Giving a Giant welcome to Redwood’s new faculty

Bennett Vasquez

Every year, Redwood welcomes new faculty members to the community, many of whom have unique and interesting backgrounds. This year, Redwood welcomes two relatives of other faculty members (Matthew Samet and Vanessa Kristal) and several locals of Marin County (Grace Detore and Adam Rosenthal). However, the similarity they all share is their drive to be a positive influence on campus and introduce their creative styles of teaching to Redwood.


Rob Barde:


Previous School: White Hill Middle School

Department: Physical Education

Quote: “[I’m excited] to get to know my students and to be involved with the school community and the school culture and build relationships with my students and my fellow PE teachers and other staff on campus.”

Goal: He wants to be a positive influence on campus and have a beneficial impact on students. Barde hopes to be a teacher that makes PE a more enjoyable experience for all of his students.



Laurie Friedman:

Department: Applied Technology

Previous Occupation: Architect specializing in modern sustainable architecture


Quote: “I guess it does come down to seeing more girls enter Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) fields.  I would be excited to see an upward trend [of girls entering this field] and compare that to what my colleagues in the sciences and math departments are doing and how their numbers might be increasing.”

Goal: She wants to be a role model and inspiration for making sure all students know they can enter the STEAM fields.


Alberto Aparicio

Department: World Language

Previous school: Lowell High School


Quote: “I like teaching in an open environment with total freedom and using new teaching methods. Now here, [at Redwood], I know that I can [do] all the things I have learned throughout my professional life and especially I’m open to doing the TPR Storytelling (method of teaching foreign languages that uses a mixture of reading and storytelling to help students learn) teaching which is very interesting to me.”

Goal: He hopes to make his students in his Spanish 3-4 class more comfortable speaking Spanish and improve the native Spanish speakers’ writing skills.


Laura Taylor:

Previous school: Tamiscal

Department: Science


Quote: “[I’m excited to get] to know [the] students, what they are doing, what they care about and helping them on their journey, to wherever that is.”

Goal: She wants to learn from all the other teachers and become an influential role model for her students.


Vanessa Kristal

Previous school: Vaughn International Studies Academy

Department: English


Quote:  “Giving back to the community I grew up in is super exciting to me because I have never taught in Marin County. So to experience the educational system here really excites me, [and I’m excited] to collaborate with the English department [because] they seem really awesome and the students are just super exciting—they seem really bright and really hungry to learn.”

Goal: She wants to expose her students to unfamiliar areas of study.


Cera Arthur:

Previous school: Kipp Bayview Academy

Department: Wellness outreach specialist


Quote: “I help connect students to the staff in the Wellness Center … I help put on and create events about mental health and do a lot of outreach for different things like sexual health, mental health, substance abuse and triage a lot of students and get them connected.”

Goal: She hopes to build strong relationships with her students and staff in addition to helping her students deepen their understanding of mental health.


Jessica Alegria:

Previous school: See Well to Learn

Department: Health Specialist


Quote: “I chose [this] school district because I felt like it was a step in the right direction. When I was going to high school in San Francisco, it was close to the end of my time there when they started opening up a Wellness Center there, and I saw the positive influence it had on students.  [It] also provided an opportunity for youth to become engaged and become leaders and I wanted to be a part of that here.”

Goal: She wants to build relationships with students so they can trust her and ask for support while incorporating more health education in the classroom.


Amy Robinson:

Previous school: Independence High School

Department: Science


Quote: “ I’m thrilled with my colleagues who are supportive, friendly and welcoming. I have enjoyed the kids,I’m thrilled with almost everything. I am really happy to be here.”

Goal: She wants to pursue the Engineers Alliance for the Arts at Redwood, where students use different scenarios every year to build the scale model of bridges that are being constructed in the real world.


Matthew Samet:

Previous Occupation: Field Chemist at Thermochem Inc.

Department: Science


Quote: “There is a lot of good energy and being an educator is a profession that allows me to take pride in my work, and that allows me to have my own unique product instead of working with someone else’s or another company’s product. My own product would be my own style of teaching or my own particular set of students.”

Goal: He hopes to be a teacher that can demonstrate strong knowledge of his curriculum and aspires for his students to remember his class throughout their college education.


Mark Summary:

Previous school: Paraeducator with Redwood and Tamiscal

Department: Science


Quote: “Because [Physics in the Universe] is a new class here, I’m getting a big opportunity to collaborate with the science teachers and it is interesting to hear their perspectives on the same basic lesson.”

Goal: He wants to make sure everything is running smoothly, accommodate the different learning styles of his students and ensure that his students are receiving adequate feedback.


Adam Rosenthal:

Previous School: South Burlington High School

Department: Paraeducator


Quote: “Redwood changed my life and a lot of the teachers that are still here were really important in my teenage years— they were guiding forces. I loved going back and visiting; it has always been a fun place for me to be… I saw it as a dream job to come back and be able to try to share the love that all the teachers shared with me when I was a student.”

Goal: He wants to make people feel safe and make life a more enjoyable experience for everyone he meets.


Frank Labudzik:

Previous School: George Washington High School

Departement: Special Education


Quote: “[Redwood] has a family feel here. It feels much more tight-knit. As a special education teacher, some schools in the past [make] you feel like you’re this other department; you’re all by yourself. But here, there is a lot of collaboration between other teachers and our department and also between students. The special education students aren’t isolated by themselves. They are very intertwined and everybody is like one big family here.”

Goal: He hopes to get through his first year smoothly and begin to build relationships and a sense of community with the students he works with.


Adriana Crespin:

Previous School: Lywood High School

Department: Paraeducator


Quote: “[I’m excited about] the fact that one day [my students] can say, ‘I know this because Mrs. Adriana helped me,’ or they get an A on the test and it was just because we studied together or we put the effort to go the extra step.”

Goal: She wants to help her students grow and be able to grow as a teacher too.




Grace DeTore:

Previous School: White Hill Middle School

Department: Math


Quote: “I’m excited to return to my alma mater and I can’t wait to represent the math department.”

Goal: She wants her students to overcome their “math anxiety” and show them they can be successful in math.


Annie Nelson:

Previous School: Hall Middle School

Department: Special Education


Quote: “[I’m excited because] kids are interesting. Finding out their personalities, finding out about their home life, everyone’s various interests, struggles, things people are going through. People are interesting.”

Goal: She wants her students to have a successful year and hopes to set up her students to be successful in their futures.


Joy Gordon:

Previous Occupation: Substitute teacher

Department: Paraeducator


Quote: “[I’m excited for] working with the kids. Everyday I come [to Redwood]I smile all day because [the [students] are amazing and [their] energy is amazing and I love seeing [them] flourish.”

Goal: She wants to get her masters in counseling.


Sarah Wolf and Shannon Keehan not pictured