Torry Thompson

Executive Director

& Teacher/Advisor for 5th-8th Grades

Mr. "T" as Torry prefers to be called, has been with the Lab since we started in 2016.  He is assuming directorship of The Lab starting August 1st 2021 after serving 2 years as The Lab's Academic Director and 4 years as the instructor for the Lab's 4th-8th grade classes.   


Mr. T will continue to teach in the classroom in addition to his new role as ED.  A credentialed teacher and math expert who is known for his ability to inspire and engage his students, 


Mr. T was one of the first educators in LA County to introduce personalized, self-guided learning approaches into the classroom, including the Khan Academy.  His students continue to seek him out for advice and support years after finishing their classes at The Lab.  He was described by one of our parents as, "the teacher you always wish your child could have."   And we agree!

Father of four, we are delighted that Mr. T calls The Lab his educational home!


Kathryn Forrest

Teacher/Advisor for TK-1st

Kathryn Forrest is trained in elementary school education, Reggio Emilio, Applied Behavioral Analysis and is a practicing artist.  Kathryn has a wonderful integrated approach to her work with children, engaging them in immersive experiences that integrate reading, writing, and math with study of the arts, science and history. 

Kathryn's work in education spans to globe from work in Thailand as an elementary school teacher to Montessori and Reggio programs in California, to in-home support with applied behavioral analysis for students on the autism spectrum.

We are delighted to have Kathryn as a member of our Lab team.  Her vision of student-led exploration, joy in learning and integration of the arts from around the world make her classroom an exciting place for young people to be! 


Teacher/Advisor for 2nd-5th

Mrs. Bennett is a National Board Certified teacher. She comes to our school with over 10 years of teaching experience and being credentialed in the states of California, Washington, and South Carolina. Mrs. Bennett will be teaching the students in 2nd-5th grades. Her instructional style is relaxed and conducive to classroom discussions. Her students feel safe and confident which contributes to deep discussions that promote higher-level thinking.


Mrs. Bennett is a dedicated teacher who truly has a bond with the students inside and out of her classroom. She has a love for science and has served as the science lead at her previous school. She also enjoys the outdoors and all sports. Sponsoring the Girls Running club was just one of the after school events she enjoyed participating in as well.

Ten Bennett

Bertha Leon

Administrative Support

Bertha Leon is the mother of a 20-year-old daughter who learned in non-traditional settings. 

Bertha is bi-lingual English-Spanish and loves engaging with and supporting parents in their educational journey with their children.

Fun, engaging and full of empathy, Bertha is committed to making educational options available to any family in Long Beach who wants it.


Lyndee Knox, PhD

Outgoing Director

Lyndee is founding director of The Lab.  She established The Lab in 2016 with the help of 5 other families in Long Beach to provide an educational alternative for her own children and for other students K-8th in the Long Beach area.   A replication scientist by training, she and the founding families studied "exemplar" educational programs across California and the US to identify innovative alternatives to traditional education.  She and the start-up team identified the Khan Lab School in Mountainview, CA as an exemplar in innovative educational approaches that instills joy in learning while preparing students to be life long learners.  Lyndee hold masters and doctorate degrees in Evaluation Research and Educational and School Psychology, is a former Associate Professor from the University of Southern California, and is trained in Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), psycho-educational assessment, program evaluation and public health science. Lyndee is the former co-director of the CDC-funded Academic Center of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention established by the U.S. Congress after the Columbine School shootings, author of 6 books and national curricula, dozens of articles, and co-developed the internationally recognized school readiness program, Madres a Madres with Cristina Jose Kampfner and America Bracho.  Lyndee is stepping down from the role of Executive Director in summer of 2021 but will continue to serve as a resource to Torry and his leadership team as needed.  And of course, volunteer!