Gabriel Baker joins Nueva after receiving his PhD at the University of Iowa, where he studied mass violence in the Roman Republic. At Iowa he taught courses on ancient, medieval, and world history, on topics ranging from Roman imperialism to pre-modern warfare. During the course of his graduate studies, he did research at ancient sites in Spain, Greece, and Croatia, worked on the Gabii Project excavations in Italy, and wrote articles for academic and popular publications. Gabriel earned a BS in history with minors in classics and justice systems and an MA in history from the University of Iowa. When he isn’t sharing his enthusiasm for history with students, he also enjoys visiting new places, eating new food, and exploring old ruins.
Benjamin Sobol Chang
Ben Chang joins Nueva as an Upper School Spanish teacher. He holds a BA in American studies from Tufts University and an MA in Spanish language and culture from Middlebury College. While completing his degree in Madrid, Spain, Ben studied the symbolism of Republican propaganda during the Spanish Civil War and published a paper on the social messages of the work of 20th century Spanish playwright Antonio Buero Vallejo. After graduating from Middlebury, Ben lived and taught in Madrid for eight years. Since returning to the U.S., he has worked at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT and Drew School in San Francisco, where he has taught Spanish, coached soccer and baseball, and served on faculty and student diversity and inclusion committees. In his free time, Ben enjoys traveling, playing golf and soccer, and learning French.
Brian Cropper graduated from Nueva in 2005 and could not be more excited to return this year as an Associate Teacher. During his time away, Brian spent summers working at Camp Dudley in upstate New York and traveling as much as possible. Brian earned his BA in religious studies with an emphasis in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College. He also studied and lived in Amman, Jordan. He continued his studies at Harvard Divinity School, where he earned a Master of Theological Studies in the comparative and historical study of religion. A researcher for the Pluralism Project at Harvard University and a co-founder of the Religious Literacy in Dialogue program there, Brian's passions and research focus on the ways that the knowledge of the realities of religious diversity can be shared to promote understanding and reconciliation at local and international levels.
Michaela Danek joins Nueva from San Francisco International High School, a newcomer school for English language students from all parts of the world. Fascinated by the variety of ways people learn, Michaela began her journey into education from the entry point of neuroscience when she was an undergraduate at UC San Diego. Following her passion for teaching and learning, Michaela studied at the Teacher Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While teaching for two years in Boston public schools as a biology, chemistry, and physics teacher, Michaela also served as a resident tutor in Lowell House. During her time in Lowell House, Michaela advised and mentored Harvard College students, leading a pre-education committee, as well as being a race relations and diversity tutor. Michaela looks forward to bringing her diverse teaching experiences to Nueva in designing learning opportunities that are accessible to all learning styles, while making science content relevant and meaningful to the community. Michaela holds a BS in neuroscience and physiology and a minor in secondary science education from UCSD, as well as a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She also holds a teaching credential in biology and certification in mild/moderate special education.
Joel Colom-Mena joins Nueva after teaching Spanish for nine years at Northwestern University, IL. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Loyola University Chicago in Hispanic studies with a focus on the culture and literature of the Middle Ages in Spain. His research emphasizes the secularization of religious figures — hermits — and religious practices in the life of that period and the influence of monastic rules in Spain’s culture and politics. His other areas of research involve the role of gender in Spain’s Golden Age theatre and the “Teatro de Calderón.” While in grad school, Joel spent two months in Sana’a, Yemen, learning Arabic and Islamic cultures; he believes that both have had a great impact in Spain’s cultural and intellectual diversity. He is interested in studying and “renaming” one of the most decisive moments in Spain’s history: La Reconquista.
Luke De joins Nueva from the Pingry School (K–12) in New Jersey. In addition to developing and teaching several biology courses, Luke led the efforts to design and implement a high school science research program in which students engage in independent research, conduct molecular biology experiments, and communicate complex scientific information to the public. He is committed to building programs that put real-world problems into the hands of high school students. As a neuroscientist, Luke researched obesity and then transitioned into addiction, trying to answer the question, "Why do people seek drugs despite the harm it causes them?" Luke recently authored an addiction chapter in the text Neuroscience in the 21st Century” (Rockefeller/ HINARI Project), and writes for Nature magazine in a blog called "Why Science Matters.” He began his professional career in the pharmaceutical industry where he worked in a joint venture between Procter and Gamble and the University of Cincinnati called the Genome Research Institute. Luke earned a BS in biology with a concentration in philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.
Jake Fauver joins Nueva from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, where he earned his EdM and a certificate of advanced study in school counseling. In addition to his coursework there, Jake interned in the counseling offices at two high schools, providing individual and group counseling, while implementing various programs around depression, anxiety, and diversity. Before graduate school, he taught psychology and Spanish at the Field School in Washington, DC. He developed the Introduction to Psychology senior elective course with a focus on adolescents' social interactions, neuroanatomy, development, and decision-making. Jake holds a BA in psychology from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Veena Krishnan comes to Nueva from Webb School of Knoxville, where she most recently taught AP Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, Honors Precalculus and Algebra II. She received the Dr. Edward l. Tauxe award in 2012–2013, which recognizes a teacher who has had a positive influence on the lives of the students and stimulated them in their academic pursuits. She works with students on the Math Team, who participate in local math contests. She has also been a co-sponsor of a student club called Cultures Within that celebrates cultural diversity within the school community. Veena began teaching mathematics at Mary Institute and Country Day School in St. Louis, MO. Veena was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, working on microstructural analysis of proton exchange fuel cell membranes using scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEM) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). Veena received her PhD in materials science and engineering from Rutgers University for her work on developing new coatings for hollow glass waveguides for enhanced infrared transmission. She was also the recipient of the Malcolm G. McLaren Fellowship at Rutgers. She got her MS in materials science and engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, and BE in metallurgical engineering from College of Engineering, Pune, in India. Veena has published in scientific journals and has two patents to her name. She enjoys practicing yoga, music, sketching, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family and their dog Calculus.
Shirley Li joins Nueva as an Upper School English teacher. Most recently she taught 10th–12th English and worked in the diversity program at Northfield Mount Hermon, a boarding high school in western Massachusetts, while simultaneously studying for her MS Ed from the UPenn Residency Master's in Teaching program. Formative experiences also include two summers teaching English to elementary- and middle-school age students in China; language and history studies in Beijing; a winter internship at an economics policy research institute in Cape Town, South Africa; a year studying abroad in England; and a semester teaching English at a Catholic girls' school in New Jersey. An ardent proponent of the liberal arts, Shirley earned a BA in English and mathematics from Williams College.
Danielle McReynolds-Dell joins Nueva as an Upper School mathematics teacher, most recently from Bentley School in Lafayette, CA. She has been teaching high school math for 15 years, beginning her career at Clayton Valley High School in Concord, CA, teaching a wide variety of courses. In addition to her experience as a mathematics teacher, Danielle created and chaired an Engineering Academy, hired and evaluated teachers within the academy, oversaw curriculum development, acted as lead advisor to student government, managed a schoolwide academy grant and budget, and oversaw the creation of a master schedule and the UC a-g compliance of the curriculum. Danielle earned a BA in sociology from Northwestern University and a MA in sociology with an emphasis in social inequality and demography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Véronique Mossuz joins Nueva from the Maison d'Éducation de la Légion d'Honneur in Paris (France), which has been classified as the best French high school this year by the French newspaper Le Figaro. She has taught physics and chemistry from grade 6 through grade 12 for 14 years and at the high school level since 2006. With a background in teaching and mentoring high school students in science curriculum and projects, Véronique is dedicated to working with students both within and beyond the classroom. She is also a proponent of fostering curiosity and scientific inquiry through interactive science learning and a member of a group of experienced teachers selected to work on the new French high school science curriculum. Véronique earned a BS in physics and chemistry from Claude Bernard University of Lyon (France) and a French Teaching Certification in both physics and chemistry.
Amanda Mudde comes to Nueva from Contra Costa Christian Schools (CCCS) in Walnut Creek. She began her career in education as a middle and high school mathematics teacher in 2007 at CCCS. Over the last nine years, Amanda has taught a range of math courses from pre-algebra to calculus. In addition to her classroom teaching, she restarted the cross-country program, facilitated student government, and served as math department chair. Her graduate research study focused on ways to combat anxiety in the classroom through journaling and reflection. She volunteers as a Stephen Minister in her church, coming alongside people in the community who are struggling. She is also currently taking a class to mentor people who have been involved in sex trafficking. She is passionate about adventure, which she cultivates by traveling, learning, and having an active lifestyle. Amanda holds a BA in education and mathematics from Calvin College and an MA in mathematics education from San Francisco State University.
Rachael Rosenberg has been working as a therapist serving children, adolescents, and families in California since 2009. She has worked at schools and agencies around the Bay Area, most recently with San Mateo Behavioral Health at Catholic Charities CYO. Rachael is a licensed marriage and family therapist and she is currently finishing her doctoral degree, researching how women overcome self-silencing, at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She attended Ohio University and is certified in expressive arts therapy. She also earned two masters degrees in counseling psychology and transpersonal psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto.
Scott Swaaley joins Nueva from High Tech High in San Diego, where he spent the last five years developing and implementing complex interdisciplinary STEAM projects. Scott started his career designing electrical infrastructure for hospitals, charging systems for sailboats, and working with Kaiser Permanente to install solar and fuel cell systems throughout California. Scott then followed his parents’ path into education where he worked as a Paul Allen Distinguished Educator to model, identify, and support innovative STEM teachers throughout the country. Scott's interests and writings focus on the social and emotional development of students through an adversity-infused curriculum, an expectation of professional-level work products inside and outside of the classroom, and immersive professional development for educators. Above all though, he really likes to build things. Scott holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cal Poly SLO, a professional engineer's license, and is excited to support the Innovation Lab as the new Assistant Director.
Claire Yeo joins Nueva after teaching English at Chinese International School, Hong Kong, where she taught courses in Shakespeare, nineteenth-century European fiction, and twentieth-century American fiction and drama. As assistant head of English, Claire helped to design an interdisciplinary curriculum for the school's new boarding school in Hangzhou, China, and developed new elective and modular courses for grades eleven and twelve students. She led the school's Human Rights Group and guided student campaigns during a time of great political and social change in Hong Kong. She began her teaching career at Ascham School in Sydney, Australia. Claire holds a BA (honours) degree in English literature from Sydney University, with a focus on English Renaissance literature, and an MA in English literature from Hong Kong University, where her dissertation explored twentieth-century expatriate narratives in Africa and Asia.
Min Zhao comes to Nueva from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where she taught all levels of Chinese language as well as courses on current events and Chinese cinema. She served as a dorm parent living in a girls’ dormitory, worked with the Admissions Committee, and was the advisor for the Chinese Language Club. Growing up in mainland China, Min lived in Xi’an and then moved to Beijing to attend Beijing Normal University, where she earned BA degrees in English language and literature and Chinese language and literature, as well as a master’s degree in applied linguistics. In 2009, she came to the United States, to St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where she earned a second master’s degree, in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. She taught Chinese language courses while studying in Beijing and at St. Cloud. Min enjoys working with students and bringing out the best in them while awakening their joy in creativity and knowledge.
Rob Zomber, Innovation Lab Engineer, is a life-long tinkerer and recent convert to education after a long career in the classic automotive industry. With extensive experience in heavy- and light-duty fabrication, he has worked on everything from building and modifying antique cars and engines to working as a safety inspector and technical judge in the land-speed racing community. Rob’s prime education was in industrial design at SFSU, where he learned the possibilities of designing with new materials and equipment, infused with his love of mechanical engineering and classic styling. Rob has been mentoring Lowell’s FRC robotics team and looks forward to working with our robotics teams on both campuses. When he is not teaching or tinkering Rob enjoys hiking on the weekends and writes for Hop Up magazine — a periodical for traditional hot rod enthusiasts.