Alix has taught middle school math, science, and art in Oakland since 2004. After two years in Ireland studying art, Alix received her B.A. from Mills College. She later returned to school and earned her California teaching credential and M.A. in Education from Alliant International University. Alix enjoys intertwining math, science, and art in the classroom. Outside of teaching, Alix is a professional artist and loves to work creatively. She enjoys the outdoors and hiking with her husband and two young children - Mason, 5 and Eliza Grace, 2 1/2. Alix is very excited to be part of the JMSG family!
Marcia, a graduate of Simmons College with a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Wheelock College, brings a wealth of experience to the position. Before coming to JMSG, she was the Director of Admissions at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco for five years. Prior to this, she was the Director of Admissions and Public Relations at St. Mary's College High School in Berkeley. Earlier in her career, she served as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for Simmons College School of Social Work. Marcia also worked in San Francisco at Public Affairs Management, an environmental and public relations consulting firm from 1990 to 1994. Marcia served on the JMSG Board since the "founding days," and has been committed to our Mission even before the School opened by helping create admission and financial aid practices.
Suzanne is an Oakland native and has been teaching middle school science for ten years. She received her B.S. in Biology with minors in English and Art History from U.C. Davis. Suzanne then lived and worked in France for a year, before returning to earn a Biology credential from St. Mary's College. She began her teaching career at JMSG in 2005, but left four years later to pursue other adventures. During her time off teaching, Suzanne became a river rafting guide on the Rogue River in Oregon, biked through northern Europe, and spent four months in Central America. Suzanne returns to JMSG after five years teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley. She is thrilled to be part of the JMSG community again!
Liz is a graduate of Marlborough School for Girls in Los Angeles where she later taught mathematics for two years. She received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and her M.Ed. from U.C.L.A. Before coming to JMSG, Liz taught middle school math at the Athenian School in Danville. She was the seventh grade team leader and created the Athenian Middle School Service Program. A JMSG founding teacher with over 24 years experience working in middle schools, Liz’s experience includes being the founding math teacher and advisor at JMSG. Liz taught all three grades while here over the 12 years she was a faculty member. Liz also founded the JMSG Summer Camp for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Moving to LA for three years, she taught math at Westside Neighborhood School. Once back in the Bay Area, Liz became the Director of Admission at The Girls’ Middle School in Palo Alto where she held that position for two years. During her career, she lived in Spain and taught at the American School of Madrid. Liz now resides in Oakland and enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family.
Monika holds a B.A. in Architecture from U.C. Berkeley. She discovered a creative outlet as a floral designer and worked in this field for several years before joining JMSG as a founding staff member. While at JMSG, she has worn many hats including: Administrative Assistant, Registrar, and unofficial School Nurse. She currently manages all school communications and brings her gift of design to many facets of the School. When she's not in front of her computer, Monika might be found capturing school moments on film or managing events for the JMSG community.
Jess is passionate about the transformational power of girls education, and she brings a perspective shaped by her own experience of attending an all girls' school from 7th-12th grade at The Marlborough School in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. from Brown University where she studied English, lived abroad in India, and completed a teacher education program. Prior to coming to JMSG, Jess taught seventh and eighth grade English at Dwight-Englewood School in New Jersey and worked for a wilderness therapy program for at-risk youth in Connecticut during her summers. While at JMSG, in addition to serving as an advisor every year, Jess has taught 8th grade English, GO GIRL, Drama, SEL, Test Prep, PE (Quidminton: Quidditch-Badminton), and 7th grade Creative Expression. Every few years, Jess commits to learning something new and challenging, in part so that she can remain connected to the experiences of being a student. Most recently, she took Chemistry at Laney College, and currently she can be found floundering through swim lessons every Monday at the Mills College pool.
Mame Diarra Dioum
Director of Scholars Studio & Technology Assistant
Mame Diarra is a Bay Area native who is passionate about human rights advocacy and travel. In her senior year of high school, she participated in the first cohort of the AYLP to Bangladesh which ignited her passion for international policy. She graduated from Spelman College majoring in Political Science with a minor in French. Mame Diarra spent the spring semester of 2015 studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco where she studied gender, Islam, foreign politics, and Arabic. In her spare time, she likes to take West African and modern dance classes, read science fiction/fantasy, or meditate.
Alicia has over 12 years of experience coaching and teaching. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Kenyon College as well as her M.A. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Management from Saint Mary’s College of CA. Alicia began her coaching career working for the English Lacrosse Association as a local development officer teaching lacrosse in schools and universities in the Southwest Region of the UK. After returning to the United States, Alicia spent six years coaching lacrosse at the NCAA Division I level on the east coast and most recently at UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the Julia Morgan family, she spent the last two years getting her graduate degree and working for a sports-based youth development non-profit in Oakland, in addition to coaching lacrosse at Cal. Outside of school, Alicia likes to bake, go hiking, find new trails to run, sit by Lake Merritt reading, and spend time with friends exploring the Bay Area.
Phil is a Berkeley native, composer, performer, studio musician, and music teacher. He received his B.A. in music composition from Yale University and has since composed and musically directed shows for the Young Actor’s Workshop, Berkeley High School, and the Berkeley Playhouse. Phil taught the band class at Park Day’s Community Campus for several years. Previously, he worked at Berkeley’s Camp Kee Tov for a total of twelve years, starting as a Junior Counselor, finishing as Camp Director. When not creating or teaching music, Phil might be found at the A’s game, on the frisbee field, camping in the mountains, or maybe in the kitchen cooking some vegetarian delights!
Emi is an alumna of JMSG and Mills College. She holds a B.S. in Biopsychology, and is especially interested in the molecular mechanics of the brain, particularly within socio-emotional contexts. Her time at JMSG ignited her joy for learning, and she is a fervent believer in the power of women’s education across and at the intersections of all disciplines. Emi is thrilled to be back in the JMSG community, and is excited to bring her passion and experience to her role in Admissions. In her free time, she can be found playing music, reading, and exploring the Bay Area with her dog.
Jodi has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University and a Masters degree in Secondary Education from San Francisco State University. She holds a secondary Mathematics teaching credential and has over 15 years teaching experience. She has taught both high school and middle school math and engineering. Prior to starting her teaching career, Jodi worked as a design engineer for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines. She is passionate about building girls’ confidence in math and science and excited to be the Director of the STEAM program. Jodi is a “maker” at heart and can often be found working on her sewing machine creating something new.
Lisa holds a Masters in Fine Arts and an M.A. in Theology & The Arts. She has a teaching credential, is a certified Yoga Education instructor, possesses a Yoga Alliance Teacher certification, and has many years of experience as an artist and educator. She has taught yoga, poetry, storytelling improvisation, dance, and movement. Lisa has taught at Athenian and Redwood Day School, the East Bay Center for Performing Arts, Cal Shakes- Summer Conservatory for Young Artists, and the College of Marin.
Sandra Luna was the founding Head of School at Children’s Day School (CDS) in San Francisco, working with a group of parents to transition the for-profit preschool to a non-profit, independent school in 1996; she initiated the vision of a preschool through eighth grade school grounded in principles of social justice. Her work included establishing a Board of Trustees, hiring and evaluating teachers, curriculum development, and day-to-day operations. While Sandra was Head, CDS became the first public or private school in San Francisco to be honored by the San Francisco’s Mayor Office for its dedication to creating a “green” school through its daily practices, its curriculum, and its connection to the broader Mission District community. Sandra also served as Project Manager at The Link to Children, a non-profit organization that provides mental health services for families with young children.
She has served on several boards, including the Center for the Childcare Workforce (CCW) in Washington, D.C. where she represented all childcare and preschool providers in the U.S. CCW has since become a part of the American Federation of Teachers. Sandra received her B.A. and her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco. This is her 9th year at Julia Morgan School for Girls and her 6th year as Head of School.
A native from Mexico, Lupe has lived almost her entire life in Oakland, California. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. After many years of working in the financial services field, she returned to school to pursue an M.B.A. from U.C. Davis. Before joining JMSG, she was involved with Lincoln Child Center in Oakland, California supporting the Development department with its fundraising efforts and database maintenance. Her interests include international travel, running, bicycling, golf, and volunteering.
Pam is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University. She also earned a Masters Degree in Computer Engineering from UC Santa Cruz. Before coming to JMSG, Pam worked in energy conservation for a non-profit community service agency in the Bay Area. She also spent several years working in the high tech industry as a software engineer and then as a project manager at Stanford University. Pam has been the Business Manager at JMSG since 2001. She enjoys reading, yoga, and cycling.
Maryann is a committed educator whose focus is to help middle schoolers in their academic life and personal development. She has been a part of the JMSG faculty for the last six years. Maryann is currently serving as the Learning Specialist, teaching the STARS classes, directing The Scholars Studio (JMSG’s after school study program) and serving as a 7th grade advisor. She is a graduate of Pacific Oaks College in the field of Human Development and a Certified Educational Therapist from Holy Names University. Her Master’s thesis was based on the perspectives of teens with ADHD, giving her the reality and impact that having a learning difference brings to students. Maryann’s experience also included raising two children, which gives her the “real life” experience of both the richness and responsibility of being a parent.
Raymundo, a Mexican native, moved to California when he was sixteen years old. In 2006, Raymundo joined JMSG as an integral member of our Facilities team. When he's not at JMSG, Raymundo is busy managing the kitchens of two local restaurants in Oakland. He enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Maria and four wonderful daughters: Giselle, Tania, Daymi, and Alany.
Laurie has a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Davis. She went on to study Clinical Psychology at JFK University. For the past several years, Laurie has worked with the American Lung Association teaching Open Airways asthma management classes to elementary and middle school students all over the Bay Area. She has also worked as a substitute teacher in the elementary school grades. Laurie has two JMSG alumnae daughters, Kiley who graduated in 2009 and Chloe who graduated in 2011.
Shivani has over 10 years teaching experience. She received her B.A. in Economics with a minor in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley as well as her M.A. in Education and teaching credential from U.C. Berkeley's Developmental Teacher Education (DTE) program. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education and has traveled extensively across Latin America and South East Asia. Shivani began her Bay Area teaching career as a test prep instructor for both Kaplan and Compass Education Group and proceeded to teach at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, a blue ribbon school focusing on gifted education, design thinking, and social emotional learning. Most recently, she worked in Learning and Development at global design and innovation firm IDEO. She also serves on the board of Museum of Children's Arts (MOCHA) in Oakland.
When she's not at Julia Morgan, Shivani enjoys spending quality time with her daughter Nova and husband Eliah. These days they can be found at library story times for toddlers, Friday Nights at Oakland Museum of CA, swimming at Aqua Tech in Alameda, or at the Temescal and Lake Merritt Farmer's Markets. She's always trying to find a balance between nesting at home and breathing fresh air!
Elizabeth Scotten is passionate about empowering students to think critically, express themselves powerfully, and become active global citizens. She has taught Humanities at the middle school level for six years and has been teaching for over a decade. She has expertise in project-based learning and strives to engage every student’s innate desire to learn. She speaks Spanish as a second language and has traveled extensively in Central and South America.
Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Community Studies from U.C. Santa Cruz, and a teaching credential and M.A. in Educational Leadership from Mills College.
Elizabeth was born and raised in Oakland, and now lives by Lake Merritt with her husband and young daughter. They love spending time together outdoors, cooking elaborate meals, and traveling. After school, Elizabeth is an aerial dancer with Upswing Aerial Dance, specializing in low-flying trapeze and rope and harness.
Lorraine has over 20 years teaching experience. She received her B.A. in History and Graduate School in African Studies from UCLA. She holds a secondary Social Studies credential from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo as well as a single subject California credential. She traveled to France in an intensive language study to perfect her French speaking skills in order to work in archeological and historical research in Togo, West Africa. Lorraine taught U.S. history, world history, geography and psychology at the high school level on the Big Island in Hawai’i for eight years before continuing her teaching career in California. She taught at High Tech High Bayshore in the South Bay, and was a co-administrator prior to this at Aurora Charter High School.
Chris is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT). She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara, California. Chris received additional graduate training in School Psychology and School Counseling from Sacramento State University and St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, where she earned her Pupil Personnel Credential in School Counseling (PPS). Additionally, Chris has a part-time private practice in Montclair Village and sees children, adolescents and families in need of support around issues such as depression, anxiety, social skills, challenging peer relationships, perfectionism, low self-esteem and challenging family dynamics. Chris enjoys working with school staff, parents and students at JMSG to help support girls in any challenging situation that might be impedingtheir social or emotional development during the middle school years and beyond. Highlights of her fifteen years of experience as a school counselor include: creating and implementing school-wide social-emotional curricula, providing individual and group counseling, and leading art therapy groups on self-esteem, body awareness, and social skills. Ongoing training and consultation are an integral aspect of her clinical work, and she attends a monthly CBT consultation group that focuses specifically on children and adolescent treatments and best practices. Chris is an active member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), the National Associate of School Psychologists (NASP), and the Northern California Cognitive Behavior Therapy Association (NCCBT). In the summers, Chris attends various workshops to stay abreast of the emerging issues and the latest techniques relating to child and adolescent psychotherapy and counseling. When not at work, she delights in spending time with dogs and in nature.
Katie has been the Director of Technology at JMSG since the first year. She teaches technology and media literacy to the girls and supports teachers with using technology in all classes. Katie received her B.A. from Trinity College and her California teaching credential from Chapman University. She also holds an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In addition to her teaching experience, Katie worked at the Associated Press in Rome, was the senior planner for Western International Media, traded stock, taught brokers computer systems at Kidder, Peabody and was a founding member of the Media Guaranty software company. Her favorite class to teach is Movin' It!, a Lego Kinetic sculpture class. She often bribes her two daughters, aged 7 and 10, to accompany her to her favorite engineering destination - Legoland, CA!
Jess Dang, Associate Head of School, 8th grade advisor, Go-Girl teacher
For two days, independent school educators from all over the state, and somehow a cadre of army air traffic control officers, were immersed in the principles and practices of differentiation. We were taught by Carol Ann Tomlinson, the mother of differentiation herself, and her colleague Mike Murphy. An "aha" moment for me during the workshop was realizing how differentiated instruction is intuitive to good teaching. An educator's decision to use a differentiation strategy--such as flexible grouping, student choice, levels of challenge, ongoing assessment, just to name a few--reflects a belief in students' potential and a deep commitment to meet each student where they are. As Tomlinson describes, "Differentiation is classroom practice that looks eyeball to eyeball with the reality that kids differ, and the most effective teachers do whatever it takes to hook the whole range of kids on learning." It was truly inspiring to contemplate the many parallels between differentiated practice and how we teach and learn at JMSG. As a faculty, we have begun the exciting work of delving into Tomlinson's seminal text The Differentiated Classroom and strengthening our collective practices, and I'm looking forward to sharing the insights and tips I gained from the workshop as we progress.
Elizabeth Scotten, 6th grade Humanities teacher, 6th grade advisor
This three-week online course helped me prepare to start my first year teaching at JMSG. One of the most valuable aspects of the course was connecting with a network of girls' school teachers and administrators from around the country. I also learned about current research and practices in girls' education, and got a deeper understanding of the history of single-sex education. I was delighted to see that the first reading we were assigned was an excerpt from Where Girls Come First: The Rise, Fall, and Surprising Revival of Girls' Schools by Ilana DeBare, a JMSG co-founder. It was exciting to see JMSG's founding story woven into the history of girls' schooling in the United States.
Miranda Bucky, 6th & 7th grade Associate Math teacher, 7th grade advisor
In August, I attended a two-day training with Girls Leadership in Oakland that focused on culturally responsive practice and on developing strategies to address trauma from an asset-based approach. At the end of the workshop, every attendee left with a curriculum booklet of lesson plans compiled by the training facilitators, titled “Power ColLABorative: A culturally responsive, social-emotional learning-based curriculum designed to meet the needs of girls.”
Following the training, I have been thinking about the similarities between the roles of teacher and facilitator. Teaching is a type of facilitation: facilitators set in place a structure within which a group can generate new understandings, learning in community. This opens up space for students to be the drivers of their own learning and to shape the culture of their classrooms.
So far this year, I have used several lesson plans from the curriculum for activities in advising, centering around the themes of identity and community. In math classes, I have been adjusting the structure of my facilitation by asking more questions that do not have just one right answer, hoping to reduce the fear of getting a question wrong and to focus on conceptual understanding. This workshop left me with a lot to think about, plans and goals for ways to modify my own practice, and a resource to draw from and to share with colleagues.
Katie Topper, Educational Director of Technology, 7th grade advisor, teacher
This past summer, I was fortunate to be nominated to be a panelist at the Wearable Technologies conference in San Francisco. The panel consisted of Bay Area and international technology educators and consultants. The conference was a subset of the annual Semi-Conductor convention that draws a large crowd from around the world.
Before I attended the panel, I was very excited to not only learn about new technologies in the wearables market, but also at the prospect of applying what I would learn to my classes and pass on some ideas to the STEAM and science faculty. Specifically, for the past few years I’ve taught an 8th Grade Arts Elective on wearables, which mainly focuses on sewing circuits into clothing, stuffies and such. I had also hoped to learn more about 3D-printable technologies that can be incorporated into student sewing and circuitry projects. Instead, what I learned is something much larger: despite the fact that JMSG has very comprehensive technology and STEAM programs, our alumna will still have a very uphill battle to fight when they enter these fields.I had expected around a 60/40 male to female ratio in attendance, but I would guesstimate that over 85% of the conference attendees were male. Knowing that women in tech have declined since the 1980’s, and also appreciating that 30 of the fastest growing occupations are in the STEM field, it’s critical to understand what educators can do to prepare our students for that uphill battle. As a panel on how to recruit more female engineers was simulcast on a large screen in the convention center lounge, the audience stayed glued to their personal screens, seemingly with no awareness or concern about the gender disparities in their fields. The conference advertising efforts revolved around an NFL football player who, although his research around wearables and concussion detection is certainly important, drew a much larger crowd than any of the female innovators who presented before him. My quest for water on the exposition floor turned into proposals to drink a beer with the salesmen. I enjoyed being on the panel and the opportunity to promote the technology offerings at JMSG. However, my participation confirmed to me that, no matter how many technical skills our students may gain while at JMSG, the leadership and confidence-building work our faculty implements every day is even more critical to making a much-needed shift in the tech industry.