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School district welcomes 34 new teachers, specialists

Thirty-four new teachers and education specialists will begin serving Sonoma Valley Unified School District schools during the 2022-23 academic year.

The group includes 13 high school teachers, counselors and psychologists — 11 at Sonoma Valley, one at Creekside and one at both schools. Three teachers and one counselor will serve at Adele Harrison Middle School and two teachers will work at Altimira Middle School. Six of the 14 new elementary school hires will serve at Flowery, along with three at Dunbar, three at El Verano and two at Prestwood. One new teacher will have a districtwide assignment.

“The Sonoma Valley Unified School District is pleased to welcome all of our new employees for the 2022-2023 school year,” said Dr. Adrian Palazuelos, the superintendent. “Our classified, certificated and management staff are central to our work in support of students so that they may reach their personal and academic goals. We look forward to the collective contributions of our entire district community as we start our school year on Monday, Aug. 15.”

High Schools

Elizabeth Bakh (not pictured) will be teaching living earth and AP environmental science classes at Sonoma Valley High School. A Napa resident, she received both a bachelor’s degree in biological science and a single-subject teaching credential from the University of California, Davis. Baker previously taught living earth and physiology classes at Dixon High School in Dixon, California.

Travis Beall
Travis Beall

Travis Beall, a Santa Rosa resident, is a new English teacher at Sonoma Valley High School. He previously taught at Roseland University Prep, a charter school in Santa Rosa. Beall obtained both a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a single-subject teaching credential in English from Sonoma State University.

Daniel Dwyer
Daniel Dwyer

Daniel Dwyer has joined Sonoma Valley High School as a social studies teacher. The Sonoma resident most recently student taught U.S. and world history at the school. He received an associate degree in history from Santa Rosa Junior College and a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in film from University of California, Davis. Dwyer then earned a single-subject teaching credential from Sonoma State University.

Jesse Fox
Jesse Fox

Jesse Fox will be teaching senior English and yearbook at Sonoma Valley High School. A resident of Santa Rosa, she received an associate degree in English from Santa Rosa Junior College and then obtained both a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a single-subject teaching credential in English from Sonoma State University.

Brianna Gorman
Brianna Gorman

Brianna Gorman, a Sonoma resident, will be teaching English to ninth- and 10th-graders at Sonoma Valley High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English education from California State University, Chico and a single-subject teaching credential in English from Sonoma State University. Gorman previously taught English language development and summer school English classes at SVHS and did her student teaching in sixth-grade English classes at Altimira Middle School.

Samuel Granger
Samuel Granger

Samuel Granger will be joining the staff at Sonoma Valley High School as a history teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in history, a single-subject teaching credential and a master’s degree in teaching, all from California State University, Sacramento. The Santa Rosa resident most recently taught history at Frick United Academy of Language in Oakland.

Ernest James
Ernest James

Ernest James has been hired as a science teacher at Sonoma Valley High School. A Santa Rosa resident, he received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in business from Harvard University Graduate School of Business. James recently earned a single-subject teaching credential from Sonoma State University.

Pearl Kim-Kregel
Pearl Kim-Kregel

Pearl Kim-Kregel will be serving as a school psychologist at Sonoma Valley High School and Creekside High School. A Santa Rosa resident, she most recently served multiple programs for K-12 students in the Contra Costa County Office of Education in Pleasant Hill. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in architecture and interior architecture from the University of Oregon, a master’s degree from Stanford and education specialist and master’s degrees from Chapman University in Orange, California.

Jennifer Krick (not pictured), a resident of Hidden Valley Lake, will serve as a teacher at Creekside High School. She received a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, and a master’s degree from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Krick previously taught at Konocti Unified School District in Lower Lake, California.

Graham Rubin (not pictured) has been hired as an English language development teacher at Sonoma Valley High School. The Sonoma resident most recently taught English and English language development classes at SVHS. He received both an associate degree in human and behavioral science and an associate degree in administration of justice from City College of San Francisco. He subsequently obtained a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice, a single-subject teaching credential in English and a master’s degree in education from National University in San Diego.

Ashlyn Skaggs
Ashlyn Skaggs

Heriverto Ruiz, a Napa resident, will serve as a counselor at Sonoma Valley High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in education studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in counseling and guidance as well as a bilingual school counselors and public personnel services credential from New York University.

Ashlyn Skaggs (not pictured), who was born and raised in Sonoma, will be serving as a math teacher at Sonoma Valley High School. She received both a bachelor’s degree in pure math and a single-subject teaching credential in math from Sonoma State University. Most recently, she served as a math teacher at Petaluma High School.

Danielle DiGiulio
Danielle DiGiulio

Tyler Sweek, a Sonoma resident, will be teaching English at Sonoma Valley High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Dominican University and a single-subject teaching credentials in English and social studies.

Middle Schools

Danielle DiGiulio (not pictured) has been hired as a seventh-grade special education teacher at Adele Harrison Middle School. A Sonoma resident, she most recently served as a sixth-grade special education teacher at the same school. DiGiulio earned a master’s degree with a credential in special education from Alliant International University, headquartered in San Diego.

Katie Gialketsis
Katie Gialketsis

Katie Gialketsis will be serving as a science teacher at Altimira Middle School. A Santa Rosa resident, she most recently taught science classes at Santa Paula High School in Santa Paula, California, and Seaside High School in Seaside, California. Gialketsis obtained a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and management from University of California, Davis, a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s degree in sustainability leadership from Arizona State University. She also earned a single-subject teaching credential in science form University of California, Santa Barbara, and a career technical education credential in agriculture.

Emily Romero
Emily Romero

Josephine Lee will be teaching math at Adele Harrison Middle School. A Petaluma resident, she attended the University of California, Davis, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She subsequently received a single-subject teaching credential in English and foundational-level math from Sonoma State University.

Christine Mettler (not pictured) will work as a counselor at Adele Harrison Middle School. A Sonoma resident, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree and a pupil personnel service credential from Sonoma State University.

Emily Romero (not pictured) has been hired to teach English language arts at Adele Harrison Middle School. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Sonoma State University and a teaching credential from California State University, East Bay. The Petaluma resident most recently taught English language arts and reading intervention at John Gutierrez Middle School in Salinas, California.

Benjamin Seelye
Benjamin Seelye

Benjamin Seelye, a Napa resident, will be teaching history at Altimira Middle School. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California, Davis, and a social sciences teaching credential from Touro University in Vallejo.

Elementary Schools

Andrew Abravanel
Andrew Abravanel

Andrew Abravanel is a new fourth-grade teacher at Flowery Elementary School. The Rohnert Park resident most recently was a substitute teacher for SVUSD. He received an associate of arts degree in history from Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California, and a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Fullerton.

Ashley Barragan
Ashley Barragan

Ashley Barragan will serve as a first-grade teacher at Flowery Elementary School. The Sonoma resident last worked as a long-term, third-grade substitute teacher at the school and as a teacher on special assignment (TOSA) assistant. Barragan received a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Jenni Conte
Jenni Conte

Jessica Coffey, a Sonoma resident, will be teaching fifth-grade students at Flowery Elementary School. She received a bachelor’s degree in American multicultural studies and a multiple-subject teaching credential from Sonoma State University.

Jenni Conte (not pictured) has been hired as a teacher at Dunbar Elementary School. She had been teaching third-grade students at Glenwood Elementary School in San Rafael since 2012. Conte, who lives in Sonoma, obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Sonoma State University and a multiple-subject teaching credential from Dominican University.

Raquel de Gonzalo
Raquel de Gonzalo

Raquel de Gonzalo will be serving as a school psychologist at Flowery Elementary School. She obtained an education specialist degree in school psychology. The Petaluma resident most recently served as a school psychologist at Sonoma Valley High School and Creekside High School and completed a districtwide bilingual assessment.

Amber Hatfield
Amber Hatfield

Amber Hatfield, a Novato resident, will be working as an intervention specialist and teacher on special assignment at Prestwood Elementary School. She most recently was the English language development (ELD) coordinator for Kentfield School District and an ELD teacher at Anthony G. Bacich Elementary School in Kentfield.

Megan Hicks
Megan Hicks

Megan Hicks has been hired to teach third-grade students at El Verano Elementary School. She most recently served a student teacher and long-term substitute for kindergartners at El Verano. Hicks, who lives in Fairfield, received a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Sonoma State University and is finishing up her last semester in a teaching credential program at the university.

Alanna Johnston
Alanna Johnston

Alanna Johnston will serve as a third-grade dual immersion teacher at Flowery Elementary School after serving as an intervention specialist there. A Sonoma resident, she received her undergraduate degree from Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California, and is currently working toward her teaching credential at Sonoma State University.

Gloria Yesenia Maravilla
Gloria Yesenia Maravilla

Gloria Yesenia Maravilla will work as a school psychologist at El Verano Elementary School. She obtained an associate degree in psychology from Napa Valley College, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in school psychology from St. Mary’s College of California. Most recently, Maravilla was a first-grade teacher at Napa Valley Language Academy in Napa.

Milagros Mejia
Milagros Mejia

Milagros Mejia, a Sonoma resident, will be teaching second graders at Flowery Elementary School after serving as an instructional assistant for third graders at Sassarini Elementary School. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from California State University, Sacramento, and is enrolled in a multiple-subject teaching credential program at Sonoma State University.

Chrissie Prehn
Chrissie Prehn

Chrissie Prehn will serve as a TOSA intervention specialist at El Verano Elementary School. She most recently was a math intervention teacher at Cornell Elementary School in Albany, California. Prehn, who lives in Sonoma, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of British Columbia and both a multiple-subjects teaching credential and a master’s degree with an emphasis on teaching from Mills College in Oakland.

Maria Ptucha
Maria Ptucha

Maria Ptucha has been hired to serve as a fourth-grade teacher at Dunbar Elementary School. The Petaluma resident most recently served as a student teacher for second- and third-graders at El Verano Elementary School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and is a multiple-subject teaching credential candidate at Sonoma State University.

Nichole Roberts
Nichole Roberts

Nichole Roberts will be serving as a fourth-grade teacher at Prestwood Elementary School. A current resident of Novato who is planning to move to Sonoma, she was a substitute teacher in multiple subjects in Sonoma and Petaluma, and a student teacher at Valley Vista Elementary School in Petaluma. Roberts obtained a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a minor in child development from California State University, Chico and a multiple-subject teaching credential from Sonoma State University.

Michelle Withrow
Michelle Withrow

Michelle Withrow, a Petaluma resident, will serve as a school psychologist at Dunbar Elementary School after working as a school psychologist intern at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Francisco State University, Withrow received both a master’s degree in school psychology and an education specialist degree from Alliant International University, headquartered in San Diego.

Districtwide

Derek Lehnecke (not pictured) will work as a districtwide physical education teacher in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District. The Napa resident received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. Lehnecke most recently was a physical education teacher at Dan O. Root II Elementary School in Suisun City, California.

Reach the reporter, Dan Johnson, at daniel.johnson@sonomanews.com.

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