Meet the Admin Team

To contact a member of the admin team, use the school email address: use first letter of the employee’s first name followed by the last Example: Babeth Esterly would be

Joel Branch II Joel Branch II
IT Consultant

Joel is a IT consultant who facilitates actionable strategies to create innovative products and services to adapt enterprises and their brands to new or growing spaces. Born to a family of businessmen in the Mid-west of Ohio, Joel quickly became a social person who loves to have meaningful conversations. He soon became known as the tech guru at Oakwood University where he spent his undergraduate years, creating websites for professors who was later nominated & elected Parliamentarian by the student body for the University's student government in 2014. Intrigued with business and cybersecurity, he created a company, Always More LLC in 2017. An ever-expanding group of leaders with diverse backgrounds in providing IT Infrastructure & tech support, working together as a team to help private schools reach and expand their goals. After receiving his bachelors he attended the University of California of San Diego to take on a Graduate course to later receive a certification in .NET programming which he uses to create his own remote software for his clients. Joel believes that with constant changes in business, environmental, and social policies across the globe, an organization that contributes to the greater good and provides stability in the world is a necessity.

Babeth Esterly Babeth Esterly
Administrative Director of Pre-Elementary and Admissions Associate for Pre-Elementary

Coming soon!

Isabelle Gilet Isabelle Gilet
Director of Admissions

Coming soon!

Stéphanie Humbert Stéphanie Humbert
Front Office Manager and J-1 Visa Coordinator

Originally from France, Stéphanie moved to San Diego in 2002, after living in Seattle and Montreal, and joined SDFAS in 2004. She graduated from Université Lumière Lyon 2 and Université de Montréal, with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Archeology. Prior to working at SDFAS, Stéphanie worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. Stéphanie loves to travel and discover cuisine from around the world.

Paula Marra Paula Marra
Director of Enrichment Programs

Paula is originally from São Paulo, Brazil, where she first worked as a teacher. She taught at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York for 11 years, and has also lived and taught in London and Los Angeles. She was the founding Chair of the STEAM Special Interest Group at the European Collaborative of International Schools (ECIS), has been a Design Thinking Coach with the Teachers' Guild/IDEO, and has co-led workshops at the Stanford d.School, Project Zero (Harvard University Graduate School of Education), NYSAIS and the Metropolitan Museum of New York. She has been a Critical Friend for Teach to Lead, led a breakout session at the White House for Michele Obama's Better Make Room / Beating the Odds Summit 2016, and is a Studio facilitator at the Learning Environments for Tomorrow Institute (Harvard Graduate Schools of Education and Design). She is an RSA Fellow. Paula has been passionate about the intersection between food, customs, language and culture since her time at UNIS. She loves to talk, laugh out loud and wonder.

Minu Martin Minu Martin
Finance Associate

Minu was born and raised in South India and moved to San Diego in 2016 -- she Joined SDFAS in 2019. Minu has a B.A. in Finance and loves to play badminton and listen to music.

Emmanuel Poulain Emmanuel Poulain
Director of Finance and Operations

Originally from France, Emmanuel moved to the US in 2009 and joined SDFAS in June 2018. After starting his career in an audit firm in Paris, he worked for multiple Telecom and Medical Devices start-ups in Europe successfully contributing to two IPOs. Prior to SDFAS, he was the CFO of the Lycée Français de San Francisco for five years. Emmanuel has a daughter who attends SDFAS. In addition, he is a Board member to two not-for-profit organizations in the County of San Diego.

Véronique Rahmati Véronique Rahmati
Director of Development

Véronique Rahmati has worked at SDFAS since 2006. Involved in the move to the La Jolla campus, she played an integral role in making possible many mission-enhancing capital and program improvements. Véronique holds a Master’s Degree (DEA) in International Relations from La Sorbonne, Paris. After having worked four years in an international organization (UNESCO), she joined the Cabinet of the City Hall of Rueil-Malmaison in France where she was in charge of international and external relations for the City. She moved from Paris to San Diego in 1997 and served as a software linguist developing the French-German program in a machine translation company before joining SDFAS. Véronique has a son, Adrien, who attended SDFAS from PK0 to 8th grade.

Marilyn Rakow, RN BNS Marilyn Rakow, RN BNS
School Nurse and Pandemic Coordinator

Marilyn was born and raised in San Diego, CA. While obtaining her first B.S. degree from UCSD in biochemistry, she volunteered her time in the emergency room at UCSD Hillcrest. Here she discovered her passion for medicine. She was inspired by the nurses’ sharp decision-making along with their deep compassion, which compelled her to pursue nursing. Marilyn graduated from National University with a B.S. in Nursing with honors. Throughout her coursework Marilyn soon realized she had both the aptitude and demeanor for caring for pediatric patients. Her genuine compassion, flexible communication styles, and strong advocating voice helped secure her first nursing job at Rady Children’s Hospital in their emergency department, where she practiced for 2 years. Her bounding interests then lead her to Bend, Oregon, where she backpacked and hiked to her heart’s content, while rounding out her nursing knowledge caring for both adult and pediatric patients at St. Charles Medical Center for 3 years. After 5 years of dedicated pediatric and mixed adult/pediatric ER experience, Marilyn set her sights back on her hometown and pursued her dream job of becoming a school nurse. At SDFAS Marilyn enjoys being a kind, protective, and healing presence for the students, as well as a straightforward, approachable resource for their families.

Mark Rosenblum, EdM Mark Rosenblum, EdM
Head of School

Raised on the East coast in a family of doctors, Mark’s early love of French in middle school later developed into an ardent commitment to master the language. His first immersion adventure began at age 19 in the South of France. While studying there, he fell in love with the Provençal way of life.

After college, Mark explored a career in international law before embracing teaching. To formalize his pedagogical skill and solidify his French language expertise, Mark took on a Master’s Degree program in Paris and then stayed to teach middle and high school History-Geography and English in the American Section of the Lycée International de St. Germain-en-Laye.

Upon returning to the United States, Mark settled in New York City where he taught French at a well known reputed independent school in Brooklyn Heights. At the age of 30, Mark embarked on a journey to learn Spanish through immersive travel-study in language schools with host family stays all around Spain, Mexico, Central and South America. Mark also served for years as a Master Teacher leading month-long immersive homestay summer trips teens with Rassias Programs Abroad based on the headquartered on the Dartmouth College campus.

After completing a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Columbia University Teachers College, Mark moved to San Diego with his family to take on the position of World Language Department Chair JK-12 at La Jolla Country Day School. During his time there, Mark also helped found and direct Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy‘s first summer language program in immersion in French in a “language pledge” learning environment. These varied roles prepared Mark, before coming to SDFAS, to successful lead the High School division at the French-American School of New York. In that role, Mark gained valuable leadership experience as well as expertise with the French system curriculum and the International Baccalaureate program.

Mark was recruited as the third SDFAS Head of School in August 2017. His younger son Julian is a student at the school. Older son David lives in Brooklyn, New York and works for Condé Naste in the Freedom Tower. Mark passionate about the SDFAS mission and the value of a high quality bilingual education. Indeed, open-mindedness and respect, multiculturalism and appreciation of differences, adaptability and resilience are in his mind essential in preparing children for their future and to lead enriched, meaningful lives.

Kevin Saidler Kevin Saidler
Director of Marketing and Communications

Originally hailing from Scotland, Kevin has lived, worked, and studied in London, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Seattle, Boston, New York, and San Diego. Holding a B.A. and M.A., he has worked in various fields in MarComms ranging from finance to the chemical sector for over 20 years.

Kevin loves to spend time in Baja California and is currently learning Spanish.