Kathryn Kelly- Founder

Dr. Kelly’s passion is to apply evidence-based research in neuroscience to help students reach their full academic potential. A toxicologist by training, she serendipitously fell into the world of learning and technology while in remote Kazakhstan doing homework with her oldest son, Kolya, then a fourth-grader, in 2007. Fascinated by the effectiveness with which technology could increasingly be used to adapt to a learner’s specific needs at all parts of the learning spectrum, she returned home to discover these new technologies were not being carefully screened for effectiveness or readily adopted by most schools. She decided instead to start her own school to closely investigate the increasing number of technology-based resources becoming available to facilitate teaching rigorous academic content, and adapt the best practices to individual student needs facilitated by excellent teachers. The eLearning Cafe, which started as a community learning resource in 2011, quickly morphed into I·School, a WASC-accredited program which has helped over 400 students (to date) in grades 3-12, as well as college students and adults. Her job gets more exciting every day with the wealth of new, evidence-based tools becoming available to help the most important component of a child’s successful education: a great teacher. Her degrees include a BA in Human Biology — Stanford University; MEd in Learning and Technology — Western Governors University; MPH and DrPH — Columbia University; and she holds a Special Qualifications License to teach secondary school Biology, Environmental Science and Health in Nevada.


Patrick McConaghy, Administrative Director

McConaghy I School Bio.jpg

Mr. McConaghy has taught in various capacities all over the world. He believes that students need to feel comfortable in their learning environment in order to harness their true potential. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of New Hampshire, Mr. McConaghy obtained a certificate to teach English to adults in Paris, France. From there, he taught at a bi-lingual kindergarten in southern China and then worked at Tulane University in New Orleans in the English Department. As a marketing and recruiting specialist in New York City, Mr. McConaghy was transferred to Sierra Nevada College in 2008. There he taught English and earned a Master’s degree in Administrative Leadership. Originally from New Jersey, Mr. McConaghy now calls Incline Village home. He met his wife Katie, also from the Garden State, here, and they have brand new son, Colin. Outside of the classroom, Mr. McConaghy enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, snowboarding and woodworking. As the Administrative Director at I*School, Mr. McConaghy monitors student progress, coordinates administrative tasks, and teaches a variety of subjects, including English and Spanish.


 

Elizabeth Brown

UK B.Ed, English – University of Gloucester, College of St. Paul & St. Mary Educated at the University of Gloucester, College of St Paul and St. Mary, Mrs. Brown brought a diverse and successful wealth of teaching experience with her when she left her British homeland and settled in America. In the UK, she spent seven years at the middle school as a Level 2 teacher with responsibilities for English, PE, and science departments. In the US, her passion and pleasure in teaching was poured into homeschooling her four children through the elementary and middle school years, preparing them for entry into the local high school as 9th graders, and then launching them into their college careers — all at Cal Poly. Her contagious enthusiasm and good reputation spread word-of-mouth amongst the homeschool community and filtered into the different education establishments in Truckee. For over 12 years, a steady stream of students in literature and writing has carved a well-established path to her door. After a decade of working as a specialist classroom teacher for the Twin Ridges Charter School and becoming a certified instructor for the Institute of Excellence in Writing, she came to work part time at the ISchool where she continues to be a popular and instrumental English and writing teacher for a number of students.


Clare Foster

Ms. Foster is a three-time published children’s book author, as well as a contributor to many online sites and publications in both writing and photography. She has lived in the Tahoe basin for over 25 years, has been very active in the schools teaching creative writing and English and assisting teachers in many grade levels. Teaching, writing, and taking photos are her passion, and there is no other place she would rather be than in Tahoe. With a BA in English and certified with California Poets in the Schools, her experience is grand and wears many colors. Ms. Foster has also worked with Arts for the Schools and has been tutoring for many years. With a whole lot of heart and a whole lot of soul, she prides herself in working with students, knowing they are our future.


Eric Ayrault

Mr. Ayrault is nationally certified in English and Social Studies. Based at Mercer High School in Seattle for the past twenty years, Mr. Ayrault works with our remotely located students, such as those studying overseas.


John Hawley

Mr. Hawley has aIMG_7550 cr, A[1]lways had a great passion for math and science so it was natural that he received his BS in Mathematics and a minor in Physics. He graduated from California State University, Chico where he was the first recipient of the Michael Dixon Memorial Scholarship in Mathematics. The combination of an intimate understanding of the concepts, the ability to explain them in a straightforward manner, and a natural pleasure in helping others made his tutoring and teaching, through and beyond his school years, very effective and rewarding. It is Mr. Hawley’s firm belief that the most effective teaching is enjoyable and/or even entertaining. Mr. Hawley had the fantastic privilege of taking winters off during his college years to chase his other great passion: skiing, and has been an avid, full-time skier for 25 seasons. Combining his passions Mr. Hawley was one of the pioneers in the radical overhaul of the ski turn, the shape of skis, and ski racing.


Diane Housken

Ms. Housken has been enthusiastically involved in classroom and distance math education as well as internet development since 1980, most recently as Mentor/Instructor for Distance Mathematics Education Assoc., working with pre-calculus and calculus and computer science students. She served as Adjunct Professor Math and Computer Science, Suffolk University, 2004-2009. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics from The University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA., and a California CBEST Certificate.


Melissa Arciniega

A native of Argentina and Peru, Ms. Arciniega is your number one Spanish tutor, whether for conversational skills or studying for AP Spanish Language or Literature. She is also facile with Italian, having attended Italian schools for grades K-12.  With a degree in Graphic Arts, Ms. Arciniega also teaches Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, CS5, and other artistic software products. Ms. Arciniega has a degree in International Business and is a recent graduate of Sierra Nevada College.

 

 

Meet Our Committed I-School Board of Directors

Joe Sweeney

Board Chair

·      MBA, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, 1984

·      A.B., Stanford University, Classics and Classical Languages, Psychology and Linguistics, 1980

Joe is a proven money management professional, entrepreneur, philanthropist and civic leader in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout his thirty-year financial services career, he has consistently demonstrated the ability to develop a strategic vision, execute, and drive exceptional results in a variety of venues. He has a track record of driving investment performance over the long term, while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and governance.  He is very comfortable in a wide range of business and charitable environments, and is noted for his ability to build positive relationships and establish high levels of credibility with a wide range of stakeholders, including clients, employees, senior managements, Boards of Directors, regulators and investors.  His professional and personal networks comprise many close relationships with C-suite executives, board members of public corporations, government officials and philanthropists across the Bay Area.  He has served as Managing Director for Cornerstone Financial Partners’ West Coast practice since 2014.

Diane Brown, Board Member 

·      FBI National Academy, Police Management

·      California State University-Sacramento, Bachelor's degree, Criminal Justice/Police Science (1994)

 Has been serving her clients with the highest ethical professionalism since 2002. Her confidentiality and integrity to her clients is paramount.

As California native, Diane graduated from California State University Sacramento while working as a Police Officer at the Sacramento Police Department (SPD).  By working in all areas of the department during her career, she honed her people, management and negotiation skills.

After a fulfilling career in Sacramento and retiring as a lieutenant, Dale persuaded her to move to Incline Village Nevada to raise their family.  Always having a love for the outdoors and Lake Tahoe, it was an easy decision. It didn’t take long to get involved in the local community, serving on several boards from education to scouting.

In 2010, Diane attended the Nevada Association of REALTORS® Leadership program.  This led to the following designations & achievements:

Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS),

e-Pro and Graduate Real Estate Institute (GRI).

 Incline Village Board of REALTORS® President, 2012- 13

Nevada Association of REALTORS® (NVAR) Board of Directors 2012-13, 2015-2017

Incline Village REALTOR® of the Year, 2013

2014 NVAR Global Business Committee Chair (2016 Vice chair).

2015-17 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Board of Directors

2015 NAR Global Alliance Committee

2016 NAR Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Advisory Board

Marin County Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee (2013-current)

 

Mike Flynn

·      B.A., Journalism, Gonzaga University, 1965

served as editor, and in 1984 became publisher of what eventually became one of the five most successful business journals in the United States – Seattle’s award-winning Puget Sound Business Journal. PSBJ was four times judged one of the top business journals in the 43-newspaper American City Business Journals national chain of weekly business publications. He retired in April of 2006 to begin what he refers to as his "Entrepreneurial Encore" of consulting for investors and those seeking investments, as well as providing marketing and business planning counsel. Mike has been a tireless advocate of small businesses for several decades, in particular those on whose boards he sits.  Mike assists with marketing and public outreach among other duties.  [This was my version, then Mike sent the following]

Mike Flynn retired in 2006 after 24 years as publisher of Puget Sound Business Journal building the publication into one of the nation’s most successful and creating the events that are now part of PSBJ’s image in this state. He then moved to what he refers to as his “entrepreneurial encore” of consulting, counseling and advising businesses, business people and business organizations, mostly in Washington State and Southern California.

In 2007 he received a special award from Gov. Christine Gregoire for lifetime contribution to economic development. In 2012 he was selected as Washingtonian of the Year and2013 he was selected as a laureate of the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame.

For the past eight years, Flynn has written a weekly column called Flynn’s Harp, which is emailed to 1,500 business leaders and elected officials,

He and his wife, Betsy, have three children (the oldest, Meagan, is now an appellate court judge in Oregon) and eight grandchildren.

In his spare time Mike competes in the 100 meter race in Senior Games and last October he finished second in the 75-79 age group at the World Senior Games in St. George, UT.

 Kathryn Kelly

Founder and Executive Director

·      DrPH, Doctor of Public Health, Columbia University, 1982

·      MPH, Master of Public Health, Environmental Toxicology, Columbia University, 1982

·      MEd, Master of Education in Learning and Technology, Western Governors University, 2014

·      BA, Human Biology, Stanford University, 1979

Executive Director Kathryn Kelly’s passion is to apply evidence-based research in neuroscience to help students reach their full academic potential. A toxicologist by training, she serendipitously fell into the world of learning and technology while in remote Kazakhstan doing homework with her oldest son, Kolya, then a fourth-grader, in 2007. Fascinated by the effectiveness with which technology could increasingly be used to adapt to a learner’s specific needs at all parts of the learning spectrum, she returned home to discover these new technologies were not being carefully screened for effectiveness or readily adopted by most schools. She decided instead to start her own school to closely investigate the increasing number of technology-based resources becoming available to facilitate teaching rigorous academic content, and adapt the best practices to individual student needs facilitated by excellent teachers. The eLearning Cafe, which started as a community learning resource in 2011, quickly morphed into I·School, a WASC-accredited program which has helped over 400 students (to date) in grades 3-12, as well as college students and adults. Her job gets more exciting every day with the wealth of new, evidence-based tools becoming available to help the most important component of a child’s successful education: a great teacher. She holds a Special Qualifications License to teach secondary school Biology, Environmental Science and Health in Nevada.

Petra Plajbes

·      B.S in Business Administration, Sierra Nevada College (1994)

·      M.A. in Economics, University of Nevada, Reno (2001)

 Petra Plajbes, a native of Slovenia (EU) and a former member of Yugoslavian Ski Team, arrived in Incline Village as a nineteen-year-old recruited to ski on Sierra Nevada College Championship Ski Team.  A recent inductee into SNC Athletic Hall of Fame, she competed on the SNC Ski Team for four years, winning several individual titles as well as leading her team to win multiple USCSA National Championship titles. 

 

Petra is married to Kevin Holm, and they make their home in Incline Village.  They are raising two high-school-aged daughters, both students at I·School. With her husband, she co-owns Holm Electric, an Incline Village-based electrical contracting company specializing in custom homes, and Holm Electric LV, a Las Vegas-based firm specializing in commercial electrical applications.

 

Engaging her passion for the sport of Alpine Ski Racing, Petra holds a Level 200 USSA Ski Coach certification and is currently a coach for U16 athletes on Diamond Peak Ski Team. Her younger daughter, Julia, is a member of the Diamond Peak Ski Team; her older daughter, Sophia, has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is now coaching U12 athletes as a Level 100 USSA-certified Ski Coach.  Sophia is also a successful, competitive equestrian dressage rider.

 

Being an active partner in both daughters’ education, Petra has first-hand experience with homeschooling, blended learning, online schooling, as well as private and public school systems. She travels extensively with her daughters, which was the original reason and inspiration for homeschooling. In addition to English, she is fluent in Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian, while also possessing a conversational level of proficiency in German, Italian and Spanish. She is currently attempting to keep up with Sophia’s study of Japanese. As a self-described “citizen-of-the-world,” Petra has an avid interest in history, geography, and international politics. She is passionate about education and life-long learning and actively supports innovative, customized education geared toward elite athletes.

I-School Advisory Board

·      Joseph Bania, PhD (Science Education)

·      Brian Eilders (Finance)

·      Russ Wiles (Law)

·      Robert Siegel , MD, PhD (Science Education)

·      Sam Smith, PhD (Higher Education)