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."
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.
Background: Anya grew up dreaming of being a scientist, but along the way fell in love with graphic design. She has designed for startups, corporations, nonprofits and private clients. As all childhood dreams should come true, Anya found joy running a lunchtime science program at her children’s elementary school for the past three years. She holds B.A. in New Media, and lives in Marin County.
Why TinkerTech? Giving young children the knowledge how to use the latest technology to power their creativity and intellect is incredibly important and amazing.
Fun Fact: As a High School student, Anya has once been selected as a National Science Scholar, and has a letter from the White House to prove it.
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!
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.
Barbara Garner has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and worked in the publishing field with Addison Wesley after college. She decided to become a classroom teacher when she was volunteering in her oldest child’s kindergarten class and saw the delight in a child’s eyes when the “lightbulb went off” upon grasping a new concept. Returning to school in her 40’s, Barbara specialized in teaching language arts and math in kindergarten through third grade. Today Barbara loves to literally help kids turn on lightbulbs, buzzers and motors in her lively TinkerTech classes.
Why TinkerTech? She loves seeing students make connections between their everyday lives and the hands-on lessons they are working on. She likes to tell kids that “tinkering” means “playing, experimenting, asking for help, working together, and not giving up! Tinkerers are scientists. They keep trying new things.”
Fun Facts: Barbara’s childhood nickname was Tinky. Today her own children call her Yellow-Bellied, Buck-Toothed Mountain Marmot-- Marmot for short.
Background: Jackson is an avid learner at College of Marin with the goal of transferring to a 4-year university as a computer science major. He loves to share his coding and crafting skills with adults and kids alike. Some of his other hobbies include painting and building war miniatures, as well as, other virtual and face to face strategy games.
Why Tinker tech: Jackson has always believed that although there are usually little coding skills learned in grade school, there is a lot of value in coding at such an early age. Not everyone wants to become a programmer but the problem solving skills acquired from learning to code can be applied everywhere. He wants to lead a bright school of thought for the future through teaching building and coding skills from beginner to advanced.
Fun Fact: Jackson is also very good with one on one teaching because he is able to understand students well and has experience in tutoring math.