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.

  • Cori Snelson

    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.
  • Elizabeth Zapler

    Ms. Elizabeth Zapler (“Ms. Zap”) is thrilled to be teaching kindergarten once again after three fulfilling years as Carlthorp’s science teacher. She is very much looking forward to bringing to the kindergarten classroom the same level of experience, creativity, energy, and love for children that she brought to her science room.
    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. As a Rotary International Scholar, she spent a year studying in Jerusalem and traveling throughout the Middle East; she was dazzled by seeing ancient Egyptian tombs and pyramids in person. As an Earthwatch Fellow, Elizabeth joined researchers in an Ecuadorian cloud forest to investigate caterpillars and climate change. 

    Elizabeth previously taught kindergarten at Sinai Akiba Academy in Los Angeles. She also had the uniquely rewarding experience of teaching kindergarten at an international school in Guangzhou, China. No matter where her students have lived, the constant is that kindergarten is a magical age of discovery and exploration. Elizabeth loves the opportunity to encourage a lifetime of learning, creating a space where each child feels cherished and respected, experiences the joys and surprises of learning, and knows they are free and safe to learn about themselves and others. In her spare time, Elizabeth travels with her three teenage daughters, solves crossword puzzles, plays tennis, and is an avid reader.
  • 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.   
  • Caitlin Schriefer

    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 quickly 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 development and continuing education, she was also able to organize and facilitate teaching workshops for the school’s faculty. Caitlin is thrilled to be living near her family in sunny Santa Monica without a hint of winters in sight! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, cheering on her Villanova Wildcats and taking her chocolate lab to the beach.

1st Grade Team

List of 4 items.

  • Keara Devitt

    Ms. Keara Devitt is eager to begin her fourth year teaching at Carlthorp School. Originally from Long Island, New York, she is the youngest of seven children. Her mother is a professor and her father is a high school teacher. In 2010, she decided to travel to California for college to pursue her teaching degree and professional career. She attended the University of San Francisco and was accepted into the five-year Dual Degree in the Teacher Preparation Program. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Elementary Education. Upon graduation, she worked as the 1st grade lead teacher at Saint Martin of Tours School in Brentwood for three years. While teaching at Saint Martin of Tours, she attended Mount Saint Mary’s University and completed the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Program. When not at school, Keara loves being outdoors and enjoys running, hiking, and hot yoga.
  • Tiffany Neilson

    Ms. Tiffany Neilson is eager to join Ms. Julie Paiva this year in 1st grade. During the last five years teaching at Kenter Canyon Elementary School for advanced studies, Tiffany was involved in many extracurricular committees including the instructional leadership team, student leadership council, social committee, and governance. She is very excited to join the Carlthorp School community and to continue inspiring children to learn and reach their highest potential. Tiffany was born and raised in Valencia, California, 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 Education. 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 8th year at Carlthorp School, where she has taught kindergarten, 1st grade, and 4th grade. She is now thrilled to return to 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 to teaching 1st grade at Carlthorp School for the second year. 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 life-long 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.

  • Kristen Gregory

    Ms. Kristen Gregory is entering her second year as a 2nd grade teacher at Carlthorp School. She grew up in a suburb outside of Boston, where her whole family still lives. Even as a child, she had a deep love for making art and playing sports. Kristen majored in Art Education at the University of Vermont where she studied studio art, art history, and education. While at UVM, she spent her extra time competing on the school’s women’s club lacrosse team. Her experience in Vermont caused her to fall in love with teaching. When she moved back to Boston, Kristen had the unique opportunity to teach in a Special Education program at the middle school that she attended and to coach junior varsity girls lacrosse at her high school. After a year at home and itching for a change, Ms. Morrissey decided to move to New York City, where she spent three years teaching at Success Academy Prospect Heights, a public elementary charter school in Brooklyn. While there, she taught 2nd and 3rd grades and art. During this time, she was also an important member of her school’s community by leading community circle and dressing as the school’s mascot (a panther!). At Success Academy, Kristen loved leading art club, reading her favorite chapter books, and exploring math with her students. When not teaching, she is likely painting, reading on the beach, enjoying live theater, or playing with her nieces!
  • Brittney Johnson

    Brittney was born and raised in Southern California. She ran track and field for and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in Political Science and Social Linguistics. She continued her education at the University of Southern California, where she received her teaching credential and master's in Education. Currently, Brittney is attending Pepperdine University and working toward getting her Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy.

    Brittney has a love for teaching and policy work, which she discovered after teaching Special Education classes. Additionally, she works closely with international education organizations and began her own pen pal program between her students and students in the South African village of Ingwavuma. Before coming to Carlthorp, she spent the past year working at a juvenile justice nonprofit conducting research and mentoring youth. She believes that education is critical to expanding people’s perspectives and wants to use tools from her classroom to help build pathways towards a better learning environment for all students. 

    Outside of school and work, Brittney enjoys traveling the world  (she's hoping to visit her 17th country this winter), spending time at the beach, reading, running and baking along to the Great British Bake-Off.
  • Kate Cushman

    Born in Michigan, Kate graduated from Hope College with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, followed by her Master’s in Education at Pepperdine University. She has taught for 16 years, 12 of them at Carlthorp School. Yoga, running, hiking, biking, traveling, cooking and learning are Kate’s favorite pastimes. She loves spending time with friends and family and is madly in love with her apricot poodle, Scully.
  • 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 4 items.

  • 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.
  • 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 excited to join the Carlthorp community! Though she is entering her first year at Carlthorp School, rising first graders were able to meet Cassidy during our Summer Program. 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.

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.
  • Laurie Anderson

    Laurie attended the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University where she earned her bachelor’s degree. For her post-graduate work, however, she went to the Vermont Avenue campus where she earned a Masters in Reading and in School Management and Administration.  She has been at Carlthorp School, either full-time or as a “resident sub,” since 1975. Currently, she teaches 4th grade. Mrs. Anderson enjoys making quilts, riding her bicycle, boogie-boarding, doing crossword puzzles, riding horses, reading, traveling up and down California, and spending time with her family.
  • 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.
  • Lauren Schwartz

    Lauren Schwartz grew up in Laguna Beach. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Business and subsequently decided to pursue her dream of teaching. Lauren has taught 2nd grade, 6th grade, and most recently three years of 3rd grade at Stratford School in San Francisco. She is excited to be back in Southern California as part of the Carlthorp community. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys testing out new recipes in her kitchen, exploring LA’s restaurants, hiking, learning to play tennis, and reading at the beach. Lauren is a cat lover and rescued her cat, Spectre, six years ago after finding him on a walk. Lauren is looking forward to a fun-filled year with all of her wonderful 4th graders!

5th Grade Team

List of 5 items.

  • 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!
  • Julia Ho

    Ms. Ho graduated from Hamilton College in New York, where she studied sociology and studio art, ran varsity track, and captained the women’s rugby team. After that, she was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which allowed her to earn a M.Ed. from Mercy College. She has diverse teaching experiences across the globe including The Lamplighter School (Dallas, Texas), a village in rural Namibia (Africa), and most recently, The Horace Mann School (New York). Her hobbies include petting cheetahs and diving with sharks, but on a more regular basis, Miss Ho prefers riding her bike and eating cupcakes—separately, of course.
  • Carrie Ring

    Carrie Ring is a veteran independent school teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience. She most recently taught 4th grade at Village School and served as a long-term substitute in the Carlthorp 5th grade during the 2021-2022 school year. Carrie received her Bachelor of Science from the University of California, San Diego. She then earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School and her teaching credential from Chapman University. She is also the author of Step Into The Courtroom. Her years of teaching experience with grades K-6 have been in both the public and private sectors. She is the parent of two Harvard-Westlake School students.
  • 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. For the past three years, Bryn taught 3rd grade at Saint David’s School on the Upper East Side. After living in New York for 10 years, she is thrilled to join the Carlthorp family and to return home to Los Angeles, where she was born and raised. Outside of school, Bryn enjoys hiking, volunteering, and cooking.
  • 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 dog, Gordo, biking, and camping.

6th Grade Team

List of 5 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

    Ausra Venckus is a graduate of UCLA with Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Development Studies and in History, in part studying at the American University of Paris. Ausra began her education career in Seoul, South Korea, as a K-8 English instructor.  She later pursued advanced degrees at Columbia University Teachers College in the City of New York, where she earned her Master’s degree in Curriculum & Teaching of Elementary Inclusive Education along with her multiple subject teaching credential. Sunny California lured Ausra back home to teach middle school math at St. Martin of Tours School in Brentwood, where she served as the Math Department Chair for several years. Ausra has been a 6th grade teacher at Carlthorp School since 2015.  

    Ausra is a dual Lithuanian-American citizen. She has an overwhelming TASCHEN art book collection (she worked in the Beverly Hills TASCHEN gallery for a few years). When she isn't surrounded by books, Ausra enjoys surrounding herself with mountains.
  • 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.
  • Izzy King

    Izzy is joining the 6th grade homerooms this year after serving as a Math Associate Teacher for the past six years. She is excited to use her experience as an alumna to help the Class of 2023 have a memorable 6th grade experience. This will be her eighth year at Carlthorp. A member of the Carlthorp graduating Class of 2009, Izzy graduated from CSU Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in History in 2020 and a master’s degree in History in 2022. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking, along with cheering on the Los Angeles Kings.
  • 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.