Creative Learning Place Instructors

Karen Golden
Founder and Director of Creative Learning Place, Storytelling, Recorder, Speaker's League

Karen began telling stories at her dinner table at age three and playing the saxophone at eight. Today her table is the size of the world! Karen teaches the art of storytelling through workshops and residencies at schools, universities, and other educational institutions and she is a published author and recording artist. She is also an international touring artist with the Buenos Aires based company DreamOn Productions and she has performed in China, S. Korea, Hong Kong, Peru, Argentina, and recently she has toured the world on Zoom. Karen is an accomplished musician on saxophone, recorder, ocarina, accordion and nose flute and in 2019 she co-founded Klezmer Arts Institute Los Angeles. She was a homeschool mom for 17 years and now she is passionate about helping you tohomeschool your kids. 

Nancy Anel

"For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a teacher! I’m a mom of 3 kiddos who I homeschool, and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Special education! I was born in Mexico City, and enjoy sharing my native language, Spanish, that has been classified as a Romance language.  I also have taken professional puppetry classes which makes learning fun.  During these past 4 years I have been studying the Science of Reading and have found according to statistics that children benefit much more with a detailed reading and self paced curriculum. I love working with children because they have an amazing capability of learning no matter how old they are. I believe it is vital to provide the best start for our child’s future. To make my teaching engaging and fun I use my friend puppets who help me make learning enjoyable." 


Sharon Bacharach
Social Skills

Sharon has worked with children in schools, summer camps and hospitals for over 30 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as an Early Childhood Educator. Over the past 5 years Sharon has enjoyed teaching adults working with children or who are interested in entering the field of early childhood. She conducts workshops for Head Start teachers, parents, and school faculty. She also teaches in a Masters in Education program in Early Childhood at American Jewish University. Sharon has attended trainings in Council, Social Thinking, Conscious Discipline and Grief Counseling which she brings into her work with children. 

Miriam Cantor 
American Sign Language

Miriam Cantor is a Teacher of the Deaf and an Educational Therapist (ET/P). She is retired from Marlton School, LAUSD’s school for the Deaf, where she taught Primary through Secondary levels, specializing in Special Needs Deaf students. At Marlton, Miriam had the benefit of being exposed, and immersed in Deaf Culture. Miriam first learned to sign while working as a secretary for a project for the Deaf at the Jewish Vocational Service in Chicago, an ideal way to learn.  She has also worked in the Washington, DC area, with access to cultural events and classes at Gallaudet University, and involvement in the Washington Society for Jewish Deaf. Miriam has taught ASL through San Diego Adult School, and LAUSD Professional Development classes. Miriam has had the pleasure of using her Sign Language skills creatively through interpreting selected activities at the former Summer Solstice Festival in LA, and performing with the late storyteller, Kathleen Zundell through 2 grants from the LA Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Miriam is happy for the opportunity of sharing with you and your families her many experiences with the Deaf. 

Heidi Joyce
Creative Writing

Heidi Joyce (Teacher/Director) made her Broadway debut in the revival of Jerome Kern’s Sally at the Academy Theatre and was cast in the leading role of JennyAnyDots/Jellylorum in the  international company of Cats.  As a nationally touring stand-up comic, Heidi has shared the stage with Wanda Sykes, Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Caroline Rhea and many others and was the opening act for Melissa Manchester in Las Vegas. She has written many scripts and compositions in collaboration with conductor/composer Randall Craig Fleischer, which premiered at the Kennedy Center, including a tribute to Martin Luther King narrated by Dr. King’s daughter, Yolanda, and broadcast on PBS. Heidi has a degree in music, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the Indiana University School of Music and was selected for the Master’s program at the Yale School of Drama. She is fully certified by the American Orff Schulwerk Association as a music and movement instructor (with specialties in World Music and Jazz for children) and studied early childhood education (focusing on Reggio Emilia-inspired practices) with international expert George Forman, (Emeritus Professor, University of Massachusetts, at Amherst), and child development at UCLA.  

Mike Fry
Jump Rope Skills

Mike Fry has been jumping rope for 25 years, and has traveled around the world to teach, compete, perform, and share his love of the sport. He is a three-time National champion, a four-time World champion, and has performed for the NBA, NFL, Ford, Puma, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He lives and works in Los Angeles

Brian Julian

Kids to Kings connects two things that were meant to be together:  Children and Chess. The company was started by Chess Mentor, Brian Julian who began his Chess career in 2010 working for an after-school program that services under privileged children in the Compton area.  He was so inspired that few years later he founded "Kids To Kings" in order to bring the joy of this 2000 year old "game of kings" to children's homes, in a one on one setting.  Since then it has grown rapidly servicing homes in every part of town. The company also has several after-school and summer camp programs but now Brian and his team of skilled Chess Tutors want to make Chess accessible to home-schoolers! Brian was home-schooled as a child and has always thought of it as something that makes him unique and special, like a super power!  And every super hero should play Chess. The best part of Chess is how it simply and subtly reminds children of important kingly core values such as Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Indomitable Spirit, and Self-Control. Actually the best, best part of the game is how it creates a level playing field for all involved. It breaks down the barriers of class, race, wealth, and status and gives each child an equal opportunity for success. Chess isn't just a game, it is life!  

Eric Kogan
Math Circle

Eric Kogan has a BE in Highway Construction and a BA in Music and Choir Conducting. Early in his career, Eric worked as draftsman for an engineering firm and later directed a Children's Choir with occasional jazz guitar gigs.

His passion for math was reinvigorated with the arrival of his son, Ethan, who from the very early age exhibited interest in numbers and puzzles.

In 2011, while a homeschool dad, Eric became a Room Parent for Dr. Oleg Gleizer's class at Los Angeles Math Circle at UCLA. Being present at most of Dr. Oleg Gleizer’s lectures for 6 years, alongside his son and other students, Eric helped children to learn the material presented in class. For Ethan, this resulted in a series of successful participations in math competitions, including winning 1st place in the nation in a Math Kangaroo contest and a high placing in AMC8 and BAMO (Bay Area Math Olympiad).

And now Math Circle cometh to CLP. Be warned!

Keera Lindenberg
Seasons and Weather

Keera Lindenberg has been getting students excited about science for over a decade. After teaching Marine Biology on Catalina Island & Botany for the Portland Outdoor School, she started her own educational nonprofit in Portland OR, called Science Project. This "mobile museum" brought hands-on science programs to the Salvation Army and world-famous science museum OMSI, among others. This blossomed into a weekly FM radio science-inquiry show, called Everything is Interesting. (Yes, you can find it on iTunes!) Keera holds a bachelor's degree in Biology & Environmental Science. Most recently, she served as the Educational Director for an analytical chemistry lab, but is very excited to be back in the classroom! 

Julianna Ostrovsky

Julianna Ostrovsky, MFA in Painting and Sculpture, Columbia University, is a visual artist currently living in Los Angeles. A community artist whose work has been nationally and internationally exhibited, Julianna works in many media and is committed to making art a process understood and practiced by all creatures with the desire to think creatively and problem solve collectively. As a teaching artist she has instructed a range of visual arts workshops for grades K-12 and adults, including in-depth painting, mixed media, drawing studios, and summer camp workshops for youth at Otis College of Art and Design. Julianna has worked as an Artist-in- Residence at the Skirball Cultural Center, an art educator in LAUSD, and is currently an art educator at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Bridey Phillips
Food Science - More Herbal Magic

Bridey graduated from the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University. AEI fosters ecological awareness through immersion in a variety of environments and cultures, critical reflection and experiential learning communities. With this unique school her dorm was a tent and her classrooms included forests, rivers, canyons, native lands and a magical school bus (literally). She continued her education in functional medicine through the Functional Nutrition Alliance. During her learning practicum she was able to apply her  knowledge in the Wellness Department at Rainbow Acres in Mar Vista. She spent a decade teaching and learning from the migrant farm working community where she supervised a Family Literacy Program for families and children (birth-8yrs) and co-directed a summer school program for migrant youth (K-H.S.) Her experience with Waldorf education and Non-violent Communication techniques allows her the perspective to provide an empathetic and imaginative environment for learners. She is excited about the idea of food as medicine and prepares meals & remedies using the many treasures from her vibrant backyard garden alongside her children, husband & 5 other fabulous humans in their communal living space. 

Professor Egghead Science Academy

Professor Egghead Science Academy Los Angeles is owned by Nick and Ross. We grew up together exploring the world around us and figuring things out the hard way—by engineering our own Lego worlds, falling out of treehouses, and building our own go-carts.  We didn’t realize it at the time, but what we were really doing was experimenting and testing, and learning through science. After finishing school with a degree in Environmental Science, Nick moved to LA to pursue his passion for science and the environment. His passion for teaching science took over, and he’s stuck with it ever since. Ross took a longer detour to LA, spending a few years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania working in New York, Zurich, and London before finally relocating to Los Angeles to run Professor Egghead LA with Nick. Now that we’re together again we can’t wait to share our fascination with exploring the world through science with a new generation of kids. We always discovering new things by trying, failing, and then trying again, and we’ll always be excited about bringing the wonder of science to a new generation. From humble beginnings offering just one science class, the program has grown to offering hundreds of classes at dozens of schools all over Los Angeles.  

Hyla Rachwal
Elementary  and Middle School English, Travel Geography and Geography Europe

Hyla Rachwal is a former homeschooler and she has been teaching at CLP since 2018. She has a B.A. from Cal State, Long Beach in Women’s Studies with a minor in Spanish. Hyla has a lot of experience teaching and working with children at summer camps, leadership seminars, and pre-schools. She has also worked extensively with students who have diverse abilities. Hyla spent her Junior year studying in Argentina and Spain, which broadened her world view and deepened her knowledge on global issues, geography, and culture. Hyla is passionate about human rights and has dreams to become a human rights attorney. She recognizes the importance of fostering a passion in learning and teaching students how to write and think critically. 

Soli Rachwal
Art Around the World: Meet the Masters

Soli was homeschooled K-12 and attended UCLA, where she earned a B.A. in Gender Studies with a minor in Environmental Systems and Society. She is now a fine artist and illustrator, creating personalized commissions for clientele across the U.S. Thanks to homeschooling, she was able to dedicate countless hours to her artistic pursuits throughout her teen years. She has continued to develop her skills through the Ryman Arts program at Otis College of Art & Design, Santa Monica College, and through her own self-directed learning. As a former CLP student herself, Soli is excited to be working with current CLP students and hopes to inspire the new generation of homeschoolers to pursue their creative passions.

Steve Rachwal
English and Math, In The News, World History, Drawing, Photoshop

Steve Rachwal was a home school dad for 17 years; and an image maker specializing in graphic design, photography, illustration and writing/editing for longer than that. He has created over 30 book designs and over 200 book covers for a wide range of clients, including Random House, Chronicle Books, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, John Wiley & Sons, etc. etc. He focuses on helping each student discover their own passions and guides them to find creative ways to express themselves. He is currently on the faculty of Middlesex College where he teaches online in the art department. His website is

Crystal Reed
College and Career Counselor

Crystal Reed has over a decade of experience helping high school students figure out “What’s next?” Her forte is helping young people find the right next step to support their long-term goals while minimizing stress and anxiety. She also has extensive experience assisting students with learning differences with this all-important process. Visit her website at:

Dr. Charlotte Swanson
Marine Biology

Charlotte Swanson has a Ph.D. in Endocrinology from the Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. In the course of working on her Ph.D., she enjoyed teaching biology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.  Charlotte discovered the joy of teaching younger kids about the body and how it works after having her own children. This was formalized when she started teaching science at her children’s preschool. Two years ago, she co-founded a monthly weekend science camp in Griffith Park for children aged 5-10. Recently, she has taught science working one-on-one with homeschooled students of elementary and middle school-ages. She has taught subjects ranging from anatomy, physiology, cell biology, genetics, and embryology, to the flora and fauna of Griffith Park. Charlotte Swanson is thrilled to bring her love for science to the wonderful curriculum at Creative Learning Place. 

Aaron Vanek
Designing A Table-Top Role Playing Game, Journalism

A veteran and active game designer with over 30 years experience in both pen & paper and video games. He has designed games for the Girl Scouts of America, the Paul Biane Public Library in Rancho Cucamonga (Harry Potter Family Fun Day), the San Diego Public Library (Bookworm in 2014 and Something Wicked This Way for their 2016 Shakespeare First Folio exhibition), the West Hollywood Book Fair, Gamedesk, and Sanrio, Inc., among many others. His role-playing game adventures were published by Chaosium, Inc., Pelgrane Press, Arc Dream Publishing, and a forthcoming supplement from Sixtystone Press. He is also the board secretary of The Game Academy (, a 501c3 non-profit that fosters learning through games. With his wife and partner, they founded Spectacular Disaster Factory, LLC to run interactive events and create games. 

Keva Walker 
Dance Around The World

Keva Walker (they/she) is a choreographer, performer, and teacher based in Los Angeles. They choreographed such films as Sasie Sealy’s Lucky Grandma (official selection of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival) and Leslie Foster’s Etude #1 (official selection of the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival). Walker has guided actors through on-set movement direction for artists STF and Scout Durwood; choreographed music videos with musicians Nora Rothman, Abby Diamond, Bad Wolfy, and Joe George; and assisted choreographer Stacy Walker on Toyota commercials.  As a performer, Walker appeared live with Tiësto, Calvin Harris, and Armin Van Burren; danced in music videos with Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Coldplay; and appeared as both actor and dancer in Euphoria (HBO), Hit the Floor (BET), and Fast & Furious 7. Walker’s lifelong training in ballet, tap, and jazz has led to professional teaching stints in Los Angeles, Chicago, Florida, and China, specializing in vogue femme, contemporary, and multiple styles of footwork. Knowing that dance improves self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and overall health and fitness, Walker is grateful to have worked as a lead instructor with the non-profit Fostering Dreams Project, which focuses on underserved communities and foster youth. icial selection of the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival).