- Faculty Spotlight
Welcome New Employees!
Marlborough welcomes 18 new faculty and staff members this year. Get to know a little about each of them.
Nicole Beck celebrates her 15th year as an educator by joining Marlborough as a Health and Wellness Instructor. As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, Nicole began cultivating her health and wellness career while posted in the Fiji Islands at the Ministry of Health's STI/HIV clinic. She spent five years as a school social worker in Chicago Public Schools, both as a city-wide crisis interventionist and school-based clinician. Eager to live abroad again, Nicole pursued a teaching certification in 7-12 grade English and taught middle school ELA at international schools in Ecuador and Colombia. Prior to her West Coast relocation, Nicole worked as a school-based mental health clinician in New York City public schools and helped open a charter high school in Far Rockaway (Queens), NY. Nicole holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University and an M.S.W. from Loyola University in Chicago. She loves teaching and practicing yoga, spicy food, live music, hammocks, and coffee.
Kendall Beeman joins the Marlborough community in the history department and will teach 7th and 8th grade history. Kendall previously taught both middle and upper school students at the Episcopal School of Los Angeles and Phillips Academy, Andover. In these positions, she taught World History, U.S. History, and AP U.S. Government and Politics. Kendall also coached lacrosse and led theatre and dance extracurriculars. Kendall graduated cum laude from Northwestern University where she majored in History, Legal Studies, and Theatre. She attended an all-girls school and is looking forward to returning to an all-girls educational environment.
Meghan Bernstein graduated summa cum laude from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Theatre and minor in Art History. Soon after, Meghan joined the admissions team at an independent private school in Salt Lake City, UT. The proud daughter of a Marlborough alumna, Meghan attended Marlborough for 7th and 8th grades before her family relocated to Utah. Meghan is excited to re-join the Marlborough community as a member of the Advancement Team. When she is not at work, you can typically find Meghan reading (or talking about!) Shakespeare plays and visiting art museums.
David Blanchard joined Marlborough last year as part of the physical education department. David also co-taught with Tinka Brown in the emergency preparedness course along with water safety and lifeguarding. David is an assistant swim coach for the Upper School and Middle School swim teams. He also coaches the Middle School water polo team. David has been coaching swim and water polo for 18 years. He has coached athletes from seven years of age to high school and will be offering his support with the Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Bridget Carlin joins us as the Associate Athletic Director. Bridget comes to us from The Dalton School in New York where she was the Assistant Athletic Director for grades 7-12. Prior to that, she occupied various administrative positions at The Agnes Irwin School, including leading the school's summer sessions and auxiliary services programs. Bridget also served as an assistant coach for women's basketball at the collegiate level. Her experiences as an administrator and coach will be a valuable resource to our student-athletes and coaches. Bridget holds a M.P.A. in Sports Management and a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Coaching from West Chester University.
Javier Espinoza joins Marlborough as the Community Partnerships Program Head in the Department of Social Justice and Community Partnerships. Javier earned his B.A. in Women's Studies and Sociology from the University of Redlands. He also holds a Master's degree in Social Welfare from UCLA. Most recently, Javier was a school-based therapist for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, where he led support groups for students of color and the LGBTQ community (among others) and provided one-on-one therapy to high school students. As a graduate student, Javier studied how to create, implement, and advocate for service-based learning programs tailored to the academic environment. Javier's hobbies include running, hiking, and listening to Neo Soul music.
Sara Femenella is thrilled to be joining Marlborough after teaching at both Crossroads and Marymount last year. Originally from New York, Sara holds an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University and a M.A. in education from Brooklyn College. Her writing has been published in The Boston Review, Pleiades Magazine, The New Orleans Review, Denver Quarterly, Salamander, The Saint Ann's Review and Dossier, among others. She is currently finishing the manuscript of her first book. She lives with her husband, her son and their old lady pug.
Michael Fountain joins the Performing Arts Department as the Technical Director. Previously, Michael taught stagecraft and served as the Shop Foreman for the Orange County School of the Arts. For the past 20 years, he has been a company member both on and off stage with Shakespeare Orange County, for whom he served as Technical Director since 2004. He also recently taught scenic painting at Vanguard University. Michael's experience ranges from conceptual design to full implementation in stage lighting, scenery, and audio. He has a B.F.A. in Theater Technology from Chapman University.
Lisa Gaeta is the Founder and CEO of IMPACT Personal Safety, which has been taught at Marlborough since 1992. Lisa has been the Lead Instructor at Marlborough since 2014. Lisa holds a B.A. in Political Science, a B.A. in Communications, and an M.A. in Public Administration. She taught Public Speaking and Writing for Radio and TV at Cal Lutheran from 1985-1990 when she stopped teaching and began doing IMPACT full time. Lisa began developing and teaching boundary-setting skills and verbal strategies in 1987 when she realized there were no self-defense programs teaching women on the topic. It was her education in negotiation skills and people-management that was a driving force in developing the strategies she teaches today. Lisa has dedicated her life to creating a world where women, children and men no longer live in fear of being victimized but instead learn strategies to create a safe environment for all.
Amy Hirschfeld joins Marlborough as the Information Systems Administrator and Registrar. Amy—aka Mrs. H—has extensive experience providing comprehensive technical training and best practice consultation to a number of local independent schools. She also served as Web Communications Manager at Milken Community Schools and Communications Director at Valley Beth Shalom Day School. She is an expert in online solutions and takes tremendous pride in helping faculty, staff, parents, and students successfully navigate school information systems. A proud alumna of Marlborough School, Amy received her Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication from UC Davis.
Fatima Hoang joins Marlborough's Visual Arts Department. After graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a B.F.A. in Ceramics, Fatima moved to Southern California to attend Claremont Graduate University where he received an M.F.A. in Sculpture and Installation Art. Since then, he has exhibited his work in New York, Washington D.C., and throughout Southern California. He has worked at the Skirball Museum as the Exhibits Fabricator and in the themed entertainment industry fabricating for Disneyland and Universal Studios. Most recently, he built lights at the Lindsey Adelman Studio and taught in the Product Design Department at Otis College of Art and Design. He looks forward to sharing his love for ceramics, camping, and vinyl with everyone.
Fei Li received her Master's degree in Chinese-English Translation Practice and Theories from Shanghai International Studies University, with a focus on teaching. After graduating, Fei worked as an editor for the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, then in McMillan Publishers in Oxford, UK. In 2006, she joined the British Consulate-General in China as a project manager, focusing on teacher training and Chinese language promotion projects. In 2011, Fei moved to Los Angeles where she taught Chinese language and culture at UCLA's Tie-in Schools in the west side (from elementary to high schools). She also taught at Turning Point School in Culver City and at a variety of private teaching organizations helping students with Chinese language skills improvement, knowledge building, and test preparation.
Amy Ambatielos Pappas
Amy Ambatielos Pappas ('92) is no stranger to these ever-graceful halls of learning. An alumna, Señora Pappas did a three-year stint at Marlborough as a seventh grade Spanish teacher from 2000-2003 and returned part time in 2017 to teach Spanish IB. This year, she joins the World Languages Department in a full-time capacity for the Middle School. In between teaching gigs, Señora Pappas produced television and digital media content for more than a decade, spending nearly seven years at CNN in New York and Los Angeles. She holds a B.S. in Spanish from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Journalism from USC. When she is not teaching Middle School Violets to be Violetas, Sra. Pappas can be found chauffeuring one of her three small children to preschool and doctor's appointments, or binge-watching The Handmaid's Tale, Ozark, and other anxiety-inducing series with her husband.
Erin Perez is joining Marlborough from the Episcopal School of Los Angeles (ESLA) where she served not only as the science department chair and physics teacher, but also as a teacher in the math department. In addition to developing new middle school science and upper school math programs, Erin participated in the advisory, capstone, and music programs at ESLA. She played both the French horn and trumpet in ESLA's chapel band and in the pit orchestra for their productions of Peter Pan and The Sound of Music. While she is moving her home base to the math department at Marlborough, Erin is keeping ties to science as a co-teacher of the 8th grade science course. At the end of a long day, Erin returns home to her fiancé, Kevin, and their two kittens, Lulu and Ziggs. She and Kevin enjoy playing board and PC games, watching great TV shows, and visiting the world's wine regions. After their wedding next June, the two will be sampling vintages in New Zealand and Australia.
Jesus (JT) Torres
Jesus Torres, better known as "JT," joins Marlborough as an Auxiliary Services Coordinator in the Auxiliary Services Department. JT comes from an operations management background with a strong focus in event planning. He earned his Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley with a minor in Education. He is also considering pursuit of a Master's degree. He cares deeply about education and is excited to finally get to practice school administration. JT loves working with young adults and is always planning something new with friends and family. According to JT, life is too short to let it go to waste when there is so much to do and see. JT is all about teamwork and making things fun and engaging.
Lisette Valladares graduated cum laude from UCLA with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and an M.A. in Mathematics. She also earned her single-subject teaching credential in Mathematics from National University. She most recently worked at Milken Community Schools chairing the Upper School Mathematics Department for the past year, and had co-chaired the department for the previous four years with Jonathan Raup (before he transitioned to Marlborough). She taught mathematics and was an advisor and worked on many committees for 17 years at the Upper School at Milken. Before Milken, Lisette worked as a mathematics teacher, department chair and scheduling director at The Archer School for Girls. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time (especially hiking in Big Bear, CA) with her husband, two sons, and daughter.
Kassandra will be joining Marlborough as the Administrative Assistant to the Middle School. Kassandra comes to us from UEI College where, for the past year and a half, she served as their Customer Service Coordinator for incoming students in addition to providing administrative support in general. Kassandra was also in charge of verifying and obtaining proof of graduation for each of UEI's students. She received her Associates degree from East Los Angeles College and will be transferring to a four-year college in fall of 2019 where she will major in communications and public relations. Kassandra enjoys reading, traveling, hiking as well as spending time with her family.
Mabel Wong joins Marlborough from the National University of Singapore where she has been teaching for the last eight years. A political theorist by training, Mabel received her Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Born and raised in Singapore, she looks forward to growing roots in Los Angeles and discovering all the great food the city has to offer.