Claire Comins

Background: Claire is the Founder of TinkerTech. She started teaching STEM at the Intel Computer Clubhouse in San Rafael in 2014 and founded TinkerTech when parents asked for the same classes to be offered in their own child’s school. Claire has a BA in Languages from Bristol University, a post-grad in Journalism from Cardiff University and a previous career as an editor at BBC Worldwide.

Why TinkerTech? ‘TinkerTech is truly cross-curricula hands-on learning. TinkerTech classes let children explore their natural curiosity and talent for tinkering while learning real skills. Our classes aim to encourage creative thinkers who are confident in their ideas and adept at using technology for good.’

Fun fact: Prior to moving from London to Marin in 2012, Claire launched an an iOS app called Lily that encouraged girls to be creative with technology.

Gina Campilongo Friedman

Background: Gina graduated from San Francisco State University with both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degrees. In addition to her teaching at TinkerTech, Gina has been an Instructional Assistant for 11 years at Strawberry Point School.

Why TinkerTech? ‘It is my belief that STEM is the most relevant and practical subject matter for meeting the future needs of our society. It's great to be a part of the foundation laying for this educational process.’

Fun fact:  Gina's weekend passion is hiking. "I find inspiration and rejuvenation on the trail."

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Katie Monsma

Background: My Master's is in Environmental Education but I've been teaching STEM for 5+ years. Since moving to CA almost 3 years ago, I've been introduced to maker education and have embraced the intersections of STEM, making, and sustainability. I recently completed the course work for a Maker Educator certificate from Sonoma State. 

Why TinkerTech? Teaching with TinkerTech allows me to be a part of introducing students to the curiosity and confidence that comes with tinkering (making) and STEM at a young age. 

Fun fact: I've lived in 6 states over the last 9 years.


Leslie Pelle

Background: I have a degree in Graphic Design with a minor in Computer Animation. I have always loved creating whether it be with pencil, paper, scissors and glue or with software on the computer. I am passionate about teaching STEM because it cultivates curiosity and creativity to think outside the box using math, science, engineering and technology.

Why TinkerTech? TinkerTech is a wonderful program that allows students to explore a learning path that is about integrating fun and creativity without the the worry of failure and to develop thinking, reasoning and investigative skills necessary for success in the ever changing world of technology.

Fun fact: I love all things cardboard. I can always find use for an old shoebox, Peet’s coffee cups and large boxes from Costco. Halloween is my favorite holiday because I have an excuse to make crazy costumes out of cardboard, plastic, glue gun and lots of imagination.

Sunny Lyrek

Background: My education is an AA in behavioral and social sciences at the College of Marin. I am just finishing up with my BA in liberal arts and studying for my teaching credential. My education in STEM is through 5 classes in science and two in math, with an emphasis in Zoology.

Why TinkerTech? I love teaching for TinkerTech because I get as much from the students as the get from me. With TinkerTech it is an imaginative collaboration between student and educator.

Fun Fact: I am a docent at The San Francisco Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

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Vince De Jesus

Background: I have been teaching STEM subjects and Arts for the last 8+ years at the elementary and middle school levels. From math to science to video game design and maker space classes, my experience teaching these subjects has taught me a great deal about how we best learn through hands-on experiences and having fun. I strive to bring these valuable practices to my classes with TinkerTech. 

Why TinkerTech? I enjoy inspiring young people to follow their creative intuition and make their ideas come to reality. Designing, tinkering and creating in class reminds me of my own creative potential and brings me great joy.

Fun Fact: When I'm not in the classroom, I'm writing and/or performing Jazz, Latin and Soul music around the Bay Area! 


Xochitl Fierros

Background: Xochitl graduated from Tamalpais High School, and attended to College of Marin and UC Santa Cruz where she studied STEM classes. Xochitl has worked for multiple families as a babysitter since she went to school. Moreover, she joined #YESWECODE coding camp as an additional skill to add to her resume.

Why TinkerTech? Xochitl joined the TinkerTech team because she could combine the things she loves doing; science, technology, and interaction with children.

Fun Fact: Xochitl works on a fantasy app during her free time and she loves playing with her cat.