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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.
  • Ms. Machi

    Junior Pre-Kindergarten Assistant
    Ms. Dannalou Machi has more than thirty years of teaching experience. She has been a preschool assistant at Clairbourn for over two decades. Dannalou has a BFA in dance from CalArts and is able to bring her creativity into her classroom. In her free time, she enjoys visiting her two sons.
  • Ms. Strong

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
    Ms. Strong has 13 years of teaching experience. She is a graduate of USC and went on to attend Pepperdine University earning her Masters in Early Elementary Education. Ms. Strong’s home life includes raising 3 amazing daughters. She said, “I am excited to be a new teacher at Clairbourn and excited to get to know the children this year.”
  • Ms. Flores

    Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Assistant
    Ms. Kimberly Flores has been working in the education field for over a decade 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.

Elementary School Teachers

List of 12 items.

  • Mrs. Shoemake

    Kindergarten Teacher
    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. Chang

    Kindergarten Assistant
    Mrs. Stephanie Chang has a BA in Liberal Studies from UC Riverside, along. She has worked tirelessly for the Clairbourn community by supporting the children, parents, teachers, staff, and administrators, and she loves the school. She also served as the CFA President and has held many other volunteer positions in CFA over the years since she has been a Clairbourn parent. We could not be happier to welcome her on staff!
  • Mrs. Thorne

    Kindergarten Teacher
    Mrs. Lindsay Thorne has been teaching since 2012. She taught preschool, kindergarten, and first grade at independent schools in the Los Angeles area and in Chicago. She has a BS in Elementary Education, a California Multiple Subjects Clear Credential and a Masters in curriculum and instruction.
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  • Mrs. Chung

    Kindergarten Assistant
    Mrs. Sing Chung has worked with children since 2013. She studied early childhood education and has a bachelor’s degree in international business from Australia. Sing is passionate about helping each child progress in all areas. She looks forward to assisting Mrs. Thorne. In her free time, she enjoys watching her two children in cheerleading and soccer!
  • Ms. Dezutter

    Grade 1 Teacher
    Ms. Lindsay Dezutter has a Clear California Multiple Subjects credential and Masters in Teaching and Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. She taught at international schools as well as public schools. Ms. Dezutter’s greatest passion is her endless amount of energy and excitement for learning. Ms. Dezutter is originally from Washington state and is an avid traveler. When she is not at school, she enjoys cooking, being outdoors and spending time with her new puppy.
  • Miss Aniszewski

    Grade 1 Teacher
    Miss Aniszewski has been teaching first grade for 7 years. She began her teaching career at Southern Illinois University’s Child Development Lab. She said, “My superpower as a teacher is building relationships with my students and creating a great sense of community. My ultimate goal is to help my students become independent, life-long learners.”
  • 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. Hung

    Grade 2 Teacher
    Mrs. Hung has been teaching for 5 years and holds a California Multiple Subject Clear Credential. She works to create a classroom where all her learners feel comfortable to take risks and excel. She is always looking for strategies to help her learners think deeply about what they are learning and collaborate with their peers. She loves to travel with her husband.
  • 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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  • Mr. Berglund

    Grade 3 Teacher
    Mr. Aaron Berglund has a master's degree in teaching from USC, a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and holds a multiple subject teaching credential. He brings to us many years of experience from both public and private schools. Aaron is passionate about sports, and in his free time, he loves to spend time with his wife and 15-month old daughter reading and cooking!
  • 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 has a 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. Messler

    Middle School Math Teacher
    Mrs. Rebecca Messler has been a teacher since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree from USC, a Master of Education degree from LMU, a Clear Single Subject Mathematics Credential (6-12), and a Clear Multiple Subjects Credential (K-8). She enjoys using math to give context to her students' lives and to teach them to see the world through the lens of math. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with both her human baby and her three-legged beagle, and going to summer camp on Catalina Island!
  • Ms. Vinnedge

    Middle School Science Teacher
    Guen Vinnedge is the Middle School science teacher and Student Council advisor.  She 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. Before coming to Clairbourn, she taught middle school science and math at a small independent school for 17 years.  Ms. Vinnedge feels privileged to accompany young people as they discover more about the world around them, learn who they are, and begin to value their own unique gifts.  Outside of the classroom, Ms. Vinnedge loves reading YA novels, cheering for the Dodgers, and visiting aquariums.
     
  • Ms. Lew

    Middle School English Teacher
    Ms. Lew is our new Middle School English teacher. She has more than eight years of teaching experience and holds a degree in English from UCLA. Prior to teaching, Ms. Lew worked as a TV news reporter and anchor for NBC. Ms. Lew enjoys helping each student become a stronger reader, writer, listener, and speaker. She is conversational in French and is training for the 2022 Pasadena Triathlon, which will be her third triathlon.
  • Ms. Neilson

    Middle School Social Studies Teacher
    Ms. Stephanie Neilson has been an educator for more than two decades. She has an art background and a master's in human development and teacher certification. What she loves the most about teaching is watching students make connections to content through hands-on experiences and projects. Stephanie is originally from Philadelphia. In her free time, she likes paddle boarding, gardening, hiking, making art, and spending time with her two children and their French bulldog named Gus!

Specialist Teachers

List of 7 items.

  • 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. Mrs. DeVasto has a Bachelor of Business and Economics degree, a Master of English Literature degree, and a Master of Coaching and Athletic Administration degree as well as Exercise Science.
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  • Mrs. Rubio

    K-8 Spanish Teacher
    Mrs. Rubio is our Spanish teacher for K-8. She has 13 years of teaching experience and holds a degree from USC. She is passionate about her native language and culture, and she can’t wait to bring it to the classroom with lots of discussions, learning and music! Her biggest joy is to see self-confidence build in each student. In her free time, she loves making cookies and watching Disney movies with her family!
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Ms. Germonprez

    Art Teacher
    Ms. Danielle Germonprezhas been teaching for five years in the Santa Barbara area in both public and private schools. She has a bachelor's from Florida State University in theater and art. One of the most impactful takeaways from her time in graduate school was realizing the power of art in addressing mental health. She looks forward to incorporating her knowledge and her love for theater to encourage high levels of student engagement in her classroom.
  • Mr. Beaber

    Innovation Lab Coordinator & Teacher
    Mr. Rex Beaber has a background in physics and astronomy, and a master's in curriculum and instruction within the games + learning
    + society research group at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He built makerspaces & innovation programs at various schools. Rex is a budding baker and fond fermenter. He passes the time while his microbes are multiplying by playing ultimate frisbee, paddle boarding, camping, practicing yoga, and being anywhere in nature.

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)