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 and Art | Spanish |
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.
Ms. Ansolabehere is new to Novato Charter School and began as Garden Coordinator in August of 2023. In her former pre-retirement life, she enjoyed a 40-year career in education and administration. Upon retiring and relocating to Marin, she became a Marin Master Gardener and has since immersed herself in “all things that can grow.” She enjoys creating educational and beautiful areas where all can enjoy, learn, play, and relax.
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!
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.
RTI Coordinator/Teacher Aimee Landers is the RTI (Response to Intervention) coordinator this year at our school. She has taught in kindergarten and many of the grades for a total of 17 years in Waldorf charter schools throughout Northern California. In addition to RTI, Aimee is also the testing coordinator at our school. She will be mentoring new teachers and working in the middle school on the SSAC (student social action committee). She has two children who attend Waldorf charter schools, her son is a senior at Credo High School and her daughter is in fifth grade at Woodland Star in Sonoma. In her free time, Aimee loves to hike, dance and travel. She is excited to work at Novato Charter School, where she can watch the magic of Waldorf unfold in the curriculum and she can support all children in their journey through the grades.
Special Education Teacher – Christine Casper
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.
Hayden is a Marin County native and Novato Charter School alum. He has deep ties to NCS: his father, Steve, was a longtime middle school teacher, and both of his brothers, Wyatt and Kendall, are alumni as well. Hayden holds a B.A. in English from Reed College in Portland, OR. He is currently working on a M.A. in English from Sonoma State. At SSU Hayden tutored writing and Spanish, taught classes in composition & rhetoric, and served as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center.
In his current position as an Instructional Assistant Hayden serves as a classroom aide, a RTI provider, and a paraprofessional. He believes the culture and community at NCS is truly unique, and he is excited to return as an educator. Hayden lives in Petaluma with his partner Kim and their dog Peach. In his free time, Hayden loves to read poetry, run, and watch the Giants, Warriors, and 49ers.
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.