Teachers & Staff


Denise Blair

Position: Sky East Class Teacher

Phone: 429-3898 x106
Email: dblair@sccs.net

Denise, the Sky East Class teacher, grades 4th–5th, has been at Monarch since 2001. She began her teaching career in 1995 at Gault Elementary.

Prior to teaching, Denise spent 2 1/2 years abroad in Spain and Portugal. Upon returning to the States, she chose to pursue teaching as a career. In January 1995 she earned her Teaching Credential at San Francisco State University and that following summer received her bilingual certification. Denise's hobbies outside of school include spending time with her 19 year old daughter, hiking, outrigger canoeing, reading, writing and relaxing at home.



‚ÄčShannon Blake
Position: Sea Class Teacher

Phone:  831-429-3898 X 103
Email:  sblake@sccs.net

Shannon was born in the Bay Area, but has lived in Santa Cruz the last 8 years where she attended UCSC as an undergrad studying Sociology and Education and also her Master Degree in Education. One of her favorite things about Santa Cruz is the beach, where she spends time doing shell art in the sand. 

Shannon has been working with children for as long as she can remember and started babysitting when she was 12 years old. She always knew she wanted to have a job working with kids and teaching is the perfect fit for her! Besides teaching, she love dancing and movement. Shannon was a gymnastics and dance teacher for 7 years and worked at both June Bugs Gym and Toadal Fitness for kids. Other passions of hers involve being creative and artistic which you might be able to tell from looking around her classroom.

Shannon hopes to inspire her to use their imaginations and paint a picture of what they see for their future. Dream big! She is working hard to help each student reach their personal and family goals while learning, laughing and smiling!



Zack Garban

Position: Sky West Class Teacher

Phone: 429-3898 x105

Email: zgarban@sccs.net

 
Zack teaches the Sky West Class at Monarch.  He grew up in Las Vegas, NV and earned his Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Upon meeting his wife, Annie, a Santa Cruz area native, he decided that the weather was much nicer on the coast and relocated.  Believing in hands on learning to be one of the best ways to engage children, Zack worked at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose as one of the field trip greeters. At the museum, Zack experienced many Aha! moments as he pushed children to discover new ways of thinking.  While working there, he attended San Jose State University, earning both his teaching credential and Masters in Education. 

 Outside of school, Zack enjoys spending time walking among the redwoods, watching the latest comic book movie,  and reading anything he can get his hands on.

Nancy Garcia Puhvel

Position:  Counselor

Phone:  831-429-3898 X321

Email:  ngarciapuhvel@sccs.net

 

Nancy Garcia Puhvel has worked as School Counselor in Santa Cruz since 2007.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UCLA and Master’s degree in School Counseling from San Jose State University.  As a Counselor and first-generation college graduate, she realizes the necessity for children to have a strong start in their educational years so they can continue to thrive and have the necessary tools they need to be successful in their future.  She is passionate to make a positive difference in her community by doing her part to ensure all students have access to quality education, equal opportunities, and unconditional support along the way.  She looks forward to connecting with each student at Monarch and supporting their personal and academic needs!

 

Outside of school, Nancy enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.  She loves running in the woods, going on hikes, playing at the beach with her kids, photography, and traveling.




Susie Heady


Position:
 Earth Class Teacher

Phone: 429-3898 x102
Email: sheady@sccs.net

Susie has worked with school aged children in a variety of settings since 1989. She has taught in alternative and traditional education since 1991, coming to Monarch in 2002 to teach the K/1 class. She received her BA in Sociology (specializing in multi-cultural K-8 arts education) in 1989, and her CLAD teaching credential and MA in Education from UCSC in 1998. She has completed a Level 1 Orff music instructor course and enjoys teaching music and dance to all of the Monarch students. She incorporates many of the visual and performing arts into her curriculum as well. Susie is grateful to be working at a school where collaboration between staff and community involvement with parents is so strong and valued. Teaching in a school where children are supported in learning to be good citizens, kind respectful people, and creative critical thinkers is very rewarding. Monarch's philosophy and hands on application of it's values has made her appreciate coming to work each day. When she is not at school, she enjoys being a mom to her fabulous daughters, spending time with an amazing network of family and friends, exploring nature, and being creative with many forms of art, music, and dance.


Laura McFarland

Position: Ocean Class Teacher

Phone:  831-429-3898 X 104

Email:  lmcfarland@sccs.net

My name is Laura McFarland, I live in Santa Cruz with my husband, Bryan, our two boys, Jack and Deklin, and our Bernese Mountain Dog, Charley.  I have been teaching in Santa Cruz county within many different schools since 2005. Besides spending time with my family and teaching children, I love the outdoors.  Hiking, camping, hanging at the beach and enjoying snow sports- just to name a few.  I love just about all sports (my husband is from New England, so we are a Boston sports family!), and seeing live music. My husband and I moved to Santa Cruz in 2005 from Missoula, MT.  We love the mountains, we love the beaches, and everything in between.  I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher.  When I was five years old I would have the entire neighborhood of kids (mostly boys) playing school with me each day.  We would climb trees and play baseball, then come to my house for "homework assignments."  My mother always told me she knew I'd be a teacher because I had all those little boys sitting in a row raising their hands.  I see each child as a truly unique and special soul.  When we try to conform and fit people into perfect little "boxes," rebellion and loss of motivation occurs.  I want to inspire children to want to learn, and for them to reach their highest potential.  Not all children need the same thing, but they do all need a lot of love and someone to believe in them.  I feel honored to 


Michelle McKinney

 Position:  Asst. Principal

Phone:  831-429-3898 X228

Email:  mmckinney@sccs.net

 Michelle McKinney has had the privilege of serving in many roles at Monarch Community School from parent, to secretary, instructional aide, student teacher, lead teacher, and principal. She values the power of community—collective and focused energy with kindness at its core—to manifest the end of poverty and violence through democratic educational principles and practices. She takes a positive stance towards personal and professional growth; is committed to the belief that ‘we are all doing the best we can in the moment;’ and views mistakes as authentic opportunities to learn and grow. 

 Six Words: Yes! Together. Possibility. Growth. What’s next?


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/41GLKwYt5d6_XlAHARLlO6gABOPJwA-7V2tuTNe1azvc2C3dhDxEVNhGfYjzPfrsienctlmPtfdpxhUgXbdGloCw2zUMtI7yTdXxIPhozWhYkygi6uQlig1Ct31E6svPnZOyQ4B2Cayla Salvador


Position:
  Tierra Class Teacher

Phone:  831-429-3898 X 101

Email:  csalvador@sccs.net


Cayla Salvador was raised in the Sierra Foothills of California where she fostered her love for nature and art early on. She began working for youth organizations in high school and knew that she wanted to teach moving forward. She moved to San Francisco for her undergraduate studies and a earned BFA in Sculpture from San Francisco State University. Cayla worked for numerous arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay area and began teaching youth after school art classes where she realized how important creative freedom is for a child’s learning. A few years later, Cayla pursued her teaching credential and attended Mills College in Oakland. After graduating in the Spring of 2017, she moved to Santa Cruz to join her partner, Josh. Cayla believes that every child has a voice that should be heard in the classroom. In her spare time, Cayla loves to garden, dance, camp, and make ceramics. She is thrilled to be a part of the Monarch community and is excited to collaborate with the students, parents, and teachers of Monarch.

Paraeducators:

Reyena Kimpton:  rkimpton@sccs.net
Linda Barnes:  lbarnes@sccs.net
Pedro Sierra: psierra@sccs.net
Kimberly Jarquin-Robles:  kjarquinrobles@sccs.net

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