Teachers

(Listed alphabetically by first name.)

Alex Flores
princealifreez@gmail.com
Alex Flores
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
annleewolfe@gmail.com

Ann

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.



Ashley King

Hey, y’all! My name is Ashley King and I am so excited to begin my first year of teaching here at A TEAM Homeschool Community! I am a homeschooling mother of a teenage daughter, and homeschooling has taught me so many important lessons and has enabled me to allow my child the space she needs to discover who she is as person and to provide her with unique experiences and challenges that she could never have otherwise encountered! I am so excited to bring this sense of adventure and wonder into the classroom and bring history and literature alive for my students! From studying Spanish at Austin Community College to literature at Arizona State University, I have a unique perspective that I bring into the classroom. I can’t wait to get to know your child and help bring new life in to books and writing! Here’s to the new year and new adventures together!


unnamed-3Music TK/K, 1st-2nd grades

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 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 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.


Beth Hankoff
b11ankoff@gmail.com

Beth grew up in Southern California, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Composition at California Institute of the Arts.  After working as a teacher’s aide in her last year of college, she decided to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher, and received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 1994.  Since that time, she has taught in public, private, and charter schools, while also raising two boys on the autism spectrum, homeschooling them on and off.  This summer she is completing her Handwriting Specialist Certification through Handwriting Without Tears.  She is a practitioner of Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline strategies, and believes strongly that children should make choices and have ownership of their own learning.

 


Ilene Marks
highlowmusic@yahoo.com

Ilene Marks copy

Since my teens, I have been obsessed with starting a business. I used to design and sell Valentine’s Day & baby baskets on the streets of New York. I love the thrill of creating my own product and getting others excited about it. Hence, Kidz Entrepreneur classes and workshops were created to share this passion.  It has been fabulous working with children and watching them glow as we talk about their grand ideas.   Through my specialties such as art, public speaking, critical thinking and teambuilding students learn how, why, where a child can start a business. Last class we put their ideas into action and sell on the street. I love giving them this unique experience and the parent feedback is amazing.

Currently, I own a successful preschool music theory business in Los Gatos. Plus, I created and taught a Mommy and Me program for almost a decade. I love working with children of all ages and have a developmental approach, feeding off their ideas and expanding.   I look forward to working at ATEAM and having the opportunity to inspire more young minds.


Jing Swales 

jingswales@gmail.com

Jing Swales bio photo

Jing Swales has M.S. in Imaging Science and B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from Rochester Institute of Technology.  She taught and tutored Math for undergraduates while studying for her masters degree.  After graduation, she worked as a scientist at a research lab funded by the Department of Energy and Department of Defense.  She then moved to CA to work for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Sony Research Lab, and Hewlett Packard.   She left the corporate world to raise her son, and to be involved with his early education at co-op schools.   

Seven years ago, she started to teach and tutor Math and Chinese at private schools, along with her charity work.  She believes that the whole child, well being, and good character are as important as academic achievement, if not more so.  In her mind, math is not just important but can be enjoyable if taught in an encouraging way.  She also believes that proper mindset, teaching, and practice are the most important elements for students to become proficient at math.  She attributes her success in college, her career and her lifelong logic and reasoning skills to strong math fundamentals which she learned in her early school years.  For this, she is grateful to all her devoted math teachers.  

Jing has been teaching and tutoring Chinese language and culture to children and professionals for many years.  Her students are from both non-Chinese speaking and Chinese speaking families.   With a deep understanding of both cultures, and fluency in both Chinese and English,  along with her personal bilingual and bicultural experience,  she can make a real connection and relate to her students.   She is able to explain in a way students can understand and thus learn more willingly and quickly.  She teaches the American way.   

Jing loves children and has a warm, caring, fun loving personality.  She has the unique life experiences and talents to help students to learn while have fun.  She is excited and grateful to have the opportunity to teach in ATEAM, and is looking forward to passing her exceptional math and foreign language learning experience and knowledge to the next generation. 



Marisa Bean
beanhappyhomeschool@gmail.com

1406337510

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.


Michelle DeOcampo
5deocampos@gmail.com

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Michelle DeOcampo is an 18-year home education veteran who has lived in San Jose for 40 years after moving from the snow belt in Cleveland Ohio. Prior to home educating, Michelle was one of two moms who started the Art Vista program at Allen Elementary School where she taught art for two years. In addition to teaching art, she has also enjoyed teaching Sunday school at church and in a couple of homeschool co-ops.

Michelle has three children, two of whom she home educated from Elementary school through high school and is currently home educating a teenage son who attends and teaches at A TEAM. Both of her adult children attended De Anza College and then transferred to universities.  Her daughter Amanda earned a bachelor degree from Liberty University and her son Austin is one year from receiving a double major from UCLA.

Michelle has spent many years learning about how children learn and how to cater to each child’s specific personality, needs, and talents. She is patient, encouraging, and energetic. She strives to make learning natural, fun and meaningful. Michelle’s main goal is to teach children how to learn and to LOVE to learn.


Mira Betlej
mira_puppets@hotmail.com

Mira Betlej ATEAM 1

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.


Pam Stewart
pmstewart71@gmail.com

pam stewart

I’m another California native who grew up in the Bay Area and went to local schools.  I’ve had a life long sense of curiosity about how the world works, and a very patient mother who let me watch butterflies and moths emerge in jars at the kitchen table.  I’ve been called geeky in the nicest way, and have spent over 10 years teaching science in public schools.  My B.S. is in Biology from Santa Clara University, my teaching credential is from San Jose State University and most of my teaching techniques were practiced and honed in San Jose schools.  I’m starting this year at A TEAM with middle school science and High School Biology.  I’m looking forward to a great year!


Rachel Chioreanu
Chioreanu21@gmail.com

20180129_100748
(Ms. Rachel on The Price Is Right, January 29, 2018!)
Rachel earned her bachelors degree in Social Studies and Elementary Education, K-8th grades. She taught 7th graders in Detroit for several years, and loves to teach about different cultures and the history behind them. She homeschools her two young boys.

Scott Gentile
sgentileus@hotmail.com

050-e1433915378451.jpgScott 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 Fougler
SharonFC2003@gmail.com

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.


Sheila Della Ratta
sadr@mac.com

Sheila is a parent and artist, passionate about helping children connect to their innate creativity through wood, ceramics, mixed media and all around tinkering in life. She has been playing with mud for 17 years and specifically with children for about 8 years.  She has two homeschooled boys who enjoy playing in mud with her regularly.  “When we break a plate at home, we just make another one!”  Sheila has B.A. in Anthropology however she says she doesn’t get to use it much. It was, however, as a result of her early human research she became interested in pottery.  How did native peoples harvest clay?  What methods did they use to transform the clay into pottery?  These questions and more led her to explore the world of ceramics and through that exploration she realized that she was talented and hooked and what better way to share with the world than with the smiles and hands of children…

Her style is one that nourishes and guides children in their own ideas and vision by laying a foundation of skills and methods.  Rather than encourage pre-determined projects, she sees her role as one that encourages patience, comfort and experimentation with clay. When not playing with mud, Sheila also enjoys sailing and the great outdoors having completed her California naturalist certification last year.


Terri Chatsinchai
terri_kit@yahoo.com

Where did I start signing? While I was in college at California State University, Long Beach, my friend found out about an ASL class.  The two of us took it up and I fell in love with it.  Why would I take sign language you ask? I was born premature with many difficulties. One of them, the doctors found was liquid in my ears at the age of 4 which they couldn’t check earlier because I was sick other illnesses.  My hearing continued to degenerate so by the age of 12 I needed to wear my first hearing aid.  Today, I am deaf when not wearing my hearing aid and cochlear implant processor otherwise I am considered hard-of-hearing. So my journey with signing began shortly after my first ASL class.  I joined Crossroads Bible Church Deaf Ministry where I helped interpret the Christmas and Easter musicals for about 4 years.  Towards the end of my time there, I started helping a friend teach homeschool kids how to sign.  That was back in the early 1990’s. I took a break then in 2000, my daughter was born to another deaf woman, who requested parents that could teach her daughter to sign. By the age of 2, Megan was able to sign over 200 words.  In 2004, I swapped teaching/learning with a Spanish woman with ASL and Spanish. In 2006, teaching other homeschool students along with some their moms took off by word of mouth.  Many of my students have stayed with me for up to three years.  My last year’s group did a play “A Brave Queen Saved Her People” in ASL.  I couple of my students have continued into college advancing their skills in ASL for different reasons.

Tiffany Nyberg
ateamregistrar@gmail.com
SONY DSC

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.


Tim Schwalbach
gatorlang@yahoo.com

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
vkazarian@gmail.com

VictoriaK

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.


Vida Tigrani John, M.D. has homeschooled her 2 daughters for 10 years, both of whom are avid math problem solvers.  Vida has an undergraduate engineering degree from Stanford and a medical degree from UCSF.  She is a former mathlete and AIME qualifier, and has coached student MathCounts teams for 5 years.  She attributes much of her academic success to her early mathematics training, and believes every student deserves these opportunities.  
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