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OUR FACULTY & STAFF

Our exceptional faculty and staff have been sourced from across the country and have shown excellence in their fields. It takes a special kind of educator with a deep understanding of the gifted mind to support our student population.


A Knox educator is able to challenge each student on an individual ability level and is able to handle being challenged themselves, as our students are out-of-the-box thinkers and bring knowledge with them to school. Our educators lead the school by example and foster the greatness within each child.

FACULTY & STAFF

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JASON SUMMERS

Fine Art & Ceramics Instructor
Art, SBCC; Early Childhood Education

Mr. Summers is a full-time Senior Teaching Artist at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA). He plans, implements, and facilitates fine arts curriculum inspired by the museum’s collections and exhibits. He teachs as an Early Education Specialist, working as a Pre-K teacher, and designing Outdoor Classroom environments within childcare facilities.

 
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GABRIELLE SMITH

Kindergarten Lead Teacher
Teaching Credential

Gabrielle was born and raised in Santa Barbara County and attended San Diego State University where she earned her teaching credential. Prior to joining the Knox School, she had been teaching for 30 years in both San Diego and Riverside Counties in grades 2, 1, Kindergarten, and Transitional Kindergarten.

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CARLY PREGADIO, M.ED.

Grade 1/2 Lead Teacher
M.Ed.; Teaching Credential

Carly earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global and International Studies as well as her Masters of Education Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

For the past three years, she has taught third and fourth grade in Belmont, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys creating hands-on lessons to deepen student learning. She creates a positive and nurturing classroom community that celebrates the individuality of each student and focuses on social-emotional learning and growth as well as academic and intellectual growth.

Ms. Kemp will be teaching the 1st/2nd grade next year. Her use of project-based learning and her secure and easy-going style will be a wonderful addition to the team!
 

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MEREDITH STOLLER, M.A.

Grade 3/4 Lead Teacher
M.A. Curriculum & Instruction

Meredith Stoller earned her Bachelors in Middle Childhood Education and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati. She taught 8th grade science for six years at Rapid Run Middle School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her teaching philosophy involves project-based learning and challenge-based learning where students apply what they are learning to solve real world problems. She believes students should be given freedom to make multiple attempts and find various ways to show mastery on a topic, all of which helps students develop a growth-mindset. Meredith strives to create a positive, supportive, and encouraging learning environment where students are encouraged and supported to reach their full potential.

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KIMBERLY WAGNER, M.ED., M.A.,
GIFTED EDUCATION CERTIFICATION

Grade 5/6 Lead Teacher
M.Ed. Curriculum & Instruction; M.A. Teacher Leadership; Gifted Education Certification

Ms. Wagner has enjoyed the past 26 years teaching middle school in various states across the country, and recently volunteered as an ESL teacher for a year in the Marshall Islands. She is a firm believer in guiding students to develop their higher-order thinking skills and problem-solving techniques, and also assisting them in becoming creative and autonomous learners.

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EDIE LANPHAR, M.A.

DAVID KIRKHART, M.E.

Grade 7/8 Lead Teacher

M.A. Education

STEAM, Math, Upper School Science Instructor

Masters of Mechanical Engineering

Edie Lanphar is a passionate and dedicated educator with a background in psychology and education. Throughout her extensive career, she has focused on improving the lives and educational experiences of all children while acutely aware of the needs of gifted and talented children. Specifically, she has been a teacher from PK through 12th grade, a lecturer at a University, an author, a researcher, a School Principal, and a Director of Curriculum.

In her role of over 10 years as Director of Curriculum, Ms. Lanphar created a K-8 Reggio Emilia (student-centered) program, focusing on social-emotional learning and inquiry-based curriculum. She went on to extend that program to include a full 4-year high school where she helped administer a constructivist and progressive project-based curriculum across the disciplines. She has also presented locally, nationally, and internationally for many years. She has a gifted and talented child of her own so intimately understands what helps them to thrive.

Born and raised in Fresno, CA, David’s introduction to gifted education came when he, himself, attended Manchester GATE for elementary school. David later moved to the Central Coast to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, earning undergraduate degrees in both Biology and Biochemistry, as well as a Master of Bioengineering degree.

David has taught middle school, high school, and college science courses in chemistry, human biology, general biology, and anatomy labs, as well as advanced level math courses. Most recently, he participated in UCSB’s Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program, assisting with physics research, and developing related curriculum for junior high and high school students.

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LIGGY CHIEN, M.A.T.

Advanced Math Instructor
B.A. Mathematical Science; M.A.T. Math Education

Ms. Chien taught mathematics for ten years at New Trier High School near Chicago. She moved to Santa Barbara when her husband joined the faculty of UC Santa Barbara and has taught mathematics at Anacapa School.

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JONATHAN JONES

Teaching Assistant

I simply love interacting with and being around people. When I started working with clients one on one, training large and small groups of people in physical fitness, it brought out a new passion. A passion for working with others by identifying each individual’s needs and being able to support their learning and growth. I started training kids from the Police Athletic League (PAL) to give them a positive outlet and environment after school. I really enjoyed working with younger children and decided to pursue it further, returning to school for early childhood education.

 

It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be given the opportunity to work with such bright young children and I take pride in what I do and I want to give each individual my very best. I strive to be an example outside and inside of the classroom, not just by my words but by my actions.

ADMINISTRATION

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ANGELA TANNER, PH.D.

Founder & Director
Ph.D. Cognitive Neuroscience

Angela Tanner was born and raised in southern California, attending Montessori in the early years and then Viewpoint School in Calabasas, California from 3rd through 12th grade, graduating with full Honors as Valedictorian. She went on to UCLA to study Psychology and Business, again graduating with College Honors, magna cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. Before returning to graduate school, she interned at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Honolulu, Hawai'i, conducting behavioral research studying cognition and communication in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. She returned to UCLA for her doctorate to explore the use of functional brain mapping techniques (specifically functional MRI) to examine the functional and structural topography of the cognitive processes of learning & memory.

The journey that led her to the opening of this school began as a very personal one, born of the frustrations and heartbreak of advocating for her own children. Angela’s experiences have fueled in her an enduring passion for creating an educational environment that honors both the intellectual, academic needs of gifted students, as well as the equally important, and often overlooked, social and emotional needs of this unique population.

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KARI VAN BEBBER RAMIREZ, M.S., P.P.S, L.M.F.T.

Head of School
M.S. P.P.S, L.M.F.T

It is my pleasure and honor to be part of the Knox School family and a program where thinking outside of the box is celebrated! I am committed and dedicated to supporting the continued development of the children and further fostering a positive, engaging, and supportive learning environment. I moved to Santa Barbara from Hillsborough, CA, where, I worked as an elementary school counselor for 9 years. In addition to my 4 years of teaching elementary school, my decade of experience with gifted children as a school counselor solidified in me a deep commitment to the growth of these children.

My desire is for children to find joy daily and know each day is a new opportunity for self-discovery. I want them to feel loved, supported, and a sense of belonging and purpose in their daily learning environment, regardless of the academic or social-emotional challenges they might be facing.

Kids should be able to just be kids, and they need us to provide them with this opportunity. Education needs to be filled with heart and soul. My mission is always to fill the heart. I aim to support and guide our families, faculty, and staff in the tandem pursuit of inspiring and cherishing our students. 

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HEATHER STERN

Director of School Operations

Heather Stern is a Los Angeles native who has resided in Santa Barbara for the past eleven years. She is a seasoned executive, fine artist, teacher, and devoted mother. She brings over a decade of operations expertise to The Knox School of Santa Barbara. Heather’s diverse professional background primarily focused on helping businesses achieve their goals by implementing strategies and protocols to simplify workflow, developing dynamic long-lasting teams, while providing exceptional experiences for patrons. She is excited to bring The Knox School of Santa Barbara to new heights,
expanding resources, education, and curriculum, while serving our wonderful tight-knit community.


In 2019, she founded The Masters Academy of Fine Art, Santa Barbara, teaching art to all ages, using techniques of the masters to produce amazing compositions, with benefits far beyond art, such as complex problem solving, building self-esteem, confidence, and trust. 

 

In Heather’s spare time, she enjoys planning adventures with her daughter and family, and volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, bringing the best interest of the child, before the Court.

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ELLEN HONECK, PhD.

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Ellen earned her doctoral degree in the area of curriculum and instruction with a concentration in gifted education from the University of Denver, specifically focusing on the social-emotional aspects of curriculum and instruction. She has served as the Associate Director of the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education and an Administrator at the Ricks Center for Gifted Children, both located at the University of Denver. She has also served as Dean of the Gifted and Talented Academy at Laurel Springs School working also as a Gifted Education Consultant. Dr. Honeck has been the Chair of the National Association for Gifted Children's Special Schools and Programs Network and a manager in the Denver public School's Gifted and Talented Department. Dr. Honeck is an active leader in many state and national gifted education organizations. Dr. Honeck has presented at numerous gifted conferences at the state level, as well as nationally and internationally (and will be presenting with Dr. Tanner at the upcoming NAGC conference in Denver in November). Her presentations and publication topics include integrated curricula, identification of gifted students, instructional strategies for gifted learners, psychological aspects of gifted learners, and creative and critical thinking strategies.

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MARALEE TREXLER

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Trexler is a native Californian who grew up in the Ventura and Carpinteria areas. Before coming to Knox, she was a legal secretary and worked in office administration. She is the proud mother to Lucas, 13, and Olivia, 8. When not at school, Ms. Trexler enjoys the beach, hiking, her rescue Pug, Aurora, and is an avid traveler. You'll see Ms. Trexler at drop-off and pick-up and in the office, so please extend a warm welcome to her!