Erica Crane - she/her
Founding Executive Director
As the founding Superintendent / Principal of Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, Erica is grateful to be a part of such a dynamic, passionate staff Crew. Erica is an advocate and ally who understands the dedication it takes to launch and sustain a school that supports equitable achievement for all in academics and character. Erica has worked in varied educational programs and contexts on both sides of the United States in rural and urban learning communities in public, public charter, and private school settings. Erica has grown up as an educator in the EL Education network, developing from a first year Teacher to an Instructional Guide and Athletic Director at Validus Preparatory Academy in the South Bronx and engaging in work as a School Designer in Connecticut before supporting SAEL. She earned her undergraduate and masters degrees from Columbia University in New York City and has begun her EdD at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College online. A nominee for the 2019 EL Education Silverberg Leadership Award and the 2010 NYCOB Gaynor McCown Award for Excellence in Teaching, Erica is proud of the relationships and growth mindset she has built through her experiences with students, staff, and families throughout her career. She is deeply appreciative of everyone who has helped our Crew thrive here at Sierra Academy. Erica also loves spending time with her partner, friends and animals, playing outside, wandering in the woods, taking epic road trips, reading, and listening to great playlists and podcasts.
Michelle O'Shea - she/her
Founding Science Teacher and Instructional Guide
Michelle is proud to be a teacher, Crew advisor, and instructional guide at SAEL, working to support the implementation of engaging, relevant curriculum since the school’s founding in 2014. She came to this position after spending the first decade of her teaching career at two Bay Area high schools. A fifth generation Nevada County native, Michelle graduated from Nevada Union High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Santa Clara University, an educational journey that included studying abroad in Galway, Ireland. She worked in the fields of fisheries, biology, and environmental toxicology before being drawn to teaching. She earned a Master’s degree in Education from Western Oregon University in 2004 and has been joyfully teaching ever since. Michelle sees her greatest strength in the classroom as her ability to connect with and reach students with differing backgrounds, learning styles, and levels of initial motivation. Her end-of-year student evaluations often cite her diversified teaching strategies, patience, enthusiasm, humor, and caring as reasons why students are successful and why they enjoy her classes. Michelle emphasizes critical thinking and active student engagement in her classes and is excited to be a part of SAEL where this is a shared priority. When she isn’t supporting students and other teachers, Michelle enjoys long trail runs, exploring the great outdoors with her husband and two children, baking up a storm, and watching The Office over and over again.
As a member of the Crew since 2016, Mr. Parkhouse loves watching the students grow over their four years here at SAEL. He enjoys seeing their Character grow as they learn what each Student Norm is about and how it relates to life. He loves when students grit through tough challenges, when they find that honesty within themselves and the integrity to take on all their commitments. He loves seeing when they learn how to collaborate with others and work as a Crew member and when they show curiosity in their learning and strive to learn more than they thought possible. He likes when they show pride in their high quality work showing their craftsmanship, but especially when they learn to advocate correctly for themselves, or for a project that means something to them. He enjoys supporting them to build strong Character and Leadership skills. He enjoys supporting our students to become strong productive members of our community, people who are willing to lead the charge in taking on challenges of life ahead.
He was raised in Nevada County and has always loved the many outdoor activities that the Sierras have to offer. He enjoys backcountry adventures with his horses or backpacking. He considers myself an outdoorsman and conservationist.
He attended college at Sierra College and California State University at Chico, where he studied Criminal Justice and Animal Science.
He is retired from 30+ years in Law Enforcement. He has worked as a Reserve Game Warden, a Police Officer, and retired as a Deputy Sheriff / Coroner. While in that profession, he worked as a Search and Rescue Coordinator, a Field Training Officer, Rangemaster, and Weaponless Defense Instructor. I also had many different assignments from Patrol, High Country, Civil, School Resource Officer and Court Security / Bailiff.
He has also worked as a backcountry outfitter guide and horse/mule packer. He loves going on fieldwork with the students - helping to support both students and staff as they learn about outdoor skills and “Leave No Trace” principles.
He loves working with this team of dedicated professionals here at SAEL and this has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.
Megan Perez-Carpenter was raised in beautiful Sonoma County, California where she discovered her love of nature while wandering the moss filled forests. She attended Santa Rosa Junior College before going on to earn a BA in History from San Francisco State University.
Her passion for world travel led to many adventures across the globe including a six month tour of India with the Dreamtime Circus. On the tour Megan organized and performed in free circus shows and workshops for women and children all across India. Upon returning home she participated in Starhawk’s Earth Activist Training - a permaculture design certificate program focused on community organizing and activism. A life long learner, she also completed a women’s Business Management Course, a Yoga Teacher Training, and a Sacred Leadership Apprenticeship which collectively prepared her to take on leadership roles with confidence and grace.
Megan co-directed and taught at Teen Earth Magic, a summer camp for teens focused on using mythology, storytelling, and embodied practices to facilitate Rites of Passages for youth.
For the past decade Megan worked in the entertainment industry, producing socially responsible music festivals in California, Portugal, and Australia. She is excited to apply what she has learned through her diverse work experience to the realm of education. As the Office Manager, Megan is honored to offer grounded organizational support to the SAEL community and to be a part of this stellar education team.
Megan relocated to Grass Valley with her husband and young daughter in 2017. On the weekends you can find her exploring local river spots, soaking in hot springs, camping near high mountain lakes with her family, working in the garden, or cozied up with a good book.
Marika relocated from Portland, OR to join the SAEL community in the 2017-2018 school year filled with inspiration, energy, and optimism. She loves being a part of the SAEL Crew and values the opportunity of teaching and learning within the expeditionary model which truly synthesizes her passions for education, artistic expression, nature connection, self discovery, and service. She believes that when immersed in nature, community, meaningful experience, and thoughtful dialogue, students start learning and unfolding more authentically because their own expanding sense of self is perfectly matched by the endless possibilities our earth and humanity provide. As a dedicated and mindful educator, she focuses on equity and inclusion, and strives to guide and support students in aiming high, pursuing their goals, realizing their potential, and developing a strong sense of identity.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Marika entered the world with a spirit of adventure and has always been eager to explore new ideas and places. After graduating high school, she traveled broadly for a few years before deciding to return to school for a new and expansive journey. Marika graduated magna cum laude from Humboldt State University in 2004, receiving her Bachelors of Arts degree in English Language Arts with minors in Native American Studies and ESL. She earned her Secondary Teaching Credential from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2005. After teaching in the Bay Area for a couple of years, Marika moved to the Pacific Northwest to seek out new opportunities for personal and professional growth. She returned to “The Golden State” with her family in 2017 and loves the process of putting down roots in this very red dirt.
Over the last fifteen years, Marika has taught students of all ages, in a variety of settings, and within diverse program models. She excelled in her previous middle and high school teaching positions and while taking a leave of absence from secondary education to be home with her own three children, she continued to develop teaching and leadership skills by founding an early childhood program and serving as a youth scout leader with the Baden Powell Service Association.
Here at SAEL, Marika has expanded her repertoire as an educator and actively contributes to the growth and quality of our program. She has brought in diverse texts, organized our first SAEL library, collaborates to create innovative learning expeditions, facilitates dynamic fieldwork, leads Poetry Out Loud, and has taught a variety of electives, intensives, and clubs such as Child Development, Drama, Fiber Arts, and Equity. One of her proudest achievements within the last few years was being selected to participate in a professional development program for women leaders in education, located in Nairobi, Kenya. The remarkable program, Ustahimilivu Dadas, is led in partnership by renowned teaching coach Elena Aguilar, and the founder of Kenya Big Picture Learning, Carol Owala in an effort to support and develop female leadership globally. The program promotes and creates equity for marginalized students, opportunities for female empowerment, and global partnerships to revolutionize and decolonize education. Since her return, Marika continues to collaborate with her global colleagues to support the work of Kenya Big Picture Learning, and further her own learning about equity and empowerment to inform her work at SAEL
In addition to teaching and learning, some of Marika’s favorites are: family, strong coffee, glowing campfires, big trees, bright colors, silver jewelry, hearty laughter, live music, country roads, and books. Lots of books.
Byron Bird - he/him
Mr. Bird was a country kid, living a ways out in the hills, going to a very small school in a very wide landscape. He credits that open and steady childhood for a life-long fascination with the quiet personal processes of observation and reflection. These remain hallmarks of his philosophy as a teacher of science. High school, though, took place in the city and across the world, necessarily creating new ideologies and aspirations. Tight bonds within the cross-country team, a whole panapoly of mentors across the local climbing community, and intense projects as part of international service organizations in Mexico and Thailand combined to help Mr. Bird finish high school with a powerful, but hard to pinpoint call to action. He chose a college based on a vivid image of snow falling outside a brick-faced library and desire to focus on his studies at the price of outdoorsy pursuits. Four years later, endowed with bachelors degrees in Mathematics and Environmental Science and a minor in Education, Mr. Bird took a position as an English teacher in Japan to slow down and consider what specifically to do next. A hop in outdoor education, a skip through a couple of schools that didn’t quite fit his intentions, and a jump into family life brought him to Nevada City. Here, on the edge of another wide landscape, but among a community of people working to be interdependent and supportive, Mr. Bird has found a fertile space for his old thoughts on learning and action. At SAEL, over the past 5 and a half years, Mr. Bird has taught a wide range of classes and mentored students in sports, academics, and creative expression. At present, he divides his time, something like evenly, between the boisterous society and mindful buzz of the classroom and the variously wild and calm thing called family. In both roles, Mr. Bird strives to live and teach that big, energizing idea he couldn’t quite put words to as an adolescent; learning for oneself is precious and wonderful, but empowering knowledge for others is where it’s at!
Kristina McLean - she/her
Guidance / College Counselor
Kristina McLean joined the SAEL staff in 2015 with a wealth of experience in providing guidance and support to high school students. At SAEL, Kristina offers resources for all college/career paths, provides mental health support, while also doing outreach to interested students and families. She is a proud SAEL parent of two alumni, and relocated from Chicago to Nevada City with her family so that her children would have access to the wonderful Expeditionary Learning schools in the community. Kristina has also served as a social worker and has worked within community based organizations and schools throughout her professional career. Kristina received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Kristina enjoys travel (especially exploring college campuses around the US), hiking with her family, playing tennis, and is an avid reader.
Kaity is so excited to have joined the team at SAEL as a math teacher in 2020. She grew up in Nevada County, and first found her joy in teaching math when she worked as a tutor at Sierra College. After volunteering as a teacher for a year at Ruaha Secondary School in Tanzania, Kaity decided to pursue a career in teaching. Returning home she received her AA in Mathematics at Sierra College, then transferred to UC Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics. Kaity obtained her teaching credential through the Sacramento County Office of Education Teacher Intern Program. Through her time at Berkeley, her intern program, and teaching math for two years at a traditional public school in Sacramento, Kaity realized what she values most in math education is helping all students believe in their ability to learn math to the highest level. Kaity wants to support students by creating meaningful, collaborative, engaging lessons, and to foster their growth mindset by celebrating students’ mistakes as a means for advancing their knowledge. She is very excited to be returning to Nevada City to teach at an EL school that supports all of these ideas.
Richard joined the SAEL staff in 2017 and brought with him a diverse background of experience and education. At SAEL Richard teaches Adventure/PE and elective classes and creates, plans, and leads Fieldwork experiences. A love of fitness and outdoor adventures started at a young age and informs Richard’s belief that the greatest growth, interpersonal connections, and accomplishment transpire when the human mind and body are pushed beyond their comfort zones.
Prior to SAEL Richard earned a B.S. in Forestry at Oregon State University and an M.S. in Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. Throughout college, Richard spent summers working in the mountains for the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Back on campus, Richard found community and employment working for the OSU and UofI outdoor programs leading outdoor adventures. In the years after college Richard continued to blend his love for education and conservation while working for public land management agencies across the Western US. Richard has continued his growth as an educator at SAEL through earning a California Career Technical Education teaching credential in the Agriculture and Natural Resources pathway.
Richard combines this knowledge and lived experience to create curriculum and Fieldwork experience that deepens students’ connection to their academic classes, the natural world, and each other. Fieldwork is a foundational element of Expeditionary Learning and a central part of SAEL’s learning model. Mr. Young and Mr. Berry strive to create the best high School Adventure Fieldwork program possible. SAEL staff and students have explored the canyons and mountains of Utah, Arizona, and Colorado as well as the urban landscapes of Sacramento and San Fransisco while also camping, hiking, climbing, and floating throughout the Sierra Nevada.
When not working, Richard tries to keep up with his wife while seeking out new adventures together and growing their community and connection to Nevada City. Richard enjoys whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, running, backcountry skiing, climbing, cooking, and staring at maps dreaming up the next great adventure.
As a wildlife biologist and watershed restoration planner for 22 years, I have been blessed to live the life of my dreams. My new dream is to help students live theirs. I also recognize that in order to live their dreams, in addition to an empowering education, students will also need need a more stable climate, clean air in the summer and fall, resilient forests, clean and secure water, and the healthy sense of deep belonging that an intimate relationship with nature can provide. Intergenerational collaboration is the strongest way to achieve these goals, and I know this generation is going to rock it! I'm honored to have the opportunity at SAEL to help them do so through science, while also helping students achieve their unique individual dreams.
John graduated from Sierra College in 2013 with an Associates of Arts Degree in Computer Information Systems with a Computer Service Tech Concentration of studies. He is an incredible teammate, problem solver, big picture thinker, and detail-orientated data and spreadsheet master. His ability to navigate compliance factors and build strong relationships makes him an indispensable member of the SAEL team.
He loves working with and on computers, solving computer problems, and helping keep the network running. In his free time, he enjoys computer gaming both on and offline as well as watching action type movies. He is excited for the opportunity to work at Sierra Academy and is a great addition to the team.
Justin is a SAEL Class of 2018 graduate and a founding student from our school launch in 2014. He was on the Tech Squad here during his tenure as a student. He helped fix technology and provide tech support to our community and will continue to do so now as an official Tech Aide with SAEL. He has also been a manager locally.
Drover is our service and therapy dog here with us at SAEL. He is an Australian Kelpie. Drover is trained through Advanced Obedience and he holds an AKC: Canine Good Citizen Title. Drover is also certified by Therapy Dog International and is a certified Therapy Dog.
Dover enjoys coming to school nearly every day. He loves greeting all the students every morning and welcoming them to school. Drover especially likes it when he can help kids individually. He is an expert at reducing stress and anxiety in students that struggle in those areas. He enjoys getting a friendly pet and saying hello to students as they move between classes or during lunch. He has helped several students overcome their anxiety during Student Led Conferences and is one of our best panelists. He is always happy to give a smile and a hug when needed.
Drover lives with Mr. Parkhouse and in his off time enjoys living the life of a ranch dog where he plays with other dogs on the ranch and sleeps on a big pillow next to the fire.
If you see him on campus please stop for a minute and say hello!
I am excited to join the Crew as an Aide and was drawn to SAEL’s educational values and beliefs. From a young age I have used my curiosity as a foundation for observing, experiencing, and learning.
Studying at CSU, Long Beach, I was able to be fully immersed in a diverse and inclusive environment. This time fueled my desire to travel. One of my most fond memories of utilizing an "expeditionary learning" approach as an educator was teaching elementary students in Thailand.
Over the past 15 years I have worked in a variety of educational settings with the intent to provide individualized support to students and staff. Through these experiences I have evolved and formed a growth mindset that helps support my belief in life long, holistic development. Some of the courses I have participated in include a focus on the healing arts, behavior therapy, nutrition, and permaculture. My most recent endeavors include raising ducks and top bar beekeeping. In my spare time, I can be found gardening, cooking, reading, practicing yoga, backpacking, or road tripping.
There are no open Teacher positions at SAEL at this time. If you would like to fill out an e-application to keep your information on file, you can do so here.
There are no open Aide / Paraprofessional positions at SAEL at this time. If you would like to fill out an e-application to keep your information on file, you can do so here.
Our sports teams are shared with Ghidotti and we always accept coaching inquires in case there are shifts on staff in Cross Country, Track, Basketball, Volleyball, or Soccer. You can email administrator Erica Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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SAEL is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or any other factor which cannot lawfully be used as a basis for an employment decision.
Dale Berry - he/him
Founding Adventure/PE Teacher and Fieldwork Coordinator
Adventure has been a consistent theme in Dale’s life and a powerful force in his personal and professional development. Dale earned his undergraduate degree in Adventure Education from Prescott College in Arizona. Dale started his career in education as a volunteer for a small, EL high school in the South Bronx, teaching students fitness, international sports, wilderness first aid, and providing opportunities for service as environmental stewards.
Before becoming a founding teacher and fieldwork coordinator at SAEL, Dale worked with global teams as an IT project manager for more than 10 years in London and New York City. He has been able to support the Robotics teams here at SAEL as well.
Growing up in outback Australia, Dale spent his youth adventuring on the banks of the Murray River. His passion for sports and adventure guided many of his travels around the world, but none were more important than a 30,000 mile road trip throughout Australia. In addition, Dale played semi- professional Australian Rules Football and loves to move through natural landscapes as a hiker, mountain biker, yogi, and golfer.
English Specialist / Teacher
Ryan eagerly joins the SAEL team knowing that she has found her perfect career match. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Ryan was introduced to and captivated by a variety of cultures and lifestyles. Her thirst for learning and new experiences drew her to pursue a college education on the other side of the country. While studying at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, she fell in love with the human mind and declared her major in Psychology. Ryan also studied Spanish, leading her to Mendoza, Argentina in the foothills of the Andes for a six month study abroad program. During this time she was inspired to minor in Hispanic studies as well.
After receiving her B.A. from Wheaton College, Ryan traveled to satisfy her inner adventurer and to please her self-declared foodie appetite. Once she landed in the Foothills of the Sierras, with its accessibility to outdoor recreation, the changing of the seasons, and the small town charm she had grown to love back East, she knew she was home. A passion for education combined with her leadership and teaching experience pointed Ryan to California State University at Sacramento where she earned her single subject credential in English.
Ryan is thrilled to be on the team at SAEL where she can contribute her love for the English arts, adventuring spirit, and positivity towards the education of today’s great young minds. She’s excited to be teaching, but equally looking forward to the learning experiences that being a part of a cutting edge community brings.
Caitlin has been a member of the SAEL crew since January of 2017 as both a Math Teacher and a Crew Advisor. Caitlin believes that anyone can be successful with math, and the best way to make this happen is to facilitate hands-on, active lessons that engage students where they are at, and she has done this by creating a classroom culture where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and where there is not one right way to solve a problem. As a Crew Advisor, Caitlin strives to provide a safe space for students to advocate for themselves and be themselves. She loves watching students grow through their four years at SAEL and aims to be there for her Crew students and their families.
Caitlin found her passion for teaching in college where she tutored peers and taught outdoor education classes. After graduating Stanford with a B.S in Earth Systems, she moved to Wisconsin to teach high school students at Conserve School, a semester school program. This experience made her realize that immersing herself in education was what she wanted to do. Upon returning to California, she could not wait to obtain her teaching credential and start working in an EL Education classroom. Now, Caitlin shares her love of math with students and fellow teachers and strives to create a collaborative classroom environment where all students see themselves as mathematicians. She organizes and coordinates peer math tutors to support all students, supports curriculum development across all classes and tries to share the relevancy of mathematics with her students. Caitlin is also passionate about making college accessible for all, and has supported the senior class through Senior Project the past three years, as well as coordinated a College Road Trip Intensive.
Outside of the classroom, Caitlin loves spending her time running, biking, being outdoors and exploring mountains with her dog, Felix.
It is a great honor and privilege to be given the opportunity of becoming a part of the educational family at SAEL. I come with 20 years of experience in the educational system, 11 of which have been dedicated to students with special needs. Growing up in the small Central Valley town of Delano, it gave me a front row seat to the labor movement Cesar Chavez started. It inspired me to dedicate my life to supporting the underrepresented.
While attending community college in Visalia, I worked at an amazing organization called California Mini-Corp which serviced migrant students from all over California. This provided valuable insight for me while studying at San Diego State in pursuit of my sociology degree. After graduating college, I began my credential program at San Jose State University. My first official teaching position was with San Jose Job Corp as a Special Education Teacher . My following position was with East Side Union High School District as a Special Education Teacher where I eventually became Department Chair and developed further as an educator. After working at Nevada Union and Del Oro High Schools locally, I sought out Sierra Academy for our innovative, small program.
My family and I relocated to Grass Valley in 2017 to live more sustainably and among the beauty that surrounds us. I love discovering new places, cultures, foods, and languages. I have traveled to Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and several states within our country. Our world is changing rapidly and our kids deserve to be taught the skills needed to grow and thrive. My goal is to help students build resilience and self confidence to be able to pursue their goals and curiosities.
Originally from Los Angeles, Keli moved to Grass Valley where she can easily hike, bike ride, and enjoy nature from her front door. Keli studied English Literature with a world literature emphasis at U.C.L.A. After graduating, she relocated to Silicon Valley and became involved in working in technology for 5 years. However, Keli’s wanderlust prevailed. Eager to live abroad and learn Spanish, Keli moved to Ecuador, South America, where she taught English and earned her master’s degree in TESOL. Later, she returned to the U.S. and earned her teaching credential in ELA and an MA in education.
Keli LOVES teaching high school because she enjoys inspiring students and being inspired by them. She will challenge you and push you to think, learn, and grow. Her teaching philosophy includes sharpening students’ critical thinking skills as well as approaching language as a tool of influence, power, and change. Keli believes that school is not just about academics and hard skills, but rather a whole experience including learning by doing and learning from each other.
One of Keli’s greatest passions is to travel. Experiencing other cultures drives Keli to seek more unique travel experiences. With her four-year-old child, she traveled for 4 months through Thailand, Cambodia, Lao, Vietnam, Sumatra, Nepal, and India. One item that remains on Keli’s bucket list is to travel for at least a year abroad.
Megan first joined the SAEL community in 2015 as a long-term substitute and support person, where she led classes and assisted in a variety of fieldwork outings and overnight trips. Her thirst for travel was far from over, however, and after her first year with us she decided to take some time to solo-backpack through Europe, live and work on farms in the Scottish Highlands and rural Maine, and serve as a teaching assistant at a Nature Center high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a year. Her love for California and passion for education eventually brought her back to her home state and the great professional community at SAEL where she has been a Social Studies Teacher and Crew Advisor since January 2018.
Growing up in the melting pot of Los Angeles, Megan was exposed to a wide array of cultures and languages around the world from an early age. As she entered high school, she began to think more deeply about the inequity she observed around her, questioning why only certain groups of people - her close friends included - had consistent access to education, healthcare, and other basic human needs while others did not. These questions eventually led her to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she majored in Sociology and Anthropology.
Her studies at LC were paired with a newfound adventurous side, where she jumped headfirst into hiking, kayaking, and river rafting all over the Pacific Northwest. In her junior year, she traveled outside of the US for the first time to participate in a four month study abroad program in Kenya and Tanzania. Her days abroad were spent surveying marine conservation efforts in the Indian Ocean, living amongst members of one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes in the world, and conducting written and verbal surveys in Swahili to research educational opportunities for females in rural villages throughout the region.
Megan’s life experiences have cemented her belief that hands-on, project-based learning in and outside of the classroom can challenge and transform young adults in ways that traditional forms of education simply cannot. As a social studies teacher, she works continuously to dismantle traditional historical narratives and eurocentric viewpoints to ensure multiple perspectives are exposed, and to push her students to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the human experience.
Hugo’s interest in languages and literature started at an early age. Being born and raised in Spain, he grew up bilingual in Spanish and Catalan and later studied French and English. Helping people learn, practice, and master Spanish, his native language, is very rewarding. Hugo came to the US in 2015 and has been at SAEL since 2016, where he has taught Spanish, Anthropology and Soccer, as well as some intensives like “Latin Dances”. Hugo feels honored to be part of the SAEL team!
Hugo holds a BA in Humanities (Language, Literature, History, Art, and Philosophy) and an Español Lengua Extranjera (ELE) teaching certificate from the language school International House and the University of Barcelona (UB). Since 2010, Hugo has been teaching Spanish to students of different levels, ages, and educational backgrounds. In 2012, he completed a Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language. In the last years, he has taken additional courses covering: Second Language Acquisition, Teaching Methodology, Literacy Across Content Areas, Common Core State Standards, Blended and Online Learning and Dual purpose lessons. Hugo is a certified ACTFL-APPL (American Council on the Teaching or Foreign Languages) rater and also an Instituto Cervantes DELE (Diploma Espanol Lengua Extranjera) examiner for students of Spanish who want to obtain a diploma showing their proficiency level. One of his goals is to help SAEL students graduate with the Seal of Biliteracy.
In his classes Hugo includes game-based resources (Kahoot, Quizlet Live, Gimkit etc.) so that students can practice the vocabulary and remember it over time while having fun. Once we learn the grammar and vocabulary students put it into practice by doing oral communicative activities, in pairs and small groups. Being aware of the importance of student motivation in learning foreign languages, during the school year Hugo prepares tasks and facilitates discussions about the importance of learning foreign languages. Through his education and teaching experience, he has learned about different learning styles, how to apply different teaching methodologies and to customize instruction in order to meet learners´ needs. Hugo believes in implementing an interdisciplinary approach linking skills and topics across the curriculum. As for assessment and evaluation, he gives prompt feedback to my students focusing on the strengths before moving to areas for growth.
One of the goals of his courses is to help students develop multicultural competence. To foster prejudice reduction, Hugo checks the materials for bias and stereotypes. Hugo addresses stereotypes by showing how cultural assumptions narrow our view and opinion of people from different cultures. In that regard, he supports learners by combining language development, critical thinking and culturally responsive teaching. Hugo’ s hobbies are sports (mountain biking, tennis, pickleball, tennis table, soccer), and ballroom dance (Tango, Lindy Hop, Salsa).
Greg Geraldo joined the SAEL team as an English/Elective teacher and Crew Advisor for the 2019-2020 school year. Hailing from Yuba City, CA, Greg spent his youth nearby the rivers, lakes, and trails of Northern California. When he wasn’t spending his leisure time outside, Greg could be found playing video games and Dungeons & Dragons -- passions that still beguile him today. A classically trained violist, Greg performed with several community orchestras and managed a quartet in his hometown, he went on to play in his college orchestra, and has played with the OLLI orchestra in Grass Valley. Today, he practices guitar and viola in his free time, and serves as the faculty advisor for the music club at SAEL. A staple at SAEL, the music club meets to write, play, and discuss music across diverse genres and time periods. The Boy Scouting program was a formative influence in his life and he contends that some of the best summers of his life were spent as a Harbormaster, water sports instructor, and counselor at Camp Winton in Pioneer, CA. His Scouting experience culminated in earning the Eagle Scout award and a lifelong love for the outdoors. With this experience, Greg thrives when supporting student growth during expeditionary fieldwork outings. As an undergraduate at Lewis & Clark College, Greg studied a breadth of subjects on the Portland, Oregon campus and abroad in Dublin, Ireland. While abroad, he worked with the Dublin Youth Theatre and joyfully studied Irish music, theatre, and culture. Psychology was Greg’s primary course of study, and he earned the Miller Internship Grant to study Developmental ADHD at Oregon Health & Science University. Greg’s senior capstone project focused on the psychological effects of framing on political preference in the United States. Alongside his fellow members of the California Association for Teachers of English, Greg strives to create an equitable English classroom and provide students with course texts that challenge dominant narratives and present diverse perspectives. He is passionate about student engagement, and believes firmly that his role as a Teacher and Crew advisor is to challenge students to push their limits, support them as individuals, and exemplify the joys and fulfillment of lifelong learning.
Dree has been invested in the SAEL community for the last few years as a parent and is very excited to be on board as the Character and Guidance Specialist. She is at her happiest when spending time supporting young people. What started out as a journey with teaching high school history being the destination, has evolved and grown into something quite different and yet perfect. While earning their degree in Social Sciences from Cal State Chico, they took a position with the Grass Valley School District, which was designed to give kids that needed a little something extra an outlet and support outside of the classroom. Here is where she realized where her heart was leading her; teaching was indeed her calling, but not confined to one subject or one classroom. Their desire was to have the time to really get to know young people. To listen and truly get to know what makes them feel seen and heard, and to take that information to help support them in their own journey. They continued to build amazing relationships with the young people of Nevada County while working with both the schools and the after-school program for several years until an opportunity presented itself that just couldn’t be passed up. Dree then went to work for a local community organization that serves families. Her role there served the incarcerated youth in Sutter/Yuba counties. There, she deepened her knowledge of the resources available to young folks and their families and grew in her abilities to connect during even the most challenging of times.
Their philosophy that we all deserve to feel SEEN and HEARD, and that we all have the same ability to grow with sufficient support, is what drives them to fiercely advocate for every single young person they serve.
It wasn’t always this deep though! She started out as that amazing band geek we all know and love (or have seen in the movies). She was 6’2” by the age of 14 (now 6’4”). She could be seen any day, carrying her saxophone across campus out to her Mom’s min-van (which she later drove to school in San Jose, California). Most of her days were dedicated to band, books and all things related to space. She still enjoys all three, though making time to play the sax can be a challenge.
Dree is married and she and her wife have three teens. She and her family moved to Grass Valley from the bay area in 2014 without knowing a soul. They took a giant leap of faith and went for what they wanted, which was to live in a place where their kids could be among the immense beauty and fun of the sierra foothills. She and her family have never looked back! They often jump in the car and head out for drives with no destination in mind and have discovered countless amazing places this way.
This new adventure with SAEL is a privilege that Dree couldn’t be more thankful for!
As the Art Facilitator at SAEL, Lynn is excited to share her passion for the arts with each and every student. She has a love for fiber arts and the making of everyday, useful objects more aesthetically pleasing. The world is a beautiful place and our lives should be surrounded by it, especially during stressful times.
She believes that everyone should realize that they can do art, no matter how it turns out. Playing with varied artistic mediums for enjoyment is a must. Art is for everyone, yes everyone! It opens the doors of creativity, teaches you time management skills, and gives you confidence. Art teaches you to pay attention to detail, to focus, and how to persevere through things that might make you uncomfortable. It helps you get in touch with your emotions and helps you to relax.
When a group of LGBTQIA+ students asked if she would help them start a GSA, Lynn was honored to do so, accepting the position of advisor to the GSA club. The GSA is now going strong and is a welcoming body of students who strive to ensure that SAEL meets the needs of and is sensitive to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Lynn’s undergraduate years were spent at UC Santa Barbara. She took time to travel through Europe, trying to learn how to speak French before returning to more formal education. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from the Hutchins School (a specialized school inside of Sonoma State University), she continued on to earn her credential from Sonoma State.
Lynn has successfully raised her three children to adulthood. Two of them are currently attending prestigious colleges on the east coast. They are each artistic in their own way; her youngest even plans on being an Art Professor and is a much more accomplished artist than her mother could ever be.
Phoebe is excited and honored to be a Mathematics Teacher at SAEL. Growing up in Auburn, CA (and never leaving), Phoebe is part of one of the old families left in town known as the Eisleys. Born and raised at her family's nursery, and working there for 10 plus years, she developed a love of nature and a green thumb. This is a love that continues to this day. Currently, every summer, Phoebe and her husband, Mike, grow a HUGE garden to share with family and friends. As for the spark of love for education, Phoebe always knew she wanted to be a teacher. Specifically, she attended Placer High School as a young adult where she decided she wanted to be a Mathematics Teacher due to the many wonderful role models she encountered there.
When Phoebe started her college career, she originally wanted to double major in math and music (a love for music was similar to her love for nature). Sadly, she had to pick one major over the other due to scheduling conflicts, and math was it(!). Starting out at Sierra College in Rocklin, Phoebe transferred to California State University, Sacramento (Sac. State) where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Minor in Education. Phoebe was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Mathematics Blended Program at Sac. State; a specialized program for mathematics majors who wanted to go into teaching. She was able to start working on her Secondary Teaching Credentials while she was finishing up her bachelor’s degree courses. It was an amazing opportunity for Phoebe, and, thanks to the program, she has made life-long friends from her student teaching days at John Barrett Middle School and Rocklin High School. Phoebe is an avid believer in Growth Mindset and believes anyone can learn mathematics to the highest of levels. After receiving her preliminary credentials, Phoebe started subbing within her local-and-nearby-communities to receive more experience and to better prepare for her continued teaching journey before joining the SAEL team.
Lastly, and outside of the classroom, Phoebe is either spending time with her family: her husband, Mike, and fur babies: Kairi, Kronk and Luna, playing outside (mostly in the garden), reading, knitting, playing games (video or tabletop), bowling or going to Disneyland (when it is open).
Aaron has always been interested in camping, mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. He appreciates living in this area for these outdoor opportunities. Aaron has been working in his family custodial and carpet cleaning business for much of his life. He has great expertise and experience in keeping schools, businesses, and retirement homes clean and ready to support the people in these spaces. He also works as a handy person supporting people in their homes. His goal is to be a contributing member of the SAEL Crew through his work on our campus.