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Join Us in Welcoming Our New Faculty & Staff!
Posted 08/28/2019 12:00PM

We are excited to begin this year by welcoming a number of new faculty and staff members to the Westridge community! We also have several returning staff members who are taking on new roles campus this year.

Administration:

   

Dr. Zanita Kelly, director of Lower and Middle School

Zanita is a dedicated educational leader with more than 25 years of experience in charter, public, and independent schools. She has taught, overseen curriculum and instruction, and served as an enrichment specialist and principal for grades K-5, and has also taught at the collegiate level. She comes to us from Saint Mark’s School in Altadena, where led the upper elementary program. Zanita earned her Doctorate in Education and Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University, and a Bachelors in Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign, Urbana.


Faculty:

   

Kenzie Brownsmith, 6th grade math and homeroom teacher

Kenzie spent the last five years at Aveson Global Leadership Academy where she taught math and science and, most recently, acted as director of their Flex Studies Program; a hybrid independent studies program. She is skilled in curriculum writing, mastery-based assessment design, and differentiated lesson planning and instruction. Kenzie earned her Bachelors in Urban Environmental Policy from Occidental College and multiple teaching credentials from CalStateTEACH.

   

Kerri Epps, Middle and Upper School orchestra teacher

Kerri earned her Bachelors degree in Music Education with emphasis in violin from UCLA, and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Music Teaching and Learning from the University of Southern California. She has nearly 10 years of teaching experience that ranges from the elementary to the collegiate level, most recently as String Program Founder and orchestra teacher with El Segundo Middle & High Schools.

   

Dr. Vicki Garrett, Upper School Spanish teacher

Vicki has 15 years of experience in language and culture instruction and research and received her Doctorate of Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA. She also holds a Masters degree from the North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and most recently taught Spanish and directed the Spain study abroad program at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

   

Liz Kim, Lower School science teacher

Liz holds a Masters degree in Science Education in Elementary and Middle School from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Bachelors degree in Wildlife Biology from UC Davis. Liz comes to Westridge from Saint Mark’s School, where she taught science for 17 years and served as department chair. Liz has also spent time designing curriculum for summer classes at Polytechnic, the Los Angeles Zoo, La Cañada High School, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

   

Lilian Maldonado, Middle School Spanish teacher

Lilian earned her Masters degree from Salamanca University in Spain and comes to Westridge with 13 years of experience in Spanish and history instruction. She taught for four years in Córdoba, Colombia before moving to the L.A. Spanish School, and later the Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in New Mexico. She returned to southern California last year to teach at the Palisades Charter High School.

   

Ariel McCleese, 7th grade mathematics (long-term substitute)

Ariel has been a substitute teacher at Westridge for the past five years while also teaching at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels. Ariel holds a Masters degree in fine art from UC Irvine and a Bachelors in fine art from USC. She is also a film director and visual artist whose work metaphorizes the unique biology of insects to tell stories of female empowerment.


   

Lily Shang, Middle School Mandarin Teacher

Lily has been teaching for five years, including at Polytechnic School, Partnership for Success!, and as a long-term substitute at Westridge. Most recently she was at the American University Prep School where she taught Mandarin Chinese II, III, IV, and AP, and served as the residential life supervisor and event coordinator. Having taught at multiple grade levels, Lily has a strong sense of the developmental and conceptual stages of students and language acquisition. She earned her Bachelors in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language at Beijing Language and Culture University.

   

Dr. Tina Singh, Upper School chemistry teacher

Tina has more than 15 years of experience in teaching AP science courses and STEM research methodology, most recently at Riverside STEM Academy. She holds a Doctorate of Education from Azusa Pacific University, a Masters in teaching from Occidental College, and a Bachelors in biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego. Tina joins her daughter Bonnie who is both a Westridge alumna and staff member in our college counseling department.

   

Brooke Surin, Upper School biology teacher

Brooke comes to Westridge from Archer School for Girls where she was a teaching fellow and 9th grade physics teacher. She was very involved in school activities including the science fair, the student mentoring program, and assisting the theatre department. Before Archer, Brooke taught 7th grade Life Sciences at Rocky Run Middle School in Virginia. She holds a Bachelors degree in Biology from Point Loma Nazarene University.

 

Staff:

   

Stephanie Bolton, librarian

Stephanie earned her Master of Library & Information Science with a focus on youth librarianship from UCLA and has since worked as assistant librarian at Pacific Oaks College and as an apprentice librarian at Windward School. Before pursuing her passion for library science, she held diverse positions working in a veterinary clinic, photography studio, and as a costuming intern at Walt Disney World.

   

Felicia Johnson, director of facilities

Felicia has 10 years of facilities experience, most recently serving as director of facilities at Rio Hondo College. Prior to that, Felicia was senior director of logistics at Caltech. She holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from UCLA, is an APPA Certified Education Facilities Professional, member of the Society of Women Engineers, and past president of the National Society of Black Engineers.

   

Tami Millard, learning support specialist

For the last nine years, Tami has served as director of learning services at High Point Academy in Pasadena, where she worked with students, teachers, and parents in grades K-8. In her private practice, she works with middle and high school students to provide support for organizational and study skills, and teaches self-advocacy, self-awareness, and mindfulness practices. Tami earned her Bachelors in Speech Communication from Colorado State University, and she holds two Masters degrees, one in Special Education from Azusa Pacific University and a second in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

   

Ashley Sneed, assistant to the director of Upper School

Ashley recently relocated to Los Angeles from Chicago, where she was an administrative assistant at RMB Capital Management. She earned her Bachelors in Human Resource Management from Ball State University.

 


Role Changes:

Brittany Coker moved from teaching Upper School biology to dean of Upper School student activities this year.

Tsia Harris has moved from her role in dining services to library assistant, a role that allows her love of books and students, and her library training to excellent use.

Dr. Jessica Perez del Toro, who formerly taught Middle School Spanish and oversaw Student Voices, is now teaching Upper School Spanish and serving as the Westridge site director for Partnership for Success!, a summer program that provides education, inspiration and mentorship for bright yet underserved PUSD students, that has been supported by the school and the Westridge Parent Association for almost 30 years.

Regina Wei will assume the role of Human Development (HD) teacher and will join Zoe Munoz, not only as an HD teacher, but also as Co-Dean of Student Voices. She formerly taught Middle School Mandarin Chinese and yoga.

Courtney Seiberling, former assistant to the Upper School, will assume the role of yoga teacher. As we continue to develop a more consistent and holistic approach in the areas of health and wellness, we have consolidated the yoga teaching responsibilities into a single position. Courtney is a qualified yoga instructor and has taught a number of yoga classes at Westridge over the course of the past five years.

An independent, forward-thinking
day school for girls, grades 4–12

324 Madeline Drive
Pasadena, California 91105
Phone: 626-799-1153
Fax: 626-799-9236
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