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 106 items.

  • Michael Albertson

    Ed.D. - Music Department Chair & Educator
    Michael Albertson is the founding Music Department Chair of Geffen Academy at UCLA and a 20-year music educator.
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  • Alex Anderson

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

    Project Specialist
    A member of the Business Office, Kelly supports a variety of projects and programs at Geffen Academy.
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  • Elizabeth Ashforth

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

    Business Operations Manager
    As a member of our Business Office team, Chris 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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  • 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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  • Elizabeth Bergman

    Ph.D. - History Educator
    Dr. Bergman is an award-winning scholar of U.S. history and experienced educator who served on the faculty at UT-Austin and Princeton before choosing to move into secondary education.
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  • Yanaí Bermúdez

    Ph.D. - Spanish Educator
    Yanaí Bermúdez teaches Middle and Upper School Spanish.
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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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  • Nathaly Blanco

    M.A. - Academic Advising and College Guidance Specialist
    Ms. Nathaly Blanco is part of the Office of Academic Advising & College Guidance.
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  • 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.
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  • Michael Carter

    M.F.A. - Visual Arts Educator
    In addition to being an Educator, Michael is a visual artist working in painting and performance.
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  • Jake Cassman

    M.M. - Music Educator
    Jake shares his spirit of creativity with his students at Geffen Academy.
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  • Melissa Castro

    Admissions Specialist
    As a member of the Admissions Office, Melissa supports prospective families throughout the application process.
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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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  • Manoj Choudhary

    M.S. - History and Humanities Educator
    Manoj Choudhary teaches in the History and Humanities departments and also serves as an advisor.
     
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  • Chloe Chvatal

    M.S. - Math Educator
    Chloe presents mathematics as a dynamic skill developed gradually through consistent practice. 
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  • Aaron Cohen

    Ph.D. – Mathematics Educator
    Aaron received his B.S., M.Eng. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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  • Ariel Cohen

    Ph.D. - History Educator
    Ari Cohen completed her doctoral work in History at the University of Virginia, her M.A. in Art History at Columbia University, and her B.A. in both of the above at the University of Pennsylvania.
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  • David Collicutt

    M.A. - Athletic Director & Head Boys Soccer Coach
    David oversees Geffen Academy's robust competitive athletics program.
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  • Sean Conlin

    Theater Arts Educator
    Sean Conlin is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he studied English and philosophy.
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  • Judit Csotsits

    M.F.A. - Visual Arts Educator
    An alumna of UCLA, Judit teaches visual arts in the Middle School at Geffen Academy.
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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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  • 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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  • Kara Donnell

    Human Resources Coordinator
    Kara assists the Human Resources team and works closely with Educators.
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  • Leslie Dove

    Wellness Educator
    With 7 years of instructional experience, Leslie’s background is in physical health education -- having worked previously as a PE educator here at Geffen Academy. 
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  • Lauren Ershoff

    M.A. - Associate Director of Development
    While supporting the Geffen Academy Fund, Lauren works closely with the Family Engagement Co-op.
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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, or Magistra Fata to her students, is a Latin Educator with a passion for ancient Greek, history, and archaeology.
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  • 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.
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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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  • 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.
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  • Kimberly Gallant

    Science Educator
    While teaching 8th grade conceptual physics and chemistry, Kimberly strives to create an 8th grade experience that connects with the Upper School science program.
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  • 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.
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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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  • 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.
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  • Aaron (Ari) Hagler

    Ph.D. - History Educator
    The History Department welcomes Dr. Aaron Hagler. Aaron earned his B.A from Brandeis University, his M.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania.
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  • Emily Harrell

    Learning Specialist
    Coach Harrell is a UCLA alumna and has been working in education for more than 10 years.
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  • Sarah Harrell

    Ph.D. - Latin and Humanities Educator
    Dr. Harrell earned her B.A. in Ancient Greek and Latin from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in Classics from Princeton University
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  • Kathryn Hayes

    M.Ed. - Dean of Instruction
    Profesora Hayes has stepped into the new role of Dean of Instruction. In this role, Kat will support coaching, professional development, and collegiality and collaboration among our classroom Educators. She will work closely with our Division Directors, the Dean of Faculty, and the Dean of Students and School Culture.
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  • Hillary Higgins

    J.D. - Associate Director of Academic Advising & College Guidance
    Hillary's current role at Geffen Academy builds on a decade of experience in education.
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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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  • Spencer Howell

    Student Services Coordinator
    Spencer is starting the school year as Geffen Academy’s new Student Services Coordinator.  Previously serving as the Facilities and Business Operations Coordinator, Spencer is now part of the Dean Team and Counseling Team in the Student Life Suite. In this role, Spencer oversees a variety of student services tasks. He is now in the first cubicle in the suite.
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  • Yujia Hua

    M.A. - Mandarin Educator
    Ms. Hua has worked in K-12 schools in New York and Iowa.
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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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  • Stacey Jasper

    M.Ed. & M.A. - Assistant Middle School Academic Dean
    Ms. Jasper begins the school year as Assistant Middle School Academic Dean, a role she started last year. In this role, Ms. Jasper oversees processes for welcoming and acclimating new and returning Middle School students to the Geffen Academy academic program.
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  • Beatriz Jimenez

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

    M.Ed. - History Educator
    Morell Jones is an alumnus of UCLA, 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 is passionate about teaching technology through robotics, fabrication, and design through I-Track concentration courses.
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  • Janessa Kelly

    M.A. - School Counselor
    Janessa interfaces with students and families in the areas of counseling and social-emotional support.
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  • 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.
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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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  • Lianne Laguitan

    M.S.W. - School Counselor
    In her capacity as a school counselor, Lianne is part of the Student Life Suite and works closely with students and families.
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  • Jason Lee

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

    Ph.D. - French & Humanities Educator
    She previously worked at Vivian Webb School in Claremont, where she taught both French and Humanities.
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  • Crystal Lopez

    M.Ed. - Faculty Services Coordinator
    Crystal Lopez has worked in education for over 10 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health science from California State University, Fullerton, where she was also a part of the Guardian Scholars program. She earned her master’s in education from National University with an emphasis on social-emotional learning.
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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 & Educator
    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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  • Miriam Margolis

    Director of Admissions
    A founding member of the Admissions team, Miriam has been with Geffen Academy at UCLA since 2016.
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  • Maskit Maymon

    Ph.D. - Science Educator
    Maskit brings experience from UCLA’s Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.
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  • Jill Mayorga

    M.Ed. - Science Educator
    Jill Mayorga has been a science educator for 18 years, teaching high school physics, chemistry, and biology in Massachusetts, New York, and California. 
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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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  • Steve Mejia

    Ed.D. - Assistant Upper School Academic Dean
    Dr. Steve Mejia has worked in education since 2015 and previously served as a school counselor for middle and high school students.
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  • Tori Moebus

    M.A. - Science Educator
    Victoria (Tori) Moebus has been a full-time science educator for four years with experience teaching in both middle and upper school. 
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  • Raquel Ochoa

    M.A. - Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach
    In her role in the Admissions Office, Raquel advances her passion for all things education and community.
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  • Kasiemba Okeyo

    I-Track Educator
    Kasiemba is an independent filmmaker, 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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  • 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.
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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. - Visual Arts Department Chair, Drawing & Painting Educator 
    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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  • Mariam Raza

    Registrar/Scheduler
    Ms. Mariam Raza supports Geffen Academy students in course selection and beyond to ensure their academic needs are met.
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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 Swimming Coach
    Originally from Brazil, where he played as a professional soccer and futsal player, Flavio excels in sports and aquatics instruction.
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  • J.R. Rich

    I-Track Educator
    J.R. has taught a range of disciplines, including computer programming, video game design, animation, filmmaking, sculpture, and mold making.
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  • Ben Riendeau

    Human Resources Manager
    Ben Riendeau brings more than 15 years of experience to his role as Human Resources Manager at Geffen Academy.
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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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  • Rebeca Rodriguez

    School Nurse
    Rebeca supports student health at Geffen Academy through her role as school nurse.
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  • Tyler Russo

    Campus Operations Assistant
    Tyler is a graduate of Cal State Northridge with a degree in media studies.
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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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  • 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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  • Nathan Simoneaux

    M.Ed. - History Department Chair & Educator
    Nathan is now our History Department Chair. In his new role, Nathan will work with History Department Educators to set curriculum for the department, support and manage department classroom Educators, and play a role with the Department Chair group in leading school curriculum and culture.
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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
    Courtney is dedicated to helping our students develop a robust understanding of mathematics as they become confident and creative problem solvers.
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  • Mina Soroosh

    Ph.D. - French and Humanities Educator
    Dr. Soroosh has been a proud Bruin since 2001.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • Ross Szabo

    Wellness Director & Educator
    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. - P.E. Educator
    Jeremy supports 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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  • 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 teaches both 6th and 7th grade science and contributes to a student-centered and inquiry-based curriculum.
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  • Maximiliano Villicaña

    M.A.T. - English Educator
    Mr. Villicaña has over a decade of experience as both a high school and middle school educator.
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  • Tracy Wallace

    M.P.H. - Wellness Educator
    Tracy obtained her Master’s in Public Health degree from Tulane University and completed her subsequent field work with the Peace Corps Health Specialist program in Ecuador.
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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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  • Brianna Winn

    M.A. - Dean of Faculty
    Brianna has joined Geffen Academy as the new Dean of Faculty. Brianna brings deep experience in working with teachers, students, and families through the many leadership positions she has held. 
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  • Hyunji Alice Yang

    M.S. - Mathematics Educator
    Hyunji Alice Yang is motivated to help Geffen Academy students become more independent and creative mathematical thinkers.
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  • Gerald Zaplawa

    M.Ed. - Math Educator
    Growing up in San Jose, Gerald studied mathematics and received a M.Ed. from UC Santa Barbara. Beginning his 29th year in the classroom, Gerald has taught around the world, including 16 years in California, three years in Colorado, and nine years in Germany. 
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  • 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.
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