Edward ("Ed") Walters

Head of School

B.S., Biology & Psychology - InterAmerican University (San Juan, Puerto Rico, New York University Program)
Master of Education, Science - Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Additional Language - Spanish (fluent)

Ed has been a highly regarded educator for over 30 years. He began his career as a science teacher and department head and quickly was recruited to add school finance and management to his responsibilities. During his career, he has held the positions of Business Manager, Director of Strategic Planning, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Operations, and Head of School. He and his family spent 30 years in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, where Ed rose to be a member of the administrative team in the positions of Chief Financial Officer and Head of the Science Department at Sewickley Academy, a pre-K-12 school of nearly 800 students. Ed was born in Puerto Rico and is a fluent Spanish speaker. He also is an avid supporter of children's sports programs and was named Coach of the Year six times for his leadership in student soccer and basketball teams. Ed shares his love of science by guiding our students though a wide variety of hands-on science experiments.

Casey Cushing

Lower School Director

B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies: Writing & Literature, Environmental Studies - Naropa University
M.A., Organization and Leadership - University of San Francisco School of Education (in progress) 
Bilingual Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with BCLAD emphasis - San Francisco State University
Teaching Credential - California
Additional Language - Spanish (fluent)

As an Alta Vista founding faculty member, Casey is deeply committed to the school’s vision of actively engaging children in the joy of learning. She brings a love of nature, service learning and the humanities to her educational approach. Since 2010, Casey has helped to build Alta Vista’s experience-based curriculum, as well as the Bookends and Adventures programs, with a diversity of fun, stimulating and community-focused activities. She has also played an instrumental role in the school’s admissions process. Casey shares an array of exciting experiences and interests with our Alta Vista community: she is a poet and children's book author, former manager of an organic farm, permaculture designer and wilderness guide. She is also passionate about movement arts, and is trained in yoga and Afro-Brazilian dance. Prior to joining Alta Vista, Casey was an ecology and arts educator as part of A Living Library at Gordon J. Lau Elementary and Denman Middle School.

Melissa Carboni

Director of Instruction and Student Services

B.A., Elementary Education and Human Development - Boston College
Master of Education, Special Education - Boston College
Teaching Credential (Elementary 1-6, Moderate Disabilities preK-8) - Massachusetts
Study Abroad - University College Dublin (Ireland)

Melissa joined Alta Vista after ten years of teaching and leading in elementary schools in the Boston area. She has specialized in emerging literacy and language development, mentorship, technology initiatives, and creative, innovative, and differentiated curriculum design. Melissa is passionate about giving back to her community and developing strategies that create optimum access to quality education for all. She also enjoys integrating yoga into her work with students and helping children to develop a lifelong curiosity and love for learning.

Jennie Chipparullo ("Jennie Chip")

Middle School Director

B.A., Communications - Seton Hall University
M.A., Educational Leadership: School Building Leader - New York University
Certificate, School Building Leader (Administration) - New York State
Additional Language - French (proficient)

Jennie passionately believes that the classroom experience for children should be filled with moments of wonder, investigation, excitement, problem solving, and laughter. Her ten-year career in education prior to joining the Alta Vista team landed her in a variety of roles in independent, public, and charter schools. She has served as Curriculum Developer, Literacy Coach, English and Science Department Chair, and a classroom teacher at both the elementary and middle school level. Most recently, Jennie served as an instructional coach for NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, where she worked with teachers on building culturally-responsive practices in their classrooms. When she’s not soaking up the sights and sounds in classrooms at Alta Vista, Jennie spends time exploring her new home city of San Francisco on the back of her Vespa, “Billy Collins”, named after her favorite poet, hopping on planes to travel to and photograph foreign places, writing poetry, and searching for the perfect bite of food in every neighborhood.

Catharine Prodromou ("Mrs. P")

Assistant Middle School Director

B.A., Sociology - Brown University
Teaching Literacy and Childhood General Education Dual Certification - Bank Street College of Education
Teaching Certification - New York

Mrs. P loves a good challenge — and the Alta Vista School offers just the exciting opportunities she appreciates so much. From making grammar fun to 2nd graders to helping launch a dynamic middle school program, Mrs. P is always excited to dive in to new projects. In fact, she's more than dipped her toes into several areas of education — starting out her career in the children's trade book industry, before taking the plunge to classroom teaching, followed by a specialization in Literacy. Now a member of the growing Middle School team, Mrs. P is enjoying the collaboration and inspiration that propel the terrific challenges they embrace, together — and she feels right at home!

Gessi Romero Wiese

Director of Admissions

B.A., Elementary Education & English Literature, Northeastern University (Boston)
Master in Curriculum Development - New School University (New York)
International TEFL Certificate (Barcelona, Spain)
Teaching Credential - New York
Additional Language - Spanish (fluent)

A founding faculty member at Alta Vista School, Gessi has dedicated herself to young learners in San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Barcelona, Spain for over a decade. Her professional interests include bilingual education and child psychology. Gessi loves getting to know each student individually and brings her unique talent for understanding and nurturing children to our Admissions team.

Alex White

Director of Technology

Middle School Computer Science

    • How to Build a Computer
    • On the Web
    • Code-Fu
    • The System of the World
B.A., Computer Science, Classics minor - Oberlin College
Skilled in French and Latin, some Hebrew, Spanish, Quenya, German

Alex worked for years as the sysadmin and friendly IT guy at the Edmund Burke School of Washington, DC, and taught classes in geometry, computer science, science fiction, and Elvish. He moved to the West Coast to handle Alta Vista's technology needs and teach computer science to middle schoolers. He is part of the unplugged movement in CS instruction, teaching algorithms, protocols, problem solving, discrete math, and tech history with a variety of puzzles, games, and art projects. Alex is an avid reader, and loves languages, long hikes, music and the arts, and his tuxedo cat.

Ayesha Masud

Director of Development

Krissi Lewis

Front Office Manager

Krissi Lewis has over 15 years of professional experience working with young children in a variety of settings, from working as a nanny to teaching preschool at Temple Emanu-El and Afternoon Supervisor at Pacific Primary. With an innate understanding of how young children thrive in nature, Krissi ran a nature-based camp for San Francisco children between the ages of three and five and most recently as an educator for Early Childhood Matters Explorers Program. Krissi has also facilitated parent groups to support families through the infant and toddler years. Krissi brings a wealth of knowledge and insight from her diverse professional background, as well as her own experiences as a parent, and enjoys supporting other parents on this amazing journey.

Penny Pruzan

Business Manager

B.A. Accounting-CUNY
Growing-up, I have always had an affinity for numbers.
Realizing accounting as my career, I have garnered invaluable experience with corporate, private and non-profit organizations.

My personal interests include cooking, hiking, gardening and Good Company.
It is my pleasure to serve the Alta Vista Community.

Amy Leach

Reading Specialist

B.A., History - UCLA
M.A., Teaching of Reading - CSU Chico
Reading/Language Arts Specialist Credentials, California and Washington
Amy has many years of experience as a Reading Specialist working with Kindergarten through adult students. After living in Portland and teaching literacy in Washington for many years, she is happy to be back in her native sunny Northern California.
Amy's goals are to build student confidence, trust, and overall literacy through playful, motivating, and engaging lessons.

Kory Orlanski

School Counselor

Pepperdine University, M.A., Clinical Psychology with emphasis on Marriage and Family
California State University, Northridge, B.A., Psychology with Honors
Kory has been dedicated to preserving the health and wellness of adults, children, adolescents, and their families in San Francisco for the last 15 years. She has skillfully created a safe and trusting environment in schools, agencies, and currently in her private practice. Through her work with clients individually, in groups, and facilitating workshops Kory has found presence, active listening, creativity, humor, and compassion to inspire one’s growth and resilience. She is thrilled to bring her passion, knowledge, and experience to the Alta Vista School.