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New faces in Valley classrooms

In a hiring surge that rivals last year’s, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District this week welcomed eight new teachers to its high schools, as well as five new middle school teachers, 15 elementary school teachers, four counselors and two nurses. Most of the new staff gathered last week for an orientation session and lunch at the district offices.

“We’re really pleased with the faculty and staff that we were able to attract this year,” said SVUSD Superintendent Louann Carlomagno. “We think the word is out that Sonoma Valley is an innovative and supportive place to work and to teach.” Carlomagno noted that she is particularly happy to be welcoming back five graduates of Sonoma Valley High School who will be teaching in the district.

Chris Arnett has joined Sonoma Valley High School as a psychologist. She has a background in special education and a BS from University of Nevada and a Ed.D in counseling psychology from Northern Arizona State. Most recently, she was a counselor with the Wright Elementary School District in Santa Rosa.

Luis Bravo has also joined Sonoma Valley High School as a new counselor, and he will split his time between there and Adele Harrison and Altimira middle schools. Luis has a BA in sociology and an MA in counseling from Sonoma State. Previously, he interned in counseling at Altimira.

Elizabeth Campos is a third new counselor joining SVHS. She holds a BA and an MA in counseling from Sonoma State. Previously, she worked as a migrant education advisor at the high school and at Altimira. Elizabeth is a graduate of Sonoma Valley High, class of 2009.

Anne Chism has joined Adele Harrison Middle School as a sixth and seventh grade math teacher. She holds a BA in math and a teaching credential from Sonoma State. Most recently, Anne taught math at Emerson Junior High School in Sacramento and she was a student teacher at Adele Harrison.

Robert Curran will provide resource support in English and study skills at Sonoma Valley High this fall. He holds a BA from Sonoma State and most recently was an instructional assistant at Crossroads Community Day School in Petaluma.

Kaitlynn Degrano is a new district-wide Grade Level Proficiency Project (GLPP) coach. She holds a BA, an MA and a multiple subject teaching credential from Sonoma State. Most recently, Kaitlynn taught kindergarten at Roseland Creek in Santa Rosa.

Thomas Edwards has joined Adele Harrison Middle School to teach sixth grade science and citizenship. He holds a BA from the California Maritime Academy and a multiple subject teaching credential from St. Mary’s College. Most recently, Thomas taught at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Pittsburg.

Heidy Garabay has joined Flowery Elementary School as a new fifth grade teacher. She holds a BA and a multiple subject teaching credential from Sonoma State. Last year, Heidy was a student teacher at Flowery.

Jack Gray will be teaching fifth grade at El Verano Elementary School this fall. He holds a BA and a multiple subject teaching credential from Sonoma State. Prior to coming to El Verano, Jack was an instructional aide at River Oak Charter School in Ukiah.

Gabrielle Heppe is a new fifth grade teacher at Sassarini Elementary School. She holds a BA and a teaching credential from Dominican University and she is at work on her master’s degree. Most recently, Gabrielle was a student teacher in a third grade classroom at Mark Day School in San Rafael.

Graham Hitman has joined the faculty of Sonoma Valley High School to teach biology and chemistry. He has a BA from Point Loma Nazarene University and a biological sciences teaching credential from Sonoma State. Most recently, Graham was a student teacher at Analy High School in Santa Rosa.

Mara Irvin has joined Dunbar Elementary School as a new kindergarten teacher. She holds a BA from San Francisco State and a multiple subject teaching credential from Dominican University. Prior to coming to Dunbar, she taught at Santa Rosa Charter School. Mara graduated from SVHS, class of 1989.

Michelle Jackson has joined the district’s counseling team supporting Sassarini and El Verano Elementary School. She holds a BA and an MA from San Francisco State and a master’s in social work from Cal State Long Beach. Most recently, Michelle was an elementary school counselor in Santa Rosa.

Lauren Jolly is a new first grade teacher at Sassarini Elementary School. She holds a BA from University of Oregon, a master’s degree from Portland State and her teaching credential from Simpson University. Prior to moving to Sonoma, Lauren was a literacy coach and an intervention specialist at an elementary school in Oregon.

Bryan Kelly has arrived at Sonoma Valley High to take the reins of senior project oversight and to teach living skills to freshmen. He holds a BA and a single subject teaching credential from Humboldt State. Most recently, Bryan taught summer school in Sonoma. He graduated from SVHS in 2005.

Catherine Markham is a new second grade teacher at El Verano Elementary. She holds a BA and a multiple subject teaching credential from UC Davis. Prior to joining El Verano, Catherine taught second grade at McDowell Elementary in Petaluma.

Shannon McCambridge is a new second- and third-grade classroom teacher at Dunbar Elementary. She received her BA from Humboldt State and her multiple subject teaching credential from Cal State TEACH. She is also a graduate of SVHS, class of 1990. Prior to coming to Dunbar, Shannon taught summer school at Biella Elementary in Santa Rosa and was a student teacher in Sonoma.

Crystal Morales is a new ELA/ELD teacher for the seventh grade at Altimira Middle School. Crystal holds a BA from Fresno State and her multiple subject teaching credential from Sacramento State. Prior to coming to Altimira, she was a student teacher in Sacramento. In her previous career, she was a newspaper reporter covering the education beat.

Katie Morrison has joined El Verano School as a new second grade teacher. She holds a BA from Colby College and a MA from San Francisco Theological Society. She also holds two teaching credentials from Dominican University. Prior to coming to Sonoma, Katie taught second grade, fifth grade and ninth grade in Albany. She is also an ordained minister.

Amanda Myers will teach a variety of classes this year at Altimira Middle School including eighth grade science, sixth and seventh grade AVID and PE across all three grades. Amanda has a BS and a single subject teaching credential from Sonoma State. Last year, she was a student teacher at Altimira.

Ally Oxenhandler is a new fifth grade teacher at Sassarini Elementary School. She holds a BA from the State University of New York, an MA from San Diego State and a teaching credential from National University. Most recently, Ally taught first and second grade at Santa Rosa Charter School.

Melina Porter has joined Sassarini Elementary as a new kindergarten teacher this fall. She holds a BA from UC Davis and a multiple subject teaching credential from Sonoma State. Prior to coming to Sonoma, she taught fifth grade at James Monroe Elementary School in Santa Rosa.

Creekside High School has welcomed Holly Seibold as a new English teacher this fall. Holly holds a BA from the University of Nevada at Reno. Prior to coming to Creekside, Holly taught ninth grade at Roseland Collegiate Prep in Santa Rosa.

Ryan Scott is a new 11th grade English teacher at Sonoma Valley High School this fall. Ryan received his BA from San Francisco State and his MA in teaching from University of Southern California. Last year, he taught U.S. and European history at Santa Rosa High School.

Kim Sevilla will be teaching transitional kindergarten at Sassarini Elementary School this fall. Kim received her BA and her multiple subject credential from San Francisco State University. Most recently, she taught preschool at Moldovan Academy in San Francisco.

Sonoma Valley High has welcomed Nicole Snider as a new 10th grade English teacher this fall. Nicole holds a BA from Boston College and a single subject teaching credential from Sonoma State. Prior to coming to SVHS, she taught at Kenilworth Junior High School in Petaluma.

Jacob Sweeting has joined SVHS as a new resource math teacher this fall. He holds a BS from the University of Oregon and this is his first year teaching.

Doug Stewart has joined the faculty at SVHS as a new resource specialist for English and he will teach government and civics to juniors and seniors. He holds a BA from the State University of New York and master’s degrees from both Ohio State and Mercy College. Most recently, he taught a special day class at Angelo Rodriguez High School in Fairfield.

Also joining the district, but not available to be photographed at orientation:

Deborah Feore has joined Dunbar Elementary as a speech pathologist. She has a BA from UC Santa Barbara and a MA from Western Oregon State College. She recently retired after 25 years working at the Marin County Office of Education.

Rebecca Fitch has been hired as a new music teacher at Adele Harrison. She has a BA from University of Oregon and a master’s in music from University of the Pacific. Most recently, she was a student teacher at Diablo Vista Middle School.

Emily Henke has joined the school district as a nurse working with most of the elementary school campuses. She has a BS in nursing from Sonoma State. Prior to joining the district staff, Emily was a nurse for Santa Rosa city schools.

Jennifer Matthews is the new district ed tech coordinator. Jennifer received her BA, her MA and he teaching and admin credentials from Sonoma State. Last year, she taught fifth grade at Roseland Creek Elementary School in Santa Rosa.

Amanda Stump is a new third grade teacher at Flowery Elementary. She received her BA from St. Mary’s College and her MA and teaching credentials from University of Redlands. Previously, she taught at Pueblo Vista Elementary School.

Allison Thrower has joined Dunbar Elementary School this fall to teach special education for grades K through 3. She holds a BA and a special education specialist credential from Sonoma State. Most recently, she was a reading specialist at Thornhill Elementary School in Oakland. Allison graduated from SVHS, class of 2004.

Daniela Ziemer joins the district as a nurse this fall providing support to all campuses. She holds a geriatric nursing degree from Germany and a B.S. in nursing from Western Governors University. Previously Daniela worked with developmentally delayed students through the Sonoma County Office of Education.

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