- Rosemarie Biocarles-RydeenX
When Rosemarie came home from her first day of Kindergarten, she exclaimed to her father, “I want to be a teacher when I grow up!” Her first teaching experiences were during her own summer breaks, where as an elementary student herself, she set up her own “classroom” and taught her preschool aged cousins their letters, sounds, colors, and shapes. Her love of teaching has never left. She went on to attend San Diego State University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies (Theatre Specialization), a Multiple Subject CLAD Credential, and a Master’s Degree in Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Education. She spent nine years in the Chula Vista Elementary School District as a Primary Grade Teacher, Mentor Teacher, and Instructional Leader.
As a South Bay San Diego native, she is passionate about teaching and learning in multicultural and multilingual settings. Growing up in a bilingual home nurtured her love of words and language. She is constantly thinking of fun and innovative ways to develop the language and literacy of her young students. Some of the most influential teachers in Rosemarie’s life have been Kindergarten teachers and she is excited to be teaching and learning alongside the youngest members of the High Tech family!
In addition to teaching, the great loves of Rosemarie’s life include her husband, Eric, and their daughter, Taylor. She also enjoys coffee and dessert dates, library visits, beach days, hooping, and yoga.
- Jeanine BlumX
Jeanine was born and raised right here in lovely San Diego. After graduating from Point Loma High School she remained here in our city to attend the University of California, San Diego where she earned her B.S. in Biology. After college, her desire to travel took her abroad to teach English in Thailand. That experience helped solidify her decision to become a teacher. When she returned home she enrolled at San Diego State University, and in 2009 earned her Multiple Subject Credential. Jeanine began her career as a K-5 substitute teacher, working all over San Diego for a few years within the San Diego Unified School District. She also taught preschool, was a tutor for Sylvan Learning Center, and a Mad Science Instructor! But she was still looking for a school to call her own...
As soon as she stepped foot inside High Tech Elementary in January 2013, Jeanine knew this was were she wanted to stay! Never had she felt or seen such a positive learning environment! She believes that the students, families, and staff here at HTe have created the most amazing atmosphere of collaboration, respect, and meaningful learning - it truly is amazing and inspires her every day!
Jeanine loves her vibrant hometown full of culture and things to do, and she tries to get outdoors to take advantage of that as much as possible - and she encourage the students and families of HTe to do the same! She grew up next to the beach and can never drift too far from it. Jeanine also has a great passion for music and loves attending live concerts. When she is not at school, you may catch Jeanine enjoying San Diego's nice weather on a hike through Mission Trails, people watching at a local street fair, or hanging out with her small furry friend Ripley the Maltese!
- Cate HoffX
I grew up outside of Boston with my four siblings. From a young age, I wanted to learn languages, travel, and share those experiences with others. I studied Spanish and Education at Roanoke College in VA and spent a semester at the University of Oviedo in Asturias, Spain. Some highlights from my eighteen years of teaching include earning a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus in Language and Literacy at San Francisco State University, teaching high school Spanish, bilingual Kindergarten through third grade, and volunteer teaching at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica, helping open HTeCV in 2011, and joining High Tech High's Graduate School of Education Teacher Leadership Program in 2014. Things that make me tick are my family, laughter, travel, art, being in nature, a great read, and good food. I am thrilled to be teaching our beloved kindergarteners at HTeCV this year!
- Raquel AlcalaXRaquel Alcala
Hello friends! My name is Raquel Alcala and I am an Apprentice Teacher in Kindergarten. I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to San Diego with my family when I was five years old. Ever since I could remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher; I love learning, I love school and I want to share that love with others. I took a detour in my path to becoming a teacher and received my degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, always knowing that I would go back to school to get my teaching credential. While in school, I started my professional journey in working with children at the YMCA as a Youth Leader and as a Teaching Artist for CYT. After graduating I explored my business degree in corporate America, but quickly realized I had to go back to working and inspiring children. In January of 2015, I was hired at HTeCV as an Academic Coach in Kindergarten. This school year, I return as an Apprentice Teacher and am receiving my teaching credential through High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education while co-teaching with Ms. Cate as my mentor.
An inspirational quote that resonates with my teaching philosophy is, “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Because of you I didn't give up’". I hope to inspire students to love learning, to explore, to wonder, to work together, to see the priceless value of education and to be excited to walk into our classroom everyday! Every student deserves the opportunity to learn, grow and make progress; I hope to provide an engaging, hands-on learning experiencing in a nurturing, organized and peaceful environment. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, exploring the many delicious restaurants San Diego has to offer, and relaxing by dancing, listening to music and doing Pilates.
- Marquita GriffithX
I believe that all students, no matter what background or circumstance, have the ability to succeed academically.
I was born and raised in Michigan and completed my degree in Elementary Education at Michigan State University. As an educator, I have more than eight years of progressive experience. My professional background includes positions as a first grade teacher in Holt, Michigan, third grade mentor teacher in Chicago, Illinois and second grade teacher in San Diego, CA. I am excited to use all that I have learned through my experiences and training to help facilitate learning opportunities for my first grade superstars.
Some of these learning opportunities include differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all my students, using technology to create unique educational learning paths, connecting learning to the ever changing world and providing unlimited chances for my scholars to think critically. It is through this critical thinking that our first graders will begin to develop innovative solutions to real world problems.
In my spare time I enjoy listening to music and dancing with my family. It is not unusual to find the arts integrated in my classroom projects.
I feel immensely blessed to become a member of the HTeCV team and I am looking forward to an incredible school year!
FIRST GRADE ROCKS!
- Matt SheelenX
Originally from the East Coast, I slowly began my trek westward with my first stop in Illinois where I attended Northwestern University. While there, I studied Theatre and spent significant time in the field of Creative Drama using the arts to integrate into schools to provide a more holistic learning experience for children.
After college, I headed out to Los Angeles where I worked with non-profits the Story Pirates and Young Storytellers focusing on providing arts education to underserved populations in LA. With the Young Storytellers, I led a group of 10 writers in mentoring fifth graders in the writing of original screenplays. My love for theatre and education took me to Italy for 3 summers to work for an organization called ACLE that providing English education using Theatre techniques to Italian children. Eventually, I felt the pull to San Diego and worked as the Education Program Manager as the San Diego Junior Theatre in Balboa Park. I taught classes and directed camp programming for the organization. Most recently, I attended graduate school at Stanford in their Teacher Education Program (STEP) graduating this past June.
I am thrilled to be teaching first grade at High Tech! When I am not teaching, I can be found hiking, playing ultimate frisbee, having game nights with friends, and sailing. I love food except foods with gluten and dairy (so everything), who are my enemies! Looking forward to a tremendous year!
"Matt is the most hilarious and charming eldest son I have." - My mother
- Lacy SzuwalskiX
Lacy Szuwalski is a believer. She believes all students can learn and grow and wants to ensure that each child receives the opportunity to do so through providing equitable learning environments. Lacy was raised in Topeka, Kansas and graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She moved to San Diego in 2007 and taught at Central Elementary in City Heights for three and a half years before she decided to join the Peace Corps. She spent two years in The Gambia, West Africa as a primary teacher trainer, and then returned to the states to enter into High Tech High's Graduate School of Education. Lacy served as a school leadership resident at HTeCV in the 2014-2015 school year and is excited to return as a first grade teacher!
- Shar GarciaXShar Garcia
Hello! I am Shar Garcia. Tijuana/San Diego native.
My adventure in HTeCV began in 2012 after graduating from UCSD with a B.A. in Visual Arts. I joined the HUB after school program as an Art and German Instructor. As a nature lover I immediately fell in love with the school’s location and have used it as a source of inspiration for my projects. Two years ago I became an Academic Coach for first grade and also an Art instructor for the CrASH program at HTHCV. This year I am thrilled to be an Intern teacher with the amazing Kindergarten team.
I am constantly amazed with children’s potential to innovate and their desire to explore the unknown. I feel passionate about creating a safe and rich environment in order for students to feel free to be curious and not only get excited but stay excited about learning.
In my free time I enjoy doing art, traveling and being outdoors with friends, furry friends and family. During the past 8 years I’ve been spending my summers working for “Opera en la calle” a non-profit festival in Tijuana that makes Opera music and other forms of art accessible to all. No, no, I don't sing! I wish! I help design, plan and sometimes lead the workshops at the festival.
I am really grateful to be part of this loving community and see it grow closer year after year.
- Ruby RodriguesX
Ruby is thrilled to join the High Tech Elementary Point Loma community and continue her love of teaching in second grade!
Ruby Rodrigues attended the University of San Diego and was fortunate to experience studying abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile and Guadalajara, Mexico. She graduated from USD with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a concentration in the Spanish Language and Latin American cultures, as well as a BCLAD teaching credential. After graduating, Ruby moved to Northern California to be a founding teacher at a dual-immersion charter school in San Jose. After teaching there for three years, the opening of High Tech Elementary Chula Vista in 2011 drew her back to San Diego. Ruby loves being a part of the High Tech community and being surrounded by extremely passionate and inspiring colleagues.
As an educator, Ruby is passionate and thoughtful about building a happy, strong, and supportive classroom culture in which students feel safe to take risks, learn from mistakes, explore their wonderings, seek critique, and create beautiful and meaningful work together. Ruby also strongly values collaboration with teachers and parents as well as experts in and around the community who can help enrich project experiences for her students.
Outside of school Ruby enjoys traveling, going on adventures with her nieces and nephew, farmers markets, exploring new running trails and anytime spent outdoors.
- Ruth SmithX
Hello there! My name is Ruth Smith and I am a 2nd grade teacher. After graduating in June of 2008 from the University of California, San Diego, I took some time to travel and reflect on my next steps... After a year of traveling and volunteering for March of Dimes I went back to UCSD in which I received my Masters in Education and a Teaching Credential with an Elementary Mathematics Emphasis Certification. I began my career in August of 2011 as a Guided Reading Specialist and after a year I transitioned into my own classroom as a 1st grade teacher for the next 3 years. Just as soon as I was feeling all comfy and cozy, I decided it was time for a change, SO I transferred to a school that is located in an amazing community, and that's where you'll find me today... teaching 2nd grade! The 2015-2016 school year will mark my 5th year as a teacher! This is such an amazing community and school and I am extremely excited to work here. I look forward to meeting all of you. Thank you and I look forward to a productive year!
- Ashley Warlick
- Julia JacobsenX
Julia Jacobsen is a founding 4th Grade teacher at High Tech Elementary in Chula Vista. Julia earned her teaching credential and a psychology degree from Dartmouth College and a Master’s Degree in Technology, Innovation and Education from Harvard University, and a Master's Degree in School Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Her passion for teaching began in college when she spent a term teaching English in the Marshall Islands. She later worked for AmeriCorps as a teacher/tutor in Beaverton, Oregon where she developed an after school engineering program. Julia is passionate about developing creative, caring thinkers and makers. When not in the classroom, Julia loves traveling, biking, running, camping, hiking, and making (and eating) delicious food.
- Paul NorthX
A native of the United Kingdom, Paul moved to North Carolina as a teenager and has lived in the United States ever since. After earning a B.A. in Dramatic Art from UNC-Chapel Hill, Paul joined Teach for America and taught fifth grade for two years in Camden, NJ. After fulfilling a lifelong ambition to travel around the world, Paul returned to Chapel Hill, where he worked with a special education team and co-directed an interactive theater troupe at UNC. In 2013, Paul moved to San Diego to work at High Tech Elementary and study with High Tech High's Graduate School of Education (http://paulnorth.weebly.com). A graduate of the Teacher Leadership M.Ed. Program, Paul loves teaching and learning with the students, families, and educators at High Tech Elementary. As a third grade teacher, he is eager to help children build a strong learning community, pursue their fierce wonderings, and create beautiful work. Paul enjoys soccer, comedy, and reading, especially children’s books.
- Lisa SaldiasX
Lisa is overjoyed to be joining the Third Grade team at HTeCV this year! She is passionate about co-creating a community of learners within the classroom and inspiring students to realize the best versions of themselves. This year will be a return to the elementary classroom for Lisa, as she has spent the last five years working at the University of San Diego to support high school students in their pursuit of a college education. Raised in San Diego County, Lisa is the first in her family to graduate from college. She earned a B.A. in Sociology with minors in Spanish and Leadership from the University of San Diego. She loves traveling the world to experience different cultures. While in school she was able to study in Spain, Mexico, and Chile. Upon graduation from USD, Lisa taught Kindergarten and Second Grade in Miami, Florida with Teach For America. She cannot wait to step back into the elementary classroom. Along with teaching this year, Lisa will begin as a student in her first year of the High Tech High Graduate School of Education M.Ed. Program. Besides learning, Lisa enjoys reading, listening to music, and practicing yoga.
- Marilen TranX
Hello, meet Marilen Avila Tran! Born in Frankfurt, Germany and raised in San Diego. A world traveler who always knew she was meant to teach. She is beyond thrilled to be part of HTeCV. She graduated with her Bachelors in Liberal Studies at Cal State University San Marcos. She received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at San Diego State University.
In 2005, Marilen began her teaching career at Memorial Academy of Learning and Technology. She taught 7th grade Pre-Algebra and Life Science for three years. During her time at Memorial, she taught hip hop dance after school, assisted with the ASB and was the photographer and supporting staff member for the school's Color Guard.
In 2008 she was offered a position to teach at High Tech Middle Media Arts. She taught 7th grade math and science. And taught hip hop dance during her first intersession and Xblock classes. Marilen was at HTMMA for 2 1/2 years until the birth of her twin boys. She began teaching at HTeCV during the 2014-2015 school year. She was extremely excited to start the new year in 4th grade. This year she will be teaching 3rd grade.
Marilen's passions include hip hop dance and photography. She recently danced with Afta Shock, a hip hop troupe associated with Culture Shock San Diego. She also teaches cardio hip hop classes. As a professional photographer, she has photographed numerous events and her photography has been featured in the San Diego City Beat and the San Diego Union Tribune. Besides her passions, her other loves include the San Diego Chargers , San Antonio Spurs and of course, her family.
- Amanda BorowX
Hello! My name is Amanda Borow and I am thrilled to be part of the 4th grade team at HTe Chula Vista. I am originally from Denver, CO but have lived in Somerville, MA for the last six years while I attended Tufts University. I am excited to share my love of questions with my students - I believe that questions are the foundation of learning in all disciplines and will encourage curiosity and exploration in my classroom. I am especially passionate about history and look forward to learning about history through projects with my students. I will encourage student to see themselves as powerful agents of change who interpret history and make history everyday in their lives. The project based learning approach at HTe provides a unique learning opportunity for students as well as for teachers - I am so looking forward to the learning adventures we will have together.
You can learn more about my teaching philosophy at http://amandaborow.weebly.com.
- Katie MeyersXKatie Meyers
Katie first joined the High Tech High community in March 2014 working in inclusion as an Academic Coach at High Tech Middle. She spent the 2014-2015 school year as an Academic Coach when she decided to pursue her passion of working with elementary students. Katie is thrilled to join the magic at HTeCV, and work alongside Julia Jacobsen and the 4th grade team. Before coming to High Tech Middle, Katie moved from her hometown in Phoenix, Arizona to attend UC Riverside. She graduated with a degree in World History, so if you’re looking for conversation about the Roman Empire, look no further. As an educator, she is passionate about building a classroom community where students feel safe taking risks and sharing their thoughts. When Katie is not in the classroom, she can be found playing or coaching volleyball. Although she spends the majority of time in the classroom or on the volleyball court, Katie also enjoys traveling, cooking, napping, and reading!
- Joyce ParkX
Joyce Park grew up in Walnut, a city located in Southern California. She attended UC Berkeley for her undergraduate studies with a focus on Psychology and Education. Immediately after graduating, she joined Teach For America to fight for education equity in underserved communities. This brought her to Brownsville Ascend Charter School, in Brooklyn, New York. During this time, she also earned her Masters from Relay Graduate School of Education. For 4 years she worked in partnership with her colleagues, families, and unforgettable students. Joyce grew so much as an educator there, but she felt in her heart that it was time to go back home --to California. Thus, she will be continuing her teaching journey in Chula Vista with her new HTH family.
- Brian BurrX
Brian Burr believes that education is an opportunity for growth and development. He creates an environment in his classroom that supports children as they explore and “fail forward”- those moments where learning happens, just not on the first try. Brian believes that success in learning happens through multiple attempts and through structured, guided experiences.
Brian has worked in the High Tech system for the last two years as an Academic Coach. In this role Brian focused on students that needed extra supports. During that time Brian earned his Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Development along with his Multiple Subject Credentials from National University.
Originally from Connecticut, Brian has called San Diego home for the last 15 years. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his wife and dog. He also enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures.
- Mary LauX
When I was seven years old, I set up a classroom in the bedroom I shared with my two sisters. My classroom had a single student desk, a few pencils, and a modest stack of handmade worksheets. My siblings weren't always eager students, but I was pleased with my classroom nevertheless. It felt like home.
I still enjoy setting up classroom spaces. The difference now is that I have honest-to-goodness students who show up every day to learn. My dream realized.
After earning my Bachelor Degree from SDSU, I spent many years raising my children and working part-time in preschools. As my children got older, I inched closer to making the decision to work toward a teaching credential. The best program for achieving my goal, I soon learned, was offered at High Tech High's Graduate School of Education. I was so impressed by the training I received there that, within a few years after graduating, I applied for a position at HTeCV. That's how I landed this dream job.
Ever since I was seven, I truly believed I had a teacher's heart. Of course, everyone knows that teachers love lists, so I thought I'd post a list of "Mrs. Lau Facts" here:
1. I was born in 1972. By 1978, I was pairing bell-bottom overalls with zip-on cowboy boots and feeling pretty good about it.
2. I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters. From oldest to youngest, our names are Margaret, Mary (that's me!), John, Anna, Tommy, Mike, Marty, and Christopher.
3. My Mom was a teacher for many years. She even taught me when I was in middle school!
4. I grew up in Chula Vista. I had a guava tree, an apricot tree, and a fig tree. I miss them.
5. My Dad used to be a school bus driver. He was also a custodian, an Air Force reservist, a banjo maker, and a newspaper reporter.
6. I have two children. My daughter is 19 and my son is 14. (Fact: They are the best!)
7. My husband runs a Kung Fu school. We are a family of martial artists.
8. Students always want to know my favorite color . . . . Yellow. Yellow is the sun and Tweety Bird and cheese.
9. I like to read. No!--I love to read.
10. Teaching is something I enjoy doing every day.
- Grace MaddoxX
Grace grew up in Iowa City, IA and went to college at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. While in college, she studied abroad in Ecuador and Chile. Upon graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Studies, she began her career in education as a member of the Teach for America charter corps in San Antonio, Texas. After teaching bilingual fourth grade for two years, she moved to the capitol city of Austin to teach sixth and seventh grade English Language Arts in a college preparatory charter school. Grace and her husband moved to San Diego in 2014, and she felt incredibly fortunate to find HTeCV! This will be her second year teaching fifth grade on our beautiful campus and her sixth year as a teacher. Last month, Grace graduated from Columbia University with her masters in educational leadership. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking, trying new restaurants, taking her Australian Shepherd to the dog park, traveling, and sailing. She cannot wait to delve into projects with her wonderful students!
- Maria SchafferX
Maria Schaffer is a progressive educator who believes in creating a classroom of enthusiastic, inquisitive, reflective, hard-working and empathetic learners. This year, she is excited to dive into some meaningful and rigorous projects with her 5th grade students!
This is Maria's first year teaching 5th grade at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista, but her sixth year teaching. Previously, Maria taught 6th grade Humanities at High Tech Middle School in Point Loma and 7th grade English Language Arts at a school for students with language disabilities in New York. Maria is thrilled to be joining the High Tech K8 community in Chula Vista this year.
Maria grew up in New York where she attended the University at Albany, State University of New York where she studied Journalism and English. While in college, she volunteered at a local high school where she discovered her love for teaching. After deciding to go back to school to purse this career, Maria moved to San Diego, California to attend the University of San Diego (USD). At USD, Maria earned her teaching certifications and Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Teaching.
Outside of teaching, Maria enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and adorable pets, as well as, cooking, being active, reading and watching movies.
Teaching is more than a career to Maria, it is her passion. She is thrilled that she gets to spend her days sharing her love of learning with her students. She is especially enjoying engineering this year! Her students learned about tapigami and showed her how to create objects using duck tape! She can't wait for another inspiring, challenging and fantastic school year!
- Amber GeorgeXAmber GeorgeFine Arts
I have been an artist for as long as I can remember. Teaching elementary students takes me back to when I would create as a child and the feelings, curiosity and interests I had and I utilize these memories to help me to develop your child's natural creativity. My adventures in teaching began when I was a student at UCLA where I began teaching art at Bruin Kids Summer Camp from 1990-1994. I took a break from teaching for a few years to work as an art gallery professional and came back to teaching in 2001 with San Diego Museum of Art, where I taught a variety of programs including a pre-k class, elementary aged students and adult educators. I was also an artist in residence and taught at nearly 50 elementary schools in the San Diego and East County districts.
I joined the HTH family as founding faculty at HTe. I am thrilled to begin year five at HTe! This year I am creating more and more choice for students in the art room and expanding on all of the learning that has happened during the last four years. This year we will be collaborating with classroom teachers and also working on independent projects and media that are of interest to students. When I'm not at school, I'm at home working in my own studio! Want to know what I am up to? You can visit my website at www.artistambergeorge.com. Here's to a creative year ahead!
- Latanya LockettXPerforming Arts
Latanya has been teaching dance, choir, and musical theatre for most of her life. She comes from a strong musical background; performing and touring both locally and internationally. Throughout her professional career she has taught many forms of dance, show choir, and voice to children from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Latanya is also the founder of the San Diego Jr. Glee Club, a performing show choir full of young singers and dancers. Her motto is "Building Self Esteem through Self Expression!" As a mom to a former Explorer Elementary student, Latanya knows on a personal level what a great community we all have here at HTH, and she is really excited to be a part of the High Tech community as a teacher!
- Zoë RandallXZoë RandallEngineering and Design
My name is Zoë Randall and I am thrilled to be teaching Engineering and Design at HTeCV. I am thrilled to be a part of our larger mission at HTH to bring equity to our classroom practice. My hope is that all students discover their own passions and develop an engineering mindset; designing solutions, being creative and using teamwork to solve authentic problems. I hope to continue building an engineering program with elementary students and help them make their ideas a reality. A little bit about me: I grew up in Palm Springs, CA. I love nature, taking pictures, baking, getting crafty, redesigning spaces, traveling to new places, watching a good movie, and having daily adventures around San Diego with my dog Milo. I am also a proud auntie to my nephew, Parker.
I studied media at the University of California, San Diego, developing my passion for filmmaking, and earned my B.A. in Visual Arts, Media, Film/Video. I worked as an educator for the Birch Aquarium at Scripps doing hands-on projects and experiential learning with PK-12 students. After graduating college, I spent a year in France teaching English as a second language to primary school children in a variety of schools and I speak French. I developed my passion for teaching when I came to High Tech High in 2007, building a multimedia program for grades 6-8 at High Tech Middle Media Arts. I taught there for 6 years, and during that time, I earned my CA credential in Art and my Masters of Education in Teacher Leadership from the HTH Graduate School of Education. In 2013, I stepped out of the classroom to work with the HTH GSE to develop our tours program, which invited more than 2000 educators to our HTH schools. Over the years, I've run professional development workshops on PBL for educators in the U.S. and Canada. I've worked closely with critical friends from Hawaii, Virginia and Canada on leadership projects. This year, I'll be a teacher leader for the NGSS team and a CCPT mentor for CA teachers. I’m honored to begin this new year with the great team of teachers and learners here at HTe.
- Judy AsiongXJudy Asiong
The path that led me to Education came to me in a very roundabout way. As is the case with many little girls, I thought I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. By the time I finished high school, I decided to take a completely different route and after many grueling years of studying numbers, codes and formulas, I graduated with my Electrical Engineering degree from San Diego State University.
For seven years, I worked for the same engineering company that I interned with. I loved programming hardware like no other (yes, I am a nerd) but my last few years there consisted of managing a team more than engineering. While I was working there, I planned my wedding... and absolutely loved it! After my wedding, I kept in touch with my videographer and just when I was about to look elsewhere for employment, they approached me and asked me to work for them. I spent almost 3 years with a prestigious videography company while building my own clientele as a wedding coordinator. After my second child was born, I decided to be a SAHM (code for stay-at-home-mom) and started my business as a wedding coordinator full-time. Balancing a business with two little ones was near impossible but it was so fun to be home with my #1 priority... my family! I still run and operate my business and am very lucky that my past clients refer their family and friends to me. I spent 1.5 years at home and finally decided that it was time to go back to work.
I had the privilege to be part of HTe/HTMCV's founding staff when they opened in 2011-2012. And now, just shy of my 13th wedding anniversary and 3 kids later... I am extremely excited to be part of HTeCV 5.0 this year and I look forward to meeting more students and their families!
- Simone BanksXSimone Banks
- Chelsea BensonXChelsea Benson
Chelsea Benson is from Lake Charles, Louisiana and earned a B.A. in Hispanic Studies and English Literature with a minor in Women Studies from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. She studied abroad in Mexico City and Heredia, Costa Rica where she met her husband.
After graduating, Chelsea moved to Tacna, Peru where she spent three years volunteering with Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She taught students ranging from pre-school to high school and was a guidance counselor for middle school students and their families. It was an experience that changed her life forever and inspired her to continue working with those who have the greatest need.
Chelsea moved to San Diego in 2010 and began working at the San Diego Natural History Museum as a Bilingual Project Coordinator where she worked closely with parents, teachers and students throughout the Baja California Peninsula.
She possesses a Bilingual Multiple Subject Teaching Credential (BCLAD) from San Diego State University and is also a certified translator and interpreter in English and Spanish through UCSD Extension.
Chelsea feels blessed and excited to embark on this journey as an Education Specialist and English Language Coordinator at HTeCV. She is passionate about language acquisition and helping children develop social, emotional and academic skills.
In her free time Chelsea enjoys spending time with her husband and new baby, traveling, hiking, dancing and cooking Southern food!
- Martiza BetancourtXMartiza Betancourt
Maritza Betancourt has a passion for helping children reach their full potential and build confidence.She believes that every child is capable of reaching any goal that they set their mind to. She is from San Diego, but her past experiences working in education has taken her to exciting places. Before joining High Tech Elementary Chula Vista team as an Academic Coach for 2nd grade, Maritza worked for Selma Unified School District at Fresno County. She was a Bilingual Instructional Aide for Kindergarten for five years and later she had the opportunity to work for the Hawaii Department of Education in the Island of Oahu for almost 5 years as a Special Education Instructional Aide. This was a great experience for her! Not only did she enjoyed the beauty of the Island but also their culture and customs.
Since life is really a journey, nine years after residing in Hawaii, she went back to San Diego. It was not an easy transition. She had mixed emotions since she had left people that she had bonded with, especially children that she watched grow, physically and academically, in those nine years.
Her passion for children continue to grow and decided to teach enrichment classes for children from ages 2 through 6 years old. These classes were, art, ballet and gym.
On her free time, Maritza enjoys dancing, cake decorating, home interior decorating and most of all, spending time with her two sons and husband.
- Robbie BimerXRobbie Bimer
- Roxanne BrunstingXRoxanne Brunsting
Roxie first joined the HTH community in 2014 as an Academic Coach in the 6th grade at High Tech Middle Point Loma. For the 2015-2016 school year, she followed her students into 7th grade and became an Education Specialist Intern through HTH's District Intern Program.This year, Roxie is eager and excited to join "The Pueblo" community as an Inclusion Specialist in 2nd and 3rd grade at HTeCV! As an educator, she has done a lot of work building strong relationships with her students and making sure each and every one feels loved. She enjoys collaborating with the many wonderful and inclusive teachers at High Tech, and looks forward to contributing to the amazing staff and culture at HTeCV.
Roxie is a Chula Vista native and loves working down the street from the house she lived in as a teenager. When Roxie is not in the classroom, she can be found playing volleyball or with her nose in a book. She also loves to travel, practicar el Espanol, and take advantage of the outdoors in beautiful, sunny San Diego!
- Juzette Cebreros
- Ashlee GuayXAshlee Guay
- Mariyama ScottX
Mariyama recently graduated from Bennington College in southern Vermont with a B.A. in Literary Translation and Sociolinguistics. That sounds fancy, but her senior work was to translate three graphic novels, and she’s actually a huge nerd. She moved to San Diego to take a break from winter, and was happy to find herself working with such a warm group of people at HTeCV.
Mariyama (or “Ms Mari,” as her kindergarten students call her) grew up in Maryland, outside of Washington DC, and speaks Spanish and French. She has almost 10 years of experience working with kids, between nannying, tutoring, and teaching in after-school and supplementary programs. She’s designed Spanish-language programs for elementary schoolers in rural Vermont, and taught English to African refugees in Tel Aviv, Israel. She also has experience working with people with disabilities, and in disability rights activism. She loves dogs, chocolate, and reading books at the beach, and her favorite possession is definitely her espresso machine!
- Laurel ShowstackX
Originally from Virginia, Laurel has lived across the country and around the world finally finding a new place to call home in sunny San Diego in 2006. She earned her BA in International Studies from Old Dominion University, MS in Special Education from National University and Education Specialist Credential through the High Tech High Intern program. In her spare time, Laurel loves to travel. Her favorite life experiences are teaching abroad because she gets to experience culture first hand and feels like she is giving back to the community. Last year she worked at HTM and is very excited to join the HTeCV family as an Inclusion Specialist this year!
- Karishma SinnottXKarishma Sinnott
I am mama to my three children, Milaya (16), Aanika (15), and Liam (8). I have been married to my husband John — my better half, my partner in crime, my Savior from the stress of high school math problems and my moral compass — for twenty years this year.
After getting my Bachelor's Degree from Pomona College in English and Creative Writing, I got my Master's Degree from UCSD in Comparative Literatures and Languages. On a whim, I took a baking class at the California Culinary Institute, and went on to get a professional chef's degree. I taught cooking classes for two years, started my own catering and design business called Om Sweet Home, simultaneously raising the first of our two children.
When the girls were older, I worked as writer and editor of two local newspapers for ten years. At that point, I decided it was time to do what I really love, which is being around children, and specifically, helping raise strong, kind, thoughtful girls who understand that there is no ceiling they can't reach, and that the words "mean girls" do not exist in my world.
Family is always a priority, but my other true loves include reading voraciously, traveling whenever the budget allows, cooking and baking. When I'm not teaching, I am happiest watching my kids play tennis matches, practicing yoga with my eldest daughter, and puttering around in my kitchen, trying to convince my husband that my latest butter and sugar laden concoction really is actually quite healthy!
- Marissa ThompsonXMarissa ThompsonSchool Psychologist
I grew up in North County San Diego, and then moved to Boston to study Political Science and Education at Northeastern University. During that time, I served in Americorps as an literacy specialist at a Headstart program in Boston Public Schools. I went on to work for the YMCA as an extended school day teacher for kindergarten and first grade. After graduating, I stayed in Boston to study School Psychology at Tufts University. While at Tufts, I spent two more years in Boston Public Schools as a school psychology intern. I also served as an intern investigator in the Office for Civil Rights in Boston, a sub-section of the Federal Department of Education.
I moved back to San Diego in 2012 to join the High Tech High family, interning under Dr. Mark Katz, a truly remarkable clinical psychologist who serves the Point Loma schools. When I began at HTHCV, I fell in love with the South Bay immediately. Since 2013, I've been the lead psychologist on the HTH Chula Vista campus. I am passionate about social justice, social/emotional learning, and serving our resilient students at el Pueblo (HTeCV, HTMCV, and HTHCV). When I'm not at work, I enjoy cooking, martial arts, and watching documentaries with my husband.
- Jackie VazquezXJackie Vazquez
Jackie lived in Tijuana until the age of 8, when her family moved to Chula Vista. She has lived in this wonderful city ever since! She received a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Child Development from San Diego State University. During her time at San Diego State, she worked as an admissions representative. As a first generation college student, Jackie found it incredibly rewarding to be able to help students through the process of pursuing higher education. Her passion for helping others led her to intern at ACES Academy and be a mentor for at risk youth at an El Cajon middle school.
In September 2013, Jackie began her career at HTeCV working as a Special Ed Youth Leader for the HUB after school program. She then got the opportunity to work as an Academic Coach and it is now her second year working with the 3rd grade team. Jackie loves working with students in the classroom and helping them reach their full potential. She provides a supportive and inclusive environment for students to succeed and their daily accomplishments brighten up her days.
When Jackie is not in the classroom, she can be found in the kitchen trying out one of the many recipes she has pinned on her Pinterest boards. She also enjoys baking, going on brunch dates, hiking, and traveling.
- Stacey Lopaz DirectorXStacey LopazDirector
Stacey’s passion for progressive education came from her time spent as an elementary school teacher in New Orleans, as part of her work with Teach for America
from 2002 to 2004. Since then, Stacey has been constantly engaged in the study and practice of project-based learning, both as an elementary and middle school teacher and school director at the middle school level. From 2007 to 2010, Stacey was one of the founding members of High Tech High’s Teacher Leadership and School Leadership graduate programs, earning a Master's degree in School Leadership. She has since become an adjunct faculty member of the GSE, co-facilitating the Design and Leadership for Deeper Learning course.
Stacey has also worked as a School Development Coach for New Tech Network, where she has helped launch their work in eight public elementary schools around the country.
Stacey is thrilled to have returned to her roots at High Tech High, where she works as the Director of High Tech Elementary in Chula Vista, a school where she was a founding teacher in 2011.
- Dulce Encinas Site ManagerXSite Manager
Dulce Encinas graciously meets the needs of the High Tech Elementary Chula Vista students and parents. On any given day she may she may be called to take care of a scraped knee or just provide a loving hug. She has over five years experience with elementary-aged children and is the mother of a five year old daughter. Dulce loves to cook delicious dishes and enjoys spending time with her family. She also loves the having the opportunity to interact with the High Tech Elementary Chula Vista family.
- Ed Handog IT DirectorXIT Director
Ed was born and raised in San Diego, California. No matter what he did fate would not allow him to leave beautiful sunny socal. He graduated from Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista, and has been around music and computers his whole life. He has a passion for helping others and found himself majoring in Psychology at SDSU after doing two years as a peer counselor in High School. Someone once told him that "Life literally begins or ends in high school", and he found the intrinsic rewards in helping others. "I kinda fell into technology...it all started with playing and programming games in "Basic" back in the Atari days", citing his first computer as an Atari 800XL. In college he worked with students at the Statistics Lab, back when all they had were MacIntosh LC II's.
His first job after college landed him at AT & T in research and development deploying experimental fixed wireless broadband all over San Diego. After that he went to Time Warner Cable working as the Network Security Specialist for their RoadRunner High Speed Data service. During this time he earned industry standard professional computer certifications such as his MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) , MCDBA (Microsoft Certified Database Administrator), CompTia A+ Certification (PC repair), and professional networking certifications from CompTia N+ (Professional Networking), Novell CNA (Ceritifed Networking Administrator), and Cisco's CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate).
After Time Warner he became the Network Engineer and Systems Administrator for a local fortune 1000 dot com e-commerce business. He then went to another company under the UK's Daily Mail, that operated in the United States from Manhattan, New York. He was put in charge of IT Operations for the West Coast which serviced English Language training centers in San Diego, his homebase, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tacoma, and Seattle Washington. "Running IT infrastructure requires a degree of mentality that requires you to think outside the textbook box to find creative solutions to common and not so common IT problems", he adds. "You're doing something right when things are working and every change or upgrade you make is transparent to the people who are utilizing the technology, no matter how big or small those changes are".
After travelling and living out of a suitcase most of the year, he decided to settle down and answered an ad for an IT Admin for a place called High Tech High International. After working with High Schoolers for a number of years he answered a calling to open technology for the newly created High Tech K8 Chula Vista school. "I love working with the kids, and the teachers that teach them", he says. It's a very gratifying experience because you see what they create based on the technology that is available to them. On Ed's spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, and DJ'ing professionally at weddings and corporate events on weekends, as well as playing professionally as a bassist and vocalist for local Top 40 and tribute bands. "Computers are only secondary to a life's passion, it's only an instrument or tool that allows you to express yourself, no matter what that may be."