Meet the team

Staff Directory
Fernando Aguilar : Director

Fernando Aguilar


Fernando earned a BA at Humboldt State University and an MA in education at the University of San Francisco. His 14 years of teaching experience include work at the Hawthorne School in Oakland; the River East School in East Harlem, NY; Ryder Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY, and CACS. In his spare time, Fernando likes spending time with his family, going to the beach, and trying to find good pizza.

Ann Ledo-Lane : Director of Arts Programming and Resource Development

Ann Ledo-Lane

Director of Arts Programming and Resource Development

Ann leads with 20 years of education experience, commitment and passion in developing inclusive, innovative, and arts-integrated project based curriculum. She received her Masters in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to her work in San Francisco, Ann served as an inclusion, special education and arts specialist in Washington, DC, and New York City, and is currently an adjunct instructor in the School of Education at SF State. She believes that the arts are essential in teaching and learning. Ann loves to make things with her family and explore nature as much as possible.

Jenny Kipp : Director of Operations

Jenny Kipp

Director of Operations

Jenny has been with Creative Arts for 5 years, first as a parent to her 2 boys, then as the Coordinator of Community Engagement, and now as our Director of Operations. Jenny has an extensive background in business, having owned a personal training business for 10 years on the east coast prior to coming to California as well as a green cleaning business in Puerto Rico. Read More

Lynicha Smith : Administrative Assistant

Lynicha Smith

Administrative Assistant
Maria Jenerik : Middle School Administrator

Maria Jenerik

Middle School Administrator

After 20 years in the radio business, Maria pursued her dream of becoming a teacher, working first as a paraprofessional and later teaching 3rd, 6th,7th and 8th grades at Creative Arts. Maria serves as coach of five CACS sports teams, and in her classroom, she employs project-based learning that draws on her passion for theater, social and environmental justice, outdoor education, and service learning.

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Brooke Nagel : Lower School Administrator

Brooke Nagel

Lower School Administrator

Brooke holds a BA in Literature and a BS in Elementary Education from Boston University, and an MA in Art and Art Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She is passionate about advocating for the arts in public schools as tools for educational equity, and believes in creating joyful learning experiences for all children. Brooke's teaching experience includes 7 years of classroom teaching at CACS and 5 years of teaching bilingual students in east San Jose. Read More

Alexis Markavage : Teacher KA

Alexis Markavage

Teacher KA

Alexis graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and Graphic Design. In 2014, after leading an after school program at a Title 1 elementary school, she decided to switch gears to become a teacher. She received her 2042 Multiple Subject Credential from Dominican University of California and is currently in the process of obtaining her MA in Education from Dominican. She has always been interested in problem solving through the creative lens of a designer. She believes that, like graphic design, teaching requires critical thinking, trial and error, and creativity. She enjoys helping students reach their creative potential and use design-thinking to solve everyday problems. On the side, she practices illustration, inspired by the artwork of her students.

Damian Canny : Teacher PE

Damian Canny

Teacher PE

Angela True : 8th Grade Humanities

Angela True

8th Grade Humanities

Before becoming a teacher, Angela spent 10 years in the adoption field as an Adoption Caseworker after growing her family through International Adoption in 2002. She earned her BA in Psychology from Bates College in Maine and went on the acquire a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Boston College. She is currently both a certified teacher and a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist. As her daughter transitioned to middle school, Angela decided to change careers and become a teacher. Prior to coming to CACS last year, she worked at Argonne Elementary in several different grades.

She feels strongly that CACS is a perfect match for her skills and interests and has discovered a real joy in teaching middle school students.  When she is not at work, Angela likes to read, spend quality time with her daughter and other family members in the Bay Area, and keep her two cats from ransacking her apartment.

Christina Herd : 2nd Grade

Christina Herd

2nd Grade

Christina Herd was born and raised in the Bay Area. She grew up in the Western Addition, attending schools such as John Swett Elementary School (now named Civic Center Secondary School) and attending the after school program at the Buchanan YMCA. She holds a BA in English and an Art Minor from Mills College in Oakland and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Christina earned her Master’s in Education from the Bay Area Teaching Training Institute via University of Pacific, Stockton. Prior to joining CACS she interned and taught at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, was employed by UC Berkeley as an Event Specialist and still works as an on-call librarian at Oakland Public Library. She loves every aspect of art and aims toward integrating it into every aspect of the classroom community. Outside of school Christina loves learning about local history, dancing, listening to music, and maintaining her health by hiking, exercising regularly, and trying new vegan cuisines.

Abigail Peterson : 7th Grade Math and Science Teacher and Advisor

Abigail Peterson

7th Grade Math and Science Teacher and Advisor

Abby earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education with a focus on Biology, earned a supplement in Mathematics, and earned her Multiple Subject credential from California State University Northridge. She is entering her 6th year of teaching middle school Mathematics and Science and has previously worked at a charter school in Los Angeles before moving to the Bay Area. She is excited to be part of a team that emphasizes rigorous curriculum based on the new Common Core Standards, a curriculum that focuses on learning and exploration through project based tasks, and a team that emphasizes the importance of community and social-emotional growth.  

On her free time Abby enjoys testing her creativity as well as exploring and interacting with the different cultures, people, and traditions the world has to offer. Some of her favorite hobbies include: designing and sewing her own clothing, painting and crafts, attending festivals and concerts, hiking and camping, taking what some would say is an unreasonable amount of pictures of her very handsome and charismatic cat Oliver, and backpacking to new and exciting places with great friends.

Ron Buchanan : Teacher KB

Ron Buchanan

Teacher KB

Ron earned a BA and MA in English literature and later a teaching credential at San Francisco State University. In 2000, after numerous years teaching in early childhood, he joined the staff of Creative Arts, where he has taught Kindergarten and 1st grade ever since. Ron is committed to fostering a learning environment that grows the whole child, taking into account social, emotional, physical and academic needs. Ron and his wife have two teenage children who attended Creative Arts. In his spare time, Ron enjoys traveling, reading, listening to music and playing basketball.

Mary-Eileen Gallagher : Teacher 1st Grade A

Mary-Eileen Gallagher

Teacher 1st Grade A

Mary-Eileen Gallagher earned her Master's degree in Elementary Education from Stanford University in 2012. She holds a BA in English from Whitman College, and was a Division I basketball player at Northeastern University. Mary-Eileen's teaching approach combines her love of educational theory, her regard for the whole-child, and her unique past experiences as an art, garden, and P.E. teacher. Mary-Eileen lovingly co-creates with her students a classroom that is developmentally appropriate for young learners, where children's natural curiosity and joy lead the learning process. Outside of school, Mary-Eileen enjoys whale watching, making art, and outdoor adventures.

Katie Brinkley : 2nd Grade Teacher

Katie Brinkley

2nd Grade Teacher

Katie is a San Francisco native who earned her BA in child and Adolescent Development at SFSU. She’s taught Kindergarten through Fourth grade in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Mateo as well as summer science and math classes and an after school technology course. Katie is passionate about reading instruction and the benefits of being a life long learner. She integrates her prior knowledge as a child development major with extensive experience and ongoing professional development to create and maintain an effective and warm learning environment where all students can succeed.  She has a background in the arts as a poet, actress, theater technician, musician, painter, and all around crafty person. In her free time she likes to play music, make art, swim, surf, hike, rock climb, read, and spend time with her daughter.

Mizuho Shiomi : 2nd Grade Teacher

Mizuho Shiomi

2nd Grade Teacher

Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Mizuho came to San Francisco in 2007 to attend the University of San Francisco where she received her bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and teaching credential. She is passionate about using creativity as a differentiation tool in the classroom. Mizuho grew up playing ice hockey, soccer, and volleyball; and she recently started playing golf. In her free time she likes to read and play sports.

Justin August : Teacher 3A

Justin August

Teacher 3A

Justin holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Denison University and a Masters of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining CACS he was a Teacher in Philadelphia, a Teaching Assistant in Oakland, an IT Manager, a farm volunteer at the Alemany Farm and built houses with Habitat for Humanity. Justin really enjoys a fun and serious classroom atmosphere - expect equal amounts Captain Underpants and challenging questions. He enjoys riding and tinkering with his bikes, watching bad TV, and brewing good coffee. Most weekends you'll find him with his fiancé and their beagle exploring or at home reading with his cats.

Malcolm Richards : Teacher 4B

Malcolm Richards

Teacher 4B

Malcolm earned his teaching credential through the Bay Area Teachers Training Institute (BATTI), and brings with him a variety of teaching experiences, both in and out of the classroom. Prior to working at CACS, he worked as an assistant teacher at The Hamlin School in San Francisco, tutored students in Minneapolis through an Americorps program, and taught environmental education in varied locales, including coastal Maine and Livermore, CA. Malcolm enjoys creating new and engaging curriculum that requires students to challenge themselves and collaborate with each other. Outside of teaching, Malcolm is a dedicated marathon runner.

Laura Farley : 5th Grade

Laura Farley

5th Grade

Laura holds a BS in Environmental Science from Santa Clara University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction through the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI). Before joining CACS, she worked as an Associate Teacher at Katherine Delmar Burke School. Other past work experiences include directing the after school program at Presidio Hill School and teaching as a naturalist for San Joaquin Outdoor School in the Santa Cruz mountains. Laura enjoys designing and implementing creative curriculum that engages multiple learning styles. Outside of school, she enjoys hiking, camping and traveling, as well as spending time with friends and family.

Dylan Brock : 4th Grade

Dylan Brock

4th Grade

Dylan earned his BA in History from San Francisco State University, his Teaching Credential and MA through the Bay Area Teachers Training Institute (BATTI). He is beginning his second year working at Creative Arts. Prior to working at CACS he was a substitute teacher for Chinese American International School, Live Oak School, and Children’s Day School. Previously, Dylan worked as an assistant teacher at The San Francisco Friends School. As a professional musician Dylan spent numerous years performing, recording and touring throughout America. He enjoys hiking, traveling, looking at art, trying the many restaurants in San Francisco, shopping at thrift stores for that perfect cardigan sweater, playing various stringed instruments and collecting vinyl.

Joanna Milligan : Teacher 5B

Joanna Milligan

Teacher 5B

Joanna joined CACS in 2012 after spending two years as a Fifth Grade Associate Teacher at the San Francisco Day School. Joanna received her BS in Elementary Education and Psychology from the University of Vermont in 2007. She is committed to utilizing the practices of Responsive Classroom as a teacher, to using the arts as both a modality for learning and an engine for differentiation, and to contributing to a school culture that emphasizes community and respect. In her free time, she enjoys riding her bicycle, cooking, reading, and spending quality time with her partner and dog.

Alexandra Graham : 6th Grade Math abd Science Teacher - Advisor

Alexandra Graham

6th Grade Math abd Science Teacher - Advisor

Ali earned her Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of Oregon double majoring in Human Physiology and General Science and Minored in Chemistry. She received her teaching credential and is currently pursuing an MA in Arts of Teaching from the University of San Francisco. Growing up in Lake Tahoe, California, Ali loves the outdoors and enjoys skiing, hiking and camping. Ali is passionate about teaching, and is driven to help students succeed and enjoy science and math while also helping to nurture social and emotional learning. Ali loves teaching 6 th grade and integrating arts and project-based learning into rigorous academic curriculum at CACS.

Nicole Evashenk : 6th Grade Teacher

Nicole Evashenk

6th Grade Teacher

Coco earned her BA from University of California, Santa Barbara double majoring in History and Sociology.  She received her teaching credential from the University of San Francisco and is currently finishing her Masters in Education there this Fall.  She is more than thrilled at the opportunity to be teaching at Creative Arts Charter, as she is a huge proponent of project based learning, and believes art and creativity are an imperative part to learning and creating and should be an integral part of all aspects of life.  When not at school, she loves being outdoors, getting lost in music, creating visual art pieces and experimenting in the kitchen.

Gina Griffiths : Teacher 8th/Advisor

Gina Griffiths

Teacher 8th/Advisor

Gina has a diverse background in education and previous work experience with youth that spans 10 years. Her varied interactions as teacher, tutor, coach, and nanny have helped her understand and appreciate each child as an individual with unique strengths and challenges. She earned her teaching credential and Masters degree in Education from the University of Southern California in 2010. During her student teaching at CACS she fell in love with the school, the students, and the staff. Previously Gina lived in Seattle, so naturally she enjoys foggy mornings, hiking, and lots of coffee.

Eileen McCann-Kingston : After School Director

Eileen McCann-Kingston

After School Director

Before joining the CACS community, Eileen earned her degree in horticulture and became the owner of the first chemical-free gardening business in San Francisco. She came to CACS with her older son, who graduated in 2007, and spent several years volunteering in classrooms and collaborating with teachers on garden science curriculum. In 2001, Eileen joined the CACS staff, working as a substitute teacher, classroom aide, and educator in the Breakfast Club, summer camp, and aftercare. Her hobbies include gardening, jewelry design, hiking, hanging out at the beach with her family, and reading.

Zoey Cummings : After School Teacher

Zoey Cummings

After School Teacher
Marissa Cotter : Counselor

Marissa Cotter


Marissa is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist intern, and holds a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Somatic Psychotherapy from California Institute of Integral Studies. Before becoming a therapist, Marissa lived in Long Beach, studying clinical psychology and social justice, teaching swimming lessons, and working with transgender youth in Hollywood creating social media for social change. Since 2012, she has been a proud resident of San Francisco, working with families, kids, and LGBTQ folks at various counseling centers around the city, and now in her part-time private therapy practice in the Mission District. She spends her free time with close friends or submerged in water: swimming in SF pools and chasing sunny beach days.

Sarah Van Nostrand : Paraprofessional

Sarah Van Nostrand


Sarah has a BA in elementary education, with a concentration in fine arts from Ball State University. Her passion for the arts eventually lead her to pursue a graphic and digital design certificate at Parsons The New School for Design. Sarah then worked for many years as a graphic designer, while substitute teaching grades K-12 in the New York City public schools. Prior to joining CACS, Sarah worked as an after school program leader at a non-profit here in the city. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her spouse and dog, traveling, and enjoying all the great food San Francisco has to offer.

Jennie McClelland : SFUSD Resource Specialist

Jennie McClelland

SFUSD Resource Specialist

Jennie McClelland, SFUSD Resource Specialist
Jennie holds a BA in History and Secondary Education from Boston College. After moving to San Francisco in 1995, she taught social studies and served as assistant principal at a small, private, alternative high school for 13 years. While caring for her young son, Jennie earned her Masters Degree in Special Education, Special Education Mild/Moderate teaching credential, and Educational Therapy certificate from San Francisco State University in 2009. She has worked in multiple elementary schools throughout the district. She started at teaching at Creative Arts in 2013. She recently completed the Seeing Stars program by LindaMood-Bell. During her free time, Jennie enjoys spending time with her family, eating out, going on urban hikes, and reading.

Katie Clay : Dance Specialist

Katie Clay

Dance Specialist

Katie holds a BA in English, a BFA in dance from the University of Michigan, and an MA in education from Mills College. Katie served as a student teacher and volunteer at CACS prior to joining the staff in 2009. She is passionate about the arts in public schools and educational equity. Outside of school, she makes movies, performs music, and tap dances. Her other interests include reading, cooking, forest walks, and silent film.

Leslie Keir : 2-8 Visual Arts Specialist

Leslie Keir

2-8 Visual Arts Specialist

Leslie earned her BA in art from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1985, with an emphasis on printmaking and painting. She earned an MA in creativity from the Inter-Arts Center at San Francisco State University in 2002 and two years later completed her teaching credential, also at SFSU. Leslie fell in love with teaching through her work for several years as a visiting artist at Bay Area public schools. Along with many other ingredients, her curriculum integrates ideas generated from the classroom as a mode of inquiry into the tools and strategies used by artists. She is committed to social justice and equity in education.

Sam Mell : Music Specialist

Sam Mell

Music Specialist
Maggie Dale : Literacy Specialist

Maggie Dale

Literacy Specialist
Maggie earned her BA in Modern Languages (Spanish) from Humboldt State University.  She holds a teaching credential as an Education Specialist for students with mild to moderate disabilities.  She has delivered small group and individualized multi-sensory instruction these last 15 years in the Bay Area as well as Southern California.  Pulling from various research-based methodologies and staying current with brain and education research, Maggie strives to reach every learner in their literacy journey.  Outside of school, she enjoys quality time with her daughter, family and friends.  Hiking around the bay area, dance, music and literature are all passions for her.
Colleen McQuade : School Counselor

Colleen McQuade

School Counselor

Colleen holds a Master of Education degree in Counseling, an Autism Specialist Certificate, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology. Her previous work includes seven years as an elementary school counselor, and 3 years as a counselor for at-risk middle school and high school students. Most recently, she served as the Dean of Students/Head Counselor at Wallenberg High School.

She is a Chicago native, the 8th of 12 children, and a loyal Chicago Bears and Cubs fan. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, biking, … anything outdoors! She also loves to read, create mosaics, and bake.

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