Faculty and Staff
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., Co-Chair
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-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. 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 of the East Bay Campuses
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
Our teachers are hired for both their subject-matter expertise and ability to really engage students. We work with students and their families to maximize student's ability to re-engage with learning, gain self confidence, and build skills that will support their success in college and in life.
Michele Patterson, M.A., Head of School
Michele Patterson started as a middle school teacher in 1987. She taught English/History for twelve years in Southern California. After getting her Master's degree in Administration she went to Berkeley High School as an Assistant Principal. Michele then became Principal of Willard Middle School in Berkeley, and after four years moved on to White Hill Middle School Principal in Ross Valley. After four years at White Hill, Michele and her staff earned the California Distinguished School Award. Michele then moved to Hayward High School where she was an Assistant Principal for five years. In her spare time Michele loves spending time with her wife and two white English labs.
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
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.
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
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.Nancy Ruiz, M.A., Head of School
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's looking forward to supporting and engaging students this year as Associate 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
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 singGopika Misri, B.A., Office Manager & Systems Coordinator
Ellie Agustin, B.A., Registration Coordinator
Ellie received her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Counseling at San Francisco State University. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA and resides in the Bay Area. Ellie has years of experience working with kids in the non-profit industry and is passionate about assisting her community. She enjoys all things comedy, music, and film. She also loves spending time with her partner and two cats.
Lolla Miller, A.A., ReceptionistLolla Miller was born and raised in the Bay Area. She comes from a huge family from the island of Guam. Growing up, family was everything. Lolla ended up marrying her childhood crush and became a stepmom to two boys. After high school, she studied Early Childhood Education, Psychology, and Nutrition. In her spare time, Lolla loves photography, art, and writing. During COVID she had to take the year off. Now she’s ready to get back into the world. She believes in Tilden’s mission statement. Students who have confidence in themselves, will achieve success. They are our future.
"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