Our Team

Ildiko Stennis

Ildiko Stennis

Goldie Malone

Adam Montes

Avi Gardner

Avi Gardner

Ildikó Stennis, CEO of Science Smart Kids Inc. (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 4 camp programs with differentiated instruction, and we were thrilled to launch the Captivate S.T.E.A.M. Camp Plus for middle schoolers during the summer of 2017. In the summer of 2019, we are launching “You Go Girl- S.T.E.A.M. Camp for Girls” because we feel it is powerful for girls to be exposed to non-traditional fields led by strong female role models. I think Camp Captivate stands out among other camps programs in the Bay Area because we hire exceptional 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. My own children thrived at Camp Captivate over the years and I believe your child will thrive too.

Goldie Malone, Director for Camp Captivate

For the past two summers, I have been a teacher for Captivate STEAM Plus or STEAM Jr. programs and I am so excited to take on the new role of director this summer. My daughter was enrolled in the Explorers program last summer for all 4 weeks and I was amazed by the art projects and science projects she did. Most of all, I was impressed by my daughter’s enthusiasm to go to camp each morning. 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 this summer. I look forward to meeting you at camp!

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 five 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.

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

My name is Jeanne but most people call me JC. I have a BS in Biology for Science Education from Humboldt State University and am working on earning a teaching credential in science. I have worked at summer camps run by the Girl Scouts of Northern California for four summers before coming to work at Camp Captivate. I appreciate the opportunities for learning and character growth that summer camps provide and am overjoyed to be on the Camp Captivate team. I have been told that my special gift is LOVING working with middle schoolers. I was a leader last summer for Camp Captivate and I am returning this summer as the main teacher for the STEAM Plus program. Can’t wait to meet you!