Behind Every Great Student

At Geffen Academy, our educators are reflective practitioners with deep experience who are committed to supporting students’ ideas, passions, and academic interests.

List of 109 items.

  • Michael Albertson

    Ed.D. - Music Department Chair
    Michael Albertson is beginning his 18th year of teaching music.
    Read Bio
  • Joseph Almeida

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    Joseph Almeida comes to Geffen Academy after 13 years as a middle school mathematics educator.
    Read Bio
  • Lupita Alvarado

    Human Resources Coordinator
    Lupita has worked as a human resources professional for more than 15 years.
    Read Bio
  • Alex Anderson

    M.F.A. - Ceramics Educator
    Alex is our ceramics Educator for grades 7-9.
    Read Bio
  • Lindsay Anderson

    Project Specialist
    Lindsay Anderson works in the Business Office at Geffen Academy, collaborating with partners at UCLA and with Geffen Academy Educators. 
    Read Bio
  • Kneil Aparte

    IT Operations Manager
    In this pioneering Business Office role, he will administer student learning management systems and partner with ITS in developing procedures and protocols for the school.
    Read Bio
  • Elizabeth Ashforth

    Ph.D. - Director of Student Research Programs
    Elizabeth was a science instructor at Marlborough School for nine years.
    Read Bio
  • David Banks

    Ph.D., M.S., Ed.M. - Science Educator
    Dr. Banks, an Educator in the Science Department, teaches 10th grade Biology and Advanced Molecular Biology to juniors and seniors.
    Read Bio
  • Anastasia Baran

    Faculty Services Coordinator
    Ms. Baran works closely with the Middle and Upper School division directors to provide strategic support for the school’s operations and administrative functions.
    Read Bio
  • Chris Barker

    Budget & Accounting Analyst
    Chris is a member of our Business Office team and manages the budget and accounting process.
    Read Bio
  • Shelby Bartlett

    M.A. - Assistant Dean, Middle School
    Shelby is passionate about student leadership, social-emotional growth and community engagement.
    Read Bio
  • Susan Beeson

    J.D. - Chief Advancement Officer
    Before joining Geffen Academy, Susan spent more than a decade at Harvard-Westlake School, where she was the director of alumni relations for six years.
    Read Bio
  • Elizabeth Bergman

    Ph.D. - History Educator
    Elizabeth teaches 10th grade U.S. History and 11th grade Modern Global History and also plays a collaborative role in shaping the department's curriculum.
    Read Bio
  • Fay Bevans

    Campus Operations Manager
    Fay has been at UCLA for more than 30 years, serving as an office manager, executive assistant, administrative analyst and, most recently, a senior personnel analyst.
    Read Bio
  • Nathaly Blanco

    M.A. - Academic Advising and College Guidance Specialist
    Ms. Nathaly Blanco is part of the Office of Academic Advising & College Guidance.
    Read Bio
  • Carly Bobek

    Human Resources Manager
    Carly supports all Geffen Academy employees through recruitment, hiring, new employee orientations, and training.
    Read Bio
  • Peter Breslin

    Ph.D. - Science Educator
    Dr. Peter Breslin is a teacher and conservation biologist who finished his Ph.D. at Arizona State University in the Environmental Life Sciences Program this past May.
    Read Bio
  • Rosalie Carlson

    M.A. - Mathematics Educator
    Originally from Chicago, Rosalie studied mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and received her master’s in math from UC Santa Barbara.
    Read Bio
  • Sibyll Carnochan Catalan

    Ph.D. - Head of School
    Prior to joining UCLA, Sibyll created and led a fellowship for outstanding public school teachers and principals from across the country. 
    Read Bio
  • Jack Caughey

    Ph.D. - English Department Chair & Educator
    In addition to being chair of the English department and despite knowing nothing about magic, Jack is the advisor of the Upper School Magic Club.
    Read Bio
  • Manoj Choudhary

    M.S. - History and Humanities Educator
    Manoj Choudhary teaches in the History and Humanities departments and also serves as an advisor.
     
    Read Bio
  • David Collicutt

    M.A. - Athletic Director & Head Boys Soccer Coach
    David served as athletic director at Marlborough School in Los Angeles for 17 years.
    Read Bio
  • Sean Conlin

    Theater Arts Educator
    Sean Conlin is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he studied English and philosophy.
    Read Bio
  • Lisa Crawford

    Ph.D. & M.A. - Music Educator
    Lisa Crawford has taught music in a variety of public and private K-12 and university environments.
    Read Bio
  • Tracy Daniels

    Executive Assistant to the Head of School
    Ms. Daniels is part of the founding, pioneering team that made Geffen Academy a reality in 2016.
    Read Bio
  • Johanna Day

    Ed.D. - Humanities & English Educator
    Dr. Day earned her doctorate in education from California State University, Los Angeles.
    Read Bio
  • Amber de Seriere-Pataki

    M.A. - Physical Education Chair & Educator
    Amber previously headed the women’s soccer program at West Los Angeles College and the girls soccer program at Marlborough School.
    Read Bio
  • Leslie Dove

    P.E. Educator & Assistant Swimming Coach
    Leslie brings an extensive background in competitive swimming.
    Read Bio
  • Michael Earnest

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    Michael comes from the University of Southern California with a master's degree in mathematics and has a passion for teaching and puzzles. 
    Read Bio
  • Lauren Ershoff

    M.A. - Associate Director of Development
    Lauren is our associate director of development and orchestrated our first #GivingTuesday giving event!
    Read Bio
  • La Keisha Fair

    M.A. & ATC - Athletic Trainer
    As our athletic trainer, La Keisha is responsible for recognizing and treating injuries, identifying general medical conditions, and making the appropriate referrals.
    Read Bio
  • Ashleigh Fata

    Latin & Humanities Educator
    Ashleigh is a doctoral candidate in the Classics department at UCLA.
    Read Bio
  • Sophia Ferrone

    Human Resources Generalist
    Sophia works closely with all Educators, and in particular, with our seasonal employees such as coaches, theater staff and student hires.
    Read Bio
  • Benjamin Finck

    Ph.D. - Science Educator 
    Dr. Finck’s background reflects a true blend of chemistry, physics and computer science. 
    Read Bio
  • Liz Franco

    M.S. - Assistant Athletic Director
    Liz also serves as the assistant JV girls and varsity boys tennis coach as well as the assistant varsity soccer coach.
    Read Bio
  • Kimberly Gallant

    Science Educator
    Kimberly joins us from Brentwood Middle School here in Los Angeles, where she taught 8th grade math and science. 
    Read Bio
  • Abdiel Garcia

    Ed.M. - Associate Director of Academic Advising & College Guidance
    Mr. Garcia assists Geffen Academy students through the Office of Academic Advising & College Guidance.
    Read Bio
  • Chad Garcia

    Head Chef
    Chad developed his passion for food through his childhood travels and adventures.
    Read Bio
  • Leigh-Michil George

    M.F.A. & Ph.D. - English/Humanities Educator
    A teacher since 2010, Leigh-Michil aims for all her students to leave her classes more confident, equipped with reading and writing knowledge that they can translate into self-knowledge.
    Read Bio
  • Jeff Goodman

    Communications Manager
    Jeff oversees communications at Geffen Academy, a role that combines his writing and editing experience with his passion for education.
    Read Bio
  • John Guzmán Aguilar

    Spanish Educator
    John Guzmán Aguilar teaches Middle School Spanish 3 and Upper School Spanish 1 and 3 in the Department of World Languages and Cultures.
    Read Bio
  • Kathryn Hayes

    M.Ed. - Spanish Educator & Professional Development Lead
    Profesora Hayes spent six years working both as a classroom teacher and later as a lead teacher mentoring new educators on best practices for the language classroom.
    Read Bio
  • Jose Hernandez

    Campus Operations Coordinator
    Jose recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
    Read Bio
  • Sergio Hernandez

    Senior Custodian
    Sergio is our senior custodian during the school day.
    Read Bio
  • Carol Hoffstedt

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    As an educational explorer, Carol Hoffstedt seeks to empower her students to be math-proficient and realize that math is even more beautiful than it is useful.
    Read Bio
  • John Hoyt

    MBA - Director of Enrollment Management
    John Hoyt began his tenure at Geffen Academy in December of 2017 as the Financial Aid Manager and in September 2018, he moved to his current role.
    Read Bio
  • Yujia Hua

    M.A. - Mandarin Educator
    Ms. Hua has worked in K-12 schools in New York and Iowa.
    Read Bio
  • Nicholas Hurtt

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    Nick Hurtt fostered his passion for mathematics at the University of California, Irvine—where he graduated summa cum laude in 2012, earning his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics (Honors). 
    Read Bio
  • Mike Hyatt

    Ph.D. & M.A. - History Department Chair & Educator
    From 1993-2017, Mike taught history to upper school students at the prestigious Dalton School in New York City, with subject matter that included Global History, U.S. Constitutional History, African American History and The Sixties. 
    Read Bio
  • Tyler Jara

    Security Officer
    Tyler Jara is a member of the security team at Geffen Academy.
    Read Bio
  • Stacey Jasper

    M.Ed. & M.A. - Humanities & History Educator
    Ms. Jasper teaches 6th grade humanities and 7th grade history.
    Read Bio
  • Beatriz Jimenez

    Security Guard - Day
    Beatriz is one of our security guards, ensuring that our students and building are safe.
  • Morell Jones

    M.Ed - History Educator
    Morell Jones is a UCLA alumnus, where he received an undergraduate degree in History. He received his Master’s in Education from Cal State San Marcos.
    Read Bio
  • Ross Karlan

    Ph.D. - Spanish Educator
    Ross Karlan completed his doctoral work in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University and his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania.
    Read Bio
  • Vitali Kaush

    I-Track Educator
    Vitali Kaush is passionate about teaching technology through robotics, fabrication, and design through I-Track concentration courses.
    Read Bio
  • Radhika Khandelwal

    Ed.D. - Dean for Students & School Culture
    Radhika (Dean Rad) previously worked at Brentwood School, where she was the 7th Grade Dean and taught middle school Human Development.
    Read Bio
  • Alan Kim

    M.A. - Science Department Chair & Educator
    Alan Kim has taught courses in chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biotechnology, and genetics for 9th through 12th grade.
    Read Bio
  • Adam Koneman

    M.Ed. - Principal Learning Specialist
    Adam supports students in their navigation of school curricula while fostering independence and self-advocacy skills.
    Read Bio
  • Neil Kramer

    Ph.D. - Assistant Head of School
    Neil was a founding member of de Toledo High School in West Hills, where he is Dean of Faculty Emeritus.
    Read Bio
  • Jason Lee

    Business Operations Specialist
    Jason has experience in events, audio/video, facilities management, client relations, procurement, and more.
    Read Bio
  • Ingrid Leventhal

    Ph.D. - French & Humanities Educator
    Most recently, she was an educator at Vivian Webb School in Claremont, CA where she taught both French and Humanities.
    Read Bio
  • Heidi Ley

    R.N. - School Nurse
    Heidi Ley has been an ER nurse for the past 15 years. She comes to Geffen Academy from the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. 
    Read Bio
  • Luis Macías

    M.A. - Spanish Educator
    Luis is originally from El Paso, Texas, and completed his master’s degree in Spanish literature at the University of Oklahoma.
    Read Bio
  • Katya Malikov

    M.S. - Mathematics Department Chair
    Katya is passionate about helping students acquire the skills to improve their logical reasoning and problem-solving techniques while deepening their appreciation for the beauty of mathematics.
    Read Bio
  • Donna Mandosa

    M.Ed. - I-Track Educator
    Donna is excited to support our students as they learn through play, discover passion in ideas, and take action with purpose.
    Read Bio
  • Dan Heinrich Cariño Manuyag

    M.Ed. - Associate Director of Academic Advising & College Guidance
    Dan Heinrich started his professional career as a Senior Assistant Dean of Admission at his alma mater, Wesleyan University.
    Read Bio
  • Miriam Margolis

    Associate Director of Admissions
    A founding member of the admissions team, Miriam has been with Geffen Academy at UCLA since its pioneering class and is an 8th grade advisor. 
    Read Bio
  • Maskit Maymon

    Ph.D. - Science Educator
    Maskit brings experience from UCLA’s Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.
    Read Bio
  • Megan McEwen

    Ph.D. - Science Educator
    Megan joins us from the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California.
    Read Bio
  • Jessica McKay

    M.A. - Director of Outreach and Inclusion
    As the school's founding director of outreach and inclusion, Jessica works to develop partnerships with feeder schools and organizations in various Los Angeles and UCLA communities.
    Read Bio
  • Magee Mudge

    Registrar, Calendar & Events Analyst
    Magee was a founding staff member of Vistamar School in El Segundo, where she served in many capacities and led the events and communications efforts as well as managed the construction projects.
    Read Bio
  • Carlos Musick

    Security Guard - Daytime
    Carlos is one of our security guards, ensuring that our students and building are safe.
  • Raquel Ochoa

    M.A. - Admissions Specialist
    The newest member of the Admissions team, Raquel is passionate about all things education. 
    Read Bio
  • Kasiemba Okeyo

    I-Track Educator
    Kasiemba is an independent filmmaker, musician, composer, and programmer. 
    Read Bio
  • Kate Oldre

    M.A. & M.Ed. - Director, Middle School Division 
    In her role at Geffen Academy, Kate is dedicated to building and supporting an educational infrastructure that honors the importance of the middle school experience for both students and families.
    Read Bio
  • Mari Oropeza

    Ph.D. - Director of Academic Advising & College Guidance
    Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Mari attended public primary and secondary schools in El Paso’s Lower Valley.
    Read Bio
  • Kate Page-Lippsmeyer

    Ph.D. - English Educator
    Dr. Kate Page-Lippsmeyer joined Geffen Academy in 2020-2021 as an English Educator in the Upper School.
    Read Bio
  • Karla Perez-Mendoza

    Ph.D. - World Languages Department Chair & Spanish Educator
    Karla is part of the founding, pioneering team that made Geffen Academy a reality in 2014.
    Read Bio
  • Rebeca Puga

    M.F.A. & J.D. - Drawing & Painting Educator, Visual Arts Department Chair
    Born and raised in Santiago Chile, Rebeca obtained a B.A., as well as a law degree, from Universidad de Chile at the School of Social Economical and Juridical Sciences and became an attorney.
    Read Bio
  • Anna Putsima

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    Anna Putsima is passionate about fostering a love for mathematics in the minds of her students.
    Read Bio
  • Christian Reed

    Ph.D. - English Educator
    Christian has a decade of teaching experience.
    Read Bio
  • Didier Reiss

    J.D. & M.A. - History Educator
    Didier has taught courses in religious, literary and legal texts at the Los Angeles Hebrew High School in Van Nuys.
    Read Bio
  • Flavio Ribeiro

    Head Swim Coach & Water Safety Educator
    Flavio joins our team after teaching and coaching at Marlborough School for over 20 years.
    Read Bio
  • J.R. Rich

    I-Track Educator
    J.R. joins us from New York.
    Read Bio
  • Chelsea Rivera

    OTD - Wellness Educator
    Dr. Chelsea Rivera has worked in both wellness and education for over a decade.
    Read Bio
  • Ke'Yuanda Robertson

    M.A. - English Educator
    After earning her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Southern California, Ke’Yuanda Robertson worked at ABC News’Primetime and 20/20.
    Read Bio
  • Nancy Rodriguez

    MSPA - Chief Administrative Officer
    Nancy was Regional Director of Business Operations at the American Red Cross, focusing on Finance, HR, Risk Management, Training and Professional Development for the region’s staff.
    Read Bio
  • Ollie Savage

    M.A. - English Educator
    Ollie Savage has taught English in Los Angeles for the past 12 years, including positions at Milken and Oakwood Schools.
    Read Bio
  • Moe Scott

    Mathematics Educator
    A UCLA Bruin, Moe studied mathematics as a Regent's Scholar at UCLA from 2012 to 2016.
    Read Bio
  • Matt Sheridan

    M.F.A. - Visual Arts Educator
    A contemporary visual artist who works with paint and video, Matt is our Visual Arts educator, overseeing animation, video, photography, and production for our students. 
    Read Bio
  • Larisa Showalter

    M.A. - Dean of Faculty
    Larisa oversees faculty at Geffen Academy and regularly convenes department chairs in order to strengthen interdisciplinary connections and cohesion of the schoolwide learning goals and curricula.
    Read Bio
  • Nathan Simoneaux

    M.Ed. - History Educator
    Nathan comes to the history department from the Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington.
    Read Bio
  • Aghavni Simonyan

    Ph.D. - Mathematics Educator
    Aghavni joins us from the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
    Read Bio
  • Courtney Slade

    MBA - Mathematics Educator
    Courtney is dedicated to helping our students develop a robust understanding of mathematics as they become confident and creative problem solvers.
    Read Bio
  • Kevin Soriano

    Security Guard - Evening
    By evening, Kevin is one of our security guards, ensuring that our students and building are safe.
    Read Bio
  • Rhazes Spell

    Ph.D. & M.F.A. - I-Track Department Chair & Educator
    Rhazes uses media art and technology as a platform for engaged learning within the humanities and sciences. 
    Read Bio
  • Ashle Stewart

    Student Services Coordinator
    Ms. Ashle is a primary point person for students and families regarding student life at Geffen Academy.
    Read Bio
  • Joanna Stover

    M.S. & ATC - Wellness and P.E. Educator
    Ms. Jo support students’ physical and mental health and well-being as a Wellness and P.E. Educator and as an eighth-grade advisor.
    Read Bio
  • Cicely Suazo

    M.A. - Learning Skills Specialist
    Cicely comes to Geffen Academy with over nine years of experience in the field of education. 
    Read Bio
  • Ross Szabo

    Wellness Director
    Ross is our founding Wellness Director who has developed and incorporated our unique Wellness program into our school curriculum.
    Read Bio
  • Jeremy Tan

    M.S. - Physical Education (P.E.) Educator
    Jeremy joins our P.E. department as both teacher and strength and conditioning coach. 
    Read Bio
  • Zeke Trautenberg

    Ph.D. - Spanish Educator
    Zeke Trautenberg teaches Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures.
    Read Bio
  • Melissa Tong

    Ph.D. & M.A. - Mathematics Educator
    Melissa Tong received a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics from UC Irvine.
    Read Bio
  • Matt Vacca

    M.A. - Director, Upper School Division
    In his role at Geffen Academy, Matt facilitates and provides leadership to design, cultivate, implement, and execute the instructional operations for the Upper School. 
    Read Bio
  • Millie Vasquez

    Science Educator
    Millie comes to the science department from Aspire Pacific Academy in Huntington Park, California. 
    Read Bio
  • Vanessa Verdoodt

    M.A. - Dance Educator
    As Geffen Academy's founding dance teacher, Vanessa Verdoodt uses world dance and culture as a platform to engage mindful learning about diversity and multiculturalism in our global world.
    Read Bio
  • Maximiliano Villicaña

    M.A.T. - English Educator
    Mr. Villicaña currently teaches the 7th grade Reading Ancient Minds course. 
    Read Bio
  • David Watts

    M.Ed. - Associate Dean, Upper School
    A native of Northern California, David brings a depth and breadth of experience as an administrator, teacher, advisor, coach, student advocate, and mentor. 
    Read Bio
  • Jenny Zhang

    Mandarin Educator
    Jenny is an expert educator, having experience with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency bands, the College Board, the Confucius Institute, and schools all across the country.
    Read Bio