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A Message from the Head of School

Welcome to AltSchool Yerba Buena! We are focused on putting children at the center of their learning by engaging them with hands-on projects, a supportive community in the classroom and beyond, and equal emphasis on academics as well as social-emotional growth. We are committed to building agency in our students so they may understand themselves as learners and see themselves as full of possibility and potential.

Located in the vibrant SoMa district of San Francisco, we’re surrounded by museums and cultural points of interest. Our students experience school beyond the walls of their classroom, exploring the greater community and the city where they reside on a weekly basis.

AltSchool Yerba Buena is a tightly knit community of learners, working together to be our best selves and to have a positive impact on the world around us. We’d love to show you what we’re working on, and how we’ve grown.

I would be thrilled to welcome you to an open house or a school tour. On behalf of the AltSchool Yerba Buena community, we can’t wait to meet you!

Emily Dahm

Highlights from AltSchool Yerba Buena

Everything we do is geared toward a whole-child, personalized approach to education that fosters student agency and helps prepare our learners for the future. Take a look at some of the things that are integral to AltSchool Yerba Buena.
Community Resources
The local community is an extension of our classroom. Educators and students regularly visit local parks and outdoor spaces such as Yerba Buena Gardens and South Park.
Experts
To encourage a hands-on approach to learning, our educators bring in experts from the community who challenge students to solve real-world problems and connect their work to skills-based practice. We partner with local artists, yoga instructors, musicians, and more.
School-Wide Community Meeting
Every month, the entire school gathers for our community meeting. Students share the projects they are currently working on and meet with students from other classrooms.

Meet Our Educator Team

Emily Dahm
Head of School

As Head of School for AltSchool Yerba Buena, Emily works closely with students and educators to create real-world, interdisciplinary learning experiences. Emily looks forward to continuing to build a strong community full of joyful learners and connected families.

Prior to working at AltSchool, Emily taught in San Francisco public schools for eight 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 through authentic learning experiences. Emily was also a lead art instructor with Scholarkids, Camp Galileo, and the Los Altos School District. She holds a Master of Instructional Technologies, a multiple subject teaching credential, and a Bachelor of Graphic Design from San Francisco State University.

“AltSchool gives me the opportunity to lead and teach the way I wish I had been taught. My favorite things about working here are the amazing educators and families I get to work with every day, and the opportunity to work closely with engineers and designers to build our technology tools.”

Learn more about
Emily Dahm
Emily Dahm
Head of School
Ashley Henry
Middle School ELA Educator

Ashley has been an educator for eight years in both private and public schools. During that time, she developed curricula covering a broad range of topics, including social-emotional learning and social justice practices. As an educator, her teaching style focuses on the whole child and fostering social-emotional learning through mindfulness and restorative practices.

Ashley has a single subject credential in English and holds a master's degree in English literature. Additionally, she has a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) certification and several yoga certifications, including a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher designation, trauma informed kids yoga training from the Connection Coalition, and youth yoga training with RISE Yoga for Youth. In her free time, she teaches and practices yoga, writes and records music, and hikes.

“AltSchool gives educators genuine opportunities to collaborate to design and implement a rich, creative, and individualized curriculum for learners. I am excited to be part of such a student-centered community!”

Learn more about
Ashley Henry
Ashley Henry
Middle School ELA Educator
Bri Santo
Upper Elementary Educator

Bri has held various positions that have enabled her to explore and understand the diverse needs of individual students and how to best differentiate learning to ensure their success. As an educator, her goal is to shape all students into passionate lifelong learners by providing them with the necessary tools to fuel their spark for knowledge. She enjoys creating lively and captivating projects, often involving community and world events, that require students to think critically and make inquiries sparked by their curiosity.

Bri began her teaching journey as an Americorps member at Hillcrest Elementary School in the Portola neighborhood, assisting with curriculum development and leading small groups. She became the after-school program coordinator where she focused on building equity and community within the classroom and incorporating social-emotional learning through intentional activities and restorative practices. Bri has also taught English in South Korea, where she was able to practice culturally responsive teaching in a multicultural setting.

Bri holds a B.A. in communications and sociology as well as an M.A. in teaching from University of Southern California with an emphasis in urban education. She also has extensive training in trauma-informed practices in youth development, and a TESOL certification.

“I'm excited to work with like-minded individuals and collaborate with educators, technologists, and personalization leads who are passionate about advancing education and ensuring every student’s success!”

Learn more about
Bri Santo
Bri Santo
Upper Elementary Educator
Bryanna Fenton
Middle School Spanish Language Educator

As a Spanish language educator, Bryanna encourages her students to take risks and explore Spanish culture by blending authentic resources and experiences that help bring the language to life. Previously, she co-created a curriculum that focused on language proficiency using real-world tasks such as writing letters and shopping in grocery stores. She also led a 45-student school trip to Spain, an enriching experience in which students learned from different perspectives in an authentic environment. She tries to bring those experiences into the classroom to bring a real sense of purpose to learning a language.

Bryanna has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and foreign affairs and a master’s in teaching foreign language, both from the University of Virginia, and completed a study-abroad program in Valencia, Spain. Along her journey, she has taught Spanish to K through 12 students in both public and private school settings in Charlottesville and Tampa.

“I’m particularly excited to join the AltSchool team because of the enthusiasm of every educator and student!”

Learn more about
Bryanna Fenton
Bryanna Fenton
Middle School Spanish Language Educator
Elizabeth Scotten
Middle School Humanities Educator

Elizabeth Scotten is the humanities lead for the Fort Mason Middle School. She fosters a caring school community that rallies diverse learners to become inspired scholars, critical thinkers, and global citizens. She has expertise in using a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach in mixed-age classrooms. At the core of her work is a commitment to social justice and the cultivation of a collaborative classroom culture where differences are celebrated.

Prior to teaching at AltSchool, Elizabeth taught for over a decade in public, charter, and independent schools including Park Day School and the Katherine Michiels School. She holds a Master of Educational Leadership from Mills college, as well as an administrative credential and a multiple-subject teaching credential. She also earned a B.A. in community studies from UC Santa Cruz, where she specialized in community-based school reform. Outside of her work in education she is a professional aerialist with UpSwing Aerial Dance. She is also a world traveler, nature lover, and and is working hard to become fluent in Spanish.

“I love AltSchool because it is a place where students come first. I want to empower AltSchool students to explore, innovate, and pursue their passions."

Learn more about
Elizabeth Scotten
Elizabeth Scotten
Middle School Humanities Educator
Eman Haggag
Middle School STEM Educator

Eman has been teaching STEM education for over a decade. She loves science and enjoys teaching this subject in an investigative and upbeat project-based learning environment. She feels this approach revitalizes education and makes it fun and relatable for each child.

Prior to AltSchool, Eman taught chemistry, physics, math, biology, and general science to students in elementary, middle, and high school inside and outside of the classroom. She has also taught in public school, private school, and an orphanage abroad. Eman specializes in social-emotional learning and utilizes several strategies in her teaching to make students feel accepted, safe, and self-motivated. Outside of teaching, Eman loves to sing and play music. She is a part-time voiceover actress and does improv on the side.

“I want my students to be lifelong learners who are driven by curiosity, wonder, and have the autonomy to be empowered and empower others. I want my learners to walk away with the attitude of knowing how to solve a problem and how to give back to their community around them. To me, that’s the AltSchool way.”  

Learn more about
Eman Haggag
Eman Haggag
Middle School STEM Educator
Jamie Spatt
Foundational Elementary Educator

As a lower elementary teacher at AltSchool, Jamie has enjoyed being a math liason for the Fort Mason Lower School community as well as garden coordinator for the site. Jamie has a passion for bringing student mindsets to the forefront of learning using AltSchool’s character traits and habit milestones. She has worked on co-dev projects tied to Character Labs for over two years.

Jamie finds joy in bridging the gap between the classroom and the world outside by incorporating authentic resources and taking students’ inquiries outside. To expand possible avenues of study in exciting and challenging ways, she turns to field trips and experts that enrich learning arcs across the curriculum.  

Before coming to AltSchool, Jamie co-taught preschool and second grade at the Nueva School. She also led summer camp and an after-school yoga class for kindergarten through second grade students.Jamie has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with a minor in art from Columbia College Chicago, a TESL certificate, and a Type 04 teaching credential from the state of Illinois. She also holds a Kids Yoga teacher training certification from Yoga Tree San Francisco and brings her yoga practice daily to her students and colleagues.

"I am so delighted to be part of the incredible AltSchool community where I see a deep appreciation for student agency, child-centered learning, and networking across geographies that is a rare and incredible gift to all.”

Learn more about
Jamie Spatt
Jamie Spatt
Foundational Elementary Educator
Karen Chu
Lower and Upper Elementary Educator

Karen has many years of teaching experience in lower elementary grades. Her favorite thing about teaching this age group is being able to give the gift of reading to students. With extensive training in reading intervention, Karen has helped many struggling readers reach and even surpass their reading goals. Many of the students she’s worked with felt a renewed sense of confidence after realizing their power as an independent reader, which is one of the beauties of teaching.

Karen started her teaching career off by receiving her credential and B.S. in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin. She then taught first grade for five years in a public school setting in Texas. After moving to California, Karen became a founding teacher for a charter school and worked hard to help close the achievement gap that her students were facing. Aside from her dedication to teaching, Karen has also volunteered countless hours to different nonprofits. One of the nonprofits she volunteered for gave her the opportunity to mentor many high school students, helping them build confidence and leadership skills. Although far away from home, Karen still remembers to eat her fair share of barbecue and fried chicken!

“I am so excited for this opportunity to work with such a great team of people and students. I can’t wait to see how our work in the classroom will help transform, inspire, and innovate the education field.”

Learn more about
Karen Chu
Karen Chu
Lower and Upper Elementary Educator
Mary Engelken
Lower Elementary Educator

Mary has been teaching lower elementary school for over five years, paying added attention to encouraging the development of the whole child. She takes pride in creating a safe classroom environment that promotes critical thinking, risk-taking, and positive relationships. Mary is fervent about literacy instruction and has an extensive background in teaching English language arts.

Prior to joining AltSchool, Mary worked as a public school teacher in San Francisco and Connecticut. Most recently, she taught in a public Montessori setting where she learned the importance and value of personalized learning. In addition to a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Mary holds a B.S. in human development and family studies from Colorado State University and a master’s in education from Regis University.

“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to work at AltSchool with innovative and passionate educators who are dedicated to cultivating young children's confidence and love of learning.”

Learn more about
Mary Engelken
Mary Engelken
Lower Elementary Educator
Stephanie Jack
Lower Elementary Educator

With over a decade of experience as an educator, including program design and leadership roles as well as classroom teaching, Stephanie has witnessed firsthand how accelerated learning takes place when students feel excited to explore, question, create, and share their ideas in a warm atmosphere. As an educator, she believes that encouraging each child’s natural curiosity and sense of wonder is the key to developing joyful lifelong learners.

As a foundational elementary teacher last year, she enjoyed engaging young learners in project-based experiences and developing ways to increase learner agency through her co-development projects. Before joining AltSchool, Stephanie helped develop the all-day 4K (four-year-old kindergarten) program at a high-performing 4K through 8 school in Madison, Wisconsin. As a part of this process, Stephanie researched academic, social, and emotional development in young children and how these elements relate to creating an engaging learning environment.

Stephanie received her bachelor's degree and certification in elementary education with a science minor through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Stephanie is committed to professional development, particularly around applying effective strategies for developing student engagement, and recently completed a yoga teacher training and certification through Breathe for Change, a program created for educators to use mindful movement and social-emotional learning strategies with students in the classroom.

“AltSchool is a cutting-edge leader in 21st-century education. I am so excited to be part of an educational model that values holistic growth and allows educators and students to be co-creators of an engaging learning experience.”

Learn more about
Stephanie Jack
Stephanie Jack
Lower Elementary Educator
Susie Friedlander-Holm
Middle School STEM Educator

Susie has been teaching for over eight years at schools around the world. She’s a strong proponent of building a supportive classroom culture that encourages all students to do their best and persevere. Susie believes in hands-on learning that is integrated across subjects, and enjoys immersive learning experiences like taking her students camping and letting them plan and execute the hikes, meals, and campfire activities.

She graduated as a dual major in English literature and elementary education from Hofstra University in Long Island. Since then, she has seized every opportunity for professional development to grow as an educator, including participating in the SVMI Leadership Institute, the PETALS science team, PBIS leadership, the University of Utah reading clinic, and California's BTSA credentialing program. In her free time, she loves to sing, hike, and camp, and has her sights set on visiting all 59 National Parks.

“I love that AltSchool provides support for students' intellectual growth, with emphasis on the individual and their creativity.”

Learn more about
Susie Friedlander-Holm
Susie Friedlander-Holm
Middle School STEM Educator
Tiffany Hanson
Upper Elementary Educator

Tiffany is proud of creating a safe environment that promotes positive relationships, building student confidence and a love of learning, and taking risks in the classroom. She maintains a culture of student-centric learning and goal setting. Tiffany describes herself as a warm yet firm teacher who takes pride in her relationships with her students and their families.

Tiffany began her teaching career as a high school student, teaching dance to preschoolers. This ignited her love for teaching children. Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she earned her B.S. in elementary education with a minor in dance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a focus on technology. She has spent 10 years teaching elementary school students in two states.

Her past experiences include working at a charter network in East San Jose as a founding lead teacher. She has extensive training and experience in social-emotional learning, English language learning, and inclusion.

“I’m honored and excited to work with other educators and families who have a similar philosophy of education and the same drive to meet the needs of our students. AltSchool allows us to focus on the whole-child with help from technology; I think this is the future of education.”

Learn more about
Tiffany Hanson
Tiffany Hanson
Upper Elementary Educator
Rebecca Eubank
Personalization Lead

Rebecca approaches teaching in a way that empowers students with the ability to develop 21st-century skills while cultivating and deepening individual interests. She has extensive training in the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) model, which has enabled her to utilize individual student data to create and drive instruction that facilitates student growth.

Most recently, Rebecca worked with students to build on their foundational mathematical skills at the Warren Consolidated School District in Michigan where she taught for 12 years. In that role, she created individualized instruction for each student, using data to inform decisions—an approach that was eventually adopted schoolwide.  

Rebecca received her B.S. in mathematics with a minor in elementary education from Wayne State University, and an M.A. in teaching in reading and language arts from Oakland University. A lifelong basketball player, Rebecca coached high school basketball for over a decade. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys cooking, traveling, and practicing yoga. To fulfill her competitive drive, she also enjoys playing softball and kickball in recreational leagues and has twice completed a three-day, 300-mile bike ride.

“AltSchool’s student-centric approach to education was a primary driver for joining the team. I think that our focus on educating the whole child, and leveraging technology to make that possible, is the future of education.”

Learn more about
Rebecca Eubank
Rebecca Eubank
Personalization Lead
Kalif Aatu Lee
PE and Extended Day Educator

Kalif Aatu was born and raised in Oakland, California, with a natural passion for life. At a young age, sports and the outdoors were the things that revved his engine the most. As he grew and began to work with children in those two arenas, he quickly realized his calling: to inspire kids to learn about themselves and the world around them through movement and cooperative play.

Whether coaching sports or teaching controlled movement games in the classroom, Kalif Aatu truly enjoys watching students learn and grow into their best selves.

"There is no better classroom than the world and no better teacher than your very own curiosity."

Learn more about
Kalif Aatu Lee
Kalif Aatu Lee
PE and Extended Day Educator
Nate Mellado
PE Assistant

Nate is the physical education assistant at AltSchool Yerba Buena. Outdoor time is incredibly important for Nate; he is constantly walking the city looking for inspiration for his artwork. He believes in creating a safe, supportive, and creative environment for all students in an outdoor setting. He has also brought a passion for games, music, and exploration time to his classes.

“I want my students to be happy at the end of each day. I want them to be excited about the games and activities. I want them to feel safe to share their feelings and frustrations. I want them to support each other and respect their opinions. I understand that my job is to create those situations for them to flourish as the great learners they are.”  

Learn more about
Nate Mellado
Nate Mellado
PE Assistant
Sarah Rothenberg
Operations and Innovation Lead

Sarah was one of AltSchool’s founding educators and now runs school operations and innovation at AltSchool Yerba Buena. As the operations and innovation lead, Sarah is able to combine her decade-plus classroom experience with her interest in exploring and implementing systems that help schools run efficiently—as well as include students, parents, and educators as equal partners in this journey.

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 lead teacher, curriculum developer, and technology specialist for the district, Sarah facilitated conferences and workshops for colleagues on current topics in education. Sarah also explored ways to utilize technology as an integral classroom tool when she served as director of the iDTech Camp and Academy at MIT in Cambridge.

Sarah has completed the School Leaders Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Exceptional Leader course at Stanford and participated in the Reggio-Emilia International Study Group in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Sarah also holds her Children’s Yoga Teacher Certification (YTC) through YogaEd and Yoga Alliance.

“As a lifelong learner and committed educator, I am passionate about fostering a child-centered, creative learning environment that embraces innovation and social emotional growth as the cornerstones to prepare our children to be the leaders of their tomorrow.”

Learn more about
Sarah Rothenberg
Sarah Rothenberg
Operations and Innovation Lead

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