At Kavod Elementary, we provide a student-centered learning environment. What this means is that every decision we make as educators is designed to help each and every student meet his or her full academic potential. We aim to get to know our students as individual learners and adapt the curriculum and instruction so that it taps into their unique talents and helps them overcome their individual obstacles. In order to do this, Kavod Elementary hires teachers who have a demonstrated commitment and talent to our teaching philosophy. We also provide our teachers with a tremendous amount of professional support to help them continually improve and hone their skills.
Meet The Faculty
Biographies reflect experience of faculty prior to joining the Kavod team.
Cassidy Platt (Kindergarten)
Cassidy grew up in rural Northern California with her 7 siblings. With no TV or internet to entertain them, her and her brothers and sisters spent all of their time outside climbing trees and getting poison oak.
Cassidy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on the dramatic arts from HSU in 2013. She graduated cum laude from HSU’s Elementary Education Teaching program with a focus on English Language Learners in 2014. Cassidy has taught in a Kindergarten/1st grade combination class as well as a 4th grade classroom. These experiences helped her to see how children progress as they grow older and how their learning styles change as well. She loves to see the different ways in which children learn and wants to help cultivate the love of learning in every child that enters her room.
Cassidy has been teaching dance and singing classes for 6 years and loves the performing arts. For 4 years she taught at a performing arts school which focused on cultural education. There she taught her students to perfect their craft as well as celebrate their peers and where they came from. Along with teaching dance, she has recently begun coaching gymnastics in San Diego for future Olympians.
Julie Silverman (Kindergarten)
She worked in Connecticut before deciding to move to California. Julie loves traveling and has been all over the world. She also loves reading, writing, drawing, running and going to the beach. She is very excited to be in San Diego, away from the snow.
Lauren Mathews (1st Grade)
Lauren Mathews grew up in Southern California; she then went on to receive both her B.A. in Anthropology and her teaching credential from the University of Colorado. Following graduation she taught pre-kindergarten in Colorado for two years. She then returned to California where she has been teaching first grade.
Lauren creates a positive and respectful classroom environment where students know their ideas and opinions matter. Lauren enjoys spending time at the beach, pilates and is an avid runner. She greatly enjoys traveling and has visited over 10 countries!
Laura Day (1st Grade)
Liza Haugen (2nd Grade)
Liza Haugen grew up in North San Diego County. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with an emphasis on Children’s Services from California State University, San Marcos in 2010 and obtained her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2011. For the past three years, Liza has taught third grade at a private school in Glendale, California, where she also worked closely with second and third graders who struggled with reading. Liza’s deep-seated love for children and commitment to education drive her passion for teaching.
Liza values spending time with her big family and enjoys being outdoors. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and snowboarding. Kavod is very proud of Liza for receiving the NBC San Diego Inspirational Teacher of the Month award in November 2017! See the video here.
Katelynn Leonard (3rd Grade)
Katelynn Leonard moved to San Diego from Massachusetts 6 years ago. Before moving to CA she earned her Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2005. Katelynn continued her graduate education at UMass, Amherst and went on to earn her Master’s Degree and Multi-Subject Credential. For the next four years, Katelynn taught 4th grade in the Arlington Public Schools. In 2010, Katelynn moved to San Diego and gained employment at Children’s Creative and Performing Arts Academy where she worked as a full time, mulit-subject classroom teacher. Katelynn has a deep love and passion for teaching and works to foster a community of mutual respect and support in her classroom.
When she is not in the classroom, Katelynn loves laughing and having fun with her husband, dog, and friends. With her time off, Katelynn loves traveling back to Massachusetts to spend time with her family and friends there.
Taryon Balona (4th Grade)
Taryon Balona grew up in Southern California and attended school through the California State University system. He graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Liberal Studies major and Geography minor. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he went on to obtain his Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from California State University San Marcos.
Taryon is passionate about individualized education and follows the workshop model. Taryon has found the perfect home at Kavod because of their shared commitment to academic excellence, dual language, social responsibility, and global awareness.
Melissa Rowland (5th Grade)
Melissa Rowland is born and raised in South East San Diego. During her undergraduate years at The University of Nevada Las Vegas, she grew passionate to work with youth after working as a Youth Development Specialist at the Boys & Girls Club for several years. In May 2015, she received her MA.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction by way of Teach For America. She has taught Pre-K, 1st, 2nd and tutored 3rd grade students in math and reading in Las Vegas.
She returned to California to be closer to family and to further her teaching career. Melissa is family oriented and enjoys spending her leisure time with them. She plans to be more adventurous by discovering more of San Diego’s outdoor activities such as kayaking and jet skiing.
Shaina Sivan Yedid
Shaina Sivan Yedid was born and raised in Haifa, Israel and was living there up to the age of 26. For the last 4 years San Diego is has been her home town. Since the age of 14 she was working with children in various ages and the arts; in summer caps, art classes and kindergarten. She believes that children are so creative and connected to their imagination and are her favorite partners in creating an art project. Shaina is an artist who loves to create and express herself with all art forms; her favorite being dance.
Shaina completed her B.A. degree in psychology at the Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel, Israel.For the last 2 years she has been working on a Master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy in San Diego Expressive Arts Institute as a part of the European Graduate School, and has been spending the last two summers studying and performing in the Swiss Alps. She is a world traveler; she was trained to facilitated meditation and expressive movement workshops, and was lucky to work with a wide range of nationalities in meditation resorts in India, Greece, China, Guatemala and Israel.
Netta Ben Kish (Hebrew)
Netta Ben Kish recently moved to the United States from Israel, after finishing her MA degree in Mass Communications with honors at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
She has taught at Tarbuton and Alef Hebrew School, and back in Israel, for nine years, she taught Hebrew, mathematics and science to children of many ages. Her main reason for choosing Kavod, is her love of children and her passion for teaching.
Netta is a native Hebrew speaker, and has years of experience along with great motivation and ambition. As a curious person she loves to read and expand her knowledge. She loves to challenge and intrigue the children , and believes that with the right attitude everyone can succeed.
Netta served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a computer officer in the rank of Captain, and was elected to receive the Excellent Officer Award while in service.
Yarden Shalom- Shaul (Hebrew)
Yarden has recently moved to San Diego from Israel. She was born, raised and educated in Jerusalem. After graduating from high school, she joined the Israel Defense Forces and served as an educator and commander in the Education Corps.
After completing her military service in the IDF, Yarden moved to Tel Aviv, where she graduated with honors at SMKB College and received her B.Ed in Social Sciences and Education. Yarden taught Hebrew for two years at a school for disadvantaged youth in South- Tel Aviv and then taught Hebrew literature and World Literature for three years in Junior High in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.
Yarden loves traveling the world and exploring different cultures. She also enjoys oil painting and all forms of art. Her dream is to learn how to play guitar and she believes with all her heart that a smile improves every situation. Yarden feels that education is the profession for her. Her passion is working with children and teaching enables her to fulfill this.
Lia Aviram (Hebrew)
Lia Aviram was born and raised in Kibbut Gesher-Haziv in northern Israel. When she was 15 Lia has started to work in the education of young children as a leader at the youth organization HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed. Before she enlisted to the Israeli Defense Force she has volunteered as a travel guide at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. As a solider Lia served as a workforce coordinator in an artillery battalion. When her duty to the army was filled, Lia has started to work in the informal education system of her kibbutz. By the age of 26 she has graduated from Oranim Academic College of Education with a B.Ed in Special Education and Hebrew literature. And has worked in Galil School of Special Education as a home room teacher for 1st 2nd, and 3rd Grade.
In her free time Lia loves spending time at the beach, reading books, traveling and doing Yoga.
ליה אבירם גרה בקיבוץ גשר הזיו שנמצא בצפון ישראל.
בגיל 15 היא החלה להדריך בתנועת הנוער, ‘הנוער העובד והלומד’ בקיבוץ. לפני גיוסה לצבא ההגנה לישראל, היא התנדבה במסגרת שנת שירות בתור מדריכת טיולים בחברה להגנת הטבע.
כחיילת, ליה שירתה כרכזת כוח אדם, בגדוד תותחנים. עם סיום השירות ליה עבדה כמדריכה ורכזת בחינוך הבלתי פורמאלי בקיבוצה.
בגיל 26 סיימה לימודי חינוך מיוחד וספרות במכללת אורנים, והחלה לעבוד בבית ספר ‘גליל’ לחינוך מיוחד כמחנכת לתלמידים בכיתות א’, ב’ וג’.
בזמנה הפנוי ליה אוהבת לבלות בחוף הים, לקרוא, לטייל ולעשות יוגה.
Patrick McKerring (Physical Education)
Patrick McKerring has lived in San Diego with his wife and three children for over 10 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Social-Psychology with an emphasis on Juvenile Delinquency from San Diego State University in 2013 and obtained his Masters in Physical Education with a Single Subject Teaching Credential in 2016. For the past three years, Patrick has taught physical education at a private elementary school in Coronado, California and more recently supporting students at Hoover High School in San Diego.
In addition to teaching, Patrick has over 10 years of experience coaching football, baseball, basketball and soccer, for San Diego’s Pop-Warner Little Scholars, South West Little Leagues – District 42, i9Sports Soccer, and the YMCA. Patrick values spending time with his family, surfing, and working out at the gym.
Chelcee Putters (Math Specialist)
Chelcee Putters grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of West Georgia. After graduation, she moved to teach fourth grade in Greeley, Colorado, where she worked with a diverse culture of students and taught using technology and small group approaches.
Chelcee moved to San Diego to continue on with her teaching journey and is looking forward to exploring and discovering what all this city has to offer. Besides teaching, her passions include friends and family, baseball, music, and traveling.
April Wilson (Spanish)
April has taught Spanish from Elementary to high school levels for the past ten years. Her childhood was spent in various cities in Mexico where she quickly learned to speak, read, and write in Spanish her 2nd grade year of elementary school. When she went off to college, Spanish became her major, obtaining a BA in Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Her love for travel has taken her to Costa Rica, Peru, and world famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.
In addition to her love for travel and teaching young children, April enjoys swimming in the ocean, (at least a mile from La Jolla Cove to the La Jolla Shores) doing yoga on the cliffs of Pacific Beach overlooking the ocean, hiking in rain forests and country line dancing with her fiancé.