Meet the Team

Meet our team

School Leadership

Maureen Lamorena-Tatsui

Maureen Lamorena-Tatsui

Co-Principal, Grades TK-5

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mtatsui@cwcsilverlake.org

A So Cal native and UCLA grad, Dr. Maureen knew she wanted to become an educator after her experiences as an assistant director at UCLA’s Samahang Pilipino Advancing Community Empowerment (S.P.A.C.E.) program, where she counseled students at Marshall High School. It was through her work in the SPACE program and in UCLA’s Community Programs Office that Maureen became passionate about issues of educational inequality and social justice.

Dr. Maureen joined Teach for America (TfA) and taught summer school in the Bronx, New York. In the fall of that year, she was assigned to teach 2nd grade at Dickison elementary school in Compton, CA, where she continued teaching for nine more years. While in Compton, Maureen served multiple leadership and teacher training roles.

Dr. Maureen earned her M.A. degree in elementary education and her multiple subjects credential from Loyola Marymount University. She completed her Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate University.

For many years, she has been a hula practitioner, learning, studying, and performing traditional and modern forms of Hawaiian dance and chant. In her free time, she loves cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband Tim and their son Max (though not necessarily in that order).

Christina Aries

Christina Aries

Co-Principal, Grades 6-8

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christina.aries @cwcsilverlake.org

Ms. Aries was born to a family of educators.  Her father funneled the passion from a photography career into a revolutionary arts classroom.  Her grandfather was a professor at Eastern State Connecticut University and the founder of Curbstone Press.  Raised in upstate New York, she was liberated from conventional schooling early by a love of Beat poetry and a sixth grade teacher who fueled her aspiration to write.  Education, for Ms. Aries, was never limited to school. Her education took place in classrooms, but also at the kitchen table of a publishing house, beneath the forest trees of the Adirondack Mountains, and on the mercurial waters of Lake George.

Ms. Aries attended the University of Chicago on a full scholarship and dabbled in the French, photography, and English departments before eventually earning a degree in Political Science.  She loved political theory and sociology and spent equal amounts of time engaging in lively debate as she did people watching in Hyde Park. Her first job in education was at the University of Chicago Lab School where she ran the 4th grade after-school program, where she watched the benefits of experiential education on her students. 

After college, Ms. Aries joined Teach for America as a corps member and began teaching at a middle school in the Bronx.  While earning her Master’s degree in Childhood Education, Ms. Aries fell in love with the middle school classroom and the unique perspective that it afforded her students.  She has since been a founding educator at two progressive schools in New York City.  She taught for over a decade in New York City before taking a position as the Humanities Department Chair at City School of the Arts in Manhattan.

Ms. Aries is passionate about inquiry-driven curriculum that fuses critical thinking and student-led investigation.  She is a certified yoga instructor and has held education fellowships in New York, Paris and Madrid. In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling and hiking with her family, reading, and teaching her young son to love the water.

Emily Beecher

Emily Beecher

Assistant Principal, Grades TK-5

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emily.beecher@cwcsilverlake.org

In her 15+ years in education, Ms. Emily has worked in classrooms from TK to 8th Grade. She is dedicated to creating a safe and connected environment for students, families, and staff.

While earning her B.A. in English Language and Literature from Whittier College, Ms. Emily served as an elementary literacy tutor and there cemented her longstanding commitment to education. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Emily worked for BookEnds, facilitating student-led book drives to build classroom libraries, but she could not escape the desire for her own classroom. Ms. Emily received her masters of education and teaching credential from UCLA. During that time, she also found her home here at CWC Silver Lake.

As a CWC SL Founding Staff member, Ms. Emily helped build the staff and student culture we know and continue to develop today. She has led our 2nd Grade and 5th Grade teams, facilitating learning through a constructivist approach with an eye on socially-just practices and real-world application. Passionate about people and potential, Ms. Emily is excited to promote growth and belonging by working to ensure that all students, families, and staff, are seen and heard.

Michaela Watkins

Michaela Watkins

Assistant Principal, Grades 6-8

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michaela.watkins@cwcsilverlake.org

Hello CWC Faculty, Students, Parents and Families! I am Ms. Michaela.
I’ve been the Theatre and Drama teacher for 6th, 7th & 8th grade at CWC Silver Lake Middle School since December 2020. I’ve rooted my foundation to teaching Dramatic Art in multicultural, inclusive and intentionally decolonized frameworks. In using this approach, students are given an expansive foothold to explore the authentic possibilities and evolution of ensemble storytelling.I developed my practice as a youth-centered storytelling teacher over the past nine years in New York City, Atlanta and Los Angeles. I’ve been a formal Middle School teacher for the past four years and have started decolonized Dramatic Art programs at two schools in my home state of Georgia, in addition to two others here in Los Angeles. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 from Carnegie Mellon University and was a professional actor based in New York City for eight years. I received my Master’s in Education and ELA credential in 2020 at National University.

While I’m most passionate about education, I also love to cook and bake vegan deliciousness, listen to soundtracks and music for as many hours of the day as I can, volunteer in our city, gain greater knowledge about neurodiversity, continue my development in cultural competency, read and hike outdoors, play team sports, dance salsa and bachata, practice yoga, spend quality time with dear friends and work toward fluency in Spanish.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

Director of School Culture and Social Emotional Learning, Grades TK-5

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sergio.garcia@cwcsilverlake.org

A native Angeleno, Mr. Sergio has been involved in education for over 10 years. While holding multiple odd jobs, he consistently tutored students throughout high school and college. Upon earning his TESOL certification, Mr. Sergio taught Spanish at a preschool in Pasadena before becoming an intervention teacher at a charter school in Mid-City, Los Angeles. While there he had the opportunity to lead his own 3rd grade classroom. Mr. Sergio quickly realized that he enjoyed working within education and helping students grow academically and socio-emotionally.

Mr. Sergio joined CWC Silver Lake as a Teacher’s Associate, working with various grade levels, and serving as Lead TA. He joined the Leadership Team as the interim Director of Social Emotional Learning and Latino Projects Coordinator before becoming Director of School Culture and Social Emotional Learning. Currently, he oversees the Teacher Associate team and works with the rest of the leadership team to establish and maintain a positive school culture for all.

Mr. Sergio is passionate about student’s personal growth and making sure that they are learning in an environment that fosters connections. He actively engages students through play to teach social emotional skills and strives to create an inclusive environment where students welcome others different from them. He also empowers students to be leaders by helping them reflect on their actions and their role within the community. In his free time, Mr. Sergio enjoys watching movies, reading classic literature and comic books, and finding new places to eat around LA. 

Justine Yoon

Justine Yoon

Director of Social Emotional Learning, Grades 6-8

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justine.yoon@cwcsilverlake.org

Bio coming soon!

 

Patrice Dodd

Patrice Dodd

Director of Special Education, Grades TK-5

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patrice.dodd@cwcsilverlake.org

A native of Los Angeles, Patrice Dodd knew she wanted to pursue a career in education since she was in 2nd grade. Patrice attended CSU-Long Beach (Go Beach!), where she received her Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies (Elementary Education).  Before becoming a teacher, Patrice worked two years as an Instructional Aide. In 2015, Patrice continued her education at CSU-Long Beach, earning her CA Education Specialist Preliminary Credential simultaneously while serving as a middle school RSP teacher with Green Dot Public Schools (GDPS).  While working with GDPS for six years, Patrice held multiple leadership roles, serving on the Instructional Leadership Team as the Special Education Department Chair, a Grade Level Lead and a Site Rep for the Teacher Union.  In 2020, Patrice received her CA Education Specialist Level II Credential and earned her M.A in Special Education from CSU-Dominguez Hills (Go Toros!). She focused her thesis on Co-Teaching, specifically, co-teachers’ preferences on co-teaching models and best practices for collaboration in co-taught classrooms.  Interested in furthering her knowledge in secondary education, in 2021, Patrice joined RBUSD, where she enjoyed teaching 9th grade and 11th grade high school English in Redondo Beach, CA. Being a lifelong learner, in 2021, Patrice returned back to CSU-Dominguez Hills in the Fall to pursue earning an Administrative Credential.  While in the School Leadership (Admin) Program at CSU-Dominguez Hills, Patrice led teachers, educators and other stakeholders to become culturally responsive towards students, in an effort to increase student attendance and improve student achievement through socio-emotional learning methodologies.
 
When not at school, you can almost always find Patrice poolside.  Patrice is an artistic swimming coach and has been for many moons.  During her free time, Patrice loves spending time with her husband and fur babies. She also enjoys traveling, taking road trips, going to Disneyland, dancing, watching movies, cooking and spending time at the beach.

Allan Laird

Allan Laird

Director of Special Education, Grades 6-8

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Email coming soon!

My name is Allan Laird and I am so happy to be joining the team at Citizens of the World Silver Lake, as the Director of Special Education. I would like students to call me Mr. Allan. I began my professional career in the paper industry, but was unable to find value and meaning in that work, so I returned to school in 1999 to complete my bachelor’s degree. At that point, all I knew is that I wanted to help people move forward. It was during a psychology class titled Theories of Learning that I realized a connection between psychology and education. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and Education from Ottawa University in 2002, and then graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Education from National Louis University in 2004. During the next few years, I obtained my licenses to teach Regular Education: grades 1-6, and Special Education: ages 6-21. 

Throughout my teaching career, I began working as a special education teacher with elementary and middle-school school students. Eventually, I joined the team at The Alliance School of Milwaukee, as a high school special education teacher. Additionally, I returned to Ottawa University as an adjunct instructor, for close to a decade. While at Ottawa, I taught psychology and adult education courses to non-traditional adult students. Eventually, I was asked to take the position of Teacher-in-Charge at Alliance. During my first year as the school leader at Alliance, the superintendent asked me to obtain my administrative license, so I enrolled in an administrative and leadership program at Alverno College in Milwaukee, where I graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Administrative Leadership in 2019. At Alverno, I also obtained my Principal and Director of Instruction licenses. 

I believe that a successful classroom consists of clear expectations and goals, and the appropriate methods to meet those goals. Careful preparation for instruction is essential, as is the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each of our students. I also strongly believe that applying restorative principles throughout the school community can help prevent and mitigate harm, thereby purposefully creating a direct focus on education.

 Itzel Ceniceros

Itzel Ceniceros

School Operations Manager, Grades TK-5

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Indira Cruz

Indira Cruz

School Operations Manager, Grades 6-8

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Operations + Office

Matthew Dinh

Regional Director of School Operations

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mdinh@cwclosangeles.org 

Mr. Matt brings to Citizens of the World finance, strategic planning, and educational programming experience. As the Director of School Operations, Mr. Matt serves as the operational leader of the school campuses, overseeing all non-academic aspects of the schools.

Prior to joining CWC, Mr. Matt served as the Director of Career and Technical Education for Education Management Systems, where he oversaw the creation and implementation of career pathways for high schools, serving over 20,000 students in 12 different regions across the country. Mr. Matt worked directly with the CEO on key strategic and operational initiatives tied to growth and financial planning. Matthew gained his training for this type of work in his prior role with San Francisco Unified School District as a program director, establishing partnerships with post-secondary institutions, community organizations, and large banking and tech companies throughout the Bay Area with local school career programs for high school students.

Mr. Matt began his career in education as a middle school and high school history teacher and has served in varying school-site leadership positions. Mr. Matt holds a B.A. in Economics and a M.A. in Education from the University of California, Irvine.

Jessie Galvan

Community Coordinator, Grades TK-5

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Grettel Leonore

Community Coordinator, Grades 6-8

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Milton Gomez

Culture Lead, 6th grade

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Rome Jenkins

Culture Lead, 7th/8th grade

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Victoria Mandanas

Data Coordinator, Grades TK-5

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Paola Urbina

Office Associate, Grades 6-8

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Teaching Teams

CWC Silver Lake TK-5

Coming Soon! 

CWC Silver Lake 6-8

Coming soon!

 

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