At Aurora we are privileged to have an incredible team of committed educators and administrators who step up every day to extend the wonder of childhood for our students. They model what real leadership looks like while at the same time create opportunities for students to practice the many ways to lead.
Abigayil Koss, Head of School
Email | Extension 202
Abbie has over 25 years of experience in education, including administration, staff development, curriculum development, and teaching. She joined Aurora in 2007 and has been Head of School for the past ten years. Thanks to her expertise in education and administration, Abbie was recruited by and joined the Board of Marin Horizon School in the spring of 2019. Committed to progressive education, she continues to be fascinated by how children learn and how teachers teach. Abbie holds a Master Degree in Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City.
Lisa Piccione, Admissions Director
Email | Extension 204
Lisa is responsible for managing the school’s admissions process, re-enrollment, school events, serves on the Financial Aid committee and supports our fifth grade outplacement. Lisa went to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and studied midwifery. She is originally from New York, but has lived in Oakland for the last 33 years. She has been an active member of the Aurora parent body for over 20 years, where her 3 children attended school. This is Lisa’s 14th year as the Admissions Director at Aurora. Lisa enjoys yoga, gardening, making mosaics, cooking, the beach and taking hikes with her wife Kate and little dog, Bella.
Josh Johnson, Extended Care & Camps Director and Facilities Manager
Email | Extension 208
Josh has over 20 years of experience in the recreation field, both in school and camp settings. Josh grew up in San Francisco, and moved to Alameda in 2004. This is Josh’s sixth year on the Aurora Staff. When he is not as Aurora, Josh enjoys spending quality time with his wife and daughter enjoying the many family attractions in the East Bay, from the Oakland Zoo to the Alameda Beach.
Katheryn Negrosa, Assistant to the Head & HR Coordinator
Email | Extension 201
Katheryn manages the Front Office and Human Resources. An Oakland native, she is happy to work with the community she was born and raised in. Katheryn studied Early Childhood Education and Psychology in college, and comes to Aurora with an extensive background as a former preschool teacher, banker, and most recently, school administrator. Katheryn “lives in the details” and enjoys helping people, thanks to her patient, understanding demeanor. A passionate mother of two boys, she believes that any time with her kids is time well spent! Her favorite pastimes are indulging in delicious cuisine, traveling near or far to explore different cultures and events, exploring nature, and exercising.
Erina Atkins-Hadad, Finance Manager
Email | (925) 482-2631
Erina works for our accounting firm, Moss CPA, in Walnut Creek. She took over as Aurora’s Finance Manager at the beginning of 2013, working part time helping to manage all aspects of Aurora’s finances. Erina has over 10 years of business and accounting experience. She provides a wide variety of client services, including accounting, tax and tax planning, and QuickBooks consulting services. Erina is working towards a CPA license. She joined the Moss CPA team in 2007. Erina is a 2001 Cal graduate who enjoys spending time with her family.
Jennifer Lombardi, Development Coordinator
Email | Extension 205
Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and her law degree Hofstra University. With over 15 years of experience in non-profit fundraising and board development, she excels at managing annual fund campaigns, major gift asks, gala auction events, endowment asks, and parent association activities for independent K-12 schools. In addition to her fundraising skills, Jennifer has also spent three years as an appointed Berkeley City Council Committee Member. Most recently, she has worked as a grant researcher and writer, fundraising consultant, and development director for a local nonprofit school and therapy center. Jennifer currently lives in Berkeley with her husband, three sons, and rescue dog. In her spare time, she enjoys playing competitive mahjongg.
Robert Movradinov, Director of Marketing & Communication
Email | Extension 226
Robert’s marketing experience spans nearly two decades, across the fields of consumer entertainment, financial services, and education. Fluent in Spanish and French, he relishes connecting with people as much as he does learning—a mix that melds seamlessly into Aurora’s fabric. Outside of school, Robert moonlights as a public speaking coach and loves to take his toddler on galactic flights.
Kindergarten & 1st Grade
Alexa Eurich, Lead Teacher
Alexa Eurich earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley. She earned her teaching credential and Masters in Education from Mills College. Alexa taught at The San Francisco Children’s Art Center and has worked in both public and independent K-5 schools in the Bay Area for over seventeen years. She is thrilled to have found her teaching home at Aurora. In 2014 Alexa earned her credential as a Certified Reading Recovery Teacher. Some of Alexa’s favorite things about teaching are: helping kids learn to read and directing the class musical every year. Alexa loves to sing along with her iPod and beat her husband Joe at Monopoly.
Annalyse Sheppard, Lead Teacher
Annalyse always knew she would be a teacher. Born into a family of educators, teaching is in her blood. Annalyse earned her teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University and has since taught at both public and private schools across Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Annalyse feels fortunate to be teaching at Aurora, a school that teaches rigorous academics in a progressive, hands-on way. She is passionate about teaching mixed-age classrooms and mindfulness to children. In her free time, Annalyse can be found adventuring around National Parks in her van or deepening her meditation practice.
Room 2 & 3 Teaching Assistant
Email | Extension 304
Adrian is excited to return to Aurora—this time with the 2/3 Team! A Los Angeles native, Adrian came to the Bay Area to attend Holy Names University, where he received a B.A. in Psychology. Adrian looks forward to creating fun memories with his new class and can’t wait to play Dungeons & Dragons with them. Outside of Aurora you will find Adrian voice acting, and spending time with his two-year-old daughter, Hayley.
Room 2 & 3 Teaching Assistant
An Aurora alumna, Emily brings years of experience as a volunteer, Counselor in Training (CIT), and Camp Counselor at Aurora’s Summer Camps. It was during her time at Aurora that Emily discovered her passion for working with kids and made the decision to become an elementary school teacher. Emily has volunteered at Emerson Elementary School, traveled to Thailand and Costa Rica to teach English to children, and tutored in schools and afterschool programs. In 2017, Emily graduated with a degree in Education Sciences and English from UC Irvine, and is thrilled to be back at Aurora.
2nd & 3rd Grade
Jordan Burns, Lead Teacher
Email | Extension 301
Jordan Burns earned her undergraduate degree at Gonzaga University, where she studied Education and Psychology. After graduation, Jordan went on to teach in Seattle and California, most recently at Helios New School in Sunnyvale where she taught a 1st/2nd grade combined class. Jordan’s favorite subject to teach is reading, and her favorite things about teaching are building a supportive classroom community and seeing how much children grow over the course of a school year. In her free time, Jordan enjoys dancing, gardening, and spending time outdoors.
Regina Sorey, Lead Teacher
Email | Extension 304
Regina earned her teaching credential at Cal State East Bay and has been teaching ever since. She also holds a B.A in cultural anthropology and dance from SFSU. Regina has taught at several Bay Area elementary schools, and is thrilled to have landed in the amazing Aurora community. She loves working with the wonderful staff and families who feel like an extended family to her. When Regina is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her two beautiful children, cooking, reading, and laughing with friends.
Room 1 & 4 Teaching Assistant
A native of the Bay Area, Andrew brings over eight years of teaching and coaching experience to Aurora. In 2011, Andrew graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from California State University – Chico. He went on to star as a professional baseball player for the Hawaii (Hilo) Stars and the Ellensburg (Washington) Bulls. In addition to teaching and playing sports, Andrew is also a staff writer for the Palo Alto Weekly, where he covers high school sports. In his free time he loves to read and write, play pick-up basketball, study Spanish, play guitar, take road trips, teach Sunday school, and spend time with his nieces.
4th & 5th Grade
Nicole Thomas, Lead Teacher
Email | Extension 306
Nicole Thomas received her bachelors degree in Ethnic Studies from Mills College in Oakland, and law degree from UC Berkeley. Before joining Aurora, Nicole taught cooking at the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley and at Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland. She also teaches cooking in the summer at CAMP 510. She is looking forward to another great year of learning with children in an academic setting while adding lots of deliciousness to the Aurora community. When she is not teaching, Nicole enjoys playing music with her band, knitting, and spending time in nature with her daughter.
Erica Ryan, Lead Teacher
Erica graduated from the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley in 2002 and earned her teaching credential at Mills College. For over a decade, she worked at Berkwood Hedge School where she served on the Board of Directors and taught K-5 Environmental Science and fourth grade. Erica went on to hone her teaching practice and understanding of progressive education at Park Day School where she taught fifth grade for four years. In her free time, Erica enjoys riding her bicycle, gardening, playing cards, and traveling. She is also involved in the Bay Area sailing community where she often competes in regattas. Erica is excited to bring her passion for teaching and learning to the Aurora community.
Room 5 & 6 Teaching Assistant
Sam is delighted to be part of the Aurora team. He has been an educator since he graduated college, and spent most of his career as a high school science teacher (at Lowell and Berkeley High). This past year, after a few months of reflection and recalibration, he decided to follow his instincts, and pivot toward progressive, independent education with a younger cohort of students. In his free time—if outdoors—you’ll find him mountain biking, gardening, or shopping at a farmer’s market with his two kids. If he has to be indoors, he’s probably cooking whatever he bought at the farmer’s market, practicing yoga, or plotting his next escape from the city to the mountains or coast.
César Martínez, Spanish
Email | (925) 357-0720
A native of Toluca, Mexico, César studied Accounting at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico City. In Mexico, he worked as a summer programs counselor, where he helped children with their schoolwork, offered enrichment activities, and taught children how to swim. César joined Viva el Español in 2010, and has received accolades every year from his students in elementary and middle schools throughout the East Bay.
Elizabeth Seaton, Learning Resource Department Educational Therapist
Elizabeth has worked in public and private Bay Area elementary, middle and high schools for over 20 years. She began her career in education as a classroom teacher. When Elizabeth moved to Oakland in 2000, she started working at Aurora in the 2/3 classrooms. Since 2002, Elizabeth has worked with Joyce Kelley in Aurora’s Learning Resource Department. Elizabeth has a B.A. from Connecticut College, earned her teaching credential at San Francisco State and holds a masters in educational therapy from Holy Names University. In addition to working at Aurora, Elizabeth has a private practice as an educational therapist in Oakland. She enjoys walking in the woods, reading, being in or on the water, textile crafts and art, gardening, singing, yummy food, friends, family…and being a part of a progressive school community.
Eve Decker, Music Specialist
Email | Extension 229
Eve Decker received a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from UC Berkeley and a certificate of mastery in Orff Schulwerk (a wonderful pedagogy for teaching music to children) from Mills College. Eve has been teaching music and theater to people from preschool age through adults for twenty years – all of her adult life. This included working at Aurora School as the music and drama teacher from 1996-2007. In 2012, Eve rejoined the Aurora community and we are thrilled to have her back! In addition to her work teaching Music and Movement classes, she is responsible for coordinating our wonderful Tuesdays morning community assemblies.
Joyce Kelley, Learning Resource Specialist
Email | Extension 206
Joyce has been part of Aurora’s educational team since the fall of 2000. Joyce offers support to students, faculty and parents in order to enhance the success of students with learning differences. She provides information about how to support a diversity of learning styles in classrooms. Joyce has a B.S. in psychology from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in education with a certificate in Educational Therapy, from Holy Names University. Joyce has lived in the Bay Area for all of her adult life and has a 25-year-old daughter who works in publishing. Mindfulness, environmental sustainability, and equality are some of her passions. In her free time, Joyce likes to garden, write, read, upcycle found furniture items and spend time with family and friends.
Julie Pollack, Art Teacher
Email | Extension 210
Julie Pollack received a BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) from the University of Michigan in Photography and Graphic design. Since graduation, she has worked as a freelance designer, stylist, and consultant for home interiors, events, print, and textile design. Julie started her teaching career as a volunteer in the art room at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito. This position eventually led to assisting and substitute teaching roles with the school. Since 2012, Julie has been the Art Director at Mr. D’s Music Camp, teaching thematic, integrated art classes to children ages 7 to 13. A mother of two teenagers, Julie emphasizes process over product, and follows the Aurora motto, “Take Risks, Make Mistakes!”
Keri Casler, STEM Specialist
Email | Extension 223/225
A native of Long Island, NY, Keri brings extensive teaching experience to Aurora, including working as a summer camp STEM instructor, an enrichment and homeschool teacher, and teacher in a progressive K-8 charter school that focused on collaboration and project-based learning. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Technology. Keri is passionate about engaging children in STEM and exposing them to projects, which evoke their creativity, collaborative skills, and curiosity. In her spare time, Keri enjoys spending time with her husband and three “fur babies”, camping, kayaking, taking care of her succulents, and learning new crafts.
Marcela Martínez, Spanish
A native of México, Marcela holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the National Pedagogical University in Mexico, as well as a Master’s Degree in Education. She has taught at the Kindergarten level for over 20 years, including several years as Site Supervisor. Marcela is a very gentle teacher, affectionate with her students and co-workers. She has a contagious love for Spanish and is passionate about learning new tools she can apply in her classroom. In her free time, Marcela likes to read, listen to music, and travel.
Moisés Osorio, Spanish and Music
Email | (510) 815-8328
A native of El Salvador, Moisés has over ten years of experience playing piano and saxophone for special events including church services, weddings, special events, and hotels. Moisés also has over five years of professional curriculum development and music teaching experience for elementary school students, including students with special needs. He has planned and implemented special events and activities at an elementary school in El Salvador, including seasonal concerts, holiday celebrations, and ceremonies. Moisés is currently pursuing an AA Degree in Music at Peralta College and hopes to transfer to the San Francisco State music program to obtain a BA in music education.
Rebecca Highland, Librarian
Email | Extension 223
Rebecca earned her B.A. from Smith College; her Master’s in Education and teaching credential from Mills College; and her Masters in Library and Information Science and teacher librarian credential from San Jose State University. She spent ten years teaching in first- and second-grade classrooms in the Bay Area, and three years as a librarian at Redwood Day School in Oakland. Rebecca also works as a librarian for the Oakland Public Library, and loves matching kids with books that spark their curiosity, imagination, and empathy. When Rebecca isn’t teaching she loves to rock out to U2, spend time in nature, make art with her kids, and read.
Taylor Gersbach, Woodshop
Email | Extension 209
Taylor earned her Bachelor’s Degree with a focus in Community Art, Sculpture, and Sound from California College of the Arts. She has taught as a Teaching Artist and Private Instructor in the topics of woodshop, painting/drawing, ceramics, sewing, ukulele, and singing/songwriting. A music lover and performer, Taylor established the CCA Music Department and coordinated artists for the Mixed Media Mixer in Berkeley. She has performed at the Center for New Music (SF) and other venues around the greater Bay Area, Big Sur and the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, Taylor loves to perform and record music with her band, craft projects to sell, bring people together, go on nature adventures, garden, and cook.