Co-Chairs & Directors

Our Co-Chairs and Directors work closely with each other to ensure the same quality of education at all campuses.

Karen Hobbs, Ph.D., is a graduate of UC Davis and the California School of Professional Psychology. Since 1982 Dr. Hobbs has specialized in adolescent and child psychology. She is the co-founder of Tilden Preparatory School and has worked as a Director (starting in 2020, transitioned to Board Chair) of Tilden Preparatory School since 2006. Prior to starting Tilden Preparatory School, Dr. Hobbs worked in private practice, and as a crisis counselor at an East Bay high school, participating in numerous IEP meetings and working with guidance counselors and teachers to help students succeed in school. Dr. Hobbs serves on the Board of Mydigitaltat2, an organization that empowers students, families and educators to understand the power of technology and the impact of their online presence. Dr. Hobbs is also a Board member of AccessEd Foundation. Access Ed has a mission to combat the opportunity gap through pro bono educational consulting and need-based scholarships for high-quality supplemental educational services to families in the East Bay. Dr. Hobbs has three children, two well loved dogs, and she is an enthusiastic long distance road bike rider.
Karen Hobbs, Ph.D., Co-Chair
Shary Nunan, Ph.D., a graduate of Yale University and the California School of Professional Psychology, is a licensed psychologist who has worked with teens for over 30 years. She co-founded Tilden Preparatory School with Karen Hobbs in 2006, and worked as Director from 2006-2020, when she transitioned to Board Chair. Prior to starting Tilden Prep, her work included conducting educational assessments for students with a range of learning styles and needs, and working in conjunction with educational professionals to maximize their success in school. She has taught courses at the college and graduate level, and has presented at numerous professional conferences. She finds the challenge of building a school that is always working to improve itself for its students to be continually compelling and rewarding. Shary and her husband have two daughters, one of whom graduated from Tilden Prep in 2010.
Shary Nunan, Ph.D., Co-Chair
Laurie Kumar, M.S. is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and John Hopkins University, School of Education, specializing in Leadership and Administration. Prior to teaching at Tilden, Laurie worked in administrative roles for five years and taught for two years. During that time, she also worked in research internships at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Department of Psychology at UC Berkeley, and the National Writing Project. She taught for an additional seven years at Tilden prior to joining the administrative team--she served as the English Department Head at Tilden's Albany campus for three years in addition to teaching Humanities and Math classes. She has considerable experience creating successful learning spaces for students with a variety of learning needs. During her free time, she enjoys organizing community meditation events.
Laurie Kumar, M.S., Director of the East Bay Campuses

Gail Alter, M.A., graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in psychology and a secondary school teaching credential in social studies. She went on to complete her master’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley in social welfare, and has specialized in adolescent psychology for the past 30 years. She is certified as a Tribes Leadership Trainer, which uses group process to teach academics and social responsibility by building on students' strengths and capabilities, and has taught workshops to teachers and students using this training. Gail has taught graduate level courses on adolescent development, and supervised teachers and students in school-based settings. She co-authored a training manual for professionals on how to establish effective groups for teens called "A Way To Help Teenagers Become Capable Young Adults."

Gail Alter, M.A., Associate Director
Laura received her undergraduate degree in rhetoric with a focus in narrative and image from the University of California, Berkeley. She went on to pursue Master’s degrees from Loyola Marymount University in education, with a credential in secondary math, and the University of San Francisco in sport management. This included interning during the 2012 season with the World Champion San Francisco Giants and completing graduate research in sabermetrics. Laura taught both high school and middle school in Los Angeles and was previously an administrator and department chair. When she returned to the Bay Area, she began teaching at Tilden, where she enjoyed working one-on-one with students and developing curriculum and resources for English, history, fine arts, math, and science. When not watching or analyzing baseball (Laura has been published by the Society for American Baseball Research), she enjoys reading, writing, knitting, baking, and spending time with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Laura Schreck, M.A. Ed., M.A., Director of Operations and Curriculum
Dr. Rebecca Hawley has worked in the field of Education, Early Intervention, Special Education, and Family Support Services for 20 years within the Bay Area community and at a National level. Dr. Hawley’s direct research and practice has primarily focused on issues of equitable and individualized access to education and child/youth development services for children and youth between the ages 2-18. Dr. Hawley is an Adjunct Undergraduate and Graduate Faculty Member at San Francisco State University in the Department of Education/Special Education, and on Faculty at Mills College, Oakland in the ECE/Infant Mental Health realms of studies. Dr. Hawley presents at local and national conferences on child/youth development, family partnerships in education, and trauma informed practices. She is the proud mother of a daughter with learning differences who is transitioning to college as of 2018.
Rebecca Hawley, Ph.D., Director of Admissions and Special Education


Albany Campus

Joshua “Yoshi” Fenton is an educational innovator and thought leader who writes and speaks nationally on alternative approaches to learning, teen and youth engagement, and family education. He has a Master's Degree in Education from UC Santa Cruz, and for the past 13 years has worked to support education and engagement in a number of educational settings. Most recently, he was the founding Executive Director of Studio 70, a Jewish learning laboratory transforming Hebrew language learning nationally. He is excited to bring his experience and love of learning to the Tilden community, and is looking forward to working with all of you. Yoshi lives with his family in Berkeley. When not teaching or writing, he enjoys playing guitar, cooking, skateboarding and snowboarding, playing basketball, gardening, and spending time in nature.
Joshua Fenton, M. Ed., Head of School

Devon graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Legal Studies and a B.A. in American Studies emphasizing History and Economics and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in School Counseling from the University of Southern California. Through her experience as a college peer tutor and high school lacrosse coach, she developed a love for individualized teaching. She believes that everyone excels in some facet of life and that integrating those facets with education helps to achieve an enjoyable learning experience. Having previously taught English and History at Tilden, Devon was excited to move into a position supporting the faculty and student population. In her free time, Devon can be found coaching lacrosse or working with dogs (walking, training, grooming). She especially enjoys spending time with her own Golden Retriever, Nantucket. As a native of San Diego, she loves to discover new hikes around the Bay Area and experience as much new food as possible!

Devon Combe, B.A., Associate Head of School
Ana Elena is a Bay Area native. She attended high school at Holy Names High in Oakland and went on to study cosmetology and esthetics. She enjoys all things beautiful and freelances as a make-up artist for brides-to-be on their big day. Although she enjoys sharing in her brides' and clients' joy on their most special days, Ana Elena has found that her true passion is for children. She is currently receiving higher education in nursing while being a loving mother and spouse. She is valued at Tilden for her exceptional patience and understanding, her wonderful sense of humor, and her kind smile. She resides in El Sobrante and loves spending quality time with her parents, sons, and fiancé.
Ana Elena Angel, Student Affairs Coordinator
Tina Lee is a proud Bay Area native with a B.A. in communications from UC Davis. She grew up in Piedmont, CA. She is an independent mother of two young active boys, who keep her quite busy outside of her professional life. Tina spent many years working in social services before joining Tilden. She is a lover of nature and enjoys capturing moments through photography. She is an adventurous, free spirit. Her favorite activities include going to the beach, weekend getaways, watching sunsets, yoga, snowboarding, and attending music festivals. She currently resides in Emeryville, CA.
Tina Lee, B.A., Administrative Assistant
Greg is a proud Oakland native and a vegan. He received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from CSU East Bay in 1998 and has a background in commercial and theatre work. He is the busy dad of 8 at-home cats and a colony of local ferals. He loves long walks, road trips up the coast, and is an avid (discriminating) horror movie fan.
Greg Rosas, B.A., Registrar
Alison Garber is originally from Western Massachusetts and received her B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2014. Alison has a background in both education and social services. Her favorite activities include yoga, reading, and hiking. She currently resides in Berkeley, CA.
Alison Garber, B.A., Administrative Assistant

Walnut Creek Campus

Nancy graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a B.S. in Food Chemistry and later received her M.A. in English and TESOL certificate. During her studies, she worked as a counselor and house manager for a group home working with teens. Over the years, Nancy has acted as a substitute in local elementary, middle and high schools. In addition, for many years, she was a volunteer coach for Odyssey of the Mind, a program that encourages creative problem solving for students from kindergarten through college. After receiving her master’s degree, Nancy taught as the head instructor of computer science at the English Center at Mills College. In 2004 she formed a small professional consulting company designed for professionals, organizations and individuals interested in providing services to the Spanish-speaking population or in need of Spanish language assistance. Nancy joined Tilden when the Walnut Creek campus opened in 2012. She worked offsite during the 2013-14 academic year while living in Spain with her family. Nancy has recently stepped down as the co-head of school at the Walnut Creek campus and is working offsite providing continuing external support.
Nancy Ruiz, M.A., Head of School
Tyler holds a Master’s of Arts in School Leadership, Special Education Mild Interventions, and a Bachelors of Science in Physical Education. Tyler has spent his career in education as a coach, teacher, consultant, and school leader. As an educational leader he has led school teams to an increase in graduation rates, student academic performance, student attendance rates, and overall school culture. Tyler is the proud dad of 4 amazing kids and married to his high school sweetheart Jessie. Outside of work he enjoys working out, watching sports, being outside, and completing home improvement projects.
Tyler Small, M.A., Associate Head of School
Jane received her undergraduate degree in theatre from Northwestern University. She worked professionally for ten years on stage before obtaining a master’s degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Jane was the high school secretary at the East Bay Waldorf School for eight years before joining Tilden’s Albany campus in January of 2010 as the student affairs coordinator. She has been working at the Walnut Creek campus since September of 2014.
Jane Muller, M.A., Academic Support Coordinator & Registrar
Although Hasina was born in Chicago, she considers herself a Bay Area native as she was raised in Concord her whole life. Hasina has over nine years experience working with children from infants to middle school age. Although she has a passion for working in the education field, her dream has been to work in the criminal justice field. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Crime Scene Investigation. She hopes to tie both of her passions of working with children and criminal justice to help better the community. Hasina was fortunate enough to be able to visit her home country, Afghanistan, where she strengthened her knowledge of the Dari language and Afghan culture. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her two children, go on hikes, draw, read, and cook.
Hasina Sabar, Accounts Coordinator
Etanna’s passion for building community has been cultivated in three distinct areas; in education, the arts, and in the slow food movement. As a parent, she devoted 40 hours per month volunteering at Ocean Shore School in Pacifica, teaching art to the 5th grade. A decade of working in Farmer’s Markets in the San Francisco Bay area lead her to forge meaningful relationships with farmers, chefs, artisanal food makers, and the local communities they served. An artist, author, and independent publisher, Etanna helped build an indie press from the ground up, collaborating with other artists and writers to publish more than 15 stand-alone titles. Her own artwork has appeared at SFWA in and City Art in San Francisco and was featured in ART on BART. Etanna has grown to appreciate the importance of human connections. She is passionate about bringing people together to build their dreams in systems of mutual support. Encouraging others on their path to success and helping them feel connected brings her great joy.
Etanna Pennello, Projects & Communications Coordinator
Kathy was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in her motherland, the Philippines. Kathy has received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Education from the University of Asia and the Pacific, which is also located in Manila, Philippines. She currently has five years of teaching experience working with children as young as two to ten years old. While the schools Kathy has worked in had long summer breaks, she would use her time to teach as a volunteer in rural areas and provinces. She recently moved to the Bay Area for work, and to live closer to family in Southern California. In her spare time, you can find her looking for a new place to hike, reading a book, baking some cookies, and spending time with her friends and family.
Kathy Welschmeyer, B.A., Registration Coordinator
Gopika grew up in the countryside of Mendocino County, where she attended a private school located in a Buddhist monastery called the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. She learned about the values of compassion, education, sustainability, and being an ideal global citizen. She continued on to receive her B.A. in Psychology from the University of San Francisco, where she enjoyed taking classes involving Cultural Diversity, Social Justice, and Education. She has over 5 years experience working as an administrator and editor for publishing companies primarily focused in books about East Indian philosophies and lifestyles. Eager to explore Eastern cultures and dive into ancient practices of sustainable-living, she embarked on a four-year journey of living in the small towns and villages of India. During her fourth year, she was invited by Chinese tourists to do seminars about holistic living and Indian cultural practices in over 10 cities throughout China. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and Hindi, loves to cook delicious vegetarian cuisine, explore nature, garden, and sing
Gopika Misri, B.A., Office Manager & Systems Coordinator
Radhika was brought up in the small Northern California towns of Redwood Valley and Ukiah among redwood trees and the Russian River. She attended a private Buddhist school called Instilling Goodness Developing Virtue School from Kindergarten to 12th grade and continued her education at the University of San Francisco, majoring in International Studies with a double minor in Asian Studies and Mandarin Chinese. While in college, she was awarded the Chinese Government Scholarship and spent one year studying abroad at Peking University in Beijing, fully immersing herself in Chinese language and culture while furthering her passions for traveling, photography, and calligraphy. Radhika has traveled to 15 countries, and has both lived and worked in China, New Zealand, and Australia. She hopes to continually enhance her understanding of cultures, values, and societies in and outside of her own community. She would best describe herself as a kind-hearted, water-loving, well-traveled individual who looks forward to meeting you one day.
Radhika Misri, B.A., Administrative Assistant
"I wish that traditional schools would look at the Tilden model, so that more kids would have a chance to succeed at school."
Tilden Parent