School District Welcomes New Staff

Photo by Staci Moraza / OUTLOOK New and promoted staff members for the San Marino Unified School District include (front row, from left) Diane Park, Zainab Mamdani, Hiyas Mutia, Henry Ku, Sal Senar and Yosuke Miyoshi. Second row: Jill Gulick, Mindy Cobb, Nicole Moubarak, Soomain Chao and Nicole Stark. Third row: Matthew Mizrahi, Daniel Montejano, Shota Horikawa, Jorge Muñoz and Colleen Hollington. Back: Alana Fauré, Rick Barclay, Linda de la Torre and Jason Kurtenbach. Not pictured: Chrystal Chan.
Photo by Staci Moraza / OUTLOOK
New and promoted staff members for the San Marino Unified School District include (front row, from left) Diane Park, Zainab Mamdani, Hiyas Mutia, Henry Ku, Sal Senar and Yosuke Miyoshi. Second row: Jill Gulick, Mindy Cobb, Nicole Moubarak, Soomain Chao and Nicole Stark. Third row: Matthew Mizrahi, Daniel Montejano, Shota Horikawa, Jorge Muñoz and Colleen Hollington. Back: Alana Fauré, Rick Barclay, Linda de la Torre and Jason Kurtenbach. Not pictured: Chrystal Chan.

For the start of the 2018-19 school year, San Marino Unified School District has brought in 18 newcomers to its schools, while some familiar faces have been promoted.
Students at Carver Elementary School, Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School are encouraged to meet and get to know their new teachers this year. (None of the new hires are for Valentine Elementary School.) They come from a variety of backgrounds and locations to help SMUSD continue on as the state’s top-performing public school district.
Promotions for this year include Alana Fauré taking over as principal of HMS; newcomer Rick Barclay takes over as the school’s assistant principal. Fauré succeeds Jason Kurtenbach, who, in another promotion, started his new district office role as executive director of curriculum and instruction this summer.
Soomain Chao and Jorge Muñoz also join SMHS as assistant principals.
The district brought the new hires in for staff orientation at the district office last week before the start of the school year, during which they introduced themselves to their new colleagues at a luncheon and talked a bit about their roles in the district and what interests them outside of work.
Chrystal Chan
Chan, a school psychologist, is joining Carver with experience working with children and their families. She has provided educational and mental health services at San Gabriel Unified, Pasadena Unified, Arcadia Unified, Conejo Valley Unified and Culver City Unified school districts.
Chan earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Riverside, her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and her pupil personnel services credential in school psychology from Alliant University. Chan is a multilingual licensed mental health clinician and interned with SMUSD for the 2017-18 school year. A new mother, Chan said she enjoys cooking.
Mindy Cobb
Cobb is a 10-year veteran teacher and joins SMUSD as a special education teacher after working for Monrovia Unified School District. She was born and raised in Southern California and currently resides in San Gabriel with her boyfriend and newly adopted dog, Baxter.
Cobb attended Cal Poly Pomona, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, her multiple subject teaching credential and an autism specialist certificate. She later earned her education specialist credential and master’s degree in special education from National University. Cobb said she enjoys Dodger games, travel, the outdoors, and spending time with friends, family and Baxter.
Jill Gulick
Gulick has taught students with special needs for more than 22 years in both resource and self-contained classrooms in public, non-public and private school settings. She joined SMUSD after teaching in a collaborative model with general education colleagues at Los Angeles Unified School District and will be a special education teacher at Carver.
Gulick earned her master’s degree in human development from Pacific Oaks College, where she wrote her thesis on the language acquisition of elementary second-language learners. She is the proud mother of a 2018 SMHS graduate who is attending Creighton University this year. Her youngest son is beginning 8th grade at HMS, where her husband also teaches.
Colleen Hollington
Hollington has eight years of experience in teaching adapted physical education, including previously being with SMUSD from 2012-15. She rejoins the district after working for two years with Downey Unified School District. She will teach adapted physical education at HMS.
Hollington holds a dual credential in physical education and adapted physical education. Her master’s degree is in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on adapted physical education. She said she enjoys the U.S. national rugby sevens team, hiking and spending time at the beach with her son and husband.
Shota Horikawa
Horikawa is the new SMHS band director after being director of music at Alvarado Intermediate School in Rowland Unified School District since 2015. He is a Southern California native, but went to college at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree in music performance and master’s degree in music teaching.
Before his career in education, he was involved professionally as a classical musician, he perforing at concert venues across North America, including Severance Hall in Cleveland and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Henry Ku
Ku, a new math teacher at HMS, was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to the United States when he was 12. He attended Cerritos High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in pure mathematics from the UC Riverside. He later earned two master’s degrees in education from Cal State Long Beach, the first with emphasis on curriculum and instruction and the second in education leadership with an administrative credential.
Ku taught at John Muir High School in Pasadena as a full-time math teacher for two years and at Alliance College-Ready Schools as a full-time high school math teacher for four years. During free time, he said, he loves traveling to Taiwan, hiking, working out, playing guitar and drums, and recording music. He also loves playing basketball and is a huge Lakers fan.
Zainab Mamdani
Mamdani taught middle and high school English for four years at City of Knowledge, a private school in Pomona, before joining SMHS as an 11th- and 12th-grade English teacher. She has a degree in English literature from UCLA and is earning her master’s degree in education at the University of La Verne.
Mamdani said she loves traveling , watching football and basketball, and spending time with her family and friends.
Yosuke Miyoshi
Miyoshi, the new HMS band director, has 14 years of experience teaching band at the primary, secondary and community band levels. He started his career as band director at Santana High School in Santee and also was the director of bands at Paul Revere Charter Middle School in Brentwood. Miyoshi was most recently a band director at multiple elementary schools and at SMASH Middle School in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. He is currently also the director of the Santa Monica College Emeritus Concert Band.
Miyoshi earned his bachelor’s degrees in trombone performance and music education and his teaching credential from UCLA, and a master’s degree in teaching and learning from Point Loma Nazarene University. Miyoshi said he enjoys playing with his almost-2-year-old son, hanging out with his wife, reading, watching TV or playing the trombone.

Photo by Staci Moraza / OUTLOOK New assistant principals with San Marino Unified School District this year include Rick Barclay at Huntington Middle School, and Soomin Chao and Jorge Muñoz at San Marino High School.
Photo by Staci Moraza / OUTLOOK
New assistant principals with San Marino Unified School District this year include Rick Barclay at Huntington Middle School, and Soomin Chao and Jorge Muñoz at San Marino High School.

Matthew Mizrahi
Mazrahi was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended UC Santa Cruz, where he read and translated ancient Greek literature, and Cal State Northridge, where he earned his master’s degree in English literature. He will teach English at SMHS.
Mizrahi was a 2014 corps member of Teach for America in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he earned his second master’s degree in educational leadership from Marquette University in 2016. For the past four years, he has taught middle and high school English. Mizrahi said he loves drawing, watching old movies and listening to ballet scores and classical guitar.
Daniel Montejano
Montejano has 15 years of experience teaching health, biology and physical education at both the high school and college levels. Before joining SMUSD, he was a health teacher in Pasadena Unified School District and he continues to teach health for Mt. San Antonio College during the summer. He will teach health at SMHS.
Before entering the field of education, he worked as a certified strength and conditioning specialist at Fortanasce & Associates Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center and owned his own personal fitness business. He earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology/exercise science from Cal State Long Beach and his master’s degree in kinesiology with a focus in pedagogy from Cal State Los Angeles. In his free time, Montejano enjoys weight-lifting, reading, attending concerts and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Nicole Moubarak
Moubarak, who grew up in SMUSD, comes to Carver as a 3rd-grade teacher after a far-flung career in education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in music theory from the University of San Diego and her master’s degree in teaching from USC.
As an undergrad, Moubarak taught military children in Okinawa, Japan, and Illesheim, Germany. After earning her master’s, she taught kindergarten at Capitol Collegiate Academy in Sacramento and at Lois Craig Elementary School near Las Vegas. Moubarak moved back to her hometown San Marino two years ago and was a substitute teacher at Carver before being hired full time. She and her husband have two infants and two dogs, and she said her favorite activities include hiking, running, snowboarding, going to the movies and picnicking. Moubarak also is a Chargers and USC Trojans fan and loves Mexican food.
Hiyas Mutia
Mutia earned her bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley and later earned her master’s degree in school counseling and obtained her pupil personnel services credential from Cal State Northridge. Mutia has been a counselor for the past seven years at CHAMPS Charter High School, and now joins the SMHS staff in the same capacity.
Diane Park
Park, a native New Yorker, joins SMHS this year as a chemistry teacher after teaching in Los Angeles-area charter schools for three years. With her undergraduate degree in chemistry and secondary education, and having subsequently earned a master’s degree in education with a focus on family and consumer sciences, Park taught chemistry and other various elective sciences in New York City public schools for five years. She relocated to Los Angeles after marrying her husband, who had been one of her elementary school classmates.
Sal Senar
Senar has more than 18 years of experience as a design professional and holds six credentials in career technical education instruction. He is a student of business, design, fashion, production, marketing, sales and entrepreneurship.
Senar began as a designer in the skate and surf industry in 2000. His past work includes styling on music videos, magazine editorial and owning a high volume apparel production company. He also spoke at Google event #DressCode in 2017. He will teach the graphic design program at SMHS and share his experiences as a former creative director and brand director.
Nicole Stark
Stark brings her 14 years of experience and love of teaching to San Marino by way of the San Francisco Bay Area. A Manhattan native, Stark first moved to San Francisco to earn her bachelor’s degree at the University of San Francisco and went on to earn her English and education specialist teaching credentials from San Francisco State University and Sacramento State University.
Before joining HMS, where she will be a special education teacher, Stark spent nine years with the Piedmont Unified School District. Stark has spent her summer exploring her new city and traveling.

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