Head of School
Shaharazad has been with Spring Hill since 1989. She has served as Spring Hill’s Head of School since 2010 and as a Lead Teacher for 21 years prior.
Shaharazad has a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and is an accomplished independent school leader. She focuses on preserving the unique holistic educational approach of Spring Hill while guiding the school to become a leading educational institution in the Bay Area, offering an advanced science and creativity based curriculum, with an emphasis on global education including bilingual programs and foreign languages.
As a leading Montessori educator, Shaharazad has traveled extensively as a visiting educational professional to the Montessori China Society, teaching the psychology and philosophy of Montessori education, and the impact of a whole-child education in both academics and social-emotional learning and leadership of our children.
Her academic experience prior to Spring Hill was as administrator and head teacher at a Montessori school in Sausalito. Shaharazad’s multi-cultural education includes degrees in Business Administration and an advanced certificate in French Literature from Sorbonne University.
Shaharazad has lived on three continents and is fluent in three languages. She is an avid traveler and is passionate about learning and continuous education, world literature, painting, sculpture, photography, films, and cooking.
“My international background and life experiences have given me an understanding of the importance of preparing students for life. My goal for the students of The Spring Hill School is that they become joyful and confident learners, well-rounded individuals, and leaders capable of making informed choices and fair judgments in encountering and dealing with the challenges of the ‘real world.’”
A long-time resident of Petaluma, Shaharazad and her husband Siamak are very active with many community organizations. She is very proud of her daughter Elica, a practicing attorney and a graduate of Spring Hill, which she attended from preschool through 6th grade.
Bridget Anderson, our Associate Head of School for Enrollment & Strategic Initiatives, comes to us with over 35-years of high-level management in Independent Schools and in the non-profit world. She received her Bachelor of Art in Psychology from Scripps College. Her extensive experience includes the Director of Admissions and Alumni Relations at The Branson School in Ross and as Director of College Counseling at The Marymount School (her alma mater) and at The Oakwood School, two independent high schools in Southern California. She is a member of the Independent Schools of San Francisco Bay Area’s Admission Directors.
Bridget was the Director of Advancement for a non-profit, Making Waves Foundation, in the East Bay offering educational support programs for underserved youth grades five through college graduation. In addition, she served as a trustee for two independent schools, Mark Day School and The Berkeley School in the Bay Area as well as for a non-profit organization, Enriching Lives Through Music, focusing on music education for underserved youth in San Rafael’s Canal area. Bridget’s rich global experience includes advisor to The Institute of Global Renewal, an educational and environmental program in Indonesia, and as a consultant for The International School of Asia-Karuizawa, an international boarding school in Japan.
Bridget’s work is mission minded, strategic, and focused on connections. She embraces the opportunity to connect with our Spring Hill faculty, families and board in creating strong partnerships that enhance all aspects of our work in fulfilling our mission. Bridget believes that The Spring Hill School offers the best independent school education for our children in a warm, joyful, and respectful learning environment.
Bridget lives in Marin with her husband. She is the proud mother of an accomplished young woman who is finishing UCSF Medical School in May 2018. Bridget is an avid reader and enjoys international travel, gardening, ikebana, and spending quality time with close family and friends.
Karen Tarver is the Assistant to the Head of School. She has been part of Spring Hill’s family since 1990, first as an involved parent of four Spring Hill students, and more recently as a member of the Board of Directors and Strategic Planning Committee prior to joining us in 2012 as a member of Spring Hill’s administrative team.
Karen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco. She brings to her position extensive administrative management and customer service experience. She is a member of the Independent Schools of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Directors of Admission. She has supported the school in a variety of areas with passion and expertise.
Karen and her husband John have four adult children, Evan, Lauren, Bryan and Jordan, all graduates of Spring Hill, now happily and successfully pursuing higher education and careers.
Pam Cross is Spring Hill’s Director of Operations and Finance.
Pam comes from a corporate background that began at Lucasfilm Limited, where for 15 years she focused on accounting and asset administration. Pam shares that it was great to be part of the Star Wars generation!
Pam spent 10 years at Knowledge Universe Education, currently known as KinderCare Learning Centers (KLC). She performed in various capacities ranging from Accounts Payable Manager to Director of Purchasing. KLC is the nation’s leading private provider of early childhood care and school-age education.
Most recently, Pam has been the Director of Operations and Finance at Klemmer Leadership Seminars as part of the leadership team.
Pam has served on the board of Daily Acts, a non-profit organization with roots in Petaluma. Daily Acts believes in the power to usher in a new world by inspiring people to live their potential through simple daily actions that nurture community and regenerate nature.
In addition, Pam currently serves on the board of the Mustard Seed Scholarship Fund. This fund is built upon the premise that a small seed of generosity can be leveraged into a huge tree that provides for many people. It was created to provide scholarships to people who demonstrate financial need, and a strong desire for personal growth allowing them to attend Klemmer leadership seminars.
It is very important for Pam to be involved with organizations that support the community. Spring Hill School is the perfect fit for Pam as it is aligned with her core beliefs and values. Pam is delighted to be serving the community at Spring Hill.
Pam and her husband Chuck live in Petaluma, along with Pam’s mother “PJ”. They have two grown sons, Sean and Sam. Pam enjoys gardening, traveling, reading and spending time with her family.
Communication & Educational Program Coordinator
Nicole Novach has been a member of the Spring Hill team since 2014. She is Spring Hill’s Communication & Education Program Coordinator.
Nicole holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from The American University in Washington, D.C., where she focused on both Elementary (K-6) and Special Education with a focus on Learning Disabilities (K-Adult).
As Education Program Coordinator, Nicole helps create consistent and well-defined learning expectations for students, facilitates conversations about pedagogy, and works alongside teachers to articulate Spring Hill’s ambitious and thorough curriculum.
Nicole’s responsibilities as Communication Coordinator include furthering the understanding of Spring Hill’s mission through various components of content in order to create an active, visual, and informative presence in the school community and greater Bay Area.
Her previous roles at Spring Hill have been Lead Teacher in the Upper Elementary class and Middle School Project Based Learning Coordinator.
Nicole has worked as a teacher and tutor for both adults and children in Independent Schools between Washington, D.C. and California for over ten years. She feels deeply connected to the philosophies behind project-based learning and the dynamic approach to teaching and learning that it brings to the classroom. Nicole enthusiastically creates an engaging, rigorous, individualized, integrated and arts-infused curriculum that can be accessed by all types of learners!
Nicole is a board member of a local nonprofit organization that supports and coaches public school students in Grades 5-12 to engage in their education through and beyond high school. She enjoys time with her family and friends adventuring, rock climbing, dancing, cooking, and gardening. She also loves to travel, and prior to moving to Sonoma County, Nicole and her husband Wayne circumnavigated the world via 25 countries and 56,000 miles! Nicole and Wayne are loving their new adventure as parents of their baby girl.
Sandra Campbell is the Administrative Director for The Spring Hill School’s Elementary and Middle School programs.
Sandra has been a member of the Spring Hill administrative team since 2014. Her Spring Hill affiliation began, however, as an involved parent for 11 years. Sandra provides enthusiastic support to faculty and families and manages the operations of both the Elementary and Middle School campuses.
Sandra is an experienced business professional and a former business owner. She is involved in a number of community organizations, including as a mentor with Mentor Me and as a member of the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum.
Sandra is originally from the East Coast and is a long-time Petaluma resident. She is the parent of two adult children, Ritzman and Anna, a Spring Hill alum. Sandra is looking forward to her newest adventure as grandmother to Huxley!
Bio coming soon!
Bilingual Lead Teacher, Little Steps Toddler Class
and Toddler Program Coordinator
Evelyn Martinez is the Lead Teacher of the Little Steps Toddler class. She also coordinates the Toddler program. Evelyn, a native Spanish speaker, offers an excellent bilingual program to our Toddlers. She has been a valued member of the Spring Hill Toddler program faculty since 2009.
Evelyn has an Associate of Arts degree, with an emphasis in Child Development, and an Associate Teacher Certificate. Evelyn received Montessori training from master Montessori teacher and mentors. Prior to joining Spring Hill, she completed her teaching internship at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Evelyn is an experienced, talented, and committed teacher who deeply cares about her students’ well-being and education. She has been integral to the nurturing and loving environment that is so important in the Toddler classroom. Evelyn offers Spring Hill’s toddler students the consistency, care, love, and structure that they need to ensure that they have a positive first-time school experience. She has created trusted relationships with her students’ parents through her caring interactions with the children and her detailed and thorough communication with parents each day. She is much loved by her students and their parents.
Evelyn spending time with her husband and her son Alan, a Spring Hill student, and playing games of family soccer.
Maria Romero is an Assistant Toddler Teacher in the Little Steps Toddler class.
Maria is an experienced early childhood educator. Prior to joining the Spring Hill team, Maria spent 11 years as an infant and toddler teacher in Lake County and working with children as a teacher assistant in Novato.
Maria brings to Spring Hill her excellent reputation as a caring teacher with a passion for working with young children, as well as personal and professional integrity.
Maria and her husband have two sons, and she enjoys spending time with her family.
Bilingual Lead Teacher, Little Stars Toddler Class
Eva Garcia is the Lead Teacher of the Little Stars Toddler class. She has been a valued Spring Hill faculty member since 2011.
Eva has an Associate Teacher Certificate from Santa Rosa Junior College.
Eva has worked with both Primary (ages 3-6) and Toddler (ages 18-36 months) students at Spring Hill. She has a gentle teaching approach and engages children in all areas of learning. Eva’s gentle demeanor encourages her young students to feel secure and eager to learn. A native Spanish speaker and fluent in English, Eva’s conversational Spanish in the classroom enables children to develop the beginning foundation of speaking and understanding Spanish.
In addition to teaching in the classroom, Eva has led classes and performances at Spring Hill in Ballet Folklorico (folkloric dance) for preschool age children.
Eva’s experience prior to joining Spring Hill was as a program coordinator with the Boys and Girls Club working with children ages four to 18 years of age for five years, where she designed and directed programs and activities for young children.
Eva is continuing her education in Child Development at SRJC. She has earned the trust and respect of Spring Hill parents and has a reputation as a caring and sensitive teacher.
Nika Schoenfeldt is the Assistant Toddler Teacher in the Little Stars Toddler class.
Nika has her Infant Montessori Certificate from the North American Montessori Association and an Associate Teacher Certificate from Santa Rosa Junior College. Prior to joining Spring Hill, Nika spent four years as an Infant and Toddler Teacher in a Montessori school working with children ages 6 weeks to 3 years.
Nika is currently finishing her coursework for her Associates Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Santa Rosa Junior College. She lives in Sonoma with her husband and two sons, Riley and Sloan. She enjoys reading and spending time outside with her family hiking, camping, and exploring.
(Preschool and Kindergarten)
Debra Polucci is the Lead Teacher of The Redwoods Primary class.
Debra holds a degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, an Associate Montessori Internationale (AMI) Primary diploma from the Northern California Montessori Teacher Training Center, and holds a certificate in Preschool Administration from Wheelock College.
Debra has 38 years of Montessori teaching experience as a Lead Teacher and 15 years as a school director. She is the founder of two AMI credentialed Montessori schools where she was both teacher and director. She most recently taught at Marin Montessori School and previously the around the south shore of Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and St. John, Virgin Islands.
Debra is a very committed, passionate, and knowledgeable educator, and well-known in the Montessori community. Debra deeply cares about children, has an exceptional ability to guide and lead children in reaching their potential, gaining confidence in becoming self-motivated, engaged, and skillful in a safe and joyful manner. She believes in the power of the child and how the child never stops teaching us.
One of Debra’s priorities is forming strong partnerships with parents, which is an important focus at Spring Hill.
Debra is the mother of two Montessori daughters, who each have a daughter who attend a Montessori school. Debra is returning to California to be closer to her family and is looking forward to spending time with them. She is very happy to become a member of the Spring Hill community.
Clara Munoz is the Assistant Teacher in The Redwoods Primary class. She is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in both Spanish and English. Clara has worked as a member of the Spring Hill faculty since the spring of 2018.
Clara has an Associate Teacher Certificate from Santa Rosa Junior College. She has worked with young children from infant to age 5 since 2009. Her experience ranges from home childcare to Loma Vista Elementary School in Petaluma.
Clara integrates conversational Spanish with an engaging curriculum and uses bilingual skills to create a positive and supportive learning environment. She loves working with children.
Clara has lived in Petaluma since 2000. She is the mom of three busy children: son Ittai, daughter Sarah, and
son Zair. She enjoys cooking, camping, playing volleyball and, most important, spending time with her family.
Barbara Pappas is the Lead Teacher of the Bluebirds Primary class. She has been working in Early Childhood Education since 1991 and received her Primary Montessori teaching certificate from Ursula Thrush, Montessori of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, in 2002.
Barbara graduated from high school in Germany and came to the US as a physical therapist. She was accepted into the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) continuing education program for neurological patients at Kaiser Hospital, Vallejo in 1985. She worked in physical therapy until discovering the Montessori method of teaching and pursuing a career as a Montessori educator.
Barbara offers a strong Montessori curriculum to her young students just entering the Primary grades, as well as detailed, theme-based lesson plans to Kindergarten children 5 and 6 years of age. One of her favorite topics is parenting, so if you can catch her between classes, start up a conversation about family values, sibling dynamics, or setting routines and habits by modeling.
Barbara lives in Petaluma. With her two sons, Dustin and Nick, she is actively involved in the CrossFit community. She holds a CF Level 2, CF Kids, CF Masters, and a few specialty certificates.
Susan Dalton Guzman is the Assistant Teacher in the Bluebirds Primary class. She is a fluent Spanish speaker and offers her students an engaging introduction to Spanish and the opportunity to build Spanish language skills each day. Susan worked as a floating teacher in Spring Hill’s Primary program prior to joining the Bluebirds class full time.
Susan holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Santa Barbara City College as well as a California Child Development Teacher Permit and Site Supervisor Credential,
Prior to joining the faculty at The Spring Hill School, Susan spent seven years as a Lead Teacher and Program Manager and two years as a Site Supervisor. Susan was also Director/Owner of her own preschool for 10 years, where Spanish language and multicultural activities were her focus. She has been a volunteer Assistant Coach for Sonoma County Girls on the Run. Susan is a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member.
In her free time, Susan enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, kayaking, bicycling, and being out in nature with her husband Larry, son Morgen, and daughter Maya.
Elizabeth Reyes is Lead Teacher for the Marvelous Minds Primary class.
Elizabeth has an Associate of Science degree from the University of Hayward and AMS Montessori certification from the Montessori Institute of Advanced Studies.
Elizabeth has extensive Montessori teaching experience. Prior to joining The Spring Hill School, she spent three years as Lead Teacher at a Montessori school in Sacramento, California, and three years as Assistant and Spanish Teacher at St. Helena Montessori School in St. Helena, California. A fluent Spanish speaker, Elizabeth taught English for four years in Mexico at Individual English in Cuernavaca, Morelos, and at Millaray Montessori in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.
Elizabeth grew up in the Napa Valley and moved abroad to extend her studies in language. When she began teaching children English in 2002 in Cuernavaca, Morelos, she discovered her passion for working with young children. While there, Elizabeth developed a program that helped young children learn English, which the school integrated into their Kids Club. She later moved to Puerto Vallarta where she worked in a Montessori school and fell in love with the Montessori teaching philosophy.
Elizabeth is a mother of four daughters and enjoys watching her children grow and experiencing life through their eyes. Providing guidance through their developmental stages is very rewarding to her.
Brenda Valencia is a bilingual teacher in the Marvelous Minds Primary class.
Brenda is an experienced Montessori assistant teacher and received Montessori assistant teacher training at the Montessori Teacher Education Center. Prior to joining Spring Hill, she spent 4 years as a Teacher Assistant at Montessori de Terra Linda.
Brenda is very passionate about her job and loves working with little ones, as well as spending time with family and friends.
Reina Starke is a member of The Spring Hill School’s Primary faculty. She has been an important part of the Spring Hill community for 23 years.
Reina has worked in many capacities at Spring Hill over the years, including as a member of the admin team, Elementary after-school program teacher, and as a classroom substitute teacher. She truly enjoys her current position as a floating teacher and aftercare teacher.
Reina’s connection with The Spring Hill School is deep; her mother was Spring Hill’s office manager when Reina was growing up. When she welcomed her first child in 1992, Reina chose to work alongside her mother and joined Spring Hill as an after-school teacher. With her mother’s passing in 2014, she is committed to carrying on her legacy of creating a warm and fun educational environment for the children of our community.
Before joining Spring Hill, Reina worked in the telecom industry.
Reina lives in Petaluma with her husband and two of her three daughters, all Spring Hill alumni. The newest addition to her family is her granddaughter Brooklynn. Brooklynn is her new hobby as most of her free time is spent with her! When not with Brooklynn, Reina enjoys long walks, reading, and anytime she can spend at the beach.
Fabiola Estrada, Spring Hill’s Outdoor & Garden Education Coordinator for the Primary program, is an experienced teacher and outdoor program educator. She joined Spring Hill in 2014.
Fabiola, a native Spanish speaker, offers an excellent bilingual program to her students, bringing Spanish to life in a natural “real world” manner. Fabiola integrates conversational Spanish with an engaging outdoor curriculum, offering students a rich learning experience.
Fabiola’s positive energy always brightens the days of her students and everyone around her. She is a passionate early childhood educator and celebrates the joy her students’ find in their work.
Fabiola has extensive outdoor education training and creates a welcoming and secure environment, giving children the confidence to explore, play, and learn. She enjoys spending time outside of school with her family.
Primary After-School Program
Rosa (Rosie) Ruiz is the Aftercare Coordinator for the Primary Program. Rosie, a native Spanish speaker who is also fluent in English, has worked in early childhood education for ten years.
Rosie has an Associate Teacher Certificate and CNA certification (Certified Nursing Assistant). She also has a TALLK project certificate (Teacher Acquiring Language Learner Knowledge), a program that provides preschool teachers with training and coaching in specific strategies for interacting with English learner children to best support language acquisition.
Rosie is passionate about promoting children’s desire to read and write, and she focuses on engaging her young students in acquiring age-appropriate language skills.
Rosie brings to her students and colleagues a perennial positive outlook and good humor in approaching teaching and life. She is devoted to her young students and offers them a loving environment each day. She values the trusted relationships she develops with parents.
Rosie’s greatest joys are her sons Anthony and George and her husband Tony. She loves spending time with her family, cooking for them, and cheering for her sons and husband when they play their favorite sport – soccer. An animal lover, she enjoys walking her five dogs and caring for her farm animals.
Elementary & Middle School Faculty
Jean Hicks is the Lead Teacher in Spring Hill’s Lower Elementary class (grades 1 and 2). She joined Spring Hill in 2014. Her interest in working with children began early, and her love for teaching hasn’t waned.
After becoming a credentialed teacher, she began looking for a philosophy that fit with her observations of how children best learn, and she discovered the Montessori Method. She completed the Elementary (ages 6-9 and 9-12) Montessori training at The Institute for Advanced Montessori Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland.
After founding Walden Green Montessori, a K-8 charter school in Spring Lake, Michigan, and teaching there for several years, Jean moved to India. There she founded a school in the slums north of Calcutta. The school is flourishing with 90 students, and Jean travels there annually helping with curriculum, teacher training, and spending time with the children.
Jean’s family is immersed in the field of education. Her son, Tom, is the Director of a charter school in Chico, California. Christian and his wife, Gerri, live in Abu Dhabi, where he works as a curriculum developer for the Abu Dhabi Education Council. Her daughter, Cara, is working on her teaching credential. Grandson Chaim hopes to return to California soon. Having family together is “pure joy.”
Jean shares, “At Spring Hill, I have been honored to work alongside dedicated, innovative educators who have at their core the best interest of the child. I feel privileged to have the freedom to use an ideology and method that tailors to the individual learner. Spring Hill is an extraordinary community!”
Cynthia Diaz is a teacher in Spring Hill’s Lower Elementary class (grades 1 and 2). In addition to teaching in the Lower Elementary classroom, Cynthia is our Spanish teacher for our 1st-4thgrade students
Cynthia has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Early Childhood Development from Sonoma State University. She has an American Montessori Society (AMS) Elementary Montessori Elementary (ages 6-9) credential .
Cynthia has worked with students from 1st through 5th grade since 2009 in a variety of different capacities in the classroom, including being an after-school classroom leader for 1st and 2nd grades. Cynthia was also a student support instructional assistant and a behavior and education specialist while tutoring students in many school subjects. In her years of teaching, Cynthia has gained much expertise in the education field including lesson planning, testing, recordkeeping, homework supervision, and working one on one with students and supporting them to succeed. Cynthia has superb organizational and classroom management skills and communicates clear expectations, as well as positive and consistent discipline and structure.
Cynthia is a native Spanish speaker. She enjoys integrating an emphasis on cultural studies in her Spanish lessons. She believes it’s important to encourage conversational Spanish throughout the school day as well as after school to help to connect Spanish as a second language with real-life experiences and activities. Cynthia enjoys listening to her students sing and speak Spanish throughout the day.
Cynthia lives in Sonoma County. She enjoys cooking and baking, as well as hiking and camping with her husband Arturo. She absolutely loves being with children!
Tricia Garcia, Lead Teacher of Spring Hill’s Upper Elementary class (grades 3 and 4), brings to Spring Hill extensive global teaching experience. She is a fluent Spanish speaker, and she brings a rich cultural perspective to her students.
Tricia holds a B.A. in Applied Linguistics, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, licenses in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, as well as a Master of Education from Portland State University.
Tricia’s experience prior to joining The Spring Hill School was most recently with The American School Foundation in Mexico City where she taught 3rd grade and English as a Second Language (ESL). She is an International Baccalaureate® certified teacher who brings years of experience applying inquiry and concept based teaching. Tricia has previously taught ESL to adults through various community based programs and at Oak Grove Elementary outside of Portland, Oregon. She also taught kindergarten at Future Talent Academy in Ethiopia.
Tricia is happy to return to California and looks forward to getting to know Sonoma County this year, along with her daughter and husband.
Physical Education Teacher, Grades K-8
Middle School Assistant Teacher
Kevin Conroy is the Physical Education Teacher for The Spring Hill School’s grades K through 8 and an Assistant Teacher for the Middle School program, grades 5-8.
Kevin is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree and teaching credential, working toward becoming a credentialed middle school teacher.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Kevin spent over 20 years in the corporate world, working in marketing, social media, and business development. He is well-organized, with a track record that demonstrates self-motivation, creativity, and initiative to achieve both personal and organizational goals. Kevin believes in establishing a team-spirited environment through a positive and proactive leadership style.
Kevin, his wife, and two young children live in Marin County, with all waking hours spent driving their children to their activities.
Yoli Sheridan is Spring Hill’s Art Director. She has been a member of The Spring Hill School faculty since 2012.
Yoli holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of California, San Diego, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, and a Multiple Subject and Art Teaching Credential from University of California, Davis.
Prior to joining Spring Hill, Yoli spent two years interning in five different extremely diverse bilingual and GATE (gifted and talented education) schools in San Diego and Davis, from grades kindergarten through fifth.
Desiring to work in a progressive, innovative environment, she spent seven years as Head Teacher in a multiage age classroom at Sonoma Charter School, a Montessori Charter School and one of the first charter schools in California. She took time to raise her two daughters, during which she taught art in grades primary through sixth at Sunrise Montessori School. She also taught art in Sonoma Valley Schools through Art Rewards the Student program and The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, culminating in student exhibitions at the museum. She was assistant teacher at Napa Valley Montessori Children’s House for several years in the Primary classroom and completed Lower Elementary coursework at Montessori School of San Leandro.
Additionally, Yoli has taught art camps and musical theater camps to elementary through middle school age students at Sunrise Montessori and St. John the Baptist Catholic School. As a dancer, she has also taught classical ballet at Napa Regional Dance Company and choreographed for community performances.
Yoli has been passionate about artistic expression and teaching and learning through the arts throughout her life. She believes in teaching art as a meaningful, deep discovery process of developing the creative mind. Personally, she enjoys painting in acrylic and encaustic, photography, and many forms of world dance, and grew up performing dance in Los Angeles. She loves acting in community theater and has been in musicals and dramas as part of Sonoma Theater Alliance, Silver Moon Theater, and is a member in Kate Kennedy’s Sonoma Shakespeare Avalon Players.
Yoli is also passionate about wellness and enjoys enrichment in yoga and wellness and nutrition retreats. She loves the ocean and water activities and completed a sailing course on the San Francisco Bay. Yoli is very proud of her two amazing, compassionate, and joyful daughters, Bella Rose and Zoe Blue, who enjoy equestrian sports, playing the violin, creating things, and soccer, in addition to their studies at independent schools.
Yoli believes in teaching from the heart and feels inspired by her students’ beautiful and interesting work every day.
Danielle Wegner is the Elementary Campus After-School Director, Elementary teacher assistant, and garden instructor.
Danielle holds a degree from Sonoma State University in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Restoration Ecology and Conservation Science, along with a minor in both Biology and Geography.
Prior to joining the Spring Hill faculty, Danielle spent seven years as an animal keeper and conservation specialist at Safari West. She still enjoys working with conservation organizations. Danielle is eager to grow with The Spring Hill School and share her knowledge and passions with her students. In her free time, she loves being with family and friends and spending time outdoors.
Megan Gallagher is the Lead Teacher for Spring Hill’s 5th and 6th grade Middle School class. She is also Spring Hill’s Spanish Curriculum Coordinator.
Megan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and Spanish from Texas A&M University and a Master’s degree in Education with an Emphasis in English as a Second Other Language from Fort Hays State University.
Prior to joining the Middle School team, Megan taught in the Lower Elementary Classroom and led Spring Hill’s first international service learning project to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (now an annual event).
Before joining Spring Hill’s faculty team, Megan served as the Program Coordinator for the Volcanes Community Education Program for four years and lived in Mexico a total of eight years. She is a fluent Spanish speaker, and her experience living in Mexico contributes to her passion for global outreach.
Megan attended training at the Equity and Inclusion Institute this August at The Nueva School in San Mateo. This training was a perfect fit as her lessons are rooted in social justice.
Megan enjoys spending time with her husband Chaz, traveling, and riding horses. Her “teaching partner” is Buddy, a therapy dog whom she rescued while living in Mexico. Megan brings Buddy to the classroom each day (see Buddy’s bio below).
Middle School Lead Teacher, Grades 7 & 8
Advisory Coordinator &
High School Placement Counselor
Jen Klem-Clarke is the 7th and 8th grade Lead Teacher, Advisory Coordinator, and high school placement counselor. Jen brings to Spring Hill her passion and over 20 years of middle school teaching, leadership, and advisory experience, including 5 years of teaching in Pleasant Hill and San Francisco, four years of teaching at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland, and 11 years at Marin Primary and Middle School in Larkspur, Marin County.
After moving to Petaluma six years ago, Jen is very excited to be working close to home so she can spend more time playing with her husband, Kevin, their always entertaining sons, Finn and Kai, and their adorable Cocker Spaniel, Zoe. She enjoys yoga, cooking, gardening, crafting, reading and most of all, exploring the world with her curious boys.
Lead Middle School Math Teacher
Pam Tambe teaches mathematics to Spring Hill’s Middle School students. She brings to her teaching a love of helping students gain solid mathematical skills and become confident, capable problem solvers.
She holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Johnson State College in Vermont. Her expertise is in middle and high school mathematics teaching and in education research of math and science curricula, assessment, teacher leadership, and professional development.
Pam’s youngest daughter is a Spring Hill student. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, outdoor activities, and traveling.
Dr. Abbas Farazdel is Spring Hill’s Advanced Math and Science teacher in the Middle School program (grades 5-8). He joined the Spring Hill Middle School team in 2018.
Dr. Farazdel has a PhD in quantum physical chemistry and concurrently an MSc in physics from University of Massachusetts. As an ex-professor and an industry educator/consultant, Dr. Farazdel always believed strongly that real learning should happen as early as possible. Thus, he has been excited to teach at the middle and high school levels.
Prior to joining Spring Hill, Dr. Farazdel was teacher at the Academy for Science and Design (ASD), New Hampshire’s top-performing charter STEM school, teaching AP Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry. During the same period, Dr. Farazdel was also an Adjunct Professor teaching physics and math at Nashua Community College. Decades of past teaching and research experience of Dr. Farazdel includes Amherst College (Amherst, MA); University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA); Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland; Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada; Brandeis University (Waltham, MA); and Harvard University (Cambridge, M), where he had the honor of doing collaborative research with a Nobel Prize laureate. Dr. Farazdel has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific research articles.
He recently moved to Sonoma County to be near his family. Dr. Farazdel enjoys hiking, skiing, reading, and spending time with family and friends.
Christine Kubota is the Assistant Teacher at our Middle School Campus. This is her second year joining us on the Spring Hill faculty.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Science from Sonoma State University.
Prior to joining Spring Hill, Christine worked with kids for five years. She was a Student Instructor at Sonoma State University as well as a Summer Camp Director. Christine volunteers in assisting prospective scuba divers in receiving their scuba certification, which she has been doing for three years. Additionally, Christine enjoys macrame, traveling, and watching true crime documentaries.
Cara Wasden teaches public speaking in Spring Hill’s Middle School program (grades 5-8). Cara has been a member of the international public speaking organization, Toastmasters, since 2005. She has won numerous speaking and storytelling competitions over the years and has helped many others achieve the same success. These days her passion lies in helping younger people gain public speaking skills and confidence early on.
Throughout the last four years, Cara has coached and co-coached a number of Toastmasters youth leadership programs throughout the Bay Area. She continues to co-coach public speaking sessions for programs such as Tomorrow’s Leaders Today and Chop‘s Teen Center. She also co-coaches interviewing workshops for high school seniors involved with The Lime Foundation.
Cara loves teaching public speaking to Spring Hill’s middle school students and is enthusiastically passing on her passion to others!
Music Specialist, Grades PK-4
Pablo Rodriguez is a well-known singer, guitarist, and teacher in the North Bay area. He has performed in a wide variety of styles including classical, Brazilian music, jazz, gospel, pop, and Eastern European. He has collaborated for years with songwriters, poets, dancers, choirs, and multi-media artists in many venues. He is an experienced teacher in both classrooms and privately.
Certified Therapy Dog
Buddy is a certified therapy dog from Volcanes, Mexico. She was trained through the animal rescue organization, MexPup, and has been helping students since July 2014. Buddy is a working dog, not a service animal, as she provides therapeutic benefits for children and adults beyond her handler (and also for), Miss Megan.
Siamak Zadeh is Chair of the Math & Science Advisory Board. Siamak studied math and physics and earned an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Columbia University in New York. He has spent over 20 years in academia and the information technology sector, teaching, conducting research and developing strategic business plans for application of IT technologies to various industries, including energy, automotive and healthcare and life sciences industries.
Siamak meets with the Science teaching team on a monthly basis to overview the application of the Next Generation Science Standards in Spring Hill’s daily practices and education.
Anoosh Mizany is founder and past president of Solar Depot, a systems integrator and wholesale supplier of solar energy equipment with headquarters in Petaluma. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Solar Energy Industries Association and has also served as its president. Prior to founding Solar Depot, Anoosh taught science at San Rafael High School in Marin County. Before teaching, Anoosh was a Research Chemist at Stauffer Chemical Company. Anoosh earned his MS degree in Physical Chemistry from Kansas State University.
George Beeler is Principal Architect, AIM Associates, an architectural, consulting and integrated design team management firm serving the San Francisco Bay Area. He has given presentations on integrated design team management and sustainable architecture at Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, Pacific Gas and Electric Energy Center, American Solar Energy Society National Conference, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy National Conference, US Forest Service, International Facility Managers Association, Russian Delegation of Building Designers, Stanford University, local chapters of the American Institute of Architects, Construction Specifications Institute, local schools and colleges.