Faculty & Staff Directory

School
Department
Sharon Olken
Gateway Public Schools
Executive Director
Biography

Sharon is the Executive Director of Gateway Public Schools. In 2000, Sharon joined Gateway’s faculty as a Humanities Teacher. Since then, Sharon has been a Lead Teacher, Dean of Faculty, and served as the Principal of Gateway High School for seven years. During her tenure as Principal, Gateway was recognized as a California Distinguished School and as a top-performing charter high school by the US Department of Education. In 2011, Sharon helped launch Gateway’s second school, Gateway Middle School. Sharon is inspired by the potential of young people and by Gateway’s amazing teachers and staff who help students get on the road to college. Sharon earned her B.A. from Harvard University, where she was captain of the varsity soccer team, and earned her M.A. in Education from Stanford University. Sharon taught a course in the Stanford Teacher Education Program called “Educating for Equity and Democracy,” and worked for Senator Feinstein for two years before beginning her career in education. Sharon is proud of her Bay Area roots, her San Francisco Giants, and her very well behaved dog, Cody Ross.

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Megan Orciari
Gateway Public Schools
Director of Communications
Biography

Megan oversees internal operational and broader strategic/public-facing communications for Gateway Public Schools. She manages the Gateway website, The Gate (Gateway’s newsletter), Gateway’s external-facing press and media, serves as Gateway's beat reporter, and acts as the overall operational point person for internal communications. Megan is originally from Connecticut and enjoys running, cycling, and exploring the Bay Area.

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Molly Orner
Gateway High School
Humanities Teacher
Biography

Molly Orner joined the Humanities department at Gateway High School in the fall of 2007. An East Coast transplant, Molly moved to California following graduation from Oberlin College. As a Teach for America (TFA) corps member she taught at a continuation high school in San Jose for two years. After completing her TFA assignment she took a break from teaching to work in non-profit development. During this time she realized that she profoundly missed teaching and left the development world to earn a credential and M.Ed from Stanford University. Molly is a parent of two SFUSD elementary school students. She identifies her happy place as one with books or nature, preferably a combination of the two.

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Taylor Pennewell
Gateway Middle School
Humanities and Learning Seminar Teacher
Biography

Taylor is a proud alumnus of USF's MA in Teaching Program. Starting as a student volunteer at Gateway Middle in college, Taylor has worn many hats in the community. She has explored a range of positions, from student teacher, 6th grade Hum/LS teacher, to 8th grade Math/Science teacher, and finally, 7th grade Hum/LS teacher. Needless to say, she enjoys working at Gateway and plans to stick around for a long time! In her spare time, Taylor likes to make art and music, travel, and spend time with family. 

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Iris Phillips
Gateway Public Schools Gateway High School Gateway Middle School
Boys & Girls Clubs GPS Clubhouse Director & Tutor Coordinator
Iris Phillips
Gateway Public Schools Gateway High School Gateway Middle School
Boys & Girls Clubs GPS Clubhouse Director & Tutor Coordinator
Iris Phillips
Gateway Public Schools Gateway High School Gateway Middle School
Boys & Girls Clubs GPS Clubhouse Director & Tutor Coordinator
Carrie Pike
Gateway High School
Resource Specialist
Biography

Carrie Pike is returning to Gateway High School for her fifth year and is thrilled to be working with the 11th graders for her fourth year in a row. In addition to being the 11th grade Learning Specialist, she will be teaching Learning Skills 11, Reading Comprehension, and co-teaching Humanities 11. She received her undergraduate degrees in History and Political Science at San Diego State University her Master's degree in Special Education at University of San Francisco.

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Mary Plant-Thomas
Gateway High School
Science Teacher
Biography

Mary Plant-Thomas is excited to begin her third year as part of Gateway High School's Science Department, teaching Biology 10 and AP Biology. Mary earned her undergraduate degree from an unconventional combination of Wellesley College and UC San Diego. She then went on to get her Masters in Education from UC Santa Barbara's Teacher Education Program where she was a Noyce Scholar. While at UCSB, Mary was able to participate in an international exchange that enabled her to observe another education system by student-teaching in Denmark! In addition to loving teaching and science (especially biology), Mary has a passion for theatre and can frequently be found rushing off to see plays all around the Bay Area.

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Joel Rangel
Gateway High School
Director of College Counseling
Biography

Joel Rangel is the Director of College Counseling here at Gateway High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in Spanish from UC Berkeley and earned his master's from Stanford University School of Education. Joel began his career in education his freshman year in college and has dedicated much of that time helping students pursue higher education opportunities. When he is not helping students weigh their post-secondary options and apply to college, Joel enjoys reading, cycling through the East Bay hills, and spending time with his wife.

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