Walden Foundation

Debra Wong

Debra is Walden’s Lower Middle Group teacher. During her time at UC Berkeley, she worked with young people and developed her philosophy about learning which revolves around teaching the whole child, integration of the arts in education, and the joy of experiencing hands-on learning.

This philosophy was strengthened in UC Berkeley’s master of education program, the Developmental Teachers Education program. Before joining the Walden staff in 2014, Debra taught second grade for five years in Bay Area charter schools. She was excited to find a school that so closely matched her educational philosophy. She loves Walden’s close-knit community, getting to contribute as a Collective member, and the opportunity to teach meaningfully and pursue student’s interests and passions! In her free time, Debra volunteers with Berkeley Kiwanis, makes things, and tries to pursue lifelong learning. She has served as a board member in several Bay Area nonprofit groups.

Dia Penning

Dia Penning is the proud mama of a Walden Upper Grouper. She is a life-long learner and educator, with a background in social justice, arts, education, and yoga.

Dia has held leadership positions at the San Francisco Arts Commission, California College of the Arts, Columbia College Chicago and World Trust Educational Services. As a curriculum writer, she published three volumes of racial equity lesson plans and workshop outlines. In collaboration with a group of international yogis, she developed a yoga and transformation project, committed to shifting long held colonialist legacies through specific intention and sustained practice.

Having been in the Bay Area since 2003, Dia finally feels like California is her home. She is committed to child autonomy, arts embedded education and collective governance. Dia joined the Foundation to support the Walden model of holistic education.  She envisions a world where all kids have the opportunity to thrive.

Dov Pollack

Gabriela Lustosa

Gabi Lustosa fell in love with Walden as soon as she stepped into it for the first time. Her son started in the Lower Group in 2015. Gabi moved from Rio de Janeiro to California in 2003 after finishing her biology bachelors degree in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

She also received a teaching credential and has deep experience in education. She spent three years teaching at a private high school in Rio and then moved to an elementary school teaching environmental education. She also participated in a variety of projects in the area of social environmental education, mostly with under-privileged communities. In California Gabi worked as a teaching assistant in a classroom for children with disabilities. In 2013 she participated in the Hand in Hand Certification Program and has being teaching parenting classes ever since. She owns and runs a small family daycare in El Cerrito.

Harley Goldstrom

Harley is the parent of two alumni, Alexa and Owen, who attended Walden in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both Alexa and Owen continued their academics by excelling at Berkeley High School and at UC Santa Cruz and Davis, respectively.

Alexa is currently a bilingual math teacher for the City of New York and Owen, after working for five years at PG&E, is currently enrolled in a masters program at Stanford University. It was his children’s “love of learning” and hands-on experiences that Harley remembers most about their education at Walden.

Harley has lived in the Bay Area since 1967 and was actively engaged in the PEACE movement. Harley and his wife Linda have been married since the early 1980s. Harley’s profession was in the field of city, regional, and transportation planning, where he helped initiate public policy and implemented numerous projects to ensure the success of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) of 1972 and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990. Linda and Harley are active bicyclists and travelers.

Jeff Grether

Joline Barsanti

Joline Barsanti was born in the Phillipines and grew up in Pinole, CA. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television from San Francisco State University and worked as a Media Buyer.

She currently works for an accounting/law firm and is takin the required classes to take the CPA exam. Joline served as a tax preparer for Catholic Charities and as a Sales Promotion Coordinator on a local hip-hop TV show called Distortion 2 Static. In her free time, she enjoys discovering the most unusual donuts in the Bay Area, spinning, travelling and spending time with Gianna (UG) and Vinny (LMG).

Her goal on serving on the Foundation is to enhance the experience and education of the Walden community.

Noah Brownlow

Winona Alexander