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 the 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. Continue reading beyond that to learn about the members of our Board of Trustees.
Kindergarten + First Grade Teaching Team
Sophie Haskell moved from New York City to join the Schoolhouse in 2016. Sophie has a Master’s of Science in education from Bank Street College in Manhattan with a dual certification in childhood special and general education. Her bachelor’s degree is from Gettysburg College where she majored in English with a concentration in elementary education. Prior to joining the Schoolhouse, Sophie co-taught for two years at the Riverdale Country School, an independent school in the Bronx recognized internationally for its character education program. It was while growing up on her family’s vegetable farm in Pennsylvania that she discovered her enthusiasm for hands-on, inquiry-based learning.
Kristi Keefe joins the Schoolhouse in 2017. Kristi is a master teacher and school-builder who has been teaching and learning alongside young children her entire life. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in New York City with a major in political science and a double-minor in fine art and psychology, Kristi was hired as a lead teacher to help open a new Head Start facility in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she participated in building a program that received national recognition by Barack Obama. Kristi moved to San Francisco in 2008 and continued to teach, and in 2010 she opened her own school, Little Village Day School. Kristi brings a wide range of educational experiences to the Schoolhouse - she is a musician, an artist and a dancer, and she is deeply committed and passionate about children and learning.
Beatriz De La Rosa, our K+1 Teaching Assistant, joined the Schoolhouse in 2013. Beatriz has been 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. The youngest of 12 siblings, she now has three children of her own. 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. She has studied Child Development at SF City College and has experience as a teaching assistant at Live Oak School and Children’s Day School.
Second + Third Grade Teaching Team
Betsy Fowler moved to San Francisco from Baltimore, Maryland to join the Schoolhouse in 2015. Betsy has a Masters of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she majored in English composition and minored in film. Betsy began her teaching career in 2005 when she moved to South Korea to work for the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. During her five years abroad, Betsy taught and developed English Foreign Language immersion programs where she realized the educational impact of integrating authentic, real-world experiences with project-based education. She moved back to the United States in 2011 to further develop her skills in teaching a progressive curriculum. After graduating from Johns Hopkins, Betsy spent three years teaching a multi-age second/third grade class at Roots and Branches, a Reggio Emilia inspired arts-integrated public charter school on Baltimore’s West Side. She has worked with the Maryland Artist Teacher Institute and Baltimore’s Progressive Education Summit, and continues to develop ways to purposefully integrate drama, dance, music, design, and visual and media arts into the curriculum.
Susan Spurlock moved to the Bay Area from Point Arena, CA to join the Schoolhouse in 2014. 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 4th and 5th 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 music classes and 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 + Sixth Grade Teaching Team
Rob Greco joined the Schoolhouse in 2016 as our founding Middle School Teacher. This year he will be teaching our 4+5+6 group. Rob has a broad range of independent school experience, including 15 years at Chandler School in Pasadena where he taught fifth grade for seven years, several different middle school classes including Spanish and digital arts, and served in his final few years as their Dean of Ideas and Director of Educational Technology. After Chandler, Rob spent four years at The Children’s School in La Jolla developing a progressive, democratic middle school program with an emergent, integrated curriculum that included project-based learning and student-led urban explorations. Rob was their founding humanities teacher and Program Director. During the 2015-16 school year, Rob taught fifth grade English, and seventh and eighth grade math at Hillbrook School in Los Gatos. A graduate of Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish language and literature, Rob is a lifelong learner who has continually sought out a range of professional development from conferences and institutes to self-designated sabbaticals. A practicing artist and designer, Rob combines a passion for literature, writing and innovative ideas with a commitment to project-based, hands-on learning and making.
Meghan Hanebutt joins the Schoolhouse in 2017 from Palm Desert, California. Meghan is an experienced fourth, fifth and sixth grade teacher, having taught at two different schools during the past 7 years. After receiving a Master’s degree in elementary education from Wilmington University in Delaware, Meghan taught fifth and sixth grade for two years with Rob Greco at The Children’s School in La Jolla, CA. Eager to explore more of the world, Meghan moved to Guatemala where she taught fourth and fifth grade for two years at the Colegio Americano del Sur, a private, bilingual preschool-12th grade school. While teaching during her second year, Meghan also served as the English Director of the preschool-5th grade program, and in 2014 she became the Principal of preschool-5th grade. Meghan holds a BFA in photography from the University of Delaware. For the past two years she has spent her winters in Palm Desert and her summers in Fenwick Island, Delaware where she owns and operates a seasonal, seaside yoga business.
All-School Team Members
Hayim Wolf, our Dean of Students and Extended Program Director, joined the Schoolhouse in 2016. Hayim graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College in 2014 where he majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. During a semester abroad program in Denmark, “Children in a Multicultural Context,” Hayim taught a weekly elementary class in a Danish public school. He also traveled to Istanbul to learn about public schools in Turkey. Prior to working at the Schoolhouse, Hayim has held several teaching and administrative roles at Children’s Day School, including Assistant Summer Camp Director, after school teacher, and long-term and short-term substitute teacher.
Mariel-Mae Paat, our Extended Program Teacher, joined the Schoolhouse in 2015. Mariel graduated with a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State in 2014 where she was a studio art and art history major. Mariel has spent the past four summers teaching art at Camp Galileo, and supervising and supporting Team Leaders. Prior to joining the Schoolhouse, Mariel was a “Super Chef” in an elementary after school program where, through project-based learning activities, she educated children about healthy eating habits, and basic cooking and gardening skills.
Bridget Curley, our Curriculum Coordinator, moved to the Bay Area from New York City to join the Schoolhouse as a kindergarten teacher in 2013. Bridget has a M.Ed. in early childhood education from Bank Street College in Manhattan, and a bachelor’s degree from Denison University where she majored in history and minored in studio art. Prior to teaching at the Schoolhouse, she taught for 10 years at the City and Country School, a 100 year-old progressive K-8 school in Manhattan’s West Village. At City and Country, Bridget taught a range of ages including preschool, 1st grade, and 2nd grade. In 2008, Bridget left New York City to live and teach for a year in Quito, Ecuador, where she volunteered with an inner city program working to change the cycle of poverty. She was the director of two of their preschool programs, taught English to elementary-aged children and adults, and introduced a progressive block program into their curriculum.
Aimee Giles, Head of School, joined the Schoolhouse in 2016. Aimee has been an educator in Bay Area independent schools for over 20 years. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Smith College where she majored in biology, Aimee began her career as a science teacher. In 1995, Aimee began teaching elementary school science at the Children’s Day School in San Francisco, a school that was transitioning from a Montessori preschool to a preK-8 independent school. While at CDS, Aimee created San Francisco’s first child-run, on-site school farm and garden environmental education program. Aimee left CDS to earn her master’s degree in natural resources with a concentration in environmental education from the University of Michigan. In 2002, she returned to CDS where she helped lead the school’s continuing transformation. She served initially as Assistant Head of School and Director of Admission and then, as the school grew, moved into the role of Director of Admission & Communication. In 2012, Aimee joined Hillbrook School in Los Gatos as the founding Director of the Resident Teacher Program, and in 2014 she became Hillbrook’s first Director of Teaching and Learning. Aimee and her husband Joe Hesse have a daughter, Nell, who is a student at the Schoolhouse.
Board of Trustees
As an independent school, the San Francisco Schoolhouse is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board’s primary responsibilities are to ensure the school’s financial health, to work with the Head of School in developing a long-term strategic plan for the school, and to support and evaluate the Head of School’s development and performance. The Board approves the annual operating budget, takes a leadership role in fundraising, and participates in planning and maintaining the school’s physical plant.
Erin Cooney, Board President, earned her B.S. at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and spent 19 years working in accounting, finance and sales operations for public accounting, start-ups and software companies in the Bay Area. With the birth of her third child she gave up the corporate world. At the same time her oldest child embarked on kindergarten. After looking at all the school options, she became passionate not only about a true progressive education but about a school where parents are an integral part of the journey along with their children. With that in mind, she teamed up with Rebecca Dake, another founding parent, to start the San Francisco Schoolhouse. Two of her children attend the Schoolhouse.
Roger Philipp, Vice Chair and Treasurer, is the founder and CEO of Roger Philipp CPA Review. A graduate of California State University, Northridge, he began his career in accounting as an auditor at Deloitte in Los Angeles upon graduation. He began teaching CPA review in 1988. For over 20 years, Roger has written and taught accounting, tax, audit, and business law. He has personally prepared over 85,000 students in over 7,000 lectures to pass the CPA exam. He is the recipient of numerous Toastmasters awards and other public speaking awards. He is currently on two boards, the San Francisco Schoolhouse and APACPA as Treasurer. He is the father of three children, two of whom are students at the Schoolhouse.
Emily McFarland, Secretary, has a son at the Schoolhouse. Emily earned her B.S. at Santa Clara University and has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 21 years on environmental and social justices issues. She is currently the Director of Stewardship at St. John’s Episcopal church in Ross.
Stephanie DeMaria, a native San Franciscan, earned her B.A. from San Francisco State University and her M.A. from Antioch University. Stef has worked as a preschool director, clinical coordinator of a homeless youth shelter, and psychotherapist in private practice. Stephanie is the mother of four adult children, and her grandson attends the Schoolhouse.
Jina Kim earned her B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis on child developmental psychology. After graduating, she developed a bridge kindergarten program in which she also taught in its first year. Jina went on to earn her M.A. at the University of Chicago in Social Service Administration, and her J.D. at Northwestern University. She spent several years at Morrison Foerster LLP as a business litigation attorney. During her time there she worked on multiple pro bono cases involving claims of illegal search and seizure, and violation of the rights of members of the LGBT community. She is the mother of three: a Schoolhouse student, and twin toddler girls.
One teacher serves on the Board. The Head of School is a non-voting member of the Board.