toai-daoĐào Như Toại, PE Teacher

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, BA in Sociology- Education Emphasis, BS in Cell & Structural Biology, Minor in Chemistry
  • Cal State Hayward, Teacher Certification
  • National University of Việt Nam, Hà Nội, Semester Abroad

Toại Đào started teaching in Oakland in 1999 and helped establish Life Academy in 2001.  He is Nationally Board Certified in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and PE.  He likes to turn to city streets, edible gardens, parks, books, sport fields/courts, abroad, or the outdoors for adventure.

carlos-cabanaCarlos Cabana, Math Teacher

  • UC Berkeley, BA in Economics
    Carlos has loved teaching students since 1990, first in San Lorenzo and San Francisco before joining LIFE to be part of the middle school team.  Besides collecting giant objects, he loves to travel, read, cook, and dream up new math problems to challenge students with.

matt-hayesMatthew Hayes, Life Skills Teacher, Athletic Director

  • Trinity University, BA in History & Social Studies Education
  • San Francisco State University, MA in Social Justice and Equity in Education

Matt has been working at Life Academy since 2012, first as an EDP coach and most recently as a Life Skills teacher. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his partner, Sarah, watching his favorite Detroit sports teams, and playing guitar.

samantha-solomonSamantha Solomon, Humanities Teacher

  • Northeastern University, BA in Rhetoric
  • University of San Francisco, MA in Education

Sam Solomon has been teaching in Oakland since 2010. She believes strongly in her students and wants them to leave her class prepared to follow their dreams and change the world. She loves reading young adult novels and comic books and listening to podcasts. She has two mischievous cats and one electric guitar.

juangWilliam Juang, Science Teacher

  • UC Berkeley, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, BA
  • UC Berkeley, CalTeach

As both a scientist and teacher, Mr. Juang (Mr. J) also practices what he teaches. Always looking for new knowledge, Mr. J’s most valued habit of LIFE is love of learning (and never stop learning!), and he hopes to share that with every student he encounters. Prior to starting as a teacher at Life Academy, Mr. J was studying for his credential under Mr. Rowan Driscoll in the CalTeach program and working in academic labs that deal with laboratory science curriculum development. One of Mr. J’s hopes is to build connections for students between what happens in the classroom and what happens in the real-world industrial and academic settings. As of now, he is teaching science and serves as a research assistant in a lab that does work around pharmacokinetics, metabolism, and other types of biopharmaceutical drug analysis.

julia-kamaroffJulia Kamoroff, Science Teacher

  • San Jose State University, BS in Molecular Biology and  Minor in Chemistry
  • Mills College, Teaching Credential

Julia Kamoroff started teaching in Oakland in 2016 and had previously worked as a one-on-one instructor at a private school in Palo Alto.  Her passion for biology was the driving force behind her education and her desire to teach science. She loves spending time at the beach and with family. Cooking is one of her favorite hobbies as well as going to yard sales and finding the best flea markets around. Learning science was not always easy for Ms. Kamoroff and as a result she has wanted to make science learning a more creative and inclusive process.

christi-carpenter-grossmanChristi Grossman, Reading Intervention Specialist


  • University of Michigan, BA in English and Teaching Credential
  • University of Michigan, MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education
  • UC Irvine Extension, Reading Certificate

Ms. Grossman has been a teacher for 15 years.  She started teaching in a small community in Ethiopia, then worked as a high school English teacher in Detroit, before moving to Oakland and working at McClymonds and United for Success Academy.  She is happy to work at Life Academy as it continues to grow and develop.  Ms. Grossman’s passion is books and she loves to turn reluctant readers into skilled, eager ones.

shelley-goudler-2Shelley Goulder, Humanities Teacher

  • Bowdoin College, BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies
  • Stanford University, MA in Education

Shelley Goulder has been teaching English, History and Humanities at Life Academy of Health and Bioscience since 2012. Prior to moving to Oakland, she worked in Boston schools for three years. She is excited to continue to grow as an educator and support students in pursuing their passions. When not in the classroom, she is traveling, rock climbing, getting outside, or reading a good book.

eva-oliverEva Oliver, Humanities Teacher

  • UC Berkeley, MA in Education
  • Sonoma State, BA in English

Eva Marie Oliver has been teaching English Language Arts and Humanities at Life Academy of Health and Bioscience since 2011. Having earned her BA in English at Sonoma State University and her credential and MA in Education through UC Berkeley’s MUSE program, Eva has been proud to contribute to the social-justice-oriented and transformative learning space that is Life Academy. Working with Mills Teacher Scholars and the Bay Area Writing Project has enriched her professional experience as an educator in the Bay Area. If not in the classroom, Eva can be found reading, practicing yoga, hiking, swimming, or rock climbing.

isabel-pelayoIsabel Pelayo Gonzalez, Resource Specialist

  • Sonoma State University, BA in Spanish, Minor in Criminal Justice

Isabel has been working at Life Academy since 2014. Before working at Life she worked as an Intervention Specialist for OUSD since 2011. As an Oakland native and Life Academy alumni, Isabel is dedicated to support students through their educational journeys. When she is not teaching you can find her spending time with her friends and family.    

ana-torresAna Torres, Mathematics Teacher

  • Cal State East Bay, BA in Business Administration, Minor in Political Science
  • Stanford University, MA in Education

Ana Torres has been teaching at Life since 2013. Coming to Oakland as a child made her appreciate the importance of a quality education and strong teacher-student relationships. Ana enjoys painting and spending time with her family and friends.

Ricardo Cruz, College and Career Awareness Middle School Adviser

  • University of California, Santa Cruz, BA in Latin American and Latino Studies, minor in Education

Raised in Oakland, Ricardo attended East Oakland School of the Arts (now known as Castlemont High) from 2009-2012. He then attended UC Santa Cruz where he developed a passion to guide, educate and empower the youth in his hometown of Oakland. Soon after graduation, he landed a position as an Academic Adviser at Life Academy. He plans on going back to school to get his Masters or PhD in either Counseling or Educational Leadership, which will provide him with a platform to make meaningful change in his community. As a hobby, Ricardo likes to write poetry and produce music.