The Hidden Gem

August 13, 2020

Dear El Carmelo Families,

We have three new educators joining us this year. Former El Carmelo educators, Britt Brown, Anaia Gilliam, Sakina Jafri, and Morris Tuazon, have moved on to new adventures. I am thrilled to introduce you to the dynamic educators joining us this year, Mayra Cabral, Shikha Sharma, and Tracy Thorson. Take a look at the Q&A below to learn more about them.

Be Well,

Danaé

WELCOME NEW TEACHERS!

Meet Shikha Sharma, 5th Grade

Q: Where did you grow up? Where did you attend college?

SS: I grew up two hours north of the Bay Area in a town called Woodland, near Sacramento and Davis. I was born and raised there and part of the first graduating class of the second high school there! I attended USF for both undergraduate and graduate school.


Q: What are your interests and hobbies?

SS: I love learning! I’m a very curious human being and love to learn a little about everything. However, these last few years, I’ve been very interested in health and wellness. I’ve been vegan for five years and love learning about new foods and how to cook them. I am also learning to grow my own food in my home garden and stay very active. Currently, I hike and do yoga regularly, but I took up boxing for 8 years, which is a big interest of mine!


Q: How many years have you been teaching?

SS: I am going into my 7th year of teaching. I have experience in various grades (1st, 3rd-6th, and 8th), but have spent the majority of my time in 5th grade. The 20-21 year will be my 6th year in 5th grade!


Q: In joining El Carmelo, what are you looking forward to as you work with students, teachers, and parents?

SS: I'm looking forward to being a part of the change. I feel that as educators, we have always had a responsibility to learn, unlearn, and teach through historical moments in history. I am excited to be a part of a new community and I look forward to meeting all my students and their families. I feel that 5th grade is such a special time and I'm looking forward to all of the growth, development, and fun that comes with it!


Q: What are your passions in teaching?

SS: *Relationship building-I am a big proponent of building positive relationships and seeing positive results in student behavior and academic success.

*Student agency-All of my students have voice and agency-regardless of how old they are. All of my students come to school with various capital and I love using that as a means of showing students that they are important and do matter.

*Understanding perspective-Any literature I cover with my students is always taught knowing that we are reading through a lens that is not our own, but that we can all also have different interpretations because of the individual experiences we have.


Q: What else should the El Carmelo community know about you?

SS: I just spent a year teaching on the East Coast and I'm thrilled to be back in California. I am engaged to an amazing man and we were supposed to get married this summer, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our wedding is now pushed to this winter. Fingers crossed that we won't have to reschedule again! I am also very close and involved with my family and have two nephews, a niece, and another nephew and niece on the way this year!

Meet Mayra Cabral, Moderate to Severe Education Specialist

Q: Where did you grow up? Where did you attend college?

MC: I lived in the Chicago suburbs my entire life. Moving to California is a huge change. I am excited to be on the west coast. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education with a Learning Behavior certification from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana!


Q: What are your interests and hobbies?

MC: Music! I have recently started collecting vinyl records and now have a turntable. I enjoy live music and am going to my first drive-in concert soon. Currently, I am spending time training my new puppy, a Corgi named Gertie,


Q: How many years have you been teaching?

MC: This is my second year of teaching. Previously, I taught Dual Language Resource and have experience with students and young adults from ages 5 to 25.


Q: In joining El Carmelo, what are you looking forward to as you work with students, teachers, and parents?

MC: I am excited to share my dedication to education and advocating for diverse learners.


Q: What are your passions in teaching?

MC: Finding multiple ways to encourage student development. By providing unique methods of instruction, students can demonstrate their social and academic growth.


Q: What else should the El Carmelo community know about you?

MC: I am fluent in Spanish. I love any opportunity to speak Spanish with students and families. I entered into education to help break down the stigma that some families may experience when coming across language barriers.

Meet Tracy Thorson, English Learner Specialist

Q: Where did you grow up? Where did you attend college?

TT: I grew up in Tracy, California. I attended Sacramento State for my undergraduate degree and San Jose State for graduate school and administrative credential,


Q: What are your interests and hobbies?

TT: I love to travel, read, and spend time with my family.


Q: How many years have you been teaching?

TT: This is my 23rd year in education. I have taught elementary grades K-3 & 5, as well as middle school math and English Language Arts. I was a primary grade Math Intervention Teacher for two years as well.


Q: In joining El Carmelo, what are you looking forward to as you work with students, teachers, and parents?

TT: I am looking forward to meeting new teachers and being part of the school community.


Q: What are your passions in teaching?

TT: I love seeing kids grow and build confidence in their ability to learn.


Q: What else should the El Carmelo community know about you?

TT: I look forward to working with the English Learners and their parents, and helping them acquire the English Language!

El Carmelo Elementary School

An inclusive & rigorous school in the heart of Palo Alto. Thoughtful educators partner with involved parents. We are the Dragons! We learn, play & grow!