MEET OUR HILLDALE STAFF
Salt Lake City Business Office
Salt Lake City Business Office
Ms. Sarah Caracter
After School Teacher
Ms. Sarah Caracter is our After School Teacher for Grades 5-8. She believes education is ongoing and encourages her students to always learn something new and to work hard. Ms. Caracter is currently attending Skyline College in San Bruno, where she is finishing up her prerequisite courses; she plans to transfer to a university where she will obtain her degree in Visual Arts. Outside of Hilldale, Ms. Caracter enjoys taking her camera out to photograph beautiful sceneries, painting, listening to music, writing poetry, and hanging out with her nieces & nephews.
Ms. Briana Castro
After School Teacher
Ms. Briana Castro is the After School Teacher for Grades 3 & 4. Ms. Castro is currently in her junior year at San Francisco State University in the College of Health and Social Sciences. She has worked with youth for 3 years and her true passion is social work and working with families. She is involved in two organizations at San Francisco State including Humanas Unidas, a Latina-based Philanthropic organization, and Peer Health Exchange, a peer-based public health organization. Outside Hilldale, Ms. Castro enjoys reading books and going to the movies.
Ms. Sasha Clayton
Ms. Sasha Clayton is the Principal and Director of Hilldale School. She has a B.F.A. in Theatre from Drake University and a M.A. in Teaching from Concordia University. She holds her teaching credential for secondary English, Speech, and Theatre. Before coming to Hilldale in July 2007, she was the director of the Metropolis School of the Performing Arts in Arlington Heights, Illinois for four and a half years and, prior to that, a Kindergarten teacher for the Bernard Weinger JCC Early Learning Center. She has taught theatre to students of all ages. Ms. Clayton believes in challenging students in both product and process and in developing the whole child through access to critical thinking, rigorous academics, the arts, and character education. She believes in high expectations and in passionate teaching.
Mr. Dan Cohen
Señor Dan Cohen teaches Spanish to all of our students, grades K-8. He received a B.A. in Spanish Education from Kent State University in Ohio and an M.A. in Spanish/Latin-American Literature from San Francisco State University. He has also studied French, Hebrew, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and German. Sr. Cohen first participated in a Spanish student exchange program in high school, but his love for languages has brought him to many places around the globe. Sr. Cohen loves to work with the younger students because of their enthusiasm and their ability to grasp new languages. He believes that learning Spanish should be an interactive and enjoyable experience for students of all ages. He inspires all of our students to not only learn the Spanish language but also to use it and enjoy it.
Mr. Michael Dela Cruz
Ms. Mary Lou Dorgalli
As an Artist, Ms. Dorgalli enjoys observing the world around her through different perspectives as she expresses what she sees and learns through her artwork. As an Educator, she accommodates to each student’s level in art making so that they all may be receptive to the way art helps broaden their horizons. She believes the strongest aspect of the Art classroom is that it allows students to think creatively. She makes sure to take advantage of that when building her curriculum units, which are based off the California Visual Arts Standards. The lessons she creates give students a chance to develop those creative thinking skills and to become the innovators we need in the world today. To learn more about Ms. Dorgalli, her outlook on educating, and her portfolio, please check out her Artist and Educator video statement: https://youtu.be/-wZljkZrNmc.
Miss Hannah Dreibelbis
First Grade Teacher
Miss Dreibelbis is happy to be joining Hilldale as the First Grade Teacher. She grew up in York, Pennsylvania and earned her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. Before relocating to the Bay Area in 2016, Miss D. taught First Grade in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She also has experience teaching and completing fieldwork at a school in the Dominican Republic. Miss Dreibelbis strives to provide students with a high-quality education that meets his or her individual needs and present appropriate challenges while instilling a love of learning. She promotes confident learners and critical thinkers amongst culturally and linguistically diverse students. When she is not teaching, she enjoys exercising, cooking, going to the beach, and traveling.
Mr. Casey Dyson
Third Grade Teacher
Born in Hawaii, Casey Dyson first whetted his appetite for teaching while obtaining a B.A. in Sociology with a Spanish minor at the University of San Diego. During his four years at USD, Mr. Dyson traveled to Ghana, Africa to teach Third Grade English, Math, and Science for a summer before working the following year as a volunteer teacher in a Juvenile Hall. Upon graduating Cum Laude, Mr. Dyson spent a year teaching English in South Korea. After another summer of teaching, this time in Chengdu, China, he began studies that culminated in obtaining an M.A. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University. Work as a substitute teacher in the Bay Area led him to Hilldale, where he teaches Third Grade and supplements his teaching with activities that include surfing, playing basketball, writing, and playing duplicate bridge.
Mrs. Cherie Foge
Ms. Nelly Galvan
Ms. Maria Kemp
First Grade Teacher
Ms. Kemp is very happy to be teaching at Hilldale. She earned her Masters of Science in Education with an emphasis in English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from Western Oregon University in 2013. She’s traveled to many countries and continually feels very lucky to call the Bay Area home. She enjoys hiking, cooking and traveling with her husband, Trevor, and their dog, Miles.
Mrs. Amelia Kirk
Amelia Kirk is excited be the new music teacher for the 2015-2016 school year. She believes that education is the key to solving many of the problems in the world. Amelia received her BA in Music Education and K-12 certification from BYU – Idaho. She has experience teaching in a high school, teaching private lessons, and has also been teaching toddler/preschool music classes for the last 2 1/2 years. Amelia has been involved in music since she was a child. She has performed all over the world in children’s choruses, high school choirs and bands, and university choirs. She plays many instruments including at least one in each instrument family.
Mr. Garson Lee
Extended Care Director
Ms. Nicole Leonard
Ms. Leonard holds an MS in Clinical Psychology and has been working in the mental health field since 1992, providing care for children, families, and adults. She has been volunteering her time at Hilldale since her son was admitted into Hilldale’s Kindergarten, working as a tutor, substitute teacher, tour parent, and admin assistant. She also has worked closely with the Kindergarten teacher providing student support and evaluation. Ms. Leonard enjoys cooking, gardening, and above all, spending time with her son.
Mr. Alan Lew
After School Teacher
Mr. Alan Lew is currently the 2nd grade After School Teacher and has been working at Hilldale since June, 2014. He was born and raised in San Francisco but is a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan. In his spare time he enjoys trying new foods, studying the stock market, and playing basketball. He is currently attending Skyline College and plans to transfer to San Francisco State University in the Fall of 2016.
Mr. George Mahon
Mr. George Mahon is the art teacher for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. He moved to San Francisco this year from Dublin, Ireland where he was most recently teaching art and woodwork to high school students. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts Practice (specializing in sculpture) and a Post Graduate Degree in Art Education which he obtained from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Mr. Mahon is a practicing artist and spends much of his free time designing and making contemporary furniture. Mr. Mahon has an inherent passion for art and design and believes in exposing students to a wide range of media, artists, and styles. Through this they will develop their own individual style and preferences which will lay the foundation for an understanding and appreciation of the visual world as they progress through their schooling lives and beyond.
Mr. Bernardo Marquez
Industrial Designer with a Master Degree in Telecommunications with over 10 years experience in IT Support , as well as in Graphic Design, Web Design and Human – Computer Interaction. Since 2008, He’s been supporting a wide variety of companies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as On-call IT Support Contractor. Mr. Marquez came to Hilldale School in December 2013 and since then has been supporting the IT needs of the school.
Ms. Joan Matignas
After School Teacher
Ms. Joanalyn (Joan) Matignas is the Kindergarten After School Teacher at Hilldale School. She started working at Hilldale in January, 2016. Her hobbies include running, hiking, and learning how to bake. She has completed three half marathons, and her goal is to run a race once or twice a year!
Mr. John Sittner
Mr. John Sittner, owner, acts as our business manager and overseer of maintenance and plant development.
Mrs. Kathi Sittner
Director of Curriculum
Mrs. Kathi Sittner, owner, acts as our curriculum coordinator and personnel manager. She received her B.A. in German, a Minor in French, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Beloit College in Wisconsin and taught German in grades 7-12. More recently, she received a national certification as a piano teacher from the American College of Musicians. She has lived in Germany and has traveled extensively throughout the world. Mrs. Sittner worked for many years as a professional genealogist and a published writer for genealogical magazines, and for the past ten years has been teaching private piano lessons. She was involved in the Utah public and private school systems for many years. She has done much research in gifted education, successful school techniques, and the best curricula in the various subjects. She believes in the wisdom of early childhood education, including instruction in languages, music, and general education. She also believes passionately in creating a superior education for her students, including making gifted teaching methodologies available to all students. Under her guidance, Hilldale’s students and teachers are truly “rising to the challenge!”
Mr. John Trapasso
Mr. John Trapasso teaches our middle school Literature, Language Arts, and Social Studies classes. He has taught English and Social Studies for 20 years, including 14 years at the San Francisco Day School. In addition to teaching, he worked as chairperson of a school committee researching current ideas for improving teaching and learning and worked to bring critical thinking to the top of the school’s agenda for self-improvement. With a love of both English and Social Studies, as well as a passion for infusing critical thinking skills into teaching, Mr. Trapasso brings an innovative and challenging edge to Hilldale’s curriculum. He believes that excellent teaching is active, engaging, and focused on developing understanding and the core skills of learning: close reading skills, complete analysis, and proper essay writing.
Mrs. Kimberly Valladares
Mrs. Kimberly is happy to be joining the staff of Hilldale School. She has worked with and taught children from as young as toddlers all the way through high school seniors. She believes that education is an ever evolving field, such that to remain effective it is important to keep children engaged, challenged, intrigued, and using their minds as critically as possible. “I work hard to ensure the classroom is an environment in which students can thrive and succeed in becoming independent, lifelong learners. As a teacher, I feel that it is vital to ensure that I am not only teaching to the mind of the student by building upon their existing skills, but I am helping them develop into a whole person, physically, socially, and emotionally.”
Mrs. Marina Voloshin
Pre-K Director/Head Teacher
Mrs. Marina Voloshin is the Head Teacher for Hilldale’s Pre-Kindergarten program. She has been passionate about education since a young age. She feels fortunate to have found something she is passionate about which also comes naturally to her. Ms. Marina has worked in preschools, elementary schools, and as a tutor for kids of many aged children. After graduating from SFSU with her BA in Child and Adolescent Development, she completed her student teaching in both First and Third grade classrooms. After becoming a mother, she took a couple of years off to care for her son. Upon his entry to preschool, Ms. Marina returned to school to get her Site Director permit and return to work. During her free time she enjoys spending time with her 4 year old son and husband. She is very excited to be a part of the Hilldale Family!
Ms. Kristy Voluntad
After School Teacher
Kristy Voluntad is the First Grade After School Teacher. She was born and raised in San Francisco. Kristy began working at Hilldale in August, 2015. She is currently seeking her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State and will be graduating this Spring, 2016. Kristy’s strengths include facilitating small group activities during fun Fridays and creating a welcoming environment for the families at Hilldale. When not working, Kristy enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, traveling, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Nicole Woolley
Fourth Grade Teacher
Ms. Woolley teaches Fourth Grade. She has a BA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Social Science, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. Ms. Woolley taught Fifth Grade at an International School in Costa Rica; she taught Third Grade and student taught in a Fourth-Fifth multi-age classroom. She believes in fostering the whole child and that every student should be internationally-minded. She brings this into the classroom by incorporating real world activities, having open discussions, providing simulation activities, and fostering interdisciplinary skills. A student who encompasses this profile will have all the resources to be successful no matter where they live or what they do. She sets high expectations for all students, and helps each child reach his or her goal by building strong organizational skills and confidence.
Ms. Jennifer Yamanoha
Fifth Grade Teacher
Welcome to Ms. Yamanoha’s Fifth Grade class! Ms. Jennifer Yamanoha holds a Masters of Art Degree in Teaching and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the University of California, Irvine. She has taught Sixth Grade and Second Grade and also has experience as an education researcher. Ms. Yamanoha enjoys an interactive classroom where students can build their own knowledge. She believes that students should practice cognitive strategies to develop and complement their unique learning styles, thereby becoming independent, lifelong learners. Furthermore, Ms. Yamanoha believes in nourishing the whole child: physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally. She finds that modeling respect for children helps them to respect themselves and others in turn, so that they may feel free to try, fail, succeed, and finally excel.
Mr. Ben Yurman-Glaser
Middle School Math & Science Teacher
Mr. Yurman-Glaser (or Mr. Y-G as some students call him) teaches Math, Science, and Health to 6-8th Graders at Hilldale School. Education runs deep in Mr. Yurman-Glaser’s family. After growing up and going to college in upstate New York, Mr. Yurman-Glaser moved to New York City and taught in Brooklyn. He then moved to San Francisco with his bride-to-be and spent some time working on political campaigns in the Bay Area. While in the Bay Area, Mr. Yurman-Glaser spent three years as an education and environmental policy analyst to the Mayor of San Jose. Mr. Yurman-Glaser believes that Math and Science should be engaging, stimulating, and relevant. He provides an atmosphere filled with questions and critical thinking.