Faculty & Staff Directory
- Angelina GonzalesMiddle School Language Arts Teacher, Grades 6-8
My name is Angelina Gonzales and I am the Middle School Language Arts teacher for grades 6-8. This is my fourth year teaching at Beacon Day School, but I have over ten years of experience working in the classroom. I attended the University of California, Berkeley where I earned a B.A. in Ethnic Studies, and a minor in Education. I have also taken graduate courses at Holy Names in Educational Therapy, and will begin a credentialing program in the spring. I enjoy writing, spending time with my two sons, and anything that involves spending time with all of the wonderful people in my life. I love sharing my passion for writing and critical thinking with my students.
As a Science teacher I not only want to help answer questions, but also inspire children to seek out the answers for themselves. Through lab experiments, field trips, mixed media materials and computer research, my students will have the opportunity to explore the natural world around them and learn new and evolving scientific theories. I have a master’s degree in Geological Science from University of Colorado, at Boulder. I am currently working on finishing my multi-subject credential through the California State University program, CalState Teach.
Last year was my first year teaching at Beacon Day School. I enjoyed collaborating with other teachers, staff, and parents to support student progress in middle school Science. This year, I am branching out to teach Science to grades: K7th, as well as 6th grade Math. I am also looking forward to coordinating another successful Science Fair. I strive to help the next generation understand the world critically, find their voices, and become citizens that transform their communities.
I have a daughter, Rachel, who attended Beacon Day in elementary school. She is currently in her junior year at Alameda High. We also have two adorable pugs: Eddie & Pistol. My interests include: hiking, reading, and gardening.
- Cesar Martinez QuijanoMiddle School & 4/5th Grade Spanish Teacher
I am a native of Toluca, Mexico, I studied Accounting at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico City. I have experience teaching adults how to read and write. I have experience working as a summer programs counselor in Mexico, where I helped children with their school work, offered enrichment activities and taught them how to swim. I teach elementary school aged children as well as middle school students at several public and independent schools. I also serve as a coach and mentor for other Viva el Español middle school teachers. I love to inspire a love of learning and provide opportunities for students to experience the joy of learning a new language.
Cindy has worked with Beacon since 2010 as a part time Learning Specialist, and now as a Consulting Learning Specialist, supporting creating specialized learning plans for students based on individual profiles and facilitating team engagement in student support. Cindy works with students and independent schools to help offer strategic learning approaches and plans that help struggling learners experience success and thrive in caring schools like Beacon. With a Masters in Education from Holy Names, she has professional level Educational Therapist status with the Association of Educational Therapists and offers a specialty in reading instruction encompassing written expression, spelling, handwriting and executive function. She lives in Alameda with her husband, two children, and two dogs.
- Eloise GerkenMiddle School Movement/Flex Teacher
Alum of the 8th grade Class of 2006. Holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education and Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona. Current Masters of Counseling Psychology student at Dominican University of California. Life long lover of dance and movement with specialized training in Classical Ballet, Belly dancing, and Salsa dancing.
Hi! My name is Jennifer Firestone and I am the Kindergarten/first grade teacher at Beacon Day School. I live in Alameda and have been at Beacon for the past twenty years.
I love introducing students to the early stages of learning. Throughout my years at Beacon, I have watched my students grow, learn and thrive, academically and socially. I believe all students are passionate learners and creative thinkers when given the necessary instruction at the right time. I have two children of my own, ten and twelve, years old. During my free time, I enjoy painting, taking long walks on the beach, and spending time with my family.
- Joe Salazar4/5th Grade Teacher
My name is Johnetta Bedford-Ware and I’m the primary second and third grade teacher at
Beacon Day School. I’m entering my twenty-fifth year, and I’m excited to make it my best year!
I’m married and have one child who is a junior in high school. I’m a native of Grambling,
My tenure began at Beacon Day School as a part-time staff member in 1992 in B.E.S.T., our
after-school program, where I engaged students with hands-on activities and assisted
classroom teachers with general studies. Shortly after working in the B.E.S. T. program, I
became a full-time flex in the Early Childhood program and soon thereafter, I became a flex for
grades 3-5 for two years and was promoted to a primary classroom teacher position. Over the
past several years, I have enjoyed being able to share and develop my passion for teaching at
Beacon Day School.
When I’m not teaching or planning fun and engaging activities for my students, I enjoy relaxing,
reading, and attending my son’s high school football and baseball games, and spending time
with family and friends.
I love teaching, and can’t wait to pass my passion for learning on to my students.
- Jordan PhillipsElementary Music/Movement Teacher
Elementary Music/Movement Teacher
Hi! My name is Jordan and I am the elementary Music and Movement teacher at Beacon. I have a BA in music from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where I emphasized in education and voice. Although I am primarily a vocalist, I am skilled in all instrument families. Prior to teaching at Beacon, I taught private lessons and directed a children's choir at a music studio in Southern California, and relocated to the Bay Area during the summer of 2016. When I'm not teaching at Beacon, I continue to give private instruction to students of all ages, and enjoy hiking, camping, and attending live music concerts in my free time. I do not see music education as a privilege, but as ESSENTIAL to facilitate the growth of all children. I believe children should be given the opportunity to explore and express their creative mind and I am very passionate about providing the outlet to do so through music.
- Kevin ChanReceptionist / Administrative Assistant
My Name is Kevin Chan and I recently graduated College at San Francisco State University in 2014. I was currently teaching as an after school teacher at Vincent Academy which is a elementary charter school in West Oakland. I am really excited to be part of the Beacon Day School Admin team and to be part of the Beacon Community. A little about myself, I attend church nearby in Alameda called Gracepoint Fellowship Church, I LOVE basketball, Chinese food and I love teaching kids. I teach Sunday school at my church where I’ve been teaching Sunday school for elementary school kids for over 5-6 years. I am really excited to be part of the Beacon Community, please say a quick Hello whenever you walk through the front door!
I am Reshawn Collins and I am the K-5 Flex teacher and Middle School BEST teacher. I came to Beacon as a Best teacher over 20 years ago and later became a flex for elementary. Although K-5 is my passion, I've worked with Middle school as well. I have 2 children and 1 adult child who also attended Beacon over the years. When I'm not at Beacon, I love relaxing and spending time with my husband and children.
- Rose Rios7th & 8th Math / 8th Grade Science Teacher
My love for math inspired me to develop math skills through high school, producing a solid foundation for my college development. Before I even started college I knew I wanted to major in math and the thought of being a math teacher sounded appealing so when I got to CSU Hayward and they had a math major with a teaching option I knew I was in for a fun ride!
After I graduated with my Single Subject credential, I decided to expand my knowledge further. I applied for the Master's program at CSU East Bay and after a couple classes, I knew that program wasn't for me and found a Master's program for people that wanted to specifically teach math.
While getting my Master's, I tutored at Sylvan Learning Center, strengthening my math skills and learning how to apply them in current math standards. I graduated with my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an option in math.
I have had amazing opportunities to work many different places in a short amount of time, like working for, “Teachers on Reserve”. My first long term assignment was a 6th/8th grade math teacher and I truly believe that is where I blossomed because I was given so much creative freedom and support.
- Sean NowickiMiddle School Social Studies
Sean grew up in the Bay Area and lives in Oakland. He has a Master’s Degree in History and also studied French and Art in Paris while in college. He has 10 years teaching experience and has just returned to the profession after a 5 year hiatus to be a stay-at-home dad. He incorporates art into all aspects of the learning process. Looking at a painting or sculpture and using it as a source to better understand a people or period is integral to his teaching philosophy. By having an “art-looking criteria" and using it to see Art, children become better at critical thinking. Sean feels lucky to be able to teach Middle School Social Studies at Beacon Day because it means by the time the 8th graders finish, they will have seen humans go from living in caves (6th grade), to developing modern Democracy (7th grade), to studying the experiment of a free and Democratic society in their own country (8th grade).
Head of School Suzanne Abbey joined Beacon in 2014. Suzanne was head of the Lower School at Head-Royce School in Oakland from 2005-2014. Before that she was a teacher, librarian and administrator for 16 years at St. Paul’s Episcopal School, a K-8 independent school in Oakland.
Suzanne enjoys developing curriculum, promoting staff professional development, and educating children in an arts-integrated program that is developmentally responsive and progressive. Throughout her career she has taught students from preschool through upper elementary school. Suzanne works hard to provide a challenging and supportive educational experience for a diverse community of students and teachers. As a board member on two independent school boards she actively participates in school governance, vision and innovation.
Raised in suburban Maryland, she attended Washington College where she received her B.A. in sociology. She holds a multiple-subject teaching credential from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from St. Mary’s College of California.