The Carlthorp School classroom teachers strike an important balance between emphasizing academic rigor, while retaining a nurturing learning environment. Our faculty is committed to providing a safe place for our students where they are encouraged to take risks while striving for excellence. 


Kindergarten Team

List of 4 items.

  • Adrienne Rizk

    Born and raised on the Central Coast, Adrienne moved to Los Angeles where she received her degree in English from California State University, Los Angeles. She went on to earn her Master of Arts degree in Literacy and Language Arts as well as her teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University. Before arriving at Carlthorp, Adrienne taught kindergarten and filled the role of Literacy Lead for kindergarten through 2nd grade at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes. More locally, she also taught at Mayfield Junior School in Pasadena and at the UCLA Lab School in Westwood. Less locally, she spent time working with students in Ghana, West Africa, where she continues to serve as a board member for a community primary school. Adrienne spends her time outside of school exploring Los Angeles with her husband and two children. At home, she indulges in her passion for literature and reading.   
  • India Military

    India is thrilled to be a part of the kindergarten team at Carlthorp School. Her teaching journey began at Boston University, where she studied early childhood education and taught preschool and grades K-2. After moving back to Los Angeles, her hometown, she taught 1st grade at Brentwood School. India’s passion for teaching rests in the belief that how we shape the minds and hearts of young children has a lasting, powerful impact on the global community. Her approach to learning respects, appreciates, and celebrates each aspect of children’s identities through a strengths-based lens. When India is not teaching, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes, exercising, and spending time with friends and family.
  • Elizabeth Zapler

    Ms. Elizabeth Zapler (“Ms. Zap”) begins her sixth year at Carlthorp School this year. She brings experience, creativity, energy, and love for children to her role as kindergarten teacher. A Chicago native who spent her teenage years working at Wrigley Field, Elizabeth received her B.A. in English from Pomona College, an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago, and an M.A. in Teaching from Colorado College. 

    Elizabeth began her career as a kindergarten teacher, transitioned to developing and teaching elementary science programs at several Los Angeles schools, and returned full circle to kindergarten, a magical time of discovery and exploration. Elizabeth aims to inspire children to pursue a lifetime of learning and to create a classroom where each child feels known and cherished. 
    In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her three teenage daughters, solves crossword puzzles, plays tennis, and practices Italian every day on Duolingo.
  • Caitlin Schriefer

    Ms. Caitlin Schriefer is thrilled to be teaching her eighth year of kindergarten at Carlthorp School. She feels incredibly grateful to be a part of such an extraordinary year in a child's life. An East Coast native, Caitlin graduated from Villanova University with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. After teaching 1st grade in the Philadelphia suburbs, Caitlin relocated to New York City where she continued her education at Fordham University, earning a Master of Arts degree in Education with a focus in Literacy. She found a school in Manhattan to call home for eight years, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, where she enjoyed developing and implementing new curriculum while teaching pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and 2nd grade classes. During her time at SHSH, Caitlin had the opportunity to travel to Chengalpattu, India, to teach English to children in grades K-6. A firm believer in professional and continuing education, she was also able to organize and facilitate teaching workshops for the school’s faculty. Caitlin is thrilled to now be living near her family in sunny California. In her free time, you can find her enjoying picnic dinners on the beach with her husband and their 3-year-old twins.

1st Grade Team

List of 4 items.

  • Keara Devitt

    Keara is eager to begin her sixth year teaching at Carlthorp School and ninth year as an educator in Los Angeles. She values helping her students develop critical thinking skills as academic scholars and fostering their social and emotional growth. Originally from Long Island, New York, she is the youngest of seven children. In 2010, she traveled to California for college to pursue her teaching degree and professional career. She attended the University of San Francisco and earned a B.A. in Psychology and a master's in Elementary Education. She later attended Mount Saint Mary’s University and completed the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing program. In her free time, Keara enjoys the outdoors, running, and doing yoga.

  • Tiffany Neilson

    Ms. Tiffany Neilson is excited to teach 1st grade again alongside Ms. Julie Paiva. Prior to Carlthorp, she taught for five years at Kenter Canyon Elementary School, where she was involved in many extracurricular committees, including the instructional leadership team, student leadership council, social committee, and governance. She loves being a part of the Carlthorp School community and inspiring children to learn and reach their highest potential. Tiffany was born and raised in Valencia and attended Concordia University in Irvine, where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. While attending CUI, she played intercollegiate volleyball. Her experience as a student-athlete fostered perseverance, commitment, teamwork, and leadership. Following college, Tiffany spent a year abroad in Rome, living with an Italian family and working as an au pair. During this time, she immersed herself in the culture and discovered a passion for traveling. When she isn’t teaching, you can probably find her at the beach playing volleyball, reading, listening to music, cooking, or traveling. She enjoys attending live theater, learning about nutrition, visiting art museums, and spending time with her two nieces.
  • Jenny Morgan

    Jenny is a proud Southern California native from Palos Verdes. She graduated from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Television. Shortly thereafter, Jenny felt the call to work with young people, which led her to USC’s Rossier School of Education, where she graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching. While completing her M.A., Jenny taught a summer kindergarten readiness program, and also began teaching a 6th and 7th grade study skills course at Rolling Hills Country Day School, which she continued to do for three years. Just prior to joining the Carlthorp School team, Jenny taught 11th and 12th grade English Language Arts at YES Prep East End in Houston, Texas, an urban charter school that serves mostly underprivileged students. 

    This is Jenny’s ninth year at Carlthorp School, where she has taught kindergarten, 1st grade, and 4th grade. She is thrilled to be with the 1st grade team. In her free time, Jenny enjoys being with family and friends, riding her beach cruiser on The Strand and appreciating the California sunshine!

  • Julie Paiva

    Julie is excited to return for her sixth year of teaching at Carlthorp School. Prior to Carlthorp, she spent 16 years teaching at the elementary level in Brentwood’s Kenter Canyon School of Advanced Studies. She has a passion for inspiring students to become lifelong learners and compassionate members of the community. Julie graduated from UC Davis with her bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Communications, and a minor in Theater. She went on to receive her Masters in Teaching and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Chapman University. In 2009, Julie was awarded the Lori Petrick Award for Excellence in Education from the Palisades Charter Schools Foundation. When she is not in the classroom, she enjoys writing, performing, being outdoors, and traveling to new places.

2nd Grade Team

List of 4 items.

  • Cori Snelson

    Second grade is excited to welcome Cori Snelson to its faculty team. Cori’s move to 2nd grade follows her roles at Carlthorp in the P.E. Department and, most recently, as a kindergarten homeroom teacher. With nearly two decades of experience at the elementary school level, Cori works to foster a positive learning environment where her students’ academic, social, and emotional needs are met.

    Cori grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan. She graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in Elementary Education.  After college, she taught grades 1-4 in Atlanta, where she received her master's in Early Childhood Education and became a member of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. Since moving to Los Angeles, Cori has worked as a go-to specialized reading and math tutor in grades K-6. In her spare time, you may find Cori training for running races, hiking, or Facetiming with her nephews.

  • Kristen Gregory

    Ms. Kristen Gregory is entering her sixth year as a 2nd grade teacher at Carlthorp School. Kristen has a passion for teaching young children with a focus on their social and emotional well-being. With a degree in art education from the University of Vermont and a master's in curriculum and instruction, Kristen loves using creative ways to teach our 2nd grade curriculum. Ms. Gregory loves being a part of the amazing Carlthorp School community. Prior to living and teaching in Los Angeles, Kristen taught for three years in Brooklyn, New York. As a Bostonian, Kristen appreciates the sunshine and beauty of Santa Monica! When not teaching, she is likely hiking, at the beach, biking, or spending time with her family, especially her six beautiful nieces and nephews. Kristen is looking forward to another incredible year in 2nd grade!

  • Kate Cushman

    Ms. Kate Cushman is entering her 22nd year at Carlthorp and her 26th year of teaching. Growing up in Michigan, Kate received her B.A. from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She has a master's degree in education from Pepperdine University and completed the Gifted Students certification program at USC's Rossier School of Education. Kate is a certified yoga instructor and Social Emotional Learning Facilitator. She has a passion for integrating mindfulness and yoga into the classroom.

    When Kate isn't teaching, she loves to spend time with her husband, family, and apricot poodle, Scully. Being active — hiking, running, biking, and yoga — is also a big part of Kate's life. Inspiring students to be their best selves and being a part of the CS community brings so much joy to Kate's life!

  • Elizabeth Worrell

    Elizabeth grew up in Wisconsin and attended Concordia University in Chicago, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She continued at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she completed a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Literary Studies. Throughout her graduate program, she focused mainly on identifying and overcoming the social constructs that may cause boys to develop early and negative attitudes towards reading. Elizabeth has acquired a broad range of teaching experience in both elementary and middle schools. Her first assignment was in suburban Chicago teaching 2nd grade. After moving to California, she spent eight years teaching 7th and 8th grade students at Venice Lutheran, an independent school just down the road from Carlthorp. While there, Elizabeth started an astronomy partnership with a local university, helped rethink the school’s reading curriculum, directed and co-directed numerous theatrical productions and incorporated many forms of educational technology into her classroom. In her free time, Elizabeth is an avid reader who is always on the lookout for high interest books to add to the 2nd grade library.

3rd Grade Team

List of 5 items.

  • Haley Skiba

    Born and raised in Pacific Palisades, Haley is now living her dream of raising her own children there. After attending Corpus Christi Elementary School and Marymount High School, she received a bachelor’s degree in communication while playing volleyball at UCLA and snowboarding at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an education degree at Denver Metropolitan State. Filling in for Grace Bowermaster as a long-term substitute teacher in 3rd grade, Haley is so happy to be back teaching at Carlthorp after taking time away to raise her children, now 8 and 6. On the weekends, you can find her playing beach volleyball, surfing, or heading to Mammoth with her family and dog, Fisher.
  • Lisa George

    Lisa graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a double major in Liberal Studies and Dance. She was on both the swimming and the water polo teams there. Lisa has a Master’s in Educational Psychology from California State University, Northridge. She began her teaching career in the 2nd grade classroom at Pinecrest, Chatsworth, where she had also attended middle school. Lisa joined the Carlthorp School faculty in 1998. Since then she has taught 1st and 2nd grades, as well as reading to grades 4-6. Currently she enjoys playing tennis, running, reading, volunteering, raising her two children, and caring for numerous pets.
  • Cassidy Dalton

    Cassidy is a native Californian and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, where she was a TK teacher on campus for four years. She then earned her master’s degree in teaching and credential from Pepperdine University. After teaching 1st and 3rd grade in Manhattan Beach, Cassidy is entering her 2nd year at Carlthorp as a 3A teacher! When Cassidy is not teaching, she likes to go to the beach, go on long walks, travel, and spend time with her family and friends!
  • Tara Prieto

    This California native and two-time Trojan is so excited to return to Carlthorp as a math instructor for upper grade students. Tara graduated from USC’s Marshall School of Business while working in the university’s football recruiting department. After enjoying a career in professional athlete representation, Tara returned to USC, earning her first Master of Arts at the Rossier School of Education. While teaching at St. Brendan School, she earned her California elementary teaching credential and a second Master of Arts at Loyola Marymount University.

    Just prior to joining the Carltorp community, she taught 4th and 5th grade Math and English Language Arts in Chicago Public Schools. During this time, she worked to earn her Illinois Math Endorsement and English as a Second Language Endorsement.

    When she is not teaching, she is creating adventures and learning. Through true serendipity, she has been able to: witness both Venus and Serena play at Wimbledon, watch Muhammad Ali light the torch at the 1996 Olympics, attend Barack Obama’s first Presidential Inauguration, get surprise recognition on the Ellen Show after students started a letter writing campaign, and see Hamilton seven times from LA to Chicago to London.
  • Grace Bowermaster

    Grace grew up in Southern California and is happy to return home after teaching in cities around the country. Grace received her bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, followed by her teaching credential at Long Beach State. She then moved to Palo Alto to teach 2nd and 3rd grade. While in Palo Alto, she became interested in advocacy and equity in education. She moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington for her master’s degree in education leadership and policy studies. After Seattle, she ventured to New York to teach third grade on the Upper East Side. During her free time, she likes to run, hike, play volleyball, go to the beach, travel, read, and hang out with her husband, dog, family, and friends!  Currently, she is completing a part-time program at Long Beach State to become a literacy specialist.

4th Grade Team

List of 4 items.

  • Ron Burwick

    Ron graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with a major in Communications. He also attended the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Before starting to teach at Carlthorp, Mr. Burwick spent nine years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he taught in the GATE program, as well as in a regular classroom. Outside of school, he enjoys scuba diving, completing the New York Times crossword puzzles, and anything related to the New England Patriots or the Boston Red Sox.
  • Carrie Ring

    Ms. Carrie Ring (4A) is delighted to begin her third year at Carlthorp, and her 25th year in teaching and education. Born and raised in Brentwood, she earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California, San Diego, and received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She later earned her California teaching credential from Chapman University. Ms. Ring was able to combine her love of teaching and knowledge of law by co-authoring a book for elementary school educators called Step Into The Courtroom. A mom of two teenagers, Carrie enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
  • Jacqueline Corsini

    Jacqueline graduated from Boston College with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education and English Literature in 2008. She began her career as an English Language Learner specialist in the Boston Public Schools, working with students from a variety of native languages across the elementary grade levels. She then lived in London for six years, during which time she obtained her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and School Improvement at Cambridge University, and taught 4th grade at TASIS England. This fall will be her 12th year in the classroom, and her sixth at Carlthorp School. In her free time, Jacqueline enjoys chasing after her two children, and eating chocolate chip cookies.
  • Jarrod Moon

    Jarrod Moon is excited to be a member of the Carlthorp School faculty as a 4th grade teacher and get to know all of the students and parents in our wonderful community. His passion for teaching grew from his experience as a summer camp counselor during college, when he led hikes, fishing trips, and cooking activities for young explorers. A football and baseball player in high school, Jarrod graduated from Indiana University with a degree in elementary education, a minor in counseling, and a concentration in mathematics. He looks forward to sharing his passion for math and history with his Carlthorp students. Jarrod spends free time expanding his movie and TV trivia and rewatching Star Wars movies.

5th Grade Team

List of 4 items.

  • Bryn McCarthy

    Bryn graduated from Connecticut College, where she studied Human Development and Elementary Education. She continued her education at Bank Street College of Education in New York, where she earned her M.S. in Childhood Special and General Education. Bryn started her career in teaching at Marymount School of New York, where she taught kindergarten and 2nd grade. She then taught third grade at an all-boys school, Saint David’s, on the Upper East Side. After living in New York for 10 years, she was thrilled to return home to Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. Bryn is excited to start her fourth year in fifth grade at Carlthorp. Outside of school, Bryn enjoys hiking, volunteering, and cooking.
  • Julia Ho

    Julia was raised in New York and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College. Upon graduating, she entered the New York City Teaching Fellows program and earned her master's in education while teaching kindergarten at P.S. 79x. Julia worked with the lower grades for many years as a 1st grade teacher at the Lamplighter School in Dallas, Texas, and as 3rd grade teacher at Horace Mann in New York. She also spent a year overseas teaching English as a Second Language in Namibia. Julia joined the Carlthorp faculty as a 3rd grade teacher in 2013, working for six years before moving to the 5th grade team. When not at school, Julia is with her husband and two daughters enjoying the beaches, trails, and national parks that California has to offer.
  • Janeth Zavaleta

    Janeth started working at Carlthorp School in 1999. Her first duties involved helping out in a number of classrooms. Thanks to those experiences, she realized she had a passion for teaching. She then went on to receive both her B.A. in Liberal Studies and her multiple subject California Teaching Credential (K-6) at California State University, Northridge. Later, she earned her M.Ed. from Indiana Wesleyan University. Janeth has been an integral part of the 5th grade teaching team for many years. In her spare time, she loves to travel. Her favorite activities include playing with her dogs, Bailey and DJ, biking, and camping.
  • Emily Harrison

    Emily grew up in Agoura Hills and loves Southern California! She graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where she studied education and explored the Central Coast. After finishing her bachelor's degree, she moved back to Los Angeles to pursue a Master of Education at Loyola Marymount University. Before coming to Carlthorp, Emily spent four years teaching 3rd grade at KIPP SoCal. Emily loves traveling to new places, yoga, and long walks outdoors in her free time. She loves to read and has a big sweet tooth! She is looking forward to joining the Carlthorp family and learning alongside her 5th graders!

6th Grade Team

List of 4 items.

  • Brent Vernon

    Brent was born and raised in Harrah, Oklahoma, a small suburb of Oklahoma City. He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a major in Theatre Education. After that, he moved to Toronto, Canada, to work for a leading international children’s education NGO called WE as a lead program facilitator and motivational speaker. Following two years in Toronto he moved to Santa Monica. Mr. Vernon has been a teacher at Carlthorp School since 2008 with experience in kindergarten, 3rd grade, 6th grade, and lower grade drama classes. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and directing children’s plays, reading, watching documentaries (Won’t You Be My Neighbor? being his favorite), and journaling while viewing the sunset at Palisades Park.
  • Ausra Venckus

    An accomplished educator with a diverse academic background and a passion for fostering inclusive learning environments, Ausra has been a 6th grade teacher at Carlthorp School since 2015. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Development Studies and History from UCLA, and she also had the privilege of studying at the American University of Paris.

    Ausra's journey in education began in Seoul, South Korea, where she taught English to K-8 students. She then earned her master's degree in Curriculum & Teaching of Elementary Inclusive Education from Columbia University Teachers College in New York City and acquired her multiple-subject teaching credential. Ausra returned home to work as a middle school math teacher at St. Martin of Tours School in Brentwood, where she served as Math Department Chair.

    In her free time, she enjoys hiking, art, and volunteering with the Lithuanian-American community.
  • Sachi Hillson

    Sachi completed undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon and subsequently earned her Teaching Credential and Master’s in Education from Loyola Marymount University. She joined the Carlthorp School faculty in 2000 and spent a number of years teaching 1st grade, 2nd grade and then 5th grade before becoming Head Librarian in 2009 with a Library Media Teacher Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. Sachi is a proud member of the selection committee for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature. In 2015 she returned to the 5th grade classroom and then moved to her current position in 6th grade. In her free time, Sachi enjoys going to concerts and exploring Los Angeles with her husband Michael and son Trent.
  • Derrick Williamson

    Derrick was born and raised in the Detroit metropolitan area before repairing to Washington, D.C., as a matriculate of Howard University. At Howard, he earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles and earned his master’s degree in African-American Studies at UCLA. He’s the proud father of a Carthorp School student and a Carlthorp School graduate. Derrick’s career in education began eight years ago as an assistant in a 1st grade classroom at Lou Dantzler Elementary, a charter school in the ICEF network. Soon after, he earned his multiple-subject teaching credential and began as an Intervention Teacher at KIPP LA (Knowledge Is Power Program). Following that, Derrick taught in a kindergarten classroom at KIPP Empower Academy, after which he moved to 1st grade for three years and finally to 4th grade for two years. Derrick will continue to teach 6th grade at Carlthorp School while assisting with admissions.