Staff

Administrators

Cassandra Bridge, J.D.

Executive Director

Cassandra holds a Juris Doctorate and a Master’s in Legal Studies from the Monterey College of Law and a Master’s Degree in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University. Cassandra 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. 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. Cassandra became the school’s Executive Director in 2008. Her daughter and son are Monterey Bay Charter School Alumni.

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

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.

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 Southern Utah 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.

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

Jazmin Ventura

Morning Glory Kindergarten Teacher

Jazmin Ventura

Morning Glory Kindergarten 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.

Chloe Ferguson

First Grade Teacher

Chloe Ferguson

First Grade Teacher

Chloe was born and raised in Singapore, as the child of two teachers. Upon moving to the United states, she attended University of the Pacific, earning a California Teaching Credential and concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language. Throughout college she worked with elementary schools across Stockton and Manteca student teaching, substitute teaching, tutoring, and coaching soccer.

Chloe loves cooking and past summers have been spent teaching local culinary classes to elementary students. She has spent the 2020-2021 school year working towards earning a Master’s of TESOL (teaching English as a second language), to further her ability to assist non-native English-speaking students during my teaching career. Chloe loves working with families and providing the support students need to become creative and successful community members. Growing up abroad taught Chloe the value of learning from other cultures and forming a community in the place she lives, giving her an appreciation for both travel and home. Chloe is excited to join the MBCS and Monterey community and cannot wait to share her passion for cooking, the outdoors, and teaching.

Chiara Lama

First Grade Teacher

Chiara Lama

First Grade Teacher

Chiara brings 5+ years of teaching experience fostering the importance of wonder and exploration with young children in pre-k, 2nd, 3rd and most recently a 4th grade classroom. Chiara obtained her multiple subject credentials from California State University Monterey Bay and her B.A in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University Northridge. Chiara’s passion for teaching is driven by her desire to tap into student’s innate curiosity to learn, excitement to move and explore, and creativity in approaching new subjects. When she is not in
the classroom she is open water swimming, trail running, practicing yoga and reading non-fiction books.

Nicolle Frazee

Second Grade Teacher

Nicolle Frazee

Second 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.

Amy Neiman

Second Grade Teacher

Amy Neiman

Second Grade Teacher

Originally from downtown Chicago, Amy Neiman graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in anthropology/archaeology before moving to California where she earned both a multiple subject teaching credential and a single subject teaching credential in the Social Sciences. She has since been involved in education in the Los Angeles and the Bay area where she taught 2nd, 3rd and 6th-8th grades in addition to co-founding a charter school which emphasized social-emotional learning and culturally responsive practices.

She has spent the past three years in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland teaching middle school Humanities at a project-based, expeditionary learning school.

Amy is an avid runner and loves nothing more than fresh air, mountains, music, travel and getting her hands dirty in the veggie garden. She is moving to the central coast where she is thrilled to be closer to family, nature and all the amazing things the peninsula has to offer. Needless to say, she will not miss the traffic of the big city.

Anne Wyatt

Third Grade Teacher

Anne Wyatt

Third Grade Teacher

Anne Wyatt was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her BA from Santa Clara University in Theatre and Dance.  Before beginning her second career in teaching, Mrs. Wyatt was the Artistic Director for the City of Milpitas and headed the Milpitas Rainbow Theatre for 10 years, working with youth aged 8-18, directing and choreographing plays, coordinating special events, and was a founding member of the Youth Program Team, whose mission it was to partner with families to promote the healthy development of youth in our community.

Upon moving to Arizona in 2008, Mrs. Wyatt pursued her career in education and taught in Mesa, Arizona for seven years before moving back to California and finding her dream job teaching here, at Monterey Bay Charter School. 

When she is not teaching, Mrs. Wyatt is enjoying her family of four children, one husband, one rescued cat, and four chickens.  She loves cooking (!) and outdoor adventures.

Giulie Garland

Third Grade Teacher

Giulie Garland

Third 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

Fourth Grade Teacher

Janaka Stagnaro

Fourth 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

Fourth Grade Teacher

Jennifer Naccarrato

Fourth 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

Jeanette Mogensen

Fifth Grade Teacher

Jeanette Mogensen

Fifth 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.

Erica Behler

Fifth Grade Teacher

Erica Behler

Fifth Grade Teacher

Bio TBA

Natalie Croft

Sixth Grade Teacher

Natalie Croft

Sixth 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.

Emily Harden

Sixth Grade Teacher

Emily Harden

Sixth Grade Teacher

Bio TBA

Aaron Vasquez

Seventh Grade Teacher

Aaron Vasquez

Seventh 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.

Guadalupe "Lupita" Martín

Seventh Grade Teacher

Guadalupe "Lupita" Martín

Seventh Grade Teacher

Lupita comes to the Monterey Bay Charter School with more than 11 years of experience as a teacher. During her career, she has taught in almost every elementary grade, with positions in the Woodland, Encinitas, and Culver City school districts in California. Much of that time, she was a tenured teacher in Spanish dual language immersion programs.

Her academic and professional credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of California, Davis, and a Master of Science degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego. Additionally, she studied at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. She holds a Clear BCLAD Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Sacramento with a Supplement Authorization in General Science. She has also worked as a professional interpreter/translator. Prior to this, she was a medical assistant, health educator, doula, and administrative assistant for six years for Communicare Health Centers in Yolo County.

Although she is new to Waldorf, working at Monterey Bay Charter School has proven to be a dream position for Lupita. The staff, her fellow teachers, and most of all, her students, have made this the most professionally and personally rewarding position of her career.

Lupita was born in Durango, Mexico, and emigrated to the United States with her family when she was 26 days old. She has four younger brothers. Her partner of eight years, John, is a newly published author. Outside of the classroom, Lupita enjoys walks at the beach, cooking for friends and herself, reading about health and wellness, and connecting with family and friends by writing to each other over snail mail.

Email: g.martin@mbcharterschool.org

Aaron Joseph

Eighth Grade Teacher

Aaron Joseph

Eighth 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

Kalia Padovich

Eighth Grade Teacher

Kalia Padovich

Eighth Grade Teacher

Bio TBA

Faculty

Subject Teachers

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

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

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

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!

Faculty

Special Education

Kari Wolf

Special Education Program Manager

Kari Wolf

Special Education Program Manager

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

Lilian Dean

Speech & Language Pathologist

Lilian Dean

Speech & Language Pathologist

TBA

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.

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

Mimi Stokes

Paraeducator

Mimi Stokes

Paraeducator

TBA

Veronica Ramirez

Paraeducator

Veronica Ramirez

Paraeducator

TBA

Vanessa Sorvetti

Paraeducator

Vanessa Sorvetti

Paraeducator

TBA

Email: v.sorvetti@mbcharterschool.org

Sara Rose Munoz

Paraeducator

Sara Rose Munoz

Paraeducator

TBA

Email: s.munoz@mbcharterschool.org

Faculty

Intervention Teachers

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

Margot Grant

Reading Intervention

Margot Grant

Reading Intervention

Bio TBA

Nicole Brophy

Math Intervention

Nicole Brophy

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.

Staff

School Support

Jessica Lewis

Office Assistant

Jessica Lewis

Office Assistant

TBA

Cheree Pozas

Office Assistant

Cheree Pozas

Office Assistant

Cheree Pozas was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula. Cheree was in banking for ten years and then worked for her family’s interior’s business before having her four daughters. Cheree became interested in Waldorf education when her eldest daughter was in third grade. All four children attended MBCS and three of her daughters completed their K-8 journey with us. Cheree has spent the last several years working in the school office. Her journey as a parent has given her helpful insight to better assist families as they journey through the grades.

Jenny Wood

Kindergarten Aide

Jenny Wood

Kindergarten Aide

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

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