Unlike most public schools where Music, Art, Handwork, Foreign Language, and Environmental Education (if imparted at all) are at best extra-curricular programs, they are central to the way each student learns at the Novato Charter School (NCS).
Music | Gardening | Handwork | Math | Movement | Spanish |
Special Education Coordinator | Special Education
Kenny Blacklock studied music performance, composition and arranging at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities from San Francisco State University and a single subject teaching credential in music from Cal State East Bay. Besides teaching music, Mr. Blacklock is a composer and a performer. He joined Novato Charter School in 2001.
Laurie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Parks and Recreation at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. She has held a variety of roles in the Sports and Health Club Industries as well as Recreation and Camp programs for elementary age students. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Laurie lived in Chicago, Massachusetts and also Michigan, where she grew up. During her time in Massachusetts, Laurie worked alongside Master Gardeners at Hopkinton’s Weston Nurseries, where she fell in love with learning about home gardening. Laurie moved to Novato 6 years ago and completed the UC Marin Master Gardener Training Program in 2018. She has spent 2 years working as a garden helper at NCS and is now our Garden Coordinator.
A Marin native, Jennie graduated with her BA and teaching credential after studying art and liberal studies at Cal Poly, SLO. She spent over 10 years teaching visual art at a K-8 charter school in San Francisco and participated in community art programs with the SF Mission Cultural Center, Precita Eyes Muralists Association, the Asian Art Museum and the DeYoung. During her work as an art teacher, she expanded the visual art curriculum to include ceramics and fiber arts. In 2015, she completed her masters in Art Therapy at NDNU. When not in the classroom, Jennie enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with her family. After taking a 6 year hiatus to stay at home with her young children, she is back in the classroom teaching handwork at NCS!
Kim is entering her first year teaching Middle School Mathematics at NCS, after teaching the last three years at San Marin High School. Kim also served on the Blueprint Equity Group for NUSD, was a two-year representative for the California Language and Learning Innovation Collaboration, and led the Geometry content team at San Marin. Kim was awarded the Golden Bell Award for the 2021-2022 school year. Prior to starting her wonderful family, Kim worked for many years as an SAT/ACT Test Prep Regional Manager and teacher in the Bay Area.
Kim studied Psychology and Communications at UCSD, where she also played Women’s Basketball. Kim lives here in Novato with her husband and 4 children. She enjoys nature, watching her kids play sports, and the beach!
Justin Bayer studied Political Science and Creative Writing at Western Michigan University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree. A long-time High School and College Basketball Coach, he was also a Physical Education instructor at Brookside Upper Elementary in San Anselmo. Justin has been our Movement Teacher since 2012.
Born in Colombia, Liliana Castro is currently our Kindergarten through Eighth grade Spanish teacher. Maestra Liliana holds a BA in Journalism and Communications from Universidad de la Sabana in Colombia. She has completed graduate studies in Environmental Management and Social Research Studies from Universidad Bolivariana. She completed her Waldorf Teacher Training in 2014 at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training and has taught in Waldorf schools since 2012.
Special Education Coordinator
Born in Columbus Ohio, Kelli is our new Special Education Coordinator. Kelli earned her
BA in Psychology from The Ohio State University, and recently completed her Masters
Degree in Administrative Education from Brandman University. I am currently clearing
my Administrative Services Credential. She earned her Mild Moderate and Moderate
Severe Education Specialist Credentials from Sonoma State University and has worked
in Special Education in a variety of roles for twenty years. Kelli is a mother of a
wonderful 16 year old, has a dog named Newt and a boat named Santana. She is
passionate about nature, music and creative endeavors. Being on the water is my
Rochelle earned her Bachelor of Art degree in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University with the intent to become a teacher. She found her passion for speech and language while in the Special Education Teaching Credential Program also at Sonoma State University. She earned her Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from San Francisco State University in 2012. She has worked with students with a wide range of disabilities from mild to severe, between the ages of 3 and 18. Rochelle’s passion is giving students a voice and helping students feel confident in their speech and language abilities. She has been the Speech-Language Pathologist at Novato Charter School since 2014.
A founding parent of the Novato Charter School, Ruth studied Child Development at CSU Sacramento. She has worked with children since 1977 in non-profit preschools, as a home daycare provider when her own children were young and, from 1998-2020, as a Kindergarten Assistant at the Novato Charter School.
At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year she stepped into a new role, now supporting students as an RtI provider and paraprofessional in our Special Education program.
Jen Savage Luu grew up in Marin County and graduated from Sonoma State University with a BA in English Literature. She worked as a tutor for the SSU Writing Center and later as a private tutor. Jen began learning about Waldorf education in 2008 when her oldest son started kindergarten at Novato Charter School. After many years of volunteering and working for the Aftercare program, Jen was hired as the Sunflower Kindergarten Assistant and soon found her niche supporting students in the upper grades as an RtI provider. Jen lives in Novato with her husband and three sons and loves being part of the NCS parent and faculty communities.
Esther grew up in Germany and attended a Waldorf school for her Elementary and Middle School education. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Pedagogy and Sociology from the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, where she continued to study in a Master’s program in Educational Management and Counseling. Esther moved to Novato in 2013 and worked in Addiction Counseling before returning to school at Saint Mary’s College of California to receive her credential in School Counseling. Esther is a trained mediator on the basis of non-violent communication. Her passion lay in advocating for children and supporting students in exploring their strengths, needs, and goals. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children outdoors, cooking, and reading.