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Teachers' Short Biographies

 Teacher Short Biography

Sahira Larios

Hi Edenvale! I am happy to be part of this community for the third year. I was born in Nayarit, Mexico, but was raised here in San Jose. I am passionate about teaching in a bilingual classroom to install the importance of bilingualism. I graduated from San Jose State University with my BA and later my MA in Education and teaching credential simultaneously. I enjoy traveling, eating and dancing, but most importantly spending time with my family and friends.      

Laura Alvarez

My name is Laura Elena Alvarez Vela Ramirez. I was born in raised in San Jose. I have been married for 11 years to Juan Antonio Vela Ramirez.  I have had the pleasure of teaching for 19 years. I began working as a paraprofessional, librarian, after school coordinator, teacher, and student advisor. I truly believe that all students can learn as long as we build caring relationships with students and their parents. We need to embrace our differences in order to learn from one another.  I attended San Jose State and The National Hispanic University. I received my teaching credential and master's degree from NHU. I love Disneyland. I collect Eeyore since that was the first gift I had ever received from a student. I am a true blue Dodger fan!!!. I also love music, dancing, movies, and the beach. I also love Mexico!!!

Sandra Lineros

I am passionate for bilingual education! I believe that English language learners can become empowered and biliterate. I challenge each of my students to reach their best results because I strongly believe they have the potential to succeed. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Foreign Language Instruction and Literature, and my master’s degree in Education and Translation in Colombia. Then, I completed my foreign language studies and credential studies at Harvard University and the University of Santa Cruz. I have worked as a translator and interpreter, and I have been a bilingual teacher for 25 years. Named 2017-2018 OGSD teacher of the year. I enjoy zumba classes, love to dance, and cherish time with family and friends. I am married to my high school swim mate and am proud to be the mother of two bilingual college graduates. “Teachers who love teaching, …teach children to love learning”.

Veronica H. Altamirano

Hello, Edenvale! Upon graduating high school, I attended De Anza College. During my two years there, I was part of the Puente Program, which helped me transfer to University of San Francisco (USF). I graduated from USF with my BA and then a MAT. More recently, I completed my MA in Education from San Jose State University. At San Jose State I had the pleasure to further develop my knowledge in literacy. The last five years I had the joy to teach 3rd grade bilingual and this year I will begin my sixth year in 2nd grade. I love working with students to see themselves as readers and to instill the joy of reading. In my free time, I enjoy early morning coffee and chasing after my energetic 17-month-old, Alejandra. My husband, Gabe, helps me stay grounded with festivals and baseball games.

Rebecca DeSagun

Hi Edenvale! My name is Rebecca DeSagun, Becki for short, and I am thrilled to be joining the Edenvale team this year. I am a native 2nd generation Californian where I was born and raised in Sunnyvale. I attended San Jose State to received my BA in Child Development before moving onto CalStateTeach where I received my teaching credential. I’ve taught Preschool-3rd this being my 17th year teaching.  I left teaching for two years to direct a preschool, but quickly missed being in the classroom.  My three children attend schools in the Oakgrove School District and have been married for 15 years.  During my spare time I enjoy time with my family, reading, watching soccer and attending Giants games.  My family and I love to travel, especially to Disneyland and generally around California.  Someday I hope to run with the Olympic Torch and swim with dolphins.

Daniel Brandt

3rd Grade, Room P-13

I am thrilled to call Edenvale Elementary home for my third consecutive year of teaching!  After high school, I joined the U.S. Navy as an Operational Specialist (O.S.) where I worked with the ship’s radar and navigation equipment.  During my four years in the military, I traveled the world and saw many amazing countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Australia, Japan, and Hawaii.  After the military, my cousin invited me to Santa Cruz, Ca to start a church. I met my wife there; we have been married for nine years and have three wonderful children. I attended Cabrillo College where I received my AA degree, then earned my BA in Christian Leadership at William Jessup University in San Jose.  From there, I became Youth Pastor at my church. Interacting with and inspiring the youth was what led me to pursue a career in teaching. I received my credential from San Jose State University. During that year-long program, I did my student teaching at Gault Elementary in Santa Cruz (Kindergarten) and at Loma Prieta Elementary School in Los Gatos (3rd grade).  I officially began my teaching career at Edenvale Elementary where I have been since. My constructivist approach toward teaching involves students taking responsibility for their own learning by being actively involved in a process rather than passively receiving it.  This fosters critical thinkers and creates motivated and independent learners. I also strive to help students gain independence, develop creativity, and maintain a love of learning. Some of my hobbies are spending time with my family, playing basketball, riding my dirt bike, and solving brain teasers.

Tony Carilles

I come with 20 years of teaching experience and 14 of those years were in Spanish bilingual classrooms. English is my second language. I lived in Michoacán, Mexico and I returned to San Jose in 4th grade. My parents are part of the American dream. They worked hard and valued education. My brother and I graduated from UC Berkeley. I got my teaching credential from San Jose State. I became a teacher because I want to provide students with all of the benefits of a bilingual education. I enjoy teaching and I find my work meaningful. My teaching philosophy involves building a community of trust with my students and their families. I want to create an environment where students feel respected in their social, emotional, and academic learning. My lessons are based on inquiry, discovery, and collaborative problem-solving. I aim to develop students’ higher order critical thinking skills, and create collaborative structures that engage students with meaningful work.  

Vengo con 20 años de experiencia trabajando de maestroy 14 de esos años fueron en aulas bilingües en español. El inglés es mi segundo idioma. Viví en Michoacán, México y regresé a San José en 4 ° grado. Mis padres son parte del sueño americano. Trabajaron duro y valoraron la educación. Mi hermano y yo nos graduamos de UC Berkeley. Obtuve mi credencial de maestro en la universidad deSan JoséState.Soy maestroporque quiero proveer a nuestrosestudiantes,con todos los beneficios de una educación bilingüe. Yo disfruto enseñando y encuentro mi trabajo significativo. Mi filosofía de enseñanza implica construir una comunidad de confianza con mis alumnos y sus familias. Quiero crear un ambiente donde mis estudiantes se sientan respetadosen su aprendizaje social, emocional y académico. Mis lecciones se basan en la investigación, el descubrimiento y la resolución de problemas en colaboración. Mi objetivo es desarrollar las habilidades superiores de pensamiento crítico de los estudiantes y crear estructuras colaborativas que involucrena los estudiantes entrabajossignificativos.

Colleen Kenyon

Hello Edenvale Community! I am looking forward to my fourth year of teaching 4th grade here at Edenvale.v I grew up in Morgan Hill with my parents and older sister. I have always loved learning and enjoyed school so much, I graduated 3 times in five years! (HS Diploma: Sobrato 2011, BA: SFSU 2014, Credential: SJSU 2015.) I’ve also been fortunate enough to attend two week-long institutes at Teacher’s College at Columbia University to learn about teaching my favorite subject, Writer’s Workshop. In my classroom, I am passionate about helping my students become independent problem solvers who are ready for fifth grade and beyond. I’m happiest when they are laughing and having fun learning together! When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching baseball (Go Giants!), crafting, baking, and traveling.

Katie Lucitt

Hello Eagles! I am a San Jose native who is proud to be teaching in my hometown. I graduated from Sonoma State University with my BA in Human Development before returning to SJSU for my credential. I am looking forward to my second year teaching 4th Grade at Edenvale as well as my sixth cumulative year teaching. I have always known I wanted to be a teacher and love helping students preserve through their challenges to achieve their goals. When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time outdoors, whether it be hiking, spending time at the beach or exploring new places around the bay.

Erin Magill

Hi Eagles! I’m so excited to start my fourth year at Edenvale! After I graduated from Gilroy High School, I attended UC Berkeley. During my time at Cal, I competed for the women’s field hockey team. After 4 years in Berkeley, I graduated with a degree in Political Science. After Cal, I attended SJSU and received my MA in Education and teaching credential simultaneously. I have a passion for teaching teamwork, empathy, and grit inside and outside the classroom. Field hockey remains a passion of mine as well; and I continue to compete in tournaments around California.