Meet Our Instructors

Teachers for the Adult School are professional educators. All state-funded courses and many community interest classes are taught by credentialed teachers. In addition, some of our instructors bring to the classroom their expertise from other professions or occupations.


Mitra Bahrami

Mitra Bahrami has been an ESL teacher at the Palo Alto Adult School since 2007. She started at the school teaching a writing course which led to the launch of the Writing Academy. She also created new courses, such as English Through Movies and US History and Culture, and revamped the TOEFL prep course, currently (more)

Jim Barbera

Co-founder/Managing Partner, EVucation, LLC; Staff Engineer, 13 years at ChargePoint, the world’s largest network of electric vehicle charging stations. He has driven over 100,000 electric miles and currently has three EVs in his household. He is versed in all aspects of EV life, home and workplace charging, solar panels, and home electrification. Jim shines at (more)

Katherine S. Barg Ed.D

Kay has taught at the Palo Alto Adult School since fall of 2011. She teaches a variety of courses: Writing Academy from beginning to advanced, American Business Communication, Presenting with Confidence, US Citizenship, Speaking Fluently and Intermediate Low ESL. Kay has two masters in Education and Administration as well as a Doctorate in Curriculum and (more)

Mary Bazigos

Mary Bazigos is a Palo Alto Adult School credentialed teacher with a Master’s degree in English as a Second Language from San Francisco State University. Her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley is in Spanish literature. She has been teaching at the Palo Alto Adult School since 2003. As a first generation American with parents who immigrated (more)

Margaret Bdzil

ESL Transitions Instructor Margaret Bdzil brings to her class a wealth of knowledge about career and higher education opportunities. For over 20 years, she has worked at De Anza College administering career education and workforce development programs. Margaret holds a Master’s degrees in Slavic and East European Studies from Ohio State University and a Certificate (more)

Mireille Belloni

Mireille Belloni, a native of France, has taught and directed French Language Programs in the United States for many years. An alumn of the Ecole Normale Supérieure, she also studied at the Sorbonne and at the University of Kent (U.K.). In the U.S., she has been on the faculty of the University of Michigan, Middlebury (more)

Ferenc Besze

Ferenc Besze was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary.  His love for art surfaced early on in his childhood when Ferenc filled all his textbooks with drawings to the frustration of his teachers and parents.  He started his career decisively influenced by the internationally known Ernő Zórád’s comics.  They were an inspiration to him when (more)

Sherri Bohan

Sherri Bohan is a State Board credentialed instructor and has a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. In 2021, she will celebrate 25 years as a Palo Alto Adult School instructor! She has been a local landscaper, garden instructor, designer, consultant, licensed contractor and professional horticulturist for over 40 years. A small business owner doing residential landscape (more)

Jonake Bose

Jonake has been cooking since the age of 8 and loves to cook using fresh ingredients and shortcuts and teach cooking. She has taught numerous cooking classes in India, Germany and the US. She learned to cook from her grandmother, aunt and other family members. In her classes, she takes traditional recipes from her mother’s (more)

Mary Ann Carmack

I have loved woodworking since childhood when my dad built a workbench for me when I was just 6 years old! When I retired from a career in pediatrics, I was thrilled to rekindle that interest, taking all of the woodworking courses offered at Palo Alto Adult School. Since 2015, I have had the honor (more)

Amy Chan

I have been licensed to teach Zumba and Zumba toning since 2016. I love teaching! It is so satisfying to see your students take the time to take good care of their health while having fun. In the past 4 years I have taught at FUHSD adult school, Total Women Gym & Spa, West Coast (more)

Susan Cole

Susan Cole has been teaching ESL at Palo Alto Adult School since 2002, at levels from beginning to advanced. Susan’s goal is to help her students become more confident, effective and enthusiastic communicators in English. She seeks to structure her classes and materials so that students develop and improve in the directions that are most (more)

Liz Crandall

Liz Crandall has a degree in photography and digital imaging from Foothill College. She taught in the open lab classes at Foothill and has assisted with various photography workshops. Liz has worked in custom photo labs as a film processor, copy photographer, custom printer and in digital production where she has provided graphics, posters and (more)

Darryl Dieckman

Furniture maker Darryl Dieckman is interested in reinterpreting iconic designs from the past in beautiful woods and adapting their function for everyday use. He is a graduate of the Fine Woodworking program at The Krenov School (2018) and The College of The Redwoods (2017). He is currently a resident of the Cubberley Artist Studio Program (more)

Ellen Engelman

Ellen Engelman is a California credentialed teacher, and has been a PAAS Computer Applications instructor since 1998. She is also the PAAS webmaster, maintaining and updating the Adult School website each quarter, and also produces the school catalog content each quarter. Ellen is a member of the PAAS WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges) team which (more)

Sharon Eshel Gloster

I am an English language coach who, after working as a Human Resources Manager for various organizations, decided to follow my passion for helping others improve communication and productivity through improved language skills. Although I had been tutoring part-time for several years while working in HR, in 2013, I decided to fully focus my time (more)

Chana Feinstein

Chana has been inventing stories and songs since before she could hold a pencil. She has enjoyed working as a teacher and coach to undergraduates and other adults in a variety of fields for many years, and has a special passion for teaching about writing. Before and since her writer’s block, she won a half-dozen (more)

Stefania Filigheddu

Stefania Filigheddu – Born in Civitavecchia (Rome) and raised in Sardegna, obtained her Masters Degree in Political Science at the University of Pavia with a special focus on Economics and then attended a Master Course on European Economics Programs. She worked 7 years in Milano as a Human Resource Specialist and Human Resources Consulting, then (more)

Lisa Foster

Lisa Foster has over 2 decades of broadcasting and voice over experience, and has one of the most versatile voices in the industry. She has written and voiced live and recorded commercials for dozens of businesses and corporations including Crest Toothpaste, Olay, Café Appassionato, LA Weight Loss, Advanced Laser Clinics and Sleep Train. Foster has (more)

Marc Geller

Co-founder/Managing Partner, EVucation, LLC; Co-founder, Plug In America; Board of Directors, Electric Auto Association; Board of Directors, Adopt-A-Charger. He has driven over 200,000 electric miles and currently has 3 EVs in his household. Marc was one of the early local pioneers of EV transition, working steadfastly to help promote adoption. He is a valued consultant (more)

Claude Godcharles

Claude has been involved in woodworking for over 12 years, with interests in furniture design and production, woodturning, marquetry, and almost anything involving wood. A big motivation for teaching woodworking is that teaching is learning: it forces an instructor to dig deeper and figure out how to transmit skills and techniques by interacting with students.

Sharon Hampel

Sharon Hampel has enjoyed teaching writing at Palo Alto Adult School for the past several years. Prior to moving to San Francisco, she taught literature and writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. Sharon has a Masters in Literature with an emphasis on ESL teaching and a Ph.D. in Literature with (more)

Inge Harding-Barlow

While Inge was a Toxicologist by profession, she has taught International Genealogy for 30 years. Although not LDS, she is Senior Genealogist at the Menlo Park Family History Center (MPFHC) and has been in charge of acquiring books, films, fiche, and CDs for the MPFHC for the last 20 years.

Blanca Herrera

Blanca Herrera has been an educator for 23+ years. She has taught most grades from Kinder-8th grade and university level. Her love for dancing started in middle school. She joined a couple of friends to create a dance group that imitated an 80’s Mexican all-female group named Flans. They participated in weekly dance competitions. She (more)

Rachel Kellerman

Rachel Kellerman loves to read, give advice, and talk about books, so she chose the perfect profession: librarian. Now recently retired after a thirty-year career working in PAUSD schools, she looks forward to engaging a community of readers in an adult setting. She holds an MA in Education from UC Berkeley and an MA in (more)

Kathleen Koenig

My interest in sewing and textiles started in childhood with making clothes for Barbie dolls! To encourage me, my mother let me use a sewing machine at a very young age. Eventually I experimented with car upholstery and then found the niche in furniture upholstery. I discovered the Palo Alto Adult School Upholstery class in (more)

Roberta Lamanda

Roberta was born and raised in Rome where she earned her Bachelor Degree in Political Science at La Sapienza, University of Rome. She worked in Milan for many years before moving to New York where she worked as a contributor for a major Italian TV network. When she moved to Palo Alto, California with her (more)

Kathilynn Lehmer

I have lived and worked in the Bay Area for many years as an educator, employment counselor, program and training coordinator and transition specialist. I have helped hundreds of youth and adults to get jobs and explore careers. I have a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and a MS in Education and (more)

Brenda Lowen

Brenda Lowen has taught Literacy at PAAS since 1995. Brenda received her B.A. from Antioch College, Ohio 1961 and M.A. from Standford University in 1966.

Andrew Lu

Andrew Lu is a music educator and Palo Alto native. He currently teaches band and choir at Thomas S. Hart Middle School in Pleasanton, CA. Additionally, he serves as the Board President of Ninth Planet, a new music ensemble and service organization based in San Francisco, CA. Andrew graduated from University of the Pacific’s Conservatory (more)

Leonardo McCord Salazar

Leonardo McCord Salazar has taught the Spanish language for 38 years. He holds a B.A. in Spanish and French from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Spanish from UCLA. He is a UC Regents’ Scholar, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi (the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society), and Alpha Mu (more)

Diane McCoy

Diane McCoy was born and raised in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Ms. McCoy attended Santa Clara University, graduating with a Masters Degree in Education, and teaching credentials in Special Education and Elementary Education. She taught 38 years, mostly in Palo Alto, in Special Education and First Grade. Upon retiring four years ago, Ms. (more)

Marcus Miller

Marcus enjoys teaching woodworking at all levels and has been teaching through Palo Alto Adult School for over a decade. He blends a power tool and hand tool approach to fine furniture building with an emphasis on safety and enjoyment of the craft.

Chí Phạm

Chí Phạm, your expert instructor, has lived the Vietnamese immigrant experience. His university, college, and adult education teaching draws from his diverse cultural and language expertise (fluency in Vietnamese, English, French, and German). His life’s work includes award-winning writing, education, multilingual translation, ethnic journalism, and consulting. Born and raised in Vietnam, he has lived overseas (more)

Paul Prochaska

Paul Prochaska is a classically-trained musician (CSM & UC Berkeley), but grew up in a “traditional folk music” family. If some instrument can be plucked, strummed, or blown, I’ve probably tried it! And I actually own too many! But have settled, mostly, on Guitar and Ukulele, and Bass, and … I have played guitar since (more)

David Ramadanoff

MASTER SINFONIA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA David Ramadanoff, Music Director and Conductor David Ramadanoff trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Temple University, and the Juilliard School. He began his career at the podium serving as Music Director of the Olney Symphony of Philadelphia and Assistant Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony, and leading the New York premiere (more)

Hunter Reardon

A second-year Paly teacher by day and an Adult School French teacher by night, I am always excited to discuss English and French language and literature. I have an ever-growing passion for linguistics, having so far taken two quarters of Chinese and one quarter of German through PAAS, and I look forward to sharing that (more)

John Rinehart

John Rinehart is a Bay Area furniture maker who aspires to design and make elegant, functional, and thoughtful furniture in a sustainable way. Coming from a career in tech, John discovered his true passion for “living through making” while taking evening adult education woodworking classes in Palo Alto, CA. From there he continued to learn (more)

Jane Rosten, MSW, LCSW

Co-founder/Managing Partner, EVucation, LLC; Behavior Change Specialist, Former Manager of Stanford HIP’s Environmental Behavior Change Program 1998-2020. Recognized as a passionate, caring trailblazer, Jane has for years helped people translate good intentions into sustainable behavior change, applying behavioral science tools. She has designed and taught curricula on cutting edge environmental and health topics for over (more)

Sumit Roy

Sumit Roy has been involved with the Woodworking program since 2016, initially as a student, then as a class volunteer, and since 2020, as an instructor. He spends his free time on projects in his own woodshop, with an emphasis on using locally sourced or reclaimed lumber. He has a PhD in Computer Engineering from (more)

Jamila Rufaro

Jamila Rufaro: A native New Yorker with roots in Jamaica. She can quote from every episode of Seinfeld. Her heroes are Rosa Parks and Lisbeth Salander. Juxtaposition that provokes a smile, or even better a laugh, are her favorite. When I was about eight years old I made paper angels out of notebook paper and (more)

Brittany Sabol

Brittany Sabol is the Managing Director at the Environmental Volunteers, a leading non-profit organization providing joyful, place-based nature science experiences for all ages, abilities and ethnicities. Brittany studied at University of Minnesota and earned a B.S. In Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and a B.A. in Theater Arts. After college she began developing an educational program (more)

Anjani Sarma

Anjani Sarma is a credentialed ESL instructor with a graduate certificate in TESOL. Having learned French as an adult and as a Spanish language learner now, she understands the cultural and linguistic challenges and stress adult ESL learners experience. She firmly believes that with exposure to rich and meaningful language in a low stress, fun (more)

Pary Sarraf

Pary Sarraf has pursued her passion for the French language by teaching it to those who share her enthusiasm and passion. She has been teaching French for the past twenty years. Her students appreciate her knowledge and diligence in an interesting, stimulating and inducing ambiance. Pary has a M.A. degree in French Language and Literature. (more)

Robert Schick

Originally trained as a figurative artist, Robert has been rendering historic Bay Area agricultural landmarks since 1997. Teaching Philosophy and Approach “As an artist, I visually celebrate the invisible spirits of people and places. As a teacher I nurture the unique inner spirit of each student while providing them a proven process to successfully design (more)

John Seyfarth

John Seyfarth is a veteran docent with several Peninsula Environmental Education Organizations: Environmental Volunteers/MidPen Open Space District/Hidden Villa Environmental Education. For the Past 12 years he has been leading field trips, exploring local trails and investigating everything natural from Earthquake Geology to Redwood Forests to Mountain and Baylands Ecology. Environmental Volunteers — The “EV” — (more)

Julie Shanson

Julie Shanson has a passion for tasty whole foods. She’s been teaching middle school cooking classes since the fall of 2013 with titles like Food Glorious Food and Soup, Salad, Bread and Blogs. She holds a degree from Cornell University, has worked at several tech companies in mentoring and training roles, and has had an (more)

Wendy Shapero

Wendy Shapero is a successful voice artist, actor, dancer, and comedian. Starting out as a young actress/dancer/choreographer in the Detroit scene, Wendy garnered critical acclaim for her performances onstage in “Antigone,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” and “Godspell,” among others. After touring internationally with a stage production of Disney’s “Pocahontas,” (more)

Paulina Shapona

Paulina Shapona studied art in the San Francisco-Oakland area. For many years, Paulina apprenticed with Ugo Graziotti, the master of the Renaissance school in Italy. Paulina traveled to Europe where she lived for some time in the villages along the Adriatic. She drew, painted and sculpted village life where the way of life had not changed (more)

Mollyanne Sherman

Seasoned veteran in the Home Design industry and Certified Designer, Mollyanne Sherman, CID, CKBD, CAPS, brings extensive technical knowledge of design and building standards. In addition to running her design firm, which services the Bay Area and beyond, Mollyanne has helped to prepare numerous professionals for a variety of certification exams. She is committed to (more)

Nilou Shokrani

Nilou Shokrani has been teaching ESL for ten years and loves it.The feedback she receives from her students makes her feel excited and pleased to teach. She loves to introduce new methods, books and materials to make her classes more exciting and fun. Nilou has a BA in English and a clear credential in teaching English (more)

Chris Shum

Chris always has a great passion for photography. He started devoting his talent to wedding and event photography in 2007, started his own photography studio and has been a professional photographer since then. His photography studio services include wedding, engagement, maternity, family, kids, high school senior portraits, professional portraits and events photography. Chris is an (more)

David Simon

David Simon has been working part-time with video for over fifteen years. He worked for seven years at the Midpen Media Center in Palo Alto, teaching video production, video editing, and television production courses. The television show he directed and co-produced has earned two WAVE awards; he earned a third WAVE with a mystery story. (more)

Scott Smithson

Scott Smithson brings over 40 years of Bay Area birding experience to the classroom. He began identifying birds in hometown Pacifica, after receiving a little blue Golden Guide from his kindergarten teacher. At the age of 9, he met field trip leader Gil West on a Sequoia Audubon outing, and thus began a birder-mentor-friendship that (more)

Larry Spivak

As a person who has spent a great deal of his life camping in the woods all over the western states, even going camping when my daughter was an infant, I have always been fascinated by the flora and fauna of the outdoors, as fascinated by a California poppy as by a Golden Eagle. Birds, (more)

Judy Lee-Squire

I have been practicing pilates for the past nine years, primarily mat. I came to pilates because I needed to find an exercise program that I could do on my own and stick with it. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to become certified in mat so that I could improve my practice. I (more)

Dana St. George

Dana St. George has taught Low Intermediate ESL at Greendell School since 1998 Students learn listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and have lots of conversation practice. She uses use a variety of teaching modalities, with a strong emphasis on practical communication, listening and speaking. Dana has a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota, (more)

Sue Stevick

B.A. Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley; Master of Arts in Teaching, specializing in English; Calif. Community College Teaching Credential; Calif Standard Secondary Teaching Credential. Over 25 years’ experience teaching ESL. Lecturer, English for Foreign Students, Stanford University; Instructor, Workplace English, Stanford University Hospital; Instructor, Studies in American Language, San Jose State University; Instructor, Canada and (more)

Ivan Temes

Ivan Temes, founder of Leadership & Loyalty, has been a public speaking, career development and confidence-building coach to thousands in corporations, youth programs, career centers, shelters and the military. He has extensive testimonials from high school students and adults. Ivan specializes in ensuring that participants quickly become comfortable and overcome nervousness and fear. His students (more)

Kamal Vilms

Kamal Vilms has been studying and practicing yoga since1977, first in London with Dr. Martin Underwood, whose style of yoga derived from study in Madras with TKV Desikachar. (For those interested in yoga history, both Desikachar and Iyengar learned yoga from Desikachar’s father T Krishnamacharia, who is credited with rekindling interest in hatha yoga in India (more)

Environmental Volunteers

Environmental Volunteers — The “EV” — is a non-profit organization and national leader in environmental education reaching more than 450,000 kids since 1972. Through our programs we reach thousands of kids and families each year, with the vision that all people will learn about and be inspired by the natural world so that they become (more)

Derek Witte

After 27 years as a lawyer, I decided I liked my hobbies more than my job and I retired in 2008. I took a woodworking class at the Palo Alto Adult school later that year and several more after that. In 2010, one of the instructors asked me to assist in a woodworking class and (more)

Simone Wojtowicz

Simone Wojtowicz has enjoyed teaching ESL at the Palo Alto Adult School since 2014. She teaches intermediate to advanced level English Enrichment and Writing Academy classes. She has created new courses such as American Idioms, Current Affairs, US Presidents, and Book Club to meet her students’ needs. In addition, she teaches US History and Culture, (more)

Kathy Woveris

Kathy Woveris was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Kathy studied classical piano lessons at The Eggert Academy of Music where she received her Master’s Degree in piano beginning at the age of 10 years old and continued thru high school. Kathy not only loved the piano but also studied French Horn and participated in (more)

Wing Hung Wu (Lucia)

I was born and raised speaking and reading both Chinese and English. I was exposed to both Chinese and the Western cultures in a variety of ways. I also traveled extensively throughout China every year. I chose to teach my own language as I have always appreciated and truly loved its beauty. I started to (more)

Fushan Yuan

Fushan Yuan has a passion for martial arts. He has been training Aikido since the Spring of 2012 with Shiohira Shihan at the Mountain View Aikido Center. Fushan is a member of the Pacific Aikido Federation and holds a black belt in Aikido. ( Fushan holds an engineering masters degree from Syracuse University, and has (more)

Sara Ziogas

Sara teaches in the Adult School ESL and English Enrichment Programs. She is also Tech Mentor for Adult School teachers.