Lisa Raffel


Lisa Raffel

Head of Lower School

Lisa Raffel has more than 30 years of experience in a wide variety of educational settings. Before joining Black Pine Circle School in 2017, she was head of school at Crestmont School for four years, division director for education with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and program associate with California Tomorrow. She has taught students from elementary through the college level, including as a fourth/fifth grade teacher in Vallejo Unified; a high school English teacher in Ghana; and as an adult school ESL and child development teacher. She received a B.A. in peace and conflict studies, a teaching credential, and an M.A. in education from UC Berkeley. She earned her administrative credential at St. Mary’s College. Through her work with the nonprofit organization California Tomorrow, Ms. Raffel researched, published, and conducted trainings throughout the state, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in public education. She has also been involved with West Ed, a San Francisco-based nonprofit working to promote educational excellence, as a trainer in the areas of early numeracy and family-school partnerships. Ms. Raffel recently finished her five-year term as a Koshland Fellow with the San Francisco Foundation. She worked with Urban Tilth to co-found AdamsCrest Urban Farm, a wonderful school garden still going strong after many years. She lives with her husband, high-school age son, and black lab in Richmond. Her daughter, Miriam, graduated from Black Pine Circle School’s Upper School in 2012.


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Why I Work with Children

Children are bursting with potential, most of their lives ahead of them. It’s an incredible privilege to facilitate their growth and to be part of a school team working to make learning meaningful.

A Favorite Book

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson because it unpacks racism in our country in such a deep way: documenting how white people continue to hurt and oppress African-Americans, as well as how some individuals are able to transform and move beyond prejudice. And it explains the incredible work going on to move our criminal justice system away from some of the most harmful racist practices.

Quick Fact

Taught English in Northwestern Ghana

Other Faculty for This Grade

Bing Bardez

Upper and Lower School Assistant

Loves animals

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