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Teachers' Bios

Teacher Bios

Mike Pappas, Principal 

Mr. Pappas is starting his 5th 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, Cindy (also a teacher) and they have two sons, Michael and Jonny. 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.


Toni Strickland, Kindergarten

I have been working with children since I was a teenager. I worked for Concord Park and Recreation during the summers and ran sports camps in the fall. As a college student, I started teaching children’s enrichment classes in art and cooking. 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 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!

 

Tara Dolin, Kindergarten

This is my first year at Fox Elementary, and I am thrilled to be a part of the team! I was born and raised in Belmont, so I am so happy to be coming back home. I attended CSU, Chico (Go Wildcats!) for both my undergraduate degree and my credential program. Through my credential program, I was able to receive both my Multiple Subject Credential and my Education Specialist, Mild/Moderate Credential in one year. 

My passion for teaching began at a very young age - kindergarten to be exact! I remember always wanting to help my teacher anyway possible. There's no one that inspires me more than my students; their enthusiasm and creativity is one of the many reasons I love being a teacher. When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I also spend a lot of my free time in Lake Tahoe, whether that is skiing in the winter or boating in the summer. You can always catch me by the lake!

 

Kerri Honeycutt, Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Hello new and/or returning Fox families. I am writing this for the 20/21 school year. If you have just been given your class assignment and learned that your student will be in my K/1 combo class for the 20/21 school year, I would like to welcome you and let you know that I am thrilled to meet you and your child. I know this year seems daunting especially for our littlest learners. You are not alone in that feeling. We are all in this together. I promise to do my very best to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of your most precious gift to the world as best I can through distance learning. 

If you are reading this before we have had the chance to meet via zoom, would you please kindly fill out this Google Form, so that I can get the chance to know a little about your student and get your preferred method of contact? You can also get a sneak peek at my Back to School Night presentation. There are links to the handouts in the presenter notes section. You will be ahead of the game and so well prepared for the first day of school, Friday, August 21st, and Back to School Night, for which a date is not currently set.

I am looking forward to a memorable year. This will be my fifth year teaching kindergarten at Fox, my first year teaching first grade and my seventh year teaching. Please know that I am very communicative and very responsive. If you need anything at all you just reach out, even if it is just to vent about how overwhelmed you are feeling with the current state of affairs. I am an excellent listener. This will be a year for patience, kindness and self care for students, teachers, and parents. We are in this together. Let’s do our best to make the best of what we’ve got this year!

 

Carol Raisner, 1st 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 11th 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 joy to be here to help and support my students, watching them grow and thrive as each year progresses. Our class motto is: Be Kind!  Work Hard! Learn Lots! Have Fun! It may be our craziest year ever, but I am confident that we can still have fun and learn plenty together.

In my free time, I enjoy reading and book club, watching movies and going to plays, cheering on the SF Giants, hiking/walking with friends, and traveling with family. We added a new puppy Pickles to the family this summer, so she keeps me busy as well!

 

Bart Leaver, 1st Grade

200This will be my fifth year teaching First grade at Fox. I received my BA from San Francisco State, and my teaching credential from San Jose State. I am currently attending Norte Dame de Namur; I will receive my MA in School Administration and Administrative Services Credential in the Spring. I love teaching at Fox, and I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else. I enjoy all aspects of First Grade, especially reading. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter, and our menagerie of cats, fish, and snakes. I also enjoy cooking, gardening, and running. 

Teresa Thompson, 1st Grade

I started my career as a student teacher right here at Fox, so being able to be a member of this staff is really exciting. I have been a teacher for BRSSD for close to 20 years. I have taught grades K-3 at 3 different schools (Nesbit, Redwood Shores and Fox).  For 5 years, I was one of the district's reading specialists. I love teaching and creating a place where learning is fun!
I live in Redwood City with my husband Michael, our son Jake who attends Woodside High School.   I am also a dog mom to the cutest dog in the world (I’m a little biased), Bo Thompson. As a family we enjoy traveling, hiking, the beach, and Stanford football, Go Cardinals!  

If you ever visit my classroom, you will see I have a thing for pineapples. I LOVE pineapples!  So be a Pineapple - Stand tall, Wear a Crown and BE Sweet on the inside!
 

Karen Bowman, 2nd Grade
 

I started teaching at Fox in August of 2008 in 1st grade. I taught 1st Grade for 10 years and have been promoted up (lol) to 2nd grade in 2017. I LOVE 2nd grade and all the new challenges it has brought so far. I can see myself staying in 2nd for at least another 10 years. I am a local Belmont gal as I went to elementary, middle school and high school in Belmont. I went to 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. My goal is to make a creative environment in which all students can learn and grow in. Every day is a new day full of possibilities. Make a mistake; it's ok, we just try again. 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.

 

Corie Silva, 4th Grade

I am excited to join the Fox community this year.  I have been teaching since I graduated from NDNU in 2008. I most recently taught 4th grade at Redwood Shores and really enjoy working for BRSSD.  Fourth grade is a wonderful age. The children are so excited to learn and I enjoy guiding them through rich reading and writing units.  

I was born and raised in Half Moon Bay and live there currently with my husband and four-year-oldson Carston.  We enjoy coastal trail walks and bike rides. 

 

Nerina Carpenter, 5th Grade
CarpenterThis 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. My sons went to school locally attending Central, Ralston and Carlmont. 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 
KaaI realized I wanted to affect change for the future from having two much younger siblings being born when I was in middle and high school; the effect that I had on them in helping to raise them, shape them and be a regular, everyday model for them was truly inspiring and humbling as there is no faking it with kids. When faced with possibly not graduating for lack of credits as a senior in high school, I earned the credits through  community service in my sister’s kindergarten classroom at the time (which ironically was my own kindergarten classroom with the same teacher!! Talk about full circle!!). I was hooked and looked forward to going every single time necessary; it was play time, it was sharing time, it was modeling and demonstrating time, it was imagination time to sing and create. Kids are honest and they call it like they see it, and they’re open to learning whether that is reality or not, how they see the world. Getting to experience this pure unjaded honesty and openness to learning and exploring on a regular basis is why I do what I do, and we can only do that with the youth of today who are our future leaders and creators of tomorrow.

I began teaching with Tami Schilling here at Fox 13 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 2nd 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 4th/5th combination class for two years and that was an even better experience than I could have hoped for, and now this will be my third year teaching 5th grade with my fantastic team, Grokaapenter. Because we’re preparing them for middle school in 6th grade, we each teach our passions and strengths while rotating the kids to each teacher: language, reading both fiction and nonfiction, writing and math. We also get to know each and every 5th grader to encourage them that this is just the beginning of their academics on a higher level and that is something to be celebrated and enjoyed all year long with all the fun and in-depth learning experiences we offer through the three of us in our own personalities.

 

Marissa Klazura, Science Teacher, 4th/5th Grades

I am excited for my first year of teaching in the BRSSD! I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (SLO) with a concentration in Science. Last year I was a substitute for all grade levels in SLO. I have taught science at many different camps and programs such as Camp Galileo, YMCA Camp, Cal Poly 5 Senses Summer Camp, and the Cal Poly Learn by Doing Lab. I am passionate about engaging students through active participation and helping them foster their sense of wonder. 

In my free time I like to play volleyball, tennis, disc golf, guitar, piano, games (Decrypto, Codenames, and Wits and Wagers are my favorite) and rock climb. I also love to line dance and was a part of the Cal Poly Line Dance Club where I got to perform square dances at Stagecoach. I met Kris, my boyfriend of three years, line dancing at the Graduate. I am super bummed that the Graduate was just closed due to COVID. One other hobby of mine that I haven’t been able to partake in recently is flameworking (melting glass into figurines and pendants). I was a flamework instructor at Cal Poly. I love doing all types of art and enjoyed getting to learn how to use the laser cutter at Cal Poly. I am looking forward to a wonderful year of online learning. There are so many amazing resources to be utilized online that I am delighted to share with your student. 

 

Angel Hession / Learning Center ParaEducator
HessionI 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 high school 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  

 

Sarah Muscolina, Reading Specialist
MuscolinaI grew up on the Peninsula and am a proud graduate of San Mateo High School.  I graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. 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 first, second and third grades. 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 and Danny), 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.