Staff Bio

In alphabetical order, according to last name:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Britt Brown

While attending UC Davis, Britt considered a wide range of careers from becoming a pilot to going into finance. However, when selecting internship options, Britt’s attention always returned to a love of working with children and families. This is when she knew that she wanted to become a teacher. After getting her degree in Human Development from UC Davis, Britt went on to get her teaching credential at Notre Dame de Namur. Britt additionally pursued and received her National Board Certification in Multiple Subject Education. She has a special interest in teaching mathematics and poetry.

When not working, Britt especially loves being outdoors: camping, hiking, skiing, and playing tennis. She also loves spending time with friends. Britt looks forward to time with her husband, daughter, son, and golden retriever.

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Jin Choo

Jin came to PAUSD as a first grade teacher from the Developmental Teacher Education program at UC Berkeley in 1993.  She taught at Escondido for three years before relocating to England to teach kindergarten at the American School in London.  One of the best things about living and working in Europe was having the opportunity to attend conferences and travel throughout Europe and beyond.  Some of the places Jin explored include Italy, France, Germany, Israel, Greece, and Thailand.  Following her adventures Jin returned to PAUSD–this time to Barron Park where she taught grades 1,2,3, and math over a five year span.

As her family grew to having two small children, Jin and her husband Ira (Nixon teacher alum ’94-’00) thought it would be an experience of a lifetime to live in the Big Apple.  After two years in Manhattan’s upper west side, they are back and settled on the west coast.  This year Jin is job-sharing with Jody Harrier at Nixon,  Julie Saxena at Hoover, and teaching math at Escondido. Though it seems like a hectic schedule Jin loves working part-time and having time to spend with her own little ones (Rachel 8, Joey 6).

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Megan Cox

“Miss Megan” teaches English as a second language. She was born at Stanford hospital, attended Palo Alto schools, and even attended a nearby University. Palo Alto is her home.

After high school she was ready for a change so she set off to explore the world. Her adventures took her from California to Japan. From Japan she went on to Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Guam, Hong Kong, China, Bali, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka. She visited Egypt, Greece, Israel, Crete, Morocco, Spain, France, Italy, Sardinia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Mexico.

As she traveled through these amazing countries she got to think about what kind of job she wanted to have. She was seeing and learning new things everyday. She discovered she wanted to do a job where she could help other people see and learn new things everyday. She decided to become a teacher. She earned degrees in Sociology and Elementary Education with an emphasis in Second Language Acquisition.

Her first teaching job was, first grade at Juana Briones school. Then she moved to El Carmelo school, to teach 2nd grade, and then she came to Nixon school to teach English Language Development. This is her 12th year at Nixon and she couldn’t be happier!

In her free time she’s learning how to cook, studying history, training a puppy, and writing specialized curriculum for a school in Sierra Leone, Africa. She also enjoy hiking, camping, skiing (anything to do with snow), biking (long distances), and reading long novels.

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Lisa Durham

Lisa Durham was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the East Bay.  After graduating from UC Davis, she worked as an underwriting analyst for a few years.  In this job she gave a training course and discovered that she very much enjoyed teaching.  This, along with a love for children motivated her to try the classroom setting out for a year by being a Special Education Aide.  After this, she returned to school and got her teaching credential from San Francisco State.  Her first job was teaching Kindergarten at Nixon School which she did for 7 years before moving to second grade.  She loves the honesty, affection and spontaneity that the children naturally have.  Her greatest goals for her students are that they love learning and that they are caring and happy in their lives.  She now job shares with Jan Krinsley in the second grade and adores working with her.

Lisa enjoys learning about plants and gardening, reading as often as possible, spending time with good friends, traveling, trying new foods and wine and laughing as often as possible.  She feels very fortunate to be teaching at Nixon School, and to work with such wonderful colleagues, children and parents.

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Stephanie Han

Ms. Stephanie was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Santa Clara, California when she was 3 months old. She started ice skating when she was 7 years old and finally started coaching when she was 18.

She graduated from Santa Clara Unified School District schools and then moved to Austin, Texas for college. She moved back to California as soon as she could after graduation and attended San Jose State University for her teaching credential and master’s degree.

She still remembers when she read her first chapter book in the 4th grade. She still loves to skate and read.

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Laura Lajeunesse

Did you know that when Mrs. Lajeunesse was young she would go to the library and check out teacher edition textbooks and play teacher with her sisters? Yes, Mrs. Lajeunesse knew at an early age she wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from Gunderson High School in San Jose, Mrs. Lajeunesse went to San Diego State where she earned her degree in Elementary Education. Her first job out of college was at CCLC Stanford where she was a teacher with the 3-5 grade students. This is when CCLC was in the D-Pod of Nixon. While working on her teaching credential, Mrs. Lajeunesse did part of her student teaching at Nixon and many, many years later she is still here! During Mrs. Lajeunesse’s tenure of teaching she has taught 1st grade, 2nd grade and a 1st/2nd combination class.

Mrs. Lajeunesse has a wonderful and supportive husband Dan who is originally from Maine. The other loves of her life are her son Luke and daughter Ella. In her spare time she loves to try new recipes, spend time with family and friends, travel, and go to Zumba class. She is also an active member of the Junior League of San Jose.

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Ginna Park

While Ginna attended UCLA, she missed being around children, so she decided to work at the elementary school on campus.  This is where she first realized her love of teaching.  She taught preschool in Santa Monica and then headed out to New York City to get her Masters in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education.  Ginna had always wanted to teach in an urban area and she was fortunate to teach in many different parts of the city.  She taught Kindergarten on the Upper East Side and then a 1st/2nd grade combination class for 2 years in the East Village.

Although she misses taking field trips to the Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building, she is thrilled to be teaching back in California!  Ginna thinks she has the best job in the world!  She was raised in the Central Valley and is happy to be closer to family and friends.  In her spare time, she loves doing anything outdoors – especially running, hiking, and swimming.  Ginna became “Mrs. Park” when she got married on August 1, 2010.

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Sarah Patanroi

In case you haven’t noticed, Sarah loves the computer. She believes that the internet is better than sliced bread because it allows world-wide collaboration, and she can’t wait for the technology to be accessible to everyone on earth (and beyond).

Sarah is partial to trying new things, tasting different foods, and meeting people from various parts of the world. Looking forward to the day she can take the kids backpacking around planet Pandora, she enjoys her time home with her husband, kids, and laptop.

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Alison Poritzky

Alison grew up in neighboring Menlo Park, and attended the Las Lomitas School District schools and Menlo-Atherton High School. She spent two years at Cal Poly as a Human Development major, and then transferred to and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a Communications degree. Alison started her career at a marketing firm in San Francisco, but quickly realized that it was children she wanted to work with! She received her teaching credential from Notre Dame de Namur University, and got her “foot in the door” as an intern for Martha Waterhouse when she was on maternity leave, and is now in her eighth year of teaching at Nixon. Oh boy, does she feel lucky for this opportunity!!

Alison makes the daily commute from her home in San Francisco, where she enjoys walking to the Ferry Building, running to the Golden Gate Bridge, cooking at home, and sampling the restaurants San Francisco has to offer! She became Alison Poritzky when she married Dan Poritzky on December 5, 2009!!

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Martha Waterhouse

Did you know that Mrs. Waterhouse has taught almost every grade at Nixon?  She says she’s sticking with 4th grade for now as she especially loves the CA history and the fact that 4th graders have such a unique sense of humor.  Mrs. Waterhouse has been teaching at Nixon for 17 years and has enjoyed seeing all the changes that have gone on here as well as in education in general.  One of the most rewarding events for her was having a former 1st grade student, who is now graduating from college, come in and say that she wanted to become either a teacher or a writer both because of being inspired by Mrs. Waterhouse.

Mrs. Waterhouse is lucky enough to be married to a chef and says she enjoys his cooking almost every night.  In fact, one of her hobbies is eating!  They have a son, named Ethan, who is now 9.  She looks back fondly to the days where she could bring him to Nixon for the Halloween parade and have him dressed up as a cuddly animal.  He is now in second grade at a school in Cupertino. Mrs. Waterhouse loves going on long bike rides with him and attending his sporting events (soccer, swimming, baseball).  They also love reading books and playing Wii.

Mrs. Waterhouse says it’s such a wonderful thing being a teacher and a mom.  It really opens your eyes to both sides.  She feels so lucky to have all that she has in life, an amazing job and family.

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