AdministrationEPAPA benefits from a small but dedicated staff which is passionate about the mission of preparing traditionally under-served children for success in college and the world beyond.
Thomas Madson, Principal
Tom Madson is proud to be the principal of East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. He came to northern California from Michigan in 1999 after working as a youth specialist for the Sarah Fisher Residential Treatment Center and teaching high school English. Mr. Madson originally taught third grade at East Palo Alto Charter School, and in 2004 became the Vice Principal for the K-8 program. In 2006, at the behest of our school's students and parents, Mr. Madson and Nick Romagnolo (another EPACS instructor) founded EPAPA in order to ensure that every single one of our students would have the support and opportunities they would need to attend and complete college Mr. Madson has a BA in Psychology and in English Language and Literature and also holds an M.A. in Educational Administration. Mr. Madson has remained at EPACS-EPAPA because "the entire community works so hard to develop these youngsters and I am proud to have been involved for so long."
Melissa Pelochino, Academic Dean
Melissa Pelochino is our school's Academic Dean. In that capacity, Ms. Pelochino works to ensure that our students benefit from the highest quality academic instruction. Ms. Pelochino graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Law and Society. She earned her masters in reading from Saint Mary's University, and she has extensive training in extended learning and literacy. She is extremely grateful to be part of such an effective school and organization. "I thrive on the success of our students, the collaboration of our staff, and the commitment our families have to help their children get to and through college.”
Joanna Bradshaw, Dean of Students, English Lead
Ms. Bradshaw teaches 9th and 11th grade English. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Psychology. Prior to joining the EPAPA family in 2008, she studied traditional African dance in Ghana, served a mission in Taipei, Taiwan and worked for two years as a special needs instructor and student council advisor at Beechwood School in East Menlo Park. Ms. Bradshaw is thrilled to be a part of the EPAPA family and is continually inspired by the passion and dedication of the staff, students and families with whom she works.
Geneva Europa, Secondary Math and Science Instructional Coach
After teaching middle school math for four years at EPACS, Ms. Europa moved into a new coaching position that was created with the generous support of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Geneva graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Bio-Psychology and a minor in Asian-American Studies. She earned her M.A. in Secondary Education from San Francisco State University. Ms. Euorpa started her teaching career with Teach for America and has taught in New Orleans and Pacoima, CA; she joined EPACS in 2007. She is continually impressed with the collaborative efforts and dedication of the staff, students, and families at EPACS.
Mike Berman, Director of Development and Community Partnerships
Mike Berman joined the EPACS staff in the winter of 2003. Mr. Berman worked as a middle school Humanities teacher until July 2008, when he joined the staff of East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy as a college counselor/academic advisor, part-time dean of students, after school program director, and "utility infielder." In his current capacity as the Director of Development and Community Partnerships for our K-12 school, Mr. Berman works to find funds and resources to support our school's innovative programs. While earning his BA and MA in US History from Stanford University, Mr. Berman tutored at several different schools in East Palo Alto. The experience inspired him to learn more about this fascinating and vibrant community, and he wrote his master's thesis about the history of East Palo Alto. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC, Mr. Berman has remained at EPACS and EPAPA because this school is his family away from his family, and he is dedicated to seeing every one of our students graduate from a four-year college or university.
Esmeralda Maldonado, Office Assistant
Ms. Maldonado has worked at EPAPA as the office assistant since 2007. She first joined the Aspire community in 2004, when her children were enrolled at EPACS. She feels that it is a pleasure to come to school everyday and be part of EPAPA. She has come to appreciate the unity of the community because it makes a difference in many families' lives. Esmeralda is currently attending Canada College to improve her knowledge of Microsoft Office; future plan include studying excel in the English Language.
Melanie Tsang, Office Manager
Melanie Tsang joined the EPAPA team in August 2008. She was born and raised in Fresno, California (living the country life). She graduated from UC Davis in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in Asian American Studies. Melanie has had various jobs in different schools, including a substitute special education teacher and an intern in a first grade classroom. After graduation from Davis, she moved to the Bay Area and worked in administration at various universities, including Stanford Medical School and San Francisco State University. After much searching, she has finally found the right place to work and is glad that she can help make a difference in a school that aims for excellence. She enjoys being surrounded by lively teachers who strive to make college a possibility for EPAPA students.
Tatiana Epanchin-Troyan, Bay Area Superintendent, Aspire Public Schools
Tatiana Epanchin serves as Aspire's Bay Area Superintendent. Before joining the management team, Tatiana was the founding principal of Aspire ERES Academy in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. Previously, she served as principal of Monarch Academy in East Oakland. Under her leadership, the school increased student proficiency levels from 51% to 73% in math and 29% to 45% in language arts. In 2008, Monarch Academy was awarded the National Title I Distinguished School Award for closing the achievement gap, an honor bestowed upon only 1 out of every 9,600 schools in the state. Prior to becoming principal, Tatiana taught at Monarch Academy and served as Lead Teacher for the grades 6-8 Humanities Team at Aspire's Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, where she was also a founding teacher. She began her teaching career with Teach for America in New Orleans where she taught middle school in the Ninth Ward. Tatiana is a New Leaders for New Schools National Fellow from the 2004 cohort. She has also been a social worker in Contra Costa County, working on intensive family preservation cases. She holds a BA in sociology, a MSW and a M.Ed.
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