Middle School (5th-8th) Core Faculty


Katherine (Kate) Parker ("Ms. Parker")

Teacher - History

Courses:      Out of the Past (Cultural Ecology)
                    Like a Historian (Ancient & Medieval History)
                    Adventurers & Explorers

B.A. Art History and Women's Studies, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
M.A.T. History 5-12, Simmons College (Lisc. MA)
TESOL Certification

Kate joins AVS from Boston, MA. She is thrilled to bring her love for teaching and experience with grades 6-8 to our brand new middle school program. As a history teacher, Katherine teaches students about the past so they can better understand the world we live in today. She believes the majority of learning happens beyond textbooks and shows students how to (respectfully) challenge material they encounter, as well as the opinions of others. Lessons place emphasis on conversation, critical thinking, and skill building. By pushing in these directions, students leave Kate's classroom with a greater appreciation of themselves, each other, and our global communities. Kate loves to travel and be outdoors. She's lived abroad in Italy and Vietnam and hopes to visit the last two continents on her list before too long! She played lacrosse and coached multiple sports back on the east coast.

Ryan Hobbs

Teacher - History

B.A., History – Bethany College
M.Ed., Social and Comparative Analysis in Education – University of Pittsburgh
As a middle school student Ryan often felt bored and disengaged from school. Out of the feeling, he decided to become a teacher dedicated to engaging, hands on, discovery-based learning. He believes that students should have a voice in their education and that they should be allowed to discover and pursue the topics and inquiries that naturally interest them. Prior to joining Alta Vista, Ryan spent three years working at a private boarding school in West Virginia where he taught 6th grade History, coached middle school soccer and basketball, and lived in a boys dormitory. Moving to San Francisco from Pittsburgh, PA, where he received his Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Ryan is incredibly excited about the new challenges that lie ahead. When he is not teaching, spending time with his wife, traveling, or trying new food, he is likely cheering for his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jennifer (Jen) Hoggatt ("Ms. Hoggatt")

Teacher - Language Arts

Courses:      Pictures, Places & Things
                    Choose Your Own Adventure
                    Be a Literary Agent

B.A., Child and Adolescent Development: School-Age Child and Family - San Francisco State University
Master of Arts, Elementary Education and Teaching - University of San Francisco
C.L.A.D. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential - University of San Francisco

Jen is a dedicated educator who is committed to helping students become successful, life-long learners eager to contribute to their community. Prior to joining Alta Vista, she was a lead elementary school teacher for eight years (3rd and 5th grade) at a private school in the Bay Area. In addition to multiple subject classroom instruction, Jen acted as the Student Council Lead for 6th through 8th graders and managed an annual week-long outdoor education trip to reinforce students’ ecological relationships with the environment. She also launched and coached Girls on the Run for third through fifth girls to promote self-esteem and positive body image. In her free time, Jen enjoys practicing yoga, riding her bike, and traveling. Jen strongly believes in stimulating curiosity and creativity, in maintaining structure, and in promoting and expecting mutual respect -- in and out of the classroom.

Robert "Mac" Stephens

Teacher - English

B.A., English - The University of the South
Master of English Literature (in progress) - Middlebury, Bread Loaf School of English

Mac has been teaching for nine years and loves the literary journey. He enjoys seeing his students grow as confident writers, literary investigators, and self-confident human beings. Before joining Alta Vista, Mac taught fourth through twelfth grades in southern California, Texas, and Colorado, and he has developed outdoor programs for a variety of age groups. As an avid backpacker, Mac enjoys spending his time “in the woods,” a love that he enjoys sharing with students by bringing them out into nature to experience the wonders of our outdoor world. During the summers, Mac pursues his passion for reading and analyzing literature in the mountains of Vermont, working towards his master’s of English literature at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf school of English. He also coaches lacrosse and basketball, believing that a connection to physical activity and teamwork lead to more well-rounded students. Mac believes that young people should develop respect for themselves and the world around them by remaining perpetually curious and examining new challenges and questions with open minds.

Elizabeth Keleshian

Teacher - Math

B.S., Mathematics/Economics – UCLA
B.A., Philosophy – UCLA
Master of Science in Education, Urban Education – University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
Teaching Certifications: Secondary Mathematics in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Additional Language – Armenian

Elizabeth’s classroom will encompass a theme of developing purposeful relationships, both in the academic and social sense.  She wants her students to discover the countless connections between math and the environment through exploration and experimentation.  She expects her students to collaborate with each other effectively in order to discover the different methods of problem solving.  Elizabeth’s philosophy stems from her prior experiences in education and community service.  After college, she decided to take on a large endeavor of joining Teach For America in Philadelphia and enrolling at University of Pennsylvania to pursue a MsEd degree.   During her time in the East Coast, Elizabeth realized that relationship building necessitates a purposeful learning environment, and therefore she hopes to bring that value to AVS.  She taught 6th grade math at a charter school in Camden, New Jersey for three years.  She also co-piloted a financial literacy program in a low-income area of Philadelphia in order to promote more parental engagement within the school community. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys playing the piano, riding her bike, and exploring the different connections between math and everyday activities. 

Steven True

Teacher - Math

Courses:      Math 1, 2, and 3 (Pre-Algebra)

B.A., History – University of California Irvine
Masters of Education, Science Curriculum & Instruction – University of Texas, Arlington 
C.L.A.D. Single Subject Mathematics Teaching Credential  – California State University, Sacramento
C.L.A.D. Single Subject Science Teaching Credential: Physics – California State University, Sacramento
C.L.A.D. Multiple Subject Teaching Credential – California State University, Sacramento

 Additional Languages:  Japanese 


Steven is a driven educator who has been working with 5th & 6th graders for over fourteen years. Steven grew up in the Bay Area, but is returning to San Francisco after living in the Chunichi region of Japan for a decade.  Chunichi Dragons Banzai!  There he worked in public elementary and middle schools teaching English as a second language and then as the 5th and 6th grade teacher and Science Specialist for a small English language international school. Steven’s classes emphasize the joy of curiosity and the thrill of discovery. Being a math and science educator, Steven often thinks in terms of deep time. He sees a classroom as a place where students can take their place on the long voyage of thought and discovery that the human race has been embarking on for millennia. In his classes, students are driven to develop and understand their own capacities to interrogate the universe around them through well considered questions, inductive and deductive reasoning, hands on experience, application of knowledge, and careful reflection. Beyond mathematics, Steven has a keen interest in cosmology, history, economics, technology, and the history of technology. In his free time, you can find Steven whipping down the street on his bicycle, in the garage with a tool in his hand, or out and about with a camera to his eye.   

Elizabeth (Lizz) Klammer ("Ms. Klammer")

Teacher - Science

Courses:      California Living (Life Science 1)
                    It's All in the Genes (Life Science 2)
                    May Newton's Forces Be With You (Physical Science 1)
                    Lights, Energy & Action! (Physical Science 2)
                    Earth's Place in the Universe (Earth Science 1)
                    Shake, Rattle & Roll! (Earth Science 2)

B.A., Biology with Chemistry minor - Converse College (Spartanburg, SC)
Master of Sciences in Biology with Geology minor - Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN)
Ph.D. (in progress) in Curriculum and Instruction with Science Education emphasis - Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)
Teaching Certifications: Life Science for Virginia, Texas and Minnesota

Lizz is passionate about project-based learning and global collaboration in science education. She has been a dedicated science educator for over 20 years, teaching at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college levels. In 2012, Lizz received the Texas Middle School Science Teacher of the Year Award from the Texas Medical Association. She currently is in her third year of a Ph.D. program focused in science education. She also enjoys traveling with students to expose them to out-of-classroom learning experiences, and has organized trips to the rain forests of Costa Rica, swimming with dolphins and manatees in Florida, and to the museums of Paris, France.

Toni Setteducato - "Ms. S"

Teacher - Science

B.A. Psychology ~ Villanova University
M.A. in Earth and Environmental Studies, concentration in Middle School Earth and Environmental Science ~ Montclair State University
K-5 Elementary Education Certification – New Jersey
5-8 Middle School Science Certification – New Jersey


Ms. S comes to AVS by way of a long, cross-country drive from the East Coast!  A self-described science and space nerd, she seeks to find excitement and engagement in learning about the natural and physical world through student-driven hands-on investigations. At the core of her pedagogy, Ms. S. uses a variety of instructional strategies that integrate science, technology, engineering and math – STEM – in a way that promotes students to be critically-thinking, real-world problem solvers.  Whether it’s designing an eco-friendly habitat for humans to live in on Mars or exploring the laws of physics that propel rockets into space, Ms. S.’s classes are intended to challenge students to make science make sense to them!  After starting off her professional career as a museum educator, Ms. S. has spent the past 12 years working with middle school students of diverse backgrounds in urban and suburban schools in the Garden State.  She has served as a teacher leader within her department and school, leading the way in developing new science curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.  As a former middle school team leader, she has collaborated with administrators, colleagues, and parents to implement program initiatives that seek to develop student growth mindset.   She has been the recipient of several academic scholarships, awards, and accolades – including the 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year in her school.  She is also a two-time alumni of Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama – having attended once when she was 12 (and convinced she was on her way to work for NASA!) and then again in 2015 as a Honeywell Educators at Space Academy scholarship recipient!  While science and space are Ms. S.’s academic passions, in her personal life, she is a dog mom to Hailey the beagle, a bigger than life soccer fan – a player AND a coach – and a novice surfer girl!  She is thrilled to be a member of the AVS staff and is looking to exploring the West Coast and all it has to offer! 

Alex White

Director of Technology, Computer Science Instruction

  • 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.

a progressive learning environment
an emphasis on science, math and technology

Alta Vista School  |  info@altavistaschoolsf.org   |   Telephone: 415 / 467.3700