AltSchool is 100% focused on our students.
Our personalized learning approach puts each child at the center of everything we do. Smaller classroom student:teacher ratios, coupled with state-of-the-art classroom design and technology, enable a flexible learning environment that mixes individual, group and experiential learning.
AltSchool is dynamic.
Our analytical approach and core strengths in innovation combine educational best practices with the latest tools. Our educators build learning experiences that are adaptive at their core and keep our children engaged.
AltSchool is rigorous.
Students learn best when they are interested. By personalizing learning to student needs and passions, we can challenge them more. Students learn at a level that pushes them, but not so much that they disengage. We also provide frequent quantitative and qualitative feedback to ensure that students are prepared for success after their AltSchool years.
AltSchool is diverse.
We believe that children benefit from diversity and that all children deserve an excellent, child-centered education. You can help us bring AltSchool to more children by donating to our need-based tuition assistance fund.
AltSchool is engaged with the community.
Learning is not just about what happens inside the classroom. We connect students with experts and institutions in the community to enrich the learning experience and keep them wanting more.
AltSchool is a partnership.
We believe it is vital to have parents integrally involved in their child’s education. We measure parent satisfaction and offer tools so that parents can see and understand how their students are learning at any point in time - not just when report cards come out.
AltSchool is fun.
When students drive their own learning, they become motivated by passion and creativity -- and learn to be that way throughout their lives. They also simply love going to school. We love watching them show up early on Mondays, ready to dive right in.
Parents are AltSchool’s partners in their child’s education.
That said, parents have busy lives -- so AltSchool makes it easy for them to stay involved and informed. Through simple technology solutions for communication, registration, payments and permission slips, AltSchool helps families spend more time on the things that matter most -- and that most benefit their children.
AltSchool works with families on after-school care, lunch and transportation options to make school convenient. Scheduling constraints due to additional commitments can be accommodated and family travel is encouraged as an opportunity for children to learn outside the classroom.
AltSchool parents are integral to the reimagined school experience. AltSchool looks to them for feedback on what is going well and what can be improved. Aside from simply listening, AltSchool explicitly measures different dimensions of parent satisfaction, sharing the results in a transparent way and tracking progress over time.
AltSchool has an open door policy and welcomes parents to the classroom. However, volunteer hours are not requested or required. AltSchool has a full team working in the background so that parents don't have to worry about mandatory volunteering.
Learn more about how we seek to meet the needs of families from Peter, our Head of Parent Satisfaction.
AltSchool has assembled a world-class team of educators, entrepreneurs and technologists to create a high quality educational experience for our students.
Carolyn Wilson Director of Education
In addition to her experience as a parent, therapist, and classroom teacher, Carolyn has founded successful childhood programs and schools. Carolyn founded Chrysalis School, which served 140 California preschool students. With Accelerated Schools, a school reform project at Stanford University, she worked with teachers and administrators in struggling public schools in six states. Most recently, Carolyn served as the learning specialist at Synergy School in San Francisco and had a private practice in education therapy. Carolyn holds a BA in Early Childhood Education and an MA in Education Administration from the University of Tulsa. Read more about Carolyn in our Teacher Spotlight.
Sarah Rothenberg Teacher
After earning her Master’s Degree from the Furcolo School of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Sarah moved to Boston to help launch the full-day Kindergarten program in Milton, Massachusetts. As a lead teacher, curriculum developer and technology specialist for the district, Sarah facilitated conferences and workshops for colleagues on current topics in education. As the Director of the Internal Drive Technology Camp and Academy at MIT in Cambridge, Sarah explored ways to launch technology as an integral classroom tool in an innovative and interactive learning community. Sarah is passionate about fostering a child-centered, creative learning environment that embraces the current progressive educational climate. Read more about Sarah in our Teacher Spotlight.
Lauren Hancock Teacher
Lauren has been teaching for over 12 years and most recently served as Lead Pre-K Educator for Google's Family Programs, where she led a teaching team and developed project based curriculum and content. Lauren has a BA from California State University, Northridge and received an AA in Child Development from Santa Monica College. She has developed programs to educate parents on children's social and emotional development and launched a program to take Pre-K students outside the classroom to local parks, plays and farms. She has been studying and integrating the Reggio philosophy in her practice for over 15 years. Read more about Lauren in our Teacher Spotlight.
Sophia Espinoza Teacher & Operations Associate
Sophia has taught in Chicago Public Schools' bilingual education programs as a Chicago Teaching Fellows Corps Member. Sophia holds a BA in Psychology from Northwestern University, where she researched reading comprehension and behavioral interventions for children. At AltSchool, she teaches Spanish and coordinates field trips and community activities. Read more about Sophia in our Teacher Spotlight.
Siri Scull Art Specialist & Lead Afterschool Teacher
Siri has taught art and other subjects in the Bay Area for more than 12 years. She believes in designing an art curriculum that not only teaches fundamental visual skills and techniques, but also encourages creativity and self-expression. Siri specializes in integrating arts education with environmental education. Siri has a teaching credential in Art Education from Colorado College and a master’s degree from San Francisco State University in Education with an emphasis on Art.
Kristin Uhlemeyer Teacher
Kristin comes to AltSchool after working as an educator in museums across the country and internationally. Most recently, Kristin was the lead instructor at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, where she nurtured her students' curiosity in the natural world, occasionally dressing as a pirate, Wonder Woman, or wizard (depending on the lesson). Kristin loves encouraging creativity through imaginative, play-based collaborative learning. She has an MA in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University and a BA from the University of Delaware in anthropology, education, and history. Read more about Kristin in our teacher spotlight.
Emma Simmons Teacher
Emma got her start in education early. At the age of fourteen, she ran an after-school program for preschool and kindergarten children. She also taught on a Native American reservation in South Dakota. Since moving to SF eight years ago, Emma has taught preschool at Bumblebee Academy, first grade at the San Francisco Friends School, and kindergarten at Children's Day School. Emma received her Masters of Arts in Teaching and Multiple Subject Credential from the University of San Francisco. Read more about Emma in our Teacher Spotlight.
Emily Dahm Teacher
Emily has been teaching in San Francisco public schools for 8 years. As a third and fifth grade teacher, she partnered with community organizations such as the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Opera, and UCSF Medical School to inspire and engage students with authentic learning experiences. Emily has also been a summer lead art instructor with Scholarkids, Camp Galileo, and the Los Altos School District. She holds a Masters Degree in Instructional Technologies, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design from San Francisco State University. Read more about Emily in our Teacher Spotlight.
James Earle Teacher
James, one of our middle school teachers, grew up on Long Island. He attended the University of London, where he studied Renaissance History. For the next seven years, James worked as a ninth grade cultural history teacher at the Ross School in East Hampton, New York. He coached soccer, helped start a boarding program, and served as the chair of the history department for much of his time at the Ross School. James was voted Teacher of the Year by faculty in 2010. In 2012, YouTube named James a YouTube EDU Guru for his interdisciplinary art history channel AmorSciendi. Most of the videos appearing on the channel are collaborations with students who designed the logo, wrote background music, and helped write the scripts. For James, education never ends. This past year, he earned an MS from the University of Gastronomical Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. Read more about James in our Teacher Spotlight.
Katie Gibbons Teacher
Katie approaches education with great purpose and passion. She has been teaching for the past thirteen years in a variety of educational settings - from an inner city charter school to a private lab school. Most recently, Katie was the Founding Teacher and Director of Programs at Synapse School. She also founded Dolphin Girls Camp, a leadership and friendship summer camp for girls. Katie earned her MA in Educational Leadership from Mills College and a BS in elementary education from Elizabethtown College. Read more about Katie in our teacher spotlight.
Mara Pauker Teacher
Mara grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and moved to Burlington, Vermont to attend college. Upon graduation, Mara moved to New York City to become a founding teacher of the Blue School. She spent the past seven years teaching kindergarten and building their pre-school program. Mara earned a BS in Early Childhood Education from the University of Vermont with a focus on Human Development and Family Studies. She is also completing a Master’s in Educational Leadership from New York University. Read more about Mara in our teacher spotlight.
Annette Bauer Teacher
Annette is a world-class educator with extensive teaching experience overseas. In addition to many years as a classroom teacher, Annette was the Head of School at a bilingual school in Berlin. She also ran a small business for women’s development in Bangkok and founded an art program in Uzbekistan. Most recently, she has been teaching at the American Community School at Beirut. She is also a mom to two amazing children, Tristan,12, and Sophie, 9. Annette holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College in New York. Read more about Annette in our teacher spotlight.
Kay de Veer Teacher
Kay comes to AltSchool with extensive teaching experience in SF public and private schools. Most recently, she spent three years teaching elementary grades at Stuart Hall for Boys. While there, Kay started an afterschool running club and was the school’s yearbook advisor. Kay is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Educational Therapy at Holy Names University in Oakland with a concentration in the neuropsychological development of children and adolescents. Kay received her Bachelors of Science in Liberal Studies and her Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. Read more about Kay in our teacher spotlight.
Jennifer Aguilar Teacher
Jennifer is an expert teacher steeped in the science of early childhood development. She was first exposed to the field while taking a study abroad course in Reggio Emilia education in Italy. Upon her return, she discovered Bing Nursery School at Stanford University. She then took several childhood development courses at Bing as an undergraduate and earned her B.A. in psychology from Stanford. She is currently completing her seventh year as a full-time teacher at Bing and will be teaching at AltSchool starting in the Fall of 2014. You can read more about Jennifer in our teacher spotlight.
Kate Moriarty Teacher
Kate is a passionate educator who believes that learning can and should be fun for everyone. She attended Amherst College in Massachusetts where she studied Psychology and played soccer. After working at a corporate law firm in New York City for a year, Kate realized that she wanted to get back in the classroom. She began teaching humanities, coaching soccer, and serving as dorm parent at Northfield Mt. Hermon (a boarding school in Western, Massachusetts). Most recently, Kate attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education and received her M. Ed. in the Mind, Brain and Education program. Read more about Kate in our Teacher Spotlight.
Natalya Sukhonos Teacher
Natalya Sukhonos is an educator, poet, and academic who was born in Odessa, Ukraine and came to New York City with her family in 1992. Natalya has a PhD from Harvard in Comparative literature, focusing on Russian and Latin American literature from the 20th century. Aside from New York, Boston, and now San Francisco, Natalya has lived in Paris, Madrid, Istanbul, and Rio de Janeiro. She has taught college-level humanities classes at Harvard, Stanford, Cogswell Polytechnical College, and UC Davis. But Natalya's passion for teaching middle school stems from her more than sixteen year’s worth of experiences working at the Russian aesthetic center, Idea. At the center's camp in Upstate New York, Natalya has taught Spanish and creative writing. She has also supervised collaborative projects and participated in theatrical events. In addition, Natalya is a published poet. Read more about Natalya in our Teacher Spotlight.
Chris Perdue Teacher
Chris is passionate about designing projects that bring science to life for every student. He has been teaching science, math, and music at Bay Area independent schools for the past 8 years. Most recently, Chris taught at Children’s Day School and The Berkeley School. He has a B.S. in Applied Mathematics & Computer Science from James Madison University. He has also trained at Harvard’s Project Zero Institute and the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute. Read more about Chris in our teacher spotlight.
Jenelle Ferhart Teacher
Jenelle is an experienced and committed educator with expertise in dual language immersion, bilingual education, and Spanish enrichment programs. With thirteen years of teaching experience, Jenelle is passionate about multilingualism and multiculturalism. She earned her BCLAD teaching credential while student teaching in private, public, and indigenous schools in Mexico. Jenelle has also taught first through sixth grades in four different schools in California, including an inner-city public school in Oakland and two innovative and high-performing dual language immersion schools in San Diego County. Two years ago, Jenelle moved back to the Bay Area with her spouse and two young children. She taught at Ross School in Marin County as a fourth grade teacher and as a K-5 Spanish teacher. In addition to a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum Design and Instruction from San Diego State University, Jenelle recently obtained her Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) certification from the USC Rossier School of Education. Read more about Jenelle in our teacher spotlight.
Travis Greenlee Teacher
Travis Greenlee's mission as an Outdoor and Experiential Educator is to help students develop a strong relationship to the world around them. Travis comes to AltSchool after spending three years teaching at the Sidwell Friends and Aidan Montessori Schools in Washington, DC. Prior to his work in DC, he spent nine years at Key School in Annapolis, MD, working as an Outdoor and Experiential Educator and teaching Civics, Humanities, and Life Skills. At Key School, he also coached soccer, ran the Middle School Aftercare Program, and co-led a service-learning trip to Belize. Travis is a certified SOLO Wilderness First Responder, founder of The Citizen Superhero Project (a curricular program to teach citizenship and community leadership through the superhero archetype), and co-founder of ConserFest, an environmental summer music & arts festival in Rhode Island. He enjoys outdoor adventure and travel, songwriting, storytelling, and yoga. He earned a BA degree in English Literature with additional concentrations in Secondary Education, Spanish and Studio Art from Hobart & Williams Smith Colleges. Read more about Travis in our teacher spotlight.
Dina Hamaoui Teacher
Dina has worked with children in both educational and residential settings for ten years. She was a founding teacher at Blue School, a play-based and co-constructivist preschool and elementary school in New York City. She founded the school's studio art program and was lead teacher of the 2s program. Dina lived in New York City for 11 years before relocating to the Bay Area to help Harker School in San Jose open their new preschool campus in Fall 2013. She has an M.P.S. in Arts Therapy and Creative Development from the Pratt Institute and a B.A. in English and Film Studies from U.C. Irvine. Read more about Dina in our teacher spotlight.
Jaqi Garcia Teacher
Jaqi is an experienced teacher with a strong foundation in social-emotional learning. Most recently, she taught at Brightworks School as a full inclusion facilitator for middle school students. Jaqi has also taught at The Little School as a support educator with neurodiverse children. In addition, Jaqi worked with Sensory Social Playgroups in San Francisco to foster social skills, emotional awareness, and regulation strategies in preschool to elementary children. She has volunteered as an AmeriCorps VISTA coordinator for elementary school literacy programs and worked with the Urban Sprouts school garden program within the juvenile system of San Francisco. She received a B.A. in sociology from San Francisco State University, with an additional concentration in early childhood education, and studied medical massage and nutrition at The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Read more about Jaqi in our teacher spotlight.
Lorie Delizo Teacher
Lorie was born and raised in San Francisco. She returned to her hometown to teach after studying biology and completing an M.Ed./Credential program at the University of California in San Diego. Upon moving back, Lorie started her teaching career at KIPP Bayview Academy in the Bayview/Hunters Point district, where she taught mainly eighth grade science. For eight years, Lorie and a team of teacher leaders worked together and with the community to help make KIPP Bayview Academy a California Distinguished School. With almost a decade of science teaching experience and her first cohort of eighth graders about to graduate from college, Lorie is excited to start the next phase of her career as part of the AltSchool team. Read more about Lorie in our teacher spotlight.
Paul France Teacher
Paul's teaching approach is grounded in the relationships he builds with his students. He believes that a classroom culture grounded in mutual trust allows students to take risks, make mistakes, and ultimately become self-directed and flexible thinkers. Paul taught fourth and fifth grade on the North Shore of Chicago for four years after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010. During that time, Paul also earned his master's degree in language and literacy from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Read more about Paul in our teacher spotlight.
Kai King Teacher
Growing up in Palo Alto, Kai realized early on that he had a love for everything related to mathematics and computer science. Kai is in his thirteenth year as a math educator and has found, with proper guidance and emotional support, every child can develop their inner mathematician. Kai served as the math department chair at Mid-Peninsula High School, honing his skills connecting with students with learning differences. Most recently, Kai created and taught the multi-paced, technology-centric math curriculum at The San Francisco School. Kai's favorite use of his UCSD Mechanical Engineering work and Applied Mathematics BS from California State University, East Bay, is in the development of math games. "With a good math game, mathematics becomes fluid, exhilarating and as natural as breathing. There is little effort. In the right context, we are all great mathematicians."
Christie Seyfert Teacher
Christie is most passionate about mentoring students through the process of understanding themselves and their passions through content, play, exploration, and student autonomy. She has spent the last two years developing the middle school program at Brightworks, a progressive, project-based school in San Francisco. With an emphasis on using real tools, taking frequent excursions, and learning from experts, Brightworks provided Christie with the opportunity to explore her own philosophy as an educator as a member of the founding staff. Before Brightworks, Christie taught seventh grade language arts and social studies for three years as a Teach for America corps member at Joseph George, a low-income public middle school in San Jose.
Jamie Stewart Teacher
Jamie has been working in k-8 schools for the past eight years. Before joining AltSchool, she worked as a Resource Specialist and then Acceleration Coordinator for San Francisco public schools. Prior to that, she was in Washington, D.C., at first as part of the 2007 Teach for America Corps where she taught students with diverse learning and emotional needs with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). After earning a Master’s of Education in Special Education from George Mason University she continued working for DCPS, teaching first grade and working as a resource teacher at a pk3-8 school.
Mitzi Mapa Contes Teacher
Mitzi has been working in the field of education both as an elementary teacher and as an administrator for over 18 years. She has taught in international schools in Singapore and in the Philippines and has had extensive experience with the IB Primary Years Programme and inquiry based learning. Most recently, Mitzi mentored and coached first time teachers as the Leadership Development Officer with Teach for the Philippines. When not busy in the classroom, Mitzi also does volunteer work for an organisation called Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) which provides a range of peace educational programmes aimed at developing cross cultural understanding and international mindedness. This has allowed her to travel to over 20 countries and work with a diverse group of youth and children. Mitzi is also a licensed trainer for Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People and facilitates leadership training workshops for teachers and trainers alike. In her spare time, Mitzi enjoys drumming, dancing, yoga and engaging in street and travel photography.
Kelly Ferguson Teacher
Kelly recently moved to the Bay Area from Los Angeles, where she taught lower elementary students for the past seven years. As a founding teacher at Larchmont Charter School, she designed and implemented a collaborative, project-based curriculum with real-world applications. Most recently, Kelly was a reading specialist, working with small groups of mixed-age students, focusing on the specific learning styles and reading needs of each student. Kelly received her BS degree in economics at Duke University and holds a masters degree in education from UCLA. Kelly will join our K/1 team and teach during our extended day program.
Our Supporting Team
MAX VENTILLA, FOUNDER AND CEO
Max's career has focused on creatively using technology to enrich daily life. He founded Krypteian Systems (acquired in 2001) and the social search company Aardvark (acquired by Google in 2010). At Google, he was part of the founding team of Google+ and then served as the Head of Personalization across Google products. Max earned a bachelor’s degree in Math and Physics and an MBA from Yale University.EVE WACHTELL, GENERAL COUNSEL
Eve heads up legal from AltSchool's New York office. She was previously Acting Director of the Diane Abbey Law Center and, before that, an Associate at Hogan Lovells. She is the Treasurer of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Eve holds a JD from NYU School of Law and a BA from Swarthmore College. She is admitted to practice law in New York and California.SUE YOON, VP OF FINANCE
Sue most recently was VP of Corporate Development at Rocket Fuel and has worked in Corporate Development and Strategy for Asurion. She has also worked in investment banking at Merrill Lynch and private equity with ABRY Partners. She has a BA and BS in accounting and economics from Penn State.KAREN LI, CONTROLLER
Karen most recently was the Assistant Controller and Director of Technical Accounting at General Motors Korea. Previous to that, she was a Senior Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers leading audits and pre-IPO due diligence efforts for clients across various industries. Karen holds a BA in Economics/Accounting from Claremont McKenna College and is a California licensed CPA.MICHAEL GINTY, HEAD OF SAFETY
Michael has dedicated his career to safety and security. He began his career as a federal agent in the US Air Force, then spent time with DHS and in Apple corporate security. Most recently, he was the Head of Global Security at Uber. Michael has a BA from Boston College, and MA in National Security from the Naval Postgraduate School, and an MBA from the University of San Francisco.JANE YU, PARTNERSHIPS AND PHILANTHROPY
Jane heads up partnerships and philanthropy for AltSchool. Previously, she worked in Strategic Partnerships for Samsung's Open Innovation Center and in Marketing Programs and Sales Development at Google. She earned a BA from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.SANDY CIMA, BUSINESS MANAGER
Sandy holds a BA from San Francisco State University. Previously she served as Program Assistant for the Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship Program at UCSF.KAISI GUO, HEAD OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Kaisi heads up the welcome committee at AltSchool. Previously she worked as a preschool teacher through Teach for America and she holds a BA in Communications and Philosophy from Boston College.CHARMAINE TANGONAN, ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ASSOCIATE
Prior to joining AltSchool, Charmaine worked as an Operations Associate with the Achievement First charter school network and co-founded an edtech startup to re-envision student fitness in schools. She holds a BA from Stanford University.NEIL TOOMEY, ASSOCIATE GENERAL COUNSEL
Prior to joining AltSchool, Neil was an Associate at Gunderson Dettmer and, before that, an Associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. He has also worked as an Operations Associate at Success Academy Charter Schools. Neil holds a JD from NYU School of Law and a BA from Yale University.DEBORAH KELSON, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Most recently, Deborah led Multichannel and Mobile Marketing for Walmart eCommerce. In her career as a marketer, she also helped develop brands including Evite and LeapFrog. Deborah studied Art History and Psychology at Stanford University, and was a TA for an undergraduate course on sleep and dreams.LEE LEFKOWITZ, HEAD OF RECRUITING
Lee heads up the recruiting team. He spent the last few years working at Amazon Music here in SF, and previously spent 3 years growing Wireless Generation (now Amplify Education) in Brooklyn. Lee received his BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.ELAINE CHOW, RECRUITING COORDINATOR
Before joining the recruiting team at AltSchool, Elaine has worked as a tutor for Reading Partners and as an office coordinator at Holmes Culley. Elaine holds a BA in Comparative Literature and Mass Communications from UC Davis.PEMA LIN, PEOPLE OPS MANAGER
Pema holds a BA in International Studies from University of Richmond and an MTS with a concentration in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Prior to joining AltSchool, she was the HR Manager for JustAnswer.
ANNA CUENI, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Anna holds a BA from Stanford and has led operations and strategy projects at Google, Ernst & Young, and Nextdoor.ALLEN CZERWINSKI, HEAD OF ADMISSIONS
Allen serves as AltSchool’s main point of contact for parents and prospective parents. He has a BA from Yale University and has worked in operations at Google and Aardvark.PETER COLE, HEAD OF PARENT SATISFACTION
Peter supports current parents and prospective parents in crafting a great AltSchool experience for their children. He has served in a variety of roles across operations and product at many startups, most recently at Vast.com. He has a BA in communications from UC Berkeley.SANDY NAING, PARENT SATISFACTION ASSOCIATE
Sandy earned her bachelor's degree in English and American studies from Wellesley College. Most recently, she was a merchandise planner at Williams-Sonoma. Prior, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the nonprofit Refugee Transitions and also worked as a consultant at Morningstar, Inc.DAN BARBER, HEAD OF EDUCATOR SATISFACTION
Dan was most recently a leader at Singly focused on customer and employee development. Prior, he was an elementary school teacher at Clark County School District and a Teach For America Corps Member. He holds a MA in Education from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a BA in Business from University of San Diego.ALISON LEE, HEAD OF EDUCATOR RECRUITING
Alison is responsible for hiring teachers at AltSchool. Prior to joining AltSchool, she worked in marketing and human resources at Teach For America. Alison earned a BA from Brown University.SIMMI BINDRA, HEAD OF STUDENT SUPPORT
Simmi is excited to join AltSchool as a member of the Ed Support Team as the Head of Student Support. Simmi began her career as a special education teacher with the NYC Dept of Education. During her tenure there, she served as teacher, coach and program coordinator and as an adjunct instructor at New York University. Simmi then transitioned into various roles, including Head of School, at Kunskapsskolan USA, supporting the implementation of its swedish personalized learning program. Prior to moving to San Francisco, Simmi was a behavioral consultant with KIPP DC. She earned her BS in childhood and special education from New York University and a MS in Leadership for Educational Change, with a special education focus, from Bank Street College of Education.SUMEET BAKSHI, OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
Sumeet holds a BA in biology and MA in Science Education from The University of Texas at Austin. She worked at Sidecar Technologies and was a middle school and high school educator before joining AltSchool.JILLIAN WILLIAMS, ADMISSIONS ASSOCIATE
Jillian holds a B.A in Communication from the University of Southern California and an M.S. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before joining AltSchool, Jillian worked as an Account Manager at ZeroCater and as a Communications Associate for multiple tech startups at Mantella Venture Partners.ALICE SHIKINA, COMMUNITY MANAGER
Alice co-founded Support4Orgs and Baobab Alliance, a non-profit that donates recycled laptops to educational institutions in Kenya. She holds a B.F.A. from Miami University.JUSTIN MANN, TEACHER SATISFACTION STRATEGIST
Justin left the classroom to found his own education technology company, Geddit. He is an alumnus of the startup accelerator Imagine K12 and holds a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education from Monash University in Australia.JULIAN KUSNADI, OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
Julian earned his M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University, where he studied religious studies, philosophy, and human biology. He previously worked at Wood LLP and with the KaeMe Foundation in Ghana.MELISSA HANSEN, OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
Prior to joining AltSchool, Melissa worked as a developmental psychology researcher at Temple University and as an operations associate at Shmoop. Melissa has a BA in psychology and theatre from Northwestern University.BRANDON MYINT, OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
Brandon was most recently an Analyst Fellow with Education Pioneers before joining AltSchool’s admissions team. Prior to that he spent two years in the classroom as a Pre-K teacher in Los Angeles with Teach For America. Brandon holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and M.A. in Educational Policy and Administration from Loyola Marymount University.NAFISA BASIR, GROWTH OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
Nafisa is a life long New Yorker who has worked at a number of schools in NYC in a variety of different capacities. Most recently, Nafisa was the Director of Extended Day and Summer Programs at Avenues the World School. She holds a BA in Psychology.ZUBIN CANTEENWALLA, HEAD OF EXPANSION AND ADMISSIONS, EAST COAST
Zubin is responsible for new school formation and admissions in the East. Prior to AltSchool, he worked in venture capital at NGEN Partners and held various roles in tech and energy startups. He has a BS in mechanical engineering from Queen's University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.LAKE PHILLIPS, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE
Lake's experience includes real estate development for 7-Eleven, The Melt, Sterling Jewelers, Starbucks Coffee Company, Bob Evans Restaurants, and Gordon Food Service. Lake studied Architecture (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati, and Business Management at Franklin University. He is an active member of ICSC, mentor for The Thiel Foundation, and serves on the board of the Lindstrom Foundation.NICK FRANK, REAL ESTATE PROJECT MANAGER
Nick is responsible for helping manage the construction of our schools. Prior to working at AltSchool, Nick worked at AECOM where he was responsible for overseeing construction on San Francisco Unified School District projects. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in Civil Engineering.WILL STARKS, HEAD OF FACILITIES
Will manages our real estate strategy, coordinates the creative design of our micro-schools, and oversees construction and maintenance. Will majored in English at Yale and has a background in finish carpentry.JONNY SATZ, REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATE
Jonny holds a J.D. from Harvard University and works on all aspects of AltSchool's real estate strategy, procurement, and design.
Technology and Innovation
BHARAT MEDIRATTA, CO-FOUNDER AND CTO
Bharat has an extensive background in creatively using technology to improve the world. Prior to AltSchool, he was Google's Distinguished Engineer in charge of the technology behind Google's home page and search results where he spent a decade building scalable systems to solve some of the world's largest problems. Bharat holds a BA in Computer Science from Colgate University.KOMAL SETHI, CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER
Komal served as CTO at Vast.com and was Co-Founder and VP of Software Development at Deersoft (acquired by Network Associates). He has BS and MS degrees from Stanford.SAURABH GANERIWAL, ENGINEERING DIRECTOR
Saurabh was most recently a Staff Software Engineer at Google focused on Personalization and Distributed Systems Infrastructure. He holds a PhD from UCLA in Embedded Sensor Networks and a B.Tech degree from IIT Bombay.MICHAEL KIM, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH
Michael was most recently a Senior Software Engineer at Google focused on Personalization, Machine Learning and Algorithms. He holds a PhD from UCSF in Bioinformatics and a BS degree from Stanford.SLADE MAURER, ENGINEERING DIRECTOR
Slade was most recently a Staff Software Engineer at Google focused on Machine Learning and Distributed Systems Infrastructure. He holds an MSEE from LSU and a BSCS from SLU.RAJIV BHATIA, VP OF PRODUCT
Raj was most recently a Studio GM and Director of Product at Zynga, where he led company-wide data-driven design and product management efforts. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and MS and BS degrees in Computer Engineering from UT Austin and UIUC, respectively.MEE-SUN YUK, LEAD PRODUCT MANAGER
Mee-Sun was most recently a Senior Product Manager at OpenTable, where she led the iOS and payments products. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Economics.ASH MARTIN, LEAD PRODUCT MANAGER
Ash was most recently Director of Product at 3D Systems, where he was responsible for the 3DMe product suite and Cubify.com. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and BBA in Business Law from Loyola Marymount.KENAN BANKS, FULL STACK ENGINEER
Kenan is a life-long coder with a specialty in building complex web user interfaces. He recently wrote front end software for Google and created Hypnagogics, a real-time group discussion platform.KIMBERLY JOHNSON, SCHOOL EXPERIENCE LEAD
Kimberly was most recently a User Experience Researcher at Google and holds a BS from Stanford in Symbolic Systems. She also has a decade of classroom experience, including teaching math and music in public schools, after-school programs, and summer camps.RENA BARCH, UX RESEARCHER
Rena uncovers user behaviors and insights through ethnography in the classroom and interviews with our core user groups. Prior to AltSchool, she was a global market researcher specializing in technology. She holds an MSc in Comparative Politics from LSE, and a BA in International Studies and Economics from Johns Hopkins University.ALEX HOLLENDER, SENIOR DESIGNER
Alex is a self-taught designer who cut his teeth in the fashion and art industries in NYC, and was most recently leading design at Keep, a fashion-ecommerce startup in NYC. He studied Art History and Philosophy at Swarthmore College.HANNAH CLEMMONS, UX RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Hannah splits her time at AltSchool between UX research and classroom operations. Previously, she's helped empower kids and teachers at Launchpad Toys and Experience Early Learning. Hannah earned her BA in Early Childhood Education at Columbia College ChicagoJEREMY SHUTE, ENGINEERING DIRECTOR
Jeremy was most recently a Staff Software Engineer at Google focused on Machine Learning, Information Retrieval, and Distributed Systems Infrastructure. He holds a BSCS degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.ALEX GIBBONS, SENIOR STAFF ENGINEER
Alex is a lead web engineer who has consulted for Apple Inc. and other Bay Area startups. He holds a BA in Physics and BFA in Photography from NYU.DANIEL RUSSEL, SENIOR RESEARCH ENGINEER
Daniel was most recently a Researcher at UCSF. He holds a PhD from Stanford University and a BSE from Princeton University.JAY HO, MECHANICAL ENGINEER
Jay has worked on many aspects of mechanical design and prototyping at small firms. Previously, he worked on the design and production of interactive exhibits at the Exploratorium and Snibbe Interactive. He holds a BA in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley.KEN KAZAMA, SENIOR NETWORK ENGINEER
Ken manages our network infrastructure platform and helps to develop our in-classroom technology solutions. He was most recently a Systems Engineer with the Cisco Cloud Networking Group and holds a BSC in Operations Management and Information Systems from Santa Clara University.ANTHONY LEONTIEV, SENIOR INFRASTRUCTURE ENGINEER
Anthony is a full stack engineer with experience building both infrastructure and front-end technologies. He recently worked as a lead software engineer at InsightSquared and HonestBuildings. Anthony holds a BS degree from Carnegie Mellon University.MATT CONSTANTINE, SENIOR FRONT-END ENGINEER
Matt was most recently a Senior Front-End Engineer at Zaarly, a marketplace for local services. His background includes programming and design roles in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.BENJI SHINE, FRONT-END ENGINEER
Benji joins AltSchool as a front-end software developer after a four-year stint at Twitter working on advertiser tools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Brown University, where he focused on educational technology and computer graphics.MIKE PHILLIPS, WEB DEVELOPER
Michael was most recently a full stack engineer at Academia.edu, a platform for academics to share their research. He studied computer science and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.
AltSchool is thrilled to partner with Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz, with follow-on funding from First Round Capital and Harrison Metal and participation from John Doerr, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, and Omidyar Network. The experience, expertise and innovation in both business transformation and education that is represented by this group is unmatched, and AltSchool is honored to be working with all of them.
AltSchool currently has locations in San Francisco. We are expanding to Brooklyn and other regions for the 2015-2016 school year, including additional locations in San Francisco. Please sign up here if you want to be notified about future location openings.
Please select your location to learn more, including an overview of our admissions calendar and tuition information:
San Francisco Addresses
AltSchool HQ and Middle School
1245 Folsom St
San Francisco, 94103
AltSchool Alamo Square
Elementary (K - 5)
735 Fell St
San Francisco, 94117
Lower Elementary (TK - 1)
2265 3rd St
San Francisco, 94107
AltSchool Fort Mason
Elementary and Middle School (TK - 8)
3741 Buchanan St
San Francisco, 94123
AltSchool Potrero Hill (Opening for 2015-2016)
Elementary and Middle School (TK - 8)
99 Missouri St
San Francisco, 94107
AltSchool Yerba Buena (Opening for 2015-2016)
Elementary and Middle School (TK - 8)
300 4th St
San Francisco, 94117
Palo Alto Address: Coming Fall 2015
AltSchool Palo Alto
Elementary and Middle School (TK - 6)
930 Emerson Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Brooklyn Address: Coming Fall 2015
AltSchool Brooklyn Heights
Elementary School (PreK - 3)
84 Montague St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
What is AltSchool?
AltSchool is a collaborative network of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers, deep research and innovative tools to offer a personalized, whole child learning experience for the next generation.
What makes AltSchool unique?
At each of our schools, we listen and adapt to the specific needs of our teachers, parents and students. We develop Personalized Learning Plans to cultivate each child academically, socially and emotionally. To that end, we work with partners in the community to offer a holistic experience that takes advantage of the best people and places that surrounding neighborhoods have to offer. All of this is made possible through the AltSchool supporting team, which works hard to drive true innovation in education.
What is a micro-school?
AltSchool micro-schools are small learning communities that generally range from 1 to 4 classrooms. Because of their small size, micro-schools are flexible in adapting to the needs of teachers, parents and students. Micro-schools foster a strong sense of community while benefiting from the resources and innovations of the larger AltSchool network.
Why build a network?
Our micro-school community model works because of the innovation and resources we provide in the background to support rich educational experiences. Moreover, the AltSchool model is designed to improve with scale as our network grows. Read more about our founder's vision for education as a 21st century good.
Who is AltSchool?
AltSchool’s founding team includes experienced educators and technology leaders, united around the mission of delivering personalized education to as many children as possible. Our educators have many years of experience in teaching and leading schools, with deep expertise in learning differences, gifted education and cross-cultural education.
You can read more about our team here.
How are you funded?
AltSchool is privately funded by venture and philanthropic sources. Our funding gives us the resources and flexibility to build an alternative school system that can quickly scale to serve increasing numbers of families.
What is tuition, and what is included in tuition?
Tuition depends on several factors, including geographic location and specific program costs. Tuition includes all activities, field trips, technology devices, and classroom supplies. See location specific details for San Francisco, Palo Alto and Brooklyn.
Is financial aid available?
AltSchool wants to provide access to an excellent child-centered education to as many students as possible and believes that all children benefit from being part of a diverse community. Need-based tuition assistance is available and we are happy to discuss options as part of the application process.
What food is served at AltSchool?
Depending on interest at each micro-school, families can subscribe to an AltSchool lunch plan. We also have a variety of nutritious snacks available throughout the day.
What is the San Francisco school calendar for 2014-2015?August 25 - School begins
September 1 - Labor Day (no school)
September 19 - Professional development day for middle school teachers (no school for middle school students)
October 13 - Professional development day for teachers (no school)
November 26-28 - Thanksgiving (no school)
December 22-January 2 - Winter Break (no school)
January 19th - Martin Luther King Day (no school)
February 16th - President's Day (no school)
February 17th - Professional development day for teachers (no school)
March 30-April 3rd - Spring Break (no school)
May 25th - Memorial Day (no school)
June 5th - Last day of school
How do you develop a personalized curriculum?
When a child joins AltSchool, we create a Learner Portrait for him or her. The Learner Portrait catalogues interests, passions, strengths, weaknesses, and learning strategies that work best. It also reflects where the student currently is on the continuum of learner objectives that we have set for all AltSchool students and is continually updated over time.
Based on the Learner Portrait and our global objectives, our educators (in collaboration with family and students) create a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP). The PLP is reviewed quarterly and informs the playlist activities a student sees each week. Once goals are mastered, educators set new goals for the student.
What role do standards play at AltSchool?
AltSchool’s learning objectives draw from a variety of standards and metrics as a framework for instructional design. Our elementary and middle school instruction is informed by the Common Core, National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), Next Generation Science Standards, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), among others.
What co-curricular experiences do you offer?
AltSchool offers a wide range of co-curricular experiences, including art, music, fitness, technology, and foreign language. We personalize co-curricular offerings at each location based on student and parent preferences, as well as community availability. We regularly adjust co-curricular offerings based on feedback. Where possible, co-curriculars are woven into students’ work in an interdisciplinary way.
What type of assessment happens at AltSchool?
Families receive weekly updates on student progress based on playlist and project-based learning activities, student and teacher reflections, portfolio work, and adaptive-standardized tests.
Why do you have mixed ages?
We believe that like adults, children benefit educationally and socially from being part of diverse communities with a range of ages and abilities. Grouping children of various ages together gives each child exposure to peers who are similar and different. Children learn from one another as they stretch to attain higher levels of understanding and as they serve as experts to those less far along.
Because each student has a personalized education plan and we have a low classroom student to teacher ratio, we serve children at multiple grade levels in the same homeroom environment.
How are grade levels organized at AltSchool?
AltSchool offers Lower Elementary (Transitional Kindergarten/Kindergarten/1st grade), Upper Elementary (2nd - 5th grade), and Middle School (6th - 8th grade) classrooms. Each mixed age group has its own classroom.
How old does my child need to be to enroll in the Transitional Kindergarten program?
We accept children who are at least four years and nine months old on a rolling basis to our T/K program throughout the year.
How are student needs met in a micro-school campus?
Our micro-school campuses are composed of flexible classroom spaces that work as multi-disciplinary learning centers. An open floor plan and modular furniture allow us to accommodate a wide range of learning experiences. In addition, students make frequent use of neighborhood facilities such as yoga studios, gyms, science institutions, museums, parks, and other enrichment centers in the city.
Parents and Teachers
How do teachers work with each other?
Teachers always work in co-teaching teams, drawing on each other’s strengths to ensure that the classroom runs smoothly and the program is rich and dynamic.
How do teachers work with parents?
Teachers and parents are a team at AltSchool. They work together to form a deep understanding of each child’s Learner Portrait and to continually refine Personalized Learning Plans.
Parents are encouraged to provide feedback to teachers on a regular basis to improve their child’s learning trajectory. Each week, parents receive updates regarding student progress on playlist activities. Once a quarter, parents, students, and teachers meet for an in-person conference to evaluate and improve the learning experience. AltSchool parents also have the opportunity to suggest experiences for inclusion in the curriculum on an ongoing basis and to contribute their own talents to the classroom.
Beyond working with teachers, what else is expected of families?
Families are a key part of the AltSchool community and are welcomed in the classroom. We also communicate openly and regularly with parents, using their feedback to refine our processes.
Parents are welcome to participate in AltSchool family events, such as BBQs and holiday parties.
What are school hours?
We understand that flexibility is important for families. Families can drop off their children at school anytime between 8:00am and 9:00am. The school day ends at 3 pm. If your child has special scheduling needs beyond this flexibility, we’re happy to work with you to try to accommodate them.
Is after-school care available?
We believe that learning should extend beyond the traditional school day. We also understand the scheduling needs of our busy parents. We offer extended day activities from 3pm to 6pm daily. Our extended day program is available for an additional $8/hr. Students can attend on a drop-in basis.
Do you have recess?
AltSchool students have recess every day and participate in daily outdoor activities. Our students also have fitness classes three to five times per week and visit parks throughout the city.
The AltSchool Student
What kind of child does AltSchool look for?
There is no single perfect student for AltSchool. We look for children with a combination of skills, talents, interests and learning styles. We also look for children with a combination of curiosity, enthusiasm and optimism. We consider these elements when putting together our classrooms. We aim to attract students who complement one another and help each other grow.
What about siblings of those already enrolled?
We work with each family individually to accommodate sibling enrollment.
How many openings do you have?
Rather than ranking students and admitting our top choices to a limited number of spots, we craft ideally balanced classes through a careful understanding of students and families. We have the capacity to open new micro-schools where there is the greatest interest and demand amongst prospective families.
Hear from Students, Parents, Teachers and the AltSchool Team
A Day in the Life of Lower Elementary
AltSchool's TK and First Grade students describe a typical day in the classroom.
A Day in the Life of Upper Elementary
Hear from students (3rd to 5th grade) as they describe a typical day at AltSchool.
A Day in the Life of Middle School
Hear from 6th to 8th grade students about a typical day at AltSchool.
Meet AltSchool Educators
Receiving over 2,200 applications for 20 teaching positions, AltSchool is excited to assemble a team of some of the best educators in the country.
Parents Share Their Experiences
Meet fellow parents and hear about their experience selecting and transitioning to AltSchool, as well as what they most appreciate about AltSchool's approach to personalized education.
Parents Describe the Teachers, Curriculum, and Technology in the Classroom
What's a playlist? What does personalized education mean? Hear from fellow parents as they describe their experiences at AltSchool with the teachers, technology in the classroom, and what customized curricula means for their children.
Middle School Parents: Children are Thriving at AltSchool
Parents of Middle School students talk about the differences and benefits of AltSchool's middle school program.
Patricia discusses how her 9-year-old son has grown his confidence and critical thinking skills in AltSchool's smaller-sized classrooms.
Alice, AltSchool's Community Manager and mother of two students, discusses how her 9-year-old son has flourished in the classroom by keeping active and engaged through interdisciplinary activities in the AltSchool curriculum.
Hear Margaret talk about her 6 year old daughter's progress in reading and how she has fallen in love with learning.
Carolyn Wilson, Director of Education, explains how technology is used in AltSchool classrooms.
What is AltSchool
Founder Max Ventilla discusses why he decided to reimagine education with AltSchool.
AltSchool's founder, Max Ventilla, discusses the AltSchool approach to personalized, interdisciplinary project-based learning.
Outside The Classroom
Carolyn Wilson, Director of Education, discusses AltSchool's extension of the classroom through field trips, excursions into the community, and local experts.
AltSchool Hires Top Execs from Google, Uber, Rocket Fuel and Zynga to Help Reinvent Education from the Ground UpMarch 4, 2015
AltSchool Continues to Innovate Progressive Education Model: Educational Startup Officially Converts to Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B CorporationNovember 17, 2014
AltSchool Raises $33 Million in Series A Funding to Transform K-8 Education Through a Network of Innovative Micro-SchoolsMarch 18, 2014
ALTSCHOOL IS HEADING TO A NEIGHBORHOOD NEAR YOU. CAN IT FIX EDUCATION? The San Francisco-based Education Startup plans to open five new schools this fall, including one in Brooklyn.March 5, 2015
Scholarship Fund at AltSchool
At AltSchool, we believe that all children deserve an excellent, personalized education that helps them reach their full potential. We also believe that children benefit from diversity, and that diverse classrooms help prepare young learners for the future.
Our students represent a diverse cross-section of communities, and many families rely on need-based tuition assistance to provide this opportunity to their children.
We invite community members, philanthropists, and organizations to support us in making AltSchool accessible to more children from underserved communities. If you'd like to contribute to our need-based Scholarship Fund, you can do so through our partner, Scholarship America, here.
When you contribute to AltSchool’s Scholarship Fund, you not only create more opportunities for children to access an exceptional education, but you also invest in continuous innovation of personalized learning tools and best practices with far-reaching implications for how children learn in the 21st century.
To learn more about AltSchool's philanthropic endeavors, please email Jane Yu.
We would love to hear from you.
We'd be happy to answer your questions about AltSchool. Provide your contact info and we'll be in touch.
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