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 alumna of Sonoma State University 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.
Melissa grew up in Santa Rosa and studied at San Francisco State University, receiving a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in World Literature. She hopes to bring her passion for the written word to the students at Pivot. Outside of the classroom, she spends her time writing, adopting new plants, learning arts and crafts projects, and hanging out with her “niblings” (her sibling’s kids).
Robert grew up in Southern California. He has been teaching for over 20 years both in the United States and abroad. Robert has a passion for history, geography and travel. He enjoys teaching and sharing his passion with students.
Sara was born and raised in Needles, CA and graduated from Needles High School. She received her B.A. in Linguistics and English Education, and later her M.A. in Education, from CSU, Chico. Sara is passionate about creating positive learning experiences for students that enable their growth and development as lifelong learners. Sara finds Pivot Charter School inspirational because it allows teachers to form meaningful connections with students and individualize instruction while meeting standards and reaching higher goals. Before coming to Pivot, Sara worked in education as a tutor, preschool teacher, and substitute teacher. She has also held positions as a Logistics Analyst and Purchaser and as a Marketing Communications Specialist. Sara loves traveling, backpacking, swimming, cooking, and so many other things, especially when she can enjoy them with her husband and dog.
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.
Sarah began her teaching career in 2003 as a third-grade teacher in Pittsburg, California while completing the Multiple Subjects Credential program at Cal State East Bay. After teaching in Pittsburg for eight years, she took some time off to have her son, Hunter, and move to the North Coast of California. A lifelong resident of California, she now lives in Caspar where she has taught for the last two years; first in a K/1 program and this last year overseeing and teaching grades two through five. Sarah has a great passion for music, nature, and working with children.
Collin Dobb – Educational Coordinator
Collin found his love for history very young when he was annoying his grandpa by constantly asking questions about his involvement in the Bay of Pigs incident way back when. That love of history and asking constant questions only grew throughout the years before attending California State University, Chico, graduating with a B. A. in History which was quickly followed by a Social Science Teaching Credential in 2018. Specializing in Eastern European history, Collin would love to rant about Josip Broz Tito, Napoleon’s military campaigns in the east or why everything bad in the Balkans occurs on June 15th, but he can save it for a time when people want to listen. When he’s not falling down a historical rabbithole, Collin can be found hiking around state parks, visiting historical sites, at sporting events, or lost camping in the mountains. Collin’s goal is to help every student he meets discover something that they are passionate about and translate his passion for history to the next generation of historians.
Roy Domke – Math Coach
Roy is a Pivot Math Coach Coordinator of middle and high school on-campus and Virtual students at all five Pivot campuses. He has always been fascinated by all things mechanical, especially machines that move people about with powerful motors. He has logged over two million miles operating numerous cars, trucks, boats, and airplanes. This life-long passion drew him to the field of Mechanical Engineering, in which he holds a BS degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. He also loves to travel and has visited all fifty States and seven continents, including Antarctica. During his working career, he held a position of Project Engineer with an aerospace firm designing ICBM components for the US military. He served seven years in the US Navy Reserve, founded and managed companies ranging from custom home building, insurance claims investigations, medical research, and antique/classic mahogany boat restorations. Following the sale of his last business, Roy began volunteering as a math tutor in Sonoma County schools on a part-time basis. That activity hooked him on helping kids succeed in math. Especially high school students. After spending several years working in the Healdsburg and Santa Rosa School Districts, Pivot Charter School caught his eye as a perfect match for his skills and worldly experience.
Dana Durfey – Educational Coordinator
Danielle “Dana” Durfey has lived in Sonoma County for over ten years and earned her Masters of Education in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. Dana has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential as well as a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English Language Arts. She brings her lifelong love of learning to the forefront of her teaching philosophy and is enthusiastic to be a part of Pivot Charter School North Bay. She grew up in Houston, TX and attended Loyola University of New Orleans where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English. She has co-owned a successful coffee shop in Connecticut, traveled around the world for a year on $22.00 a day, and lived in the Caribbean on the island of St John, the smallest of the U. S. Virgin Islands, for ten years. She is passionate about her family, friends, community, good healthy living, and service. She advocates for social justice and believes, like Nelson Mandela, that “education is the best weapon for changing the world” and she is proud to be a part of that change.
Nataly was born and raised in Santa Rosa and is the proud daughter of immigrants. She studied at Sacramento State and Sonoma State University and graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in English. Nataly taught two years of high school in Healdsburg, California and taught abroad in South Korea recently. While in South Korea, she worked with preschool and elementary-aged students and was able to explore the sights and learn a lot about South Korean culture. Nataly is sad she won’t be meeting the students in person, but looks forward to meeting them virtually! She is also very excited to work at Pivot because she enjoys working with high school students and loves getting to know her students and understanding them as individuals helping them achieve their goals. During Nataly’s free time, she enjoys reading, exploring nature and thinking about where she wants to travel to next.
Bob Firestone – Educational Specialist
Mr. 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 Manager of the North Bay General Mail Facility in Petaluma, CA after more than thirty-five years of Federal service. He then began his second career in Education in 2004 as a substitute teacher. Bob taught almost exclusively at Healdsburg High School for the next twelve years. In January 2016, Bob began work on his Special Education Teaching Credential. He joined the Pivot North Bay team near the end of the spring 2016 school year. During the past four years Mr. Bob has come to love both the Pivot model and the unique student population. The real reward comes at the end of each year when graduation rolls around and all the hard work pays off for the seniors receiving their high school diplomas. During his spare time, Bob and his wife enjoy spending time with their four children, six grandchildren, and their two labs. Bob is a freelance photographer and enjoys hiking on local trails, camping, sailing and of course teaching at Pivot North Bay.
James was born and raised in Sonoma County. He studied at the Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History before continuing at Sonoma State University to earn his teaching credential. James has taught as an Education Specialist for the past three years and looks forward to the opportunity to work with the students at Pivot. In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his wife, watching movies and sports, playing games, and hanging out with his pet bird Larry.
Isabelle graduated from Sonoma State University with both her bachelor’s in Biology and her teaching credential. She loves the story each organism tells and how every life impacts a network of others. Isabelle loves teaching because of the relationships built, curiosities explored, and questions answered inciting new questions.
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 Halderman – Educational Coordinator
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 7th year teaching at Pivot, and he is committed to our mission to provide an individualized educational program to each student. He likes to teach Music Performance and take kids on Outdoor Adventures. In his free time, he loves to go hiking, mountain biking, spend time with his daughter.
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.
Angelica grew up in San Jose and moved to Sonoma County in 2011. She attended Sonoma State University and completed her B.A. in Liberal Studies and later received her M.A. in Counseling. She has had teaching experience as a substitute teacher and an instructional assistant in various schools throughout Sonoma County. Through her teaching career, she discovered her enjoyment working one-on-one with students and their families, thus decided to continue her education in the counseling field. In her spare time, she enjoys doing outdoor activities including hiking, backpacking, running, and gardening. She takes pride in her abilities to make niche Spotify playlists and homemade tortillas. Angelica is excited to create meaningful relationships with Pivot students and families while providing them support and guidance through their academic journey.
Tim Mehew – Educational Coordinator
As an English Teacher, Tim has always maintained the goal of enabling students to be more effective communicators. As a history teacher, Tim tries to imbue their communication with understanding and context, a task he finds increasingly important this day in age. Tim has had a desire to teach and reach young people since he was relatively young. He began pursuing his career at both Chico and San Francisco State Universities immediately after high school, while simultaneously pursuing a career as a musician. Time has worked in traditional classrooms in 9th-12th grades at various schools throughout the Bay Area in his 10 years of teaching but, as a former Independent Study student, he feels most at home working at Pivot with our unique student population, with whom he identifies very closely. Tim still plays music and sometimes this endeavor takes him abroad and keeps him busy. This enables him to find common ground and connect with students on a personal level, thereby building a better rapport with students and families alike. Establishing this accord between these three parties is an essential quality of an Educational Coordinator and the one to which Tim attributes his success.
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.
Abigail Titus – Educational Coordinator
Abigail was born and raised Ferndale, California where caring teachers and parents showed her the power of learning and helping others. After graduating high school, she spent a year as a Rotary Youth Foreign Exchange student in France. She went on to receive her BA in Anthropology and Social Justice from St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Abigail returned to Northern California with a goal to make a positive impact in the lives of others through education and joined the teaching profession thought the Sonoma County Office of Education Intern Teaching Program. Over the two years, she has applied her passion for teaching and learning at Pivot Charter School where she can be an advocate for all students. When she is not in the classroom, Abigail enjoys spending time with her hilarious family and traveling. She has been to 28 states and hopes to visit all 50 before she turns 30!
Barrie R. Waldman – Educational Coordinator
Barrie was born in Brooklyn, New York but became a transplant to Southern California’s San Fernando Valley at the age of 8. She loves the beautiful variety of climates in our state and says that the only place she could imagine living other than Northern California would be the Hawaiian Islands. A veteran of virtual education, Barrie received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1998 from Excelsior College, the online extension of the University of the State of New York. She has continued her personal educational journey in obtaining her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration through the blended learning program from National University. When not teaching at Pivot Charter School, Barrie enjoys spending time with her family which includes her husband of 15 years Jack, fabulous human son Jaden, and adorable fuzzy puppy son Pluto, and organic gardening, reading, and participating in historical reenactments at the Renaissance Faire and Dickens Christmas Fair.
Nicole Westbrook – Educational Coordinator
Nicole Westbrook has a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Santa Cruz, CA and a teaching credential from UC Davis. She enjoys harvesting edible plants in nature, gardening, cooking, and going on walks with her adventurous cat. She has been an Education Coordinator at Pivot since 2018. She loves to offer field trips and labs to PIvot students. Her favorite part of teaching is when her students get to engage in hands-on learning and discuss their ideas with each other.