Who We Are

A place for children who need extra support in the classroom.

 

A New Type of School

Some students need extra support to thrive in a classroom setting. The Burkard School provides these children with the ideal environment to allow them to be their best selves socially, emotionally, and academically.

The Burkard School is a K-8 school like no other in the Bay Area. We start with a small class size – no more than ten students – and dedicate both a highly-trained educator and a behavior specialist to each class. This formula allows us to address the individual education of each student with expertise and precision. The behavior specialists target social-emotional learning, self-regulation, and executive functioning and create an environment where the child is focused, regulated, and ready to learn. This in turn allows the educators to teach effectively and ensure that each student reaches her academic potential.

At The Burkard School, students are given the supportive environment they need to shine.

Meet Our Team

Directors

Agapi Burkard

Agapi Burkard

Head of School

Juris Doctor
University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Bachelor of Science, Economics
Santa Clara University

Agapi has drawn upon her legal training and 10 years of experience as a full-time mother and advocate of an amazing, engaging, and challenging child to create The Burkard School. The Burkard School is her labor of love, commitment, and passion.

Scott Thompson, MS

Scott Thompson, MS

Assistant Head of School

Masters of Science, Educational Leadership
California State University East Bay

Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education – Specialization in English Literature
San Diego State University

Scott joins The Burkard School with a decade’s worth of experience in school leadership and twenty years of experience as a classroom teacher. He spent his illustrious career at Woodland School in Portola Valley, serving as a classroom teacher, then Middle School Dean, and finally Dean of Students. Social-Emotional Learning is a special interest of Scott’s: he created the 5th grade Executive Function curriculum at Woodland and was a part of the Middle School Advisory Program which set up cross-grade cohorts for intentional SEL and executive functioning learning. Scott is a passionate educator and leader who strives to make lasting differences in the lives of his students. He has dedicated his life’s work to partnering with families to inspire students and develop a lifelong love of learning. As an administrator, he is committed to creating a collaborative, caring, and inspiring environment for teachers and students alike. 

Leanne Spagnola, MA, LMFT

Leanne Spagnola, MA, LMFT

Director of Social Emotional Development

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
California

Master of Arts, Counseling Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy
University of San Francisco

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
University of San Francisco

Leanne is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, wellness
consultant, and educator. Leanne was trained in psychodynamic attachment-based play therapy at UCSF’s Infant-Parent Program and has since spent 6 years working as a bilingual mental health clinician helping schools and families foster healthy relationships and build new skills. During her time serving schools in San Mateo County, Leanne collaborated with teachers and school directors to address the emotional and relational needs of students. She has found Social Emotional Learning to be a foundational necessity to give students and school staff a language with which to express their internal experience and connect with those around them.

Leanne facilitates family workshops in the community around separation and divorce, parental stress management, and teaching young people to find and harness the power of their voice. Leanne enjoys teaching yoga and incorporating movement and playfulness in all that she does. She is passionate about the healing power of community, and is dedicated to empowering young people to thrive.

Educators

Kerri Maloney, MS

Kerri Maloney, MS

Grades K-2 Educator

Master of Science, Education
Dominican University

Bachelor of Science, Social Welfare
University of California, Berkeley

California Multiple Subject Clear Credential

Kerri has over 35 years of teaching experience, with the bulk of her illustrious career teaching 1st and 4th grades. Kerri is a dedicated master teacher who has worked extensively with bright students to help them reach their full potential. She is passionate about teaching a rigorous academic program in a way that is fun and accessible to all her students, and is expert at subtly differentiating her instruction. After having spent 35 years teaching at the same school in Marin, we were lucky to have her join our faculty as our K/1 teacher! Kerri is warm, kind, extraordinarily patient, and extremely skilled at making a connection with her students and bringing out their very best.

Michelle Malashevitz

Michelle Malashevitz

Grade 3 Educator

Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education
Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, Kentucky

4 Year Resident Educator Early Childhood (P-3) Licensure with an endorsement of Early Childhood Generalist (4-5)
State of Ohio Department of Education

Michelle is a dynamic and brilliant new teacher who is passionate about igniting the spark of learning in her students. She comes to us after having completed her first full year of teaching a class of 3rd grade inner-city students in Dayton, OH, where she had ample experience dealing with a range of behaviors and educational needs. Michelle has also student taught fifth grade and first grade, and has spent the summer tutoring. Michelle’s love of teaching shines through, as does her knowledge: at Thomas Moore College, she made the Dean’s List all four years. Michelle’s teaching acumen, unflappable nature, and her sunny outlook make her an invaluable member of our team.

Harvest Radich

Harvest Radich

Grade 4 Educator

Bachelor of Science, Education
The Ohio State University

Harvest, a recent Ohio transplant, is a teacher’s teacher. In obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Eduction from The Ohio State University, she was awarded the Provost Scholarship, the Sankey Family Scholarship for Future Teachers, the Hathaway Education Scholarship, and made the Dean’s List. Harvest enjoys teaching inquiry-based and project-based lessons. Her calm yet engaging demeanor makes her beloved of her students.

Jed Adler, MA

Grades 5-8 Humanities Educator

Masters in the Art of Teaching
University of Southern California

Multiple-Subject Credential, TESOL Certification
University of San Diego

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology
University of Puget Sound

Jed first discovered teaching while volunteering at a social organization in Rio de Janeiro, where he created the first organized youth baseball team. That quickly transformed into English classes for community members, which inspired Jed to pursue education. He returned to Brazil for almost ten years after obtaining his multiple-subject credential and TESOL certification. Jed worked at international schools with students of all ages, created English-immersion summer camps, customized bilingual learning plans, and bottled Mexican-style hot sauce, which he produced and sold to restaurants. Jed’s enthusiasm, creativity, and positive perspective allow him to connect with students from all walks of life, as well as produce captivating lessons. His classes are always student-centered, full of positive energy, and have the feeling of a small community. When he is not teaching, Jed can be found tending to his pepper garden, experimenting with his barbecue, or studying baseball statistics.

Carter Peterson

Carter Peterson

Grades 5-8 Math & Science Educator

Masters in the Art of Teaching
Relay Graduate School of Education

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
Wesleyan University

New York Generalist Teaching Credential
New York Special Education (7-12) Teaching Credential

Vermont Special Education (K – 8) Provisional Teaching Credential
Carter has more than 5 years of experience teaching in both the mainstream classroom setting and in special education. Carter is new to the west coast, having lived and taught in New York and, most recently, Vermont. He has a passion for finding ways to reach all students with a wide range of learning styles. He enjoys teaching inquiry-based lessons that also include factual practice. He holds high expectations for students while also prioritizing joy and relationship building. His favorite part of teaching is the light-bulb moments that happen when a student achieves a new and exciting mathematical understanding.

Classroom Behavior Specialists

Michelle Benham, MA, BCBA

Michelle Benham, MA, BCBA

Senior Behavior Specialist

Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Master of Arts, Psychology, Emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis

California State University, Fresno

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

San Diego State University

Michelle brings to The Burkard School a wealth of experience, proven effectiveness, and deep expertise in behavior. During her 9-year career as a behavior analyst both in-home and in classroom settings, she has designed and implemented programs and treatment plans, managed specialized classrooms including developing curriculum, and trained faculty and staff in behavior and social skills interventions. Before joining TBS, she was a Program Director for FirstSteps for Kids, where she oversaw 12 treatment teams. Michelle elevates our program with her passion for maintaining the highest integrity in our data collection, implementing our interventions with consistency, and ensuring our interventions are responsive to our students’ needs. Just as importantly, Michelle approaches behavior with a fun but steadfast presence that is calming to her students and creates a strong bond. Our students love being around her!

View Michelle Benham's Interview

Semi Chang, RBT

Classroom Behavior Specialist

Master of Science Candidate, Applied Behavior Analysis
National University

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
California State University, Long Beach

Semi joins TBS with experience working with students with behavioral challenges in schools, clinics and homes. Most recently a behavior intervention coach with the Palo Alto Unified School District, Semi has worked with some of the top ABA companies in both Northern and Southern California as a behavior therapist. Semi’s passion comes from her own experience with school during her youth. She herself has experienced the positive impact of receiving guidance from a trusted adult throughout her struggles at school. In the same way, she hopes to foster a safe learning environment for students and empower them with skills to be good citizens of the world. She believes that integrating SEL into school can have positive, long-term effects on students. Semi is in graduate school and is in the process of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. In the future, she wants to pursue her doctorate in Applied Behavioral Analysis and focus on doing more research on SEL.

Megan Lopez, MA

Megan Lopez, MA

Classroom Behavior Specialist

Masters of Arts, Applied Behavior Analysis
Ball State University

Bachelor of Science, Sociology
Oregon State University

Megan joins TBS with deep experience working with at-risk youth and children with special needs for over 6 years. Megan is currently pursuing her Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential. Megan has worked in youth homes, one-on-one with students at a variety of ABA companies, as well as at a charter school. She brings her knowledge of ABA as well as her compassion for each and every student.

Katie Peters, RBT

Classroom Behavior Specialist

Bachelor of Arts, English
University of California, Santa Barbara

Katie is a positive, nurturing educator with a background in Applied Behavior Analysis and K-8 classroom instruction. Her recent experience includes teaching Social Emotional Learning to 2nd graders and providing home and school-based behavior support as a Senior Registered Behavior Technician. She is devoted to modeling a growth mindset for students by reframing challenges as continued learning opportunities.

Ligia Ramirez-Jimenez, RBT

Ligia Ramirez-Jimenez, RBT

Classroom Behavior Specialist

Masters of Psychology, in Progress
Capella University

Bachelors of Science
San Francisco State University

Registered Behavior Technician

Ligia has worked in the field of ABA for 4 years and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in psychology with an emphasis in ABA. Her calm and insightful presence makes her beloved to her students. Ligia has 2 young children of her own that have inspired her commitment to helping other kids cope with difficult behaviors and thrive in their environment.

Angelika Schilli, BCAT

Angelika Schilli, BCAT

Classroom Behavior Specialist

Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, Diplom-Heilpädagogin
Katholische Fachhochschule Nordrhein-Westfalen (Catholic College of Social Work)
Münster, Germany

Board Certified Autism Technician

Angelika joins TBS with 12 years of experience as a behavior specialist, 4 years of experience as a Special Education Teacher, and an additional 5 years’ experience as a substitute teacher and volunteer at the Tenderloin Childcare Center. Angelika was with her previous employer, Behavior Intervention Associates, for 12 years and most recently developed and ran their social skills groups and programs. Her training in Germany focused on the whole-child approach, and Angie brings a deep understanding of our students’ underlying emotional and neurological challenges that produce difficult behavior. She loves discovering what motivates each child, creating fun interactions with her students, and developing a deep connection.

Joanna Haas

Assistant Behavior Specialist

Bachelor of Arts, English Literature
San Francisco State University

Joanna comes to TBS with 8 years of both classroom assisting and as an assistant behavior specialist at Esther B. Clark School in Palo Alto. With her enthusiasm, spirited personality and compassion for children, she brings joy to every classroom with her laughter, patience, flexibility and her excitement to learn. Joanna is also a hip-hop dancer, dance instructor and choreographer for a local children’s theatre. Living in the Bay Area the majority of her life, Joanna appreciates and values the wide variety of communities she’s worked with both in an academic and theatrical setting. Joanna has the ability to encourage children to find their talents and express themselves through the arts.

The Burkard School Advisory Board

Molly B. Zielezinski, Ph.D.

Molly B. Zielezinski, Ph.D.

Director of Academics & Strategic Planning

Doctorate of Learning Sciences and Technology Design
Stanford University

Master of Arts, Teaching, Elementary Education
Clark University

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Minor: Education
Clark University

Molly B. Zielezinski serves at The Burkard School as the Consultant for Academic Excellence and Strategic Planning, providing hands-on support for excellent teaching and aiding in the recruitment of a high quality teaching staff for the future of TBS. With 10 years of experience as a teacher, academic coach, and educational researcher, she is deeply committed to building teachers’ capacity for excellent instruction characterized by critical thinking, collaboration, the development of deep content knowledge, and the use of technology. Molly has her doctorate from Stanford University specializing in in Learning Sciences & Technology Design and Curriculum & Teacher Education. Molly works closely with The Burkard School administration and staff to support their goal of academic excellence.

Dr. Dale Jacknow

Dr. Dale Jacknow

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician

Doctor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

Residency, Pediatrics
Standford University Medical Center

Fellowship, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
University of California, San Francisco

Board Certified in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
American Board of Pediatrics

Dr. Dale Jacknow is a Developmental and Behavioral pediatrician with more than 25 years of clinical experience. Dr. Jacknow practices in San Mateo, CA but her patients come from all over the Bay Area, as well as from the East Coast, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She specializes in providing comprehensive, individualized assessments and creating prioritized action plans that best address the needs of children from birth through age 18 who face a diverse range of developmental and behavioral challenges.

Dr. Jacknow’s website is www.dalejacknow.com

Dr. Helen Marlo

Dr. Helen Marlo

Professor Chair, Clinical Psychology Department Notre Dame de Namur University • Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY 15318)

Doctorate, Clinical-Community Psychology
University of South Carolina

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
University of Missouri

Dr. Marlo is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Chair of the graduate Clinical Psychology Department at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. She has been on the faculty at The University of South Carolina, Palo Alto University, and Sofia University. She is a faculty scholar with the Sr. Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement.

Dr. Marlo is a licensed clinical psychologist (PSY 15318) and a certified Jungian Psychoanalyst through the C.G. Jung institute of San Francisco. She provides psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and consultation to adults and children through her private practice in San Mateo, CA.

Dr. Marlo is Reviews Editor for Jung Journal: Culture and Psyche. She serves on dissertation committees and teaches, trains, and presents to mental health professionals including at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco.

For over 27 years, Dr. Marlo has worked in private and public institutions, including the Stanford University School of Medicine; Palo Alto Veterans Administration Health Care System; Kaiser Permanente Health Care System; University of South Carolina Department of Family and Preventive Medicine; Richland Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, and Columbia Area Mental Health Center. She has significant clinical experience treating lifespan developmental issues; trauma; and reproductive mental health issues, including perinatal problems, birth trauma, pregnancy and infant loss, infertility, and obstetric/gynecological illnesses.

Dr. Marlo’s work in the community encompasses the complimentary consultative perinatal mental health service, “Mentoring Mothers,” that she developed for mothers and infants. She is passionate about engaging with individuals during this vulnerable and influential time of life. She volunteers for HealthRight International and provides pro bono clinical services for victims of torture and trauma.

She and her husband cherish life with each other, their two daughters, and son. She enjoys her close relationships, art, culture, travel, reading, film, yoga, meditation, and dance.

Dr. Marlo’s website is www.helenmarlophd.com

A small independent K-8 school for bright children who need extra support with self-regulation, executive functioning, and/or social-emotional learning in the classroom.

Want More Information?

Contact us to find out more information about The Burkard School.