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OUR TEAM

Our faculty and staff combine passion, dedication, and flexibility with the wisdom of many years spent teaching children to achieve their potential.

Pictured above: Our in-person professional development training with our teachers, two weeks prior to the start of the 2023-24 school year (come meet us as we are ready to inspire).

our school leadership

Wendy & her daughter
Wendy Xa

Founding Head of School

Neuroscientist. Nature Enthusiast. Quadrilingual. Mom.

After founding Presidio Knolls, the award-winning private Mandarin-immersion school in San Francisco, Wendy had a vision for a pioneering school that could combine language immersion, nature-based education, and social-emotional learning into a unified program. As we enter our fifth year in operations, Terra Marin is the exemplification of this vision.

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Shauna Sullivan, M.Ed.

Preschool Director
Cat & child whisperer. Math wiz, Avid reader and book collector. Proud grandmother.

M.A. and B.A. in Education with a focus in mathematics from SFSU.  Multiple Subject Clear Teaching Credential. 25+ years of classroom experience. Cat and children whisperer. Grandmother of three adorable preschoolers.

Teachers
 

are at the heart of our program

Teachers are at the heart of our program. With a <1% acceptance rate, we hire only teachers who can create magical learning experiences in the classroom. Our teachers have previous experience teaching in Forest, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Language Immersion schools. And small student-teacher ratios (5:1 in preschool through transitional kindergarten, 8:1 in kindergarten through 8th grade) allow our teachers to provide the personalized attention your child needs to thrive.

our Lower School TEACHERS

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Riva Zippin
Kindergarten & 1st Grade 
Contagious laughter. Doting aunt. Ms. Frizzle Dress-Alike.

B.A. from UC Berkeley. 18 years of teaching experience. Multi-subject accredited elementary teacher. 

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Josephine Mong, M.A.
K-4 Literacy Specialist 

Avid Hiker. Owned a theater company for 20 years, working with at-risk teenagers.

MA in Interdisciplinary Education-Reading Emphasis and BA in multisubject from Santa Clara University, CA. Has K-8 Multiple Subject Clear Teaching Credential. 20+ years teaching experience.

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Angela Perez, M.A.
2nd Grade

Music lover. Avid reader.

Born in Mexico. Bachelor's degree in Preschool education and a Masters degree in Pedagogy. With 30 years of experience of teaching.

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Andy Trapp
3rd & 4th Grade
Skier. Mountain biker. Rock band drummer.

B.A. from the University of Michigan. Multi-subject accredited elementary teacher. 12 years of teaching experience. Father of two.

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Tianxing Yao, M.Ed.
Mandarin Kindergarten
Talented poet. Amusement park enthusiast.

M.A. in Education from the University of San Francisco. B.A. in Electrical Engineering from Xi’ an Shiyou University in China. 9 years of teaching experience.

OUR Upper School TEACHERS&

Math TEACHERS for Band Scheduling

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Alyssa Chong
5-8th Grade Science/Earth Educator
Avid athlete.     

B.A. in Applied Physics and Math from St. Mary's College.  Previously taught high school and middle school science in Oakland and San Diego. Captain of her varsity volleyball teams in both college and high school.

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Lily Panyacosit, M.S.
5th & 6th Grade, Co-Founder
Clinical Herbalist. Healer. Life Coach.     

M.S. in Environmental Health Science at UC Berkeley and B.A. in International Environmental Studies University of Southern California. Multigeneration Educator, Avid Student of Nature and Mindfulness, Mother of 3 daughters.

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Agustin Olmedo
7th-8th Grade Math

Bilingual. Father of a preschool girl.

B.A. in Mathematics from SFSU.  Teaches 6th grade math, 7th grade pre-algerbra and 8th grade algebra. First of his extended family to graduate college and wants to help others to do the same. 

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Richard Gottesman, Ph.D.

Virtual Upper School Pre-Calculus Math
Child genius. Passionate about math. 

Ph.D. in Math at the University of California and B.A. in math at Brown University. 10 years teaching math to middle school, high school and college students.

Michael Field
Upper School Math
Ultimate frisbee, hiking, and gardening. Cook. Slam Poet. Guitarist.    

B.A. in Mathematics & Philosophy from Brown University. 10 years teaching experience. Meditation teacher. 

Teachers
John Serena
Upper School Math

Archaeology and History Buff. Bilingual.

B.A. in Philosophy from the University of MN, Twin Cities.  18 years experience. Trained in Lindamood-Bell methodology. Also teaches beginning Spanish.

OUR Language TEACHERs for band scheduling
K - 8th grade Mandarin and Spanish classes, Preschool and TK Mandarin and Spanish Immersion

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Patricia Etchekan, M.A.
Mandarin Preschool

Singer in Music Video. Natural athlete. Quadrilingual.

M.A. in Chinese Language & Literature at Inner Mongolia University, China. B.S. in Preschool Education at Inner Mongolia Normal University and  B.S in software engineering from Groupe Pigier, Côte d’Ivoire. 6 years of preschool teaching experience. Fluent in Mandarin, French, and English. Proficient in Spanish.                                                                                                

 

Emili Herrera
Spanish Preschool
Hardworking. Fearless. Enthusiastic.

Teacher with 6 years of experience. Loving daughter, and friend.                                                                   

Boyan Harlie Li, M.A., PhD
Mandarin Preschool

Cat Lover. Professional Photographer

Ph.D. in Education and M.A. in Education and B.A. in of TESOL at at Lee University Cleveland, TN.

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Sandra Aranda, M.S.
Spanish TK
Poetess, musicophile and star observer.

B.S. in Speech Pathology and Master of Science in Neuropsychology and Education in Mexico City. My love for children started from being raised in a big Mexican family. I look forward to teaching the youth Spanish while connecting with the incredible California nature.

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Jing Huang, M.Ed
Mandarin Preschool
Explorer

Master in Education from Guangxi University, China, and B.A. in Chinese Literature from Jishou University. 10 years of experience teaching Mandarin around the world, including Thailand, China, Texas, and England.                                              

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Ana K Escobar 
Spanish Preschool
Epicure. Dancer.  

B.S. in Education at Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Mexico. 8 years of experience with preschool, elementary, and college level teaching.  My mother was also a preschool teacher, and my father was a teacher too. I am grateful to be here and can't wait to meet your children.     

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Ke Ding, M.A.
Mandarin TK Teacher
Positive & Energetic, Cinephile,  Dancer.

BA and MA in language education at Coventry University, UK. CDA(Child Development Associate) credential issued by The University of Pennsylvania. 8 years of teaching experience.

Xuan Luo
Xuan Luo, MD
SF Kindergarten Mandarin Teacher

Healer, Organizer, Mother of a Preschooler

Bachelor degree in Medicine from Changsha Medical university and have spend 10+ years as an acupuncturist and pediatrician.  After having my baby girl four years ago, I find my career moving to Early Childhood Education.

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Zengming Ren, M.A.
2 yr Mandarin Preschool

Musician, Singer, and Epicure

M.A. in Education at the University of Findlay, Ohio, and B.A. in Law at Zhengzhou University, He Nan Sheng, China.

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Angela Perez, M.A.
K-8th Grade Spanish

Music lover. Avid reader.

Born in Mexico. Bachelor's degree in Preschool education and a Masters degree in Pedagogy. With 27 years of experience of teaching.

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Shudan Yang, M.A., M.Ed
K-8th Grade Mandarin

Lifelong learner. Avid reader.

M.A. in Chinese & Multiple-Subject Teacher Credential Program at University of SF, M.Ed. in East China Normal University, Shanghai, and B.A. in Chinese Education at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

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Yan Zhang, M.A.
Mandarin Preschool

Chinese Painter, Artist and Epicure

Bachelor's degree in Hospitality and Business Adminstration at San Diego State University, and a Master's degree in Education at San Francisco State U. Previous a Preschool Assistant Director.

OUR ARTS, EARTH eDUCATION,
aftercare & PE teachers

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"Cat Austin" Simon, M.A.
PK - 8th Grade Music 

Avid Hiker. Owned a theater company for 20 years, working with at-risk teenagers.

MA in Theater from Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas, and a BA in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Theater Teaching Credential. 20+ years teaching experience in music and the arts.

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Jasmine de Lung, M.A. 

5-8 Art Teacher/Kid Tech Lab
Space Beautifier, Spelling Bee Genius, Former Somatic Psychotherapist, Fine Art Cake Maker.

B.S. in Cognitive Science at UC San Diego and M.A. in Psychology at CA Institute of Intergral Studies. 4 years as a somatic pyschotherapist and 17 years as a fine art cake maker.

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Aidan Gavet
Drama, PE & Safety Director 

Actor. Playwright. Director. Music video producer. Hairdo freestyler.

Studied at the National Institute for the Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Australia, the American Conservatory Theatre, and SF State University. Over 16 years teaching experience in drama and the arts.

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Kenneth Berremen, M.Ed.

International Trip Coordinator & Earth Educator
Travel enthusiast. SAT tutor, Trilingual.

Masters in Multicultural and Bilingual Education at U de Alcalá - Instituto Franklin. B.S. in Environmental Science & Agriculture at UC Davis. 5+ years traveling and teaching English, Science, and Math around the world, in Spain, Ecuador, Thailand, and Vietnam. " I am excited to use my knowledge of planning and running international programs to create meaningful experiences for students and give context to their education."

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Dylan Turner, M.A., Ph.D
PK Earth Educator 

Avid Hiker. Preschool Teacher, Equity Advocate

Accredited Early Childhood Educator,  Ph.D. in Anthropology at City University of New York. M.A. in Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. B.A. in Anthropology and Philosophy (Joint Honors) at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.  15 Years early childcare experience and Member of Marin Primary chapter of SEED, a peer-led professional development program that creates conversational communities to drive personal, organizational and societal change toward greater equity and diversity.

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Alek Cordeiro
Physical Education (rejoining Terra Marin in August)

Growth Mindset, Goal-Oriented.

B.A in Psychology at Sonoma State University. 7 years experience with ages 18 months to 18 years. Will coach skills in soccer, basketball, football, volleyball, and track and field. Fluent in Portugese.

Our ADMINISTRATORS & Staff

Administration
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Johanna Cervantes 
Admissions
Marathon runner & standup comedian.

BA in Environmental Studies and Theology & Religious Studies from USF.  Fluent in English and Spanish. 

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Rebecca Lewis 
Operations/Front Desk
Loves her dog, Hermione.Tough Mudderer.

B.S. in Early Child Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Previously, 4 years as an administrator at a Veterinary hospital and 13 years as a preschool teacher. 

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Esther Cruz, MBA 
Philanthropy & Community

Epicure. Hiker. Mother of one boy.  

MBA in Marketing from Wharton, U Penn and BS in Math and Sociology from Wheaton College. 8 Years experience in project management and marketing. Speaks conversational Mandarin and survival Spanish. 

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Mitch Harris

IT
Tech Geek. Cosmologist. Philosopher.  

A Northern Arizona Honors Program Graduate in Psychology and English, Mitch helped folks with their computers in college and never stopped. For fun, Mitch likes music, poker, and debating the nature of reality.

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Melody Hitt, M.Ed., Ph.D. Candidate

Director of Institutional Advancement
Avid backpacker and have helped identify several species of fungi.

MS in Education from SFSU and BS in Organizational Leadership from California Lutheran University.  Melody brings over 20 years of Contracts and Grant Administration to our school. Being an educator themselves, Melody understands the importance of funding collaboration, and how to meet the needs of the students, faculty, and school.

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Enhui Luo
Custodian
Loves seafood and being a grandfather.

B.A. in Mechanical Engineering at Yingkou University and worked 16 years as a mechanical engineer, designing products that help clear water pollution. Grew up in Yingkou, China, which is near North Korea and is known for its fresh seafood.

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Suyi (Susan) Liu, Ph.D., M.Ed
Teacher and Administrator
Forward-thinking and always prepared. Dedicated. 

Ph.D. in Language Studies at De La Salle University, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education at University of Houston, TX.  B.A. in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University in KS. B.A. in English at Zhengzhou University. 11 years of experience with PK-4th grade children.      

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Michael Pastor
Bus Driver - Marin

Served in the Navy, Has a grown daughter

San Francisco native. Punctual, 17 years as a bus driver. Previously, served as a building and property manager.

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Cassidy Moore, M.M.
Advertising and Communications Strategy

Hiker. Violinist. Creative.

Master in Music from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and Bachelor cum laude in Music from Lynn Conservatory of Music with full-tuition scholarship. Native New Yorker, Californian at heart. 3+ yrs in Social Media Content Development and Strategy.

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Xavier Seguin, M.M.
Marketing

Traveler, Polyglot

B.A. (candidate) in International Business Management at Haute Ecole de Gestion, Geneva, Switzerland. Experience in marketing and business administration

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Melvin Watson 
Bus Driver - San Francisco
Loves bikes, father of four grown children.

Born in Galveston, TX.  Previously owned and operated a bike shop, spent 22 years as a building manager in the Presidio, and worked a few years at another K8 school in SF.

Board & Advisors

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORS

Wendy Xa, Board President
Levi Leavitt, Board Member
Jen Guittard, Board Member & Advisor
Jane Camblin, Advisor
John Gunnarson, Advisor

 
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