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Christy Durham
Christy Durham

Co-Founder of Sycamore School, Christy Durham is an educator with over 25 years of elementary and middle school teaching experience. She has taught at both public and private schools in the Los Angeles area. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. In addition to her work at Sycamore, Christy is active in promulgating her vision for change in education by presenting to other educators.  She has presented at Archer School for Girls STEM conference, Playful Learning Summit, Games in Education conference, IndieCade, Intentional Play Summit, Online Educational Symposium for Independent Schools conference, and local public charter schools.  Along with her fellow co-founder, she continues to promote the need for fundamental change in education through their podcast, Education X.0. Christy is currently Head of School at Sycamore School, which is focused on revolutionizing education for the Twenty-first Century.

director of administration
Kylie Walker

Kylie has developed a passion for working with students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities all over the world. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, she graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Central College. During her undergraduate career, Kylie spent a semester abroad in Granada, Spain, where she realized the importance of experiencing new places, cultures, and ways of life. Upon graduating, Kylie worked as a Language and Culture Assistant in Mallorca, Spain at CEIP Ponent Primary School where she supported children of all ages in a variety of classrooms and subject areas. In 2015, she traveled to South America and ultimately settled and lived in Montevideo, Uruguay for one year. There she worked for two different language academies teaching English to children, adolescents, and business professionals. These experiences were incredibly inspiring to her, as she learned how much she enjoys connecting with, educating, and having a positive influence on children. Kylie moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to join the Sycamore family. Here, she has furthered her educational experiences by working with a team of talented educators who foster students’ growth through experiments, play, problem solving, reflection, and interactive learning in a fun and engaging environment. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, playing soccer, reading, and spending time with her family.

director of admissions & Community engagement
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Molly's history in admissions began in 2006 in Shanghai, China, where she was the Director of Admission and Marketing at an international school.  After seven years, in search of blue skies, she relocated to the island of Oahu, where she served as Director of Admission at Honolulu Waldorf School, Island Pacific Academy, and as Admission Associate at Punahou School.  Molly is passionate about the value of engaged and future-focused learning and is excited to share the Sycamore School philosophy in the community as the Director of Admissions and Community Engagement.

Molly Ripton
our educators
Brie Tompkins
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Colbey Waggoner
Daiana Baez

Brie is eager to learn and grow with her students at Sycamore. A passion for nurturing young children led her to pursue a degree in Education, Psychology and Art from Middlebury College, and a Masters in Literacy from the University of Vermont. She joined the Sycamore family in 2017 and has nearly 15 years of teaching experience in primary grades and curriculum development. Brie believes that when teachers nourish their students’ wonderings, magic can happen. Supported by a deep understanding of child development, Brie’s observations of students’ creative play are essential building blocks in her curriculum. She regularly merges her students’ ideas with their learning as mathematicians and communicators, and synthesizes it into creative game-design and theatrical performances. Brie is curious about how her students feel, think, wonder, and learn, and she wants to show them how much they are valued. She is equally passionate about collaborating with the team of educators, taking a leadership role in curriculum development, modeling a growth mindset, and documenting life and learning at Sycamore. Brie lives in Topanga with her husband and two children. When she’s not at school, she is living it up as a mama, enjoying great books, playing with inviting art materials, and relaxing at the beach. 

Colbey graduated from Texas A&M-Commerce in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Much of her experience in the classroom includes teaching kindergarten through third grade, where she excels in helping these early learners build a foundation for mathematical thinking and reading skills through structured play, games, and various hands-on activities. Colbey has taught in a variety of school settings including public, private, charter, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia. Using a combination of these vastly unique and differing teaching styles, Colbey’s educational approach focuses on the use of student interest to create authentic, project-based lessons in which students take ownership of and pride in their learning. She works hard to create a warm and safe environment where students can question, wonder, and thrive. Outside of the classroom, you can find Colbey rock climbing, traveling, or simply enjoying good company alongside a delicious meal. She is genuinely excited to learn and grow with her students at Sycamore, while adding her energy and expertise to the staff and community! 

A Ventura County native, Daiana graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. After graduating, she spent 5 years working in the education world wearing a variety of hats. From 2015-2017, she served as an AmeriCorps member through FoodCorps to establish school gardens, advocate for nutritious school meals, and run engaging garden lessons for K-6th graders. Upon finishing her term with AmeriCorps, Daiana dove into the after-school world for a year, then later led and directed Red Oak Elementary’s extended learning program. Throughout this time, Daiana recognized society’s need for radical change in the way students were taught to learn in schools. This led to her pursuit of a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and a Master’s of Education in Inspired Learning and Teaching through National University. After spending 5 years working in public schools, Daiana clearly understood how important it is for schools to provide students with a space to take ownership of their curiosity and learning. She is thrilled more than ever to work together with the Sycamore team to facilitate meaningful learning experiences that lead to lifelong learners and resilient problem solvers.

Paige Showalter
Anna Neville

A lifelong Oregon native, Paige moved to California with her husband in 2017 to come and teach 3rd-, and then 5th-grade, at the Sycamore School. After receiving her Master of Education degree from the University of Oregon and spending a decade teaching in both public and private schools, in 2019 Paige was ready for a new adventure and made the jump to become a production manager for commercials and television. These past 4 years working on sets have been invaluable for Paige to put to practice the mindsets of collaboration, adaptability, and creativity, and she witnessed time and again how these competencies and skills are often missing in adults. Therefore, she felt called back to the Sycamore community and its imperative mission for education and is ecstatic to jump back in with the 5th-grade cohort. Paige is passionate about emphasizing process over product and fostering agency and growth mindset in both students. One of her favorite tools in the classroom is using field trips that capitalize on critical thinking and meaningful interactions with the subject matter. When she's not in the classroom, Paige can be found reading on her Kindle, gallivanting around Disneyland, or exploring the trails of the PNW.

Originally from Indiana, Anna recently relocated to the Brentwood area with her husband. Since high school, she knew she wanted to be a part of elementary education and began leading small groups of students in a 2nd grade classroom. Anna went to Ball State University where she received a Bachelors of General Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education in 2021. There she continued her passion for leading young minds but realized she longed for a more meaningful experience in education, one that could be transformative for students and educators alike. After spending a year in Chicago working for a realty company, she began to miss being in the classroom. Not wanting to teach in a traditional setting, Anna sought out a school with innovative techniques. She found that and more in Sycamore School! The school creates the meaningful, impactful, and critical learning model she had been searching for. Anna is excited to be a part of such a ground-breaking team in education.

innovation specialist
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Agustin Molfino

Agustin Molfino is a learning designer and artist informed by a multinational upbringing - his mother’s artistic tenacity, his father’s coaching sense, and principles found in psychology and anthropology. He has worked in education for over a decade, including in public, private, and charter schools in DC, São Paulo, and Los Angeles. As a curriculum designer in LA, he designed ed-tech instructional experiences and worked alongside Sycamore co-founders, Tedd Wakeman and AJ Webster, supporting curriculum and instruction at the PlayMaker School at NewRoads. For three years, Agustin was the STEM Learning Designer at JetSpace, a 21st century innovation hub situated inside of Locke High School in Watts, CA. There he designed and delivered curriculum around 21st C. skills, 3D printing, game design, making and tinkering, poetry, performance, and art. Agustin is passionate about exploring what an ideal education looks like for each community, supporting efforts he believes help the members of that community to self-actualize and create new systems when innovation proves necessary. Currently he thinks that innovation is especially needed in redesigning learning spaces, reimagining assessment, and inventing personal learning technologies and practices. He is excited to be part of a team of passionate educators and a community willing to entrust him with the development of their youth!

educational assistantS
Devan Mulvaney
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Devan is a musician, filmmaker, and educator. He grew up in a family of musicians and teachers. In his youth, both of his parent’s founded multiple theatrical camps. Through his involvement in these camps, he learned the values of creative expression, teamwork, and what it’s like to be a teacher. Devan got his BFA in Directing for Film at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Since then, he’s been the lead teacher at the Austin School of Film, The Ghetto Film School, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, and, most recently, co-founding and teaching for the School of Film. Devan loves working with children. He’s had great success winning them over with his warmth and sense of humor. He believes elementary school is a magical time, full of innovation and exploration of interests. Since this is his first year at Sycamore, he is enthusiastic about seeing the school's methodology in action. He is honored to be working alongside such an incredible group of educators and hopes to learn a lot from them.

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Born and raised in Ventura County, Sydney has always had a strong passion for embracing her creativity. Growing up, she loved to show her creative side through the art of ballet. She also has a deep interest in working with young children. When working with children, she creates a nurturing, safe environment to promote emotional, social and intellectual growth. Sydney graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. While attending the University, she also took Education courses that taught her a lot about childhood development. Her favorite aspect of working with children is guiding them to use their unique creativity when learning new material. Just like Sycamore, Sydney is also a big advocate of having a growth mindset. For this reason, she is thrilled to have joined the Sycamore School!

Sydney Tarnowski
Director of Business Operations
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​Born and raised in Mexico City, Karla moved to Pasadena, CA at the age of 13 where she remained through high school. After attending college at LMU, she had the opportunity to study abroad at Louvain-la Neuve, Belgium where she was able to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. Upon her return to the States, she began to work in a variety of fields from a start-up in the sports industry to real estate development. As a member of the founding team, Karla played a major role in building the foundation for the Sycamore School and continues to be a vital part of its success. Karla calls Santa Monica home where she lives with her husband, her adopted cats, and some fish. She enjoys learning through experience and is passionate about her family, friends, and animals.

Karla Reyes - Cooper
Christy Durham
Christy Durham
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Tedd Wakeman
AJ Webster
AJ Webster






Hanna Walker

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