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 104 items.

  • Michael Albertson

    Ed.D. - Music Department Chair
    Michael Albertson is beginning his 18th year of teaching music.
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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.
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  • Alex Anderson

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

    Project Specialist
    Lindsay Anderson works in the Business Office at Geffen Academy, collaborating with partners at UCLA and with Geffen Academy Educators. 
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  • 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.
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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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  • 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.
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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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  • 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
    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.
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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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  • 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.
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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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  • 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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  • Melissa Castro

    Admissions Coordinator
    Melissa Castro is the newest member of our Admissions team, but she is no stranger to the admissions field.
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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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  • David Collicutt

    M.A. - Athletic Director & Head Boys Soccer Coach
    David served as athletic director at Marlborough School in Los Angeles for 17 years.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 Swimming Coach
    Leslie brings an extensive background in competitive swimming.
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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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  • 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
    Kimberly joins us from Brentwood Middle School here in Los Angeles, where she taught 8th grade math and science. 
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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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  • Jeff Goodman

    Communications Manager
    Jeff oversees communications at Geffen Academy, a role that combines his writing and editing experience with his passion for education.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Stacey Jasper

    M.Ed. & M.A. - Humanities & History Educator
    Ms. Jasper teaches 6th grade humanities and 7th grade history.
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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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  • 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.
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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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  • 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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  • Adam Koneman

    M.Ed. - Principal Learning Specialist
    Adam supports students in their navigation of school curricula while fostering independence and self-advocacy skills.
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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
    Most recently, she was an educator at Vivian Webb School in Claremont, CA where she taught both French and Humanities.
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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. - I-Track 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 Academic 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

    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. 
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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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  • 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 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.
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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 led 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.
  • Raquel Ochoa

    M.A. - Admissions Specialist
    The newest member of the Admissions team, Raquel is passionate about all things education. 
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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. - 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Chelsea Rivera

    OTD - Wellness Educator
    Dr. Chelsea Rivera has worked in both wellness and education for over a decade.
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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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  • 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
    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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  • 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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  • David Sprunger

    Ph.D. - Mathematics Educator
    Dr. David Sprunger has been lucky to practice mathematics all over: at Princeton and Indiana universities, in Tokyo, and now at Geffen Academy.
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  • Ashle Stewart

    Student Services Coordinator
    Ms. Ashle is a primary point person for students and families regarding student life at Geffen Academy.
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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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  • 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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  • Liana Unger

    LCSW - Wellness Educator
    As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and mental health practitioner, Liana brings an extensive background in empirically validated methodologies.
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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
    Mr. Villicaña currently teaches the 7th grade Reading Ancient Minds course. 
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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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  • 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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