Why STEM Marin?

The United States has become a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. Yet today, that position is threatened as comparatively few American students pursue expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—and by an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects.

STEM education is a sequence of courses or program of study that prepares students, including underrepresented groups for:

  • successful employment, post-secondary education, or both that might require different and more technically sophisticated knowledge, including the application of mathematics and science skills and concepts.

  • life as competent, capable citizens in today’s technology-dependent, democratic society.

Our Core Beliefs

At STEM Marin, we believe students should develop:

  • Learning and Innovation skills—including critical thinking and problem-solving; creativity and innovation; and communication and collaboration

  • Digital Literacy skills—including information literacy, media literacy, and information and communication technologies

  • Career and Life skills—including flexibility and adaptability; initiative and self-direction; social and cross-cultural interaction; productivity and accountability; and leadership and responsibility

STEM Marin develops these skills through:

  • Authentic learning—learning from real-world problems and questions

  • Model building—using physical and virtual models to refine understanding

  • Internal motivation—identifying and employing positive emotional connections in learning

  • Multi-modal learning—applying multiple learning methods for diverse learning styles

  • Social learning—using the power of social interaction to improve learning impact

  • International learning—using the global world around us to inform and enhance teaching and learning skills

Staff

Teachers

Nicholas Williams
Nicholas Williams STEM Marin Teacher Leader, Physics and Engineering Teacher
Nick Williams has taught Physics, Engineering, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Biology, and Earth Science at San Marin High School since 2007. He’s been the Science Department Chair since 2011, and he serves as the Lead Teacher for STEM Marin’s STEM Program. During his time at San Marin, he’s coached ultimate Frisbee, freshmen girls volleyball, and JV and varsity boys soccer.

Mr. Williams earned his bachelor of science in evolution and ecology, his teaching credential in science, and his masters of education from University of California, Davis. He was selected as the 2014 Bay Area Educator of the Year by the California League of High Schools. In 2015, Mr. Williams was named a Milken Educator for California which is described as the “Oscars of Teaching.”

Mr. Williams currently lives with his family, including his wife, three kids, and dog, in Novato. In his spare time, Nick enjoys playing with his kids, running, hiking, reading The New Yorker, playing ultimate frisbee, going to the beach, building things, and working in the yard.

Shealyn Mathews
Shealyn Mathews Biology and Biotechnology Teacher
Shea Mathews has taught Biology, Biotechnology and Marine Biology at San Marin High School since 2016. She is also involved in the Athletics Department as a coach for cross country in the fall and women’s lacrosse in the spring.

Ms. Mathews earned her bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, and masters of education from Boston College. At Boston College, she was active in leadership, teaching English as a second language and service trips to Appalachia and Vietnam as well as serving as a member of the BC Division 1 rowing team.

Ms. Mathews is a native of Marin. She loves all the outdoor activities that she was able to enjoy growing up in Marin. She spends her time traveling, hiking, running, swimming, or boating out on the Bay when she is not teaching, lesson planning, grading, or coaching.

Virginia Vogl
Virginia Vogl STEM Chemistry Teacher
Virginia Vogl has taught Chemistry, AP Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, and Leadership at San Marin High School since 2007. Mrs. Vogl has also served as the coach for both the boys and girls cross-country teams.

Mrs. Vogl earned her bachelor of science in biology from Sacramento State and her teaching credential in science from Sonoma State University. She was selected as the 2015 Bay Area Educator of the Year by the California League of High Schools, giving the San Marin science department and STEM Marin consecutive Bay Area Educators of the Year. She was selected as San Marin’s Golden Bell Teacher of the Year in 2017.

Mrs. Vogl is a Novato native who attended Novato High School. She lives in Novato with her family, including her husband and two children. In her spare time, Mrs. Vogl enjoys running and spending time with her kids.

Dr. Michelle Laferve-Bernt
Dr. Michelle Laferve-Bernt STEM Marin Teacher Leader, Biology and Biotechnology
Dr. Laferve-Bernt (Dr. LB) teaches Biology, Biotechnology and Chemistry and serves as the Lead Teacher fro STEM Marin’s Biotech Program. The 2019-2020 school year marks her 12th year as a Mustang. In addition to her teaching, she is also part of the Equity Leadership group and Instructional leadership team and serves on the Career Technical Education Advisory Board.

Michelle received her bachelor of science in biology at Humboldt State University, her Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology at SUNY Stonybrook and her single-subject teaching credentials at Sonoma State University. She is currently working on her masters in educational leadership at San Francisco State University.

Dr. LB is a 20-year resident of Novato and lives with her husband of almost 30 years and their chocolate lab, Misha. Dr. LB’s son graduated from Novato High in 2010. When she’s not busy teaching or excelling in her own learning, Dr. LB likes to spend time outdoors hiking, backpacking, kayaking and camping. She also enjoys reading, cooking, making cheese and jams as well as gardening.

Claudio Tronconi
Claudio Tronconi Senior Project Engineering Teacher
Claudio Tronconi has taught Senior Project Engineering, Environmental Engineering, CAD/GIS, Biology, and Physics at San Marin High School since 2015.

Mr. Tronconi is originally from Italy and earned his bachelor of science in environmental science from the University of Florence, Italy. He earned his masters of science in environmental management from the University of San Francisco and his masters of arts in teaching and his teaching credential from the University of San Francisco.

Mr. Tronconi lives in Napa with his wife. In his spare time, he enjoys running or hiking. He loves snorkeling, tinkering with technology, programming, reading/researching non-fiction (science, nature, tech, history) and anything sci-fi. He’s also fascinated with archaeology and, like any good teacher, he loves coffee.

Jennifer Carlomagno
Jennifer CarlomagnoBiology Teacher
Jennifer Carlomagno has been teaching since 1996 at San Marin High School. She currently teaches Biology, AP Biology and Technology of Biology in the STEM Program.

Mrs. Carlomagno is a San Marin Alumni who received her bachelors degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her teaching credential in life sciences at Dominican University.

Mrs. Carlomagno currently lives in Petaluma with her husband and two girls. She enjoys being active; whether it is running, hiking, biking or skiing, she just loves being outdoors. Traveling and reading are also some of her passions.

Timothy Blok
Timothy BlokBiotech Teacher
Tim Blok taught at San Marin High School since 2007. He teaches the sophomore Biotech Program Science, which includes Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, he will also be teaching Conceptual Physics. Mr. Blok also serves as Treasurer of the Union Executive Board.

Mr. Blok received his associate degree from Butte College and Los Madanos College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Physical Chemistry from University of California, Santa Barbara and his teaching credential from University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Blok lives in Novato with his wife and two children. When he’s not teaching, he can be found outdoors swimming, surfing, and mountain biking.

Staff

Administration

Diane Santamorena
Diane Santamorena Assistant Principal, STEM Marin Administrator
Diane Santamorena has 13 years of experience in education, including being a science teacher, instructional coach and teacher mentor; serving as site- and district-level leader in implementation, education, and curriculum development of the Next Generation Science Standards; and providing education and support of Project-Based Learning for multiple contents in grades K-12.

Mrs. Santamorena recently completed a research fellowship at University of California, Berkeley that focused on teacher retention in math and science. Currently, she oversees Science, World Language, English Language Development, STEM, CTE, Counseling Center, College and Career Center, course offerings, master scheduling, incoming freshman events, Project Exhibition Night, staff professional development, and sustainability of Project-Based Learning.

Mrs. Santamorena earned a bachelor of science degree in middle grades education for science and English from Kennesaw State University, a master of science degree in learning and literacy in the content areas K-12 from Walden University, and a master of arts degree in educational administration from Concordia University.

Jaime Lutz
Jaime LutzSTEM Marin Coordinator
Mrs. Lutz brings more than 12 years of project and program management expertise working with many tech companies in the Bay Area. Her previous experience includes managing multi-million-dollar programs for one of the largest education companies in the world and regularly managing multiple Fortune 500 company sites.

As the STEM Coordinator, Mrs. Lutz is responsible for many aspects of STEM Marin, including marketing, community outreach and internal operations. She oversees many of the day-to-day operations that keep the program running at a top-notch pace.

Mrs. Lutz lives in Novato with her husband and two children. She is a longtime lover of classic movies and enjoys baking and gardening with her two children and spending her weekends camping or at the beach.

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