4th Grade Teachers

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Kristin Smith, Lead Teacher

My big question: How big is the universe? Does it ever end?

I am joining the New School SF team with eight years teaching experience in the Bay Area plus three additional years teaching Pre-K. After spending a summer teaching in Kenya in 2008, I felt extremely passionate about education equality, and decided I wanted to be a teacher.

I began my formal teaching career through Teach for America in San Jose and have had the privilege of teaching Kindergarten, 3rd, 4th and 5th! I have also spent the past four summers teaching science at Camp Galileo, which is where I discovered my passion for inquiry based learning.

In my free time, I love exploring the bay, hiking with my dog, and traveling the world. I've been to 32 countries on six continents. I like to bring my love of travel into the classroom as well, so don't be surprised if you hear New School students speaking a foreign language or telling stories of different cultures! 


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Meaghan O’Neil, Lead Teacher 

My big question: How many feelings exist but don't have the right word to name them?

I am so excited to be joining the community at New School! I was born and raised in Seattle and moved to the Bay Area to attend Santa Clara University. Although I love my rainy hometown, the sunshine has kept me in the bay. I began my teaching career at Rocketship Public School in San Jose where I taught 1st and 2nd grades. Throughout my time as an educator I have developed a passion for bringing joy to the classroom and allowing students to discover and foster their own love of learning. I am very eager to continue following this passion at New School.

When I'm not in the classroom you can find me going for a jog, making a mess in the kitchen or spending quality time with my friends and family (both in person, and on Facetime.)


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Denisse Mancia Braun, Resident Teacher

I’ve proudly been part of New School SF since its founding year serving on the Operations and Exploremos teams. I finally listened to my heart and transitioned into the classroom last year. (I was the kid that in eighth grade taught preschoolers in a scouting program, just itching to be a teacher - I’ve been ignoring my true calling for many years!) 

This year I'll be teaching fourth grade for a second year. I’m also a New School parent - my daughter Mila will be in first grade. In addition to Mila, I also have a non-stop (almost) three year-old, Olivia. In true New School fashion, I practice lifelong learning as I start my second year of grad school this year.

In the rare moment of free time, I love crafting, traveling, cooking and designing space and therefore can always waste time on Pinterest.