Our Faculty & Staff
Head of School
Elaine brings more than 40 years of experience in the field of education to Silver Oak. She has twenty-five years administrative/teaching experience working with schools, serving students from early childhood through university, founding Montessori Hale O Keiki on Maui (a triple accredited, independent school enrolling children ages 3 through 15), and Global Technology High School (the first Montessori high school in Hawai’i). Elaine also directed the Early Childhood/Montessori Education programs at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Ms. Blasi has her B.S.F.S. from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an M.Ed in International Education from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. She is currently AMS (American Montessori Society) credentialed in Early Childhood and Secondary I/II and is a teacher trainer for the Houston Montessori Center. Elaine is a commissioner for the AMS School Accreditation Commission and a past member of the AMS Board. She has served as an accreditation visiting team member for HAIS (Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools), WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), AMS (American Montessori Society) and MACTE (Montessori Accreditation Commission for Teacher Education).
Yanira graduated with her Master’s from San Jose State University. She has worked in the education field for over six years and enjoys working with youth and families. As a counselor at Silver Oak High School she works to provide students with the access to resources and information needed to get them to college.
Dean of Students
Cesar has made his career in Montessori education. After graduating from St. Mary’s College with a business degree, Cesar volunteered with the Lasallian Brothers and taught elementary school to underserved populations in the Memphis, TN area. After teaching in Memphis, Cesar realized that his true passion was for education. He enrolled in St. Mary’s Montessori certification program and began his work in Montessori. He has a decade of experience teaching students, from elementary to middle school, and now high school at Silver Oak. When Cesar is not at school, he spends his time with his husband, their daughter, and two dogs. They live in Oakland, near Lake Merritt, enjoying the restaurants and parks.
Office Manager (on maternity leave)
Development Director & Instructional Coach
Marley earned her B.A. from Connecticut College in Psychology-based Human Relations and German Studies. Shortly after graduation, she began her impactful career in education in Oakland Unified School District, where she fostered a passion for educating students of diverse ages and backgrounds. In 2012, she received her Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential at Cal State East Bay. In 2014, Marley began teaching at Silver Oak, while simultaneously working on her Montessori Secondary I & II Credential through the American Montessori Society (AMS). She additionally has a Masters of Education from Taft University. Marley was born in New York City, raised in Western Massachusetts, and now calls Oakland home.
Faculty & Staff
9th & 10th Grade English Language Arts
Mx./Mr. Almanza has been teaching high school for six years. Originally from Texas, he taught his first year at the International High School of New Orleans and two years at New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School.
11th & 12th Grade Senior Thesis, Psychology, Theory of Knowledge, Music Theory, Bandleader
Jordan attended Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor’s in Environmental Education and Music Theory. He has been teaching at Silver Oak High School since 2015. Jordan is from Columbus, Ohio and currently lives in Oakland.
Mental Health Specialist
Melanie is a licensed marriage and family therapist who received her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Melanie is an interactive, strength based therapist utilizing CBT and Mindfulness to assist students in developing healthy stress management techniques, identifying coping strategies to support better communication in home and school, and emphasize students’ abilities and educational outcomes. While Melanie has been working in the education system for 8 years with grade levels ranges from kindergarten to university, this is her first year at Silver Oak in the mental health department. In her role, Melanie will conduct individual and group counseling for students while writing and implementing programs to strengthen the department and help faculty and staff integrate mental health approaches into the classroom. When away from Silver Oak, you can find Melanie either conducting mental health assessments for Alameda County Social Services or doing psychotherapy at a nonprofit in San Leandro. While she misses beautiful southern California and summiting Mount Baldy, Melanie is happy to be back in the Bay Area exploring new restaurants with her fiancé, hiking in the canyon, and spending quality time with her family.
Deb has been an educator since 2006. She began her career at Somerville Public Schools in Massachusetts, teaching in the Special Education department while obtaining her Master’s degree in Creative Arts Education at Lesley University. She is TESOL certified and worked as the ELL Specialist and Art teacher at KIPP Summit Academy in San Lorenzo, CA. She is excited to begin her first year as the Reading Specialist at both Silver Oak and Golden Oak Montessori public charter schools.
11th & 12th Grade Social Studies
David has been at Silver Oak for four years. He graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho with a degree in History Education and a minor in American Government Education. He holds a credential in Elementary I and II from American Montessori Society. He is working on a masters degree in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University. A student of Montessori as a child, David has experience teaching both elementary and secondary Montessori.
Dyane began teaching as a third career. Her first career was based in the Fashion industry where she grew to respect and appreciate the special mix of creativity and education. This began her love for design, education and creativity.
She held several positions in the Music and Film industry, further developing a sense for the visual. She went on to earn her B.F.A. from Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, her teaching credential from Dominican University, her Montessori Secondary credential from HMC and her Master’s of Science in Education at Dominican University. She began teaching high school in 2001 in Los Angeles, teaching Animation, Visual Effects and New Media in a Math & Technology Magnet. After moving to the Bay Area in 2008, she taught in the San Francisco Unified School District for several years. She taught Art & Design in Marin county for two years before coming to land here at Silver Oak. Since she began teaching at Silver Oak she has published works based on student-centered learning and the Montessori classroom. She teaches Digital Media, Motion Graphics, Visual Art with film, visual effects and graphic design thrown in. In her free time Dyane likes to pursue her passions. They are: design, animals, documentary film making, painting, jewelry making, poetry, writing, thrift store shopping and making music.
11th & 12 Grade Science
Nicole graduated from California State University Chico with her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry. After, she attended California State University, East Bay to pursue her Masters in Chemistry. She has taught students of all ages, as a tutor and evolved to teaching at the high school and college levels. She began teaching at Silver Oak in 2015. In 2017, she started her position as an Adjunct Chemistry Professor at Diablo Valley College. Her passion for chemistry has inspired the next generation to investigate our world as the scientists she forms in her classroom everyday.
Math, Athletic Director
Melisa graduated with her bachelors in Physics from California State University, East Bay. This is her first year here at Silver Oak High School, and she looks forward in giving the students all the support and help they need in order to be successful and well prepared for college. Melisa is the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. During her free time, she likes to spend time with her family as well as doing outdoor activities with her significant other.
11th & 12th Grade Spanish
Cloe received her B.A. in Spanish Language/Literature from San Francisco State University. While at San Francisco State University, she traveled to Spain and studied Spanish Literature at Complutense University in Madrid. Previously, she worked for three years at Claremont Middle School, where she developed her teaching skills. This is her third year at Silver Oak High School. She was born and raised in the country of lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua. She currently resides in Emeryville, CA.
Mathematics, Business Entrepreneurship
Having been raised by a Montessori teacher, Okeefe fully embraces the philosophy and ideals which drive Silver Oak. He graduated UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Astrophysics in June of 2015, and proceeded to formally tutor high school students in standardized test preparation and Science/Math. He found that he not only enjoyed teaching students the tools which drive his passions of Astronomy and Physics, but also the experience of guiding their intellectual growth. In his free time, Okeefe enjoys reading, biking, and playing/composing music.
9th & 10th Grade Spanish
Martha Ochoa-Hurtado comes to Silver Oak with 25 years of teaching experience both in traditional and Montessori education. She has taught elementary and college courses. She has a bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Sociology, multiple Montessori teaching credentials and a Master’s in Montessori education. She has developed and implemented Spanish programs in schools across the Bay Area. She founded the organization Youth in Action and a Young Woman’s empowerment after school program in a school in the city of Oakland, where she also grew up and taught most of her career. In 2012, she moved to Hayward to teach at Golden Oak Montessori and is excited to now be a part of Silver Oak. Her volunteer work is widespread ranging from translator, to teaching citizenship classes, tutoring, mentoring new teachers, parent education and youth advocacy. She loves being a full- time mother and a community activist. She has a passion for education, social justice, camping and dancing.
SPED TA/Lunch Coordinator
Diana is the Special Needs Teacher Assistant and the Lunch Coordinator. This is her first year at Silver Oak High School. She is currently working towards an AA in Early Childhood Development at Chabot Community College, after which she plans to transfer to California State University, East Bay to pursue a bachelor’s in ECD. Diana was born and raised in the Bay Area in a family of seven. In her free time, she enjoys going for walks with her husband and her dog, watching anime, photographing wildlife, and teaching herself Japanese.
9th & 10th Grade Science
Isabel is a graduate of California State University, East Bay, where she obtained a Master’s in Biology and PostBaccalaureate Certificate in Biotechnology. At Silver Oak, she at first served as a substitute teacher for 6 months. Shortly after, she was permanently hired to teach 11th grade Theory of Knowledge. In her current role, she teaches 9th and 10th grade science, including Biology, and this year Environmental Science. She was born in Hayward and her family is from Moyahua, Zacatecas, Mexico.
Fangfang earned her Bachelor’s degree in Math and Applied Math from Shanghai Normal University (China) and Master’s degree in Adolescence Education in Math from College of Staten Island of the City University of New York. Following her graduation, she taught Math and Mandarin to different levels of students in New York City. After Fangfang relocated to Bay Area with her family in 2011, she taught Geometry, Algebra and Calculus at the high school level. Fangfang has been teaching at Silver Oak High School since 2014, while she completed her CA secondary credential and Montessori Secondary I&II credential. Fangfang has a passion for leading students to discover joy and develop creativity in their studies. She loves to share her enthusiasm for Math and Mandarin with adolescents.
Special Education Coordinator
Nancy completed her undergraduate studies at University of California, San Diego receiving her degree in Psychology with a program focus on Educational Psychology. She continued her education pursuits in Maryland and graduated from University of Maryland with a Master’s of Arts in Teacher Education with an emphasis in Special Education and Social Studies. Nancy holds teaching credentials in Maryland, Hawaii and California for Special Education as well as Social Studies. She taught Social Studies and served as an Autism Behavioral Therapist for Baltimore City and Howard County schools while residing in Maryland. She has experience working with students from Pre-K, Elementary, Middle and High School. Nancy has also taught in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. She co-taught at Kapolei Middle School for Algebra and Language Arts. She also co-taught at Kapolei High School as the Special Education Teacher for US History and Psychology. Nancy continues to use her Psychology background to interweave the Special Education curriculum to help students with all needs and backgrounds. This is Nancy’s third year at Silver Oak fulfilling her position as Special Education Coordinator.
9th & 10th Grade Social Studies, Basketball Coach
Mark attended California State University, Bakersfield for undergrad where he studied Political Science. He continues his educational pursuit at Fuller Theological Seminary where he studies Multicultural Studies with an emphasis in Children At-Risk. In 2014, Mark began teaching at Riverside Preparatory High School in Oro Grande School District. He also has experience as a curriculum developer and teaching in the state of Indiana. Mark has a passion for coaching basketball where he has the opportunity to teach his players wholesome principles that transfer to life beyond the basketball court. When Mark is not at Silver Oak, you can find him trying local eateries, following his favorite team the Los Angeles Lakers or spending time with his fiance.