Teachers & Staff

Jamie Andres-Larsen

Position: Ocean Class Teacher

Phone: 429-3898 x101
Email: jsandres@sccs.net

Jamie is a parent of a Monarch Community School alum. She started volunteering when her son was in Kindergarten, and for several years, volunteered her time a couple of days a week. When the part-time aide resigned, the teaching staff invited her to apply for the aide position. She accepted the offer, and worked as the part-time aide for the next five years. The following year, the school moved its location and Jamie took the full-time aide position. At the same time, she enrolled in a teacher credential program. Her son graduated from the 8th grade, but Jamie stayed on, obtaining her credential and accepting a part-time teaching position at Monarch.

Schooling: BA, Occidental College (Geology major), MS, University of California, Santa Cruz (Computer Science), Teaching Credential, CalStateTEACH

Other interests: Yoga (Jamie is also a certified TriYoga® instructor and teaches locally), reading, playing piano, movies, hiking and bicycling, cooking, gardening and traveling.


Denise Blair

Position: Sky East Class Teacher

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

Denise, the Sky East Class teacher, grades 3rd–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!


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.


Michelle McKinney

Position: Sky West Class Teacher

Phone: 429-3898 x103
Email: mmckinney@sccs.net

Michelle's two sons attended Monarch Community School. In addition to being a former Monarch parent she also is the Sky West class teacher and served as Treasurer of the Monarch Community School Parent Board for several terms. She received her teaching credential from CalStateTEACH, and has experience teaching at the elementary and middle school grades. Recently, she earned her MA in Educational Leadership, and Administrative Credential from SJSU. Michelle first came to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC and graduated with an English degree in 1991. After working in Student Services for several years, she left the university to have babies! She enjoys math, science experiments, running, climbing, knitting and for some strange reason, attending school meetings! She shares her parenting life with her beloved husband of nearly 30 years, Mark.


Lysa Tabachnick

Position: Co-Principal

Phone: 429-3898 x228
Email: ltabachnick@sccs.net

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