Staff Directory

Kindergarten and First Grade
  • Kayla Guinn
    Kayla Guinn

  • Stacey Stevenson
    Stacey Stevenson

    Stacey Stevenson has been with Explorer since the school began, teaching fourth grade, first grade, and kindergarten. Stacey received her degrees in history, literature, and her teaching credential with CLAD emphasis from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to teaching, she owned an art gallery in downtown San Diego. When Stacey is not teaching she rock climbs, reads, gardens and enjoys spending time with her cats, two ducks and her beau Chris.
  • Christine Kuhl
    Christine Kuhl

    Christine has experience in a variety of school settings within San Diego and abroad. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential from San Marcos State University, and an M. Ed. from Chapman University. Christine joined the Explorer faculty in 2007.
  • Patricia Lim
    Patricia Lim

    Patricia Lim is thrilled to teach at Explorer. She loves teaching and learning with her students and encouraging creativity and deep thinking. Prior to teaching at Explorer, Patricia taught for three years at a charter school in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, a Clear Multiple Subject teaching credential with CLAD emphasis, and a M.Ed. from UCSD. Aside from teaching, Patricia enjoys traveling, painting, and spending time with her son who is a graduate of Explorer.
  • Diane Hawke
    Diane Hawke

    Diane Hawke has been teaching at Explorer since 2001. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego, as well as her M.A. in Education and a Clear Multiple Subject Credential. Her teaching experience includes both public and private schools in the primary grades.
  • Jen Schultz
    Jen Schultz

    Jen Schultz has been teaching at Explorer since 2002. Before coming to Explorer, Jen worked at the Sudanese English Project teaching English to Sudanese refugee children as the lead K-3 teacher, curriculum coordinator and assistant administrator. Jen holds a B.A. and a Masters in Education, focusing on Curriculum and Instruction, both from the University of San Diego.
  • Linda Salamanca
    Linda Salamanca

    Linda Salamanca is excited to be a part of the Explorer community and to help her students learn and grow through inquiry and discovery. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University, and a M.Ed from the University of California San Diego with an in emphasis in elementary mathematics . Prior to pursuing her credential, she was a researcher at UCSD and studied cognitive development. Aside from teaching, Linda enjoys cooking, traveling and running.
Second and Third Grade
  • Marissa Adams
    Marissa Adams

    Marissa recently completed her M.Ed. from UCSD. When not at Explorer, she likes to ride her bike, back pack and camp. She loves the environment and reading!
  • Melissa Fisher
    Melissa Fisher

  • Cassidy Laikin
    Cassidy Laikin

    Cassidy Laikin attended the University of San Diego as an undergraduate, receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Education. Her major allowed her to visit various elementary schools, observing many different teaching methods and giving her the opportunity to plan and execute lessons. Thankfully, Explorer was one of those schools. She quickly discovered that she fit very comfortably into the social and emotional curriculum at Explorer and became passionate about how powerful it is in helping students thrive together.

    She recently received her Teaching Credential through the School of Leadership and Educational Sciences at the University of San Diego and cannot wait to share her love for project based, collaborative classroom learning.

    When Cassidy is not teaching she enjoys being outside, practicing yoga, and trying new places to eat!
  • Rhea Manguil
    Rhea Manguil

    Rhea has worked in education for eleven years as an instructional aide, substitute teacher, and classroom teacher in California and Missouri. She holds an elementary credential and has taught kindergarten, fifth and sixth grades. In her spare time, Rhea loves to spend time with her husband and three children.
  • Kelsey Van Hook
    Kelsey Van Hook

Fourth and Fifth Grade
  • Ron Carter
    Ron Carter

  • Keli Gagen
    Keli Gagen

  • Jeff Govoni
    Jeff Govoni

    Jeff Govoni spent his formative years along the coast of Massachusetts and after obtaining a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Arizona State, he has been in San Diego since 1999. He became a teacher for San Diego Unified at the turn of this century and received his Masters degree in Curriculum Design from San Diego State. An absolutely avid fan of progressive project based education, he is thrilled to have helped open High Tech's first elementary school. He is especially thrilled to be a part of the High Tech community. Always happy to have a conversation about the inequities of standardized testing:) When not teaching he is happiest running, beaching, learning, or hanging out with his son Aiden.
  • Karen Feitelberg
    Karen Feitelberg

    Karen Feitelberg has twenty years experience teaching in independent, charter and public schools. Currently she teaches fourth grade at High Tech Elementary Explorer where she integrates math, science and humanities into projects that engage students in community service and deeper learning. Karen is passionate about inquiry-based math, reading, and developing student voice. She serves as a mentor and instructor for new teachers in the High Tech High credentialing program. Prior to teaching elementary school, Karen had a career as a manager in an internationally respected technology company. She holds a BS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a teaching credential from Point Loma Nazarene University.
  • Becky Frost
    Becky Frost

    Becky Frost earned her B.A. in Diversified Liberal Arts at the University of San Diego. She has been at Explorer since 2004 and prior to that taught 5th grade in San Francisco for five years. During those years she led a Technology Leadership Academy and led teacher workshops in the use of technology to support classroom curriculum.
  • Mari Jones
    Mari Jones

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This idea from Mahatma Gandhi drives most of the work that Mari Jones’ students create. Her goal is to empower students to look critically at the world around them and to find ways to make a positive impact. What does it mean to be homeless? How can we make informed decisions about the food we eat? What are the ethical issues and contributions of first generation immigrants to California? These are some of the essential questions we have explored in Room 14.

    Explorer’s emphasis on social emotional curriculum drew Mari to the school. Here she saw the power of relationships, and what amazing things can happen when students care about their work and about each other. Before coming to Explorer, she studied at UCSD, earning a B.A. in Communication, a Clear Multiple Subject Bilingual Teaching Credential, and a M.Ed. in Research, Equity, and Technology. She is grateful that she was able to make an impact by teaching in the community of National City for seven years. Teaching at Explorer for the past five years has been liberating, and Mari is thrilled to be able to teach students in ways that prepares them to be active participants in our democratic society.

    Her love of travel brought her to Japan to teach high school English in 2004, which brought together some of the things she loves: new places, new languages, and a lot of good food! When at home, Mari enjoys spending time with her husband, Rob, and her son Colby, who will be joining the Explorer family as a Kindergartener this year!
Academic Support
  • Luar Cervantes
    Luar Cervantes

  • Carrie Flowers
    Carrie Flowers

    Carrie came to Explorer as a parent long, long ago. While her three children are now in high school and college, she is happy to still be at Explorer, formerly as a substitute, and now as an academic coach for first grade.
    Carrie's educational background includes a BA from UCLA and a multiple subjects credential from PLNU. She began her career as a curriculum designer for an educational software company, developing one of the first Internet based curriculums way back in the 90's (long before Google).
    Her personal passions include being an advocate for San Diego's foster youth, interior design (see me if you need a room redecorated!), reading, and managing a household of three fine young adults and one terrific husband.
  • Lucas Gonzales
    Lucas Gonzales

  • Amy Lancaster
    Amy Lancaster

    Amy Lancaster has been a part of the Explorer family for many years, as both a parent and now in the classroom. She received her B.S. in Education from DePauw University in Indiana. After moving to California, Amy earned her M.A. in Elementary Education from National University and holds a Multiple Subject Clear Credential (CLAD emphasis).

    She spent 10 years as a classroom teacher in the midwest and in San Diego, until taking a break to stay home with her three children. After they began attending Explorer, her love of educating children was rekindled and she has been working in the classroom full-time for the past 4 years. She feels extremely grateful to be a part of such an amazing staff and wonderful community.
  • Erika Redlinger
    Erika Redlinger
    Inclusion Specialist

    Erika has worked with children for the past eleven years in various settings, most recently at High Tech High North County as an Academic Coach. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University, a Master of Arts in Education from California State University, San Marcos, as well as a Multiple Subject Credential and an Education Specialist Credential. Erika is thrilled to be apart of the Explorer family for the 2015-2016 school year. Aside from teaching, she finds joy in spending time with family and friends, hiking, and traveling. 
  • Taryn Serna
    Taryn Serna
    Inclusion Specialist

    Taryn has spent the last five years working as a Resource Specialist, most recently at High Tech Middle North County. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara and an Education Specialist Credential and M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of San Diego. Aside from teaching, Taryn enjoys gardening, hiking, and taking road trips with her husband. She is thrilled to be joining the staff of Explorer Elementary!
Specialty Faculty
  • Maggie Fragoso Before/After School Director
    Maggie Fragoso
    Before/After School Director

  • 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.
  • Robin Rubenstein Math and Literacy Specialist
    Robin Rubenstein
    Math and Literacy Specialist

    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.
  • Cady Staff Science and Engineering
    Cady Staff
    Science and Engineering

    Cady Staff Hwang loves kids and interacting with people. She also has a passion for science, literature, writing, poetry, math, U.S. history, being a mom and an auntie, playing soccer, surfing, gardening, cooking with her husband, and exploring outdoors with her daughter.  Cady began her teaching career as a high school teacher - first, as a 12th grade ELD teacher at San Diego High School and then as a 9th and 10th grade English teacher at Madison High School. She has been teaching at High Tech High since 2005 and was a founding 8th grade teacher at both HTMMA and HTMCV.

    Moving to San Diego from LA, she earned her undergraduate degree, her teaching credential and a Masters in Education at UCSD.  She completed work for her second Masters in Teacher Leadership through the HTH Graduate School of Education where she focused on social entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement in the classroom.  During the 2012-2013 school year, she moved to England to work with schools interested in implementing project-based learning. She loves to discover new things and figure out solutions to problems with her students, while celebrating life and learning along the way.  Family is extremely important to her and she feels so lucky to be a part of the Explorer family.
  • Becca Ung Music Teacher
    Becca Ung
    Music Teacher

    Becca Ung, a native San Diegan, is so excited to give back to the very community that inspired her to become a music educator. Becca is the only one, out of five sisters, to continue her family legacy of professional musicians. Starting piano at the age of 4, she continued to be immersed in music both in school and at home. However, her decision to pursue a career was made when she joined her high school choir and fell in love with singing. She received her BA in Music Education, specializing in Voice, from UCLA. Since then, she has been teaching general music in elementary schools as well as piano and voice in her own private studio. Other than teaching music, Becca is passionate about knitting/crocheting, deep sea fishing, and experiencing culinary delights. You may also find her performing across San Diego in her choral group Sacra Profana.
  • Julie Hutchins
    Julie Hutchins

    Julie Hutchins has taught science at Explorer since 2005. Prior to taking over the science lab, Julie taught in Kindergarten at Explorer. In addition to holding a Masters Degree in Education and a California Teaching Credential, Ms. Hutchins is a Certified Parent Educator and spent many years coordinating and teaching in the Parent Education Program at The Children's School in La Jolla.
  • Shayna Cribbs Active Education
    Shayna Cribbs
    Active Education

    Shayna Cribbs is proud to be one of Explorer's founding teachers. Shayna received her credential in elementary education at UCSD, where she also completed her undergraduate degree. She has special interests in math and writing and has attended summer institutes in both. Shayna is part of a dance performance group. She loves yoga and reading and finds joy in discovering the humor and creativity that abound in daily life. Her greatest thrill, however, is being a part of the yearly transformation of her class as they grow socially and academically, their ideas expand, and their thinking becomes deeper and more profound.
  • Vincent Phathanak Information Technology Adminstrator
    Vincent Phathanak
    Information Technology Adminstrator

    Vince is a graduate of High Tech High and is studying Computer Science at San Diego Mesa College. He is excited to be back at the Village helping Explorer keep its computers connected and up to date.
  • Krista Reed Speech and Language Specialist
    Krista Reed
    Speech and Language Specialist

    Krista Reed is a Florida native who received a B.S. in Communication Science and Disorders in 2009 and a M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology in 2011, both degrees earned at Florida State University. Krista finds passion for her work though the belief that self-expression and connecting with others through various forms of communication is the essence of life. Krista moved to San Diego in 2011 with her fiancé and her Italian Greyhound. She enjoys hiking and doing yoga, taking photographs, and making jewelry.
  • Megan Murfey Library Coordinator
    Megan Murfey
    Library Coordinator

    Megan is a parent of two Explorer children and has volunteered in the library since its inception. She loves books and has also chaired Explorer’s Book Fair and tutored children in the Everyone a Reader program. She holds a B.A. in biology from the University of Virginia. When she’s not in the library, Megan enjoys kayaking, gardening, camping or brewing root beer.
  • Briony Chown Director
    Briony Chown

    Briony comes to Explorer from London where she has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades. In her London school, Briony supported other teachers in integrating art and technology into their classroom curriculum. She holds a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education from Goldsmith's College, University of London and a B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of Sheffield. As well as teaching, Briony loves exploring new places, cooking, reading, hiking and learning new skills.
  • Jean Kluver Dean
    Jean Kluver

    Jean Kluver has 25 years of experience working in schools, foundations, and community organizations.  She has worked as an administrator at Explorer since 2002 and served as Explorer's interim principal in 2011-12. She is the parent of an Explorer graduate, and is thrilled to be back supporting the students, parents, and faculty at Explorer.
  • Paula Camarda Site Manager
    Paula Camarda
    Site Manager

    Paula Camarda handles everything the front office can throw at her with grace and calm. Prior to coming to Explorer, Paula worked as classroom aide at Foothill Christian School. She is the mother of two teenagers. Paula loves working at Explorer and enjoys knowing all of the wonderful families and children.
  • Jean Kaneko School Leadership Program Resident
    Jean Kaneko
    School Leadership Program Resident

    Jean Kaneko is currently a High Tech High GSE M.Ed Resident at High Tech Elementary Explorer. She has been a maker educator for over 7 years and is focused on utilizing making to create equitable learning environments for all students.  She specializes  in designing curriculum that provides deeper learning experiences for K-12 students. Jean is an international speaker promoting maker-centered education. Her TED-X talk "Failure Made Me Do It" highlights the importance of failure in learning. Prior to teaching, Jean produced computer graphics, special effects and interactive entertainment for movies, tv, commercials and large format films.

  • Victor Gonzalez Maintenance Supervisor
    Victor Gonzalez
    Maintenance Supervisor

    Victor keeps Explorer clean and in tip-top shape. He has many years experience in commercial building maintenance.