Meet the RVC Staff

At Ross Valley Charter, we believe it is vital for teachers and administrators to have time to collaborate with colleagues and parents. Teachers, school staff, and parents all work together to create our positive and joyful educational experience. 

Administration

Photo of Dr. Page Hersey, Director of Ross Valley Charter elementary school

Page Hersey, EdD

School Director

Dr. Page began her career as a multi-age classroom teacher and deeply believes in RVC’s philosophy of nurturing each student’s curiosity and development through a multi-age, inquiry-based approach. In her over 20 years in education, she has worked as a classroom teacher in grades 1-4, a literacy specialist, and most recently, as a professor of education preparing new teachers. She holds a Master's in Language and Literacy from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate in Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. Page is a passionate human rights educator and integrates issues of human rights and social justice into her work. 
 
"As a leader, I believe relationship-building, listening, and collaborating are the keys to a thriving school. RVC’s wonderful team of teachers, staff, and families demonstrate that when we work together in service of our children, there is no limit to what we can achieve."
 
Dr. Page lives with her family in Fairfax, and her son is an RVC student. She enjoys cooking for family and friends and hiking in the Marin hills.
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Elizabeth Ellis

Office Manager

Prior to joining RVC, Elizabeth served for six years as the Administrative and Communications Coordinator for the YES Foundation in Ross Valley. She has also served in various roles in Marin businesses and nonprofits. Her connection to the local area is strong, and she has much experience serving families in our community.

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado. She lives in Fairfax and her two children, now in middle school, went through the MAP program.

Bilingual-Elementary-Support

Marilyn Alfaro

Family Outreach Coordinator
& Before-Care Teacher

Marilyn Alfaro is from El Salvador, C.A., and lives in San Anselmo. She has been working at the Fairfax San Anselmo Children's Center as an administrative assistance since 2003.  She has two children, a college-aged daughter and a son at Drake High School.  Marilyn graduated in 1989 from Luis Manuel Escamilla College in El Salvador and received her degree in Primary Education.

I like to work in schools because working with children is fun and I learn from them every day. Helping families is the most rewarding job I can think of and it makes me very happy. 

Currently, Marilyn is also pursuing an A.A. degree in Early Education at College of Marin.

Ross Valley Charter Administrative assistant, Jen Wolf

Jennifer Wolf

Lunch Coordinator

 

 

Jennifer Wolf has worked to help build RVC since 2015, helping with communications, events, and enrollment. She's passionate about promoting progressive education in the public school system. She has two children, one who attends RVC, and one who graduated in 2017 and attends White Hill Middle School.

Classroom Teachers

TatiBli

Tatiana Bliss

K/ 1st Grade

“I am very excited to join the RVC community. I love that RVC values and nurtures both creativity and curiosity in children, and encourages teachers to make learning joyful. I can’t wait to meet all the wonderful families at the school and it is my priority to make this unique school year meaningful and special for my students.”

Prior to joining our team, Tatiana worked for several years as a screenwriter, director, and producer. More recently, she has been writing children’s books that celebrate progressive activism. Tatiana has taught in both the Ross Valley and Lagunitas school districts, and she taught creative writing at the Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall for two years, which inspired her passion for teaching social justice and equity in the classroom. Tatiana earned her teaching credential from San Jose State University and she also has a Bachelor's Degree in Theater Arts and a Masters Degree in Film Screenwriting from UCLA.

Tatiana and her family live in San Geronimo. She has two sons who are 8 and 13.

Natalie Swenty

Natalie Swenty

TK / Kindergarten

Natalie is originally from England but spent most of her youth in Washington D.C. During her high school years she and her friends would spend their weekends protesting on the National Mall. She moved to San Francisco shortly after high school and put herself through college while performing with a 15-piece band.

“I’m so elated to be joining the RVC community! Before the shutdown I was taught in the K/1 classrooms and had the honor of working alongside Ms. Erika, Mr. Tim, and Ms. Rebecca. It’s very invigorating to work in a positive school environment that recognizes the value of collaboration and socio-emotional learning. I’m looking forward to working with an amazing team of teachers and getting to know all of you.”

She now lives in the San Geronimo Valley with her two boys, ages 6 & 9, who have certainly sustained her passion for teaching creatively.

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Amy McConnell

TK/ K/ 1st Grade

Amy taught for 11years in public schools, first as a classroom teacher in a dual-language immersion program in Southern California and then at Bacich Elementary in Kentfield. When she became a mom, she was a devoted volunteer in the schools her children attended. She worked in the Lagunitas School District as a resource aide, became Orton-Gillingham trained and developed a reading intervention program to help struggling readers. Most recently she has worked as private tutor. 
"I believe every moment spent with a child is precious. A good teacher nurtures every child’s desire to learn, and  success in teaching happens when the joy and excitement of learning lead a child to want more opportunities to grow and to stretch. I hope to create an intellectual—not just academic—classroom filled with deep thinkers and inquiring minds. To me, teaching means showing up every day with the energy it takes to follow children on their curiosity journey. How fortunate I am to be teaching in the beautiful learning community at RVC. I look forward to deepening relationships here and meeting all the wonderful families!"
Amy lives in the hills of Woodacre. She loves the beauty of the valley, the solace of her garden and most of all— her wonderful and supportive family.
arts-integrated-elementary-marin

Emily Belo

2nd / 3rd Grade

Prior to working at RVC, Emily taught in the Ross Valley School District's Multi-Age Program for six years, and has 18 years of overall teaching experience, including being a 1st -6th grade classroom teacher, resource teacher, special education program aide, and an educator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

“I teach because I love nothing more than igniting a passion for learning in children. It is the greatest challenge and the greatest joy to figure out how to bring learning to life for each student. For me, this means I must know my students as individuals and I must know my subject matter deeply.

“I find theater to be one of the greatest teaching tools in the classroom. To provide children with the opportunity to express themselves through singing, acting, and dancing opens up a whole new world for many of them. I have seen students blossom in ways I never expected by giving them access to a stage. Personally, I can’t think of a more interesting way to spend my days!”

As an educator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Emily had the opportunity research, develop, and publish the interactive book, Awesome Adventures at the Smithsonian: The Official Kids Guide to the Smithsonian Institution.

Emily lives in Petaluma.  Her son is an RVC student.

Image of teacher Jill Conroy

Jill Conroy

2nd / 3rd Grade

Ms. Jill has been teaching for six years, primarily in second and third grade. She also taught Technology and was the Math Interventionist while living in Denver, CO for two years. Jill has a Communications Degree and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Chico State.

"There are so many things I love about teaching. Sparking curiosity, encouraging creative thinking, and instilling a growth mindset are just a few. As we build our classroom community and earn one another’s trust, we create a safe environment... a safe place to take risks, make mistakes, and engage in meaningful conversations. My hope is to always create a kind, empathetic, compassionate culture where everyone feels like their ideas and opinions matter and that they are important."

Jill lives in Petaluma, which is where she grew up. She likes camping and backpacking, running and hiking, and taking the dogs to the beach! Jill enjoys spending time outside in the sunshine--always with a hat and lots of sunscreen.

EmmaBurtt

Emma Burtt

2nd / 3rd Grade

Emma comes to Ross Valley Charter after just completing her credentialing program at the University of Redlands. Prior to having her own classroom at RVC, she worked as a preschool teacher in San Rafael for two years and spent the 2020-21 school year working with Ms. Emily. Emma has a passion for social-emotional learning which she is excited to bring to her classroom at RVC.

“As a new elementary teacher, I feel so fortunate to have found RVC. I believe students learn best when they are allowed to take ownership over their learning. Because of this, I am passionate about including social-emotional learning into the classroom as well as sparking curiosity in my students. I am excited to start this school year and to meet all of the fantastic families that make up RVC!” 

Emma was raised in San Anselmo, and currently lives in San Rafael with her husband.

Image of Katie Brillault, who teaches at RVC Elementary School at Ross Valley Charter in the Ross Valley School District

Katie Brillault

3rd / 4th Grade

Katie comes to RVC with 14 years of teaching experiences in a variety of settings including preschool, public elementary school, homeschooling cooperatives, and private tutoring.

“I believe that our job as teachers is to engage the mind, fire the imagination, and strengthen the will as students develop with initiative, creativity, and skills to serve an evolving humanity.  Weaving academic teaching with essential life skills such as mindfulness, self-motivation, and peaceful conflict resolution, I strive to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world with education that addresses the whole human being.”

Katie has 2 children – Odom, age 15 and Cecilia age 12.  She lives in Fairfax and enjoys everything about their northern California living including hiking, biking, backpacking, gardening, and basically having lots of fun in the outdoors!

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Chris Lyons

4th / 5th Grade

Chris was a Multi-Age Program teacher for ten years, and has more than 20 years of teaching experience, in grades kindergarten through fifth, in Ross Valley and Dixie School Districts.

“I love learning with children. I find that I learn as much from my students as they learn from me! And we learn a lot together. I am always amazed at how each year the combination of individual students and the situations in which we find ourselves create a completely unique dynamic, never to be replicated. The last couple of weeks of every school year I find myself savoring the last moments I have with that class. Even though I’ll have half the same students the next year, I know they’ll be a year older, new students will join us, and we’ll be off on new learning adventures.

“I also cherish the relationships I’ve formed with the parents of students I have taught. Together with the children, we are a community of learners, supporting and encouraging each other.”

Chris lives in Fairfax with her family.  Her two sons are now in high school and college, and both went through the MAP program.

Multi-Age teacher Nina

Nina Watson

4th / 5th Grade

Nina has taught for 15 years, almost exclusively in the Multi-Age Program.

“Teaching is where I belong. It allows me to be a consummate learner, to be creative, and to solve problems in this ever-changing world. I believe each child is capable of learning, and of teaching others. We all possess questions, interests, and capabilities that need to be honored and supported.

“In 2005 I began my work in reading and writing workshop with Lucy Calkins at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Reading and writing are integral skills for life: reading for knowledge, for new understandings, for passion and creativity, and writing to communicate knowledge, new understandings, and express our creative selves. I strive to give my students every opportunity to share their knowledge through student-designed lessons they design, implement, evaluate, and reflect on.”

Nina lives in San Anselmo. Both of her children attend RVC. 

Instructional Specialists

RVC-TK-Transitional-Kindergarten

Rebecca Wicker

TK-2 Intervention Teacher

Rebecca taught in the Multi-Age Program for 11 years, and has more than 25 years of teaching experience, including the Mountain School in Corte Madera, the Novato Charter School, Marin Primary in Larkspur, and her own home preschool in Fairfax.

“I believe that a successful teacher shines when they are able to treasure the wonder and magic of the young child while offering an interesting, challenging, and differentiated curriculum that engages students and meets the multi-intelligences found in each individual. The beauty of RVC is the freedom it affords me to gather the best of my Waldorf and Montessori training to weave together the perfect patchwork for each set of students I have the pleasure to teach.

“Some of the greatest gifts I have received in teaching are the relationships I have forged with my students and their families: these bonds, which would normally only last a few years, often become life-long relationships as we create a true community and support one another in the classroom and in life.”

Rebecca lives with her family in Fairfax, and her son, now in sixth grade, was a Multi-Age Program student.

TorriChappel

Torri Chappell

Intervention Specialist

Torri has been working in education for thirty years in a variety of capacities including classroom teacher, reading specialist, substitute teacher, private tutor, parent educator/consultant, GATE teacher, Exploratorium Science teacher mentor and educational workshop facilitator. She is also a certified instructor for Hand in Hand Parenting and has delved deeply into the neuroscience of learning and relationship through extensive research as well as comprehensive study with the Neufeld Institute and Dr. Dan Siegel’s work.

"What I want most for every child is to find joy in learning, not just in school but in life. I believe that everyone can be empowered to recognize and nurture his or her unique abilities and be engaged in a lifetime of learning. Helping children understand how their brains work, cultivate new learning strategies and supporting them as they gain confidence in their abilities is the most satisfying part of my job. Children inspire me and bring me such joy."

Torri has lived in San Anselmo with her husband for thirty years where they raised their two adult children. She speaks German and Swedish and enjoys Origami, reading, writing as well as playing and creating learning games.

Enrichment Teachers

Elementary-school-athletics

Mike Clagett

Physical Education

Mike has been providing sports enrichment classes to the youth of Marin, ages 3-12, since 2012. He ran preschool soccer classes through Bay Area Happy Feet for 6 years, and has been teaching after school sports enrichment classes through One on One basketball in the Ross Valley and Mill Valley school districts since 2014.

Mike coaches AAU basketball for The County Bears, a traveling basketball club based in Marin. Mike’s coaching career began in 2013 as a volunteer for the St. Mary’s CYO program and he’s been working with the same team, now 7th graders, since then. That program has since grown from 1 team to more than 10. He attributes his success there to inspiring a vision of bringing athletic programs to kids that may not have had opportunities otherwise.

Mike’s purpose in teaching is not only to teach skills and techniques, but to instill confidence and understanding of what it means to be a member of a team. He has lived in the San Anselmo/Fairfax Area since 2009.

Music-ukelele-education

Josh McIntosh

Music and Chorus

Josh McIntosh has been bringing music to kids and families in Marin County for 10 years. He has worked with many schools in the county and for the last four years has been the music specialist at one of Marin County's largest summer camps. His approach to teaching is engaging and fun and allows children to feel some quick success and pride in their music making potential. Before his son was born, Josh was a busy touring musician and recording artist. He still performs locally on occasion, but has found his passion in teaching and coaching.