Founders & 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., Co-Founder
Karen Hobbs, Ph.D. is a graduate of UC Davis and the California School of Professional Psychology who has specialized in adolescent psychology for over 30 years. She worked at an East Bay high school for nine years, participating in numerous IEP meetings and working with guidance counselors and teachers to help students succeed in school. Dr. Hobbs has taught courses at the college level and has presented at professional conferences. Karen oversees the direction of both Tilden Walnut Creek and Tilden Albany.
Shary Nunan, Ph.D., Co-Founder
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. Prior to starting Tilden Prep with Karen in 2006, 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 working with Tilden students, parents and teachers to be constantly rewarding and fun, and the challenge of building a school that is always working to improve itself for its students to be a fascinating and compelling endeavor. Shary oversees the direction of both Tilden Albany and Tilden Walnut Creek.
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
Gail Alter, M.A., Associate Director
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."
Laura Schreck, M.A. Ed., M.A., Director of Operations and Curriculum
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, and spending time with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
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
Katie started her education career working in Special Education, Inclusions, and Developmental Psychology. She received a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Mills College in Oakland. Katie spends part of her summers in Indonesia studying the daily time budgets of a troop of long-tail macaque monkeys. Her research experience in how technology affects behavioral data collection methods, and how it can be used to bring state of the art research opportunities to students in rural communities around the world. Her passion for individualized education has led her to Tilden. She is proud to support the Tilden Community as the Assistant Head of School in Albany.Katie Rutledge, M.A., Assistant Head of School
Ana Elena Angel, Student Affairs CoordinatorAna Elena is a Bay Area native. She attended Holy Names High School in Oakland. She has found that her true passion is for interior design. She is currently receiving a higher education to become a Certified Interior Designer while being a loving mother and spouse. She also enjoys baking and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Jasmine Martinez, B.A., Administrative Assistant
Jasmine is a Bay Area native. She attended Kennedy High School and went on to pursue her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Davis. She hopes to pursue a career in counseling and assist adolescents in low-income communities. She loves spending time with her grandma and dog during her spare time. She enjoys reading, catching sunsets, and shopping. She currently resides in San Pablo, CA.
Andrea Gonzalez, B.S., Administrative Assistant
Andrea is a Bay Area native. She attended Berkeley High School and went on to get her B.S. in Public Health at SFSU. Andrea has experience working in the healthcare field and is passionate about helping her community. Her hobbies include baking, hanging out with her friends and family and seeing her favorite artists in concert.
Walnut Creek Campus
Malcolm Govender, M.A., Head of School
Malcolm began his education career through diverse teaching and administrative roles in both private schools and nonprofits, all of which have afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of student learners to meet the common goal of increasing student achievement and well-being. His educational philosophy is based on the belief that all students can learn, given a positive and innovative learning environment, strong and knowledgeable leadership, a committed and focused educational team, and an encouraging community. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hunter College in New York City and a master’s degree in Asia Pacific Studies from the University of San Francisco. He enjoys supporting and engaging students as Head of School and leading the campus Leadership and Maker club.
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
Breanna is a North Bay poet who is passionate about community. She received her degree in English from San Francisco State University, and she’s using her expertise to start her own arts nonprofit. She believes in helping creatives pursue their passions and making sure everyone’s voice is heard. When she’s not consumed with the literary arts, she enjoys watching comedy specials, crocheting, thrifting, taking care of her plants, and trying new places to eat—especially bakeries. Breanna loves cupcakes.Breanna Hardy, B.A., Administrative Assistant
Sharmin has completed her Bachelor in Mathematics from Cal State East Bay and Masters of Business Administration from CSU EB. Prior to Tilden she worked in the senior living industry over 10 years as well as tutoring math K-12 students in various tutoring centers. She has gained the value of customer care and brought that knowledge to Tilden. She will continue to provide the support the teachers and students with her excellent customer service. She is also into tech, and loves to solve tech problems or issues around the campusSharmin Khan, M.B.A., Administrative Assistant
Connor Prime, B.A., Administrative Assistant
Connor received his Bachelors in Communication from California Lutheran University before joining Tilden Preparatory School. Prior to working at Tilden Prep he had worked with high schoolers in the Youth Employment Partnership, a nonprofit in the Bay Area. He joined as an administrative assistant to the Walnut Creek campus in 2022.
"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