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Our Staff


Mr. Gabe

Dean of Students & Operations

Mr. Gabe assists with student accountability across all three campuses.  He plans our assemblies and events during the year and directs our summer camp as well.  This year (and hopefully this year only) he is leading our Covid-19 testing.  

An educator in our community for over 22 years, childhood education is his life long passion


Ms. Kaleen

Office Administrator

Miss. Kaleen grew up in Lafayette.  As SCA’s Office Administrator she works closely with teachers and families and serves as the primary point of contact for the school. Prior to SCA, Miss. Kaleen served as the administrative assistant and registrar at Palmer for twenty years.


As Palmer’s “nurse”, she made sure that all of the students were always at their best. Miss. Kaleen has two grown children and a loving husband of 27 years. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, working out, hiking, cooking and spending time at the beach, her “happy



Mr. Bruce

PE Teacher & Operations Support

Founding member of the Sonder Creek Academy Faculty.  Mr. Bruce is a lifelong resident of the Tri-Valley area, a graduate of Monte Vista High School and UC Davis, and a teacher, coach and mentor for over three decades.


He has been happily married to his wife Stephanie for 25 years and is the proud father of two adult children , Sarah and Adam.  He is excited to continue this journey and help your children learn and grow as well.


Mr. Miguel

PE Teacher & Operations Support

Mr. Miguel, a Bay Area native, graduated from Cal East Bay with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.  He found his passion as an educator while working for 18 years at Palmer School in Walnut Creek.  He is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment where children feel comfortable and accepted so that they can succeed socially, emotionally, and academically.  


His greatest joy is making others smile. Mr. Miguel has been married happily for 16 years and has a son and daughter at home.  He enjoys the beach, hiking and playing sports with his family.

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Mr. Jin

Mandarin Teacher

Mr. Jin obtained his BS and MS degrees in China. He has been teaching Chinese in elementary and middle schools in the US. In the last two weeks he has enjoyed working with the young minds at SCA very much, finding their curiosity and passion to learn amazing. He looks forward to exploring with them to make learning Chinese a fun and joyful experience.

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Mr. Allison

Spanish Teacher

 I am very passionate about learning and teaching languages. I speak Spanish, Catalan, English and a bit of Italian. I have lived in Spain for over 15 years and taught at Clayton Valley High School before that. I am also very enthusiastic about traveling and cooking. ¡Mucho gusto!

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Mrs. Lutzinger

ELA Specialist

Jordan Lutzinger got her undergraduate degree from San Jose State and is currently pursuing her Master’s at Pacific University. She has over 10 years experience in education, and comes to Sonder Creek Academy after two years at Tilden Preparatory School, working with developmentally challenged students to help them reach their full potential. She holds several literary publications, including Embark Literary Journal and Beyond Words Literary Magazine, and is so excited to be teaching reading and writing this year!

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Miss Patty

Math Specialist

This is Miss Patty’s 44th year of teaching and second year at SCA.  She holds a Masters in Educational Administration from St. Mary’s College. Over the years she has taught all grades, from kindergarten thru high school. Her main areas of teaching have been Math, Science, and Physical Education. She looks forward to working with our younger students this year in the area of math.

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Mrs. Singh

Student & Educator Flourishing Specialist

Mrs. Singh studied Sociology,
Applied Psychology and
Education as an undergraduate
and earned her Master of
Education and Multiple Subjects
Teaching Credential from the
University of California Santa
Barbara. She taught
internationally for 5 years while
upholding educational
leadership positions. Mrs. Singh
recently earned her Master
of Science in Applied Positive
Psychology and Coaching
Psychology and is in the process
of publishing her dissertation.

Last year Mrs. Singh taught
Kindergarten at SCA and this
year she is excited to begin
Positive Psychology classes for
all grades while working with 

educators to support their flourishing.

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Miss Prerna

STEM Teacher

Miss Prerna has over 7 years of experience working with students of all ages. She has earned her BA in Computer Science and her Masters in Statistics. Previous experience includes working as a Computer Science teacher and as a STEM teacher with SCUSD and De Anza Community College summer programs where she taught Java & Python game designs as well as Engineering & Robotics. She has a passion for passing on her love of technology and engineering to the next generation.


Her goal is to encourage creativity, problem solving and the development of basic skills, while providing a supportive environment that will help students grow both socially and intellectually.

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Mrs. Lowry

Born and raised a farm girl from Idaho Trish graduated from the University of Idaho with a

degree in Psychology and earned her Masters in Clinical Social Work from Fresno State

University. Trish has worked as a Family Therapist and as a facilitator of the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI).  Her experience helping children navigate through difficult life situations has translated to a deeper understanding of what makes children successful inside and outside the classroom. Mrs. Lowry has a teaching credential from Chapman University and has been teaching for 10 years.

She enjoys skiing, hiking,

ceramics, and adventures with her husband of 27 years. Their last big adventure landed them

at the top of Kilimanjaro.


Mr. Crowe

Mr. Crowe teaches English, American History, Math and World History at Sonder Creek. He is a University of Arizona grad in Political Science and Journalism, with a teacher credential from Fresno State. Mr. Crowe was a journalist and editor at the Arizona Daily Star newspaper in his hometown of Tucson for five years before accepting an editor position at then-startup sports site Bleacher Report in San Francisco in 2010. He spent nearly eight years at B/R in S.F., where he met his wife, got married and became a father of two girls. He switched career paths to teaching in 2018, which his dad did for 40 years in Arizona. He has also spent time at El Dorado Middle School and Mountain View Elementary in the Mount Diablo Unified School District before joining Palmer and now Sonder Creek.


Mrs. Ward

Mrs. Ward grew up near Chicago and earned her degree at the University of Illinois. She began her teaching career after having lived in Panamá for several years. Mrs. Ward continues to feel motivated to create a language learning environment that is different from what many of us grew up with: conjugation and worksheets. She has over 30 years of experience teaching kids, coaching swimming, leading Girl Scout troops and Girls on the Run teams and raising two kids who are now 18 and 20.  When Jenny is not at school you could find her on the pool deck or in the pool at Heather Farms, hiking in one of the open spaces or walking her dog. 

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Mrs. Ponce

Mrs. Ponce grew up in the Bay Area and received her Bachelor's from CSU East Bay in Health Science where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is passionate about science and math.  Prior to SCA, she worked at FirstSteps for Kids in Walnut Creek as a Registered Behavior Technician, teaching children with autism (ages 2 to 13) verbal, play/social, and adaptive skills while reducing maladaptive behaviors. Previous teaching experience also include stints at various local religious schools.  She looks forward to working with the Upper School to help the students develop their love for math and science skills.

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Mr. Sadat

Sadat Barakzi (Mr. Sadat) is originally from Afghanistan and is now a resident of Pleasant Hill.  He has made numerous trips to do volunteer work in Afghanistan including as recently as this summer.  He is  fluent in six languages: Pashto, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Dari, Farsi, and English.

He holds an MBA in Accounting and MA in Education. In addition to a previous career in business, Mr. Sadat has over seven  years of teaching experience, including stops in both Monterey and the Oakland Unified School District.  He is excited to bring real-world examples and challenges into his math classrooms.


God has blessed him with 3 girls  and 3 boys.  In his spare time, Mr. Sadat enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports and going to the movies.  


Mr. Ryan

President & Head of School

Mr. Ryan earned his BA in Economics from the University of Washington and his MBA from the University of Michigan.


In between degrees Mr. Ryan lived in Beijing where he founded an English language school, developing its curriculum, training its teachers, and expanding to multiple locations.


After his MBA Mr. Ryan was a Project Leader with the Boston Consulting Group and a Sr. Director of Product and Partnership Strategy with Cengage Learning, a higher education publishing company.  In addition to corporate roles in Education, Mr. Ryan has over five years of experience operating multiple preschools and childcares.


Mr. Ryan lives with his wife Angela, daughter Ember (3rd grade) and son Trace (2nd grade).


Mr. Ryan is thrilled to be leading and growing SCA and looks forward to getting to know all of its families and students.

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