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, Tuesday. 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 in many languages all over the world, which eventually helped to launch Oasis Trilingual Community School. As Tamara’s two children 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 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!
Rachel Chadwick – English Program Director, Lead English Teacher, Oasis Student Newspaper
Rachel Chadwick has been an educator for eight 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 heading up English at Oasis Trilingual Community School as the Program Director and has loved every minute! Oasis provides the opportunity to stretch and pilot new creative educational solutions through the implementation of languages and hands-on learning. 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 along with raising their two wonderful daughters, Mavis and Rosetta.
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.
Maestra Judith – Spanish, Math, Gardening
Judith Oropeza was born and raised in Mexico. She is a passionate and experienced Spanish teacher. Her teaching career includes being the lead Spanish teacher at Frontiers Academy, and previously teaching for over eight years in Mexico in a bilingual immersion setting, She is highly experienced in tutoring as well. Maestra Oropeza received her teaching credential in Mexico, and holds a BA in Child Development from Colegio de Tzumpanco. She loves educating and immersing her students in the Spanish language, culture, and customs through games, songs and exciting lessons! Judith is very excited to work with our students and help them develop their skills through an deep and authentic experience of Spanish.
Clarke Sumner – English, Spanish, Social Studies, Math, Music, Technology & MakerSpace
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!
Shianne Mack – English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art
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
Ke Laoshi (Ms. Kaya) – Mandarin, Math, Science, Art
If you have ever been in Ke Laoshi’s class, you would see traces of art and culture in the language she uses. As a Mandarin language teacher, she embraces the intuitive artistic expression in children. From drama, visual art, music and creative movements, the children take in new information, new words and new knowledge without translation. Ms. Kaya’s professional journey began shortly after she graduated from ChengChi University in Taipei, Taiwan with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in English Literature. First she started as an ESL teacher in a private school in Taipei. Then in 2008, she relocated to New York City, where she transitioned herself into a Mandarin Chinese language teacher to children in the after-school programs in Harlem. For over seven years, she developed her own teaching style that distinguished her from the traditional Asian way of learning, while also finding a way to connect to children of all backgrounds in a second language. She has since developed Mandarin learning curricula for several institutions and has continued to sharpen her skills in language teaching and art.
Sandy Small – Mandarin, Math, Science, Social Studies, Technology
Small Laoshi is a native Mandarin speaker from Taiwan and is passionate about teaching her native language and culture. In 2011, she started working at an elementary school in Cave Creek, Arizona where she won an award in 2015 for teaching innovation.
This is her 6th year teaching Mandarin Chinese and she enjoys teaching elementary students who are new to learning languages. Her classes are designed to be fun, focused, and engaging, no matter what level a student may be in a particular subject.
The ultimate goal for her students is to leave the school with a strong foundation in speaking, reading, listening and writing in Mandarin. Her goal is to prepare students for a wider range of future opportunities and hopes they leverage these special abilities throughout their personal and professional life.
Besides loving language and culture, her other passion is incorporating technology into Mandarin Chinese lesson units or projects. She is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and is very excited to be part of the team! To see Small Laoshi in action, please click the video below.
Yiqing Huang – Mandarin, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, Tai Chi, Yoga
Having lived in the United States since 2008, Yiqing Huang understands the concerns of international students and the types of issues they face. Her experience on International Student Federation is valuable and gives her the experience that she needs to further improve the involvement of international students on campus.
In addition, Huang has worked directly with individual international students to help them move into the United States and to make their transition to SLU smoother and more inviting.
She is focused on practical and tangible improvements she can make in international students’ experiences.
Ms. Huang graduated from USC. She taught elementary to middle school students as both an English and art teacher in China.
Davy Sumner – Music
Originally from the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Davy Sumner is a composer, sound artist, audio engineer, and educator based in Los Angeles. He has recorded on Grammy-nominated albums and showcased his original works at REDCAT, Grand Central Art Center, The Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, and The King Hing Theater. A specialist in the integration of electronics with they physical world, he designs, fabricates, and performs with custom circuitry, electroacoustic interfaces, and handmade instruments. Davy strongly believes that the creative problem solving, critical thinking, and peer collaborations facilitated in his music and design classes are essential skills for future generations.
Davy received his B.A. in Music Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and earned his M.F.A. in Experimental Sound Practices at CalArts in 2016. As an instructor in the CalArts Arts Integration Program, Davy collaborates with core subject teachers at Patrick Henry Middle School and Van Nuys High School to incorporate music and the arts into their curriculum. Davy is currently serving as the Lead AmeriCorps Fellow/Program Director at the CAP Saturday Music Program, which provides free, weekly music classes for 100 underserved youth in the greater LA area.
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.”
Savannah Schoenecker – Kung Fu
Savannah Schoenecker has been an instructor of Kung Fu for children and adults for over six years. Since her wild and imaginative childhood, Savannah has been enchanted by the mind-body connection in all its multifaceted dimensions through physical and emotional art forms. She enriched her understanding of the human spirit and mechanics of the emotional mind-body through the dramatic arts and graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts Los Angeles in 2008. Savannah continued her mind-body investigation when she became interested in self-defense and began practicing the art of Wing Chun, Kung Fu in 2010. Under the tutelage of renowned master, Sifu Todd Shawn Tei, Savannah quickly excelled at the practical self-defense techniques of the style. She began teaching basics of the style to children after her first year.
Since then, Savannah has combined her experience in the emotional and physical arts to create several curriculums for children that go beyond what most martial arts programs have to offer. In her heart, Savannah believes martial arts coupled with social and emotional learning, is an invaluable vessel by which to offer children understanding of the mind-body connection, environmental awareness, compassion for peers, leadership, teamwork, self-confidence, self-control, and the wisdom of age appropriate self-defense and street safety techniques.
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.