Friday, October 9, 2015

Meet the Staff!

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Jenni Allen-San Giovanni

I started homeschooling as a mom in 1991 and as a charter school teacher in 1998.  I attended colleges in Delaware and Florida before settling in Humboldt County and earning my BA and teaching credential from Humboldt State.  I have a Masters degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on Charter Schools from the University of Central Michigan and a Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning from CSU East Bay. I live in Eureka with my youngest child and my husband. In my spare time, I like to read and travel. I believe in the importance of personalized learning as an option for students and families. I am honored and privileged to be given the opportunity to lead such an awesome group of teachers, students and parents.

Debbie Lammers
School Coordinator

Jana Kirk-Levine
Special Education Teacher

Theresa Montoya
Speech Therapist

Becca Robison
Inventory Account Clerk / Library Aide

Ruth Baker

Jenifer Doane
Administrative Assistant / Registrar

Becky Garraway
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Patty Niko
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Khris Iversen
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Dave Gaddis
Campus Maintenance


Marian Baker

Marian Baker
Classes: Beginning Orchestra and Choir

I have lived in Eureka since I was three and am a graduate of EHS and HSU.  Being a mother has been my inspiration for being involved in the homeschooling world.  Along with teaching, I also homeschool my two daughters.  Music and language are two of my favorite interests and I am glad to share what I love with the students at Alder Grove.  If I wasn't a teacher, I might have been an author of children's books, an artist, a composer, a rock star, a missionary, or maybe the head of an orphanage.  But as it is, I get to be almost all of those things in this job. Teaching and parenting are very fulfilling.

Jennifer DeSwarte

Jennifer Burtram
School Coordinator, Academic Advisor and Credentialed Teacher

I began my teaching adventure at AGCS in 2008. In addition to teaching classes and developing curriculum for independent study students, I am also the Academic Advisor for middle and high school students. I guide students in their exploration and navigation of their post-high school plans. Whether students are planning to attend college, vocational school or want to start working right away, I am here to provide support and opportunities to help them reach their goals!

Stefani Gambrel
Math Teacher

picture of Randi

Randi Golat
Classes: Science/Math, P.E.,
Recorder, Dance, Discoveries in Music

I am originally from Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I moved to CA 10 years ago and attended Humboldt State where I graduated with a degree in Liberal Studies Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology. I then went on to receive my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Humboldt State as well.  I have worked with children for many years before coming to Alder Grove; I have been a tutor, a yard duty, a teacher's aide, an after school enrichment teacher, and a summer school Math teacher.

One of my favorite things about Alder Grove is working with students of all ages. I have a 12 year old daughter that is in the 6th grade at Jacoby Creek.  When I am not teaching, I enjoy playing basketball with my daughter, going for walks, cooking, reading, sewing, crafting, hanging out with friends and family, and laughing at a funny movie.

Jeffrey Gonzalez

Jeffrey Gonzalez

Originally hailing from Santa Barbara County, Jeffrey moved to Humboldt in 1996, where he has devoted his energy to teaching students of all levels for the last decade. He received his BA in English and American Literature from UC Santa Cruz in 1993, then went on to attend Humboldt State for graduate school, earning an MA in American Literature in 2003, and then a California Teaching Credential in 2006. After a two-year stint teaching high school, he has been teaching English for College of the Redwoods in Hoopa since 2009, and he very much enjoys working with the people who live on Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Jeffrey started teaching at Alder Grove in 2012 and he loves the diverse families and perspectives who come to our school, not to mention the outstanding staff who work here. He lives in McKinleyville with his wife and family, and likes to surf, backpack, and play guitar in his precious spare time.

Julie Hochfeld

Julie Hochfeld
Famous Artists (Multimedia Art Projects Inspired by Art History)

Originally from Chicago, I attended the Latin School of Chicago and Oberlin College, and then received a B.A. in Anthropology and Women's Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I came to Humboldt County in 1988 and fell in love with the community and natural beauty. I completed a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and two years of Extended Education in Creative Writing and Children's Literature at HSU and have taught at Alder Grove since it began in 2006. I feel grateful to work with such a fabulous group of people - the staff, students, and parents! I love teaching students of all ages and supporting families in making creative, individualized educational choices.

While teaching on-site at Alder Grove, I've developed a passion for teaching art and creative writing. I'm dedicated to hanging student art around the school and in the community and also to creating books of student writing and art. A published poet and lesson plan writer, this is my 9th year working as a California Poet in the Schools. I have the pleasure and honor of teaching poetry to about 200 students per year in schools throughout the county, publishing their work in classroom and statewide anthologies, and facilitating poetry readings. I live with my beautiful 19-year old daughter who attended charter schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and two boy cats. When not writing comments on kids' poems, planning lessons, or cooking dinner, I like to read, write, study natural healing, hike, swim, sing, dance, and spend time with family and friends.

Tavia Huey

Sunshine Lee

Sunshine Lee
Classes: Language Arts

As an alumni from Humboldt State University, I have been teaching in Humboldt County since 2000. I have been teaching at Alder Grove Charter School since 2006. I am often impressed by the individuality and richness of Alder Grove students. I appreciate the educational freedom that our school allows both the students and the staff.

Sandy Lynn

Sandy Lynn
Math Teacher


Patty Marsh

I have worked at Alder Grove Charter School as a Credentialed Teacher since 2007. I have a Major in Wildlife and a Minor in Natural Resource Management, a certificate in Geographic Information Systems along with a Child Development Site Certification. I have also worked with the USFS in many disciplines and with PG&E as a Utility Forester and Certified Arborist. I enjoy teaching and working with students of all ages and experiences. My background in science has led me on many adventures, including diving in Mexico and off the Pemba Spice Islands in Africa. I have been on Safari in Tanzania and Kenya. I have a strong love and passion for the outdoors. I enjoy gardening, canning, water skiing, snow skiing, motorcycles, horses, hiking, kayaking, sailing, abalone diving, snorkeling, scuba diving, and hanging out on a river. But mostly I enjoy spending time with my family and close friends.

Cassandra Moulton

Cassandra Moulton
Classes: Math, Science

Hilson Parker

Hilson Parker
Classes: World Cultures, Guitar,
Drumming, Rock Band

I am a credentialed teacher holding a a multiple subject credential and supplementary authorizations in music. I am a lifelong musician with a B.A. in Music Education and have worked in many local schools teaching learners of many different ages and backgrounds. I love to teach children of all ages and help them to find their natural interests while providing them a solid educational foundation for their lifelong journey of learning. I came to Alder Grove because I believe an individualized education is a great opportunity, and I feel fortunate to be able to help provide that education!

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Lorraine Parnell

I'm one of the signers of the charter to create Alder Grove. Several years ago a group of interested parents and teachers joined together to complete the lengthy task that the State of California requires to start a charter school. All the work was well worth it because we have a unique school that serves the needs of our diverse school population.

I earned my undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley many years ago. I attended the HSU teacher credential program when I was 47 years old and have been teaching in Eureka since then. I love the students, parents and staff at Alder Grove. I live in Eureka with my husband. We have two grown sons. In my spare time I like to garden, read, be politically active, walk and play with my dogs Lucky and Spike and work on rehab projects on my old house.

Laurie Richardson

After studying studio art at UC Santa Barbara, I took my undergraduate degree in English literature from UC Berkeley. I hold multiple subject and single subject (art) credentials from Humboldt State University.

After moving to Humboldt County in 1990 I began working as a teacher in 1994. I am proud to be a part of the caring community of teachers, staff, and families at Alder Grove.

Working with high school students is especially gratifying because I get to watch them become more self-reliant, motivated and responsible for their educational experience.

In my free time I enjoy watercolor painting and hiking throughout our beautiful Humboldt County!

Cedar Smith

Cedar Smith

I am a native of Humboldt County. I graduated from Eureka High School in 1999 and earned my BA and teaching credential at HSU in 2006. Over the years since graduation I have had the opportunity to work in Eureka City Schools in planning individualized curriculum for students as well as teach enrichment classes in art/reading/science and as a substitute. I began teaching at Alder Grove in November 2012.

My choice to become a teacher was in part driven by my desire to be actively involved with the community and help spark a joy of learning in children. Alder Grove allows me to know each student and parent well as we get to meet weekly (or at least monthly). I feel a sense of connection with each family that is fulfilling to me as an educator and challenging to receive in the more traditional school setting. I value the flexibility that Alder Grove offers in meeting the needs of each invdividual (students, parents and teachers). I am a mother of three beautiful children, teacher, runner, pilates instructor and dancer. My life is exciting and busy. I don't fit in a box and being a part of Alder Grove, I don't have to!

Suzanne Smith

Born in San Francisco; graduated from UC-Berkeley;
MA - Cal State Sonoma; have taught all subjects K-12.

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Terri Tripp
Classes: Drama, Musical Theater

I have been teaching in Humboldt County since 1995. I have taught all grades and subjects. My specialty is drama, but I enjoy teaching all subjects and new challenges. I really like my job at Alder Grove, because I get the opportunity to work with a variety of students (K-12) and parents. There is never a dull moment! Our on-site classes are a great addition to our program, and they give teachers like me the chance to teach and design creative curriculum again. Feel free to check out my classes or introduce yourself to me, if we haven't already met.

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Tim Warner
Classes: History

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Elizabeth Who

Elizabeth Who

I joined the team at AGCS in the fall of 2013 and plan to stay for a long time. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and still visit family and friends there. I earned a B.A. at Stanford University and a M.A. and teaching credential at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I've always worked with children, from my first job teaching an after-school enrichment singing class, to leading wilderness trips, to classroom teaching at the elementary level. Since 1996, I've lived with my husband, Fred, and dogs, cats and chickens in Arcata, where we home school our son, Humboldt. My hobbies include yoga, reading, baseball, and enjoying the outdoors. I feel fortunate to be journeying with the families and staff at AGCS on our education paths.

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Kathy Yeager
Classes: Science, Chemistry

When I was a kid growing up, I was really fascinated by all forms of life around me, especially bugs. I could always be found sloshing through streams or turning over rocks. As I got older, people began to call this a love of "Science", so I ended up pursuing a Biology degree when I went to college.

I'd have to say that I have really loved studying this field. However, one of the things that I love about teaching at Alder Grove is that I get to enjoy all subjects with my students. I have been working at Alder Grove since 2009, and I feel so lucky to be working in a school where students and their families have such a big part in shaping their education.

Brooke Sayre

Ami Brusca
Classes: Speech, HS Art, 4th-8th Art

Susan Stein
Class: Spanish

Erica Alston
Class: Spanish

On-Site Class Teachers

Brett M. Docherty
Digital Media

Travis Holter
Math Tutor

Aimee Simmons
Math Tutor