760 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont, CA 94611    (510) 594-2655  pas@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Meet Our Instructors

Daniel Finnamore

Daniel teaches Classical Piano Appreciation. He has taught piano lessons for 47 years, beginning with the Oakland Conservatory located in the historic Sherman and Clay Building.  Daniel made his public solo debut in 1977 at the age of 20. A member of the International Liszt Society, his San Francisco debut was a benefit Concert for the English Branch of the Liszt Society, and the all-Liszt Programme was favorably reviewed by Michael Walsh, who would subsequently become a Music critic for TIME. Daniel has made five CDs of piano music by Brahms, Debussy,  Liszt and various classical Spanish composers.

Griffen Bier

Griffen teaches Beginning Improv. He holds a BA from University of Redlands and has recently completed his MFA at Academy of Art University. Griffen has performed in 100+ improv shows both in-person and online in a variety of styles. Among them are Improvised Shakespeare, Improvised Charles Dickens and an Improvised Soap Opera (a la Dallas) set in Minnesota. You can also find him teaching at Synergy Theater and Berkeley Improv.

Jacqui Birdsong-James

Jacqui teaches Strength Training and Weights and Cardio, and has been teaching for many years at Piedmont Adult School.  She has a State of California Teaching Credential and a degree from Mills College.  She loves assisting students in attaining their exercise goals.  “Whether it be improving strength, increasing stamina, preparing for a run or losing body fat –my goal is to encourage students to exercise as a lifetime commitment,” she says.

Deborah Brooks

Deborah currently teaches Google Drive and Apple/Mac Basics for Piedmont Adult School. Previously, she has taught ESL, Spanish, and even ran our Volleyball program for several years. Her Master’s degree is in linguistics and teaching foreign languages, which helps her to be more effective in teaching computer skills to older adults, where the technical terms often get in the way of understanding and learning.  She has taught basic computer skills to older adults and non-native speakers for over 15 years.

Flint Christensen

Flint teaches our CTE course Programming in Python. He is passionate about teaching Computer Science because it is the literacy of influence in the 21st century. He believes this will open doors of opportunity throughout their lives for the students he teaches at Piedmont High School. In addition to his Piedmont Computer Science teaching duties, he is an Instructor in the Academic Talent Development Program at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education, and President of the Golden Gate Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association. He has been a Facilitator of teacher training for Code.org and is currently a CodeHS Certified Educator.

Kathleen Deyo
Kathleen teaches Art from The Heart, Chinese Brush Painting, Watercolor Pencil Painting, and Painting in the Style of Famous Artists. A graduate of  Syracuse University’s School of Fine Arts, Kathleen’s work has been featured in The New York Times‘ Discoveries column,  House Beautiful, Woman’s Day and recently in Paint Decor. She has taught Illustration at Bridgeport University and Interior Design at the College of New Rochelle. 

Susan Galindo

Susan teaches Italian for Travelers and Parliamo Italiano. She is a graduate of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, with degrees  in French and Italian. Susan designs and implements interactive lessons, focusing on immersion into the target language ranging from travelers to foreign business professionals.
Each year she takes small groups of people to Italy. These immersion trips are designed with the travelers in mind. Together they discover out-of- the-way places and are immersed in the culture. For Susan, this is “La Dolce Vita” without a lot of tourists.
Alycia Lai-Clemens

Alycia teaches Alycia’s Heart Beat: A Co-Ed Aerobic Workout and has taught dance exercise since 1980. She has a California Adult Education Teaching Credential for Physical Fitness and Conditioning and Physical Fitness for Older Adults, as well as a degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She strives to create a positive and welcoming environment where exercise is fun, joyful, and habit-forming.

She has two grown sons, a partially-trained labradoodle, and was born and raised in Oakland.

Mike Matthews

Mike teaches a range of very popular courses on how to use Apple products. Many of his classes are 2-hour workshops on how to use specific Apple Apps such as Messages, Notes and Photos. He also teaches an 8-meeting course on the basics of using your iPhone. Mike is a member of the Apple Consultants Network and has been teaching classes about Apple products for over a decade.

Caitlin McCarthy

Caitlin teaches Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Writing. Caitlin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in writing and currently teaches literature and language arts at Corpus Christi School in Oakland. She is also a private writing coach and teaches writing workshops for all ages. Author of the novel Ship of Fates, she has lived in the Bay Area her whole life. She lives in Oakland with her husband and her cat.

Lynn Miller

Lynn has taught Bagpipes for Piedmont Adult School for more than 20 years.

Jean MonnierJean Monnier teaches French classes at Piedmont Adult School

Jean teaches all levels of French at Piedmont Adult School. Jean grew up in the Brittany region of France and later moved to the US, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. After teaching French at UC Berkeley for five years, Jean moved to Tours, France, where he taught French and received his PhD in French literature. On moving back to the US, he settled in Oakland, and taught at Head Royce and Campolindo high schools. In addition to teaching, Jean’s fascinating career has included stints as a journalist for French National TV, and as an interpreter during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He has written multiple papers and books on French involvement in the California Gold Rush and other topics.

Helen Nishikai

Helen has been teaching computer software programs to adult students and corporate clients for over 25 years and has worked in information technology, web development, and technical consulting. She holds a California Teaching Credential in Adult Education for Computer Technology and Business Management. “I love helping people learn new skills that they can apply directly to their job or personal life,” says Helen.

George Noceti

George teaches Savvy Social Security Planning for Couples. George is a Wealth Advisor for Morgan Stanley. For more than a decade, George he has been helping individuals and families to plan for their future dreams and aspirations.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, George held a variety of leadership positions, such as Chief Operating Officer at Match.com and School Principal in the Richmond Unified School District.  George has taught in the Personal Financial Planning Program at the University of California at Berkeley for many years.  George and his team, The Integra Group at Morgan Stanley, have conducted hundreds of public seminars on College Funding, Social Security, Medicare, and Cash Flow Planning in Retirement.  He is a frequent guest on KRON 4, FOX-KTVU 2, ABC 7 with Michael Finney, as well as KCBS with Jason Brooks.

Ken Ross

Ken Ross teaches The Musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein. He has extensive experience in musical theater as a director, performer, teacher and long time theater attendee.  For twenty years he was head of the Theater Department at Las Positas College in Livermore, and in earlier years he was theater instructor and director of plays and musicals at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland and The Athenian School in Danville.  He has performed featured roles in seven musicals at Woodminster Summer Musicals and curranty serves on that theater’s Advisory Board.

Wendy Soneson

Wendy teaches Watercolor Fine Arts Style, emphasizing color theory and process over product. She was the John Singer Sargent artist in residence at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where she taught  before moving to the Bay Area six years ago. 

Roberta Streimer

Roberta teaches Your Next Phase: Finding Meaning in Your Life/Career.  Founder of “Organizational Diplomacy,” Roberta has over 30 years’ experience teaching workshops and consulting to help individuals, leaders and organizations plan for the future, implement strategy, navigate their way through change and transition, address and resolve conflict and enhance their professional credibility. Roberta is a certified coach, certified workplace mediator, and a career advisor for people who want to work and contribute in ways that are meaningful and matter for the remainder of their career and beyond. Roberta is committed to creating a safe space for people to reflect on their life and work experience and plan realistic and productive next steps as they prepare for their own next phase.