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Laurel Hall Faculty

Mr. Paul Angers
6th & 7th History/Drum Corps
Bio
This is my 19th year as a full-time teacher and my 4th year at Laurel Hall School. I teach 6th grade Ancient History, 7th grade Medieval History, Middle School World Drumming and Hornet Drum Corps. In my classroom, you can see the certification from NASA allowing me to handle moon rocks and meteors. I am a graduate of Pacific Oaks College with a BA and a Master’s in Human Development with an emphasis in Education and Cultural Anthropology. I hold a clear California Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential, and I served for 14 years as an adjunct professor in the Human Development and Education Departments of Pacific Oaks College. I have also served as a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment consultant for the University of California at San Diego. In 2005, I was inducted into the Who’s Who of American Teachers. I have had had a notable and distinguished career as an independent musician and honored for “Outstanding Contributions in Teaching” by the Vic Firth Drum Stick Company.
Ms. Sarah Bach
TK-1st Grade Music
Bio
I joined the Laurel Hall music staff in 2004 and teach TK-1st grade music. I am also an active freelance musician in Southern California, and I have maintained a private music studio for 20 years. I perform regularly with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Santa Barbara, Pacific and San Diego Symphonies and can be heard on many film and TV scores. I live in Burbank with my husband Damon Zick and our two sons.
Mrs. Suzanne Bergstrom
8th Grade Language Arts
Bio
I have enjoyed teaching Middle School English at Laurel Hall since 2004 and have worked with both 7th and 8th grade. I have a BA in English from Loyola Marymount University, a clear Multi-Subject Teaching Credential from University of Phoenix with a single-subject authorization in English, and a Masters in Education from University of Phoenix. I love getting to know my students and helping to prepare them for high school and beyond! I have been married for nine years; my husband also attended Laurel Hall from preschool through 8th grade. Our daughter Gwendolyn just completed her third year at the ECC and is starting Kindergarten at Laurel Hall this year. I look forward to another fulfilling and challenging school year!
Mrs. Linnea Bunnell
1st Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
I started teaching at Laurel Hall in 2010. I have been teaching for 11 years with experience in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. I earned my BA and Mult-Subject Teaching Credential from Cal State Northridge. I also have a Masters in Teaching from National University. I have been married for 11 years and have twin one-year-old boys. In my free time, I am involved with a Senior Girl Scout troop and enjoy spending time with my family. I feel blessed and truly thankful to be part of Laurel Hall where I am able to share my love of learning.
Ms. Shawn Burton
Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
Bio
It is amazing to think that I am starting my 30th year at Laurel Hall! I spent the first eight years teaching 1st Grade and then made the move to Kindergarten where the joy and excitement of the children continues to make every day full of discovery, learning and fun. My BA is from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD with majors in both Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. My Master’s is from Loyola Marymount University in Child and Adolescent Literacy. I also have a South Dakota Teaching Certificate. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I am also one of the Co-Directors of the Summer Program. Working at Laurel Hall is a blessing, and I feel honored to be a part of such a wonderful school. I grew up in Minnesota, and Laurel Hall has always felt like being at home. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my dog, Ginger, reading, practicing yoga, hiking, container gardening, and traveling.
Mr. Dominic Campanella
6th & 8th Grade Science
Bio
I have been teaching at Laurel Hall for three years, and I truly enjoy teaching Middle School science! Prior to coming to Laurel Hall, I was a short-term and long-term substitute teacher. I have also taught SAT and ACT Test prep classes for the past six years, and I have tutored students of all ages. During the summer, I teach fun science classes in Chatsworth. I graduated with high honors from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in American Studies, and I received my teaching credential from Cal State Northridge. Teaching is not just a chosen career for me, it is a passion, and it is a gift to be with kids every day! Before I began my teaching career, I worked in the radio industry as a writer/producer, and I played in a rock band, The Quarter After, which toured and released two albums. I continue to enjoy playing guitar and writing songs in my spare time. I have been married to Natalie for 12 years, and we have a 9-year-old daughter named Simone. As a family, we love to go camping in our vintage 1960 Shasta trailer.
Mr. Terrel Collins
TK-3rd Grade PE & Coach
Bio
Known as “Coach T,” I began teaching at Laurel Hall School in 2013 as an athletic coach. I then had the opportunity to work as the Elementary Physical Ed teacher. I attended Susan Miller Dorsey High School where I was a three-year varsity Letterman for the Dons Football program. I attended Antelope Valley College and received my Associate Science degree in Business Administration. After graduating, I received an athletic scholarship to play football for Langston University in Oklahoma. For seven years, I have volunteered and worked at with all age groups. I absolutely love teaching at Laurel Hall. My goal is to encourage students to master their own talents and allow them to create whatever inspires them so they create a passion for athletic sports. I'm very excited about the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of all student-athletes, and I'm committed to helping form faith-filled leaders. An education should empower a child and help him or her make a positive contribution to our world. Married for four years now to Sharde. In my free time, I enjoy playing and spending time with my family.
Mr. Robert Curcio
1st-5th Grade Science Lab
Bio
Here at Laurel Hall, we are lucky to have a Science Lab for grades 1st through 5th grade. It has been my privilege to be the facilitator for the Science Lab program for 10 years. I am often quoted by some of my students and parents as saying, "Everything is science." Yes, everything is science, whether we know it or like it. I try to develop activities to help students discover the world around them and how it works. I received my BA from California Lutheran College and my Masters in Education from Grand Canyon University. I am a member of the California Science Teachers' Association, I volunteer at the California Science Center and attend conferences to keep myself current on Science Education issues. I love the beach and anything to do with the ocean. I also enjoy going to Palm Springs.
Mrs. Desiree DiGerolamo
TK-4th Grade Art and 4th-6th Grade Drama
Bio
This is my 17th year teaching at Laurel Hall School. Over the years, I have worn many different hats around campus from working as an aide in 1st grade to coaching Mock Trial dramatic performances. I was instrumental in the revival of Laurel Hall's Theater Arts Program, creating exciting, age-appropriate drama classes for 4th-6th grade. In addition, I teamed with Music Director, David Haworth, and directed the 7th-8th grade musical for 13 years. For the past seven years, I have been teaching TK-4th grade Art and 4th-6th grade Drama. I am educated and trained in Theater Arts and was a professional, working actress in theater, television and film for over 25 years. I love working with children and teaching art. I recently published a children's book entitled, “I Am An Art Superhero,” which was awarded The Gittle List Best Children's Picture Book of 2016. My teaching philosophy is as stated in my book: "There are no mistakes in art, only masterpieces waiting to be discovered.” I am married to Jeff Gerrard DiGerolamo, and we have two sons, Dylan and Cody, both graduates of Laurel Hall.
Mr. John Evans
6th-8th Grade Bible
Bio
A member of the Laurel Hall staff since 2004, I am the Middle School Bible teacher and the 7th and 8th grade Drama teacher. I like teaching Bible because it gives me an opportunity to explore my own faith by dealing with the challenges from my students. I graduated from Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan with a major in Sociology and a minor in Journalism. I have done additional coursework in education at Grand Canyon State University. My wife, Pati, is also a teacher at Laurel Hall, and our two children are currently working in the education field. I enjoy hiking, backpacking and have a reverence for the outdoors.
Mrs. Pati Evans
Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
Bio
The 2017-2018 school year marks my 20th year with Laurel Hall. During this time I have taught Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 3rd, 6th, and 7th grades, and I served as Director of Middle School for four years. This will also be my fifth year serving as the Mock Trial supervising teacher, and my fifth year teaching Sunday School at Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Outside of Laurel Hall, I have taught classes such as Creative Drama, Creative Movement and various science classes through the City of Burbank. I earned my BA, AA and teaching credential from Siena Heights University, and my Master’s from Loyola Marymount University. My husband and I just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary, and we have two grown children, both who also work in education. When I have free time, I like to spend time with my family and hang out with friends.
Mrs. Jonell Harvey
K-8th Grade Computer
Bio
I began teaching at Laurel Hall in 2001, after an 18-year career in television casting, which ultimately took too much of my time away from my son, Travis. Changing careers enabled me to pursue my intended career path and actually apply my education. I have taught 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts, 1st Grade, K-4th Art, 5th Grade and currently K-8th Computer. Teaching students, with their unending enthusiasm for all things, has reinforced my love of it and inspired me to explore many opportunities here on campus. Each new experience has brought its own reward and revelation. I am a graduate of UCLA and have a Masters in Literacy from LMU. My "me time" is spent camping, cooking, needle working, journaling and making memories with family and friends. It has all been a remarkable journey, and I so look forward to another year of learning and relationship building within the exceptional Laurel Hall Community.
Mr. David Haworth
4th-8th Grade Music & Musical Director
Bio
I joined Laurel Hall's staff in 1998, and have taught 4th through 8th grade music these past 19 years. This will be my 17th year involved with of our acclaimed Middle School Musicals, which are performed in early Spring; I have been the Musical Director and am currently the Producer and Director. I also direct and produce our summer musical for 3rd through 8th grades. My BM is from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, and my Masters in Music is from Indiana University. My major was Piano Performance. My teaching credential is in Single-Subject, Music. In my free time, I am learning both books of Bach's "Well Tempered Klavier."
Ms. Amber Herrera
4th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
Laurel Hall asked me to join their team as a full-time teacher for the 2014-2015 school year. I have been a 6th and now 4th grade teacher. After graduating from community college and obtaining an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts, I was not sure what I wanted to do in my career. During my first year at Cal State Northridge I began to work for a Sunny Days Camp and realized the joy and excitement children bring to life. I decided I would make working with children my lifetime goal. I graduated CSUN with a BA in Fine Arts in 2011 and then continued there completing a Single-Subject Teaching Credential. I went into substitute teaching where I taught at many different school in the LA and San Fernando Valley area. Also in 2014, I began an Education Master’s program. I am looking forward to many wonderful fun-filled years at Laurel Hall.
Mrs. Sue Jardim
6th Grade Math & Yearbook
Bio
I am excited to start my second year teaching 6th grade math and Yearbook at Laurel Hall! I have been teaching math for 30 years, mostly at the high-school level. I have a BS in Mathematics from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a Colloquy from Concordia, Irvine. Married for 25 years, I have three children. My youngest is a sophomore and a travel softball player, so most of my free time is spent at games and practices. When I have time to myself, I enjoy reading, origami, watching the Dodgers and walking our two dogs.
Ms. Sarah Johnson
8th Grade Math
Bio
I enthusiastically joined the staff at Laurel Hall in 2016 as the 8th grade Algebra teacher. I am a passionate and enthusiastic teacher, and I use a variety of teaching techniques to help each student achieve success. Prior to Laurel Hall, I taught for over 30 years in Pinecrest School; first with a long stint in 4th grade, then I transitioned to Middle School and taught math. I graduated with a BA and a Multi-Subject K-8 Teaching Credential from Covenant College in Tennessee. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy seeing my students involved in other activities and like to attend school games, concerts and plays. I am truly blessed to be part of the amazing staff at Laurel Hall School.
Miss Jennafer Jones
Athletic Director/4th-8th Grade PE
Bio
Currently, I am the Athletic Director at Laurel Hall, and I have had the great honor and joy to be teaching and coaching the 4th – 8th grades for over 38 years! I love helping others, working with kids and sharing the benefit and fun of sports and physical activities. I have also had five years of experience coaching basketball at the high-school level. I have completed eight full 26.2 mile marathons, and I enjoy working with our Cross Country and Track and Field teams. In 2012, I received the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal National Coach Award. I grew up here in the San Fernando Valley attending LAUSD public schools. I participated in high school and college sports in basketball, softball and volleyball as I worked on my Physical Education-Kinesiology Major. I earned my BS and MS from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and I have a Lifetime California Teaching Credential. Laurel Hall is family, providing great friendships, love and support. I am blessed and grateful to teach at a Christian school where sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ is present every day. I enjoy time with family and friends, being at the beach and seeing the world. Travel is one of my favorite activities, and I am especially passionate about sharing life lessons and the educational benefits of student travel experiences. We are fortunate that Laurel Hall continues to provide our students with amazing education travel opportunities.
Mrs. Bonnie Koch
2nd-3rd Grade Music/Handbells & Chapel
Bio
Currently, I am full time at Laurel Hall teaching Middle School Handbells, 2nd and 3rd grade music, as well as TK, Kindergarten and 1st grade Library classes. In addition, I schedule and plan elementary and all-school chapels as well as lead the 4th and 5th grade Praise Teams. After a childhood filled with music, I graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a degree in Music Education and Music Performance with majors in Piano, Violin and Voice. While waiting for my first teaching job, I supported myself acting at a summer stock theatre. That acting job lead to another and another and, before I knew it, I had spent 25 years acting in theater and television in New York and Los Angeles. My husband and I became members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church and, when they lost their Choir Director, I offered my services as the interim director. Through this temporary position, I was convinced me to revive the Handbell program at school. When I became the full-time Music Minister at Emmanuel, I was then convinced to also teach elementary. I have continued my music education with many Orff classes and workshops. The Orff perspective of teaching music is to learn musical concepts by doing, and I do so enjoy seeing my students busily playing their xylophones, percussion instruments and recorders as they learn!
Ms. Suzanne Kochamba
Project Lab Coordinator
Bio
Shortly after earning my Masters in Education from Pepperdine University in 1999, I joined the Laurel Hall staff. Over the last 18 years, I have taught 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 7th, & 8th grades. In 2003, I obtained a Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential from Pepperdine University. I have had a variety of life experiences which have inspired my teaching and interaction with children of all ages. I appreciate teaching in a Christian setting and am encouraged to see God's strength and grace touch the hearts and minds of our students. I have three grown children and one granddaughter. For fun, I love to play tennis, travel, exercise, hike, and spend time with my family.
Mrs. Cathy Komisar
2nd Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
Currenly teaching 2nd grade, I have been part of Laurel Hall's staff for 24 years. My BA is from Cal State Northridge. I am currently working on my Multi-Subject Teaching Credential and Master’s at the University of LaVerne. My two children are alumni of Laurel Hall. In my free time, I enjoy running, yoga, reading and hiking. I feel blessed to be a part of this Laurel Hall community.
Mrs. Marla L'Angelle
5th-8th Grade Art
Bio
Laurel Hall has been in my life for 17 years -- first as a parent when my son attended. During that time, I volunteered for everything, including teaching journalism as a middle school elective. In 2007, I was hired part time to facilitate Homework Room, substitute and work Laurel Hall's Summer Camp. This year I will be teaching 5th-8th grade art, a Middle School elective, as well as facilitating Study Halls and Homework Academy. I hold a degree in Journalism from Cal State Northridge. While I have not finished my credential, I have passed the CBEST and earned Pre-School Certificates for teaching and director. The 2017-18 school year will be my first full-time year here, and I am excited to be here at this incredible school during this exciting time. When I am not at school, you'll find me in my glittery dragonfly She Shed with a good book.
Mrs. Terri Lau
4th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
Currently teaching 4th grade, I joined the Laurel Hall faculty in America's bicentennial year of 1976, and during my 41 years here, I have also taught 2nd, 5th, and 6th grades. I received my BA from California Lutheran College (now California Lutheran University) and my Masters in Teaching from Northwestern University. I have especially enjoyed teaching literature, social studies and Bible, as well as taking the 4th graders and their parents to Sacramento and San Francisco every Spring. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, photography, and reading. My stepson, Michael, is a 1992 Laurel Hall graduate. Laurel Hall has been a wonderful place to spend a long and rewarding career. The sense of community among the faculty, staff and Laurel Hall families is strong and has been a blessing in my life.
Mrs. Lucy Liao
Mandarin Teacher
Bio
I joined Laurel Hall's staff in 2015 and teach Mandarin Chinese. I have been teaching for 15 years with experience in PK-8th grade. My Master’s is from Universal American University with a major in Chinese As A Second Language. All of my teaching experience has been in Christian schools, local community colleges, nonprofit organization and my own private study center. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, doing crafts, gardening, hiking, traveling and museums.
Mr. Mark Longfield
6th-8th Grade Guitar
Bio
I am the Director of Music at Emmanuel Lutheran Church where I conducts the Chancel Choir, Children's Choir and Handbells, as well as the Director of the Music Department at Laurel Hall School. Teaching guitar since I was 13, I enjoy playing in all styles. I have written musical arrangements for artists ranging from Elton John to UCLA's opera program, covering a variety of types of instrumentation. My passion for teaching music comes from a belief that the world would be a better place if everyone was able to read and appreciate music. In 2004, I graduated from Berklee College of Music with a focus on guitar and film scoring. Though I plays guitar everyday, I have a lifelong curiosity in musical instruments that drives me to learn something about playing all of them. If you have questions about how to play an unusual instrument, ask me!
Mrs. Michelle Madson
5th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
I have been working at Laurel Hall for over 10 ten years. I began working in Kindergarten, taught 3rd grade and have found my home in 5th grade. I received my BS from the University of Connecticut. I have been married 24 years and have two sons. In my free time, I enjoy reading, museums and spending time with my family.
Mrs. Teresa Malolepszy
2nd Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
I joined Laurel Hall's staff in 1986. Currently one of the 2nd grade teachers, I have also taught Kindergarten and 1st grade. I was born and raised in Poland; in 1980, I moved to the USA where I settled in California with my family. Married for 30 years, our daughter attended and graduated from Laurel Hall School. I graduated from Czestochowa University with a BA degree in Elementary Education. Later I earned my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, gardening and traveling. I feel blessed to be part of Laurel Hall's family, and I look forward to teaching our great students at Laurel Hall School.
Mrs. Heidi Moore
6th Grade Language Arts
Bio
In 2011, I accepted a full-time teaching position at Laurel Hall, although my connection to the school began long ago. I was actually baptized in Parish Hall as an infant during Emmanuel’s Summer Folk Service. I currently teach 6th grade English, as well as the Photography and Introduction to Debate electives. This year, I will also step into the role of ASB Facilitator where I will help Middle School students take ownership of student body activities and missions. Over my years here, I have enjoyed my work with the 4th, 6th, and 7th graders and love guiding students through the curriculum and challenging them to think critically in all aspects of their lives. I began my career in education as a teaching assistant at Viewpoint School in 2008 while completing my credential at Cal State Northridge.
Ms. Dominique Napolitano
6th-8th Grade Dance
Bio
This will be my fourth year teaching and coaching at Laurel Hall. I am grateful for the opportunity to enhance children's creative talents, and work with our phenomenal staff. In 2012, I received a certification in Massage Therapy and Physical Therapy. I am currently enrolled at Pasadena City College furthering my education. I have been dancing for 23 years and, for 10 years, I have taught dance at various schools including public, private, and privately-owned studios. I have my mother to thank for introducing me to this wonderful art form. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and expanding my horizons.
Ms. Sindee O'Dowd
Transitional Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
Bio
I began teaching at Laurel Hall in 2007. This will be my sixth year teaching the Transitional Kindergarten. It is a blessing for me to provide children with various learning experiences. I graduated Pierce College with an AA; I attended Cal State Northridge and earned a BA in Liberal Arts. I completed several additional units in Child Development and received my teaching credential. I have been teaching young children for over 30 years and I have also been a Nanny. I have lived in California all my life, but I love to travel when I can. In my free time, I love to read, listen to music, cook, garden and watch old movies. I am looking forward to an enriching year.
Ms. Denise Parra
3rd Grade Homeroom
Bio
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, I am a proud Laurel Hall alumni! This is my first year as a 3rd grade teacher. I aspire to positively impact my students' lives and help them reach their full potential, while building a caring and lasting relationship with them. At 16, I began working with children as a junior summer camp counselor for Laurel Hall. This experience helped uncover my love and passion for children. After a few summers working at Laurel Hall’s summer camp, I transitioned into a counselor for the EDP program. When the opportunity arose to become a teacher’s aide for Transitional Kindergarten, I eagerly accepted the position. I realized I wanted to continue on this career path and become a teacher and enrolled in a Master’s program I then became a teacher's aide for the 1st grade. After two years of hard work and dedication, I received a Master’s Special/General Education: Cross Categorical from Grand Canyon University. Children are the future and I want to inspire them to build a better world!
Mrs. Jocelyne Roux
6th-8th Grade French
Bio
I have been teaching French at Laurel Hall for 13 years, and I enjoy it very much. I have two sons and three grandchildren. I enjoy traveling and especially spending summers at our home in the South of France. Trés bon!
Mrs. Alison Schooley
5th Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
I have been teaching for 18 years, 11 of those at Laurel Hall; now, I wouldn't teach anywhere else. My experience spans all grades K-8th. The caring environment here is the best there is; my three children attended LH and went on to prestigious Catholic high schools and colleges. My husband of 30 years and I are from Philadelphia. I attended West Chester University and received my BSED with a minor in Special Education. I have taken advantage of every continuing education seminar I am able attend covering a wide range of topics. I enjoy learning new things, and I hope I spread my excitement to my students. In my spare time, I spend a great deal of time reading; I have many friends who are authors. My special interest is animal rescue - we are currently raising a Guide Dog puppy.
Mr. Clay Schwartz
3rd-8th Grade PE/Coach
Bio
I have been teaching and coaching for over 20 years, and this will be my 17th year at Laurel Hall School. I enjoy the opportunity to work with many fine students. My coaching experience extends from the elementary level to the collegiate. My most memorable coaching experience at Laurel Hall has been the 2010-2011 boys’ basketball back-to-back VCAL league championships and our 2014-2015 VCAL champs. A graduate from University of Great Falls Montana with a BA in Physical Education and minor in Health, I also played college basketball for both the Cerritos College Falcons and the MSUN Lights Montana. I am proud to say that I was part of a state championship team in 1989 for the Cerritos Falcons and also participated on a nationally ranked team for MSUN. After my college athletics career ended, I was a Graduate Assistant for MSUN from 1991-1993. I have really enjoyed watching our fine student athletes become young adults and moving forward to do wonderful things. GO HORNETS!
Mrs. Debby Semel
7th Grade Math & Math Resource
Bio
I joined the staff of Laurel Hall in 1979. I have been teaching for over 30 years with experience in 2nd, 4th and 7th grades with an emphasis in math for 3rd through 5th grades. My BA degree is from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. I have a Multi-Subject Clear Lifetime Credential from the State of California. I love teaching in a Christian environment especially since I also attended Laurel Hall School. Additionally, I have been a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church since birth. I have been married for 22 years and have three children who also attended Laurel Hall. My youngest is just beginning college and plans to major in education. In my free time I enjoy reading, gardening and spending time with my family and friends.
Mr. Chip Smith
4th-8th Grade Band
Bio
I am excited to join the Laurel Hall faculty this year as the new Band Director. Over the years, I've worn many musical hats. I've been a commercial composer, a soundtrack producer, a songwriter, a woodwind specialist and a jazz pianist. I've taught and conducted students ages 8 - 82 in a wide range of musical activities and styles. I've been blessed with fantastic teachers my whole life and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with the young musicians at Laurel Hall. I hold a BA from Princeton University and I also studied at the Berklee College of Music. When I'm not teaching, gigging or composing, I enjoy tennis, woodworking and spending time with my wife Laurie and our dog Abbie.
Ms. Mily Tovar
Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
Bio
Since 2015, I have been a Kindergarten teacher at Laurel Hall. Prior to teaching here, I taught for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 16 years. The majority of my career has been teaching Kindergarten, but I have also taught a K-1st split class, a 3rd grade class and have been a substitute for various local charter schools with students from all grades. I grew up the San Fernando Valley and graduated from Cal State Northridge. In 1996, I obtained my BA in Child Development with a minor in Psychology; in 2001, I received my Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential; In 2003, I graduated with a Masters in Educational Administration and received a preliminary administrative credential. I enjoy working with children and joining them in their academic and social journey. My husband of 13 years is also a teacher; he teaches English and coaches wrestling. We have two daughters ages 12 and 9. I enjoy spending my free time with my family visiting amusement parks and going on vacations.
Mrs. Janan Wakelin
8th History/7th Science & Health
Bio
I joined the Laurel Hall staff in 2016, I and absolutely love teaching 7th grade Science and Health, and 8th grade History. My teaching career began over 30 years ago. Since then I have had the opportunity and pleasure to teach many different grade levels from Kindergarten through 9th grade. Students often ask me which subject I like teaching the best and I can honestly say that I love them all! I graduated from Cal State Northridge with a BA in History. I completed the teaching credential program at CSUN and have been awarded both a Single Subject and a Multiple Subject credential, along with the Cross-Cultural, Language and Academic Development Certificate. I recently completed a course on methods of teaching the Next Generation Science Standards with an emphasis on STEM. My philosophy of education includes the belief that a teacher’s expertise and qualifications are directly related to the success of his or her students. I have been married for 24 years; have two sons and two chihuahuas. When I’m not teaching I love to spend time with my family, watch Masterpiece Theater, cycle, tinker in my workshop, read and hike along the beautiful trails by my house.
Ms. Brittany Walker
3rd Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
This will be my first year as a part of Laurel Hall's staff and my second year as a full time teacher. I am very excited to join the staff and am happy to be teaching 3rd grade. My teaching experience has included substitute teaching and working as an intervention specialist. I have had the opportunity to work at a camp for visually impaired and multi-disabled children, as well as the opportunity to teach in India through a mission trip. I have a Multiple Subject Credential, and I completed my BA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Music at California Lutheran University. I also completed my Master’s in Educational Technology and Leadership at Cal State Los Angeles. In the past my teaching experience has included substitute teaching and working as an intervention specialist. I truly enjoy teaching and love learning. When I am not teaching, I like to take my dog, Daisy, for long walks; I also enjoy going to the beach, spending time with family, traveling and checking out new yummy places to eat and new movies.
Mr. Ben Weiser
7th Grade Language Arts
Bio
I started working for Laurel Hall with their Summer Program in 2005. However, I have been a Hornet since 1993, as I attended school here for first through eighth grades. After I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in English, emphasizing in Creative Writing, I came back to Laurel Hall to teach full time. I started working in the PE department and coaching a multitude of sports before I came upstairs to teach 7th Grade English/Language Arts. I am now entering my 3rd year as a 7th grade teacher and couldn't be more excited. Anyone who knows me knows how important sports are to me, as I am quite the fanatic. When I'm not instructing my favorite player through the TV, you can find me kayaking the coast or hiking in Griffith Park.
Miss Margarita Woolfolk
6th-8th Spanish/EDP Coordinator
Bio
I have been a proud member of the Laurel Hall staff since 1983 and have enjoyed my many years serving in such a wonderful and amazing community. I enjoy engaging with and serving the students, parents and the staff of Laurel Hall School and Emmanuel Lutheran Ministries .I attended local public schools and Cal State University, Northridge. In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to music, photography and being outdoors. I love traveling throughout my native state of California and visiting my favorite destination, Lake Tahoe.
Ms. Michelina Wright
3rd-8th Grade Strings
Bio
Along with being a freelance musician, I have devoted my time to teaching. This is my 15th year as the Strings Director at Laurel Hall. I have also coached many youth orchestras around Los Angeles and have taught with the Harmony Project, a non-profit youth organization. Originally from the Chicago area, I received my BA in Music Performance from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville followed by a Masters in Music Performance in 2002 from the California Institute of the Arts. I have played with such ensembles as the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Riverside Philharmonic, the Fresno Philharmonic, the El Paso Opera and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. In the soundtrack of the IMAX movie “Mystery of the Nile,” I am the featured violin soloist. I have performed live with Carmen Lundy and performed with the Dave Matthew’s Band on their “You and Me Video.”
Mrs. Connie Zampas
1st Grade Homeroom Teacher
Bio
I have been a first grade teacher at Laurel Hall since 2002. I enjoy being a teacher and making every day a fun learning experience. My BA is from Cal State Northridge with a major in Liberal Studies. I also have my California Teaching Credential allowing me to teach preschool through 12th Grade. I have two children, who are both graduates of Laurel Hall. I have been married for 27 years and we have five pets. In my spare time I enjoy going to the beach, traveling, tea tasting, going to the movies and having parties at my home.
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