Administration and Faculty
Tamara Hernandez – Executive Director
Ms. Tamara will shift her primary focus to her role as Executive Director at Oasis, focusing on big picture projects, fundraising, and a site location. She will be in the office two days per week.
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!
Clarke Sumner – Head of School, Level 1-2 Spanish, Orchestra
Ms. Clarke is thrilled to expand her role at Oasis with administration and curriculum design. 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 helping students strengthen a passion for learning!
Gia Ellis – Office Manager, Office Manager, Explorers and Pathfinders Sports/Body movement
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!
Xizi Yin (Yin Laoshi) -Explorers Math and Mandarin (with Qian), Pathfinders Mandarin, Level 3-5 Mandarin, 4th Grade Math, Cooking and Culture 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.
Qian Li (Li Laoshi) – Explorers English, Math, Mandarin, Level 1-3 Mandarin, Chinese Traditional Dance
Qian received her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA, where she also worked as a research assistant at the Asian Culture and Language department to develop teaching materials for language learning. During the past 8 years, Qian has taught children in China, Mexico, and the United States. Before Qian working in Oasis Trilingual Community School, she was teaching high-school Chinese at Saddleback school district. Working with children in different grades and institutes, Qian has accumulated extensive experience of teaching children of various ages, ethnics, and socioeconomic status. She believes that all the students are capable of learning if they can receive proper instructions from their teachers. Qian always develops her class in a way to engage all kinds of learners in the classroom. Qian is originally from China and moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was in college. Qian enjoys dancing, traveling and playing with her son and her dog.
Deanna Bakker – Community Liaison, Explorers English (with Qian), 1st grade English and Math, Pathfinders Social Studies and Science (with Jamie), Explorers/Pathfinders Music, Music Appreciation, Drama Class
Deanna Bakker is continuing her teaching position 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 for volunteer and field trip trainings, reach out about Oasis Community events, and lead Student Council.
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.
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.
Jamie Iglesias – 4th-6th Grade English and 5th-6th Grade Math, Pathfinders Spanish, Explorers Spanish, Pathfinders Social Studies, MakerSpace
Jamie Iglesias has earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. Jamie tutored students at the after-school program Think Together in her last year as an undergrad when she discovered her passion for teaching and helping students reach their full potential. She worked as a student teacher at Mountain View Elementary in Claremont, CA where she taught in Kindergarten and Fourth Grade. She has been creating lessons to meet the needs of all learners and is looking forward to a great school year! In her free time, she enjoys traveling, especially to National Parks, spending time with family and friends, and hiking.
Marcela Szybisty – After School Care, Explorers Spanish, Trailblazers Sports/ Physical Education
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.
Paul LeDoux – After School 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.”
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.
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.