(Listed alphabetically by first name.)
Hello, my name is Adam Donovan and I’m the new kid on the block at A-Team. I’m excited to be invited to participate in this new model of in-person learning and I’m looking forward to hearing a lot of input from students and parents as we navigate this new opportunity.
Since leaving the corporate world of advertising ten years ago, I have been coaching and tutoring high school-and lately middle school-students in reading comprehension, essay writing, sentence mapping, grammar, test taking (SAT & ACT), work organization and study skills. My passions are language arts, literature, poetry, US history, jazz and classical music…and pickleball! More on that later.
The staff at A-Team are counting on me to deliver quality content in a context of partnership and relationship, and that is my commitment to students and parents.
This is an extraordinary opportunity to re-invent the experience of education starting with leaning how to learn. I hope I can have your support in this odyssey. There will be lots of improvising…but then that’s how jazz works!
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
Homeschool Program Leadership
I have been organizing and leading homeschool programs since 2010. It has been a wonderful and challenging journey in entrepreneurship, leadership, community, and relationships. Tiffany and I founded A TEAM in 2013 and I’m so proud to call this my community!
The valuable education I have received in leadership and business didn’t come from a formal institution with degrees and titles but from books, seminars, and business training. These include WWG, many books and talks by John Maxwell, EntreLeadership (book and program) by Dave Ramsey, and countless others.
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.
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!
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.
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 love working at ATEAM and having the opportunity to inspire more young minds.
Jennie has a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. Her work experience includes leading grief groups for children, working with foreign exchange students, and spending several years as a Social Worker for foster youth. She also was part of a University of Washington research group called “Reconnecting Youth,” where she lead supportive peer groups in developing coping skills in public schools in Seattle. In all of these settings, her favorite aspect of the work was to experience the resiliency of youth, and opportunity to provide them tools to flourish. Jennie has three children, currently ages 4, 8, and 11. She is in her sixth year of homeschooling her children, where she enjoys the opportunity to watch them gain knowledge in new and exciting ways, as well as learn new things about the world herself!
Jing Swales has an M.S. and B.S. from Rochester Institute of Technology. She taught and tutored Math for undergraduates while obtaining her graduate degree. After graduation, she worked as a scientist at a research lab funded by the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. She also worked for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Sony Research Lab, and Hewlett Packard. She holds patents in several key areas of technology. She left the research and corporate world to raise her child, and to be there to enjoy him and to support when needed.
Seven years ago, she started to teach and tutor Math 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, and problem solving 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 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 other learning experience and knowledge to the next generation.
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.
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!
Patricia Costa Christensen
Patricia Costa Christensen is a native of Peru and a graduate of UC Santa Cruz. She has been teaching Spanish and Spanish immersion for over 10 years for children and teens, introducing them to Spanish-speaking cultures through art, music, games, projects and food. She makes her classes so fun and active that her students forget that they’re learning! Her counseling degree is an added benefit that helps her understand students and establish a personable connection, setting students at ease.
My name is Rachna Patel, and I will be one of the new vendors this year:
“Rachna’s Art & Academic Club” [RAAC]
I am an MBA graduate, who is passionate working with kiddos of all ages! I like introducing them to new knowledge and acquire various skills to help succeed in life, all with a unique and exciting twist. I also enjoy teaching creative art techniques!
A Few Accomplishments:
Previously, I was selected as the 1st place national NASA winner. I was also the winner of a Spelling Bee, MADD poster contest, and ….Dallas County Seal design:
I initiated the “RAAC” program a few years back because of a life-changing experience I had to overcome at age eight: Brain Tumor… lost all my memory after surgery, and short-term memory was impacted. I had to re-learn everything from ABC’s to 123’s, walking & talking, and even recognizing my own people! Doctors had said it was impossible for me to further my education because I struggled with re-calling information. Long story short, I did not give up. After struggling for a year, I eventually pushed through by developing unique studying strategies. Now, I have the honor to work with other students to help them excel, regardless of any barriers!
My goal is to inspire students to strive for their best, whether it’s through art, academics, or any extra-curricular activities.
I look forward to having the opportunity to work with you and your kiddos, soon!
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.
Sheila Della Ratta
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.
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.
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.