ELEMENTARY & MIDDLE SCHOOL FACULTY

ELEMENTARY FACULTY (grades K-4)

MARGHEE KENNEDY
Lead Teacher, Kindergarten

Bio coming

SUSAN DALTON GUZMAN
Bilingual Assistant Teacher, Kindergarten 

Susan joined the Spring Hill faculty team in  2016. Susan holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Santa Barbara City College as well as a California Child Development Teacher Permit and Site Supervisor Credential. Susan is a fluent Spanish speaker and offers her students an engaging introduction to Spanish and the opportunity to build Spanish language skills each day. Prior to joining the faculty at The Spring Hill School, Susan was the director and owner of her own preschool for 10 years, where Spanish language and multicultural activities were her focus. She also spent seven years as a Lead Teacher and Program Manager and two years as a Site Supervisor at North Bay Children’s Center. She has volunteered as an assistant coach for Sonoma County Girls on the Run and is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In her free time, Susan enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, kayaking, bicycling, and being out in nature with her son Morgen and daughter Maya.

MOLLY HILL
Co-Lead Teacher, Lower Elementary, Grades 1 & 2

Molly Hill joined Spring Hill in 2020. Molly has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Mills College and a California Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. She has completed the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University Teachers College and Making Learning Visible at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to joining Spring Hill, Molly was a member of the leadership team at Sonoma Country Day School from 1991–2020. She was a master teacher for grades K–5 (including 15 years in 1st grade), a math specialist for grades 4 and 5. She was the lower school director for five years.

Molly is a great advocate for her students’ academic, social, and emotional progress and success. Inspired by the Brightworks (San Francisco) school model, and as a lifelong learner, Molly believes in an education that encourages exploration and expression, creative and critical thinking, collaboration, and integration. She brings a metacognitive approach to the classroom and supports her students in knowing themselves as learners. Molly embraces the “bigger picture” in education and strives to help her students see themselves as confident, capable, and kind human beings. Molly always aims to create a fun, safe, and challenging learning environment for every child.

When not exploring new ideas for teaching and learning, Molly loves creating things from paper—letterpress, bookmaking, origami, cards, etc. She loves all things art and design related. She also loves to hike/walk, especially around westside Petaluma neighborhoods. She enjoys trying new recipes, spending time with friends, family (especially her twin nieces), and her partner Tom. She loves reading, writing, and seeing live music, and is also a huge fan of New York City.

CYNTHIA DIAZ
Co-Lead Teacher, Lower Elementary, Grades 1 & 2
& Spanish Teacher

Cynthia joined the Spring Hill faculty team in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Early Childhood Development from Sonoma State University. She also has a Montessori Elementary credential from American Montessori Society. Cynthia has worked with students from 1st through 5th grade since 2009 in a variety of different capacities in the classroom, including a behavior and education specialist, student support instructional assistant and tutor in many subjects, and an after-school classroom director. She is a native Spanish speaker and enjoys integrating cultural studies in her Spanish lessons. Cynthia believes it is important to encourage conversational Spanish throughout the school day as well as after school help to connect Spanish as a second language with real-life experiences and activities. She enjoys listening to her students sing and speak Spanish throughout the day, play games and read in Spanish. Cynthia is a graceful, respectful, and positive role model with strong organizational and leadership skills. She absolutely loves being with children. Cynthia enjoys cooking and baking, as well as hiking and camping with her husband Arthur and their son Rylan.

JOSEPH TRUM
Learning Specialist & Digital Arts Teacher

Joseph Trum is a Digital Arts and Resource teacher at Spring Hill.

Joseph holds a Special Education Mild/Moderate credential and a Language Arts credential in California, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to joining Spring Hill, Joseph spent 7 years as a Digital Arts and Math Teacher at Star Academy in San Rafael. He also is the Founder of Common Sense Special Education, providing in-home tutoring and Special Needs services throughout the Bay Area since 2010.

Joseph has a passion for film, music, and chess, and teaches Jiu-jitsu at Esteem BJJ in Petaluma.

MORIAH GREY
Lead Teacher, Upper Elementary, Grades 3 & 4

Bio coming

CHRISTINE KUBOTA 
Teacher, Grades 3 & 4
After-School Lead Teacher, Grades 3-8

Christine joined the Spring Hill faculty team in 2016. She holds a BS in biology with a concentration in marine science from Sonoma State University. Prior to joining Spring Hill, she worked at Sonoma State University as summer camp director and student instructor. Christine is part of the middle school advisory team and builds strong and trusted connections with her students. As a Math Associate Teacher, Christine guides and engages her students to gain confidence in learning math with joy. As part of the after-school program, Christine offers daily “homework club” providing 1:1 support in math, humanities, as well as Spanish. She also teaches macramé, a favorite elective class of Spring Hill middle school students. Christine is a graduate of a Spanish bilingual school and is fluent in Spanish. Christine enjoys scuba, macrame, traveling, and watching true crime documentaries. 

JEAN HICKS
Lead Learning Resource Specialist, Grade K–6

Jean joined the Spring Hill faculty team in 2004 as the Lower Elementary (grades 1 and 2) Lead Teacher. She rejoins the Spring Hill faculty as our Lead Learning Resource Specialist. Jean spent the 2019–20 school year following a passion teaching project in Nepal and has recently returned to Petaluma. Jean is a master Montessori credentialed educator, founder and principal of a successful K–8th grade Montessori school in Michigan, and an expert in learning resources. Jean led her own tutoring center for many years that offered Orton Gillingham phonics, Read Naturally for fluency, and BAL A VIS X (balance-auditory-visual exercises) to support her students to gain academic confidence and skills to succeed in their education. Jean deeply cares for each child and connects with them with respect and joy, and builds deep relationships based on trust, responsibility, and care.

ERIN BERTSCH
Science & Nature Teacher

Bio coming

ZAK KOWAL
Athletic Director & PE Teacher

Zak holds a BA in business management and a teaching credential in physical education. He has years of experience as athletic director, PE, and movement teacher and coach at independent schools in Silicon Valley. He has also led all seasonal sports, including baseball and basketball, and has a love for sports, health and nutrition, community, and team building. Zak is a motivated, personable, and skilled teacher who has worked with students of all ages. As an advisor in middle school, he is passionate about reaching out and connecting with his students for maximum mentoring, coaching, and success. He is also passionate about music—at his previous school, Zak DJ’d dances, and events!

MARLA PEDERSEN
Art Specialist, Grades 3-8

Marla Pedersen is Spring Hill’s art specialist. Marla graduated The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Art Education and moved to San Francisco in 2005. She taught art for 15 years at St. Vincent de Paul High School and St. Vincent Elementary School in Petaluma and Sebastopol Charter School. She teaches private art lessons in her home studio to artists of all ages and works on her own art career, focusing on drawing, painting, and collaborating with her husband on original screen print designs.

Marla has a passion for teaching youth and relates the art making process to their own lives, making connections through art history, cultures, and a wide range of artists and styles to develop a rich art curriculum. Students will understand art as a language, a way for people to communicate ideas and world issues through images and making, a way to show people what’s in our heart and what we value, in a visual form. She has lived in Petaluma for 12 years and has two sons, Milo, age 9, and Oliver, age 11. Marla loves art and nature, family time, road trips, camping, picnics, hiking, beach days, and playing piano.

PABLO RODRIGUEZ
Music Specialist, Grades PK-2

Pablo Rodriguez is a well-known singer, guitarist, and teacher in the North Bay area. He has performed in a wide variety of styles including classical, Brazilian music, jazz, gospel, pop, and Eastern European music. He has collaborated for years with songwriters, poets, dancers, choirs, and multi-media artists in many venues. He is an experienced teacher both in classroom and private instruction.

 

 

MAX JENT
Music Teacher, Grades 3-8

Max Jent joined Spring Hill in 2020 as the Middle School music teacher. Max has a BA in Music Performance from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He received his teaching credential from Sonoma State University. Max has studied the Orff music approach (Levels I and II) at the San Franciscan School, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and the San Francisco International Program in Carmel, California. (The Orff approach is a developmental approach used in music education that combines music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons.)  Max is the principal bass player in a local Symphony and is the band leader of a performing Jazz Band. Max is a composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist. For fun Max enjoys cooking, hiking, camping, skiing, world travel, gardening, and spending time with his dog.

MIDDLE SCHOOL FACULTY (grades 5-8)

JEN KLEM-CLARKE
Middle School Director

Lead Curriculum & Advisory Coordinator / High School Placement Counselor

Jen brings to Spring Hill her passion and over 20 years of middle school teaching, leadership, and advisory experience, including 5 years of teaching in Pleasant Hill and San Francisco, 4 at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland, and 11 years at Marin Primary and Middle School in Larkspur. She holds an MA in educational administration and curriculum development, a BA in liberal studies, a California K-12 Multiple Subject Clear Teaching Credential, and a Giftedness: Realizing the Potential credential. Her wealth of training and certificates also includes a Clear, Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate (CLAD), and she has focused her professional development on learning and the brain, global citizenship and humanities curriculum development, project-based learning, student leadership, and mindfulness. After moving to Petaluma six years ago, Jen is very excited to be working close to home so she can spend more time with her husband, Kevin; their always entertaining sons, Finn and Kai; and their adorable Cocker Spaniel, Zoe. She enjoys yoga, cooking, gardening, crafting, reading, and most of all, exploring the world with her curious boys.

RACHEL WIEBE
Lead Teacher, Middle School, Grade 5

Bio coming

ED LONGNECKER
Lead Teacher, Middle School, Grade 6
Middle School Math Teacher
Advisor, Grade 6

Ed Longnecker joined Spring Hill in 2020. He holds a BA in Communications from Sonoma State University and has also earned a California K-12 Multiple Subject Clear Teaching Credential, a Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development Certificate (CLAD), and an Administrative Service Credential from Sonoma State as well. Ed brings a lot of enthusiasm and experience to Spring Hill. He has been working with middle schools in Sonoma and Napa Counties for the last 17 years. During that time he has worked as both an assistant principal and a teacher. Ed comes to us from the Napa Unified School District where he has recently had three teacher of the year nominations, as well as nominations for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, and won runner up as Napa Valley’s Male Role Model of the Year in 2019.

KATIE VANKO
Lead Teacher,  Grades 7 & 8

Bio coming

MONIQUE PEARL
Math Teacher, Grades 7 & 8

Bio coming

AUBREY WATKINS
Middle School Science Teacher

Bio coming

ERIN BERTSCH
Science & Nature Teacher

Bio coming

PAMELA TAMBE
Middle School Math Consultant

Pam loves helping students gain solid mathematical skills and become confident, capable problem-solvers. She holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Johnson State College in Vermont. Her expertise is in middle and high school mathematics teaching and in education research of math and science curricula, assessment, teacher leadership, and professional development. Pam enjoys spending time with family and friends, outdoor activities, and traveling. Her youngest daughter is a recent Spring Hill graduate.

ZAK KOWAL
Middle School Athletic Director & PE Teacher
Advisor

Zak holds a BA in business management and a teaching credential in physical education. He has years of experience as athletic director, PE, and movement teacher and coach at independent schools in Silicon Valley. He has also led all seasonal sports, including baseball and basketball, and has a love for sports, health and nutrition, community, and team building. Zak is a motivated, personable, and skilled teacher who has worked with students of all ages. As an advisor, he is passionate about reaching out and connecting with his students for maximum mentoring, coaching, and success. He is also passionate about music—at his previous school, Zak DJ’d dances, and events!

MAX JENT
Music Teacher, Grades 3-8

Max Jent joined Spring Hill in 2020 as the Middle School music teacher. Max has a BA in Music Performance from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He received his teaching credential from Sonoma State University. Max has studied the Orff music approach (Levels I and II) at the San Franciscan School, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and the San Francisco International Program in Carmel, California. (The Orff approach is a developmental approach used in music education that combines music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons.)  Max is the principal bass player in a local Symphony and is the band leader of a performing Jazz Band. Max is a composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist. For fun Max enjoys cooking, hiking, camping, skiing, world travel, gardening, and spending time with his dog.

MARLA PEDERSEN
Art Specialist, Grades 3-8

Marla Pedersen is Spring Hill’s art specialist. Marla graduated The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Art Education and moved to San Francisco in 2005. She taught art for 15 years at St. Vincent de Paul High School and St. Vincent Elementary School in Petaluma and Sebastopol Charter School. She teaches private art lessons in her home studio to artists of all ages and works on her own art career, focusing on drawing, painting, and collaborating with her husband on original screen print designs.

Marla has a passion for teaching youth and relates the art making process to their own lives, making connections through art history, cultures, and a wide range of artists and styles to develop a rich art curriculum. Students will understand art as a language, a way for people to communicate ideas and world issues through images and making, a way to show people what’s in our heart and what we value, in a visual form. She has lived in Petaluma for 12 years and has two sons, Milo, age 9, and Oliver, age 11. Marla loves art and nature, family time, road trips, camping, picnics, hiking, beach days, and playing piano.

CARA WASDEN
Public Speaking Coach

Cara Wasden has been teaching public speaking at Spring Hill since 2018. Cara has been a member of the international public speaking organization, Toastmasters, since 2005. She has won numerous speaking and storytelling competitions over the years and has helped many others achieve the same success. These days her passion lies in helping younger people gain public speaking skills and confidence early on. Throughout the last four years, Cara has coached and co-coached a number of Toastmasters youth leadership programs throughout the Bay Area. She continues to co-coach public speaking sessions for programs such as Tomorrow’s Leaders Today and Chop‘s Teen Center.  She also co-coaches interviewing workshops for high school seniors involved with The Lime Foundation. Cara loves teaching public speaking to Spring Hill’s middle school students and is enthusiastically passing on her passion to others!