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="Read More" less="Read Less"] In addition, she has experience supporting high-level tech companies as an executive assistant. In her free time (when there is any!), Jenny can be found reading, seeing live music, exploring California, walking at Fort Funston with her kids and dogs, and cooking.[/read]

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.

[read more="Read More" less="Read Less"] This is Maria's 18th year at CACS. She began her journey as a mother and has two alumni. She started the CACS sports program and has been the Athletic Director and coach of all things for many years. This is her 3rd stint on the BOD where she has served as VP, on the Middle School Task force and is now Staff Rep. Maria is a 6th grade Humanities teacher and 8th grade adviser. She has taught 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Prior to becoming a full time teacher 10 years ago, she worked for several radio stations doing accounting, and managing a team of adults at four radio stations. She also worked for a non-profit arts organization and for- profit music distribution company. Maria clearly has a love for CACS and wants to support the continued growth and progress of the school. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, biking, running, eating out, and reading. [/read]

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="Read More" less="Read Less"] When she's not at school, Brooke can be found hiking, seeing live music, camping, creating and viewing art, exploring, dancing, and traveling. [/read]

Grace Wilson : Teacher, 2nd & 3rd grade

Grace Wilson

Teacher, 2nd & 3rd grade

Grace Wilson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education from American University in Washington, D.C. While at American, Grace was a Division I field hockey player and earned distinction as an All-American, Patriot League Scholar Athlete and Defensive Player of the Year. Grace taught first and second grade at a District of Columbia Public School, and for a year in Redwood City before starting at Creative Arts. Grace’s teaching approach maintains the values that are close to her own heart: the growth mindset, Responsive Classroom, and scholar ownership. When she is not teaching, Grace loves taking her niece and nephew on adventures in the Bay Area, running, hiking, and trying out the newest fitness classes and coffee shops.

Maddy MacGuire : Teacher, 4th & 5th

Maddy MacGuire

Teacher, 4th & 5th

Maddy McGuire holds a B.A. in Art History, and earned her teaching credential and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI). Before coming to CACS, Maddy taught 5th grade at Peralta Elementary, a small, arts-integrated public school in Oakland, and the 3rd and 4th grades at Town School for Boys in San Francisco. She brings a love of stories, both real and imagined, and a constant stream of questions and curiosities to her teaching practice. Before finding her home in the classroom, Maddy worked at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, where she developed an interest in child-directed, play-based education. Maddy studied the arts in college, and while she still has a visual arts practice outside of the classroom, her passion for the arts lies in the learning experiences they facilitate for children, and is thrilled to be joining the community at Creative Arts.

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.

Regina Famiano : 7th Grade Humanities

Regina Famiano

7th Grade Humanities

Gina Famiano grew up in Michigan and received her B.S. in Education at Central Michigan University with a major in English & Language Arts and a minor in Earth Science.  During Gina’s early teaching years, she was drawn to traveling and learning through first-hand experiences. This ultimately landed her in California via Colorado. Gina also attended the University of Northern Colorado to earn her endorsement in Linguistically Diverse Education.

Besides education and working with youth, Gina absolutely loves snowboarding and being outdoors! Some other favorite activities include reading/writing, attending challenging yoga classes, camping and backpacking, exploring new restaurants and events, and traveling out of the country.

Bonnie Niemann : 7th Grade Math & Science

Bonnie Niemann

7th Grade Math & Science

Bonnie comes to CACS with years of unique and diverse teaching experience, including 11 years of teaching 3rd through 8th grade within Montessori environments.  She grew the middle school at Golden Oak Montessori Charter School and is a founding member of Silver Oak Montessori Charter High School, both in Hayward, CA.  Bonnie is a long time advocate of charter schools, her learning environment of choice for the majority of her teaching experience.  She has been a fan of Creative Arts for many years since her younger son, Slade, attended and graduated from CACS in 2011 under Maria and Fernando's tutelage.  As a lifelong learner, Bonnie is also currently a doctoral student at Northeastern University.  In her small amount of free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband (Rich) and sons (Slade and Okeefe), as well as her three rescue dogs.  She also enjoys going to music festivals and shows, as well as spending time in nature (especially the beach!).

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.

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.

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.

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

Alexandra Russell

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.

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, LMFT, Lic. #112971 : Counselor

Marissa Cotter, LMFT, Lic. #112971


Marissa is our in-house, school-based therapist, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with an MA in Somatic Psychotherapy from CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies). She has advanced training in trauma, council practices, ecotherapy, and is working towards a play therapy credential. She provides individual and group therapy at CACS, offers trainings for staff, and has a special love for supporting LGBTQ+ youth and families.  New for the 2019/2020 School year, she will be overseeing the therapy intern program, consisting of MFT Associates from the Marina Counseling Center ( to further expand the support services offered to our students. In addition, she has a private practice in the Mission District. Originally from Long Beach, Marissa thrives in sunshine and submerged in water, loves nature, vegan cooking and her two cats.

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.

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.

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