Faculty & Staff



Caroline Freedman

Lead Educator

Carrie grew up in Westchester, New York and recently made the move to California. She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Indiana University and studied Special Education at Hunter College. Her teaching career began at private special needs school in Manhattan, New York for children on the autism spectrum and she taught there for four years. She then worked at a charter school in Harlem, New York for three years in grades 4, 3 and 2. After moving across the country, Carrie worked at a Bilingual Montessori School in Irvine, California where she gained knowledge about Early Childhood Education, Bilingual Education and multi-age teaching. In her academic studies and classroom teaching experience, she has learned that true education goes beyond simple instruction. She believes that education means encouraging and stimulating children’s genuine curiosity, providing them with meaningful experiences on which to build knowledge, and developing their critical thinking skills so that they learn “how” and also “why”. As a teacher, Carrie strives to help students make real connections to their learning and to provide a setting for them in which they can be comfortable taking risks. She delivers curriculum through differentiated instruction and with a multi-sensory approach to help every child meet their fullest potential.


Nan Wu, M.Ed.

Lead Mandarin Educator

Nan worked as a university teacher in China from 1998 to 2017. She earned her M.A. in English Language and Literature in 2005 in China and earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from College of Education at University of South Florida in 2019. Nan has demonstrated a thorough command of both the communication skills related to effective teaching and the teaching strategies related to effective classroom management. She has a desire to continually innovate and learn new skills. She brings tenacity and talents with her keen understanding of human nature and how to help students learn. She strives for excellence in teaching by participating in a variety of service activities, special workshops, and seminars that extend beyond the scope of rigorous academic program. She is a force in creating a positive school climate.


Audrey O’Donnell

Educational Facilitator/Spanish Educator

Audrey is a recent graduate from the University of Tulsa with a BA in English and minors in Psychology, Creative Writing, and, after studying abroad in Argentina, Spanish, where she also earned her CELU certification of fluency. She has worked with children in many capacities: as a camp counselor, nanny, tutor, and creative writing workshop leader. She believes each child is special and strives to help create an environment in which they feel supported to be their best selves. In addition to joining UP Academy this fall, Audrey will be earning an MS in Human-Canine Life Sciences from Bergin College with the eventual goal of working in service dog training and placement. Her work here and her pursuit of her master’s will aid her in melding her passions for children and dogs.


Eleonora Tamasne

Conductive Education

I am a teacher conductor/teacher with specialization for children with neurologically based motor disorder/rehabilitation specialist with 30 years experience. My unique training background took me around half the globe. I worked in England, Canada and U.S. after graduating in Hungary at the International Peto Institute for Conductive Education. I settled in the Bay Area in 2006 and have been providing center and home based intervention programs for children. I have done contract work for different school districts over the years, gaining lots of knowledge on how the public school system works or not for children with physical challenges. Conductive Pedagogy/Upbringing is a holistic rehabilitation system that considers all aspects of development including cognitive, physical and emotional. The method provides active learning within structured teaching experiences with appropriate facilitation to ensure maximum participation. This is the only way children are set up for life long learning.

In my little spare time I go whale watching with my son, observe humming birds on my patio or watch my husband on stage (bass player). I have always been interested in animal behavior and geography. I love learning about different cultures, customs and food.



Canine Ambassador

Harold was a rescue dog who is now a therapy dog! The kids love reading to him and taking “Harold Breaks” to pet the dog and think through a problem. His disability offers the perfect conversation started to discuss differences and similarities among, people, dogs and everyone! He proves everyday that life is about attitude and doing your best.

Follow Harold on Instagram @haroldonwheels


Cynthia Cohan DPT

Physical Therapist

Throughout my life and career, I have worked with children.  Working with children started as a babysitter and nanny while I was in high school. In college I worked as and became certified as a preschool teacher. In 1991, I graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy and in 2014 I was awarded a transitional doctorate in Physical Therapy, DPT, focusing on Pediatric Science. I have worked in a variety of settings, including early intervention facilities, homes, schools – private and public, adult day programs, aquatics, and acute care settings.  I have worked with children and adults with a variety of diagnosis and have extensive experience working with children with visual and hearing impairments.  I feel very comfortable working with children who are medically involved and with children with multiple disabilities.

I enjoy working with children because I love to play and I enjoy the challenge of finding what motivates a child and using that to guide the therapy session.  In my non-working time, I am a wife, parent of two teenage boys, and an amateur water polo player. I came to Up Academy because of the promise it holds - having all kids up and moving to the best of their ability.  


Michele Daly

Reading Specialist

Michele loves learning and sharing what she’s learned, which is why she became a teacher. Her formal education focused on psychology, elementary education and special education. In addition to her BA and MA degrees and a multiple subject teaching credential, she completed coursework to become a reading specialist and Waldorf training for kindergarten and the lower grades. She brings her experiences teaching with Charles Armstrong School, Lindamood-Bell and many other curriculum styles and schools to support students with learning differences. She is also a certified teacher of infant massage. Her favorite way of learning is from her students, because their minds and hears are open. She believes a successful learning community requires curiosity, kindness, and collaboration, as well as gratitude and a celebration of differences. A few of her favorite mentors are Leo Buscaglia, Anthony de Mellow, Masanobu Fukuoka and Prem Rawat - fellow explorers who value loving, living and creating with peaceful hearts. Michele prefers birdsongs to Tweets, Lincoln Logs to being LinkedIn and face-to-face contact to Facebook. She loves laughter (the more the merrier_), reading, nature, writing and chocolate, although not necessarily in that order.


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