Tontra Love is so glad to call Sequoia home. She has been teaching for over 20 years. She loves transitional kindergarten, and has also taught kindergarten and 1st grade in a few different school districts at both public and private schools. She is also a proud parent of two Sequoia alumni. She believes that childhood is a journey, not a race. Academics and social emotional growth go hand in hand, and Sequoia is a fun place to discover, share and learn.
This is Lisa Kim’s fourth year teaching Kindergarten at Sequoia. Before Sequoia, Lisa taught in San Francisco and Chicago. She also has experience teaching overseas in Warsaw, Poland and Cali, Colombia. Lisa loves traveling, hiking, and running. She especially loves Kindergarten because everyday is an adventure!
Mr. Fleischman came to Sequoia in 2002 (after admiring the school for years). He has taught Kindergarten the whole time. Before Sequoia, he taught Kindergarten at Fruitvale Elementary for seven years. Before that, he was a substitute teacher in the district for five years. In his time here, he has always appreciated how supportive and congenial the community (families, students, and staff) have been.When he’s not teaching, Mr. Fleischman loves to read, solve The New York Times crossword as fast as he can, and play tennis every weekend with other Oakland teachers. He also likes to spend time with his wife Debbie and friends. They go hiking in the Oakland hills, play games together, and try to make each other laugh. Debbie and Karl also like to play music (Karl is working on tenor sax and clarinet, and Debbie plays piano). They have one adult child, Emily, who is a public transportation engineer.The most important thing Mr. Fleischman teaches in his class is to treat one another with respect and compassion. Without a safe space, learning becomes a lot harder.
Ms. Phoi left her birth country and moved to America with her parents when she was five. Even though she did not speak English and struggled to communicate with her teacher and classmates, she remembers graduating from Kindergarten with happy memories. Teaching Kindergarten is personal to her and it is her passion to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students to learn and explore. The Sequoia community welcomed her with open arms while the school staff supported her personal and professional growth. She is so grateful to have Sequoia as her first school!
Ms. Roth began her working life as a teacher in 1996 after her son was born. She decided to follow her bliss and work with children after having former careers as a lawyer and a fundraiser. Sequoia became her dream school after working as a substitute here. Not only does she love the diverse and progressive community, but she also lives only seven minutes away. In addition to being a long-time first-grade teacher, Ms. Roth directs the Sequoia Choir and has been one of the site reps for the teachers’ union for many years. Outside of work, her favorite things to do are read, sing, attend live theater, hike with her partner Neil and her dog Reggae, spend time with friends and family, and eat healthy food (mostly vegan and wheat-free).
Karen Loeser has taught 1st grade at Sequoia for two years. Before Sequioa, she taught kindergarten for 18 years, 2nd grade for one year and 1st grade for seven years.Ms. Loeser loves working with the parents and staff at Sequoia. They are cooperative and hard-working. They all want the best education for the children, and do what is necessary to achieve that goal.By the end of 1st grade, the children will read chapter books, solve double-digit addition/subtraction problems, and learn how to solve problems cooperatively.
Heather started teaching at Sequoia in 2006. She taught Kindergarten for 11 years and was the Math lead teacher for 7 years. She took a year off for maternity leave and came back as a teacher on special assignment focusing on Math with grades TK-5. Before Sequoia she taught at Parker Elementary for 2 years teaching 1st grade and 3rd grade. For the 2004/2005 school year Heather was granted a Fulbright and taught for a year 2/3 at Windmill Primary in Leeds, England. She started her teaching career in 1999 substitute teaching in Napa and San Francisco. She had her first full time teaching job at Malcolm X Academy in Hunters Point teaching 1st grade. When not teaching Heather loves to spend time with her family. She enjoys hiking, running and playing with her very young son. Sequoia is all about community and she absolutely loves to be a part of it!
This is Ms. Nordquist’s second full year at Sequoia, first year teaching in 2nd Grade. Before finding her calling as a teacher, Rebecca got her undergrad in psychology and worked for 10 years in human resources/operations within the tech industry. As a Chicago native, Ms. Nordquist loves to take advantage of the outdoors year round, and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.
Leah Aguilera has over 20 years of teaching experience spanning grades kindergarten through ninth. She also trains news teachers through partnerships with UC Berkeley, Mills, CSUEB, and the BATTI program. She has an MS in Curriculum and BA in Liberal Studies / Ethnic Studies. Leah continues to work on developing and pushing for an inclusive Ethnic Studies education for all our students.
She is the mother of an adult son and enjoys dancing, laughing, and learning. You might find her hiking the East Bay hills or walking the Lake with her Little Dog.
This is Ms. Rau’s fifth year teaching 2nd Grade at Sequoia and her seventh year as a Sequoia parent. Before joining the Sequoia staff, Ms. Rau taught as a K- 1 teacher and reading specialist. She loves her children, Riley and Max, being outside swimming, riding bikes, hiking, camping and working for social change.
Sandra Oby teaches 3rd grade at Sequoia.
Lisa Rasler (“Ms. Lisa”) is a second-career teacher after working as a midwife in the Bay Area as well as on the Texas/Mexico border in El Paso. This is her 16th year teaching at Sequoia where she has taught kindergarten and third grade.
Lisa has a 21 year-old daughter, Clio. Lisa and her daughter, Clio, started Kindergarten at Sequoia the same year after learning about Sequoia’s strong Inclusion program and close-knit community from our friend and retired Sequoia teacher, Carol Pancho. Lisa and Clio are both members of the OUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education.
In her spare time, Lisa enjoys reading fiction and the New York Times, swimming, playing music, walking in the woods, and showing up as an activist.
Susan Chiodo began her teaching career over 25 years ago. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Chico, a Masters of Arts in the Education of Language and Literacy from the University of California at Berkeley, and Reading Recovery Certification from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. She has taught as a classroom teacher, a school-wide language arts specialist, and an early-intervention reading specialist in the U.S. and in Italy. Currently Ms. Chiodo teaches third grade at Sequoia and serves as the school’s English Language Arts (ELA) lead teacher.
Monica May teaches 4th grade at Sequoia.
Kevin Jeung (his last name rhymes with “lung”) is better known at Sequoia as “Mr. J.” He began his teaching career at Sequoia as a student teacher in 2006 while he was attending UC Berkeley for his Masters degree and teaching credential, and joined the Sequoia staff after graduating in 2007. Though he has lived in the Bay Area since 2000, he is still true to his Los Angeles roots and is a die-hard LA sports fan (especially of the Lakers and Dodgers), much to the dismay of his students. Mr. J loves to play guitar and sing with his students, and he also loves to remind them that while becoming better at reading, writing, math, science, and other subjects is important, the most important thing is growing in one's character and becoming a person of love and compassion. It is an absolute privilege for him to build relationships with a new group of students and families every year!
Jeremy Wolff is a fifth grade teacher. Before joing Sequoia, Mr. Wolff was a long-term substitute in the fourth grade at Franklin Elementary..
Jessica O'Toole ("Ms. Jessica") teaches 5th grade at Sequoia.
SDC 3rd-5th Grade