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.


DeAnne Appleton

DeAnne Appleton has been Sewing since she was 9 years old. She says, “They couldn’t keep fabric, needles, and thread away from me!” She constantly expands and refines her skills by taking challenging classes and attending professional conferences. A dress, jacket, and purse ensemble that she designed and made was accepted into the juried Wearable Art Exhibit (more)

Mitra Bahrami

Mitra Bahrami teaches ESL, writing, and communication courses to international students and professionals. She has over 30 years of writing, training and production experience in high technology, education and broadcasting, and has been teaching at the Palo Alto Adult School since 2007. Mitra’s teaching focuses on making sure students develop the confidence to take what (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 LowESL. Kay has two masters in Education and Administration as well as a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. (more)

Mary Bazigos

Mary Bazigosis 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 from (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)

Chen Ben Asher

Chen Ben Asher is a member of Certified Gluten Practitioner (CGP), focusing on The First Line Therapy Nutrition Programs(FLT), and Meridian Stress Analysis (MSA). She is also a member of The National Association of Professionals (NANP). and a member of The Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board (HNCB). Author of Amazon best selling book What If Gluten-Free (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 2016, she will celebrate 20 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 30 years. A small business owner doing residential landscape (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)

Matthew Dodder

Matthew Dodder, Palo Alto Adult School’s Intermediate/Advanced Birding instructor since 1999, got his start as a birder at age 14 when he sprinkled birdseed on the snow after a heavy snowstorm and identified his very first Northern Cardinal. He has traveled around the world birding but says that his some of his most enjoyable birding experiences have (more)

Dorit Elisha

Dorit Elisha is an exhibiting mixed media artist, author and instructor, who chooses to use recycled materials in her mixed media art. Dorit lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and teaches locally as well as nationally. She is a member of the Bay Area Book Arts Organization. Dorit has published two art related books (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)

Chana Feinstein

Why Take this Class? 30 year blocked writer (with half dozen writing awards), now unblocked! While blocked, wrote dozens of essays, first drafts of 3 novels, stories, poems, all using techniques. I’ll teach in class based on years of research. Currently, finishing a book on Writer’s Block, a Memoir & a Musical! Yelper Elite and (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)

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.

Christine Bell Green (Chris Green)

Chris is a professional genealogist who has been teaching Intermediate Genealogy at PAAS since the Spring Semester of 2013. Every student has a unique family so everyone’s research journey and expertise is different. Sharing these journeys and celebrating the successes with a group of enthusiastic genealogists is an important part of the class. All have (more)

Michelle Greenebaum

Michelle Greenebaum, owner of Together In The Kitchen, is a Nutrition Consultant and Healthy Cooking Instructor. In her popular hands-on cooking classes, Michelle teaches adults, teens, and children how to prepare delicious and easy healthy meals and snacks. As a Nutrition Consultant, Michelle works with clients offering programs such as “Grocery Store Shopping, Label Reading, (more)

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)

Carrie Harper Hechtman

Carrie Harper Hechtman has had a lifelong passion for reading, writing and teaching literature. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco, where she also worked as a teaching assistant, and has led writing workshops for children and adults in the Palo Alto area. She is actively involved in the (more)

Garth Harwood, M.A., M.B.S.

Garth Harwood, M.A., M.B.S., is the Director of Education at Hidden Villa, an organic farm and wilderness preserve in Los Altos Hills, where he has trained countless schoolchildren and many adult staff and volunteers in naturalist skills for the past 15 years. An avid birder and compulsive naturalist, he leads occasional Audubon Society bird walks (more)

Ramesh & Bharati Joshi

Ramesh Joshi came to Stanford University in September 1968. Bharati joined him six months later. Both were professional engineers by day, and cooking became their hobby and passion. Ramesh learned cooking from watching his mom cooking. After arriving in the U.S., he needed to start cooking what he was used to eating every day 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)

Malika Labidi

Bonjour! I am Malika and I am from France. I studied English and Linguistics at the University in Paris where I received a BA as well as my teaching credentials. I have been teaching for more than twenty five years at different levels. I enjoy teaching and sharing my passion for languages and cultures. I (more)

Ann Laveroni

I first started as a student in the Upholstery class in 1991. I loved it immediately and began my student teaching after 2 years. About the same time I started my home upholstery and slip covering business. I have been teaching this wonderful class ever since!

Christine Layer

Christine Layer, owner of Chaos Control®, inspires and guides clients in a lifestyle of choice. For over twenty years she has provided consulting, coaching, and motivational workshops on life and work priorities, values-based schedule planning and effective time management. Christine designs creative, customized solutions to streamline office systems that increase productivity and performance. She is regularly (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)

Shaowei Liu

Shaowei Liu studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco from 1982-85 and graduated with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in commercial art. After several years working on commercial and editorial jobs, she started her long career in the game industry in 1992, 7 years for computer games and 15 years for (more)

Francesca Lorenzon

Francesca was born and raised in North Eastern Italy. There she completed her studies and lived until 2011 when she moved to the Bay Area with her whole family. She earned a Master’s Degree with Honors in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University of Trieste. Besides maintaining her innate love for Italian regional cuisine, (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.

Leonardo McCord Salazar

Leonardo McCord Salazar has taught the Spanish language for 33 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)

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.

Thanh Kosen Nguyen

Thanh “Kosen 紅泉” Nguyen was introduced to Ikebana at an early age in Vietnam but only had the opportunity to study this art after she came to the USA. She was born in Vietnam into a family of 12 children. Twice her family left everything behind to escape to South Vietnam and later to America. (more)

Eduardo Pinheiro

Eduardo started his Aikido practice in 1993 in Brazil, while in college. He received his shodan (first degree black belt) under Shiohira sensei’s supervision in Mountain View, California. He currently holds a nidan (second degree black belt) issued by the Pacific Aikido Federation under Shiohira sensei’s supervision.

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)

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)

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)

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)

Hilda Sendyk

Hilda Sendyk, M.S. is a Learning & Development consultant with over 20 years’ experience in the corporate, academic, and government arenas. She has presented well-received training classes for Genentech, Hewlett Packard, Apple Computer, IBM, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Medical Center, Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) of Santa Cruz & Watsonville, and many other Silicon (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)

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)

Jane Silver

Jane Silver has an Adult Education Teaching Credential. She obtained a MATESOL from San Jose State University in 2013.

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)

Zaida Soriano

Zaida Soriano was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico. She learned to cook from her Mom, grandmothers, and aunts. She also learned from other Oaxacan women who brought her into their homes and gave their time to teach her their traditional cooking. Zaida owns The Oaxacan Kitchen Markets, Inc.  Her company sell delicious foods native to Oaxaca in seven different Santa Clara (more)

Monica Spiller

Having asked the question “Why do we not eat our grain foods whole, given all the benefits of improved health and well being? Monica, based on her chemistry background, has studied nutrition, the microbiology of sourdough, and wheat agriculture. As a result she founded the non-profit Whole Grain Connection to promote the sustainable production of (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)

Kathleen Stender-Theuring

Kathleen has a passion for adult education, training, and coaching. She has worked as a personal and business trainer/coach in different fields for more than five years. In 2015 she relocated to the Bay Area, and fell in love with the abundance of different languages and cultures in this area. At the Palo Alto Adult (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)

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)

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)

Cathy Zander

My love of art started at a very young age. At eight years old, I would get on a bus, by myself, every Saturday morning for an hour long ride to take art classes in the Cleveland Museum of Art. I would sit for hours on a little stool with a pad of paper and (more)