Principal/Superintendent: Mindy Bolar
Mindy Bolar has worked in the field of education
for twenty-six years, serving in several roles: Classroom Teacher; Mentor; Teacher/Instructional Coach; Coordinator of Staff Development/New Teacher Program; Assistant Principal; Principal; and Director of Educational Services. Ms. Bolar taught a multi-age, multi-level classroom for five years early in her career. Her classroom served as a model that led to the development of a magnet school for inquiry-based, individualized instruction. Her training and experience in that role shaped her educational philosophy and her passion for equitable, effective instructional programs that address the development of the whole child.
Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten: Chelsea Stillwell
Chelsea Stillwell earned her BA from
California State University, Bakersfield in Child, Adolescence and Family Studies with a minor in Special Education. She is working on her Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential. Ms. Stillwell has over 10 years of experience teaching young children including teaching preschool, working in an after school program for students with Autism, and after school daycare.
First and Second Grades: Wendy Baumann
Wendy Baumann earned a BA in Liberal Studies
from California State University, East Bay. She holds a California Professional Clear Multiple Subject teaching credential along with a Clear Cross-cultural, Language, and Academic Development Certificate. She also has a Central California Reading Recovery Project Certificate from California State University, Fresno. Mrs. Baumann’s certification as a Reading Recovery teacher ensures a comprehensive, intensive and individualized approach to the important K-1 task of learning to read and write. Mrs. Baumann has 18 years of teaching experience that includes both public and private schools. She enjoys teaching science and math using engaging hands-on activities.
Third and Fourth Grades: Teena Starchman
Teena Starchman received a BA in English from California State University
Stanislaus. She earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Chapman University. During this time, she student taught at Mariposa Elementary School. She continued working in the Mariposa County School district for several years and has taught in a multi-level classroom. Ms. Starchman also taught at Jack L. Boyd Outdoor School in Fish Camp, where her passion for science began. She looks forward to incorporating the outdoors, music, theatre, and art into her daily lessons.
Fifth and Sixth Grades: Erika Miranda
Erika Miranda earned her B.A. degree in Education
from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. There, she continued her graduate studies and earned her K-8 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential as well as her supplementary credential in English. Ms. Miranda has taught upper elementary grades for the past two years, including one year as a GATE teacher, and loves the inquisitive and independent nature of 5th and 6th graders. She loves helping students find their confidence by teaching them to think for themselves and master the skills of reading and writing. Her background includes teaching at alternative schools in the San Francisco Bay Area where a culture of high expectations met project-based and inquiry-based instruction. By incorporating the fine arts and movement into the classroom, she hopes all students can become engaged and active learners in all subjects. Erika Miranda is thrilled to be teaching and living in the Sierra Foothills, as she spent eight years, off and on, working in Yosemite Valley and in the High Sierra Camps.
Seventh and Eighth Grades: Andrea Contreras
Andrea Contreras earned her BA in Anthropology
at California State University, Stanislaus. She has worked for Mariposa County Park and Rec as an Aide in its Summer Day Camp program. She has also volunteered in both kindergarten and preschool classrooms. Ms. Contreras has been with SFCS since the school first opened its doors, working as an Instructional Aide in the first and second grade classroom and also taking on PE once a week for all grade levels. She is working on obtaining her Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential. Ms. Contreras enjoys working for SFCS as it gives her the opportunity to give back to the community that has been so supportive of her, and to help the community’s children become passionate about learning.
Service Learning Coordinator and Instructional Aide: Barbara Milazzo
Barbara Milazzo earned her BS in Social Studies
with minors in Anthropology and Geography, from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has a Special Education Specialist emergency credential. While raising her two children, she wrote grants to improve the lives of children in Mariposa County including pediatric training for JCF Emergency Room nurses, pediatric equipment for fire engines in Mariposa County, construction of the Darrah School playground, and administration of a developmental playgroup for children 0-5. Barbara has worked for Mariposa County Unified School District as the Director of Service Learning, in a program that teaches standards-based lessons through hands-on projects that meet authentic needs in the community. Three years ago she launched the Woodland Elementary After School Program and stayed on as its Director and Lead Teacher. She looks forward to combining her passion for service learning with the creative freedom that SFCS offers, and is thrilled to resume work with the Land and Legacy Project. Her favorite moments in education are when children feel empowered as change-makers, and when they declare, “So that’s why I needed to learn that!” It is the power of hands-on learning: relevance!
After School Program Instructor: Cate Cannon
Cate Cannon is delighted to be on staff
starting in the 2015-2016 school year after serving as an SFCS volunteer since the opening semester and substitute teacher since January 2015. She holds a B.F.A. with Honors in Technical Theatre from the University of Texas at Austin, and Minors in Art History, Costume History, and the History of Interiors and Furniture. Ms. Cannon brings 40 years of production and design experience assisting designers working for Industrial Light and Magic, Disney, Universal Studios, the Olympics, General Motors, the San Francisco Opera, and scores of trade shows, rock tours and live attractions. Ms. Cannon also spent 14 years as proprietor of her own acrylic fabrication business. She is passionate about practical utility, masterful and soulful artisanry, independent entrepreneurship, and about creating life-enhancing opportunities and experiences for the wonderful students, families, and staff she has come to know at SFCS.
Instructional Aide: Margaret Shelton
Margaret Shelton studied Child Development
at Modesto Junior College. Ms. Shelton has over ten years experience working with elementary aged children. She has volunteered, and has been an Instructional Aide for kindergarten, a third and fourth grade class, and junior high classrooms. She has two children who attend SFCS. She is excited to be working at SFCS in the TK/K classroom.
Instructional Aide: Kristen Thomas
Kristen Thomas is currently attending Azusa
Pacific University where she is studying Health Science. Ms. Thomas has worked with children over the past 10 years, including running a children’s ministry, supervising children on mission trips, and being an after school care provider. A favorite quote: “A child isn’t getting ready to live – a child is living.” –Professor T. Ripaldi. Kristen is excited to be a part of the SFCS family!
Instructional Aide: Christy Lombard
Christy Lombard has an extensive background
in Early Childhood Education which includes teaching pre-school, raising her own 3 children, classroom volunteer, and Instructional Aide. She held the position of Library Aide at Mariposa County High School for 15 years. The position included managing all library services as well as textbook management. This was an ideal job which combined Christy’s love of books with encouraging students to read. She is looking forward to working at SFCS in the TK/K classroom as well as in the school library.
Instructional Aide: April Thompson
April Thompson comes to us from Oakhurst, CA where she lives with her husband and 9 year old daughter. Prior to moving to Oakhurst four years ago, she was born and raised in Fresno, CA. Mrs. Thompson has volunteered as a parent aide at Oakhurst Elementary and Del Mar Elementary, and was a program coordinator for Boys and Girls Club. Mrs. Thompson is pleased to be a part of the Sierra Foothill Charter School team.
Instructional Aide: David Putonen
David Putonen was born and raised in
Gloucester, MA and came to California in 1983 at the age of 23. Upon arriving in Merced, CA in 1999, David embarked on a successful career in radio as Sales Manager of FOX Sports radio,followed years later by owning his own thrift store. During this time in Merced, David was associate Varsity basketball head coach for the girls program at Merced High, followed by the boys program at Buhach Colony H.S. David retired from coaching in 2013 and began his unfinished business of getting his degree in Social and Behaviorial Science at Merced College. David graduated in the spring of 2016 and shortly later, began his time here at Sierra Foothill Charter School. David loves working with the amazing staff and even more amazing kids at SFCS. He enjoys the enthusiasm and carefree enjoyment of life that children of this age display daily, and it feeds quite nicely into his own enjoyment of life. David is very excited to be a part of the SFCS family.
Instructional Aide: Lauren Glikin
Lauren Glikin earned her BS in Environmental
Science from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA, which is where her passion for the outdoors was sparked. After college, she worked as an educator at a wildlife refuge on the Potomac River, a soil science technician in rural Virginia, and an environmental educator at a year-round camp on the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey before heading off to attend graduate school in New Hampshire. She earned a MS in Environmental Science with a concentration in Environmental Education from Antioch New England. It is there that her love of farming began to evolve. She did a practicum at a farm and wrote farm related curriculum as part of her degree, and then headed west to California to try to start up a farm with her husband. After four years of teaching in Yosemite with NatureBridge, she and her husband finally found a beautiful piece of land in Catheys Valley to start their farm – Raw Roots Farm. Lauren is excited to get back into the educational field by combining her love and passion for the outdoors, place-based education and sustainable agriculture for the students in the learning garden at SFCS.
Instructional Aide: David Newberry
David Newberry received a BA in Literature
with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz. There, and at Merced College, David also studied other longtime interests including computer science, math (through college level Calculus), philosophy, drama, and the natural sciences. Mr. Newberry has volunteered and worked at SFCS in various capacities including serving meals, acting as System Administrator for Minecraft and supervising Minecraft players in the After School Program, subbing for classroom aides, and instructing seventh and eighth graders in high level math.
Long Term Independent Study (Home School) Coordinator: Stephanie Evans
Stephanie Evans earned her Multiple Subject
credential with CLAD certification from CSU Monterey Bay and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Comparative Literature from UC Santa Cruz. She has been an educator for 20 years, teaching in a variety of environments including teaching English in Japan and Mongolia and teaching high school and elementary grade levels in Mariposa, Merced and Madera. She has been active at SFCS since the planning stages. For the last several years Ms. Evans has opted for long term independent study (home schooling) for her own 3 children. Ms. Evans is always happy to share her experience and skill in bringing individuals and organizations together to provide the best possible educational opportunities.
Office Manager: Robin Cook
Robin Cook grew up in Catheys Valley
and attended Catheys Valley Elementary School. After graduating from high school, she joined the Air Force where she was an Information Manager and Military Training Instructor. After 20 years, Robin decided it was time to retire and move “back home”. Both of Robin’s children have attended SFCS since its first year. She is pleased to be a part of SFCS and so close to them during the work day.
Business Manager: Peggy Decker
Peggy Decker has over 10 years experience working
with children as a substitute teacher and basketball coach. She also worked for a Parks and Recreation department in its Aquatics Programs and in management for 15 years. Finally, she worked at the Boys and Girls club in Oakhurst. She and her husband live in Ahwahnee and enjoy outdoors, fishing, and family who live nearby.
Music and Band Instructor: Gail Vanderslik
Gail Vanderslik holds degrees from Fresno Pacific
University in secondary music education, music composition, and music in the church. She holds certificates in Kindermusik and Orff. She has taught music in preschools, elementary and middle schools and to private students ranging in age from four to adults. She is also a member of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra.
Bus Driver: Kelly Salonen
Kelly Salonen grew up in Catheys Valley
and went to Mariposa County schools. Kelly was in the U.S. Army, has been a certified massage therapist, a bartender at Savoury’s Restaurant, an instructor at The Fitness Zone (now Mountain Fitness), a guide at Yosemite Zipline and Adventure Ranch, and most recently, a bus driver at both Mariposa Unified School District and SFCS.
Custodian: Jon Cook
Jon Cook was born and raised in Colorado.
After graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force as a Structural Craftsman, and was trained in all but not limited to, carpentry, masonry, welding, sheet metal working, roofing, door/window repair and replacement, and some lock smith capabilities. He moved here with his wife and two children after retiring from the Air Force and brings 20 years of facility maintenance experience to SFCS. Jon’s main hobby is woodworking, he loves to create things from wood. Jon is looking forward to being a part of the SFCS team.