5th Grade Teachers

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Lauren Berry, Lead Teacher

My Big Question: If you could choose one theme song for your life, what would it be?

There aren’t enough words (and feelings!) to describe my excitement to be moving on up to 5th grade. For those of you who don’t know…I was born and raised in the Bay Area and spent 4 exciting years down South for college at the University of Southern California (Fight on!). I began my "official" teaching career through Teach for America but have been in and out of classrooms since I was 16 years old. From being a teaching assistant in high school to leading a creative writing camp during college, I am a passionate teacher who is living her childhood dream of being in the classroom each and every day. This summer, I graduated from my master’s program at Johns Hopkins which focused on culturally responsive teaching and technology integration for educators. I can’t wait to bring my learnings into our New School community.

I deeply believe that risk taking, confidence, self love, teamwork and JOY are key in creating curious learners who are ready to tackle all that life throws at them.

Outside of the classroom you can find me playing with my 3 nieces (exciting news: I have a nephew coming November 2018!), spinning at my favorite cycling studio, or enjoying my favorite beverage, a Philz coffee.


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Joe Shook, Lead Teacher

Big Question: What are the experiences we can craft for students today that will fundamentally change the way our society functions as they take a more active role in it?

I am thrilled to be returning to the New School community and my original cohort of students as they enter fifth grade! I have been teaching in Guadalajara, MX for the past two years with my husband, Patrick, but I've been keeping close tabs on this New School crew, and I am so impressed with everything I have heard and seen. I got my start in the classroom through Teach for America, and I hold credentials in both general education and special education. My masters is in special education, which makes me so eager for the opportunity to work with students who have a fantastic diversity of interests, skills, and personalities. We are going to have such a fantastic year together. 


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Misha Villatuya, Lead Teacher

Big Question: How do we intentionally dismantle the power structures that dictate our everyday lives?

I am beyond excited to join the New School family as a founding 5th grade teacher!

I’m originally from right outside Chicago, and I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Psychology with a minor in Secondary Education. As an undergraduate, I grew more and more invested in the idea that a quality education is truly revolutionary.  In 2015, I moved to San Jose, CA and taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Humanities at Rocketship Brilliant Minds Elementary School. This past year, I became an Assistant Principal, and I coached TK-2nd grade Humanities teachers.  Always looking for the most transformational practices, I’m pumped to be back in the classroom as a New School teacher.

When I’m not in the classroom, you’ll find me taking full advantage of all that California has to offer. I love taking hikes, attending music festivals, enjoying a good book on the beach, or lounging in my backyard with my pup. I also have a BIG sweet tooth.