> Getting a Coach
Amber was born and raised in the San Ramon Valley completing her BA in Liberal Arts at San Francisco State University. She earned her teaching credential at Saint Marys College with a focus on Special Education. Working in this area has been a dream of Ambers since elementary school, where she was motivated by a Special Education Teacher who taught her strategies that would help her be successful in the regular classroom.
Amber also completed a Multiple Subject Credential to provide her with an academic background that enabled her to teach core subjects (math, science, English, etc) while creating an academic curriculum for students with learning disabilities. Currently, Amber is working as a special education teacher at the high school level, providing support to special education students in academic classes and creating and managing IEPs.
For a short get-a-way, Amber will pack up her dog, baby boy, and husband and sneak off to the beach to enjoy the clean air and the sound of the waves.
Ashley De Melo
Ashley was born and raised in Lafayette graduating from Acalanes High School. She moved to Los Angeles to acquire her Bachelors degree in Business Management and International Business.
After spending a few years in the business field, Ashley decided to pursue her interest in education. Returning to California Lutheran University she obtained her single subject teaching credentials in Mathematics, Business and Health Science. Through her observation and work experience she soon discovered her passion for helping students with special needs.
Returning to the bay area in 2005 she obtained a Masters Degree in Special Education from Chapman University along with credentials for students with Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe disabilities.
Currently Ashley teaches a Special Education Day Class in the Oakland Unified School District. Her classes focus on academic content and organizational skills with the goal of preparing and socializing students to be responsible/successful individuals that contribute to their local communities.
In her free time Ashley competes in an adult volleyball league and volunteers with her high school volleyball team. She also enjoys spending time with her son, Elliot, and her husband. You may see her with her family at a Giants game or on a "Choo-Choo train" as Elliot has a fascination with trains and baseball.
See Biography for more information.
Cara was born and raised in the Midwest, and after teaching high school English in Chicago, Turkey and Scotland, settled in California. She is still discovering the treasures of the Bay Area and spends much of her free time attending events involving art, literature, politics, and history. She also loves the outdoors - hiking, camping, kayaking, and biking and feels privileged to have finally landed in a place where she can count on the weather.
After twelve years of teaching English, Cara returned to school is working on her masters in clinical psychology; she plans to be a school psychologist. While teaching, Cara gained an insight into the challenges of accommodating a classroom of students with various learning styles, learning challenges, and levels of physical and emotional development. Through experience and training in programs like AVID, a college prep and study skills elective class, and The Bay Area Writing Project; Cara has learned best practices that serve students individual needs.
Daniel is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He discovered his interest in teaching when he was 17 working as a ski instructor for a local youth club. He attended the University of Wisconsin Ė Eau Claire where he worked as an outdoor guide while earning degrees in biology and education. Danielís original teaching credentials are in high school biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics. Danielís passion for travel took over after graduation when he began leading international student groups through Latin America. His programs focus on community service and cultural exchange. Through his time in Latin America, Daniel became very involved with social justice and global equality. After five years of traveling, Daniel settled in the Bay Area, where he returned to the classroom. Keeping social justice at the core of his work, Daniel taught for a continuation school in Marin County serving young people who were previously unsuccessful in high school. Daniel also taught at a public charter in Oakland for underserved and first generation college bound students.
When heís not working, Daniel enjoys climbing, sailing, skiing, cycling, and planning his next adventure while tending his small garden, complete with chickens.
Jenny was born in Berkeley, and is a Lamorinda native. A graduate of Miramonte High School, she graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design and a minor in English. Jenny entered the single subject tract at Cal Poly to earn her teaching credential.
Jenny spent summers coaching swimming in Lafayette, and continued coaching with both USS clubs and adult mastersí teams. This was the beginning of her passion for working with adolescents, specifically working individually to set goals and fine tune techniques and training practices. Jenny is a firm believer that consistent involvement in sports and activities during this tumultuous period of the teen years prepares students for the victories of hard work in academics and life beyond.
Jenny has taught fine art for elementary and high schoolers in Walnut Creek. She has also taught home economics to middle and high schoolers in both Walnut Creek and San Jose. She created tutoring program for middle school students in math, and applies hands on and visual learning as much as possible.
Jenny is grateful for the ability to work two diverse fields: financial/accounting, and education. She also is employed as an archivist and special projects aficionado of a small dynamic company, which appeals to her logical, and interpersonal learning styles. S.O.S. allows her to utilize her visual and kinesthetic skills. She believes that being in two distinctly different fields is a healthy balance and allows her to understand the kinds of organizational skills required of students once they graduate.
In her very limited spare time, she does indoor rowing and is looking forward to trying her luck with some racing soon. She enjoys playing with her young daughter, Elyse, and then spending a quiet evening with her husband!
Lora Lewis grew up in Lafayette and attended Acalanes High School. She later went on to earn a B.A. in English at U.C. Berkeley, a M.A. in English and Creative Writing at Boston University, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership at St. Mary's College. She also holds a Single Subject credential in English from Mills College and has completed training as a college counselor through UCLA.
Lora spent most of her teaching career at the Alameda Community Learning Center, where she was a teacher and administrator and had the good fortune of working with wonderful kids in grades 6-12. Her teaching helped kids develop life-long learning skills by showing them how to "learn how to learn". She very much enjoys helping kids reach their potential by exploring their learning styles and developing strategies to address their challenges.
She has a young daughter who she enjoys making costumes for and doing science experiments alongside. She is a dedicated student of yoga and spends her free moments writing, reading and making art from found materials. Wherever she goes, she always brings a cup of tea.
Matt grew up in the hills of rural Maine where he cultivated a love for the outdoors. As an Asian Studies major at Trinity College in Connecticut, Matt combined interests in Eastern philosophy, biology, and psychology. In the professional world, Matt has used experiential teaching and mentoring techniques as a teacher for underprivileged teens in Maine, a director for study abroad programs in China and India, an educator instrumental in the creation of a web based China-US exchange program, and most recently as a tutor with Berkeley High School for low-income and under-represented students. Matt's ability to listen to and empathize with students allows him to pinpoint challenges at both academic and personal levels, and to work to achieve success and confidence. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies in psychology with a focus on adolescents.
Matt's passion for teaching and mentoring has taken him around the world and back; itís also allowed him to teach and pursue diverse subjects from Mandarin Chinese to jazz drumming. Having moved recently from Beijing to Berkeley, Matt's nascent ping-pong addiction complements other life long interests in basketball, mountain biking, and skiing.
Shira Woodlee was born in New York and raised in the bay area. Growing up in Alameda Shira was active in Oakland Strokes, a rowing organization. Her passion for rowing led her to attend college on a full academic and athletic scholarship. Shira went to University of Miami for college, and majored in psychology, and secondary education in English. Graduating a year early from college, Shira moved back to the bay area and joined a movement called Teach for America. She was eager to teach youth in the areas in which she grew up, seeing the need for strong education in underserved areas in California. Shira taught Special Education at a high school in Richmond and is currently teaching Biology.
Shira recognizes that students are different and need to be taught in differing ways. Shira is committed to educating todays youth through individualized educational approaches.
In Shiras free time she likes to scrapbook, read, exercise, and spend time with her husband and siblings.
Stephen was born and raised in the suburbs that bridge the gap between the Rust Belt cities of Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Realizing that Stephen had an abundance of energy all of the time, his parents enrolled him in a number of extracurricular activities. One such activity, soccer, was the impetus for his interest in teaching. He starting coaching at 15.
Stephen attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., where he spent the first two and a half years majoring in Health Sciences with a concentration in Pre-Medicine. During his third year, he altered his academic focus to the discipline of Studio Art. After graduating, he moved to Shenzhen, China, where he taught English at the Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology while pursuing a career as a professional soccer player.
Thirteen months after moving to China, Stephen applied to Oakland Teaching Fellows to become a special education teacher. Since his acceptance to this program, he has earned his Multiple Subject and permanent Education Specialist teaching credentials. He is in the process of completing his Master's degree in Education. Stephen is in his fourth year of working as a resource specialist for Oakland Unified School District.
In his limited spare time, Stephen plays soccer, makes art, treks the Bay Area with his dog, or hangs out with his family.
> Getting a Coach