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English Department

Teachers & Curriculum Maps



I've been teaching here at Northgate for five years. Prior to this I was a substitute teacher throughout schools in the Hayward Unified School District, while I worked toward an MA degree, and later my teaching credential, at San Francisco State University. Prior to entering into education, I was an educational vagabond. I was inspired to become a teacher because of the strong example set by my grandfather, a professor of Sociology at La Salle University. He made it clear to our family through his continued commitment to his craft that education is a life-long pursuit and a value worthy of sharing with as many people as possible. In brief, he unintentionally taught me the importance of education to civil society. Outside of teaching, I enjoy being in nature, plain and simple. You may insert any number of action verbs such as hiking, biking, swimming, etc. in place of the word being in the last sentence and it may indeed be true. When in "civilization" I enjoy reading in cafes and attending anything that could loosely be grouped under the "Arts" section of a newspaper. Otherwise, I enjoy the absence of things to do with my partner Renee and two cats, Misha and Charlie Feathers.




Before coming to Northgate, I worked at Mount Diablo High School for one year and Ygnacio Valley High School for two years. Prior to working in education, I was the Vice President of Corporate Real Estate for a Media Company; I decided to become a teacher because was horrified by the way in which people on my staff wrote to important clients. Convincing the CEO of my company to spend $60 million on a critical project has to be the one moment where my experience, work-ethic, and ambition had to be right. Making a $60 million mistake would not only be the end of my career, but the end of his. It was terrifying, but what we had done together pointed us forward to achieve our goals. My experience in the private industry most assuredly has taught me to trust in hard work, and to never stop learning. My goal is to prepare students to live in the "real world." I hope that they leave my class feeling self-reliant, confident, and capable. What I like most about NHS are the students, of course!




This is my fourth year as a teacher. Before coming to Northgate I worked at Mt. Diablo High School for two years. I entered college as a computer graphics major and half way through my first year of college, I realized that I had absolutely no interest in doing that, so I sat down one day and thought about what made me happy. I thought back to my years in high school and how much I loved my English classes and all of my English teachers and decided on that day that I would go into education so that I could share my love of learning and English with young minds. My primary goals as a teacher are to be the best teacher I can, help my students become life long learners, and help them learn skills that can be applied to every day life. I also pride myself on the meticulous organization of my classroom which, as students tell me, allows for "clear minds and optimum learning." The thing that I love the most about NHS are the students. I absolutely love my students. They make our classes so much fun and always bring a smile to my face.




Prior to NHS, I taught English, photography, video productions, film study and drama at Clayton Valley High School from 2000-2012. Before that I was a stagehand at the Concord Pavilion, a bartender, and a paralegal. Now I teach English, public speaking and all of the theatre classes here. I was inspired to teach by my own teachers growing up. Then, after realizing during college how lucky I've been in life, I followed a strong urge to give back to the world through public service. My primary goal as a teacher is to grow as an educator every year in terms of developing relationships and improving curriculum. I've found that almost all of my life experiences have ended up preparing me in various ways for working in the classroom with teenagers. I really appreciate the Little Theatre; it is a marvelous facility, and we're lucky to have it







I have been teaching for 25 years. Prior to coming to Northgate, I taught at Clayton Valley High School.  I wanted to become a teacher since I was six years old. I love creating fun, meaningful lessons and enjoy being around young people. There are a handful of great teachers who inspired me along my own path towards becoming a teacher. I especially remember my 8th grade English teacher made me feel not only smart, but unique and important. I vowed to try and make every student who leaves my classroom feel that way. One of my primary goals as an English teacher is to make my students care about issues that matter in the world. I feel that I do achieve this goal every year based on what my students write and say about the novels we've read and the issues we've discussed. One of the things that I like most about NHS is how respectful the students are . I also admire their devotion to their education.







This is my 11th year teaching and I have previously taught at El Dorado Middle (three years) and Ygnacio Valley High (four years). Teaching was something I always thought about doing (except I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher), so when I graduated college and had no idea what to do next I decided to try teaching. It's a good thing I ended up liking it. The experience that shaped me and led to me becoming a teacher is the year I spent as an exchange student in Belgium after graduating high school. During that year I experienced learning from an entirely new perspective because I was having to learn in a new language. I also met Ms. Baerts, a teacher that made me want to be a teacher. She showed me that you can be silly and kind and encouraging, while still being an amazing teacher. My primary goal is to be a good teacher for my students. I want to create lessons and activities that will help them learn and keep them interested. I do feel like I have somewhat achieved that goal, but I am ALWAYS changing and adapting. What I like the most about NHS are the students and staff.




Prior to coming to Northgate, I worked at Piedmont High School for 10 years. Before that, I worked in the Mission District in San Francisco for four years at John O'Connell High School. Before teaching I -- Well, I actually became a teacher straight out of college! For several years after I finished my Master's Degree at UC Berkeley, I was part of year-long teacher inquiry projects to study my classroom and refine my practice. This teacher research taught me to study the way students learn best and to adapt my practice accordingly to get the outcomes I was looking for.  My goal as a teacher is to teach students real skills for their futures that will serve them in their lives and to help them have more compassion for those in their universe of obligation. I hope that students come out of my class knowing that they have grown as writers, as students, and as people. As for my hobbies, I don't have many; I have five kids, so that pretty much fills up most of my time. What I like most from being part of the NHS community is the friendly staff and students. 




I come from a family of educators. My grandfather was a UC Berkeley professor and my mother was an elementary school teacher; teaching has always been my profession. I have taught for 18 years; 16 years at Washington High School in Fremont and one year at California High School in San Ramon. My time as a student at Northgate High School was pivotal in my desire to teach. It was here where I developed a love of literature and a respect for writing. My primary goal as a teacher is to teach students how to write clearly, effectively, and with conviction; to help students connect to the human experience through literature, from nonfiction to fiction. Each year I welcome these two challenges head on because each year is a new opportunity to achieve these two goals. What I like most about NHS is the willingness to learn among the students and the collaborative spirit among the faculty.




I've been teaching for 15 years, and other than a semester at Skyline High School in Oakland (and several years of tutoring here and there) I've been at Northgate the whole time. Before entering into education, I was a writer, editor, and marketing executive. After many years as a writer, editor, and marketing executive I came to a crossroads, and decided that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life using whatever talents I possess to get people to spend more money. So I got a teaching credential. What I love most about NHS is that it has a wonderful community of teachers who support each other, which I love. The students and their parents are terrific too - supportive and kind. In my free time I love to read (of course!), and I usually have a writing project that I'm working on. I also love going to movies, the theater, and other cultural events.




Before coming to Northgate, I student taught at Skyline High School in Oakland last year and that was really when I found out exactly what kind of teacher I wanted to be and how to challenge myself and overcome challenges. My goal is to give students a voice in the classroom--to make them feel heard, valued, and appreciated. I strive to achieve this goal each and every day in the classroom. What I like best about NHS is the sense of community here; it is so strong and such a positive force in my day, especially the community and acceptance amongst the students. Some of my hobbies are lots of reading now that I'm not a student and don't have homework of my own. I also like to go to the gym, knit, play my guitars or ukulele, and color in my vast collection of coloring books. And I spend as much time as I can hanging out with my teacher friends from other schools to swap stories.




I have been at Northgate since 1983-- before that I do not remember.  Some of my favorite hobbies include Cooking, horse racing, baseball, and writing the occasional poem. I have always believed in the value of literature and the power of reading and writing, even after over 30 years I still hold that belief and dedicate my classroom to it. My primary goal as a teacher is to foster my student's goodness and growth,  and remember always that we must listen to their voices. In my many years of teaching the thing that most stands out for me is the essential goodness of those charges we teach, and nothing has made me doubt it. Many former teachers ask me when I see them, "Are the students at Northgate as nice as they used to be. I say yes and mean it. Enough said.

Teacher Name Classes Phone Ext. Curriculum Maps Email Media
Kyle Connors II/H III x2191 Website 

Leanne DeBella

(Dept. Head)

GP I, I, II x1562 Website
Mary Eisner I, III x2142 Website 
Jeffrey Hagerstrand I, Public Speaking x3531
Karen Jenkins I, IV, Journalism x2144  
Amber Lineweaver II, AMER THR III, YRBK x2140  
Robin Spring I, IV, AP ENG LIT  x2122 Website
Jeremy Nunes II, INTRO TO FILM x2157 Website
Kari Reed IV, AP ENG LANG x2143 Website 
Rosanne Reid


Aliza Selinger  
Victoria Stringer  
David Wood IV, IV H x2133