MUSE FACULTY & STAFF

Get to know our MUSE Global School Teachers, Advisors & Staff. They are the heart of our thriving community and love bringing out the most in each student.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION TEACHERS

Ani Badakian

Early Childhood Education Teacher/Mentor

My passion for teaching has grown tremendously throughout more than 20 years of working with children. While pursuing my BA in Child Development, I gained experience as a site supervisor and a Mentor for the California Mentor program of Los Angeles Valley College. As a teacher, one of my top priorities for the children I work with is to build their self esteem. I believe this along with an emphasis on their language development will provide these future leaders the confidence to get through any challenge they will be faced with. During my free time I love to spend time with my two children, read and decorate. Romans 12:7 “If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.”(NLT)


Nicholette Issavitch

Early Childhood Classroom (ECC)

Nicholette was born and raised in Southern California. She has always felt a strong connection to children and feels inspired by their energy and excitement for the world. As an ECE teacher, Nicholette is passionate about creating an environment that supports creativity and social emotional development. She is eager to be a part of Passion-Based Learning and looks forward to exploring and expanding on each child’s passion.

Nicholette revived her BA in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College and her MA in Psychology from Phillips Graduate University. Her background has been in working in ECE settings such as large preschools as well as smaller pod groups. She also has experience in the mental health field working as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors camping and hiking. She is excited to share her love for nature and is thrilled to explore MUSE’s beautiful campus with children.


Cinthia Marroqiun

Early Kinder Classroom (EK)

Cinthia is a southern California native, born and raised in the heart of Los Angeles. Her Guatemalan roots are important to her as both her parents were born there and she still has a lot of extended family there that she visits frequently. Her inspiration to be a teacher came from having a teacher in the 1st grade that took the time to get to know her and foster a love for learning while challenging her academically. Cinthia believes social and emotional development are just as important as academics, which is why she is so excited to be part of the MUSE team. The MUSE 5 Pillars really speak to her and align with her personal teaching philosophy.

In her spare time she enjoys drawing, hiking and running 5ks and half marathons. She is a lover of the outdoors and is passionate about sustainability, not only in her personal life, but in the classroom as well.

ELEMENTARY TEACHERS

Jenny Briesch

Kindergarten

Jenny is a Southern California local and was raised in the valley. She currently resides on Chumash, Tongva, and Fernandeño Tataviam land. She first began working with children in 2006. With a background in Psychology and a love for helping children flourish, she began providing in home respite and behavior therapy for children on the autism spectrum. Jenny discovered her love for teaching in an elementary setting while providing behavior therapy inside the classroom. She quickly became a part of the school’s community and co-taught in the 1st & 2nd grade classroom. She was thrilled to join MUSE school in 2015 and cultivate her passion for teaching. When she began teaching at MUSE she was immediately drawn to the Process Communication Model. Her passion for Psychology aligned with PCM, and she fell in love. As a base harmonizer phase thinker, she enjoys accessing all of her personality traits to help connect and motivate her students. Jenny became a PCM trainer in the summer of 2018 and enjoys developing her craft by providing training to MUSE parents and high school students. Jenny is also passionate about dedicating her time to MUSE’s DEI community. She strives to provide a safe and inclusive community. Outside of teaching she enjoys spending time with her husband and family, taking road trips, working out, reading, and going on adventures with her dog Kona.


Erin Harrigan

1st Grade

Erin has been in the Education field for 10 years. She has primarily taught Pre-K through 2nd grade, and has additional experience working with 3rd through 12th grade. She is proud to hold a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Erin was particularly drawn to MUSE because of her shared values in communication, self efficacy, and passion-based learning. She is passionate about encouraging social and emotional development in her students as well as instilling a deep love of learning. In her free time, Erin enjoys going to the beach, hiking, practicing aerial arts, and hanging out with close friends and family.


Kimmie Eggly

2nd Grade

Kimberlee and her husband Craig have been married for 27 years and have two children, Cole & Kayla. They absolutely love camping, off-roading, and boating. Thier favorite vacation spots include Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon, and Sedona. They had two dogs (Bentley & Bugatti), and now have two cats (Sweetie & Hagrid). Kimmie graduated from California State University Northridge in 1994 with a BA in Deaf Studies — Interpreting Option.  She worked as a Sign Language Interpreter at Moorpark High School from 1994 to 1998, when her son, Cole was born. Cole is now attending Columbia College Hollywood majoring in film editing and directing. Her daughter, Kayla was born in 2001 and is now attending Bethany College in Lindsborg College on a scholarship as a softball pitcher, majoring in Accounting and Business Management. In 2007, Kimmie started working at Maple Elementary School as an IMT/Librarian. In 2013, she taught American Sign Language during daily intervention at the elementary school. In 2016, Kimmie was a substitute teacher at CVUSD and in July of 2018, she started teaching third grade at Our Lady of Guadalupe School. Kimmie is very excited and honored to be teaching 2nd/3rd grade at MUSE Global School!


Jennifer Kaplan

3rd Grade and Elementary Teacher Manager

Born and raised right here in Southern California, Jen has spent the last ten years teaching at the elementary level.

She is passionate about helping young children become kind, caring individuals who can make the world a better place. She is excited about the opportunity to teach the whole child and utilize the psychology behind the Process Communication Model. When not at school with her students, Jen is at home loving her family, baking, and trying to save the elephants from becoming extinct.


Marjia Milosevic

4th/5th Grade

Marija has been an educator at private schools in Los Angeles and Seattle for over 18 years. She grew up surrounded by forests, lakes and hockey in Canada and earned her Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Toronto. After moving to the sunshine and mountains of Los Angeles, she completed her Teaching Credential and Masters in Education. Early in her career, she specialized in Language Arts  instruction and reading intervention. She also holds a CA Teaching Credential and preliminary Waldorf Teaching units. Marija has been a Lead Teacher in various elementary grades through her career as well as a Middle School Math Specialist for 5 years. She teaches with an emphasis on conceptual understanding through experimentation and problem solving and uses games to solidify academic skills. She encourages her students to be risk takers and creative in every aspect of learning. In her free time, Marija is a regular at the beaches in Malibu and on the island of Kauai, swimming, snorkeling and exploring. She also enjoys live music and dancing, including salsa and country.

MIDDLE & HIGH TEACHERS & ADVISORS

Tressa Wyner

Middle School Math and Middle/High School
Teacher Manager

A dedicated middle school teacher for over 15 years, Tressa joined the MUSE community in the summer of 2015. She obtained her K-8 teaching license, as well as her BA in psychology, from Hamline University in Minnesota. Upon graduation, she completed her student teaching in Brazil, where she also backpacked around the country. Passionate about all the MUSE 5 Pillars, Tressa feels blessed to work in a school that encourages innovative life-long learners while teaching them to advocate for themselves. She invites her students to take risks, to play, and to think critically. Tressa became a certified PCM trainer in 2018 and loves to help students (and parents!) learn to communicate clearly and resolve conflict as they discover what makes them tick. In her free time, Tressa enjoys visiting family in MN, cooking, being outside, and spending time with her husband, three sons, and two dogs.


Becky O’Mara

Middle School Humanities

Becky is delighted to be Muse Global’s new middle school English teacher! She has lived in Malibu for her entire life, and looks forward to serving this beautiful community. Becky graduated from UCLA in 2018, and currently attends Johns Hopkins University where she is pursuing a masters degree in Education. Previously, she taught for two years in Downtown Los Angeles. Becky has expressed that joining the team at MUSE Global is a dream come true. She is thankful that MUSE has truly created a space where young people can learn in a thoroughly empathetic environment that fosters their sense of self and champions them to influence others to reach for a higher sense of consciousness. It is her vision to help students learn what their gifts are, so that they feel empowered to spread their many talents and gifts to each person, place, and opportunity they encounter. Becky envisions each student becoming fearless while navigating school. Furthermore, when confronted with an academic challenge, each student will rise to the occasion with confidence. Consequently, she has no doubts that this confidence will beget more confidence in other parts of each student’s life. Becky looks forward to this journey together! Becky loves plants, dinosaurs, and her dog, Bui.


JoAnn AuBuchon Lane

Middle/High School Humanities

JoAnn began teaching at MUSE in 2016. She was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and later moved to Tennessee. She graduated from the University of Tennessee  JoAnn lived in Anchorage and Kodiak, Alaska for a few years before returning to Tennessee to raise her two children on a farm where they raised sheep, llamas, swans, and miniature horses. JoAnn taught high school English and Journalism, and specialized in remedial reading programs for 15 years, before moving to Southern California. JoAnn embraces the MUSE Global School philosophy of passion-based learning. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, writing, theater, reading, traveling, and embracing new experiences.


Russell Mallen

Middle/High School Science

Russ was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago and spent a good portion of his adult life in that area. After majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in economics at MIT, Russ was a materials scientist specializing in microchips and circuit boards. During the stock market bubble, he put his math and economics education to work trading currencies, stocks, and options at the PHLX, CBOE, and AMEX. Russ changed career paths and went into private tutoring because he saw an opportunity to transform math and science education. He has been teaching math and science at all levels for over 10 years. He taught Algebra I at Muse this past year and was instantly attracted to the unique approach of the school. Russ is looking forward to integrating the Muse foundations of seed to table and sustainability in the science program. Russ finally left Chicago in 2012 to fulfill a dream of living in LA with his wife Annie. Together, he and his wife enjoy dog walks, hiking, and bike riding all over Southern California.


Jeffrey Martin

High School Humanities and Middle/High
School Human Rights

Jeffrey started teaching at MUSE in 2015. He is an experienced educator, having taught in private, parochial, and public charter settings since 1996. Prior to joining MUSE, Jeffrey was a founding teacher and Dean of Academics at a charter school in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and English, and he completed a Masters in the Art of Teaching from the University of Southern California with a focus on teaching History.

Jeffrey’s passions include project-based learning, writing, curriculum design, meditation and mindfulness, and fostering community cohesion. In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys road trips, camping, live music and theater, reading, writing, gardening and landscaping, and spending time with friends and family.


Haven Reininger

High School Math

This is Haven’s first year as MUSE’s dedicated Math Specialist. Haven graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in Economics and a special concentration in Medieval History. After graduation, Haven transitioned from a career in marketing and analysis into high school math curriculum development. He has since co-authored and taught high school math courses to students in a variety of learning environments. Haven’s expertise includes using mathematics and quantitative social sciences as a means to furthering one’s understanding of her surroundings and passions. Haven’s outside passions include exploring the Santa Monica Mountains, interactive/collaborative story-telling, and game design.


Kirsten Wasson

College Counselor and Middle/High School
Writing and Storytelling

Kirsten Wasson has been a part of the MUSE Global team for 6 years in the dual position of College Counselor and Internship Coordinator. For two decades Kirsten was an English professor at Ithaca College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York. She has degrees from Wesleyan University, State University of New York, Binghamton, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is excited about helping students to find valuable experiences in local communities, to help them navigate their way to college acceptance, and to explore other post-secondary options. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, writing, performing at storytelling venues, and spending time with her (grown) son.

SPECIALIST

Rick Perillo

Seed to Table Manager

After graduating from California State University, Northridge in 2006, Rick traveled to New Zealand to work on organic farms where he discovered his passion for growing food using methods that give back to the Earth. Since then, he has earned two Permaculture Design Certificates, a Master Gardener Certificate, and a Certificate in Global Sustainability from UCLA. Rick came to MUSE in 2014. He believes the garden is an ideal place for students to connect with nature and hopes his students are inspired by what they learn and that they become leaders in the sustainability movement.


Ivo Spirov

Art Specialist

Ivo Spirov is an exhibiting professional artist whose art has been featured in Japan, Europe and the US. Originally from Bulgaria, Ivo earned a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts and Environmental Science from New Bulgarian University. Ivo loves to share his passion for art with his students and encourages their creative expression. Whenever possible he likes to bring students to behind the scenes set-ups of galleries and art fairs and introduce them to various artists. Ivo has been part of the MUSE community for the past 5 years.


Leidy Sierra Pedre

Spanish Teacher

Leidy was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where she graduated from the prestigious Havana University with a bachelor’s degree in Law. Leidy lived in Beijing, China between 2005-2009, where she studied Chinese language at Beijing Language and Culture University. Leidy has also participated in important international meetings sponsored by the United Nations Organization, related to the protection of the environment, among which we can mention the meetings of the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer. Her goal as a Spanish teacher is not only to teach that language, but also to stimulate her students’ interest in the culture, history and geography of Spanish-speaking countries. In her free time, she likes to go to the beach, read, paint, travel, visit museums and visit her family in Cuba.


Severine Faure

French Teacher

Born and raised in Paris, France, Severine has been the French Teacher at MUSE since 2018. She has a master’s degree in marketing that she earned at the Université Paris Dauphine, France. After working a few years in marketing in the food industry in France, she moved to Los Angeles with her French husband and fell in love with California.

Passionate about education, nature, travel, and language, teaching French at MUSE was a perfect fit. After raising her three bilingual and bicultural kids, Severine learned that cultural understanding is as important as language acquisition to better understand the world, and she implements this in her own classroom. In her free time, Severine enjoys camping, going to the beach, hiking in the Santa Monica mountains, traveling around the world with her husband and 3 children, and visiting her family and friends in France


Robin Swallow

Head Chef

Robin has been cooking plant based food for over 30 years. In 1995, she and her husband bought Manna Restaurant, one of Europe’s oldest vegetarian and now vegan restaurant. When she returned to California in 2014, she was asked to become Follow Your Heart’s Executive Chef and develop plant-based recipes to help them transition into becoming a vegan restaurant. She loves helping people get excited about vegan meals and show them how easy and tasty it is to enjoy plant based meals.


Ash Miller

Outdoor Education

Ash was born and raised in rural Oklahoma and pursued a degree in Biology and Education at Texas A&M before moving to LA. An avid outdoor and sports enthusiast, Ash is excited to take on the role of Outdoor Education Specialist. Ash has been working in education for 15 years as a coach, behaviorist, tutor, and teacher. When out of the classroom, Ash enjoys playing basketball, hiking, camping, boating, swimming, fishing, and exploring National Parks with his niece, Persephone.

STAFF

Coral Laolagi

Front Office & Virtual Support Coordinator

Coral was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, CA. As the youngest of three, Coral followed in her brother and sister’s footsteps by continuing her passion for sports as a dual-sport athlete at Birmingham HS in Van Nuys, CA. In high school, Coral also developed a love for coaching youth basketball in her spare time and it was then that she realized how much she enjoys working with children. After high school, Coral continued her education at California State University, Northridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies.

Shortly after graduating, Coral worked as the Apprenticeship Coordinator at Local Union #761 to over 1,000 apprentices. Working for the Local Union made her feel a part of a team again and she was grateful to be given the freedom to establish more efficient ways of tracking and managing apprentice data while implementing her own organizational practices.

In August of 2017, Coral and her boyfriend fully transitioned to eating a plant-based diet after watching the documentary, “What the Health”. Her actions inspired her parents, who followed suit a few weeks later to start their plant-based lifestyle journey as well. In early 2018 Coral was offered a part-time office position at MUSE School, and in July 2018 Coral began working as the Global Task Coordinator for MUSE Global. It has been a blessing for Coral to work for and be a part of a community where the core values align with her own. Coral’s current role is as the Virtual Support Coordinator for MUSE Virtual School and she is committed to supporting all faculty, staff, students, and families with any tech-related issues and beyond. Coral also takes a special interest in the development of the MUSE DEI program by assisting with implementing new discussion topics and readings for the DEI continuing conversations subcommittee and for all staff members of MUSE Virtual School.

Outside of MUSE Coral loves spending time with her fur baby Great Danes, going to the dog beach, taking bike rides, reading, and spending time with her loved ones.


Nivia Gomez

Administrative Assistant

​​Nivia has dual citizenship allowing her to grow up in Mexico and complete her studies in the U.S., getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology. She has a vast array of work experience which is all focused around children.She knows the benefits of exposing kids to diverse activities, experiences, and knowledge at an early age. Physical activities and sports have been part of her daily routine since she was five years old. She loves dancing, flag football, and field hockey. She has also had the opportunity to visit a few countries on three different continents. Exploring and learning from new cultures is something she is passionate about. She is enthusiastic about showing that there is a whole world to explore with many greats and positive things to offer.


Stephanie Cox

Virtual Learning Environment Manager

Stephanie double majored in political science and international studies at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After completing her undergraduate studies, she immediately worked toward obtaining my Master of Arts in Teaching, and subsequently taught Kindergarten and 3rd grade for a total of six years. She spent some time working in adult education where I supported teachers in implementing curriculum and pedagogical skills.

Stephanie considers herself from Hawaii, Tokyo, and Texas, having spent significant parts of her life in each place. She enjoy traveling, cooking (and eating), crafting, and spending time with friends outdoors. Stephanie is so excited to join the MUSE team and look forward to being part of a passionate community of educators!


Melissa Cardoza

Operations and HR Manager

Melissa has been with MUSE since February 2015. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Civic Engagement from UCLA.

Before MUSE, Melissa took some time off and traveled around South East Asia for 4 1/2 months. Melissa is extremely passionate about MUSE’s plant based and sustainability practices. Outside of MUSE, Melissa enjoys running, hiking, taking yoga classes, shopping for fruit and traveling.


Jimmy Calderon

Facilities Manager


Cisco Argueta

Security & Facilities


Hilton Kiltzner

Sous Chef

MUSE Global School Silhouette