Adam’s interest in History stretches far back, but it wasn’t until the early 1980’s when he began to realize how badly he wanted to teach. That’s why he’s so thrilled to be apart of the Social Studies Department at SIL. “I love that each student I meet brings with them a unique world view. It keeps me on my toes and make every class more interesting than the last!” Adam received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. He then took a job as a social worker in NYC for an organization serving victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. After the funding for that program ended, he made the move to California and began his graduate studies in International Relations at SFSU. Simultaneously, he took a job writing and teaching about Latin American Social Movements. When he’s not teaching about history, he’s making it by traveling around the world with his wife and two daughters every chance he gets!
Debbie began her career in the ASL/Deaf Education field while attending Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, CA. She began learning American Sign Language (ASL) at the College of San Mateo in the 1970's and volunteered with deaf children in San Mateo County's Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program. She loved this so much that she decided to focus her career on education for the deaf. She became a sign language interpreter for deaf students while attending California State University, Northridge (recognized as one of the best programs for the deaf and for deaf educators). Debbie received her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies and her M.A. in Special Education for the Deaf. She also has her Multiple Subject teaching credential and her Communication Handicapped credential (preschool through high school, regular education and special education).
Debbie taught deaf chilren in Pasedena, CA before moving back to the Bay Area, and then taught at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. After teaching for 16 years, Debbie decided to focus on her young children, and felt lucky to be able to become a stay-at-home-mother. She has remained very active in the Los Altos School District where her two sons were educated. She also occasionally volunteers for Santa Clara County's Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program.
With her two sons grown, Debbie has resumed her passion for teaching and is now SIL's ASL teacher. In her free time, Debbie enjoys socializing with her deaf and hearing friends, goes everywhere with her dog, volunteers for animal rescue groups, and loves to read.
Eshwar comes to SIL with a diverse background in chemistry, biophysics, and biology. During his time as a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University, he studied how viruses subvert the human immune system to cause disease. After receiving his Ph.D. he moved to the University of California, Santa Cruz to study proteins involved in causing cancer. Eshwar’s approach to education and learning is deeply rooted in his experience as a science communicator of STEM practices and research methodologies. He strives to incorporate a love for evidence-based understanding of existing scientific literature, rather than a dogmatic view of scientific principles as static facts that never change.
Eshwar is dedicated to building a student-centered educational experience, with an emphasis on customized learning approaches. His experience with the educational system in two different countries (India and USA), guides his view of learning outcomes and the value behind the “one size does not fit all” philosophy of SIL.
In his leisure, Eshwar enjoys hiking, sketching portraits, and binge-watching movies.
Hy graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a BS double-major in Mathematics and Physics and a minor in History. At Millersville, Hy was an active member and leader in the MU Physics Club and in the Student Senate, serving as a Student Senator and the Recording Secretary. Hy served on a number of student and faculty committees, helping to establish the shuttle bus service.
Education has always been of great importance to Hy, his parents, and his family. Hy was a peer tutor in high school and college, and enjoys teaching students of all ages. Trust, respect, and support are essential factors in his outlook on education. He sees building rapport as key to reaching students.
In his spare time, Hy enjoys reading and watching science fiction. Hy teaches Math at SIL through AP Calculus BC; He is the Math Department Chair.
Kiyoshi is an instructor of Physics and Biology. He received his BA from Johns Hopkins University and his Master’s Degree from University of California, San Francisco, both in the discipline of Biophysics. He has spent a number of years in academia, becoming a published researcher in various topics ranging from how movement is processed in the brain to how proteins in a cell work. These experiences highlight his drive for teaching and learning, which he hopes to instill in his students at SIL.
Outside of the classroom Kiyoshi lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children, along with two cats, two turtles, three bearded dragons, a tank full of guppies and snails, a robot vacuum named Chumley, and not enough coffee.
Laura is an instructor of American Sign Language. She is a member of many professional organizations including the Bay Area ASL Teacher’s Association (BA-ASLTA,) the California Teacher’s Association (CTA,) and the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.
Laura grew up in Sunnyvale, then moved to Southern California to begin her career. She earned her B.A. degree in Deaf Studies and Communicative Disorders from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and her BCLAD teaching credential from University of Phoenix.
Being late-deafened has given Laura a unique perspective into the Deaf world. She has worked as both an interpreter and a teacher. She has interpreted for the World Games for the Deaf and worked with the founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation giving hearing tests and dispensing hearing aids to those who can’t afford medical care. She also was a pioneer in infant brainstem audiometry and the development of cochlear implant research at the House Ear Institute (HEI) in Los Angeles.
Ms. Sanders enjoys bowling, jewelry making, camping and many other activities but she is most proud of being the co-founder of the non-profit organization called “Voices Off Sign Louder,” whose mission is to bridge the communication gap between the Deaf and Hearing worlds by offering social interactions and educational events (last April VOSL put on an ASL silent weekend retreat!).
Laura resides in San Jose with her husband, Gary and two college bound boys.
Liliana teaches all levels of Spanish at SIL. She was born and raised in Mexico and received her Masters Degree in Latin American and Peninsular Studies from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Liliana taught at Wayne State for two years and also worked as a Proofreading Coordinator, Editor, and Product Manager for Teacher's Discovery, a company that markets educational materials for foreign language classes.
Seeing students progress from beginning levels to hearing them expressing their own opinions in the language is one of the more rewarding aspects of teaching for her. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.
Meghan is an instructor of History. Hailing from Fresno, she graduated from CSU, Fresno in 2006 with a BA in History. After completing the teacher credential program through Kremen School of Education at CSU, Fresno, Meghan worked as a student teacher in the Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) in 2011. In 2013, Meghan taught as an English Language Teacher with AEON in Japan in 2013, and was named Teacher of Distinction for Tobu District in summer of 2014. She is passionate instructor for all things History!
Michael hails from Milan, Illinois. He moved to California when he was ten years old, and has embraced life by the Bay. He holds an MS in Pure Mathematics from CSU East Bay, and a BS in Math Teaching.
He teaches with passionate enthusiasm that's motivating and contagious. When Mike’s not teaching math at SIL, he's working with gifted children on the weekends. To support his teaching, he regularly attends professional workshops on applied behavioral analysis.
Michelle is passionate about teaching and learning with her students. She has taught middle and high school Core (English and History), Honors English, AP Literature and Composition, Writer's Workshops, and facilitated creation of literary annuals at independent schools throughout the Bay Area. She was a Teaching Fellow and Instructor in the Department of American Studies at Brown University and homeschooled her children for sixteen years, prior to sending them to esteemed public and private universities.
Inside and out of the classroom, she has developed effective strategies to support students with a wide variety of learning differences and styles. Michelle thrives on generating a strong rapport with students, and is dedicated to reaching students as unique individuals, incorporating time management, organization, and study skills into her curriculum, in ways tailored to support and challenge each student. Outside of teaching, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, taking long walks, reading widely and writing.
She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College, a Master of Arts and is ABD in American Studies, Brown University, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Women's Studies from Hunter College, City University of New York. Her writing has been published in the Bennington Review, Enizagam, and Four Chambers; her short story, “Tell Me About Her,” was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize. She was the recipient of a scholarship to attend the Napa Valley Writers' Workshop 2014, and workshopped her novella-in-progress with the author Dorothy Allison in 2015. Michelle recently completed her first EdX course through BrownX: The Ethics of Memory. She was a reader for The Tishman Review inaugural Tillie Olsen Short Story Award and a judge for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (Fiction) 2018 and (Flash Fiction) 2019. Michelle recently was a scholarship recipient and participated in The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop for Teachers 2018.
Nathan teaches English and social studies, and he especially enjoys teaching philosophy. He believes in the importance of developing intellectual courage, which empowers students to explore new ground. Nathan also takes seriously the development of students’ critical thinking skills. His favorite subject in high school was English because of its invitation to think critically and express ones own thoughts and opinions.
Nathan is from Kansas City, Missouri, and received his BA in Religious Studies from Colorado College. After college he worked for non-profits in Kansas City including a community foundation and a child advocacy organization. Nathan moved to California in 2012 and began teaching at SIL just moments after landing. Combining what had been the Social Studies and English departments, Nathan operates as the new Humanities Department Chair.
Nick was born in Mountain View, California, and was raised in San Jose. He left the Bay to attend UCLA, where he studied Economics with an emphasis in Accounting. At UCLA Nick mentored students at Los Angeles elementary schools through programs such as America Reads and Amigos.
As the first person in his family to graduate from a four-year university, Nick is a role model to students. And now as our Student Government Advisor, Nick cultivates a profound sense of community among our full-time and dual-enrollment students alike.
Nick has always centered himself through sport. He attended Piedmont Hills High School, where he wrestled and played golf and hockey. He played hockey at UCLA, and is often on the basketball court or golf course. When he’s not teaching or putting, Nick invests in his family and in the stock market. In addition to his role as an instructor of Mathematics and Economics (and Student Government Advisor), Nick is also SIL's Community Outreach Director.
As Principal, Richard works with his colleagues to strengthen and expand the school's program, and to ensure that everyone -- students, parents, teachers, and administrators -- collaborates to facilitate student success. Richard earned his PhD in United States History from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and he taught at universities in Australia and New Zealand before moving to the United States in 2004. At SIL, Richard teaches History and AP Microeconomics.
Richard has supported Tottenham Hotspur FC since birth - a fact that explains a great deal about his outlook on life. In his free time, when he's not watching, playing, or reading about soccer, he may be found reading, cooking, exercising, or battling it out with crosswords.
Stephanie received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of California at San Diego in 2010, while simultaneously gaining two years of valuable teaching experience both in the classroom at Claremont High School as well as tutoring students one-on-one in a private setting. Upon graduation, she became a Teaching Associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she taught Differential and Integral Calculus for three years before she returned to California to pursue her dream of teaching mathematics at School for Independent Learners. She thrives on seeing her students have an “aha!” moment when they grasp a concept and are able to bridge a connection with something previously learned, thus, Stephanie's teaching philosophy is to develop an understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.
In addition to mathematics, Stephanie focuses her energy on being a good role model for young women. She has volunteered as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and previously worked with CAL-Soap, a program whose mission is to increase postsecondary educational opportunities for low income and minority students. She is passionate about women's rights, at-risk youth, and cares deeply about all young people succeeding. During her free time, she can be found Salsa dancing or dancing anywhere great music is played. Her love for music can be attributed to its mathematical correlation, because otherwise she is a bit reclusive as her hobbies include gardening, reading (mostly fiction) or watching science and nature documentaries. Stephanie is currently living with her pet rabbit, Gustava, and happily resides within walking distance of multiple ice cream parlors, her all-time favorite dessert.
Suzan graduated from UC Irvine with a BS in Mathematics and a minor in Biological Sciences, and from CSU East Bay with an MS in Applied Mathematics, with an emphasis in Dynamical Systems and Mathematical Biology.
She wholeheartedly believes in our school's mantra, "One size does not fit all." Empowered by the freedom to individualize instruction for each student, Suzan creates a supportive environment in which students learn to harness their own abilities. In this environment, Suzan helps each student to become more confident, and to better understand the importance of education. Suzan notes, "I'm proud to be a teacher and a mentor."
Suzan loves the outdoors and is an avid basketball fan. She has a knack for putting things together and fixing whatever is broken, literally and metaphorically. Suzan is SIL's Vice-Principal.
Timothy is from Silicon Valley and teaches computer science at SIL. He has been programming since the age of 12 and received his Bachelor’s in Pure Math from Brown University and his PhD in Computer Science from The California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Timothy is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Boopsie, a company that creates apps for schools, libraries, real estate, and conference and trade shows. He is also a technology consultant whose clients include Cray Research, IBM Research, Microsoft Research, IMMI Inc., TokTu LLC, and M&A Alliance. In 1997 he received an Academy Award for his work with 3-D computer graphics.
He believes in a hands-on approach to learning and teaching and enjoys seeing students learn how to create technology instead of only consuming it. Outside of teaching and working, Timothy referees soccer and enjoys cooking and travelling.