Staff Directory

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~ Attendance, Nova

Personal Message

Aytch, Brian

Pronouns: He/Him Position: Special Education Instructor

Personal Message

I have a passion for teaching subjects such as world history, study skills and economics.

Barth, Susan

Biological Sciences, Farm, Conservation, Health, Marine Biology


I am devoted to conservation of our natural ecosystems. I realize that it's a big topic and some folks feel hopeless to change our trajectory. If we can all commit to mini-behavior changes, we can make a huge difference. Shave a few minutes off your shower, buy less new products, reduce your animal product consumption by one meal a day or one a week if that is doable. When one change becomes a habit, start another. Talk to your friends, convince them to start.

,Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
Born out of alternative education, I hold high the knowledge that learners are unique and so should be their education. As soon as I walked in to Nova, it felt like home. Some things I love about Nova are the individualized attention that I get with students, that students are involved in decision making, and the ability to teach towards my passion.

How would you describe your teaching style?
When I asked the students in my room at lunch today, the responses were "Motherly", "Doesn't give up" and "Persistent".

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
Cell Biology, Farm, Conservation, Marine Ecology, Health and Yearbook.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
The students.

California State University, Northridge: BA Environmental Biology
Miami University and The Woodland Park Zoo: MA in Education, Advanced Inquiry Program
South Seattle College: Career and Tech Ed, in progress.

Brown, Lance

Math Teacher


I am an experienced public school math teacher. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics/Black History and a Master’s Degree in special education. I relocated to Seattle from New York City in 2016.

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I have experienced, first-hand,  how the power of education can break the cycle of poverty.

After two decades of a career in banking, real estate and title insurance, I returned to university 

to fulfill my desire to become a mathematics teacher.  I will teach my students to learn how to learn

Croft, Adam

Teacher and Coordinator

Personal Message

I work with students in classes like "Life on Earth", "Environmental Justice", and "Earthology", as well as committees like "Planet Nova", to explore how the Earth lives and how best to work for justice.

•    What brought you to Nova?

A small, personalized, democratically-run, justice-focused learning community committed to the growth and success of all students in which I could work collaboratively with both staff and students -- how could I resist?

•    How would you describe your teaching style?

My courses start with big, relevant questions that drive our shared inquiry both within and outside the classroom. I work to center students in their own learning process while de-centering dominant narratives of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and other power inequalities. Students demonstrate their learning through multiple possible pathways, including projects, writing, classroom discussions, and other performance-based assessment. And I try to make sure our learning experience is engaging, meaningful, and compelling -- there's so much for us all to learn and do!

•    Why do you teach? And/or what do you hope to influence?

Our world is dominated by unjust systems of power and exploitation that must be confronted, deconstructed, and replaced -- if not, people and communities will continue to face violence and oppression while our society fails to live up to its potential. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to participate in the process of helping to create a more equitable, just, and life-affirming world.

•    What’s your favorite thing about Nova?

At Nova, I actually can work with students and adults to change how we teach and learn, and how we can live in this world. We share a commitment to justice that pushes and supports my own work while providing our students with an unparalleled education. We aren't perfect, but we always demand to do better. I love Nova!


Gruber, Stefan

Teacher CTE - High School


Stefan Gruber (they/them)

,Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?

I was a Nova student in the 90’s and thought an animation dept at Nova would be so wonderful. I got my Animation degree at CalArts, and came back home to create films and begin a program here in 2001.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Collaborative. My ideas for a class grow from the students and their evolving needs. I have a menu of fun exercises I offer, and many of my offerings were born from a Novian asking me “Can we do this kind of project next?”

Why do you teach? 

Creating animation gives me bliss. Making animation with a community of people amplifies that bliss. At Nova I get to see patience grow in artists, and some of my favorite artists are getting their starts here in our program.

And/or what do you hope to influence?

I hope to give people at Nova a chance for peaceful self-care through the simple creation of life on a page. I live for the moment when I witness someone seeing their markings coming to life on the big screen. Our end-year showcases at Northwest Film Forum are a wild ride, and are not to be missed! We archive them here on Vimeo, check them out!!

Harkness, Jared

He/Him - Instructional Assistant

Personal Message

blah blah blah


Kuttner, Debbie

Language Arts Teacher, Coordinator, College Prep Advisor



,Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
Internship in 1997

How would you describe your teaching style?
Compassionate, radical when needed, traditional when needed.

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
Love. Hope. I hope to empower all people to feel confident about their reading, writing, and communicating abilities.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
Culture of Kindness

Laird, Rebecca

Special Education Teacher - she/her

Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
Initially, I was transferred to Nova when Summit K-12 closed. I have stayed at Nova because of the students and my colleagues. The opportunity to get to know students and families and to advocate for their needs is really important to me.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I love seeing students ask questions and figure things out. In my role as a special education teacher I enjoy figuring out creative ways for students to explore how they think and feel and interact with the world. I ask a lot of questions and do my best to build a framework for students to work within that provides the right amount of structure and support.

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
I teach because I want to see young people feel healthy and whole in the world when they leave high school. I hope that students leave Nova knowing that they have someone in their corner who will listen and stand up for them.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
My favorite thing about Nova is getting to know students and working alongside them to learn and grow and be a better person.

Lombard, Rhian


Maley, Matthew

Long Term Substitute

Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
I first came to Nova in 2016, covering a math classroom for one week, and I just about never left! I have taught Math, Physics and Music classes here, as well as spending the 2018-19 school year as a 0.5 FTE Special Education Instructional Assistant. Now, I am covering Allison's classroom, as part of the Resource program at Nova, while she is out on maternity leave!

How would you describe your teaching style?
I am 100% on-board with Nova's approach to hands-on, problem-based education. I believe no matter how often or well students can repeat facts and figures, those facts and figures are meaningless until they are given context and brought into the real world.

What do you teach?
I am currently in the Resource Program at Nova, providing a classroom environment for students to practice study skills and to catch up on classwork and missing credits.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
The democratic, student involvement in all of the crucial decision-making processes, such as hiring & review and the budget!

Why do you teach? What do you hope to influence?
I teach to change the world! Only by honestly and clearly identifying not only the wonderful things about our world, but the massive and systemic barriers to education and access, can students be inspired to take on the challenge of building a better world than the one they inherited.

B.S. in Mathematics (2013) from Bates College
M.Ed. in Special Education (ongoing, projected completion in 2021) from Seattle University
Certificated to teach Mathematics and Physics

McKittrick, Terrance

Language Arts Teacher, Coordinator

Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
This was the only school I saw who made students first, taught with compassion, sincerity, and rigor, and was always working to become better.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I am trying to get students to find their voice, learn how to critically think, and realize there are multiple processes in becoming an actual human being.

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
I teach because I love to learn with others. I teach because I am driven by the impulse to help in any way I can. I'm hoping to help my students realize not only the honor it is to learn how to become a human but to also realize the responsibility they have to center others and their world while they engage in that process.  It is also incredibly essential for me to work with my fellow teachers and ultimately my students decentralized the white narrative and doing antiracist work.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
Nova is a safe place for students to learn about who they are and work with others to facilitate the growth of justice, truth, and community. This is my 19th year here and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Nicholson, Glenda

Special Education Asst/ISE - 203/7

Park, Melissa

She/Her - Humanities & Ethnic Studies Teacher, Coordinator

Personal Message

Parker, Annie

Assistant Principal

Podbela, Karen

Admin Secretary Alt Secondary-222

Reade, Julia

Special Education Teacher-ACCESS Program

Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
The opportunity to focus teaching and learning on social justice and student interests.

How would you describe your teaching style?
Collaborative, structured, energetic.

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
Health, PE, Language Arts, and other stuff; wellness for all.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
Individuality is centered and encouraged.

Richardson, Chelsey

Special Education Asst/ISE - 203/7 she/her

Spigner, Jennifer

College and Career Center Specialist

Srinivasan, Akil

He/him - Teacher-High School



,Personal Message