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People

In the founding years of San Francisco Schoolhouse, Rebecca Dake simplified the definition of an excellent education down to two basic ingredients: a passionate, experienced teacher, and a safe and healthy room. As Schoolhouse has grown over the years, we have assembled a team of multi-talented individuals who work in cooperation with each other and with the children and their families, sharing their passions and their vast experience with life, learning, and progressive education. Learn more about each member of our team below. 

Leadership

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Jina Kim, Head of School, earned her B.A. in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. at the University of Chicago in Social Service Administration. She went on to earn a J.D. at Northwestern University. Jina was Associate Head of School and Admissions Director at the Schoolhouse from 2018 through 2023. Jina has worked with elementary-aged children in multiple capacities, including developing and teaching a Bridge Kindergarten, creating and leading an educational program for Vietnamese immigrant children, teaching science classes at the Lawrence Hall of Science, supervising children in an after school program, and interning as a social worker at a children’s hospital. She also spent several years at Morrison Foerster LLP as an attorney, leading teams of 20 or more individuals on complex litigation cases. Jina has two children attending Schoolhouse this year, twin girls in fourth grade, and a son who graduated from Schoolhouse in 2022. She has also been a Board member since 2016.

Betsy Fowler

Betsy Fowler, Director of K-5 and Director of K-8 Continuity of Curriculum comes from a family of visionary educators and, for the past 18 years, has committed their life to building inclusive K-8 progressive education as both teacher and administrator. They hold a Master of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s degree in rhetoric, professional writing, and community engagement from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Currently, they are pursuing a graduate degree in K-12 progressive leadership from Bank Street College of Education and expect to graduate in May 2024. Betsy started their career teaching middle school English in Seoul, South Korea, and in 2012, they shifted to elementary education. They have been teaching at San Francisco Schoolhouse since 2015 and feel honored to help “grow” a school that aligns so closely with their educational philosophy. Betsy’s greatest passions are design thinking, arts integration, educator communities, and progressive education theory and research.

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Patrick Ardinger, Director of Middle School and 6-8 English Language Arts teacher, joined the Schoolhouse faculty in 2018. Originally from Kansas City, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Stanford, and a Masters Degree in Teaching English from Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the years, Patrick has taught grades 4-12 in a variety of disciplines, including literature, writing, history, public speaking, drama, and chorus. He is excited to grow Schoolhouse’s vibrant and engaging middle school program. 

See Board of Trustees here.

Teachers and Staff

Kindergarten + First Grade Teaching Team 

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Janice Leung, K+1 Lead Teacher, joins Schoolhouse after working for eight years as a primary school educator at St. Thomas the Apostle. Janice is a native San Franciscan, and she studied early childhood education at City College of San Francisco where she earned a teaching credential and M.E.D from National University. Prior to following her true vocation, teaching, she worked for several years in banking and financial services where she applied her B.A. in International Business from the University of San Francisco. Janice is delighted to share her passion for project-based learning, her extensive understanding of child development, and her boundless enthusiasm with the students. In her free time, Janice enjoys the great outdoors so she is thrilled about our regular trips to the park. Additionally, she speaks Cantonese and enjoys sharing the language with the students.

Abbi Schreck

Abbi Nussbaum Cohen, K+1 Lead Teacher, comes from a family of educators and received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a focus in Social Studies from Michigan State University. Post teaching both primary and upper elementary grades, she earned her teaching credential and Master’s in elementary education from Michigan State University as well. Abbi returned to the upper primary grades after teaching International Baccalaureate Pre-K for three years in the Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas. Abbi describes her educational philosophy as:

"As a teacher, I believe that teaching is not just about the educational benefits we give to students, but the social and emotional benefits as well. We as teachers should be instilling a life-long love of learning in our students. At this age it is so important for students to love, play, and have fun in the classroom, to set up their attitudes towards school for the rest of their life. I love being outdoors, which will be much more comfortable here in SF than it was in Texas! I am also a lover of the performing arts and have a major sweet tooth- I look forward to taking in the best performances and sweet treats that San Francisco has to offer over the coming years!"

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Beatriz De La Rosa, our K+1 Teaching Assistant and Safety Coordinator, joined Schoolhouse in 2013. Beatriz was involved in many aspects of the growth of the Schoolhouse, from the early days of the Adventure Day program to leading and managing a safe and fun outdoor free-play program. Beatriz moved to San Francisco from Mexico as a toddler. For eight years, Beatriz volunteered at Commodore Sloat Elementary School organizing Cinco de Mayo assemblies, which included choreographing and directing up to 50 children per show. Beatriz studied Child Development at San Francisco City College and has experience as a teaching assistant at Live Oak School and Children’s Day School.

Second + Third Grade Teaching Team

Daniel McOlvin

Daniel McOlvin, 2+3 Lead Teacher, moved to San Francisco from New York City in 2013. Daniel has a joint Bachelors degree in Political Science and International Business from the State University of New York, University at Buffalo. He has a Masters in Elementary Education from New York University, and a Masters from Columbia University as a Literacy Specialist. With 16 years of teaching grades 1-3 under his belt, including at progressive schools and most recently at the Mandarin immersion school, Presidio Knolls School, Daniel wanted a new experience and is excited to make SF Schoolhouse part of that adventure. His students often cite that they enjoy reading and performing Shakespeare, writing their memoirs, doing art projects around book reviews, and creating their own word ladders. When not teaching, you can find him either traveling the world, at his Palm Springs house, dining out around the city, enjoying all the cultural amenities the Bay Area has to offer, and writing his book. As an educator, Daniel believes that it is his role "to show people where to look, but not what to see."

Bret Hubacek

Bret Hubacek, 2+3 Lead Teacher, came to Schoolhouse after teaching General and Special Education for six years. He loves to design creative ways for students to learn and show their knowledge. Born and raised in the East Bay, Bret graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies. He then made his way down to Louisiana where he earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of New Orleans. In his spare time, you can find Bret walking his energetic dog, Winston, playing tennis, or eating delicious food. Bret is thrilled to be a part of the Schoolhouse team!

Susan Spurlock

Susan Spurlock, Math Support Teacher and K-8 Music Teacher, moved to the Bay Area from Point Arena, California to join the Schoolhouse in 2014. Susan has over 30 years of experience as a lead classroom teacher, with a focus in math. Susan received her Bachelor’s degree from New College in San Francisco, and her California multi-subject CLAD credential from Dominican College in San Rafael. Susan spent 12 years teaching fourth and fifth grade at the Arena Elementary School in Point Arena. While there, Susan led the Living History Experiences at Angel Island and Fort Ross State Parks. Susan is an accomplished musician who regularly shares her love of music with her students. Previous to her time as a lead teacher, Susan was a music teacher at several Point Arena schools where she taught weekly classes, instrumental band and choral programs using the Orff Schulwerk approach. For the past 25 years, Susan has taught drama and music to children at Lark in the Morning Summer Music Camp in Mendocino.

Fourth + Fifth Grade Teaching Team

Susie Friedlander-Holm

Susie Friedlander-Holm, 4+5 Lead Teacher and K-8 Math Coordinator and Coach, has been teaching upper elementary and middle school for over a decade. After earning her Bachelor's degree in English Literature and Elementary Education from Hofstra University, Susie taught in schools in New York, Germany, Utah and finally San Francisco, which she hopes to call home forever. Susie loves integrating hands-on, interdisciplinary learning, while promoting student voices and leadership within her classroom. She has particularly enjoyed teaching math and science–as she delights in watching students implement their learning to solve real life problems. She also believes in strong community bonds and using one’s talents and interests to serve others. She is an environmentalist who enjoys sharing her love of national parks, and the natural world with students. Susie loves singing, laughing, and sharing books with her students and co-teachers.

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Olivia Jane Morfit, 4+5 Lead Teacher. A native San Franciscan, Olivia has been teaching in Bay Area independent schools since 2019. Olivia is thrilled to teach in a program that speaks to her own Montessori experience and to the powerful, creative hands on learning that Schoolhouse offers. Olivia previously taught at the Hamlin School. She is earning her teaching credential and M.E.D. from Bay Area Teacher Training Institute and holds a Bachelor’s in English Literature from Skidmore College. Olivia is a lover of true experiential learning, Patti Smith, potato-based foods, and making her own clothes. Olivia believes that the answers are inside us.

Sixth-Eighth Grade Teaching Team

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Patrick Ardinger, Middle School Director and 6-8 English Language Arts teacher, focuses on humanities and performing arts. Patrick joined the Schoolhouse faculty in 2018. Originally from Kansas City, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Stanford, and a Masters Degree in Teaching English from Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the years, Patrick has taught grades 4-12 in a variety of disciplines, including literature, writing, history, public speaking, drama, and chorus. He is excited to grow Schoolhouse’s vibrant and engaging middle school program. 

Jackie Burgos

Jackie Burgos, 6-8 Lead Teacher, focuses on math, history, and social-emotional learning (SEL). She earned her Masters in Teaching from UC Irvine and a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Teacher Prep and a double Minor in Music and Education from San Francisco State University. Jackie is originally from Orange County and first moved to the city to pursue her B.A. because she was drawn to the diversity and beauty of the city. Jackie has taught grades 1-8, spending the most time in the classroom with 4th and 5th graders. Her students say that she is caring, kind, funny, and smart. Jackie hopes to cultivate lifelong learners by providing innovative and engaging experiences through a Constructivist approach of student centered learning. She also believes that learning is more meaningful when we engage the students’ interests and backgrounds. In her free time, Jackie loves to play instruments (clarinet and piano are her favorite), go to concerts, play volleyball, and go on long walks in Golden Gate Park.

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Erika Keer, 6-8 Lead Teacher, focuses on math. Born and raised in the Bay Area, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley and a Teaching Credential from SF State. She is fascinated by how the brain works, particularly by how people learn and acquire new skills, which has fueled her passion for education. She has over 10 years of one-on-one tutoring experience, as well as experience managing a learning center, designing curriculum, and teaching in virtual and in-person classrooms. She is enthusiastic about project-based, hands-on learning because she believes this is the most authentic and effective way for students to learn and remain curious. When she is not teaching, she spends most of her free time singing, songwriting, and performing in a local band. She also has training in yoga and mindfulness. As much as possible, she weaves movement, music, and creativity into her lessons to engage students.

Flex Teachers and Extended Program Team

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Lauren Burgat, Operations and Facilities Manager, is originally from Sacramento, but moved to San Francisco in 2007 to study Theatre Arts at San Francisco State University. Lauren brings ten years of experience in administration and management, and five years of experience in nonprofit administration. She is excited to share her creativity, organization, and love of nonprofit organizations with SF Schoolhouse. Once a year, Lauren uses her drama expertise to lead students in a stage production. In her free time, Lauren enjoys cycling, cooking, and spending time with her sweet dog Zoey!

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Kathy Pfeiffer, Associate Teacher, came to San Francisco Schoolhouse in 2016. Kathy studied Science A-levels in England and earned a General Master of the Arts with Distinction from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Back in the Bay Area, she worked as a researcher for a museum exhibit design firm and then in academic administration. She has been the STEAM teacher for K-8 since 2017, leading small group science lessons. Kathy leads the annual middle school STEAM fair and teaches science in collaboration with the 6-8 lead teaching team.

Remington Tupper

Remington Tupper, Officer Manager & Communications Associate, is Bay-Area born and raised. She earned her B.A. in creative writing at Trinity College in Connecticut, where she also studied education and anthropology. She’s worked as a Teaching and Technology Assistant at an Oakland independent school, and has been an instructor at San Francisco’s Secret Agent Squad camp. Remington is a digital and traditional artist, reader, and ailurophile. She is thrilled to a part of the San Francisco Schoolhouse community. 

Kaylin Scott

Kailyn Scott, Flex Teacher, is originally from southern California and moved to the Bay Area in 2021. She earned her B.S. in Structural Engineering with a minor in Public Service from UC San Diego. She has always had a drive for community-based work, especially in education and sustainability. Kailyn has experience working with elementary students in reading and math, and mentoring high school seniors completing their thesis projects. She is excited to be a part of Schoolhouse as she extends her career in education, and enjoys growing alongside the Schoolhouse community. Outside of work, Kailyn enjoys reading, crafting, roller blading, and seeing live music!

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Lisa Macdonald, K-5 Art Teacher, is an educator with a passion for nurturing young minds through creativity. Born and raised in Santa Cruz, she honed her skills at San Francisco State, studying under the esteemed Julia Marshall to earn a BA in Art Education with a focus in studio arts. She went on to earn both multiple subject and single subject teaching credentials. After 14 rewarding years as a classroom teacher, Lisa was ecstatic to return to her roots and be back in the very city where her teaching journey began. In her free time, Lisa finds joy in various artistic pursuits, including reading, vegan cooking, thrifting, and managing her art business, Starling's Originals. Her diverse interests reflect her dedication to creativity both inside and outside the classroom. With warmth, enthusiasm, and a wealth of experience, Lisa continues to inspire and shape the young hearts she encounters and foster a love for learning that extends beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom.

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Mariel Paat,  6-8 Art Teacher and Visual Arts Curriculum & Program Specialist, joined Schoolhouse in 2015, and was the school's first K-8 art teacher. Born and raised in Visalia, CA, Mariel moved to SF in 2010 to attend San Francisco State University. During her time there, she spent a year abroad in Florence, Italy studying at La Accademia di Belle Arti. That is where she fell in love with painting and pursued her BA in studio art and art history. This year she is excited to focus on engaging with the middle school artists and growing the school's visual arts program. When she’s not spending time in her home studio, Mariel enjoys taking her senior dog, Jasper, out for walks, thrifting around different neighborhoods, and trying new recipes.

RJ Ditan

RJ Ditan, Physical Education and Flex Teacher, was born in San Francisco, but spent his early years in Layton, Utah before moving back to the Bay Area when he was 9. He earned an A.A. degree in Kinesiology from Skyline Community College and is pursuing a B.S. in Kinesiology with a focus in Physical Education. RJ has worked in a myriad of different roles with students beginning in 2016 as an Assistant Stunt Coordinator/Choreographer at Jefferson High School, to his most recent prior role as a 2+3 teacher with Pin@y Educational Partnerships. There he was able to get closer to his Filipino roots in addition to teaching Philippines Ethnic Studies to my students/family. His dream is to help inspire others to continually focus on their physical, emotional, and mental health.

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Kevin Arbanil, Physical Education and Flex Teacher, is studying for a B.A. in Spanish Language, Linguistics and Bilingualism at UC Berkeley. Being creative and having fun are important to him. Prior to joining Schoolhouse, Kevin tutored Spanish and worked as a Soccer Coach for SFVSC for 10 years. He teaches at SFVSC Summer Camp where he helps students discover their potential and learn new subjects. He believes that having fun while learning is the best path to education. He enjoys sharing new and fun activities with the kids at Schoolhouse.

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