director
 

CCS Staff MichelleHerron 001

Head of School
Michelle Herron

Michelle Herron joined Cascade Canyon as the Head of School in 2015. She came to CCS from the International School of Panama (ISP), a very highly regarded international school, where she served as the Elementary Principal for three years. Prior to ISP, Michelle served as K-8 Principal of a high achieving public school in Bend, Oregon. There, she spearheaded the expansion of school-wide experiential learning opportunities and worked with the staff to integrate arts into the core curriculum.

Michelle has 20 years of teaching experience at the middle and high school levels and over 10 years as a school administrator. She holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) from Oregon State University and an Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Leadership from Lewis and Clark College.

When Michelle was chosen to lead Cascade Canyon, the Board was particularly impressed with her breadth of leadership experience and commitment to academic rigor and social-emotional education as mutually supportive parts of a strong K-8 curriculum.

After 30+ years in education, Michelle has found her home at Cascade Canyon. The school’s rich tradition of excellence and it’s strong, interpersonal connections provide create a vibrant learning experience that is unlike any place she has worked in the past.

faculty

 

Bio Pic Rachel

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Teacher
Rachel Slovin

Rachel received her B.A. in Elementary and Special Education from Providence College in Rhode Island. Previously, she worked at a private school outside of Boston. She joined Cascade Canyon School in 2015.

Rachel loves to make learning come alive for students and help them develop a life-long love of learning. Her classroom community fosters creativity and embraces individuality. Her goal as a teacher is to make every student always feel heard, seen, loved, understood, and accepted.

 

CCS Staff Trevor

2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher
Trevor Mattea

Prior to joining the Cascade Canyon School community, Trevor taught at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista, a project-based school in San Diego, and Stevenson PACT Elementary School, a progressive school with parent participation in Silicon Valley. For the past 4 years, he has consulted throughout the country to support teachers and administrators with deeper learning, digital portfolios, project-based learning, parent engagement, and technology integration. As an educator, his interests include supporting student-directed learning, fostering community, and sharing high-quality student work outside the classroom.

Trevor is also the host of the New Books in Education podcast as well as the former director of Imagineerz Learning, a Bay Area summer camp integrating social–emotional learning with making and design thinking. He is a Google Certified Educator and Trainer and was recognized as the Silicon Valley CUE Outstanding Emerging Teacher in 2015. He holds an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and an A.B. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. His other interests include politics, public policy, writing, conversation, photography, kayaking, and woodworking.

 

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4th and 5th grade teacher

Callia Wolff

Callia received her B.F.A. in Film Production and Studio Arts from Concordia University in Montreal Canada and her M.Ed. in Integrated Learning from Antioch University New England. She holds a multi-subject credential and has developed progressive, project-based curricula every semester for the past 5 years.

She brings the experience of being a founding teacher for start-up schools twice in her career as an educator. She taught grades 3–5 at an independent school in Silicon Valley and grade 7 for a public charter in the East Bay. She also has a background in the healing arts and maintains licensure in therapeutic bodywork, specializing in Craniosacral Therapy.

 

CCS Faculty JavierMontiel

6th Grade Teacher and DEAN OF STUDENTS
Javier Montiel

Javier joined Cascade Canyon School in 2010. He brought with him over 7 years of experience working with 5th and 6th graders as a lead naturalist at Walker Creek Ranch, Marin County Office of Education's outdoor education school. 

Javier graduated with honors in psychology from Cal Poly and completed his teaching credential at Sonoma State. Following completion of his credential program, Javier spent time in Mexico City, teaching English as a second language. Upon his return, he was hired at Walker Creek, where he worked until he joined the Cascade Canyon staff in the fall of 2010. Javier is bilingual in Spanish, a singer–songwriter and guitar player, an avid reader, and an outdoor enthusiast. He has significant experience in outdoor education, new games, and team building.

 



CCS Faculty EmilyRoberts

7th Grade Teacher and Math specialist

Emily Roberts 

Emily joined Cascade Canyon School in 2013. She brings over 14 years of experience teaching in independent secondary schools in New York City and has her bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and her master's and Ph.D. from Princeton. In her teaching, Emily fuses her interests in critical thinking, science, math, cognitive science, and social psychology. At her prior school, Emily also served as a half-time Dean, coaching teachers in how to individualize instruction and in writing differentiated curriculum.

Emily has found a home in working with middle level learners, having taught at the university and high school levels and recognizing that so many of the dispositions of learning and fundamental conceptual understandings are set by the end of middle school. She is glad to be a part of the Cascade Canyon School community, where she can actively support small groups of students in their academic and personal growth.

Emily lives in San Rafael with her husband and son and enjoys life in the Bay Area.

 

Wendy Frey

8th Grade Teacher and HUMANITIES SPECIALIST
Wendy Frey

Wendy has been involved in education for over 20 years—and from many different angles—as a teacher, author, and curriculum developer. She holds a B.A. in English from Grinnell College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard. She has written 10 history books for young people and is a curriculum developer for several well-known language arts and history programs such as Being a Writer and History Alive. As an educator, she has taught all ages in the U.S. and abroad. She is thrilled to teach English and history at Cascade Canyon, where she focuses on building strong relationships with students and delving deeply into topics of student interest. Wendy lives in the East Bay with her daughter.

 

CCS Staff EmilyW

Middle School Science Specialist
Emily Willingham

Emily has 20 years of teaching experience, including as a middle school teacher in private schools in Texas and as a university science instructor in Texas and California. She also has worked as a curriculum writer and designer across several grade levels, covering history, language arts, and science, and has taught K–8 Spanish and piano. Emily earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with minors in German and history, and a doctorate in biological sciences, both from The University of Texas at Austin.

She has been an active member of the Cascade Canyon School community for several years, first as a parent and volunteer when her two oldest sons entered middle school, then as a room parent for her youngest son’s classroom and as a member of the board of trustees. None of this was enough Cascade Canyon on a daily basis for Emily, and she’s thrilled to be able to dig into hands-on science and outdoor experiences with the middle school students and science the heck out of everything in sight. Emily spends as much time outside with her family as she can and has an unaccountable passion for watching American Ninja Warriors and reading Victorian novels over and over again.

 

CCS Faculty PeggyTunder

Theater specialist and COORDINATOR OF ARTS INTEGRATION
Peggy Tunder

Peggy is one of the founders of Cascade Canyon School and has always been an active member of its staff. She also serves as a teacher representative on the Cascade Canyon School Board of Trustees.

Peggy was educated as a child in Cyprus, England, France, Japan, and Hawaii. She received her B.A. degree in World Literature, French, and Linguistics from Stanford University along with a Master's degree in Special Education from San Francisco State University.

Peggy has directed cultural exchange programs specializing in environmental education and the performing arts in Europe, Central America, Canada, the South Pacific, and the United States. She has been a language arts teacher for the California State Literacy Project and coordinator for the "Hands on Science" program of the Education Task Force in Marin County, now known as the Marin Teachers' Network.

 

CCS Staff William

music Specialist
William Rossell

William Rossel, disciple of legendary tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, is a gifted artist and teacher in the field of Indian Classical Music and World Music. In 2006, he began his studies with Swapan Chaudhuri at the Ali Akbar College of Music, and in 2010, he earned a master's degree in North Indian Music performance from the California Institute of the Arts.

In addition to playing tabla, which he has studied for over 15 years, he has also extensively trained in the musical traditions of Bali, Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Tuva, and many others. Originally trained as a Western operatic vocalist, William is also well-versed in piano, guitar, and electro-acoustic composition.

He is currently also a faculty member at the Ali Akbar College of Music, the California College of the Arts, and at Yuba College music department. As a teacher, William seeks to broaden his students' understanding of music and the world by incorporating elements of all the cultures that he has studied.

 

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Physical Education Specialist

Kirsten Wojcik

Kirsten has over 12 years of teaching experience and over 20 years of coaching experience. She holds an anthropology degree, specializing in the Anthropology of Education, from Beloit College, WI. She is credentialed from Dominican University and worked at Stanford University developing the GATE online curriculum. She also holds a California English credential, a Physical Education credential, and a Cross Cultural Language Academic Development certificate. Kirsten is passionate about PE because she believes in nurturing the whole child physically, emotionally, and socially in the beautiful setting of cooperative games and group challenges. Kirsten feels that the confidence that is developed from the mind–body connection is an essential part of life-long learning, health, and happiness.

 

CCS Staff TrishaPirrone

Assistant Teacher
Tricia Pirrone 

Tricia has over 30 years of experience teaching and working on behalf of children. She was a classroom teacher for 15 years and has also worked as an art teacher, substitute teacher, San Anselmo Co-operative Preschool Board Member, and classroom volunteer. Most recently, before joining Cascade Canyon School, Tricia was a teacher’s aide at White Hill Middle School’s Learning Center, where she assisted and monitored Learning Center students.

 

CCS Staff JamesBrunner

STEAM  Specialist
James Brunner 

James has his B.S. in Life Sciences from Penn State University and holds credentials for teaching Biology, Chemistry, and Industrial and Technology Education.

James taught middle school for 5 years at The Bayside STEM Academy in San Mateo, where he taught science, programming, robotics, and 3D printing. While working for STEM Academy, James trained in design thinking at Stanford University’s “d.school” and developed curriculum for teaching design thinking using technology made popular through the Maker Movement.

James enjoys working with the CCS community in guiding the STEAM program! STEAM is what happens when you highlight art and design as the “heart” of STEM. James likes STEAM because it empowers students to innovate, problem solve, and collaborate creatively.

administration

 

Donna Renaud

Office Manager
Donna Renaud 

Donna first joined the Cascade Canyon Community as a parent of two daughters, the older of whom graduated in 2009 and the younger in 2014. She has been a staff member at the school for more than a decade. Originally from Southern California, Donna moved to the Bay Area in the early 1980s. She has a bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from Humboldt State University where she competed in intercollegiate volleyball and softball and was a 1985 inductee into the HSU Hall of Fame for Athletics.

She now enjoys coaching youth sports, reading, traveling, the ocean and life with her family. She lives in San Geronimo with her partner and their two daughters.

 

CCS Staff AmySaavedra 001

Admissions
Amy Saavedra 

Amy joined Cascade Canyon School in 2013, bringing her fundraising, finance, organizational and administrative skills to bear on all facets of the school's function. She studied Business and Economics at the University of California at Santa Barbara and has worked in sales and investment management.

Amy's volunteer roles have included being a member of the Alumni Board, and served as the Programming Director and Membership Director at the San Anselmo Coop Nursery School; serving as the Treasurer for the YES Foundation and White Hill Middle School Parent Club Board; Co-Chairing the Manor School Winter Faire; and serving as the Executive Secretary for the Manor School PTA and Ross Valley Schools' MAP Board.

In her spare time, Amy loves trail running, yoga, reading and spending time with her kids!

 

board of trustees

Board Chair, Parent
Heather Gould
Treasurer, Parent
Eric Sohn
Head of school
Michelle Herron
Parent
Jenn Emberly
Teacher, Alumni-Parent
Peggy Tunder
Parent
Laura Kersell
Parent
Karl Vavrek
Parent
Lauri Lind-White
Parent
Emily Willingham
Parent
Tessa Forbes