Unlike most public schools where Music, Art, Handwork, Foreign Language, and Environmental Education (if imparted at all) are at best extra-curricular programs, they are central to the way each student learns at the Novato Charter School (NCS).
Music | Organic Gardening | Math | Movement | Spanish | Special Education
Mr. Blacklock completed a program in music performance, composition and arranging at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities from San Francisco State University. Besides teaching music, Mr. Blacklock is a composer and a performer. He joined Novato Charter School in 2001.
Laurie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Parks and Recreation at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. She has held a variety of roles in the Sports and Health Club Industries as well as Recreation and Camp programs for elementary age students. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Laurie lived in Chicago, Massachusetts and also Michigan, where she grew up. During her time in Massachusetts, Laurie worked alongside Master Gardeners at Hopkinton’s Weston Nurseries, where she fell in love with learning about home gardening. Laurie moved to Novato 6 years ago and completed the UC Marin Master Gardener Training Program in 2018. She has spent 2 years working as a garden helper at NCS and is now our Garden Coordinator.
Marie-Louise Little’s own schooling began in Stockholm, Sweden, although she is of Finnish descent. She has held tightly to her cultural heritage, which includes the outstanding educational practices grounded in Waldorf ideals that inform her teaching philosophy. She has been a parent in the Novato Charter School community for 12 years. Ms. Little has a diverse background in education. She was a middle school and high school English teacher at Lycee LeDoux in Besancon, France, and also taught English at an architectural university. Ms. Little graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a B.A in English Literature, a B.A. in French Language and Culture, and a double minor in Ethnomusicology and Comparative Religious Studies. In her freetime, Ms. Little enjoys inspiring youth to become the next generation to send humans to Mars, and raves about how math makes it all possible
Justin Bayer studied Political Science and Creative Writing at Western Michigan University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree. A long-time High School and College Basketball Coach, he was also a Physical Education instructor at Brookside Upper Elementary in San Anselmo. Justin has been our Movement Teacher since 2012.
Born in Colombia, Liliana Castro is currently our Kindergarten through Eighth grade Spanish teacher. Maestra Liliana holds a BA in Journalism and Communications from Universidad de la Sabana in Colombia. She has completed graduate studies in Environmental Management and Social Research Studies from Universidad Bolivariana. She completed her Waldorf Teacher Training in 2014 at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training and has taught in Waldorf schools since 2012.
Henry Shishido received a BA in Music with a minor in Special Education from California State University, Chico. He earned his Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Credential in 2011. Henry also holds his Autism Authorization and a CLAD (Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development). He worked as a Resource Teacher providing pull-out support as well as Co-Teaching with General Education teachers since 2012. Henry also taught a Life Skills classroom for students on the Autism Spectrum.
A founding parent of the Novato Charter School, Ruth studied Child Development at CSU Sacramento. She has worked with children since 1977 in non-profit preschools, as a home daycare provider when her own children were young and, from 1998-2020, as a Kindergarten Assistant at the Novato Charter School.
At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year she stepped into a new role, now supporting students as an RTI provider and paraprofessional in our Special Education program.
Rochelle earned her Bachelor of Art degree in Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University with the intent to become a teacher. She found her passion for speech and language while in the Special Education Teaching Credential Program also at Sonoma State University. She earned her Master of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from San Francisco State University in 2012. She has worked with students with a wide range of disabilities from mild to severe, between the ages of 3 and 18. Rochelle’s passion is giving students a voice and helping students feel confident in their speech and language abilities. She has been the Speech-Language Pathologist at Novato Charter School since 2014.