Beth Samuelson, Director

Beth Samuelson HeadshotBeth Samuelson’s work in educating and supporting teens, young adults, and parents spans more than 25 years, including the development of the unique SOS4Students model of one-to-one student coaching as well as workshops, advocacy, teacher training, parent workshops, and on-site school programs.

As the founder and director of SOS4Students, she is a frequent and sought after presenter at conferences, schools and educational institutes, former co-host of the radio show "Your Teen Matters," and columnist for Bay Area Parents of Teens magazine. Teens with ADD, learning disabilities, and executive functioning challenges are amongst those who have found academic success utilizing Beth's techniques.

Working with Beth and SOS4Students students and their parents develop customized strategies that help students stay engaged and focused in the process of learning. They become motivated, taking on their studies with confidence and independence. They learn to plan, prioritize and multi-task. Schoolwork that once seemed so overwhelming becomes manageable. Grades improve, frustration fades, and stresses at home and at school disappear.

Angela Tomada

Angela 320x320Angela is a senior coach at SOS4Students and a lead instructor and curriculum developer for our summer workshops.

Angela is a Bay Area native, born in Walnut Creek, and graduated from College Park High School in Pleasant Hill. Angela lived outside the Bay Area for only 4 years, to attend UCSB and earn a B.S. in Physiology. Angela found her later years of high school, and all 4 years of college, exceedingly difficult. She realized during her freshman year at UCSB that some of her peers seemed to have knowledge of study and writing methods she had not been exposed to in her K-12 education. Angela made it her mission to seek help from these students in order to hone in on study skills that would work well for her to get her through her B.S. program. Angela returned to the Bay Area after college with an intention to complete a medical degree, but while working in a physical therapy clinic, before enrolling in grad school, she found that her true passion is to help people to learn, and to self-advocate.

Angela completed a single-subject teaching credential in Biology through Chapman University and taught high school science locally for 10 years. In her teaching experience, Angela found that most of her students who struggled with science were actually struggling with organization and the learning process itself. In addition to calling upon her own experiences as a struggling student, she began to research learning and brain development in order to find strategies to further help her students. She is very passionate about helping students find their "academic groove" earlier in their educational career than she did so that they will get more out of school and have a better time with it! Angela has worked with students of varying backgrounds and neurodiversity. She has experience with students with learning differences in general and advanced education classrooms, and with helping to formulate plans and accommodations to properly support them. A few years ago, Angela left the classroom to pursue academic coaching and motherhood.

When Angela is not "nerding out" on learning theory, brain development, and developing curriculum and support systems for her students; she enjoys boating, water-skiing, riding motorcycles, attending local sporting events, and playing with her little girl, Anna, and little man, Max.

Hailey Laws

Headshot of coach Hailey Laws Hailey has been with SOS4Students since 2014, serving students from early middle schoolers to college bound seniors. She earned her Master’s Degree in Education from SFSU in 2012, and has an Education Specialist: mild/moderate teaching credential. Hailey currently teaches full time as a reading teacher at Raskob Day School, serving middle school students with a variety of learning styles and needs. Before working at Raskob, Hailey worked as a Resource Specialist/IEP case manager and teacher for three years through Aspire Public Schools.

Being a family advocate for students with IEPs continues to be one of her favorite roles to play in this work. Hailey identifies as a professional development nerd, and enjoys attending workshops, and staying as fresh and relevant as possible in the field. She has received intensive training in the Slingerland method, learning research based strategies to teach students with language based learning challenges how to become strong and independent readers and writers. Hailey loves working one-to-one with her SOS kids, sharing strategies, celebrating their successes, tackling challenges, and building their confidence as scholars.

Julie Thi Underhill

Julie Thi Underhill head shotJulie has been a West Coast transplant since arriving in Washington State in 1994 to pursue her B.A. in Liberal Arts at The Evergreen State College. In 2009 she graduated with her M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. She then taught at UC Berkeley for six years, first as an assistant and later as a specialized Writing/Composition lecturer. In 2016 she began lecturing at the California College of the Arts in Writing & Literature, Critical Studies, and Diversity Studies. In 2017 she began lecturing at San Francisco State University in Asian American Studies. She’s skilled in curriculum development, classroom instruction, workshop facilitation, and one-on-one mentorship.

Julie has taught hundreds of students how to read carefully, think critically, and write persuasively while strengthening their executive functioning and college study skills. Julie’s dynamic teaching philosophy includes a holistic focus on each student. She prioritizes mutual trust and honesty, creating custom agreements for respectful communication and two-way opportunities for humor and improvisation. She accommodates differences of ability, personality, privilege, experience, confidence, and enthusiasm. 

As an artist, Julie primarily works in photography, film, essay, poetry, and performance. She belongs to two writing collectives and sits on the Advisory Board of the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network. She also loves films, books, music, hiking, camping, and creative collaboration. 

Kelsi Kane

Kelsi Kane HeadshotKelsi Kane is a Bay Area native. She graduated from San Ramon Valley High and continued on to California State University Long Beach obtaining a Bachelor's in Education and her teaching credential. Kelsi spent the next six years teaching in grades ranging from first through eighth in Richmond and San Lorenzo. Her favorite part of teaching was building relationships with students and being able to customize learning experiences to fit their needs and abilities.

In the Fall of 2019, Kelsi began graduate school at California State University East Bay; she is studying to become a school counselor and obtaining her Marriage and Family Therapy license. Her passion for education and mental health has helped her to develop a holistic approach to working with and advocating for students of all ages. She hopes to allow each student the space to grow while also challenging themselves.

In her spare time, Kelsi loves reading, hiking, running and spending time with family and friends.

Kiara Hasbrouck

Kiara Hasbrouck HeadshotKiara Hasbrouck is originally from Austin, Texas, but grew up overseas in Morocco. She first moved to the Bay Area for college back in 2014 where she earned her undergraduate in Sociology and her Master’s in Teaching from the University of San Francisco.

Since then, she has taught middle school science in the Bay Area and abroad in Morocco and is passionate about making science accessible for all students. She believes this happens best by intentionally making connections between the classroom and students’ lived experiences and by placing their interests at the forefront of any classroom curriculum.

As a passionate naturalist and self-proclaimed treehugger, Kiara spends as much time possible outdoors and in the sun. She believes connections between individuals and between the individual and the natural world are an essential part of a life well-lived. She loves traveling, hiking, biking, roller skating, and dancing.

Ron Graydon

Ron Graydon HeadshotRon Graydon is a lifelong educator, who started his career as a science teacher before founding the school which ultimately became Orinda Academy. He served as head of school and chairman of the board. Ron also taught science, visual/performing arts, and social science.

Ron is particularly interested in supporting students with a wide range of learning profiles and helping them find success in whatever school setting they are in.

Ron is also a naturalist, and enjoys photography, hiking, wildlife viewing, baseball, music, and playing the drums.

Rosa Huezo

Rosa Huezo HeadshotRosa Huezo was born and raised in Southern California, moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. She earned her Master's Degree in Education in 2015 from San Francisco State University. She has worked as a bilingual Learning and Education Specialist in both independent and public schools for over a decade. During her 6 years working at Mission High School in San Francisco's Mission District, Rosa taught several study skills classes where students learned: organizational skills, project planning, note and test taking skills, work and time management strategies, and setting and completing academic and personal goals.

As an educator, she believes that in order for students to succeed, they must understand their unique learner profile. This helps students build on their strengths which in turn helps them tackle their areas of growth. Establishing a relationship of trust and respect, Rosa hopes to help her students develop self-advocacy skills that persist throughout their educational journey and beyond. She believes that all students can succeed when provided with the proper supports to meet their needs.

In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading science fiction, watching films, and roller skating.

Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown HeadshotStephanie Brown is a special education teacher for the Contra Costa County Office of Education. She teaches all subjects in a middle school classroom. Stephanie has worked with children and young adults for more than 25 years in settings as diverse as summer camps and homeless shelters, and taught at levels from elementary to graduate students. She has a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin and is a trained Orton-Gillingham reading instructor.

Stephanie lives in Walnut Creek with her husband, two daughters, and assorted four-legged family members. She enjoys the outdoors and is a Certified California Naturalist. Stephanie spends her time gardening, traveling, and helps to run a residential summer camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains (

Vivian Fritzler

Russ Whismore HeadshotVivian Fritzler is a dedicated educator who is passionate about instilling in her students a love for learning. She believes that given the right environment all learners have the ability to thrive; she guides students to have positive and cognitively challenging experiences by setting clear goals and high expectations as well as providing meaningful feedback.

Vivian began her career as a Teach for America corp member and obtained her Master's in Education from Dominican University. She has spent over the last decade working in private and public school institutions with English language learners, teaching Language and Literature to elementary and high school students, and leading a team of high school teachers as English Department Chair. Additionally, Vivian has studied and worked in Iowa City, Chicago and Buenos Aires. These diverse fieldwork experiences have enabled her to quickly adapt to different cultures and objectives.

In her free time, Vivian enjoys practicing yoga, reading and listening to audio books, traveling, hiking in Patagonia, and spending time with her loved ones.

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