Small School: HUGE Staff
MEET THE VILLAGE….The opportunity to teach and work at a school like Holden draws gifted, creative, dedicated, and highly skilled teachers and staff. Without exception, they are lifelong learners who lead rich and fulfilling lives and serve as powerful role models for the students at Holden.
Four Co-Directors collectively run the day-to-day operations of Holden. Each Co-Director also teaches, directly connecting Holden’s administration to the learning environment and enabling the school to work in a way that best meets students needs. All staff meet with the entire student body during weekly Community Meeting. The Co-Directors regularly consult with our core teachers, counseling interns, psychological consultants, student council, parent advisory board, board of trustees, and student body about issues affecting the school community to ensure that the school is achieving its mission.
Kate graduated from San Francisco State University with a self-designed BA in English with a focus on education. In addition to teaching academic and elective classes and tutoring, Kate supervises the academic teachers and is the CFO of Holden. She is also a certified personal trainer and serves on the educational advisory board of UC theatre concert career pathways. Actively involved in the punk scene since 1979, Kate is a founding member of B.O.B., a collective that organizes international punk rock concerts. Kate has been at Holden in various capacities since 1987.
Kristin graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in Studio Arts and Sociology. She received her MA in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies in 1997 and became a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in 2001. Kristin is Holden’s Director of Admissions and co-heads Holden’s Outdoor Adventure Program. She has been a Co-Director since 2000. Outside Holden, she spends time with her family.
Abby graduated from Holden High School in 1993 and has a BA in Humanities with an emphasis in Education from New College of California. She has an MA in Special Education from San Francisco State University and a Mild to Moderate Education Specialist Credential. She directs Holden’s Learning Support Program and is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children. Outside of Holden, Abby enjoys nature, yoga, dance, and spending time with her friends and family.
Jennifer Polse Payne
Jennifer graduated with a BA in Psychology and a MA in Counseling Psychology from Humboldt State University. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, with a private practice in Berkeley. She is one of the Clinical Co-Directors at Holden and supervises and trains the counselors. She has been at Holden since 2004.
Core Teachers & Transition Counselors
Core teachers, as well as directors, teach academics and electives at Holden. All of our teachers strive to meet the diverse needs of our students with patience, experience, knowledge, compassion, and flexibility. They are trained to work with a variety of learning styles and emotional blocks to learning. All staff collaborate to create coursework and structure that fully engage students in the process of learning and self-discovery. In addition, teachers also collaborate with credentialed learning specialists and licensed psychotherapists. Our transition counselors help students make important connections and support them in finding summer jobs, internships, volunteer work, and in applying to two- and four-year colleges, gap year, and vocational programs. Click here to read more about our transition program.
Rikki R. Edelman
Rikki teaches US Government, Biology, and electives. Rikki is also one of Holden's Transition Counselors, helping students envision and prepare for life after high school through internships and jobs. She has a BA in English Language Arts and Anthropology, a Teaching Credential in Secondary English, and an MA in Education all from University of California at Berkeley. She also holds a certificate in Horticulture from Merritt College and has done continuing education in Permaculture and Green Building. Her outside interests include parenting, writing prose and poetry, folklore, gardening, environmental sustainability, health food, and social justice. She is a member of the Mycological Society of San Francisco and the Bay Area Writing Project. She is a parent and step-parent of children of different ages and abilities.
Jack teaches Physics and Government / Economics at Holden. He earned BAs in Economics and Neurobiology from UC Berkeley, followed by a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law. After 18 years as a trial attorney, Jack earned teaching certificates from Hayward State (now Cal State East Bay) in Physical and Biological Sciences as well as Economics. He taught a variety of science courses for many years at Mission San Jose High School and served as a mock trial coach. Jack is a member of American Physics Teachers. In his free time, Jack enjoys coaching science teachers with San Francisco's Exploratorium, hiking and traveling.
Katherine teaches math, chemistry, history, and a number of rotating classes for Holden. She also acts as Holden’s college transition counselor and runs the Holden chapter of Girls Who Code. She holds a bachelor’s from University of Michigan and a master’s from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and has been teaching students at the high school and undergraduate level for over 10 years. She has extensive experience teaching and developing standardized tests. In addition to teaching, she has sung professionally and is a published writer and reviewer. She lives in the Canyonlands with her husband Peter.
Ally teaches English Composition, World Studies, Journalism / Yearbook, and a class titled Identity and Diversity in Comics. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Connecticut, with a concentration in Cross Cultural and Ethnic Studies. Her outside interests include comics, video games, reading, and her dog. She is a member of the AmeriCorps Alumni Association and the City Year Alumni Association.
Libby teaches Metaphor and Meaning, Pre-Calculus with Trigonometry, and Spanish at Holden. She earned a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in 2002, followed by an MFA in Staging Shakespeare from Exeter University. Libby began tutoring at seventeen, and has been working with students on academic achievement full time since 2010. She is also the co-founder and producing artistic director of Those Women Productions, an independent feminist theater company based in Berkeley. In her free time, Libby enjoys knitting, reading, cycling, and spending time with friends and family.
Kiersten teaches English Fundamentals, U.S. History, and Geometry at Holden. She holds a B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara in Psychology and an M.A. from San Francisco State University in Creative Writing. Kiersten has over 10 years experience teaching all ages and subjects, in both public and private institutions in the Bay Area. In her free time, Kiersten enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading and watching or playing baseball.
Resource, Exploration, and Support Counselors
Skilled counselors volunteer their time and energy at Holden. Our Resource, Exploration, and Support (RES) counselors are enrolled in or have graduated from accredited Masters’ programs in clinical psychology and are furthering their training under supervision by licensed psychotherapists. Click here to read more about the Resource, Exploration, and Support Program.
Georgiana (Georgie) is a counselor at Holden and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She is currently completing her MA in Somatic Psychology at John F. Kennedy University. She is also a certified yoga instructor and movement coach and is passionate about helping people connect with their bodies. Her interests include rock climbing, running, poetry, and being in the mountains.
Shawn is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at Holden. He received his BS in Psychology from St. Mary's College of California with a minor in English, his MA in Literature from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and his MA in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. His outside interests include music, tennis, and writing.
Liz is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at Holden. She received her BA in English Literature from San Francisco State University and her MA in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University. She loves yoga, making art, listening to music, and getting outdoors.
Nicole is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee at Holden. She received her BA in English Literature at UC Santa Cruz and is currently completing her MA in Integral Counseling Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies. Her outside interests include hiking, nature, yoga, exercise, travel, reading fantasy/sci-fiction novels, and spending time with her family.
Jennifer (aka Jenny) is a Marriage and Family Trainee specializing in Somatic Psychotherapy. Jenny believes that the body can be a powerful guide for healing, and likes to invite mindfulness and movement into her practice. She studied English and Creative Writing at University of San Francisco and Seattle University, then received her MFA in Fiction at Mills College before pursuing psychotherapy. When she isn't at Holden or in class at the California Institute of Integral Studies, she likes to play guitar, write stories, and take her dog on long hikes.
Our administrative staff are essential to keeping our program running smoothly.
Mawiyah is Holden's Marketing and Fundraising Manager. She holds a BA in Mass Communication from Cal State East Bay. Her interests include hiking, hip-hop and belly dance, portrait photography, spending time with her kids, and pretending to be a mad scientist by making her own all natural beauty concoctions. She is a member of H.E.A.T. (Hiking Every Available Trail) and 510 Hikers.
Muhammad N. Ramadan
Muhammad joined Holden as our Office Administrator in January 2015. Prior to Holden Muhammad worked in post-secondary education for over a decade. His experience with operations and administration in an educational setting helps contribute to the overall success of our community at Holden.
One of the strengths of our program includes elective courses offered by our part time staff, who are occasionally Holden alumni.
Ryan teaches Intro to Music with Leslie. He started playing piano at age 10 and took up brass and percussion instruments in his junior high and high school band programs. He studied music at Occidental College and San Francisco State University, earning his MA Degree in 2005. He has been performing for nearly 20 years, with such Jazz greats as, Tom Scott and Mic Gillette. Ryan is versed performing solo concerts and directing church music ensembles, as well as conducting concert bands, orchestras, and jazz bands.
Jeannette teaches Art at Holden. She is a practicing multimedia artist in the Bay Area who specializes in portraiture and figure sculpture. She studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University and is currently working towards transferring into an art therapy degree program through the Peralta Colleges. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new art forms, playing local gigs with her band, gardening, and spending time with her family and friends.
Ann teaches Social Relations at Holden. She graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Economics and received her MHS in Family Planning and Reproductive Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Ann also teaches Our Whole Lives sexuality education at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church and facilitates youth programs at the Orinda Community Church. Ann enjoys gardening and time with her family and dogs.
“The staff is supportive, understanding, and dedicated. A great sense of community and acceptance is felt between staff, students, and families.” -Parent of Holden Graduate
The Board of Trustees at Holden High School supports the mission of the school and supports the staff in pursuing that mission. Concretely, the Board is responsible for: 1) discussing the goals for the year, 2) reviewing, approving and monitoring the annual budget, and 3) evaluating the heads of school. The Board is comprised of two co-directors, parents of Holden High School alumni, and long-term friends and supporters of the Holden Community.
Members of the 2019-2020 Board of Trustees
Elene Lee, Board Chair
Nancy Moore, Board Secretary
Kristin Lamoureux, Lead Co-Director
Co-Director, Holden High School
Co-Director, Holden High School
Dani Bruyn, Board Member
Business Owner, Alumni
Robert Konkle, Board Member
Business Owner, Alumni
Joyce Crawford, Board Member
Fredi Juni, Board Member
Rachel Fields, Board Member
Friends of Holden
Friends of Holden are former Board members who continue to support Holden’s mission in a multitude of ways.
Tammy San Giovanni
Director Emeritus, Holden High School