Marissa received her B.A. from Columbia University and her Master’s in Education from UC Berkeley. Before moving to Los Angeles to start CWC in 2010, she was an administrator and teacher at the North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS), which included a three year stint on their Board of Directors. Given her time at NOCCS as a K/1 and 2/3 teacher, Marissa is a hands-on instructional leader who is closely connected to her own experience as a classroom teacher and developer of project-based curriculum. In her administrative functions at NOCCS, she helped lead fundraising efforts, while also redesigning their after-school program, creating a school-wide service-learning curriculum and developing an after-school math intervention program. Similar to her role at CWC, Marissa participated in teacher mentoring and professional development.
Previous to her time at NOCCS, Marissa worked at various public and independent elementary schools in San Francisco and the Bay Area. She is a Project Zero Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, which led her to developing teacher training workshops and study groups on the Teaching for Understanding curriculum development framework, which CWC uses to structure thematic and interdisciplinary project-based units at each grade level.
Marissa is a true “citizen of the world,” growing up in Chicago and having lived in New York and San Francisco respectively for several years. Beyond her various “home bases” throughout the years, Marissa feels privileged to have had amazing opportunities living in Cameroon and France as well. With a true passion for travel, Marissa has learned a great deal from time spent in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, South America, Europe and North America. She speaks French and is learning basic Spanish.
Marissa is incredibly passionate about the mission and vision for CWC. Her enthusiasm and leadership around CWC’s core values is truly contagious. Marissa’s great aim is that Citizens of the World will exist as proof that a progressive public school like CWC will thrive in offering a diverse group of students an innovative, thought-provoking and rigorous educational experience – to, in essence, develop a new generation of positive leaders and thoughtful citizens of the world. Everyday, Marissa is thankful for and humbled by the experience of working hard alongside teachers and parents to create something special from the ground up.
In her spare time, she spends time with loved ones and friends, playing in and around Los Angeles. To recharge from the busy life of being a charter school Principal, she is also very fond of being lazy with her favorite Bassett Hound named Belle.