HTEM Staff Directory
Staff directory will be updated as our school grows — Please stay tuned!
- Stephanie Lance Kindergarten TeacherXStephanie LanceKindergarten Teacher
Stephanie believes that each student has the potential to grow and thrive emotionally, socially, and intellectually. She is dedicated to learning about her students’ experiences and creating a safe and supportive classroom for her students to develop a sense of communal belonging, challenge themselves, reason, and reflect on their learning. Stephanie is a passionate teacher who will always strive to bring out the very best in every child while keeping their needs at the heart of her service.
Stephanie is excited to be joining the HTeM team of staff and parents this year as a Kindergarten teacher. She holds a Masters in Education and Elementary Mathematics Certificate from the University of California San Diego. Prior to joining the High Tech team, Stephanie worked as a Marine Science Instructor in San Diego teaching and learning about the local ocean environment. She grew up in Colorado and loves to be outdoors. When not working, Stephanie likes to spend her time in the ocean, hiking, camping, traveling, and training for triathlons. She is looking forward to sharing her passions with her students, diving into rigorous and fun classroom projects, and being inspired by her students as they explore together.
- Michelina Miedema GSE StudentXMichelina MiedemaGSE Student
Michelina is a Clairemont local and a High Tech High Alum! Her first teaching experiences were during elementary school helping out in her Mom’s Montessori Kindergarten classroom. She attended SDSU and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies. After graduation, she worked in the film department teaching set design and construction, which lead her to pursue a teaching credential through the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She earned her credential and taught 4th grade and Kindergarten at HTeCV. She is continuing her studies and will earn her M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning.
As an HTH alum, Michelina is inspired by project-based learning. She feels that it provides an incredible platform for students to learn, explore and grow! She strives to create a home-like classroom setting where students feel safe to take risks, explore their passions, and grow their minds! She is a culturally-responsive teacher who cares deeply about students’ families, backgrounds and traditions; she believes it is important for all students to celebrate their differences and learn from each other.
In her free time, you can find Michelina surfing, fishing, or searching for reptiles on a hike! She is a lover of ALL nature, from spiders to leopard sharks. She also loves to cook, explore, and spend time with family, friends, and her cat; Cricket and her snake; Happy.
- Mary Lau 1st Grade TeacherXMary Lau1st Grade Teacher
Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three." -- Confucius
A child learns the first and most enduring lessons in the presence of family and then heads off to school where learning happens in the presence of teachers and peers. As a teacher, I see myself as one of the people who will help your child uncover and construct some "corners" of learning. It is rewarding work to guide your little scholar and to help you with your child's education.
I began my teaching career nine years ago while working on my multiple-subject teaching credential at High Tech High's Graduate School of Education. Prior to that, I was a preschool teacher, an at-home mother, and a substitute teacher. I've worked within project-based learning models my entire career because I value how a thoughtfully planned project has such potential to capture and animate a child's broad imagination. Great projects buoy and inspire children as they explore fundamental skills like reading, writing, and calculating through interconnected lessons and learning moments. My hope is that your child comes home from school each day enlivened by learning.
I am a San Diego native, a graduate of SDSU, a Mom to two kids (ages 18 and 23), a wife, a tai chi practitioner, a devoted reader, a fan of fountain pens and notebooks, and an armchair baker (I watch baking shows). What I'm keen to do at HTeM is to spend nine dynamic months working with you and your child as we make our way through a prosperous school year.
- Rizelle Murallon Academic CoachXRizelle MurallonAcademic Coach
Hello families and visitors! My name is Rizelle Murallon, and I am so excited to continue my work with the High Tech High organization, this year as a first grade teacher! A little bit about myself: I grew up both in the Bay Area and in Sacramento, but always had a love for San Diego's beautiful weather and beaches. School and education have always been my passion, and after helping raise my little brother Liam (who is fourteen years younger than me), I always knew I wanted to work with children and be a part of their development and love for learning.
When the opportunity came for me to pack up and make San Diego home in 2015, I took it! Transferring to SDSU, I later graduated in 2017, receiving a Bachelors of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education and Literacy. Throughout the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school year, I worked as an Academic Coach at HTe, Point Loma, in kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. I completed my student teaching in a fifth grade and kindergarten classroom at HTeCV, receiving my multiple-subject teaching credential in May 2019. Currently I am working on my Masters in Teaching degree with Point Loma Nazarene University, and I'm looking forward to starting my third year with the HTH organization as a founding HTeM teacher.
Outside of the classroom, a few of my favorite things to do are: eating really good food (noodles are my favorite!); planning and doodling in my Passion Planner; and I especially love being outdoors, it means I can spend some quality time in the sun with my husband Jimmy and our Olde English Bulldog Blu(berry).
I look forward to spending this year learning and growing with you!
- Christine Kuhl Second Grade TeacherXChristine KuhlSecond Grade Teacher
I am thrilled to be a founding staff member of HTeM as a 2nd grade teacher. I’ve been an educator for 21 years. I graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Psychology, earned multiple subject teaching credential through Cal State San Marcos, and earned a Master’s in Education from Chapman University with an emphasis in reading instruction. This school year I am pursuing my Special Education credential through the HTH Graduate School of Education.
I started my career in my hometown, San Diego, working in San Diego City Schools as an upper grade teacher and later as a literacy instruction peer coach where I served primarily emergent bilingual and refugee students. Afterwards I worked at an international school in Valencia, Venezuela for two years. It was during my time in Venezuela that I met my future husband, Robert. I made my way back to San Diego with Robert in tow, and luckily found a position working at High Tech High Explorer Elementary as an upper-grade teacher, where I worked for ten years. My family and I moved to Hawaii for the 2017-2018 school year to open up an elementary school at the Asia Pacific International School on North Shore, Oahu. After one enriching year in Hawaii, we made our way back to San Diego. My most recent work was with the HTH GSE’s Center for Research on Equity and Innovation.
My teaching passions are rooted in pedagogy that is culturally responsive, project-based, and service oriented. I believe that developing students to be socially-emotionally skilled is critical to helping students become their best selves and to make a true difference in the world. My hope is that all my students experience joy and feel a strong sense of belonging within our classroom community.
Outside of school you will find me outdoors, practicing yoga, hiking, traveling, learning, being a mama to my 4th-grade son and 1st-grade daughter, and spending time with family and friends.
- Ruth Smith 2nd Grade TeacherXRuth Smith2nd Grade Teacher
Hello there! My name is Ruth Smith and I am a 2nd grade teacher. After graduating in June of 2008 from the University of California, San Diego, I took some time to travel and reflect on my next steps... After a year of traveling and volunteering for March of Dimes I went back to UCSD in which I received my Masters in Education and a Teaching Credential with an Elementary Mathematics Emphasis Certification. I began my career in August of 2011 as a Guided Reading Specialist and after a year I transitioned into my own classroom as a 1st grade teacher for the next 3 years. Just as soon as I was feeling all comfy and cozy, I decided it was time for a change, SO I transferred to a school that is located in an amazing community, and that's where you'll find me today! I have taught 2nd grade 3 of the past 4 years and it has been one of the most incredible experience of my career. The 2019-2020 school year will mark my 9th 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!
- Monique Knight DirectorXMonique KnightDirector
More than anything else, I feel my true calling is in the classroom with teachers and students. And it is this love for classroom teaching and learning that I hope to bring to my leadership role at HTe Mesa. Prior to joining the High Tech High community, I taught primary grades in New York City public schools for seven years and served as a literacy specialist for another ten years at the Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. In that role, I had the privilege of supporting teachers, coaches and administrators across the United States, and in international cities such as Paris and Shanghai. Wonderful as that work was, I missed being in a school community on a day to day basis––a yearning that led me to forge a role as an academic director and instructional coach at the Harlem Village Academy in Harlem, New York. This was a particularly thrilling role that allowed me to combine these administrative duties with daily teaching in a kindergarten classroom.
I’m thrilled to be joining the Clairemont neighborhood and the greater High Tech High community alongside my husband and four children. We all look forward to making San Diego our new home.
- Paula Camarda Site ManagerXPaula CamardaSite Manager
I have been with the High Tech organization for 10 years and currently serve as the Site Manager at HTeM. For the past 10 years, I have worked at High Tech Elementary Explorer and am very excited to begin a new chapter at HTeM. What I love most about my job is building relationships with the children, families and staff. I currently reside in San Diego where I have 2 children, and in my free time I enjoy going for hikes and spending time with my family.
- Cathryn Magielnicki School PsychologistXCathryn MagielnickiSchool Psychologist
- Lisa Quintana Aftercare Program DirectorXLisa QuintanaAftercare Program Director
Lisa was 10 years old when she moved back to the United States after living 9 years overseas in Japan. California became her forever home and she finished her schooling in the South Bay community. Lisa first joined the High Tech team in 2012 as a youth leader for High Tech Elementary in Chula Vista. She worked part time for the after school program until she moved on to become an academic coach. She briefly left High Tech to finish her Liberal Studies Degree at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. There she continued to work with extended services at a number of different schools in Northern California. After receiving her BA she returned to San Diego to once again join the High Tech family. She worked at HTMCV as a program leader, activities coordinator and athletic director until she transferred to HTMMA.
During her free time, you can catch her strolling through the Little Italy’s Mercato or out with her dog. She loves to be active in the Italian community and enjoys spending time with her niece and nephew. She is highly competitive and plays in a number of adult leagues around San Diego with her husband.
- Bethany Tipton Inclusion SpecialistXBethany TiptonInclusion Specialist
Bethany is the HTeM team as an Education Specialist supporting the K-2nd teams in her 8th year of teaching. Bethany is excited to continue to develop the culture of inclusion by providing specific structure and supports for learners to thrive in her 5th year within the High Tech High community.
Bethany is one part, local San Diegan, and one part San Franciscan. Prior to joining the HTeM team, Bethany worked in the San Francisco Bay Area as a special education teacher of the upper elementary grades. She received her Masters in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and her Bachelors of Science in International Studies from Point Loma Nazarene University. Through her formal education, Bethany has explored the characteristics of a successful school and community garden in San Diego, and San Francisco. She developed the conviction that experiential learning (and sometimes rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty) acts as the best medium for cultivating genuine engagement and intellectual growth when she established a school garden at an elementary school. She is passionate in supporting teachers with the implementation of Universal Design for Learning and is relentless about developing best practices for her field. She is a major proponent for the Zones of Regulation and Social Thinking programs. Bethany believes that fostering student self-advocacy is essential for transformative educational growth.
Outside of HTeM, Bethany is finding the perfect cup of coffee, practicing yoga, playing a card game, training for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and planning a wedding.