Support StaffPosted by Tara Seekins on 8/15/2014 10:00:00 AMErin Baker -- Data Manager
Erin grew up in the Bay Area and spent most of her life in Sonoma County before moving to Marin a year ago. In 2009, she graduated from California State University, Chico with her Bachelor’s in Anthropology. During her sophomore year of college, she was fortunate enough to travel to England where she took part in several internships including an archaeological dig in York and a position at a museum located in Cambridge. During her last summer as a college student, she traveled to the island of Antigua to take part in an Archaeological Field Study. After graduation, Erin participated in a Cultural Resource internship at a national park in Virginia where she learned a great deal about maintaining historical collections and utilizing an archival database. With regards to education, she has spent several years working as a special education teaching assistant at several schools where she took great pride in helping students gain confidence and learn important skills. Before coming to Willow Creek, she was fortunate enough to work for Lucas Film as a temporary Archives Assistant where she got to completely geek out over Star Wars collectibles. Erin loves the coast, hiking, reading Sci-fi/Fantasy novels, and playing PC games in her spare time.
She is very excited to be working at Willow Creek Academy!Eliza Cummings -- Counselor
Eliza is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with Bay Area Community Resources. She holds an undergraduate degree from Tufts University and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of CA. Eliza has worked with children and students for many years, in a variety of capacities. The past six years she has provided counseling services in Marin County schools. In addition to working in the schools, Eliza has a private practice in San Rafael and in Corte Madera, specializing in helping children, teens and families. Originally from Chicago, Eliza has lived in the Bay Area for over 20 years and loves to hike the Bay Area trails with her energetic dog, Odin. She is looking forward to her fourth year at Willow Creek Academy.Carlos Gonzalez -- Student Support Specialist (K-4)My name is Carlos Gonzalez. I was born in Durango, Mexico. I came to the United States at the tender age of five and settled in Berkeley, CA. I attended Berkeley public schools which allowed me to grow up in a very culturally diverse environment. After years in the construction industry I attended evening classes at Berkeley City College. There, I was involved in the PACE program, which is a program set up for working adults who can only attend school in the evening or the weekend. I then attended Cal State East Bay in Hayward, CA, graduating with honors with a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and Human Development. I volunteered at Cherryland Elementary school in Hayward for over five years as an academic mentor, interpreter, and also working with at risk youth to provide social and academic support to children from all walks of life. I also participated in different gang prevention programs to help steer kids away from gangs and to also teach parents the signs of gang affiliation. Most recently, I worked as a paraeducator serving special education students in San Rafael City Schools. I believe in a hands-on approach and project based learning. I also believe in parent participation and the huge difference that it can make in a child's life.Jasmin Hall -- Student Support Specialist (5-8)I first joined the Willow Creek Academy staff in 2012 as a Student Support Specialist with a desire to assist our students in becoming better critical thinkers and communicators. As of Fall of 2018-2019, I am excited to move into the role of After School Program Director. I am a parent myself with my two sons, Robert and Kernus, who graduated from Willow Creek Academy.I am invested in this school as a part of my community. I want to be supportive to the students and families of Willow Creek Academy through proactive practices of restorative justice, dialoguing, community building, encouragement, and accountability. I believe in the power of self-reflection and I want to teach our students to use it as a tool that helps guide them in making productive choices for themselves and their community.Allison Lichter -- Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Allison grew up in the East Bay and lived in Solano County before moving to Marin with her husband and two children in 2012. She has extensive experience in Banking and Financial Services, most recently having worked for the North Bay Schools Insurance Authority, before taking time off to raise her son and daughter, both students at Willow Creek Academy.
Allison is very committed to providing exceptional early childhood education and development to Willow Creek students. For the past 4 years, she's been volunteering as a room parent and spending regular time in classrooms and on field trips. Allison is a serious animal-lover and is passionate about animal welfare and protecting the environment. She is a proud owner of three Chihuahuas. Allison enjoys hiking, being outdoors and traveling the world to experience other cultures with her family.
Hi my name is Eliana Mayes. I’m originally from Sao Paulo – Brazil, and my native language is Portuguese. Also I’m fluent in English language, and have some conversational skills in Spanish language. I’ve been living in United Sates for 16 years and living in Mill Valley for 5 years. Because teaching children has always been my dream, I went back to college for the second time. I earned my first degree, in Portugese literature, when I lived in Brazil. Later, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Development from San Francisco State University, and I’m current enrolled in the Master's degree and teaching credential program at Dominican University. Before returning to college, I worked for large corporations in Brazil and United States for about 15 years. My hobbies are playing volleyball, dancing, and spending time with family. I’m really passionate about running! I ran the Marin County half marathon last April and the San Francisco half marathon on July 31st. I need one more half marathon to reach my goal this year!Joel Villalobos -- Student Support Specialist (5-8)Joel Villalobos was born in San Francisco and raised in Richmond, California where his passion for education began. All the support gained through various mentors motivated him to pursue working with students in order to give others the same support he was given all throughout his educational experience. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz and majored in Environmental Studies with a minor in Education. Throughout college he worked in various settings with students. Joel worked in summer camp programs with the YMCA and COSMOS, which is a 4-week program that supports gifted students in math and science. Joel has also worked in a more traditional classroom setting in Costanoa High School, a continuation school located in Santa Cruz. There he maintained great student relationships with students who often had behavioral issues with the intention to increase their academic success.
Recently he finished a year working as a Teaching Assistant and Mentor at Tahoma High School in San Jose. He worked closely with 9th and 12th graders in their academics and provided emotional support throughout the day. That experience increased his passion to pursue counseling as it is often undervalued and forgotten. Joel loves to bring humor when working with students as well as encourage students to strive for their best in and outside the classroom. Joel is excited to bring his joy and passion for assisting students to Willow Creek Academy this upcoming year.Melissa Lopez -- 2nd Grade Literacy Assistant TeacherMelissa's love for educating children developed from an early age through babysitting and mentoring younger schoolmates growing up. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Health Education at San Francisco State University and is pursuing her teaching credential through CalState Teach. Melissa worked as an Assistant Teacher in kindergarten for 4 years and is now working in 2nd grade, specializing in literacy. Melissa's goal is to excite young minds through experimentation, critical thinking and discovery. Teaching children to be kind to one another, to the Earth, and to themselves is Melissa's goal as an educator and there is no better place than Willow Creek Academy to help instill these values.Sumaira Modan -- 1st Grade Literacy Assistant Teacher
Sumaira Modan has been living in the Bay Area for the past 15 years. She grew up in Toronto and graduated from the University of Toronto where she received a B.S. in Psychology specializing in child development. Over the years, Sumaira has volunteered and has helped new immigrant families get assimilated into their new society.This will be Sumaira’s fifth year as an assistant teacher in 1st grade at Willow Creek. Sumaira has been a parent volunteer since 2004. She has a son in 9th grade and a daughter who is in her 2nd year of university. Both are WCA graduates. She has seen WCA grow and flourish into a wonderful school with a strong foundation for our students. She enjoys the diverse community and appreciates the parents’ involvement with the school. She speaks four languages, other than English, and loves to learn about new cultures. Her hobbies include baking, gardening, and hiking.Karima Seghier Salem -- 5th Grade Assistant TeacherKarima Seghier Salem was born and grew up in Algeria! She is married and has three beautiful kids. She has lived in the Bay Area for over 14 years. Karima earned her Bachelor's degree in fashion design and art, and she is currently working on her California teaching credential. Karima loves to work with kids, especially students with special needs. She speaks four languages: French, Arabic, Algerian dialect, and English. Karima loves cooking and painting, and her favorite sport is soccer.Guillaume Pfahl -- Head ChefBorn and raised in San Francisco with French upbringing, Chef Guillaume wanted to work in the culinary world since a young age. Raised in a home where both his father and grandmothers cooked homemade, family recipes, Guillaume found that the most common thread in life is family and food.With over 15 years experience, Guillaume brings a wide range of technique and creativity to the WCA Conscious Kitchen. Guillaume started his culinary journey at the local Sausalito restaurant, Angelino's. After building a base of technique from an Italian perspective, he worked at a Michelin Star restaurant in his family's hometown of Nice, France. There he learned the art of French cuisine with a Japanese twist, an experience that shaped the chef he is today. Upon returning from France, Guillaume supported the opening of local Sausalito Cafe, Cibo, where he truly learned the importance of local, sustainable cuisine. After his time there, he held two Executive Sous Chef positions at the St. Francis Yacht Club and at Taste Catering in San Francisco.When Guillaume is not serving organic, fresh meals to WCA students, he spends his time with his family in Larkspur, CA. He enjoys exploring Mt Tam by Mountain bike and hiking with his wife and dog.