- All School
Lee Fertig, head of school
One of the best things about being at a place like Nueva is we get to meet so many new people with interesting backgrounds as they join our amazing community. This is particularly exciting when it comes to faculty and staff who join our phenomenal professional team. We invite you to read a brief bio of each of our new hires so you get a sense of the collective expertise and talent we have recruited for the coming school year. Please note that a couple of positions still need to be filled, and there are also several current employees transitioning into new roles at the school. We will introduce all the new people again and those taking on new roles when the 2021–22 school year gets underway.
There is, of course, a bittersweet component to this time of transition. At the same time we welcome new faculty and staff into our community, we say goodbye to others who are leaving. Please join us in thanking these colleagues who have decided to pursue other opportunities, fully knowing that they will inevitably take a part of Nueva with them wherever they may go. During their time with us at Nueva, they have actively contributed to our sense of community, tirelessly advocating for the Nueva mission and values. Please join us in thanking them for all they have done and wishing them the very best as they begin a new journey.
Amy E. Hunt, Upper School Psychology Teacher
An English, psychology, and theory of knowledge teacher for more than 30 years, Amy is honored to have found a position at Nueva. Originally from Minnesota, Amy has lived and worked in Addis Ababa (ICS), Rio de Janeiro (EARJ), Minneapolis (Breck), Barcelona (ASB), São Paulo (Graded), and Brussels (ISB) with her husband, three children, and pets. She's been an International Baccalaureate examiner and department lead, and has presented at several international conferences. Most recently, she taught yoga for Nueva's middle school students. A practicing somatic therapist, Amy brings an understanding of development, well-being, and transformation to her work with teens. Amy likes thinking about world peace, reading Booker shortlist novels, balancing on one leg, watching foreign crime shows, playing games with her (almost) adult kids, and walking uphill, but she spends most of her time looking for her phone.
Brandy Garcia, PreK–6 Social Justice and Equity Coordinator for Student Programming and Services
With a great passion for social justice, Brandy earned a master's degree in criminal justice, where her commitment to challenging inequities took root. She knew education coupled with social justice was the only way to truly disrupt and dismantle. She studied at Bank Street College of Education, where she completed a master's degree in education as well as a master's degree in literacy. As a classroom teacher for the last decade, Brandy has taught at Packer Collegiate in Brooklyn and the Hamlin School in San Francisco. She is looking forward to bringing her strong social justice heart, creativity, literacy expertise, and joy into the Nueva community. When she is not in the mountains, you will often find Brandy roller skating, dancing, listening to records, and adventuring with her pup, Scout.
Christine Mak, Upper School Biology Teacher
Christine is thrilled to be joining the Nueva School as an upper school biology teacher. She knew she was destined for teaching after deciding in third grade that she wanted to be able to write on the whiteboard in colorful Expo markers. As a Teach for America alumna and former Fulbright Scholar, Christine has dedicated her career to providing better educational opportunities for students in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, she was a science teacher at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, CA. Christine is also the founder of New Ivy Academy, an educational tutoring company based in the Bay Area. She holds a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and a master's degree in special education. She loves to dance, take her corgi on long walks, and enjoys a good puzzle.
Deborah Snyder, Lower School Math Specialist
Deborah Snyder is coming to Nueva from New York City, where she was the lower school math specialist at Trinity School. She taught first through fifth grade in Brooklyn and Manhattan for 13 years, in independent and public schools. Before she was a teacher, Deborah was a pastry chef at many fine dining restaurants in the city and still bakes occasionally for her colleagues. She is moving here with her husband, Jason, son, Gabriel, and puppy, Winston. She is excited about the hiking in the Bay Area and a little sad to be leaving the theater scene in NY.
Grace Daniel, Middle School Learning Specialist
Grace is thrilled to join the Nueva community and collaborate with such inspiring students and faculty. Relocating to the Bay Area from New York City, Grace has ten years of experience as a special educator teaching science, literacy, and math in independent schools in Brooklyn. She earned her M.S.Ed. in childhood general and special education from Bank Street College of Education. Grace has extensive coaching experience on the middle and high school levels, with a soft spot for coaching women’s basketball. A lifelong athlete, Grace also coaches CrossFit classes to adults and teens. She enjoys nature, reading, music, and cheering for the Boston Red Sox. She and her husband, She and her husband, Bobby, a personal trainer and athletics coach, have two dogs, Cassidy and Moose.
Harfijah Oliver, Lower School Math Specialist
Harfijah (pronounced Har-fee-yah) comes to Nueva with a variety of professional experiences as both a teacher and administrator. Over the past 22 years, she has served as an elementary teacher, a math specialist, and a curriculum director. Harfijah earned her bachelor’s degree from Lewis and Clark College and her master’s in teaching from University of Portland. As a participant of past Nueva Innovative Learning Conferences, she was inspired by the depth and breadth of student learning here at Nueva’s lower school. She is eager to start working with Nueva’s faculty and students! As a California native, she loves exploring the plethora of sites our golden state has to offer with her 11-year-old son and husband.
Jared Briggs, Middle School SEL Teacher
Jared is joining Nueva after seven years at The Berkeley School and is thrilled by the prospect of teaching SEL in the middle school. He built a health education and student wellness program at his previous school from the ground up and aspires to bring that experience to a whole new community. Jared is originally from Minnesota, where he attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth for health and physical education. He also started his teaching career there, teaching K–12 motor development and physical education. During much of his free time, you can find Jared camping and backpacking in California or talking your ear off as a self-identified car enthusiast. He also welcomes questions about the difference between hotdish and casseroles and will divulge his tater tot hotdish recipe.
Jennifer Min, Upper School Math Teacher
Jennifer Min joined Nueva in 2012 to help launch the upper school. This year, she is excited to return to working directly with students in the math classroom, where she started her journey in education 20 years ago. Jenn served in several administrative roles at Nueva. She led efforts in the development of curriculum and academic programs and policies, as well as recruiting, hiring, and mentoring new faculty. She also taught economics and math courses in middle and upper school. Prior to Nueva, Jenn taught math and economics and served as academic dean and mathematics department chair at San Francisco University High School. Before beginning her career in education, Jenn worked in investment banking and consulting. She attended Cornell University and Harvard Business School.
Krista Keintz, Lower School Learning Specialist
Krista has worked with children, families, and educators for over 20 years as a teacher, researcher, presenter, and specialist. Originally from Minnesota, Krista received her undergraduate degree in English and Faith, Peace, and Justice at Boston College, studied developmental psychology & children's literature at Oxford University, received her M.S. in applied behavior analysis at Northeastern University, and completed Montessori training at Seton Montessori Institute in Chicago. She is passionate about the art and science of learning and can't wait to join Nueva's dynamic educational community. She and her husband, Brett, live with their three young children, Geneva, Luther, and Willa, in Burlingame.
Laura Miglani, Middle School Spanish Teacher
Laura was born in Bogotá, Colombia, but finished high school at The Harker School in San Jose, California. At Santa Clara University, her love for languages and cultures grew stronger and she graduated with a B.A. in both Spanish and French and Francophone studies. After graduation, Laura began her career in teaching and earned a M.Ed. from the University of San Diego. For the past seven years, Laura taught middle school and upper school Spanish, and led a variety of extracurricular activities promoting the Spanish language and culture at Taipei America School in Taiwan. Today, Laura is an experienced world traveler and passionate dancer. She is excited to move back to the Bay Area, but she is most excited to meet and learn from the joyful, courageous, and bright students at Nueva!
Matt Germano, 5/6 Music Instructor
Matt Germano is thrilled to join the music faculty at Nueva. He comes to the community with lots of experience, as he serves on the faculty for the Peninsula Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Adventures in Music Program. Along with his mentor, Jim Munzenrider, he has taught Steel Drums and World Percussion at North Shoreview Montessori. In addition to being a drum and percussion instructor, he maintains dual responsibilities as Principal Percussionist for the Peninsula Symphony, and he is a member of the band Livewire. He has performed with many groups, including the SF Panhandlers, Tony Lindsay, Taylor Eigsti, Saint Michael Trio, 42nd Street Moon, Long Beach Symphony, and more. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree in percussion performance from The Bob Cole Conservatory in 2004.
Meagan Castro, Upper School Learning Specialist
Meagan Castro is excited to be a new member of this amazing community. She is originally from Massachusetts, and had the privilege of moving to the Bay Area five and a half years ago. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology, and her graduate degree in special education. For the past four years, she has worked as a special education teacher in Redwood City supporting high school students. Prior to teaching, I was a therapeutic mentor and in-home co-counselor. She also spent time studying in Italy and working in Switzerland. In her free time, she loves to garden, hike, travel, kayak, swim, camp, backpack, paint, tie-dye, and spend time with her dogs. She looks forward to meeting each of you and learning more about you.
Nicole-Ann Macaraeg, Middle School SEL Teacher
Nicole is a first generation Filipina-American, born and raised in the Bay Area. She loves young adult books, hiking, and the Golden State Warriors (Go Dubs!). Nicole graduated with her bachelor’s degree in history from San Francisco State. She also earned her social sciences credential and master’s degree in education from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, where her research focused on culturally relevant curriculum in the middle school classroom. Nicole’s passion is to serve the youth in her community, and she joins Nueva with over a decade of experience working specifically with middle schoolers in various capacities all over the Bay Area. Nicole has worked in youth ministry, after school programming, youth non-profits, and most recently was a junior high history and religion teacher.
Pearl Bauer, Upper School English Teacher
Pearl was Associate Professor of English at Notre Dame de Namur University, where she taught courses in literature in film, writing, and community engagement for the past six years. She graduated with her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis and received her M.A. from Penn State University. Motivated by transformational and collaborative leadership models, her research, teaching, and curriculum design are informed by critical race theory, gender and LGBTQIA+ studies, and indigenous knowledge philosophy. Currently, she co-directs Undisciplining the Victorian Classroom, which provides practical ways to assist scholars and faculty teach more diverse, anti-racist Victorian studies. For fun, she teaches yoga and meditation, leads fermentation and pickling workshops, hunts for mushrooms, and learns about birds.
Sarah Muszynski, Upper School English Teacher
Sarah comes to Nueva with 13 years of classroom experience in independent schools across the country. Most recently, she served as a full-time English teacher at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto for seven years, and before that she taught in Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Sarah earned her bachelor's degree in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis and her master's degree in secondary education from George Washington University. Sarah completed a summer study grant at Oxford a few years ago and dreams of living in a cottage in the Cotswolds. When she is not teaching, she enjoys baking, musical theatre, exploring new places, and playing with her wonderful dog, Pearl.
Yarelli Lopez-Sandoval, Upper School Administrative Assistant
Yarelli Lopez is a Redwood City native. She earned a communication studies degree from San Francisco State University in 2018. For the past couple of years, she has worked for a tech company as a senior administrator. In years passed, she worked with children in preschool through fifth grade and this history has brought her back to working in education. She is excited to join and meet everyone at Nueva. Last but not least, a fun fact about her is that she's the oldest of seven sisters and she has two sets of twin sisters in her family.
Yashna Devi, Payroll & HR Administrator
Yashna is a South Indian-born and raised in Nadi Fiji Islands. She migrated to the U.S. in 2000. She has completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of the South Pacific Fiji Islands. She lives with her husband in San Bruno. She has only one daughter, who is happily married and has two little grandsons. She has more than 30 years of experience in payroll and accounting Before joining the Nueva School, she worked at Verity Medical Foundation as a payroll manager. I am very excited to be part of The Nueva family, since working for a school organization was one of her dreams to pursue. Coming from the Fiji Islands, she has a great background of mixing around with colleagues of different ethnicities. She has a passion to explore new recipes for food and desserts, and she loves cooking and sightseeing.
Yolanda Navarro Rajoy, Upper School Spanish Teacher
Yolanda is thrilled to join the inspiring Nueva community after relocating from New York City, where she enjoyed educating students at the International School of Brooklyn and the Waldorf School of Brooklyn for the last twelve years. Originally from Barcelona, she has served as a teacher, education consultant, mentor and trainer in the US, Spain, Nepal and Brazil for over two decades. Yolanda holds a B.A. from University of Barcelona, an education degree from School of Waldorf Pedagogy in Madrid, and is certified in Applied Positive Psychology, Life Coaching, and Facilitation. When she is not at school, she loves spending quality time with friends and family, immersing herself in nature, creating art, and traveling the world.
Al Davies, MS I-Lab Engineer
Plans for next year: I will be remodeling our house for the next year.
Alyssa Richards, LS/MS PE and Athletics Coordinator
Plans for next year: Though plans for myself are uncertain, my husband will begin medical school at Kaiser Permanente Medical School this summer! We are packing up and moving our one-year-old and ourselves to Pasadena, CA this July. A new adventure awaits!
“I am so grateful to have been able to call Nueva my home these past few years. Thank you all for creating a wonderful community unlike any other!”
An Almquist, MS/US Learning Specialist
Plans for next year: I am returning to private practice/consulting and will continue to serve on the Board of Directors for The Association of the Gifted and as a commissioner on the District of Columbia's State Advisory Panel on Special Education.
Anna Blinstein, MS Math Teacher
Plans for next year: Moving to Boulder, Colorado
“I'll miss the Nueva community 😢”
Annie Bronfman, Fourth Grade Humanities Associate
Plans for next year: As of right now, I will be transitioning to a sub/CA role so that I can focus on applying to graduate school and researching on how SEL tools impact different classroom environments and students outside of gifted education.
“Nueva sparked my curiosity and passion for SEL and the structure of our education system in America and I am very grateful for the supportive colleagues and students I have worked with!”
Aron Walker, Assistant Director of Environmental Citizenship/Science Teacher
Plans for next year: My family is moving to Los Angeles so my spouse can pursue a fellowship at UCLA and so I can enroll as a graduate student.
“I love Nueva! I am so grateful for the time I have gotten to be at the school and for the incredible people I’ve met there! I hope our paths cross again soon!”
Bailey Flood, LS Learning Specialist
Plans for next year: I will be working privately with families to provide learning support, while having more flexibility to spend time with my two little ones.
“It has been a pleasure being a part of the Nueva community and I look forward to keeping in touch. ”
Brian Cropper, US History Teacher/12th Grade Dean
Plans for next year: Next year I'll be teaching religious studies and service learning at Sacred Heart Prep. As a Nueva alumnus, I know it's bittersweet to leave, yet I know Nueva and all I've learned here will remain close to my heart and mind wherever I go.
“I want to express gratitude to all the students, families and colleagues that shared in the life of the upper school these last six years. Thank you!”
Bronimir Adler-Ivanbrook, US Math and Physics Associate Teacher
Plans for next year: I will be taking on a lead teaching role as a Math Instructor at the Bay School.
Carrie Stouffer, Kindergarten Associate
Plans for next year: I will be moving to a brand new school for the gifted opening in Cupertino called Tessellations. I will be teaching a 1st/2nd banded class with one other co-teacher. I am very excited to be a founding member in this new community and continue on in the journey of gifted education!
“My time at Nueva will always be treasured. This community is my first home. I hope one day we find our way back to each other.”
Coltrane Hunt, US Mathematics Teacher
Plans for next year: I will teach upper school mathematics at the College Preparatory School (Oakland).
Davion Fleming, Associate Director of Admissions
Plans for next year: Next year I will be the Director of Admissions at Lick-Wilmerding High School!
“I would like to thank everyone in the Nueva community for 5 amazing years. It is only because of the wonderful people that I have met and work with everyday that I feel ready to take on my new and exciting adventure. ”
Dawn Makley, MS Chemistry Teacher
Plans for next year: I've already moved with my family back to the midwest (where I grew up), as my husband got a job in Indianapolis. Though I definitely want to get back in the classroom soon, my next role will be as the lead MS Chemistry Content Creator/Editor for Khan Academy!
“I will miss the Nueva community SO much- you've all become my family over the past 7 years, and will always hold a special place in my heart! Please keep in touch! (email@example.com)”
Elena Stamatakos, LS Science Specialist
Plans for next year: Next year I will be teaching science to 6th graders at the Hamlin School in San Francisco.
Emily Lenhart, LS Math Specialist
Plans for next year: I am moving with my partner to Sioux City, Iowa, to be closer to family.
“It has been an absolute joy and privilege to be a part of the Nueva community for the past 5 years and I will miss everyone deeply!”
Emily Robertson, US English and History Associate Teacher
Plans for next year: This summer I will begin course work towards a Masters in English at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English. In the fall, I will be teaching 7th grade Individuals and Society at Chadwick International in Songdo, South Korea.
Emily Sliman, US Math
Plans for next year: Moving to Atlanta to teach IB Math
“I've really enjoyed my time at Nueva. This is a wonderful community to be a part of!”
Jasmin Miller, US English Associate Teacher
Plans for next year: I'll be teaching at another independent school in Palo Alto!
“It was a blast teaching and collaborating at Nueva! Until we meet again!”
Jen Neubauer, US English Teacher
Plans for next year: I'm hoping to continue to partner with Nueva as I take on a new role with Peninsula Bridge.
Kevin Quinn, US English Teacher
Plans for next year: I'm joining the English department at Marin Academy.
Lelia Youn, 7/8 SEL teacher and assistant US counselor
Plans for next year: I will be continuing my graduate program in clinical psychology and I will be at the Berkeley Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic.
Mahtab Lak, US Associate Teacher
Plans for next year: I am going to be a lead teacher at Urban High School.
Mimi Sabo, MS Spanish Teacher
Plans for next year: Retiring.
Nancy Kulka, Accounting, Finance, & Payroll Administrator
Nicole Miller, MS SEL Teacher
Plans for next year: Next year, I'll be teaching SEL-infused 6th Grade Humanities and Advisory at another independent school here in the Bay Area. I will also once again be teaching workshops on mythology, depth psychology, social emotional wellness, narrative and systems-thinking, and Unstorying, as well as continue my work consulting individuals and organizations on transformational leadership and organizational change. I will miss my students lots!!!
Rachel Miller, Admissions Associate/College Advisor
Plans for next year: I will be returning to my alma mater, The Bay School of San Francisco, to continue my work in admissions!
“Thank you all for a wonderful year at Nueva! I so enjoyed being a part of this community and getting to know you all.”
Roayan Azanza, Associate Teacher
Plans for next year: I am doing grad school.
Sarah Powell, MS Learning Specialist
Plans for next year: With young children at home, I feel the need to slow down and spend more time with my family. To provide myself with more flexibility but still do the work that I love, I am starting a private educational therapy and consulting practice.
Stephanie Englehaupt, LS Math Specialist
Plans for next year: I am relocating to Illinois as a home base near family and friends to continue working with students and teachers to develop and deepen their mathematical understanding via Math Recess, where math experiences feel as fun, engaging, and worthy of being explored.
“I am going to miss my students very deeply, as they have been the highlights in my days. Their passion, willingness to take on challenges and stretch, and their love of games made my heart sing. Most of all I hope they will stay in contact with me. No matter where I live or who I am teaching, they will always hold a place in my heart.”
Zoe Reimann, LS Associate Teacher
Plans for next year: I'm staying local and applying to graduate schools for speech pathology. I may be back at Nueva in some capacity next year, but will otherwise focus on earning observation hours and experience in the field.