5th Grade *
Janet Payne, 4th/5th Grades
My name in Janet Payne, and I currently teach fourth grade. I received my Bachelor’s degree in History from University of California-Los Angeles, and my teaching credential from California State University-Northridge. I was raised in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Simi Valley in 1999. I have taught Kindergarten through 5th grades and each grade is special, but I really love teaching the upper grades. I enjoy challenging students to be curious and take chances with their learning. I also have a passion for helping all children reach their potential. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, hiking, and traveling.
Kristine Minter, 5th/6th Grades
I was born and raised in Thousand Oaks. My mom was an office manager in the Conejo Valley Unified School District for many years. My husband and I live here in Simi Valley and we welcomed our first child in 2021.
I earned my Associate of Arts degree from Moorpark College and then I transferred to Cal Poly Pomona for my Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. From there, I attended San Francisco State University for my credential program. I have taught 6th and 7th grades for five years at a middle school in Canoga Park. I feel so lucky to be part of the Sycamore Elementary School staff. In my spare time, I enjoy being around my family and riding dirt bikes in the desert! Teaching is my passion. I believe EVERY child has the right to a high quality education.
Jennifer Waer, 4th/5th Grades (SDC)
I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley with my younger brother, Patrick. Most people assume that I became interested in special education because he has Down syndrome, but even before he was born, when I was nine, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I got my undergraduate degree at California Lutheran University and my teaching credential at California State University-Northridge, during which time I worked as a para-professional at the fully inclusive CHIME Charter Elementary School. I completed my student teaching at Santa Susana High School in the spring of 2003 and started working at Sycamore Elementary School the following fall. I've taught here ever since.
In my spare time, I enjoy writing and photography. I'm also interested in the history of World War II, the development of different languages and accents, and I am a lifelong "Star Trek" fan. I love teaching my students because every year is different and presents new and exciting challenges and things to learn. I believe my job is to meet each student exactly where they are and move them as far forward as our combined efforts can get them.