Sarah Rahman studied economics and math at SJSU and earned her education masters at Santa Clara Univeristy. While in college, she worked as a behavioral management technician for autistic children, helping to mainstream high-functioning autistic students into math and science classes. Prior to joining the 49ers SLI teaching staff, she taught at Rolling Hills Middle School in Los Gatos. Before jumping into the world of education, she held a corporate job where she worked with a variety of new and exciting software programs for financial solutions. As a life-long learner, she hopes to spark the desire for high achievement and apursuit of knowledge in all of her students. She strongly believes that science and technology open doors to exciting possibilities and discoveries in school, in the professional world, and in daily life. Her science classroom is a safe space for creative thinking where students learn to succeed both academically and as world citizens, by generating respect and responsibility for themselves and their classmates.
She has daughter in middle school and a son in third grade. When not in school, they enjoy traveling and experiencing other cultures, as well as biking, skiing and hiking as a family. Sarah herself loves to read and to take long walks around her neighborhood.
Pui Ho Wilson Tsang, Ph.D. 7th Grade Algebra 1 Teacher
Prior to becoming a Math Teacher, Wilson enjoyed a 20-year career spanning academic research, product development consulting, and medical device R&D. Wilson’s teaching philosophy is heavily influenced by the research of Jo Boaler, Professor of Math Education, Stanford University, who sees math as a creative subject as opposed to an exercise of procedure memorization. Wilson is excited about connecting classroom content to real-world applications for his students through his personal experience as a STEM professional. He has helped expand the computer-aided design curriculum at the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute. The importance of focus, coherence, and rigor is emphasized in his classroom. Wilson obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine in London, United Kingdom. He went on to complete his Master’s and Ph.D. in Aeronautics & Astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wilson obtained his Master’s in Education and Single-Subject Credential at Santa Clara University.
Away from work, Wilson enjoys spending time with his family, which includes boy-girl twins currently in middle school.
Michelle Scilingo has enjoyed teaching secondary science since 1999. She spent her first nine years teaching Integrated Science and Biology, serving as Science Department Chair, and Library Technology Teacher at Homestead High School in Cupertino. To increase her global awareness and empathy for students, she moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand to engage in non-profit work; she taught English in Thai schools, and middle school science at Grace International School. Upon returning to the United States, Michelle taught middle school science and served as Applied Math, Science, and Engineering (AMSE) program coordinator at Valley Christian Junior High. Michelle earned her B.S. in Physiology from U.C. Davis and M.A. in education from Stanford.
Michelle loves working with children and is inspired by their unlimited energy, natural curiosity, and joy of learning. Her passion is cultivating an environment where kids can channel their energy and excitement into learning science and appreciating the world around them. When away from the classroom Michelle can be found spending quality time with her husband and three children exploring the world, working on DIY projects, and playing with LEGOs.
Glenn Lillie 8th Grade Geometry Honors Teacher
Glenn Lillie has taught math at Cabrillo Middle School since 1996, and has been the math department chairperson for the last nineteen years. As part of the SCUSD math liaison team, he works to develop district wide curriculum, pilot materials, and assessments. Additionally, he has worked with Stanford University, as vice-principal of their summer school teaching program known as STEP. Growing up in Huntington Beach, California, Glenn graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a B.A. in Art and a professional clear multiple-subject teaching credential. Shortly after joining the Cabrillo family, he earned a supplementary mathematics teaching authorization through San Jose State, in order to teach math as a single subject. Additionally, he earned a M.A. in Education (Administration and Supervision) from San Jose State University. Glenn believes that an ideal learning environment should be a safe place for students to share ideas, take risks, and work collaboratively. He expects students to be prepared, have the desire to work hard, and be ready for any challenge.
When not teaching Glenn enjoys playing golf, traveling, exercising, and doing small, home construction projects.
Suzanne Miller-Moody has taught middle school and high school science since 1997. Her first college degree, a B.A in Biology, came from the University of Delaware. She earned her second degree, a B.S. in Biology Education, from the University of Maryland – College Park. She began her teaching career with middle school students in the schools outside of Washington, D.C. and switched to teaching high school students when she and her husband moved to California.
Her expertise has been cultivated through various venues starting with museum education as a college student, moving to outdoor education as a college graduate, before finally settling into a classroom setting in both public and private institutions.. Her current role as the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute Biology teacher is seen as another opportunity to teach in a less traditional format and to experience exciting STEM opportunities.
When not spending time in the Fab Lab Santa Clara High School or working with students, Suzanne enjoys exploring cities, museums, zoos, aquariums, traveling, and SCUBA diving.
Marlene B. Spector comes to the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute from the east coast, Baltimore, Maryland. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Maryland, College Park, and her teaching credential years later from National University. She is a second career teacher and has been teaching math in Santa Clara Unified School District since 2005. Prior to a teaching career, Ms. Spector worked as a Business Process Analyst for Apple, as well as a trainer/analyst for a legal software company specializing in case management for lawyers. Before joining the STEM Leadership Institute team, Ms. Spector was the GAINS advisor at Santa Clara High School for 7 years and has always pushed young minds to think smart, creatively, and outside of the box.
She has a son and a daughter who are young adults, and her daughter made her a grandmother in April 2016. In her little spare time, Ms. Spector enjoys painting and drawing.
Alan Tan received his Bachelors of Science degree from UC Davis and his teaching credential from San Jose State University. Before joining the 49ers SLI faculty in 2017, Alan taught chemistry and AP chemistry for San Jose Unified School District for four years. Prior to working as a teacher, he served as a tech support agent for iPhones at Apple and as an AVID tutor for the Sacramento County of Education. His AVID teachers from middle and high school fostered a love of learning and always challenged Alan to be his best, ultimately inspiring him to become a teacher himself. He particularly enjoys leading students through labs, demos, and other hands-on activities where they can observe the physical results of chemistry at work.
In his free time, Alan enjoys playing sports, going to the gym, and painting/customizing shoes. Alan also plays in basketball leagues and tournaments around the Bay Area.
Tracy has been teaching math at Santa Clara High School since 2016 and previously taught math and engineering electives at another nearby high school for 5 years. She holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MS in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University, and an MA and teaching credential from Stanford University. She became interested in teaching during her time as an undergraduate; when she served as a physics TA and lead an orientation course for engineering freshmen. Before diving into the teaching profession, she spent several years gaining practical experience in the engineering field, with Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines, BMW, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and Royal Canadian Air Force CH149 Cormorant Search and Rescue Helicopters; she looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for engineering and her wealth of practical experience with SLI students.
Outside the classroom Tracy can be found traveling the world with her husband, son and daughter, quilting, and exploring the great outdoors!
Jyothi Sunkara began teaching in 2010 and worked at Kehillah Jewish High School and Menlo Atherton High School prior to joining the Science Department at Santa Clara High. With an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering and a masters degree in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she thoroughly enjoyed working in the fast-paced world of software engineering and the camaraderie among a close-knit group of techies. However, after volunteering in schools (chairing science fair committees, leading Tech Challenge projects, etc.), her next career move became very clear. In 2009, she obtained her single-subject credentials from San Jose State University for physics and mathematics. She was selected for the Teacher Institute at the SF Exploratorium, an intensive three-week immersion experience of science learning.
On her own time, Jyothi enjoys attending physics shows and other physics-related learning programs. When she isn’t immersed in science, her fondest pastime is hanging out with her children (ages twenty-one, eighteen, and sixteen), sharing in whatever they are up to at the moment. Her other favorite activities include reading books on spirituality, the human mind, science, science fiction, and mysteries; working out; traveling; experimenting with recipes from different cuisines; and playing with her dog.
“The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute’s vision is to be a leader in STEM education, preparing and inspiring talented learners to meet the challenges of the global society through innovation, collaboration and creative problem-solving.”
– John York, Co-Chairman of the San Francisco 49ers
Janet Wu Program Director
Janet Wu began working with the program in its second year, bringing with her a lot of previous experience working as a former educator and program lead. She holds a B.S. in Neurobiology & Physiology with a minor in Education from University of California, Davis and a Math and Science Credential from Sacramento State University. Prior to joining the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute team in 2015, she was a high school math teacher in Sacramento for 6 years, teaching a variety of classes ranging from Algebra 1 to Pre-Calculus and being trained for AP Calculus. She also held the position of Department Chair and Program Lead for the school’s Technology, Engineering, and Design Academy. Janet strongly believes that teaching responsibility and solid work ethic to students, in addition to content knowledge and skills, is imperative for the transition into adulthood.
Janet lives in San Francisco – a nice walking distance away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. When she’s not at work, Janet enjoys spending time with her husband and learning how to be a new mom to their sweet baby daughter.
Laurie Toyama Program & Technology Manager, Santa Clara High School
Laurie Toyama has always been a maker and curiosity seeker. In her youth, she was taking apart clocks, mechanical toys, fancy dolls in glass cases, etc., as well as looking in microscopes, looking at the stars, looking in tidepools and building saltpeter volcanos (when one could do such things). Prior to joining SLI, Laurie worked and volunteered at NASA Ames’ Office of Education and Public Outreach working on educational STEM content and challenges based on real NASA projects. Laurie started her career in the software engineering area of Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for chip design, progressing into project and program management of large software and performance projects. In her never-ending quest to help others learn and grow, Laurie also spent many years coaching and training software and hardware engineers to improve their knowledge, skills and abilities at work. Laurie is excited about the opportunity to work with the SLI students in their learning and refinement of design thinking, project management and other important 21st Century skills as they grow through their high school years to prepare the students for college and the workplace. Laurie has a B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Hawaii and a M.S. in Instructional and Performance Technology from Boise State University as well as a Certificate in Career Coaching from the Career Coach Institute.
In her spare time, Laurie enjoys reading (urban fantasy, sci fi and non-fiction), quilting, hooping and dancing, and wandering off in her sports car.
Nimisha Khanduja Program & Technology Manager, Cabrillo Middle School
Nimisha loves finding creative solutions and opportunities for STEM education. Having an interest in STEM fields from a young age, she received an engineering degree in biotechnology from India and a Doctorate in Sciences from Virginia Tech. Prior to working with SLI, she worked with a variety of Bay Area programs that worked to bridge opportunity gaps in K-12 education, specifically by experimenting with new education models. As Program and Technology Manager at Cabrillo Middle School, she aims to help students strengthen their creativity so that they can to generate innovative solutions both in class and beyond. In addition to her role with SLI, she serves on the advisory board of the Obama initiative US2020 ‘STEMentors Silicon Valley’ and the STEM Pathways at the Tech Museum, working to innovate solutions to specific STEM mentoring barriers.
In her spare time, when she isn’t working in the middle school lab, she likes to play basketball and racquetball.
Lauren Hayes Program Assistant
In the Spring of 2015, Lauren began working as an assistant to the SLI program, aiding in clerical work, data tracking, website maintenance, teaching, and anything that might require an extra pair of hands. A graduate of Stanford University, she is passionate about STEM in addition to the arts. A deep curiosity about human behavior, neuroscience, and bio-chemistry lead her to pursue a degree in Chemistry. During her time at Stanford, she often split her days between the chemistry lab and the drama department (where she used theater to explore human behavior from a less scientific perspective). After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she worked simultaneously in the performing arts and in a wide variety of office environments. Her unusual mixture of passion for art and science has given her a love for learning, which she enjoys fostering in others.
When she isn’t on site at SLI, Lauren works as a professional actress and singer in the Bay Area, performing in dramas, comedies, musicals, and Shakespeare. In her (albeit limited) free time, she enjoys exercising, hiking, painting, writing, baking bread, and attending the theater.
49ers STEM Leadership Institute is proudly supported by