(Listed alphabetically by first name.)
Alex Flores discovered his passion for hip hop dance and digital video in high school. Since then he has pursued a career in teaching local youth in hip hop culture and digital media in order to uplift his community. Alex has been dancing for 10 years and has been working with youth for two. He is looking forward to pursuing his journey of helping youth and providing a positive outlet through art.
Ann Lee Wolfe
Music has been part of my life since age 7, when my mom bought a piano with grocery money and started teaching me. I followed that with violin starting in 4th grade, and played in orchestras, jazz bands, and small groups, and started teaching piano lessons at 15. I got the singing bug while in youth choir at church, started singing in choirs in high school, and decided (after an interesting year of “pre-med” at UCDavis) to pursue my passion to teach choral music. I quickly transferred to San Jose State University, where I sang with the Concert Choir and Choraliers, completed my BA in Music and earned my CA teaching credential. I had a 2 1/2 year public school teaching career at Hayward Unified School District, teaching elementary, middle school, and high school choral music until having my baby, Jordan, and deciding to stay home. I have continued through the years to teach piano (and love it!) and have in the last few years started teaching vocal and ensemble music for homeschoolers. I have homeschooled all my children’s lives, and am thankful for the people they are becoming.
Becky teaches Flute, Recorder, Beginning Drums, and Beginning Piano, and also works with children with special needs. She teaches group classes at several locations, including The Music Place and Bright Star Preschool. She has been working with children of all ages and abilities for over 20 years. She believes that all children are a gift from God and that everyone is able to learn music in their own special way. As a teacher, she works hard with her students and their parents to find the best (and the most fun) way to help them learn. In the past she has been trained in Orff Schulwerk and Music Together styles of teaching and earned her B.A. in Diversified Liberal Arts with an Early Childhood Development emphasis. She has taught preschool, Sunday school, studied flute privately and played in both bands and orchestras. In addition, she and her husband have two amazing girls, and her experience as a mother for many years has given her a unique perspective on teaching. Becky is constantly looking for new ways to teach musical concepts and creative ways to enrich the learning experience. She believes every child that comes through her classrooms helps her grow and is a treasure to teach.
I think everyone is unique and therefore special. Some of my uniqueness is that I am a “Jack of all trades” who learns pretty quickly and thinks a lot. I have a variety of progressing interests, most of which are related to health, games, teaching, creating, ideas and adventuring. I like to explore and learn, then use my understanding to make things better.
I was born and raised in Michigan. Teaching runs in my family – my parents, sister, and one brother are teachers like me. After receiving an education degree in 2008, I moved to California to begin a teaching career. My experience includes being an elementary principal for 3 years in North Hollywood, while teaching a multi-grade classroom (3rd-8th grade). Most recently, I taught for 5 years in San Jose as a 5th grade teacher, departmentalized music teacher and school music coordinator. Currently, I teach piano and tutor, and enjoy the freedom and variety it brings.
As a teacher, I try to help students learn to utilize their individual strengths. I try to create a thoughtful environment that is safe and genuine. I do this, so that students can be themselves, and be creative and helpful to one another as they learn.
My family is important to me. I am the second youngest of 6 children – Mandy, Nate, Jon, Tim, me, and Ben. My wife’s name is Stephanie and she’s a teacher too. We enjoy watching shows together, cooking, playing tennis, hiking and camping. We’ve explored parts of California together, and a few years ago took a road trip up the coast to Oregon.
One of my grandest accomplishments was appearing on “Wheel of Fortune” in 2011. I made it to the bonus round, where I did not win $100,000, as I could not solve the puzzle “Gorgeous bouquet.” Yet, I did win a trip to Costa Rica and some cash. I have also aspired to be a contestant on the show “Survivor.”
David Maddalena is a writer, educator, web developer, artist, and community organizer. He’s taught theater, publishing for the web, writing, and DIY/making. As a professional, David has written for businesses, non-profits, and magazines. Many of his own sites and projects are online, some of which have made the jump to the real world as published works. Some of his home-made stuff has been featured on instructables.com, treehugger.com, and the Make Magazine blog.
Dema earned her BFA (Bachelors, Fine Arts) in Studio Practice from San Jose State University and is currently teaching a variety of art and related classes. Dema has been a designer and accomplished seamstress for more than 30 years. And she is a pioneer homeschooling mother of four.
While instructing her students in the various techniques required by distinct materials, Dema encourages her students to discover their creative talents through methods of research and development as they learn to skillfully handle the various materials provided them. Dema is patient, relaxed and positive when interacting with both colleagues and students.
Dr. Denise Gurer
Denise is an experienced science teacher, computer scientist, and physicist who has taught at the K-12 and university levels. She is an Ocean Grove Charter School and Connecting Waters Vendor, and is an adjunct instructor at Cabrillo Community College in the Physics Department. Previously, she co-founded TerraVert, an online service that provides hands-on environmentally focused science experiments, and she worked in the high-tech industry at LightCloud Software, 3Com Corporation, and SRI International in areas of education research, artificial intelligence, and data networking. Dr. Gürer received a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Lehigh University and a M.S. in Physics, also from Lehigh University. Denise is active locally as a Science Fair organizer and County Science Fair judge. She was a Girl Scout Troop leader for 8 years in Scotts Valley. Most importantly Denise believes in the joy of learning and is constantly exploring new horizons with her students.
I’m Ellesse Liu. I graduated from the University in Taiwan after studying Art at the Japan Art Institute. I have devoted my life to the education of young people. I currently teach a SDC class at a local high school, I am a principal at a Chinese school, and am vice president at Orion Abacus Association. I am the coordinator for Smarty Program Culture & Education Association. Our program includes Mental Math (Abacus), Chinese Language, Chinese Knotting, Beading, and 3-D Paper Sculpture. I promote Chinese culture in the Bay Area, have worked with San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum for 15 years, and support community and school in celebrating International Day.
Hello Fellow Homeschoolers! My name is Faith Tio, and I am delighted to be a part of A T.E.A.M. I grew up in San Jose, received a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA, and earned my Multiple Subject CLAD CA Teaching Credential from San Jose State. Before having my own children, I taught preschool for one year, 4th grade for four years in a large San Jose public school, as well as one year in a small mixed age class in a small private school. I’ve subbed in private and public schools K-12. I have always homeschooled my three children—about six years now. I also coach in a homeschool sports co-op, organize field trips, and am active in the children’s ministry at my church. I enjoy connecting personally with my students and providing hands-on, real-life activities to help them develop their strengths and challenge their weaknesses. My goal is to create a balanced learning environment that provides some guided structure and encourages creativity. My favorite activities are to sing, play piano, travel, be in nature, play sports, learn new things, make new friends, and explore with my kids!
Coach James, previously with CastlingKids Chess, has been a lead instructor for nearly 4 years. He has a unique approach and specializes in preparing beginner and intermediate players for tournament play. Before chess, James was in the board game industry as a developer and also holds titles in strategy games like Risk and even Scrabble. He lives in San Jose with his wife and army of foster children.
Larry Luna is a local freelance illustrator and art instructor. Over the past eighteen years he has worked on comic books, children’s books, magazines, concert posters, movies, album covers and more. A few years back Larry began private art instruction with children, adults and the autistic community.
Marisa facilitates and mentors students through the art of questioning and experiential teaching techniques, while always striving to meet the child where they are academically and developmentally. Sharing her own expertise and passions in natural history subjects has been a core educational component, as Marisa continues to home school her own children.
Education and Experience:
- Certification with the California Naturalist Program, UCSC
- Riekes Center for Human Enhancement Nature Awareness Teacher
- California Academy of Sciences, Teacher Professional development
- CPR Certified
- 3 years introducing young naturalists to their natural world
- Home school mom and community instructor with a lifetime commitment to the appreciation of nature
- BS Psychology with Child Development Minor, SJSU
Marisa does classes what classes she can at A TEAM but some of her nature programs need to be in the great outdoors. Visit her website at BeanInNature.com for information about those programs.
I was born in Poland, where I graduated from a Teacher College and completed two years of Drama School with a major in puppetry. Because my mother was a teacher and organized summer camps every summer, she would also involve me in the running of art and drama programs for little people there.
In 1987 I took a vacation in Greece that took an unexpected turn and after one year of learning Greek culture and language I emigrated to Canada. There, in Toronto, Ontario, I was privileged to work with children in many different setups, such as libraries, public and private schools and hospital events, giving unique drama workshops and directing shows “for children, with children.” I focused mostly on working with a variety of puppets, but I also incorporated other elements, especially masks and pantomime, in my presentations. Through my artwork I had the privilege to work with children with special needs and witness how shy children can gain confidence when given a chance to express themselves.
During this time I also studied holography, photography, sound, and film at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and graduated with honors after four years in their Mixed Media program.
I have lived in California since 1999 and I homeschooled both my children. My older boy is now a sophomore at Bellarmine, and I continue to homeschool my daughter.
Scott comes to A TEAM after a lengthy career as an outdoor educator/Naturalist with the Web of Life Field School, based in Santa Cruz County. Over the summers, Scott has taught many a science lesson to children at the Renaissance Camp, an art and science camp based in Aptos, through Santa Cruz County Parks. After working primarily at Web of Life for 14 years, Scott worked at Kidizens in Los Altos for the past school year, guiding classes on civics through the use of LEGO, and has also been working one day a week at India Education Methods in Sunnyvale, assisting and sometimes leading math classes for children of many ages.
Scott possesses a BA degree in English, with a Secondary Education minor, and also a BS in Biology, with a Theatre minor. It is also said that Scott has an honorary degree in making children laugh!
Scott is a huge baseball (Red Sox) fan, and manages and plays on his own adult baseball team–the San Jose Mariners; he also enjoys listening to music, enjoying the outdoors, occasionally playing songs on guitar for kids, and embarking upon adventures with his wife, Katie. Scott is excited to contribute his talents to A TEAM!
Sharon Crawford was born and raised in San Jose, CA. She has been teaching LEGO Robotics for the last two years and coached a First Lego League team during the 2013 season. Sharon has worked as a company trainer for a web-based business training new-hires in how to use the company’s website and trouble shoot for customers. She has taught classes in affiliation with the Church she regularly attends. Sharon has also previously directed a Church Choir for more than 25 years and taught private singing lessons. She is excited to explore the LEGO EV3 robot with your children.
Stacy is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She has special certifications as a Master Herbalist, a Certified Brain Health Coach, and an Advanced Certification in PTSD and Trauma. She values the importance of paying attention to the intersection of physical health on mental health.
She has also developed a unique program for kids to teach them social skills for kids in a unusual playful way — giant 3D puzzles and board games to teach kids how to share feelings and listen to others; how to combat negative thinking and learn conflict resolution skills. This method helps them to playfully learn these important life skills while increasing brain health through movement and coordination.
Prior to becoming an MFT she was a professional volleyball player and carpenter. She is happily married to Craig and they have angora bunnies so that she can spin their hair into yarn and knit fuzzy clothing. She loves gardening, exercise and learning new things especially regarding health and wellness.
Tiffany is the Director of Operations for A TEAM overseeing administration, volunteers, and registration. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and loves to train both herself and her clients. She completed her BA in Child Development at California State University Sacramento, but completed her first three years at Washington State University on a track and field scholarship. She has taught PE, fitness, and nutrition to students the past four years. Tiffany has been a homeschooling mom, and continues to play league basketball weekly.
It is a true pleasure that I will be teaching guitar and music classes for A T.E.A.M. One of the reasons is because I love sharing my passion for music with others. That passion began when I started guitar lessons when I was 11 years old, soon after I started my first band with my best friend in the 7th grade. That was my first experience in songwriting, which I continue doing currently.
I studied classical and flamenco guitar through college. It was flamenco guitar that I pursued for several years, accompanying flamenco dancers and starting a nouveau flamenco pop group called Ritmos de Flamenco. After a few years playing cafes, restaurants, art and wine festivals and private parties, that band called it quits. Silk Road was the next band I was in. We wrote and recorded a 10-song original CD in 2000. After Silk Road disbanded several years later, two friends and myself started another band called Thornapple. We released 2 CDs (2004 and 2006) of all original material. I am currently recording my first solo CD.
I have been a private guitar teacher for more than 7 years and have taught classes for homeschoolers the last 5 years.
Victoria Kazarian is a teacher and homeschooling mom with a passion for making writing and literature come alive for students with a variety of learning styles. She’s also an award winning writer, having won Central Coast Writers’ association awards in 2014 and 2015 for her short stories. Victoria graduated from UC Davis with a BA in English. Her son, Vincent, is a high schooler at A TEAM.