Staff Directory

Kindergarten
  • Lili Abbott
    
    Lili Abbott
    Academic Coach


  • Andrea Frias
    
    Andrea Frias


    This will be Andrea Frias’ fifth year teaching kindergarten at HTe. At HTH for a number of years now, she has also taught 9th grade Math/Physics, 10th and 11th grade Spanish, and served as Dean of Students. Previous to working at HTH, Andrea taught the upper elementary grades and preschool dance in San Diego and Rhode Island. Andrea grew up in the San Diego area and graduated from Chula Vista High School: School of the Creative and Performing Arts with a major in Dance. She then left San Diego to study across the country. Andrea received her Bachelor’s in Hispanic Studies with a focus in Literature and Culture from Brown University. She continued her graduate studies at Brown receiving a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. Most recently, Andrea graduated from the School Leadership program at the High Tech High Graduate School. The kindergarten world is one of rigorous learning and Andrea loves to help students develop mindsets that will help them always try their best and feel empowered as life-long learners. She feels very fortunate to be able to support students as they harness the power of wonder and collaboration. Puppetry, song, dance, tinkering, loose parts play, prototyping, engineering, data collection, building, and exploring all have a place in the daily life of a kinder student. She feels honored to be able to live in the kindy world. Andrea is also the mother of an elementary-age explorer and spends a lot of time taking nature walks, attending tea parties, and helping a future astrophysicist-ballerina-firefighter seek answers to her many wonderings. In any spare moments, you can find her practicing her dance moves or enjoying the outdoors.
  • Shana Pitcher
    
    Shana Pitcher


    Shana is a native of New Jersey but always knew she would end up on the West Coast. Before joining the amazing new HTePL, Shana taught at 2 different schools at the First Grade level. Despite this being her 9th year of teaching lower elementary, it is her second career in life. She earned a degree in Art Studio with a minor in Theatre Arts from the University of Maryland. In moving out to California to pursue a Masters in Set Design, she realized that teaching was really her passion. This came through working with San Diego Youth Repertory Theatre where she was teaching young kids how to create sets. This led to a teaching credential at SDSU. The benefit to having this background in theatre is that it connects very much to Project Based Learning (PBL).

    After realizing her love of teaching, she also became aware that teaching reading was a very complicated process. A Masters in Language Arts and a Reading Specialist Credential from SDSU was the next logical step. This year she transitions to Kindergarten at HTe, and looks forward to sharing her passions for the arts and reading with her students.

    In her free time Shana enjoys surfing with her new husband, running with her dog Julius, hiking, camping, travelling, reading non-fiction books about music and adventures. Her last trip was to Peru for her Honeymoon where she hiked Machu Picchu and surfed the coast (Haunchaco). She hopes to go on many more adventures including New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland.
  • Cereescia Sandoval
    
    Cereescia Sandoval


    Cereescia in Keres, Pueblo translates as Mountain Bluebird. The bluebird in many cultures symbolizes transformation, growth, and indicates that greater sunshine is soon to come. I fully embrace the power of my name. As a teacher, I work to transform the traditional classroom into a student-centered space that hums with discovery, problem solving, and excitement. I am constantly evaluating the best ways to help grow the mind, body, and spirit of each child. To teach to the whole child I strive to incorporate challenging projects that invite collaboration while encouraging play and inciting joy.

    Before arriving at High Tech Elementary, I was a graduate student at the University of Oregon. I received a degree in curriculum and education with endorsements in K-12 instruction. My decision to pursue my master’s was born out of a passion for teaching that developed while operating a preschool program in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I have also taught in many other capacities, including as a youth worker in inner city Chicago and an English teacher in Japan. Beyond being a teacher I am an outdoor enthusiast, a dedicated runner, and a traveler.

    I incorporate my own life story into my teaching. I also value the cultures and understandings that every student brings with them into the classroom. My hope is that through the positive exchange of ideas and culture students will gain the confidence to find possibility in the face of probability.
1st Grade
  • Lydia Callis
    
    Lydia Callis


    Lydia Callis is embarking on a new career path as she joins the first grade team at HTe as a second year Apprentice Teacher.  She is a transplant from Michigan, where she was born and raised, then attended Western Michigan University (WMU) to acquire her undergrad in English Literature with a Spanish Language Minor.  Post graduation, she took her BA to sunny San Diego.  In her former life she worked to improve transportation for the elderly and disabled, as a planner at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and project manager for the American Red Cross, San Diego Chapter.  Her realization to transform into an educator came through active involvement and initiating projects at the project based learning (PBL) schools her two children attended over the last several years.  She was captivated to see the PBL approach creating deeper and more equitable learning environments for students of all backgrounds.  Coupled with her love of children, she returned to college.
     
    Lydia is married, has two amazing kids, an equally amazing husband who she spends time with during, before and after she’s done her yoga, reading, running and photography.  Most importantly she’s never stopped learning and looks forward to expanding her education through all the many and wonderful perspectives her students and colleagues will bring to her work everyday over the coming year.
  • Dallis Fox
    
    Dallis Fox


    Dallis Fox feels so lucky to call beautiful San Diego her home. Growing up, teaching was her dream! She moved to New Hampshire for college and enjoyed the fiery colors of Fall, the snowy blanket of Winter, and the budding blossoms of Spring. After graduating from Dartmouth College with her Bachelor's degree and New Hampshire Elementary Teaching Certification, Dallis moved back home to the beach. She taught for a year at Explorer Elementary Charter School as an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher. Dallis then taught for two years at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista. This is now her third year teaching first grade with High Tech. She cannot wait to embark on this next adventure at High Tech Elementary Point Loma. She is looking forward to another wonderful year of exploration and learning. When she is not teaching, Dallis loves spending time with family, reading, traveling, dancing, and playing games.
  • Trisha Magoon
    
    Trisha Magoon


    Trisha is proud to be a native San Diegan who earned her Bachelors Degree and Teaching Credential from SDSU. After teaching for several years, she returned to school to earn her Masters Degree in Education at National University. She worked for many years in two local elementary schools where she taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades, was a Literacy Resource Teacher and a Peer Coach.

    In 2011, she was very fortunate to join the High Tech family as a founding faculty member at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista, where she enjoyed four great years! In fact, she enjoyed the challenging and rewarding work of project based learning so much that she decided to help bring that same work to a new community by becoming a founding faculty member at our newest school, HTe in Point Loma! She could not be more proud and excited!

    In her free time, Trisha enjoys spending time with her friends and family, reading, watching movies, traveling, being near the water (preferably a tropical beach, but just about any body of water will do), and cheering on her favorite football team - Go Chargers!
  • Priscilla Ortiz
    
    Priscilla Ortiz
    Academic Coach


  • Amy Strayer
    
    Amy Strayer


    Amy is originally from the East coast and moved to San Diego about a year ago to enjoy the beautiful weather and beaches! She went to Lasell College in Boston where she majored in Early Childhood Education and minored in Child and Adolescent Studies. Amy earned her her Masters of Science in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University. She is entering her fifth year of teaching and is thrilled to be a part of the HTH community! 
     
    Amy is extremely excited to share in the curiosity, wonder and exploration of learning with her first grade students this year and have the privilege of getting to know them and their families over the coming months!
     
    During her free time Amy enjoys being outdoors, relaxing at the beach, playing with her dog and reading books.
2nd Grade
  • Claire Deken
    
    Claire Deken


    Claire is very excited to continue working with the second grade team at HTe as an Apprentice Teacher. Claire joined HTe as an Academic Coach for second grade in the spring of 2016, and is thankful to have found a grade level that matches her sense of humor and attention span.

    Claire received her Bachelors in Mathematics from the College of Creative Studies at UCSB, and spent about 4 years working in finance for a trading firm in Philadelphia before moving back home to San Diego. When she's not at school, Claire enjoys being outdoors, spending time with family, and eating delicious food.

  • Desiree Powers
    
    Desiree Powers


    Growing up in northern New Jersey, in the shadows of Manhattan, Desiree discovered her passion for learning and culture at a young age. With endless sights and attractions in her backyard, she would often find herself lost in one of the many museums or historical landmarks New York has to offer. Her thirst for knowledge is something she still carries today and has since developed into her desire to teach and share with others.

    Desiree received her  bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Certification of Elementary Education at William Paterson University.  After graduating, she worked closely with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders, teaching academics as well as life skills for 3 years, before moving to sunny San Diego.

    Desiree began her career at HTe Chula Vista in 2014, working with the 2nd Grade team as an academic coach. She stayed on to open HTe in Point Loma where she worked with the 2nd grade team for the first trimester and moved on to teach 5th Grade for the second and third trimesters. She is beyond excited to be working with the 2nd Grade team again as a teacher this year.

    When she is not teaching, Desiree enjoys traveling to Asia, catching up on a good book, or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the New York Mets.
  • Jami Saville
    
    Jami Saville


    Jami Saville is a Southern California native who was born and raised in Hermosa Beach.  Raised by two Deaf parents, Jami learned how to sign before she could speak! She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Education.  A beach girl at heart, she returned to California to get her teaching credential and Masters in Education from UCLA.  Jami started off her teaching career in South Los Angeles and taught kindergarten for three years.  In 2006, she found herself traveling to San Diego to visit friends so often that she decided to just move on down!  Before coming to the High Tech High organization, Jami taught kindergarten and 2nd grade in the San Diego Unified School District.  In 2011, she was one of the founding teachers at High Tech Elementary, Chula Vista.  It was an amazing experience to open a school, collaborate with such positive teachers and build exceptional relationships with students and their families. Because of this rich and meaningful experience, Jami decided to also join the team that opened High Tech Elementary in Point Loma.  It has been a fabulous adventure!
     
    When she is not teaching, Jami enjoys spending time with her husband, Eric and two boys, Evan and Levi.
  • Janice Swaisgood
    
    Janice Swaisgood


    Janice is more than excited to return to the classroom and join the HTe team as a second grade teacher this year! She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Spanish from San Diego State University, where she went on to complete her Bilingual/Cross-Cultural Teaching Credential. After teaching for a few years, she completed her Master's Degree in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Design from the University of California, San Diego.
     
    Janice has enjoyed serving students and families in a variety of capacities throughout her career -- as a classroom teacher, a mentor teacher, a literacy specialist/intervention teacher, a resource teacher, an academic liaison for parents, and as a world language teacher (Spanish as a Second Language for grades 1-2).
     
    For the past 7 years, Janice has worked for the Children & Nature Network (C&NN), a non-profit that is dedicated to connecting children, families and communities to nature for their health and well-being, and for that of our planet. As the Director of Family Initiatives for C&NN, her work carried her to several corners of the globe where she taught and trained people from a variety of backgrounds and philosophies about the many benefits of time spent in nature, as well as how to work with children and families in fostering their connections with each other and the natural world.
     
    You will often find Janice outside with her family, where they enjoy hiking, camping, traveling the world and other adventures together. Both of her sons are students in the High Tech Village in Point Loma.
3rd Grade
  • Allison Kucia
    
    Allison Kucia


    Allison is incredibly excited to be a part of the HTePL community as a founding third grade teacher. She is originally from Connecticut, where she attended the University of Connecticut and graduated from their Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s Teacher Education Program with her B.S. in Elementary Education, B.A. in English and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction. Originally her intention was to attend a teacher education program in Connecticut to eventually teach in that state, but after a harsh winter on the East coast leading to a spur-of-the-moment trip to visit friends in California, she fell in love with San Diego. By the end of her week stay, she had made up her mind to relocate across the country to begin her teaching career.

    Outside of the classroom, Allison most enjoys traveling, hiking, photography, reading, cooking/baking, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.
  • Heather Love
    
    Heather Love


    Heather Love is a native of San Diego and graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University, studied abroad on Semester at Sea visiting 11 countries while earning a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Studio Art. Heather's love for travel began at an early age. She experienced her first study abroad experience by living with a family in Japan for the summer after 6th grade.

    In her free time, Heather enjoys reading, photography and going on adventures around San Diego with her children (both students at HTe).

    Heather is thrilled to be back teaching at HTe for her second year!
  • Karen Underwood
    
    Karen Underwood


  • Daniel Wheat
    
    Daniel Wheat


4th Grade
  • Natalie Alli
    
    Natalie Alli


    Natalie grew up in Salinas, California, a central coast agricultural town, and moved to Northern California to attend high school in Davis. After graduating high school, she attended San Diego State University, earning a B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She is a graduate of the High Tech High Master’s in Teacher Leadership Program. Natalie taught elementary school for eight years in Chula Vista, California. When she arrived to High Tech High she taught seventh grade math/science for 2 years and seventh grade humanities for 2 years at HTMMA. Natalie then returned to Chula Vista where she taught fifth grade at HTeCV. She is thrilled to be a founding teacher at HTePL where she will be teaching fourth grade.

    She and her husband enjoy traveling anywhere they can! Experiencing the cultures of the Philippines, Italy, and Costa Rica were particularly fascinating to them. In her free time, Natalie enjoys spending time with her son Zeke, gardening, cuddling up with a great book, scuba diving, collecting insects and rocks, and photography.
  • Drew Cohick
    
    Drew Cohick


    Drew will be joining the High Tech High family this Fall as a 5th grade teacher at High Tech Elementary Point Loma. With over 10 years experience teaching 4th and 6th grade, Drew is excited to partake in this new educational endeavor. Driven by his natural love of the inner workings of everything natural and man made, he plans to create a learning environment that encourages students to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy (all without a magic school bus).
    Drew is a San Diego native that grew up in Oceanside and currently lives in Point Loma. After graduating from San Diego State University in 2001 with a degree in Sociology and Economics, Drew remained at SDSU to earn his Master's degree in Curriculum Design. Drew has worked as a school administrator, helped start a charter school, and worked in homeless outreach. Drew continues to develop his craft as a teacher, tinker with microcontrollers, form meaningful bonds with families, and he’s always on the lookout for the next inspirational project idea for his class!

    When Drew is not teaching, changing diapers, or dreaming about world travel, He enjoys: surfing, making music, reading, bike riding, doing chores with his wife, and taking his two boys to the beach and zoo.
  • Michelle Jaconette
    
    Michelle Jaconette


    Michelle grew up in Santa Barbara, California and came to San Diego to attend UCSD. As an undergrad, Michelle worked as a photographer for the UCSD Guardian, and a writing mentor at the UCSD Writing Center. After graduating with a BA in Literature/ Writing, Michelle joined the High Tech community as an Academic Coach at High Tech Middle Media Arts.

    It was during her year as an AC that Michelle realized she wanted to be teacher. Coming to work each day was a joy, and she loved helping her students become successful 7th graders with compassionate hearts and a desire for exploration and creativity. Michelle was fortunate enough to help co-plan a few of the projects the 7th grade team did that year, and even found herself dressed as a mad scientist for an exhibition, complete with green hair spray and a lab coat covered in plastic spiders! Who wouldn't want to make a living doing that?

    In order to pursue teaching, Michelle decided to leave sunny California to attend Columbia Teachers College in New York City where she earned a MA in English Education. After a year of hard work and a winter of snowy commutes, Michelle is thrilled to be back in the High Tech family as a 4th grade teacher at High Tech Elementary!

    When she is not at school, Michelle enjoys traveling to faraway places, reading, writing letters, swimming in the ocean, camping, doing word puzzles, hiking and watching Jeopardy!
  • Heather McNamara
    
    Heather McNamara
    Academic Coach


    Heather McNamara and her two sons joined HTe in its founding year and Heather returns for her 2nd year as the 4th grade Academic Coach. Her experience with the High Tech High schools goes back further, though. Her husband, Tim, was a teacher and is now the Director of High Tech High Chula Vista, and Heather (and her kids) volunteered frequently down at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista, where her sister, Tara, was a founding teacher.
     
    Heather is also a credentialed teacher, with a background teaching History and English at the middle school level. Prior to joining HTe, she homeschooled her children, giving her some good experience with elementary education.
     
    Heather prioritizes time with her family and loves to read with her boys, cook real food from scratch, make music, and be outdoors camping and skiing. She also gets inordinate enjoyment out of watching her San Diego kids do things she never did growing up in New York - - including skating, surfing, and playing outdoor sports all year long!
5th Grade
  • Ally Beasacker
    
    Ally Beasacker


    Ally was born and raised in San Diego. She attended Western Kentucky University where she studied English and journalism. After leaving WKU, she travelled through Latin America and worked remotely for an online news source. Through her travels, Ally realized she wanted to change paths and become a teacher.

    In 2015, she was fortunate to be hired as a fourth grade academic coach at HTe. This year, Ally is joining the incredible fifth grade team. She is excited to continue to learn and grow with the students at HTe.

    In her free time, Ally loves to surf, read historical fiction novels, write, bike around town, and dream up her next international adventure.
  • David Gillingham
    
    David Gillingham


    David is extremely passionate about designing, making and exploring the unknown. He spent 3 years working as a low voltage electrician, during which time he developed a great adoration of building, tinkering, and problem solving. He believes that the universe is an untapped well of knowledge just waiting to be consumed and looks forward to inspiring that enthusiasm for learning in every student he encounters.

    He came to HTM in May of 2011 and became the Extended Services Director. He began his first year teaching in 7th grade in 2013, teaching math and life science. His favorite project was when his students researched animals in captivity, designed Zoo enclosures for those animals and their natural habitats, and presented those designs to Architects at the San Diego Zoo. Last year, he taught 8th grade math and physics and was ecstatic to work with some of the same students. Building on their success from 7th grade, his students hosted an Air Pressure Carnival and constructed steel Marble Roller Coasters that demonstrated properties of motion. He also has co-directed the Summer Bridge Program for incoming 6th graders for the last 5 years. Before coming to High Tech Middle, David was the after school program director at Francis Parker Lower School, working there for 6 years, during which time he grew to understand the value of building relationships in an educational setting. David graduated Magna Cum Laude from National University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics and recently obtained his single subject teaching credential in mathematics and science from High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He has traveled Paris, Mexico, safaried in South Africa, and survived driving on the streets of Italy. In his free time, he enjoys playing the drums and listening to music, watching sports and working on his golf handicap!
  • Marc Shulman
    
    Marc Shulman


    I was born in Israel and moved to the US when I was very young. I grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland until I left for college at the University of Maryland, College Park. After college, I spent some time living and teaching in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. At 26 I decided it was time for a change so I packed up and moved to sunny San Diego.

    I have been living in San Diego since August of 2006 and have been teaching in the High Tech High system for the since.  Before coming to High Tech Middle I was a teacher for 8 years in several places on opposite coasts. I started teaching in Washington D.C. for 2 years, then moved back to my home town of Gaithersburg, Maryland (where I grew up) and taught at Forest Oak Middle School in my community for 3 years. In both schools I taught 6-8 grade math and science. I had an amazing time and wonderful experiences teaching on the east coast, ones that could never be duplicated. Many of my students are in college today and I still keep in contact with them. 

    I then made the move across the United States to wonderful San Diego, California. I scored a dream job teaching in the High Tech High “Village.” I taught 6 th grade math/earth science at High Tech Middle Media Arts for 3 years and loved every second I was there! I earned my Masters Degree at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education with a degree in Teacher Leadership while working there. I have now transitioned myself to High Tech Middle to work with an amazing teaching partner, Azul Terronez, who was actually my teaching partner for several months at HTMMA.

    I have a 1 year old daughter that takes up most of my day. There is nothing like having an excuse to "play". We spend most of our free time playing in the beach or just enjoying the outdoors. I love to surf and skate and simply enjoy spending time with my family.
  • Janna Steffan
    
    Janna Steffan


    Janna joined the High Tech High organization in 2011 as a second grade teacher the founding year of HTe Chula Vista. She is beyond excited to be joining the HTe Point Loma team and continue to work with second graders. Janna enjoys trying to build projects that strive to satisfy children's innate curiosity and desire to explore the world around them.

    Janna attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio and studied abroad in France, Canada, and on a Semester at Sea program while earning a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with minors in French and Psychology. Upon graduation, Janna taught English in Japan and moved to San Diego for the beautiful weather and beaches and fell in love with the city. She taught several elementary grades at San Diego’s Language Academy in French immersion classrooms for seven years. During this time, Janna also earned a master’s degree in Teacher Leadership from High Tech High Graduate School of Education in 2010.

    In Janna’s free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling to new and exciting destinations, running, swimming at the beach, or curling up with a good book.
All School
  • Anne Worrall Director
    
    Anne Worrall
    Director


    Anne Worrall believes that small children's intellect and capacity for mischief are often vastly underestimated by adults.  She has been committed to exploring this theory for more than two decades as an Elementary school teacher and principal.
    Anne holds a B.A. in International Relations and an Administrative Services credential from the University of San Diego, a California State Bilingual Crosscultural Language & Academic Development Certificate, as well as a Masters of Education in Cross-Cultural Teaching.  She is currently the Director of High Tech Elementary in Point Loma. Anne enjoys continuously reassessing her understanding of the world, partly as a result of interacting with her daughter. She looks forward to learning and laughing each day with the High Tech High crowd.
  • Quoizel Alcantara After School
    
    Quoizel Alcantara
    After School


    Ms. Quoizel is native to sunny San Diego and has been lucky enough to grow up by the beach her whole life. She began her High Tech journey in 2011 at High Tech Elementary and Middle School Chula Vista where she was an After School Youth Leader and then had the opportunity to work as an Academic Coach. After 2 years in Chula Vista, she transferred to High Tech Middle Media Arts where she became the Extended Services Coordinator for 2 years. She is so excited to begin her 5th year at the new High Tech Elementary School in Point Loma.
    In her spare time, she enjoys the outdoors, chasing sunsets, traveling, dancing, yoga, cycling, and anything athletically challenging.
    She looks forward to making connections with students and families, inspiring, and developing minds and talents.​
  • Araceli Carrera Performing Arts
    
    Araceli Carrera
    Performing Arts


    I believe that art & dance provides a powerful outlet for everybody to build a strong voice, opinion and perspective of our world.
    I first discovered visual arts the moment I held my first pencil, and dance came to me as a beautiful surprise. Both art forms continue to inspire me and I always look forward to the exchange they provide for self and others. In 2001 I received a BFA in Dance Education from Arizona State University. The momentum of teaching, choreographing, collaborating has been non-stop. I have been fortunate to dance, teach, choreograph and tour.  I held the role of Arts Education Director, developed a youth dance touring school show called I Speak...Dance!  I am the Artistic Director for Impulse Danza Youth Company and continue cultivating connections through Visual Art, Modern Dance Technique, and Afro Caribbean Dance.
    It is through exploring, discovering, creating, recognizing, connecting & reflecting through the arts that an artist's voice is built. It is an honor to teach all these qualities to HTe students.
  • Annie Carter Inclusion Specialist
    
    Annie Carter
    Inclusion Specialist


    As a San Diego native I have always felt a strong sense of responsibility to make my city a great place to learn. I wanted to have the educational environment in our schools mirror the natural beauty that surrounds us. As I completed my B.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities from USD ('12); I knew I wanted to be an Ed. Specialist in a great school district. My degree allowed me to focus on the different philosophies of education and the social obligation to defend and protect all of our kids as they grow. I completed my M.A. in 2015 where I student taught in North County and in SDUSD. Those experiences solidified my sense of duty to support kids with special needs. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be working at HTe with great staff and I am excited to be the Kindergarten and First Grade Inclusion Specialist! Outside of school you'll find me either playing with my dog (Rex), at one of my four older siblings' homes,taking a hike outside, or of course, perfecting my stir-fry recipe!
  • Bree Clausen Inclusion Specialist
    
    Bree Clausen
    Inclusion Specialist


    I am a second year Inclusion Specialist at High Tech Elementary. I have my Master's degree in Fine Art. When I realized that I was craving a career where I could help others and work with children, I went back to school for early childhood development. I absolutely love school! I love that I get to be in school every day and that there is always more to learn with my job. I chose to work in Special Education because I get the chance to make sure children are supported and get what they need to succeed. I have wanted to work at High Tech for many years now since hearing about project-based learning. I am so grateful that I am here and that I have a rewarding job that I love.
  • Georgia Figueroa K-5 Support Teacher
    
    Georgia Figueroa
    K-5 Support Teacher


    After graduating from San Diego State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Psychology and an emphasis in Psycholinguistics, Georgia decided to pursue her passion for working with children. In 2010, Georgia earned her Multiple-Subjects Teaching Credential along with a Master’s in Education from the University of California, San Diego.

    Georgia taught 3rd grade in National City before joining the High Tech organization. In 2011, she served as a founding faculty member for the first High Tech Elementary in Chula Vista. She instructed 3rd graders for four years at HTeCV. She is thrilled to have yet another opportunity to help found the newest High Tech Elementary, in Point Loma. Georgia believes in teaching the whole child by truly working to understand who her students are as individuals. She encourages them to take risks, transform, and grow in both heart and mind. She strives to help students discover the world around them and how they hope to impact it through hands-on, collaborative, inquiry-based projects.

    When Georgia is not working with children, she enjoys spending time with her family. You can find them surfing at the beach, camping and hiking around the U.S., indulging at their local coffee shop, or enjoying home cooked meals with good friends.

    Publications and Posts:
    Unboxed article: www.hightechhigh.org/unboxed/issue11/growth_through_reflection/
    Teaching philosophy video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=itMn0PVZcQE
  • Sara Gallagher Speech Language Pathologist
    
    Sara Gallagher
    Speech Language Pathologist


    Sara is a New Jersey native who moved to San Diego to attend UC San Diego. After earning an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science, she stayed on in San Diego to attend San Diego State University’s Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program. Sara has worked in pre-K through high school school settings, private practice, and as the speech-language pathology liason for San Diego Regional Center. She later returned to SDSU as an adjunct, teaching the clinical practicum for early intervention diagnostics to graduate students.

    Sara is excited to be a part of HTe’s founding faculty. After working for three years at High Tech’s Chula Vista campus, she quickly embraced the full inclusion philosophy that allows her to help students develop and expand their communication skills in the classroom setting.

    Outside of work, Sara spends her time with her two young children and husband. She takes advantage of any opportunity to travel back east, but never tires of all that San Diego has to offer.
  • Sylvia Martinez Site Manager
    
    Sylvia Martinez
    Site Manager


    Sylvia was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in San Diego with her loving parents and 3 siblings.  Sylvia attended Sweetwater High School in National City, Ca.

    Sylvia's most memorable moments growing up were the twice yearly trips her family would take to Chihuahua, Mexico where her maternal grandparents and extended family are from as well as monthly visits to her father's extended family in Los Angeles. Having come from a bi-racial, bi-cultural family background, Sylvia believes she's been blessed with "the best of both worlds."

    Sylvia's future goal is to continue her education and receive her B.A., in Communications. In her spare time, Sylvia enjoys reading, jogging and cheering for her kids on the sidelines of their soccer games.

    Favorites Questionnaire (by request)
    My Birthday: August 16
    Favorite Candy: Dark Chocolate w/Almonds
    Favorite Flower: Gerber daisy
    Favorite Drink: Decaf Green Tea
  • Riley Meehan Engineering
    
    Riley Meehan
    Engineering


    Riley is an engineer, maker, designer, educator, tinkerer, and lifelong learner. He believes that all children are budding engineers and that engineering provides authentic and practical opportunities to employ math, science, and critical thinking skills.
    Riley grew up in Los Angeles, so he's no newbie to the west coast, but he is brand new to San Diego and just arrived after spending the previous six years in Boston, MA. Before joining the High Tech High team, he spent time working as an engineer, educator, and researcher. He has experience working on state of the art engineering projects with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He has taught engineering to learners from kindergarten to college and in many places from El Salvador to Minnesota. And most recently, he was a researcher in Boston while getting his Masters of Science in STEM Education at Tufts University. While working at Tufts, his research lived in the worlds of education, engineering, design, and sociology – focusing on how educational institutions design and make sense of the use of makerspaces as reflecting the existing commitments of a school community. He hopes to bring the lessons from that work to HTe and continue to cultivate learning spaces that support children in their engineering endeavors.

    Riley is really excited to be joining the HTH family and is always looking to make new connections. His biggest weakness is not being able to say no, so feel free to contact him with any new ideas or ask him to get involved with whatever you’re working on – he'll definitely say yes.
  • Kimberly Palmiotto School Psychologist
    
    Kimberly Palmiotto
    School Psychologist


    Kimberley grew up in San Diego and was so excited to get back to the finest city in America after leaving for a few years to finish her higher education.  As a Licensed Educational Psychologist and  Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Dr Kim, as she is known to the kids she works with, has worked with children and families in both a traditional school setting as well as private practice.  Outside of the traditional role of a school psychologist, Dr. Kim's areas of specialties include counseling/mental health and school neuropsychology.  She is a diplomate of the American Board of School neuropsychology and a registered Art Therapist with the American Art Therapy Association. 
     
    Dr. Kim completed her Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies before moving to Northern California to gain a Masters in Marital and Family Therapy and Art therapy.  After working as an art therapist in both residential and clinical settings she finished her PPS credential and began working as a school psychologist in the public school system.  She then completed a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology.  Her work as a school psychologist has spanned over 17 years although she began working in education while still in college as a teachers aide 25 years ago.
     
    Outside of work, Dr. Kim loves being with her four young daughters and husband.  She spends most of her time cheering on her kids during all their activities, reading, and exploring our amazing city.
  • Phyllis Perlroth Inclusion Specialist
    
    Phyllis Perlroth
    Inclusion Specialist


  • Robin Rubenstein Elementary Learning Guru
    
    Robin Rubenstein
    Elementary Learning Guru


    Robin is excited to join the team at HTe as a School Leadership Resident. For the past two years she has been the Elementary School Principal at DREAM Charter School in New York City and she brings over 12 years of elementary school teaching and leadership experience to HTH.

    Robin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona’s School of Education and a master’s degree in Special Education with a focus in Learning Disabilities from Hunter College in New York City.

    She has lived in New York City with her husband and two daughters for the past 11 years. While in New York she taught for the New York City DOE and was the founding special education teacher at Harlem Success Academy, before working at DREAM Charter School as both a teacher and school leader.

    Robin is passionate about education equality, facilitative learning, and teaching students with learning struggles. She is committed to her own continuing education and is looking forward to working with the staff, students, and families at HTH to deepen her understanding and practice of project-based learning and school leadership.
  • Scott Shepherd Outdoor Leadership
    
    Scott Shepherd
    Outdoor Leadership


    Scott Shepherd is a San Diego native and outdoor enthusiast. His passion for the outdoors lead him to a bachelor's degree in Adventure Education from Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado. Upon graduation, Scott returned to San Diego with a desire to bring the outdoors to those who may not have the opportunity to experience them. Through his work at Outdoor Outreach, Scott helped share the outdoors through rock climbing, surfing, kayaking, camping, snorkeling, mountain biking and snowboarding to over 1,000 individual youth from underserved communities of San Diego. When not teaching, Scott can be found surfing and exploring San Diego’s Marine Protected Areas or hiking with his family in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.
  • Angee Sieckman-Mutter Inclusion Specialist
    
    Angee Sieckman-Mutter
    Inclusion Specialist


    As a second-generation San Diego native I have been blessed to grow-up in and around “America’s Finest City.” The daughter of an elementary school librarian, I avoided an early call to teaching and graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Journalism. I spent the next few years working for nonprofits, becoming a licensed massage therapist, and managing adult learners at the school’s massage clinic. My favorite part of the job was working with the students, helping them hone their craft and discover their love of healing. It was through a conversation with a veteran High Tech High teacher that ignited a fire to pursue my teaching credential. During the program I was continually drawn to work that focused on inclusive educational practices, and a desire to facilitate educational success for all students. After completing my Education Specialist (Mild/ Moderate) credential, I was fortunate to work at Greg Rogers Elementary where I taught a 2nd/ 3rd grade combo Special Day Class. During my time there my students cultivated a garden from seeds, kept daily math and writing journals, and practiced important life skills to take with them beyond the classroom. So it was with a heavy heart that I left my former students and school so that we could all grow and explore new opportunities.

    Joining the incredible team at High Tech Elementary (HTe) is an exciting venture that allows me to develop as an educator. Inclusion is a call to action, which is why I am honored to be an Education Specialist with HTe. My goal when working with you and your child is to foster an experience that promotes open communication, participation, and embraces the idea of community within the education process. As a mom myself I understand the desire for my child to love learning, make lasting friendships, and feel that they belong. Fortunately my son is only a year old, so I have some time to hone my tiger-mom skills.
  • Allie Wong HTH GSE Resident
    
    Allie Wong
    HTH GSE Resident


    Alicia Wong is extremely passionate about High Tech High's mission and philosophy, mainly because as a graduate of High Tech High International herself, she has seen firsthand the benefits of student-centered, project-based learning. After graduating from HTHI in 2007, Alicia completed her bachelor's studies at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, CA. She went on to obtain her Master's degree in teacher education and teaching credential from the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of school, Alicia's interests include soccer, musical theatre, reading, and traveling. Alicia taught at High Tech Middle from 2012-2016 and is excited to be continuing her journey this year as a student at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education and resident at High Tech Elementary.