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 husband and three dogs. In my spare time, I like to read, sail, 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.

Tim Warner
School Coordinator, CT

Jana Kirk-Levine
Special Education Teacher

Wendy Schulze
SPED Teacher

Teri Bradshaw
Speech Therapist


Nichole Dollarhide
School Psychologist


Becca Rocha
Inventory Account Clerk /
Library Aide

Ruth Baker

Jenifer Doane
Administrative Assistant / Registrar

Becky Garraway
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Patty Niko
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Tatiana Ferrington-Golat
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Dave Gaddis
Campus Maintenance

Erica Alston

Erica Alston
CT, Spanish

Ami Brusca

Ami Brusca
CT, Art Teacher

I have worked with students K-12 for many years, and have also been a part of the homeschooling community as a parent. Considering my experiences at a wide variety of traditional and alternative schools, I appreciate Alder Grove's ability to support students and families in every way, whatever their needs. I have been an artist all of my life, and enjoy bringing those skills
to life for our students!

Marian Baker

Marian Baker
CT, Music Teacher

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
CT, School Coordinator, Academic Advisor,
Yearbook Class

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
CT, Math Teacher

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Randi Golat
CT, Art, Dance, Music Teacher
Event Coordinator

I am originally from the Midwest, but moved to Humboldt in 1997. I graduated from Humboldt State with my Liberal Studies Elementary Education degree and received a minor in Psychology. I then went on to receive my Multiple Subject Teaching credential from Humboldt State, and have been teaching at Alder Grove since 2009.

I teach a few onsite classes at Alder Grove and have my own independent students that I work with as well. I also plan field trips for students K-6th grade and plan a variety of school activities from Back to School Night, Halloween Party to the Graduation ceremony and End of the Year Party. I really enjoy working with my own students, but also networking within the community. There are so many wonderful people in our community that have so much to offer the students at Alder Grove.

Jeffrey Gonzalez

Jeffrey Gonzalez
CT, Literature Teacher

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
CT, Art, Poetry Teacher

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, 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. 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
CT, Ceramics & Reading Teacher
School Workshop Coordinator

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
CT, 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
CT, Math & Science Teacher

I came to Alder Grove to volunteer, in order to get into the teacher credential program in 2011. After gaining my credential, I was hired as a long term sub, which became a CT position the next year. Ever since, I've taught science and math to both the middle school and high school classes. Currently, I play roller derby with our local team: Humboldt Roller Derby. I'm starting my forth season on our A team roster, the Redwood Rollers. My derby name is Casstastrophe, a name derived from one of my childhood nicknames, Cassie Catastrophe.

When I'm not working or working in Math Lab, playing derby, or coaching junior derby, I'm found at home hanging out with my family and our 5 pet lizards, 2 cats, and bird.

Hilson Parker

Hilson Parker
CT, Music Teacher

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
CT, Writing Lab Teacher

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.

I have been working as a classroom teacher since 1994 and am proud to be 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.

I also enjoy working with students in grades three through 11 in our school's Writing Lab. Students that attend regularly have the satisfaction of seeing their writing skills improve! I also work with students on an individual basis as a Language Arts tutor.

In my free time I love to paint, read great stories, swim in rivers and hike in the amazing natural environment we live in!


Rebecca Salstrom


Brooke Sayre
CT, Engineering Teacher

I received my B.S. in Natural Resources Planning from Humboldt State University in 2004 and was a professional in the community before I went back for my teaching credential in 2014. I'm so happy to be working with children and their families full time! I love having a job that allows me to teach all the grades and all the subjects. In addition to being a teacher at Alder Grove, I also enjoy coaching local youth in sports and working with 4H. When I'm not teaching or coaching, I like to spend time with my family in our backyard farm, playing soccer, riding my mountain bike, or taking a backpacking trip in the Trinity Aps.l

Aimee Simmons
CT, Math Teacher

I earned my degree in mathematics from Humboldt State University, where I also received my mathematics and multiple subjects credentials. After teaching high school math for 6 years, I began working at Alder Grove as a tutor and then as a teacher for onsite middle and high school math classes. I now also work with independent study students and really enjoy making a personal connection with students and their families. I am fortunate to work with our students in a variety of capacities. In my free time I enjoy reading, baking and spending time with my three children.

Cedar Smith

Cedar Smith
CT, Social Studies & Math Teacher

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 both the traditional setting as well as home-based educational setting. I have experience planning individualized curriculum for students as well as teaching enrichment classes in art, reading, social studies, and science. 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 form close relationships with students and their families in our frequent 1:1 meetings. 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 individual (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 the Alder Grove community, I don't have to!

Suzanne Smith

BA - UC Berkeley; MA - Cal State Sonoma; I have taught all subjects K-12 and worked as a counselor, vice-principal, principal and superintendent in various districts.

Susan Stein

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Terri Tripp
CT, Drama Teacher

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

CT, School Coordinator

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Elizabeth Who

Elizabeth Who
CT, Mythology Teacher

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
CT, Science, Sewing Teacher

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.

Brett M. Docherty
Technology Coordinator, Digital Media Instructor

A familyman, artist, web designer born and raised in the SF Bayarea. In 2013, obtained a BA degree from HSU as a Studio Art major with an emphasis in Graphic Design. Loves witnessing young people excel and flourish in the digital age.

Travis Holter
Math Tutor

Travis obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering from Kansas State in 2009. After a little over a year of working in the aerospace industry, he moved to California with his beautiful wife Cassandra. Since then he has made an enormous positive impact on the community by empowering students. Also, he occasionally writes books and makes games.