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OUR TEAM

Teachers are the heart of our community. As mentors they mirror and model the core values of our school by showing curiosity, critical thinking, intentionality, open dialogue and good humor.  Our teachers seek to recognize and honor the gifts each student brings to the table, as they strive to challenge them to new levels of mastery, and guide them in their journey to be engaged learners, self-advocates, and stewards of their natural environment.

 

OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL

Wendy Xa

Founding Head of School

Neuroscientist. Nature Enthusiast. Quadrilingual. Mom.

 

After founding Presidio Knolls, the award-winning private Mandarin-immersion school in San Francisco, Wendy had a vision for a pioneering school that could combine language immersion, nature-based education, and social-emotional learning into a unified program. With three years of operation under its belt, Terra Marin is the exemplification of this vision.

 

“I created my first school, Presidio Knolls, to be the school I wanted for my own two children. It was incredible to watch it become everything I dreamed of. Then, over ten years working with hundreds of students and teachers, I learned how to create something even better. That’s what Terra Marin is.”

 

OUR Preschool TEACHERS

Tianxing Yao
TK Mandarin Preschool
Talented poet. Amusement park enthusiast.

M.A. in Education from University of San Francisco. B.A. in electric engineering from Xi’ an Shiyou University in China. 7 years of teaching experience.                                                                                                  

Melody Zhao
Mandarin Preschool

Singer and guitarist. Animal lover.

M.A. in Education from George Fox University in Oregon. B.A. from Central China Normal University. 6 years of teaching experience.

Emili Herrera
Assistant Preschool Teacher & Shuttle Driver
Hardworking. Fearless. Enthusiastic.

Accredited preschool teacher with 5 years experience. 

our Lower School TEACHERS

(in order by grade)

Riva Zippin
K On-Site 
Contagious laughter. Doting aunt. Ms. Frizzle Dress-Alike.

B.A. from UC Berkeley. 15 years of teaching experience. 

J. Alex Michel

K Outdoor Micro-School
Tuba player. Fire fighter. Trilingual.

Double Major with B.S. in Environment Science/Society and B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from UC Berkeley with a minor in Education.

Cindi Ewert
K Outdoor Micro-School
Enthusiastic. Caring. Dedicated.

B.A. in K-12 Education from Arizona State University. 30+ years teaching experience working with all grades, including students with autism.

Molly Becher
1 & 2 On-Site

Creative. Friendly. Adventurous.

B.A. in Liberal Arts from Cal State Chico. Grew up in Marin County, feels "very blessed to live in such a lovely place."

Andy Trapp
2-3 Outdoor Micro-School
Skier. Mountain biker. Rock band drummer.

B.A. from University of Michigan. Multi-subject accredited elementary teacher. 

Margo  Broderick
2-3 Outdoor Micro-School
Forest Ranger. Outdoor Adventurer. Art.

Double Major B.A. in History & Visual Arts from Rutgers University. "Art is my passion. I love to paint, make ceramics, and draw, but I especially love finding ways to create art from things I find out in nature." 

Enessa Sanchez
3-5 On-Site 

Energetic. Team player. Dedicated.

B.A. in Liberal Arts from SF State University. 15 years teaching experience. Committed to building strong relationships with children to help their academic and social-emotional growth. 

OUR Upper School TEACHERS

(in alphabetical order)

John Boyd
7-8 Math, Virtual

Love numbers, puzzles and chess. Never miss a rubik's cube convention

30 years experience teaching math. Homeschooled 3 children (now grown) and has newborn twin boys. 

Mike Burkett
5-8 Science, Virtual & On-Site 

Permaculture gardening enthusiast. Proud owner of Charlie the Science Dog. Father. Renaissance man.

Over 15 years of teaching experience in the sciences.

Michael Field
5-7 Math, Virtual & On-Site 
Ultimate frisbee, hiking and gardening. Cook. Slam Poet. Guitarist.     

B.A. in Mathematics & Philosophy from Brown University. 10 years teaching experience. Meditation teacher. 

Lesley Fisher
7-8 English, Virtual

Backpacking enthusiast. Dancing fool.

Over 15 years teaching experience in Humanities. Mother of 2 daughters in high school.

Ivania Portocarrero
5 English, K-8 Spanish On-Site
World Traveler. Bilingual. 

B.A. in Psychology from SFSU with an M.A. in Education from University of Phoenix. 

Gabrielle Greenfield
5 Outdoor Micro-School
Naturalist. Playwright. Puppeteer. Earth Educator.

B.A. in English Literature & Plant Science from University of Maryland. 

Stephen Riave

6 English, 5-8 Social Studies Virtual & On-Site
3-time principal and middle school English teacher. Wordsmith. Nature Enthusiast. 

B.A. from UC Santa Cruz. M.A in Educational Administration from SFSU. Multi-subject credential. 

Agustin Olmeda
7-8 Math On-Site

Bilingual. Father of a baby girl.

B.A. in Mathematics from SFSU.  First of his extended family to graduate college and wants to help others to do the same. 

Stephanie Romano
5 Science, Math & Earth Education

Nature nerd. Loves a good rock n’ roll concert.

B.S. in Geology & Earth Science with a Physics minor from Portland State University. 

OUR MUSIC, DRAMA, EARTH eDUCATION, world language & ART teachers

(in alphabetical order)

Chloe Jean Bermudez
Music On-Site PK-4

R&B musician and composer. Nature enthusiast. Mother of 2.

UC Berkeley graduate & accomplished musician. 5+ years teaching experience in music and the arts.

Jake Chamberlain
Art Teacher PK-8 & Earth Education

Filmmaker. Artist. Outdoors enthusiast.

M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University. Grew up in Eagle River, Alaska exploring the great outdoors and shooting films with friends. 

Diamond Dahlstrom
Earth Education Director
Primitive survivalist. Bird Linguist.

Northern California native and 2nd generation earth educator. 15 years experience in wild crafting, survival skills, tracking, mapping, regional hazards, bird language, & fauna ID.

Aidan Gavet
Drama & Safety Director On-Site & Outdoor Micro-School

Actor. Playwright. Director. Music video producer. Hairdo freestyler.

Over 10 years teaching experience in drama and the arts.

Ryan Hickey
Music Director On-Site & Outdoor Micro-School

Talented musician and composer. Passionate traveler. Multilingual.

Over 15 years teaching experience in the arts. Composes music for short films and documentaries and plays in a rock and jazz band. Converses in English, Mandarin & Music.

Tanya Liu
K-8 Mandarin On-Site and Outdoor Micro-School

Passionate chef. Mandarin Enthusiast.

M.A. in Education from Patten University and a B.A. in Chinese Literature from

ShanXi University in China.

Shanshan Wu

K-8 Mandarin On-Site
Passionate chef. Epicure. Avid volunteer. Mother.

B.A. from Shenyang University, China. 5 years of experience teaching Mandarin to all ages. Volunteer at orphanages and senior citizen homes.

 

Our ADMINISTRATORS & Staff

Shauna Sullivan

Assistant Head of School
Cat & child whisperer. Math wiz, Avid reader and book collector. Proud grandmother.

B.A. and M.A. in Education with a focus in mathematics from SFSU.  20+ years classroom experience. Cat and children whisperer. Just became a grandmother for the 2nd time.

Edie Alejandre

Director of Operations
Wordsmith editor. Zoom extraordinaire. Mother of 2. Steady under pressure.

B.A. in Political Science from SFSU. Over 7 years experience working as Office and Communications Manager in a prior K-8 school. Mother to 2 sons in high school and college. Speaks English and Spanish.

Christina Forte
Marketing Director & Camp Supervisor 
Mother of 3. Runner. Philanthropist & serial volunteer.

M.B.A in Marketing from University of Southern California and B.A. in Economics with a French Minor from UC San Diego. Founding Director of Children for Change. Over 20+ years experience in brand management and product development. ​

Laura DelRoss
Outdoor Micro-School Director
Neuroemergent, Advocate, Storyteller

B.A in Education from Humboldt State University. Experiential educator, restorative justice facilitator, and writer. Former Interpretive Park Ranger and Outward Bound instructor, course director, and staff trainer. Learning ASL. 

Leilani Tice
Admissions Manager
Ocean lover. Sun dweller. Adventure seeker. Naturalist.

B.A. in Cinema and Digital Media, Communications Minor from UC Davis. Division 1 tennis team and ski team at UC Davis. Native Hawaiian and grew up in Marin.  Speaks English and German.

Veronica Campitelli 
Administrator
Contagious laugh. Melodic voice. Loves to bike.

B.A. in Health Education & Child Development from SFSU. Previous after-school director and teacher. 

 

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORS

Wendy Xa, Board President
Simona Chongo, Board Member
Levi Leavitt, Board Member
Jen Guittard, Board Member & Advisor
Jane Camblin, Advisor
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©2018 by Terra Mandarin Preschool

70 Lomita Drive, Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 906-2220
admissions@terramandarin.org
NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICY
The Terra Schools admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.