MEET THE REDWOOD PREP STAFF...
Krista Croteau, Director
Krista Croteau is an educator with over twenty years of experience as a teacher and administration. As one of the founders of Redwood Prep, Krista is deeply committed to the Mission, Vision and Core Values of the organization. She embraces the philosophy that positive relationships serve as the foundation for all learning and are essential to developing and maintaining a strong and healthy school environment. Krista has had the opportunity to work in several schools across the state with diverse settings and student populations. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and an Administrative Credential from Humboldt State University and a Multiple Subjects Credential from Californian State University, Fresno.
Cyndi Nixon, Business Office/ Human Resources Director
I am so excited to join the Redwood Prep team. I was born here in Fortuna and grew up in a small town in eastern Humboldt. In 2017 my husband, William and I moved to Fortuna with our two kids, Wesley and Riley. I have been working in school district Finance and Human Resources since 2010. I recently took a short break while my son was battling leukemia. He has now finished treatment and is thrilled to be starting 2nd grade with his Redwood Prep friends! Riley can’t wait to join us on campus this year when she starts kindergarten.
Becky Scales, Secretary
Becky was born and raised in Ferndale. She graduated from Ferndale Schools and College of the Redwoods. Becky worked as a banker for many years and spent 16 years at Ferndale Elementary School working in the office. She has two daughters. Shannon is a teacher at Cuddeback and Sadie works on the staff at Youth With a Mission in Honolulu. Becky enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves her job as secretary at Redwood Prep, supporting the students, staff and parents.
Monica Holt (Moe), Afterschool Coordinator/Enrichment Coordinator
Moe was born and raised in the Eel River Valley. After graduating form Ferndale High School she attended College of the Redwoods for her ECE certificate. Her career in education started as a one-on-one aide at Ferndale Elementary, which lasted for 12 years. Moe became part of the Redwood Prep family in 2011 as an Afterschool Leader. Realizing her passion for Afterschool she soon became the Afterschool Coordinator. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors and spending time at her childhood cabin.
Alisa lives in Ferndale with her husband Clint and her three children Roland, Garyn, and Sorayh. Alisa was born at Redwood Memorial Hospital and raised in Eureka. She is a 1996 Eureka High Graduate who spent 2 1/2 years at College of the Redwoods before transferring to Chico State University. She received a BA in Art with an option in Interior Design. Alisa taught Kindergarten for two years in Burney, California. She's been at redwood prep since 2019 and is excited about teaching 2nd grade at Redwood Prep.
Shazia Steward, TK
Shazia was born in Washington DC. Her parents had moved a few years prior form Pakistan. She grew up in Maryland and is the oldest of three girls. She always loved working with children and did so throughout high school and colleges. When she graduated with a psychology degree from Rider University, she began working with children at a daycare. After 4 years, she began her graduate degree in early childhood education at Towson University. She taught 3rd grade for one year before moving to California with her husband Steve. She then worked in a preschool for a few years and then stayed home with her children for their first few years. While at home she was a playgroup coordinator for MOMS club and then the president for two years. She then went back to work for Little Learners, then to Arcata Elementary as a long term sub for a year and a half. She loves working with the TK class at Redwood Prep. In her spare time, she loves to hike, watch movies and play games with her husband, 5 year old and 8 year old daughters.
Morgan Drake, Kindergarten
Morgan was born and raised in Humboldt County. She is a graduate of Fortuna Union High School and earned her degree/credential through Western Governor's University. She has extensive training in early childhood education and is passionate about teaching our youngest Timberwolves. Morgan strives to bring creativity and ingenuity to all areas o the classroom. She can often be found designing and making, with the help of her husband, Adam. Morgan lives in Fortuna with her husband and two very spoiled dogs, Norman and Lola. Norman and Lola visit kindergarten regularly and are always happy to meet new people. Morgan is proud to be a part of the Redwood Prep family and is excited about the future of education here.
Dawn Carroll, 1st Grade
It's amazing to be starting another year at Redwood Prep! When I think back on where we started 9 years ago and what we have accomplished through all of our love, sweat and tears. I am beyond proud and grateful to be a part of the Redwood Prep family. I teach 1st grade and am also the athletic director...Go Timberwolves! I have been teaching for over 20 years and am thankful every day that I get to work at a school filled with staff, students and families that I love and who inspire me to be the best educator possible. I grew up in Arnold, a small town in the mountains outside of Sacramento. I moved to Humboldt County to play basketball and study at Humboldt State University. I graduated from HSU with a degree in liberal studies and Spanish and then received my teaching credentials from Sac State (multiple subjects) and (special education).
My family and I live in Fortuna. My husband Chris is a forester ad we have two daughters, Kate and Charlotte. Kate and Charlotte started Redwood Prep as 4th and 5th graders when Redwood Prep opened in 2011. They are both now off to college. They are very active in sports and other activities which keep us very busy. My family and I enjoy spending time together camping, snowboarding/skiing, sports and travel.
Faith Gittins, 2nd Grade
Faith is beginning her seventh year of teaching at Redwood Prep and she is excited about being the 2nd grade teacher. She grew up in Eureka and attended Humboldt State University where she received her degree in Elementary Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Faith's teaching focuses around creating a classroom environment where all students feel safe, valued, and encouraged to learn and grow. She lives in Fortuna with her husband, two children and beloved dog. When she is not teaching, she enjoys going for walks, getting coffee with friends, and spending time with her children.
Michelle Burger, 3rd Grade
Michelle grew up in Simi Valley, CA, moving North in 1998 to attend HSU, where she graduated with a BA in Sociology. Michelle began her journey at RPC in the Afterschool Program, and soon after became an instructional aide. She was a substitute teacher for several years before jumping in as a classroom teacher. This will be her second year teaching 3rd grade, and she couldn't be more excited. Michelle created a classroom environment where independence and curiosity are encouraged and fostered in a way that supports each student's needs. When not teaching Michelle enjoys nature, reading, and crafting. She and her husband Nathan have two sons (both Timberwolves), and three dogs-Mika, Baloo, and Daisy.
Amy Eastman, 4th Grade
Amy Eastman is the fourth grade teacher at Redwood Prep. She is a graduate of Humboldt State University and grew up in Ferndale. Amy knew from the time she was in 2nd grade that she wanted to be a teacher. Her passion for education and children shine through as she works with her students. She has been teaching since 2007 and has taught in many different grade levels from Kindergarten to Jr. High School. Amy began teaching 4th grade at Redwood Prep in the fall of 2014 and loves the close-knit community of our wonderful school. Amy provides an educational environment and promotes student growth and success and focuses on each individual child. She loves music and has a strong musical background, and enjoys incorporating it whenever she can in her classroom! Amy loves spending time with her friends and family and vacationing to new places when she is not at school.
Miranda Head, 5th Grade
Miranda is in her 9th year teaching at RPC. MIranda lives with her husband in Fortuna and they have a 4 1/2 year old son Hudson and an 2 year old boy named Bennett. She graduated form Sonoma State in 2012 with her BA in Liberal Studied and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She also attended Sonoma State for the Credential Program and completed it in 2013. She started her first year teaching at RPC in 2013 and has loved it ever since! She has enjoyed teaching land raising her kids in the same town that she grew up in.
Melanie Downing, 6th Grade
Melanie Downing is a mother, teacher, and a small business owner. As co-founder of Redwood Prep Charter School, she is passionate about building classroom communities that nurture the whole child though real-world experiences, mindfulness, and academic rigor. Melanie has been an educator since 2002 and taught nearly every grade K through 8th. She is actively involved in educational leadership and has served on a wide variety of school committees. Melanie loves being part of a forward thinking and compassionate team that embraces the unique gifts of every child.
Katie Dore, 7th Grade
Katie is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a Bachelors in Elementary Education and her teaching credential. Katie grew up in the Fortuna area and has been working in Fortuna schools since 2010. She and her husband Frank, have a full house with their two energetic kids, Avery and Amelia, and their pets Riley, Daisy, and Poppy. Katie enjoys reading, soaking up the sun, chasing her kiddos, and solving math problems (yes, that last part is true!) Katie's goal as an educator is to create lifelong learners through encouraging the excitement and enjoyment of learning and experiencing new concepts and ideas.
Kim Kendall, 8th Grade
Kim was invited to be part of the founding team of Redwood Prep in 2010 and she was so excited that she did! She started her time at Redwood Prep in the office and running the after school program. She started teaching 3rd grade in 2013 and moved to 7th/8th grade language arts and history in 2018. She loves watching kids learn and grow throughout their time at Redwood Prep. She has 3 amazing kiddos that have gone through or are currently attending Redwood Prep.
Karissa Hall, Resource Specialist/Special Education
Karissa Hall was born and raised in Fortuna. She graduated from Humboldt State University in 2013 with a bachelors degree in Psychology. She also received her special education teaching credential from HSU. She went in to the field of special education because of her passion for social justice. when not in the classroom, Karissa enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Lori Head, STEAM
Lori Head is the STEAM teacher at Redwood Prep, She is passionate about hands-on learning and the elements of STEAM education. Her classroom is filled with color, collaboration, and critical thinking. She graduated with her credential from Humboldt State University. Lori has been teaching since 2004 and has taught at many grade levels. She has been with Redwood Prep since the beginning and enjoys working in a place that matched her educational philosophies. Lori lives in Fortuna with her husband, Tom. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her five grandchildren. Lori also enjoys gardening, reading, and baking,
Classroom Support Staff
Jill Petricca, Music Teacher
Jill is in her 7th year holding the honor of introducing Redwood Prep learners to the awesomeness of music. She was born and raised in Eureka, CA. Jill has been on the faculty of the Humboldt Music Academy since 1988.
Jill’s musical education and studies during the 1980s were in Southern California at Cal. State University Northridge. There, she connected with many reputed masters of the art of flute playing: Geraldine Rotella, Vic Morocco, David Shostakovich, and Jean Pierre Rampal. Jill has a BA in Music Performance, performing on flute, saxophone, and baritone horn.
When the group she was touring with stopped by Redwood Prep in 2014, Jill recalls, “This school moves my musical spirit”, and was drawn to the position being offered.
A commitment to music making further finds Jill in her current post as principal flutist with Eureka Symphony and role with woodwind quintet, Wind Energy. She and her husband, Joe have two grown children who live and work in Eureka.
Cassie is an instructional aide at Redwood Prep, working primarily in the Kindergarten. This is her 5th year working at RPC. She grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. Cassie moved to Humboldt County in 2005. Cassie and her husband, Kevin have to kids-Avery and Olive who both attend RPC. She loves being a mom, enjoys cooking, nature and true-crime documentaries.
My name is Amanda Chapman and I am very excited to be apart of Redwood Prep. I will be working in the kitchen. I can not wait to combine my passion for baking with my love for working with children. At 18 I attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School to become a certified pastry chef. I worked in multiple bakeries all over California. After having my son I took a break from baking and worked at a daycare. We moved to Humboldt County in 2019 and I fell in love with the beautiful area. When I’m not in the kitchen I enjoy spending time with my husband, son and two dogs!
My name is Paige Morris. I'm 25, born and raised in Humboldt, and an Academy of the Redwoods alumni with an AA in FineArt. This is my second year working at RPC, last year I helped in the 7th grade classroom and was happy to move along with them to the 8th grade. I also started working in after school this year! My younger brother is a RPC alumni and I spent vacations during highschool volunteering here. I love hiking, camping, going to the beach, and playing with my dogs Ipo and Kaika! I also have two cats Ozzy & Lucy, as well as a snake!
Hi! My name is Michele Thomson and I am the Third Grade Aid. I have seven children, 5 adult and 2 at home who are a Freshman and a Senior at Fortuna High this year. This is my second year at RPC and my first working in Third Grade. I look forward to helping your Students and their Teacher. Let them know if ever they need a hug for any reason I am their person!
Dawn was born and raised in Fortuna and is a Fortuna High graduate. Dawn spent her career and most of her life with the Fortuna Police Department. She took an early retirement 3 years ago and decided to pursue her interest in education. Dawn has been with Redwood Prep going on 3 years and loves being an instructional aide for second grade. Dawn has coached girls volleyball and girls basketball for Redwood Prep for the past 2 years. Dawn has also been the gym supervisor for all of Redwood Prep sports. Dawn is married to her husband Todd and they have 2 children. They have a son who is in his senior year at Fortuna High and is planning on enlisting in the Navy after graduation. He is an 8th grade graduate from Redwood Prep. Their daughter is in her 8th grade year at Redwood Prep and will be attending Fortuna High in the fall. Dawn enjoys crafting, hiking, photography and spending time at their vacation home with family and friends.
Meghan was born and raised in the Eel River Valley. After graduation from Fortuna high. She attended college of the redwoods. While attending CR she worked at the after school program at Rio Dell school district. Even doing a 2 year stint as the director. When she was pregnant with her third child she decided to stop working and focus on being a mom. In 2019 with all her kids in school she decided to go back to work. She became the Social and Emotional Tech. She loves her job! She loves spending time with all the kids and having the freedom to see lots of kiddos each day!
When not in school she loves spending time with her family, traveling, swimming at the river and spending time at the beach!
Hello! My name is Sarah Trumbo, This will be my first year as a 4th Grade Aide at Redwood Prep Charter school. My husband and I have two amazing children. Our son graduated last year from Redwood Prep. A few things about me I enjoy spending time with family, nature, food, love DIY projects, and the arts.
Hello Everybody! My name is Lilly Sands and this will be my first year being the 7th grade aide here at Redwood Prep. I will also be working with the 4th graders for P.E. as well as helping out in afterschool! I’m from Santa Cruz and have been in Humboldt for almost 2 years! I spend my free time in nature or my garden. If not in nature, you can find me in my chicken coop with my 18 chickens. I can't wait to get to know each and every one of you guys! Here's to a great year at RPC my friends!
Hello! My name is Karina Matias. I’m the 5th grade aide, this is my 4th year at RPC! I previously worked for the Fortuna School District for 10 years. Born & raised in beautiful Humboldt County. I have two beautiful dogs who mean the world to me. Kyroh is a Chocolate Lab and Bruiser is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I enjoy spending my time with friends and family. I love to cook, get creative with woodwork and travel. I am so thankful to be a part of this incredible team and super excited for this new school year!
Hi, My name is Stephanie Chipman. I'm looking forward to being the TK aide this year. I have worked with children for many years and truly have a passion for child development and education. I have been with the school for 2 years. I live in Fortuna with my husband Bob and our 3 amazing boys. Our two oldest are RPC alumni and our youngest will be in 5th grade this year. In my spare time I enjoy boating, fishing, caring for our menagerie of critters and spending time with my family. I'm super excited for the new school year and can't wait to meet you!
Hi I’m Angeles Lopez, this is my second year at Redwood prep. Last year I worked with the fifth grade class and this year I will be working the the sixth grade class. I’m very exited to work with such a supporting group of people and look forward to what this year has for us. I live in Hydesville with my boyfriend, we have one cat (Shy) and one dog (Benny) and have our first baby on the way, it’s going to be a baby boy due on December 24!