Kindergarten & 1st Grade Teachers
Nancy Chiprich ~ K/1
Hello! My name is Nancy Chiprich.
I received my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from the University of California Pennsylvania. I started my teaching career at Sunol Glen in 1997 and have primarily taught first grade and K/1. I am excited to take part in your child’s education. My goals are to create and provide a comfortable, safe (AND fun!) learning environment for all students that enter our classroom and instill a lifelong love of learning.
I love teaching kindergarten and first grade!! I look forward to meeting and getting to know all of our new families!
Huong Giang ~ K/1
Hello, my name is Huong Giang.
I am happy to be part of our awesome K/1 team here at Sunol Glen! I love working with children and continuing to grow and learn professionally. I received my teaching credential from Saint Mary’s College and went to UC Davis for my undergraduate degree in History. I am starting my 21st year of teaching, with this being my sixth year as a K/1 teacher at Sunol. I started off teaching 5th grade for one year, 3rd grade several years, and 2nd grade for many years. No matter the grade level, I strive to create a learning atmosphere which celebrates honesty, mutual respect, flexibility, critical thinking, cooperation, humor, imagination, and innovation. I am very appreciative of the tremendous support here at Sunol Glen and look forward to meeting and welcoming my new students and families into my class!
Melody Mayer ~ K/1
Hi! My name is Melody Mayer!
I am a Bay Area native, I grew up in San Lorenzo and went to Cal State Hayward to complete my Bachelors Degree with a minor in Sign Language. I continued to get my Multiple Subject Credential. I did an internship at a private school teaching second grade in Oakland, then returned to the San Lorenzo School District where I taught 5th grade and 3rd grade for seven years Then I joined the Sunol Glen family in 2008 and have taught 2/3 multi-age for 10 years and currently teach in the K/1 multiage class.
My passion has always been about teaching. This began as a teenager. I taught dance all through my high school and college years and up until after my daughter was born. I incorporate my love for dance with my students in my class as much as I can. I love the first day of school each year getting to see my new students excited and ready to learn. Most of all, I love working with these amazing kids each day. I am very lucky to work at a supportive school.
2nd & 3rd Grade Teachers
Dani Cimino ~ 2/3
Hello! My name is Danielle Cimino.
The 2020-2021 school year will be my 10th year working at Sunol Glen School and I am so excited to begin my 9th year as a 3rd grade teacher! I grew-up in Sunol and attended Sunol Glen K-8th grade myself; so this school and its traditions are near and dear to my heart. I had a great experience at Sunol Glen and I enjoy the opportunity to give back to the community that gave so much to me. I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
I earned my B.A. in History with a minor in Education from University of California, Santa Cruz. While in college I spent a year studying abroad at Cambridge University, UK, and then later at the Universidad de Cordóba, España. I earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, with EL Authorization & GLAD Certification from CSU East Bay. Then I completed my Masters of Science in Education, option in Reading Instruction, with a Reading & Literacy added authorization. Recently, I attended Lucy Calkins' Summer Writing Institute at Columbia; I am always looking for more training opportunities. I want my students to be lifelong learners and believe in leading by example.
When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Mike, and our cat, Willow. My hobbies include baking, photography, reading, and planning adventures around the world.
I am looking forward to this upcoming school year and all of the magic that comes with getting children excited about learning something new. I anticipate that there will be a lot of ups and downs, but together I am sure we will make this year a success!
Lisa Sullivan ~ 2/3
My name is Lisa Sullivan and this is my third year at Sunol Glen. I grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains on 12 acres of land surrounded by chickens, goats, dogs, and cats. I have a great love for animals and attended Cal Poly, SLO where I earned a BS in Animal Science in 2009. I earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CSU East Bay. I have lived in the Tri-Valley area for 8 years with my son, Liam, and our dog, Rudy. I enjoy spending time outside playing basketball with Liam, or going for runs and walks.
Teaching is not just a job to me; I look forward to being in the classroom everyday. I love creating a classroom community built on kindness, trust, and respect. It is my goal to help mold students into being confident and enthusiastic learners.
Carly Horton ~ 2/3
My name is Mrs. Horton, or Mrs. H for short, and the 2021/2022 school will be my first year at Sunol Glen. Last year, I taught in the Cupertino Union School District, at a school in San Jose. After moving to Livermore in November 2020, I knew that I had to find a school closer to home. I was excited when I found Sunol Glen - I was drawn to the small school and the close knit atmosphere.
I grew up in San Carlos, then went down South for my undergraduate degree at San Diego State. I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, and a minor in Child Development. I found my love for teaching when I volunteered at SDSU’s preschool. Once I moved home after college, I taught preschool for a few years before moving to Los Angeles. I met my now husband while home for Christmas, which is what brought me back to the Bay Area!
After teaching preschool for about ten years, I was ready for a challenge and decided to get my MA and Teaching Credential at San Jose State University. I have taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, and I am looking forward to this new beginning as a 2nd/3rd grade teacher! I was our site technology mentor at my school last year, and I love to supplement lessons with elements of technology.
You’ll notice a Hawaiian theme in my classroom - I’m part Hawaiian through my mom’s side of the family. (The “K” in my middle name stands for “Kalawakua,” a name that has been passed down to the women in our family for over 100 years.) I was even able to teach last year from my mom’s house on Oahu during distance learning. Hawaii is my happy place!
In my spare time, I am a fitness instructor at Barry’s in San Jose and Palo Alto. I also enjoy cooking from scratch (I am trying to perfect my pasta recipe), reading, finding new restaurants to try (send me recommendations!), and working out. I also love being outdoors, preferably at the beach! I live with my husband (we just got married this summer) in Livermore, and we love it so far (especially the Farmer’s Markets)!
The most important part of teaching for me is the classroom community. Every year, my students and I will work together as a team to create a classroom environment that feels safe, welcoming to all, and fun to be in.
4th Grade Team
Jamie Dorighi ~ 4
Hi! My name is Jamie Dorighi.
I have been teaching for 13 years, and I’m thrilled to be returning for my 11th year at Sunol Glen! I grew up in Fremont, California. I obtained a degree from UC Berkeley majoring in American Studies. I continued my education at San Jose State University where I earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. In 2015, I received my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on teaching literacy across curriculum. I also received my Reading Specialist Credential.
I love teaching and working with children. I love that each day is different and brings about new challenges and successes. Besides teaching at Sunol I have taught 2nd/3rd grade in the Cupertino Union School District at Portal Elementary. I also taught 2nd grade in the Santa Clara Unified School District at Don Callejon School.
I take pride in creating a classroom community where students are eager to express themselves. I want my students to develop a sense of responsibility towards their learning and behavior while feeling comfortable and confident in their abilities.
When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time with my husband Mark, and my three kids Brooke, Vince and Taylor.
I can’t wait to discover the gifts that each student will bring to our class.
Kate Drazen ~ 4
My name is Kate Drazen and I am delighted to be teaching fourth grade at Sunol Glen School this year! I earned my B.A. in psychology from Colgate University and my M.A. in curriculum and instruction from University of the Pacific. While earning my teaching credential, I was an intern at Head-Royce school in Oakland, where I taught kindergarten and fourth grade. Before coming to Sunol Glen, I taught third grade for three years at Loma Prieta Elementary School, and have taught fourth and fifth grades here at Sunol Glen for the last three years.
I strive to collaborate with students to create a warm classroom community in which students feel empowered to think critically and solve problems, both academically and as citizens of their communities.
When I am not teaching, you can find me spending time with my family, trying new recipes, traveling, or reading. I love reading historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery books, and have a passion for discovering new middle grade titles.
Katrina Figueira ~ 5
Hello Sunol Glen Families!
My name is Katrina Figueira and I am so excited to be teaching at Sunol Glen School! I grew up in San Jose and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in psychology. I then pursued my teaching credential from Cal State Hayward and continued my education to obtain my Masters in Education, with an emphasis in Reading Instruction, and my Reading Specialist credential from CSUH as well.
Working with children is my passion and my calling. I taught in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in the city of Pleasant Hill for over 20 years. I taught 5th grade for 14 years, and then worked in a job-share in both 3rd grade and 5th grade while my children have been young. In 2017, I joined the Sunol Glen family, teaching as a part of the wonderful 2/3 team, and am now happy to have returned to 5th grade. I aim to make my classroom a place where all students feel important, encouraged, believed in, and respected. I enjoy the challenge of helping every student to reach their full potential.
My husband, David, and I live in Fremont with our two children: Caleb, who is 13, and Eliana, who is 11. When I'm not teaching, I love spending time with my family, reading, traveling, and enjoying our sweet dog, Kota.
I am delighted to work with your children this year!
Chris Wheeler ~ 6
My name is Chris Wheeler, and I’m teaching 6th grade!
In addition, I’ll be working with our 8th Graders on advanced math challenges, and hopefully, I’ll have an opportunity to get our middle school students outside and moving with purpose.
If you have been to our school, you may have seen me around. I have had the privilege of working with our Sunol Glen Team for over a decade. During the course of my teaching career, I’ve worked with several different grade levels. However, 6th Grade is still my favorite! Our school is small, which means I’m usually lucky enough to see most of my 6th grade alums around campus during their 7th and 8th grade years too.
I came to the teaching trade in a roundabout manner. I started my working life in the beloved Marine Corps. I served in the Middle East as a machine gunner in a helicopter squadron and I spent several months aboard the U.S.S. Tarawa. We eventually left the theater to provide humanitarian support in the Philippines and Bangladesh.
Later, I graduated from San Jose State with an M.S. Degree in Business Administration. While in school, some friends and I started working in a small print shop in Sunnyvale. Next thing you know, I spent twenty years working in the printing and publishing industry, primarily here in the Bay Area.
Eventually, I grew fatigued chasing production goals and revenue streams. After much ado, it became clear to me that I could better serve my community as a classroom teacher. Despite my claims to the contrary, “I’m never going back to school.” I returned to the hallowed halls of education and earned my teaching credential. I have been diligently striving to make a difference in the world ever since.
As we speak, I live in Brentwood with my wife Sandy and our youngest son Kyle. Our oldest daughter, Christina, lives in San Diego and manages a research lab for a private pharmaceutical company. When time permits, I try to get outdoors as much as possible. I am an incessant reader, an avid scuba diver and an occasional hiker. Despite some inconvenient setbacks, I still love to ride bikes and motorcycles.
I look forward to seeing you on campus this year!
One way or another…..:)
Aurora Commentz ~ 7
My name is Aurora Commentz. I am so excited to be the 7th grade teacher this year at Sunol Glen. This will be my fifth year teaching, but my second year teaching at Sunol Glen; last year I was the 5th grade teacher. Prior to 5th grade at Sunol Glen, I taught kindergarten and TK at a school in Southern California, then I worked for the school district in Livermore as a home hospital teacher (8th grade) and as a teacher for Adult English Learners.
I grew up in a small mountain community in Southern California called Wrightwood. I love the mountains. I went to Biola University with a major in Intercultural Studies interdisciplinary with Education and graduated in 2013. I completed a summer internship in Moscow, Russia in 2012 where I taught English as a second language. I completed my credential through the University of Redlands in 2016. I appreciated my time at University of Redlands because there was a focus on social justice in education throughout the program.
I care deeply about making sure that students feel seen, known, and valued for who they are as they learn. I also believe that I am here as a facilitator of learning. I have high expectations of students because I know that they are capable of meeting those expectations, and I am here to help them reach those learning goals.
I met my husband in 2012 and we got married in 2015. I live in Livermore with my husband, Bryan, and our dog, Johnny. I recently got Bryan to go camping with me for the first time! I’m hoping he’ll start to love the mountains too! Together we enjoy reading and discussing fun books, going to the beach, road trips, and learning about history.
Karen Jeffries ~ 8
My name is Karen Jeffries; I am the 7th & 8th Grade Language Arts & History teacher as well as Student Council teacher. I have been a teacher at Sunol Glen since 2004. I’ve taught first, second, and third grade before moving to the middle school program. Before coming to Sunol Glen I taught for one year in special education.
I grew up in Pleasanton and graduated from Foothill High School. I played a lot of sports while going through school. After graduating, I went to Sonoma State where I majored in Business and minored in English. Once I completed college, I worked as a media buyer and started pursuing my MBA at Saint Mary’s. I started going to school to be a teacher in 2001. I completed my program in 2003 and received a Teaching Credential as well as my Masters in Education.
I met my husband Johnnie, in 1999 and we got married in 2002. We enjoy traveling, going camping, and playing sports such as softball and golf. We live in Pleasanton with our son, Cody, dog, Ginger, and cat, Beanie.