Our School » Our Staff

Our Staff

White Oaks is proud to have an excellent team of educators. A full list of the staff and email addresses can be found on the Contact Us page.
Leah Scholer

Leah Scholer, Principal

  • I started my teaching career in 2007.
  • Taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Burlingame for eight years before becoming a Response to Intervention and Instruction Specialist.
  • 2016 MERIT graduate from the Krause Center of Innovation at Foothill College and mentored teachers in the design and implementation of curriculum focused on 21st Century skills and student-centered learning.
  • B.A from Sonoma State University and M.A. from Notre Dame de Namur University
  • I love spending time with my husband and son, reading, baking, and being outdoors. I am thrilled to be joining the White Oaks team and looking forward to getting to know this wonderful community!

Teresa Williams, Administrative Assistant

  • Began working for the San Carlos School District in 2014 as a Special Education Para-Educator and moved over to White Oaks School in 2016.
  • I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, yoga, running, listening to live music, eating at new restaurants, and relaxing in the mountains or on the beach.

Diane McGuigan, Transitional Kindergarten

  • I earned my B.A. from S.F. State and my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont.
  • I began my Teaching Career with the San Carlos School District in 2000, first teaching 2nd grade, then moving on up to 3rd where I stayed for 13 years. In 2014, I started teaching Transitional Kindergarten where I am thoroughly enjoying the enthusiasm of young learners.
  • I enjoy reading, live music, travel, cheering on the Giants, and spending time with friends and family.

Angel Becher, TK Classroom Aide, Office Assistant and Noon Supervisor

  • I began my education at White Oaks attending kindergarten and continuing on through the San Carlos School District. I still live in the neighborhood.
  • I started working at White Oaks in 2008.
  • I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, sewing, gardening, and working with the kids here at White Oaks.

Rachel Eaton, Kindergarten

  • I started my teaching career in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2008. I taught Kindergarten for 6 years before moving to California with my husband. Since moving to California, I have taught 2nd grade (at Brittan Acres) and Kindergarten (at White Oaks). 
  • I earned my B.A. in Elementary Education and M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2013!
  • I enjoy spending time with family and friends, trying new restaurants, going for hikes, lounging on the beach, and exploring San Francisco. I love photography, travel, crafting, and ice cream!

Nikki Murgo, Kindergarten

  • I graduated from San Francisco State with a B.A. & Early Childhood Certificate. I then earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential & Masters Degree in Education from Notre Dame de Namur University.
  • After teaching Preschool for several years, I began my Elementary School Teaching Career in 2000 with The San Carlos School District...and have been here ever since!
  • I have a passion for choral singing and musical theatre, and have performed in, and directed numerous shows around The Bay Area - including several here at White Oaks.
  • My hobbies include cooking & baking, trying new restaurants, bike riding, reading, bowling, rooting for The Giants, and spending time with my family.

Andrea Andersen, K/1

  • I have enjoyed 38 years in the classroom- the first 16 in Mason City, Iowa, and the last 22 years in K/1 at White Oaks in San Carlos. What a great place to be! I have been a National Board Certified teacher since 2004.
  • I look forward to another special year ahead learning, teaching and having a wonderful time with my students and families. I know we will develop new questions to provide a backbone of our learning. Many new adventures await! I am especially excited to work with my new teaching partner, Lauren Steele!
  • I enjoy spending time with my husband, family and friends. I love reading, walking, music, theater, and I especially treasure the time I can spend with my 5 wonderful grandchildren!

Lauren Steele, K/1

  • I began teaching in 1998 in Palos Verdes, CA.  I have taught Kindergarten, 1st grade, and Montessori in CA and in MI.  
  • I earned my BA from UCSB, and received my teaching credential from St. Mary’s College.
  • I took some years off to be at home with my children, both who have been students at White Oaks.
  • I enjoy reading, traveling, walking my dog, hiking, running, the beach, being outdoors and spending time with my family.  

Debbie Cullinane, First Grade

  • I started teaching in 1991
  • Have taught a total of 13 years in the Bay Area, K, 2nd, 3rd grade and special needs preschool.
  • Received my BA from St. Mary’s College in Moraga and my Teaching Credential at College of Notre Dame.
  • Tutored for 7 years and have been subbing in Menlo Park for 15 years and San Carlos for 7 years.
  • I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, watching my two children play soccer, reading, working out and traveling. Both of my children went to White Oaks school.

Christine Fox-Sennett, First Grade

  • I started teaching in 1994 in Daly City, then moved south and taught in the Oak Grove School District in San Jose.
  • I earned my B.A. from UCSB and received my Multiple Subject, Learning Handicapped, and Resource Specialist credentials from SJSU.
  • I have taught every grade but 5th over my teaching career. I started teaching in San Carlos (my hometown) in 1997.
  • I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling, and hanging out with my Golden Retriever, Skylar.

Laurie Bishop, Second Grade

  • I began my teaching  career in 1986 as a 2nd grade teacher in Menlo Park. I taught there 5 years. As I was raising my children here in San Carlos, I was a substitute teacher for 7 years and taught preschool for 2 years.  
  • I taught 5th grade at Central Middle School for 7 years before coming to White Oaks. I’ve been teaching 2nd grade here at White Oaks for 5 years now. I am home!
  • I earned my B.A. at San Diego State University and earned my Teaching Credential from SJSU.
  • I enjoy traveling, the beach, reading, walking my dog, gardening, working out, eating at new restaurants and spending time with my family.

Melissa Brenner, Second Grade

  • I started teaching in 1977 in San Bruno.
  • I earned my B.A., Teaching Credential, Reading Specialist Credential, and Masters from S.F.S.U.
  • I taught K-4 in San Francisco and then began at White Oaks teaching a 2-3 with Mrs. M.-A. for 17 years. The last 4 years, I have been teaching full time, and this is the beginning my 22nd year at White Oaks!
  • I enjoy reading, walking my dog, traveling, shopping, cooking, going to movies and plays, and spending time with my family, especially my 1 year old grandson, Luka!

Tracey Mitchell-Ardwan, Second Grade

  • I started teaching in 1988, in Santa Clara.
  • I earned my B.A. from Fresno State and a Teaching Credential and Masters in Elementary Education from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont.
  • I taught 2nd, 2nd/3rd with Mrs.Brenner for 17 years, and 3rd. It is my fifth year teaching full time and I am beginning my 23rd year at White Oaks. I enjoy the beach, hiking, yoga, reading, and spending time with my family and friends.

Nicole Martin, Third Grade

  • I started teaching in 2001, in Millbrae
  • I earned my B.A. from S.F. State and Teaching Credential from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont.
  • I taught 1st, 4th, and 5th grades, before finding my "happy place", teaching 3rd grade at White Oaks.
  • I enjoy acting, seeing theatre, singing, photography, and spending time with my friends and husband.

Kim Norgaard, Third Grade

  • I taught grades K-5 and early literacy in both Palo Alto Unified and SCSD. I also loved my part-time employment as a homeschool consultant for K-12.
  • I currently teach at both White Oaks and NDNU School of Education. Teaching is my passion and I look forward to engaging my students in learning every school day.
  • I earned my undergraduate degree at UCSB and Masters of Education at NDNU. I am currently pursuing my doctorate.
  • I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling the world, reading, writing, skiing and running.

Marianne Richards, Third Grade

  • Room 1 has been “home away from home” since 1997. During these years, I’ve taught every grade from K through 4th.
  • I enjoy exercising, the outdoors, coffee, interior and exterior design, and spending time with family and friends.
  • Graduate of UC Davis, as is my eldest daughter Paige, now teaching as well!

Veronica Hardie, Third Grade

  • I started teaching in 1976 in Scotland. I taught all grades in elementary school before being seconded to study for my Special Ed. qualification.
  • Following successful completion of my course, I worked with children with behavior problems in a special school where I held a promoted post.
  • My family arrived in CA in 2000. My son and daughter attended the local San Carlos schools.
  • I work in both third grade and first grade in a job sharing capacity.
  • I enjoy traveling and spending summers in Scotland.

Annabelle Ortiz,  Resource Specialist

  • I began my career in education by volunteering in various classrooms ranging from preschool to middle school.
  • I am fortunate to have been in the San Carlos School District for the last three years.
  • I'm currently working towards the completion of my teaching credentials at San Francisco State University.
  • I enjoy volunteering, especially for Glide Memorial, hiking in various parks around the bay area, and I love spending time.

Lisa Gonzales, Resource Aide

  • I have worked as a para-educator for the San Carlos School District since 2001.
  • I love working with the White Oaks students and staff.
  • I enjoy reading, hiking, knitting, weaving, gardening and spending time with my family and friends.

Alex DeMenno, Computer & Makerspace

  • Teaching at White Oaks since 2015.
  • I graduated from Loyola Marymount in 2012 with a degree in Psychology. During my time there I worked as a Teacher’s Aide at the Children’s Center on campus, where I really discovered a love for engaging with youth.
  • After college, I spent two years serving with AmeriCorps in both the City Year and NCCC programs.
  • In addition to my work here at WO, I also enjoy coaching and playing basketball!

Carol Griffin, Librarian

  • Started working for the San Carlos School District in 1990 and left to have my third child. All three of my children went through White Oaks School.
  • Came back in 2000 as the Librarian. I love seeing all the students at Library.
  • I enjoy spending time with my family and two beautiful grandchildren, going to art and music festivals, traveling, gardening, walking and completing projects around my San Carlos home.

Anne Karasky, Early Literacy Specialist

  • I began classroom work as a substitute teacher in 2007, and have been a Literacy Specialist since 2010.
  • I enjoy the time I spend with my students and marvel at their tenacity and hard work.
  • Some of my very favorite things are gardening, travel, cooking, good books and movies, and a nice walk with friends. My most valued time is anytime my sons are “in the house”.

Meg Gheen, School Psychologist


Photo and Bio Coming Soon



Laura Macfarlane, Counselor

  • Worked as a school counselor in Boston, Portola Valley and San Carlos since beginning my career in 1990.
  • Also worked in community mental health agencies and most recently as a child therapist in private practice.
  • M.S.W. from Boston University, Pupil Personnel Services Credential from San Jose State University.
  • Passionate about social, emotional and behavioral development of children and how schools, families and communities can support that growth.
  • I enjoy yoga, live music, being outdoors and having fun with family and friends.


Annick Tumolo, Speech and Language Therapist


Photo and Bio Coming Soon



Jesus Munoz, Head Custodian

  • Worked at Arundel School in 2001
  • Started working for White Oaks in 2010
  • I enjoy spending time and watching movies with my family.

Fernando Jimenez, Evening Custodian


SMARTE Preschool Staff

Sue Dawley, Director

  • After graduating from college with a degree in Child Development, started teaching preschool in a private preschool center. Worked as a teacher and Director before taking some time to stay home with my children.
  • Taught parent education for 10 years.
  • Started working for the San Carlos School District in 2010 when we opened our first preschool classroom in the fall.
  • In the fall of 2017, SCSD will have 7 preschool classrooms, offering quality early childhood education for 180 families.

Sue Fosgett, Site Supervisor

  • I began working for San Carlos School District in August 2013 as a Para-educator
  • Currently I am a Preschool Teacher at White Oaks
  • Received ECE certificate from Canada College
  • CTC Teacher permit
  • I have over 20 years experience working as a Preschool Teacher in the Bay Area
  • I enjoy reading, concerts, getting together with friends and spending time with my adult children

Noralie Pillon, Aide

  • I began working with children in 2007 in the Cambrian School District, ages ranging from preschool to 3rd grade. My education background is in Business Administration and Early Childhood Education.
  • I love to travel, go to plays, listen to live music and enjoys trying new restaurants with family and friends.
  • I love teaching kids and seeing them grow and develop into their full potential. I love to tell children they are a “Can-Do-Kid” and I love to see the look on their face when they succeed.

Rita Fischer, Preschool Teacher

  • I have been working with preschoolers since 2001. I am passionate about giving children a positive school experience!
  • I love taking walks with my husband, spending time in coffee shops, listening to jazz, and visiting botanical gardens.
  • I received my certificate for Early Childhood Education from Canada College.

Michelle Lau, Preschool Teacher

  • I have been working with young children for eight years, specifically at Heather Preschool for the last five.
  • Currently working toward receiving my Early Childhood Education certificate as well as an A.A. Degree.
  • I love the work I do with children. They continually bring joy and laughter to my day.

Grace Willey, Aide

  • This is my first year working at White Oaks.
  • I have a BA from Hampshire College in Massachusetts where I studied Illustration and Childhood Studies.  Afterwards, I went to Cañada College to study Early Childhood Education.
  • I attended White Oaks School as a child and grew up in the White Oaks neighborhood.
  • I love making art, going to the library, reading about movies, and riding my bicycle all over town.

Nicole Artale, Teacher

  • I have worked with children for the past six years, ages 3-6, and love every minute of it.
  • I am currently working on getting my Early Childhood Education certificate and Associate’s degree from Cañada College.
  • Some favorite things about my job is watching the children learn and discover new things as they play and doing yoga with the kids at afternoon circle.
  • In my free time I enjoy reading, painting, and going to the farmer’s market with my husband.

SMARTE After and Before School Care

John Schwab, SMARTE Site Manager

  • I have worked with youth for 14 years. I started off working with the San Mateo Foster City School District. I came to the San Carlos School District to work with SMART-E in 2015.
  • In the summer time, I teach archery with the Boy Scouts of America and have done that for 7 years.
  • In my spare time I enjoy barbecuing, boating and spending time with friends and family.