Meet Our Team!

Our Academic Team


Erica Brannon

Erica is the mother of three, a student of Child Development @ LBCC, dancer, artist, and activist. She brings a deep understanding of the current best practices in how to connect with and teach young children. 


Erica’s passion for serving children stems from her own childhood experiences that were nurtured with opportunities to explore the many mediums of arts and dance. Years ago she decided that her life long purpose was to serve all children while working for multiple grassroots, early childhood programs, within her community. 


Erica witnessed, first hand, the beautiful possibilities of helping children heal by providing art inspired opportunities for social /emotional growth. 

She is a true believer that all children deserve and should have access to, quality education and the arts, no matter their situation. Her mission, as a mentor, is to lead by example. She does this by sharing culturally diverse art education. She strives to inspire the youth to preserve sacred history for the next generation.

Dr. Michelle Tubbs

Mickie is an instructional leader committed to promoting the successes of all scholars. With more than 30 years of experience in teaching, kindergarten - university, she is a teacher, instructional coach, program evaluator, and educational consultant. 


Mickie has extensive experience in the areas of school reform, staff development, program evaluation, and action research.  

Mickie has a Doctoral Degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University, with a strong focus on personalized learning and STEM innovation. She brings her training in blended learning and experience building curriculum to Fresh Ed. 


Mickie regularly speaks on school reform and disruptive instructional models at national and regional conferences.  The pure joy Mickie experiences when seeing the spark of light in a scholar’s eyes is what propels her forward in the fight for educational inclusivity. Her passion is ever-present and the scholars she works with, whether previously disenchanted or diminished, often find a renewed love of learning.

Raquel Salazar

Raquel earned a degree in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice from CSULB in 2018.


At 13 years old Raquel realized she enjoyed working with young children and found herself wanting to expand the curriculum offered to the kids she worked with at her mom’s daycare center. With that in mind, Raquel went to work at a preschool near her home. She would bring new ideas to her mom and try them out with the kids; her passion for teaching children grew.


While in school, she worked at the YMCA and in 9 different schools within the district. Here she saw things she did not agree with within the educational system and so, honed her current passion; systemic change in education.  


With plans to return to school for her Master’s Degree in School Counseling, she hopes she can develop the tools to return to the public sector and enrichment centers to shift the educational paradigm.

Tova Pusl

Executive Director


The mother of two high schoolers who attended a charter, home, and public schools in Long Beach, Tova began seeking educational alternatives when her children were entering kindergarten. Tova earned her BA in Speech Communication at CSULB in 1993, is trained in nonviolent communication, and a certified parent educator. 


In 2008, she co-founded Functional Families to facilitate parents and caregivers cultivating connection and empathy in the relationship with their children. Her classes enjoy a wide following in the Long Beach area. As Executive Director, Tova strives to continue her passion of empathy and support for, not only the students and families of The Circle LB, but for the staff/ team as well.