Staff & Board

Academic Staff

John Bibb, Athletic Director, has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he played collegiate football. He has 11 years of PE instruction and coaching experience at multiple grade levels in the Los Angeles area. To go along with his love for the teaching profession, he has acquired skills as a head varsity high school football coach as well as boys and girls basketball coach at the middle school level. John is a sports enthusiast and spends his leisure time exposing and engaging his two sons, ages 7 and 3, in physical and sports activities.

Bob Capune, 7th & 8th Grade History Teacher, has a BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley. Bob worked for two decades at the Lawrence Hall of Science, a hands-on children's museum. Although he likes Science, his true passion is the Humanities. He thoroughly enjoys teaching English and History instead of quadratic equations. An avid world traveler, Mr. C has visited every continent (except Antarctica). He brings photos, stories, and artifacts from these trips to his classroom to share and enhance curriculum.

Debra Hom, 7th & 8th Grade Math Teacher, has a Bachelor's of Science in Mathematics and a Master's in Education from UC Davis. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking, baking, listening to music, making jewelry and crocheting. Debra wanted to work at Manzanita because of the community support and feels the small classes will let her focus on each student's needs to succeed in math. She loves when students ask for help and tell her when they don't understand a topic. Growing up in a small community, she knows that everyone is willing to help and learn together. In her classroom, she strives to make math understandable and relatable to everyday life.

Janay James, 6th Grade Teacher, graduated Cum Laude from Saint Mary's College with a BS in Psychology, a concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience, a minor in Spanish, and a keen interest in Ethnic Studies. Her current hobbies include reading, writing, doing hair, listening to music, making people laugh, and engaging in intellectual debates and conversations. Something interesting about Janay is that she climbed 5 pyramids in two weeks on a study abroad trip in Mexico. Janay chose Manzanita because of its use of community to facilitate student growth. She believes that an academic foundation built on such strong support teaches students how to navigate the world before them, as opposed to just schooling them on academic content. Students can expect to learn what sparks their curiosity in math and science, how to ask beyond-the-surface questions, and how math and science curricula play into the world we live in today, from both cultural and academic standpoints.

Heikki Koskinen, Music Teacher, was born in Finland and received his main education there, including private music studies, as well as Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Aalto University. After receiving scholarships to study music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Heikki moved to San Francisco in 1977. Heikki has over 35 years experience in teaching music in the Bay Area, as well as performing and composing from albums and multi-media events to scoring for film. Besides classroom and private teaching, he composes music for all media and leads his own jazz groups. Heikki's latest CDs, "Midnight Sun", "Full Moon" and "Northern Winds and Voices" feature Latin/Jazz arrangements of original and Finnish songs. His two children have graduated from college. Heikki is looking forward to bringing exciting music making to Manzanita.

Kumar Nemani, Technology and Art Teacher, earned his Bachelor's in Electronics and Communications in India and moved to the US to pursue a Master's in Engineering Management. After developing a profound interest in information security, he returned to school and is currently completing an Executive Master's program with the University of Cumberlands. Sravan has a wide range of interests, including film making/photography. He believes in the quote, "Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important." - Bill Gates

Chris Thayer, 7th & 8th grade Science Teacher.

Aliza Van Leesten, 7th and 8th Grade English Teacher, has a Bachelors in American Studies from Colby College. She is a strong believer in the transformative power that writing and literature can have for her students. She is originally from New Haven, Connecticut, where she was actively involved in an education enrichment non-profit, Breakthrough New Haven. While attending Colby, Aliza was a member of the varsity women's soccer team, as well as a mentor at a local education non-profit aimed at youth empowerment called Hardy Girls. She also spent a summer teaching and coaching middle school girls in Harlem, where her passion for education grew immensely. Additionally, she lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for five months, where she loved engaging in the Latin American culture, language, and nature. When Aliza is not teaching, she can usually be found exploring San Francisco, hiking, listening to podcasts or playing soccer. Beginning 2017-2018 school year, Provisional Internship Permit.

Adminstrative Staff

James Trombley, Executive Director, has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education from Northern Michigan University, Masters in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Jim served as the Vice Principal for West Contra Costa Adult Education from January 1999 through June 2010 where he was responsible for ESL, Parent Education, Community fee and Career & Technical Education leading a staff of 70+ teachers at eight campuses. His background includes 7 years teaching high school industrial arts and 2 years for the county jail in Michigan, 20 years part-time for community colleges, universities, and corporations in the Bay Area. Jim brings 20 years of business management experience (manufacturing, engineering, finance, and contracts) and likes just about everything: sports, musicals, movies, and especially school.

Board Members

  • Board Chair: Amy Bingham
  • Board Secretary: Titania Buchholdt
  • Fiscal Manager: Christine Todd
  • Board Member: Guadalupe Ramirez
  • Board Member: Karin Romeo
  • Board Member: Sanjuana Villalobos