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 attended a French bilingual school and her multi-cultural education includes degrees in Business Administration and an advanced certificate in French Literature from Sorbonne University.
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.
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 Spring Hill 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.’”
Director of Enrollment and Marketing
Alia Long has worked in the Bay Area schools for over 10 years and joined Spring Hill in 2016. She is thrilled to be part of the school’s expansion in 2017-18 to include 7th and 8th grade as well as the innovative new campus.
Alia has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UC Berkeley and is excited to partner with Spring Hill’s art teacher to create new projects in the upper elementary and middle school grade levels.
Executive Assistant to Head of School
Karen Tarver 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.
Business & Office Manager
Bio Coming soon!
Sandra Campbell has been affiliated with Spring Hill for over 20 years, first as an involved parent and currently as the Administrative Director of Spring Hill Academy. Sandra is an experienced business professional and a former business owner. She also has experience working in Spring Hill’s classrooms in all of the school’s programs. She provides enthusiastic support to the faculty and manages the operations of the Spring Hill Academy campus.
Sandra, originally from the East Coast and a long-time Petaluma resident, is very involved in a number of community organizations . She is mom to two adult children, Ritzman and Anna, who is a Spring Hill alum.
Communications, Camps and Media Coordinator
Don Lewis joined Spring Hill School in 2016 as Communications and Media Coordinator. His background and education are a combination of child development and youth recreation as well as communications and filmmaking.
Don holds a BA in Communications from California State Northridge and is an MA candidate in Cinema Studies at San Francisco State. His background in youth development includes Program Director of two different Boys & Girls Clubs as well as Director of the Intel Computer Clubhouse for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Petaluma. He is also an award winning filmmaker.
Don lives in Petaluma and enjoys film, books, music and the Giants, as well as spending time with his daughter Story, who is a Spring Hill alum.
Bilingual Toddler Teacher
Evelyn Martinez has been a valued member of the Spring Hill Toddler program faculty since 2010. She 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.
Evelyn, a native Spanish speaker, offers an excellent bilingual program to our Toddlers.
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 and her husband, Jose, are parents to Alan, their beautiful son.
Bilingual Toddler Teacher
Eva Munoz is a bilingual teacher in Spring Hill’s Toddler program. She has been a valued Spring Hill faculty member since 2011, working with Primary students. She joined the Toddler faculty in 2015.
Eva’s experience prior to joining Spring Hill was as a program coordinator with the Boys and Girls Club where she designed and directed programs and activities for young children.
Eva has an associate teacher certificate from SRJC.
Eva is continuing her education at SRJC, emphasizing child development. She has earned the trust and respect of Spring Hill parents and has a reputation as a caring, sensitive and calm teacher.
Bilingual Toddler Teacher
Fabiola Estrada, a member of Spring Hill’s bilingual Toddler faculty, 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 our toddlers. She brings Spanish to life in a natural “real world” manner through a wealth of developmentally appropriate and rich learning experiences.
Fabiola has extensive outdoor education training and creates a welcoming and secure environment, giving children the confidence to explore, play, and learn. Classroom pets, gardening, art and building projects are integral part of Fabiola’s teaching.
Sarah has a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Tulane University and an American Montessori Society teaching credential for Primary students from California State University, Hayward. She is passionate about teaching young children, which she has done for the past 15 years. She is also a certified yoga teacher for adults and children with experience teaching in Southeast Asia as well. In addition, Sarah has worked as a marketing coordinator in a well known San Francisco architecture firm.
In her free time, Sarah teaches yoga to children. She loves to hike, travel, cook, study Ayurveda, paint yantras, and spend time with her family and friends.
(Preschool and Kindergarten)
Lead Teacher, Estrellas Brillantes Primary Class
Danielle Robinson has been a member of Spring Hill’s Primary faculty since 2004 and is the Lead teacher of Estrellas Brillantes bilingual Primary class.
Danielle received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University and has a Primary Montessori credential from the American Montessori Society.
Danielle is passionate about anything related to the outdoors, health, fitness, vegetarianism and organic/sustainable living. She grew up in Pacifica and knows that she could never live too far from the ocean! Danielle lives in Sonoma County with her beautiful daughter Savannah, a Spring Hill student.
Grace Stipanov is an experienced classroom Montessori teacher. She joined Spring Hill in 2015 as a Primary classroom teacher.
Grace has worked in Montessori classrooms since 2010. She enjoys creating a classroom environment for her students that support engaged learning. She is a dedicated Montessori professional and offers to her students an experience integrated with warmth, understanding, and positive structure.
Grace’s education at College of the Redwoods in Eureka includes a major in Early Childhood Development and a minor in Human Development.
Grace’s excellent communication skills contribute to our families’ positive interactions. She has recently moved to Sonoma County from Eureka and is enjoying living near her family again.
Lead Teacher, The Redwoods Primary Class
Lara O’Brien, Lead Teacher of the Redwood Primary class, joined the Spring Hill faculty in 2000. In addition to an American Montessori Society teaching credential for Primary students, she has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential for both California and Nevada, she is CLAD (cross cultural language acquisition development) certified, and has an ECE Site Supervisor Credential.
Lara is the proud mom of Ella and Donnie. Her husband Dustin is a Spring Hill graduate! She considers Spring Hill her “second home.”
In her free time, Lara loves to kayak in Tomales Bay, listen to the Blues (especially when it’s Lightning Hopkins), be outdoors as much as possible, and “simply be in the moment the best that I can!”
Bilingual Teacher, The Redwoods Primary Class
Gina Andrade joined The Redwoods Primary class as assistant teacher in 2013. She is fully bilingual and is excited to bring a vibrant and multi-cultural curriculum to her class. She holds a Montessori teaching credential from the Amercian Montessori Society.
Gina has a passion for teaching young children Montessori teaching credential.
A Petaluma native, Gina’s family is originally from Colombia. Gina enjoys spending time with her 8-year-old niece, friends and family, and volunteering. She lives in Sonoma.
Mommy & Me Instructor
Cindy Bollens has been an important Spring Hill faculty member since 1990. She received her Montessori credential from Association Montessori Internationale.
Cindy works with each child’s individual gifts to engage them in their passions and help them reach their potential and thrive.
She is the mom of two Spring Hill alum, who are now young adults. In her time away from Spring Hill, Cindy and her husband Lance enjoy rock climbing and traveling.
Barbara Pappas has been working in Early Childhood education since 1991 and she received her Primary Montessori teaching certificate from Ursula Thrush, Montessori of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, in 2002.
A High School graduate from Germany, she came to the USA as a Physical Therapist accepted into the PNF continued education program for neurological patients at Kaiser Hospital, Vallejo in 1985.
Her favorite topic is parenting, so if you catch her between classes, start up a conversation about family values, sibling dynamics, or setting routines and habits by modeling. Barbara is living in Petaluma and actively involved in CrossFit coaching and programming.
Bilingual Teacher, Bluebirds, Primary Class
Griselda Lopez has been a member of the Spring Hill faculty since 2004. She received her Primary Montessori credential from the American Montessori Society. She has an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education.
Griselda is passionate about teaching and brings to her students a rich cultural and bilingual experience.
She is a proud mom of two beautiful boys whom she is raising with her husband Gerardo.
Reina Starke joined Spring Hill more than ten years ago following a career in the telecommunications industry. Embracing the Spring Hill spirit of family, Reina succeeded our former, long-time office manager, her mother Marti, upon her retirement!
Reina supports the faculty in a multitude of ways, including substituting in all classrooms and special projects. Reina’s great sense of community creates a welcoming and friendly environment for everyone.
Reina lives and her husband Barrett have their three beautiful daughters, Jordan, Madison and Hallie, all Spring Hill alum. She enjoys reading, outdoor activities, and traveling.
Primary After-School Program
Allie Hunter joined Spring Hill as the Aftercare teacher in 2017.
Allie started teaching preschool in college at UC Santa Cruz, where she majored in History. After college, she worked for AmeriCorps in the education department and then spent the next four years traveling and teaching in Spain, England and Thailand.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Allie brings her love for language and culture into her everyday aftercare lessons. She grew up in Petaluma and her hobbies include travel, reading and yoga.
Spring Hill Academy Elementary Faculty
Jean Hicks is an extraordinary, and experienced master educator. She has more than 25 years’ teaching experience, and over 20 years as a Language Arts and Math specialist, with extensive training in passionately tutoring students at all levels in their areas of strengths and challenges.
Jean has Montessori Advanced Lower and Upper Elementary credentials, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree, and K-8 Teaching Credential. She is the founder of a Montessori school currently serving grades K-8. She has served as a mentor to colleagues, facilitating classroom observations and evaluations.
Jean believes in the full potential and the gifts of each child, is passionate about connecting with them at a deep level, and creating a positive and supportive community of enthusiastic learners who feel safe and confident to take risks, put forth their best efforts, and strive for excellence with determination, resilience, and confidence.
Lower Elementary Teacher and Spanish Curriculum Coordinator
Megan Shelton completed her undergraduate degree in Speech Communications and Spanish at Texas A&M University while competing on the rodeo team. After graduation, she moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where she taught all subjects in the private and public school settings for 8 years. She completed her master’s degree in Education with an Emphasis in English as a Second Other Language and coordinated the Volcanes Community Education Program in Mexico.
Megan loves discovering what students are passionate about and using that to bring material alive both inside and outside of the classroom. She also enjoys horseback riding, volleyball, basketball, hiking, and traveling. She is excited to move to the North Bay and loves the town of Petaluma!
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.
Cynthia Zarco is a native speaking Spanish teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Early Childhood Development from Sonoma State University.
Cynthia has been teaching since 2009 in a variety of capacities, including classroom leader for 1st grade, student support instructional assistant, behavior and education specialist, and tutor. Cynthia has worked with students from 1st to 5th grade, including lesson planning, testing, recordkeeping, homework supervision, and working one on one with her 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 great problem solver and a good role model to her students.
In addition to assisting in our Lower Elementary program, Cynthia teaches Spanish to our 1st-6th grade students with an emphasis on cultural studies, including conversational Spanish throughout the school day and after school to connect Spanish as a second language with real life experiences and activities.
Cynthia enjoys hiking, cooking and baking and loves being with children. She lives in Sonoma County.
Nicole Novach earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and her master’s degree in Special Education with a focus on Learning Disabilities from The American University in Washington, DC.
Nicole’s classroom teaching experience has been at prestigious independent schools both in Washington, DC and in California. She enjoys creating engaging, rigorous, individualized, integrated and arts-infused curriculum! She has extensive tutoring experience with both children and adults of all ages. Nicole is an enthusiastic teacher with a deep commitment to creating an atmosphere that is stimulating, encouraging, and supportive for all.
She is passionate about the outdoors and has designed and implemented a farm-to-school curriculum that takes learning out-of-doors and into the community. She is currently the Spring Hill Academy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) team leader.
Nicole and her husband Wayne moved to Sonoma County from Washington, DC after returning home from a 13 month trip in which they circumnavigated the world via 25 countries and 56,000 miles. Nicole loves traveling, rock climbing, yoga, dance, cooking, gardening, and art.
Nicole says “I believe that all students are capable learners and that it’s my job to figure out how they learn best!”
Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher
Physical Education Teacher
Kevin Conroy joined Spring Hill Academy’s faculty in 2015. He has been a coach and pro tennis player since 1990. He has traveled internationally playing, coaching, and teaching professional tennis. Kevin has recently been the tennis coach of the Marin Academy tennis team, in addition, he has experience teaching other sports, physical activities, team games, and group challenges. Kevin’s focus is on students’ health, movement and playing, team building, motivation and collaborative leadership.
In addition, Kevin brings to Spring Hill a strong business background and expertise in all aspects of marketing, sales, business development, public relations, and sponsorship management. Kevin has been successful in developing and executing strategic plans, setting and administering budgets, and managing projects from inception to successful completion. He is well-organized, with a track record that demonstrates self-motivation, creativity, and initiative to achieve both personal and organizational goals, and he believes in establishing a team-spirited environment through a positive and proactive leadership style.
Kevin is enthusiastic about establishing Spring Hill Academy’s sports and physical education curriculum, and teaching our Upper Elementary students business, marketing, finance, and leadership through weekly classes and community projects and involvement.
Kevin is a devoted father of two young children. He and his wife Teal (a member of Marin Academy’s management team) are passionate about discovering Montessori education for their young children, which inspired Kevin to pursue a teaching career. Kevin is currently enrolled to earn a California teaching credential.
Yoli Holman is Spring Hill’s Art Director. She teaches social and cultural studies as well as science through visual and performing arts.
Yoli will works closely with the Lower Elementary class in different capacities, as well as with the Upper Elementary and Kindergarten students.
Yoli has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts and Art History with a minor in a teacher education program from UC San Diego. She has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with CLAD emphasis, supplemental art education for K-8th grade from UC Davis, and Montessori elementary training from the American Montessori Society. Yoli is an experienced and passionate teacher and has taught at Spring Hill Academy for the past two years and previously at other Montessori charter and public schools, as well as teaching art, dance, and musical theatre for over 15 years.
Yoli believes that art is a powerful form of communication that allows students to express themselves and connect with their world through their creativity, ideas, and emotions. It is proven that involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skill. Arts learning improves motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.
Yoli brings life into humanities, cultural and social studies. Faculty works closely with Yoli to share monthly learning units and curriculum, ensuring that the arts program is integrated and related to their studies.
Yoli is committed to environmental and peace education, as well as nutrition and wellness. She enjoys modern art, multimedia painting, yoga, dance, gardening, and photography. Yoli and her two daughters live in Sonoma County.
Eunice Leun is the founder of weLearn Mandarin and Math tutoring center, which was established in 2007. Since then she has offered enrichment programs at schools and in private tutoring settings. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Literature from Guangzhou University in China.
Eunice’s curriculum begins with an introduction to the Mandarin Chinese language for students to become familiar with understanding and speaking Mandarin through simple dialogue and other fun classroom activities, and progresses in learning to read and write Chinese characters, enhancing vocabulary and conversation skills, and introducing Pinyin, the pronunciation system of Chinese and expansion of building speaking and reading comprehension skills.
Eunice has been teaching in our Spring Hill enrichment after-school program since 2011. We are excited to offer Chinese as part of our program in support of our focus on global education.
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.
Elementary After-School Program
Learning Support Teacher & After-School Director
Suzanne is a passionate, creative, empathetic teacher and as well as an artist fluent in French and English. She has taught painting and art throughout the Petaluma School District as an Enrichment Instructor and as an Art Docent. Suzanne worked and lived in Paris for one year. She began her study of the French language, Art, and Dance at the College of Marin and continued her study at U.C Berkeley upon her return rom Paris.
Suzanne has worked within low-income communities teaching nutrition through cooking and crafts and has worked with youth groups, the Hispanic community, and volunteers directing art and gardening projects as the Art and Environment coordinator.
Bio coming soon!
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.