Small School: HUGE Staff


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 meets with the entire student body during our weekly Community Meeting.  The Co-Directors regularly consult with our core teachers, counseling interns, psychological consultants, student council, parent advisory board, the board of trustees, and student body about issues affecting the school community to ensure that the school is achieving its mission.

Kate Knox

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 Lamoureux

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 has been a Co-Director since 2000. Outside Holden, she spends time with her family.

Abby Tuttle

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 the Clinical Director, Freshperson & Sophomore Advisor 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 collaborates 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 Fendell

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 Montgomery

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 Sawyer

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.

Ann Sherpick

Ann teaches Social Relations, Philosophy and Ethics, as well as Computer Science 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.

Libby Vega

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 Yount

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 Abel

Georgiana (Georgie) is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee 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.

Chelsie Crilly

Chelsie is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee at Holden. They hold a BA in Sociology from Mills College and are currently completing their MA in Counseling Psychology with a focus on Expressive Arts Therapy at the California College of Integral Studies. Their interests include drag, video games, and digital art.

Liz DeJong

Liz is a Marriage and Family Therapist 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 Farber

Nicole is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern at Holden. She received her BA in English Literature at UC Santa Cruz and completed 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.

Nora Orton

Nora is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee at Holden. She holds a BS in Neuroscience from Brown University and is currently completing her MA in Counseling Psychology with a focus on Expressive Arts Therapy at the California College of Integral Studies. Her interests include storytelling, rock climbing, music, dancing, reading, and dogs.


Administrative Staff

Our administrative staff are essential to keeping our program running smoothly.

Mawiyah Johnson

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.


Part-time Staff

One of the strengths of our program includes elective courses offered by our part-time staff, who are occasionally Holden alumni.

Melissa Armstrong

Melissa is a transition program intern at Holden. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Cultural Anthropology. A veteran homeschooling parent who guided her oldest through the college admission process, she is currently completing the certificate program in college admissions and career planning through UC Berkeley's extension program and looks forward to supporting students and families in their next steps. During her free time she enjoys spending time with her family playing board games that are a mix of strategy and luck. Catan is her current favorite!

Ryan Justice

Ryan teaches music at Holden and holds a BA in Cinema and Digital Media from UC Davis. He has toured both nationally and internationally as a drummer and guitarist. When he’s not writing and recording music in his studio, Ryan spends his free time producing videos, skateboarding, and building guitar amplifiers. He has an extensive record collection and is a self-proclaimed “music nerd.”


“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

Board of Trustees

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

Dani Bruyn, Board Chair 
Business Owner, Alumni

Nancy Moore, Board Secretary
Past Parent

Fredi Juni, Board Treasurer 
Business Owner, Past Parent

Kristin Lamoureux, Lead Co-Director
Co-Director, Holden High School

Kate Knox, CFO
Co-Director, Holden High School

Robert Konkle, Board Member
Business Owner, Alumni

Elene Lee, Board Member 
Community Member

Joyce Crawford, Board Member
OCC Member

Rachel Fields, Board Member
Clinical Psychologist, Past Parent

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
Tax Manager

Lani Shepp
OCC Member, Community Volunteer

Kay Norman
Community Volunteer

Joel Weber
Director Emeritus, Holden High School