Administration and Faculty
Tamara Hernandez – Executive Director
Tamara Hernandez’s passion for children’s education began ten 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 organization 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!
Harry 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.
Gia Ellis – Office Manager
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!
Ms. Clarke is thrilled to be teaching at Oasis Trilingual Community School and be a part of the school’s thriving community. Clarke believes that education is a facilitative process, in hands-on projects that seize student’s curiosity and make learning fun! After growing up in Chicago, she completed dual Bachelor’s degrees in Middle Childhood Early Adolescent Education and Spanish Teaching from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She holds certifications in Reading Instruction and Assessment, English Learner Instruction and Assessment, ACTFL Spanish Proficiency and edTPA Mastery Level Teacher Performance. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she moved to California and worked as a full-time tutor for grades 1-12 in science, math, Spanish, reading, writing and logic. When she is not teaching, she loves to spend time with her husband, family and friends. She enjoys traveling, gardening, running, cooking, and trying new things. She looks forward to a great year, and to helping students develop a passion for learning!
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.
Xizi Yin – Mandarin Lead Teacher, Math, Science, Gardening, Cooking
This is Ms. Yin’s first year at Oasis Trilingual Community School and she is already delighted to be part of such a positive and caring team. She has been teaching for three 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 boyfriend and travel around America for 3 months. Then 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.
Carla Soria has been in the field of education for over 15 years. She is originally from Spain. Born in the city of Zaragoza, she graduated with honors as a Hearing and Language Teacher Specialist and moved to Barcelona and Madrid where she started teaching Spanish and completed her education. She graduated with honors as a Speech and Language Pathologist at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. She then worked as a SLP in different schools, hospitals and clinics of the Spanish capital while completing a Master’s Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. In 2014 she came to California where she has continued to develop her career. Carla loves teaching and believes that emotion is the essential element to the learning process, because we can only learn that which we love…. When she’s not teaching or studying Carla loves film, music and traveling to new places with her husband and her lovely one year old, Matthew Benet.
Ms. Shianne is overjoyed to be teaching at Oasis Trilingual Community School. She knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age and believes that being an educator is more than just about teaching, but also about being able to make connections to the students and being a source of support for them. She wants her students to feel comfortable and be able to express themselves in a way that is natural and beneficial to their future. She believes in hands-on experiences, which ensure that student’s learning is exciting and engaging. Ms. Shianne attended college at George Mason University in Virginia, and later went on to study abroad in Africa where she taught English at one of the local orphanages. From there she went on to continue her teaching degree at California State University Long Beach. Here is where she completed her Bachelor Degree in Liberal Studies, as well as her Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials. While completing her degree and credentials, she has worked for and assisted teachers in multiple classrooms, and has been an after school program Art teacher for over two years. When she is not teaching, she loves to hike, travel, play with her dogs, and spend time with her friends and family. She is excited to start the new school year and hopes to help her students achieve their goals.
Deanna Bakker – English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Enrichments
Ms. Deanna has been an educator of one sort or another since she was 15 years old and is excited to step into role 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.
Mai Laoshi – Mandarin, Math, Science, Gardening, Cooking
You can also call Mai Laoshi “Ms. Mak,” her family name. Mai Laoshi loves Chinese Culture and decided to be a teacher when she was very young. Which is why she majored in college in Chinese Language and Literature. She has been teaching and tutoring for more than 10 years. She loves reading, singing and watching movies. When she has time, she travels. She also loves Japanese culture, especially in animation and manga. She has four sisters and one brother. Each of her three elder sisters have two children. Whenever the family gathers, they have to book two round tables for 20 of them! This year, she is very glad to join the Oasis family.
Marcela Szybisty – Bi-lingual Social Studies, Gardening, Cooking, After school, Administrative Assistance
Ms. Marcela has been an educator for almost 20 years. She is originally from Argentina. She graduated from the University of Buenos Aires and immediately started working as an ESL teacher in several schools in Buenos Aires. She then led an in-company language center for an American corporation in Argentina, teaching employees English as a Second language. This expanded to teaching Spanish as a Foreign language for the American executives. She then completed her teaching education and came to California in 2008 where she continued to develop her career as and ESL and Spanish teacher in schools, universities and as a private consultant. Ms. Marcela is passionate about teaching and believes children are best at learning when they feel most valued and cared for. She also loves cooking, singing and traveling with her husband and Luna, their dog.
Heather Flores – Drama/Film
Heather Flores is a Los Angeles based actor and producer. As a UCLA graduate she trained in theater and film. Her work is diverse and spans from performance art and theater of the absurd to film and television. She is known for her versatile unconventional, conceptual and video art performances. We are happy to have her lend her professional training to our drama and film program.
Zoey Lin – Art, Drama/Film, Co-teaching Assistance.
Originally from Taiwan, Zoey Lin began as a fine artist investigating realism in painting and drawing. She evolved into multimedia works in diverse subject matter and is currently exploring stop-motion with a Virtual Reality experience using hybrid techniques.
Zoey Lin received her B.A from Fine Arts at NTNU in Taiwan, and her M.F.A in Animation and Digital Arts at USC. She is currently working with Hollywood animation legend Phil Tippet, designer and animator of stop motion for Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Robocop, the Twilight series, and many more major films.
Ms. Lin has much experience teaching visual arts. She designs classes to support her belief that art can enrich lives and go further, to inform them, helping students find their position in the universe.
Yvette Cornelia – Music and Orchestra
Ms. Yvette is a violinist, composer, and music educator. Her musical interests expand past Western classical to include Balkan and Romanian folk, Arabic, Americana, experimental contemporary music, improvisation, and songwriting. As a violinist, Ms. Yvette performs regulary and internationally as part of a duo with a classical guitarist. As a composer, she has designed sound for theatre productions, collaborated with choreographers, filmmakers, and animators, and co-written pieces with poets and spoken word artists. As a bandleader, she runs a genre-bending nine-person ensemble for which she writes original music. She received her M.F.A. in Performance and Composition from the California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor’s in American Literature from UCLA. She is very excited to be joining the team as the music and orchestra teacher at Oasis Trilingual Community School, offering her knowledge in string performance, musicianship, improvisation, theory, and active listening.
Paul LeDoux – Physical Education Sports
“Coach Paul” is a Soccer Specialist and found his love of soccer while living in Europe as a youngster. Coach Paul trained with the Olympic Developement team in New Mexico and was a captain and All-Star soccer player in high school. Coach Paul continues to play soccer in adult recreation leagues in Pasadena. Paul believes “sports is a way for the world to communicate” and that “it is an honor to coach our youth.”
Flavia Carbone – Spanish Drama, Spanish Culinary Instructor
Flavia Carbone was born in Rosario, Argentina. She fell in love with acting while attending elementary school. Since then, she has been studying drama at different schools, and obtained a minor in Theater at Oklahoma State University. She moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago to continue pursuing acting. Flavia has also been involved in education for the past thirteen years. She has worked as a teacher with pre-k students, elementary and high school. In Los Angeles, she also works for Los Angeles Unified School District with elementary students. Her passions are teaching and drama, and she wishes to continue learning and making a positive impact on every child. As part of her culture and healthy lifestyle, Flavia also loves cooking, therefore, during the summer, she teaches cooking at KitchenKid Cooking Camp for children ages six to teens. Teaching, cooking and acting are her passions, and she wishes to continue learning, being creative and making a positive impact on every child.
Dr. 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.
Joyce 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.
Olga Radko – Math Circles Advisor
We are pleased that Olga Radko who is Academic Administrator at the UCLA Department of Mathematics and the Director of the Los Angeles Math Cirlce (LAMC) has joined our team of advisors.
Olga Radko, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Los Angeles Math Circle, a free weekly enrichment program for mathematically talented school children, and is faculty member in the Department of Mathematics at UCLA. Olga teaches a wide range of undergraduate courses, from calculus to upper division linear algebra, differential geometry and game theory, trains all new Teaching Assistants, and is in charge of all
the operations of the Math Circle.
The LA Math Circle specializes in showcasing the beauty of mathematics and its applications, developing strong problem solving skills, creating a social context for mathematically inclined students as well as attracting students to math-related careers. Since founding the LAMC in 2007, Olga personally trained over a hundred of math circle instructors and assistants, taught numerous math circle sessions and developed math circle curriculum for all grade levels. Olga also co-authored a Math Circle curriculum book Breaking Numbers into Parts (jointly with O. Gleizer), which has been successfully used by the math circles for 5-6 year olds at UCLA and at World Speak, a small private school in Westwood.
Olga obtained her PhD degree in Mathematics from UC Berkeley in 2002 under the direction of Alan Weinstein. Her research work dealt with an area of differential geometry called Poisson geometry, which has deep connections with classical and quantum physics. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Physics (1995) and a Master of Science in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (1997) from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia’s most prestigious university for studying physics.
In addition to her work at UCLA, Olga has a wide range of experience working with teachers in teacher training institutes and on-site programs. In particular, Olga was a faculty co-advisor and content specialist for MELI (Math Educators Leadership Institute), STIR (Supporting Teachers to Increase Retention), and FRAME (a project of Improving Teachers Quality Program at the Fremont High School) for over 7 years. Olga also provided math circle training to teachers at Oasis school.
Olga is active in the math circle community, giving presentations and serving as an organizer at state and national meetings devoted to extracurricular math programs. In recognition of Olga’s innovative contributions to the field of math enrichment, Olga received a Math Hero award from Raytheon in 2011.