Teachers & Staff
Tierra Pacifica is extremely fortunate to have excellent teachers and staff. They are the foundation of our school.
As a graduate of the CSDC Leadership Certification process, I have been steeped in the particulars of California charter school finance. I bring a background in non-profit and independent business direction, and have run a small business for 25 years. Continuing the Tierra Pacifica goals of teaching to the whole child, experiencing nature, arts, science, and health and honoring all of the many "intelligences" and individuality of each child is my goal here at Tierra Pacifica. I look forward to working collaboratively with all of the talented staff and families of Tierra Pacifica!
I have worked managing small nonprofits in Santa Cruz for about ten years and now LOVE the work I do here for Tierra Pacifica!
I love spending my weekends with my five children. (Well that's if I’m lucky and my teen will join us!) You can find us most weekends walking along West Cliff or the beach, or taking a leisurely stroll downtown
My goal is to create a classroom that is supportive, rigorous, open to big ideas, and fun. With lots of additional training such as attending The Exploratorium Teacher Institute in San Francisco, CPM's Ideas and Inspirations Math Program, and Jo Boaler's Growth Mindset Class, I try to bring hands' on experiential lessons to the classroom everyday. Students are encouraged to take academic risks and to not be afraid to try new things...... and make mistakes.
I also work at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Cal-Teach program.
When not working, I enjoy spending time with my family (husband, Erik and children, Elan, Jesse, and Mia) hiking, going to the beach, playing games, and traveling.
I went on to get my Multiple Subject Credential and Masters in Education from San Jose State University. My student-teaching placement lead me to Tierra Pacifica and I quickly knew the school aligned with my own values and philosophies about learning. I believe students need as many learn-by-doing opportunities as possible, and time outside is never wasted. I love using the principles I have learned in outdoor education in the classroom environment - and strive for hands-on projects and activities whenever feasible. I aim to find ways for each student to fall in love with their own learning journey and create a positive and growth-mindset classroom culture.
Morréa Grillo (she/her)
Tierra Pacifica Charter School
I enjoy teaching kids how to discover things for themselves and pass along their new knowledge to others. I believe it is important for students to challenge themselves in many areas from mental challenges such as public speaking and academics to physical challenges such as long hikes and trying new activities. My desire is to get kids out of doors to enjoy this beautiful world of ours and to stay physically active for health and happiness. Frequent opportunities to move throughout the day are as important as the curriculum we teach. Academically, I think it is important for students to figure out what their personal learning style is and to work at their own level while pushing their limits. I am excited about team teaching with Jennifer, and Verena this year so that we can provide many opportunities for growth.
When I'm not at work, the thing I enjoy the most is spending time with my family and pets in and around our home in Boulder Creek. We enjoy bike riding, hiking, baseball, motorcycle riding and exploring new places together. As for personal hobbies I am an avid reader/researcher of history, including family history, and I enjoy working with multimedia computer programs such as i-movie and Powerpoint. My husband works for an international telecommunications firm, my daughter currently attends Cabrillo College and my son attends San Lorenzo Valley High School. I have three cats and a hermit crab which was given to me by a Tierra Pacifica student many years ago. My favorite books are historic fiction and non-fiction, I love adventure and romantic comedy movies, I enjoy listening to alternative rock music and when I go out to eat I almost always choose to eat Indian or Cajun food.
I received my bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. After a year as a research assistant in UCSD’s Teacher Education Program, I continued on to receive my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. From 1998 to 2000, I taught second and third grade in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 2000, I moved to Santa Cruz where I taught at Happy Valley Elementary School. I taught kindergarten and first grade, and became a trained Reading Recovery teacher. In 2003, I took a leave from teaching to spend time at home while my two children were young. When my daughter entered kindergarten at Tierra Pacifica in 2011, I worked as a teaching assistant in the Oaks classroom, until 2015 when I became the English Language Coordinator. Finally in 2018, I took on the roll as a Reading Specialist. I have been fortunate to participate in trainings at both Chartwell School and the Institute for Mulit-Sensory Education to learn the Orton-Gillingham approach.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, hiking, running, and reading.
Mariam is also a children's yoga and mindfulness teacher. She has written eight children's books on yoga and mindfulness which have been translated into 17 languages.
I received my B.A. in Collaborative Health and Human Services working with youth struggling with substance abuse and maintaining recovery. I am passionate about supporting our most vulnerable youth in recognizing their inherent good. I received my Master's in Social Work in order to support communities, families, and individuals in a holistic way to support the healing of communities.
MS in Counseling, CSU East Bay
PPS School Psychology