Upper School Teachers
Monica Rizzo -- 6th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies
Monica Rizzo was born on the great plains of South Dakota near the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition. After graduating from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa she followed the Oregon Trail to California. Monica earned her M.S.Ed. from Dominican University and wrote her thesis on discrimination and corruption in college admissions testing. She holds both social studies and English credentials and enjoys blending these two humanities. Monica was selected as a 2018 Fulbright-Hayes Honoree by the U.S. Department of Education and will spend one month in India with her cohort in the summer of 2019.
Monica enjoys traveling to locations of historical significance and is especially fond of storming musty old castles in Europe to plunder wealth or rescue prisoners. This summer she explored Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Krakow, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Prague, and Amsterdam. She also discovered a heretofore-unbeknownst talent for pool volleyball whilst in Mexico.
Four lovely daughters sprang fully formed from Monica's head, as Athena from the brow of Zeus. They are all college graduates out seeking their fortune in far-flung corners of the world. Prior to coming to Willow Creek, Monica spent several years teaching in the San Francisco County Jail at Five Keys Charter School and also worked for the Tam District and Bridge the Gap College Prep.Lindsey Roberts -- 6th Grade Math and Science
Lindsey is a transplant to the Bay Area, moving from Colorado. She grew up in the small mountain town of Salida, where the winters were spent skiing and snowboarding, and hiking up mountains during the summer. After she graduated high school, she moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to study zoology at Colorado State University (Go Rams!). During her time at Colorado State University, she spent a summer as a stranding intern at The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands. She moved to the Bay Area after graduating college, and landed an internship with the San Francisco Zoo, where her love of educating grew. She spent the first year out of her undergrad taking animals to classrooms and teaching students science with the animals like snakes, parrots, falcons, opossums, and others.
Following this internship, Lindsey decided that she wanted to get to see a student's growth of knowledge over time, and to inspire more young women and students of color into the sciences. She enrolled in the University of San Francisco’s Master’s of Arts in Teaching program, to get her teaching credential and Masters. She has her Multiple Subject credential, and will be finishing her Single Subject credential in science and biology. Lindsey started at Willow Creek as an after school teacher in 2014, and fell in love with the unique Willow Creek community. She is beyond excited to work as a math and science teacher, and looking forward to sharing her passion and enthusiasm for the STEM subjects! As an educator she encourages her students to question the world around them, push themselves, and to view the world from different people’s perspectives.
During her free time, Lindsey will spend her time hiking or camping and exploring California. She also enjoys cooking and trying new recipes, reading and snuggling with her cat Ellie.Sean St. Denny -- 7th and 8th Grade MathSean St. Denny is a native San Franciscan who was first drawn to non-traditional education when he enrolled to be a member of the inaugural class of California's first charter high school. After graduating, he studied Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University before returning to home to run a small business.In 2010 he reconnected with his high school principal Mark Kushner who was in the process of founding San Francisco Flex Academy. After serving as an adviser to Mark and the board of trustees, he spent the next 5 years finding out how to best leverage online curricula, rich data, and on site educators to serve students of all ability levels.This experience has solidified his belief that the strongest outcomes only become a reality when each individual student finds that they are cared for and respected. He is passionate about creating unique educational opportunities that can help students reach their potential, and believes strongly in exploring math through its connections to our everyday experience, and through its integral relationship with science.Nate MacDonald -- 7th and 8th Grade Science
Nate is excited to join the Willow Creek teaching community this year. In addition to teaching 7th and 8th grade science, he is extremely passionate about creating the Willow Creek Maker Space for students.
Nate is a mechanical engineer with a Master’s degree in education. Throughout his 16 years of experience in teaching math, science, and engineering, he has worked with students in the inner city of San Francisco, and both public and private schools in Marin. Nate also leads other project-based learning educators through a program at Sonoma State University to understand and design Maker curriculum in STEM-related subjects.
A lifelong tinkerer, he formerly worked with Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) before realizing his true passion and switching course to become a teacher in the STEM field. A recipient of Marin County’s 2015 Golden Bell award for outstanding educators, Nate has led over 25 First Lego and First Robotics teams throughout his career with middle and high school students.
Nate recently left being the CEO of an educational toy company to return to the classroom. His talents and interests around integrating robotics, engineering, programming, and environmental science into core curriculum classes have given him a platform to inspire life-long learning in his students. In his free time, Nate enjoys mountain biking throughout Marin with his family and friends. He lives with his wife and three boys in Mill Valley.
Joann Powers -- 7th and 8th Grade EnglishI am thrilled to be able to realize my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. I come a little late to the game, having had an entire career in the newspaper publishing and advertising world. Therefore, I am all the more grateful to be able to share my knowledge and life experiences with our amazing 21st century students! I hope to learn as much from them as they do from me. Learning for Life is my personal credo.
My professional goal is to become an innovative teacher who provides a safe learning environment for all students. I welcome the challenge of constantly coming up with fresh ideas and strategies that will excite and motivate my students about English. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from San Diego State University and a single-subject teaching credential in English from Dominican University. This year, I will guide students through a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, including novels, plays, speeches, and poems. Our emphases will include multi-cultural studies, identity, and voice. I am passionate about teaching critical reading and writing, and I love working with middle school students!Roy Baker -- 7th and 8th Grade Social Studies
First and foremost, Roy is very excited to have found a home at Willow Creek Academy and is loving every moment he teaches Social Studies! This is Roy's fifth year at Willow Creek. Roy began his teaching career in 2006, at Stuart Preparatory School in Santa Rosa, CA where he taught ELA, P.E., Social Studies, Critical Thinking, and Science. Roy also served as the History Director and Head Upper Grades Teacher his last two years at Stuart School. Roy desires to help students create a collaborative learning environment and become positive members of the Willow Creek community. Roy likes to challenge students with authentic ways to think critically about what they are learning and how it relates to their own lives. He believes in cultivating a classroom culture that gives each student a safe place to engage in the learning process, and he encourages students to support each other and learn how to work as a team toward common goals.
Roy grew up on the San Francisco Peninsula, where he was an active student, athlete, musician, and Eagle Scout. He put himself through college at Sonoma State University, where he where double majored and received his B.A. with Distinction in History and Liberal Studies. Prior to teaching, Roy spent 12 years in corporate management, and was, at various times, a bookkeeper, tutor, and carpenter. He received his teaching credential from SSU and is credentialed to teach Social Studies, ELA, and Science in California.
When he is not dreaming up new lessons for our students, Roy can be found at home in Point Richmond with his wife, Cara Lyn, daughter, Evelyn, and dog, Kingsley.Belinda Perez Ingraham -- Spanish and Multicultural Studies
Belinda Ingraham is a Texas-born military kid who found a love for California at the age of 12. She is a mother and wife who really enjoys traveling and caring for our youth. Belinda has a diverse education preparing her to work in the health, justice, and education fields with great levels of cultural competence.Belinda has an extensive non-profit/public agency background. She has worked with Homeward Bound of Marin, the Marin County District Attorney's Office, and First Five of Marin. She continues to stay involved in the community volunteering for many different organizations. She serves on the Marin City Community Services District Board of Directors and the Parent Advisory Board for Tamalpais High school. She is also a commissioner for the Marin County Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission. Her motto is to live, love, and laugh always!