Reading people

CCS Staff MichelleHerron 001

Head of School
Michelle Herron

The Board of Trustees of Cascade Canyon School is delighted to announce the appointment Michelle Herron as the new Head of School, beginning July 1, 2015. Ms. Herron comes to CCS from the International School of Panama (ISP), a very highly regarded international school, where she has served as Elementary Principal.

Prior to ISP, Ms. Herron served as K-8 Principal of a high achieving public school in Bend, Oregon. There, she spearheaded expansion of school-wide experiential learning opportunities, oversaw the integration of arts into the core curriculum, and managed all aspects of the school’s operations. Ms. Herron brings 20 years of teaching experience at the middle and high school levels, and holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) from Oregon State University and an Education Specialist (EdS) in Educational Leadership from Lewis and Clark College.

The Board was particularly impressed with Ms. Herron’s breadth of leadership experience and commitment to academic rigor and social-emotional education as mutually supportive parts of a strong K-8 curriculum. Upon accepting the position Ms. Herron stated in an email to the school community, “It is clear that CCS has a rich tradition of excellence. The teachers are passionate about their work and are expert practitioners.I am very excited to be part of such a vibrant learning community.”



CCS Faculty PeggyTunder

Kindergarten Teacher & Theater specialist
Peggy Tunder

Peggy was educated as a child in Cyprus, England, France, Japan and Hawaii. She received her Bachelor of Arts 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 is one of the founding teachers of Cascade Canyon School and an active member of the school community. Aside from teaching, Peggy enjoys coordinating CCS community celebrations, performances and events. Peggy also serves as a teacher representative on the CCS Board of Trustees.


Bio Pic Kristin

1st Grade Teacher
Kristin Runco

Kristin is thrilled to join the CCS faculty as the K/1 teacher! The warm, close-knit community at CCS mirrors her own educational experience of attending a small elementary school with blended classes.

Kristin has lived in many places including Michigan, Florida, Connecticut, Spain, Australia, New York, and finally calls California her home. She received a BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY) in both Spanish and Media & Society studies. After college, she worked as an editor for various Condé Nast publications. In 2010, she pursued a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher and graduated from the University of San Francisco with a MA in Elementary Education and California State Teaching Credential.

The past four years Kristin taught first grade and kindergarten at Convent of the Sacred Heart Elementary School in San Francisco. She is passionate about instilling a foundational love for reading, writing, and math in her students. Additionally, in science and social studies, she encourages opportunities where students can make independent discoveries through hands-on learning activities. Kristin finds true joy in seeing her students engaging deeply with what they are learning and working together to build strong understandings. She strives to make learning meaningful for her students so they can apply new knowledge and insights beyond the walls of the classroom.

Kristin loves hiking in Marin and is excited to explore even more trails near Fairfax.


CCS Staff JulieRyan

2nd & 3rd Grade Teacher
Julie Ryan

Julie brings over fifteen years of K-8 teaching experience with her to Cascade Canyon School, including four years in a multi-age family co-op setting in Washington and nine years teaching second grade in the Dixie School District here in Marin County.

Julie received her BA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, and her teaching credential and MA in Education from Mills College. Her teaching philosophy is constructivist and she has a strong background in child development and professional leadership.

Born and raised in Fairfax, Julie is recently returned from three years in Florida and is now living in Novato with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading.


CCS Faculty RachelSlovin

4th -5th grade teacher
Rachel Slovin

Rachel received here BA in Elementary and Special Education from Providence College in Rhode Island. Last year she worked at a private school outside of Boston. She moved from Massachusetts to the Bay Area this summer.

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




CCS Faculty JavierMontiel

6th Grade Teacher & DEAN OF STUDENTS
Javier Montiel

Javier Montiel brings seven years of experience working with fifth and sixth graders as a lead naturalist at Walker Creek Ranch, Marin County Office of Education's outdoor education school.

Javier is bilingual in Spanish, is 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 & Math/Science specialist

Emily Roberts 

Emily brings 13 years of experience teaching in independent secondary schools in New York City, and has her BA from the University of Chicago, and her Masters and PhD from Princeton.

Emily also served as a half-time Dean, coaching teachers in how to individualize instruction, and writing differentiated curriculum. Emily lives with her family in San Rafael with her husband and son.


Wendy Frey

Wendy Frey

Wendy has been involved in education for over two decades—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 children through adults, in the U.S. and abroad. She is thrilled to teach English & History at Cascade Canyon, and looks forward to building strong relationships with students and delving deeply into topics of student interest. Wendy lives in the East Bay with her daughter.


CCS Staff JuliePledger

Julie Hicks-Pledger

Julie holds her Masters in Education from Harvard University, with a concentration in Educational Media. At Harvard, Julie was honored to participate in Howard Gardner's Project Zero, researching creativity and the brain.

Julie strongly believes, ARTrageous as it may sound, that students learning about and through art should be the central focus to EVERYTHING else!


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Physical Education Specialist

Kirsten Wojcik

Kirsten has eleven years of teaching experience in K-8 and over twenty years of coaching experience from preschool through high school. She graduated with an Anthropology degree with a specialty in the Anthropology of Education from Beloit College, WI. Soon after she completed the single-subject credential program at Dominican University and worked at Stanford University to develop GATE curriculum for their on-line institute. She holds a California English credential, a Physical Education credential and a Cross Cultural Language Academic Development certificate. Kirsten is passionate about PE and made the switch from the classroom setting to physical education because she believes she is able to nurture the whole child physically, emotionally and socially in the beautiful setting of cooperative games and group challenges. She feels 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 Science from Penn State University, and holds credentials for teaching Biology, Chemistry, and Industrial and Technology Education.

James has taught middle school for the last five 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 “” and developed curriculum for teaching design thinking using technology made popular through the Maker Movement.

James is excited to work with the CCS community in building 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.



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Director of advancement
Jenn Emberly

Originally from Edmonton, AB in Canada, Jenn holds a BFA and has over 20 years of experience working at Lucas Films, Industrial Light + Magic, Disney, Atomic Fiction and Adobe. Jenn is a parent of two elementary aged CCS students, a Board Member and last year joined the administrative team as the director of advancement.  Jenn is excited about exploring the dynamic and challenging landscape of education and the dedication CCS has in regards to a truly progressive and integrated learing environment.  


Donna Renaud

Office Manager
Donna Renaud 

Originally from Southern California,  Donna moved to the Bay Area in the early 80's as a paralegal in San Francisco's law firms.

Donna has a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education from Humboldt Sate University. An avid athlete, Donna competed in intercollegiate volleyball and softball and in 1985 was inducted into the HSU Hall of Fame for Athletics.  She currently coaches the Varsity Softball Team at Drake High School in San Anselmo.

Donna is the eyes and ears of the school and manages the CCS Facebook page.


CCS Staff AmySaavedra 001

ENROLLMENT/Business Manager
Amy Saavedra 

Amy studied Business and Economics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and has worked in sales and investment management.

She is an active member of the Cascade Canyon School community, and utilizes her fundraising, finance, organizational and administrative skills in her position.


board of trustees

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