Our experienced, well-qualified staff provide a high quality of instruction and positive relationships with both students and teachers.
All of our lead classroom and specialist teachers hold credentials or degrees appropriate for their grade levels and subject areas. Ongoing staff development ensures that we are in step with the most up-to-date education research.
Our teaching and administrative staff maintain membership in a variety of education associations, including National Education Association and CAEYC among others.
Gabriela Pech Gonzalez
Elementary Art: Amy Rauer
Elementary Music: Katie McTyre Elementary P.E.: Erik Romo
Elementary Science: Nicole Turner
Technology: Planet Bravo
School Librarian: Alana Escalante Preschool Science: Nicole Turner
Preschool Music: Katie McTyre
Administrative Director: Hillary Felder
Director, Preschool: Becky Jenkins
Director, Tot Center: Cheryl Sheaffer
Administrative Assistant: Heather Kayne
School Billing: Lorena Gonzalez
Accounting/Finance Manager: Caleb Hummel
Facilities: Robert Jolly
Technology: RM Consulting
President: Patty Onagan
Secretary: Emily Farag
Treasurer: Steve Infield
Passive Income Coordinator:
Room Parent Chair: Jenny Grebow
Community Building Chair: Tricia Xavier
Ms. Christa and her husband, Buddy – you may see him underneath a desk or standing on a ladder around Kirk – have a technology integration and management firm. She has nearly 20 years in the tech industry with an emphasis on management and training in accounting software and educational technology. In 2009, while her son, Jack, was attending Kirk o’ the Valley, she decided to help give Kirk a technology makeover. She brings her training background into the classroom and teaches in a collaborative and project based manner. From Pre-Kindergarten to fifth, children are introduced to software and products with real world application in school and beyond.
Ms. Christa has a variety of enrichment classes that pop up at Kirk. Kinder Tech, Techno Kids, Yearbook & Digital Photography all give kids the chance to use tech, cameras, robots, snap circuits and programming beyond what is possible in the class time. Look around her room. Besides the cool old museum, antique cameras and gadgets, you will see photographs all taken by our student body. Students look forward to showcasing their work at the Art Show every year!
Ms. Christa’s other love is cooking. She was a caterer and cook for many years. She and a fellow Kirk mom have brought Pop Up Food Events to Kirk and a wonderful new veggie garden along with Ms. Amy and the Garden Club. Whether it is a Food Truck class, a bake shop or a restaurant, every year she holds a class where students do all the work and bring their amazing talents to the Kirk Community!
You are likely to see a small child running around in her classroom during off-hours, that is James. He attends Preschool at Kirk, just like his brother Jack did 13 years ago!
I am the Director of the preschool as well as a pre-k classroom teacher. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. I have an AA degree in Child Development and am continuing my education. Teaching children was a goal of mine since I was young. It has been one of my greatest pleasures to be able to share with the lives of so many children through the years.
I was born in Istanbul where I attended French High School and University. Our honeymoon was in Los Angeles, and we decided to stay and I continued my education here. I love children and I love to encourage their creativity through art. Kirk has been my caring second family, celebrating the good times, and supporting me through challenging times. I have a son and a daughter, and am honored to be a part of the Kirk family.
I graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in History and received my Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential and M.A.in Education from Pepperdine University. I worked for many years in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and took a few years off after the birth of my children. I started at Kirk as a perspective parent, got hired as a long-term substitute for second grade, and was then asked to continue on with the Kindergarten team. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Kirk community as a teacher as well as a parent. I love to travel and have enjoyed traveling to many parts of the world throughout my life.
I have the great pleasure of working at Kirk O’ valley for nearly fifteen years. I started at Kirk as a volunteer parent and was quickly drawn into the warm and nurturing environment. I loved the school so much that when my children graduated from Kirk (they are now twenty and twenty four years old) I went back to school to get my degree in Early Childhood Education. I have taught second and third grade curriculums; but by far, my favorite grade is where I am now, Kindergarten. I am currently a mentor teacher for Early Childhood students from Pierce College. I am originally from England, where I was an international flight attendant for over twelve years.
I graduated from Pepperdine University in 1992 with a B.A. in Sociology. After working for several years, I went to CSUN to pursue a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential which I completed in 1998. My employment at Kirk O’ the Valley began in January of 2003 as a substitute teacher. In the fall of that year I was hired as part of the Kindergarten team. I have been a teacher at Kirk ever since, working first in Kindergarten and now in second grade. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a dedicated and caring educational community.
I earned my B.A. in Liberal Studies/Multiple Subjects in 1991 from Humboldt State University and my Multiple Subjects Clear Credential at National University in 1994. Since then, I have taught general curricula in every grade from pre-K through 6th. I am Orff-Schulwerk certified and have created and implemented music programs at four different schools. I am thrilled to be at Kirk, teaching the 3rd grade class – my favorite grade of all!
I am a Kirk O’ the Valley parent and teacher. Both of my children attended Kirk. In fact, my daughter was a member of the first graduating class. I taught at Kirk for 10 years as part of a teaching team with Susan Thompson in both 1st and 2nd grades. Additionally, I taught elementary science workshops and elementary music/Spanish for a time.
I also taught for seven years at Ivy Academia Entrepreneurial Charter School (6th, 8th, and 11th grades). While at Ivy, I had full-time teaching duties as well as responsibilities attendant to being department chair, grade level leader, and curriculum council member.
I hold a California multiple subject credential for grades K-8 and a California single subject credential in English for grades K-12. In addition, I earned a Master of Science in Brain-Based Teaching/Learning in 2011.
On a personal note, I love everything to do with language, including reading, crossword puzzles, puns, and writing. I enjoy cooking (I am a foodie!) and traveling, and I am a passionate advocate for the empowerment of women on local and global levels.
I am honored to be only the third director in the history of Kirk School since it was founded in 1961. I came to Kirk in 2007 as a parent and watched both my sons progress through our school. I began working in kindergarten and enjoyed five years with the amazing teachers in that classroom. I then started to work in the school office along with our director at the time, Carol Piekaar. I worked with Carol until the time of her retirement in 2015.
I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BA in Political Science and a concentration in Italian Politics and Culture and spent seven years living and working abroad in Italy, Greece, and Serbia.
I returned to the United States where I settled down in Los Angeles with my husband and started our family. We enjoy traveling with our sons, learning about new cultures and exploring the amazing world around us.
I love that Kirk offers our families the feeling of a small town community within a big metropolis. It is a place many of our students and staff call home and I am thankful for all our community does to make Kirk a wonderful place to educate our children.
Laura Peisner is a classically trained artist and professional educator. After graduating with a BA in art from California State University, Northridge she began her career as a teacher at The H.E.L.P. Group. For over 25 years she developed and taught inclusive art education programs in both public and private schools. When not painting in her home studio, Laura can be found teaching art at the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, where she has been inspiring children for over 10 years. Her passion for creating & love for children come together in all of her classrooms. Laura is also a published author & illustrator. (thehopefulprince.com)
Laura has two amazing daughters and encourages them, and children of all ages to follow their dreams.
Nicole Turner teaches science to Tot Center children through 5th graders at Kirk. She earned her Bachelors in Biology/Zoology at San Diego State University and then went on finish with their credential program to become a science teacher. She worked at LA Center for Enriched studies and Panorama High, both schools in the LAUSD. She taught high school Biology, AP Biology and Ecology. She is very excited to join the Kirk Family as she has long time connections to both the school and the church. Not only is she a preschool alumni but her Grandmother used to be a preschool teacher as well. She has also attended the Kirk O’ The Valley Presbyterian Church since she was a baby. Nicole has three children that attended Kirk and her youngest, Lily, is in preschool.
Erik’s philosophy is meeting children where they are in their development and presenting them with attainable goals. Areas of development that will be spurred in P.E. include:
1. Physical: Large/Fine motor skills
2. Cognitive: Learning concepts of the body, muscles, etc.
3. Skill Development: Sports skills, fitness, health and physical activity
4. Emotional: Understanding feelings during activities and attaining self-confidence
5. Social: Cooperation, leadership, and respecting others
6. Behavioral: Self-control with a focus on following directions
7. FUN: Classes must be geared towards the child having FUN. One of Erik’s goals is to have children excited to come back to class!
I began my Kirk career over 20 years ago teaching Preschool in Rm.2. I also have worn the hats of student council moderator, Tot Center Assistant Director, and Performing Arts Assistant. After my husband and I welcomed our second child into the family, I took time off from teaching and became a Kirk parent. I was an active member of the PTF and Room Parent. Our family grew with 2 more children. I’m proud to say that all 4 of them made their way Preschool – 5th at Kirk. They now are in college, high school, and middle school.
My free time is filled with family, friends, baseball, horses, and dogs.
I am excited to be back at Kirk as an educator.