Kinsey Davis – Transitional Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Davis loves being part of the Marquez community! She is passionate about teaching, and enjoys making learning fun and engaging while helping students progress academically and socially. Teaching TK is an exciting adventure each day! Prior to TK, she spent four years teaching First Grade, as well as one year teaching Kindergarten and one year teaching Preschool. Before teaching at Marquez Mrs. Davis taught at Culture and Language Academy of Success in Los Angeles, as well as abroad in Uganda and Germany. Her first teaching experiences were with classrooms of over 90 students in rural Uganda while working in the Peace Corps. She was hooked from that point on! Mrs. Davis received her B.A. in History from University of San Diego, as well as her M.A. in Education and teaching credential from University of Southern California..Fight on! She enjoys spending time and traveling with her husband, playing and watching sports, swimming, and going to Disneyland.
Alexys Buckner – Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Buckner joined Marquez as a 2nd grade teacher in 2008. She received her B.A. from UCLA and her credential from CSUN. Before teaching Mrs. Buckner worked as a pastry chef, but realized it was not the career for her. Although, she still likes baking when she can find the time! When she is not teaching Mrs. Buckner enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter Eleanor. She tries to find a balance between working hard and having fun in the classroom. Mrs. Buckner believes all children have their own unique ways to contribute to the classroom and it is her job to help them reach their maximum potential. She is very happy and grateful to be part of the wonderful Marquez Community!
Elise Bamesberger – Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Bamesberger has been teaching at Marquez since 2001. Before Marquez, she taught Kindergarten in New Jersey. What she loves most about Marquez are her colleagues, the parental support and the ocean view. Ms. Bamesberger has several hobbies: yoga, walking, traveling and shopping. She has walked over 240 miles to help raise money to fight breast cancer! She also used to be a competitive gymnast. Ms. Bamesberger received her B.A. in Elementary Education (minor in Early Childhood) from Salisbury University, and her M.A. from Pepperdine University in Education with emphasis on Psychology.
Lindy Bazan – Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Bazan was born and raised in Southern California until age 12 when her family moved to Texas. She returned in 1984 to attend UCLA, receiving a B.A. in World Arts & Cultures/Dance and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. During school, Lindy was the Camp Director at Rustic Canyon Recreation Center. Instead of practicing law, she continued in the field of recreation as the Executive Director of Pali Camp. In 2001, Ms. Bazan made a career change and taught 4th Grade at 42nd St. Elementary for seven years. She came to Marquez in 2008, teaching 1st Grade for five years before joining the Kindergarten Goddesses. She enjoys creating a classroom community that shares lots of laughter and memories that will last a lifetime! In 2013, Ms. Bazan became a National Board Certified Teacher – Early Childhood Generalist, and she is currently studying Early Childhood Education at SMC. On a personal note, Lindy lives here in Pacific Palisades with her adorable Border Terrier, Dolly. Her hobbies include training with the L.A. Leggers, agility class with Dolly, and competing on game shows (5 so far, including Wheel of Fortune and The Pyramid). As a child she devoured books from her local library, but as an adult she has a passion for math. One of her favorite jobs was teaching SAT classes. Lindy also enjoys movies, politics, social media, talk radio, and lots of favorite t.v. shows. Ms. Bazan is active in UTLA, serving as West Area Treasurer, Steering Committee Member, and on the House of Representatives. Overall, she describes herself as a happy, peppy person, with a quirky sense of humor. Please say hello when you see her on campus or around town!
Randy Hain – Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Hain came to Marquez in 2008. Inspired by one of her daughter’s teachers, who said that the most fun he ever had was volunteering in his own child’s classroom, she returned to school and earned her teaching credential at CSUN. Mrs. Hain now feels very lucky to spend each day learning with her students and believes it is important to make school fun, exciting and challenging for young learners. Mrs. Hain feels very fortunate to be at Marquez where she receives such incredible support and generosity from the Marquez families and her colleagues. Outside of Marquez, Mrs. Hain likes to spend time with her husband, two children and their third rescue dog. At the moment, she is not sure which is more challenging – engaging kindergarten students at school or keeping tabs on her two college-age children!
Brooke Newman – Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Newman has been teaching Kindergarten at Marquez since 2002. Before that, she taught for six years at Brentwood Science Magnet, and four years at Robert Hill Lane Elementary School. Her teaching philosophy is that children will rise to meet the challenges you set (and have fun in the process). Ms. Newman especially likes teaching at Marquez because she went to elementary school here. She loves the yearly Kindergarten field trip to Underwood Family Farms, where the kids get to pick strawberries and ride in a wagon. Ms. Newman first started working with kids as a babysitter at 13, and then as a counselor at Y-Camp at Temescal for a couple of years. She loves horses and has two, Rio and Jake, that she considers to be like children to her. She is also a good artist. Ms. Newman received her B.A. from UCSB and her teaching credential from CSUN.
June Lew – 1st Grade Teacher
Mrs. Lew began teaching first grade at Marquez in 1998. Before joining the Marquez family, she taught kindergarten and first grade at Westwood Charter School. She received her BA and teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University. It was her dearest friend, colleague and mentor Ceta Wright, who taught her to always “stand in the place of the child”. Mrs. Lew says reading and writing are similar to riding a bike. The moment a child “gets it” only happens once. She loves being able to see that year after year. She adds, “First graders are so cute and full of fun!” The things they say and do make her smile and giggle. Mrs. Lew enjoys going to craft fairs and art shows. She is always looking for new and fun projects for the children. Mrs. Lew has a wonderful and loving family. They enjoy going on adventures together and spending time with family and friends.
Eliza Smith – 1st Grade Teacher
Ms. Smith joined Marquez in 2004 after teaching since 1995 in another district. She is impressed with how creative her students are. She loves being hands on and working with kids, and loves to learn from kids. She tries to create a warm, friendly classroom environment, and believes in keeping learning fun and engaging. Ms. Smith grew up in the Palisades and lives within a mile of school. She loves reading (she’s in a book club), paddle tennis, yoga, hiking and traveling. Her biggest inspiration is her aunt because she worked in education for 30 years. Ms. Smith met her husband when she was 15 years old. They have a son and a daughter. Ms. Smith received her B.S. in Liberal Studies from Arizona State, her teaching credential from National University, and her M.A. in Reading and 2nd teaching credential from the University of LaVerne.
Billie Soo- 1st Grade Teacher
Hello! My name is Billie Soo and I’m so excited to be teaching first grade at Marquez again. Last year was my first year at Marquez and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this supportive, happy, and innovative community. I’ve taught first through fourth grade for six years and started my teaching career in East Oakland. I then taught in San Francisco before moving down to LA last summer. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from UC Davis and then received my teaching credential from New College of California. Teaching kids to love reading and writing is one of my passions so I went back to school for a Masters in Language and Literacy from San Francisco State University in 2006. When I’m not teaching, I love to hike, be anywhere in nature, and read. My most recent hobby is improv.
I am delighted to spend my first year teaching at Marquez Charter! I am truly grateful to be a part of this supportive and passionate community of colleagues and parents. As a new teacher I am so excited to start my career in first grade. I was born and raised in San Francisco before coming to Loyola Marymount University where I received my teaching credential and B.A. in Screenwriting. I enjoy beaches, yoga, writing, and finding healthy restaurants in Los Angeles. A fun fact, I am currently wrapping up my first children’s book and am very excited to share! I believe taking the time to learn about and celebrate each student is the key to motivating and building healthy relationships with school. My favorite part about being a teacher is seeing student growth and how much they teach me in return.
Wendy Connor – 2nd Grade Teacher
Ms. Connor started teaching in 1987, and came to Marquez in 1999. She loves teaching second grade and working with her grade level colleagues. Her favorite part of teaching is when a student unlocks reading for the first time—it’s magical. Marquez is wonderful because of the collaborative teachers, incredible parents and enthusiastic kids! She believes every child can learn—and it’s her job to make sure they do! She loves knitting and has been on television four times! She also dreams of having a second career as a Knitting Teacher. She and her husband, Rich, have two boys, Kevin and Thomas. They have no pets because she’s allergic to them all. Ms. Connor received her B.A. in Liberal Studies (option in Elementary Education) and teaching credential from San Diego State University.
Dana Fein – 2nd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Fein has taught 2nd grade at Marquez since 1999. She follows the philosophy that “learning is socially constructed” (thanks to Vygotsky). As a result, her classroom includes lots of talking, hands-on activities, and recording of ideas and thinking. Mrs. Fein strives to create a mini-world in the classroom where everyone accepts each other. She focuses on each students strengths, building on them to help the students achieve. Mrs. Fein’s hobbies are reading, hiking, dancing and traveling. In her past life she was a professional ballet dancer and toured America, Europe, Central America and the Middle East. For those who “know” and care, Mrs. Fein made it to the top of Half Dome. She and her husband, Sumner, have three sons who went through the Palisades complex schools and graduated from University of California, at Berkeley, Davis, and San Diego. Mrs. Fein became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2004. She received her B.A., teaching credential and Masters in Education from U.C.L.A.
Clare Gardner – 2nd Grade Teacher
Ms. Gardner began teaching at Marquez in 1998. She loves working with children, and especially loves teaching because it combines instructing, loving, helping, listening, playing, creating, dreaming. The camaraderie amongst the teachers was what attracted her to Marquez. She also loves the childrenʼs eagerness to learn and the support and involvement from the wonderful parents. She believes that it is a teacherʼs job to help satisfy the innate curiosity of children by providing a rich learning environment, stimulating their interest, and helping them learn how to learn. She believes in helping create life-long learners that will love learning (and school) by making it, fun, exciting and fulfilling, as it should be. Ms. Gardnerʼs biggest inspiration is her mom, a teacher who was one of the most selfless people sheʼs ever known. Her mom was always giving to others. Ms. Gardner loves to read, walk and spend time with her children. She also loves photography. She and her husband, Michael, have a daughter, Meilani, and a son, Kai. They also have two dogs, Jessie and Penny. Ms. Gardner received her B.A. in American Literature and Culture (with a specialization in Diversified Liberal Arts) from UCLA and teaching credential from CSUN. In 2012/13 Ms Gardner moved from teaching Grade 3 to Grade 4.
Julie Yoshida – 2nd Grade Teacher
Ms. Yoshida has been teaching at Marquez since 1993. Being with the students is her favorite part about teaching at Marquez! They are so enthusiastic to learn and do their best to succeed. They are creative and thoughtful of the world around them. They make her smile each day. Once they come into the room, the rest of the world seems to disappear. Her teaching philosophy is to be child centered—to take each child and learn about their strengths and needs to create a comprehensive curriculum. She tries to create a caring learning environment, where students can take risks and extend their boundaries. This not only strengthens the academic skills, but also teaches the students to work together and become good citizens. Ms. Yoshida likes listening to music, Karaoke, reading, playing with her dog, and learning how to cook. You may not know that she began taking Japanese Classical Dance lessons when she was three. Ms. Yoshida received her B.A. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Elementary Education from UCLA , and M.A. in Administration from CSUN.
Alison Bihari – 3rd Grade Teacher
Ms. Bihari has been teaching 3rd grade at Marquez since 1996. Her favorite part of teaching is that every day is different and unpredictable. She also loves the energy and curiosity that children have. She loves Marquez because she has such good memories of attending elementary school here! She also likes the team effort between the parents, teachers and administrators. Her teaching philosophy is that every child has a talent, every child is capable and there’s more to education than reading, writing and arithmetic. She likes to go to the beach and the movies, and spend time with her husband and two children. Her biggest inspiration is her mom who is a retired principal and currently a special education consultant. Mrs. Bihari received her B.A. in Liberal Arts and her teaching credential from CSUN. She’s not sure how many pet hamsters she has had during her teaching career, but they’re always named Hampton!
Laurie Farrell – 3rd Grade Teacher
Ms. Farrell has been teaching since 1990 and has been at Marquez since 1999. Her favorite part of teaching at Marquez is the freedom to inject creativity into the curriculum. She genuinely appreciates having the latitude to enrich and teach beyond the state standards. Her philosophy is to have fun. When she started teaching she told herself that if the fun stops then she needs to stop teaching. (She tells her students that her motto is “NO fun in third grade!” However, THEY tell her that she’s not very good at living up to her motto.) Ms. Farrell’s hobbies are sports—at present she’s golfing, playing tennis, and skiing (the wet and frozen kind). In high school, she lettered in badminton. Her husband and she have a son, Cole. They also have two dogs, Kona (a big chocolate lab) and Lucy (a curly coat retriever). Ms. Farrell became National Board Certified in 1999. She received her B.A. in Communications from Pepperdine and her teaching credential from UCLA.
Susan Schwartz-Lack – 3rd Grade Teacher
Mrs. Schwartz has been teaching since 1980 and has been at Marquez since the Fall of 1986. Her favorite part of teaching is watching the kids grow, discover and learn, and observe their sheer enthusiasmabout anything new. Mrs. Schwartz loves teaching at Marquez because Marquez is filled with intelligent and happy children who love to learn,and have parents who truly value education. Mrs. Schwartz’s hobbies include her family, watching her kids play sports, playing volleyball and practicing yoga, knitting, and reading. Mrs. Schwartz received her B.A. in Child Psychology and her teaching credential from UCSB.
Lynne Wilkinson – 3rd Grade Teacher, Gate Co-ordinator
Ms. Wilkinson has been teaching since 1988, and been at Marquez since 2000. The things she loves most about teaching at Marquez are that the faculty gets along well and the parent involvement and fundraising allow the teachers to have enrichment programs and class-size reduction. She believes students will work to our expectations, so she has high expectations. She loves movies, theater and likes to dance and travel whenever she gets the chance. She also roller-blades, hikes and plays beach volleyball. She’s a true Californian – born, bred and raised here. She has two sisters that live in the area. She received her B.A. in Liberal Studies and her teaching credential from CSUN.
Theresa Chaides – 4th Grade Teacher, 4th Grade Sacramento Champion
Ms. Chaides is a Marquez teaching native, which means all her years of teaching have been here, and in the 4th grade, too. Since 2000, there have been many lucky years of mission visits, Sacramento trips and long division. Fourth grade for Ms. Chaides was forgettable, so it’s a promise to her self, that her students will have a different experience. She is a California native as well, so sharing the wonder of the state with her students is pure joy. That, she hopes makes an imprint on them, too. Ms. Chaides recently moved to her home town and is enjoying the rediscovery of all the hiking trails out her front door, the little yoga studios down the street, and the coastal drive to work each day. She also spends her time with her two children, um, well, okay…her two cats, who provide a wealth of stories to share with her students. The future will always hold some home remodeling, trips to Italy and spending time with friends and family.
Mitchell Jacobs – 4th Grade Teacher
Mitchell Jacobs joined Marquez in 2006. Since beginning his teaching career in 2003, he has taught first, second, third and fourth grades. His favorite thing about teaching is watching the students master new knowledge and their progress during the year. His teaching philosophy is that instruction must be differentiated to meet each students needs. Mr. Jacobs enjoys reading, skiing, sports and cooking. His biggest inspiration for teaching was his 2nd grade teacher who inspired him in math and made a point of letting each student progress at his or her own rate. His wife was brave enough to allow him to make the change and it allows Mr. Jacobs to be more involved in his sons’, Zachary and Brennan, activities including coaching AYSO. Prior to teaching, he was a lawyer for six years involved in litigation. He‘s found teaching to be much more rewarding and satisfying. Mr. Jacobs received his B.G.S with concentrations in Philosophy and Anthropology from University of Michigan, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and M.A. in Elementary Education and Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and CLAD from Pepperdine University.
Peggy Palo – 4th Grade Teacher
Ms. Palo has enjoyed teaching 4th grade at Marquez since 1997. She is especially excited with the 4th grade focus on California history and geography. A native Californian, Ms. Palo has visited all 21 of the California Missions, as well as road-tripped throughout our beautiful state discovering interesting geological features, landmarks, and secret wonders. Her favorite part of teaching is learning – every day is a new adventure in exploring, sharing, and collaborating in the classroom. She sees herself as a facilitator, creating an environment where learning thrives.. Her challenge is to orchestrate the day to meet the unique needs of each student, while enabling each to excel. Ms. Palo thinks that Marquez is an amazing school. She is inspired by both her students and the ocean view, and is encouraged and supported by her incredible colleagues. She appreciates the parent community’s commitment to provide an environment rich in resources through their generous donations and tireless volunteering. When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Palo loves to spend time with her family. She enjoys traveling, photography, and dancing. She’s a loyal UCLA Bruin fan – all sports, but especially football; and a lifelong Dodger fan. Ms. Palo earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from UCLA, a J.D. from Whittier College School of Law (& passed the CA Bar), a teaching credential from CSU Dominguez Hills, and an M.A. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and Admin. Credential from CSUN.
Michelle Conn – 5th Grade Teacher, Gate Co-ordinator
Ms. Conn has been teaching 5th grade at Marquez since 1996. She loves teaching because the kids are so enthusiastic. She loves Marquez because of the 5th grade’s unique program and, of course, the musicals. It’s a great environment because the staff and faculty all get along so well. She tries to help kids reach their potential academically and instill in them a love of learning, while making it as fun as possible. Her biggest inspiration is her colleagues because they’re so knowledgeable and fun to work with. A little known fact about her is that she does yoga every day and teaches yoga privately. Her hobbies are mountain bike riding, skiing and everything at the beach—boogie boarding, body surfing and all that fun stuff. Ms. Conn and her ex-husband Daniel have a son Billy, who is now an adult – time flies! They also have a very spoiled female kitty. Ms. Conn received her B.A. in English and Education from UCLA and her teaching credential from CSUN. She is currently working on a Math credential at Santa Monica College.
Gillian Keller – 5th Grade Teacher
Ms. Keller has been teaching since 1995, and at Marquez since 2004. She is very passionate about marine biology and tries to help children see the connection between science in the classroom and how it relates to the ocean. This passion developed from spending summers in Bermuda where her mother grew up. Married in 2012, she enjoys surfing with her husband. Ms. Keller also has ridden horses her whole life and competed in regional and national finals as a junior rider. She still rides once a week. Ms. Keller received her B.A. in Psychology and Education and her teaching credential from Mt. Holyoke College, and her M.Ed. from Harvard.
Lisa Timmerman – 5th Grade Teacher
Ms. Timmerman has been teaching at Marquez since 1997. She loves the children and the families who work so hard to make this a wonderful place. She also enjoys the people she works with because they are so talented and creative with a desire to teach children. Ms. Timmerman believes all children can be successful if you provide a positive working environment. All children learn differently and have their own talents. Let them feel comfortable and successful and respect their individuality. Make it fun!!! Ms. Timmerman loves ocean swimming, running, hiking and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Brian, have two daughters, Leah and Quincy, two golden retrievers, and a cat. Ms. Timmerman received her B.A. in Radio/Television/Film (Media Management) and teaching credential from CSUN.
Moira Mealy – SDC Upper Grades
Ms. Mealy has been teaching since 1991 with years at Pali High. She loves photography and to travel—she’s been on safari to Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, as well as Bolivia and Brazil. Ms. Mealy received her B.A. in Liberal Studies, Resource Certificate and Mild to Moderate Level 1 credential from CSUN, and a Multi-Subject and Severely Handicap credential from Cal State LA.
Emily Price – RSP
Mrs. Price joined the Marquez staff in 2012 after moving to the area from Sacramento. Mrs. Price loves teaching RSP because she feels somewhat like a learning “doctor”– diagnosing and developing strategies that best suit each child’s specific, individual learning needs. She received her BA in Sociology from the University of California- Davis with a minor in German. She was a member of the UC Davis NCAA dance team and co-founded a dance company, Released Contemporary, which exists still today. After working as an instructional aide and behavioral therapist to children with Autism, she completed her Special Education- Mild/Moderate Disabilities credential at CSU Sacramento. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, yoga, visiting farmers markets, and cooking.
Janna Wychoff – RSP
Mrs. Wyckoff joined Marquez in 2012 as a Resource Specialist Teacher. Previously, she worked for ten years in private high schools as a teacher of English, Economics, and American Government. She felt richly rewarded when helping the students who needed a little bit more attention and concern in order to succeed in her classes. Ms. Wyckoff wants each student to love learning and to feel successful every day. She believes that each child can learn and grow at his or her own pace. In her spare time, Mrs. Wyckoff enjoys reading, cooking, and exploring nature. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six children. Mrs. Wyckoff earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California and a special education teaching credential in Mild/Moderate Disabilities from the California State University, Los Angeles.