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Can Do! Funded MCSD Specialists

Can Do! directly funds 16 Instructional Specialists as well as over 20 staff leaders of clubs who support the 1,800+ students at Lucas Valley, Mary E. Silveira, and Vallecito Elementary schools as well as Miller Creek Middle School.  Meet your student's Instructional Specialists and see what you fund. 

2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR

Can Do! Programs are only available as a result of parent and community support and generosity.  Help us provide the best possible programs and services to our students.  

Can Do! funds, but is not limited to, these Elementary School Specialists:  

  • Elementary Art Specialists and supplies at each site
  • Elementary PE Specialist and equipment at each site
  • K-2 Music and Movement Specialist and supplies at each site
  • Lunch Clubs stipends and supplies
  • Elementary Counseling Services - Now there are two on-site counselors
  • Garden specialist at each site

Can Do! funds, but is not limited to, these Middle School Specialists: 

  • Academic, Leadership, & Arts clubs stipends and supplies
  • After school and intramural sports stipends and equipment
  • Counseling services support, including the Wellness Center Coordinator
  • Garden specialists

laura winter









 Art K-5, Laura Winter (Mary Silveira) 

My name is Laura Winter. I am originally from Ireland and became fascinated with clay while studying art therapy as part of her Psychology degree. I moved to SF and took classes in ceramic design at Fort Mason. This is my 14th year teaching art and my 4th with the district. I was teaching at my own art studio prior to that for 10 years. I believe in child led art education where I encourage each child to find their artist's voice and express it freely. I am passionate about collaborations and have successfully created many school and district wide collaborations over the years. I led our remote art program during Covid and provided a much needed outlet for our young artists during our most challenging year. In addition, I brought joy to the community and honored our front line heroes by sharing students' artwork through the HeARTwalk, Unite With Light, the Miller creek Kindness Rock Project, Wish Trees, and more. I lead a fun and engaging classroom environment where every student feels confident to express themselves fully. 

Paula Ockner

K-5 Art, Paula Ockner (Lucas Valley) 

Hello, my name is Paula Ockner (Ms. Paula) I am delighted to be the Art Teacher at Lucas Valley Elementary School. My passion is ART and I am looking forward to applying my talents in the classroom to create a wonderful learning environment for and with the children to explore and to use their imagination. 

I was born and raised in England and moved to San Francisco 19 years ago. I attended Bath Spa University where I graduated with a BA (Hons) Degree in Teaching, specializing in Art and Art Therapy. Since then I have worked in a variety of educational institutions including preschools, elementary schools, behavioral units, special needs programs, and community recreation centers offering Art classes. I have my own Art School and Studio for ages 18 months to 99 years. I have created Murals and Art Workshops in schools in San Francisco and Marin and I have been teaching for 25 years and simply love it!

Throughout my teaching career in schools, I have taught children from 18 months to 16. I have worked as Head Teacher, Preschool Director, Art Teacher, and Lead Teacher in math and reading. I have met and worked with amazing teachers, children and families and enjoy working together within a community.  I am enthusiastic, creative, and love teaching. Being creative and full of ideas I am constantly adapting to our everyday culture and needs of our artists of all ages. I look forward to sharing, collaborating with, and exploring many projects in the classroom and as a District. Art encourages self-expression and creativity and can build confidence as well as a sense of individual identity. My goal is to provide artists with many varied and meaningful experiences using various materials to express themselves and create many opportunities that nurture the love of being creative.

I recognize that each child learns in different ways and that there is a key to every child and their creativity. Witnessing a young child grow and learn something new is an inspiring and magical thing to observe. I am so happy and excited to have been given this wonderful opportunity to work with your lovely children and I look forward to meeting you all. Thank you.


K-5 PE Specialist, Alex Wahl (Lucas Valley) 

Hello, my name is Alex Wahl. Born and raised in Marin County, I attended K-8 at Gallinas School (now known as Venetia Valley), Terra Linda High School, College of Marin, and eventually graduated from UCLA. For the past 10 years, I have worked with kids as a daycare counselor, a summer camp counselor, a wrestling coach, and a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor. All these experiences have taught me the importance of teaching physical activity and healthy competition. These help students to develop life skills such as confidence, focus, teamwork, and sportsmanship. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to teach the students of Lucas Valley Elementary as their PE specialist.


K-5 Physical Education, Sarah Paoli (Vallecito) 

My name is Sarah Paoli.  I am originally from Denver, Colorado but this is my home. I  have lived in Marini since I was in 8th grade.  I have a daughter who graduated in 2018 from TLHS, my alma mater. She is currently studying Marketing and Real Estate in Santa Barbara.  I studied Business Management and Recreation and found my passion in the Recreation side. I have been fortunate to work in the education and aquatics fields for almost 30 years.  I coach for a year round swim team, Thunder Coast Aquatics, and am the head coach for Novato Riptide, an MSL. In PE, I will teach games that reinforce sportsmanship, team building, and fair play. Physical activity helps the students' bodies and minds grow!  I hope to instill a love of physical activity in all students! I am so fortunate to be a part of the Vallecito family.  I look forward to another year with all of your children. 


6-8 Garden, Nina Cunnan (Miller Creek) 

My name is Nina Cunnan and I began gardening with students at Miller Creek Middle School in 2013. I am a Marin Master Gardener and I co-chair a garden education program for second and third graders in the county called "Dig It, Grow It, Eat It". I have a Master's in Public Health and had a career in microbiology and laboratory science. I have three grown children who attended Miller Creek School District schools and Terra Linda High School. I am the past president of the Terra Linda Scholarship Foundation.  At MCMS, I run the garden club every Wednesday and some Fridays. I also work with the L.E.A.D. class and the MCMS Environmental Ambassadors on beautification projects as well as coordinating garden activities with teachers and their classes.  If you are interested in volunteering at the Miller Creek School Garden or in beautification efforts at MCMS, please contact Nina Cunnan:


K-5 Garden, Elizabeth Etienne (Lucas Valley)

My name is Elizabeth Etienne and I am so excited to re-enliven our incredible garden at LVE. Originally from Louisiana, I have been in the Bay Area for the last 20 years. Our family moved from Oakland to Lucas Valley during the summer of 2020. I am an Exhibition Designer and Project Manager turned Independent Cultural Producer. I spent 7 years designing and producing exhibitions at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, then another 7 years at Chabot Space and Science Center. I recently opened a co-creative office space in Lucas Valley, called Enchanted Lands. We offer wellness services and space rental, as well as programs and partnerships devoted to integrating personal inspiration and a heart-centered connection to nature into our families, communities, and livelihoods. Gardens are an incredible way to learn about the world around us and enjoy time together. I hope to see you in the garden soon.


K-5 Garden, Sandy Turner Parry (Vallecito)

Hello. My name is Sandy Turner Parry and I was born in the northwest of England. I was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland where I completed a Ph.D. in Psychology. My work has always been with families. It has ranged from offering support to new parents and teaching classes about newborn care and child development, to working as a family counselor in private practice. I have three grown daughters, all of whom have families of their own.

In England, gardening is not only a hobby but a national obsession. I was raised to be careful of resources and to re-use and re-cycle wherever possible. A few years ago I became a UC Master Gardener and then worked as a school garden educator in a local elementary school.

I have been volunteering with the National Parks for over a decade and particularly like to encourage children to recognize that they are stewards of this planet. 

I believe that being in a garden setting and seeing and hearing about the creatures and plants that live there can encourage children to recognize their connection to other beings. I like the idea that children grow up understanding where their food comes from and how to eat so they can be healthy. Growing things and watching the seasons of nature as they move and slowly change can be a valuable experience. Learning to be patient, seeing how plant systems nourish each other, and watching plants re-energize and flourish can teach very useful Life Lessons.

K-5 Physical Education, Mercedes Valtierra (Mary Silveira) 

K-5 Art, Jamie Newman (Vallecito) 



K-5 Counseling Support, Katrina Villena

My name is Katrina Villena, and I am thrilled to be supporting MCSD as a K5 School Counselor at all three elementary schools. I am originally from Anaheim, CA. I received my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from UC Merced and a Masters in Counseling Psychology with a dual concentration in School Counseling and Clinical Counseling from the University of San Francisco. I have worked as a bilingual community liaison, a tutor, and a private school teacher. Most recently, I worked as a School Counseling Trainee with San Rafael City Schools and Novato Unified. I have worked with all age groups and am so excited to be at the elementary level. This year, I am implementing our district-wide social-emotional curriculum, meeting students individually and running small groups, and planning school-wide and community events in support of these goals. I am excited to support our elementary students this year!