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Northern Light School began as a Bay Area school by teachers for students, and it continues this tradition to this day.  At Northern Light we believe that educators have a responsibility to prepare students for a world in which innovation, critical thinking, and the ability to work collaboratively are more prized than ever.  This challenge requires new ways of thinking and being, for teachers just as much as students.  Northern Light is excited to be part of the growing number of leading independent schools that are transforming education through embracing a teacher-powered leadership model.  By empowering teachers to take ownership of their school's success, this tried-and-tested model creates a culture of collaboration and creativity that takes student learning to new heights.
In a traditional school model, the very people furthest removed from the classroom have the final say on what goes on in the classroom.  A teacher-powered model turns that paradigm on its head.  At NLS, teachers are entrusted with critical decisions regarding curriculum, personnel, and school culture. Because of this, administrative roles are structured differently than at most other institutions. All full-time teachers attend regular grade-band meetings and staff meetings, serve on committees, conduct teacher and course evaluations, and help fill the administrative needs of the school in a variety of ways.
In addition, there are several key leadership positions that take on added responsibility for ensuring school success.
Administrative Staff:
  • Campus Coordinator - The individual who handles all scheduling and front office coordination and serves as an information hub. 
  • Director of Business Operations - The individual who handles finances, insurance issues, and maintenance of the physical plant.
  • Director of Admissions and Marketing - The individual who oversees the admissions process and coordinates our marketing efforts.
  • Director of Development - The individual who coordinates all of the school's fundraising efforts throughout the year.
Faculty Leadership Team:
  • Director of Student Affairs - A teacher elected by Faculty and Staff as the main correspondent with students, families, and the outside community.
  • Director of Faculty Affairs - A teacher elected by the Faculty and Staff to facilitate the decision-making process and oversee teacher evaluations and professional development.
  • Dean of Preschool - 2nd Grade - A teacher elected by the Faculty and Staff to serve as a team leader for Preschool and the lower Elementary grades.
  • Dean of 3rd - 5th Grade - A teacher elected by the Faculty and Staff to serve as a team leader for the upper Elementary grades.
  • Dean of 6th - 8th Grade - A teacher elected by the Faculty and Staff to serve as a team leader for Middle School Faculty.
The leadership team is focused on addressing issues raised by staff members, students, and parents. In order to do so, they utilize the professional resources on staff and, when necessary, identify and bring in additional resources.  In decision-making, they have one vote each, as do the other members of the Faculty.  However, the leadership team, aforementioned, have the confidence of the Faculty and Staff to assimilate information and make certain key decisions when necessary. 
To learn more about the success of teacher-powered schools, please visit Teacher Powered Schools.


  • Profile Photo

    Michelle Lewis

    Founder and Director of Development Michelle has worked in education for over 34 years ...
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    Jill Diaz

    Director of Admissions and Marketing Jill Diaz is a Bay Area native who has worked in s ...
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    Genevieve Jackson

    Director of Business Operations
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    Lamaine Kitchen

    Campus Coordinator Lamaine Kitchen is an Oakland native and graduate ...


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    Peter Welch

    Director of Student Affairs and Middle School Math Teacher Peter Welch has been teaching at Northern Light Sc ...
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    Diana Taylor

    Director of Faculty Affairs and Middle School Writing Teacher Diana began her years of teaching at Northern Ligh ...
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    Becky Vertefeuille

    Dean of Grades 6-8 and Middle School Science Teacher Becky Vertefeuille has been teaching at Northern L ...
  • Profile Photo

    Tonya Taylor

    Dean of Grades 3-5 and Third Grade Teacher Tonya has been at Northern Light School since 2008 ...
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    Tracy Miller

    Dean of Grades PK-2 and Second Grade Teacher Tracy has worked at Northern Light School since 20 ...