Founders & Directors
Our Founders and Director 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
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.
Alistair Rogers, M.A., Assistant Head of School
Prior to becoming Assistant Head of School at Tilden Prep, Alistair taught English and History at Tilden’s Sausalito Campus (now Headlands Prep) for four years. He loves teaching and is constantly inspired by student successes and breakthroughs. He is excited to bring his knowledge and skill set to our Walnut Creek Campus and be of service to our school community in his new administrative role. Alistair was born and raised in San Francisco, and he and his family now make their home in Martinez.
Haley Garcia, B.A.Haley is a UC Davis graduate with a B.A. in Theatre. She’s passionate about the arts and literature and is an amateur animator. She has previous experience in stage management, accounting and administrative roles, and customer service. Her hobbies include reading, listening to true crime podcasts, drawing, and learning new things. Her favorite book is Pride & Prejudice (because it’s beautiful and amazing, obviously). She loves working at Tilden because every day is different and she gets to be around wonderful people!
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.
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.
Hannah R. Rosen (she/they) graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology and over three years of experience specializing in LGBTQ mental and social health research. Hannah worked for The Trevor Project from November 2020 to July 2023 in both the Crisis Services and Research departments. Hannah is a Tilden Prep graduate, and enjoys listening to and playing music, creative writing, trying new recipes, and spending time with their loved ones in their free time.Hannah Rosen, B.A.
Justine is a San Francisco State University alumna holding a Bachelor's in Applied Physics, a Secondary Teaching Credential in Physics and Mathematics and an M.A. in Educational Research and Leadership. She's a former Noyce STAJES Scholar, recognized by the National Science Foundation for her academic excellence in mathematical physics and has received an Honorable Mention Nominee for the 2022 CSU Trustees' Award. She has contributed to equity-focused teaching and curriculum design in San Francisco and Oakland, advocating for inclusive education and restorative justice for historically marginalized students. Justine enjoys traveling, running, cycling, photographing, and dancing. Justine can also speak German!Justine Molina, M.A., Associate Head of School
Allyson studied English and Human Development at Sonoma State University, and after many years working in tech, she is delighted to find herself in education at Tilden Prep. When she's not writing essays in her free time, you can find her camping, thrifting, or hanging out with her grumpy-looking cats, Monday and Eggs Benedict. A few of Allyson's favorite things include reading, creative writing, and eating olives.Allyson Darling, B.A.
Kelly De Lorimier, B.A.Kelly recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies. She developed a passion for working with students while under New Student Services at UC Berkeley where she trained and mentored student orientation leaders. Kelly hopes to continue her career in education and work toward receiving an M.Ed in the next few years. In her free time, Kelly enjoys hiking, art projects, and attempting to walk her cat.
Mia is a proud Bay Area native who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University, with a major in Liberal Studies and a minor in Education. Following her academic achievements, she transitioned into the role of a College Advisor, where she dedicated three years to guiding and supporting a diverse caseload of students. Her professional experience also extends to positions as a Student Support Specialist and Substitute Teacher. Beyond her professional endeavors, Mia cherishes moments spent with her feline companions, Basket and Biscuit, and prioritizes quality time with friends and family. In her leisure time, Mia watches movies with friends and goes out in hopes of dancing to 2000s R&B.Mia Klenk, B.A.
Amika was born in Laos, but grew up in the Bay Area. She obtained her Biotechnology degree and certificates from Contra Costa Community College. There, she met so many wonderful and supportive teachers, who made such a huge difference in the way she viewed things. Her love for the Bay Area is the diversity and food. She is very passionate about cooking – especially cuisines from SouthEast Asia because “I never have to measure when I cook!”. Amika has two sons that bring so much joy to her life; they are her motivation. Some of her interests include, Algebra, Greek mythology, weight training, and 60’s music (but she loves anything from the 50’s-2000s!). Lastly, Amika was honorably discharged in 2019 after serving 8 years in the Army as a Chemical Specialist.Amika Xayalath, A.A.
"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