Meet the Homeschool Team

We invite you to meet the team of teachers who support our homeschooling students and families.

Melissa Hartley-CST (she/hers/her)

I have felt so privileged to have taught in a number of educational settings over the last 20 years, having experienced a variety of teaching styles and opportunities for growth from each one. While in college, I was a preschool teacher and worked as an assistant teacher at a private school, and from there, after completing my credential, became a full time 2nd grade teacher in San Anselmo. After having two kids, I left the public school setting and started tutoring and offering small group instruction to homeschooling families and families in traditional brick and mortar school settings who were needing a bit more support. This is when I was first introduced to homeschooling in Marin county and met some wonderful families. After doing this for many years, I returned to Corte Madera school to work in a job share capacity in 5th grade with a friend of mine. I was able to do both for many years and loved the combination of experiences. After moving to Sonoma County in 2019, commuting to Marin no longer felt like an option and so I started working as a kindergarten teacher at our local public school. However, soon after, we were in lockdown and school sites were closed and that job was no longer possible with my own three kids learning from home. I discovered Heartwood soon after and have been so excited to use my experiences in the various school and educational settings in my current position as a CST in Heartwood’s Homeschool Program. I have met wonderful families and am working with amazing teachers. I have learned so much from each member of the Heartwood community and feel incredibly lucky to have found it.






Kit M.– CST (she/her/hers)

Thanks to my wonderful parents and teachers who taught me to value a strong education, kindness, and responsibility, I worked my way through the University of Hawaii, College of Marin, Cal Berkeley, and Sonoma State University (earning a BA in Biology and Chemistry), attended UCB and UCD graduate programs in chemistry and returned to SSU to earn my teaching credential.

I was lucky to work during college at a variety of jobs: kennel cleaner, car service, and parts cashier, file and accounting clerk. In grad school, the joy of teaching chemistry labs led me to pursue teaching over research. I taught high school math at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, and HS science in Petaluma City Schools before joining the homeschooling community and serving as a CST for 15 years at a local charter, while also teaching classroom science and math with students in grades 6-12.

I find joy in helping people and in extending my creativity and imagination in my craft. I greatly value the flexibility that homeschooling offers families and students. There is such a rich variety of schooling philosophies and I enjoy developing with my students and families the strategies to explore to encourage and support each student to thrive and become prepared for their next steps. I love the opportunities to keep learning and growing that teaching offers.  I enjoy being in nature, spending time with my loved ones, and reading.






Amber M.– CST (she/her/hers)

Hello, my name is Amber McKinney! I am a creative hands on kind of teacher; I love history, science, reading/writing, and art. I love to paint and make music, as well as reading history and fantasy/sci-fi. I love to spend time in nature and going for nature walks. I am from Petaluma, where I currently reside with my husband, 3 pets, and 2 kids – soon to be 3 kids! 
I earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Physical Sciences from Sonoma State University, and have been working as a credentialed teacher since 2015. I was a piano teacher for five years, taught 5th/6th for four years, and taught 7th-12thin a Project Based Learning Charter as a math/film/music/writing teacher for two years. I did a year as a 5th grade Waldorf teacher at Heartwood before switching to the homeschool side of things in 2021. I love working in the homeschool community because I love helping guide families to find what really works for their students to become empowered life long learners, which is so unique for each student! 







Scott K.– CST (he/him//his)

My name is Scott Kreinberg and I moved to Marin in 2019, after teaching in San Diego for nearly 20 years. I have been with Heartwood since 2020. I am a parent of 3 wonderful children, a 3rd grader, an 8th grader, and a high school junior. My wife is also a teacher, currently teaching elementary Spanish and with a wide range of K-8 and college level experiences, too. With five of us at seven different schools, education is definitely a hot topic in our home.

I am a family man who loves to travel. One of the best years of my life was in 2015 when my wife and I homeschooled our children on a year-long adventure through 17 different countries. We learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and visited so many great places. It has been a pleasure to share my love of our world with Heartwood students through teaching “Virtual Field Trips” and “Cooking Around the World” classes. I look forward to our next adventure together!

My career has afforded me a wide range of teaching experiences including; teaching in public schools, charter schools, residential schools for students in the foster system, an academy for students with special needs, alternative schools for students in the juvenile justice system, and independent study programs. Additionally, I taught adult learners both in a community setting and in college. I get my greatest “high” when seeing people strive to reach their full potential. And if I can be a support to this endeavor, that is deeply satisfying for me and icing on the cake!






Angela C.– CST (she/her/hers)

I’m fascinated by the learning process and, through trial and much error, have come to accept one size of education does not fit all. I’ve held several roles as an educator: preschool teacher, first grade teacher, middle school teacher, homeschooling parent, reading tutor, and for the past four years supporting homeschooling families as an independent study program teacher. I enjoy learning how families are going about the process of educating as much as helping to support and problem-solve when a new angle or even a new approach is needed. Educating a child can be messy, exciting, challenging, defeating, insightful, and ultimately rewarding. I’m here to partner for the ride.

Left to my own devices, you’ll find me gardening, cooking or going out for good food with my husband, hiking, researching, walking with friends, or traveling to spend weekends with my daughters. And if all goes well, I’m hoping in the next year to do some international traveling.






Talia M-H. – CST (she/her/hers)

I have loved working with children ever since I was young. Over the years, I have worked as a babysitter, a tutor, a camp counselor, a preschool teacher, an Americorps after school program leader, a middle school extended day teacher, a 3rd-5th grade classroom teacher, and a homeschool/independent study teacher. For my undergraduate degree, I majored in Development Studies at UC Berkeley. I earned my multi-subject teaching credential and a Masters in Teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. After graduating, I worked at an alternative public school in Seattle as a 4th/5th grade multi-age teacher. This school had a focus on expeditionary learning, or “learning by doing”. Our students spent time investigating a topic deeply through units of study that integrated math, ELA, science, and social studies, and also included field trips and guest speakers. Since moving back to Sonoma County (where I grew up), I have worked as a 3rd grade teacher, an Independent Study teacher in the Rincon Valley Home School Program, and now I am in my 3rd year as a CST at Heartwood. I love that homeschooling allows families the opportunity to individualize a learning plan based on their student’s interests, passions, challenges, motivators, and learning style. I am honored to support families in their educational journey; helping to create their vision and working to make it a reality. My ultimate goal is for students to feel excited about learning, to be curious and intrinsically motivated to seek out new knowledge, to be active participants in their education. Of course this looks different for each child, which is what inspires me about homeschooling – the opportunities for growth and discovery are endless! My own passions include hiking/camping/backpacking, reading, cooking and eating delicious food, gardening, arts and crafts projects, listening to live music, and spending time with friends and family (especially my husband and two-year-old son). 





Julianna H.– CST (she/her/hers)

I have taught high school math for 14 years; six years at a private school and eight years at the local high school. I love working at Heartwood because I get to work with students of all ages and abilities. I am a CST and Math Specialist at Heartwood. I am very excited to support my families in their homeschool journey. I have three kids of my own and live in American Canyon with my husband, kids, father in law, and dogs. I was born and raised in Novato and went to Novato High School. I went to UC Davis and majored in Mathematics. I also got my teaching credential and Master of Arts in Education from UC Davis. I love math, computer science, art, puzzles, and nature and am excited to share these with the Heartwood community.










Kimberly D. – CS (she/her/hers)

I have been drawn to teaching and working with children for most of my life. I love building relationships with my students and their families and fostering the joy and excitement of learning. Every child is unique in their learning style and gifts and my goal is to help you create a learning environment that supports and motivates your child.

I began my work in summer camps and spent time volunteering at a bilingual school in Monteverde, Costa Rica as part of my undergraduate work at UC Santa Cruz. Then I taught outdoor education at multiple camps in and out of CA before returning to school at SSU for my multiple subject teaching credential with an early childhood emphasis. I taught for 12 years in the classroom, teaching kindergarten and 2nd grade. For the last  7 years I have worked with homeschooling families.

I have three children of my own. They are in 6th, 5th, and K this year. We enjoy camping, hiking, reading, visiting family and friends, and playing board games. In my free time, you can find me running, doing yoga, reading, gardening, and listening to podcasts.






Pamela P. – CST (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Pam Palmgren and this is my third year with Heartwood.  I have always loved working with children, so becoming a teacher was a natural career choice for me. I received my bilingual teaching credential from Sonoma State and then taught in a 1-3rd grade class, Kindergarten class, and then 4th grade class. I took a hiatus from teaching and homeschooled my four children – the three eldest through high school, and the youngest I homeschooled through 6th grade. I returned to the classroom as a temporary, part time reading intervention teacher rotating through the 5 elementary schools in Sonoma Valley, and then I was hired at Heartwood. I am delighted to be a CST because I love using my life experiences of teaching and homeschooling to encourage Heartwood families in the wonderful adventure of homeschooling. When I’m not working, I love road biking, swimming, hiking, and reading, but mostly I LOVE spending time with family and friends around my dinner table.