THE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Innovator, educator, and cognitive architect AJ Webster brings more than a decade of classroom experience to Catalyst Education. He has taught science, Latin, language arts, math, and social science. AJ has his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He specializes in game-based learning and embraces the Maker Movement, in which students design, construct, and “think with their hands.” AJ’s work with the PlayMaker School was featured on PBS NewsHour. He is a frequent speaker and has conducted workshops at numerous conferences including the Game Learning Society, Progressive Educators Network, California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), Games in Education, the Institute for the Future, and the Playful Learning Summit. After the successful co-founding of the Sycamore School in Malibu, AJ continues his mission of revolutionizing education as a co-founder of Catalyst's Learning Hub, a future focused middle school in the west valley.
Christy Durham is an educator with over 20 years of elementary and middle school teaching experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. First beginning her career at the Walt Disney Company as a recruiter, she pursued her passion for teaching in 1998 and soon landed at the prestigious Buckley School in Sherman Oaks as a middle school teacher. Having increasingly developed a teaching philosophy around integrated, project-based learning, Christy left Buckley in 2012 to teach 4th and 5th grade at Los Encinos School, where this teaching philosophy is part of the daily curriculum. 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. As a current co-founder and administrator at the revolutionary Sycamore School in Malibu, Christy continues her focus on humanizing education for the Twenty-first Century as a co-founder and member of the Leadership Team at Catalyst's Learning Hub.
Tedd Wakeman has been working with children in education, recreation, and research for over two decades. He worked locally with LAUSD in South Central LA, teaching at the elementary and middle school levels for 14 years, while concurrently traveling the country developing and implementing STEM curriculum for Nike/Eco Educators. In addition, Tedd taught extensively across the globe. He worked in the Republic of the Maldives, teaching English to groups of adults from over 25 nations while diving the local coral reefs as a PADI dive master. In Bali, he lived and worked among Indonesian farmers, learning permaculture practices while utilizing a distance education program created through Queensland, Australia, to educate local teenagers. Tedd went on to spend two years teaching in Costa Rica while exploring local rainforest ecosystems. After these varied approaches and experiences in culture and education, he returned to Los Angeles and joined the GameDesk team in founding the revolutionary PlayMaker School. PlayMaker gained notoriety for its unique approach to 21st Century learning and game-based curriculum. Tedd has delivered keynotes, spoken on panels, and presented at numerous conferences, including LA’s General Assembly, Progressive Educators Network, California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), Playful Learning Summit, and Game Learning Society. After successfully co-founding the innovative Sycamore School in Malibu, he brings his passion and expertise to the Leadership Team here at Catalyst's Learning Hub.
Rebekah has been teaching in the areas of math and science for over a decade. She really enjoys making these subjects come alive in a variety of ways for her students. She created STEM programs at previous schools. These programs have since been used at other campuses around southern California. As a curriculum writer, Rebekah has also developed math and science programs that involve her unique and engaging approach to thinking and learning. She is a believer in project-based learning and incorporates an interdisciplinary approach in her work with students. She loves challenging “normal” education practices and creates a fun, inclusive, and engaging environment for her learners. She continually adapts material to their particular learning strengths and gives them real world skills they can use to become future leaders.
Jeremy is ecstatic to return to his roots as a humanities educator and to become part of the founding faculty at Catalyst. From coast to coast, Jeremy has donned a wide variety of dapper hats throughout his service as an educator. First and foremost, he has worked closely with students in schools both public and private, as well as schools specifically designed for students with learning disabilities. He has done this all with unwavering focus toward empowering students and their support networks in service of these terrific young men and women growing up to become not only independent, inquisitive, resourceful, and reflective learners, but active citizens of their local and global communities as well. As a former director of educational technology and innovation, Jeremy has collaborated with administrators, general studies teachers, and special education teachers to align International Baccalaureate project-based learning curricula to ISTE Media Literacy Standards for Students to create living scopes and sequences for practical and meaningful age-appropriate media literacy skill development. Beyond the classroom, Jeremy once served with the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company as a mentor, helping youth in under-served communities around Los Angeles learn how to "write on your feet." He also served as an events coordinator for Los Angeles Makerspace to help bolster community access to family-friendly maker education opportunities. As a tireless advocate for how learning through play promotes authentic learning experiences, Jeremy also hosts ENGAGE! on YouTube, which he is currently working on rebooting.
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 nearly 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 Tedd and AJ supporting curriculum and instruction at the PlayMaker School at NewRoads. For the past 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 creating 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 joining a team of passionate educators and a community willing to entrust him with the development of their youth!
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 Catalyst philosophy throughout the community as the Director of Admissions.
DIRECTOR of ADMISSIONS
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 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. Now she is incredibly excited to be a part of The Sycamore School family. Karla calls Santa Monica home where she lives with her husband, two adopted cats and some fish. She enjoys learning through experience and is passionate about her family, friends, and animals.