First and Second Grade Teachers
Pat Wagle - Room 5
Patricia brings to LVCS over 40 years experience working with children, first in a recreational setting, then in hospital and therapeutic environments, and most recently in the classroom. She has more than 20 years with the Livermore Unified School District teaching first and second grade at several elementary schools. Pat has held numerous leadership and mentoring positions and has served as grade-level chairman, leadership team member, and chairperson of various committees. Pat holds a multiple subject teaching credential from Simpson College, San Francisco, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Therapy and minor in History/Sociology from California State University, Hayward.
Laura Morgan - Room 7
Laura Morgan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Cell Biology. She later earned a Master’s degree in Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UC Berkeley in the Developmental Teacher Education Program. Laura has taught for 11 years in the Piedmont and Livermore School Districts. She has taught kindergarten, first, second, and fifth grades, as well as teaching science at both the elementary and middle school levels. She has served as a workshop presenter, on various district level committees, as a grade level chair, and as a Master Teacher to students from UC Berkeley, Chapman University, and Cal State Hayward. Laura has been with LVCS since its inception. She has also worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Biomedical and Earth Sciences Divisions as well as for LARPD as the Director of their Summer Science Program. She and her husband Joe reside in Livermore and have 3 young sons.
Allison Baird - Room 15
Alison Baird grew up in San Diego and attended UC Santa Cruz where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Communications and graduated with honors. She obtained her teaching credential last year from SF State University while co-teaching in a first grade classroom in the city. Alison has worked with children all of her life running a non-profit day care for 2 years, providing group childcare to multiple organizations, and working as a nanny for 2 years. Outside of school, her interests are most outdoor sports from scuba diving to mountain biking. Alison joined the LVCS staff in 2007.
Tracie Connors - Room 8
Tracie earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Chico. After graduating, Tracie returned to Chico State and enrolled in the graduate program, receiving her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Tracie was a student teacher in second grade at an elementary school in Chico. Tracie completed her credential with a Master Teacher in a Kindergarten class at a rural K-8 school in Orland, California. Tracie also served as a substitute in the Orland School District. She joined the LVCS staff in fall 2005.
Kelly Guzik - Room 9
Kelly Guzik grew up in San Diego and attended UC Davis where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and graduated with Highest Honors. She then returned to San Diego and began substitute teaching while earning her credentials. Kelly attended National University where she earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Single Subject Teaching Credentials in English and Health, and a Masters Degree in Cross-Cultural Education. Kelly moved back up to the Bay Area in 2007 and taught first grade for two years at Vintage Hills Elementary in Pleasanton. Her interests include running, soccer, and watching San Diego Charger football games. Kelly is very excited to join the LVCS staff this year.
Muriel Burns - Room 14
Muriel attended California State University, Long Beach where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in English. She also holds a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. She has taught first and second grade for over twenty years in the Fremont Unified School District and in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District. Muriel, now a Master teacher at LVCS, has been the recipient of numerous recognitions, leadership roles, and certifications including the Livermore District’s Technology Award, CLAD certification, and selection as the Livermore District Mentor for First Grade Technology (1997).
Amber Kotowski- Room 17
Amber Rodgers joined LVCS in 2007 after graduating with honors from CSUH with a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies and a multi-subject teaching credential. Prior to teaching, Amber taught children's dance classes, and worked in child care at an elementary school in Dublin. After completing her first year at LVCS as a third grade teacher, Amber directed a summer day camp program at a local elementary school. Amber prides herself in active involvement in the classroom and making connections to her students. She is happy to return to LVCS for another great year!
Amy Greene- Room 12
Amy grew up locally and then attended San Diego State University where she earned her bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies. After graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors, she returned to SDSU to earn her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Amy's teaching experiences have included 1st through 6th grade classrooms. When not at work, Amy enjoys traveling all over the globe. She always takes Sammy the starfish (her classroom mascot) along for each journey so she can share the experience, geography and culture with her students. Amy happily joined the LVCS staff in the fall of 2005.
Christy Verbeck - Room 13
Megan Landon - Room B
Third and Fourth Grade Teachers
Michelle Apodaca - Room 18
Michelle Apodaca graduated from California State University, Hayward, where she was a liberal studies major with a minor in English. In 2001, Michelle worked for the National Youth Sports Program, a nonprofit summer enrichment program for under privileged children in Hayward. She both counseled and instructed the students in a variety of athletic and academic courses. She also assisted in the organization of staff development workshops and field trips. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, Michelle returned to California State University, Hayward to earn her Multiple Subject Teaching. After finishing the program, Michelle continued to work in the Dublin and Pleasanton School districts as a substitute, working with grades 2-5. She joined the LVCS staff in fall of 2005.
James Brandle - Room 16
James Brandle earned his B.A. degree in Liberal Studies: Elementary Education and a minor in History from Humboldt State University (Go Lumberjacks!). Prior to teaching James has worked as a sports writer, referee, tutor for K-8 grade students, and even an Outdoor Environmental Education instructor in Alabama. He comes to LVCS most recently from Chico, where he finished his teaching credential in multiple subjects and became CLAD certified. James has been teaching at LVCS since August 2005. He enjoyed his few seasons coaching basketball. His still loves working with Dramatic Dragons, be it director or producer. James will also be presenting at the California Council for History Education this fall. This year James is excited about Lego Robotics, the garden, and the field trips!
Renee Vernon - Room 26
Renee Vernon grew up locally in Pleasanton and attended Sonoma State University, as well as UMASS Amherst for a semester, where she received a BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Human Development. She then moved back home and attended California State University East Bay to obtain her Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. A year later, while working full time in the classroom, she received a Masters in Curriculum from CSUEB. After that she worked at Walnut Grove Elementary in Pleasanton in a 2/3 Discovery program and two years in a 1st-2nd grade looping program. She joined LVCS and the third/fourth grade loop in 2009. She is very excited to be receiving a new loop of Talented Tigers this year and continuing to teach the 3rd/4th grade curriculum that is so fun to learn!
Heather Zischka - Room 9
Heather earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Materials Science in Engineering from the University of California at Davis. She worked for 6 years in the aerospace industry as a manufacturing engineer at Learjet and Scaled Composites. Heather has a credential through Cal State TEACH. As a parent, Heather worked on the facilities committee during its inception and the first few years at LVCS. She worked as a substitute teacher before joining the LVCS staff in 2007.
Jenna Howard- Room A
Jenna relocated to California from Reno, Nevada about a year ago where she taught 2nd grade for 3 years. For the past year, she has been doing long-term sub jobs in the Moreland School District in San Jose. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Montana State University in 2006. When Jenna isn’t teaching, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking and spending time with her family and friends. She is excited to be joining the LVCS community this year!
Heidi Preece - Room 19
Heidi holds a multiple subject teaching credential from California State University, Hayward, as well as a B.A. degree in Economics and English minor from the University of California, Davis. Heidi brings a wide range of teaching experience to LVCS. In the course of her 16-year career, Heidi has taught elementary science, third and fourth grades in the Livermore District and Dublin Elementary schools. In addition, she has served as a home teacher for students unable to attend school and has operated her own tutoring business for students at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. In Dublin, Heidi served as Science Chair for two years during which time a district-wide science curriculum was written and implemented. She was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” for her contributions. Heidi has created an interactive and motivational curriculum that includes Writers’ Workshop, Literature Circles, Live Poets’ Society, Monart, and a manipulative-based math program. She has been a member of the LVCS staff since fall 2005.
Vicki Lo - Room 24
Vicki graduated from California State University, Sacramento in December 2003 with a degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Multiculture Education. In December 2004, she graduated from the Bilingual/Multicultural Education program and received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with CLAD certification. Vicki also received her Supplemental Credential in Language Arts at California State University, Sacramento. After completing the credential program, Vicki worked as a substitute teacher in the Sacramento and Elk Grove School districts. She joined the LVCS staff in 2005.
Anna Johnson - Room 29
Anna graduated from California State University, Fresno where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies. Her first teaching experience was in Cupertino, California where she taught in an alternative school specializing in multi-age classes with an emphasis in technology. She taught the primary loop that was made up of kindergarten, first, and second grade students. She spent four years in the Cupertino School District where she also had the honor of being a Science lead teacher for her team. Her family moved to Livermore where she taught for three years in grades kindergarten, first, and third. She looks forward to a wonderful teaching experience at the Livermore Valley Charter School.
Jennifer Pennybacker - Room 27
Jennifer graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Sociology. During her course work, Jennifer conducted original field research focusing on the interactions and social relationships between boys and girls in an academic environment. Later, Jennifer returned to Cal State Monterey Bay to earn her Multi Subject Teaching Credential. With over 13 years teaching experience throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer has worked closely with and trained new teachers, as well as instructed Primary Training Programs implemented in her previous schools. She has served on the Curriculum Committee at her previous school and worked closely with staff members to implement and strategize curriculum needs.
Tracy Persson - Room 28
Tracy graduated from Brigham Young University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. For the years following her graduation, she focused her skills on raising and teaching her four children. During that time, she was also involved in teaching a religious curriculum to children ages 3-11 for eight years, including the training and development of teachers. More recently, Tracy taught as a substitute teacher, a fourth and fifth grade reading intervention teacher, and for the last 4 years, as a full-time elementary school teacher in the Livermore School District. She is excited to join the LVCS team this year!
Aaron Connors - Room 21
Aaron graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California State University, Chico. Aaron has experience team teaching in a fourth grade class at a public school in Butte County. He joined the LVCS staff in the fall of 2005.
Emily Thomas - Room 22
Emily graduated from Arizona State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. After teaching in a fifth grade in Arizona, she moved to California and taught summer school and reading remediation. Emily joined the LVCS family in 2007. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in teaching at California State University, Fresno.
Amanda Bender - Room 23
Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Psychology from California State University, Hayward. She also earned her multiple subject teaching credential there, as well. She has spent the last three years teaching 5th grade within the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, where she participated in the BTSA program and cleared her credential. Amanda grew up in Walnut Creek playing every team sport possible, and still loves to play and watch soccer and baseball. She is so excited to now be a part of the LVCS team!