Meet Yalonda Copeland! Our First Grade Lead Teacher at Beta Academy! When I asked another teacher recently about Yalonda, he said: "Yalonda is amazing, and she cares so much about her kids -- even when they are struggling or having a bad day! It is from such an authentic place. It is so admirable."
Background about Yalonda:
Yalonda grew up right here in Richmond. She attended Adams Jr. High and Kennedy High School. Lovonya DeJean was her high school principal! She attended San Jose State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies. After graduation, Yalonda was not sure what to do and worked for Lucky’s for seven years and completed a management training program. She also worked as an executive assistant for several years before deciding to go back to school to obtain her teaching credential and Master’s of Education degree at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. She has taught second grade for seven years, third grade for one year, and is currently teaching first grade at Caliber. Yalonda believes wholeheartedly in the need to nurture, develop, and teach to the whole child. She is especially excited about Caliber’s belief that all students should have a healthy balance of social-emotional learning and high quality academics.
A recent interview with Yalonda:
What is your favorite thing about teaching 1st grade?
I get OODLES of love and hugs everyday!
What was your favorite subject growing up?
Reading (I always had my head buried in a book, even in the car!)
Did you always think you were going to become a teacher?
NO! I wanted to make a lot of money. I tried corporate America, and I was SO MISERABLE. I was also bored out of my mind!
Favorite candy bar or sweet treat?
I love Red Vines
If you could go on a dream vacation, what would you do + where would you go?
I would go to Israel, Italy, and Spain. There is so much history to see and experience.
What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area (or specifically about Richmond!)?
I grew up in the Bay. There is so much to do and see all within an hour's car ride to the North, South, East, or West.
What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you?
I couldn't dance as a kid. I had two left feet. I kept at it, and now I have a little bit of rhythm!
Come visit Yalonda's energetic and happy room when you come to Beta Academy!
Learn about Sarah Warhaftig, our KidFit Coach at Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy. Sarah teaches all of our 307 students multiple times a week!
Sarah grew up on the East Coast and has been in education for over ten years. She has worked for the YMCA, United States Olympic Committee and four different schools across Colorado, Florida and California. Most recently, Sarah was the Athletic Director and 6th grade advisor at the Presidio Hill School in San Francisco. She learned about Caliber through a colleague and was impressed with the school's dedication to both mindfulness and social emotional learning. After an engaging conversation with Caliber staff and a site visit to the Richmond Campus the rest was history. Sarah's love of teaching youth echoes outside of Caliber in the broader Bay Area community. She currently is a Board Member for Brown Girls Surf: an organization dedicated to building a more diverse surfing community.
An recent interview with Sarah:
1. What is your favorite thing about teaching Kidfit (and all things health)?
First and foremost, I have the privilege to teach ALL 300+ students that attend our Vallejo school! I truly believe that students need exposure to wellness and movement on a daily basis to help improve their thinking power. Studies continue to show the immense benefits of physical movement especially early in the day that drive higher performance in the classroom. I am grateful for the Vallejo Leadership Team to write and execute my own program and values around wellness, mindfulness and nutrition.
2. What was your favorite subject growing up?
Science and Spanish
3. Did you always think you were going to become a teacher?
No! Growing up I wanted to be a Marine Biologist!
4. Favorite candy bar or sweet treat?
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
5. If you could go on a dream vacation, what would you do + where would you go?
I would love to go to South America and hike Patagonia.
6. What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area (or specifically about Vallejo!)?
The Bay Area is culturally rich and diverse. I love having access to mountains, beaches and beautiful hiking trails!
7. What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you? Or something else awesome that you want to share.
Prior to becoming a teacher I was a sales administrator for Fox Sports en Espanol. I placed commercial spots for the network and worked in New York City. Also, I am a surfer and lover of the ocean. Most weekends and time away you will find me exploring new surf spots up and down the California Coast.
We urge you to come visit Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy to see Sarah in action! You could even get a workout by joining one of her classes :)
Meet our Kindergarten Lead and Math Teacher, Tracy Kimball!
Tracy grew up on the East Coast. She attended Smith College and earned her bachelor's degree in American Studies with a focus in Education. After college, she planned and led political and international studies conferences for middle and high school students. LL Cool J's daughter was even one of her students! With a few years of curriculum planning under her belt, she joined Teach For America and taught 5th and 6th grades. This year is her 5th year as a classroom teacher. She moved to the Bay Area to raise twin cats, cheer on the Warriors, and escape the cold Massachusetts winters. She ended up at Caliber last year because she believes in Caliber's mission to use technology, SEL, and high academic standards to educate and raise children who are academically, emotionally, and socially prepared for all of life's challenges.
Learn more about Tracy from a recent interview!
1. What is your favorite thing about teaching K math? I love teaching math because there are so many different ways to solve a math problem. It brings me joy to see Kindergarten students think deeply about something as simple as the number 10.
2. What was your favorite subject in school growing up? My favorite subject was always Math... surprise! My favorite thing to do as a child was to pretend I could do "math tricks" to impress the adults in my life (like guessing the total cost at the grocery store down to the penny by age 7).
3. Did you always think you were going to become a teacher? I once thought I would be a museum curator. I interned at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC for one semester of college. The trouble was that while I was there I was more interested in volunteering my time at the Smithsonian Preschool than researching the museum installation I was working on. It was then that I knew I should go into education.
4. Favorite candy bar or sweet treat? Anything covered in chocolate or caramel is alright by me!
5. If you could go on a dream vacation, what would you do + where would you go? I would go to an island where I could snorkel, swim and relax.
6. What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area (or specifically about Richmond!)? I love that educators in the Bay Area are so thoughtful about the emotional and developmental needs of children. I think Restorative Justice, mindfulness, yoga, and reflection are crucial and create a welcoming school environment for children. I have taught in Colorado and Connecticut, but feel most at home in the Bay Area because of the focus on teaching to the whole child.
7. What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you? I once had breakfast with President Obama. When I was leading politics conferences for students in 2006, one of our field trips was for the students from Illinois to go to breakfast with their state's Senators in DC to learn more about policies being debated in their state. I tagged along and just a few months later President Obama ended up announcing his candidacy for president!
We urge you to come visit Tracy's magical classroom in Richmond. You will find her students focused, engaged, happy, and stretching their brains to the max each and every day!