Staff Directory

Renaissance is fortunate to have a great staff who are not only experienced and creative but also truly care about each of the children who join the school.

Chris Bede, Principal

Chris Bede graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in English and Psychology, and    then attended Western Washington University for his Masters in Education. He spent seven years teaching Humanities at Skyline High School. After returning to Western Washington University for his Residency Principal Certificate, Mr. Bede moved .9 of a mile down 228th to work as Associate Principal and now Principal for Eastlake High School. Mr. Bede completed his Doctorate in Education at the University of Washington in 2015. This is currently his 12th year at Eastlake.

Mr. Bede married his wife Courtney, a teacher at Skyline, in August 2006. They are blessed with two beautiful girls named Finley and Delaney. Mr. Bede loves to travel and has spent summers in Europe, Asia, Central and South America. His passions also include sports, books and outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, fishing and mountain biking.

He feels fortunate to work at Eastlake and Renaissance, where a dedicated staff values each individual student  and works to develop a challenging and engaging curriculum that prepares students for the future.

Karen Amaya, Lead Teacher


Growing up, I was surrounded by educators. My grandfather was a professor, both grandmothers were high school math teachers, and my father was the physician in charge of medical education at Virginia Mason Clinic.  Two of my brothers began their careers as teachers. What a pull that was! Initially, I did not recognize that pull, even though I worked with children beginning in high school and continuing through college.

I graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a degree in communications and an emphasis in journalism. After graduating, I worked at the local ABC affiliate in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Homesickness set in and I moved back to the Pacific Northwest, where I worked at KUOW radio and KOMO TV. It was at KOMO where I met my future husband. All along the way, I realized something was missing from my life, and that was the interaction with children. I returned to the classroom and received a teaching certificate from Seattle Pacific University in 1990.

Hired as a 6th grade teacher by the Lake Washington School District that summer, I have been teaching and learning ever since. During my career in Lake Washington I have worked at Helen Keller, A.G. Bell, and Elizabeth Blackwell, teaching grades 3-6th at the different schools.  I joined the Renaissance team in 2012.

As a lifelong learner, I have been involved in numerous district committees; a 5-year University of Washington grant focused on developing mathematical thinking in children; studying under a South African oil painter as well as a local watercolor artist; working with district coaches to develop rigorous and relevant curriculum.  My learning continues this year with more art, math and piano classes.

I have been married for 31 years and have three amazing children: Austin, Bryson, and Chelsea. I love to hike, travel, read, and teach.

Martha Daman, Teacher

Martha Daman, a founding member of the Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning, teaches eighth grade language arts and History, sixth through eighth grade Performing Arts, and guild
or advisory.

Mrs. Daman has more than 20 years teaching in the Lake Washington School District. She began dancing and performing at age three in Cupertino, California, where she grew up. After moving to Redmond and graduating from Redmond High School, Martha pursued her college career in Ellensburg, Washington at Central Washington University. Following her marriage to John Daman in August of 1998, she completed her student teacher training at Rose Hill Junior High under the supervision of Gary Iverson. Mrs. Daman got a job in the Lake Washington School District right after graduation in June of 1999 at Kirkland Junior High (now Kirkland Middle School).

In August of 2000, Mrs. Daman started teaching at BEST Night School program (now Emerson Night School), where she developed independent learning plans for students wanting to graduate from high school. Following the year at Night School, Mrs. Daman was offered a position in the BEST High Day School (Emerson School) program, where she taught all levels of high school English and a few History classes, as well Performing Arts. While at BEST High School she directed the play Willy Wonka and Bugsy Malone with the high school students.

In 2004, Mrs. Daman joined Diane Kane, Christopher Fraley, and Kathy Colombo to plan the Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning. On June 3, 2006, Ms. Daman gave birth to her first daughter Molly and August of 2006 helped open the Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning. On February 11, 2011, Mrs. Daman delivered her second daughter, Addison.

Mrs. Daman believes very strongly about the importance of relationships, opportunities for choice, and a partnership with families to provide an environment for success for her students. She welcomes visitors to her classroom to see what students are capable of doing when learning is active. Rigorous studies of language arts, social studies, and performing arts are all passions of Mrs. Daman, and she expects students to give each subject equal attention and care. She does not expect perfection from them or to that they aspire and become professional performers; however, she does expect everyone to give their best and grow through the experiences she provides them the opportunity to have.

Jyoti Bawa, Teacher

Mrs. Jyoti Bawa has been working with students of all ages for many years. She has been teaching at Renaissance School of Art and Reasoning since September 2008. With a major in Zoology, Mrs. Bawa has always enjoyed science and working with children. She believes in activity centered- learning and is passionate about teaching.

Mrs. Bawa received National Board Certification® in 2013. And in the summer of 2013, Mrs. Bawa was one 27 teachers from across the region who participated in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's 23rd annual Science Education Partnership, which gives teachers a chance to work side-by-side with research scientists in a laboratory setting.

In her spare time, Mrs. Bawa enjoys spending time with her husband, Sumeet and their two children, Akanksha and Nirbheek, both of whom attended LWSD schools. The family loves to go camping, hiking and skiing.

Todd Bohannon, Teacher

Mr. Todd Bohannon is a Bellevue native and attended Spiritridge Elementary, Tillicum Middle School, and Sammamish High School. Growing up here in Western Washington, he spent much of his youth running around outdoors, which has fueled a lifelong passion for the natural world. During the summers, he attended camps through the YMCA, which eventually lead to his becoming a camp counselor, that would later influence his decision to become a classroom teacher.

He holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Evergeen State College, and spent three years in advertising before realizing he needed to quit his job and go back to school to become an educator.

Todd completed his student teaching in Seattle Public Schools at Thornton Creek Elementary (then AE2) in a split, 4th/5th grade classroom and was later hired on as a full time, classroom teacher. Thornton Creek is a project-based, arts focused, interdisciplinary program that shares many similarities with Renaissance. He subsequently earned his master's degree, researching and developing techniques for utilizing Shakespeare-based curriculum in an elementary classroom.

In addition to teaching at Thornton Creek, Todd has been involved with a number of environmental education organizations, such as No Barriers Youth, an international immersion program for kids (formerly known as Global Explorers). No Barriers is a fantastic, non-profit organization that provides students with transformative experiences in a number of locations around that world. Working primarily with middle and high school students, he has taken four groups of students to the Peruvian Amazon and the Peruvian Andes. It has been a brilliant, life-changing adventure and I plan to lead another trip in the near future!

Todd is also a volunteer educator for REEF, the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, whose head office is located in Key Largo. REEF works on a number of marine conservation projects around the world, including a vast citizen science project that trains people to identify and survey fish populations in tropical reefs around the world. For the past five years, he has been working with REEF on a project known as The Grouper Moon Project, in the Cayman Islands. The goal of the project is to protect the Nassau Grouper, an apex predator in Caribbean coral reefs, which is now on the brink of extinction. Every winter he travels to the Caribbean to work with teachers and students to educate them about the Grouper, tropical reef ecology, and to connect classrooms with the scientists working in the field. He will be joining the project again this winter and students here at Renaissance will have the opportunity to participate by engaging in classroom activities and live video feeds with him and researchers in the field. You can find more information at his blog: www.groupereducation.edublogs.org.

Todd is extremely grateful to be a new member of the Renaissance family and is super excited to continue to pursue his passion for teaching here on the Sammamish Plateau.