Martin has five years previous experience working as a Mild-Moderate case manager for high school students. Prior to that, he worked in various support and long-term substitute positions mainly in Special Education. Martin graduated from UC Santa Cruz and National University based in San Diego. Martin has worked with students ages 3-22, and has a special passion for working with high school students. When not lesson planning, Martin enjoys listening to music, playing with his lizard named Pancake, and cooking.
Cynthia has been a Special Education teacher since graduating from the University of Dayton, Ohio decades ago. She is now retired from public schools and runs her own virtual private tutoring business from her home in northern New Mexico.
She is passionate about leading students to understand and enjoy math. She is also passionate about being Mom to her now-adult children. In her spare time Cynthia is travelling, gardening, shed-hunting with Jim, hiking with Frisco, cooking from the garden, reading, or knitting. She is very impressed with Star Academy and
Steve joined Star Academy in the spring of 2015. He has been working in the field of education for over 35 years, first as a teacher, then as an administrator, and most recently, back in the classroom as a teacher. Steve lives in Oakland, with his wife, two dogs and two cats. His two youngest daughters are finishing up college and his oldest daughter just welcomed her first child to the family. Outside of Star Academy, Steve likes to mountain bike, hike and ski and spend time with his family.
Athena is thrilled to be part of the Star community. She brings with her two decades of teaching experience in elementary school classrooms and holds a Masters’ degree from Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York City. Athena loves teaching children and watching them thrive by taking risks in their learning. When Athena isn’t in the classroom, she volunteers as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, travels and practices yoga.
A graduate of Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, with a degree in Special Education, Kathy enjoyed a 40-year career as a Special Education teacher in San Francisco. She then discovered the perfect “retirement” opportunity at Star where she has spent the past 7 years as an assistant and Making Math Real specialist. She never tires helping students succeed while improving their self-confidence. Kathy adores her three grandchildren who keep her very busy on weekends along with her Portuguese Water Dog pup.
Coach Steiv earned his degree while playing basketball at Dominican University. After several years in Southern California working In fashion and entertainment, he returned to the Bay Area and began to pursue his passions of working with youth and sports. With 17+ years of coaching and teaching experience, including working with the Golden State Warriors, USA basketball and coaching HS locally, he steps on campus as “the biggest kid around." Star Wars, biking, concerts and playing basketball keep him busy when not at at Star.
Claire is originally from Burke, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia where she double majored in Psychology and Youth & Social Innovation. She recently completed her Education Specialist credential and M.A. in Education at National University. Prior to working at Star, she was a Special Day Class (SDC) teacher in San Jose. In her free time, Claire enjoys yoga, exploring new trail runs in Marin, going to concerts, and spending time outdoors with friends.
Molly holds a Single Subject English teaching credential and has ten years of experience working in SPED, most recently at Tam Valley Elementary. Molly has also volunteered with the Canal Alliance University Prep (UP!) program tutoring students in the program to help them graduate from high school and prepare for college. She regularly takes teachers’ courses with the Bay Area Writing Project, and spent a summer supporting the Bay Area Writing Project Summer Young Writers’ Camp. In her free time she loves to spend time with family and friends, hike, write and garden.
Hilary DeNunzio has a degree in Elementary Education and experience spanning from working with executive teams, as a sales associate in retail and as an all-around do everything school volunteer. Hilary has two children, a son Luca and a daughter Reese. Traveling, shopping, dinning out are some of her favorite hobbies.
Over the summer Akasha was the Lead Teacher for a 6-8th grade Special Day class in Marin. Prior to that, she spent two years as an assistant teacher in special education classrooms at Miller Creek Middle School. Akasha is an adventurer who taught English for 2 ½ years in Germany, West Africa, and China. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, loves Math and Science, and looks forward to pursuing her Education Specialist credential in the next school year.
Olivia comes to Star after several years at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, where her last role was Associate Center Director. She has experience instructing kindergarteners through college graduates in reading and comprehension, and with students of all abilities. Her background in literature and journalism also informs her teaching. She believes that all students have the potential to meet challenges and solve problems with the right support. When she's not at Star, Olivia enjoys reading contemporary fiction, listening to indie pop music, doing yoga, and baking cakes that require a lot of butter.
Alexis is originally from outside of Philadelphia, PA and holds a B.S. in Art Education and a B.A. in Drawing and Painting from the Pennsylvania State University. She also holds minors in Spanish and Art History. Alexis received her M. F. A. in Drawing and Painting from the California College of the Arts in 2006. She started teaching in 2003 and has been teaching at Star since 2009. Alexis has exhibited her paintings in the Bay Area as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania. Aside from her painting practice, Alexis enjoys traveling, cooking and reading.
Bill has worked in the field of education for fourteen years, primarily as an English literature and composition instructor at the community college level. For the last four years, he has been involved in special education as an ABA therapist and as a life skills instructor for adults on the spectrum and with various learning disabilities. In addition, for the last few years, Bill has worked with young adults in their transition from high school to college, by mentoring them in academics. Bill has earned a master’s degree in English literature from California State University, Northridge. When Bill is not working, he enjoys fishing, boxing, reading and writing books, and taking trips throughout California with his girlfriend.
Bill loves teaching. In addition to his classroom work, he is excited to be working with students on reading, comprehension, and other MSLAT skills this year. Bill is a San Rafael native, and is proud to be serving his home community.
Julia is a Middle School classroom aide. She recently graduated from University of Redlands with a BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders as well as Race and Ethnic Studies in April of 2023. Julia loves to go to the beach with her dog, and go on adventures with her friends and family!
A Marin County native, Michelle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Sonoma State University. She went on to continue her studies at Mills College and received her Master of Arts degree in English Literature. Michelle spent more than 5 years working at Lindamood-Bell as a Consultant, Mentor, and IT Liaison. During her time there, Michelle provided instructional plans for her students’ teams, conducted diagnostic assessments, and mentored fellow staff members. She is experienced in all of Lindamood-Bell’s methodologies. Michelle spent some time working for a local nonprofit and as a freelance UX designer, but missed interacting with and supporting students. She is looking forward to returning to the classroom. In her free time, Michelle enjoys reading, writing poetry, and learning new things on a daily basis.
Gemma earned her BA degree in Sociology from Sacramento State University. She worked in the financial sector for 8 years before taking time off to raise her children. Gemma reentered the work force as a caregiver for an elderly woman in Marin. Gemma started at Star Academy as an Aide, she soon realized she had found a wonderful work home, she loves interacting with each and every student, and is happily assisting in the High School. Gemma likes to spend her time hiking with her dog Willow, reading a good book, and can be found at the local pickleball courts most evenings.
Lisa is delighted to join Star Academy. She comes with a B.A. and M.A. in English, along with a single-subject credential. After being home for years with her children as they were growing up, she was happy to segue into teaching, first as a piano teacher and then as a secondary ELA teacher (with a few years in academic administration and non-profit fundraising thrown in). In her "spare time," Lisa loves teaching piano, taking her dog Oliver on walks, reading, traveling, attending theater, live music & movies, and spending time with her two daughters, family and friends.
Jeff Sullivan is a son, father, friend, husband, teacher, student of life, and a host of many other nouns, roles, and responsibilities. He grew up in Arcadia, California, a suburb in Los Angeles County, and attended Loyola Marymount University where he double majored in English Literature and Philosophy. His love of education compelled him to earn a single subject teaching credential in Language Arts (Azusa Pacific University), a Masters in Education (APU), and an Education Specialist credential (Dominican University). He is in his second year at STAR Academy and first as a head high school teacher; Jeff is honored to work in such a supportive and positive school community!
Alexa joins Star with seven years of lead teaching experience in both private and non-public schools serving students with learning differences. She has taught all subjects in grades 4-7th grade and has worked as a behavior specialist in home, school, and community settings. Alexa holds a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavioral Analysis. She also has training in several LMB programs: VV and On Cloud 9 as well as Orton-Gillingham based reading programs. Alexa is interested in earning her Education Specialist credential and may embark on that adventure in the next school year.
Joseph Trum has been a Special Education Teacher since 2005 - a journey that has taken him through a wide variety of roles and tasks. At Star, he teaches Math, runs the Digital Arts Program, and teaches after school Martial Arts. Outside of teaching, he is a musician, filmmaker, black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a 1500 rated Chess Player, and a devoted father.