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Sepia Portrait of Dept Chair Daniela Pachtranska

Daniela Nikolaeva (Pachtrapanska) is a talented artist who has worked with great success in a variety of media: graphic design, fine art, motion graphics and animation. Her artworks have been exhibited internationally and have received numerous prestigious awards in Europe and USA. In 2011 Daniela presented her solo exhibit and multimedia show “Music to Your Eyes” at the Art Institute of California – San Francisco. The same year, she received The Trailblazer Award for exceptional achievements in her field.
Daniela earned her master’s degree in Graphic Design and Advertising and started her career at the Advertising Department in ZUM, the largest department store in Bulgaria. There, she created advertising materials for top-notch companies such as Calvin Cline, Pierre Cardin, Seiko, Lancôme, L’Oréal.
In her design career she has worked as an art director, project manager, and president and founder of her own creative companies: Balkan Treasures (1995-1999), and DaNi Design Studio (2000-present).
Daniela loves working on creative projects, as much as she loves teaching. For 15 years Daniela was a professor at the Art Institute of California – San Francisco where she taught more than 30 classes related to graphic design, web design, motion graphics and animation.
Since 2013, she has been teaching design classes in the Graphic Arts Department at Laney College. She a full-time faculty member and Department Chair of Graphic Arts.
As department chair, she believes in the ability of education to transform lives and make positive changes in the world. She is focusing on increasing student enrolment, modernizing the Graphic Arts’ labs, and revamping the curriculum to include new programs and classes that give a competitive edge to our students. She is working relentlessly to increase visibility and lead the department to new heights.

David S. Santarmaria
Photo of David Santamaria

David works as a full time instructor at Laney College. He teaches in the Graphic Arts and Media Departments. Previously, he worked as an editor, animator, colorist and consultant on graphic and media projects. His film, Slide Rail Superman, a comedy about the world’s second greatest hand rail slider, premiered at the SF Indiefest and was nominated to film festivals nationwide.

Most recently, David worked as the finishing editor on a film by a formerly incarcerated filmmaker. He first met the filmmaker at San Quentin prison when he volunteered to teach a media workshop to inmates in the award winning First Watch Program. The film, “What These Wall Wont Hold” accounts the horrifying San Quentin Covid outbreak and how the tireless work of a group of underrepresented voices led the governor of California to approve early releases that saved 100s of lives.

Other work includes Editor on the Telly award winning film, They Can’t Take That Away— The Legacy of the Fillmore (linked below). He was previously in joint residence at the Jewish Film Institute & Ninth Street IFC Incubator program where he worked on the feature documentary, The Goldsteins of Las Vegas.

David grew up in New York and currently lives in Oakland, CA.  When he has a free moment, he samples pizza from around the Bay Area and offers presentations on how to throw a forkball with a tennis ball.  He also teaches the New York pizza fold to any and all comers.


Carole R. Brown
Sepia Portrait of Carole R. Brown

Carole R. Brown, Instructor at Laney College in the Graphic Arts Dept., is a designer, illustrator and mixed media artist. She has been teaching in the fine arts, foundation arts and graphic design programs in many of the Bay Area colleges and universities for over 20 year. Since moving to California, she has taught at California College of the Arts, East Bay State University Hayward, the Art Institutes of CA-SF and, currently, Laney College. Before moving to California, Carole was an Assistant Professor at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois and guest instructor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she received her BFA and MFA degrees.

Carole R. Brown is the co-owner of an Oakland based graphic design & illustration studio. Carole and her design partner have created a wide range of projects including posters, identity systems, bookcovers, brochures and presentation displays. For many years she has been an active member of Bay Area Designer Women (BADWomen), Graphic Artists Guild and the Bay Area InDesign Users Group (IDUG). Carole has participated in numerous one-person and group exhibitions of her paintings, collage works and sculptures in the Chicago and Bay Areas and international traveling exhibitions.

Michael Jay

Sepia Portrait of Michael Jay

Michael Jay’s background has been as a commercial photographer with clientele such as Apple, Autodesk, Forbes ASAP, Intel, National Semiconductor, Sun Microsystems (Acquired by Oracle), and Verifone. His specialty was in large format studio photography with an emphasis on technology, on location and portraiture and special effects photography. His subjects includes Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, Gordon Moore of Intel, Ted Nelson, an American pioneer of information technology, who coined the term, hypertext and John Walker, the founder of Autodesk.
Building on that experience, Michael has applied his photographic knowledge in teaching Photoshop and is Adobe Certified.
Michael has also been teaching web design, HTML5 and CSS using Dreamweaver, primarily in code view.
Michael has taught at numerous educational institutions such as the Academy of Art, San Francisco City College, Laney College and Las Positas College.