Gever Tulley, Founder & Education Architect
Gever founded Tinkering School in 2005 in order to learn how children become competent and to explore the notion that kids can build anything, and through building, learn anything. A self-taught computer scientist with no formal education, Gever’s expertise is really in… thinking. Gever has taught workshops and made presentations to both kids and adults around the world. He has spoken at TED, twice, written articles for MAKE:, and authored the book Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do).
Ellen Hathaway, Director
Ellen has worked in the classrooms, offices, and boardrooms of preschools, colleges, music schools, study abroad programs, and law school, giving her a unique perspective on how education supports students’ changing needs from preschool through adulthood. Ellen’s love for the world of early childhood education and her belief in children’s innate desire to learn independently keeps her searching for cutting-edge educational movements that support play, creativity, and student-centered learning consistently throughout childhood and into adulthood. Ellen was the founding board president of San Francisco Rock Project, a performance-based music school for kids, and remains active on their board. Ellen’s three children attend Brightworks.
Anthony Consilio, Assistant Director
Anthony started working with children in his junior year of high school and never looked back. For the past twenty-seven years, he has worked in almost every facet of schools from pre- to high school. Through a multitude of classroom, play based, administrative and hands-on experiences Anthony has always been a firm believer that there is no single approach for all children and has strived to work with them as individuals to help them pursue and explore their interests and let their ideas to be the driving force of their educational experience. Since the beginning of Brightworks, Anthony has been a fierce advocate for the hearts and minds of the kids, seeing their need for love and support as paramount to a good educational experience. He acts as advisor to the collaborators, teaches a high school philosophy class and works closely with the parents. Mostly he loves the joyous challenge of discovering the passions of the children and pursuing all the amazing paths that open in these transformative moments.
Justine Macauley, Program Coordinator
As program coordinator, Justine manages the school office, blog, library, the admissions process, the daily park hour, and the bandaids. She designed writing curriculum for students in college and interned as a writing tutor at 826 Valencia. She is a founding staff member at Brightworks, and has focused her efforts at the school on inspiring students to find delight and inspiration in the written word, through both reading and writing stories. She greatly values all time spent with students, and believes that building trust and community with children is one of the most important things that educators can do to foster happy human beings.
Piper has two legs, two arms and two wheels. She has been described as an all-purpose renaissance grrl–part fabricator, part biker, part teacher–but considers this more of an aspiration than an accomplishment. Piper comes to Brightworks from, most recently, Burke’s where she spent two years teaching and learning as an associate teacher. At Burke’s she was surrounded by experienced educators, who encouraged her to try, and gave her the freedom to fail. She built relationships with each of her students, while pushing for inquiry and interest driven curriculum and advocating for the competence of each student. Piper believes that each student can try anything with the right structure and support. While working at Burke’s, Piper began working at the Tinkering School, in both the summer day camp and weekend workshop programs. This allowed Piper to continue to interact with children in an environment driven by curiosity, ambition and just enough uncertainty. Piper’s first experience teaching was with the Bamboo Bike Studio in both Brooklyn and San Francisco, where she helped develop the cheapest bicycle for the developing world and led workshops for adults on composite-based bicycle frame building. Her work with the Bamboo Bike Studio also informed her senior thesis on the social construction of sustainable development.
As a native, Melissa has always believed San Francisco to be the best playground and classroom to foster her creative and curious nature; now she loves sharing its gifts with her students. After a decade of honing her skills as a collaborator and creative thinker in residential and retail design, Melissa decided it was time to take these skills, follow her love of children and learning, and go back to school to share her passions with others by becoming a teacher. She was drawn to BATTI (Bay Area Teacher Training Institute) and their vision of “Learning By Doing,” allowing her to simultaneously be both student and teacher. While completing her credential and master’s, Melissa put her learning into practice co-teaching at an independent school in Oakland focused on critical thinking, service learning, and a diverse student body. Becoming partners in learning and wonder with her students has fueled her passion for teaching in both independent and public schools. Just as she always needed to become a part of the build team, making her vision a reality with her own hands, Melissa is committed to ignite that same creative, hands-on passion in her students. On her off days or evenings, you can find her at AT&T park, cheering on her beloved Giants and teaching others about baseball.
Mackenzie Price, Lower School Lead Collaborator
More at home in nature than at home, Mackenzie has spent her life playing in the dirt. Before becoming one of the founding collaborators at Brightworks, she served as a nature awareness instructor for the Reikes Center for Human Enhancement where she fostered in her students a sense of wonder for the natural world through explorations of ecology and stewardship. She coordinated the Sustainability Lecture Series with the Education for Sustainable Living Program. In 2008 she founded Dirt to Dinner, a program that connects families to food though gardening and cooking. As a part of her honors thesis research she worked in Chiapas, Mexico establishing school gardens and teacher training programs in order to better understand the value of school gardens as a pedagogical tool. Her strength lies in her willingness to learn alongside the kids with the same excited curiosity, and in her careful questioning that guides her students to new discoveries and deep learning.
Beginning his life as an English language learner in a suburb of Flint, MI, Rich always was on the constant search for animals, and when indoors, pencil and paper were usually in hand. At a young age, he was a finalist in multiple statewide wildlife art contests and became a devout student of Korean martial art. His interest in animals led him to Northern California, where he earned a B.S. in Zoology. His career as an educator began at the Mendocino Woodlands Outdoor Science School, a place he credits as his introduction to inquiry based learning, and then worked as a teacher and counselor at the circus and performance art camp, Winnarainbow. A lifelong student, Rich’s continued involvement with Humboldt State University led him to be invited to be a research team member on National Science Foundation funded projects at the renowned Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. After receiving a California teaching credential in biology, Rich met the Brightworks family and was instantly drawn to their mission to create not only creative, knowledgeable people, but also good human beings. Apart from a desire to be at the forefront of education, he sees Brightworks as a place that truly embodies the William Butler Yeats quote: “Education is not a filling of a pail, but a lighting of a fire.” One of his recent projects has been the co-creation of the outdoor education camp, Natur Tabor, in Western Hungary.
Amanda is absolutely fascinated with the ways that people of all ages translate ideas from their brains to their words to their actions to physical objects – and this means that she is really, really good at four things:
1. making art
2. writing non-fiction
3. asking great questions
4. inspiring other people to learn and do awesome stuff
Over the past ten years, Amanda has taught art, writing, professional development, and creative problem solving to students age 5 through 65 in quite a few different settings: in homeless shelters, extended education programs, summer camps, nonprofit art galleries, as well as through colleges in both California and Michigan. Amanda is currently a Collaborator with Brightworks and Tinkering School, a writer for the art criticism publication Art Practical, and a curator with San Francisco’s Queer Cultural Center.
Phillip Fillastre, Upper School Lead Collaborator
Phillip began teaching as a science, math, art, and graphic design educator in 2008 at Joseph George Middle School in San Jose for five years through the Teach for America organization. He currently holds a Multiple Subjects (K-8) Clear Credential and a Supplemental Credential in the Visual Arts. After teaching core subjects for a year, Phillip was asked to pioneer the introduction of digital arts and sculpture curriculum to the school. Joining Brightworks in 2013, Phillip drew and expanded on his experiences in public education to create his own curated, project-based curriculum for students at all ability levels. Phillip is drawn to learning that incorporates multiple disciplines and weaves the sciences within the arts as often as possible. He has held fellowships at Stanford’s College of Education, Synopsis Inc., and Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Phillip recently completed a Family Engagement Institute at Harvard Graduate School of Education in order to broaden his understanding of what students need to be successful, creative, collaborative, confident adults. He believes in teaching students to be lifelong self-learners, through collaboration, rooted in the design thinking process. Outside of teaching, Phillip is a practicing graphic artist, sculptor, and event designer. Last year, he founded CORECULT, a five-member 3D art collective focused on creating unique environments outside of the gallery for community and private events in the Bay Area.
Amanda started teaching in Washington, D.C., where she coordinated elementary science programs and adapted national K-12 science curriculum for DC Public Schools. With a Master’s degree in education and a classroom track sparked by her time in Teach For America, she has experience in everything from pedagogical theory to arts-integration modules to emceeing statewide science fairs to raising tadpoles. Fully-trained in various national STEM movements, she is committed to finding and fostering passion in the sciences. She flew across the country with her dog, Apollo, to immerse herself in the emergent and experimental curriculum at Brightworks. When not building a classroom (figuratively and, since joining the team, quite literally), she spends her time drawing dinosaurs, pondering physics, and drinking a fair amount of coffee.
Day School Support
Lindsay studied marine biology in Miami and counted fish in the Bering Sea and the Caribbean, meanwhile working with kids at all sorts of camps. She spent a year sailing tall ships down the eastern coast and the Virgin Islands and learned to explain parrot fish gender switching while half underwater with a snorkel in her mouth. She left tropical paradise to collaborate during two summers with SF Tinkering School and ended up as support staff for the younger bands at Brightworks, as well as Tinkering School weekend workshop staff. She is really proud of the Claw Machine she got to build with tinkerers last summer! In her spare time she is learning how to screen print, taking a machining class, bakes awesome pies, and loves to dance.
Sean Murray, Project Specialist
Bounce the saw,
Struggle and fail,
Fingers and brains
United at last.
Zealot for failure
Sharer of stoke
Let’s raise a barn, amigos.
Joshua Rothhaas, Auxiliary Programs Coordinator
Joshua has been working to create wonderful moments for kids for the past eight years. He is obsessed with creativity, risk taking, competency, craftsmanship and how people make amazing things. He helped create and shape after school tutoring programs in math and literacy for inner-city youth in Cleveland, created Madden Open Hearts Camp’s first science curriculum, founded his own one-on-one child-care program called Science Sitter, and worked in music and theater programs in Chicago with the Old Town School of Folk Music. He founded Tinkering School Chicago and was the first collaborator hired at Brightworks. He is currently the manager for Tinkering School and all of its programing, including the day camp, overnight camp, weekend workshops, and after school program.