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 96 items.

  • Erik Aguirre

    Human Resources Manager
    Erik received his economics degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN).
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  • Michael Albertson

    Ph.D. - Music Department Chair
    Michael taught music in New York City public schools for 11 years. 
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  • Joseph Almeida

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

    Human Resources Coordinator
    Lupita has worked as a human resources professional for more than 15 years, most recently at UCLA in Campus Human Resources in Benefits.
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  • Alex Anderson

    M.F.A. - Ceramics Educator
    Alex is our 7th, 8th, and 9th grade ceramics educator.
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  • Elizabeth Ashforth

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

    Ph.D. & M.S. - Science Educator
    Dr. Banks' experience is vast and varied.
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  • Chris Barker

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

    M.A. - Assistant Dean, Middle School
    Shelby is passionate about student leadership, social-emotional growth, and community engagement.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • David Collicutt

    M.A. - Athletic Director & Head Boys Soccer Coach
    David served as Athletic Director of the Marlborough School in Los Angeles for 17 years.
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  • Sean Conlin

    Theater Arts Educator
    Sean Conlin is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley where he studied English and Philosophy.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • Johanna Day

    Ed.D. - Humanities & English Educator
    Dr. Day earned her doctorate in education from California State University, Los Angeles.
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  • Karen De Gregorio

    M.A. - Spanish Educator
    Ms. De Gregorio has worked in education for over 25 years, occupying a variety of roles.
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  • 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.
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  • Leslie Dove

    P.E. Educator & Assistant Coach, Swimming
    Leslie brings an extensive background in competitive swimming.
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  • 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. 
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  • Lauren Ershoff

    M.A. - Associate Director of Development
    Lauren is our Associate Director of Development and orchestrated our first #GivingTuesday giving event!
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  • 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.
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  • Ashleigh Fata

    Latin & Humanities Educator
    Ashleigh is a doctoral candidate in the Classics department at UCLA.
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  • Benjamin Finck

    Ph.D. - Science Educator 
    Dr. Finck’s background reflects a true blend of chemistry, physics and computer science. 
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  • Sophia Ferrone

    Human Resources Generalist
    As our Human Resources (HR) Generalist, Sophia works closely with all educators, and in particular, with our seasonal employees such as coaches, theatre staff and student hires.
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  • Kimberly Gallant

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

    M.A. - Wellness Educator
    Our first dedicated wellness educator, Ms. Garcia advises our Gender Sexuality Alliance and is a 10th grade advisor.
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  • Chad Garcia

    Head Chef
    Chad developed his passion for food through his childhood travels and adventures.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Jose Hernandez

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

    Senior Custodian
    Sergio is our senior custodian during the school day.
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  • 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.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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). 
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  • 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.
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  • Stacey Jasper

    M.A. - Humanities & History Educator
    Ms. Jasper is our 6th grade humanities and 7th grade history educator. In addition, she is a 6th grade advisor and faculty advisor for our MS Student Council.
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  • 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.
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  • Vitali Kaush

    i-Track Educator
    Vitali Kaush has
     worked at the UCLA Laboratory School of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
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  • 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.
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  • Radhika Khandelwal

    M.A. - Dean of Students & School Culture
    Radhika (Dean Rad) comes to us most recently from Brentwood School, where she was the 7th Grade Dean and taught middle school Human Development.
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  • 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.
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  • Robert Lavassener

    Senior Custodian
    Rob is our senior custodian for the evening.
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  • 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.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Donna Mandosa

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

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

    Admissions & Enrollment Manager
    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. 
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  • Maskit Maymon

    Ph.D. - Science Educator
    Maskit joins us from UCLA’s Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.
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  • Megan McEwen

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

    M.A. - Director of Outreach & Inclusion
    As founding Director of Diversity & Outreach, Jessica works to develop partnerships with feeder schools and organizations in various Los Angeles and UCLA communities.
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  • 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 most recently lead the events and communications efforts as well as managed the construction projects.
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  • Carlos Musick

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

    I-Track Educator
    Kasiemba is an independent film maker, musician, composer, and programmer. 
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Simon Pae

    M.B.A. - Enrollment Management Specialist
    Prior to joining Geffen Academy, Simon spent 3 years providing career consulting services to international college students from East Asia.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • Anna Putsima

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    Anna Putsima is passionate about fostering a love for mathematics in the minds of her students.
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  • Julie Ramirez

    M.P.A. - Business Office Manager
    Julie manages major operations for our Business Office, from field trip forms to procurement of goods and services from UCLA vendors for key school events.
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  • Christian Reed

    Ph.D. - English Educator
    Christian has a decade of teaching experience.
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  • 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.
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  • Flavio Ribeiro

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

    I-Track Educator
    J.R. joins us from New York.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Adrian Saiz

    Business Operations Specialist
    Adrian works side-by-side with Chris Barker and Julie Ramirez, processing day-to-day purchases and travel transactions for our educators and supporting other projects.
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  • 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.
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  • Moe Scott

    Mathematics Educator
    A UCLA Bruin, Moe studied mathematics as a Regent's Scholar at UCLA from 2012 to 2016.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • Nathan Simoneaux

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

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

    MBA - Mathematics Educator
    In addition to being one of our 6th grade advisors, Mrs. Slade is dedicated to helping students develop a robust understanding of mathematics as they become confident and creative problem solvers.
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  • Kevin Soriano

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

    Ph.D. & M.F.A. - iTrack Department Chair & Educator
    Rhazes uses media art and technology as a platform for engaged learning within the humanities and sciences. 
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  • Cicely Suazo

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

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

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

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

    Ph.D. & M.A. - Mathematics Educator
    Melissa Tong received a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics from UC Irvine.
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  • 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. 
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  • Millie Vasquez

    Science Educator
    Millie comes to the science department from Aspire Pacific Academy in Huntington Park, California. 
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  • 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.
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  • Maximiliano Villicaña

    M.A.T. - English Educator
    In addition to teaching 7th and 8th Grade English, Mr. Villicaña is the Latinx Club Advisor.
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  • 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. 
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  • Michael Wiesinger

    Specialist, Academic Advising & College Guidance
    Born in Hollister, CA, Michael grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
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  • Teresa Young

    Ph.D. - Learning Specialist
    A credentialed educator and school counselor, Dr. Young is a trained mental health professional, licensed cognitive trainer, UCLA memory trainer, educational therapist, disability and learning specialist.
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  • Sophie Zanders

    Student Services Coordinator
    Ms. Sophie is Geffen Academy's founding Student Services Coordinator. From being the go-to student resource and leading advisory to coordinating retreats and clubs, Ms. Sophie supports Dean Rad and the entire Student Life Suite unit.
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  • Jenny Zhang

    Mandarin Educator
    Jenny will lead our Mandarin program for the 2019-20 academic year.
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