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Welcoming Our Newest Members for 2020-21

Monday, June 22, 2020

We are excited to welcome these six talented individuals to our faculty and staff for the 2020-21 school year:

Steve Smith
Chief Financial Officer

Steve began his journey in Orlando, Florida being the firstborn of the first pair of identical twins. Intrigued by the interdependence of the world, he left Florida for college at American University in Washington, DC where he obtained a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in French/European Area Studies and Russian/Soviet Area Studies. Away from work, Steve finds deep connection in the solace and solitude of nature and in his yoga practice. He loves the creativity writing affords. And, he maintains his sense of adventure by getting out to see the world as frequently as possible, with particular interest in visiting ancient and sacred sites.

Wladymir Paiva
Auxiliary Programs Director

Born and raised in Brasília, Brazil, Wlad moved to São Paulo to earn his degree in Physical Education from Paulista University. During college, he worked with professional athletes in different sports ranging from soccer to formula one. In 2004, he came to the U.S. to participate in the professional cycling race ‘Race Across America’ (RAAM), and moved to San Francisco in that same year. Wlad enjoys exploring nature around the Bay Area as well as traveling to faraway destinations. He’s a sprout lover and a whitewater kayaking enthusiast. Heavily influenced by his Italian family, he loves to cook. And eat!

Savannah Armstrong
Elementary Office & Campus Manager

Although she hails from Boston, Savannah has found a home in many pockets of the world after completing her BA in Sociology and Psychology from Framingham State University. Along the way to becoming a global citizen, after visiting 35+ countries and working in Youth Development and teaching ESL for over a decade, she received a Master’s degree in International Peace, Conflict & Development in Spain. Her calling lies in community building through education, which is why she was drawn towards La Scuola and is excited to be setting down new roots in the Bay Area by joining the team. When she is not wearing her social justice and community-building career hat, Savannah loves to be outdoors, spend time with friends and family, travel to new places and try new cuisines while checking out the local her/history and art culture. While at home, you can also find her curled up with a good book or belting out some old blues tunes.

Carmen Gomez
Grade 5-8 Teacher

Carmen was born in San Francisco and grew up between California and Arizona. After graduating from the University of San Francisco with a degree in International Business, Carmen moved to Tuscany where she worked in eno-gastronomic tourism and marketing for several years before returning to the States to pursue a Ph.D. in Italian literature and culture at the University of California, Los Angeles. Carmen spent over 10 years teaching Italian language classes of all levels, literature, and culture courses at La Scuola in 2013-14, within the UC system, and most recently as the Italian language coordinator at UC Davis. Carmen’s love of teaching begins with a love of learning – studying Italian in college was a way for her to reclaim her family’s heritage and explore new configurations of her own identity.

Jake Kaplove
Grade 5- 8 Teacher & Director of Student Activities

Jake grew up just outside San Francisco in Novato, Marin County. His interest in languages began in high school, where he studied Spanish for three years before traveling to Honduras for the summer with a program called Amigos de las Américas. While living with a family in a rural village, he taught health lessons at the community primary school and became immersed in the local culture. He realized the value of learning a language both inside and outside the classroom. Being a fluent Spanish speaker opened up opportunities to travel and create connections with people from diverse backgrounds. He was hooked. After completing a degree in Psychology and Spanish from Bates College, Jake went on to work as an English Teaching Assistant in Argentina on a Fulbright grant. In his free time, Jake can be found swimming in the waters of an aquatic park or adventuring through the mountains by ski, bike, or foot.

Paula Rosado
Grade 5 - 8 Teacher

Paula was born in the South of Spain in beautiful Seville, moving to the UK at age 18 and then to Singapore, the incredibly clean city, in 2014. She has a BA in Translation and Media and is qualified as a Modern Foreign Language teacher from the University of East Anglia. Having taught in 3 international schools, she is an inclusive, approachable, and motivational educator. Paula has taught Spanish from grades 2 to 12 in addition to adult lessons. Her fun, engaging lessons, and excellent relationship with technology make her a terrific teacher. She has also been part of English as an Additional Language team when teaching in London, and an advocate and Leader of the Service as Action core of the Middle Years Program. Paula loves the inquiry-based learning and holistic approaches of the IB in helping to shape rounded and incredible humans. She is really excited to join a school with Mediterranean vibes!

We say goodbye and grazie to Sandro Barbini, Stephanie Jones, Anoop Khanduri, Teresa O'Connor, Megan Anzuini Rafael, Martina Valizzone, Ambra Leggieri, Elena Bianchi, Maura Andreghetti, Vanessa Luke, Marco Ghezzo. We wish each of them every success and thank them for their time and dedication to La Scuola!

Gerald Jose
Business Manager

And a very special thanks to Gerald Jose who is retiring after six years with La Scuola. Gerald has created the La Scuola business office and has led from the heart while staying practical and taking care of the school's finances. Gerald's sense of humor, deep care, and knowledge of La Scuola's pedagogy and his reminder to live our motto Niente Senza Gioia will not be forgotten. Grazie Gerald, you will be missed!