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Faculty

Upper School Head and Principal

Patty Crone

Patty Crone has devoted over 40 years to K-12 education in both public and private schools in the West and the South, primarily at independent private schools in California. She brings extensive experience in the classroom, as a counselor, and in all aspects of growing successful schools. Mrs. Crone has served as Head of School four times, including serving as the founding head of a middle school and high school. Just prior to joining Oakwood, she was the Head of School at a Charter School for the gifted and talented. Her Master's Degree in Educational Administration from the University of San Diego and doctoral work in institutional leadership at Pepperdine University have also helped prepare her to provide Oakwood students and faculty exceptional leadership.


English

William Wilson

Dr. Wilson has over 35 years of teaching experience, and his work as a professor at the university level has given him an awareness that high school students need a solid foundation in English to be successful in all academic areas. He received his Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate in English from the University of Virginia. He has taught at the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University and Canisius College. In addition to being a member of the Oakwood faculty, Dr. Wilson is a tenured professor in the English Department at San Jose State University and is the author of numerous academic publications. Dr. Wilson brings to his teaching a true passion for his subject, and a keen sense of humor that engages his students.

Eli Drabman

Eli Drabman received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Mills College. He received his Ph.D from SUNY Buffalo in June of 2013, where his research focused on 20th century American literature, modernism and aesthetics. He has eight years of teaching experience, numerous poetry publications, and experience with both chapbook publishing and letterpress printing. Dr. Drabman feels fortunate to be part of such a hardworking, creative, vibrant educational community as Oakwood.


Mathematics

Isaac Berniker

In his 15 years as an educator, Isaac Berniker has developed an infectious enthusiasm for mathematics and programming that both excites and inspires his students. Mr. Berniker earned his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science at Dartmouth College and his Master's Degree in Applied Mathematics at California State University, East Bay. His diverse experiences in independent schools, charter schools, and tutoring services in a wide range of math and computer courses have prepared him well for work with Oakwood students. He has pursued an eclectic set of interests outside the classroom, including ice hockey, cooking, duplicate bridge, photography, and especially travel, having visited over 40 countries worldwide. He is also the High School Women's Basketball Coach.

Karen Arnold

Karen Arnold is a well-rounded individual who is dedicated to working with students to assist them in their learning pursuits. Mathematics and science are subjects that she loves, and she is able to translate that love into dynamic teaching that engages each student. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from the College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Teaching in Secondary Life Sciences with a minor in Mathematics from Winona State University. Having taught for 20 years, Mrs. Arnold brings a wealth of experience to Oakwood and is also the Coach of Oakwood's Coed Cross Country Team. Mrs. Arnold also enjoys outdoor recreation and has circumnavigated the globe with her husband and two children.

Jennifer Gastelum

Mrs. Gastelum is passionate about education and learning. She loves to find connections between math and the world around us. Mrs. Gastelum earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a minor in Education in Math, Science and Technology from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Professional Civil Engineering license in the State of California. Mrs. Gastelum has worked on the San Francisco Main Library and the Stanford School of Education Building. She has taught at Ohlone College, is an avid swimmer, and enjoys spending time with her husband and four children.


Science

Sean Wilmot

Bringing a passion for science and math that is manifested by a hands-on approach to learning, Dr. Wilmot cultivates an excitement for his subjects that increases student learning. He sets high expectations for students and matches that with individual support so that his students are continuously bolstered in their efforts. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Manchester University, England and a Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Wilmot has been teaching for over 20 years, and Oakwood students are extremely fortunate to have such an experienced and devoted science instructor.

Bob Hollenbeck

Mr. Hollenbeck has taught at the high school level for many years. With much of his career spent in industry, he is able to bring real-world applications and experience to his science classes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a second major in Physics from San Jose State University. Before coming to Oakwood, Mr. Hollenbeck taught at Bellarmine College Preparatory as well as Valley Christian High School, where he served as science department chairperson. He brings a wealth of experience to Oakwood, and a unique ability to capture students’ interest.


World Languages

Sheryl de Bree

Madame de Bree believes that students learn best when a comfortable environment for intellectual exploration is created so students become actively engaged in their education. In her classes, focus is placed on the acquisition and application of skills needed to capably understand, read, write and speak French. Madame deBree received her Bachelor of Arts in French Literature from the University of California-Berkeley. She has traveled extensively in Europe, where she studied for two years in Strasbourg at the Universite des Sciences Humaines, receiving a diplôme d'études en langue française. She also lived in the Netherlands for eight years. Madame de Bree is a devoted teacher and mentor, and her students appreciate her gentle approach and warm concern for their success in all areas.

Ariel Orozco

Profesor Ariel Orozco discovered his passion for teaching in high school when he received education to be an educator in Escuela Normal in Tolima, Colombia. There he later obtained a Pedagogical degree and the corresponding credentials. Due to his passion and enthusiasm for the Spanish Language, while studying for his Bachelor of Arts degree at Universidad Autonoma de Colombia, he was hired to work as teacher assistant teaching Spanish Language Workshop. Years later, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economy and started working for the Colombian government in Educational Projects funded by UNESCO. In 2007, he moved to the United States and began teaching in private middle and high schools in the San Jose area. His love for his native language and knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures makes him ideally suited to Oakwood’s programs.

Abraham Leach

Through work, studies, and volunteering, Abraham Leach has spent extensive time in Spain, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Mexico. Although a Monterey Bay native, he considers Andalusia, Spain, his second home after having spent over four years there. His love for the Spanish speaking world led him to a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Linguistics at Arizona State University. He completed a Master of Arts in Teaching Foreign Language at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies because he wanted to inspire others to feel as passionately about Spanish as he does. Mr. Leach believes that the classroom serves as a laboratory in which students can test their hypotheses about language and practice their developing skills in an enjoyable and stimulating environment. With Mr. Leach, students will not only learn the basics of Spanish, but will also discover ways to make connections with the language and their individual interests, academic goals and career aspirations.


Social Sciences

Julie Pak

Dr. Pak brings to Oakwood a combination of palpable enthusiasm for teaching and a rigorous academic background in the social sciences. With over a decade of teaching experience at both the college and high school levels, Dr. Pak comes to Oakwood from University of California, Los Angeles, where she worked as a Lecturer in the Department of History. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of California, Berkeley, she earned her Master of Arts and Ph.D in Modern European History at University of California, Los Angeles, where her doctoral research focused on gender and education in nineteenth-century Italy. Dr. Pak revels in history as a wonderful medium to teach critical thinking and analysis, encourage empathy through greater understanding, and tell great stories.

Michael Nakade

Mr. Nakade was born and raised in Fukui, Japan. At the age of sixteen, he moved to Mesa, Arizona to attend high school and then remained in the United States. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a Master’s in History of Religions from the University of Hawaii, as well as a second Master's in Philosophy of Religion from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He is well versed in liberal arts education. Mr. Nakade came to Oakwood from Canaan, New Hampshire where he taught American History and ESL for four years. Although he is calm and low-keyed most of the time, he becomes animated and exuberant whenever he talks about compelling historical figures and events in his classroom. In his free time, Mr. Nakade enjoys going for long walks, visiting scenic spots, and doing yoga-based workouts.


Computer Science

Nisanti Wilmot

Mrs. Wilmot worked in the software industry for 15 years before deciding to follow her passion for teaching and inspiring young minds. While she was a software developer at IBM, she published books related to database software and presented at technical conferences. She is passionate about encouraging young students to take up careers in science and engineering, and has taught coding to elementary school children as a parent volunteer. Mrs. Wilmot holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor's in Computer Science and Engineering from Anna University in India. She enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling the world with her husband and four children.


Performing Arts

Kathleen Abbey

Kathleen Abbey holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Santa Clara University. She pursued a variety of theatrical endeavors throughout college, notably dancing and choreographing. Mrs. Abbey has taught all grade levels of drama at Oakwood, producing over 50 unique shows. Her enthusiasm drives her to expose students to various forms of theater, encouraging confident artistic students to emerge. Exposure to characterization techniques, theatrical modeling, full production planning, and technical training prepares the students for full-scale productions. Mrs. Abbey’s passion for speech emerged in high school, where she competed in state-sanctioned NFL tournaments. This led to her working with the highly motivated and self-driven high school students to sculpt a speech and debate team and has been a perfect meld of her theatrical experience and research abilities.

Jyovonne Montosa

Jyovonne Montosa began dancing right here in Morgan Hill at the tender age of four, and was choreographing and assistant teaching by the age of 12. She continued her dance education at Santa Clara University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts with a Dance Emphasis. She has been choreographing and co-choreographing musicals at Oakwood Elementary, Middle, and High School since 2009, and most recently has branched out into community theatre. In addition to her work in musical theatre, s he has also been choreographing and teaching dance styles such as ballet, modern, and contemporary to students from ages two to 50 at various schools and dance studios throughout the Bay Area for the past several years.


Visual Arts and Yearbook

Jude Saleet

Mr. Saleet brings a wealth of experience to the classroom as he shares his natural gifts and well-developed talents with Oakwood students. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art at Muhlenberg College, his Master of Art Education from Kutztown University, and his Master of Education Leadership from Lehigh University. He has over 10 years of high school level teaching experience, and has garnered multiple awards for teaching and student exhibitions on a local, state, and national level. Mr. Saleet is passionate about being a positive influence on youth, and this, along with his artistic gifts, sets him apart as an exceptional teacher and mentor. He is excited to be a part of Oakwood, a community that values and supports the Arts.

Sarah Saleet

Sarah Saleet began teaching art in 2006, after graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. She has over a decade of K-12 teaching experience, and also earned her Master's of Education Degree in 2013. She enjoys being an artist herself, while sharing her passion for the arts with children through engaging lessons and creative hands-on experiences. She hopes to inspire an appreciation for art in students while they learn to express themselves and gain confidence in their skills as young artists. She lives in Monterey with her husband, two daughters, and dog Lucy.


College Counseling

David Fajnor

David Fajnor brings over 30 years of university admissions experience to the Oakwood community. As an admissions representative for the University of California, Mr. Fajnor has presented at hundreds of high school campuses throughout California, as well as out of state, helping students and parents explore their college options. As the member of three professional admissions organizations nationwide, he has presented at numerous national conferences, served on a Cal-SOAP consortium Board of Directors--twice as Chairperson, all to enhance college attendance options. Mr. Fajnor’s extensive and varied experience serves as the eye of the storm during what can be a perplexing and stressful time in a student's high school career. His passion is helping students, and their families, take that next big step in the way that is best for all concerned.


Athletic Director

Kort Jensen

Kort Jensen brings years of experience to Oakwood's Athletic program, as well as tremendous enthusiasm for training and teaching high school students. Mr. Jensen has a long history of working with youth sports programs, which includes coaching both high school and college basketball. He is the creator of the South County Jammers AAU Basketball program that has seen 23 players go on to play college basketball. "Coach Kort" as he is known by students, has genuine admiration and respect for teenagers and the pressures that student athletes face as they endeavor to balance their many responsibilities.