Allison is a San Mateo native and returned to the Bay Area in 2001. She attended Boston College and completed her Bachelor of Arts in English and attained a credential before entering the Master’s program in the field of mild/moderate special needs. Following her time on the East coast, she spent a year volunteering in the small, rural village of San Blas, Costa Rica where she taught English as a foreign language. When she returned to the states, Allison landed a teaching position in the resource program at San Mateo High School. After a wonderful tenure, she left San Mateo High to pursue her love of travel and teaching abroad. She home-schooled two children in the South Pacific before becoming a scuba divemaster in Thailand. In addition, she taught English and Social Science to students in the Special Day Class program at Woodside High School. In the spring of 2010, Allison earned a master's degree from Notre Dame de Namur in the field of public administration. After three years as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Half Moon Bay High School, she was named Principal in July 2012. As of July 1, 2014, she transitioned to a principal position at Acalanes High School in Lafayette. Allison joined the Grizzly community in San Lorenzo in 2016 and completed her doctorate from California State University, East Bay in Educational Leadership for Social Justice and Equity in June of 2018. Allison is excited to join the founding members of TIDE and to collaborate with the team as they collaboratively open the doors to this new, forward-thinking school.
Tina Smith, Vice Principal
As a science teacher for 18 years, Ms.Tina Smith designed and implemented a Biotechnology program at Carlmont High School that included three courses of study. Ms. Smith also was part of the team that founded the Biotechnology Institute (BTI), a cross-curricular, small-learning community where students take science-themed English and social studies classes as well as a series of courses in biotechnology. She has taken several classes in Costa Rica to help researchers collect data and protect Leatherback Sea Turtles as well as to aid in reforestation projects. Ms. Smith discovered that she enjoys creating change in education. She wants relevancy for students, a way for students to link what they are learning with what they will do as a career. She wants every student to have access to entering their desired industry, regardless of having or lacking family connections.
In 2018, Ms. Smith decided to leave the classroom and become the Career Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator for the San Mateo County Office of Education. As a result, she was able to outreach to more districts, schools, and students across the county supporting the development of similar programs.
Tina is now the Vice Principal at TIDE Academy. She is located at the first office on the second story of TIDE. While her door is always open, it’s best to make an appointment with Ms. Chavez to ensure Ms. Smith is not otherwise engaged.
Makailah Ceseña ama las ciencias sociales; Como profesora de Núcleo e Historia de los Estados Unidos, siempre está interesada en comprender el funcionamiento interno de las relaciones de grupos e individuos. Ella cree que las relaciones son la base de la enseñanza y el aprendizaje. Valora el amor, la familia, el servicio, la equidad, el aprendizaje y, sobre todo, a su hijo, Justice.
La Srta. Ceseña creció en el Área de la Bahía, obtuvo un B.A. en Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Estatal de San Francisco y una Maestría en Currículo e Instrucción de CU Denver. La Srta. Ceseña enseñó en Northglenn High School y East Palo Alto Academy antes de venir a TIDE. Orgullosamente, es parte de la comunidad de Belle Haven, donde vive con su esposo Dany y su hijo, Justice.
Makailah Ceseña is a lover of all things social science; as a U.S. History and Nucleus teacher, she is always interested in understanding the inner workings of relationships of groups and individuals. She believes relationships are the foundation of teaching and learning. She values love, family, service, equity, learning, and her son, Justice above all.
Mrs. Ceseña grew up in the Bay Area, earned a B.A. in Social Science from San Francisco State University, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from CU Denver. Mrs. Ceseña taught at Northglenn High School and East Palo Alto Academy before coming to TIDE. She is a proud member of the Belle Haven Community where she lives with her husband Dany and son, Justice.
Tom Chang, Art Teacher
Tom Chang earned a Masters Degree in Teaching from Santa Clara University, a Masters of Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA with a double major in Psychology and Art from UC Santa Cruz. He lives in Mountain View with his brilliant and amazing wife, his super-energetic son (in the second grade at a dual language immersion school), a very spoiled lab mutt, and a cuddly, but stinky cat. Mr. Chang's passions include: art, teaching, and social justice issues. He is an avid long-distance swimmer and a foster parent. Mr. Chang has been a college instructor, a widely exhibited artist, a professional photographer, filmmaker, and digital artist. His art has been shown in museums and galleries in the US and internationally, and focuses on challenging representations of ethnic identities in popular culture. Included are the Fulbright project “Cultural Tourism in China,” which explores tourism’s role in perpetuating images of an exotic and primitive China, the feature-length documentary film “Jing Jing Hair Salon” (with Sasha Welland and Fu Xioxing) about two hair salon workers who migrate from the countryside to a Beijing neighborhood on the verge of urban redevelopment, and the multimedia exhibition “Angel Island” which questions the role of California State Parks and institutions in their representation of US immigration history.
Cat Cole, 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.
Hector Cornejo, PE Teacher
Hector Cornejo was raised in Redwood City, California, where he attended grades K-12th. He has lived his entire life on the Peninsula and feels very connected to the community. As a student he attended both the Redwood City School District and Sequoia Union High School District. Hector is fluent in English and Spanish. After high school, Hector attended San José State University where he majored in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Preparation for Teaching. He also received his teaching credential in Physical Education from SJSU in the Spring of 2020. Hector has always had a passion for fitness and teaching Physical Education to a diverse range of learners. He has worked in educational organizations, including, The Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula and the Peninsula Jewish Community Center where he taught multiple physical activity courses that focused on fitness components and team building. He has experience in coaching soccer, basketball, and cross country. One of his favorite outdoor activities is trail running. His goal was to someday teach in the same school district he attended as a student and now he can state that he has reached that goal. Hector is a strong motivator and has always enjoyed helping others. He believes in giving students a variety of opportunities that expands their knowledge and critical thinking skills, but also motivates them to pursue a healthier and physically active lifestyle that becomes a part of their daily lives.
Karen Cortez, Education Specialist
Ms. Karen Cortez was born and raised in Los Angeles. She worked in a research lab focused on Educational Equity for the Latinx community pursuing higher education and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at UC Santa Cruz. Her passion for education was fueled during her time in Santa Cruz County which led to her position as a paraprofessional in Watsonville, CA. Shortly after completing her undergraduate degree she attended CSU Monterey Bay and obtained her teaching credential in mild/moderate special needs. She then transitioned into an Education Specialist position and continued to work in the Watsonville area for four years. At TIDE, her goal is to support students in developing a growth mindset and provide students with learning differences equitable access to the General Education curriculum. She focuses strongly on building executive functioning skills, exploring self-management tools, and working on individual academic goals. Students may also see her around in their classes as she works with teachers to provide additional academic support. Ms. Cortez’s commitment to students goes beyond the classroom. She loves participating in school activities, events, and clubs. She has advised community and volunteer clubs in the past and hopes to support TIDE’s students in building a strong sense of community as well. She is bilingual in Spanish and looks forward to working with students and their families.
Emily Cox, Biology Teacher
Emily Cox was born and raised in the Bay Area, where she always loved the exploration of science. She grew up playing every sport under the sun with her two brothers, but fell in love with soccer and played competitively throughout school. Emily went to Santa Clara University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology while working as a strength coach for the University’s Women's Soccer Team and coaching Varsity Girls Soccer at Carlmont High School. After graduating from Santa Clara, Emily worked in physical therapy while attending graduate school to earn her teaching credential in Life Science. She strives to promote inquiry based learning by establishing a safe, positive environment where students feel comfortable and confident to be themselves and ask questions. Emily aims to guide students in conceptualizing biological processes while assessing the impact of such phenomena on the world around them. Outside of the classroom, you’ll likely find Emily exploring the outdoors, spending time with family, or relaxing at home with a good book.
Kelly Fernandes, Spanish Teacher
Kelly is a Spanish instructor with 27 years of experience teaching secondary school and holds a Master of Arts degree in Spanish and an Administrative Credential. She is passionate about teaching languages and working with teenagers. She loves traveling abroad to learn new cultures and exploring new hiking trails with her rescue dog, Todd. Kelly considers the Pacific Northwest her home and has lived in numerous places ranging from small communities in the Sierra Nevadas, the San Joaquin Valley, the Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, and Humboldt County. She is excited to begin her new tenure teaching dual enrollment at the Tide Academy and experience “city life” in the Bay Area. She demonstrates commitment and professional integrity in the World Languages community. As the CLTA North Coast Language Teachers Affiliate President she organized the 2020 CLTA Jamboree. She is the Co-director of The World “The way we saw it” photography exhibition and publication in collaboration with Humboldt State University. Her favorite professional presentations consist of presenting at III Symposium Books, Travels, Travelers: Count Vlad Tepes Dracula and the Discourse of Blood in Sibiu, Romania: Modern Dracula, American Pop Culture’s Anti-Hero; CLTA Conference in Monterey, USA: Collaborative Conversations with Google Slides; and CLTA Conference, Ontario, USA: Use Google Slides and Speed Dating to Do What Students Love Most: Talk About Themselves!
Jim Karditzas, Math Teacher
Jim Karditzas started life in Illinois just outside of Chicago and at 10 years of age, his family moved to Florida. He was the first in his family to finish college graduating from The United States Military at West Point in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. After a 10 year career in the US Army as an Armor officer including completing a Master's Degree in East Asian Studies at USC in 1990, he resigned his commission to pursue personal goals. Leveraging his leadership skills and technical expertise he landed in high-tech sales in the Bay Area for 15 years. In the last years of his sales positions, he was training non-technical sales professionals to sell high-tech components with both classroom and in-field co-selling appointments. His passion for teaching caused him to re-tool once again to pursue a Master's Degree in Education (Mathematics) to redirect his path of service to a career in public education. He has been teaching and coaching students and teachers in mathematics education for the past 14 years and is delighted to help in the launch of a new school. He brings energy and critical thinking to mathematics by integrating relevant instructional strategies that focus on developing student agency and authority as a mathematician.
Julia Leeson, Algebra Teacher
Julia is a mathematics educator and the Director of Personalized Learning Mathematics. She is Mindfulness Certified and trained in peer mediation and coaching programs. In addition, she is trained in Learning Design Technology (LDT). Julia has partnered this summer with Mr. Karditzas to collaborate on the integrated mathematics curriculum in order to ensure that students meet and exceed the eight mathematical practices as well as are prepared for the future upper division math courses.
Jonathan Makonnen, Digital Marketing Teacher
Jonathan Makonnen is born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a native of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park and recently moved back home after living in Texas for the last 13 years. Jonathan received his Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Cal Berkeley. He is excited to be back home and is focused on making a positive impact on the kids at TIDE, as well as the people in the community he comes from. In his free time, you can normally find him working on his brand, UNFAZED, which he is passionate about. Although he is naturally an introvert, he loves to talk about sports or ways to make a positive influence on the next generation. He is extremely competitive and is always up for a challenge. As a teacher, his main focus is creating an environment of diversity and equity that allows all students to reach their maximum potential.
Alanna Ojeda, English 9 Teacher
Alanna received a B.A. in English with a focus on Teaching English Literature from San Francisco State University in 2009. After obtaining her Teaching Credential from Mills College in Oakland, she went on to teach middle school Humanities in Berkeley and has spent the last six years teaching English and History in East Oakland. In 2017, she completed a Master’s in Teaching. Her research focused on effective reading strategy instruction for secondary students. She loves watching students develop confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas. Alanna feels that a child’s community plays an important part in their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. This connection to the environment has a direct impact on their ability to feel successful when learning. She believes a love of learning is developed over time, through honing diverse academic and social skills, tracking growth, as well as engaging in metacognitive reflection. Alanna is well known for being prepared for any outdoor adventure whether hiking in the mountains or taking road trips along the Pacific Northwest.
Daphne Pacia-McCann, English 10 Teacher
Daphne Pacia-McCann was born and raised in South San Francisco, where she taught English in South San Francisco for 5 years. She received both her B.A. in English and her Teaching Credential from UC Irvine in 2014 and 2015.
Daphne has worked with all age-groups but has found that she enjoys working with high school students the most. To Daphne, building relationships with students is one of the most important components of a positive learning community, which she believes encourages students to step outside of their comfort zone and grow. Daphne is passionate about her subject and compares the love for literature with constant discoveries. Watching students foster their own mastery and use these skills in other arenas is truly inspiring to her and fuels her forward.
Outside of the classroom, Daphne enjoys spending time with her husband and toddler. She has a renewed appreciation for her Filipino heritage and makes it a point to share the culture with her child. Additionally, Daphne has always been in love with traveling and can’t wait to explore other countries when her child is older. Until then, she feels even the simplest experiences that she once took for granted are new again due to her child’s awe.
Ryan Stagg, Math & Science Teacher
Ryan Stagg was born and raised in the Bay Area with dreams of becoming integrated into 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.
As an experienced academic administrative assistant, Mayra has been trained to assist you with, registering for classes, meal applications, updating our website, and much more. In addition, Mayra is bilingual in Spanish and will assist Dr. Silvestri in disseminating weekly updates in English and Spanish. Ms. Buenrostro enjoys spending time with her family being outdoors, hiking, and water sports. Ms. Buenrostro loves creating bonds with students and helping them through their path in High School.
Rocio Chavez, School Secretary
Ms. Chavez is the first friendly face you see at the front desk. She enjoys helping and working directly with students and families. She is trilingual in Spanish and Italian. Ms. Chavez can help you with your attendance questions and help navigate through our school systems. In addition, she organizes our Student Shadow program and Campus Tours. She also loves traveling and learning about other cultures.
Cristal Hernández, Guidance Info Specialist
Ms. Hernández received her B.S. in Recreation from San Jose State University. She worked for MidPen Housing with youth and their families by providing services and academic support; here is where she realized her passion for assisting youth. She had the opportunity to coordinate college/career workshops and assisted in developing programs for at-risk youth.
Ms. Hernández worked at Cabrillo Unified School District for seven years and held several roles which enhanced her knowledge in the public school system and her passion for assisting students and families. Ms. Hernández served as a Community Liaison, Student Advocate, Administrative Assistant to the Special Education Department and Business Services Department at Cabrillo. Ms.Hernández has served as a volunteer for the Empowering Young Women Program through the Sheriff Activities League (S.A.L.) on the coast.