Meet the Team

Our collaborative professional community supports CWC’s teachers with ample planning time, training, resources and autonomy. Teachers are able to continually develop their skills, collaborate with one another, and create, evaluate and refine curriculum that best fits their students utilizing a variety of ongoing assessments to track students’ progress.

Meet our team

School Leadership

Jirusha Lopez

Jirusha Lopez

Principal

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jlopez@cwchollywood.org

Jirusha Lopez received her B.A. in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in American Sign Language, and Teaching Credential in 2007 from California State University, Northridge. After several years of teaching elementary school in the San Fernando Valley, she returned to C.S.U.N. and earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and an Administrative Credential.

Throughout her years in education (both in Los Angeles District schools and at a Charter School in the San Fernando Valley), Jirusha has taught Third Grade, Fifth Grade, substituted in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade classrooms, and has worked out of the classroom as a Reading Intervention Specialist and Physical Education Coordinator. She has also spent approximately one year teaching moderate to severe special needs students at LAUSD. Along with teaching and leading, Jirusha is a Google Certified Educator and engaged in public speaking supporting Arts Integration and Teacher Funding at the 22nd and 24th Annual Charter School Conferences in Sacramento, California.

Jirusha is a life-long learner herself, and loves that the field of education allows her to continue to develop her own interests and skills while fostering and supporting the ever-changing interests of the children and teachers she works with. After over a decade of educational service in the classroom, she was thrilled to accept the Assistant Principal position at CWC Hollywood in the 2018/19 school year and the role of Principal the following year. She whole-heartedly believes in the vision that today’s youth and educators must be supported in unique and responsive ways that develop their minds, souls, and emotional well-being equally – especially in this ever-changing world. Jirusha’s leadership style is one of open communication, positivity, support, and constructive feedback. She vows to evolve and change as the professional role requires to support the staff, students and community alike. After the past few years we’ve all experienced, Jirusha, along with the entire CWCH community, have proven to embody our core values of ‘Change’ and ‘Authenticity’.

In her spare time, Jirusha enjoys spending time with her husband, young son, family, friends, and her dog, Levi. She enjoys staying active, and can often be found playing softball, cooking and baking for her loved ones, or watching football (Go Dallas Cowboys!).

Ashley Shaw

Ashley Shaw

Assistant Principal

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ashaw@cwchollywood.org

Ashley has had a myriad of different positions that have helped to shape her as an educator. Born and raised in Rochester, New York, she moved away from the cold winters to begin her teaching career in Atlanta in 2007. Ashley taught 2nd and 3rd grades as a lead teacher in both public and private schools for many years. Her Master’s in Childhood Education and her experiences with diverse populations of students engendered a strong passion for and understanding of curriculum analysis and creation.

In 2014, Ashley took on the role of Curriculum Coordinator and began to help analyze her school’s data and direct professional development initiatives. In 2016, she left the classroom to pursue her passion as a Curriculum Specialist before taking on the role of Director. In this role, Ashley led many initiatives and worked with teachers in grades ranging from Kindergarten through eighth grade in all areas of the curriculum. Most noteworthy was she had the opportunity to co-lead the development of a Makerspace and STEAM program as well as a schoolwide Social Emotional Learning program.

It was during her time as Director of Curriculum and Instruction when she realized how many components of a school need to work seamlessly in order for it to be an effective and happy place for all community members to thrive. In order to continue to pursue her passion for supporting teachers and their students’ learning, Ashley sought out a position in higher administration. It was in August 2019 that Ashley came to CWC Hollywood as Assistant Principal. She has been throughly enjoying being a part of a community that truly embodies her philosophy of education.

In her spare time, Ashley loves to spend time with her husband and two children. They love being outdoors together and staying active by swimming, dancing, biking, and gardening.

Susanne Park

Susanne Park

Assistant Principal

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spark@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon! 

Cara Cleveland

Cara Cleveland

Director of Special Education

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ccleveland@cwchollywood.org

Cara Cleveland received her B.A. in Psychology from James Madison University. She started her career as a case manager assisting families with securing housing after experiencing homelessness. After a few years of working in that capacity she realized her passion was working with children and specifically with children with disabilities. She began her teaching career in Lynn, a large urban district outside of Boston. After two years in the classroom, working with students in a substantially separate setting, she returned to school and received her Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Moderate Disabilities. 

She continued her teaching career in Lynn and moved through a variety of special education programs over the years. It was during her time in the Life Skills program that she found her passion for creating curriculum around community based instruction. She worked to create pre-vocational experiences for students at the middle school level. She is passionate about inclusive education and making all students feel like valued members of the school community. In her time as a classroom teacher she also coached cross country, track and field and basketball for middle school students. 

In 2019, she transitioned to a leadership role as Special Education Department Head. She oversaw multiple special education programs and supported over twenty staff members.  During this time she also led the first Inclusivity Panels within the school. She mentored students through the YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research) process where they studied the effects of implicit bias on student perceptions of school. Through this work she was able to elevate student voice and work to create a more inclusive school experience for all students. 

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing with her husband and son.  She is excited to explore the west coast! 

Jessica Moy

Jessica Moy

Director of Social Emotional Learning

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jmoy@cwchollywood.org

Coach Jessie is a true Southern California native. She was born in Santa Monica, raised in Culver City, and attended CCUSD schools from K-12. She received her BA in Theater from the University of Southern California and her Masters in Education from Antioch University, Los Angeles. In the Summer of 2011, Jessie made a one-year commitment to serve as a Playworks Coach for CWC Hollywood, not knowing that this community would capture her heart forever. In her first three years at CWC, she developed an inclusive youth fitness program, infusing Social-Emotional Learning with Healthy Play. She also established a student leadership program in which 4th and 5th graders could serve as “Junior Coaches” at lower grade recesses. Junior Coaches (now known as Active Citizens) facilitate games, mediate conflict, and act as positive role models and mentors within the community. In Fall of 2015, Coach Jessie became CWC Hollywood’s first Director of Social Emotional Learning. As part of her role, she provides professional development for staff, coordinates SEL curricula across all grade levels and creates additional opportunities for student leadership on and off the playground. Her background in theater, fitness, and education give her a unique perspective on working with children, and she is beyond grateful to continue her work with this amazing community after over a decade of service.

Landy Esqueda

Landy Esqueda

School Operations Manager

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lesqueda@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Operations + Office

Matthew Dinh

Matthew Dinh

Regional Director of Operations

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mdinh@cwclosangeles.org 

Mr. Matt brings to Citizens of the World finance, strategic planning, and educational programming experience. As the Director of School Operations, Mr. Matt serves as the operational leader of the school campuses, overseeing all non-academic aspects of the schools.

Prior to joining CWC, Mr. Matt served as the Director of Career and Technical Education for Education Management Systems, where he oversaw the creation and implementation of career pathways for high schools, serving over 20,000 students in 12 different regions across the country. Mr. Matt worked directly with the CEO on key strategic and operational initiatives tied to growth and financial planning. Matthew gained his training for this type of work in his prior role with San Francisco Unified School District as a program director, establishing partnerships with post-secondary institutions, community organizations, and large banking and tech companies throughout the Bay Area with local school career programs for high school students.

Mr. Matt began his career in education as a middle school and high school history teacher and has served in varying school-site leadership positions. Mr. Matt holds a B.A. in Economics and a M.A. in Education from the University of California, Irvine.

Oscar Conde

Oscar Conde

Office Associate

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oconde@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Tim Hitpas

Tim Hitpas

After School Program Coordinator

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Thitpas@cwchollywood.org

Tim started working at CWC in 2016 as an after school teacher and fell in love with the culture and mission of the school. He enjoys building community with students and watching them grow and learn. He’s worn many hats over the years, such as a teaching associate, one-on-one aide, and after school coordinator.

Tim enjoys writing, playing video games, visiting national parks, and going to the beach as much as possible.

For program questions, contact studentprograms@cwchollywood.org

Christian Lopez

Christian Lopez

Community Coordinator

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clopez@cwchollywood.org

Christian graduated from California State University, Bakersfield, with his Bachelor’s Degree in 2018 and Master’s in 2020. He joined the CWC Community in August 2021 as the Community Coordinator. He made the career change from Case Management to Education to pursue a goal of his – to positively impact the lives of children at an early age. Christian decided to focus on Charter Schools because he has seen first hand how they can be so beneficial for fostering a love of learning and establishing the importance of community. His favorite CWC core values are Authenticity and Change.

In his free time, Christian enjoys attending Dodger Games and is still in pursuit of the best cheese danish.

Susie Madrigal

Susie Madrigal

Data Coordinator

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smadrigal@cwchollywood.org

Susie is excited to be a part of the CWC Hollywood Team. Prior to joining CWC, Susie devoted 13 years to a San Fernando Valley Charter School. During her time there, Susie took on many roles; her most recent being Public Records and Enrollment Administrator. Within the first year in this role, Susie increased enrollment from 460 to 510 students and maintained a 98% perfect attendance rate for almost 6 years. Susie has extensive knowledge in enrollment and data process for nonprofit charter schools and is ready to take on new challenges.

During her free time, you can find her diving into all things beauty related, spending time with her 8 year old fur baby, Marley, or enjoying a good self-development book.

Patty Marroquin

Patty Marroquin

Lunch Service Associate

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Bio coming soon!

Isaac Recinos

Isaac Recinos

COVID & Lunch Service Associate

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irecinos@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Genesis Torres

Genesis Torres

Office Associate

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gtorres@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Teaching Teams

Lead Teachers

Rebecca Shores

Rebecca Shores

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Lead Teacher

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Allison Eagleston

Allison Eagleston

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

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aeagleston@cwchollywood.org

Ms. Allison was born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK. She is a third generation educator! Early childhood education has always been a passion of hers. She believes in educating the whole child and hope that she can instill a love of learning, empathy, creativity, self-direction, and a confident, valued, critical thinker. When not teaching, she enjoys cooking, pilates, hiking, reading classic literature, 35mm photography and hand quilting a flower garden quilt. She also has two Basenjis (the “barkless” dog from Africa) that are nationally ranked lure coursing champions.

She received a BS in Political Science & Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Early Childhood Education. She has also completed endorsement programs for Montessori 3-6 from the American Montessori Society, Special Education, English Language Learners as well as Wired for Reading. She truly values learning and is currently starting an ABA program! She spent her 20s volunteering for various children’s organizations in Oklahoma City including Boys & Girls Club, The Children’s Hospital and Positive Tomorrows. She began teaching Montessori at Westminster School in Oklahoma City and was there for three years before moving to Seattle in 2010, where she continued to teach Montessori Preschool before transitioning to public school as a Kindergarten teacher in Highline School District. After receiving her endorsement in Special Education, she went back to teaching preschool in the Inclusion Program in Lake Washington School District before moving to Los Angeles at the end of 2019. She has been in education since 2005.

Emma Hodges

Emma Hodges

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

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ehodges@cwchollywood.org

Ms. Emma Hodges was drawn to teaching after leading groups of elementary school students on the UCSC Farm & Gardens, taking them on an edible journey of the 6 different plant parts. She began her career in education as a Garden Educator in school gardens in both Santa Barbara for S’cool Gardens and San Francisco with Education Outside, teaching a place-based science curriculum to PK-5th grade students. Ms. Hodges also incorporated her love for the arts into an after school Drama Club – putting on productions of Peter Pan and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory with 3rd-5th grade students. Eventually, her time in garden-based classroom instruction led her back indoors. She started her classroom teaching with 1st grade students in Oakland, CA – marveling at the magic of students learning how to read! This is her second year teaching Kindergarten at CWC with her new group of Beetles. When she is not in the classroom you can find Ms. Emma curled up with a good fantasy book (and the occasional Netflix binge), attempting a slow jog around the Silver Lake Reservoir, or eating a variety of cheeses and breads.

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

Kindergarten Lead Teacher

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lmorales@cwchollywood.org

Lorena Morales is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator that views teaching as cultivating a lifelong passion for education and creating a positive impact in the lives of students and their families. Her commitment to teaching was established on the principle that all children are capable learners when given the proper resources, experiences, and guidance. Throughout her experience working as an early childhood teacher for the last ten years, she built a strong foundation for each student to promote safe child growth, cognitive development, and social-emotional awareness.

Annie Jo

Annie Jo

1st Grade Lead Teacher

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ajo@cwchollywood.org

Mrs. Jo is a fun-loving and effective classroom teacher who enjoys being part of The Citizens of the World family since 2013.  As long as she can remember, she wanted to work with children.  After receiving her BA in Human Development from UC San Diego in 2004, she traveled to Thailand, Laos, and Korea to teach English.  Then she decided to pursue her passion for teaching and graduated with her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal State Fullerton in 2007.  Upon graduation, she began to teach in Corona-Norco Unified School District and worked as the Kindergarten Jumpstart teacher at Wilson Elementary School for 6 years.  Under Mrs. Jo’s direction, the Jumpstart Program was honored by the California School Boards Association with the prestigious Golden Bell Award for English Language Acquisition in 2009 and the National Blue Ribbon Award of Riverside County for Model of Academic Excellence in 2010.  She is thrilled to be a part of CWC, a school that embraces her teaching philosophy wholeheartedly.  When Mrs. Jo’s not in the classroom, she loves spending quality time with her husband, Joseph, her family, friends, and fur baby, Koko.  She loves traveling, camping, kayaking, watching movies, singing, cooking, and playing endless fetch with Koko.  Mrs. Jo is also fluent in Korean.

Heidi Acosta

Heidi Acosta

1st Grade Lead Teacher

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hacosta@cwchollywood.org

In 2010, Heidi Acosta, a Stay-at-Home Mom, was looking for an exceptional Kinder/Elementary experience for her first born. She found out about a new school hoping to open in her neighborhood called Citizen’s of the World Charter School Hollywood. As a former Educator herself, she could not have been more excited to hear about this school and its mission. At the first meeting, pregnant with her second child, she quickly became a Founding Parent. Writing the Charter, finding the Principal, making shirts to sell at the Larchmont Family Fair, and tons of Outreach, were all a part of the first days, weeks, and months. Finally, the school opened, and, she remained on the Fundraising Committee even though her son would not be a part of the actual school until Kinder 2011.

Being an active member of the CWC Family since the beginning, with children in both the Elementary and Middle Schools, inspired Heidi to return to teaching last year as a Certified Substitute. Mrs. Acosta, a graduate of Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL, has degrees in Elementary Education of Spanish Speaking Children, Spanish and Latin American Studies. She has taught in Miami, FL and Brooklyn, NY for a total of 7 plus years while also taking Master’s Level Courses. She is excited to continue working at CWC where she is dedicated to promoting the success of each student.

Jacqueline Melendez

Jacqueline Melendez

1st Grade Lead Teacher

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jmelendez@cwchollywood.org

Ms. Melendez grew up and attended K-12 in Hollywood, CA, where she first discovered her love for the world of education. After high school, she attended UC San Diego, where she found a passion in the study of Sociology. However, education was always at the forefront of her career. After graduating, she came back to Los Angeles to attend Pepperdine University, where she recently graduated and received her MA in Education and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials.

Jackie is excited to begin working at Citizens of the World Charter, given that it’s hard to find a public school that holds the same mission and values related to education as she does. She looks forward to working, learning, and having fun at this new and amazing school. Jackie is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Helen Lee

Helen Lee

2nd Grade Lead Teacher

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hlee@cwchollywood.org

Mrs. Lee feels honored to be a part of the Citizens of the World family and is thrilled to be a Lead Teacher at CWC Hollywood. With her ongoing passion for education, Mrs. Lee decided to pursue a teaching career after graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in Linguistics. To further her education, she earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree in Education at Azusa Pacific University. Some of her favorite memories as a teacher include collaborating with students and other educators in her school community through various project-based learning and constructivism approaches. Mrs. Lee is excited to continue carrying a growth mindset with her students to explore and learn together. She will make every effort to provide a fun and safe classroom environment where all students can express and advocate their thoughts. A personal goal Mrs. Lee carries is to become fluent in more languages as she is a native Korean and English speaker. Mrs. Lee enjoys traveling and trying new food with her friends and family during her free time, and can be found searching for new destinations around the world to visit one day.

Karen Fenswick

Karen Fenswick

2nd Grade Lead Teacher

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kfenswick@cwchollywood.org

Karen Fenswick grew up in Seattle, Washington, and began her work with students in children’s dance and theater. She earned her degree in Interdisciplinary Child Development and teaching certification from Western Washington University’s Woodring College of Education. She’s spent much of her twelve-year classroom career working with charter schools in Los Angeles, including Ocean Charter, using a variety of teaching methods including Arts Integrated education, Project Approach, and Constructivist pedagogies. She is also trained in Community Choir Leadership through the Ubuntu Choirs network—a global network of choirs and musicians dedicated to choral singing as a community practice.  Karen is returning from adventures in the Pacific Northwest and teaching at The Emerson School in Portland, Oregon.  She is delighted to be back in Los Angeles, returning to the learning family that is CWC Hollywood. She is excited to reconnect to this community–where learning takes place in a spirit of imagination, curiosity, compassion, and world citizenship. In her free time, she loves spending time with her husband and their two goofy cats, swimming, and singing with community groups.

Betsy Rogers

Betsy Rogers

2nd Grade Lead Teacher

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brogers@cwchollywood.org

Mrs. Rogers is delighted to be a 2nd grade Lead Teacher at CWCH. She is dedicated to CWC’s philosophy and is committed to collaborating with students, teachers, families, and the community to ensure that each unique learner is equipped with the tools to thrive, lead, and contribute their gifts to humanity. In addition to her work in the classroom, Mrs. Rogers is a founding member of Hollywood’s MCD team and CWCLA’s regional math team, the focus of the latter of which has been to ensure alignment and share best practices across CWC schools in the area of Mathematics.

Prior to joining CWC in 2015, Mrs. Rogers spent several years serving Los Angeles’ diverse student population as a teacher and paraprofessional in both public and independent schools. A former behavior interventionist, Mrs. Rogers is trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Mrs. Rogers received her BA in philosophy from CSULB and student taught through her university’s CAPS program—an association that brings developmentally appropriate philosophy lessons into public schools.  She then received her California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Azusa Pacific University, where she was selected to lead a workshop and panel discussion on SDAIE strategies.

When not teaching, Mrs. Rogers enjoys singing in the Agape International Choir, practicing Kundalini Yoga, playing golf, and spending time with her family, her husband, Matt, and her fish, Mooney!

Naomi Rasmussen

Naomi Rasmussen

3rd Grade Lead Teacher

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nrasmussen@cwchollywood.org

Naomi doesn’t come from a family of educators but having a mom with a passion for education peaked her interest in education early on. She grew up in Colorado and loved biking around the city, hiking, or staying at home to do a fun craft. She grew up with a love for learning regardless of the subject. Inside the classroom she loved reading and writing, outside she loved learning about construction, plants and painting. After graduating high school she moved to California where she attended Pepperdine University. While at Pepperdine she studied abroad in Germany and grew her love for travel. Naomi graduated from Pepperdine in 2021 with a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Arts for Education with an emphasis in German. As an educator, Naomi believes that a strong classroom environment is built with trust, healthy mistakes and ample amounts of fun! When Naomi is not in the classroom you can find her tending to her plant babies, searching for new music or analyzing the newest Marvel release.

Julia Hiser

Julia Hiser

3rd Grade Lead Teacher

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jhiser@cwchollywood.org

Julia was raised by two educators in Southern California. Her early years instilled her with a life-long love of education and teaching. She began tutoring in high school and worked as a writing tutor and TA at the college level. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from UC Santa Cruz where she double majored in Feminist Studies and Creative Writing, she moved to Los Angeles and began working in schools as a Teaching Associate. She earned her Masters of Education from UCLA’s Teacher Education Program in 2014. Her graduate work deepened her commitment to inquiry-driven education and the power of schools as spaces for positive social change. She was a founding staff member of Citizens of the World, Mar Vista where she taught first grade for four years. Julia was drawn to CWC’s constructivist approach and its dedication to diversity. Julia is passionate about empowering young people through authentic, real-world applications to learning. She has found “the sweet spot” teaching third grade with an incredible team at CWC Hollywood. When she isn’t in the classroom, Julia can be found gardening, cooking, crafting, listening to podcasts, watching something funny or some combination of those.

Teacher Jen “TJ”

Teacher Jen “TJ”

3rd Grade Lead Teacher

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jgist@cwchollywood.org

Teacher Jen (TJ) descends from a line of educators, though initially resisted the familial push to join the profession! They grew up in Colorado with a love for mountains, basketball, and drum line. TJ fled the nest to Seattle for undergrad and a subsequent job in civil rights education and advocacy at the Council on American Islamic Relations. From Seattle, they journeyed to Washington, D.C., where they worked as a bike courier before seeking climate-controlled alternatives. Years of volunteer work with queer youth programs sparked a renewed interest in education, and TJ began teaching at a expeditionary learning school in Washington D.C. After finishing their Masters of Education at Hopkins in 2018, TJ relocated to LA from DC with their partner, an LA native. When TJ is not poring over students’ amazing entries in their writing journals or adorning their work with stickers, they are likely reading The New Yorker, cooking a multi-course meal, cooing at their rooftop garden, or talking to someone about how much they love math!

Monzie Pasos

Monzie Pasos

3rd Grade Lead Teacher

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mpasos@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee

4th Grade Lead Teacher

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jlee@cwchollywood.org

Jessica Lee grew up in Southern California and has worked with children in a variety of educational settings since her high school years. While attending Loyola Marymount University, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies with a Special Education concentration. She taught third grade in Bellflower Unified School District before joining CWC Hollywood as a fourth grade teacher.

Jessica is fluent in Korean. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying out new restaurants, and spending time with her three cats- Luca, Luna, and Leo.

Vivienne Richardson

Vivienne Richardson

4th Grade Lead Teacher

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vrichardson@cwchollywood.org

Vivienne Richardson was born and raised throughout the Los Angeles area. She received her bachelors degree from UC Merced in World History and her Masters in Teaching from USC. Her favorite subject to teach is Math and Science. She has always taught fourth grade and loves it very much. She feels that kids are starting to find their voice and become more independent and is honored to help them on their journey as they grow though adolescence. In her spare time she loves to play video games with her husband and son, read books, and take her dogs for long walks.

Eva Schlomann

Eva Schlomann

4th Grade Lead Teacher

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eschlomann@cwchollywood.org

Eva Schlomann holds many years of experience teaching children both in and out of the classroom. She graduated from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education where she received her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. She was drawn to CWC because of its commitment to inquiry-based instruction, social justice, and building community through social emotional learning. Before her time at CWC, Eva taught fourth grade in the Bay area and also worked in art education in the nonprofit sector.

Originally from New York, Eva calls California her second home. She spends her free time exploring the City of Angels with her pup, Ivy, and taking weekend trips to state parks near and far.

Melody Bentson

Melody Bentson

5th Grade Lead Teacher

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mbentson@cwchollywood.org

Ms. Bentson grew up in L.A. county and attended California State University, Long Beach to earn a bachelor’s degree in Education, with en emphasis in Social Science. Immediately following graduation, she spent one year in South America travelling and teaching English as a volunteer. Upon her return in 2013, she became a Hollywood resident and a lead classroom teacher.
Passionate about social justice, history, and culture, Ms. Bentson strives to create a learning environment that invites all students to be creative thinkers, strong communicators, and compassionate collaborators. She relies on Project Based Learning practices and Restorative Justice methods to engage and support her students.
Ms. Bentson loves her job. She also loves playing sports, camping, and snuggling her dog, Benny.
Katie Furden

Katie Furden

5th Grade Lead Teacher

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kfurden@cwchollywood.org

Originally from Walnut Creek, Miss Katie Furden graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s in Science and from Antioch University Santa Barbara with a Master’s in Education along with a Multiple Subject Credential. This will be Katie’s 4th year teaching elementary school. Previously she taught preschool for 5 years and 1 year abroad as an international 1st grade teacher.

For the last three years, Katie taught fifth grade at an elementary school in Santa Barbara Unified. During her time there, she took on many leadership and collegiality roles. Katie also led an after school movement and wellness program in an effort to empower students to be the best version of themselves.  Katie went on to be named Distinguished New Educator 2019 for Santa Barbara County.

Outside of teaching, she loves traveling and helping her students learn about the unique cultures of the world. You can also find Katie practicing yoga, running half marathons, and spending time with her family. Overall, she finds value in having a growth mindset and living a healthy lifestyle that she strives to impart on the community, particularly with the younger generation.

Danella Browne

Danella Browne

5th Grade Lead Teacher

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dbrowne@cwchollywood.org

Danella Browne, “Mrs B.” is a native New Yorker who transitioned to the “left coast” this Summer. She is a “seasoned” veteran serving children and the educational community for over twenty years. Her diverse experiences, dedication to academic excellence, and passion-based learning approach to education, align well with the principles of CWC. 

Danella is a proud graduate of the first HBCU, Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania. Its rich history and reputation for producing leaders in the African American community, including presidents of countries, Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, and literary genius Langston Hughes, has shaped and molded her leadership skills. She is a credentialed educator who also holds a license in Administration I, has served in several leadership capacities including Team and Department chair, New Teacher coach, and a School Based Management Team member(SBMT). 

A mom of two and recent “empty nester”, she spends the majority of her free time in the gym with her husband, high school sweetheart, of 25 years, Rob, or navigating the world.

Teaching Associates

Jessica Lopez

Jessica Lopez

Teaching Associate - TK

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jessica.lopez@cwchollywood.org

Jessica Lopez received her B.A. in Biology in 2018 from California State University, Los Angeles. After working for CCA as a TA for a year, she became a Teaching Associate for CWC Hollywood. She also works for ARC after school program. She began working with children in 2012, volunteering for the girls and boys club. She has worked with different age groups, being from 3 months old to 1st graders. Jessica was born in Los Angeles and is fluent in Spanish.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family and hiking.

Nallely Lopez

Nallely Lopez

Teaching Associate - Kindergarten

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nlopez@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Liliana Macias

Liliana Macias

Teaching Associate - Kindergarten

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Yuri Yi

Yuri Yi

Teaching Associate - 1st Grade

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jessica.lopez@cwchollywood.org

Jessica Lopez received her B.A. in Biology in 2018 from California State University, Los Angeles. After working for CCA as a TA for a year, she became a Teaching Associate for CWC Hollywood. She also works for ARC after school program. She began working with children in 2012, volunteering for the girls and boys club. She has worked with different age groups, being from 3 months old to 1st graders. Jessica was born in Los Angeles and is fluent in Spanish.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family and hiking.

Jessica Lim

Jessica Lim

Teaching Associate - 2nd Grade

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jlim@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Richard Gonzalez

Richard Gonzalez

Teaching Associate - 2nd Grade

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rgonzalez@cwchollywood.org

Richard Gonzalez received his B.A. in English Literature from California State University, Los Angeles. For a few months in college, he was able to exchange journals and interact with at-risk youth through the Buenanueva Foundation, a program dedicated to inspiring at-risk youth to further their studies and literacy. Soon after graduating, he received his certification, through Oxford Seminars, to teach English as a Second Language and English as a Foreign Language.

Richard was born and raised in Los Angeles and spent most of his life there until he decided to teach English in South Korea. He was one of four teachers at Ian English Academy, a private academy, or hagwon, in the city of Cheonan, a city one hour south of Seoul, for two years. There he worked with students of various language learning levels ages five through fifteen. Within a few months of completing his contract at Ian English Academy, he acquired a position as a guest English teacher in Busan, the second biggest city in South Korea, through EPIK (English Program in Korea). He taught at Ban-an Middle School in the very beautiful area of Busan named Haeundae, for two years. As the only native English speaking English teacher at the school, he not only worked with students in the classroom but also partook in organizing school-wide English based quiz games, as well as intensive Summer and Winter English camps. As a part of EPIK for more than a year, Richard became a mentor to two new coming teachers that needed guidance as they began their respective teaching careers.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys coffee shops, reading, photography, Star Wars, watching and playing sports, and Disneyland.

Yvette Torres

Yvette Torres

Teaching Associate - 3rd Grade

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ytorres@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Estefania Terrones

Estefania Terrones

Teaching Associate - 4th Grade

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Priscilla Cuevas

Priscilla Cuevas

Teaching Associate - 5th Grade

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pcuevas@cwchollywood.org

Priscilla Cuevas was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her B.A. in Child Development in 2016, her M.A. in Education (Early Childhood/Primary Education) in 2020, and is currently working to obtain a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles. After working as a Preschool Teacher for three years, she became a Teaching Associate for CWC Hollywood. Priscilla is passionate about working with children, education, and teaching. Her career goal is to be an Elementary Teacher.

In her spare time, Priscilla enjoys spending time with family and trying new food.

Enrichment Team

Jessica Aguilar

Jessica Aguilar

Multi-Cultural Studies Teacher

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jaguilar@cwchollywood.org

Born in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Miss Jessica moved three hours north (thinking this was very adventurous) to attend the University of Central Florida. There, she received her BA in Elementary Education and teaching certification for Florida. Immediately after graduation, she drove cross-country with her pup, Nosi, to central Oregon. It was in this beautiful state that Miss Jessica realized she was unequipped to survive 5 months of snow a year. So she moved to Los Angeles in 2017, working as a substitute and personal tutor until finally landing her dream job back in the classroom as a Kindergarten TA at CWC.

In addition to speaking Spanish, she speaks some French and is working on key phrases in Korean. Outside of school, Miss Jessica spends her time still exploring the diverse landscapes of California with Nosi, and working to obtain a California teaching credential.

Joshua Golden

Joshua Golden

Performing Arts Teacher & Community Communication Coordinator

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jgolden@cwchollywood.org

Mr. Josh is from Chicago, Illinois, and studied dramatic writing at DePaul University. He has been a member of the CWC Hollywood community since 2012. After working as a TA and in the after school program for many years, Josh currently teaches Performing Arts in 2nd-5th Grades and is the master mind behind our after school musical theatre program and CWGlee club director. He also supports school communications.

In his free time, Mr. Josh enjoys going to Disneyland and spending time with his wife and dog, Minnie.

Shannon Green

Shannon Green

Visual Arts Teacher

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sgreen@cwchollywood.org

Happy to be with CWC, Shannon is an artist and educator who loves making and teaching art with people of all ages. His teaching experience includes the Academy of Art University, LACMA, Environmental Charter, Charles White Elementary, Pasadena Waldorf School, CWCMV and artists residencies in a variety of schools throughout LAUSD. He is the founder of The Cool School Los Angeles, an arts education initiative offering classes, camps, workshops and private instruction for adults and children. He is also the proud father of twin kiddos and loves being their Dad!

Student Support Team

Sara Bohnsack

Sara Bohnsack

Reading Interventionist

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sbohnsack@cwchollywood.org

Sara Bohnsack has been at CWC-Hollywood since 2011. She was a founding 3rd grade teacher here, as well as a 5th grade teacher. Her love for teaching reading and writing led to her current role as the reading intervention teacher. In this position, she is committed to helping all children in our care receive the specific literacy support they need to become skilled, confident, and lifelong readers.

Sara grew up in Cleveland, Ohio before departing the midwest to become a first-generation college student. She lives in Culver City with her partner and daughter.

Dayna Kozofsky

Dayna Kozofsky

Resource Teacher

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Maria Baglio

Maria Baglio

Behavior Interventionist

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mbaglio@cwchollywood.org

Maria Baglio was born and raised in Queens, NY and moved to Los Angeles in March of 2022! Even though she’s an East Coast girl, her heart was always in the West Coast. Thanks to her husband, her dreams became a reality! 

Prior to joining CWC, Maria was a TA at a NYCDOE Preschool and a Behavior Interventionist doing in-home services for children with autism.  She has experience with students of diverse abilities ranging from ages 3-21 years old. She received her B.A in Psychology from CUNY. She is currently a Graduate Student at Touro College pursuing her M.S in Applied Behavior Analysis. She plans on sitting for her BCBA/LBA exam next June!

Outside of working, Maria spends time with her three lovely cats, baking, and exploring California with her husband.

Elizabeth Ventura

Elizabeth Ventura

Resource Teacher

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eventura@cwchollywood.org

Ms. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ventura is a passionate, energetic educator who joined the CWC family in 2019. Ever since she was in elementary school herself, she has been dreaming of her own classroom – a dream that came true at CWC! Lizzie is happy to have found a school community that embraces her belief in hands-on, inclusive learning with an emphasis on social-emotional development. As a teacher, she will make it her number one priority to build excellent rapport with each and every student in her classroom.

Lizzie is an East Coast native hailing from the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a Master of Education/Massachusetts Teaching License from Lesley University, which she later transferred to obtain a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with an English Learner Authorization. During her professional career back home, Lizzie served as a special education paraprofessional responsible for IEP service delivery as well as planning and implementing modified curricula.

In her spare time, Lizzie enjoys reading, singing, attempting to play the piano, hiking, biking, traveling, watching football (go Giants!), and spending time with loved ones – especially her fiancé, Spencer, and her French Bulldog, Kobe!

Katharine Whetzel

Katharine Whetzel

Resource Teacher

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kwhetzel@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Rena Halu

Rena Halu

School Psychologist

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Yvonne Johansen

Yvonne Johansen

Speech-Language Pathologist

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yjohansen@cwchollywood.org

Yvonne (MS CCC-SLP) received her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Teachers College, Columbia University and her Bachelors of Science in Speech Pathology from Marymount Manhattan College.  Yvonne has over 20 years of experience working with children of all ages in a variety of settings including home health, public schools and private practice.  She also has consulted for Regional Center while working in both New York and California.  Prior to joining CWC, Yvonne has worked as Director of her own agency Children’s Therapeutic Center.
After many years in the field, Yvonne has created and launched a line of therapeutic toys, designed to provide parents and caregivers with a fun way to help faciliate their childs speech and language.
Niloo Yazdinian

Niloo Yazdinian

Occupational Therapist

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Julie Lyons

Julie Lyons

Behavior Interventionist

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Flor Cuevas

Flor Cuevas

Behavior Interventionist

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fcuevas@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

Ki-Yeon Kim

Ki-Yeon Kim

Behavior Interventionist

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kkim@cwchollywood.org

Ki-Yeon received her B.S. in Psychology (specialized in Cognitive Psychology) from UC San Diego in 2020. She began working with students in 2016 at an after school program. Through this experience, she became more interested in education and how people learn. She was part of the Partners At Learning Program in UC San Diego where she worked with students in high school that needed academic supports in math and science. Ki-Yeon is also fluent in Korean.

Maria Rodriguez

Maria Rodriguez

Behavior Interventionist

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Donovan Woods

Donovan Woods

Behavior Interventionist

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dwoods@cwchollywood.org

Bio coming soon!

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