Principal's Corner

Principal's Corner


August, 2019


Dear Sunnybrae Parents and Guardians,

I hope that you are having a fun and relaxing summer. I am very excited to begin the 2019-2020 school year very soon in the coming weeks and welcome your children. We have an amazing group of educators who are ready to work together to support your child’s social-emotional, intellectual and physical development through our International Baccalaureate program. This year, we are starting some exciting new initiatives: First, we hired our own Spanish teacher so that all of our students can get weekly Spanish from a certificated teacher and our former kinder teacher, Ms. Casey will be teaching this class. Second, we will be providing coaching to all our teachers in the area of language and literacy. Also, Ms. Moberg, our school counselor, will be with us full-time school counselor and will provide weekly social-emotional lessons to all our students. Finally, we will beginning the Playworks program to support our students during recess time.  



Laura Castro (1st grade)

Ms. Castro has worked as a long-term substitute teacher at the Campbell Unified School District since the beginning of this year  and has also worked as a Science/Social Science Instructor for the Youth Science Institute in Los Gatos. She has a passion for fostering social-emotional learning in her students and has co-written a book on foster children with the hope to raise awareness of the experiences of foster youth. Ms. Castro holds a BA from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and has most recently completed her MA in Education from the San Jose State University.  

Tina Kwan (1st grade)

Ms. Kwan has been teaching first grade for four years in San Diego Unified School District in different schools in the district. She has applied the whole-child approach to teaching and learning and has also implemented PBIS to support her students’ positive behavior. Ms. Kwan has been a leader in the school by serving on School Site Council, The English Learner Advisory Committee and Social Committee. She holds a BA from the University of California, San Diego and an MA from the same university.

Colleen McGowan (2nd grade)

Ms. McGowan has completed her Student Teaching assignments in kindergarten and second grade classrooms at different schools in the towns of Gridley and Chico, California. There she applied the Nurtured Heart Approach to support positive student behavior and support her students during the devastating Camp Fire. Ms. McGowan has also been a camp director for three years and a swim instructor for five years in San Rafael. She holds a BA and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California State University, Chico.  

Natasha Hsu (2nd grade)

Ms. Hsu has completed her teaching assignments in kindergarten and second grade in San Francisco Unified and San Bruno Park District. She has also worked as a substitute teacher and as tutor for summer learning programs. Ms. Hsu believes in developing engaging and culturally relevant instruction. She earned her BA from the University of California Berkeley and completed her Multiple Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. 

Leticia Contreras (3rd grade)

Ms. Contreras has worked for nine years in the San Carlos Unified School District as a Special Education Paraeducator where she supported students with learning and behavioral disabilities and helped to implement their Individualized Education Plans and design differentiated instruction. Most recently, she has been working as a short-term special education teacher and substitute teacher in San Carlos. Additionally, she is bilingual in English and Spanish. Ms. Contreras holds a BA in psychology from William Jessup University and an MA in Teaching from the same university.

Shannon Herkert (3rd grade)

Ms. Herkert comes to us from Illinois. She has five years of experience teaching third grade at Valley View School District in Illinois. There, she piloted a social-emotional learning program for the school, co-taught with the special education teacher and developed behavior plans for students. She has helped to raise math and reading scores for all her students. She is also trained in the Responsive Classroom Approach. Ms. Herkert holds a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois and an MA in STEM Leadership from the American College of Education. 

Brittney Khan (4th grade)

Ms. Khan comes to us from Seattle, Washington. She has spent the last two years teaching fourth grade at a school in Seattle, with a diverse student population. There, she supported her students to make significant gains in reading, led an after-school program and developed partnerships with outside organizations to bring experts into the classroom. She has also been trained in trauma-informed and restorative practices and has implemented these with success. She holds a BA from the University of Nevada and has both elementary and special education certifications. 

Van Doan (4th/ 5th grade)

Mr. Doan has completed his student teaching assignments in San Francisco Unified and in South San Francisco Unified School district, where he worked with 3rd and 4th grade students. He has also worked as a lead instructor for the Galileo Learning camp. Prior to this, he began his career in the technology field working for Apple and Facebook. He believes in creating discovery-based lessons that incorporate technology. Mr. Doan holds a BA from the University of California, Davis and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University. 

Kelsey Partee Special Day Class (K-2)

Ms. Partee is moving from Arizona to join our team. She has spent the last six years working as a special day class teacher in two different schools in Arizona. She has experience working with students from grades K-5 and has collaborated with special education teams to support students’ academic and social-emotional well-being. Ms. Partee holds a BA from Arizona State University and has dual elementary and special education certifications.




Aleyda Barrera-Cruz