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San Francisco Sites
Tara Anderson– Co-Director
Tara returns to Aim High as a first time site director. She has previously worked as a Lead Math teacher for 8th and 9th grade students. Tara received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has taught 5th grade in Richmond for the last 4 years, first as a Teach for America corps member at King Elementary, and for the past two years at Lincoln Elementary. In addition, Tara has volunteered with organizations like Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment in Oakland and La Pedrera School Project in Guatemala.
Cameron Yuen-Shore – Co-Directors
Cameron has worked for Aim High since 2002. Starting out as a teaching assistant, and then working his way up to Intern, Master Teacher and now a Co-Director. He received his BA in Economics from Occidental College, and has most recently received his Multiple Subject Credential. Cameron founded the Los Angeles International Charter School afternoon tutoring program and use to be an assistant baseball coach at Lick-Wilmerding.
Alex Endo - Co-Director
Alex has been with Aim High since 1993. Over the summers, he has been an intern, master teacher, activities director and site director at Aim High sites at Potrero Hill, Roosevelt, Ben Franklin, Lick-Wilmerding and most recently, Urban High School. Alex has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of San Francisco and a California teaching credential. He is inspired by each teacher, intern, volunteer and student at Aim High and its ideal positive learning environment. He encourages each member of the Aim High family to be "Champions".
Kristina Berman - Co-Director
Kristina has a B.A. in History, as well as double Minor in Spanish and Education from UC Davis. She received her M.A. in Education and Multiple Subject Credential from University of California at Berkeley She is proficient in Spanish, and currently works as a Kindergarten teacher in the Sunnyvale School District, (Cherry Chase Elementary). Previously, Kristina has worked for the New Highland Academy as a member of the English Language Development Club and a Lead Teacher for the YMCA Chinatown summer school.
Laney Corda– Co-Director
Laney is returning to Aim High for her 2nd year. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Area Studies from Saint Mary’s College. In addition, she also has a BCLAD and Multi-subject teaching credential. During the rest of the year, Laney works as a teacher for Jame Lick Middle School and has been there for 3 years. She also has experience working with Teach for American in Los Angeles and the Beacon Summer Program in San Francisco.
Devi Zinzuvadia - Co-Director
Devi is looking forward to her first Aim High summer. She's a San Francisco native and alumna of Convent Elementary and St. Ignatius College Prep. Devi holds a BA in English from USC and an MS in journalism from Columbia University. During the school year, Devi works as lead academic tutor for PACT, an SFUSD partner, at James Lick Middle School; she has also taught in Jamestown Community Center's summer programs and served 826 Valencia as an in-schools volunteer. Earlier in her career, Devi was a journalist, working primarily in broadcast news.
Suzy Garren – Co-Director
Suzy has been a devoted member of the Aim High community for fifteen years and was a founding science teacher at Aim High's Yick Wo campus. She has served in the role as co-director for the past eight years. Her undergraduate degree is from Reed College and she received her teaching credential from UC Berkeley. She has been a public school teacher in San Francisco and the East Bay for many years and also operates her own landscaping business.
Tasha Yee – Co-Directors
Tasha first began working with the Yick Wo campus in 2001 as a Humanities TA. She later taught Humanities, Issues & Choices, and Science. This is Tasha's 6th summer with Aim High and she is excited to start her new role as co-director. Tasha has a BA from UC San Diego and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Dominican University. She has taught a variety of age groups and subjects at public schools, community organizations, and non-profit programs. Currently, Tasha teaches Science and coordinates an after school program at an independent school in Marin County.
Grady Jung - Co-Director
Grady first joined Aim High in 2006, working in the summer as a teaching intern for Humanities. Since then, he has been a lead teacher for Humanities, Math, and Science, as well as a development and program intern at the Aim High Central Office. As a part of the Central Office team, he helped design the college awareness and math curricula that are utilized by all the Aim High sites. He received a BA in Philosophy and Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently, Grady works as a Legal Intern at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Amelia Björklund - Co-Director
Amelia has been a double bachelor’s degree in American Studies & Community Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition, she has a Single Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. She has worked as a Peer Resource Teacher and Coordinator for the San Francisco Unified School District for the last 6 years. During these 6 years, Amelia has been able to develop curriculum, teach students, supervise programs (such as peer mentoring and conflict mediation), and organize events such as “Random Act of Kindness Week”.
Reiko Ando – Co-Director
Reiko has a BA from the University of Michigan in Environmental Studies and a multiple subject credential from San Francisco State University. Reiko has been with Aim High since the summer of 2007, when she was a Lead Teacher in math and science for rising 9th graders. This year, she is excited to return to the again as a co-director. Reiko has been involved with the field of education since 1999, and has since worked for environmental education organizations and public schools throughout the Bay Area. During the school year, she teaches elementary school students for the San Francisco Unified School District. She enjoys traveling with her husband and her dog.
Erica Hernandez – Co-Director
Erica is excited to return to co-direct for her fourth summer. During the school year she serves as an Admissions Associate and Outreach Coordinator at The Urban School of San Francisco where she works through the application process with eighth grade families. She hopes that her work experience in various educational programs can be utilized to create stronger programs for all students in the Bay Area. In her spare time, Erica enjoys running around Lake Merced with her dog and frequenting the neighborhood shops of her native Daly City.
Kate Baker - Co-Director
Kate has 12 years of public school experience, thanks to a teaching credential in Social Studies, aCLAD certification, and a pupil personnel service credential. She served for three years as co-director at Aim High Gateway before becoming a founding co-director at Aim High Mission. Kate taught 7th grade Humanities and 6th grade Issues & Choices at Aim High Academy. Prior to Aim High Academy, Kate taught Humanities, Science and Computers at San Francisco Community Alternative Public School and served as a master teacher at Aim High Yick Wo for three summers. Kate has a BA from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Social Work at San Francisco State University. During the school year, Kate coordinates the Wellness Program at Downtown Continuation High School in San Francisco.
Jessie Escobar - Co-Director
This is Jessie’s first year as a site director but he has worked for Aim High has a lead teacher in previous years. He received his BA in Sociology May 2011 from San Francisco State Universty and along with it he was the EOP Scholarship Recipient. Presently he works as a residential counselor for Edgewood center for children and families, hospital diversion. Last year Jessie was the Program Leader for the Bay Area Community Resources at Junipero Serra Elementary, which is an after school program. In addition he has serves as the Fit Kids Foundation’s fitness coach.
Benjie Achtenberg - Co-Director
A native of San Francisco, Benjie Achtenberg has taught at Aim High as a Teaching Assistant, Intern and Lead Teacher at several sites in San Francisco and Oakland. Benjie holds Single Subject Credentials in English, History and French from Mills College and completed his Masters in Education in 2011. During the school year, he teaches 8th grade Humanities at Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland. Benjie brings a passion for teaching, supporting and inspiring students and fellow teachers, and is excited to return to Aim High - the place that sparked his passion - and the St. Paul's campus.
Christina Chase – Co-Director
Christina has worked with Aim High since 2003, starting out as a volunteer , then math TA, Master Math Teacher, and now this summer will be her second as a Site director. Originally from Oakland, Christina went to Haverford College in Pennsylvania where she double-majored in Math and French. Following her studies from Haverford, she moved to France and taught English for a year. Upon her return to the Bay Area, she began working at St. Paul's in the after-school program. She is currently in her final year of graduate school at UC Berkeley, which is a 2-year Masters and Credential program for secondary math and science education (MACSME). When she has spare time, Christina likes collecting old records (especially soul and motown).
Yvonne Valdez – Co-Director
Yvonne has spent her summers with Aim High since 2007 as a humanities teacher and co-director, and is currently an English and Writing Instructor / Recruitment Coordinator at the Alameda Science and Technology Institute. Prior to her current position, Yvonne has worked as a Puente Project Teacher and a Reading Intervention Teacher at Hayward & Tennyson High Schools, and as a 12th Grade English Teacher at Hayward High School. Yvonne has an MA in Education from the School of Education and a BA in Spanish and Interdisciplinary Field Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Yvonne has also received numerous award including the Mayor’s Community Service Award (UCB), Chancellor’s Community Service Award (UCB), Governor’s Teaching Fellowship, AVID Outstanding Teacher Award, and California Teachers Association / Human Rights Award.
Jill Johnson – Co-Director
This will be Jill’s 2nd year as a Site Director. During the school year she is a Math teacher at Urban Promise Academy in Oakland, where she is currently going on her 5th year as the Math/Science Department Chair. She deeply cares for her students and is inspired by having the opportunity to provide not just an education but also a mindset change. She graduated from USC with a B.S. in Public Policy & Management, and received her teaching credentials (Single Subject and Multiple Subject) from the University of Redlands. Working with a Professional Learning Community, Jill has been able to develop an effective standards based grading model that included a focus on formative assessment. She was accepted into America Achieves due to her students unprecedented high state test scores. As an America Achieves Fellow, Jill appreciates the connections with other teachers and the resources that she can bring back to her school and district.
Pennisula/South Bay Sites
Viviana Montoya-Hernandez – Co-Director
Viviana Montoya-Hernandez was born and raised in San Francisco's Mission District. She attended Aim High at the Lick-Wilmerding campus from 1994 to 1996 where she found a passion for education and service that led to academic success and community involvement. After graduating from St. Ignatius High School in 2000, she attended Santa Clara University. She obtained a B.S. in Sociology in 2004 and a single-subject credential in Social Science in 2005. She recently completed an M.A. in Education at Santa Clara University. Viviana is completing her sixth year of teaching at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino and is looking forward to her fifth summer as Co-Director of the Aim High site in East Palo Alto.
Cosmo Mejia - Co-Director
Cosmo Mejia is a South Bay native and professional educator since 2001. He joined the East Palo Alto community of Aim High in the summer of 2007, where he taught Issues & Choices and Humanities. He assumed the role of co-director in 2011. Cosmo teaches English, math, and social justice to middle school students at an independent private school in San Jose. He earned his BA in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State, and an M.Ed. in Multicultural Teaching from National University.
Luis Cortes – Co-Director
Luis Cortes is a Bay Area native and holds a Bachelors degree from San Jose State University in Sociology, and Mexican American Studies. He is also graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Idaho College of Law this May. Luis began working in the education field since 2006 and quickly found a passion in helping students find their "AH-HA!" moments. Luis joined Aim High in the Summer of 2010 when he was a Lead Teacher in math for rising 7th and 9th graders. During the school year, Luis attends the University of Idaho and works with private counsel on cases ranging from civil litigation, family law, and criminal defense, and works in the Legal Aid Clinic on immigration law cases.
Peter Clifford –Co-Director
Peter received his BA in American Multicultural Studies from Sonoma State University, and completed his CLAD Credentialing Program in 2005. Currently Peter is pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at California State University, East Bay. He has been a member of the Redwood City School District for the last 6 years. He has taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Language Arts/Social Studies classes. He has also has taught soccer for the school he teaches at. He has had previous work experience with Nevada Diabetes Association for Children and Adults, serving as the Director of Counselors in Training.
North Bay Sites
Hector Moya - Co-Director
Hector is returning to Aim High for a 3rd straight summer, but this will be his 1st summer as a Site Director. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in History at the University of California, San Diego, with an emphasis on War, Revolution & social change. Last year he completed his Master’s of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Hector is also fluent in Spanish and German. From being an educator to an Immigration Law Intern and Paralegal, Hector has had a wide range of experience helping students and families from low-income neighborhoods. Hector has also has worked abroad, teaching English classes in India and Costa Rica.
Maria Turner-Lloveras - Co-Director
Maria graduated from Santa Clara University with a double major in Spanish and sociology. She holds a graduate degree in education and a Master’s of Social Welfare. Maria has worked as a social worker, conflict resolution coordinator, history teacher and bilingual liaison throughout the Bay Area. Though 2013 is Maria's first summer as site director at Aim High/Marin Academy, she previously directed the Crossroads summer program at the school.
Matt Helmenstine - Co-Director
After traveling through 50 countries in 6 years, Matt returned to San Francisco to get his teaching credential in Social Studies. He taught at Aim High Yick Wo for two summers before becoming a founding co-director at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy. Matt believes that educational experiences should build as much character as it does academic skills. With this in mind, he strives to give the students of Marin City Aim High experiences that will change the way they see themselves, their schools and the world around them. He is currently working on a MA in International Affairs and an MA in Educational Administration. During the school year, Matt teaches 6th, 7th and 8th grade Social Studies at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito.
Tracee Zyla - Co-Director
Tracee was among Aim High Marin City’s founding faculty in 2010 and assumed the role of co-director in summer 2011. A Bay Area native, she earned her Bachelor's Degree from UC Santa Cruz, double-majoring in Literature and Photography. Tracee tutored ESL students during college and has worked as a tutor with the San Francisco Day School and Making Waves After-School Education Program, where she also created student portraits. Most recently, Tracee served as a long-term substitute teacher for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito, followed by a position as Upper School Coordinator. Tracee believes in empowering students through education while also promoting student-voice and self-advocacy.
Katie Jamison - Co-Director
Katie has a wide range of educational background, particularly in Tahoe/Truckee. She has a BA in History and Single Subject Teaching Credential from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from University of Phoenix, and just recently completed her Masters in Education for Teaching English as a Second Language from Sierra Nevada College.During the school year, Katie teachers 7th and 8th grade Social Science at North Tahoe Middle School, is a Student Council Advisor, and also coaches girls Varsity Soccer at Tahoe Truckee High School. In 2012, Katie was a Sierra Sun and Sears Teacher of the Year Finalist and received a nomination for the Excellence in Education Linda Brown Fellows Award.
Carl Siegel– Co-Director
Carl is a Mission district native and a lifetime Tahoe devotee who inherited the educator gene from his father, a CCSF professor. He has a BA in English with a minor in Spanish from Colorado College, and will complete his Single Subject Teaching Credential from SFSU in April. Many moons ago Carl experienced firsthand the life-changing impact a middle school summer program makes, so he gladly joined Aim High in 2002, teaching humanities five consecutive summers then a sixth as campus coordinator. He has also lectured at Shanghai University, led high school cultural interchanges to China, and started his own music business. Carl currently teaches 6th and 8th grade Spanish at The Girls' Middle School in Palo Alto, while coaching basketball, walking his dog, bicycling, hiking, and getting up to Tahoe as often as he possibly can. This is Carl's second summer as Tahoe/Truckee's site director, and he can't think of anything else he'd rather do.
Headlands Enviornmental Home
Elizabeth Reiff - Co-Director
Elizabeth began teaching at the Aim High Headlands Environmental Home in 2007 and assumed the role of co-director in the summer of 2010. She holds a bachelor's in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University and works as an outdoor educator with Girlventures.
Zander Lowry - Co-Director
Zander holds a bachelor's in History from the University of Oregon and a secondary credential in Social Studies. During the academic year, Zander works at a residential outdoor education center in Merced County. He began working with Aim High in 2005 and became a co-director of the Headlands Home in 2010.