Middle School Teaching StaffOur middle school teaching staff...
Becky Bob-Waksberg - 6th Grade Math and ScienceBecky grew up in the Bay Area playing math games and taking the redwoods for granted. After receiving her BA from Oberlin College, she came back to get her teaching credential and MA at Mills College. She has taught a variety of subjects in 4th through 8th grade, and she especially loves giving students tools and opportunities to think critically and creatively about their environment and world. Becky is a Teacher Leader with the Park City Math Institute. She has training in teaching mindfulness, English language acquisition, and conflict resolution, and is certified in facilitating and mediating with a social justice lens. Outside of school, Becky sings with the Oakland Symphony and volunteers with the Ella Baker Center in their work against mass incarceration. She and her sister have a sibling cover band in which she sings and plays the ukulele and autoharp.Julia Bailey - 6th Grade Humanities (2018-19 school year)Julia grew up and went to college in the Chicago area. After majoring in English, one of her first jobs was in the communications office at The Latin School of Chicago. She received her Masters in education, and has been teaching at independent schools for 14 years. Half of that time has been in the East Bay, including most recently at The Berkeley School and Bentley. Julia is excited about teaching humanities at the middle school level again, like she did at the progressive, project-based Duke School in North Carolina. Julia lives in the East Bay with her family. In 2018-2019 she will have a sixth grader, a high schooler, and a college student.Rachel Stone - 6th Grade Humanities (maternity leave 2018-19 school year)
Originally from Oakland, Rachel has a BA from Wesleyan University focusing on gender and ethnicity in a post-colonial context. Trained at Mills College, her philosophy of teaching has been shaped by her own experiences in Bay Area progressive communities and eleven years at Park Day School. Rachel strives to help the next generation understand the world critically, find their voices, and become citizens that transform their communities. Rachel has worked with students from the third grade to the twelfth, but to her nothing compares to the middle schooler's openness and sense of humor. Rachel can also be found walking two Shiba Inus around the Dimond district, listening to audiobooks and podcasts. As an artist, she uses calligraphy, paper cutting, and embroidery to express herself and her vision of social justice.Beatriz Rivera - MS Spanish Spanish
Beatriz was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, but soon after moved to the East Bay with her family. Beatriz has been a part of Park Day School since 1997, when her daughter, Janette entered first grade. Throughout the years, Beatriz has taught Spanish at every grade level. Since 2006, she has worked specifically with the middle school students. She has been instrumental in leading annual week-long trips to Mexico and Costa Rica..Jeff Allen - 7th & 8th Math
Jeff grew up in Albany and Berkeley and received his BA in architecture at UC Berkeley. He spent fifteen years in the design, engineering and construction industry in Saudi Arabia and throughout the U.S., followed by fifteen years in hardware and software development. He volunteered weekly for math labs in his two kids’ Albany school classrooms and decided on a major career change. After receiving his teaching certification, Jeff taught at Albany and Berkeley high schools, Helms Middle School and the Aim High
middle school summer program in Oakland. Jeff joined Park Day School in 2012.
In his spare time, Jeff manages data for his partner’s international children’s oral health project and tries to squeeze in time for windsurfing on the bay.Lisa Appleyard - Middle School Math SpecialistLisa has been teaching since 1995, just after earning a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from St. Mary's College. She's taught at several Bay Area schools, most recently Nea Community Learning Center, Archway Middle School, and Windrush School (2000-2012) where she instructed students in Math, Science, and Performing Arts. Lisa was thrilled to join the Park Day community last year and is looking forward to another fun year. As Middle School Math Specialist, Lisa enjoys designing authentic learning opportunities with the students in math class and incorporating projects involving art and design into the curriculum. Recently, Lisa has had the opportunity to participate in a number of math professional development programs including Action Research Cohort at Nea, a "teaching fractions" intensive with Professor Wu at UC Berkeley and Math Teachers Circle at AIM, a weeklong workshop for math teachers focusing on problem solving strategies. When she is not teaching, you might find Lisa running, strolling with her with her dog, Ramona, bike riding with her two sons, or performing on a local stage.Carrie Moy - 7th & 8th Grade ScienceCarrie grew up in Arizona and received her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology with a Medicine Minor at the University of Arizona. During that time, she went to India to teach about HIV/AIDS prevention and help curb a public health crisis. That's when she fell in love with teaching. Post college, she pursued a career in education and received her Masters in Education from Northwestern University. For the past eight years, Carrie has been a middle school math and science teacher in Chicago. During her time there, she has worked to develop an engaging science curriculum for 7th and 8th graders with an emphasis on social justice and service, as well as developed her skill set as a teacher leader with the Alaine Locke Initiative. Outside of school, Carrie volunteers with her dog, Harvey, or spends her weekend camping.Jennifer Hoggatt - 7th Grade HumanitiesPrior to joining Park Day School, Jen taught Middle School English for four years at the Alta-Vista School, a progressive, independent school in San Francisco. In addition, she also taught upper elementary grades for eight years on the Peninsula. Jen comes to us with a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from San Francisco State University; an M.A. in Elementary Education and Teaching and a C.L.A.D. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, both from USF. For the past thirteen years, Jen has been an educator committed to helping students become successful, lifelong learners who are eager to contribute to their community. She especially enjoys supporting middle school students as they travel, change, and explore through the written and spoken word. Lessons place an emphasis on critical thinking, skill building and conversation. By pushing in these directions, Jen's students leave the classroom with a greater appreciation and respect for themselves, each other, and our global communities. In her free time, Jen enjoys practicing yoga, reading, creating fiber art, traveling, and tasting all the delights that Oakland has to offer.Molly Aaronson-Gelb - Middle School DramaMolly is a Park alum and an experienced educator, having spent the last fourteen years teaching and working at College Prep, Orinda Academy, and the Bentley School. She brings solid expertise as a language arts teacher and advisor as well as experience teaching drama at other East Bay public and independent schools.Andrew Risinger - 8th Grade HumanitiesBorn in Washington, D.C., Andrew was raised in small-town Pennsylvania in an area that is affectionately called "the Wilds". Educated at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, he has taught a variety of grade levels at a number of independent schools in the East Bay and Seattle Areas. In addition to teaching, Andrew helps lead youth outdoor programs in the California wilderness.When not teaching, Andrew can be found changing diapers, fixing something on his house, walking in the woods, listening to music a little too loud, or dreaming of big league baseball.Amber Balquist - Learning Specialist: 6th - 8th GradesAmber first worked with students with special needs as a swim teacher while attending UC Santa Cruz. At UCSC, she studied Sociology with an emphasis in Environmental Justice. After the swim instructor job, Amber knew she wanted to become a special education teacher. She received her teaching credential and Master's Degree in Education at San Francisco State University, completing both programs with honors. She was a classroom teacher at Children's Learning Center in Alameda for twelve years, then developed and ran the Middle School Resource Program at Oakland School for the Arts. She joined the Park Day School team in the Spring of 2013. She has attended many trainings and certification programs including BICM (Behavioral Intervention Case Manager), Certificate in Autism Studies, Making Math Real, and Otter Creek Institute workshops. Beyond teaching, Amber is the co-owner of Oakland Floats, a floatation tank business that she and her husband began in 2012. She also enjoys creating adventures with her two young children as well as urban farming, seeing live music, taking ceramics classes, traveling and vegetarian cooking.Cristina Portela, Middle School ArtCristina was born in Puerto Rico and still has all of her family there. She loves the Island’s warm ocean breeze. Her first degree was a BBA, in Marketing. She worked in the field for a few years before hearing the call to pursue her real passion. That’s when she moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, were she obtained a BFA, in Sculpture and Photography and MFA, in Sculpture.
Cristina’s first teaching experience was at Creativity Explored, a San Francisco non- profit that helps people with disabilities become artists within their own right. “These artists with disabilities are true to who they are,” says Cristina. “They aren’t afraid to create. Experimenting with materials gives them freedom and joy." Cristina’s artwork resonates with this joy; the playfulness and the process of experimentation. She has been teaching Art to children for the past 8 years, and joined Park Day School in January 2013.
Miguel Martinez, MS Music
Born in Chiapas, México, Miguelito Martinez studied Music Education and Transversal Flute from the University of Science and Art in Chiapas and La Universidad Veracruzana with trained in Kodaly and Dalcroze and he has his Orff Schulwerk music certification by the San Francisco Orff International Levels. He has an intensive experience teaching multicultural music from pre-school to the post-graduate level in Mexico, Cuba, and the US. Miguel has been a guest clinician for the AOSA (American Orff-Schulwerk Association), CMEA (California Music Education Asociation) and The OUSD (Oakland Unified District). He has been a music teacher and multicultural arts educator since 2004 in the bay area. Miguel was a music teacher specialist for Young Imagination, Youth in Arts teaching all over the bay area from Kinder garden until High School. Miguelito was working at Escuela Bilingue Internacional for many years developing an IB (International Bachalerote) music Curriculum. He is the founding director of Corazon Sur a Mexican-Caribbean fusion ensemble and co-director of Balamcoatl; a collaborative project focused on diffusing the vibrant music and dance traditions of the indigenous people of México. Miguelito Martinez stays busy in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Latin music scene, playing Afro-Caribbean Music and Latin Jazz with Internationally renowned musicians. In 2009 he was selected by the Santana Milagro Foundation to be on the Voces del Cambio show on the Discovery Channel in which he shared his insight on how to utilize music as an instrument for newcomer children from Latin America to integrate into their new community. In the same year, he was awarded the best Latin Jazz Flautist Of The Year for the Latin Jazz Corner. Besides his busy musical carer as a composer, musician, and educator, He enjoys cooking, traveling, and hiking with his daughter Ollin.Ilya Pratt, Director, Design+Make+Engage ProgramAt the heart of Ilya’s educational practice is an unrelenting drive to figure out how things work, whether it is a child’s approach to problem solving or an engineering design solution. Ilya has worked with children and educators for over three decades, in school and non-school settings. Ilya founded Park Day’s Design+Make+Engage program and the Innovation Workshop. She is a Maker Leader for the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Project Zero, Agency by Design project, exploring the promises and practices of maker-centered learning. In addition, she is a coach for the HGSE course, Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom, and an adjunct professor for the Sonoma State University Maker Certificate program. Previously, Ilya founded Park Day School’s Learning Resource Program, one of the first in Bay Area independent schools. She has taught for the Boston Children’s Museum and Ullens School in Nepal. Ilya’s lifelong learning includes B.A. Studio Art/Art History; M.A. Special Education and Certificate in Educational Therapy; extensive trainings in neuropsychological perspectives and addressing learning differences; and a host of workshops related to industrial arts, digital fabrication, and maker-centered learning. Ilya joined the Park Day staff in 1989.
Harlin Tam, MS Physical Education and Athletic DirectorHarlin, a native to San Francisco played various sports growing up in they city. He discovered his passion for physical activity and athletics while attending San Francisco State University and coaching football at his former high school. He holds a BS in Kinesiology. For the past three years, he has taught at John Henry High School as the Athletics Director, Head Coach, and Physical Education instructor. Prior to John Henry, he taught at Richmond Charter Academy.
Recently, he was recognized by the California State Athletics Directors Association for his dedication toward student athletics as the recipient of the 2018 Norm Mackenzie Award for distinguished Athletic Director; with special recognition for quality and contributions in high school education-based athletics. He continues his love for physical performance and working with athletes through coaching and teaching physical education. As an educator, “My goal is to provide each student with access to a quality education and an equal opportunity to succeed. I am dedicated to supporting students in realizing their maximum potential through a genuine interest in their lives and providing them a safe and supportive learning environment.”Carrie Kartman, MS Learning Specialist
Carrie grew up in Ithaca, New York, and has called the Bay Area “home" for several decades. She holds degrees in Drama and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She also studied acting with Jean Shelton, and has appeared on stage many times. She began her teaching career in the Creative Writing department at S.F. State in 1995. Since then she has taught at Everett Middle School as a member of San Francisco WritersCorps/Americorps, tutored in the East Bay for over ten years, taught drama as a Teaching Artist with Walnut Creek Civic Arts, and earned a Certificate in Educational Therapy at the University of California Berkeley. As an educational therapist she taught at Raskob Day School and Bayhill High School, was a Learning Specialist at The Mills College Children’s School, conducted psycho-educational assessments for The Ann Martin Children’s Center, and was the district Reading Specialist in Piedmont Unified’s Special Education Department. For over ten years she has maintained a private practice in educational therapy. She has published essays, articles, and short fiction. Carrie was a founding member of Twins by the Bay, a local support group for parents of twins. Her sons are now attending college in the Northwest. She loves getting outside to hike, bike, kayak, or just admire the view.