Creative Learning Place Teachers

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

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. In 2016 she went on her first international storytelling tour in China, S. Korea and Hong Kong and both performed and taught at ten international schools for a total of 48 shows. In 2009 Karen was chosen to be on the Los Angeles County Arts Commission roster of teaching artists and in that same year she founded CLP. Karen is also an accomplished musician on saxophone, recorder, ocarina, accordion and nose flute. She was a homeschool mom for 17 years and now she is officially done with homeschooling her own kids as they are both at the university. 

Sharon Bacharach
We All Have Super Powers

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. 

Mariela Broome
Have A Ball

Mariela is a certified Physical Education teacher from Argentina who has held a number of P.E. roles over the last 25 years. She was the Youth Director of the JCC in Tempe, Arizona, and has taught in public schools, private schools, and summer camps. For the past 15 years she has been homeschooling her children while also running her own soccer program for children in the Los Angeles area. She uses a variety of fun techniques and activities to help children develop their coordination, balance, flexibility, eye-hand coordination, strength, and other physical abilities. 


Christina Borraez 

Christina has been a professional in the fashion world for many years as a designer, patternmaker and educator. She learned how to sew at a young age andhas taught children and adults for over 10 years. Her interests include swimming laps, photography, ancient history and family.



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. 

Ryanne Plaisance and City Kids School Teachers
Conflict Resolution

City Kids mission is to create future innovators, global responsible citizens, and mindful individuals. Teachers are trained to identify every child's learning style to allow for each child to reach their potential. Classes are taught using project-based learning while empowering and motivating every student to own their education.

Heidi Joyce
Model UN, High School English, Orf Music, TheaterLab

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.  She currently performs regularly with major symphony orchestras around the country.  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.  



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!  

Valorie Knutson
Writing Wonderland

Valorie has an MA in English from USC and a BA in Journalism/Writing from Texas State University. While passionate about English, Writing, and Communications, she enjoys Mathematics and Science equally and has been homeschooling her son since 2012.  Over the past 20 years, her professional focus has been in teaching and providing energy work, sound healing, and meditation.  Valorie finds acting as a guide and holding the space for others to expand their awareness, knowledge, and abilities fulfilling and fun.


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!

Mary Middlebrook
Marine Science, US History,
Scientific Method

Mary has a degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston, and has spent almost 25 years in the aquarium trade, handling marine animals from all over the world. In 2010, she began homeschooling her son, and discovered a passion for teaching. She created curriculae for Marine Biology and World Geography and held classes and private tutoring sessions at her home for local home schoolers. She also began teaching those subjects at a private school, along with middle school English, Science, Math, and Social Studies. Mary's approach gets children excited about subjects though a variety of methods, including lectures, videos, experiments, hands on activities, creative projects, and field trips.

Julianna Ostrovsky

Julianna has an MFA in painting and sculpture from Columbia University. Her work has been nationally and internationally exhibited. As a teaching artist, Julianna has instructed workshops for grades K-12 and in in-depth painting and drawing studios for youth and adults. She currently teaches the young artist workshops at Otis College of Art and Design.


Professor Egghead Science Academy
Inventors, Engineering

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
English, Women In History

Hyla Rachwal is a former homeschooler and recent graduate from Cal State, Long Beach with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a minor in Spanish. She 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.

Steve Rachwal
Think, Write, Logic and Teamwork and Math, Oh My!! Current Events, World History

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.

Gitty Rav-Noy
Mechanical Engineering With Legos

Gitty Rav-Noy has been attending Lego Robotics classes since the age of 4. She has completed mechanical, and robotics challenges well beyond her years. In the spring of 2018, Gitty's older brother Abraham completed his fifth and final year teaching Mechanics/Robotics at CLP. Working with her bother, Gitty was an invaluable assistant. She aided in the classes and substituted in his absence. Running a book club for over two years, Gitty has shown a passion for education and working with kids. She has the unique ability to articulate complex ideas in a simplistic and entertaining manner.

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: 

Student Fitness Experts
STEAM Roll Physiology, Cooking/nutrition

Karen Jashinsky and Farrah Zweig are two fitness professionals who grew up in Jewish Orthodox communities. They both discovered fitness in their teen years and found that it played an instrumental role in their lives. At a time when self confidence and insecurities could have gotten the best of them, each found a way for fitness to transform their teenage years. They are passionate about helping others find a way for fitness to be the backbone of their lifestyle. Their mission is to help students achieve their goals and passions with confidence from the inside - out. Together they founded Student Fitness Experts,  a revolutionary fitness program that creates a completely personalized experience for each student. 

Aaron Vanek
Analog Game Design, LARP Science, Escape Room Design

A veteran and still 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. and soon at Pelgrane Press, with a forthcoming supplement from Sixtystone Press. He is also the vice-chair of The Game Academy (, a 501c3 non-profit that fosters learning through games. He is entering his third year teaching Design (previously Analog Game Design) at Kabbalah Children's Academy.