OUR TEAM

Credentialed, dynamic and rigorously-trained teachers. Passionate, seasoned administrators. Really nice people. We can't wait to meet you and your child.

“There’s no exclusion, everyone’s included, everybody works together. We're a close-knit family. We help each other out and support each other.”​

 

- “Coach” Wiggins

OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL

Wendy Xa

Head of School

Two-time school founder. Neuroscientist. Former Goldman Sachs VP. Mom.

 

Terra Marin is Wendy’s “encore project” after founding Presidio Knolls, the award-winning private Mandarin-immersion school in San Francisco.

 

“I created my first school, Presidio Knolls, to be the school I wanted for my own two children. It was incredible to watch it become everything I dreamed of. Then, over ten years working with hundreds of students and teachers, I learned how to create something even better. That’s what Terra Marin is.”

OUR TEACHERS

Jessica Yang


Jessica holds a Masters degree in Education from George Washington University, as well as a BA in Language Arts from Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.




Yufan Ouyang


Yufan holds a Masters degree in Foreign Language Education from The University of Pittsburgh, as well as a BA from Jiangxi Normal University in Jiangxi, China. She grew up 2 hours from Beijing and earned a scholarship to study abroad in Reggio Emilia for Early Childhood Education.




Riva Zippin


Riva holds a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley and received her teaching credential from Holy Names University.

  • She has taught K-2 for 7 years. believes that all learning begins with social interactions and that students learn best when they feel emotionally and physically safe. She strives to provide this nurturing environment for all of her students by spending the time to develop strong bonds with each child.




Andy Trapp


Andy has his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and earned his Teaching Credential from Dominican University. Andy spent16 years in sports marketing and event production then realized his true calling and moved into Education teaching 3rd grade at Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito. He spent 2 years at the former Ring Mountain School and is now a 2/3 combined teacher at Terra Marin. Andy appreciates the Terra Marin approach where a small school environment fosters intimate and close relationships across the student body and across teachers and students and where friendships and learning across the grades blows up the traditional "classroom model" in favor of a truly engaging and collaborative learning environment.




Tomoko Ferguson





Lily Shields


Lily has her MS in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley, as well as a BA in International Environmental Studies, from UC San Diego. She has been in education for over X years including time as a homeschool teacher to her three young children. Since obtaining her Masters, she has conducted health policy research at the Institute for Global Health Sciences, and renewable energy policy research at the International Energy Agency (a subsidiary group of the OECD) in Paris, France. She is driven by her deep seated belief that environmental and human health issues are interdependent and that educating people on this relationship would inspire them to be more connected to themselves and to the environment. As an educator she uses her deep knowledge in research to develop curriculum that not only sets them up for success academically, but also helps them develop into happy, thriving and connected people.




Mike Burkett


Mike has his Masters in Business Administration and his Bachelor's in Physiology from Oklahioma State Univeristy. He has been teaching 5th-8th grade Science for 14 years at schools in both San Francisco and Marin. Prior to teaching, he began his professional career as a consultant and application developer. Mike believes strongly that it is a privilege to teach. He feels he is living his dream, which is to teach Science to middle school students and to make science understandable, memorable, engaging and fun. His long term goal is to use interaction with students to model consideration for others. Students watch behavior and learn how civility works. Learning science is not as beneficial as learning communication skills to help science to be used as a solution to problems for as many people as possible.




Shauna Sullivan


Shauna received her BA in Liberal Studies, her teaching credential (CLAD) and her MA in Education (specializing in Mathematics) from San Francisco State University. Shauna has been teaching for over 21 years and in that time has also served as the High School Placement Coordinator and Academic Dean at the Ring Mountain Day School and tutored numerous students in both Humanities and Math.




Leslie Roberts


Leslie majored in Communications and Latin American Studies, studied in Mexico and Spain and worked in Venezuela as an Editor and Publications Manager. She earned her MA and teaching credential from USF and has taught and tutored students in public and private schools in Marin and San Francisco for over 10 years. Leslie is inspired by the work of Lucy Calkins and Stephanie Harvey and is passionate about helping her students fall in love with reading and writing.




Lara Zegart


Lara has her M.A. in French & Comparative Literature from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Currently assists in the 5-8 Humanities courses at Terra Marin and tutors for and now co-owns and directs West America After Care - currently located on the Terra Marin campus. Lara believes that every child deserves the chance to succeed. "The goal and message that Terra Marin offers to its students is not only of academic growth, but also exploration in all dimensions. Children should have access to education that they enjoy and that simultaneously challenges them."




Aidan Gavet





Diamond Dahlstrom


Diamond’s background in teaching Earth Education started when he was still in high school when he immersed himself in independent study of general education, nature survival skills, outdoor ed and natural sciences, graduating with a GED through the San Mateo Adult School. Through his independent study, he found the Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, which served as a doorway to a vast network of Earth Education and nature survival programs from coast to coast. He was instantly hooked after his first year with Riekes, quickly becoming a lead instructor there along with several other nature focused organizations including Trackers Earth, 4 Elements Earth Education and 8 Shields. Diamond views his role at Terra Marin as an opportunity to bring the life-changing moments of nature connection to the academic world, and intends to use nature as a doorway to connect youth to a better understanding of themselves and others, and to enhance a sense of empathy, awareness, self-confidence and drive that can be translated to every aspect of a child's life.




Orlando Wiggins


Coach Wiggins has his degree in Psychology from The College of Marin and his early education teaching certificate. Coach firmly believes that the effort you put in will determine your own personal outcome and is passionate about teaching and guiding youth in the direction of accomplishment and high self-esteem.




Kim Hawks


Kim earned her BA in Psychology from Boston College and has over 20 years of experience in strategy, operations, communications, recruiting, and marketing at such Fortune 100 corporations as Bain & Company and Digitas. Kim is also on the Board of Directors for the On Your Feet Foundation, a San Francisco-based women's empowerment non-profit. Kim’s professional background is robust, but most enjoys applying her extensive knowledge to organizations that benefit and work with children. Kim has has led several PTA organizations, done project-based learning projects, led children's book clubs, and coached teams for both Girls on the Run and Odyssey of the Mind. Children and education are Kim’s passions and she firmly believe’s that children can benefit greatly by learning experiences outside of traditional classroom. Kim is grateful everyday for the opportunity to work at Terra Marin, a school that inspires creativity and curiosity in an environment where children are appreciated for their own unique personalities and interests.




Christina Forte


Christina received her Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and her MBA from the Marshall School of Business at USC. The bulk of her professional career she has worked in product development and brand marketing at corporations such as Mattel, SCORE! Learning Centers and San Francisco Magazine. Christina also has a background in teaching including several years as a classroom aid and resource teacher for K-5 children in the Ross Valley School District and teaching middle schoolers at Davidson Middle through a non-profit called Children for Change. Christina loves being around and teaching children of all ages and helping them connect with their true potential.





OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORS

Jessica Yang


Jessica holds a Masters degree in Education from George Washington University, as well as a BA in Language Arts from Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.




Yufan Ouyang


Yufan holds a Masters degree in Foreign Language Education from The University of Pittsburgh, as well as a BA from Jiangxi Normal University in Jiangxi, China. She grew up 2 hours from Beijing and earned a scholarship to study abroad in Reggio Emilia for Early Childhood Education.




Riva Zippin


Riva holds a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley and received her teaching credential from Holy Names University.

  • She has taught K-2 for 7 years. believes that all learning begins with social interactions and that students learn best when they feel emotionally and physically safe. She strives to provide this nurturing environment for all of her students by spending the time to develop strong bonds with each child.




Andy Trapp


Andy has his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and earned his Teaching Credential from Dominican University. Andy spent16 years in sports marketing and event production then realized his true calling and moved into Education teaching 3rd grade at Prospect Sierra School in El Cerrito. He spent 2 years at the former Ring Mountain School and is now a 2/3 combined teacher at Terra Marin. Andy appreciates the Terra Marin approach where a small school environment fosters intimate and close relationships across the student body and across teachers and students and where friendships and learning across the grades blows up the traditional "classroom model" in favor of a truly engaging and collaborative learning environment.




Tomoko Ferguson





Lily Shields


Lily has her MS in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley, as well as a BA in International Environmental Studies, from UC San Diego. She has been in education for over X years including time as a homeschool teacher to her three young children. Since obtaining her Masters, she has conducted health policy research at the Institute for Global Health Sciences, and renewable energy policy research at the International Energy Agency (a subsidiary group of the OECD) in Paris, France. She is driven by her deep seated belief that environmental and human health issues are interdependent and that educating people on this relationship would inspire them to be more connected to themselves and to the environment. As an educator she uses her deep knowledge in research to develop curriculum that not only sets them up for success academically, but also helps them develop into happy, thriving and connected people.




Mike Burkett


Mike has his Masters in Business Administration and his Bachelor's in Physiology from Oklahioma State Univeristy. He has been teaching 5th-8th grade Science for 14 years at schools in both San Francisco and Marin. Prior to teaching, he began his professional career as a consultant and application developer. Mike believes strongly that it is a privilege to teach. He feels he is living his dream, which is to teach Science to middle school students and to make science understandable, memorable, engaging and fun. His long term goal is to use interaction with students to model consideration for others. Students watch behavior and learn how civility works. Learning science is not as beneficial as learning communication skills to help science to be used as a solution to problems for as many people as possible.




Shauna Sullivan


Shauna received her BA in Liberal Studies, her teaching credential (CLAD) and her MA in Education (specializing in Mathematics) from San Francisco State University. Shauna has been teaching for over 21 years and in that time has also served as the High School Placement Coordinator and Academic Dean at the Ring Mountain Day School and tutored numerous students in both Humanities and Math.




Leslie Roberts


Leslie majored in Communications and Latin American Studies, studied in Mexico and Spain and worked in Venezuela as an Editor and Publications Manager. She earned her MA and teaching credential from USF and has taught and tutored students in public and private schools in Marin and San Francisco for over 10 years. Leslie is inspired by the work of Lucy Calkins and Stephanie Harvey and is passionate about helping her students fall in love with reading and writing.




Lara Zegart


Lara has her M.A. in French & Comparative Literature from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Currently assists in the 5-8 Humanities courses at Terra Marin and tutors for and now co-owns and directs West America After Care - currently located on the Terra Marin campus. Lara believes that every child deserves the chance to succeed. "The goal and message that Terra Marin offers to its students is not only of academic growth, but also exploration in all dimensions. Children should have access to education that they enjoy and that simultaneously challenges them."




Aidan Gavet





Diamond Dahlstrom


Diamond’s background in teaching Earth Education started when he was still in high school when he immersed himself in independent study of general education, nature survival skills, outdoor ed and natural sciences, graduating with a GED through the San Mateo Adult School. Through his independent study, he found the Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, which served as a doorway to a vast network of Earth Education and nature survival programs from coast to coast. He was instantly hooked after his first year with Riekes, quickly becoming a lead instructor there along with several other nature focused organizations including Trackers Earth, 4 Elements Earth Education and 8 Shields. Diamond views his role at Terra Marin as an opportunity to bring the life-changing moments of nature connection to the academic world, and intends to use nature as a doorway to connect youth to a better understanding of themselves and others, and to enhance a sense of empathy, awareness, self-confidence and drive that can be translated to every aspect of a child's life.




Orlando Wiggins


Coach Wiggins has his degree in Psychology from The College of Marin and his early education teaching certificate. Coach firmly believes that the effort you put in will determine your own personal outcome and is passionate about teaching and guiding youth in the direction of accomplishment and high self-esteem.




Kim Hawks


Kim earned her BA in Psychology from Boston College and has over 20 years of experience in strategy, operations, communications, recruiting, and marketing at such Fortune 100 corporations as Bain & Company and Digitas. Kim is also on the Board of Directors for the On Your Feet Foundation, a San Francisco-based women's empowerment non-profit. Kim’s professional background is robust, but most enjoys applying her extensive knowledge to organizations that benefit and work with children. Kim has has led several PTA organizations, done project-based learning projects, led children's book clubs, and coached teams for both Girls on the Run and Odyssey of the Mind. Children and education are Kim’s passions and she firmly believe’s that children can benefit greatly by learning experiences outside of traditional classroom. Kim is grateful everyday for the opportunity to work at Terra Marin, a school that inspires creativity and curiosity in an environment where children are appreciated for their own unique personalities and interests.




Christina Forte


Christina received her Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and her MBA from the Marshall School of Business at USC. The bulk of her professional career she has worked in product development and brand marketing at corporations such as Mattel, SCORE! Learning Centers and San Francisco Magazine. Christina also has a background in teaching including several years as a classroom aid and resource teacher for K-5 children in the Ross Valley School District and teaching middle schoolers at Davidson Middle through a non-profit called Children for Change. Christina loves being around and teaching children of all ages and helping them connect with their true potential.





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The Terra Schools admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.