Pacific Grove High School, he studied rhetoric at UC Berkeley and graduated in 2000. Starting in 2001, he embarked on his journey as a classroom teacher. Thrilled by the opportunity to share his passion for literature and communication, he has been driven by this calling ever since. Aaron earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Santa Clara University to further hone his craft. He has taught in a variety of school settings over the years, from large public high schools to small independent private schools–mostly in the San Jose area. He is excited for the opportunity to teach at Monterey Bay Charter School.

As a newer parent, Aaron found himself reading a variety of parenting books during those long sleepless nights. It turned out that he was consistently drawn to the concepts and notions that he read in “Waldorf-inspired” books. He is certainly looking forward to teaching in a program that fits with his own beliefs so well.

Faculty

Subject Teachers

Anastasia Eichorn

First Grade Subject Teacher

Anastasia Eichorn

First Grade Subject Teacher

Anastasia is grateful to be a part of a Waldorf-inspired school here on the Monterey peninsula! As a child, she attended the Waldorf School of Santa Barbara and has carried a love of music, art, and creative learning with her through the years. She was raised in a farming family in the coastal town of Carpinteria, California, and has spent the past decade studying, teaching, and playing in San Francisco. Anastasia earned her BA in both Environmental Studies and Spanish at the University of San Francisco and was inspired by the urban farming and school garden movement. For two years she worked with Education Outside and lead the gardening program at Bret Harte Elementary School in the Bayview neighborhood. For the past three years, she taught gardening at the San Francisco Waldorf School and attended the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training.

When Anastasia isn’t teaching at MBCS, you can find her painting, gardening, surfing, writing songs, or hiking the local trails.

Email: a.eichorn@mbcharterschool.org

Lili Blalock

Subject Teacher: Handwork

Lili Blalock

Subject Teacher: Handwork

Lili has been teaching Handwork at MBCS since 2000 and a volunteer in Waldorf handwork classes since 1990. Her handwork experience began as a child with sewing and knitting and progressed to include spinning and weaving. Lili’s hand spun, hand-woven rugs and saddle blankets have received Best of Show awards at local fairs. She began working on her Waldorf Foundation and Special Subject teacher training at Rudolf Steiner in 2008 and has B.A. in Music from the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught piano lessons since 1980 and performed with many soloists and chamber groups.

Email: l.blalock@mbcharterschool.org

Nicole Brophy

Subject Teacher: Math Intervention

Nicole Brophy

Subject Teacher: Math Intervention

Nicole is a wife of a retired Naval Aviator and mother of two beautiful boys. Nicole and her family moved to the Monterey Peninsula after her husband retired from the Navy, so that her children could have a few years living near their grandparents and extended family before they left the nest. After 13 moves in 20 years of marriage, Nicole is finally settled and ready to grow deep roots.

Nicole has over 20 years of experience in education and no interest in stopping: from teaching and tutoring, from Montessori preschool to community college, from home room mom to wrestling team mom. Being an integral part of developing children into independent, compassionate, and curious human beings is her passion.

Nicole attended UC Berkeley where she earned a BA in Mathematics, a minor in Early Childhood Education, her Single Subject Teaching Credential, and a MA in Math Education. She could talk math all day and is always on the lookout for good (or bad) math jokes. She loves to hike, play in her garden, scuba dive, and run. She is always up for an adventure, especially when it comes to traveling or learning something new.

Robert Ballard

Subject Teacher: Wood Working, Games

Robert Ballard

Subject Teacher: Wood Working, Games

TBA

Robert Ballard supports the Upper Grades Games and is also a Special Education Math Intervention Teacher at the Monterey Bay Charter School.

Email: r.ballard@mbcharterschool.org

Steve Vaden

Subject Teacher: Blacksmithing

Steve Vaden

Subject Teacher: Blacksmithing

TBA

Karen Shihadeh

Subject Teacher: Garden Coordinator

Karen Shihadeh

Subject Teacher: Garden Coordinator

Karen Shihadeh has a BS in Biology and Anthropology and Masters work in lichenology and fungal ecology. She spent 20 years as a terrestrial field biologist studying birds, mammals and plants eventually coming to the Central Coast to manage the Big Sur Ornithology Lab and a myriad of other coastal conservation projects, including the Monarch Butterfly Recovery Program. She was introduced to Rudolf Steiner’s teachings and biodynamics while working and living on a Demeter-certified farming community in rural Missouri growing medicinal plants for seed in 1999. She has considerable experience teaching in various capacities for all ages: as a naturalist guide, a workshop leader, mentoring college students in biological inventory, and in the classroom. In addition to working for MBCS, Karen also leads a Tinkergarten program in Salinas, engaging children 18 months- 8 years in creative outdoor play; acts as the youth program director and teacher for the Center for Spiritual Awakening where she is also certified Practitioner and in her 4th year of the ministerial program; is the Brownie leader for Girl Scout Troop 32140; and a homeschooling mom of 2. Her passion is storytelling and the power of metaphor to heal. Recently, she completed a 2-year mentorship with master storyteller Nancy Mellon and intensive training with healing storyteller, Susan Perrow. Story is the fabric from which we are all woven, and she uses storytelling in every aspect of her work and life. Karen is delighted and grateful to bring to life the garden and all its wonders to the 3rd graders of MBCS anchoring and connecting them deeply with nature to gently support them as they move through this important childhood stage.

Stefanie Hazdovac

Subject Teacher: Lower Grades Games

Stefanie Hazdovac

Subject Teacher: Lower Grades Games

Originally from Southern California, Ms Hazdovac worked many years in her family’s multi-restaurant business while raising her children and attending school. After relocating to the Monterey Peninsula, Ms Hazdovac was employed as an administrative classified employee at the local high school. Soon realizing her enjoyment of working with students, she resumed her education in pursuing the qualifications needed to earn her teaching credential in vocational education. In her 10+years working with high school and adult students, Ms. Haz is proud of her career in vocational eduction, Human Resources and work skills experience, matching many students with local employers in job placement. It was after becoming a grandparent that she made the switch to working with younger students at the K-8 level as well as looking for a school that would fit the needs of her own grandchildren. 5 years ago Ms. Hazdovac was able to make that leap of faith and joined the MBCS family where she can continue working in the educational field while sharing her passion for fitness with her students in Games class.

In addition, Ms. Hazdovac previously held the position of aftercare coordinator at the PG campus and most recently Athletic director.
Ms. Hazdovac holds a clear California vocational teaching credential w/ CLAD. Her many fitness qualifications include, certified group fitness, personal training and Kids in Motion. “KAY” certified child’s yoga, “Dancepl3y” children’s fitness as well as a certified licensed Zumba instructor.

Email: s.hazdovac@mbcharterschool.org

Mauricio Lopez

Subject Teacher: Upper Grades Games

Mauricio Lopez

Subject Teacher: Upper Grades Games

Mauricio began working at MBCS in 2012 and attends California State University Monterey Bay, majoring in Environmental Studies. Originally from Guatemala, Mauricio has lived in the U.S. for 10 years. His interests include backpacking, soccer, and riding bikes.

Email: m.lopez@mbcharterschool.org

Michael Blackburn

Subject Teacher: Singing

Michael Blackburn

Subject Teacher: Singing

Michael has played music since the age of four and has been giving private lessons to children since age sixteen. He has performed and directed at local theater and musical venues. He works with children at the School of Dramatic Arts at Pacific Reperatory Theatre and with Pacific Grove’s Ragamuffin Theatre Company.

Email: m.blackburn@mbcharterschool.org

Arlyn Knapic

Subject Teacher: Strings

Arlyn Knapic

Subject Teacher: Strings

Arlyn Knapic is a prominent violinist and violist on the Monterey Peninsula. She is the violist for the Monterey String Quartet and has performed throughout California as an orchestral member and chamber musician, performing locally with groups such as Ensemble Monterey, Santa Cruz Chamber Players, I Cantori di Carmel and The Western Stage.
Arlyn began playing violin at the age of five, after attending a Monterey Symphony concert with her mother. She received a BA in English with a minor in Music from UC Santa Barbara, studying with Ronald Copes of the Juilliard String Quartet. After working as a substitute teacher and as a strings teacher with South County Strings, she decided to return to school, earning an MA in Violin Performance from San Jose State University, studying with Cecily Ward and Diane Nicholeris. Passionate about teaching, Arlyn has attended workshops throughout the United States on the Suzuki and Dalcroze Method, and is active in the local Music Teachers Association of California branch. Besides having run a private violin and viola studio for over a decade, Arlyn also teaches with Orchestra in the Schools. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, playing with her three daughters, and taking care of a dog, a cat, a bird, and a large garden!

Staff

Special Education, Intervention Teachers & Support

Jessica Lewis

Office Assistant Pacific Grove Campus

Jessica Lewis

Office Assistant Pacific Grove Campus

TBA

Kari Wolf

Education Specialist

Kari Wolf

Education Specialist

Kari graduated from UC Davis in 2008 with a degree in Animal Science. She worked as a vet tech for 3 years in Sacramento, and 4 years in Monterey. After the birth of her son in 2014, her passion switched from focusing on helping animals, to helping children with special needs. Kari received her Education Specialist credential from CSUMB in 2016 with a focus on students with mild to moderate disabilities. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Education with a focus in Special Education at CSUMB, and will be completing her Masters in School Psychology next. Kari has a strong passion for supporting learners with special needs and their families. Her professional goal is to create a strong relationship between each family and our school, as well as to encourage parent participation and understanding of the special education process.

Sandra Barton

Education Specialist

Sandra Barton

Education Specialist

Sandra received her B.S. in Education from Northern Arizona University, continued studies at Delaware State University, and is currently attending California State University of Monterey Bay. She has experience teaching nontraditional and traditional learners from the ages 4 through 84. She has worked as an elementary school teacher, adult education teacher, educational therapist, and owned / operated her own tutoring business. Even though she enjoys teaching all subjects, her passion is math, which led her here. Sandra enjoys traveling all over the country, spending time with her family, learning about people, and being outside.

Email: s.barton@mbcharterschool.org

Donna Kiernan

Schoolwide Assessment Coordinator

Donna Kiernan

Schoolwide Assessment Coordinator

Donna is a retired Elementary Principal. Her 22 year career in education includes being a Special Education Teacher, an Intervention Specialist, a Resource Specialist, and an Assistant Principal. Following retirement, Donna supervised student teachers from both Chapman University and Northern Arizona University, and was a photographer for the P.G. Chamber of Commerce for 6 years. Donna has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island, a Masters in Education in Educational Psychology from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education, and a Masters in Education in Special Education Administration and Supervision from Teachers College, Columbia University. She holds clear California credentials in Administrative Services, Specialist in Special Education, Multiple Subjects, and life credentials as a Resource Specialist, and Community College Special Education Instructor. Her work experience includes 5 years at Hewlett-Packard where she trained new employees, coordinated advanced degree programs, did event photography, and wrote the HP Labs Division Newsletter. She has been a professional photographer for 25 years. Donna enjoys visits from her grandchildren, all activities in the outdoors, especially photographing family and ocean wildlife, and walking her Golden Retrievers in Pacific Grove and along the coastal bike trail.

Email: d.kiernan@mbcharterschool.org

Maria Mishkind

School Counselor

Maria Mishkind, LCSW

School Counselor

Maria is excited to return to MBCS as the school counselor as well as being the field instructor for the two CSUMB clinical interns. Maria is a mom of three school-aged kids and two rescue puppies. Her life as a busy mom has informed her clinical approach to working with students and their families. Maria attended Wellesly College for her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Education. She then attended New York University where she graduated with her Master’s in Social Work. Maria has been a child and family therapist for nearly 25 years.

Originally from California, Maria has also lived extensively along the East Coast and has traveled around Europe, Africa, and has studied in Spain. Maria moved to the Monterey Peninsula a few years ago. Her biggest love is hanging out with her kids. She also likes to walk on the beach, camp, travel and read.

Katie Hoops

Speech & Language Pathologist

Katie Hoops

Speech & Language Pathologist

After studying Child Development as an undergraduate, Katie received my Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at San Jose State University. Her previous work experience includes teaching preschool and providing speech and language services to children and adults in hospital, elementary school, private clinic, and home settings. Katie believes in the importance of providing therapy that is child-led, hands-on, fun, and functional for each individual. She is originally from Santa Cruz, and moved to the Monterey area 4 years ago, where she lives with her husband and dog.

Email: k.hoops@mbcharterschool.org

Catherine Shirley

Occupational Therapist

Catherine Shirley

Occupational Therapist

Catherine attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and received a BS degree in graphic arts. She worked as the art director for a magazine in Reno, Nevada for two years prior to venturing off to Uganda for two years. Upon her return she pursued a master’s degree in occupational therapy, which she had never heard of prior to being in Uganda! As an occupational therapist Catherine worked first in head injury rehab, and later branched into pediatric and school based service. She has worked with people of all ages, newborns to adults. Catherine enjoys spending time with her kids and loves being outdoors hiking, biking and kayaking.

Email: c.shirley@mbcharterschool.org

Krista Clarke

Math Intervention

Krista Clarke

Math Intervention

Krista is a native of the Monterey Peninsula and attended Carmel public schools. In addition to her teaching credential, she holds a Masters in Education and a B.A. in English from UCSB. She has lived in New Zealand, Wyoming, and Santa Barbara. Krista is an avid sailor and in the summer of 2006 she sailed from Hawaii to California. In addition to Student Council Advisor and her other duties, Ms Clarke also serves on the MBCS School Board as a faculty representative.

Email: k.clarke@mbcharterschool.org

Martha Froke

ELD & Reading Intervention

Martha Froke

ELD & Reading Intervention

Martha Froke is a retired school teacher from MPUSD. She taught Reading Intervention and also was the Coordinator of the After School Programs at eight schools. She attended the University of Hawaii and Humboldt State University where she received a degree in Social Work. She has a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from Pacific Oaks College and a Credential in Home Economics. Martha taught Kindergarten in PGUSD Adult School. Travels have taken her to teach in a Gifted Program in New York and Native American studies program in San Juan Capistrano. She helped to build and has volunteered in several libraries, and worked at the Harvard University Law School Library Manuscripts Division. Martha is passionate about local history and worked at the Monterey Maritime Museum as their Director of Events. Community is important to Martha: She has volunteered with the Alliance on Aging as an Ombudsman, also CASA for Foster Youth, American Red Cross, CERT in Pebble Beach; also as a Therapy Dog provider for CHOMP and Monterey History and Art Association board member. Martha enjoys reading, hiking and collecting shells.

Elaine Baca

ELD & Reading Intervention

Elaine Baca

ELD & Reading Intervention

Elaine was a public school teacher for 32 years in the Alisal Union School District in Salinas. She has a B.A. and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CSU San Francisco. At AUSD, Elaine was a 4th-6th grade Literacy Facilitator and Coach for six years. She consulted with teachers, observed lessons, modeled lessons with students, and served as the upper grades teacher instructor. She had a similar assignment as Literacy Coach for K-3 teachers for four years. She has presented seminars with the California Association of Teachers of English, Asilomar Reading Conference, and Monterey County Office of Education. Elaine worked as a substitute teacher for MBCS before becoming the school’s Reading Specialist. She enjoys reading, writing, exercise classes, and spending time with her husband gardening at their Monterey home.

Email: e.baca@mbcharterschool.org

Sara Rose Munoz

Inclusion Facilitator

Sara Rose Munoz

Inclusion Facilitator

Sara Rose Munoz is also part of the After Care Program Staff in the Seaside Campus.

Email: s.munoz@mbcharterschool.org

Mimi Stokes

Inclusion Facilitator

Mimi Stokes

Inclusion Facilitator

TBA

Veronica Ramirez

First Grade Inclusion Facilitator

Veronica Ramirez

First Grade Inclusion Facilitator

TBA

Email: s.munoz@mbcharterschool.org

Missy Leahy

Kindergarten Aid

Missy Leahy

Kindergarten Aid

Missy received a certificate in Administration in Early Childhood Program at Cabrillo College. She worked as a Child Activities Director for the Watsonville YMCA, was an ROP Instructor at Careers with Children at Central Bay High School, and was the Director for the Teen-Parent Program at Central Bay High School. In addition, she has directed various infant/toddler, preschool, and after-school programs. Missy enjoys the outdoors, power walking, boxing and spending time with her husband and five children.

Email: m.leahy@mbcharterschool.org

Ashley Lathan

Kindergarten Aid

Ashley Lathan

Kindergarten Aid

Ashley Lathan is also part of the After Care Program Staff in the Seaside Campus.

Jenny Wood

Kindergarten Aid

Jenny Wood

Kindergarten Aid

Jenny obtained her B.F.A. in Textiles with Distinction in 1985, and earned an M.A. in Art Therapy from the College of Notre Dame in 1992. Ms. Wood has held positions as an Art Therapist in hospitals over the last 10 years; prior to that she was a Textile Lab Assistant, Production Weaver and Camp Counselor. Ms. Woods has also been a very active volunteer as an Art Therapist in educational and convalescent environments since 1988. She became a Kindergarten Assistant in 2002.

Jenny Wood is also part of the Before Care Program Staff in the Seaside Campus.

Email: j.wood@mbcharterschool.org

Rashelle Hernandez

Second-Eighth Inclusion Facilitator

Rashelle Hernandez

Second-Eighth Inclusion Facilitator

Rashelle Hernandez is also part of the After Care Program Staff in the Pacific Grove Campus.

Staff

Before & After Care Program

Kim King

Pacific Grove Before Care

Kim King

Pacific Grove Before Care

Kim brings over 10 years experience working in a school administrative setting, over 30 years experience in business management and a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Santa Clara. She recently comes from Bay View Academy Charter School in Monterey where she served as it’s inaugural Office Manager for 4 years. Kim has also worked in retail sales, banking, food service, medical offices, and ran her own small business. Kim has also been an active volunteer at many local organizations. Kim is 4th generation born and raised in Monterey. Kim enjoys time with her family and friends, reading, and exploring our local history and beautiful environment.

Email: k.king@mbcharterschool.org

Sarah Espinosa

Pacific Grove After Care

Sarah Espinosa

Pacific Grove After Care

Sarah is completing her final year at Cal State Monterey Bay, pursuing a B.A. in Collaborative Health and Human Services with an emphasis in social work. She is a transfer student from Pasadena, CA, where she held her first substitute teaching and aftercare job at a Montessori School. It was here Sarah found her passion for working with children and felt the need to further her studies in child development. Her other passions are creating: painting, drawing in charcoal, cooking traditional Hispanic food, and making macrame pieces. Currently working two jobs; her second job is at California Pizza Kitchen, as a server and a trainer — she has been an exemplary employee there for three years. If Sarah is not working or studying, she is taking a walk to the beach or creating new art. Although Sarah is a Pasadena native, she has enjoyed her last three years living in Monterey and is now happy to call it her home.

Kristen Garcia

Pacific Grove After Care

Kristen Garcia

Pacific Grove After Care

TBA

Ivonee Garcia

Intern & Student Teacher

Ivonee Garcia

Intern & Student Teacher

TBA

Morgan Hartig

Intern & Student Teacher

Morgan Hartig

Intern & Student Teacher

TBA

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