Redwood Day is an independent, diverse K-8 school   |   510.534.0800
Dear Lower School Families,

We are so excited to start a new school year with you. Please enjoy these welcome letters from each lower school specialist teacher. Specialist teachers will share a deep dive into their curriculum at Virtual Back To School Night on Thursday, September 7 at 6:00 p.m. In addition, once a month, I will email you the lower school specialist newsletter, which will share curriculum highlights for their specific class.

Please reach out to me if you have any questions.


LS Specialist Welcome Letters

Please click on the header for each section to reveal or hide the contents.

List of 9 items.

  • Art

    Greetings, Redwood Day families! My name is Aaron Bos-Wahl, and I’m excited for my third year as the Lower School Art Teacher! I’m from the upper Midwest originally, but have lived in St. Louis, Paris, New York, and most recently, Philadelphia. 

    I look forward to seeing familiar faces this year, getting to know our new students, and exploring art together. We will undertake a range of projects in different media, learning from the varying approaches of mentor artists from diverse backgrounds. The major showcase for our year of learning and practice will be the Spring Art Show - I can’t wait! 

    Please feel free to email me any time at

    Aaron/Mr. Aaron
  • DiBL

    Hello Families,

    Welcome to the Design, Build, Innovate Lab (DBi Lab)! We can’t wait to welcome students back to the lab!
    About David: Hello! I am excited to join the Redwood Day community this year. I will be the DBi specialist for grades K-3, 7th, and 8th. I grew up in the Bay Area and have taught at schools in Oakland, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Mexico. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with Rio, my 1-year-old daughter, playing ultimate frisbee, and trying new restaurants. One of my favorite highlights from this summer was traveling with my family to Northern Spain.
    About Beth: I am starting my 8th year working at Redwood Day. I am a parent of two Redwood Day alums, Nick and Clayton, and I fell in love with the Redwood Day community during their time here. At home, I enjoy swimming, museum visits, and finding new ideas to try in the lab. This year, I will be teaching grades 4-6, one section of 7th and 8th grade Advanced Topics.
    The focus of the DBi’s work across all grades this year is Relationships—relationships between people, ideas, materials, and between form and function. Our approach to design and building is through relationships rather than technological because we believe building designers first in relationship with each other and their world will create healthier technologies and innovations for our future. We will definitely be utilizing technology to build future innovators, but it is not the driving force here.
    We are excited to build with your child’s creativity and ingenuity!
    Let’s build together!

    Beth EntrekinDavid Palange
  • Garden to Table

    Welcome to Garden to Table at Redwood Day!
    I can’t wait to welcome your students back to the garden and cooking classroom! This summer, I received a PGA grant to study indigenous cooking in Oaxaca. I loved exploring the crafts and cooking of the region and can’t wait to bring this knowledge into the classroom. I also spent time with my partner Rachel (a preschool teacher at Temple Beth El) planning our wedding this fall! 
    This year, Garden to Table will appear on the report card, and classes for students will remain rooted in ecosystems and sustainability, social studies, and skill building. I look forward to exploring and growing with your students! Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns at
    Ms. Sara (Kay)
  • Library

    Welcome back to school, Redwood Day! The Library is thrilled to start the 2023-2024 school year with you. We have some great things planned for this year that are going to be exciting for the students and the community, including Battle of the Books and Graphic Novel Writing Month!
    This year, the Library will be open during most recesses to provide a space for reading, games, and other fun activities. Lower school will enjoy a monthly recess party that will include craft and play activities. Middle School can look forward to book clubs, wellness classes, and author visits. And, as always, lower school students will come into the library to enjoy lessons that revolve around literacy, research, and digital citizenship.
    About Jessie: I’m Jessie, the new library assistant, and I’ll be teaching the K-2 library classes this year. As a longtime educator and the parent of a 1st and 4th grader, I am so excited to have this opportunity to bring my passion and experience with children’s literature to work. As my own kids have grown, I’ve loved exploring picture books, non-fiction texts (although that dinosaur phase lasted a little longer than I needed it to), graphic novels, and middle grades fiction with them, and I can’t wait to dive back into many of my favorites, as well as discovering lots of new ones this year. Much of my background is in middle school English, and it’s already been so uplifting to experience the joy and energy our youngest students bring to school and to the library. In my spare time, I enjoy sewing, knitting, and getting out in nature. I’m also a mending enthusiast, so if you have a favorite garment that’s seen better days and you’re looking for advice on repairing it, swing by the library for a consultation! Fair warning: You may also leave with a book or two. 
    About Mia: I am the K-8 Librarian teaching grade 3-5 library classes and grade 6-8 wellness and life skills classes focused on digital citizenship and media literacy with Shauna Barnett, our Technology Integration Specialist. My two decades in education include teaching middle and high school humanities, serving as an instructional technology teacher on special assignment, and working in school libraries. I am an active member of the Bay Area Independent School Librarians and the California School Library Association. My former colleague and I received the 2023 American Association of School Librarians Roald Dahl Miss Honey Social Justice Award. As a KQED Media Literacy Innovator and PBS Certified Media Literacy Educator, I facilitate professional development for educators. My hobbies include bullet journaling, cooking, jogging, hiking, biking, yoga, salsa, Zumba, and more. 
    We look forward to a year filled with reading, learning, and fun! 
    Mia GittlenJessie Jackson
  • Mandarin

    Hello, Parents, Guardians, and students!
    My name is Lu Villa. Students always call me Lu laoshi (teacher in Mandarin). This will be my 18th year teaching, and I will be your child’s K—5 Mandarin teacher. I am from Beijing, China. I worked at a public school in Beijing for six years, and then I came to the Bay Area in 2010. After completing my master’s degree in Education, I have been teaching a Mandarin immersion program for 10+ years. 
    I am super excited that you will be in my class this year. We are going to have a lot of FUN, and we will LEARN a lot! I am looking forward to working with you and getting to know your child/children, and helping them succeed in their education.
    If you have any questions or concerns or wish to inform me of anything you want me to know about your child/children, please do not hesitate to contact me at
    Lu laoshi
  • Music

    Please visit THIS PADLET for Mr. Bradley's Welcome and to learn more about our wonderful Lower School Music Program.
  • Physical Education

    Greetings Families,

    It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the K-5 Physical Education program at Redwood Day School. My name is Jason, but the kids call me Coach Jason, Coach JJ and/or Coach Burrito. Truth be told, the latter is not my favorite nickname, but if you subscribe to the theory that “you are what you eat,” it’s fairly fitting, so I’ve decided to embrace it. That said, just throwing it out there, Coach Avocado would be even more fitting. I eat a lot of avocados. How about Coach Fuji Apples? Delicious! Coach Cheddar Cheese?!
    OK, I digress. The point is, my name is Jason. I have a few amazing nicknames, and I love to eat burritos, avocados, fuji apples, and cheddar cheese. I also love being active and living a healthy lifestyle, and I’m among a fortunate group of humans that get paid to do what we love. But enough about me, let’s talk about the program.
    I have spent nearly two decades developing a PE program that is fun and engaging. The goal of this is not to develop superstar athletes (although this is listed as a possible side effect) but rather to help kids of all ages and abilities develop skills and healthy habits. The classes are designed to nurture a love of movement and provide a safe space for children to exercise their bodies and minds. The activities are designed to help them develop physical, social and emotional tools, and the lessons are designed to be super sticky. We begin each class with a dynamic warmup routine and end by saying, "Thanks for playing".
    In short, I'm extremely excited about our PE program and looking forward to another great year beneath the redwoods.

  • Science

    Dear Redwood Day School Families,
    I am Ashley (ash) Black, your new K-5 Science Teacher! My teaching career started 15 years ago as an Elementary STEAM educator. Since then, I have held several roles in K-8 International Baccalaureate schools across the US and abroad. Some of my favorite activities include camping, playing soccer, discovering new places, and spending time with family.
    My passion runs deep for inquiry-based learning, and I hold a Master's in Sustainability Leadership from Portland State University. My personal and professional work is firmly grounded in social and ecological justice. My hope for this school year is to inspire our students to ask questions, explore new ideas, and use discovery as a vehicle for learning and experiencing the magnificent world around them.
    Throughout the school year, we will share our Science experiences through a monthly newsletter. Please stay tuned for that, and in the meantime, feel free to reach out with any inquiries.
    ash (she/they)
  • Spanish

    Dear Redwood Day School Families,
    ¡Bienvenidos a la clase de Español! Welcome to Spanish class!
    I am excited to introduce myself and share a bit about the Lower School Spanish program with you. My name is Pica Lockwood, but my students call me Maestra Pica. I can’t believe that I am starting my 25th year at Redwood Day! My personal journey of speaking Spanish began when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica from 1991-1997. My Peace Corps community continues to be central to my life. My family runs a summer student program to the community, and my husband is from the village. Some of my favorite activities include running, traveling in Central America, photography, and reading books in the warm sun. I am also a Redwood Day parent. My daughter, Kanani, is in the seventh grade. 
    I have so much to be excited about this school year! I am especially looking forward to reconnecting with my students, implementing new activities, and sharing in your child’s language acquisition journey.
    It is my belief that acquiring a second language is a life-long journey, one which allows you to explore other cultures and make friends from all over the world. According to Dr. Krashen, linguist and researcher, we all acquired our first language because we received “abundant, comprehensible input.” I believe that students acquire their second language the same way that they acquire their first language. That means that my job as their teacher is to load them full of abundant, personalized, comprehensible input, or in other words, Spanish that they can understand. This may look vastly different than a traditional Spanish classroom. In my classes, we create characters and stories; we discuss engaging video clips and photographs; we read short novels, sing songs, say chants, talk about our lives and play games as vehicles to deliver Spanish that they understand. If this sparks your curiosity, I am happy to share more information about what Comprehensible Input Teaching looks like and invite you to come see a lesson in action. 
    Please feel free to email me throughout the year with questions or comments. I value parent communication and will do my best to respond promptly. 

    In partnership, 
    Pica Lockwood
    Lower School Spanish Teacher
    (She, her, hers)
3245 Sheffield Ave
Oakland, CA 94602