We welcome several new staff members to Aurora this Fall and look forward to new collaborations and the rich ideas that come with new colleagues. Here’s a quick preview of the recent additions in our midst.

Angelica Baraona, Viva el Español Spanish Specialist
Angelica holds a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Mills College in Oakland. She is the daughter of two Chilean born parents, and so speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently. She has traveled to Chile and other parts of South America many times, and studied abroad in Santiago, Chile for a year and a half. She has taught Spanish to 1st to 5th graders at Viva el Español. Angelica has also worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at Gan Israel Preschool in Terra Linda.

Jessica Rampel, Development Coordinator
Jessica was raised in the Bay Area and attended progressive schools from elementary through high school. She has been part of the Aurora community for two years and has a daughter who is an Aurora 2nd grader. Jessica was the volunteer co-chair of the 2015 Aurora School Online Auction and joined the staff as Development Coordinator in the Fall of 2015. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from New York University. When she isn’t fundraising, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and sewing up a storm.

Kaiya Hatcher, K/1 Teaching Assistant
Kaiya was born and raised in Oakland, going to progressive schools. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from California College of the Arts in Oakland, where she majored in Textiles. She has worked with children for over 10 years, first with summer camps and after school programs, and eventually making her way into the classroom as an Assistant Teacher. Kaiya is passionate about progressive education, especially the focus on cultivating the whole child, project based learning, and addressing issues of social/environmental justice. She is excited to deepen her knowledge and skill as she works towards her credential though Bay Area Teacher Training Institute, along with a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific. In her free time Kaiya enjoys embroidering and working with natural dyes, gardening, studying South Indian dance (Bharata Natyam), being outdoors, cooking/nutrition, mindfulness, fitness, riding her bicycle, spending time with loved ones and playing with her bunny, Muka.

Nina Nathan, Art Specialist
Nina has a deep passion for teaching art and has been doing so for 15 years at several EBISA schools in addition to workshops in and around the community. She holds a B.A. in Art History and a B.F.A in Painting from San Francisco State and an M.A. in Transformative Arts from JFK University. Nina is trained in the Reggio Emilia philosophy and is an active member of the National Art Education Association. In addition, she works as a teaching artist at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and teaches transformative art to adults and children out of her atelier, Dandelion Wheel Studio. Nina loves to paint, sing, write short stories and poetry and study Flamenco dance.

Tanja Gubser, 2/3 Lead Teacher
Tanja has always worked with children, starting in her childhood as the oldest of four, then as a swim instructor and coach, a nanny, a mother, and for the last seven years, a teacher in a several EBISA schools. A progressive educator at heart, Tanja joined Aurora in the fall of 2015 and her role as 2/3 Lead Teacher is the golden crown of this long journey, and allows her to share with Aurora her passion for children’s literature, writing, nature, singing, community, and fun. Tanja received her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State. She earned her California multiple subject teaching credential through the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI). Tanja and her husband Adam have three lovely daughters. They live in Orinda with their two cats, six chickens, and many visiting turkey and deer. When not teaching, Tanja swims, camps, reads sci-fi/fantasy, and cooks sumptuous meals.