Alix has taught middle school math, science, and art in Oakland since 2004. After two years in Ireland studying art, Alix received her BA from Mills College. She later returned to school and earned her California teaching credential and MA in Education from Alliant International University. Alix enjoys intertwining art practice with other content areas in the classroom. Outside of teaching, Alix is a professional artist and loves to work creatively. She enjoys the outdoors and hiking with her family.
Shana has been teaching middle school and high school humanities, English, and history courses since 2010. After receiving her BA in Art History at UC Santa Cruz and her California Teaching Credential at High Tech Middle in San Diego, Shana moved to Washington DC to teach at The Madeira School. In 2018 Shana returned to California and completed her MA in Teaching while working at The Marlborough School in Los Angeles. In July 2020, Shana moved with her husband and newborn daughter to Oakland. As an experienced teacher in all-girls education, Shana is so excited to join the JMSG faculty. Outside of school Shana enjoys hiking with her family, reading historical fiction, and oil painting.
As a graduate of Simmons College with a MA in Educational Administration from Wheelock College, Marcia brings a wealth of experience to her position. Before coming to JMSG, she was the Director of Admission 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, Marcia served as the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid for Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston. She also worked in San Francisco at Public Affairs Management, an environmental and public relations consulting firm from 1990 to 1994 and has been a longstanding board member at Pact, An Adoption Alliance. Marcia served on the JMSG Board of Trustees in the founding days and has been committed to the mission even before the school opened by helping create admission and financial aid practices. From 2001 to 2019, she served as the Assistant Head of School and Director of Admission at JMSG. This is her nineteenth year working at JMSG.
Suzanne is an Oakland native and has been teaching middle school science for fourteen years. She received her BS in Biology with minors in English and Art History from UC 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 away from 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 returned to JMSG in 2016 after teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science for five years at Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley. She loves being back in the JMSG community.
As a graduate of a girls’ school and long-time teacher of middle schoolers, Liz is dedicated to the education of young girls and understands personally the transformative experience of attending an all-girls school. She is a proud alumna of Marlborough School in Los Angeles, where she later taught mathematics for two years. After graduating from UC Berkeley and completing an MEd and teaching credential at UCLA, she ventured abroad to Spain and taught at the American School of Madrid. As a JMSG founding teacher with more than twenty-six years experience, she has worn many hats at JMSG including summer camp director, teacher mentor, admission committee member, and parent education coordinator in addition to teaching middle school math and advising students. A few years ago, she was the Director of Admission at The Girls’ Middle School in Palo Alto, another small, progressive school and the "twin sister" to JMSG. In her spare time, she enjoys creating from scratch and pursuing new experiences with her two outgoing children. Liz is thrilled to return after a few years away; JMSG is where her heart is.
Monika graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Architecture. 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 supports the school in the front office and with communications. Monika loves being in a community that empowers girls’ social and emotional growth and learning during their middle school years. She believes single-sex education is crucial during this pivotal time in a girl’s life and is excited to see JMSG alum find their voices and become the future changemakers.
Jess is passionate about the transformational power of girls education, and she brings a perspective shaped by her own experience attending an all girls' school from seventh through twelfth grade. Jess received a BA in English from Brown University, and while working at Julia Morgan she completed an MA in educational leadership from the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute. Going back to school was a powerful reminder for Jess of the challenges that students face every day, lending fresh empathy to her work with middle schoolers. Since 2007, she has served at JMSG in many roles: as a classroom teacher, advisor, high school counselor, and program coordinator before becoming associate head. Jess embraces her work at JMSG as an opportunity to show girls the world as it should be—where each person is a valued member of the whole, where community is co-created, where we share a sense of purpose, and where positive change is always possible.
Sita was born in India, raised in the Bay Area, and lived much of her early adulthood in various parts of Latin America. She went to Willamette University, studied education at Mills College, and has taught for the past 15 years in the East Bay--from Head-Royce to Canyon Elementary School. Sita is mother to a 13 year-old, and to many plants, inside and outside of the home she cares for in Berkeley. Sita is also a yoga teacher and mushroom forager, and a budding herbalist who loves to dance, sing, hike, and travel.
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 twelve years of experience coaching and teaching. She received her BA in Sociology from Kenyon College as well as her MA in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Management from Saint Mary’s College, 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 two years getting her graduate degree and working for a sports-based youth development nonprofit in Oakland, in addition to coaching lacrosse. Outside of school, Alicia likes to puzzle, bake, hike, find new trails to run, sit by Lake Merritt reading, and spend time with friends exploring the Bay Area.
Chava is a beginning teacher with a passion for youth mentorship, community building, and math pedagogy–and she is thrilled to be joining the JMSG community this fall! She believes that the best learning happens in strong relationships full of questions and vibrant conversation. Prior to joining JMSG, she worked in adult employment training and education in Washington, DC, as a member of Avodah, the Jewish service corps. Originally from Maryland, she is a staunch feminist, a big math nerd, a musician, a writer, and an arts and crafts lover. Chava graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Studies.
Phil is a Berkeley native, composer, performer, studio musician, and music teacher. He received his BA 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. Outside the orchestra pit, he is equally comfortable in a funk or jazz band, and plays regularly with his own rock band for kids, The Bug Family Band. Starting at Park Day and moving to JMSG, he has now been a middle school music teacher for over fifteen years and continues to love sharing his passion for the performing arts with his students! At JMSG, he gets to share other passions too, like those for games, sports, and the outdoors in his PE class. Away from school, Phil might be found with his wife and two daughters at the A’s game, on the frisbee field, camping in the mountains, or maybe in the kitchen cooking some vegetarian delights.
Jodi has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from San Francisco State University. She holds a secondary mathematics teaching credential and has over twenty 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.
Anna grew up in a small town in Northern California, surrounded by a strong circle of women and a wild backyard full of endless possibilities. Whether hiking along the coast, camping in the redwoods, or building tree-forts with her sisters, she has always found tranquility, inspiration, and strength in the great outdoors. This connection to nature led her to pursue a BS from UC Davis in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, as well as a MS in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University. With over 10 years of experience teaching, developing programs, designing tours, leading outdoor trips, coordinating events, and directing summer camps, Anna brings with her a diversity of skills and interests. Anna is thrilled to be joining the JMSG community and to fulfill a lifelong dream of contributing to the education and development of confident and compassionate young women. When not at school Anna can usually be found hiking with her dog, gardening, or in the kitchen baking tasty seasonal treats!
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.
Christine López, an alumna of an all-girls middle school, first felt inspired to teach during service trips abroad. She believes education is key to improving the world and graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in Mathematics Education. Prior to joining the JMSG community, Christine taught mathematics and worked on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force at an all-girls school in Atlanta. Christine is passionate about connecting math to the arts and seeks to awaken her students' confidence and love for math by exercising their creativity. In addition to her passion for numbers, Christine also finds great joy in writing, fashion design, and continuing her global education by travelling the world.
Scott has more than twenty years experience as a teacher/educator working in independent schools and nonprofit organizations. He earned his BS in Journalism from Texas Christian University and worked for several years in print journalism, television, and public relations. He began teaching in 1996 and earned his MA in English Literature with an emphasis in Renaissance and Victorian Literature from Middlebury College. He has taught in middle and high schools in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, and he has worked with Bay Area nonprofit groups developing academic enrichment programs in after-school and summer programs for children who have recently immigrated to the US. Scott is committed to mentoring young students of color in underserved communities. His passions include politics and NCAA division I football.
A native from Mexico, Lupe has lived almost her entire life in Oakland, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Business Administration. After many years of working in the financial services field, she returned to school to pursue an MBA from UC Davis. She joined JMSG in 2012 as the Finance and Development Associate. Aside from her many job responsibilities, she engages actively with the students here by supporting them in their extracurricular activities. She especially enjoys it when the students converse with her in Spanish. Her interests include international travel, running, bicycling, volunteering, and supporting Latinx-led organizations that serve the Latinx community.
Pam is the founding business officer at JMSG and has been at the school since early 2001 when she was first attracted by and remains committed to the girl-centered mission and strong community. She currently serves on the board of the California Independent School Business Officers Association and was the long-time treasurer and then president of her community homeowners association. Pam earned a BA from Michigan State University in International Relations, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and a MS in Computer Engineering from UC Santa Cruz. Before coming to JMSG, she worked in the nonprofit, educational, and technology fields. Outside of work, Pam is enrolled in the Advanced Studies Program at the Berkeley Yoga Studio and enjoys spending free time with friends, reading, cycling, and traveling.
Maryann began her teaching career at Pacific Oaks College with a BA degree in Human Development, specializing in Child Development. This is her ninth year at JMSG where she serves as the Learning Specialist, supporting students in developing skills to help them to be successful in their academic lives and supporting their families. Her professional background includes having a private practice working with individuals and corporations after attending the Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, CA. She attended Holy Names University in Oakland, CA, where she received her MA and certification in Educational Therapy. Outside of school, she enjoys being near the water, kayaking, biking, and travel adventures.
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. He enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Maria and four wonderful daughters–Giselle, Tania, Daymi, and Alany.
Shivani has over fifteen years teaching experience. She received her BA in Economics with a minor in Business Administration from UC Berkeley as well as her MA in Education and teaching credential from UC Berkeley's Developmental Teacher Education 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 served on the board for the Museum of Children's Arts in Oakland. When she is not at Julia Morgan, Shivani enjoys spending quality time with her two daughters, Nova and Azalea, and husband Eliah. She's always trying to find a balance between nesting at home and breathing fresh air outdoors!
Elizabeth 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 seven 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 BA in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz, and a teaching credential and MA in Educational Leadership from Mills College. Born and raised in Oakland, she now lives by Lake Merritt with her husband and young daughter. They love spending time together outdoors and cooking elaborate meals. After school, Elizabeth is an aerial dancer with Upswing Aerial Dance, specializing in low-flying trapeze and rope and harness.
Lorraine has over twenty-five years teaching experience, including fifteen years at Julia Morgan School for Girls. She received her BA in History followed by graduate school in African Studies from UCLA. In graduate school, Lorraine 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. She also earned a secondary Social Studies teaching credential from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. Lorraine taught US 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.
Michele is a passionate educator who strives to build authentic learning environments that support inquiry, investigation, and building a better world, both for students and teachers. Michele was a high school science teacher in the 1990’s, and soon became curious about the decline of middle school girls’ interest in math and science, as this research was just published. She pursued a PhD in science education to create meaningful and accessible science programs that would interest and encourage girls to dig into science and find connection between science concepts and real world issues. Michele created tools for students to build and analyze models of global climate change. This model building process engaged students in science in new ways, and provided opportunities to ask meaningful questions, make predictions, and build awareness of a looming global problem and it was especially motivating for girls. Since then, Michele conducted research and taught in the Schools of Education at both University of Michigan and UC Berkeley. When a new independent school, The Contra Costa Jewish Day School (CCJDS), opened in 2001, the opportunity to create a k-8th grade science program was intriguing! Michele jumped onboard, to first lead the school’s science program and next to lead the whole school’s curriculum and faculty development. Michele held many positions at the school including middle school science teacher, Director of Science, Director of Professional Learning, Interim Head of School and Dean of Faculty. Michele is a lifelong learner and continues to seek opportunities for growth and improvement. During her tenure at CCJDS, she pursued a Masters in Counseling and had a private therapy practice focusing on middle and high school girls and their families. Michele is thrilled and inspired to bring all of her experience to JMSG, to support both the students and the faculty to create the best learning environment possible for girls to thrive academically and socially, and to open the doors to new opportunities.
Chris is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and specializes in working with adolescents. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara. Chris received additional graduate training in School Psychology and School Counseling from Sacramento State University and St. Mary’s College in Moraga, where she earned her Pupil Personnel Credential in School Counseling. 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, peer relationships, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and challenging family dynamics. Chris enjoys working with school staff, parents, and students at JMSG to provide support in any situation that might impede their social or emotional development during the middle school years and beyond. Highlights of her sixteen years of experience as a school counselor include creating and implementing school-wide social and 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, the National Associate of School Psychologists, and the Northern California Cognitive Behavior Therapy Association. 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.
Julia Morgan School for Girls' faculty and staff are dedicated to the mission—to prepare the confident, capable, creative, and compassionate women of tomorrow.
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.