Friday, November 27, 2015

Meet the Staff!

picture of Jenni

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.

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

Tatiana Ferrington-Golat
Instructional Aide / Office Support

Dave Gaddis
Campus Maintenance


Ami Brusca

Ami Brusca
Classes: Art

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
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
Classes: Yearbook

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
Classes: Math

picture of Randi

Randi Golat
Classes: Science, History, Dance, Flute

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
Classes: H.S.Literature/Writing

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, 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
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
Classes: Math


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!

picture of Lorraine

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
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!

Cedar Smith

Cedar Smith
Classes: Social Studies/Art, Math/ P.E. and Yoga
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!

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

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.

picture of Terri

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

Student Council
Classes: History

Rachel Weiss

Rachel Weiss

Elizabeth Who

Elizabeth Who
Classes: Norse Mythology

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
Classes: Investigative Science

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
Classes: Math

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.

Susan Stein

Erica Alston
Classes: Spanish

My husband and I started homeschooling officially in 1999 when my first son was five years old. I homeschooled our three children with support until they entered Eureka High School. Now two are in college and one is close to high school age. Our driving purpose in homeschooling was to create loving family realtionships and to grow our children's natural love of learning. We incorporated a variety of methods (Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Classical, emergent curriculum choices) leading me to label myself as an eclectic homeschooler.

For my undergraduate degree I attended Tufts University and The School for International Training to gain a BA in International Studies. In my senior year I lived in Mexico, working and studying in a community health project. I became fluent in Spanish in addition to gaining other skills. For the last 20 years I have been raising my children and being a math and Spanish tutor at Alder Grove. Recently I returned to school to earn my Multiple Subject Credential from CalStateTEACH, CSU Monterey Bay in 2015. So it is with great pleasure that I am part of the credentialed teaching staff at Alder Grove! I teach the onsite Spanish and am a CT for independent study students. I continue to tutor for math and
Spanish, among other subjects.


Brett M. Docherty
Digital Media

Travis Holter
Math Tutor