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Cat Cole, Founding Social Studies Teacher
Cat Cole was born and raised in San Francisco, where she grew to love learning. She adventured to the East Coast for her college years to attend Vassar, where she fell in love with historical research and changed her major from neuroscience to history. Following her passion for education, she completed her master’s in education at Lesley University and earned teaching credentials in social studies and English. From Oakland to Thailand, she has worked in different school settings. She loves to swim and go to Zumba classes for exercise. On the weekend she can be found taking beautiful walks along the ocean in Pacifica, where she now lives. At TIDE Academy, Cat cannot wait to lead historical inquiry that will help students understand who they are, why the world around them looks the way it does, and how the patterns and cycles of history continue to repeat themselves.
Shamar Edwards, Principal
Shamar Edwards is a native of Los Angeles who now has been in the Bay Area close to 20 years. A USC alumnus, she holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction. After teaching in the classroom at an alternative school in Oakland, CA, Shamar earned another master’s degree, this time in education administration, from UC Berkeley through the Principal’s Leadership Institute. As her journey in education continued, she also earned a Master of Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. Now with 15 years of school administration experience, Shamar leads the launch efforts of TIDE in her current role as principal of TIDE Academy and Executive Director of Small School Innovation and Alternative Programs.

In addition to her love of guiding students and educators, Shamar loves sports and is a die-hard Lakers fan (sorry, Bay Area teams). She loves to listen to live music, dance, exercise, and take care of her pride and joys, Xavier and Kennedy.

Kristin Klempnauer, Founding English Teacher
A native of Santa Cruz, Kristin Klempnauer holds a Bachelor of English and a Master of Education from UCLA. During her 23-year career, she has taught in International Baccalaureate, community college, alternative education, private bilingual and traditional public school programs. A former Bay Area Writing Project consultant, Critical Friends Group facilitator, Bilingual/ELD Coordinator, and IISME (Ignited) Fellow, she has presented interdisciplinary writing workshops for educators, served as a professional coach to novice teachers, and designed and implemented new courses to better meet students’ needs. Her favorite part of being a teacher is interacting with students and helping them navigate the challenges of adolescence.

Besides teaching, Kristin loves travel, word games, reading and languages. She attended elementary school in Germany, and she taught English in Colombia and Bahrain as an adult. She speaks Spanish and German and has travelled in 25 foreign countries.

Mike Kuliga, Vice Principal
Born in Massachusetts and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mike Kuliga completed his bachelor’s degree in theoretical linguistics at UC Santa Cruz and earned his teaching credential in special education from University of San Francisco. Mike began his career in education working at Outward Bound, where he taught character education and teamwork through mountaineering trips. He comes to TIDE Academy from Sequoia High School, where he began teaching in 2001 and served as an RSP teacher, department chair for the Digital Arts Academy, and Administrative Vice Principal.

In addition to his passion for working with high school students, Mike enjoys cycling, climbing mountains, scuba diving, gardening and traveling. He speaks Spanish and French and has lived in Veracruz, Mexico.

David Lai, Founding Computer Science Teacher
David Lai is a Bay Area native who grew up in the East Bay. He received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and computer sciences from UC Berkeley and a master’s in computer science from CSU East Bay. He worked as a software engineer for five years and transitioned into teaching after volunteering in high schools and obtaining his Master of Education from Alliant University.

David comes to TIDE Academy from the computer science department at Carlmont and currently works to design the interdisciplinary CTE computer science curriculum in collaboration with TIDE teachers and local community college professors. Outside of the classroom, David loves travel and playing games. He is passionate about working hard and playing hard.

Ryan Stagg, Founding Science Teacher
Ryan Stagg was born and raised in the Bay Area with dreams of becoming integrated in the scientific and technological innovation occurring around him. He obtained his Bachelor of Physics and Master of Education degrees from UC Santa Cruz after discovering teaching as an opportunity to blend his analytical and interpersonal strengths. When he is not lesson-planning, Ryan enjoys exploring other fields of science, playing strategy games, and building and designing things with fellow tinkerers.

After teaching science at Half Moon Bay High School for six years, Ryan comes to the founding team of TIDE to promote inquiry and patterns-based science instruction. He hopes to continue promoting scientific literacy for all as a way of understanding our context in the universe and ensuring we have scientifically informed citizens in an increasingly technological world.

Steven Wong, Founding Mathematics Teacher/Athletic Director
Steven was born in Yangon, Myanmar. He came to the US in 1995 and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2003 with a major in applied mathematics and a minor in economics. He has worked in education for 14 years as a math teacher and in a variety of teacher-leader roles, including: math coach, math department chair, badminton coach and summer school principal. Besides teaching, he likes cooking and spending family time with his two lovely kids. He also likes to play chess and badminton competitively. He is trilingual in English, Mandarin, and Burmese. Through his work, he is inspired to connect math with all content areas to identify current world problems and navigate alternatives for a better place to live.