Find Faculty & Staff at Country Day

To search for a specific Country Day employee, please type at least two letters of their first or last name. If you would like to browse employees by division, please select the division from our navigation menu.

Contact information provided shall not be used by any person or organization to circularize, or otherwise solicit, the persons included in this list for any purpose, except by the specific permission of Sacramento Country Day School.

To search for a specific Country Day employee, please type at least two letters of their first or last name. If you would like to browse employees by division, please select the division from our navigation menu.

Contact information provided shall not be used by any person or organization to circularize, or otherwise solicit, the persons included in this list for any purpose, except by the specific permission of Sacramento Country Day School.

Faculty & Staff

Lauren Miller
Middle and High School Latin

Lauren Miller comes to Country Day from the Classics Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley, where, after finishing her M.A., she taught both Latin courses and freshman writing seminars on the history of the novel. Before moving to California for graduate school, she hadn’t been west of the Mississippi. Lauren grew up in upstate New York and attended Williams College, where she completed a B.A. as a double major in Comparative Literature and Classics but she fell in love with the Bay Area and has made Berkeley her home for the past five years. Outside of the classroom, Lauren is passionate about fashion history, and has enjoyed working on a number of contemporary plays and theatrical productions as a designer, as well as sourdough baking, cycling, and hiking with her partner Sam and their dog Little Edie. 


Emily Stephenson

Emily was born in San Francisco and graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a bachelor’s in sociology and a double minor in European history and physics/biology. She is retired from her position as a senior executive producer at the Intel Corporation and currently is the managing director of Stephenson Medical Consulting, Inc. She and her husband, Topher, have a son who attends Country Day.

Faculty & Staff

Annie Sterling
Middle School English

Annie Sterling teaches 6th grade English at Country Day. She also serves as a 6th grade advisor, mentoring and supporting 6th grade students through daily advisory periods, parent communication, and conferencing. Additionally, Annie leads the book club and current events elective classes, through which she enjoys sharing her own interests in literature and social issues with her students. 

Before coming to Country Day in the fall of 2019, Annie taught 8th grade English language arts and social studies at Mill Valley Middle School. At Mill Valley Middle School, Annie also served as a teacher leader in professional development and technology integration. She mentored new teachers and contributed to advisory committees related to reading assessment and social emotional learning. Annie also has previous experience teaching English at the high school level and working with the Bay Area Writing Project, a branch of the National Writing Project, as a teacher consultant.

Annie earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and global studies at UC Santa Barbara, then went on to study education at UC Berkeley with the Multicultural Urban Secondary English program, where she earned her teaching credential and master’s degree. Annie also has completed coursework towards her master’s in administrative services and educational leadership at San Francisco State University. A highlight of her educational journey was studying English literature at King’s College London during her junior year, where she loved getting to see Shakespeare performed in the Globe Theatre and read the complete works of Jane Austen.

Her personal accomplishments include running the San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon, completing a yoga teacher training, backpacking the Na Pali coast of Kauai, and, most importantly, creating a beautiful daughter in 2018.

These days, Annie spends her free time relaxing with her family, hiking, running, reading, and practicing yoga. 

Faculty & Staff

Michael Unti
Associate Director of Technology
High School STEM

Michael Unti joins us from Summit, New Jersey as our new High School STEM teacher and Associate Director of Technology. He has taught Computer Science, Robotics, and Ethics for 10 years. He holds a Master’s Degree from Boston College, as well as a Bachelor’s from Saint Bonaventure University and is working towards a Master’s in STEM Education at NC State University. He enjoys traveling and has studied abroad at Oxford University, England, as well as the Colegio de Espana in Salamanca, Spain.  He now enthusiastically joins Country Day and looks forward to working with the students, faculty, staff and parents of the community.

Faculty & Staff

Taratip (Tara) Adams
Learning Specialist

Taratip Adams serves as one of Country Day’s Learning Specialists for lower through high school. She works closely with students to help them reach their fullest potential, as well as partners with teachers and families to provide instructional strategies that work best for their learners. 

Prior to her big move to California in 2016, she worked in Illinois as a 5th grade teacher. She was a member of the IEP team and also partnered with local schools to bring in 1-to-1 technology for all middle school students. She was the head of the 5th grade science department, bringing more hands-on learning into the classroom. Before coming to Country Day in the spring of 2019, she served as a classroom teacher at Charles Armstrong School, a Bay Area school for students with learning differences. 

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Illinois University and will soon earn her Master’s in Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies. She also has endorsements in Middle School Education, Social Science, and Language Arts. 

Her mother is her biggest role model and is grateful to have experienced living in Thailand for seven years, where she learned to cook and live like the locals.

“Food is what brings people together and my mother always tells people that if you want to make someone happy, bring them some of my Pad Thai!” she says.

Tara’s current hobbies include cooking, rock climbing, or binge watching one of her favorite reality TV shows. 

Faculty & Staff

Amanda Leidolph
Kindergarten Assistant

Amanda Leidolph holds the position of assistant for Sue Lorens’ wonderfully rambunctious Kindergarten class.  During her days in the classroom, Amanda loves handing out warm fuzzies for acts that fill her bucket, and she appreciates being reminded that not everything adults do has come about easily.  She gets to enliven her life and be energized by the excitement of the children, clean up after said excitement, and then promptly goes home to collapse on the couch with her cat, Harper.

Amanda is a deliberator of all things, and spent her first several college years changing majors and earning Associate’s degrees at American River College.  That is, until she took an introductory psychology class and realized that she actually may be able to figure out what the heck is going on. Clinging to that hope, Amanda moved on to get her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, magna cum laude at California State University, Sacramento. Shortly after, she began volunteering at the Sacramento Crisis Nursery where she remained for eight years.

On the weekends, Amanda loves to cook and bake, mostly because she loves to eat.  Since high school, Amanda has worked in a restaurant where her love of food and a satisfaction of waiting on people (seriously!) brought this shy and awkward couch surfer some much needed social skills.

When Amanda isn’t trying to catch up on the wondrous glory that is sleep, or baking and cooking, she likes to plan adventures, host game nights, and shop for things she’ll never buy.

She is an INFJ, a Type 2, a Capricorn, her favorite doctor is Tennant, and she would probably be sorted into Hufflepuff.

Faculty & Staff

Richele Cooley
Kindergarten Teacher

Richele Cooley is a Kindergarten teacher with at Country Day. Richele previously worked in the Merryhill schools where she taught Kindergarten for nine years and taught 1st grade for one year. Her greatest accomplishment was being nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2014.

Richele graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Liberal Studies and has been in the field of education since 1997. Originally from the Bay Area, she and her husband, Jason, have two rambunctious boys, ages 9 and 3.

In her free time, she loves taking her boys swimming or to the beach. Richele believes every child deserves the opportunity to achieve his or her highest potential. Kindergarten is a time to spark and direct the curiosity and natural love of learning. Kindergarten has become her passion and she cannot wait to take this journey with you. 


Barbara MacAulay Ore

In her 34 years as an employee at Country Day, Barbara MacAulay Ore worked as a pre-kindergarten assistant, sixth grade teacher, counselor, director of admissions and development, interim head of school, head of the lower and middle schools, and associate head of school.  She received Country Day’s Francie Tidey Award for Excellence in Education in 2005.

In 2006, she officially retired but has remained active in the Country Day community, serving as the coordinator for Country Day’s Grands and Friends association. Her two grandchildren attend Country Day.

Barbara joined the board of trustees in 2018.

Faculty & Staff

Christina (Stainbrook) Emerson
First Grade Assistant
ASE Counselor

B.S. in Animal Science, Cal Poly San Luis Opispo

Christina (Stainbrook) Emerson is an alumna of Country Day’s Class of 2006. She serves as a first grade teaching assistant and ASE counselor. She received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and served as an Animal Services Officer in Clovis, CA for a rewarding seven years. During that time she rescued animals, worked with behavioral modification, animal medical needs, and matching pets with adopters, but found that she connected most with educating others in the community. She is currently working toward her Masters in Education, and teaching credential, which she is scheduled to complete in 2020.

Faculty & Staff

Christine Yaklin
First Grade Assistant

Christine Yaklin is a First Grade Teacher Assistant. She graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociolinguistics and a minor is Applied Psychology.

After graduating, Christine spent time working for Americorps and non-profit afterschool education before returning to school again in 2019. As of May 2020, she received her preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Sacramento State University.

Christine is excited to work at Country Day for the 2020-21 school year.

Faculty & Staff

Rachelle Doyle
Director of Advancement

Rachelle Doyle has served as the Director of Advancement for Sacramento Country Day School since 2018. She provides leadership for all fundraising, alumni, and board of trustees relations. With her team, she oversees planning for the school’s fundraising efforts, including annual fund, capital campaign, endowment, alumni giving, grants, special projects, and planned giving. Rachelle works on providing strategic direction for all aspects of Country Day’s Advancement. 

Before coming to Country Day in 2018, Rachelle served as a Director of Development for Sacramento Waldorf School. Prior to that, she worked for 10 years in marketing and advertising. 

Rachelle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Communications from California State University, Sacramento and a Fundraising and Development Certificate from U.C. Davis. She is currently is pursuit of her Masters degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.

Rachelle is dedicated to making a positive impact: at Country Day, in her home, in Sacramento, and in the world. She loves philanthropy and building relationships and brings passion to her work. 

During her vacation time, she travels around the world on short term missions. During free time at home, she volunteers with several organizations focused on building and developing youth.

“To make a difference is not a matter of accident, a matter of casual occurrence of the tides. People choose to make a difference.” – Maya Angelou 

Faculty & Staff

Christina Kaufman
Garden Facilitator

Christina Kaufman serves as Sacramento Country Day School’s Garden Facilitator. She is responsible for managing the garden and teaching students about all aspects of productive gardening, including maintaining healthy soil, planting seeds, transplanting, harvesting and ultimately preparing vegetables for eating.

Christina has been part of the Country Day community since 2004 when her oldest child began as a kindergartener. Both of her children are Country Day Lifers. Prior to her involvement in the school garden, she was Parents’ Association President for two years. For the past 10 years, Christina has served as a parent volunteer in the school garden, and in July 2019 she took over as Garden Facilitator. 

Christina attended CSU, Sacramento, San Diego State University, and American River College completing courses in business, recreation management, horticulture and landscape design. She also holds a certificate from Soil Born Farms in the “Grow Your Groceries” program. 

Christina has a passion for the great outdoors, expressed in gardening, camping,  backpacking and multiple athletic adventures. She has a love of all sports (including marathons, triathlons, tennis, golf, cycling, and mountain biking), but her favorite is soccer. Over a career spanning 25 years, she played for Sacramento State, San Diego State, American River College, US national club champion Ajax FC, Buitenveldert FC in Amsterdam, and the U.S. Women’s National Team (earning two caps and a goal at a 1993 CONCACAF tournament.)

Faculty & Staff

Sydnee Butcher
Pre-Kindergarten Assistant

Sydnee Butcher is part of our pre-kindergarten team and has been working for our school since 2016. Throughout her time at Country Day, she has been an assistant teacher for kindergarten and first grade, an ASE counselor, and a summer camp counselor.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development at California State University, Sacramento, and is currently earning her Masters in School Counseling at California State University, Sacramento (#STINGERSUP). One of her favorite college experiences was the field work she gained in her undergrad within the Elk Grove School District and the opportunity to create an after school program for Middle School students about early on college prep. 

When she’s not deeply engaged within the Pre-K classroom, Sydnee enjoys trying new foods, baking, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.


Lindsey Sackheim

Born in Portland, Oregon, Lindsey grew up in Northern California and attended the University of Southern California, where she received a bachelor’s in communications. Her successful fundraising skills are evident in her work in the community: she co-created Luxe for Life benefitting the Sacramento Children’s Home and directed the Chip in Fore Charity golf events, which raised funds for local children’s non-profits. Lindsey is a principal in the Catta Verdera Country Club, and her volunteer work for Country Day includes auction chair, parents’ association president, and chairperson of the head search committee. Lindsey and Andrew are the parents of a college student and a high school student.

Faculty & Staff

Ryan Hobbs
Middle School History

Ryan decided to become a teacher dedicated to engaging, hands-on, and discovery-based learning because as a middle school student he often felt bored and disengaged from school. He believes that students should have a voice in their education and that they should be allowed to discover and pursue the topics and inquiries that naturally interest them. Ryan has a B.A. in History from Bethany College and M.Ed. in Administration and Policy Study from the University of Pittsburgh.

Prior to joining Country Day, Ryan spent four years at Alta Vista School in San Francisco teaching 5th-8th grade history. Ryan also previously worked at a private boarding school in West Virginia where he taught 6th grade history, coached middle school soccer and basketball, and was the Associate Head of the Boarding Department. When he is not teaching, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, traveling, trying new food, and cheering for his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.


Loren Kaye

Loren grew up in Del Mar, in north San Diego County, and attended UC San Diego, graduating with a bachelor’s in political science. He is president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education, a think tank affiliated with the California Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Cassie Gilson, have a daughter in the middle school at Country Day.

Faculty & Staff

Lateeka Bradford
Third Grade

B.S. in Psychology; Master’s in Elementary Education, Liberty University

LaTeeka Bradford is on our third grade team at Sacramento Country Day School. She is responsible for teaching, developing curriculum, utilizing instructional technology, and creating a safe, inclusive classroom environment.

LaTeeka holds a multiple subjects teaching credential in the state of California. She has over five years of experience teaching grades K-5, both within the classroom and after-school setting. She obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching with a concentration in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology cum laude from Liberty University located in Lynchburg, Virginia. 

LaTeeka has recently relocated to Sacramento with her husband and two children. 

Aside from teaching she enjoys: spending time with family and friends, watching romantic comedies, vacationing to the beach, gardening, and attending sporting events. 

Faculty & Staff

Jane McGinnes
Middle School English
High School Drama

Jane is a recent transplant from the Bay Area, where she was a 6th grade English teacher and Middle School Drama Director at Almaden Country Day School. Prior to that, she taught Middle and High School Theatre at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, North Carolina. Before becoming a teacher, Jane worked as an actor in the UK, touring schools with educational plays, and taking original theatre pieces to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A highlight of Jane’s acting career was spending two years touring Europe, the Middle East and Japan; she played Ralph in an all-female version of Lord of the Flies, and then Lady Macduff and Witch Three in a production of Macbeth. Jane has a BA (with Honors) in Performing Arts from The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Drama in Education from Birmingham City University.

Currently, she is enrolled on a Master’s in Creative Writing through the Open University, where her focus is playwriting. Jane’s hobbies include walking with her dogs, Kelly and Lars, and keeping fit in Yoga or kick-boxing classes. She loves to attend theatre productions, locally or in San Francisco, and is a frequent moviegoer. 


Louay Owaidat

Louay Owaidat was the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Magnus Pacific Corporation, a national environmental and infrastructure construction company with headquarters in Sacramento and offices in Denver, CO; Dallas, TX; Atlanta, GA; Salt Lake City, UT; and Brielle, NJ. As President of Magnus Pacific, he oversaw the planning, operations, development, marketing and finances of the company and provided input to design, planning, and execution of complex geotechnical, specialty civil and remediation projects at sites nationwide. Mr. Owaidat founded and managed Magnus Pacific Corporation (President and CEO) which grew to be a national leader in the infrastructure and environmental fields before being acquired by Great Lakes in November 2014.

Faculty & Staff

Tess Kahn
Middle School History

Tess Kahn teaches Middle School History, 6th grade Ancient History and 8th grade U.S. History. She also teaches the Crafting and Culture Around the World elective. 

Before joining the Country Day community in fall of 2019, she worked at the Long Trail School in Dorset, Vermont. She worked there for six years serving the last four as the history department chair and taught everything from 8th grade World History to 12th Grade IB History of the Americas. 

She earned her Bachelor’s in History from Wells College in Aurora, New York and her masters in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester in England. She has worked in museums including the Sutton House in London, the Museums of Old York in Bath, Maine and the Dana House Museum and Woodstock History Center in Woodstock, Vermont. She shifted her focus to teaching when she went back to school and earned her Masters in Teaching from the Upper Valley Graduate Institute.

“Working in museums allowed me to engage with my love of ‘hands-on history’. However, after working as a collections manager focusing mainly with database development, I realized my love of history came from engaging people with the complicated task of understanding how history fits into our understanding of our place in the world today. This is what lead me to my career in teaching,” she says.

Tess’s current hobbies include traveling, cooking one new dish a week and spending time exploring the local area and history. 

Faculty & Staff

Nancy Lopez
Middle and High School Spanish

As a native Spanish speaker, Nancy says “sharing my love for my language and culture is my passion.” She was born and raised in Orange County, California, graduated from Cal State Fullerton as a Spanish major, and received her teaching credential from UC San Diego.  She also has taken pedagogy courses at the Universidad de Granada in Spain. This is her 11th year teaching Spanish, 10 years of which were at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, teaching both middle and high school courses. She loves teaching language and sharing the riches of Spanish-speaking cultures in the classroom She believes that her enthusiastic, cultural approach to teaching Spanish enables students to acquire language skills in a manner that keeps them interested and motivated. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, traveling, and taking trips to Disneyland. She is excited to join the Country Day community. 


Julie Sloat
Vice President

Julie grew up in Sacramento, attended La Sierra High School and CSU Sacramento, and earned a law degree from McGeorge School of Law. She is a veteran of Desert Storm and operated a KC-135 boom for the 940th air refueling reserve unit. Julie’s work experience includes public relations for PG&E, law and public policy for the California Cable TV association, and general counsel for Nationwide Health Plans of California.

Julie joined the Country Day board in 2015-16 and started her term as president in 2017-18. She is a successful fundraiser for local non-profits and has served on many non-profit boards. She and husband, Kevin, have two children.

Faculty & Staff

Pepa Novell
Middle School Spanish

Dr. Pepa Novell teaches 7th grade Spanish in our World Languages department. Pepa earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University, her Master’s in publishing from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and Language from Universitat de Barcelona. 

Pepa has worked internationally in teaching and research roles. After her graduation at Brown, she was Assistant Professor at Queen’s University (Canada) where she got tenured and worked as Associate Professor. As a scholar, she has published in peer-reviewed journals on Spanish contemporary culture, particularly narrative, film and music.

She has extensive international teaching experience at a university level in Spanish language, literature and culture. She has worked with and for a diverse and international student body, which has allowed her to experience a variety of cultures and viewpoints that has helped her gain considerable insight not only about other countries and customs, but about her own country and herself as well.

She has taken an active role in matters related to department language, literature and culture programs and curricular design. She supervised multi-section courses at both Brown and Queen’s, and has designed syllabi at all levels of Spanish language and cultures. She has taken on leadership roles in language instruction but she also strongly values collaboration and teamwork. She has learned to adapt quickly to new environments and the specific needs of a language program. 

During her years at Queen’s University, she was involved in institutional initiatives focusing on diversity, curriculum development, and governance. In her academic career, she played a very active role in promoting a new approach to the curriculum with the addition of a cultural tradition focus to a curriculum merely period-based. 

She has always been an active member of the community. She taught courses in Spanish for adults at the Brown Learning Community, and she joined and managed the Spanish Club at Queen’s. She founded a Book Club in a rural area near Barcelona to promote reading among adults. She considers languages and cultures to be key aspects of knowledge, and she thinks that engaging the community in learning different languages and cultures is the best way to contribute to create citizens for a global world. 

In 2018, she founded MAGMA Editorial, a boutique publishing company based in Madrid (although she makes clear she is from Barcelona). MAGMA publishes novels and short stories in Spanish, and Pepa manages it from Sacramento. 

Pepa describes herself as an advocate of cooperation and collegiality. She is a determined and motivated person who likes to face new challenges and new circumstances. Being in literature and culture has taught her to observe scenarios and situations critically. She likes to rethink, to reread from a new perspective, to constantly use the creative thinking that is inherent to the study of educational, intellectual and cultural issues.

She likes to spend time with her family, to travel and to swim, especially in the Mediterranean sea, and now at Tahoe. She and her husband have three children that attend Country Day.  

Faculty & Staff

Bonnie Stewart
Octagon Advisor

Bonnie Stewart is an award-winning journalist, author and educator with 30 years of experience as an investigative reporter and university professor. She earned a George Polk Award for stories she and an investigative partner wrote for the Indianapolis Star, uncovering the city’s high animal shelter euthanasia rates and financial malfeasance at the Indianapolis Humane Society. While teaching at West Virginia University, she investigated a coal mining disaster and the West Virginia University Press published her nonfiction book, “No.9: the 1968 Farmington Coal Mine Disaster.” During her research, she uncovered new evidence that explained why the mine exploded and 78 men died. Families of the dead filed a new lawsuit against the coal company, which subpoenaed Stewart’s unpublished reporting records. In court, her attorney argued Reporter’s Privilege, and the court ruled against coal company. Stewart has won dozens of awards while reporting in Indianapolis and for the Press-Enterprise in Riverside and Oregon Public Broadcasting. She was the adviser for the award-winning Daily Titan at California State University, Fullerton before semi-retiring to Sacramento to be near family. She has two grandchildren at Country Day. Stewart holds a Master’s Degree in English from California State University, Sacramento. 

Faculty & Staff

Adie Renteria
Learning Specialist

Adie Renteria is one of Country Day School’s three Learning Specialists. She works with Kelley Brown and Tara Adams to support students and teachers throughout the school but works especially closely with the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. She is responsible for overseeing AimsWeb testing, writing learning profiles for students who need extra accommodations, meeting with teachers and parents to develop learning plans for students, and working with students one-on-one and in small groups. 

Before coming to Country Day School in 2019, she worked at Trevor Day School in New York City as the K-2 Learning Specialist where she helped the lower school faculty review and modify the literacy curriculum, monitored assessments, and worked with students in small groups and one-on-one as a Reading Recovery Teacher. She had a private tutoring practice for students of all ages and has previous experience as a First Grade Teacher. 

Adie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature from Princeton University with a certificate in Latin American Studies. The best part of her college experience was working with the award-winning poets, C.K. Williams and Paul Muldoon, in the Creative Writing Department and the Argentinean author, Ricardo Piglia, in the Spanish Department to translate the work of the Argentinenan poet, Alejandra Pizarnik, for her senior thesis. 

Adie had always dreamed of becoming a teacher so she joined the New York City Teaching Fellows as soon as she graduated from Princeton and spent two years teaching at an inner-city school in the South Bronx. She earned a Master of Science in Childhood Education from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York and a Master of Education with a specialization in Literacy from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. 

Adie’s current hobbies include indoor cycling, yoga, baking, reading, and biking along the American River with her family. 

Faculty & Staff

Rebecca Lau
Associate Director of Admission

Rebecca Lau is our new Associate Director of Admission. Prior to joining Country Day, Rebecca was the Director of Marketing and Admissions at SSIS, Suzhou’s International School in Suzhou, China. She also previously worked on the Marketing Strategy and Brand Analytic teams at both Interbrand and Clear Strategy. She holds a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Dayton as well as a Masters of International Business Administration from The Thunderbird School of Global Management, ASU. Rebecca is thrilled to join the Country Day team because working in schools allows her passion for marketing and research to be used in an educational setting.

Faculty & Staff

Carol Phelps
First Grade Assistant

Carol Phelps serves as a first grade assistant. She is a retired elementary educator with more than 25 years of experience. She has worked as a Cooperating Teacher with CSUC, mentoring new teachers for more than 10 years. Additionally, she was a trainer for several years in the new teacher induction program in Butte County. Carol worked both as a lead teacher and peer coach at Chico Country Day School, as well as an interim administrator.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (Elementary Education) and a M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from CSU, Chico. She also holds a California Multiple Subjects Credential.

Faculty & Staff

David Alvarado
Middle School Spanish

David Alvarado teaches 6th and 8th grade Spanish 1. David earned his B.A in Spanish with a Certificate for Healthcare Professionals (HEALS) at California State University, Sacramento. He also is working on his M.A in Spanish at CSUS. 

Before coming to Country Day, David was a qualified tutor at Total Education Solutions. During his time in this role, he supported students in achieving their individual academic goals by identifying specific skills to be worked on through direct academic instruction. Driven by students’ academic success, he takes pride in providing the best assistance his students can receive.

As a Spanish teacher, his goals include helping his students become proficient in the language and get familiar with the culture of Spanish speaking countries. In addition to his primary job functions, David has been recognized by various organizations such as El club de español, Alpha Psi Lambda and Sigma Delta Pi for his extraordinary commitment to community service inside and outside of campus.

In his free time, he enjoys working out, reading literature books, traveling, and hiking.

Faculty & Staff

Carl Bornmann
Fourth Grade Assistant

BA in Psychology and Politics/Government, University of Hartford; J.D. from Fordham University of Law

Carl Bornmann served as a substitute teacher and mock trial coach at Country Day in 2018-19. He is a former attorney and most recently worked as a Deputy Attorney General with the State of New Jersey. Carl is also a teacher with the Academic Talent Search at Sacramento State and a registered yoga teacher at Fusion Yoga.

He holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Politics/Government from the University of Hartford in Connecticut and a Juris Doctorate degree from Fordham University School of Law in New York City. Carl is excited to be part of the Lower School team.


Faculty & Staff

Mary (May) Murphy
Pre-Kindergarten Assistant

May Murphy is a Pre-K Teaching Assistant at Country Day. They have worked at several preschools in the Sacramento area since graduating from Portland State University with a Bachelors in Child, Youth and Family Studies and a minor in Sociology.

In their free time, they love both performing in and watching musical theater, playing with their dog and learning new things!


After-School Enrichment FAQs

Is ASE Camp available in the morning?

Yes, ASE for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade is available when school is in session from 7-8 a.m. in the Lower School Spanish Room. Parents are required to escort their child to the ASE Camp location. As required by our childcare license, before-school care is available to Pre-Kindergarten students from 7:30-8 a.m. by arrangement. Arrangements should be made by contacting the Director of Pre-Kindergarten Mitzi Mapa Contes.

Are there discounts for siblings attending ASE Camp or ASE Classes?

No, there is no discount for siblings attending ASE Camp or ASE Classes.

If my child attends camp before their ASE Class, are parents charged an extra fee?

No, effective September 2015, students attending ASE Classes will no longer be charged for participating in Camp before their Class begins. The Camp fee is now included in the Class cost. Once a student’s class is over, there is a 10 minute grace period before Camp charges begin. 

Will my camper need to bring a snack to Camp each day?

Yes, all campers are encouraged to bring an afternoon snack.

What time does ASE Camp close?

Camp closes at 6 p.m. daily. (After 6 p.m., a late fee will be charged.) Habitual late pick up (5 times) will result in your child’s dismissal from the program. Due to licensing requirements, after-school care for students in pre-kindergarten concludes at 4:45 p.m.

How and why are the rules for pre-kindergarten students different?

As a condition of our child care license with the State of California, before- and after-school care for pre-K students is limited to certain times and subject to different rules. Please read the following guidelines carefully:

  • Before-school care is available for pre-kindergarten students from 7:30-8 a.m. by appointment. Appointments must be made directly with our Pre-Kindergarten Director Mitzi Mapa Contes.
  • After-school care is available from 2:45 p.m., when the regular school day ends, until 4:45 p.m. 
  • For the 2019-20 school year, the cost is $9.50 per hour (billed on the half-hour). Pre-kindergarten students staying after school must remain in the pre-kindergarten classroom.

  • Pre-kindergarten participation is limited to a total of 12 students; therefore we strongly recommend making arrangements as soon as possible.

Faculty & Staff

Shelley Hinson
Director of Technology

B.S., M.S., Ph.D from University of Houston

Shelley Hinson comes to Country Day from The Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in New Jersey, where she served as the assistant technology director. She also has held roles with VIVA Bahrain and University of Houston Optometry. 

She has a bachelor of science in Human Resources, a master of science in Occupational Technology, and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from University of Houston.

Faculty & Staff

Maria Hoyos
Lower School Music
Grades 5-12 Orchestra, Chamber Music, Choir

Maria Berenice Hoyos is the 5th grade orchestra and  High School chamber music teacher at Country Day. She also works with the Napa Valley Language Academy teaching cello, with Oasis Music Inc providing cello, violin lessons  and live performances, and collaborates with local churches and organizations preparing different performances and musical events.

She plays the cello at Camellia Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Napa Valley. Her professional experience spans more than 30 years of both teaching and performing during which she established a reputation as an outstanding performer and successful teacher.

She is a member of several associations, including, but not limited to, the Federation of Professional Musicians, the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the California Music Teachers Associations and the American String Teachers Association. 

Maria earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in cello performance and she completed several courses of Suzuki teacher training at Stanford University in California, in Texas and Utah. She participated in Summer chamber and orchestra studies at San Francisco Conservatory and Nevada University in Las Vegas.

Faculty & Staff

Jocelyn Kemp
Second Grade Assistant

Jocelyn Kemp is a Second Grade Assistant with Country Day, although she has worked with all grade levels in ASE.

Jocelyn graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2019 with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Addiction Treatment Services.

Jocelyn is so excited for this school year and am looking forward to being active in the Country Day community! 


Steve Edwards

Steve is the owner/CEO of The Edwards Company, specializing in commercial real estate. Originally from southern California, Steve spent many years in Boston and is a devoted Red Sox fan. He returned to the Sacramento area for college at Sacramento State and has worked in the real estate field for several decades. Steve is a former co-president and vice president of the board of trustees, and he and his wife Cynthia are the parents of two Country Day graduates.

Faculty & Staff

Ashlie Kirby
Pre-Kindergarten Music & Movement
Middle School Dance Electives
After-School Enrichment

Ashlie Kirby is a Bessie Award-winning Dancer and Dance Educator. She currently teaches the Dance Elective and Yoga Elective in the middle school, as well as Music and Movement in pre-kindergarten. Prior to joining the faculty, Ashlie spent a decade teaching dance at independent schools on the East and West coasts, including Bentley School, The Brearley School, and Pierrepont School. Ashlie also is a Teaching Artist for the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.

Ashlie holds a BFA in Dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Dance Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Ashlie also holds teaching credentials in New York (Dance) and California (Physical Education). Prior to returning to her native California, Ashlie spent nine years dancing professionally in New York City in a number of modern dance companies, most notably Jessica Gaynor Dance and Pam Tanowitz Dance. In 2010, she was awarded a Bessie, or New York Dance and Performance Award, for her performance in Pam Tanowitz’s Be in the Grey with Me

Ashlie has served on the board of the California Dance Education Alliance and is passionate about dance education for every child. She first started her study of Dance Education at the 92nd Street Y’s Dance Education Laboratory, where she fell in love with teaching dance to children. She believes that everyBODY is a dancer and that movement and dance are fundamental ways that humans express themselves and connect to their communities. When she is not at Country Day, Ashlie can be found at home with her two young daughters and husband, engaged in messy art projects and living room dance parties. 

“The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie.” ― Agnes De Mille

Faculty & Staff

Maisae Affour
Head of Lower School

Maisae has 25 years’ experience as an administrator and teacher in U.S. and international Independent schools including Vision International School in Qatar, Ibn Khuldoon National School in Bahrain, American International School in Pakistan, St. Catherine of Siena School in Reading, Pennsylvania, and Caribbean School in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Maisae is an educator with a passion for early childhood and elementary education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and master’s degrees in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Aleppo and in Teaching from Marygrove College in Detroit.


Billy Downing ‘98

Billy Downing is a proud Sacramento native who attended Sacramento Country Day School and Jesuit. After high school, Billy obtained his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and his graduate degree from the University of San Francisco before returning back home. His extensive non-profit board experience includes working with Wind Youth Services, Positive Coaching Alliance, San Juan Education Foundation, and the YMCA of Superior California. Billy and his wife Jessaca have two children.

Faculty & Staff

Lauren Davis
Middle School Math

Lauren Davis comes to us from Nashville, Tennessee, where she has been teaching middle school math for three years. She believes she has found her passion in teaching students how to problem solve and apply mathematics in the real world. Lauren earned her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Austin Peay State University and graduated summa cum laude. While working towards her degree, Lauren also obtained her teaching licensure, WET (Water Education Teacher) certification, and Praxis certifications to further prepare for teaching middle grades. Lauren previously served as the student representative on the Teacher Education Council for Austin Peay’s education program for undergraduates.  Lauren has served as a site-based induction specialist in mentoring new hires and has co-designed a unit plan with technology integration for all 8th grade mathematics teachers across a school district.


Lee Mahla

Lee has spent time in many parts of the United States: she was born in New York, grew up in Greendale, WI, and Easton, PA, attended Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, and has lived in Chapel Hill, NC, and Los Angeles. Lee is a realtor with Coldwell Banker, as well as the owner of RightSize Your Move, a senior move management company. Lee and her husband Chip’s two children both attended SCDS.

Faculty & Staff

April Sanders

April Sanders is one of the Kindergarten teachers at Country Day. She has been in the field of education since 1992 in many different roles but has found her true passion teaching Kindergarten. Her goal as a Kindergarten teacher is to nurture every child; mind, body and heart and instill a love for learning that will carry through their lives. As a lifelong learner herself, she shares her successes and failures with her students in an effort to encourage them to be confident and motivated to learn and grow.

April earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Development with a concentration in Education and a M.A. in Best Practices in Education at National University.  Having gone back to school later in life to complete her degree, she feels she was able to apply herself more diligently to her studies and use her previous experiences in education to build upon her knowledge. 

Family is of the utmost importance to April and she spends most of her free time with her husband, three children, and grandson. Even though her children are all adults now, they still find time to get together to share a meal, go on camping trips together or just hang out on the front porch, catching up.

On a personal note, April loves to be outdoors and will find any excuse to be outside – whether it’s going on a hike, taking the kayak out, or just relaxing out back in her hammock listening to the birds sing.  Her favorite subject is science and she loves to share the wonder of our natural world with her students. 

“Kindergartners are the picture of curiosity and wonder and I find I whole-heartedly relate to them in this way when it comes to the joy of discovery,” says April.

Faculty & Staff

Carly Bornmann
The Glass Knife Advisor
Kindergarten Assistant

Carly Bornmann is a Film, Writing, and Yoga Teacher. She received a BFA in Filmmaking with concentrations in Writing and Production Design from University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Carly also holds her 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher Certification and 32hr Yoga Education Certification. Carly has spent the last two years and teaching in Lynnwood, Washington at an International Baccalaureate School. She is excited to now be in Sacramento and join the Country Day team to begin working with the students on The Glass Knife. Carly also will assist one of our Kindergarten classes for 2020-21.


Patrice Ratinoff

Patrice was raised in Los Angeles and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in business administration and accounting. She moved north after her apartment was declared off limits following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Patrice’s career path has taken her from an accountant with Ernst & Young to marketing and sales at Tiffany & Co., and Baume and Mercier.

She retired from her most recent position as a fundraising consultant with Lester Consulting Group and is currently involved as a community volunteer. Patrice and her husband, Eric, have two who attend Country Day.

Faculty & Staff

Carrie Meyers
Middle School French

Carrie Meyers is the middle school French teacher and also is leading the Improv elective while helping out with Farm to Fork.

She attended the University of Maryland for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Carrie earned a Bachelor of Arts double major in French Language and Literature and Secondary Education, spending her junior year abroad in Nice, France. 

She started her career teaching high schoolers French at Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School in Washington, D.C. After one year with students, Carrie realized she wanted to learn more and embarked upon the journey to obtain her Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction while continuing at Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School for three years. She knew that teaching would be her lifelong career and found a position with St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia. Carrie started out teaching 8th graders and coaching middle schoolers, eventually adding the titles of Administrative Assistant to the Director of Teaching and Learning, upper school French teacher, library assistant, technology support, and sustainability coordinator. 

Carrie moved to Sacramento with her cat, Bugs Bunny, and her dog, Roo, who she affectionately calls her “furry family.” Her human family is in New Jersey, where she grew up, and her extended network of friends spans the mid-Atlantic region.

Carrie has enrolled in local improv classes and plans to audition for community theater, so you may see her on stage at some point soon! She has also become active within the Alliance Française to make connections with local French speakers. Carrie is thrilled to have this opportunity to teach middle schoolers how to be good people, and maybe learn a little French too.

Faculty & Staff

Valerie Adelsheim
Assistant to the Head of School

B.S., University of Minnesota


Manish Aggarwal

Manish Aggarwal

Dr. Manish Aggarwal is a  Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, currently working in a private practice setting in Folsom. 

He completed his Child & Adolescent Psychiatry training at Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 2013, where he also was the Chief Fellow in his second year of training. After graduation, he joined the Cleveland Clinic, Department of Child & Adolescent psychiatry as an attending where he worked in pediatric inpatient unit from 2013 to 2015 before moving to Sacramento.

Faculty & Staff

Emily Allshouse
Director of Marketing and Communications

Emily Allshouse

Emily Allshouse serves as Country Day’s Director of Marketing and Communications. She is responsible for the school’s internal and external communications and marketing efforts and manages the school’s print and digital advertising, its website and social media accounts, and school-wide communications.  

Before coming to Country Day in 2018, she served as a communications specialist for the Association of California Water Agencies, where she monitored water-related regulation and legislation and developed key messages, fact sheets, presentations and other communications related to California water policy. Emily also has previous experience in city and state government, property management, media, and nonprofit program management.

She earned a bachelor of science in Humanities and Religious Studies from California State University, Sacramento, and an Associate of Arts in Art from Sacramento City College. Her favorites college experiences were learning to make puppets in theater class, studying Buddhism and meditation, and reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in Dr. Victoria Shinbrot’s Romanticism in literature course.

After college, Emily spent two years studying Inca Shamanism and Native American medicine traditions and traveled to Machu Picchu to perform prayer ceremonies with Q’ero elders. 

“Traveling to Peru was a life-changing experience,’” she says of her trip.

Emily’s current hobbies include rock painting, Bible meditation, and watching movies.

Faculty & Staff

Amanda Ashdown
Fourth Grade

Amanda Ashdown is a 4th grade teacher at Sacramento Country Day School. She has taught 4th grade most of her teaching career, taught 1st and 2nd grades, and has worked as a reading support teacher. 

Amanda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Baptist Bible College, and a teaching credential from the State of Missouri for grades 1-6. She has completed additional training from Schools Attuned to All Kinds of Minds, Responsive Classroom, and The Neuhaus Education Center.  

When not at school, Amanda loves to spend time running, reading, and watching tv (shhh!). Now as a working mom, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, who are currently attending Country Day.

Faculty & Staff

Jane Stroup Bauman
Director of College Counseling
High School English

Jane Bauman joined the high school English faculty in fall 2005 and added Director of College Counseling to her teaching duties in the fall of 2012. 

Before coming to Country Day, she worked in undergraduate admissions at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she specialized in international admissions. 

Bauman has also taught English as a Second Language in a variety of university programs at University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Nevada, Reno; University of Nevada Reno, International Division in Japan; Texas Wesleyan College; and Strayer College (Washington, D.C.).

Bauman has a Master’s degree in teaching English as a Second Language from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in French literature from UC Santa Cruz. She is also a member of the Northern Nevada Writing Project. 

Having lived and studied abroad in Japan, Ecuador, and France, she considers study abroad a transformative experience that all students should consider. She is also an avid theatergoer and longtime member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 


Faculty & Staff

Elena Rodriguez Bennett
Lower School Music

Elena Rodriguez Bennett teaches Lower School music for K-4th grades. Her curriculum is an integration of the arts—from singing to dancing to instruments to the spoken word—based on peace and social justice studies. The goal is to not only raise better musicians, but better people through music.

She has taught various levels of classroom and musical education in Philadelphia, New Haven, the Navajo Nation, Taiwan, and California. She earned a B.A. in English and American Literature from Cornell University, an M. Divinity from Yale University, and an M.Ed. from California State University, Sacramento. 

Elena previously taught music at St. Michael’s Day School and adult education for the Elk Grove school district, which included teaching at the Sacramento Main Jail. She has directed the music program at Florin United Methodist Church since 1988, has taught private violin lessons for decades, and plays in community ensembles.  

All four of her children attended Country Day. Her main lifelong passions include hiking, photography, and traveling/working in other countries. She currently coordinates Country Day’s service learning partnership with a consortium of eight Rwandan schools, which takes her to Rwanda for a joyous month each summer.

Faculty & Staff

Cameron Bohn
Fifth Grade

Cameron Bohn is Country Day’s 5th Grade Humanities Teacher. She covers our Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum in preparation for the students’ transition into middle school. She joined Country Day in 2015.

Cameron earned a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Montana State University, and an Upper Elementary Certificate from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies. In addition, she currently holds a valid teaching credential in the states of Montana and California. 

After college in Colorado, Cameron joined a group from Stanford University to explore and further excavate an Archaeological site in Peru known as Chavin de Huantar. Upon completion of her time in Peru, she returned to the United States and moved to Montana to further cultivate her love for hiking, camping, and fly fishing. While in Montana she discovered her true passion for teaching, and begin working several jobs in order to fund her second degree, this one in Elementary Education. After teaching for several years in Montana, Cameron moved to California to be closer to her family, and fell in love with Country Day.

Cameron’s passions other than teaching include photography, time hiking with her dogs and camping outdoors, viticulture, visiting local wineries and distilleries, and creating or viewing art.

Faculty & Staff

Edward Bolman
Sixth Grade
Middle School Mathematics Department Chair
Middle School Dean of Student Life & Student Council Advisor

Edward Bolman is a 6th grade teacher. He teaches 6th grade Math and History, and is a 6th grade advisor. Additionally, he also serves as the Middle School Dean of students, Middle School Student Council Advisor, and the Department Chair of the Middle School Math Department.

Edward has been teaching for more than twenty three years. Two of those years were spent in the People’s Republic of China teaching in the Chinese Public School system where he was also responsible for managing 20 expatriate teachers. He has been a teacher in the Country Day Middle School for more than 15 years.

He earned his A.A. at Sierra College, and his B.A. from San Francisco State University. Edward also has earned SSAT, CSET, CBEST and Praxis certifications from SFSU as part of their teacher training program.

Faculty & Staff

Kelly Bornmann
Middle School Science
Lower School Science Coordinator

Kelly Bornmann

Kelly Bornmann serves as Country Day’s 6th Grade Science teacher, 6th Grade Human Sexuality Educator, and Lower School Science Coordinator for grades PreK-1. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work in both divisions helping students explore and understand the world around them. 

Over the course of her career, Kelly has had the pleasure of teaching science at almost grade level,  teaching 6th grade history, teaching Music Together, running her own school, being head of the Princeton Lab School in Princeton, NJ, working for the Nature Conservancy, and the best job of all, raising her two children. Prior to joining the faculty at Country Day, Kelly most recently served as the Lower School Science Coordinator for the Collegiate School for Boys in New York City. There she served as the science teacher for grades K, 2, 3, and 4, and oversaw curriculum development, teacher training, and special events such as the Invention Convention and Family Science. In addition, she worked closely with the head of the science department planning the K-12 science curriculum and developing interdisciplinary/interdivisional units of study. 

Kelly believes that to be a good teacher, you must always be a student. She is passionate about developing her own craft and supporting others in doing the same. To foster her own learning, she has been the recipient of many grants that have allowed her to collaborate with educators and science professionals around the globe which has helped her deepen her understanding of the art of teaching and keep her science skills sharp by spending time in the field. Kelly also belongs to several state, national and international teaching organizations, and regularly attends and presents on topics such as early-childhood music education, STEM education, and technology in the classroom. In addition to her job at Country Day, she serves as a Lower School human sexuality consultant for Dr. Debbie Roffman and the Park School in Baltimore, MD; an educational manuscript reviewer for the International Society for Technology Educators; and as a beta-tester and educational consultant for organizations such as The Lawrence Hall of Science, Google, Nearpod, and BioDive. 

Kelly credits her love of science and nature to growing up in the Pine Barrens of NJ, her parent’s patience with with her never-ending questions, and two amazing science teachers – Mr. Albert Morrison (8th grade science) and Mr. Stanley Stankewicz (Bio and AP Bio) – who opened up the world of science beyond the woods and never questioned a girls’ passion for science.  Convinced she would be a marine ecologist, Kelly graduated with honors from Douglas College, Rutgers University with a degree in Biological Sciences. She spent much of her college career working in the field at the Rutgers Marine Field station, volunteering for the NY Aquarium in Coney Island, acting as a naturalist for the NJ Marine Science Consortium. While she adored the field work, the many solitary hours of crunching and analyzing data were not for her.  Out of college, she took a job with the Nature Conservancy in New York City as an administrative assistant where she had the opportunity to help develop the local educational outreach program. The interactions with the students were the best part of her job and she began to see education as the career for her. The opportunity to teach high school chemistry and general science presented itself the next year and the rest is history – Kelly has not left the classroom since.

Kelly received her NJ teaching credentials in Biological Science, General Science, and Elementary Education through the NJ Alternate Route Program at The College of New Jersey; her Level 1, 2 and Associate Teacher Trainer Certifications from the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, NJ; Mindful Educator Training from the Mindful Schools in San Francisco;  and most recently her  Biological Science Single and Elementary Multi-Subject Teaching Credentials from the State of California. She owes a debt of profound gratitude to the three women who helped shape her into the teacher she is today: Ms. Ruth Drake, Dr. Sami Kahn, and Dr. Lili Levinowitz. 

Kelly believes that ’the cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea’ (Isak Dinesen), so outside the classroom she loves spending time with her family, on her bike, doing yoga, traveling, and figuring out ways to spend more time near the ocean! 

Faculty & Staff

Kelley Brown
Learning Specialist

Kelley Brown is a Learning Specialist at Country Day. She leads the Academic Support Team of Learning Specialists who focus on the academic support and enrichment of students PK-12th grade. She works closely with teachers to benchmark the personal growth of all students and meets with students in small group or individual settings in order to provide early intervention and extension opportunities.

Kelley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies as well as a California Multiple Subjects credential and Education Specialist (Mild to Moderate) credential from Loyola Marymount University. Through St. Mary’s College of California, she earned Montessori Elementary I and II credentials as well as a Masters of Arts in Education degree, with the focus of her thesis being the improvement of the executive functioning skills of 4th-6th grade students with ADHD.

She has taught elementary school grades across public and private settings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area before returning to her hometown of Sacramento and joining the Country Day community.

Spending time with family and friends continues to be Kelley’s favorite pastime. She especially loves cuddles from her mini golden doodle, Jefferson, and watching the development of her baby girl. Crafting, reading, yoga, and meditating are her ultimate self-care indulgences.

Faculty & Staff

Stephanie Castillo

Stephanie Castillo is a part of our pre-kindergarten team at Sacramento Country Day School.  Before joining the pre-K team at Country Day School, she worked as an early childhood specialist and interventionist to support children of all abilities into a fully inclusive preschool program within the Sacramento City Unified School District. As a part of her work in the classroom, she gave technical assistance to other early childhood programs in the state of California in developing their own inclusive programs and practices as a consultant with the Sacramento County Office of Education in their SEEDS program (Supporting Early Childhood Delivery Systems).  During her 12 years as a teacher there, she was the recipient of the SCUSD Above and Beyond Award as well as Supported Life Inclusion Award for her dedication, vision and belief in inclusive communities.  

She earned her Master of Education and Early Childhood Specialist Teaching Credential at California State University, Sacramento and her Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society with a Criminal Justice emphasis from University of California, Santa Barbara.  While in Santa Barbara she was the Co-President of the UCSB CAB (Community Affairs Board) where she helped to plan, support and promote volunteerism within the school and surrounding community. 

Stephanie grew up in Stockton, California but has lived in Sacramento for over 20 years and considers this her home.  When not creating magic with our youngest students, she can be found taking her daughter, who is a Country Day student, to her after school activity du jour, going on a ‘real quick run’ around the park, doting over her cat(s), or scrapbooking memories into the wee hours of the night. 

Faculty & Staff

Victoria Conner
High School Chemistry

B.A., Mt. Holyoke College; M.S., Pace University; J.D., Widener University School of Law

Faculty & Staff

Mitzi Mapa-Contes
Director of Pre-Kindergarten

Mitzi Mapa-Contes is the PK Director and Lead Teacher for our Pre-Kindergarten program. She leads the work of early childhood educators in creating an environment that inspires joyful learning while nurturing the social emotional, intellectual and physical growth of our youngest students, establishing positive relationships with our families, and overseeing daily school operations.

Prior to joining Country Day in 2018, Mitzi served as Head of School for one of the AltSchools in San Francisco. Mitzi led a team of educators and collaborated with researchers, technologists, and engineers to design a technology platform to support personalized learning. Her work in a lab school setting led her to curate personalized learning experiences based on student goals, learning styles, strengths and areas of need.

Mitzi earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in her home country, the Philippines. She then continued her teacher training in the International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Programme, with a focus on teaching using an inquiry based approach and an emphasis on interdisciplinary and conceptual learning. She has worked in several international schools overseas, first as a classroom teacher and eventually transitioning to leadership. Mitzi also is trained in Reggio Emilia practices. She has led several schools and day care centers in developing Early Childhood Programs inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and rooted in and IB-PYP standards and practices.

She also spends her time volunteering with Children’s International Summer Villages, an organization that runs international camps and community events. As programme director, Mitzi has travelled to over 20 countries to lead children and youth camps that promote diversity, human rights, conflict resolution and sustainable development within communities. 

When not busy in school, Mitzi enjoys traveling the world, drumming on her djembes, dumbeks and cajons, dancing, and dabbling in street photography.

Faculty & Staff

Alexis Covey (‘02)
Second Grade

Alexis Covey (‘02) has been teaching 2nd grade at Sacramento Country Day School since the fall of 2012. Before coming to Country Day as a teacher, she attended as a student in high school. Her many fond memories of the school and the incredible people here made her jump at the chance to be a part of this community again. 

After high school, Alexis earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Skidmore College in upstate New York. After graduation she stayed on the East coast for a while, working with small children on fine- and gross-motor skills as a pre-gymnastics teacher. After a few years it was time to return to California to earn a multi-subject teaching credential from Sacramento State University. Her first job after earning her credential was as a long-term substitute teacher in the Twin Rivers District. Her second job was at Country Day, and she hasn’t looked back since.

A couple of quotes that sum up Alexis’s philosophy toward life and teaching are:

  • “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” -Samuel Beckett
  • “I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.” -Daniel Hillel

Outside of work Alexis enjoys working out, knitting, reading, and teaching self-defense to young children.

Faculty & Staff

Bill Crabb
High School History

B.A., M.A., California State University, Chico

Before joining our Country Day faculty, Bill was at Stratford School in Santa Clara teaching history and serving as the head of the history department. Bill earned a bachelor of arts in Historical Archaeology and a master’s degree in Experiential and Outdoor Education from Chico State.

A renaissance man, Bill is also an Emergency First Responder, a dive-master, an archaeological field technician, English teacher, cook, and social media marketer. 

Faculty & Staff

Andy Cunningham
Middle and High School Art

B.A., Menlo College; M.A. Hunter College

Faculty & Staff

Richard Day
High School French

Richard Day is the Country Day High School French teacher and teaches French 1, French 2, French 3, French 4, and AP French. Monsieur Day has been teaching at Country Day for 23 years.

He earned an Associate Degree from Red Rock Community College in Golden, CO; a Certificate of French Studies from the University of Dijon, France; a B.A. in French & Education from the University of Maryland; a Diploma of French Literature from La Sorbonne, Paris; an M.A. in French from UC Berkeley; an “ABD” in French from UC Davis; and an ESL Certificate from UC Davis. 

He has also taught English at the Lycée Jules Ferry in Paris, as well as at the Université de Bordeaux and at the Université de Nantes where he held lecturer positions. He takes pride on having published a paper in French on the French playwright Racine. 

He also takes great delight in playing guitar and harmonica in various bands in Davis and Sacramento. He mostly enjoys jazz and blues, but also plays rock, folk, alternative music, and world music, among others.

“I could not conceive of a life without music,” he says.

He has traveled extensively to France to visit friends and family, as well as to Belgium and Switzerland

Richard believes strongly in the need to cure monolingualism! 

“Avoir une autre langue, c’est posséder une deuxième âme.” - Charlemagne

Faculty & Staff

Julie Didion
Middle and High School Ceramics & Sculpture

B.A., California State University, Sacramento

Faculty & Staff

Sarah Gerber
First Grade

Sarah Gerber has been one of Country Day’s first grade teachers since 2017.  She is deeply committed to nurturing a learning community of kindness, inclusion, and respect, and fostering a lifelong love of learning in her students. 

Before coming to Country Day, Sarah was a full time mom to her daughter for a year. She is thrilled to have her daughter here at Country Day as a student now. Before that, Sarah taught second and fourth grades at St. Paul’s Episcoal School in Oakland, and Kindergarten, 2nd, and 3rd grades at the Brandeis School in San Francisco. Prior to teaching elementary school, Sarah met her husband when they were both teaching at Head Start preschools in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Sarah earned a B.A. in Sociology, and another B.A. in English and World Literature from Pitzer College, one of the Claremont Colleges in Southern California. She minored in Spanish and had an amazing experience living with a host family in Sevilla, Spain, for a semester, while attending the Universidad de Sevilla’s Language and Society program. Sarah earned her elementary teaching credential through Cal State Monterey Bay. 

Sarah’s current favorite things to do are playing board games with family and friends, listening to and singing along with musicals and Beatles songs, and going on family hikes.

Faculty & Staff

Sue Goodwin Lorens

Sue Lorens currently serves as Kindergarten teacher at Country Day. She joined the the Lower School in 1998 and before moving to Kindergarten, Sue taught a year and a half of third grade, 13 years of first grade and two years of second grade.

Sue is fascinated by the education process and admires the innate curiosity and love of learning that young children bring.  It keeps her “feeling young” and excited about school each day! She also loves partnering with parents in addressing their concerns about behaviors, friendships and learning. She believes that we are raising a whole person, not just a student, so that developing good character is as important as the content we are teaching. 

Sue left a career in Vocational Rehabilitation in 1998 and began at Country Day as an Instructional Aide as she returned to school to obtain her Elementary Education teaching credential with CLAD (Cross-cultural Language & Academic Development) certification through a U.C. Davis/C.S.U.S. collaborative program.  Sue’s undergraduate degree is in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Before teaching, she worked with Workers’ Compensation clients who were seeking new employment as a result of injury. She has additional experience in publishing, advertising and college admissions work.  Sue has also served on a Presbyterian Church staff as Director of Christian Education in a part-time capacity for 10 years. 

One of Sue’s “claims to fame” at Country Day is her love of verse and rhymes.  “Carpool Karaoke” is one of her favorite times. She also has a list of “great hit songs” grown from times of tension –“Be a Problem-Solver” and “Listening” are certainly worth a mention. Perhaps someday, she’ll be on stage and screen, but for the moment, Kindergarten is where she’ll be seen!

Faculty & Staff

Cade Grunst
Middle School Science

Cade “Mr. G” Grunst teaches 8th grade Earth Science in the Country Day middle school. Earth Science is a broad umbrella covering topics like astronomy, weather, continents, erosion, dinosaurs, the deep ocean, and of course the planet’s ongoing Climate Crisis. The goal of his class is to re-awaken the sense of wonder we experience as young children. He wants students to reexamine the world around them, to see with fresh eyes and understand the joys of clouds and mountains and the moon.

Cade teaches two electives: Robotics and Maker Lab. Maker Lab is an introduction to engineering, where students compete to build the fastest car, the longest bridge, the heaviest cargo ship, etc. Students seeking a more technical experience can engage with laser-cutting, 3D modeling and printing, or work with hobby electronics using the Arduino platform. Cade’s Robotics class is based on the powerful LEGO Mindstorms system. Students build and program mobile robots of their own design, constantly evaluating and innovating to complete a series of challenges. The Robotics elective is also a feeder for the middle school’s competitive after-school Robotics team, which Cade also coaches. Go Techno Cavs!

Cade attended the University of California, Davis, graduating with honors and a degree in Animal Biotechnology in 2009. Cade enjoyed the diverse offerings of a huge university, and during his four years took classes in rock climbing, archery, SCUBA certification, raptor management, Ultimate Frisbee, mushroom cultivation, screen printing, didgeridoo, and 3D animation. Cade also found time in there somewhere to pursue an independent undergraduate research fellowship, where he moved umpteen thousand fungal spores around petri dishes until he had determined that the palmitoyltransferase protein in brewer’s yeast is not involved in telomeric anchoring during meiosis. Probably.

After graduation Cade took a research position with the UCD Center for Neuroscience. While he found the implications of his work on neural connectivity fascinating, the actual day-to-day mechanics of being a lab monkey were ultimately not the best fit. Cade left after two years to pursue education. Cade’s first experiences with classroom teaching were through the Breakthrough Collaborative, and he will forever be grateful to Adolfo Mercado for giving him his start. Cade started substitute teaching in several schools in the Sacramento area, eventually landing a 1-year contract at Country Day that has turned into quite a bit more than expected.

In July, Cade enjoys exploration and wildlife photography. A recent trip took him to Alaska, where he spent three weeks backpacking among juvenile brown bears and a breaching humpback whale. Previous trips have led him to bighorn sheep in the canyons of Utah, mountain goats high above Montana, and pika tucked away among glacial deposits in the Canadian Rockies. Cade loves studying interactions between Earth’s physical and biological systems. Teaching Earth Science has led to a deeper understanding of how geology, meteorology, and ecology intertwine, and Cade brings each adventure back to the classroom. When speaking about convection currents in weather systems, he tells stories of cool night air descending in Canyonlands National Park. Glaciology comes with photographs of Yosemite and the Rockies. Mineralogy is addressed through undersea lava tubes off Kauai.

One of Cade’s biggest regrets is that he was unable to visit the northern region of the Great Barrier Reef before it was devastated by unseasonal cyclones and coral bleaching events. He hopes that through education, he can help enact the societal change necessary to protect our beautiful space pebble. Cade draws inspiration from Carl Sagan, quoting the imperative that ends his famous Pale Blue Dot speech: “…to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish [this] pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Faculty & Staff

Jason Hinojosa
High School English Department Chair
High School English

B.A., St. John’s College; MFA, University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop

Faculty & Staff

Jason Kreps
Physical Education

B.A., California State University, Sacramento

Faculty & Staff

Chris Kuipers
High School History Department Chair
Associate Director of College Counseling

Chris Kuipers is chair of the Country Day history department and serves as the Associate Director of College Counseling. He teaches 9th grade World History, AP United States History, and AP European History. In his college counseling role, he advises and supports students and their families through the college planning and application processes. He is also the proud father of a Country Day student.

Before coming to Country Day in 2010, Chris taught history and served as department head at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, an independent boarding and day school for girls in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

In addition to his teaching experience, Chris also worked for several years in the admission offices of Amherst College and Stanford University. At both institutions, Chris managed regional territories and served on the admissions selection committees, reading and evaluating over a thousand applications annually. Chris also previously worked as the Assistant Director of Alumni and Parent Programs at Amherst College.

Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in history from Amherst College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He wrote a senior honors thesis on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s understanding of the American Civil War under the guidance of professor David Blight, one of the world’s leading scholars on the Civil War and historical memory. Chris also earned a Master of Education with a focus on Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Chris was named the National History Day Teacher of the Year in Sacramento County in 2018. He has also been twice selected by his students as a “Lifer Honoree” at Country Day and was awarded the “Faculty Appreciation Prize” by his students at Stoneleigh-Burnham School.

When he’s not enjoying time with his family or honing his pedagogy, Chris loves to run, read, watch sports, and dominate the Country Day fantasy football league.

Faculty & Staff

Kathryn LaComb
Middle School English

Kathryn LaComb teaches 7th and 8th grade English at Country Day. She also has taught sophomore English, and she served for two years as the chair of the middle school English department.

Prior to teaching at Country Day, Kathryn taught high school and middle school English and was an adjunct faculty member at Sacramento City College. In between teaching jobs, Kathryn spent 15 years as an independent consultant for educational publishing houses, including Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Sylvan. During this time, she wrote hundreds of leveled reading passages, created curriculum and classroom activities, and developed standardized tests for grades K-12. 

Kathryn earned her B.A in English writing from St. Lawrence University and her M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Kathryn has two children, both of whom graduated from Country Day. She spends as much time as she can with them, her parents, and her four siblings at the family rice farm in the northern Sacramento Valley where, she says, she enjoys “taking long walks with the dogs and reading to my heart’s content.”

Faculty & Staff

Liz Leavy
High School Art History
Medallion Advisor

B.A., Wesleyan University; M.A. University of California, Berkeley

Faculty & Staff

Rick Lewkowitz
High School Mock Trial

Rick Lewkowitz has been teaching a mock trial course at Country Day since the fall of 2017.  He also coaches their mock trial team. In 2018 he coached that school’s program to its first ever Sacramento County Championship.  

Before coming to Country Day, Rick had nearly 20 years experience as an attorney coach for high school mock trial.  From 2003 – 2017, he was the attorney coach for Elk Grove High School Mock Trial. In that role he helped that program win one state championship,  finish twice as runner-up for the state championship, and win nine county championships. In 2014 the Constitutional Rights Foundation (the organization that runs the state’s high school mock trial program) named him the recipient of the award that year for “Adult Advocate of the Year” (In other words: High School Mock Trial Coach of the Year for the entire state).  

For the past four years he has also served as the attorney coach for the UC Davis Undergraduate Mock Trial Team.  In his first year as their coach he helped guide them to qualify to compete in the 2016 National Collegiate Championship Tournament for the first time in the school’s history.  They repeated that lofty feat again in 2017 and 2019. Finally, he has frequently helped teach trial advocacy to law students at UC Davis, Stanford University, and the University of Pacific.

Rick’s retired from his first career as a prosecuting attorney in Sacramento in 2013.  The last 25 years as a prosecutor he served as a Supervising Deputy DA. During his career he was the recipient of multiple awards for his efforts in combating both domestic violence and child abuse.  While still a prosecutor he taught a wide range of courses to prosecutors throughout California with the California District Attorneys Association and throughout the United States with the National District Attorneys Association. 

Rick earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Santa Clara University.  While there, he served as the University’s Varsity Tennis Team Captain. After Santa Clara’s graduation he attended law school at the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctor degree.  He has been happily married to his wife for 43 years. They are the proud parents of three adult children and the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.

Faculty & Staff

Pamela Livesey
Fourth Grade

Pamela Livesey is a 4th grade teacher responsible for teaching all subjects and helping creating a cross curricular program. Upon joining Sacramento Country Day School in 2002, she was the 4th grade math and science lead teacher. She has been a part of two Country Day accreditations, the Head of School search committee, the Strategic Planning team, and is currently a member of the Teaching and Learning Committee. 

Pam earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Georgia. Her favorite times in college were attending UGA football games every Saturday, going to see live music, and making visits to nearby elementary schools to volunteer and attend classes. After graduation, she began teaching Kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary in Jefferson, Georgia.

Once she and her husband Ryan were married, they moved to Sacramento where Pam began working at Freeport Elementary teaching Kindergarten and then 4th grade at Sacramento Country Day. Ryan and Pam have three children all of whom attend Country Day.

Faculty & Staff

Rommel Loria
Head of Middle School

Rommel Loria

B.A., Georgetown University, M.A., Johns Hopkins University, J.D., University of Maryland School of Law 

Rommel comes to Country Day from the Park School in Baltimore, where he was the Director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning. Rommel received a bachelor of science in Finance from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in liberal arts from John Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor degree from University of Maryland. His success as both a Middle School Language Arts teacher and as an administrator of a PK-12 program makes him an ideal person for the Middle School position.

Rommel and his wife Jessica live in Sacramento with their three children, Leah, Charlie, and Max. 

Faculty & Staff

Glenn Mangold
High School Calculus
High School Physics

B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara; California Teaching Credential

Faculty & Staff

Kristi Mathisen
Third Grade

Kristi Mathisen teaches third grade in our Lower School but has been a fixture in many different classrooms across all grade levels in her tenure at Country Day. Kristi also has served as an assistant director in the MS/HS theater department and as a faculty adviser to the HS LGBTQ and ChicanX/LatinX Clubs.

In her classroom, Kristi prides herself on creating an inclusive, equitable, and nurturing environment where each student is encouraged to stretch their learning and make mistakes. Intertwining her love of literature and history in the curriculum, Kristi has worked in all of her classrooms to create experiential learning activities that provide students the chance to fully immerse themselves into the worlds they study. From the annual “Gingerbread Baby Hunt” in Kindergarten to the Aviary Vet Clinic imaginative play center in 1st, to the Colonial Trades Play that she co-writes and directs with her students each year in 3rd grade, Kristi is always looking for any chance for her students to “live and breathe” the curriculum.

Kristi received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from the California State University of Northridge. She also holds a Masters of Education in Language and Literacy from California State University Sacramento and a certificate of Women in Business Leadership from Cornell College.

In her personal time, Kristi enjoys spending time with her large extended Mexican family, reading anything she can, and working on social justice initiatives. She is also an avid patron of the arts and currently serves on the board of Sacramento’s Capital Stage Theater Company. When not in Sacramento, you can probably find Kristi and her husband visiting their two daughters (Country Day grads) at college in Boston and Rhode Island- or watching a Broadway play!

Faculty & Staff

Joanne Melinson
Middle and High School Librarian
Literary Magazine Advisor

Jo Melinson has been working in libraries for over 28 years. She started working at Country Day in 1994, and since 2007 has been the 6th – 12th grade librarian. She has been the High School Literary Magazine Adviser since 2000, and the High School Scholar Inclusion Co-Coordinator since 2019.

The mission of the library is to foster lifelong learning, which the library team does through encouraging a love of reading as well as building a strong foundation for research. Jo collaborates often with teachers and students on research projects, trains students and faculty on the use of library resources, and has conducted Q & A sessions with guest speakers. She is very interested in inclusion, diversity, and equity and has served on the school’s IDEA committee since 2000 (as the founding chair from 2000-2007).

She is a member of the Association of Independent School Librarians (AISL) as well as Bay Area Independent School Librarians (BAISL), where she is on the High School eBook Committee. In October 2019, she was a panelist on the Education Week webinar, Activate Student Success with Database Access. She presented on Library Remodels at the 2015 BAISL annual meeting. She was also one of the subjects of the Lisa Peet article for Library Journal“Conspiring to Educate: Working Together for Transitioning Students”

Jo earned her B.A. in English with a writing concentration at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Before working at Country Day, Jo worked at Rutgers Law Library in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences) in Philadelphia. She also was a freelance editor and writer in Philadelphia and had a resume writing business. 

Jo loves crafting, playing ukulele, and spending time with family, especially on road trips. Her daughter attended Country Day for second through 12th grades. 

Faculty & Staff

Laura Steele Monahan
Middle School Mathematics

Laura Steele Monahan teaches 7th grade mathematics at Country Day, as well as two elective courses: Introduction to Digital Photography and Creative Writing. She has worked in all three divisions of the school since she started as a long-term substitute in 8th grade Algebra in the fall of 1995. After a few months of daily subbing, she covered a second maternity leave in 5th grade English and history. Laura taught math, history, and science in the 5th grade for six years before working as the Director of Summerbridge Sacramento (now known as Breakthrough Sacramento) for three years, and has now settled into a long, happy stint in middle school mathematics.

With an undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Laura earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at California State University, Sacramento. Some of her previous jobs include working at the Girl Scout Council of Orange County’s Camp Scherman, the Orange County Outdoor Science School, and a small private science museum called The Visionarium where she also taught enrichment classes; she fell in love with math when tutoring at Math Masters Learning Center. During her time at Country Day, she’s participated in curriculum, scheduling, strategic planning, and diversity committees, and helped to establish the school’s fundraising team for the Run to Feed the Hungry.

Laura is an avid reader and an enthusiastic member of the Staffulty Book Club, enjoys musical theatre, and loves spending time outdoors and visiting museums with family and friends. She serves on the Breakthrough Sacramento Advisory Board. A member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, she also enjoys learning about best practices in math education, and talking with colleagues about teaching. One of her favorite Country Day events is playing flute with the Mega Band each May during the Rulindo Play-a-Thon. 

Faculty & Staff

Michelle Myers
Director of Physical Education, PK-12th grade

Michelle Myers serves as Country Day’s Director of Physical Education for PK-12th grades. She is also a physical education teacher to Lower School and High School students, as well as oversees the Independent P.E. programs for 5th through 12th grades. 

Michelle started her schooling at the University of Hawaii, then transferred to California State University, Sacramento where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education/Athletic Training (subsumption in biology), and became a P.E. Movement Education Specialist.

Michelle was then accepted into the credentialing program at CSUS, to finish her teaching degree. After that, Michelle completed course work  for a Master’s in Education from Saint Marys’ college in Moraga.

While Michelle’s path had two directions- teaching and coaching, she also became a consultant for many CAIS schools on how to develop a “Developmentally Appropriate Physical Education Program”.

While in college, Michelle also found a fondness for volleyball under the tutelage of the infamous Debby Colberg and Weidi Zhang. She then went on to coach girl’s volleyball at Country Day, American River College, and Consumes College. 

Trying to encourage the boys, Michelle started the first boys’ volleyball team at Country Day, formed a Junior Olympic Boy’s club, worked as a summer coach at Stanford Boy’s Camps, coached at Rio Americano, and finally became the Men’s Volleyball coach for both JV, and eventually Varsity, at California State University, Sacramento. 

Michelle received the Francie Tidey award in 2015 from former Country Day alumni in honor of her dedication to excellence in teaching. “It was the most humbling experience and honor, I’ve ever had!” she says.

Michelle’s hobbies include playing polo and enjoying her horses, her running club SACFIT , owned by Alum Ken Press, cooking for friends, and most importantly staying connected to former students via Facebook- that’s about 1,000 students!

Faculty & Staff

Ines Ochoa
World Language, Lower School Spanish

Inés Ochoa is the Lower School Spanish teacher at Country Day.  She is responsible for teaching the Spanish language and culture for grades K-5.  

Inés spent her early childhood years living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  At the age of 10, what was initially supposed to be a sabbatical year brought the family to California, where her father was a biochemist and researcher at the University of California, Davis.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Davis, and her Multiple Subject Credential from Chapman University.  Some of her favorite areas of study while completing her undergraduate degree included Native American studies, Art, and Sociology classes.  

Inés’ current hobbies include horseback riding, hiking and paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe, cooking, and decorating homes for friends and family.

Faculty & Staff

Kurt Pearsall
Director of Middle School Bands

Kurt Pearsall serves as Country Day’s Middle School Bands teacher and 5th Grade Band Brass Instructor.  He directs the Middle School Concert Band, Middle School Jazz Band, Middle School Garage Band and the 5th grade trumpet, trombone, and baritone students.  The bands participate in daytime, evening and weekend performances throughout the school year both on campus and in the community or festivals. He also teaches private lessons and performs with the Faculty Jazz Band. 

Before coming to Country Day in 2017, he concluded a 33-year-plus teaching career in public schools, spending the bulk of the years in the Washington Unified School District where he taught marching band, jazz band, concert band, high school chorus, madrigal choir and countless other project groups for all grade levels K-12.  His students can be found performing in a wide variety of musical settings all over the world from a symphony orchestra in Spain to the streets of New Orleans. His former students include current distinguished music professors and music educators in public schools.  

During a short break in his teaching career, he became a full time musician, and even though he returned to full time teaching, never stopped working with the highest quality musical companies including Walt Disney, Barnum and Bailey Circus, The Music Circus and Broadway theater productions, The Sacramento and Central Florida Symphonies, and countless big bands including the Glen Miller Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. He has a strong performance background and has performed with Cab Calloway, Natalie Cole, Englebert Humperdink, Frank Sinatra Jr., Wayne Newton, The Spinners, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations and many more.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and his Master of Music from California State University, Sacramento.  His college career included induction into the Phi Kappa Lambda, an American honor society for undergraduate, graduate and professors of music. He also is credentialed to teach social sciences and has an intense interest in history. 

Over the years he has participated in the California Music Educators Association’s activities and served as the conductor for the Sacramento Capitol Pops Concert Band, and in leadership roles with the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, Washington Unified School District and the University of Nevada, Reno’s summer music camp at Lake Tahoe.  He was instrumental in the establishment of the Teagarden Jazz camp where he taught and was camp director under the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.  He also helped to establish the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Foundation.

When he is not performing and teaching Kurt’s hobbies include rebuilding and collecting 1960-1970 era Japanese motorcycles and antique trucks. He also enjoys watching television, doing research on the internet, wilderness survival and outdoor sports and activities, coin collecting, photography, and gardening.


Kristi Peoro
Assistant to the Head of Lower School

Kristi Peoro is the Assistant to the Head of Lower School. Her duties include assisting parents and students, providing clerical support to faculty and the Head of Lower School, maintaining student files, providing first aid and triaging student illnesses, and maintaining records for parent drivers.

She first joined Country Day in 2008 as the Assistant to the Athletic Director and also served as Assistant to the Head of High School. After taking several years off to raise her two daughters, Kristi feels fortunate to serve the Lower School.

Kristi earned a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from San Jose State University.  Prior to San Jose State University she attended Hawaii Pacific University on a volleyball scholarship where her team won the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Faculty & Staff

Maura Ryan (‘02) Perotti
First Grade

Maura Ryan Perotti (‘02) is a First Grade teacher and the Responsive Classroom Lead for the Lower School. After earning her “Lifer” status with 14 years as a student at Country Day, Maura went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a focus on Developmental Psychology from Santa Clara University. Maura continued at Santa Clara for her Master’s degree in Education. She holds two separate teaching credentials, a Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential and a Single Subject Credential in English. Maura is also certified in the teaching of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE).

After leaving school, Maura taught in the heart of the Silicon Valley for 10 years at another independent school. There Maura led the Character Education Committee and sat on the Student Study team for eight years.

In the classroom, Maura’s greatest love is bringing high-level concepts to a primary level and the teaching of early literacy. Teaching children to read in a community of committed, thoughtful learners is her greatest joy in the classroom. Her experience in teaching reading helps her to foster in her students an excellent foundation in decoding, word knowledge, and reading comprehension. She is passionate about her work with the Student Success Team, the Lower School Literacy Committee and IDEA.

Outside of 1st grade at Country Day, Maura is the Lower School Lead for Responsive Classroom, a program that has been adopted throughout the Lower School. Responsive Classroom is a student-centered, social and emotional learning approach to teaching and designed to create safe, joyful, and engaging classrooms.

In her life outside of school, Maura is highly involved in the world of artistic gymnastics. After competing as a gymnast herself for 11 years, Maura began her career as a member of the National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges. She has served as a judge since 2002, judging at competitions around the United States at the State, regional, and national level.

Faculty & Staff

William Petchauer
Chief Financial Officer/Business Manager

B.A., Albion College; MBA, San Jose State University

Faculty & Staff

Patricia Portillo
High School Spanish

Patricia Portillo serves as Country Day’s High School Spanish Teacher. She is responsible for creating and implementing curriculum for Spanish I, II, III, IV and AP Spanish Language and Culture. Patricia is a Co-Coordinator of the Scholar Inclusion Program along with Joanne Melinson.

Before coming to Country Day in 2008, Patricia worked at Rosemont High School. She was a faculty member at Trinity University in Washington D.C. after finishing her Ph.D. at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While finishing her Ph.D., Patricia taught undergraduate level classes at Temple University, and at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Master’s degree in Spanish from the University of California, Riverside while teaching at Rancho Cucamonga High School. Patricia obtained a California Single Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Fullerton and earned her B.A. in Spanish from the University of California, Irvine.

Her favorite college experiences were reading Latin American and Spanish literature with her classmates, and exploring aspects of language and power in her graduate courses at Temple University.

“What I love about teaching is being able to see students grow emotionally and intellectually, and to be able to help them see the world from the angle of a Spanish speaker. As becoming bilingual is often the end result in their years studying Spanish at Country Day,” she says.

Patricia was born and raised in El Salvador. She has traveled to Guatemala, Spain, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, England and most recently, China. To her, “traveling is one of the best ways to understand others, our own culture, and why we live the way we live.” Patricia also enjoys her free time hiking and gardening.

Faculty & Staff

Bob Ratcliff
Director of High School Bands
AP Music Theory

B.M., University of North Texas; M.A., Washington State University

Faculty & Staff

Pat Reynolds
Social-Emotional Counselor and Educator

Pat Reynolds serves as Country Day’s Social-Emotional Counselor and is the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) teacher for 6th – 9th grades. Before coming to Country Day in 2015, Pat served as Upper School Counselor at a large independent school in Houston. Pat has been School Counselor and Head of Residential Life at an Independent School in Cleveland as well as a Middle School Science teacher at an Independent school in Virginia. Some of her past experiences include coaching a variety of sports, teaching Driver Education, and working at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Pat earned a Bachelor of Science degree at James Madison University and a Master’s degree in Counseling Education from Cleveland State University.  Her favorite college experience was playing varsity basketball at JMU. After college, Pat immediately began teaching and coaching.  One experience that stands out for Pat is that while she was in Cleveland she chaperoned an Eco-trip to the Dominican Republic. 

Pat has backpacked across the Grand Canyon, in the Grand Tetons as well as through Alaska, and kayaked around the San Juan Islands.  Most recently she has been car camping and exploring the State Parks in California. A new project is working with her dog Mocha who will become a certified therapy dog.  Her hobbies include bicycling (in 2009 she completed a Century ride in Southern Colorado), camping, reading, and dabbling in cooking.


Sue Ryan
Lower School Librarian

B.A., Cardinal Stritch College; M.S., California State University, Fullerton


Denise Santos
Lower School Physical Education

Denise Santos serves as one of the Country Day’s Lower School Physical Education Teachers. She is responsible for providing Kindergarten through 5th grade students developmentally appropriate physical education.

Denise earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Sacramento State University. She worked in the campus reaction center, The WELL, and at the Student Union all through her college career. Her position as the Group Fitness Supervisor included coordinating group fitness classes, organizing special events, and becoming a liaison to personal trainers. As a Building Supervisor, in the Union, she oversaw, managed, and enforced building policies to the student community.  

Denise did her student teaching in Natomas and Antelope. She was able to experience all grade levels, but more felt drawn to the younger students because of the “constant energy” they provided.

During her off time, Denise enjoys going to her CrossFit classes in East Sac. She and her partner, are also proud parents of two adorable cats, Maui and Abby. As a native of Monterey, CA, Denise takes day trips to the beach to remind her of home.

Faculty & Staff

Julie Shanks
Lower School Arts

Julie Shanks teaches fine art to Country Day’s Lower School students in Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade.  Her studio curriculum encompasses art from all genres, cultures, and media.  Using each grade level curriculum as a launching pad, Julie strives to make connections for students from art to academics.  Deeper yet, she yearns to reach into the heart of each student to appreciate art as a tool of expression for their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Julie earned an A.A. in Art from Moorpark College in Southern California, a B.A. in art and a single subject teaching credential from California State University Sacramento.  Before teaching at Country Day she taught pre-school and serves as a teacher’s aide in a high school RSP class.

In her personal time, Julie is a member of the Diamond Springs Art Association and enjoys creating art that reflects and shares her faith and its impact on her personal life.  She has written several art curriculums for Vacation Bible School, and enjoys giving art avenues to others in a variety of ways.
Faculty & Staff

Melissa Strong
Assistant Middle and High School Librarian

Melissa Strong is the Assistant Librarian in the Matthews Library. She creates the library’s displays, performs circulation services, creates content for the library’s social media sites, processes books, and assists however she can to help make the library a magical place.

Before coming to Country Day is 2016, she worked for the California State Library Foundation archiving special projects. Prior to that, she worked at the Sacramento Public Law Library and the library at Humboldt State University. 

Melissa graduated with high honors from Sacramento City College with an Associate in Science degree in Library and Information Technology. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Her favorite college memory is having her daughter attend her graduation.

Melissa’s hobbies include tsundoku (book hoarding), reading, crafting, and streaming the same show for the hundredth time.

Faculty & Staff

Lee Thomsen
Head of School

B.A., Harvard University; M.A., Johns Hopkins University

Faculty & Staff

Brittany Torretta
Second Grade

B.A., California State University, Chico; M.A., University of Phoenix

The 2020-21 school year will be Brittany’s first year teaching second grade, but her fourth year at Country Day. Brittany joined the Country Day community in 2017 as a Pre-K teacher. In December 2019, Brittany took over teaching Kindergarten for Sue Lorens while she was on medical leave. Before joining Country Day, Brittany earned her Master of Early Childhood Education at the University of Phoenix and her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development at California State University, Chico. While at Chico she spent time working in their Associated Students Child Development Lab where they practiced intentional teaching, supporting children’s development of critical thinking skills, and enabling them to be lifelong learners. She also volunteered her time in the Helping Hands outreach, working one-on-one with children who had learning challenges, as a positive role model helping the students with self-esteem and being comfortable in a classroom setting. When not busy in school, Brittany enjoys traveling around the world, spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and cooking/baking up her next creative concoction.


Dana Vargo
Director of Admission and Enrollment Management

B.A., University of the Pacific; M.A., University of the Pacific

A native Californian, Dana earned her bachelor of arts and master’s degrees in English Literature from the University of the Pacific. Dana’s career at Country Day began in 1997 when she joined the High School English faculty. Within a few years,  she began assisting Country Day’s admissions efforts, eventually making the leap to her current role as Associate Director of Admission.

Dana lives in the Arden-Arcade area of Sacramento with her husband Matt and two sons. Dana feels it’s a privilege to share the Country Day program and community with prospective families.

Faculty & Staff

Matt Vargo
Athletic Director

B.A., University of the Pacific


Amy Nelson Wells ’98
Director of the Annual Fund
Alumni Coordinator

B.S., University of California, Berkeley; M.S., University of California, Davis

Faculty & Staff

Brooke Wells
Head of High School

B.A., Haverford College; M.Ed Michigan State University

Faculty & Staff

Doug Whited
Middle School Science

B.A., University of California, Davis

Faculty & Staff

John Yu
Fifth Grade

John Yu is the 5th Grade Science and Math Teacher at Country Day. He takes pride in making sure that his students develop critical thinking skills and gain authentic experiences from their learning. As a result, his vision for his students is that they develop the necessary insight to be responsible citizens in both the physical and digital worlds.

Before coming to Country Day, John grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from University of Delaware and a Master of Business Administration from West Chester University.

John continues to learn things whenever he can and enjoys activities during his free time, such as playing video games and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.