Faculty & Staff Directory

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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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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Marcio Panti
Gateway Middle School
Physical Education Teacher
Biography

Marcio was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended CCSF and then San Francisco State University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology in 2016. He aspires to improve the relationship that young people develop with physical activity, routine exercise and sports. In his spare time he enjoys anything related to sports and spending time with his family.

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Madison Perez (she/her/hers)
Gateway High School
Counseling Intern
Biography

Madison is looking forward to starting her position as a Counseling Intern at Gateway this fall semester. She moved to San Francisco from Southern California to study Child Development at San Francisco State University. During this time, she fell in love with the city and all it had to teach her. After graduating, she worked at a small nonprofit middle school in the Outer Richmond area of the city, learning about how to best support students with learning differences. Here, she found her passion for teaching sex-positive health curriculum to students to bring awareness about anatomy, consent, and healthy relationships before or as they begin exploring romantic relationships. Madison continues to modify and add to her curriculum in the hopes of being able to teach more young people about safety and consent in relationships. Madison is currently a 2nd year USF student with a dual emphasis in School Counseling and Professional Clinical Counseling, and is looking forward to working with students at the high school level. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, eating chips and salsa, and spending time with loved ones.

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Mary Plant-Thomas (she/her)
Gateway High School
Biology Teacher
Biography

Mary Plant-Thomas is excited to begin her ninth year at Gateway teaching tenth grade Biology and AP Biology. In addition to teaching, Mary has also served as a Faculty Representative to the Board, the Co-Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, has mentored a number of student teachers, and fostered partnerships with UCSF and BABEC. 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 able to participate in an international exchange that enabled her to observe another education system by student-teaching in Denmark! More recently, alongside two other Gateway colleagues, Mary was selected to participate in the two-year Hollyhock Fellowship at Stanford University. In addition to loving teaching and 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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Angelica Posadas (she/her/hers)
Gateway High School
Director of Counseling
Biography

San Francisco born and bred, true and through! Loyal to her soil and the roots that raised her. Angelica is committed to providing a safe space for all San Francisco youth to engage in critical dialogue to become their true authentic self. Her work supports BIPOC students, educators, and school counselors, to highlight the importance of mental health and anti-racist practices. She is a Mama-scholar to Ava & Ayson whom she credits to being the best version of herself!

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Elena Ramirez (she/her/hers)
Gateway High School
Spanish Teacher, Gender & Sexuality (Skyline College)
Biography

Elena is very excited to transition into a different role at Gateway, and continue supporting Anime Club. She came to San Francisco to pursue a Master’s in Human Rights Education following her Bachelor’s in Ethnic Studies from OSU, and worked a few jobs in SF before coming to Gateway in 2019. Elena loves being involved with La Peña cultural center in Berkeley and supporting social justice causes when and however she can. Outside of school, she enjoys watching other people’s dogs at Duboce, baking (and eating) desserts, making art, and playing video games on her GameCube.

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Joel Rangel
Gateway High School
Director of College Counseling
Biography

Joel has served as the Director of College Counseling at Gateway High School since the fall of 2005. Since that time, he has continually worked to develop a college counseling program that is responsive to student needs and supports students to make informed decisions in developing their plans after Gateway. Most recently,  Joel and the college team have worked to develop programming that is culturally responsive and supports the social emotional growth of students. In his role as Director of College Counseling, Joel teaches the College Counseling 11 and 12 courses and provides individual college admission and financial aid counseling to students and families. He is also a long-standing  member of the Gateway High Leadership Team and Student Life Team. Joel was born and raised in Richmond, CA and is a child of Mexican immigrants. He believes deeply in the transformative power of a high quality education and educators who advocate for the equitable well-being of their students. Building and easing access to post-secondary education is important to seeking justice for young people from underrepresented backgrounds. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelors in Spanish bilingualism and linguistics and from Stanford University School of Education with a masters in education policy analysis and evaluation. Prior to joining Gateway high, he worked at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Making Waves Education Program. When not working, Joel enjoys hiking through the East Bay hills, riding bikes with his son, and family movie time.

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Katy Reese (she/her/hers)
Gateway High School
Reading Specialist
Biography

Katy is Gateway High School's Literacy Specialist, working to support students in their growth as readers. She previously taught 11th grade Humanities and AP Literature. Prior to Gateway, Katy taught English and Humanities for 10 years at schools in San Francisco, the East Bay, and Palo Alto, and worked as a director of Breakthrough San Francisco, a program supporting SFUSD students on their path to college. Katy received her B.A. from the University of Virginia with majors in English and Spanish, and an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Outside of school, Katy is a parent of three kids, with whom she enjoys reading, riding bikes, building forts, and perfecting boxed mac and cheese.

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Janalé Rhodes
Gateway Middle School
6th Grade Humanities & Learning Seminar Teacher