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Erich Ackermann Teacher
Jenifer Bertolero Teacher
Brian Olkowski Teacher
Stephanie Preston Teacher
Mia Schmitt Psychologist
Sherrie Starkie Teacher
Justin Valjalo Teacher

Other Course Staff BIO


Jenifer Bertolero


more graphicsHello, my name is Jenifer Bertolero, and I’ve been teaching music in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District since 2002. Before I was a teacher here at Coyote Creek I taught vocal and classroom music at Country Club Elementary, Walt Disney Elementary and Iron Horse Middle School.   In addition to Coyote Creek, I am also the instrumental music teacher at Green Valley Elementary School.  I was educated here in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District grades K-12.  After graduating from Monte Vista High School I attended the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific where I graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree with an emphasis in flute performance. Next I went on and earned a Master of Arts Degree in Music with an emphasis in flute performance at San Jose State University.  During the 2008-2009 school year I was honored to be named Country Club Elementary Teacher of the Year for the San Ramon Rotary Club.  On a lighter note, I love holidays, birthdays, animals, listening to music, gardening, watching the food network, baking and cooking, having fun with my family and going to concerts!


Stephanie Preston


computer girl garyI am very excited to work at Coyote Creek as the computer teacher. I have been with the school for almost 5 years now and love working with your children. Previously, I worked as a computer teacher and computer tech in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District at the elementary level. Prior to that, I worked in the corporate world for 20 years as a computer trainer, curriculum developer, Certified Lotus Admin and Developer. While my experience has primarily been working with adults in a tech-oriented environment, I can honestly say that working with children in the computer lab has been the highlight of my career. Children today are very comfortable using technology and I am honored to work with your children to give them the technical foundation they will need throughout their education and beyond.


Sherrie Starkie

I amore graphicsm excited to be teaching at Coyote Creek!  This will be my 15th year teaching, after a Purchasing/Materials career in the Electronics industry.  I love science and hope I can share that enthusiasm, and inspire all of you to feel the same way.

I grew up in the East Bay and for the last 23 years have lived in the hills between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz.   I went to UC Davis (B.S. Business) and University of Phoenix (M.A Organizational Management), before receiving my teaching credential from San Jose State

In my spare time, I am outside as much as I can be, and do some volunteering at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Madeira Animal shelter.  I have a passion for animals as you will see when you visit my classroom, and have two dogs and three cats at home.  I enjoy spending time with my 2 children.

I look forward to getting to know all of you and having a great year!

Dawn Kriz

I am so excited to be a teacher here at Coyote Creek. Before coming to Coyote Creek, I taught 4th grade at Country Club Elementary School in San Ramon. I have been a volunteer in the library for years and enjoy sharing my love of books with all of my students. I have a B.A. in History from California State University Northridge and I received my teaching credential from Cal State Teach. I live in San Ramon with my husband and our three children. They keep us busy with taekwondo, Irish dance, and band. We are originally from Southern California but we spent six years living in Washington state before moving to the Bay Area. When I am not teaching I enjoy reading, sewing, and dancing. I always wanted to be a teacher and I love getting the chance to make school fun and engaging for all of my students.


Mia Schmitt


I am very pleased to be embarking on another year at Coyote Creek Elementary!
I grew up in the San Ramon Valley and am delighted to be back working in a school system that served me so well.  I graduated from Monte Vista High School in 1985 and went on to complete my undergraduate degree in Psychobiology at UCLA.  Following a bit of travel, I attended PACE University in Manhattan, where I earned a Master’s in Education and, ultimately, a Doctorate in School-Clinical-Child Psychology.  After a few years of work in New York hospitals and schools, my husband and I returned to California to raise our 3 children close to family and friends.  I have been with SRVUSD since 2006.
I am, once again, looking forward to working with the Coyote Creek Community- staff, students and their families, to tackle any obstacles to a successful school year! 


Erich Ackermann


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Welcome back Coyote Creek community! I have been teaching physical education at Coyote Creek since 2006. My previous teaching experience of 8 years was in Hayward Unified School District. I feel blessed to be a part of the staff here and have enjoyed being a part of this active, supportive community.


I'm a Bay Area native who grew up in Castro Valley and attended Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward. While receiving my Bachelors of Science in physical education from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, I competed for the cross country and track teams. My passion for running and fitness motivated me to get a single subject teaching credential in physical education from Cal State Hayward. Along the way, I coached cross country/track at the high school level, worked as a fitness/personal trainer at Clubsport in San Ramon and at the corporate level, and have continued to run competitively - now for a masters team.

My wife is also a teacher in the district, and we share a passion for teaching and working with elementary age children. Our family is involved in baseball, cub scouts, soccer, and softball to name a few activities. We love watching the Giants and 49ers, World Cup soccer  (Go Germany!) and many other sports. During our free time, we enjoy riding bikes, hiking, and so many other things the Bay Area has to offer. Teaching and living here in the San Ramon Valley.

I look forward to everything that the new school year will bring - seeing familiar faces, meeting new students and families, leading students to achieving higher levels of fitness and personal goals, exploring new skills and games, and any challenges we may encounter. Let's work, learn, and laugh together along the way!

performing arts

Brian Olkowski

I have taught 4th through 6th grade at three different schools. My career started after attending Humboldt State University where I received my B.A. and teaching credentials. I began my teaching journey with a 5th/6th grade combination class at Highland Elementary School in Hayward, CA. The following four years, I had 5th grade classes, and then, life brought me to Portland, OR for a year. This was my first time teaching 4th grade. I had a wonderful year at Fir Grove Elementary School in Beaverton, OR. After this year, I returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where I started teaching at Coyote Creek. This is truly an amazing place to work. I have taught 4th, 5th, and a 4th/5th combination class with our wonderful Coyotes.

In addition to teaching, theatre is a huge passion of mine. I see shows all the time, do some acting, and also direct children¹s shows. I have directed the Coyote Creek Drama Club every year since I have been here. It grows bigger and bigger each year. I also recently started a non-profit children¹s theatre company, Tri-Valley Young Performers Academy Trivalley YPA We have sessions throughout the year, including a summer performing arts camp.

Along with teaching and theatre, I am also a massage therapist. I became a cmt during my first year at Coyote Creek completing over 720 hours of instruction at the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville. Part of this included being the massage therapist for the Broadway Tour Mamma Mia.