Thom Reinhardt
Director, Science

Thom taught middle and high school science classes in Wisconsin and Minnesota for six years, before moving to Oakland to teach biology and engineering at Oakland High School, in 2008. He holds a BS in Zoology and Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a MEd in Secondary Science Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. While at Oakland High, Thom worked as a teacher leader for 9th grade small learning communities. He has also facilitated a two year project-based learning collaborative for secondary history and science teachers. He has facilitated multiple teacher development workshops and coached science teachers. Thom is currently directing the Science Department.

David Avery
Administrative Assistant

David Avery has worked with Oakland Unified School District for 5 years. Prior to joining the science team, he worked for Teaching and Learning Department and Alliance Academy Middle School in several different capacities. Before his time with OUSD, David served the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona. David is passionate about helping others succeed and enjoys playing his part in helping Oakland Unified School District students achieve.

Claudio Vargas
Science Grant Coordinator

Before joining the OUSD Science Department, Claudio served as the Director of the Bay Area Science Project (BASP) at UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). Claudio has led numerous professional development programs throughout the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Texas. He has designed and implemented K – 8 professional development programs that focus on developing teachers' science content knowledge and expanding their teaching strategies, with particular emphasis on English Language Learners.

Claudio has also worked for 10 years as a bilingual K–5 teacher and a science coach in the District, 11 years as a science researcher at the School of Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, and 9 years in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Minnesota.

Laura Prival
OLAS Grant Coordinator

In addition to coaching elementary teachers in science instruction, Laura has developed and led numerous workshops and classes for teachers focusing on the FOSS curriculum, strategies for developing language and literacy through science, managing hands-on science investigations, watershed awareness, climate change, and outdoor education.

Laura has taught science in both urban and rural schools and was previously a fifth grade teacher in Oakland. She has also worked as a service learning specialist, a curriculum writer, and an education consultant for non-profit organizations. Laura is a doctoral student in Education at Mills College. She holds a B.A. in sociology, an M.A. in Teaching, a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Biological Sciences, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

Elementary Team

Brenda Tuohy
Elementary Science Coordinator

Brenda joins the Science Department after twelve years as a classroom teacher. Brenda taught 4th and 5th grade in San Jose and in Oakland at Think College Now, where she was a founding teacher and a Lead Science Teacher. In 2009 she launched a school-wide science program to ensure that all students received equitable access to science education. She has taught every FOSS module in every grade K-5, including a special day class. Brenda has led professional development and written science curriculum for OUSD and local outdoor education programs.

Brenda holds a B.A. in Political Science and English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Monterey Bay. It's her passion for creating equitable educational opportunities for students and extensive professional development opportunities for teachers that have turned Brenda into a "science person." Brenda is currently leading the elementary science team.

Sonnie Dae
Elementary Science Specialist

Sonnie taught 5th grade at Webster Academy/ East Oakland Pride Elementary for seven years, serving as Lead Science Teacher and a member of the Instructional Leadership Team among other roles. She is especially interested in culturally-responsive teaching, project-based and service learning, hands-on science instruction, and outdoor education.

Sonnie holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University, Hayward and an M.S. in Education, Curriculum Option from California State University, East Bay. Additionally, she has a Reading Specialist Certification, a Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential, and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Science through the Foundational-Level General Science program at CSUEB.

Maryam Lara
Elementary Science Specialist

Maryam has eleven years of experience as a classroom teacher and two years as an instructional coach. Part of her teaching experience was in Mexico, where Maryam learned to develop highly localized science-based curriculum to teach Biology and Ecology. Later as a bilingual 3rd grade teacher at Esperanza Elementary in Oakland, Maryam held many leadership roles including serving as Lead Science Teacher and as a member of the Instructional Leadership Team for 5 years. For the past two years she has led professional development in her role as Dual Language Instructional Coach at Esperanza, emphasizing the integration of content with language development. Maryam has also written science curriculum for OUSD and led professional development focused on language and literacy strategies.

Maryam holds a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University with a BCLAD emphasis. She is especially interested in developing teachers' science content knowledge and expanding their teaching strategies for developing language and literacy through science, with a particular emphasis on English Language Learners.

Beth Keer
Elementary Science Specialist

Beth brings six years of science teaching experience and a 24 year career in the computer industry to the Science Department. For the past three years, Beth has been a Science Instructor at Chabot Space & Science Center where she developed and taught a wide range of science lessons to visiting preschool through high school students. Prior to that, she taught Science Prep and was a Lead Science Teacher in OUSD. In her three years at Allendale Elementary, she taught nearly every FOSS module for every grade.

Before teaching, Ms. Keer ran several computer software research and product development laboratories at Hewlett-Packard. She left the high tech field for an encore teaching career to help make a difference in more equitable representation of all in science careers. She is passionate about environmental education and co-developed a unique elementary school watershed curriculum and a weeklong endangered species middle school program. In her spare time, she restores native habitats with the Friends of Sausal Creek. Beth holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from San Francisco State University and a Single Subject Biology Teaching Credential from Mills College.

Ricky Logan
Stock Clerk

Ricky is the Stock Clerk at the SMART Center. He supports the elementary FOSS curriculum by refurbishing the kits, delivering them to school sites, raising live organisms, and managing materials.

After attending Grambling University, he joined the United States Marine Corps from 1975 to 1980. He then moved with his family to Oakland and worked on the Oakland Army Base as a Hazardous Material Certifier. When the Base closed in 1999, he started working in OUSD.

Secondary Team

Herberta Zulueta
Secondary Science Coordinator

Herberta was a classroom teacher for nine years. She began her teaching career in Oakland at Frick Middle School. She later moved to Hayward to teach biology at Hayward High. She returned to 7th and 8th grade science at Ochoa Middle and Winton Middle. Her leadership experiences include science department chair, facilitator of professional learning communities, as well as creator and presenter of both curriculum and professional developments for staff.

Herberta holds a B.S. in Marina Biology, M.A. in Education and a CLAD Credential in Biological Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Additionally, she has an Administrative Credential from California State University, East Bay.

Sarah Pipping
High School Science Specialist

Sarah taught Biology and Advisory at Skyline High School. During her time at Skyline she served as a lead teacher on the Instructional Leadership Team and within the 9th Grade Small Learning Community, a Career Technical Education teacher within the Green Energy Academy, as science department chair, on faculty council, and as a advisor to several student clubs. During the 2014-2015 school year, she was a lead writer of the District's NGSS Pilot Biology Curriculum.

Sarah holds a BS in Biology and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, a MA in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University, and Single-Subject Teaching Credential in Biological Sciences. She is interested in project-based learning, outdoor education, and incorporating social justice into science curriculum.

James Narvaez
Middle School Science Specialist

James has been a part of the Oakland teaching community since 2005. In that time, he taught 7th and 8th grade science at Roosevelt Middle School, along with a math intervention and leadership class. In addition, he has served as department chair, been a part of his site's leadership team, coached football, planned multiple field trips, and mentored beginning teachers. James is especially interested in language strategies for long term English language learners, coaching new teachers, and working with populations from Southeast Asia.

James has also led several workshops for teachers focusing on classroom management, language and literacy strategies, and designing science fair and other large projects for sites. He earned a B.A. in biology, M.A. in education, and CA teaching credential from the University of California at Berkeley.