Educator Leadership Council

The Educator Leadership Council advises on the curriculum and professional development of the JFCS Holocaust Center and the California Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education. The Council is comprised of select California teachers with instructional expertise in Holocaust education, genocide studies, antisemitism, racism, and human rights.

Our Mission

The mission of the Educator Leadership Council is to bring together educators from across California, aiming to enhance the reach of educational initiatives in Holocaust and genocide studies. Our goal is to nurture empathy and moral courage among the upcoming generation of student leaders.

Stacey Saady

Santa Cruz City Schools | Santa Cruz County
Stacey Saady has been a teacher for over 20 years and currently teaches high school at Ark Independent Studies in Santa Cruz, California. She has a Masters in Literature with an emphasis on war trauma and for the past 5 years she’s been developing Holocaust and genocide studies curriculum. She has attended extensive professional development through the California Teachers Collaborative with Facing History, the Museum of Tolerance, Echoes & Reflections, ADL, and the USC Shoah Foundation. This summer she will attend Yad Vashem’s 11th International Conference for Educators: Holocaust Education in a Global Context and the 2024 Echoes & Reflections Educational Journey Through Poland with Yad Vashem.

Sara White

North Salinas High School | Monterey County
As Sara White was working to obtain her teaching certificate, she wanted to make sure that she was aiming to be the type of inspiring teacher she grew up with. Fast forward 9 years, Sara White has been continually making history come alive for students at North Salinas High School. She regularly invites in guest speakers to talk with her students about their lived history. Through experiencing first-hand accounts of different roles and experiences, including WWII veterans, Holocaust survivors, and the former head of the CIA, Sara’s students personally connect with events of the past. Her goal as an educator is to make sure that her students know history and how never to repeat the same mistakes. A lifelong learner and avid conference goer, Sara feels it is important to keep learning new ways to teach history to her students.

Ingrid Tuchband

Miller Creek Middle School | Marin County
Ingrid Tuchband has been working in education for over 20 years. In 1995, she began working as an elementary school teacher. In 2000, she stopped formally teaching to stay at home with her young children. In 2011, she resumed work at a Catholic school teaching sixth and seventh graders. As a Jewish teacher, she felt welcomed and accepted into the school community. For the past ten years, Ingrid has taught sixth grade at Miller Creek Middle School. Working collaboratively with her team, she continues to develop and deliver curriculum that focuses on social justice and diversity. Ingrid continues to find reading materials that provide windows and mirrors for her students to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and each other.  

Dr. Andrea Struve

Carlmont High School | San Mateo County
Dr. Andrea Struve has been working in education for 10 years. In 2013, she became the first Manovill University Fellow at the JFCS Holocaust Center, learning how to be a genocide scholar and educator. Following, she continued teaching and learning as both a student and educator in the classroom, earning her MA in Teaching and EdD in International and Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Human Rights Education, and being a high school history and research teacher in the Northern California public schools. She continued her relationship with the JFCS Holocaust Center, returning in 2021 as the Director of Education. In her role, she established the Educator Leadership Council, led the cross organizational team that created the Incident Response Guide for Antisemitism for Bay Area Administrators, and helped to launch the CA Teachers Collaborative for Holocaust and Genocide Education. Andrea is returning to the classroom in 2024 to be in direct service to students, and looks forward to continuing her relationship with JFCS Holocaust Center as a member of the Educator Leadership Council.

Peter Schlieker

Big Pine High School | Inyo County
Pete Schlieker has been a life-long learner, having taught himself to read in kindergarten. After high school graduation, Pete went to college in Walnut, California to get an AA degree in Political Science. Pete opted to change his major to a FIRE degree (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate). He left school to get married and raise three kids before returning back to school. While working in the cable industry as a General Manager, Pete worked with the Mammoth Unified School District superintendent on a cable industry sponsored program, Cable in the Classroom. The superintendent suggested that Pete  become a teacher. Pete went back and got his teaching credential and has been teaching for 24 years at Big Pine High School. His interest has always been history. Pete exposes his students to multiple perspectives in history and encourages them to use critical thinking to build a deep understanding of historical issues in order to prevent history from being repeated in the future. His work with genocide studies and experiential education was recently featured in an article through The J.  

Lillian McFarland

Point Arena High School | Mendocino County
Lillian McFarland has been teaching history for 17 years. Originally from Florida, where she was educated and began her teaching career, she now teaches on the rural northern coast of Mendocino County in a small high school of 150 students. She is passionate about teaching history accurately in a way that motivates students to explore topics more deeply and become advocates for a better future. She believes that teaching the realities of the past, even if they are difficult to hear, is vital to students’ understanding of history and the only way we can prevent future atrocities from occurring. As a leader in her school district, she is bringing these ideas and resources to her colleagues at both her site as well as the feeder middle schools.

Dr. Kintay Johnson

Redwoods Community College District | Humboldt & Del Norte Counties
Dr. Kintay Johnson is the Director of Student Equity and the Multicultural & Equity Center (MEC) at College of the Redwoods (CR) in Eureka, CA. He graduated from College of the Redwoods in 2005 and Humboldt State University in 2008. Dr. Johnson received his MA in Education in 2013 and his PhD in Higher Education Leadership in 2019. He has 20 years of progressive experience working in education. He strongly advocates for creating community on campus, a home away from home for students, a safe place for cultural expression, cross-cultural learning, access to college and dignity resources, and social justice work opportunities. Dr. Johnson is involved in his community as a youth mentor, President of the Eureka Branch #1036 of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a board member for several nonprofits.

Joseph Gonzales

El Camino High School | San Diego County
Joe Gonzales has worked in the Oceanside School District for over 28 years. He began his careers working with students who were up for expulsion from the district, keeping his students current in their courses and mentor them to go before the School Board of Education to explain why they should be allowed to stay and continue their education in the OUSD school system. He then started teaching at El Camino High School. He has taught Psychology and U.S. History, and for the last 10 years, U.S. Government and Economics. He also helped to create the Ethnic Studies curriculum for his district and taught the original classes for two years. He is presently enrolled in the Ethnic Teachers Certificate program for California. Joe is proud to be part of El Camino High’s Veterans Celebration, one of the longest-running Veterans Celebration programs in California.

Brian Edwards

Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles | Los Angeles County
Brian Edwards has been a passionate educator since 2001, and has served in several educational settings, from public schools in suburban communities, to charter schools in the inner city.  His extensive background with the French language has led him to his current post as a faculty member and administrator at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles. Brian holds a degree in African American Studies from California State University, Northridge, a certificate in French Language and Phonetics from the Sorbonne Université in Paris, and a MA in teaching from the University of Southern California. He teaches a wide range of courses, such as medieval history, U.S. History, World History and AP African American Studies.

Patrick Davarhanian

Clark Magnet High School | Los Angeles County
Born and raised in Glendale, Patrick Davarhanian is an Armenian American educator that has worked in the field of education for more than a decade. Patrick attended CSUN where he received his BA, teaching credentials and two MA of Education degrees in elementary and secondary education. After graduating from CSUN he returned to his local high school and is currently a social science teacher and the department chair at Clark Magnet. Through his work as an educator and mentor teacher, Patrick has learned how to advocate for his students and support his colleagues. Patrick has championed the adoption of inclusive social science standards and curriculum that elevates diverse voices. He created an annual FAIR Act display which highlights the contributions of minorities through monthly themed displays. And he established Glendale Unified School District’s first ever Ethnic Studies course designed to empower students while providing them with a platform for civic engagement.

Jody Cooperman

Miwok Middle School
Jody Cooperman has been working as an educator since 2001. She was originally a social worker for Alta California Regional Center with a specialty in serving Deaf individuals before becoming a teacher. Her true love is teaching English and U.S. history to middle school students, specifically 8th graders who are preparing for high school.  The culminating event for her students is a living history field trip to Boston, Massachusetts where the making of America happened.  Students also visit the Holocaust memorial in Boston where they each lay stones as a final component of their Holocaust study. Jody volunteers as a fellow for the Central Valley Holocaust Educators’ Network (CVHEN) where she provides workshops and helps to plan events for Kristallnacht, Yom Hashoah and other community learning opportunities. Teaching students and teachers about the Holocaust has been her mission and something she will continue in her upcoming retirement.

Michael Sepidoza Campos

Schools of the Sacred Heart
Michael Sepidoza Campos teaches at Convent & Stuart Hall, Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco. In Ethics, he guides his students to explore the correlation between personhood and citizenship as they interrogate exclusionary conditions, focusing on the Holocaust and Japanese-American internment, given their direct bearing on members of their learning community. His work in the classroom both informs and is shaped by his research at the intersection of Filipino-American diaspora, post-colonialism, queer theory, and critical pedagogy. In addition to high school teaching, Campos is an adjunct professor in the Theology and Religious Education Department of De La Salle University Manila.

Hannah Wagner

The Bay School
Hannah Wagner is a Humanities teacher at the Bay School of San Francisco. Originally trained in literature, she’s embraced an interdisciplinary approach to Humanities education since joining Bay in 2016. A few of her favorite topics for exploration include gender studies, religious studies, and speculative fiction, and she’s excited about any class that focuses on student writing and creative argumentation. Hannah’s previous teaching experience ranges from a small New England boarding school to Mt. Tamalpais College at San Quentin. As an educator, Hannah guides students to use any available “text”—from literature to media to fashion—to carefully and critically consider the world they inhabit.

Tosha Tillotson

Diocese of Sacramento
Tosha Tillotson is currently within her 22nd year in education. She has taught social studies in grades 6-12 and was a principal of a K-8th grade school. Tosha currently serves as an Associate Superintendent for the Diocese of Sacramento. During those years in education, she has been actively engaged with various Holocaust organizations including serving as a fellow for USHMM, TOLI, and the Vladka Meed Teacher’s Resistance Group. She also served as the Director of Education for CVHEN for 5 years and was a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Regional Education Corps.

Christina Tang

Galileo Academy of Science & Technology
Christina Tang is a high school social studies teacher who has twelve years of experience in the classroom. She currently teaches at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco, and is passionate and dedicated to increasing awareness about the Holocaust and patterns of genocide in her classroom. Since Christina’s introduction to the Holocaust Center almost 10 years ago, she has been a champion for students in the center’s Next Chapter and Manovill programs, instrumental in the success of the Day of Learning, and foundational to increasing the center’s partnership with San Francisco Unified Schools.

DJ Shelton

Palo Alto Senior High School
DJ Shelton began teaching world history at Palo Alto High School in 2016 and has been coaching lacrosse there since 2014. With 6 years of classroom teaching under his belt, DJ has dedicated himself to revamping the Holocaust unit based around Facing History resources and developing a multi-tier writing program to ensure that all 9th graders are introduced to historical writing and beginner research. DJ is passionate about making sure all students are prepared to discuss and write about hard topics.

Frank Perez

San Benito High School
For the last 25 years, Frank Perez has been a member of the Social Science Department at San Benito High School in Hollister, CA. He currently teaches World History, Mexican-American history, and Ethnic Studies. With the help and support of his colleagues, Frank has developed and taught an entire unit on past and present genocides. One of his lessons, “Happening Now: The Rohingya Genocide in Myanmar, a Jigsaw Activity Using Stanton’s Ten Stages of Genocide,” is now featured in the recently published book, Teaching about Genocide: Advice and Suggestions from Professors, High School Teachers, and Staff Developers, Volume 3. In 2017, Frank was recognized for his work on teaching the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, receiving the Armenian Genocide Education Award from the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region and the Morris Weiss Award for Excellence in Holocaust education from the JFCS Holocaust Center.

Allison McManis

Envision Education
Allison McManis is a transformative life coach, who serves as an instructional coach and professional development facilitator in the Envision Education network. She taught and worked as a vice-principal at City Arts and Tech High School in San Francisco for 6 years, during which time she taught World History and developed a year-long seminar on the Holocaust and Human Behavior. During her time in the classroom, Allison worked closely with JFCS to bring Holocaust survivors to the school and refer students to the Manovill Fellowship. Allison was a recipient of the Morris Weiss Award and traveled to Israel to study at Yad Vashem as a Tauber Fellow.

Jim McGarry

St. Francis High School
2021-2022, 2022-2023
Jim McGarry has been a Holocaust educator since 1992, following his first training with the Holocaust Center of Northern California and Facing History and Ourselves. Jim has been fortunate to attend professional development at the USHMM, Yad Vashem, the USC Shoah Foundation, and POLIN (Museum of the History of Polish Jews) in Warsaw. He has brought a series of survivor speakers to speak in schools each year since 1995—most recently called “Courage and Spirit.” It is through this work Jim became inspired and founded The Helen and Joe Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust in Catholic Schools at Mercy High School, San Francisco in 2007. Through his work with the Farkas Center, in 2012, Jim went on the JFCS Holocaust Center trip with 24 college and high school students to Germany, Poland, and Israel, accompanying Helen Farkas, then 92.

Hilary Levine

Holocaust Educational Consultant
Hilary Levine has been a teacher in Fresno Unified in Fresno, CA for the past 25 years. She taught elementary school and a Holocaust class at the high school level while simultaneously doing professional development for teachers throughout her tenure there. Hilary’s passion is Holocaust education and she has dedicated her life to it, deciding to take early retirement from the school district to get her Masters’ degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College. At the end of 2021, she completed her degree and is looking forward to stepping into new roles as a Holocaust and Genocide educator.

Rabbi Michelle Greenberg

The Nueva School
Rabbi Michelle Greenberg has developed diverse educational programs ranging from service learning to ethics, advocacy training to genocide education. Michelle recently partnered with the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland to develop a Holocaust exhibit, and her writing can be found in sermon collections, newspapers, and a textbook on critical thinking. Rabbi Greenberg served as a congregational rabbi and was the Dean of Students at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. Michelle now teaches 6th-grade Humanities and serves as class dean at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, California. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as rabbinic ordination and an M.A. in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion.

Melissa Marie Vineyard

Helios School, Santa Clara County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Melissa Marie Vineyard is currently teaching at Helios School. She has experience teaching at the middle school and university levels, and cares deeply about history as a discipline and passionately embraces the philosophy of the Stanford History Education Group. Melissa was born in Alaska and raised in Humboldt County, where she received her BA in Humanities through Humboldt State University. She spent a year living in Northern Israel on Kibbutz Dafna as a volunteer, exposing her to the incredibly rich history of the land and inspiring her to study history. Melissa has completed two graduate degrees in medieval history; one from St. Andrews University, Scotland and one from UCLA. She earned her Single Subject Social Studies Teaching Credential at Sonoma State University.

Jess Vaughn

Sheldon High School, EGUSD, Sacramento County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Jess Vaughn has been teaching English and English Language Development since 2013. The focus of her practice is helping students develop empathy for others as well as confidence in their own voice through reading and discussing diverse, relatable texts. Through her time as an educator, Jess has served as a teacher leader on a variety of professional learning teams, English Learner Coordinator, a softball coach, and has partnered with JFCS for 6 years to bring Holocaust survivor testimony to her classroom. Jess was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2019 for the San Lorenzo Unified School District.

Tracy Teran

Dinuba High School, Tulare County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Tracy Teran has been in the field of education since 2008. She began her career as a lecturer of art, teaching courses in art theory, art appreciation and art history as a faculty member for Clovis Community College and California State University, Fresno. Tracy recently transitioned to the K – 12 level to apply her higher education knowledge to impact students at the high school level. She is currently working at the secondary level as a World History teacher and National History Day Club advisor at Dinuba High School in Tulare County. Her goal as an educator is to provide engaging, relevant and rigorous lessons to meet the needs of all students. Tracy holds a B.A. in History/Art History from UCLA, an M.A. in Art, Emphasis Art History from California State University, Long Beach and a Teaching Credential from California State University, Fresno.

Nicole Solig

Los Angeles Centered for Enriched Studies (LACES), Los Angeles County
Nicole Solig has been an educator in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2008. She currently teaches in the Social Studies Department at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) this fall. Prior to LACES, Nicole worked at the Los Angeles School of Global Studies (LASGS) in downtown LA for 13 years, serving as lead teacher for 8 years, a member of the instructional leadership team, a member of the advisory board, and the College and Career Day chair. Nicole has also been a member of the Facing History and Ourselves Leadership Team for several years, mentor to aspiring teacher candidates, and the former co-site director of the Dominguez Hills International Studies Project. She has facilitated numerous professional development opportunities for teachers around equity in the classroom and teaching historical content, and she is very passionate about helping to build school communities that foster positive learning environments, where students feel supported, their needs are met, and where students from a variety of backgrounds can thrive.

DJ Shelton

Palo Alto Senior High School, Santa Clara County
DJ Shelton teaches World History and Psychology at Palo Alto High School and middle school at Temple Beth Am. With 7 years of classroom teaching under his belt, DJ has dedicated himself to revamping the Holocaust unit based around Facing History resources and developing a multi-tier writing program to ensure that all students are introduced to historical writing and beginner research. DJ is passionate about making sure students are prepared to discuss and write about hard topics.

Wendy Ordower

Milken Community School, Los Angeles County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Wendy Ordower has been the director of Service Learning at Milken Community School for 18 years. Currently, she orchestrates programming for students in grades 6 – 12. In her role, she strives to integrate service into the curriculum, aligning authentic service experiences with student interests. She is passionate about Holocaust and genocide education and has partnered with organizations like the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles, the AJC and Italian Consulate for student programming surrounding International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Yom HaShoah commemoration.

Katie O’Connor

Westmark School, Los Angeles County
Katie O’Connor has been teaching at Westmark School in Southern California since 2014. She currently teaches 11th grade U.S. History and 10th grade World History, and has experience teaching 10th grade English. Previously, Katie taught reading at Los Angeles Job Corps and was a private tutor. Katie has a BA in theater from Brown University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California. She has been a member of the Facing History Leadership Team and is dedicated to using pedagogy that reaches all students in her classroom.

Stephanie McGraw

The Athenian School, Contra Costa County
2021-2022, 2022-2023, 2023-2024
Born and raised in northern California, Stephanie McGraw has been teaching high school students at The Athenian School since 2001. Stephanie received her BA in English from UC Berkeley and her MA in History from Sonoma State University. Passionate about developing a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum, Stephanie teaches a wide range of courses, such as U.S. History, Women’s Literature, and Understanding Elections. Her most popular course, The Holocaust, engages students in an in-depth, semester-long study of history surrounding the Holocaust. Besides focusing on the ramifications of stereotyping, prejudice and racism in society, the course helps students understand that it’s the responsibility of citizens in a democracy to learn to identify the danger signals of governmental abuses of power and to know when (and how) to react. Stephanie has taught at the JFCS Holocaust Center’s Day of Learning and was a Fellow in the Global Holocaust Educators’ Pilot Program. Additionally, her work was recognized by the Holocaust Center in 2019 when she was named as a recipient of the Morris Weiss Award for Outstanding Educators.

Phillip Lenberg

Mendocino College, Mendocino County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Phillip Lenberg serves as Music Director of the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Music at Mendocino College. Previously, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, and part-time instructor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Phillip has premiered many new works from emerging composers, and has worked with a variety of internationally acclaimed composers. His own music has been performed by ensembles including Da Capo Chamber Ensemble, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and the California Orchestra Directors Association. Before receiving both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Phillip pursued his Bachelor’s degree at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and SUNY Stony Brook where he studied classical guitar.

Kayla Kissling

Mill Valley Middle School, Marin County
2021-2022, 2022-2023
Kayla Kissling is an educator in Marin County, CA. She currently teaches 8th-grade history at Mill Valley Middle School and also works as a tutor at Bridge the Gap College Prep. Educating for social justice is a main priority of her educational philosophy. She strives to teach the truth about history and open students’ eyes to multiple perspectives, particularly those that have often been silenced. She is proud to join the Holocaust Center’s Educator Leadership Council for a second year and continue to advocate for culturally responsive teaching and learning.

Suzy Kisch

Orinda Intermediate School, Contra Costa County
2021-2022, 2022-2023, 2023-2024
For the past 30 years, Suzy Kisch has taught mostly 7th grade Core, a blend of both History and Language Arts, and has always enjoyed seeing her students grow and learn in an academic and social setting. She is inspired by her students as she watches them discover joy in learning, become more adept at problem-solving and being resourceful, and connect past events with their world today. Suzy also acknowledges the importance of collaborating with others involved in education as a means to contributing to this process. Her dedication to teaching is perfectly summarized by Ellen Browning Scripps: “The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.” Suzy hopes every educator can live and teach with this wisdom in mind.

Mila Lopez

Griffith STEAM Magnet Middle School, Los Angeles County
Mila Lopez has been an educator since 1998. She is passionate about bringing English Language Arts and theatre to Holocaust education, requiring her students to perform The Diary of Anne Frank, visit the Holocaust Museum LA, hear from a Holocaust survivor, and analyze primary sources each year. Mila feels that it is her calling to educate students to bring awareness to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust and stop it from being repeated, giving the students the resources they need to develop a deeper understanding and respect for all of humanity.

Donna Fernandez

Piner High School, Sonoma County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Donna Fernandez is Pomo from Elem Indian Colony in Clearlake Oaks, CA. She is a National Board Certified Teacher of Mathematics for Adolescents and Young Adults, holds a Master of Education degree in Advanced Teaching, and earned a BA in Mathematics and a BA in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Currently, Donna is an instructor of Mathematics at Piner High School in Santa Rosa. She is a Co-Director of the Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles which creates mathematical opportunities for Indigenous students and to build community among math teachers of Indigenous students while respecting Indigenous culture. Donna loves promoting STEM activities for indigenous youth.

Tracy Cooper Bryant

Canyon Crest Academy | San Diego County
2022-2023, 2023-2024
Tracy Cooper Bryant has had nearly three decades of experience in the classroom incorporating anti-bias curriculum into her lessons, promoting good mental health, and teaching with an antiracist lens. She is proud of her 12 years of No Place For Hate work, which has incorporated Holocaust survivors, the Butterfly Project, the Rice Experience, and the Innocence Project. She has taken students to educational sites such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, CA, and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. She is currently an AP government and AP psychology teacher and serves on the Diversity Equity and Inclusion team at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego and is the District Coordinator for Social Studies at San Dieguito Union High School District. Tracy continues to learn to be the best educational leader and student advocate possible.

Join us in building a future free from antisemitism and hate.

Be part of the movement that’s redefining education in California.