- Rosemarie Biocarles-RydeenXKindergarten Teacher
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. She became part of HTeCV's founding faculty as a Kindergarten teacher in 2011.
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. She is a fierce advocate of play based learning and is inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, social constructivist teaching practices, and the Forest Kindergarten movement.
In addition to teaching, the great loves of Rosemarie’s life include her husband, Eric and their children Taylor and Ben . She also enjoys coffee and dessert dates, nature walks, and searching for rocks and minerals with her son.
- Jeanine BlumXKindergarten Teacher
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!
- Angelica KennyXAngelica KennyKindergarten Teacher
Hello! My name is Angelica Kenny and I am thrilled to be joining the High Tech Elementary Chula Vista kindergarten team this school year! I knew I wanted to be an educator at a young age- taking after my aunt (who is still a teacher in Long Beach today). When I was hired as a teacher right after college I knew I had found my calling. For the last 8 years I have been a kindergarten teacher to so many wonderful and unique children in Washington, D.C. Every day I make sure to bring joy to my classroom by prioritizing learning through play. I am inspired by High Tech’s dedication to project-based learning and I cannot wait to learn and grow with my new students!
I was born and raised in Queens, NY so I will always be a city girl at heart. After attending college in Massachusetts, I moved to D.C. to become a teacher. I have called the District my home since 2010 and I have loved every minute of it. Now I am moving cross-country to sunny San Diego with my partner Alex and our new kitten Max. I couldn’t be more excited to start this new chapter in my life.
- Raquel AlcaláXRaquel Alcalá3rd Grade Teacher
Hello friends! My name is Raquel Alcala and I am a Kindergarten Teacher at High Tech Elementary. 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@school. 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, then went on to receive my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at High Tech High's Graduate School of Education while working at HTeCV as an Apprentice Teacher in Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade for the school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 . Last year, I had the opportunity to be a Kindergarten Teacher at HTe in the Point Loma campus. I am so excited to be back at HTeCV, a place that feels like home, as a First Grade teacher.
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 dancing.
- Ruby RodriguesXRuby Rodrigues1st Grade Teacher
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.
Ruby's first years teaching took place in the Bay Area as a founding teacher at a dual-immersion charter school. After teaching there for three years, the opening of High Tech Elementary Chula Vista in 2011 drew her back to San Diego. In 2015, Ruby was also a founding teacher at High Tech Elementary in Point Loma and then returned to her beloved Chula Vista campus in 2016. All three of those experiences, helping to open schools and build the culture and community were so rich and valuable! 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 adventuring and exploring with her husband and two young daughters. Seeing the world through their eyes brings her such joy and gratitude. Some of their favorite places to play and learn are, The New Children's Museum, The San Diego Zoo, the beach, and the San Diego Botanic Gardens.
- Jami SavilleXJami Saville1st Grade Teacher
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 began her career as an educator in South Los Angeles as a kindergarten teacher.
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 and in 2015, she was a founding teacher at High Tech Elementary in Point Loma. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience to open two schools, collaborate with such positive teachers and build exceptional relationships with students and their families.
This year, Jami is beyond excited to return to HTeCV as a first grade teacher! She is looking forward to reuniting and reconnecting with the Chula Vista community, introducing her son, Evan to this amazing school and adventuring into first grade with Ms. Ruby and Ms. Raquel.
When Jami is not teaching and learning with her students, she loves spending quality time with her husband, Eric and her two boys, Evan and Levi. Jami's happy places are Target, the beach and Starbucks. ;-)
- Simone BanksXSimone Banks2nd Grade Teacher
Hello! My name is Simone Banks and I am thrilled to join the 2nd grade team at HTeCV. I grew up in beautiful San Diego, California and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from San Jose State University in 2015 and a Master of Education in Teaching from Alliant International University.
Through my time at SJSU, I developed a passion for working with students in both an educational and outside setting. I began my career working as a Swim Instructor for 3 years. After graduating from SJSU, I moved back to SD and decided to pursue a education career. I taught an amazing pre-school classroom for 2 years, and also worked as Physical Education teacher for 1 year. in 2016, I began my wonderful journal at HteCV as a Academic Coach in 1st grade. Since then, I have worked throughout the K-5 classrooms, and I have loved every minute of it.
When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my 3 sisters and relaxing at home. I am a huge Netflix & Hulu fan! I also love to swim, go to the beach, cook, shopping, and napping. I am so excited to continue my journey teaching with the amazing High Tech community.
- Joyce ParkXJoyce Park2nd Grade Teacher
The most fun and rewarding aspect of teaching is getting to really know your students and building meaningful relationships that help them feel successful in and outside of school. The special bond I had with my 3rd grade teacher is one that I will always cherish and also use to drive how I interact with children everyday. As an educator, I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I love, surrounded by one of the best little gifts on earth --children.
I spent nearly my entire childhood growing up in Walnut, a city located in Southern California. When it was time to go to college, I decided to attend UC Berkeley for my undergraduate studies with a focus on Psychology and Education.
Immediately after graduating, I joined Teach For America to fight for education equity in underserved communities. This brought me to Brownsville Ascend Charter School, in Brooklyn, New York. During this time, I also earned my Masters from Relay Graduate School of Education. For 4 years I worked in partnership with my colleagues, families, and unforgettable students.
Although I grew so much as an educator in New York, I felt in my heart that it was time to go back home --to California. For the past 2 years, I have called Chula Vista home and cannot wait to start my third year at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista as a second grade teacher and math specialist!
- Maria SchafferX2nd Grade Teacher
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 2nd grade students!
This is Maria's 9th year teaching and 4th year as part of the High Tech Elementary Chula Vista community. Maria has taught a variety of grades including 5th, 6th, and 7th and she is thrilled to be joining the 2nd grade team next 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 daughter, 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 can't wait for another inspiring, challenging and fantastic school year!
- Matt SheelenXMatt Sheelen2nd Grade Teacher
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. I attended graduate school at Stanford in their Teacher Education Program (STEP).
I am thrilled to be moving to second grade after 3 years teaching first grade at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista! When I am not teaching, I can be found hiking, performing & teaching improv comedy, 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
- Candice ArancibiaXCandice Arancibia3rd Grade Teacher
- Paul NorthX3rd Grade Teacher
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. 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 SaldiasXLisa Saldias3rd Grade Teacher
Lisa is overjoyed to be teaching Third Grade 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 will be Lisa's third year on the 3rd Grade Team at HTeCV. Lisa has also taught Kindergarten and Second Grade in Miami, Florida with Teach For America.
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. Lisa loves continually learning. In fact, she is a recent graduate of High Tech High's Graduate School of Education Master of Educational Leadership program.
Lisa loves traveling the world to experience different cultures. While in school she was able to study in Spain, Mexico, and Chile. While not teaching, Lisa enjoys reading, spending time in nature, and practicing yoga.
- Amanda BorowXAmanda Borow4th Grade Teacher
Hello! My name is Amanda Borow and I am excited to be continuing with the 4th grade team at HTeCV. I have greatly enjoyed working with 4th grade students over the last few years at HTeCV and look forward to making connections with my future fourth grade students and their families.
I believe that education can empower students to critically engage with the world around them as life long learners. I view the classroom as a space in which students not only work to develop their skills as readers, writers, mathematicians and scientists but also as members of a community and society. 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 believe that each child deserves to feel a sense of belonging in their community and should be confident in their own identity. In our classroom we celebrate and explore diversity to cultivate students’ empathy and compassion for everyone and their ability to respect how others might be different from themselves! Social justice focused projects allows our students to deepen their understanding of themselves, ideas of justice and and how they can make changes in the world around them.
I am looking forward to the learning adventures we will have together!
- Katie MeyersXKatie Meyers4th Grade Teacher
Hello! My name is Katie and I'm so thrilled to continue working with 4th graders at HTeCV. I first joined the High Tech High community in March 2014 working in inclusion as an Academic Coach at High Tech Middle before pursuing her passion of working with elementary students. I graduated with a degree in World History from UC Riverside, so if you’re looking for conversation about the Roman Empire, look no further. As an educator, I am passionate about building a classroom community that is supportive, engaging, and fun. I love connecting with my students and I strive to create a space where students feel safe taking risks to help them grow as learners. When I am not in the classroom, you can find me playing or coaching volleyball, traveling, cooking, and spending times with friends and family. I love the community here and look forward to another wonderful year with amazing students and families!
- Ruth SmithX4th Grade Teacher
Hello there! My name is Ruth Smith and I am a 4th 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! I have taught 2nd grade for the past 3 years and it has been one of the most incredible experience of my career. The 2018-2019 school year will mark my 8th 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!
- Avery BarnesXAvery Barnes5th Grade Teacher
Avery Barnes joins High Tech High Chula Vista this fall as a fifth grade teacher. After five years of teaching in New York City, Avery moves back to the west coast to be closer to her family in San Diego and Baja California, México.Before coming to HTH, Avery taught fifth grade at private schools in New York City. Her time at LREI (Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School), a progressive, activism-driven school, and Avenues: The World School, a language immersion school, only furthered her passion for teaching in student-centered environments. Avery is keenly interested in project-based learning that pushes students to learn through exploration. She works to foster a positive community in her classroom that is conducive to risk-taking.Before discovering her love for working with fifth graders, Avery was a high school English Literature teacher at Bronx High School of Science in New York City. She also taught high school English classes in Berkeley and worked to create ACT and SAT Essentials courses for The People’s Test Preparation Services, an organization committed to providing free standardized test preparation to underserved communities across the East Bay.Outside of the classroom, Avery spends a lot of time writing short stories and poetry. She has journalistic experience with magazines and school newspapers. Doodling, spending time with her family and friends, having long meals, the beach, and going to Target are a few of her favorite activities. She’s a fan of Haruki Murakami and reads surrealism any chance she gets.Avery has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA) and an M.A. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University (New York, NY) and is a native Spanish speaker.
- Mary LauX5th Grade Teacher
I grew up not too far from here. My house had a handmade sort of vibe about it because that's exactly what it was--handmade. My grandparents built the house little by little after World War 2 and then my Mom inherited it after she married my Dad. I loved growing up in West Chula Vista with my two sisters and five brothers. We spent a lot of time outside learning in nature and from each other.
I've lived in and attended school in Chula Vista and San Diego all of my life. A handful of excellent teachers at Otay School, St. Pius X School, The Academy of Our Lady of Peace, USD and SDSU gently guided me toward a career in teaching and, even though I first insisted I'd rather be a doctor or a writer, their counsel eventually resonated with me and I decided it was high time to get my credential through High Tech High's Graduate School of Education.
Nowadays, I live in Mira Mesa with my husband Ming and our two children, Serene (22) and Thomas (17). We Laus love eating, listening to music, practicing kung fu, and traveling. Our love for travel is so epic that we have visited all 50 of the United States and a few countries in Asia.
This year, I'm hoping my classroom will be a place of conspicuous learning. I teach math through games, puzzles, workbook pages, problem-solving, and collaboration. We read and write in large groups, small groups, and independently. I make sure students get practice with various types of writing and various genres of text. Walk into my classroom and you'll definitely find a joyfully busy bunch of ten- and eleven-year-olds. You'll find students taking ownership of their learning and working hard to accomplish valuable tasks and projects. You might even find us cobbling together a recipe we'd like to cook and taste. May we all have a great year together at this glorious campus. May our fifth-grade year be superb.
- Ciara PlackettXCiara Plackett5th Grade Teacher
Ciara recently moved to San Diego from Kansas and is excited to join Team HTeCV. Ciara is passionate about ensuring an equitable learning environment for all students. It is important to Ciara that every student in her classroom receives the education, help and resources they need in order to succeed. In her class, students become independent thinkers who can gather information on their own, understand and question it, and form their own evidence-based conclusions. She will work with her students to develop 21st century skills.When you walk into Ciara's classroom you will see a lot of collaboration, discussion, creation and teamwork within the classroom community. Ciara believes that project based learning is a huge motivator for student learning and engagement so it is a core part of her teaching practice.
- Shar GarciaXEngineering Teacher
I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico with a loving family always surrounded by animals. After finishing middle school, I started volunteering for a non-profit organization painting with children of all ages. There I knew I wanted to spend as much time as possible working with children. Since then, I’ve always tried to find ways to get involved in workshops, orphanages and underserved communities with the mission of giving children access to the joys of Art.
After graduating from UCSD with a B.A. in Studio Art I began working at HTeCV’s after school program right when the school first opened. After a couple of years as an after school instructor I had the awesome opportunity to support students in first grade as an Academic Coach. From there I began working towards earning my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education.
From 2015-18 In HTeCV I’ve worked as an intern for kindergarten, as a long-term substitute teacher for second grade and as an art teacher in the exploratory block. It has been an amazing journey in which I’ve been able to work and collaborate with a community that has given me the chance to support and encourage our students to be the best they can be.
I am super excited to come back this year as a First Grade Teacher joining the amazing Ms. Ruby and Ms.Jami! As always, my hope is to get to know each child as a learner, collaborator, explorer and dreamer. I feel passionate about creating a safe and rich environment where the learning is visible and where it is safe for students to take risks, innovate, feel that their contributions matter and not only get excited but stay excited about learning.
- Amber GeorgeXAmber GeorgeFine Arts Teacher
I am so excited to begin my eighth year of teaching art at HTeCV! I love our community and consider it an honor to watch your children grow up over the years in my classroom. I enjoy watching their creativity blossom as I design projects and art experiences for them that develop critical thinking skills, growth mindset, and grit.
- Latanya LockettXLatanya LockettPerforming Arts Teacher
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!"
Latanya is really big on building community and loves being a High Tech Village mom as well! Latanya is starting her 8th year as a founding member of HTeCV and her daughter will be a HTHCV freshman!
- Yesenia AguayoXYesenia Aguayo
- Michelle AlcobaXMichelle Alcoba
- Janna AndersonXJanna AndersonInstructional Support
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 rejoining the HTeCV team as a Literacy Specialist after spending three years at HTePL. 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's 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 her family and playing with her baby girl. She loves traveling to new and exciting destinations, running, swimming at the beach, or curling up with a good book.
- Judy AsiongXJudy Asiong
The path that led me to Education came to me in a very roundabout way. As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. 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 programmed hardware and absolutely loved it! And after having 2 kids, experiencing being a SAHM (code for stay-at-home-mom), and having my own wedding biz, I finally decided that I wanted to pursue what I knew was always in my heart... working with children.
My journey into education started when I had the honor and privilege to be part of HTe/HTMCV's founding staff when they opened in 2011-2012. I completed the HTH Credentialing Program as an Education Specialist and I've continued to support our students academically, socially, and behaviorally. I've developed a true passion for our "littles" and am extremely excited to be part of HTeCV 7.0 as the kindergarten team's Ed Specialist for the 2018-2019 school year!
- Martiza BetancourtXMartiza BetancourtLiteracy Interventionist
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.
- Kiaonno BradleyXKiaonno Bradley
Hi! My name is Kiaonno Bradley and I will be an Inclusion Specialist supporting the 2nd and 5th grade classrooms this year. I am excited to be returning to the Inclusion team at Chula Vista elementary. I am a San Diego native, but I went to an all women’s college in the Bay Area, where I majored in Political Legal Economic Analysis emphasis in legal analysis. After graduating college in 2013, I joined Teach for America in Sacramento, California where I spent two years as an Education Specialist, working full-time while earning my credential and Masters in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University. I moved back to San Diego after having my daughter in 2016 and am thrilled be back home with family. This upcoming year will be my sixth year teaching special education and my second year at High Tech.
I am passionate about showing all students the joy of reading. I look forward to helping students learn what type of readers they are, what types of things they enjoy reading about as well as how they can challenge themselves to become even stronger readers. I am most excited about supporting families, students and teachers around positive and inclusive behavior supports . I look forward to getting to know even more students and families this year!
- Brian BurrXBrian BurrInclusion Specialist Intern
Brian Burr believes that education is an opportunity for growth and development. He creates an environment 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 structured guided experiences.
Brian has worked in the High Tech system for the last five years. He started off his career path at High Tech in inclusion as an academic coach. Brian has also taught fifth and third grade during those five years. In this role, Brian has continued to focus on students that needed extra supports.
This year, he will take on a new role as an inclusion specialist intern. After teaching for the last two years, he is excited to get back to his inclusion roots. He loves supporting students as they guide their ways through their educational paths.
Originally from Connecticut, Brian has called San Diego home for the last 20 years. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his wife and his young child. He also enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures.
- Molly GabbardXMolly Gabbard
- Benjamin JuarezXBenjamin Juarez
- Toi LittlejohnXToi Littlejohn
- Meagan MakapugayXMeagan Makapugay
Hello! My name is Meagan Makapugay & this is my second school year working here at High Tech Elementary in Chula Vista. I am excited for what this year has to offer! Being a part of the Inclusion Team has not only allowed me to work one-on-one with students, but to work closely amongst all students and staff with their needs.
Here's a little bit about myself...
I was born and raised in Palm Springs, CA. In 2011, I moved to San Diego when I attended college at San Diego State University. In 2015, I received my BS in Child and Family Development & I am currently working towards my Mild/Moderate Credentials and MS in Special Education. I have had 5 years of experience working as an early childhood teacher before working in the elementary setting. Currently, I am an Academic Coach & a Behavioral Interventionist. I have had such wonderful opportunities to provide ABA therapy to my kiddos & watch each unique individual improve in their overall developmental skills. My ability to work with students with special needs is so rewarding!
Some fun facts would be that I love singing, playing the piano, and dancing. I am a very family oriented person, and with that being said, I love to spend most of my free time with family & friends.
- Elizabeth MoraXElizabeth Mora
- Megan RauchXMegan Rauch
Megan Rauch studied Psychology at San Diego State with an emphasis on Counseling and Social Change, which led her to a career as a behavioral therapist.
After years of modifying behaviors with clients and families, Megan shifted her focus to education. She saw the need to support students that might have a “different way” of learning. She began working at Village Glen Elementary and received her Education Specialist Credential. She believes in developing strong, professional relationships with the families of her students in order to foster and support trust between the school community and families at home.
Megan is thrilled to be continuing with the HTeCV Team as the Inclusion Specialist for Third and Fourth Grades. She is looking forward to working with the incredible students of HTeCV and their families!
- Trevor VanOrdenXTrevor VanOrden
- Raquel VasquezXRaquel Vasquez
- Marquita Griffith DirectorXMarquita GriffithDirector
Marquita believes that all students, no matter their background or circumstance should be given access to high-quality education that prepares them for the world outside our classroom doors. When students are prepared academically, socially and emotionally to be active members of their community, we help to dismantle systemic educational inequities.
Marquita was born in Detroit, Michigan and completed her degree in Elementary Education at Michigan State University. As an educator, she has 12 years of teaching experience in grades K-4 as well as experience as a literacy coach, mentor teacher, and classroom management coach. She has been with HTeCV for the last three years teaching 1st grade and kindergarten.
As director Marquita is looking forward to using all that shes learned from her experience and training to help facilitate learning opportunities for teachers and students this school year. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music and dancing with her family and friends.
- Chelsea Benson Dean of Student AffairsXChelsea BensonDean of Student Affairs
One of my favorite quotes that captures my core belief of working with children is by Lilla Watson. She said, "If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." I believe in creating safe communities and learning environments with children and in the power of building and repairing relationships.
I am from Southwest Louisiana and taught in South America for three years. I received a Bachelor of Arts from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL and my BCLAD (Bilingual Teaching Credential) from SDSU. I am excited to embark on a new journey this year in the HTH Graduate School Program where I will pursue a Master's in Educational Leadership.
I love Cajun food, speaking Spanish and spending time with my husband and two babies, Amélie and Liam. This will be my tenth year in education and my fifth year at HTeCV. I look forward to collaborating.
- Dulce Encinas Site ManagerXDulce EncinasSite 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.
- Sherrie Cabarles Assistant Site ManagerXSherrie CabarlesAssistant Site Manager
- Vincent Phathanak IT DirectorXVincent PhathanakIT Director