Our Team

Ildiko Stennis

Ildiko Stennis

Vida Cortes

Adam Montes

Avi Gardner

Avi Gardner

Sabrina Robbins

Rachel Hilario-Pigg

Goldie Malone

Ildikó Stennis, Owner and Teacher at Camp Captivate

I am passionate about Camp Captivate and care deeply about offering a quality program to campers. Science Smart Kids and Camp Captivate grew organically from a backyard play group I founded in 2008; at the time, I was staying home full time with my 3 small children, who then ranged in age from 6 months to 4 ½ years. I applied my training and experience as a former middle school and high school science and math teacher to meet the needs my own younger children and thier friends and neighbors. Younger kids have boundless energy and need quick transitions between activities, and the program was custom- designed to meet their needs. My core teaching philosophy (for kids preschool through high school) is hands-on instruction, and I think students learn best when they are engaged in meaningful activities and work in cooperative groups. During the school year, I teach 7th grade science full time at Peterson Middle School in Santa Clara Unified School District, while I am actively involved in Camp Captivate each summer break. At Camp Captivate, we are delighted to offer 3 camp programs and we are thrilled to add the NEW Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Camp Plus for middle schoolers during the summer of 2017. I think Camp Captivate stands out among other camps programs in the Bay Area because we hire only credentialed teachers who are specialists in their fields. In addition, we nurture the whole child, by including team-building, physical activity, and just plain FUN! We appeal to children who thrive at a smaller, more intimate camp environment. I send my own 3 boys to Camp Captivate each summer because I want the absolute best program for my own kids.

Vida Cortes, Director of Camp Captivate

I am a Bay Area native who grew up in Mountain View. I am graduate of St. Francis High School, received a B.A. in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara, received my credential from National University and an M.A. in Education Administration from Santa Clara University. I was a classroom teacher for fifteen years teaching in K-8 Catholic schools. Currently, I am the Development Director at St. Victor School in San Jose. I am passionate about working with children and thoroughly delight in the look on a child’s face when he/she gets excited about learning something new. In my spare time I love to socialize with friends and family, try new restaurants, bake, go hiking, read books, and sing.

My first experience with summer camps came in the summer after my freshman year of high school. The fun, sunny days of working with young children are some of my best memories. I look forward to working with your child(ren) this summer and helping them to make great memories of their own!

Norma Corton, Teacher for Captivate Explorers Program (age 5-7)

I am excited to be returning to Camp Captivate as a teacher. During the school year, I work full time at Alex Anderson School in Oak Grove School District as a two-way bilingual kindergarten teacher. I have a BCLAD Credential and am SEAL certified, and I was received the Vision Award for Exemplary Staff from Oak Grove District. In the past, I taught full-immersion science workshops in Spanish for Science Smart Kids through the SEAL grant funded by the Sobrato Foundation. I love little ones and am passionate about inspiring a love of learning in all my students. I have 3 beautiful daughters who will also be helping out at Camp Captivate this summer.

Adam Montes, Teacher for Captivate Explorers Program (age 5-7)

My name is Adam Montes and I am currently a 2nd grade teacher at Ida Jew Academy. I have been there for four years. I have over 10 years of experience in working with elementary students in a variety of roles: teacher’s assistant, after school leader, substitute teacher, camp counselor. I also worked with Science Smart kids for two years while I was attaining my credential and I am looking forward to return. Teaching is truly a passion of mine.

Avi Gardner Bothwell, Science/Art Teacher for Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Jr. Program (age 8-10)

I am a teacher, artist, singer, songwriter, exercise enthusiast, author and public speaker. I have over thirteen years of teaching experience which includes high school Physics, middle school science, and elementary science. During the school year, I work as the science teacher for Carden Day School of San Jose, and I enjoy working as a teacher for Camp Captivate each summer. In the past, I worked for two seasons at a wilderness therapy program for at-risk youth. I am at peace in nature and have backpacked through Central and South America and Europe and bicycled to Alaska. I have enjoyed offering “Love and Logic”, “Compassionate Communication” and “Empowerment” workshops. I embrace all life experiences, both good and bad, and I love teaching and inspiring others to live their dreams.

Goldie Malone, Teacher for Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Plus Program (age 10-13)

I love spending time in nature with my family. We enjoy gardening, hiking, camping, and responsible fishing when we venture into the great outdoors. That’s why I am excited to share learning about the natural world and our connection to it with our youth. I have a BA in Environmental Studies and a MA in Education from UC Santa Cruz. I currently teach 6th and 7th grade Science in Santa Clara Unified School District. I am looking forward to the many exciting adventures that await us in our Marine Biology learning! I am passionate about Marine Biology and can’t wait to teach Marine Biology this summer.

Anita Kodi, Teacher for Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Plus Program (age 10-13)

This is my fourth year as a teacher in the Santa Clara Unified School District working as the Technology Teacher at Buchser Middle School. I have a multiple subject credential (CLAD) as well as an authorization in teaching Math from K-9. I am one of the 14 technology Fellows at the district and am also part of the district’s Technology Leadership Team. Currently, I teach 7th grade computer tech and an 8th grade elective Robotics and Graphic Design. I am delighted to teach the technology component of the camps and experiment with new technologies with my students. I look forward to a fun summer at Camp Captivate!

Sabrina Robbins, Teacher for Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Plus Program (age 10-13)

I received a BS in Genetics from UC Berkley and my single subject credential in Chemistry and Biology from San Jose State University. I am excited to teach about genetics and polymers and this will be my first year working with Camp Captivate. I have been teaching science for over 10 years. Before teaching, I had a career as a geneticist working on the human genome project. I love being a positive role model to girls who may be interested in pursuing a career in science, and I am looking forward to an amazing summer camp program!

Rachel Hilario-Pigg, Teacher for Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Plus Program (age 10-13)

I am really looking forward to teaching Anatomy and Physiology at Camp Captivate. I have about 18 years of teaching experience in Science and Math and currently works as the 6th grade science teacher at Peterson Middle School. I have a BS in Biology from Santa Clara University and really enjoy doing dissections with kids. Integrating technology into instruction is an important goal of mine and I have been extensively trained in technology because I used to work at a Drexel School (technology grant) for the Diocese of San Jose. I have 2 boys who will be joining us a camp this summer.