Lydian Academy provides an innovative learning approach that works for a broad range of learners. Lydian students develop a strong sense of purpose, placing them on a path to becoming part of a responsible global citizenry. At Lydian, whether it’s challenging coursework or rediscovering the value of lifelong learning, students find their academic wings at Lydian.
Head of School
Jonathan joined Lydian Academy as the Menlo Park Campus Principal in 2017, where he integrated his experience as a PPS credentialed school counselor, special educational consultant, and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in optimizing educational and wellness programming for unique student learners. His background prior to Lydian consisted of working with neurodiverse students with IEP's and twice-exceptional learning profiles who required a combination of mental health and academic supports to access their learning, and this experience proved incredibly useful when it came to listening to each Lydian student's specific needs and learning objectives, and creating personalized education programs to support those endeavors.
Following the Lydian Founder’s retirement, Jonathan stepped into the Executive Director role for the organization, and helped to staff/recruit Leadership team members for the opening of a 2nd campus location in Burlingame, CA in 2021. As the current Head of School, Jonathan oversees all aspects of admissions and outreach, academic advising, post-secondary / transition planning, and mental health consultation for both the Menlo Park and Burlingame campus locations.
Prior to Lydian, Jonathan was an Adjunct Faculty member in the graduate school of education at the University of San Francisco, the Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator at Palo Alto High School, and a psychotherapist in private practice. Jonathan helped develop the K-12 Toolkit for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, which was released and distributed to school superintendents in California in May 2017 in support of AB2246. Since 2010, he has worked at the intersection of mental health and education, including consulting work with the HEARD alliance, Stanford University, Project Safety Net, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Some of Jonathan’s greatest accomplishments include spearheading a comprehensive Wellness Initiative that included the opening of Palo Alto High School’s first teen Wellness Center, and speaking engagements with PAUSD’s Wellness and Support Services leadership team at two national conferences.
Jonathan graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Psychology and English, and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco. He is a proud father of 5 children and two furry felines, a Harry Potter and Game of Thrones fanatic, and loves spending his free time in movie theatres and outdoors in Sonoma / Monterey counties.
Campus Director - Burlingame
Amanda was born in Mendocino County and has spent her entire life living in California. She earned her BA in US History with a minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz in 2003. After spending many years working in Early Childhood Education, Amanda earned her teaching credential from Chapman University and transitioned to teaching middle and high school students.
The majority of her career has been spent teaching middle and high school students, with nearly 10 years spent working in a 1:1 setting as a teacher, Department Head, and eventually administration. She has been in an Assistant Principal role for the last 6 years. During her time as a teacher Amanda has taught all middle and high school levels of English and History. She has also taught middle school math and science.
When not at work, she enjoys spending time near the ocean, crafting, and catching up on her 'to be read' pile of books. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family.
Campus Director - Menlo Park
Perla has lived in the Bay Area for 12 years, and is originally from Southern California. She has been with Lydian Academy for over a decade now, where she started out teaching English, History, and Spanish for several years before moving into a Dean position, Assistant Principal, and eventually the Campus Director for the Menlo Park campus. She received her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Early Modern Literature and minors in Spanish and Education with an emphasis in Applied Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. Perla holds a single subject credential in English, and has experience working in ABA therapy and creating student accommodation plans for neurodiverse students.
In addition to being a fluent Spanish speaker, Perla is passionate about ASL, and spent several years working with the Deaf community and teaching sign language to deaf toddlers and their families. When she is not on campus, she enjoys spending time with her children baking cupcakes and making clay mini food, going to music concerts and San Jose Broadway shows with her husband, or quietly coloring and doing diamond art with her two cats, Reese and Ryn, curled up at her side.
Dean of Curriculum and Guidance Services
Elisabeth joined Lydian Acdemy as an English and History teacher in 2018 before becoming the Dean of Curriculum and Guidance Services and WASC coordinator in 2020. With more than twelve years of experience as an educator, Dr. George enjoys working with students, families, faculty, and colleagues in order to make education accessible, productive, and engaging.
Having previously taught in university, high school, and middle school settings, she started as a teacher in the Humanities and Social Studies departments at Lydian. Dr. George holds an undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University, where she majored in Spanish and minored in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management. She earned a Master of Arts from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton in Cultural Anthropology, with a certificate in Feminist Studies, and received a Ph.D. in History from SUNY Buffalo, specializing in gender and sexuality.
In her spare time, Dr. George enthusiastically embraces the outdoors and delves deep into sustainable farming practices while spending time with her wife, four cats, and thirty-three chickens.
Dean of Academic Affairs - Burlingame
Ryan was raised in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, close to Lake Tahoe. Although born in Southern California, Ryan always considered himself a Northern Californian. Ryan started his college path at Folsom Lake College, before transferring to Boise State University where he received a BA and MA in History with a focus on Medieval Europe.
After graduating from college, Ryan started working academically as a tutor and teaching assistant with the history department at City College in San Francisco. While working there, Ryan had the opportunity to begin teaching in a neighboring one on one middle and high school as a History teacher, which he did for six years before joining Lydian and becoming a History Department Lead and now a Dean.
When not at work, Ryan enjoys traveling, reading, board games, collecting vinyl, and exploring cities. He also is a big sports fan, and especially for the Lakers
Dean of Academic Affairs - Menlo Park
An Irish native, Rachel was born and raised in the west of Ireland. Prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2015, she completed a double BA in History and English Literature and an MA in European History in the University of Limerick, Ireland.
Rachel joined Lydian Academy as an English and History teacher in 2017, and became the Dean of Academic Affairs in 2020. Becoming a teacher was always a dream for Rachel when she was in school, so being able to work with all different types of learners at a school like Lydian has been a gift that keeps on giving!! As an educator of neurodiverse students, Rachel believes that every student can learn and thrive when the adults in their lives take the time to understand them holistically, and approach the educational space with just as much openness and enthusiasm to learning from their students as well as teaching.
A few fun facts: Rachel won national medals playing a combination of Gaelic football and cross country for over fifteen years. She loves to watch rugby, travel, and cannot live without Irish scones or Irish tea!!
Operations Manager - Burlingame
Cassandra joined Lydian Academy as the Burlingame Operations Manager in 2022. She is passionate about helping people, and has been working in 1:1 education since 2020. Cassandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management and a minor in Psychology from CSU, Fresno, as well as a certification in Early Childhood Education from Cañada College.
Prior to one-on-one education, Cassandra worked in a variety of industries including high tech, publishing, management consulting, early childhood education, and with the State Department as a consultant for the au pair / cultural exchange program. Over the years, Cassandra has been an active volunteer in the San Mateo public school districts serving in classrooms, leading events, and serving in various roles on PTSO boards.
Cassandra has been married to her best friend for over 25-years, living in San Mateo, where they have raised 2 daughters and live with 2 cats. She is an active member of the Bay Area Christian Church in Palo Alto and regularly serves as a Sunday school teacher. In her spare time, Cassandra is a foodie - she enjoys cooking, discovering new restaurants locally & beyond. She also likes to go camping, read award-winning fiction, watch movies, go to the theater, play board games, crochet, and has recently started to dabble in watercolor painting.
Operations Manager - Menlo Park
Maribel began her career in education by teaching computer skills and coordinating an after-school program at the East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy. She later joined Lydian Academy's front office in 2018, and became the Operations Manager and Human Resources analyst in 2020.
Maribel's high school graduating class consisted of approximately 20 students, so she has first-hand knowledge of the positive effects that small classes and one-on-one teaching can have on a student's self-esteem, education, and quality of life. As the Operations Manager, Maribel works directly with families and students to ensure a seamless transition to Lydian, and subsequently their daily life on campus once they arrive. In her spare time, Maribel enjoys taking her nephew to concerts, snowboarding, and exploring new Bay Area restaurants.
We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.