Our Teachers

Clairbourn has outstanding and experienced teachers who are professionally prepared, set high standards for students, and provide a nurturing, supportive learning environment. Their positive attitudes are the reason our students love school. Many of our teachers hold a master's degree in addition to their teaching credential. Preschool and Kindergarten classes have a full-time, degreed assistant working with the teacher.

Faculty Growth and Development: What Our Staff is Reading

For the 2019-2020 school year and beyond, Clairbourn School has accelerated its focus on faculty growth and development. Parents will be able to notice the positive effects of this effort across all grades as the school year progresses.

Clairbourn Staff Development: Neurodiversity and Student Support

Serving the learning differences among students is a hot topic in education today. In order to ensure that Clairbourn School's teachers continue to deliver the highest standard of student care, Tami Millard, an educational specialist at The Center for Connection in Altadena, California, addressed Clairbourn teachers on the topic of "Student Support."


Clairbourn Faculty Profile

Faculty Members – 20 
Average Teaching Years – 17
Average Career Length at Clairbourn – 11 years
Advanced Degrees - 50%
Student/Teacher Ratio - 12:1

Teacher Bios

The following teacher bios, organized by grade level, cover their qualifications, their talents as educators, and explanations of what parents and students can expect in their classrooms.  Our teachers are qualified, caring, excellent educators and can become valuable partners in parenting.

Preschool Teachers

List of 4 items.

  • Mrs. Rankin

    Junior Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
    Mrs. Lee Rankin is a credentialed teacher with a gift for making students' first school experiences exciting and enjoyable. Upon entering her classroom, it becomes immediately obvious that she provides a highly creative, nurturing, loving, joyous, experiential classroom environment which is stimulating from the floor to the rafters.

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  • Ms. Machi

    Jr. Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Ms. Dannalou Machi is the Teacher Assistant for the Junior Pre-Kindergarten class. She has almost 40 years of experience working with children and has studied Early Childhood Development at UCLA (24 units). She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the California Institute of the Arts.

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  • Mrs. Rubio

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
    Mrs. Sayra Rubio brings to Clairbourn 10 years of teaching experience. She has an educational background in child development and Spanish and previously worked for the University of Southern California (USC) childcare program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from USC and an Associates Degree in Child Development from Rio Hondo College.
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  • Ms. Flores

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Ms. Kimberly Flores is our new Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Assistant. She has been working in the education field for about 10 years and she holds an AA in Liberal Studies from MiraCosta College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Cal Poly Pomona. Her prior experience includes tutoring at Sage Creek High School, working as a K-5 after-school program leader for ASIS, and working as a paraeducator for special needs elementary students in San Gabriel Unified and high school students in Pomona Unified.
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Elementary School Teachers

List of 8 items.

  • Mrs. Shoemake

    Kindergarten Teacher (Group B)
    Mrs. Kristen Shoemake is our Kindergarten teacher and she has twenty-eight years of teaching experience. She has a teaching credential, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and Theatre, a Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and an Illinois Teaching Certificate.
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  • Mrs. Thorne

    Kindergarten Teacher (Group A)
    Mrs. Lindsay Thorne has 8 years of teaching experience and has taught preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade at independent schools in the Los Angeles area and in Chicago. She has a BS in Elementary Education and a California Multiple Subjects Clear Credential. 
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  • Mrs. Chang

    Kindergarten Assistant (Group A)
    Clairbourn's new Kindergarten Assistant is Mrs. Stephanie Chang. Her qualifications include passing the CBEST, the test given by the state of California for Educator Credentialing, she has a BA in Liberal Studies from UC Riverside, along with an extensive background as an executive and administrative assistant in a variety of capacities.
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  • Ms. Dezutter

    Grade 1 Teacher
    Ms. Lindsay Dezutter is new to Southern California, and she has six years of experience teaching grades Kindergarten through Grade 2 at QSI International Schools in Slovakia and Slovenia and one year working for Federal Way Public Schools in Washington State.

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  • Mrs. Roberts

    Grade 2 Teacher
    Clairbourn’s Grade 2 Teacher, Mrs. Karen Roberts, holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature degree from Occidental College and has her Teaching Credential from Cal State L.A.

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  • Mrs. Ward

    Grade 3 Teacher
    Mrs. Susan Ward is our Grade 3 Teacher, and has eight years of teaching experience. Mrs. Ward holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with an English Learner Authorization.

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  • Ms. Edwards

    Grade 4 Teacher
    Ms. Tara Edwards is our Grade 4 teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Principia College, she has an Illinois teaching credential, and she is currently getting her Master of Educational Technology degree from Concordia University.
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  • Mrs. Gier

    Grade 5 Teacher
    Mrs.Terri Lynn Gier is Clairbourn’s new Fifth Grade Teacher. She comes to us with over 15 years of elementary grade teaching experience (having worked with traditional, gifted, and highly-gifted students) both in public and private school settings. In addition to her clear California teaching credential, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from National University and a degree in Design and Architecture.
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Middle School Teachers

List of 4 items.

  • Mrs. Barker

    Middle School English, French, and Drama Teacher
    Cara Barker is known for her depth, originality, creativity, and style, and has over twenty-five years of teaching experience. Mrs. Barker holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and has a Master’s of Science degree in secondary education.
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  • Mrs. Messler

    Middle School Math Teacher
    Mrs. Rebecca Messler is our Middle School Math teacher instructing grades 6-8. She has more than 10 years of teaching experience and was a Teach for America corps member from 2010 to 2012. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology (with a minor in Business) from the University of Southern California, a Master of Education degree from Loyola Marymount University, a Clear Single Subject Mathematics Credential (6-12), and a Clear Multiple Subjects Credential (K-8). 
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  • Ms. Corwin

    Middle School History Teacher
    Ms. Laurie Corwin is our Middle School Social Studies Teacher and Student Council Advisor. She has a teaching credential, she has been a teacher for twenty-one years, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American and Social Studies.
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  • Ms. Vinnedge

    Middle School Science Teacher
    Guen Vinnedge has a B.S. in aquatic biology from UC Santa Barbara and holds a clear California Single-Subject Teaching Credential in Foundation-Level General Science with a supplementary authorization in Biological Sciences. For the prior 17 years, she taught middle school science and math at a small independent school which recently closed due to the financial impacts of the pandemic.
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Specialist Teachers

List of 7 items.

  • Mrs. Kiertzner

    Music Teacher
    Mrs. Rosemary Kiertzner is our music teacher with twenty-two years of teaching experience. Mrs. Kiertzner has a teaching credential and a Master of Music degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama, accompanied by a Bachelor of Art degree in Music, as well as an Associates of Arts degree in Music.
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  • Mrs. Drazic

    Spanish Teacher
    Mrs. Mary Drazic is our Spanish teacher for grades three through five and Middle School. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Language and Literature, a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration Crime Analysis, a Master of Science degree in Education, and her California Teaching Credential is in progress.

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  • Ms. Mize

    Head Librarian & Strings Music Teacher
    Ms. Ann Mize has been working at Clairbourn for twenty-one years, during which time she has had the pleasure of working with students from preschool through eighth grade. In all of her roles, she engages with the students on a personal level to foster an appreciation for her passions—reading, and music.
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  • Mrs. Ball

    Art Teacher
    Mrs. Hayley Ball is Clairbourn’s creative and inspiring art teacher, and she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She is a talented muralist and sign artist with accompanying digital art skills that include graphic design, web design, layout design, logo design, and digital illustration.

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  • Mr. Barker

    Technology Teacher & Drama Teacher
    Mr. Paul Barker is our technology teacher with twenty-six years of teaching experience. He has a teaching credential, a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, and Minors in Computer, and Drama.
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  • Mrs. Devasto

    Athletic Director & PE Teacher
    Mrs. Mimi DeVasto is our Physical Education Teacher for both boys and girls and is the Athletic Director. She coaches our volleyball, basketball, track and softball teams. Ms. DeVasto has a Bachelor of Business and Economics degree, a Master of English Literature degree, and a Master of Coaching and Athletic Administration degree.

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  • Mr. Ball

    Physical Education Teacher
    Mr. Luke Ball is Clairbourn’s physical education teacher for both boys and girls. He has a Bachelor of Coaching and Athletic Administration degree and a Master of Coaching and Athletic Administration degree. He also holds W.S.I. (Water Safety Instruction) Certification.

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Come Visit Us!

Clairbourn School is a coeducational, private school for students in preschool through middle school (JPK-Grade 8) that has continuously served the greater Pasadena area since 1926. We are known for excellent academics, our welcoming community, our attractive campus, and a strong record of sending graduates to top area high schools.
Private School Education for Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary School, & Middle School Grades - Serving Families in the Pasadena Area and Surrounding Cities
Clairbourn is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. (K-12 Private Schools)