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Staff Directory

  • Rosemarie Biocarles-Rydeen
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    Rosemarie Biocarles-Rydeenclick here to go to Rosemarie Biocarles-Rydeen\s digital portfolio
    Kindergarten 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 Blum
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    Jeanine Blumclick here to go to Jeanine Blum\s digital portfolio
    Kindergarten Teacher

    Hi Friends! My name is Ms. Jeanine and I was born and raised right here in lovely San Diego! I attend the University of California, San Diego where I earned a B.S. in Biology. After college, my desire to travel took me abroad to teach English in Thailand. That experience helped solidify my decision to become an educator so I enrolled at San Diego State University, and in 2009 I earned my Multiple Subject Credential. After finishing school I began my career as a K-5 substitute teacher, working all over with the San Diego Unified School District. During that time I also was a tutor for Sylvan Learning Center, a Mad Science Instructor and then a preschool teacher! But I was still looking for something, that extra special something, a school to call my own...

    As soon as I stepped foot inside High Tech Elementary in January 2013, I knew this was were I was meant to be! Never had I experienced such a positive learning environment, the energy was tangible! I noticed right away how the students, families, and staff here at HTe have created the most amazing atmosphere of collaboration, respect, and meaningful learning - it truly is an amazing place and it continues to inspire me every day! Teaching Kindergarten is my dream. It is by far my favorite grade and the best part is watching all the amazing growth and development our students go through during this single, but hugely important year!

    I have always loved our vibrant city, full of culture and so many things to do, and I especially love the amazing natural spaces San Diego has to offer. I try to get outdoors to take advantage of that as much as possible - and I encourage my students and families to do the same! I grew up next to the ocean and have never been able to drift too far from it. Not surprisingly, teaching ocean science - or any science topics really - continues to be my passion. I also have a great appreciation for music and love attending live concerts. When I am not at school, you might catch me and my family enjoying San Diego's nice weather on a hike through Mission Trails, people watching at a local street fair, traveling around our big blue beautiful planet, or hanging out with our dogs down by the water!
  • Angelica Kenny
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    Angelica Kenny
    Kindergarten 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.
1st Grade
  • Raquel Baumgardner
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    Raquel Baumgardner
    1st Grade Teacher

    Hello friends! My name is Raquel Baumgardner and I am a first grade 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. I started my career as a classroom teacher in the Point Loma campus as a Kindergarten teacher, and had the opportunity to transfer back last year to the Chula Vista campus as a 1st 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 practicing yoga, listening to music and dancing.
  • Ruby Rodrigues
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    Ruby Rodrigues
    1st 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 Saville
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    Jami Saville
    1st 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.

    Jami is excited to be a first grade teacher here at HTeCV!  She loves the transformation that happens during this year of school. The students grow so much in all areas and it is wonderful to witness.

    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. ;-)
2nd Grade
  • Simone Banks
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    Simone Banks
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Hello! My name is Simone Banks and I am so excited for another amazing year in  2nd grade 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 outdoor 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 an education career. I taught a wonderful Pre-school classroom for 2 years, and also worked as Physical Education teacher for 1 year. In 2016, I began my journey at HteCV as an 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, shop, and nap. I am so excited to continue my journey teaching with the amazing High Tech community.
  • Matt Sheelen
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    Matt Sheelen
    2nd 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 teaching second grade for a second year after three 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
3rd Grade
  • Candice Arancibia
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    Candice Arancibia
    3rd Grade Teacher

    Candice Arancibia is a 2nd year teacher at  HTHeCV and has loved every moment of it!. Candice comes to us with 10 years of teaching experience in the South Bay where she served a very diverse population. She has taught kindergarten, 1st grade, 6th grade, and 3rd grade. Candice gives the gift of literacy by teaching her students to read, write, speak, and listen to the world they interact with. She has developed numerous social justice projects that involve a combination of rigorous academic expectations, critical thinking, and problem solving. She empowers her students to believe that their voice is important and that they can create change.

    Candice earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and Bilingual Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at San Diego State University. She is currently enrolled at SDSU for her Masters in Social Justice and Critical Literacy. Candice is part of the National Writing Project and Amplifier foundation to support her love for learning and continuous growth as an educator. Much of her teaching and life philosophy was developed from her experience abroad. She studied Spanish and Cultural Literacy at the University of Havana, Cuba. Then traveled to Dominican Republic to teach social-emotional learning and build communal chicken coops . These experiences helped shape her deep sense of gratitude which push her to create change for those less fortunate.
  • Paul North
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    Paul Northclick here to go to Paul North\s digital portfolio
    3rd 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 Saldias
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    Lisa Saldias
    3rd 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 fourth 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 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.
4th Grade
  • Amanda Borow
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    Amanda Borow
    4th Grade Teacher

    Hello! My name is Amanda Borow and I am excited to be continuing with the 4th grade team at HTeCV. I love working with 4th grade students 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!

  • Samantha Lee
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    Samantha Lee
    4th Grade Teacher

    I am very excited to be joining the fourth grade team at HTeCV this school year!

    As a teacher, I am constantly inspired by the curiosity, bravery, and kindness students bring with them to school each day. I believe that students care deeply about making a difference in their community and can truly do so by taking action through our learning experiences in the classroom.

    Growing up, I loved school and the time I got to spend with my teachers and classmates creating art, reading and writing, and learning about our world through hands-on experiences.  I carried that sense of wonder and excitement with me as I continued my education and realized what an amazing privilege it is to be able to support students at different points on their own educational journeys.

    Before joining High Tech High, I taught third grade at a project-based school in downtown San Diego.  There I developed an appreciation for project-based learning as an effective practice for cultivating student agency, especially when paired with socio-emotional learning.  This built on the student-centered practices I honed when I earned my master’s degree and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at UC San Diego, where I had also earned my undergraduate degree and worked on staff as an academic counselor.

    You’ll likely find me with a coffee or tea within arm’s reach. Being active, especially out in nature, is a grounding practice for me to clear my mind and restore balance so I try to carve out time for yoga, surfing, and going on runs and hikes as much as possible.  I also like to doodle, read, and cook healthy meals.  My fiancé Nicholas and I also love to travel and hope to spend our 30s visiting more countries together.

    It is my goal that every student feels belonging and ownership in our classroom.  I look forward to meeting you soon!
  • Katie Meyers
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    Katie Meyers
    2nd Grade Teacher

    Hello! My name is Katie and I'm so excited to teach 2nd grade this year!  I first joined the High Tech High community in March 2014 working in inclusion as an Academic Coach at High Tech Middle before pursuing my passion of working with elementary students. I spent the last four years teaching 4th grade, and cannot wait for the new adventure! I graduated with a degree in World History from UC Riverside, and completed my teaching credential through the High Tech High credentialing program.  As an educator, I am passionate about building a classroom community that is supportive, engaging, and fun. I find so much joy in getting to know my students and their passions in and out of the classroom. 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!
  • Tiffany Romer
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    Tiffany Romer
    4th Grade Teacher

    I am thrilled to be joining the HTeCV 4th grade team for the upcoming school year!  

    I am a new resident to San Diego and couldn't have picked a more beautiful place to call home. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio and received my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati. From there I studied at Mount St. Joseph University, also located in Cincinnati, where I earned a Master of Arts degree with a concentration on Reading Science. As a teacher, I am always wanting to learn more, just like my students!

    Over the years I have taught a few different grade levels. While living in Cincinnati I taught 3rd grade mathematics and science. I then moved to Medford, Oregon with my husband for his career and taught 1st and 4th grade. Now I have relocated again and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach 4th grade again this year, which is by far my favorite grade! Although I am new to Project Based Learning, I'm excited to gain new knowledge and to grow my craft as an educator.

    I believe that educators are truly one of the many pillars that help shape children's minds and how they think of the world around them. I have a passion for helping students be the best version of themselves. I want my future students to know that mistakes are 'OKAY' and they are going to happen. That's the fun in learning! I'm also really looking forward to seeing students express their creativity through their projects this school year. 

    Outside of school I love to cook. My husband and I are always trying new recipes. I also love to go to the beach, be active (ice hockey, softball, volleyball, hike, etc.), spend time with my dog (Stella!), watch Netflix, try new restaurants, and go shopping! 

    I look forward to connecting with you this school year, it's going to be fantastic!
5th Grade
  • Avery Barnes
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    Avery Barnes
    5th 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.
  • Dalton Hudson
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    Dalton Hudson
    5th Grade Teacher

    Hello HTeCV families! My name is Dalton Hudson and I am excited to be joining the HTH team this year as a 5th grade teacher. A little bit about me, I was born in Kingston, Jamaica and came to America in 2000. I have since lived in Hackensack, NJ, Costa Mesa, CA and Rochester, NY (where I have lived for the past 13 years). I have my masters degree in Childhood and Special education and I have been teaching for 5 years now. I prefer to spend my free time outside, whether it is hiking, fishing or camping.

    When comes to the classroom environment, I believe in setting high expectations for students, but also creating a loving environment where students know that it is a safe place to learn, make mistakes, and express themselves.

    I am extremely excited to be at High Tech and I am looking forward to meeting you all.
  • Desiree Powers
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    Desiree Powers
    5th Grade Teacher

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

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

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

    When she is not teaching, Desiree enjoys spending time with her two young daughters, catching up on a good book, or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the New York Mets.

Exploratory Team
  • Sharlene Garcia
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    Sharlene Garciaclick here to go to Sharlene Garcia\s digital portfolio
    Engineering Teacher

    Hello! I am Ms. Shar. I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico with an animal loving family always surrounded by nature. 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 to give them the opportunities and tools for self-expression and discovery. 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 Visual Arts 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 for my second year as HTeCV's STEAM teacher.One of my goals is to raise environmental awareness and get students to fall in love with nature. Every Wednesday I help students run a gardening club after-school in which students work really hard to beautify and maintain both the vegetable and the butterfly garden. 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 get them excited to be life-long learners and world explorers!
  • Amber George
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    Amber George
    Fine Arts Teacher

    I am so excited to begin my ninth 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 Lockett
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    Latanya Lockett
    Performing 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. When she was not on tour or performing locally, you would find her teaching performing arts all over San Diego. Throughout her professional career she has taught many forms of dance, show choir, and voice to children from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

    As a founding faculty member, Latanya is really big on building community and feels that the arts are a huge community building tool! When school is out you can find her performing, producing, coaching and being a fellow High Tech Village mom to her daughter Mia.
Academic Support
  • Michelle Alcoba
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    Michelle Alcoba
    Academic Coach

  • Judy Asiong
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    Judy Asiong
    Inclusion Specialist

    The path that led me to Education came 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 and adding my own little to make our family of 5.

    My journey into education started when I had the honor and privilege to be part of HTe/HTMCV's  staff when we opened the 2011-2012 school year. 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 8.0 the Lead Education Specialist, primarily supporting our kinder team for the 2019-2020 school year!
  • Maritza Betancourt
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    Maritza Betancourt
    Literacy 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. Now after four years of being part of the HTeCV family, Maritza realized that when you are passionate about something in life, it doesn't matter where you share your passion, at the end, the reward is the same. She is happy to serve as a student interventionist and looking foward to serve many more years at HTeCV.

    On her free time, Maritza enjoys dancing, cake decorating, home interior decorating and most of all, spending time with her two sons and husband.
  • Arielle Bourguignon
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    Arielle Bourguignon
    Academic Coach

  • Kiaonno Bradley
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    Kiaonno Bradley
    Inclusion Specialist

    Kiaonno is a San Diego native and will be an Education Specialist and EL /504 Coordinator. She attended all women’s college in the Bay Area, where she majored in Pre-Law. After graduating college in 2013, she joined Teach for America in Sacramento, California. She has experience teaching students in all grades K-12. Kiaonno received her credential and Masters in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University in 2015. This upcoming year will be her seventh year teaching special education and third year at HTeCV.

    Kiaonno is passionate about showing all students the joy of reading and is currently working with the SPED admin to become a reading trainer. She looks 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.

    Outside of HTeCV Kiaonno enjoys listening to audiobooks, podcast, working out and exploring San Diego with her toddler.
  • Brian Burr
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    Brian Burr
    Inclusion Specialist

    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 six 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 six years. In this role, Brian has continued to focus on students that needed extra supports.
    This year, after completing his special education credential, he will take on a new role as an inclusion specialist. After teaching for the last few 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, his young child, and his puppy. He also enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures.
  • Alex Espiritu
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    Alex Espiritu
    Afterschool Coordinator

    I would like to take a moment to introduce myself, my name is Alex Espiritu and I’m the K8 Afterschool Director at HTeCV/ HTMCV. I grew up in Chula Vista and attended Hilltop Elementary, Hilltop Junior and Hilltop High School. I graduated from SDSU with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. While attending SDSU I began my journey working for the YMCA.

    Over the past 18 years, I have gained experience in different management roles within the YMCA of San Diego County. My leadership style is very hands-on and I enjoy working as a team.

    I am so excited to have another opportunity to be at HTeCV/ HTMCV this year and meeting all of the students and families.

    In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my son, family, drinking a fine cup of coffee, traveling, camping, eating, playing soccer and tennis, watching live music, art and movies.
  • Christopher Felix
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    Christopher Felix
    Academic Coach

  • Tatsiana Gregory
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    Tatsiana Gregory
    Academic Coach

  • Catherine Griffith
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    Catherine Griffith
    Inclusion Specialist

    Catie is passionate about innovative education that is developmentally aligned. She believes in an individualized approach that supports authentic, inclusive practices. Education has always been at the core of her heart and she is excited to be able to grow as an educator while supporting student learning at HTeCV as an Education Specialist.

    Originally from a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC, she and her family have lived throughout the country over the last 10 years. She has been able to gain valuable insight and experience while working in Maryland, Florida, Rhode Island, and California. She and her family found San Diego to be the place they feel most connected to, so when the opportunity to return to this sunny city presenting itself in 2017, they took it and settled in Normal Heights.

    She completed her B.S /M.Ed. in Special Education at The University of Maryland College Park in 2009 and has worked and volunteered in the field of education ever since. She has experience in special education research and assessment, as a classroom teacher and case manager, an administrator, and has navigated communication and compliance as a special education liaison. She values building strong relationships and having open communication with students and families. As a parent, she has seen the benefits of inclusive, cooperative, and project based learning which is why her children will be joining HTeCV as students.

    Her hope is to make strong connections with families while ensuring all students have the services and supports they need to access and benefit from their education.

    When she is not at school, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, baking allergy friendly treats, soaking in the sun, and going on adventures both locally and afar.
  • Sophie Langerman
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    Sophie Langerman
    Academic Coach

  • Toi Littlejon
    This is a photo of Toi Littlejon
    Toi Littlejon
    Academic Coach

  • Meagan Makapugay
    This is a photo of Meagan Makapugay
    Meagan Makapugay
    Academic Coach

    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.
  • Miguel Preciado
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    Miguel Preciado
    Academic Coach

  • Paul Rogo
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    Paul Rogo
    Occupational Therapist II

    Paul grew up locally here in San Diego, attending HTMMA in it's opening year in 2005, and continuing to graduate from HTHI. He received his BA in Psychology from Cal Poly Pomona and his MS in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State.

    In his free time, Paul enjoys traveling, exploring neighborhoods, visiting friends across California, working on his car, and enjoying San Diego's endless beaches.

    Paul is looking forward to his first year at High Tech High as both an OT and alumni to support students in all grade levels!
  • Brittany Rysman
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    Brittany Rysman
    School Psychologist

    Brittany Rysman earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Psychology with a secondary concentration in Gender Studies from the University of Southern Indiana in 2009. She then attended San Francisco State University for graduate school and earned her Master of Science (MS) degree in School Psychology in 2011. In addition, Brittany earned her Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credentials in School Psychology and School Counseling. Brittany went on to work as a school psychologist in San Rafael City Schools for six years, serving multiple elementary schools and one middle school.

    After dreaming of living in San Diego for many years, she finally moved to San Diego and began working at High Tech High in Chula Vista for the 2018-2019 school year, serving the high school, middle school, and elementary school. She is very passionate about project-based learning and the culture of HTH; she is excited to begin her second year in Chula Vista, serving the middle and elementary schools.

  • Ana Berumen Sandez
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    Ana Berumen Sandez
    Academic Coach

  • Maria Schaffer
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    Maria Schaffer
    Academic Coach

    Maria Schaffer is an experienced classroom teacher who will be transitioning into the role of Lead Academic Coach next school year.  She has been a part of the High Tech High community for 9 years.  She began as a 6th grade Humanities teacher at High Tech Middle in Point Loma before joining the Chula Vista campus 4 years ago where she has taught both 5th and 2nd grade.

    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!
  • Elaine Shieh
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    Elaine Shieh
    Academic Coach

  • Trevor Vanorden
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    Trevor Vanorden
    Academic Coach

  • Raquel Vasquez
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    Raquel Vasquez
    Academic Coach

    My name is Raquel Vasquez. I am from Mexicali, Baja California -Mexico.  I live in Chula Vista, California.  I am married and have two adult daughters and  a crazy dog named Chiquito, he is seriously “loquito.”
    I am a San Diego State University graduate.  BA in French and Spanish, and  Masters in Spanish-American Literature.
    Most of my teaching experience has been in high school level and college.  I have taught in San Diego, Burbank and in Northern Virginia.
    Being a Literacy Instructor for High Tech Elementary Chula Vista for the second year is very exciting to me. It has allows me to teach young age students, K-5th, whom until now were not part of my teaching experience. I am enjoying my reading sessions with my young students as we do our best  to reach their reading goals in becoming the strong readers they can be.
    I currently am actively involved in coordinating and planning events to empower families of developmentally disabled individuals in the San Diego community.  Outreach  and community services is a sincere passion that I have learned to enjoy and care.
    Also, I am a private tutor for elementary age students in Spanish and Literacy.
    Reading is one of my favorite activities. Music, cooking, good wine, art, languages and exploring ways to decorate my home and garden are truly things that I enjoy.  Being near the ocean,
    yoga and pilates bring me inner peace and joy.
    Last but not least, Maximiliano.  He is my 3 year old nephew that I absolutely adore.
    He makes me laugh and brings so much happiness to my days.  Love you Max.

  • Marquita Griffith Director
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    Marquita Griffith

    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 Affairs
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    Chelsea Benson
    Dean of Student Affairs

    One of my favorite quotes that captures the essence 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 through building and repairing relationships.

    I am from Southwest Louisiana and taught in Tacna, Perú for three years with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I received a Bachelor of Arts from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL and hold 3 teaching credentials: a Multiple Subject and BCLAD from SDSU and a Special Education teaching credential from HTH. I am also a certified translator/interpreter. This year, I will continue learning 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 eleventh year in education and my sixth year at HTeCV. I look forward to collaborating.

  • Dulce Encinas Site Manager
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    Dulce Encinas
    Site 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 Manager
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    Sherrie Cabarles
    Assistant Site Manager

  • Joyce Park Math Teacher Support
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    Joyce Park
    Math Teacher Support

    As a child, becoming a teacher was one of the MANY dreams I had for myself (including being an actress, veterinarian, and so on...). But as I grew older and learned more about myself and what fuels me, it was pursuing an adventure in education that I ultimately chose.

    After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2012 with a degree in Psychology and in Education, I joined Teach For America to work in underserved communities. This was my first teaching adventure moving from California to New York City. Living in NYC was also one of my many dreams I had as a child, but it felt even more incredible that I was granted an opportunity to teach my first group of students in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I taught 3rd grade for 4 years at Brownsville Ascend Charter School. These early years as a new teacher really solidified my passion for developing powerful relationships with my students and helping them grow as unique individuals. This is something that continues to fuel me today.

    In 2016, I decided to move back to California and embark on a new adventure in education. Since moving back, I have called Chula Vista my home these past few years. At High Tech Elementary Chula Vista I taught 4th grade for 2 years and 2nd grade for 1 year. This year, I will be an Instructional Coach at HTeCV.

    Outside my world of education, I enjoy watching movies and discussing cinema. I am a huge fan of the NBA (basketball), but I don't have a favorite team because I have several favorite players across the league. I am also a HUGE fan of my Boston Terrier named Cal. Additionally, cooking is one of my favorite hobbies and cooking a meal for others gives me the utmost joy.
  • Vincent Phathanak IT Director
    This is a photo of Vincent Phathanak
    Vincent Phathanak
    IT Director

    When Vince started his tech journey, his dad would bring home computer towers for them both to build. That was about all it took for him to explore the realms of tech from computers to video games to even robotics and photography.  When the time came for Vince to choose a high school it was natural that he chose a school that involved all these things,  low and behold,  High Tech High. Vince continued his mission with learning all different technology applications by becoming an IT Intern at High Tech High as a Freshman to his Senior year in 2007. He continued on this exploration well into college at UC Irvine exploring Computer Information Systems.

    He is excited to be back in the High Tech High community in Chula Vista to help keep things working and innovate new ideas in classrooms with the teaching staff! In his spare time he is a professional freelance videographer documenting music events for local tv show NBC SoundDiego as well as working for his own wedding videography company.