Our Staff

Previous
Next

Mary Ann McQueen

FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL

Mary Ann McQueen grew up in Seattle, Washington and attended Santa Clara University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in history and, later, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Loyola Marymount University.  Ms. McQueen has extensive experience working in TK-12th grade schools where she has served as a school leader and instructor.  Those schools include Marymount High School, Westwood, St. Mark School in Venice, and Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco. Ms. McQueen has also held many volunteer positions at her sons’ elementary school including chairing the school’s three-day festival and auction as well as the parent association.  These roles have helped deepen Ms. McQueen’s understanding of parent perspectives and how to develop cohesive parent organizations that support the school and that build community.

Serving as an instructional leader Ms. McQueen has led efforts to improve and innovate school programs, implement comprehensive curricular endeavors, build school enrollment, and revitalize school facilities.  All the while, focusing on the importance of cultivating a vibrant, student and growth-focused school culture where members have fun and build relationships has been a priority for Ms. McQueen.  

Core values include service to others, collaboration, community partnerships, ongoing professional growth, and a deep passion for the outdoors, family, literature, and history.  One of Ms. McQueen’s favorite projects as a school leader involved working with parent volunteers and a parent architect to implement a water reclamation system that resulted in capturing all rainwater year-round.  Part of this project involved partnering with TreePeople to plant 33 trees and shrubs on the school grounds.   

Ms. McQueen currently serves on the school board of two elementary schools and has recently assisted schools in developing sustainability systems to reduce waste and better align those schools with their mission to care for the school environment and support students in becoming more conscious of their role in that process.

Ms. McQueen and her husband, Murray have raised two sons and have lived in the Los Angeles area for many years where they have deep roots and a love of the city, and opportunities to build community over time.

Previous
Next

Caroline Paulson

FOUNDER & 3RD/4TH GRADE TEACHER

Caroline Paulson grew up in Rancho Santa Fe, California until she moved to Los Angeles to attend Loyola Marymount University. She received a bachelor’s in Liberal Studies, then enrolled in LMU’s Graduate School of Education where she earned a master’s in Educational Studies and a Reading Certificate. She has completed advanced training in Reading and Writing Workshop, Responsive Classroom, and Cognitively Guided Instruction Math. Ms. Paulson is a passionate educator with rich experience in private elementary education in Los Angeles.

Her expertise includes creating a flexible learning environment to support all learners and student collaboration through hands-on, project-based learning with the goal of creating meaningful connections. Ms. Paulson’s teaching philosophy is centered around the education of the whole child and multiple intelligences theory to form students’ personal intelligences.

Her goal is to enhance student self-esteem in and beyond the classroom. She is committed to serving the whole community as a teacher leader and experienced moderator of student leadership organizations and athletic teams.

Ms. Paulson’s passions include traveling the world and being able to creatively bring her unique experiences of various cultures into the classroom. In her free time you can find her at the beach surfing, in the mountains snowboarding, skateboarding or biking in the neighborhood, or doing her favorite type of workout, pilates.

Previous
Next

Lily Hubbard

FOUNDER & 1ST GRADE TEACHER

Lily Hubbard was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California. After moving to Boston to receive her Bachelor of Science for Elementary Education from Boston University, she moved back to Los Angeles where she received a Master’s degree in Curriculum Instruction with a focus on Reading Intervention and Dyslexia from Concordia University. 

Ms. Hubbard has a passion for teaching and loves to bring art and creativity into the classroom to promote differentiated learning opportunities for every child. She believes that engagement is key in the learning experience and works to create a classroom environment where students have the tools and desire to think critically, ask questions, and pursue knowledge. With experience from kindergarten to fourth grade, Ms. Hubbard uses her hands-on understanding of the learning progression across grades to guide her younger learners in developing higher level thinking skills and connect them with content and challenges to come, all while having a great deal of fun!

Beyond the classroom, Ms. Hubbard can be found reading at the beach, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, or snowboarding in the mountains!

Previous
Next

Kristin Penn

FOUNDER & KINDERGARTEN TEACHER

Kristin Penn grew up in the Los Angeles area and feels deeply connected to the city of LA. Mrs. Penn has a BA in Psychology and Child Development and extensive background with the social emotional development of young children. Mrs. Penn earned a teaching credential, and a masters degree in education and began teaching at Crossroads School in Santa Monica. After six years at Crossroads, she took a break to raise her son and then came back to the classroom to teach both kindergarten and first grade at Saint Mark school in Venice CA. 

Mrs. Penn takes a developmental approach to learning and believes in the importance of differentiation through workshop-based curriculum including Cognitive Guided Instruction, and Readers and Writer’s Workshop. She enjoys bringing learning to life with real world experiences through project based learning. She believes that a teacher does not simply tell students what they need to know but rather, learning should be experiential, child-centered and socially mindful. Her goal is to foster a love of learning in each and every student that she teaches. She strives to make her classroom full of joy, collaboration, and passion.

Previous
Next

Caitlin Maher

FOUNDER & 5TH-7TH GRADE TEACHER

Caitlin Maher was born and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University receiving a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Elementary Education.  After attending LMU, she was accepted into Teach for America Denver, where she earned her Colorado Teaching Credential in Elementary Education and Special Education. She  went on to earn her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Colorado, Denver.  Ms. Maher spearheaded the Special Education Department at Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside in Denver and fell in love with teaching.  

Ms. Maher’s passion for education was instilled at a young age as a first generation American and college student and it continues to be the ultimate driving force in her life.  She has been teaching for seven years and is motivated by reaching the unique needs of each student in the classroom.  Having a background in special education, Ms. Maher prioritizes managing data, using it to inform instruction, and building a strong rapport with all individuals in the classroom.  She believes that the teacher is merely a facilitator in the classroom and that in order for students to fully grasp the content they need to do the heavy lifting of the lesson. She has experience teaching Kindergarten through seventh grade.  Outside of the classroom, Ms. Maher loves being outside, skiing, running, or camping!

Previous
Next

Rose Roman

5TH-7TH GRADE TEACHER

Rose Meres Roman was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she obtained a B.S. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She began her teaching career outside of Baltimore in the Howard County Public School System and obtained a M.S. in Administration/Supervision from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. After moving to LA, Rose worked at The Brentwood School for over ten years as a teacher and director of their summer programs before moving on to Echo Horizon as a classroom teacher and curriculum specialist where she received further training in Writer’s Workshop and Responsive Classroom.

Rose loves a good adventure! She has hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim and driven across the country a few times, including one trip to Alaska. More recently, she was lucky enough to spend time in Paris, Venice, Copenhagen, Belize, and Panama. Rose is thrilled to be a part of Sycamore Community School.  She loves the philosophy of creating a dynamic learning environment while fostering the qualities of creativity, compassion, and independence.

Previous
Next

Haley Anderson

2ND GRADE TEACHER

Haley Anderson was born in Baltimore, Maryland but grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. She later moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota where she attained a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education Foundations. Impassioned with the curriculum and experiences she had undergone during her undergraduate education, she went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. 

Ms. Anderson takes a “Whole Student” approach to teaching. She achieves this by drawing from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in conjunction with creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment. She also believes in incorporating social, emotional learning in order to promote cognitive growth and interpersonal skills. Ms. Anderson has experience working with first to fifth grade students; she uses her education of hands-on and project-based learning to encourage higher order thinking skills such as reasoning, application, and comprehension. She aims to have an engaging and fun classroom.

Ms. Anderson is beyond excited to educate the future second graders of Sycamore Community School! Outside of the classroom, she enjoys trying new foods, lifting weights, hiking, and going to the beach.

Previous
Next

Jennifer Mack

ART TEACHER

Previous
Next

Ryan Penn

PE TEACHER

Personal Trainer, Ryan Penn, works weekly with students practicing agility, stretching, and body-weight strength training.  Ryan brings enthusiasm and experience from his student athlete days in college along with a BS in Kinesiology.  With over 20 years of personal training experience, Ryan is looking forward to getting our kids moving!

Previous
Next

Kathy Brisacher

K-4TH GRADE SCIENCE TEACHER

Kathy Brisacher grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois. A family move brought her to Southern California; it only took one California winter to convince her to leave behind the cold, snowy winters of the Midwest. She earned a BA in Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mrs. Brisacher has worn many hats as a parent volunteer at her sons’ schools including database coordinator for the annual silent auction, member of the parent guild, and parent athletic liaison. Grateful for the amazing teachers she got to observe who had an impact on her sons, she understands the collaboration between educators and parents needed to form life-long learners.

She has been sharing her love of science in the classroom since 2009 teaching at both public and private schools in West Los Angeles. One of her passions is bringing life science into the classroom with live animals including hatching chicks/quail, praying mantises, butterflies, and ladybugs. 

Mrs. Brisacher believes students should always ask questions and feel comfortable with making mistakes. Her classes are geared toward creating a supportive learning environment while encouraging students to make connections to real-world phenomena. Her mission is to develop inquisitive thinkers with a sense of wonder.

When she is not at school, she enjoys hiking, reading, observing the night sky with her telescope, and baking (it’s kitchen chemistry, right?). Mrs. B also loves riding her bike along the beach bike path. She and her husband have two sons who share their love of all sports – both as participants and as spectators.