About the Bloggers

Jeffrey Baier, Superintendent
Jeff is currently the superintendent of the Los Altos School District.  He is a graduate of San Diego State University and Santa Clara University. Prior to his current appointment, he served as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and the principal of Almond Elementary in Los Altos.  A former middle school English, history, math and technology teacher, he is a champion of identifying instructional methods that challenge the status quo and require asking the question of whether the needs of all the students in his schools are being met.  When not focused on his schools, you can find Jeff with his family, with his camera, at a lacrosse field, or all three simultaneously.

Sandra McGonagle, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction.
Sandra is a forty something mom, educator and wife (not necessarily in that order) living in Silicon Valley.  She married the love of her life after college and is the mom of two crazy boys - a tween and a teen.  As the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Los Altos School District, Sandra contends she has the best job in the world.  She loves to cook, am obsessed with reading and nothing makes her happier than sitting on her couch on Saturday mornings with a cup of Peet's and a good magazine.  You can follow her on twitter @smcgon or email her at smcgonagle@lasdschools.org

Alyssa Gallagher,Director of Strategic Initiatives & Community Partnerships
Alyssa currently works as the Director of Strategic Initiatives & Community Partnerships.  She joined LASD is 2006 as a principal, but has also worked as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction.  Prior to joining LASD, Alyssa spent the first ten years of her educational career in Southern California, working first as a primary grade elementary teacher spanning all subject areas and then as an administer for both San Diego City Unified and Del Mar Union School District.  Alyssa is a passionate educator who believes in the power of learning, rethinking & investigating new ideas.  In her current role, Alyssa is focused on creating initiatives & building relationships that will help us create a new learning network for all students.  You can follow her on Twitter @am_gallagher or email at agallagher@lasdschools.org

Kami Thordarson, Innovative Strategies Coach
Kami has taught in Los Altos for four years, coming from the Poudre School District in Colorado where she began teaching in 1999.  Kami holds a B.A. in Communications and a M.A. in Education. Kami is an expert in project-based learning and enjoys engaging students with creative lessons that focus on student choice and voice. She is a graduate of the 2011 MERIT program through the Krause Center for Innovation and has led classes on project-based learning, digital storytelling, and design thinking. She envisions a real-world classroom in which teachers are empowered to transform education through technology and innovative practices, where students take ownership of their education, and classrooms are collaborative, problem-solving communities. Kami has taken on a new role as the Innovative Strategies Coach for the Los Altos School District for 2012-2013. You can follow her on Twitter @kamithor or email her at kthordarson@lasdschools.org. 

Lisa Waxman, Technology Integration Coach
Lisa joined LASD in 2005 as a seventh grade English teacher after teaching sixth & seventh grade in San Mateo for ten years.  Her current role as LASD Technology Integration Coach unites two of Lisa's passions: helping teachers & using technology to transform learning experiences.  In 2012, Lisa participated in the MERIT Program - Making Education Relevant and Interactive with Technology - at the Krause Center for Innovation.  Lisa now serves on the MERIT advisory committee and occasionally acts as program director for mini-Merit programs.  In 2014, Lisa graduated from the L.E.A.P Administrative Program through the Santa Clara County Office of Education, and most recently, she received her Leading Edge Certification.  Lisa has had the opportunity to experience LASD as a teacher, a parent, and a summer school administrator.  You can contact Lisa at lwaxman@lasdschools.org or follow her on Twitter @lwaxman.  

Karen Wilson, STEM Instructional Coach

Karen started her teaching career in Connecticut in 1999 as a 6th grade math teacher.  She started with Los Altos in 2012, transitioning from Wake County School District in North Carolina where she held a position as a Coordinating Teacher for Middle School Mathematics at the central district office as well as an instructional coach.  Within those roles she began to work with teachers, providing professional development and curriculum writing.  Most recently, Karen was an instructional coach at a Wake County school supporting the STEM program, just before moving to the Bay area at the end of June, 2012.  One of Karen’s primary goals as a STEM coach is to create new opportunities to provide students with hands-on experiences that incorporate real-world applications that ignite their curiosity and drive for learning.  Karen was just honored with the Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education award in May 2015. She holds a B.S. in Education and a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction.

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