4th Grade Teachers


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! 


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.)


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.