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Administration and Faculty

Tamara-001Tamara Hernandez – Executive Director

Tamara Hernandez’s passion for children’s education began nearly 15  years ago when she gave birth to her first child.  Tamara saw that her daughter was an eager learner, and so began looking into the latest research in childhood development to meet her needs. Tamara became fascinated with the amazing potential children have to learn anything at a young age, and especially their ability to learn multiple languages at the same time.  Eventually, this led Tamara to co-found an educational production company, Productive Playhouse, geared towards piloting and creating content teaching children foreign language, reading, math and music in ways that challenged them but were fun and engaging at all times.  One of the production company’s first projects was to create curriculum and teach a trilingual foreign language class at Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. Tamara then went onto to co-produce, direct and write several educational series, including Your Child Can Learn, and Your Child Can Discover.  

These series won nine parenting awards between them, including the Parenting Media Winner, The National Parenting Center Award and the Brain Child Award Winner.  The series sold and still sells in many languages around the world, which eventually helped to launch Oasis Trilingual Community School.  As Tamara’s daughter and son grew, she became a volunteer parent for the Pasadena Unified School District.  Here she expanded her experience with educational organizations by becoming a School Site Council member, helping launch and manage the STEAM program for the Mandarin Immersion program, starting the after-school book club, coordinating the implementation of after-school Spanish classes, and co-launching a Mandarin Immersion Pre-K.  

Before founding Oasis, Tamara received a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA, and became a screenwriter and director after college.  Her first two short films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, with one then playing at the Cannes Festival and in theaters throughout Paris, eventually selling in countries around the world.  Her first feature film won Best Narrative Feature at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and awards at five other festivals.  After her first feature, Tamara turned her focus to documentary filmmaking, and directed two films, including The Chicano Collection, about the Chicano art movement, for executive producer/art collector Cheech Marin.  The Chicano Collection is now used to teach students about Chicano art movement during Latino History Month throughout schools in the United States, and her short film is currently used as an example to teach graduate students short filmmaking at USC.  Tamara is extremely grateful and thrilled to work alongside such an amazing and talented staff at Oasis, and is proud to witness everyday the behind the scenes hard work, dedication and thoughtfulness the staff puts into the lives of their students each and every day!

HarryHarry Ralston – Director of Operations After graduating with a B.S. from Syracuse University, Harry Ralston entered advertising as a copywriter and worked as a writer and creative director at several top twenty agencies creating advertising for major clients. He then traveled and worked as a writer in Mexico, emerging in Los Angeles, where he wrote and directed his first feature, The Last Man, an award-winning comedy released by Lion’s Gate Films. Harry spent the next several years writing screenplays for producers, and in collaboration with writer/director Roger Avary. Additionally, Harry wrote on TV shows for MTV, Paramount, Animal Planet, and Comedy Central. He and Tamara Hernandez formed Productive Playhouse in 2008 and met with immediate success, producing, writing and directing several children’s series over the following years focused on teaching fundamental skills. To date the company’s work has won nine parenting and educational awards.  Harry also oversees a research division of the production company, focused on doing language projects for various tech clients.  In 2014 Harry joined with other co-founders to establish Oasis, where he has served as a board member, technology teacher, and in other capacities.

Clarke Sumner – Head of School Math, Science, MakerSpace Technology Teacher

Ms. Clarke is thrilled to expand her role at Oasis with administration and curriculum design as she begins her 5th year at Oasis. Clarke believes that education is a facilitative process, where students can self-direct their own learning through hands-on projects. She has seen the power of motivation and choice which seize student’s curiosity and make learning fun! This is a huge aspect to the curriculum design Clarke fosters as Oasis.  

After growing up in Chicago, she completed dual degrees in Middle Childhood Early Adolescent Education and Spanish Teaching through the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain. She holds certifications in Reading Instruction and Assessment, Next Generation Science Standards, English Learner Instruction and Assessment, ACTFL Spanish Proficiency and edTPA Mastery Level Teacher Performance. When she is not teaching, she loves to spend time with her husband, family and friends.  She enjoys traveling, gardening, cooking, and trying new things. Clarke looks forward to another amazing year at Oasis, and to help students strengthen a passion for learning!

Deanna Bakker – Community Liaison Administrator English, Math, Leadership

Deanna Bakker is beginning her 3rd year at Oasis with Kindergarten and 1st grade at Oasis! Look out for emails from her in the coming months as Community Liaison where she will complete parent education courses, reach out about Oasis Community events, and lead Student Council/Leadership. 

Ms. Deanna has been an educator of one sort or another since she was 15 years old, but she thrives as a lead classroom teacher. She is thrilled to have found a home at Oasis– a place that resonates with her values of culturally-responsive whole-child learning and hands-on education. Deanna got started in education as a phonics specialist for young students with special learning needs and as a local children’s theatre teacher. Deanna graduated with honors with a BFA in Musical Theater from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles and worked professionally in the L.A. theater scene. Using her background in music and theater, she started working as an elementary music teacher in Northern California. Since then, Deanna moved to Colorado and received her Master’s in Education and Elementary Teaching Credential from a unique urban education program at the University of Colorado, Denver. Having also received her California Teaching Credential, she is now back in Los Angeles County and thrilled to be a part of the Oasis community. When she is not teaching, Deanna enjoys baking, hiking, crocheting, and finding hidden gems around the city. She looks forward to exploring the exciting world of education (and life) with her students.

Melanie Guerra – Program Relations Coordinator Spanish, Social Studies, Art

Melanie is excited to begin her first year at Oasis, and bring her previous 12 years of teaching experience to our program. Originally born in Guatemala, Melanie has always had a strong interest in multilingual teaching and has a degree in bilingual education. Melanie has worked with a variety of grade levels over the years from 4 year olds to 8th grade and loves getting to know her students deeply to bring out their internal motivation. When you walk in to Ms. Melanie’s class, you will often hear songs, see art projects and engage through movement as students learn together in English and Spanis

Xizi Yin – Mandarin, Math, Science

This is Yin Laoshi’s 3rd year at Oasis Trilingual Community School and she is so delighted to be part of such a positive and caring team.  She has been teaching for six years and really enjoys how no day is the same when teaching. She started her teaching career in Beijing Normal University and  got her graduate degree there as well. After that, she completed a M.A. in teaching Chinese as a second language at Clarkson University, NY.  After two happy years there, she decided to take a road trip with my husband and travel around America for 3 months. That’s when they decided to move to Los Angeles. She enjoys life, and would like to take her students on a discovery of the beautiful things in life.

Iris Ortiz – 2nd-3rd Grade English and Math, Advanced Spanish, 3rd-6th Grade Social Studies, Film/Drama Assistant

Iris was born and grew up in Southern California in a Spanish speaking family. She has always had a heart for teaching. Her love for teaching began while she was a program leader for an after school program. She worked to support students reach their full potential and become responsible members in the community. She later received her B.A in Liberal Studies with a concentration in School Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. After graduating, she joined the organization Teach for America and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Iris joined a group of leaders who commit to expanding educational opportunity, by teaching in under-resourced public schools. Through her journey with Teach for America, she taught 2nd and 3rd grade, and simultaneously completed her Masters in Education. Iris also has an endorsement of teaching English as a second language. This will be her third year teaching, and she is excited to be back in California. When not teaching, Iris enjoys riding her bike, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. 

Shuyang Yan – Mandarin, Math, Science

Shuyang is excited to continue at Oasis this year. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Teaching in China, and recently earned her Master of Arts in Education from the University of Southern California. During this time, she finished a one-year student teaching program in a local high school and received her Mandarin teaching credential.


Coming from a family of teachers, she is thrilled to join the Oasis team. Being a teacher has been her dream for a very long time, and teaching while sharing her language and culture is a beautiful combination. Shuyang creates interesting and engaging classes and enjoys watching students develop a love for learning. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching films, and cooking.

Sharyhan Hneiti- Spanish, Social Studies, Skill Share Science, Afterschool Teacher

Ms. Shary is thrilled to continue at Oasis after joining us this Spring. Shary knows all about trilingualism, growing up in a trilingual household herself, where her family spoke Spanish, English and Arabic! She loves learning languages and helping students learn Spanish as well. 


Shary has over 5 years of teaching experience and has a degree in Child development and certificates in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Shary loves using songs and hands-on activities in her classroom. When she is not teaching, you can find Ms. Shary enjoying time with friends, family and her pet dog, dancing, and traveling. 

Gia Ellis – Office Manager, Recess and Enrichment

Gia recently returned to the US after six years studying and working in Europe. She spent two years in France attending language school and gaining immersive language and work experience. During that time she cared for children ranging from ages 2 to 15, and tutored them in English and Mathematics.  Gia then worked in Dublin, Ireland  as an account executive in Marketing & Advertising while attending Drama School at night and graduating in June 2017. Working overseas with children reinforced Gia’s natural affinity for children and her love for languages. Being fluent in French has sparked a desire to master as many languages as possible. Hopefully Gia’s zeal to learn Spanish and Mandarin will inspire all the children at Oasis Trilingual to help her and in doing so perfect their own skills!


Rachel Chadwick – Program Advisor

Rachel Chadwick has been an educator for ten years plus, teaching ages TK-12th grade, in various content areas including English, Science, History, Music, and Physical Fitness. She taught for six years at Aveson Charter School as the K-2 Literacy Specialist, Middle School Literacy Lead Teacher and Project Supervisor. She enjoyed the rigor of leading, planning and being a part of a start-up educational organization. She is currently on the administrative team at Oasis, heading up the English program, designing curriculum across contents, planning professional development and spearheading assessments. Oasis provides the opportunity to stretch and pilot new creative educational solutions through the implementation of languages and hands-on learning, and it is exciting to be a part of! She received her BA from Biola University in Latin American Studies, with a minor in Spanish and Bible. Her Multiple Subject Credential was completed at Cal State LA. Rachel and her husband also collaborate musically and run an art project space in Old Town Pasadena called, “Legge Alley Projects,” along with raising their two wonderful daughters, Mavis and Rosetta.

SimonaDr. Simona Montanari – Language Immersion and Linguistic Advisor 

Simona Montanari, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. She received a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Southern California specializing on early multilingual development. Her research, which has focused on the acquisition of phonology, lexicon, morpho-syntax and communicative competence in two or three languages, has been published in the Journal of Child Language, in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, and in the International Journal of  Bilingualism among others. Dr. Montanari has also been involved in the creation and implementation of the first public Italian/English dual language program in the Glendale Unified School District (Los Angeles County), and has been studying its educational outcomes since its launch in 2009. At California State University, Los Angeles, Dr. Montanari teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on language development and second language acquisition in childhood, and she is currently involved in research on phonological development in Spanish-English dual language preschoolers. She also continues to works as a consultant for the Glendale Unified School District and has designed common core standards-aligned curricula for its Italian/English, French/English and German/English dual language programs.  She has been working with Oasis since its inception to ensure the highest level of linguistic quality will be given to its students.

joyceJoyce Hisao – Mandarin Language Advisor 

Joyce Hsiao brings a wealth of teaching and administrative experience to Oasis Trilingual Community School.  She has served in numerous capacities such as a classroom teacher in a Mandarin Dual Language Program, a Mentor Teacher for LAUSD’s Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Induction, and an assistant advisor for school site principal.  Joyce has been a proactive K-5 classroom teacher for 15 years.  She holds a BS in Psychology from University at Buffalo, a Master’s in Education from UCLA, and she is a National Board Certified teacher proficient in Mandarin.  As the Mandarin Language Advisor of Oasis Trilingual Community School, Joyce will ensure academic quality, human resource development, and the growth of the school while collaborating with administrators in advancement and execution of Oasis’ vision.

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