Marc Bainbridge holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of California at Berkeley where he majored in English. He received his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University. Marc holds a Multiple Subjects K-12 credential, an Education Specialist credential and credentials in Secondary English, Educational Administration and English Language Learner certification (CLAD). Over the past thirty years, Marc has been a middle and high school teacher, a principal and an administrator in several communities in the Bay Area including Albany, San Francisco and San Bruno, CA. He is the proud and doting father of two daughters in their twenties, and is an avid boater, fisherman, diver and skier. When he isn’t teaching, Marc enjoys being far out on the ocean pursuing his fascination for marine biology in his beloved trawler.
Steve joined Star Academy in the spring of 2015. He has been working in the field of education for over 25 years, first as a teacher and then as an administrator. Steve lives in Oakland, with his wife Kate and daughters Olivia and Eliza; his oldest daughter, Alice lives in San Francisco. Outside of Star Academy, Steve likes to mountain bike, hike and ski and spend time with his family, including his many pets.
Brenda has been part of the Making Math Real Team since January 2012. She has taken MMR courses through geometry. She has her special education credential, BA in Social Work and MA in Wilderness Psychology. She lives in Glen Ellen with her kittens Thunder and Lightning and enjoys spending time with her 27 and 23 year old sons. Her favorite activity is tide pooling and running from elephant seals.
Athena is thrilled to join the Star community. She brings with her two decades of teaching experience in elementary school classrooms and holds a Master's 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.
Sarah holds a B.S. in Biology with a Cellular & Molecular concentration from Humboldt State University and an M.A. in Education with a concentration in Counseling and Student Personnel from San Jose State University. She also worked as a wildlife rescue veterinary technician, a biological researcher, a career counselor for students with learning differences, and has been volunteering in various organizations since she was 15. A student aide and transitions specialist, she enjoys working with parents and assisting students in learning to self-advocate and utilize their strengths. Sarah also enjoys doing scientific research, photography, and art.
Melissa is originally from the East coast and moved to the beautiful Bay area eight years ago. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and is currently working towards her Master's degree in education from Dominican University. Her passion is helping children with learning differences and feels lucky to have this amazing opportunity at Star Academy! Her two passions outside of work are her family and trail running.
Jennifer Cariadus joined the Star Academy family in January of 2008 as a Multi-sensory Language Arts Specialist. Since then she has also taught Creative Writing, Music, Drama, Yearbook, and Letterboxing classes across all grade levels, as well as core classes (ELA, Science, and Social Studies) in Star's Middle School. She spearheaded Star's NaNoWriMo program in 2009, helping students write, edit, and publish over 500 individual novels and anthologies over the years. She holds a BA degree in Human Development and Social Relations from the University of Michigan. When she is not teaching, she is writing, painting, making music, or adventuring in the redwoods with her spouse and teenage twins.
Karen, a life-long learner, has a Master’s of Education degree and Multiple Subjects teaching credential along with more than 10 years of experience working in schools in a multitude of roles. She has successfully worked as a mainstream classroom teacher at the elementary and middle school level, a special needs teacher, a literacy teacher and an ESL teacher both in the US and abroad. Karen is currently enrolled in Dominican University’s Education Specialist program and anticipates completing her credential in June 2021. Karen has begun teaching in Star’s Extended School Year program supporting Ms. Stephanie’s 6-8th grade classroom. Karen brings warmth, humor and a huge sense of positivity to all interactions and we look forward to having her join our amazing middle school team.
Morgan has spent the last five years as a Special Day Class teacher in the Oakland Unified school district. While she very much enjoys her current position leading a class of 4th & 5th grade students with significant learning differences, she is eager to teach closer to home and to returning to Star! In 2014, as Morgan was in the final stage of earning her Education Specialist credential, she worked as an Assistant Teacher in Star’s 6th grade classroom. What a perfect ending to have Morgan returning to her roots and to Star’s middle school program. Though it has been 5 years since Morgan has been at Star, she, and her wonderful work were remembered fondly by the colleagues who worked with her at that time. Morgan is bilingual and prior to earning her SPED credential, she worked in education in many different roles. She began as a preschool teacher, worked as a substitute teacher while earning her credentials, taught high school Spanish, led first graders in a dual-immersion school, and taught English as a second language in Chile. After training in Inclusion and observing the positives and negatives that are associated with the models, Morgan designed and implemented her previous school’s Inclusion program, creating a Learning Center that met the academic and emotional needs of her caseload.
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.
Tamara is a highly qualified teacher credentialed in both general education and special education. She has been working with students with learning differences for the past 12 years as a classroom teacher, intervention specialist, tutor and learning specialist. Tamara has worked in a variety of school settings including public and private schools and has experience in many of the methodologies currently used by Star including Making Math Real, Orton-Gillingham, Social Cognition and various LindaMood-Bell programs. Though she thoroughly enjoyed her most recent job as a Learning Specialist, she is eager to put her two credentials to use and lead a classroom community with the opportunity to teach all of the subjects. Tamara is an expert at differentiating instruction to meet the needs of her students and has been described as a creative, passionate and highly collaborative colleague. She considers the social/emotional and developmental needs of the students to be among the top priorities in creating successful, confident and happy learners.
Karli has a long history of and affinity for working with kids. As a high schooler, she coached volleyball and worked as a camp counselor. While at SSU, she studied and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in early childhood units. Karli has worked as a behavioral interventionalist, supporting students with behavioral goals and support plans for the past 2 years. She is calm, patient, enthusiastic and utterly unflappable.
Erin earned her Masters of Education and her Education Specialist credential in 2012. After graduation she worked in a variety of public school settings until 2016. From 2016-18 Erin worked for Matrix, the parent advocacy organization, as a parent advisor guiding families of children with special needs access to the systems that serve them. As part of her work she conducted workshops on various topics including assessment, collaboration and the IEP process. As much as she enjoyed that work Erin missed being with the students and in 2018 she returned to a middle school classroom in Marin.
Lenny Gucciardi brings a background of technology and finance to his work as an educator, having worked for such companies as Tandem Computers and Wells Fargo Bank. He has a BS in mathematics from Villanova University and an MBA from UC Berkeley. Lenny has single subject teacher credentials in both math and social science. He has taught high school for the past fifteen years in San Francisco and Marin. His last position was teaching and leading backcountry trips in an experiential learning program at an alternative high school. Lenny has hiked all 2650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Jesse started at Star Academy in 1991 following a lengthy career in banking. Because he wanted to make a difference in his community, he chose to work with children with learning differences. His extensive managerial experience in the corporate world lends itself to his patient and effective teaching style where he uses humor and encouragement to bridge learning difficulties. He has training in many learning methods and extensive knowledge in the area of adaptive physical education. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, cooking, viewing live music performances, and spending time with his son who is an electrician and paramedic.
Justin holds a B.A. in Multicultural studies from Sonoma state University. Justin has over 15 years experience working in the classroom as well as a being a PE teacher in Marin schools. Justin has also been a coach for several sports, but mostly baseball as he served as the head coach at Marin Academy School for almost 10 years, as well as coaching on the youth level. Justin has coached basketball, cross country and dodgeball at Star Academy.
Stephanie has completed five years at Lindamood-Bell® Learning Processes® supporting struggling students with Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, cognitive impairment and other learning differences. She has taught reading, writing and math in both individual and group settings. Stephanie has utilized her degrees in Psychology and Communications by supporting her students in building independence with challenging emotional/social interactions. She comes from the world of banking and finance, but switched to Education in seek of a more fulfilling experience. She considers this choice one of the best she has ever made.
John spent 24 years in the financial services industry, trading stocks, options and futures, before switching careers to become a teacher. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Boston College with a double major in History and Human Development and then earned his Special Education Credential. He has taught middle school in a program that serves students with a wide range of learning differences. John is an avid gardener, great cook and frequent volunteer at the Ceres Community Project of Marin, teaching kids to prepare organic, nutritious and tasty meals for people going through chemotherapy.
Martin comes to Star with four years of experience as an Assistant Teacher in a non-public school setting. In his capacity as an Assistant Teacher he was responsible for implementing specialized support services for special education students with learning, emotional and behavioral challenges. He enjoys leading physical activities with the students and utilizing positive behavior incentive strategies. He comes highly recommended for his work in supporting both the teacher and students in creating a positive, orderly and supportive learning environment.
Celine recently graduated from DePaul University with a B.S. in Health Science. In the coming years, she hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in School Psychology. Celine discovered her passion for education while volunteering as a tutor in Chicago Public Schools, an experience that equipped her with the skills to provide meaningful support and encouragement to her students. Celine is grateful for the opportunity to work with the amazing students, faculty, and staff of Star Academy.
Jennifer has been working at Star Academy since 2016. She holds degrees from Santa Barbara City College and Sonoma State University. After college, she spent two years volunteering in Sonoma County for Americorps, leading a literacy program and after school program for elementary school students. She spent several years working at a school for children on the autism spectrum and has worked with a broad range of learners throughout her career, from the preschool to community college levels. She enjoys backpacking, photography, spending time with family, practicing and teaching yoga.
Alysha is part of Star’s High School team as a Transitions and Living Skills instructor. While her work is primarily with the 11th/12th grade students focusing mostly on Living and Transition related skills i.e. cooking, community training, Consumer Math, pre-vocational skills, etc., she is supporting a 9/10th grade Alysha has been a Transitions/Living Skills instructor at the Sonoma County Office of Education. She describes her passion as helping students identify challenges in the community and learning how to adapt and overcome challenges setting them on a path for success and independence.
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!
Britton worked for three years as Special Education teacher for students in grades K-5 in a Marin County public school and prior to that at an NPS in Marin serving students with complex learning differences and behavioral needs. She is both a credentialed special education and general education teacher and is very familiar with meeting the needs of a diverse community of learners within a single classroom. She is well versed in all aspects of the IEP process and in differentiating instruction. Britton describes one of her teaching priorities as: providing a safe and engaging space for students to learn so that they will open up to new challenges which will foster a sense of capability, tenacity and empowerment.