Pivot Charter School provides instruction to students through a robust standards-based online curriculum supported by class offerings at our resource center, tutoring, strong oversight and academic support. The school is a “blend” of online curriculum with resource center support.
The role of the teacher at Pivot Charter School is to monitor student progress online daily, provide feedback, encouragement, and support to students, provide academic support in their areas of expertise for students needing help and produce accurate, timely and compliant documentation of independent study attendance. Teachers do not necessarily provide direct instruction to a “class” of students on a daily basis but are at our resource centers every day. Teachers, also known as Educational Coordinators, counsel, mentor, provide oversight, direction and whatever support it takes to help students succeed in their academic endeavors.
The Educational Coordinators of Pivot North Bay:
Jennie is an SSU alumnus and has spent over a decade teaching in Sonoma County schools. As an English teacher, she is passionate about helping students realize the power words have to transform thought into action. She is committed to providing more individualized attention in education in order to help serve the needs of a more diverse population. Having moved over forty times in her life and having spent time traveling the world, Jennie values unique approaches to education and truly appreciates Pivot’s flexible and supportive program. Jennie loves to travel, camp and explore the outdoors with her family.
Candace Althen – Compliance Coordinator
Born in California, Candace graduated from Niwot High School in Longmont Colorado. She returned to California in 2011 and joined Pivot North Bay in 2012. Candace decided to go into education to be involved with students and to help them succeed. She believes it is important to remind them to have fun and enjoy their school experience to the fullest. As the Compliance Coordinator, Candace reviews all files while also helping with student records. In addition, Candace runs the Art Club and enjoys helping the students experiment with different mediums and artistic styles. She also provides support to the students and teachers in many other capacities. Candace enjoys drawing, writing, going to shows, spending time with family and friends, and all things gaming.
Robert Brier – Educational Coordinator
Robert grew up in Southern California and graduated from Cal State University Long Beach. He started at Pivot in 2010 and is passionate about teaching, and he loves to see history in person. He has lived and taught in Taiwan and studied Mandarin Chinese. In his spare time, he loves to camp with his family.
Meghan Coffey – Educational Coordinator
Meghan’s love for science started in early elementary and has been the driving force in her educational endeavors ever since. She was fortunate to have inspiring science instructors throughout high school and college who challenged her and supported her. She earned a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a Single Subject Credential in Biology from Sonoma State. She has more than 15 years of experience providing academic support to youth in Sonoma County through various programs and is thrilled to have found a place at Pivot Charter School. When Meghan isn’t catching up on science in the news, she enjoys spending time with her child, crocheting, knitting, baking, decorating cakes and cupcakes for her friends and family, having impromptu dance parties in her living room, going to concerts, and spending time outdoors with her family. In the near future, Meghan hopes to learn how to use her new sewing machine, do some traveling with her family, and start running again with the ultimate goal of running a marathon someday. Meghan is very excited to share her passion for science with students, and support them in becoming lifelong learners.
Jennifer Cunha – Educational Coordinator
Jennifer grew up in Redding, CA and attended California State University, Sacramento. She has worked in a few different educational settings for the past 20 years in Sonoma County. She enjoys being on the cutting edge of educational projects and adventures. She piloted one of the first live Lego Learning Projects, facilitated student lead and empowered government classes, and taught live classes online when online learning was just beginning to happen in education. Jennifer went into teaching because she loves to see students inspired while they learn. She believes that Pivot offers a unique opportunity by providing students with a more personalized model of learning. Students have a regular opportunity to learn in small group settings, in addition to regular individualized assistance in their courses. Students can complete their assignments at the learning center or at home with their families. If she is not teaching at the school, then she enjoys traveling with her two teenagers and their family’s two dogs or attending a dance class with friends.
Stephanie Doucette – Educational Specialist
Though Stephanie has been helping teenagers for over twenty years, teaching is actually her second career. After working with kids from all paths of life, from affluent summer camps to foster care group homes, Stephanie directed after-school programs in the non-profit sector for three years before embarking on her teaching career. This is Stephanie’s tenth year teaching high school students, initially as an English teacher and later as an Education Specialist. She has a passion for laughing, literature, and all things culinary. When she’s not laboring over essays and equations with her students, she’s exploring the outdoors with her family or running around town experiencing all the art and music our area has to offer. Her goals are to write the great American novel, travel around the world, and inspire positive change in her community – not necessarily in that order, but possibly all at the same time. Stephanie finds great joy in working with teenagers and she especially appreciates teaching at Pivot, where she’s found a solid sense of community and a real opportunity to give her students high-quality individualized attention.
Bob was born in Missouri but moved to southern California at a young age. Following his service in the US Army, he graduated with a BA in Political Science from Sonoma State University. His first career was with the United States Postal Service where he held a variety of management positions in operations, engineering and budget. He retired as the Manager of the North Bay General Mail Facility in Petaluma, CA, after more than thirty years of Federal service.
He then began his second career in teaching in 2004, as a substitute in Sonoma County. Bob taught almost exclusively at Healdsburg High School and Junior High. A good deal of his assignments involved Special Education classes, including several long-term positions. One of Bob’s younger siblings had special needs and his understanding of the challenges these students face developed through teaching. In January 2016, Bob began work on his Special Education Intern Teaching Credential Program with the Sonoma County Office of Education. He joined the Pivot North Bay team near the end of the spring 2016 school year. Mr. Bob loves the Pivot model and the unique student population. Working closely with the Educational Coordinators who are responsible for students on his caseload creates a great collaboration model to support our students. The care and dedication of Pivot staff and teachers provide a great opportunity for support and success for Pivot’s students.
During his spare time, Bob and his wife enjoy spending time with their four children, four grandchildren, and their two labs. Bob is a freelance photographer and enjoys hiking on local trails, camping, and sailing.
Shelli Golden – Educational Specialist
Shelli is a native Californian with a passion for education. She graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. After a career as a marketing and event specialist and taking time to start a family, she pursued her Education Specialist credential at National University which, like Pivot, provides their curriculum online. In her free time, Shelli loves to read, do yoga, bake, take walks, and go on adventures (near and far) with her husband and two daughters.
John was born and raised in Sacramento. He moved to Sonoma County in 1993 to pursue his education at Sonoma State. He has a B.A. in Mexican American Studies and a Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. As an advocate for youth, John has a passion for educating our diverse community by encouraging creativity and supporting ambitious endeavors. For 9 years he educated youth at Rancho Bodega School. This is his fifth year teaching at Pivot, and he is committed to our mission to provide an individualized educational program to each student. In his free time, he loves to go hiking, mountain biking, spend time with his daughter, and play music with his band, Hoodwink.
Ray Hammer – Educational Coordinator
Since high school, Ray knew that he wanted to help children and teens reach their potential. After high school, Ray attended Santa Rosa Junior College but was unsure what to major in. He had been a math tutor and a big brother for at-risk youth for several years and eventually decided that the field of psychology would best prepare him for teaching and guiding students. Ray then went to Humboldt State University and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and his multiple subject teaching credential. He returned to Sonoma County, where he taught for five years. He then had a desire to go back to school and get his administration credential. After earning his credential from Sonoma State University, Ray worked as a principal for two years, where he saw a shift in education happening with Common Core and stricter regulations. Traditional school class sizes were expanding for grades 3 – 12 and students were starting to learn a new system in Common Core. Ray taught at several schools after his experience as a principal but wasn’t finding one that fit what he thought was best for students: an individualized education that meets their needs with a group of people willing to help them through their learning experience. Fortunately for us, Ray has found that at Pivot.
Lila Henderson – Educational Coordinator
Lila was born in San Francisco (Go Giants!), raised in Hollister, and spent the majority of her adult life in San Diego. While living in San Diego, she earned her Bachelor of Science in biology with an emphasis in ecology, along with her teaching credential and Master of Arts in Teaching at SDSU. After earning her credential, she taught one year of biology in a traditional setting, then transitioned to an independent study charter school, where she worked for five years. She was the head of the science department and wrote curriculum for the school, incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards and fun, inquiry-based labs. Lila then relocated to Santa Rosa with her husband, three cats, and dog, Alfalfa, and began her Pivot adventure. She continues to teach science and math, develop science curriculum, and advocate for her students. For fun, Lila likes to travel, socialize with friends, relax with her husband and pets, and spend time with her family.
Tim is a Chico State alumnus and a Sonoma County local. He graduated with a BA/BS from California State University Chico, where he studied English Literature and Religious Studies and later received his Single-Subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University in both English and History. He’s been teaching for 8 years and has experience teaching English, History, SAT and ACT preparatory classes, and as an Independent Study Advisor. During his youth, he was infected with the music bug and the pursuit of this passion has taken him all around the globe. He enjoys making music, working around the house and spending time with his family. His teaching philosophy is simple: teaching English makes for more effective communicators, more informed citizens, and therefore, a more healthful society.
Kristen is a Northern California native, growing up and going to school in the East Bay area. Kristen began talking about being a teacher “when she grew up” from as young as four years old. The idea of teaching grew towards reality as she helped to teach and care for her younger siblings (14 and 16 years younger) as a young adult. In college, she studied creative writing (her other passion) and earned her BA in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. It was during that time that she narrowed her interests down to teaching English at the high school level. After some time traveling and living in Europe, she returned looking for a change of scenery and a strong social justice agenda at California State University Sacramento for a Single Subject English Credential. She worked as an English and reading intervention teacher for two years at Armijo High School in Fairfield, where her interest in alternative methods of education began to grow. She is so excited to be here at Pivot, where students’ interests are always put first and there are many different, unique paths toward success! When she isn’t teaching, she loves writing and submitting fiction and poetry for publication, playing and listening to music, dog sitting, hiking, catching up on her favorite shows on Netflix and spending time with her family and friends.
Julian Rooney – Educational Coordinator
Julian grew up in Southern California before moving to Northern California in 1999. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College and after transferring, earned his BA in Geography from Sonoma State University. He joined Pivot Charter School in 2017 and was very impressed with the individualized education approach. He believes that we all learn differently, but that is something that should be embraced! He entered education because he believes strongly in empowerment through knowledge and wants to help children reach their goals in life through learning. Julian previously worked at Salmon Creek Middle School and spent six years as a manager at Sports City Indoor Soccer. He loves to play and talk sports with anyone who is willing. He also enjoys traveling to new places whenever he gets the free time.
Julie Smith – Educational Coordinator
Julie joined Pivot in 2016 with over twenty-five years of experience in education. The majority of her experience has been in elementary education and includes public, private, and homeschooling. She is teaching elementary school – especially at Pivot where she enjoys working with families to support students! Julie grew up in Santa Rosa and received her B.A. (Hutchins School of Liberal Arts) and multiple subject teaching credential from Sonoma State University. During her time away from Pivot, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, Lauren and Grace (who is a Pivot high school student), as well as their dog Rose. For hobbies, she loves gardening, DIY projects, and art as well as entertaining friends and family.
Jody Tucker – Educational Coordinator
Colleen Pescatore – Assessment Coordinator
Colleen is originally from New Jersey settling in California after her husband retired from the Marine Corps. She received her BA from California State University San Marcos and her teaching credential from Chapman University. She has been with Pivot since origination and loves their mission of personalized instruction for all students. She is currently completing a certificate in Integrative Nutrition from UCSD, enjoys visiting her 3 adult sons, spending time on the soccer field with her youngest son, traveling, hiking, hot yoga classes, and going to the beach with friends and family.