Executive Director, Larchmont Charter School
Amy Dresser Held has dedicated her career to public education. Prior to joining Larchmont in 2014, Amy served as Citizens of the World Charter Schools Los Angeles (CWCLA) Executive Director from July 2010 until July 2014. During that time Amy was in charge of all aspects of launching and running three elementary schools. Over those four years she grew the organization from one school of 100 students to three schools serving nearly 1,000 students. Under Amy’s leadership CWCLA schools scored academically among the top 10% of public schools in LA, had top parent and staff satisfaction rates and raised more than $2m. Prior to joining CWC, Amy served as Executive Director of Palisades Charter High School, a diverse, high performing charter high school of more than 2,800 students and 200 staff. In her capacity as Executive Director, Amy oversaw academics, finance (a $22 million annual budget), facilities, labor relations, legal, and communications. Prior to joining Pali High in 2006, Amy worked for several years at the Los Angeles Unified School District on the staff of then-School Board President Caprice Young, then as a Special Assistant to Senior Deputy Superintendent Maria Ott, and finally as Director of Policy and Communications with then-LAUSD School Board President Marlene Canter. Amy began her career as a Teach for America corps member, teaching a bilingual fifth grade class in Phoenix, followed by a position with Kaplan and completion of the Coro Public Affairs Leadership Training Post-Graduate Fellowship in Los Angeles. Amy received her B.S. in Humanities in International Affairs from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Amy is passionate about human growth and development and ensuring everyone in the schools she leads is growing and learning together. Amy is a language aficionado and a world traveler who has lived abroad in France and Mexico. As a mother of three young children and a veteran educator, Amy is deeply committed to ensuring schools nurture and develop in children not only exceptional academic achievement but a strong sense of self, grit, compassion, a deep appreciation of the rich diversity of our society and a commitment to be of service to the local community and the larger world in which we live.
Fairfax Campus (TK-4th Grade)
Mersedeh Emrani is entering her eighth year with Larchmont Charter School. She has served as Principal of Larchmont Fairfax since 2015, Dean of Students from 2013-2015 and was previously a K-1 Lead Teacher for four years with the organization. She graduated with Honors with a B.A. in Psychology and Masters Degree in Public Health (M.P.H.) from UCLA prior to obtaining her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (K-6). As the lead administrator for the Larchmont Fairfax campus, Mersedeh’s primary responsibilities include student guidance, faculty support and supervision, parent interface, curriculum development, and campus operations. It is the school’s deeply ingrained commitment to high student achievement; the commitment to our global community; and the commitment to diversity that Mersedeh contends inspires and energizes her the most each day at Larchmont.
Hollygrove Campus (TK-4th Grade)
Alissa found her way to Larchmont Charter School in 2006 after teaching in LAUSD for 6 years. During her time as a Lead Teacher at Hollygrove, she served as a Teacher representative for the Board of Directors and coordinated the After School Intervention program at Hollygrove. Recently, she worked on the leadership team of Para Los Niños Charter Schools coordinating the organization’s new teacher induction program while coaching intern teachers and serving as an integral part of the organization’s data and assessment team. Passionate about Los Angeles based education reform, Alissa helped found five high performing constructivist-based charter schools in the L.A. area and currently serves as the chair of City Charter School’s Board. Alissa received her BA at Washington University in St. Louis and her Masters of Education in Teaching and Curriculum at UCLA. Alissa lives in the Larchmont area with her husband and 3 boys, 2 of who attend LCS at Hollygrove.
Eva has been a part of the Larchmont Charter School community as a teacher for the past 8 years. This year she steps into a new role as co-principal alongside colleague Alissa Chariton. Eva is a nationally board certified teacher with a second masters in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Eva has steadily taken on additional leadership roles at LCS during her years in the classroom including Next Generation Science Standards Coordinator, Grade Level Team Leader, and a mentor teacher supporting new teachers.
Eva have two daughters, one in Kindergarten and a beautiful baby that keep her very busy.
Selma Campus (5th-6th Grade)
Mandy Breuer, a principal with Larchmont Charter School in Los Angeles, is known for crafting the highest quality of learning spaces, building the whole student—academically, socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Breuer mentors new teachers, greens physical campuses, counsels students, designs family outreach workshops, creates student leadership programs and develops top-notch college and career programming. Before her journey into public education, Breuer spent her time in marketing with FOX Broadcasting Company.
After receiving her B.A. in Public Relations from Texas Tech University and her M.A. in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University, Breuer began her quest to bring environmental justice to the context of public education. Breuer was selected as a recipient of the coveted Dean’s Award for her work in Social Justice. Her tenure with LA County public schools began in the Compton High School counseling department and as a founding director for a 5th grade transition program in Lennox, CA. The last decade has seen Breuer building the counseling, academic and environmental programs from the ground up with Environmental Charter High School, where she served as a school leader for a decade.
Outside of Larchmont Charter School, Breuer works closely with a vast array of environmental justice advocates, the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the urban green space renewal organization—From Lot to Spot and Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education. Breuer also enjoys music festivals, playing the guitar in a garage band and backpacking in State and National Parks.
La Fayette Park Campus (7th-12th Grade)
Interim High School Leader
Mr. Kang directly supports LFP faculty, students and families, specifically in grades 8, 9 and 10, and partners with Shon Smith, Instructional Dean for grades 6, 7, 11 and 12, to support overall school operations. Mr. Kang has experience as a successful high school math teacher, Testing Coordinator, Categorical Program Advisor, and administrator. He holds a BA in Economics from UC Irvine, an MA in International Affairs and Management from UC San Diego and an MA in School Administration from California State Dominguez Hills. Mr. Kang also holds California single subject credentials in Mathematics and Korean, as well as an Administrative Credential.
LFP Director of College and Career Access
Mr. Co works directly with the high school administrative team to ensure all core academic courses are college preparatory, meet the rigor required by the University of California A-G approval process, and that the Advanced Placement program is in place for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. Mr. Co holds a BA in Economics from UC San Diego and an MS in Educational Counseling from the University of La Verne. He has extensive experience developing successful high school college counseling programs, and has served as an academic counselor at the college level as well. Mr. Co holds a California Pupil Personnel Services Credential.
Middle School Leader
Kelly Bartle is the Middle School Leader at the Lafayette Park campus, and she comes to Larchmont with 10 years of experience in education in Los Angeles. Kelly is originally from Columbus, Ohio and attended Washington University St. Louis for her bachelor's degree, majoring in Economics and Political Economy. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to participate in the Teach for America program and also to get her master's degree in Secondary Education at Loyola Marymount University. She taught 7th grade math in LAUSD for two years before coming to the charter world, where she taught seventh grade math and science for another five years. After that, she worked as a Mathematics Curriculum Specialist for two years, supporting both middle and high school math teachers with coaching, professional development, and curriculum. As an assistant principal last year, her focus was creating and maintaining a safe and positive school culture and supporting the needs of diverse learners, particularly students with special needs and English language learners.
Middle School Guidance Counselor
Ms. Mandy Kossoris is the Guidance Counselor for the middle school and the 9th grade, and works closely with Mr. Edwin Co, the Director of College and Career Access. Her primary goal is to promote the academic, personal, career, and social development of all students. Ms. Kossoris holds a BS in Nutrition from Loma Linda University, and an MS in Educational Counseling from National University. Ms. Kossoris holds credentials in Secondary Education (Health Sciences), and Pupil Personnel Services, with an Authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance. Ms. Kossoris brings over 17 years of experience in the field of Education, including classroom teaching, academic advising high school students, and building coordinated school health programs.
Director of Student Support Services
Myra Salinas is the Director of Special Education of Larchmont Charter School. Originally from the Philippines, Myra immigrated to Los Angeles when she was eleven. She is fluent in Tagalog and can converse in Spanish. Myra received her BA and MA in Education from the University of Southern California. As an educator, she served as Director of School and Program Compliance for Camino Nuevo Charter Academy from 2003 through 2007. From 2002-2003 she served as co-Principal for the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy - Harvard site. Before that Myra worked in LAUSD at the Foshay Learning Center as a middle school teacher, testing coordinator, and reading coordinator. She helped develop and implement a 6th Grade Reading Program at Foshay, which boosted 6th Grade Reading scores on the Stanford 9 Test.
Instructional Leadership Coach
Dolores Patton has been a Los Angeles-based educator, mentor and advisor for 35 years. During her tenure as a teacher at Open Magnet Charter School, one of Larchmont Charter's model schools, from 1985 to 2009, she was also a Beginning Teacher Support Provider, a mentor for the Cotsen Foundation, and a faculty advisor for Teach For America. Over her career, Dolores has taught grades 1 through 6, primarily in a team-teaching, project-based environments, and also in bilingual classrooms. Since 1996, she has participated in the Open Charter School Institute: Constructivism in Action. She is the recipient of numerous commendations and grants from organizations throughout California and the U.S., including California Network of Educational Charters, Los Angeles Educational Partnership, American Education Research Association, and two A+ for Energy Grants. Her credentials include: Educational Administration; Life Credential; and National Board Certification, Middle Childhood Generalist. She received three degrees from California State University: two M.A.’s, in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education; and a B.A. in Spanish, a language in which she is fluent.
Andi Varon serves as Curriculum Coordinator on three campuses, supporting Larchmont’s transition to a consistent, common-core compliant program across K-5. Andi supports teachers through collaborative planning, modeling lessons, identifying extra resources, and providing feedback to lessons in the classroom. She also "pushes in" to the classrooms to support student learning in a co-teaching model. Andi received her undergraduate degree from UC Davis, and an MA in Early Childhood Education, as well as her teaching credential, from Cal State Northridge. She began her career with seven years as a teacher and administrator at a day care center. She then taught for 21 years at Sequoyah School in Pasadena, teaching grades K-4. Following that, Andi taught for two years at an International School in Tokyo. Andi has taught in the classroom at Larchmont since 2007, and became Mathematics Coordinator September 2013.