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Teacher's Bios

Teacher Bio's

Mike Pappas, Principal 


Mr. Pappas is starting his 3rd year here at Fox as our Principal. He previously served as an elementary principal and assistant principal in the Fremont Unified School district for 3 years as well as serving as an elementary teacher for 10 years (3rd-6th grades).

He is married to his wife of 22 years, Cindy (also a teacher) and they have two sons, Michael (20) and Jonny (18). They will soon be "empty nesters" as their boys are both off to college, however they will still have their dog Cooper to take care of. They live here in Belmont. Along with his passion for serving the students and families of the community he enjoys music and has been writing, recording and performing original music with his band for over a decade.


Nan Hirahara, Admin Assistant


This is my 16th year as an administrative assistant in the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District.  I began my employment at Sandpiper and after 5 years, transferred to Fox.  Prior to this, I was a customer service representative 


Toni Strickland, KG


I have been working with children since I was a teenager. I worked for Concord Park and Rec. during the summers and ran sports camps in the fall. As a college student I started teaching children’s enrichment classes: art & cooking.  So it seemed a perfect fit to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education at Cal Poly State Univ. in San Luis Obispo.
I began as a director/teacher at a parent cooperative preschool for many years. As my own 2 daughters grew up I took classes for my teaching credential. I taught for 20 years in Concord at the same elementary school I attended as a child. It was fabulous. I moved over to the peninsula to live with my sweetheart, Scott.  Between us we have 6 children, 2 “in-law” children and 3 grandchildren. I started teaching at Fox school in 2014, in Room 16. I taught one year at Kindergarten and 1 year of first grade and then moved to Room 5 where I have been teaching Kindergarten since. I am enjoying Fox school and love watching the children grow!!

 

Carol Raisner, First Grade


I joined the Fox staff in 2015, after being an active and dedicated member of the parent community. My daughter Allison attended Fox and is now in 9th grade at Carlmont High School (where my husband Justin teaches). The amazing teachers, staff, students and families at this school are what drove me to finally pursue my dream of teaching (after far too many years in corporate).  

I am thrilled to be at Fox again this year, and I look forward to a memorable and successful year. I am passionate about teaching, and it is such a thrill and joy to be here to help and support my students, watching them grow and thrive as each year progresses.

In my free time I enjoy reading and book club, going to the movies, walking with friends and traveling with family. I love the San Francisco Giants and am really great at singing in the car (ha!) and I can often be found lurking on educational Twitter chats (@MrsRaisner) to gain ideas and inspiration from awesome educators around the country.


Marey Richins, First Grade


I transferred to Fox School from Nesbit School 8 years ago. This coming year will be my 35th and final year of teaching! I have taught grades K -12 with the exception of 4th-6th grades, although my favorite grades are Kindergarten -2nd. I love to make learning a celebration and to share my passion of the environment, running and creativity with my students. My classroom is filled with experiments, pets and books. I create my own thematic units and enjoy having guest speakers, authors and assemblies in class. There are always hands on activities happening in Room 9.

I grew up in So Cal and received my B.A. and secondary teaching credential from San Diego State University. I received my elementary teaching credential through Weber State University and San Francisco State University. 

I live in San Carlos with my husband. We have 3 children- one in Livermore, one in Auckland, New Zealand and one at home... and we recently became grandparents! I love to work in my garden, sew, run, swim, bike and I have climbed Mt. Whitney and Half Dome several times with my family. 


Sarah Muscolina, First Grade



 

I grew up on the Peninsula and am a proud graduate of San Mateo High School.  I graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Biology.  After college, I taught preschool for two years before heading to UCLA for graduate school, earning a Masters in Psychological Studies in Education (MA) and a Masters in Education (MEd). After completing my graduate studies, I taught K-5 for eight years in Culver City, Hillsborough, and in the suburbs of Chicago.  I returned to the Bay Area, taking some time off from full-time teaching to be home with my children and to volunteer in their classes.  I returned to teaching as a substitute teacher at Fox school in 2014, before transitioning into classroom teaching positions in 2015, teaching second and third grades. I am thrilled to be returning to teaching first grade.  I am passionate about teaching to the whole child, instilling a love of learning, and helping each child reach his or her potential.  I enjoy teaching all subject matters, but especially reading! When not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my family – my husband, Chris, my two children (Emily, 12 and Danny, 10), and our dog, Rosie.  I enjoy reading, taking long walks, skiing, playing guitar, volunteering at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, and cheering on all Bay Area sports teams.

 

Karen Bowman, 2nd Grade


I started teaching at Fox in August of 2008 in 1st grade. I have taught 1st Grade for 10 years and will start this August 2018 as a 2nd grade teacher. I am excited for the change and all the new challenges it will bring. 

I am a local Belmont girl as I went to elementary, middle school and high school in Belmont. I went to the college of Notre Dame De Namur University and received my BS in Liberal Studies, minor in art, teaching credential and masters in education and curriculum. Guess you could say I love Belmont schools! 

I love teaching and I enjoy bringing out the creative side in learning.This really comes out when I teach writing units in Folk and Fairy tale and Realistic character writing. 

In my free time I’m with my girls Lucy and Lily (2 cats). I’m a huge Disney fan and know a lot of Disney trivia. 

 
Amy Ross Hanna, Grade 3
 
I have been at Fox School since 2003. This will be my 23rd year teaching. I have taught in a variety of settings in three states: urban and suburban private schools, inner city public schools, and here at Fox.  I grew up in Pennsylvania. I received my BA at Sweet Briar College in Virginia in 1994 and my MAT at the University of Memphis in Tennessee in 1998. I will receive my administrative credential in February of 2019. I am very passionate about educational reform and curriculum development. I love sharing my love of history, writing, and literature with my students. My favorite units to teach are Shakespeare for Kids and Black History. I recently developed a year long reading unit, using novels that teach empathy. It connects beautifully with the Second Step program and will compliment our new PBIS initiative. My class benefits from the many field trips we take in the Bay Area. I strongly believe that our community is a living classroom. My favorite class trips are Chinatown, The Legion of Honor, and The Woodside Store. I enjoy traveling abroad, playing tennis, and singing in the choir at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. I love to watch news and programming on BBC, shows on Britbox, and the Netflix series The Crown. I live in Redwood Shores with my husband Gary, two sons, Oliver and Carter, and my West Highland Terrier, Windsor.

 

Brianne Stevenson, 4th Grade

 

This past school year marked my tenth year at Fox. In those years, I have taught both 4th grade and 5th grades (and even the 4/5 combo class), but am happily back teaching 4th grade. I am grateful that Chris Marchetti took a chance on me ten summers ago, hiring me right out of the credential program at NDNU.

My favorite part of the teaching profession is getting to know my students, their families, and watching them grow (academically, socially, emotionally) throughout the school year. It’s not only a rewarding job, but also quite fulfilling. My favorite subject to teach is writing, which I believe was inherited from my mother (she’s been teaching for over 40 years (!!!!) as a middle school language arts teacher). I have two daughters (Quinn - 4; Hazel - 19 months) who are my whole world, but before them my dog, Dottie, was my favorite (fur) baby. I’m hoping that both girls will get to come to Fox, because I had a wonderful experience going to the school that my mom worked at.  As a family, we enjoy going to the park, cooking, baking, eating, swimming, spending time with friends, and most importantly -- spending time with our family. We are fortunate that everyone lives close, ranging from Woodside to Half Moon Bay to San Francisco. Quinn and Hazel especially enjoy playing with their cousins, Ryder and Jax.

 

Mrs. Stevenson’s Fun Facts
My mom taught me 6th grade language arts 
My step-dad was the principal of my high school (Menlo-Atherton)
I played water polo, soccer, and swam in high school 
I went to the University of Washington (in Seattle) for undergrad and did zero sports, which I regret
I studied abroad in Florence and while living there, I went skydiving in the Swiss Alps
Ms. Hirano/Mrs. Butler is my sister-in-law (she married my step-brother, Eliott)
I love Tahoe and Napa
This summer I’m playing on a co-ed softball league at my alma mater,Woodside Elementary
I am currently training for my first triathlon sprint (eek!)

 

Nerina Carpenter, 5th Grade

 


This is my sixth year teaching in BRSSD, and my second year full time at Fox. After receiving my credential from Notre Dame de Namur University I taught 5th grade full time at Sandpiper Elementary. I have also worked as a 4th and 5th grade long-term substitute at Fox Elementary and Redwood Shores Elementary. My teaching philosophy is centered on providing a well-balanced, supportive, and engaging learning environment enabling students to reach their highest potential.
I grew up in London and have been enjoying life in the US for 20 years. I live in Belmont, with my husband and two sons, Callum (10th grade @ Carlmont) and Aidan (7th grade @Ralston), so I am also a parent in the district. I have been a Cub Scout leader at Fox and I have developed a love of baseball with my sons through BRSLL. In my free time I love to cook, dance, travel, read and spend time with my family. After transitioning from a fifteen-year career in finance I’m delighted to be fulfilling my teaching dream.
This summer, I had the absolute pleasure of travelling to New York to attend the Readers Workshop Institute with my 5th Grade colleagues, Ms. Kaa and Mrs. Grogan Crane. Not only did we have the chance to delve deeply into new instruction methods and ways to develop passionate readers, we also had to chance to bond as a grade team. I’m looking forward to facilitating shared book club experiences and differentiated informational research groups.

 

Julie Grogan-Crane, 5th Grade


I became a teacher in 1988, graduating from Brighton Polytechnic, England with a Bachelor of Education. My mom always said I was a born teacher as I lined up my teddies and dolls, and pretended to teach them, and as I made my little brother sit and play schools for hours! She also said that if talking was an olympic sport, I would have won the gold medal! I worked as a teacher in Fulham, Hounslow, and Farnborough.

I came to Belmont in 1997, from England, and have 3 sons, Max, born in ‘94, Scott born in ‘97 and Alec born in ‘00. Central, Ralston and Carlmont have been in the family for 18 years!

I joined Fox for the 2015 - 16 school year, but I was not new to the Belmont, Redwood Shores School District. I began as a substitute teacher in 2007 and worked two days a week in 3rd grade at Sandpiper. I then joined Central Elementary in 2009,  teaching Kindergarten, 4th, 4/5 and 5th.

I am a very passionate teacher, enjoying helping the students find their voices and inspiring them to give things a try, rising to the challenge. I enjoy teaching everything, but I am especially loving going deeper into writing and reading. It’s so exciting to hear the students talking about their writing or their reading with confidence and passion.  I also love teaching Second Step, the social and emotional curriculum. I think it is so important to equip students with the skills and knowledge to deal with their strong emotions. I am thankful to be part of the Fox family.

 

Kortney Kaa, 5th Grade 




Way back in high school, I was working on service units in my OWN SAME KINDERGARTEN CLASS (yes, same teacher, too) in order to graduate, still not having a clue what I wanted to do in life despite them pressing seniors to have that all figured out (as if!). And there in Mrs. Stanley’s room, where it all began for me 13 years prior, it clicked for me how much I loved being in there with those kids.. The engagement and dialogue with kids; the joyous, silly fun and pure unfiltered honesty that kids share was way more interesting and entertaining than what I thought adults had to offer. My considerably younger siblings (12 and 15 yrs younger) also played a large role in this time of recognizing my gift with littles, so that I recognized how my influence and engagement in their early lives really enhanced and magnified their growth and development of personality and learning life-skills, and eventually who they are now as adults. What if I could do that for more than just them? For kids who didn’t have those role models in their lives?

I began teaching with Tami Schilling here at Fox 11 years ago with first graders and knew instantly it was the right fit after my job interview with Mr. Marchetti, Ms. Hall and Ms Schilling. Then I moved to second grade for a year and loved that, too. I was pushed up to 4th grade, as that was the only Fox job available at the time, and guess what-- I enjoyed that even more. Then I had a chance to experience the ⅘ combination class for two years and that was an even better experience than I could have hoped for, and this year is my first year in a full 5th grade classroom with all the ‘changing’ and preparation and growth that goes on in this last year before middle school.

 

Angel Hession / Learning Center ParaEducator




I have worked in Special Education with BRSSD since 2001.  I started my family in Belmont 30 years ago, but am a true native San Franciscan. My passion to help children with challenges to be happy, confident, and independent learners is the ultimate reward at the end of my day. I am truly privileged to be a positive role model for students.
 I am married to my highschool sweetheart of 34 years.  We have two grown daughters and one amazing granddaughter.  We are a very close family and  these qualities show through in my work approach. I am also inspired by and volunteer  to enrich the lives of the elderly in memory care facilities. It’s an amazing day when you can bring joy to those that have lost their memory and see them smile and feel successful all over again.  
My side interests are cooking, dancing, party planning, arts and crafts and decorating. I’m also an animal and music lover!  I use many of my side interests to inspire creative learning in students. There is no better job than mine!   #Iamblessed  

 

Jennifer Taylor, Library Media Specialist



 

I live in Belmont with my husband, our 9th-grade son (go Scots!), and what often feels like a houseful of pets. I am an avid reader and a knitter, and I love to travel. I’m not at all athletic, but I definitely keep moving from day to day.

This is the start of my seventh year as Fox’s school librarian, and I love every aspect of my job! I am passionate about library services, and as a professional youth services librarian I work especially hard to ensure that each student leaves Fox with the confidence to independently seek his or her own information needs. In addition to serving Cipriani Elementary (our school libraries are open on alternate weeks), I also work as a public librarian in our county library system. You may see me occasionally in the Belmont Library - when you do, please stop to say hello!