Meet the 2016-2017 Kittredge School Faculty

Peter Lavaroni, Principal

Peter Lavaroni has been teaching at Kittredge School since 1981. He was the Primary Class (first and second grades) teacher for 16 years. He finally left the “World’s Greatest Class” in 1998 to assume his current role as Principal.

Mr. L received his BA from California State University, Chico, and his Master’s degree at Dominican College. His teaching credential was also earned at Dominican College.

He has served as President of the Board of Directors of the National Independent Private Schools Association ( NIPSA ), the organization that accredits Kittredge School.

Louise Pon-Barry, Kindergarten/First Grade

This is Ms. Pon-Barry’s 14th year teaching and eleventh year at Kittredge.

She received her BA in Liberal Studies from Santa Clara University, along with minors in Spanish and Art History. She earned her multiple subject teaching credential and MA in Education from the University of San Francisco.

Ms. Pon-Barry enjoys working with the primary children for their fresh and unique outlook on life. She strives to make the learning process enjoyable and exciting for each child.

Ms. Pon-Barry’s website is available at:


Sarah Baker, Second/Third Grades

This is Sarah’s third year as the 2nd/3rd grades teacher at Kittredge. Sarah has been a part of the Kittredge community since 2009 working in both the after school program and also as a summer school teacher for 5 years. Sarah has been teaching in public and private schools with students ages PreK through Middle School since 2000. She has worked in General Education, Gifted Education, Special Education, and has also taught Creative Movement and Dance.

Sarah received her Master’s Degree in Teaching from the University of San Francisco and her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from the University of Oregon. Sarah is also a registered Yoga Alliance Instructor and enjoys sharing yoga with adults and youth in her spare time.

Sarah’s website is available at:

Wayne Riddle, Fourth/Fifth Grades

Mr. Wayne Riddle is the fourth/fifth grades teacher. He has been teaching for 37 years, 31 of them at Kittredge School, where he has worked with students at all levels. He received his BA degree and elementary teaching credential at San Francisco State University in 1975 and a mathematics single-subject credential in 1982.

In 2006 Mr. Riddle became Kittredge School’s second recipient of the Herbst Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. In all classes and across the curriculum, Mr. Riddle enjoys helping students feel comfortable in their learning environment as they continue to grow academically and socially.

Mr. Riddle’s website is available at:

Maria Chambers, Fifth Grade

Maria comes to Kittredge with a deep-seated belief that school can and should be fun! With a background in Integrated Day Schools, Environmental Education and the Arts, Maria is a strong believer in the integration of subjects and individualized curriculum.

Maria began teaching in 1998 at the Price Farm School in New Hampshire and taught at several small schools in New England before starting her own Homeschool program in Vermont. For many summers she ran programs for Middle Schoolers at the Harris Center for Conservation Education as well as teaching art to children and adults in Vermont and Breckenridge, CO where she ran the ceramics studio in the Arts District. She holds a BA from the Evergreen State College and an MS in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England.

Throughout her career Maria has enjoyed working with small groups of students which allows her to attend to the individual, foster a delight in learning, and build community. Having taught in the Kittredge summer program for two years, Maria is delighted to join the full-year Kittredge community this year!

Maria’s website can be reached at:

Kevin Smith, Sixth Grade

Kevin is in his 15th year at Kittredge and his 13th year as sixth grade teacher. He received his BA in Anthropology at San Francisco State University, and his teaching credential from the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute (BATTI).

Kevin grew up in Japan, and enjoys bringing his international experiences into the classroom.

Kevin’s website can be reached at:

Debra McKee Dharmer, Seventh & Eighth Grades English Language & Literature

Debra Dharmer is in her eleventh year as Kittredge School’s 7th grade homeroom teacher and 7th and 8th grade Literature and Language Arts teacher. Prior to joining Kittredge, she taught high school at both public and charter schools in Massachusetts as well as in California.

Ms. Dharmer obtained a Bachelor of Arts with a dual major in History and English from SUNY Stony Brook. Subsequently she received her teaching credential in English for grades 7-12 from Framingham State in Massachusetts. She earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of San Francisco.

Ms. Dharmer believes in empowering students with strong reading and writing skills for navigation through life in all areas, personal and professional, no matter their eventual career choices. She especially enjoys the strong community at Kittredge and being able to witness the students’ growth throughout the years.

(Ms. Dharmer’s website is currently under revision)

Terry Young, Seventh & Eighth Grades Math & Social Studies

Mr. Terry Young, winner of a 2004 Herbst Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, has been teaching seventh and eighth graders at Kittredge for 37 years. He is the 8th grade homeroom teacher and teaches math and social studies to both the 7th and 8th grades. A native of Philadelphia, he received his BS in Secondary Education and his teaching credential at Temple University, and his MA in Secondary and Post-secondary Education at San Francisco State University.

While Mr. Young enjoys exploring the mathematical world with his students, his real passion is introducing them to the world of politics and government through daily discussions of current world events.

Mr. Young sits on the Board of Directors of the National Independent Private Schools Association (NIPSA) and is also Kittredge School’s representative to the Bay Area Independent Schools High School Placement Counselors organization. His record of getting students into San Francisco’s best high schools speaks for itself.

Mr. Young’s website is available at:

D'aria Rose Valbracht, Middle Grades Science, and Assistant Teacher

This is Ms. Rose’s 13th exciting year at Kittredge, and her ninth year as the middle grades’ science teacher.

D’aria Rose is from the Pacific Northwest. She earned her BA from Evergreen State College in Cultural Anthropology and Marine Biology. Miss Rose has traveled extensively, studied abroad, and moved to San Francisco from Berlin, Germany.

Miss Rose has taught marine biology to adults and children of all ages, worked as an educator on a marine research boat, and opened a costume shop in Berlin with her sisters. She is a dancer, artist and performer, and loves languages and nature.

Lourdes Unanua, Spanish

Lourdes is the co-founder of Globalanguages.Inc. Her experience in learning languages and training students spans over 30 years. She is fluent in Basque, Spanish, French and English. She has taught and directed language programs in the Basque Country, France and in the Bay Area. This is her fourth year teaching Spanish at Kittredge.

Lourdes completed her bachelor degree in Education in Paris. After finishing her undergraduate studies, Lourdes came to America touring with the Ballet Company, Etorky, and decided to stay in San Francisco. This city is her third home. The next years she spent studying and practicing ballet with Mr. Alonzo King. Meanwhile, she obtained her master’s degree in Comparative Literature with concentration in Spanish from the San Francisco State University.

Lourdes continues learning about American Multiculturalism and teaching the languages and cultures of Spanish and French speaking countries.

Giuliana Silvestri, P.E. Teacher, Art Teacher

Giuliana Silvestri (aka Gules) is a graduate of Dominican University in San Rafael, where she majored in International Management and minored in Sports Management. She also received her teaching credential there.

Giuliana runs the PE program, coaches our co-ed volleyball team, boys basketball team and co-ed futsal team, and has supervised the extended day program. If that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Gules also teaches art classes throughout the school.

David Silverman, Performing Arts

David‘s classroom approach to sharing his understanding of, and methodologies for, joyful creative inquiry have been forged, validated and refined over many years of real-world experience as a fine artist, and in his former work as a professional performer. One of his many mottos for sustaining focused engagement is Creating a new answer is good, creating a new question is even better.

As a multiple subject educator David has developed and implemented art and theatre curriculums with the nonprofit Children‘s Center of the Arts in Pasadena, CA. He has worked with the Los Angeles Unified School District‘s Emergency Immigrant Education Program where he taught English as a second language to at-risk youth through collaborative art projects. David developed workshops to foster self-esteem skills and non-violent conflict resolution for under-serviced youth during his artist-in-residency at ArtShare in Los Angeles. Since 2011, David has worked with the K-5 gifted population at Helios New School in Palo Alto, CA implementing emergent, project- and theme-based curricula.

Before committing full-time to arts education, David performed in professional theatre, television, radio and films. His first stage performance was at the age of six in a community theater in Detroit. His feature film work has included scenes performed with Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter (Copycat, 1995); Eddie Murphy (Metro, 1997); and Will Smith (Pursuit of Happyness [sic], 2006).

As a fine arts painter he has had various solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles and San Francisco, most notably inclusion in two juried group shows at The de Young Museum: A Tribute to Gilbert and George (2008); and Warhol and Beyond (2009). He is a featured contributing artist in San Francisco Street Art: Mission Murualismo, an internationally acclaimed book documenting three decades of the artistic, social, and political forces that shaped the SF street art movement (Abrams, 2009).

David graduated cum laude with a BA degree in Art (focus in Elementary Education) and was chosen as the hood recipient for the College of the Creative Arts at SFSU. He holds a clear single subject teaching credential in Art (K-12) and a clear multiple subject teaching credential (K-5).


Tanyn Sage Perkins, P.E.Assistant, Assistant Teacher and Extended Day

This is Ms. Perkins 10th year at Kittredge. She enjoys spending her mornings assisting Ms. Pon-Barry in the Kindergarten/First Grade classroom and her afternoons on the playground assisting Ms. Gules with, K-8th P.E. classes.

Ms. Perkins Received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Biological Sciences from Dominican University where she played basketball for the nationally ranked women’s basketball team. Tanyn most enjoys the honest sense of humor the children possess and the genuine excitement present as they learn and grasp new concepts.

Trudy Young, Business Manager/Administrative Assistant

Trudy is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, where she also worked for 10 years, most recently as Assistant Director of Annual Giving.

In addition to supervising the school’s business office for the last seventeen years, she is in her 19th year as Administrative Assistant to the Principal.

Sian Gallo, Extended Day

John Lavaroni, Extended Day

Graziella Villahermosa, Extended Day