Meet Our New Teachers

Thanks for kicking off the school year with us!

In June, we said goodbye to seven retiring Madera teachers. That means that this year will be full of fresh faces. Get to know our new teachers, and new principal, below!

Principal

David Ranch

Born and raised in the North Bay, I spent most of my youth romping and reading in the David Ranchapple orchards between Sebastopol and Bodega Bay. I moved to the East Bay at 18 to attend Cal (I’m old enough to have witnessed “The Play” in person!). With the exception of a one year foray into NYC, I’ve remained here ever since. My teaching career began at Coronado Elementary, where I fell in love with this profession and made many lifelong friends. After returning to Cal for my Administrative Services Credential, I became an Instructional Specialist with an emphasis in language acquisition. For the last ten years, I have served as principal at Highland Elementary in Richmond. I believe great schools endow students with the capacity, the confidence, and the moral courage to change the world.

My hobbies include college sports, cooking (especially pizza), opera, and jazz– but my favorite pastime is hiking the hills with my genetically ambiguous little dog, Rigoberto (you’ll see what I mean one day!).

Kindergarten

Stephanie Lucero

I was born and raised in San Bernardino, near Los Angeles. I went to CSU Los Angeles and UCLA, receiving a BA and MA in Sociology. After finishing my teaching credential from Cal State University East Bay, I started teaching in 1972 at Los Angeles Unified School District In Watts, South Central Los Angeles until 1978. We moved to Berkeley in 1978. I worked in Montessori schools within Berkeley Unified and Oakland Unified until 2000 when I came to WCCUSD.  I’ve taught at Hanna Ranch, Ohlone, El Sobrante, and Montalvin, for the past 14 years. In my free time I enjoy swimming, reading, walking and quilting. I have one son with whom I travel around the world.

First Grade

Samantha King

My name is Gloria Samantha King. I use my middle name Samantha. Teaching is my third career. After college I was a Shakespearean actress for the Boston Shakespeare Company. I moved to California and had an extremely successful career in sales but I longed for purpose in my life so I went back to school and received my teaching credential with a minor in acting. I have been teaching for 14 years now – two years third grade and twelve years 1st grade. I can honestly say that at night when I put my head down on the pillow, I know I helped someone that day and for that I am grateful. I have raised two girls who are 22 and 24. I live with my husband and two dogs, a chihuahua and an Australian shepherd. I love all animals and spending time in my garden.

Second Grade

DESIREE MONIQUE LEVRIER

Hello Madera! My name is Desiree Monique Levrier, and I will be teaching 2nd grade. I am from San Diego, CA and have lived in Oakland for the last 8 years. I taught in Oakland Unified for 7 years and Albany Unified at Marin Elementary for 1 year (Kindergarten). I have Bilingual Authorization in Spanish, and love to travel around the world. I play softball in Berkeley and SF and visit my family in So-Cal frequently. I look forward to meeting you all!

Third Grade

PILAR SOUDER

Hello, Madera Families! My name is Pilar Souder and I’m very excited to kick off my first year teaching with 3rd grade! I just moved back to Pleasant Hill, where I grew up, after living in Sacramento for 7 years. I received my BA in Communications from Sacramento State and returned a year later to get my teaching credential. Soon I’ll start my Masters in Education with CSU Bakersfield through their online program. In about a month, I get to marry my college sweetheart after almost 6 years together. We have a dog, Avery, and a cat, Murphy, and they are so entertaining to watch! In my free time I love to watch sports, work on creative projects, care for my indoor garden, and hike the trails of our beautiful Bay Area. I’m so excited to meet you all and I look forward to an awesome year!

Third/Fourth Grade

Becky Raikow

Becky Raikow is joining Madera Elementary in her second year with WCCUSD.  She grew up in Gettysburg, PA.  She graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a degree in History of Art & Architecture, and recently completed a Masters in Education from the University of the Pacific.  She lives in El Cerrito with her husband & three children.  Becky enjoys traveling, hiking, golf, tennis, softball and making stained glass in her spare time.  Fun fact:  She has a mirror twin sister.

Fifth Grade

Kristina Beltz

Hello Madera! My name is Kristina and I am so excited to join your team. Here is a little information about myself. This is my fifteenth year teaching. I have a graduate degree in reading and language as well as a reading specialist credential. My favorite things about teaching are collaboration, edtech, and Teachers College. In my free time I love to be outdoors and hang out with my husband and two small children, Calvin and Claire. I look forward to meeting all of you.

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