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
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.
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.
Kindergarten Lead Teacher
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.
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!
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.
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.
EDIE LANPHAR, M.A.
Grade 7/8 Lead Teacher
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.
JIM GRIBBLE, PH.D CANDIDATE, M.EDS, M.A.
M.A. Education, M.Eds
Ph.D Candidate Educational Technology
Jim has 10 years of teaching experience in integrated learning schools including IB trans-disciplinary environmental schools in London and Chicago and a STEAM start-up school in San Francisco founded by the Chief Scientist of Twitter, where he taught Science and Technology. Jim has been invited to conduct research with computer science departments in Oulu and Tampere Finland as well as the University of Chicago. His research includes looking at the relationship between computer coding and the communication of children with autism, designing a video game with and for children with ADHD, designing a facial recognition game for and with children, computer coding robots in pre-K and is currently designing a literacy application for and with children in virtual reality. He also wrote two children’s books.
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.
DAVID KIRKHART, M.E.
STEAM, Math, Upper School Science Instructor
Masters of Mechanical Engineering
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.
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.
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.
Director of School Operations
Greg Golf began his experience with programs for gifted students when he was accepted into the Academy of Global Studies, a high school program with a focus on instilling international awareness and global responsiveness in its students. Graduating with honors, he moved on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he fell in love with the Central Coast and earned a B.S. in Business Administration. He worked for three years as Director at Camp Champions, a world-class overnight summer camp in Texas, where he was responsible for daily operations serving 450 children and overseeing 10 managers. During the non-summer months, Greg directed the staffing, human resources, administration, programming, and customer service components of the organization.
Greg’s mission in life is to help children become the best possible versions of themselves so when the Director of School Operations role at Knox arose, it was the perfect opportunity to combine his professional experience, skill set, and passion for youth development to help the world’s future leaders reach their full potential. Greg believes in the power that one moment can have in a child’s upbringing that changes their life for the better indefinitely.
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.
DAVE MOCHEL, M.A.
M.A. Humanistic Education
For 25 years, Dave has been teaching neuroscience, stress-reduction, wellbeing, and leadership at private boarding schools. Most recently, he was the Chair of the Human Development Department at Cate School. Dave graduated with Honors in Biology and Geology from Williams College and has a Masters Degree in Humanistic Education from SUNY, New Paltz. In addition, he completed a clinical internship in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Feeling fulfilled and satisfied depends on our ability to observe our own thoughts and sensations and regulate our behavior. The power of focused attention and practice changes how we experience everything. Dave works with students, faculty, staff, and parents throughout the year to teach us how to train our nervous systems to access calm, confidence, and creativity in response to any circumstance.
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!
Co 7/8 Lead Teacher & Teaching Assistant
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Andrew earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Stevenson University before being recruited to Santa Barbara by UCSB to coach the men's lacrosse team. He has since founded Riptide Lacrosse, a community-based youth lacrosse organization.
Most recently, Andrew has served as a Humanities Teacher at the Anacapa School where he taught World History and American Literature.
He is currently completing his Masters of Education, and his MA in Philosophy at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Andrew is also a sportswriter for Noozhawk and has a Yoga/Meditation Teaching Certification.
Mr. White brings his love of Philosophy to the Knox School to help students develop critical, independent thinking skills on their path to becoming moral adults.