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Saratoga Education Foundation Programs

About Saratoga Education Foundation (SEF)

Saratoga Education Foundation (SEF) was formed in 1982, by a group of parents who came together because they were concerned about California dramatically cutting state funding for public education. Through the years, donors to SEF have provided the means for Saratoga Union School District to provide programs that are not otherwise funded by the state. Your SEF donation dollars go towards students' education in the arts, music, science, technology, and physical education.

Saratoga Education Foundation’s mission is to ensure that SUSD students receive a high quality and well rounded education. Through family and community contributions, SEF helps support educational programs valued by our families but cannot be provided by public funding alone. The Foundation is also committed to conducting its operations in a manner that actively encourages community involvement and builds cooperation among district organizations and schools.

SEF granted $825,000 during 2019-2020 through generous parent, community, and corporate matching donations.

Saratoga Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that raises money for supporting high quality educational programs in SUSD.

Learn more about SEF at
How to donate, corporate matching, and more

STEM & STEAM Education at Redwood, Argonaut, Foothill, and Saratoga Schools

STEM is a curriculum based on educating students in four specific disciplines - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. STEAM includes Art as well.

In elementary school, all grade levels use SEF-funded Makerspaces for hands-on STEAM learning when in school. Distance Learning lessons to do at home are in development. In 3rd grade, students learn computer programming fundamentals as part of their STEM education. At Redwood Middle School, SEF donations provide STEM education via Project Lead the Way classes.

Kelley Booth

Technology and Innovation
TK-5th Grade Makerspace
3rd Grade Computer Science
Argonaut, Foothill, and Saratoga Elementary Schools



This is Kelley Booth’s 14th year teaching in Saratoga Union School District. Previously an elementary school teacher (Special Education and General Education grades 2, 3, and 4), this is her first year as the Technology and Innovation teacher. Kelley is excited for the opportunity to teach students a subject area that is so relevant in today’s world. Kelley is passionate about hands-on learning for students and believes that the design process inherent in Makerspace activities allows students to shine and stretch their abilities. So far this year, she has launched the 3rd grade computer science program online, provides Distance Learning instructional technology professional development to teachers, and created Distance Learning tutorials for parents and staff. Right now, Kelley is working on preparing the Makerspaces and setting up Makerspace Distance Learning activities to do at home.

The elementary Makerspace program serves students in TK-5th grades. Each elementary school has a dedicated Makerspace where students learn to be creative, collaborative problem solvers. The Makerspace program includes activities in the realms of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). These strands are woven together in a project-based learning model where students apply their learning in a hands-on format. Students learn iteration through the design process as they make, evaluate, and revise their designs. Tools that students learn to use include: a variety of manipulatives, tools such as drills, saws, and sewing machines, robots, physical computing components, 3D printers, and a variety of technology and circuitry tools.

In 3rd grade computer science classes, students learn digital citizenship, Google Suite basics, keyboarding, block programming, and other programs. Computer students also engage in projects that integrate their in-class learning objectives.

Fun facts about Mrs. Booth:

  • Attended college in Hawaii
  • Has taught at all three elementary sites in SUSD
  • Hobbies: gardening, reading, going to the beach, and outdoor adventures of all kinds
  • Favorite thing to do at home: games with my children and husband
  • Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Due Hoang

Project Lead the Way
Redwood Middle School



Due Hoang has been teaching math and STEM in middle school and high school for over 14 years. This is his 4th year teaching the Project Lead the Way courses (STEM A and STEM B) at Redwood. Due is also one of Redwood’s Distance Learning lead teachers this year. In a normal year, he would help manage the Redwood Makerspace and its technologies. Besides teaching STEM, Mr. Hoang has a passion for mentoring kids in Robotics. Last year his student-lead robotics team, Redwood Robotics, were California State Champions. Due was recently awarded the prestigious CREATE US Open National Mentor of the Year award.

This year STEM A and STEM B students will be learning and applying the design process throughout their hands-on projects. Through the Design and Modeling module, students will learn to use a 3D CAD modeling software, Autodesk Inventor, to design and prototype their solution to different design challenges. As they switch gears into the Automation and Robotics module, students will be able to apply their programming knowledge along with basic mechanics to automate systems. Through various projects, students will get to practice skills of organization, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and responsibility.

Fun facts about Mr. Hoang:

  • Born in Vietnam
  • Hobbies: working on cars, fishing, learning the art of smoking meat
  • Sports: road biking, tennis, table tennis, snowboarding, enjoying the great outdoors 
  • Favorite thing to do at home: spend time with his 1 year old son.
  • Mr. Hoang had a day named after him when he was in high school.
  • Favorite quote: “Teach like your child is in this class.”

Elementary School Science Labs

The Science Labs provide elementary school aged students with a place for Hands-On Science. It is a great place to learn by doing! The students get to explore, question, plan, create and carry out experiments to enhance what they are discussing in the classroom. During Distance Learning through SEF funding for Science Lab, staff are supporting teachers by assembling Lab Kits that are sent home. The students are then able to to do the labs at home along with their teachers. The Science Coordinators are also assisting with the elementary schools' Next Generation Science Standards pilot of curriculum that will be considered for possible adoption.

Bridget Parr

Elementary School Science Coordinator



Bridget Parr has been a Science Coordinator in SUSD for 12 years. Her favorite part of the job is seeing the students light up when they discover or understand something new. She feels that the students learn in so many ways that giving them the opportunity to learn by doing is a key to success. Bridget will be providing support for the Next Generation Science Standards curriculum pilot for 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades.

Fun facts about Bridget:

  • All four of Bridget’s children went through Argonaut Elementary, Redwood Middle, and Saratoga High School
  • She loves animals (all kinds of creatures)
  • In her spare time she and her husband enjoy playing golf
  • She is a HUGE sports fan

Jennifer Norris

Elementary School Science Coordinator


Jennifer Norris is in her 4th year as Science Coordinator. She feels that children are natural scientists and enjoys seeing that displayed in the Science Lab. She misses seeing the students in person but is glad to be able to send home hands-on lab activities during Distance Learning. Jennifer will also be providing support for the Next Generation Science Standards curriculum pilot for grades Kindergarten, 1st, and 4th.

Fun facts about Jennifer:

  • Jennifer grew up in Southern California but has lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years
  • Tennis is her favorite sport to watch and play
  • She enjoys spending time with family and her labradoodle, Louie
  • Favorite activities include hiking, going to the beach and anything else outdoors

Elementary School Music

Music in elementary school focuses on listening, singing, following rhythms and beats, and exposure to different musical styles including folk, traditional, jazz and musical theater. Through voice, playing, movement and listening, students are introduced to the elements of music theory. The music curriculum develops the students’ intrinsic motivation toward lifelong music appreciation and basic musicianship. SEF donors are an integral part of being able to provide music education for our elementary aged students!

Barbara Jones

2nd-5th Grades and SDC Music



This is Barbara’s fourth year teaching music in SUSD. She holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance, and is eager to share what she has learned with her students. Her students’ willingness and enthusiasm for learning makes teaching a joy! In her spare time, Barbara enjoys reading, hiking and spending time with her husband and son.

Music in 2nd-5th grades and SDC is provided synchronously through Zoom and asynchronously through Google Classroom. Each week students sing songs and listen to musical selections from a variety of genres. Choreography and movement is an important component of each lesson, as it gives students the opportunity to feel the music and get up and move! Music theory is embedded in each lesson; students learn to read notated music and practice rhythmic reading using “found” instruments in their homes. Students also use solfege syllables (do, re mi, etc.) to explore the relationship between pitches. Because music is an expressive art, classes discuss how elements like key, dynamics, and tempo influence how a musical work makes us feel. Every song or piece of music students encounter has a background story, so classes often explore the history behind the music. As they sing, listen to, and study music in class, students will gain an appreciation for music and have fun along the way!

Joe Ward

TK, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade Music



Joe Ward is currently the Music Program Director for Rhythm and Moves. He was born and raised in upstate New York (Schenectady specifically if you’ve ever heard of it). He graduated in 2013 from The Crane School of Music in northern New York with a degree in Music Education as a French Horn player, with a specialization in Music in Special Education. After graduation he moved to California to work for Rhythm and Moves. Joe has been teaching general music with them ever since and is their Music Program Director for over a year.

Elementary School Physical Education via Rhythm & Moves

The Rhythm and Moves Physical Education (PE) curriculum, funded via SEF donors, teaches students successful ways of moving so they enjoy physical activity while learning that being physically fit and healthy is good for their physical, emotional and social well-being. The expected outcomes of the program continue to evolve to address the changing needs regarding health and fitness especially as we continue to grow through Distance Learning.

In elementary school the PE curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of movement by developing an appreciation for a variety of skills and physical activities. Students learn to feel kinesthetically confident and competent, increasing the likelihood they will continue to enjoy and look for more opportunities for physical activity later in life.

Program Overview (PDF)

Lauren Evanoff

PE Teacher
Argonaut and Foothill Elementary Schools



Lauren has been teaching for Rhythm and Moves for the past four years. She has a kind and caring approach with each of her classes and takes great pride in teaching.

Fun facts about Lauren:

  • Favorite activities: camping, hiking, and going to the beach 
  • Loves to read! Favorite books include: the Harry Potter series, the His Dark Materials series, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • Favorite Food: Mexican 
  • Hobbies: gardening and learning hand-lettering

Cheryl Hrstich

PE Teacher
Saratoga Elementary School



Cheryl has been teaching with Rhythm and Moves for almost 19 years, with seven of those years at Saratoga Elementary. She is a passionate teacher with a wonderful gift of mentorship as she also supports first year teachers through their teaching practice. Her spirit engages learners and ignites a passion within them to engage in healthy choices.

Fun facts about Cheryl:

  • Favorite Sport: collegiate athlete-softball and soccer
  • Passions: health and fitness, travel and animals
  • Hobbies: wakeboarding, yoga, hiking, and snowboarding 
  • Loves to travel: has visited 28 countries and 43 U.S. states
  • Quote: “Donuts are my kryptonite.” 

Elementary School Art4Schools Program

The Art4Schools program is provided by the Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA). CSMA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit center for arts education serving the Bay Area. 

The Art4Schools program consists of in-depth, skill-building and sequential art lessons that meet the California State Visual and Performing Arts Standards for Art. The program emphasizes four major areas:

  • Creative expression
  • Appreciation of the cultural and historical foundation of art
  • Understanding of the language of art
  • Development of technical skills

The arts program is a sequential, standards-based curriculum including additional content for distance learning, ESL/ELL students, and asynchronous needs. 

Through drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and basic three-dimensional concepts, students develop basic technical skills as well as learn concepts such as line, shape, value, form and color. Lessons are often inspired by a master artist or a cultural/historical context that encourages students to explore topics from other perspectives. 2020-2021 SEF Art4 Schools Overview

Veronica Felix

Art Teacher
Foothill Elementary School



Veronica Felix was a teacher for young children in Italy. For the last 10 years, she has run art/science workshops in the Bay Area. She is focused on creating and transmitting her love for art in different forms and media. She works daily on her art projects, mostly encaustic (bee’s wax) and ceramics.

Teaching philosophy:
“Art is a wonderful, powerful tool. In my classes, I encourage the students to free their minds, experience the joy of creating, feel colors, forms, sense, and texture, and to stay connected with the feeling. The students are always surprised at their creativity and capacity to learn new ways to express who they are through art.”

Cathy Le Lannic

Art Teacher
Saratoga Elementary School



Cathy has been an art teacher since 2013. In her own work, she paints with oil and draws mainly with charcoal. She has taught all elementary age school children and loves their excitement for art and their creativity.

Teaching philosophy:
“I grew up in France in the Burgundy area. I was lucky to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, farms and incredible architecture. I studied and worked in France in Interior Design. I believe that Art makes children powerful.”

Philip Nagai

Art Teacher
Argonaut Elementary School



Philip holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising Design from the Academy of Art University. After 10 years in graphic arts/advertising, Philip started teaching art at a school in 2004. Philip’s artwork consists of pen and ink illustrations, color pencil illustrations as well as computer generated artwork. He has taught students from ages 5 through 18 and enjoys teaching all different styles using different mediums to students of all ages and backgrounds.

Teaching philosophy:
“When students have fun with the process of creating art, it fills me with joy!"