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 dive master 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 to 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 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.
Emily Bittner, Art/Elective Wheel and Maker Space Teacher
Emily Bittner graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2006 with Honors in Arts Education. She discovered a passion for Metal Arts and Glassblowing. After graduation, Emily moved to Boston and began teaching High School Fine Arts. After a year, she accepted an art position as an Atelier for a Harvard affiliated pre-school. She was in charge of introducing a ceramics program that focused on holistic art and exploring its' healing aspects. Emily then moved to California and began teaching adult programs at the Crucible in Oakland and the Greater Bay Area. Emily’s passion for high school continued in San Francisco Unified Schools where she taught for 2 years. Ceramics, 3D arts, Art History, Art Activism, and Photography were among some of the topics. Art has been a driving force in Emily’s life, and she is so excited to continue with TIDE. Innovation thinking, 3D Design, laser cut projects, and product design are just some of the topics she is excited to explore with students in order to get them Art and Design Ready for the competitive creative world we live in. When speaking with students, Emily loves to share her passion of travel from across the globe and learning about different cultures and their art forms.
Mayra Buenrostro, Secretary
An experienced academic administrative assistant, Mayra will be the first person you interact with at TIDE as she will greet you in the main office. She has been trained to assist you with attendance questions, registering for classes, signing up for free and reduced lunch, and updating the website. In addition, Mayra is bilingual in Spanish and will assist Dr. Silvestri in disseminating weekly updates in English and Spanish.
Michelle Close, Counselor
Having been an academic counselor for over 30 years, Michelle has counseled students in the United States as well as abroad. She is looking forward to counseling students academically, as well as, providing them the necessary social and emotional support that will ensure long-term success. By focusing on the whole student and building a relationship with families, Michelle will be focused on meeting with you and your student to develop four-year plans that will be utilized to navigate your student from TIDE directly to college.
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.
Jim Karditzas, Mathematics 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.
Dr. Manny Koch
As you get to know Dr. Koch, you’ll learn that he is passionate about health, physical activity, and nutrition. He intends to pass on his love of teaching in the hope of inspiring students to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives that they touch. He will do his best to make the learning experience meaningful and applicable to life and future career. Dr. Koch has worked in education for the past 25 years as a teacher, school administrator, college and university instructor, and owner of an educational organization. He believes that hands-on, collaborative, experiential learning is not only more engaging but also preferable to other teaching methods in terms of student outcomes. He is excited to provide students with a rich and diverse learning experiences.
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. Furthermore, her curriculum is integrated with that of Mr. Stagg and his Physics course.
Alanna Ojeda, English 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.
Ryan Stagg, 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.