About

Faculty & Staff

Early Childhood Education

Titicia Michaels, ECC Teacher

Titicia has been teaching children for over twenty-eight years. She has an ability to work, connect with children with exceptionalities. She is skilled in connecting and engaging them in various activities to help them be successful in a classroom setting. Titicia studied at West Los Angeles College, El Camino and LA Valley College. She is pursuing a degree in Special Education: Pre School and Occupational Therapist Assistant. She believes that teachers act as guides to help young children follow their natural curiosity as well as helping them meet their full potential and provide a safe supportive environment. Titicia loves to dance and studies Martial Arts. She achieved her Black Belt in the Spring of 2015!

Grace Placencia, ECC Teacher

Grace Plascencia joined the MUSE family in 2016. As the eldest of four, Grace exhibits the utmost motherly, caring, and nurturing instinct towards children. She has worked with children professionally for over 12 years. Her passion as an educator bloomed as she babysat and worked for LAUSD while attending California State University Northridge. Grace received her degree in Family & Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Family Studies. Prior to joining us at MUSE, Grace worked at Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. At Smiles, Grace was able to engage with children ages one to fifteen in order to help ease their anxiety before treatment! Prior to Smiles, Grace was the Assistant Director at CHALK Preschool in Westwood. She was also the head teacher of CHALKlets, which is a creative and hands-on parent involvement class for children ranging 16 to 24 months. Grace is the happiest when she is able to share her passion for her Latin culture with children by teaching Spanish lessons! In her spare time, Grace enjoys salsa dancing, cycling, and reading with her book club!
Randi Kearney, EK Teacher

Randi 
Kearney is a Los Angeles native who has been teaching in the field of Early Childhood Education for the past 7 years, the last 4 of which have been spent as an EK teacher.  She received a BFA in Theatre and a BA in English Literature from NYU and completed her Early Childhood studies at UCLA.  In 2013, Randi was the recipient of the Smotrich Award for excellence in teaching from the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education.  Randi makes it her goal to create a loving, safe classroom that is filled with joy and laughter and helps students gain a love of learning. When she is not teaching, Randi enjoys directing children's theatre productions, dancing, and spending time with her husband and puppy!
Stephanie Share, EK Teacher

Stephanie is very excited to be part of the MUSE team! She has been teaching in Early Childhood Education for the past 5 years. Prior to MUSE, Stephanie was a Pre-K teacher at Pinecrest School in Thousand Oaks. She received an Associates Degree in General Sociology fro Pierce College and studied Early Childhood Education through UCLA Extension. Stephanie has a nurturing heart and brings unconditional warmth and love to her classroom. She is excited to have your children truly fall in love with learning! Stephanie's passions are mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Allison Braine, EK Teacher

Allison was born and raised in Michigan, where she developed her love for the outdoors- often exploring the forest, creek and animals in her backyard.  After moving to California and attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, Allison received her Bachelors of Arts in Communication with a minor in Education and Applied psychology.  She is very excited to be joining MUSE and is bringing 6 years experience with her.  Allison began her teaching career overseas, in South Korea, where she taught English as a second language in the Pre K, Elementary and High school level. She loves the idea of impacting children and helping them to see their full potential. When she’s not teaching, she devotes her time to tutoring children with special needs and babysitting.  Allison is extremely passionate about working with children.  On weekends, she loves to volunteer, work out and spend time with her family!  
Ashley Garretson, EK Teacher

Ashley Garretson has been working and volunteering for over 10 years in Early Education. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood Studies at California State University, Channel Islands. In continuing her passion for early education, she received her Master’s of Arts in Education, specializing in ‘U.S Education in Global Context’ from National University where she became a Phi Lambda Theta Honor Society nominee. Ashley spent her childhood living overseas in Japan and embraced a new culture and learned the importance of cultural diversity. Ashley is very excited to be part of MUSE and believes that passion-based learning will help create a positive connection and she will help by making it meaningful to each individual child. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family, at the beach, bike riding, and family games.
Jenny Briesch, Kinder Teacher

Jenny Briesch is a California native and has worked alongside children for the last 7 years. She is currently the kindergarten teacher at MUSE School. She attended Pierce College before transferring to California Statue University at Northridge to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Upon graduation, she began providing in home respite and behavior therapy for children on the autism spectrum. Jenny discovered her love for teaching while providing behavior therapy in an elementary school setting. She was thrilled to join MUSE school in 2015 and cultivate her passion for teaching. When she began teaching at MUSE she was immediately drawn to the Process Communication Model. Her passion for Psychology aligned with PCM and she fell in love. Jenny believes that PCM is ground breaking in how we communicate with one another. As a base harmonizer phase rebel, she enjoys accessing all of her personality traits to help teach and communicate with her students. Jenny's goal is to become a PCM trainer in the future. Outside of teaching, she enjoys spending time with family, road trips, yoga, the beach, and running with her dogs Sam and Kona.
 
Leslie Nahaku, Kinder Teacher

With a passion for making connections and inspiring souls, Leslie is thrilled to start her first year at MUSE! Although born on the East Coast and a New Yorker at heart, she quickly fell in love with the West Coast living of California. Leslie studied at Los Angeles Pierce College and WVOC in Early Childhood Education and brings with her 20 years of experience in providing an educational, nurturing, inviting environment tailored for every child’s individual needs. Prior to joining the MUSE community, Leslie worked at The Boulevard School as a Pre-Kindergarten for 18 years. Her open-minded approach to education led to creating a strong, fun-loving curriculum that incorporated the perfect balance of academics and creativity by blending both traditional and progressive techniques. When not connecting and inspiring with little souls, she continues to share her passion with the big ones! Leslie is an avid martial artist and practitioner in Gracie Jiu Jitsu where she carries her blue belt and is an Assistant Gracie Women Empowered Self-Defense Instructor.

Elementary School

Lauren Lee, Teacher & Director of Aftercare

Lauren Lee joined the MUSE community in 2016.  Originally from Oakland, she loves how the MUSE community reminds her of the creativity, diversity, and openness of the Bay Area she grew up with.  She has been working in schools for the past five years after getting her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Northridge.  Lauren has a deep love for books, receiving her BA in Pre-and-Early Modern Literature from University of California Santa Cruz.  Lauren discovered her love for teaching in school while volunteering as a teacher's assistant for all four years of High School.  In her spare time Lauren loves reading and playing board games with her husband, Chris, and they are looking forward to their family growing.
Daniel Larson, 1st Grade Teacher

Daniel is entering his 20th year in education and is thrilled to be a new member of the Muse School team.  Born and raised in Michigan, Daniel moved to Atlanta after he obtained his degree in Elementary Education.  While teaching for over 13 years in Atlanta, he completed his Master's Degree in Education in Reading, Language, and Literacy.  Daniel enjoys establishing a safe and invigorating environment in which his students can learn and explore the world around us.  Daniel has many interests and passions including being an avid reader and film buff, hiking, animal/human rights activism, photography, and aspiring to be a vegan chef.  Daniel believes that each child is unique and understands the importance of establishing a connection with each of his students.  He looks forward to an amazing year full of excitement, growth, and plenty of fun!
Katelyn Patterson, 2nd Grade Teacher

Katelyn was born and raised in the South. She was drawn to working with children and the arts at a very young age. Katelyn pursued a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama. After graduation Katelyn was recruited to work at the first STEAM elementary school in the world, teaching and developing curriculum. She loves teaching students using thematic and passion-based topics while integrating all areas of academics. Katelyn moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and found her home at MUSE. She loves inspiring children to take risks, be active participants in their learning and advocate for themselves! Katelyn recently completed her masters degree in Childhood Psychology and Counseling. Outside of teaching, she enjoys traveling, photography, sports of any kind and spending time with her husband.

Yvette Andrizzi, 3rd Grade Teacher

Yvette was born and raised in Southern California. She has spent the last ten years working with children in many capacities, including tutor, mentor, behavioral therapist, and teacher. Yvette received a master's and doctorate in clinical psychology prior to earning her teaching credential. She loves cooking, playing with her son Jack, and visiting family in New Zealand. Yvette is so excited to join the MUSE family and help children discover their passions and love of learning!
Jennifer Kaplan, 3rd Grade Teacher

Born and raised right here in Southern California, Jen has spent the last ten years teaching at the elementary level. She is passionate about helping young children become kind, caring individuals who can make the world a better place. She is excited about the opportunity to teach the whole child and utilize the psychology behind the Process Communication Model. When not at school with her students, Jen is at home loving her family, baking, and trying to save the elephants from becoming extinct. She looks forward to her first year at MUSE! 
Jeneen Metz, 4th Grade Teacher

Jeneen began teaching at MUSE in 2014. She is excited to be apart of MUSE! Prior to coming to MUSE, she worked in the Student Services Department at her alma mater Pepperdine. She earned both her Bachelor’s in Communication and her Master of Arts in Education there. Outside of MUSE, she enjoys volunteering with her church, writing her book, blogging, cooking (and eating) with friends.

Karen Ford, 5th Grade Teacher

Karen's motto is "Life's a Journey." Her journey has taken her to live in ten states and the country of Japan. Karen most recently came from Honolulu, Hawaii where she taught at Punahou School on the island of Oahu. 
 
Her experiences have led her to be a life long learner and instructor. She earned her Bachelors of Science Degree in Education from the University of Nebraska, her Masters of Science in Education with a Specialization in Educational Technology from National University. Most recently obtaining her CLAD certification from the University of California, San Diego. She is a member of Pi Lamda Theta Honor Society for Educators. She further developed her skill set as a teacher then administrator as a School Improvement Specialist keeping the Blue Valley School District in Kansas, in the top 5% of the Western Consortium of schools. Karen is a true progressive teacher incorporating Inquiry Learning, Project Based Learning, Brain Based Research, Open Mind Set and Design Thinking. Karen encourages her students through Giving, supporting Sustainable Actions, promoting their Passions and exploring their Gifts. Karen adores spending time and traveling with her husband, daughter and extended family members. She enjoys motorcycling riding, scuba diving, traveling, jogging and discovering new Journeys and Adventures.  
 
Domineque Arias, 6th Grade Teacher

Domineque is excited to be joining the MUSE team!  Prior to Muse, Domineque spent the past 6 years teaching fifth graders at a full inclusion school.  There, she refined her abilities to differentiate instruction to meet the needs and interests of each child. Domineque fell in love with MUSE's model of educating the whole child and incorporating each student's passions into their educational journey.  She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies and her Multiple Subject teaching credential at CSUN. During her free time, Domineque enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends camping, traveling, listening to live music and reading.

Middle School

Tressa Wyner, 7th Grade Teacher

A dedicated middle school teacher since 2007, Tressa joined the MUSE community in the summer of 2015. She obtained her K-8 teaching license, as well as her BA in psychology, from Hamline University in Minnesota. Upon graduation, she completed her student teaching in Brazil, where she also backpacked around the country. Tressa believes in cultivating life-long learners, helping students find their voice, and encouraging them to be their own advocates. She invites her students to take risks, to play, and to think critically. In her free time, Tressa enjoys visiting family in MN, cooking, being outside, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Carolyn Krause, 8th Grade Teacher

Carolyn is thrilled to be joining the MUSE family. She brings with her 15 uyears of experience teaching and mentoring Middle and High School students. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Communications from UCLA and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Pepperdine. Carolyn enjoys hanging out with her three grown children, her husband of 37 years, and friends fill her free time.

High School

Oona Croese, 9th Grade Teacher

Oona comes from the New York City public schools where she worked as a 9-12 grade teacher at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn teaching English, Film Studies and Theater – Mask Characterization.  While there, she was awarded the Big Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching - given to a select group and chosen collectively by parents, students and administrators.  She earned her BFA from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Theater, and was invited back on full scholarship to be the inaugural student in their MFA in Writing program.  She then worked for many years as a writer – selling two screenplays independently for "Showtime", as a story editor for “The Food Network”, and as a copywriter.   She became a teacher when she was selected as a New York Teaching Fellow to study Pedagogy at Brooklyn College for her Masters In Education.  She is very excited to join the MUSE community as both a teacher and a very, very proud mom to a little one who begins his first year at MUSE’s ECC this fall.
JoAnn AuBuchon, 10th Grade Teacher

JoAnn began teaching at MUSE in 2016. She was born and raised in St. Louis. She moved to Tennessee and graduated from the University of Tennessee. JoAnn lived in Anchorage and Kodiak, Alaska for a few years before returning to Tennessee to raise her two children on a farm where they raised sheep, llamas, swans, and miniature horses.  JoAnn taught high school English and Journalism, and specialized in remedial reading programs for 15 years, before moving to S. CA. JoAnn embraces the MUSE philosophy of passion-based learning. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, writing, theater, reading, traveling, and embracing new experiences.
Jeffrey Martin, 11th & 12th Grade Teacher

Jeffrey started teaching at MUSE in 2015.  He is an experienced educator, having taught in private, parochial, and public charter settings since 1996.  Prior to joining MUSE, Jeffrey was a founding teacher and Dean of Academics at a charter school in Los Angeles.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and English, and he completed a Masters in the Art of Teaching from the University of Southern California with a focus on teaching History.  Jeffrey’s passions include project-based learning, writing, curriculum design, meditation and mindfulness, and fostering community cohesion.  In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys road trips, camping, live music and theater, reading, writing, gardening and landscaping, and spending time with friends and family.  

Specialist Teachers

Eve Banuelos, Music Teacher

Eve was born and raised in San Francisco, where she attended the prestigious San Francisco School of the Arts with a concentration in Music. Eve moved to LA in 2006 to attend UCLA, where she majored in Flute Performance and minored in Music History. She enjoyed playing with the band, orchestra, chamber ensembles, and directing musicals, and decided to continue at UCLA, where she earned her Master of Music in 2012. Since graduating, Eve has taught at the Santa Monica Conservatory and Santa Monica Montessori School, as well as independently with families and private institutions. Eve works as a freelance musician when she isn't teaching, and is currently principal flautist with the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles. In her free time, Eve volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), goes camping with her boyfriend, and dotes on her four legged son, Magic. 
Giuliana Caredda, Art Teacher

Giuliana was born and raised in Southern California. Ever since she was very young, Giuliana actively pursued Art both in and outside of school.  Upon graduating with her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from California State University at Northridge, Giuliana found herself “drawn” to education.  She taught at Calmont School for 6 years from 2004-2010. After Calmont closed in 2010, MUSE School CA offered her the position as Art Teacher / Program Director and she has been joyfully teaching here ever since. She believes Art should be a fun, experimental exploration where children can express their unique perspectives. Additionally, through MUSE, she has had the privilege of becoming a certified PCM Trainer. Giuliana is very connected to her Italian family and loves traveling back to the island of Sardinia to visit them as often as she can. She enjoys cooking and has re-discovered her passion for running.

Chris Case, Maker & Facilities

Bio coming soon! 
Gisselle Gutierrez, Spanish Teacher

Gisselle began teaching at MUSE in 2014. Her background is in Early Childhood with a Masters in Educational Psychology. Before MUSE, Gisselle taught students in grades K through 8th in Spanish at a dual immersion school in Camarillo.  Outside of MUSE she enjoys surfing and playing tennis.

Paul Hudak, Seed to Table Program Manager

This is Paul’s 4th year at MUSE. He has been teaching formally in schools since 2007. He attended SUNY Oswego and SUNY New Paltz studying Childhood Education at both schools. After college Paul pursued his passion: sustainable agriculture. This path brought him to farms around the world. From working on vineyards in Italy to running a permaculture farm powered by draft horses Paul has been deeply steeped in his field for 20 years.  Paul is dedicated to assisting youth of all ages pursue their own interests and passions through experiential education with a focus on ecological sustainability. Before MUSE, Paul directed a Seed To Table program at an alternative high school in Portland, Oregon. There he worked with hundreds of students to build a farm, distributing produce to schools, restaurants, and CSA members. In his free time Paul enjoys seeing live music, biking, farming, and traveling.

Russell Mallen, Middle/High Science Teacher

Russ was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago and spent a good portion of his adult life in that area.  After majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in economics at MIT,  Russ was a materials scientist specializing in microchips and circuit boards.  During the stock market bubble, he put his math and economics education to work trading currencies, stocks, and options at the PHLX, CBOE, and AMEX.  Russ changed career paths and went into private tutoring because he saw an opportunity to transform math and science education. He has been teaching math and science at all levels for over 10 years. He taught Algebra I at Muse this past year and was instantly attracted to the unique approach of the school.  Russ is looking forward to integrating the Muse foundations of seed to table and sustainability in the science program.  Russ finally left Chicago in 2012 to fulfill a dream of living in LA with his wife Annie.  Together, Russ and his wife enjoy dog walks, hiking, and bike riding all over Southern California.
Hana Mezaguer, French Teacher

Hana is a native speaker who was born and raised in Paris. She studied at the University of Paris and California State University, Northridge. She has been teaching French in various schools in LA and is very excited to join the MUSE community. Outside of teaching, she enjoys traveling, swimming, playing beach volleyball, paddle boarding  and going horseback riding.  As an educator, she strives to help students build confidence in their ability to achieve, both academically and socially and to foster a passion for lifelong learning. 
Rick Perillo, Garden Educator

Rick Perillo is the MUSE Garden Educator. Since graduating from California State University, Northridge in 2006, Rick has been working with youth and exploring sustainable gardening practices. He enjoyed working with youth in Seattle and Downtown Los Angeles and organic farming in New Zealand and Colorado. Rick earned his Master Gardener Certificate, Permaculture Sustainable Design Certificate, and a Certificate in Global Sustainability from UCLA. He believes the garden is a great place to practice math concepts, gain a deeper understanding of science, and experience history and cultures. Rick is excited to share his passion for gardening with MUSE students. 
 

Haven Reininger, Math Specialist

This is Haven’s first year as MUSE’s dedicated Math Specialist. Haven graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in Economics and a special concentration in Medieval History. After graduation, Haven transitioned from a career in marketing and analysis into high school math curriculum development. He has since co-authored and taught high school math courses to students in a variety of learning environments. Haven’s expertise includes using mathematics and quantitative social sciences as a means to furthering one’s understanding of her surroundings and passions. Haven’s outside passions include exploring the Santa Monica Mountains, interactive/collaborative story-telling, and game design.

Staff

Francisco Argueta, Security and Facilities

Francisco has been working at MUSE since 2013. He is part of the Facilities/Security team at MUSE. Francisco also assists with the Outdoor Education program, by taking the students on hikes around campus, and by going on the Outdoors Education trips. Aside from work Francisco enjoys sports, music, and watching TV, and most importantly spending time with his wife and son.

Jimmy Calderon, Facilities Manager and Bus Driver

Jimmy manages the MUSE Facilities Team and is our School Bus Driver. He is a California Certified School Bus Instructor. In all, Jimmy has over 15 years of transportation experience. In his free time, Jimmy enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Mireya Hernandez, Receptionist

Mireya began working at MUSE in August of this year. Prior to MUSE, Mireya was a certified Home Care Aid as well as a Business Supervisor for an In-Home care agency. She has worked in office settings since 2007 helping advocate for many people who feel they are not being heard, working for Immigration offices and services for preventing elder abuse. When Mireya is not at MUSE, she is either at church teaching middle schoolers or playing in the band.  Mireya enjoys spending time with her husband, going to the gym, dancing, cooking, camping, taking road trips with the family or at the dog park with her 2 rambunctious dogs.

Charles Lee, Sous Chef

Charles has an AA in Fashion Textile from CSUN and he worked for a Knitting & Yarn Company as a sample maker and knitwear designer before coming to MUSE. He has always had an interest in culinary arts. After 2 years in textiles, he enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at Glendale College. Charles' passion is cooking for my family and he loves to host parties. 

Melissa Pampanin, Operations & Technology Coordinator, Assistant to Head of School & Co-Founder

Melissa has been with MUSE since February 2015. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Civic Engagement from UCLA. Before MUSE, Melissa took some time off and traveled around South East Asia for 4 1/2 months. Melissa is extremely passionate about MUSE’s plant based and sustainability practices. Outside of MUSE, Melissa enjoys running, hiking, taking yoga classes, shopping for fruit and traveling.

Eva Sanchez, Admissions Coordinator

Eva began working at MUSE in the summer of 2013. She shares her welcoming smile with students, parents and staff in the Prime Main Office. Prior to joining the MUSE community, Eva worked at a private school for 5 years as the Executive Assistant to the Head of School and School Coordinator. She is very passionate about children, animals and the overall concept of family. When she is not at MUSE Eva enjoys being a Mommie, staying home watching TV & eating frozen yogurt! 

Kirsten Wasson, College Counselor & Internship Coordinator

Kirsten Wasson has joined the MUSE staff in the dual position of College Counselor and Internship Coordinator at MUSE Middle/High. For over a decade she has been an English professor at Ithaca College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York.  Kirsten has degrees from Wesleyan University, State University of New York, Binghamton, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is excited about helping students to find valuable experiences in local communities, to help them navigate their way to college acceptance, and to explore other post-secondary options. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, writing, performing at storytelling venues, and spending time with her (grown) son.



Kayla Webb, Executive Chef

Kayla is the Executive Chef of MUSE School, CA. She joined the team in 2012 and has been serving as Chef for four years. Prior to coming to MUSE she was Executive Chef of the Golden Door Resort and Spa in San Diego, where she specialized in healthy fine dining. She has a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. She enjoys running marathons, upholstering vintage furniture, and swimming in her free time.