Orchestra, White Hill Middle School
Strings (Violin/Cello), RVSD 5th Grade Music Choice Program
General Music, 4th grade, Wade Thomas Elementary School
Gricelda Calderon received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Teaching Credential from Sonoma State University. Gricelda was a member of the Sonoma State University Symphony for 4 years where she played the violin. She also was a member of Sonoma State Concert Band, Symphonic Choir, and other ensembles. Gricelda has experience working with multiple El-Sistema based programs like Enriching Lives Through Music, Simply Strings, and The Luther Burbank Center For the Arts. Enriching Lives Through Music provides music education for students in underserved neighborhoods in San Rafael, California. Gricelda worked with a wide array of students from different socioeconomic classes, ages, and learning abilities. Her fluency in both Spanish and English allowed her to connect with the families of students involved in this program. She will continue working with Enriching Lives Through Music as their musicianship teacher during the 2018-2019 school year. As a student at Sonoma State, Gricelda was employed by the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Simply Strings program. In that capacity, part of her responsibilities included co-teaching a pre-orchestra class to 22 second grade students, organizing concerts, and collaborating with other educators. As the lead teacher for the trumpet section at a Mariachi camp offered by the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, she gained experience teaching music of alternative styles. Her lessons ensured that students in grades four through eleven were able to interpret and perform music in the true Mariachi style. Gricelda's experiences in a variety of education settings have taught her about different learning styles, pedagogy, and communication needed in order to successfully lead a class. Training in Restorative Justice Practices allow her to create a welcoming and inclusive classroom culture resulting in the highest level of participation, love, and motivation to push students towards success. When Gricelda is not teaching, she enjoys traveling, photography, exploring new places, and eating Chinese food. This is Gricelda's first year at Ross Valley School District.
Chorus, White Hill Middle School
Chorus, RVSD 5th Grade Music Choice Program
Samantha Nickel grew up between the towns of Santa Rosa and Ukiah, California. After graduating from Santa Rosa High School she moved north to attend California State University, Chico. There, Samantha took her love of music and channeled them into her academic pursuits. She graduated from Chico State with a Bachelor of Arts in General Music (2017), a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (2017), and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Music (2019).
Samantha studied both the flute and voice while working on her undergraduate degrees and participated in various ensembles such as the Chico State Wind Ensemble, Chamber Choir, and Flute Ensemble. Samantha also spent a year studying in Florence, Italy and was privileged to performed with the Coro Universitario di Firenze (Florence University Choir) in concerts throughout the Tuscan and Veneto regions. Samantha has also performed with the North State Symphony, alongside local solo artists, and in various performance groups throughout the Northern California area.
This is Samantha's first full year of teaching and her first year in the Ross Valley School District. Samantha also teaches chorus at Hall Middle School in Larkspur, California, and commutes between the two school districts every week. She is thrilled to teach chorus exclusively and looks forward to an excellent year of music making.
Band, White Hill Middle School
6th Grade Music Enrichment, White Hill Middle School
General Music, Grade 4, Hidden Valley Elementary School
Martin Monson was born and raised in Sacramento, California. Growing up he was consistently surrounded by music. Early in his childhood his father was an audio engineer and would educate him on the likes of sound production principles and rock music. With instruments all around the house he learned how to play guitar, bass, and drums. In public school, Martin learned to play the clarinet and the oboe. He attended American River College and in 2017 graduated from California State University Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in music education and a teaching credential. Martin will be starting his second year of full time teaching in the Ross Valley School District where he teaches jazz band, concert band, symphonic band, and general music. Alongside teaching Martin continues to develop his own musical skills by playing alto saxophone in the College of Marin jazz ensemble. In the summer of 2019, he began coursework to earn his Master of Music Education degree through American Band College at Central Washington University. Additionally, he has started Orff-Schulwerk classes at San Jose State University to further enrich his general music teaching.
General Music, Grades K-4, Manor Elementary School
General Music, Grades K-3 Hidden Valley Elementary School
General Music, Kindergarten, Brookside Elementary School
Brass (Trumpet/Trombone), RVSD 5th Grade Music Choice Program
Lead Music Teacher
Pete Santucci was born in Long Beach, California as the 11th of 16 kids - all born one at a time, from the same mom and dad! In school growing up, he sang in the chorus, played trombone and cello, and later led the marching band as the drum major at Long Beach Wilson High School. Pete earned his Bachelor of Music degree at CSU Long Beach in 1994 with a focus on band, orchestra and jazz music. After several years of teaching middle school band, orchestra, and general music in Southern California, and feeling that students entering that district’s middle schools did not have adequate musical preparation, he decided to pursue an in-depth study of music education for young children. Pete earned his Master of Music Education degree at the University of South Carolina in 2002 with a focus on elementary and early childhood general music. He also completed several courses of specialized training in the Music Learning Theory of Edwin Gordon, and put the theory into practice while teaching elementary general music and chorus in Columbia, South Carolina. After moving to the Bay Area in 2005, he completed his Orff-Schulwerk certification at the San Francisco Orff Course. He has performed as a drummer and vocalist with Borenya West African Drum And Dance Ensemble as well as with the world music group Tandamanzi Rhythm Ensemble. Pete has been teaching music in the Ross Valley School District since 2005.
General Music, Grades 1-4, Brookside Elementary School
General Music, Grades K-3, Wade Thomas Elementary School
Woodwinds (Flute/Clarinet), RVSD 5th Grade Music Choice Program
Nicole Smith was born in Palo Alto, California and raised in San Mateo. She attended the Nueva School, where she began studying classical piano at age 5, earning a Menuhin Music Scholarship shortly thereafter. At age 9 she added flute to her music studies, and by the end of high school was participating in multiple choral ensembles, band, and a folk/rock style small group ensemble. By the time she was graduating high school, becoming a professional musician was high on her list of potential careers.
While earning a double degree at Atlanta’s Emory University, Nicole played with several local musicians, concentrating on her guitar studies and playing local clubs. Upon graduation she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and became active in the local music scene, playing many genres of music but eventually settling into playing and singing Salsa and Latin Jazz almost exclusively. Nicole remains an active professional musician.
Nicole has completed several courses of study in Orff-Schulwerk through the AOSA National Conferences and also the San Francisco Orff Course. She has been teaching in the Ross Valley School District since 2011 and lives in Fairfax with her husband, son, and an assortment of animals.