Kaushik Basu


Physics + Science Studio Teacher

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Kaushik Basu


Physics + Science Studio Teacher

 

Kaushik Basu develops and teaches science courses at Proof School.

Kaushik enjoys blending hands-on fun with serious scientific discourse, viewed from within a historical context. 

He strongly believes that science should be learned as a process of discovery, guesswork, intuition, and insight—not necessarily in that order.

During summers, Kaushik teaches accelerated math and physics courses to motivated students at the Academic Talent Development Program at UC Berkeley. At ATDP, he pioneered a new physics course, where he approaches Newtonian mechanics by molding everyday objects into toys and digging into their behavior. He believes it is vital for students to throw things in class so they can trace parabolic paths by piggybacking LEDs.

Kaushik also developed an afterschool program at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, teaching probability, mechanics, and electronics while tying in history and the nebulous laws surrounding pinball in recent times. He has been a regular speaker at the Marin Math Circle. Kaushik also organizes the Family Math and Science event at Marin Elementary in Albany, and he has received recognition from the city for his volunteer efforts.

Kaushik has a background in Physics and Electrical Engineering, and he has gravitated towards teaching after stints in research, science journalism, internet engineering, and bringing up his two young children. Strictly speaking, he doesn’t consider the last to be a stint at all.

When not pondering how to inspire himself and his students with interesting physical problems, he is embodying and simultaneously defying fluid dynamics by learning how to swim Butterfly effortlessly. He is always worried that he will be mistaken for his namesake who happens to be the chief economist for the World Bank.

M.E., Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India
B.S., Presidency College, Kolkata, India

 

Danielle Bonequi


Finance

Danielle Bonequi


Finance

 

Danielle has been making sure things add up for small businesses and independent schools since 1998.

Danielle is a California native, born and raised on the San Francisco Peninsula.

She completed the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in drama from New York University. After eight fabulous years in New York, she discovered that she really likes eating and paying her bills on time, and returned to San Francisco.

She has been a user interface designer, a production artist, a small business owner, and a mother to two amazing young men.

She is delighted to be a member of the Proof School community.

 

Sydney Cochran


Literature + Latin Teacher

Sydney Cochran


Literature + Latin Teacher

 

Sydney Cochran develops and teaches literature and Latin courses at Proof School.

She is passionate about teaching language and literature, and adapts her teaching to each group of students to help them to understand their own learning styles.

Her goal is to help students form compassionate learning communities

Prior to joining the school, Sydney spent five years teaching and studying at UC Berkeley their top-tier doctoral program in Comparative Literature. She has taught a range of courses from Literature to Classical Civilization and Latin language, focusing on critical thinking, close reading, and analytic writing. She loves theater and all things ancient.

Sydney is a summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University in Classics and an AmeriCorps Summer Bridge alumna who taught middle school algebra and science. She has also taught high school students and has been tutoring for most of her life.

Advanced Ph.D. coursework, UC Berkeley
B.A., Columbia University

 

John DeIonno


Mathematics Teacher

John DeIonno


Mathematics Teacher

 

John DeIonno is excited to bring his experience in pure and applied mathematics to Proof School.

John has long had a passion for teaching. He taught several community college math courses before returning for graduate school and receiving a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

He continued teaching in Berkeley as a teaching assistant, where he aimed to incentivize and guide collaborative learning, earning him an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award. This experience culminated in spending three summers teaching multivariable calculus at Berkeley from his own course notes that replaced many isolated techniques with more general problem-solving tools that have a wider range of applications, and received very positive reviews by students. Most recently, he worked as a software engineer at Google, applying machine learning techniques to problems in text understanding.

John’s technical interests include mathematical modeling, analysis, nonlinear partial differential equations, and algorithms. Outside of mathematics, he enjoys backpacking, swing dancing, and playing and making board games.

Ph.D., UC Berkeley
M.A. / B.S., UCLA

 

Susan Durst


Mathematics Teacher

Susan Durst


Mathematics Teacher

 

Susan Durst loves working with talented math kids.

A Bay Area native, Susan is excited to be back in San Francisco teaching at Proof School.

Susan did her graduate work at Rutgers University, studying ring theory and combinatorics. For the past three years she has been a Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona, where she has had the opportunity to teach a wide variety of classes, and also to mentor young teachers through the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Program.

For the past nine summers, Susan has taught classes at Canada/USA Mathcamp, first as a graduate student teacher and mentor, and more recently as a faculty member and camp co-director. She loves working with talented young mathematicians, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to do so full-time as a Proof School faculty member.

Ph.D., Rutgers University

 

Emily Eames


Chemistry + Science Studio Teacher

Emily Eames


Chemistry + Science Studio Teacher

 

Emily Eames teaches chemistry through primary sources and pursuing specific applications chosen by students.

During her doctoral work on cooperativity between iron ions at Harvard, Emily discovered that she loved teaching. Since then, she has tutored at a charter school, been an assistant professor at Sogang University in Seoul, and taught community college in the Bay Area.

Wherever she teaches, Emily focuses on interpreting real data, thoughtful problem-solving, and using chemistry in varied contexts, from space travel to the Flint water crisis. 

As an undergrad at Yale, Emily studied the transport of iron and titanium in blood. She also did a minor’s worth of classes in the history of the English language, taught Argentine tango and learned to spin fire. During her graduate studies in synthetic and physical inorganic chemistry, she was a teaching assistant and member of the Graduate Consortium on Energy and the Environment. After completing her Ph.D. in Chemistry, Emily moved to Seoul, South Korea where she taught General Chemistry and a graduate-level course on Science Communication. Since moving back to the States, she taught for two years at two Bay Area community colleges, where she rewrote the Chem 1A lab manual for the College of Alameda. Emily is fascinated by research on how to learn and teach, including using technology to improve instruction. She wrote a reference website for her students in Korea when she switched to a “flipped” classroom, and is currently working on a web app to teach chemistry using spaced repetition and inspired by studies of perceptual learning.

Ph.D., Harvard University

 

Ilyse Gordis


Latin + Middle School History

Ilyse Gordis


Latin + Middle School History

 

Ilyse Gordis teaches Latin and history.

Ilyse is committed to exploring the great events, ideas, and creative accomplishments of the past.

She believes exploring such accomplishments contributes to a joyful and meaningful life, but also that doing so will inspire the great events, ideas, and creative accomplishments of the future. 

In her more than twenty years of teaching literature, Latin, and history, Ilyse has never ceased to be amazed by the varied and impressive uses her students make of what they are learning. Ilyse has worked extensively with middle school kids, both privately and in small groups and classes. She has a deep background in working with homeschooled children and their parents, and she is highly skilled at working with each student to encourage and unlock her or his potential.

B.A., UC Santa Cruz

 

Steve Gregg


Computer Science Teacher

Steve Gregg


Computer Science Teacher

 

Steve Gregg develops and teaches computer science courses at Proof School in Python and Java programming languages.

After spending two years in the mathematics Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley, Steve realized that his true career calling was in teaching.

He transferred to UC Davis, earned an M.A.T. degree, and launched into 32 years of teaching math and computer science at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, CA. Although Steve truly enjoyed working with the students at Head-Royce, he could not resist the opportunity to be a founding teacher at Proof School.

At Head-Royce, Steve designed and taught the following courses: Introduction to Computer Science in Python, AP Computer Science (originally in C++, then in Java), Data Structures, and Advanced Topics in Computer Science.  Steve has been a regular participant in the AP Computer Science reading, where he has gained valuable insights into the skills and abilities that colleges are currently looking for in their computer science students.

Steve is a nationally ranked orienteer, a competitive sport involving off-trail running with a detailed topographic map and a compass. He hopes to someday send a Proof School orienteering team off to battle at a local orienteering event.

M.A.T., UC Davis
B.A., Kansas State University

 

Jason Horowitz


Mathematics Teacher

Jason Horowitz


Mathematics Teacher

 

After a decade of working in technology, Jason Horowitz is returning to the classroom to pursue his calling of teaching math once again.

Jason was an undergraduate at Harvard and received his Ph.D. in math from UC Berkeley, where he was one of a select few graduate students granted the privilege of teaching their undergraduate courses. Prior to this he also taught multivariable calculus to Harvard undergraduates.

In the interim he was part of the Google Education group as well as a course designer and content writer for brilliant.org, where he led the team that designed and wrote their Calculus Explained Right online unit. Along with his mathematical background, Jason is a programmer and an accomplished musician, performing and composing both classical and jazz pieces.

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

 

Shaunda Randle


Front Office Manager

Shaunda Randle


Front Office Manager

 

Shaunda's favorite part of the day is the morning, when she gets to greet all the students.

She checks students into school, treats ailments, orders office supplies, and serves up an amazing lunch. She is Proof School's Renaissance Woman.

Shaunda worked for the Archdiocese of San Francisco for 9 years, beginning as the receptionist and assistant to the principal before being promoted to director of after-school programs at Mission Delores Academy. During her summers, she used to work at El Bethel Arms, where she was the activities coordinator. 

Her favorite part of the school day is the morning, when she greets (and checks in) all the students. She also loves lunch period, when she gets to interact with students. "I get to see the kids be themselves at lunch time,” she says. She loves the Warriors and is a native of San Francisco.

She has certifications in CPR/First Aid and food safety management. 

 

Austin Shapiro


Mathematics Teacher

Austin Shapiro


Mathematics Teacher

 

Austin Shapiro teaches mathematics at Proof School and writes a daily puzzle for students.

Austin was once a math kid with a bit of math teacher in him, but has gradually been transformed into a math teacher with a streak of math kid.

This journey got underway at the Stanford University Math Camp, where Austin spent four summers happily sitting in windowsills teaching kids to solve problems and write proofs.

While earning his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Michigan, Austin learned new tricks from the Inquiry-Based Learning faculty group and applied them in the classroom, eventually designing the curriculum for an intensive summer bridge course for new engineering students.

Since finishing his Ph.D., Austin has taught and designed curriculum for Art of Problem Solving, UC Berkeley, and the Quarry Lane School, where he created the innovative Further Math seminar, a two-year course centered around student research and a collaborative math blog. He is a frequent session leader at the Berkeley Math Circle.

Austin's interests inside and outside math include probability, high-dimensional geometry, literature, design of games and puzzles, cookery, and urban hiking. He believes that math is everywhere and is proud to have been consulted on matters ranging from probabilistic scoring in an online Boggle game to the logistics of a mail-based art jam.

Ph.D., University of Michigan
B.A., UC Berkeley

 

Eve Simister


History Teacher

Eve Simister


History Teacher

 

For Eve Simister, teaching history merges her intellectual interests and her passion for helping younger people thrive.

Eve earned a B.A. from Stanford University, where she majored in history and served as a peer counselor and wellness educator.

In her coursework and thesis, she explored the ways in which most Americans learn about history, including school curricula, museums, and memorials. Her research considered how voices are amplified or silenced in historical narratives. She engaged with this issue as a curatorial intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C.

At Stanford, Eve taught a course on resilience and designed programs on mental health and nutrition, among other aspects of wellbeing. As a residential assistant in a freshman dorm, Eve honed her ability to listen actively and facilitate thoughtful conversations. At Proof School, Eve draws on these experiences to support each student’s needs and goals while nurturing a compassionate learning community. Outside of teaching and learning about history, Eve loves exploring new bike trails and baking sweet treats for friends and family.

Eve is excited about helping Proof School students apply their love of learning to history and supporting their growth as critical thinkers and communicators.

B.A., Stanford University

 

Mia Smith


Mathematics Teacher

Mia Smith


Mathematics Teacher

 

Mia graduated from Williams College with highest honors, majoring in mathematics.

Along the way she studied math at the rigorous Budapest program and did research in hyperbolic knot theory at Williams, presenting her work at several professional conferences.

Previously she was awarded a silver medal at the Math Prize for Girls. Her passion for working with secondary school students is apparent through her involvement in two different middle school math enrichment programs, her co-founding of the Ithaca Math Circle, and spending three summers teaching at Mathcamp, a premier camp for top high school students in North America.

Mia taught math at a private school in Massachusetts prior to joining the faculty at Proof School.

B.A., Williams College

 

Kathleen Tierney


Literature Teacher

Kathleen Tierney


Literature Teacher

 

Kathleen Tierney brings considerable teaching experience to Proof School.

Dr. Kathleen Tierney joins our humanities cohort to teach upper-level literature classes. She earned her Ph.D. in religious studies from Stanford University while concentrating in modern western philosophy, comparative religion, and ethics and literature.

Kathleen joins us by way of Saint Mary’s College, where she taught seminars on critical thinking and communication. She also led faculty development seminars on pedagogy for Saint Mary's Collegiate Seminar Program and for the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Prior to Saint Mary’s, she served in a number of roles at Stanford University, such as advising students, working in the undergraduate Thinking Matters Program, and teaching in the university’s Introduction to the Humanities program. Her classroom experience and dedication to student learning earned her Stanford’s coveted Centennial Teaching Assistant Award.  

Ph.D., Stanford University