HTEM Staff Directory
A little bit about my educational background: I am a 1st generation college graduate. I attended San Diego State University where I received both my Bachelors of Arts degree and my bilingual multiple-subject teaching credential. I am currently continuing my studies at SDSU where I am on track to earn my Masters of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Language Arts. GO AZTECS!
I’m a dog momma, so in my spare time you can find me walking my 3 year old bulldog while exploring some community events and trying out some delicious new foods.
Michelina is a Clairemont local and a High Tech High Alum! She attended SDSU and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Television, Film and New Media. After graduation, she worked in the film department at SDSU teaching set design to undergrads. This experience led her to pursue her multiple subjects K-8 teaching credential through the HTH Graduate School of Education. She worked at HTeCV teaching 4th grade and Kindergarten, then went on to work as a founding Kindergarten teacher at HTe Mesa. She continued her studies earning her Master's of Education in Teaching and Learning in June, 2020.
Michelina is inspired by project-based learning. She feels that it has the power to guide student learning in an organic and meaningful way. Michelina incorporates play into all aspects of learning inside of her classroom. She uses play as a tool to engage students and solidify their learning! She believes that students need to feel happy and safe in order to be successful learners. She strives to create a home-like classroom setting where students feel comfortable taking risks, explore their passions, and grow their minds! She strives to be a culturally-responsive teacher who highlights student's uniqueness. She believes it is important for students to learn about their communities, families, backgrounds and traditions and celebrate them together!
In her free time, you can find Michelina surfing, roller skating, 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, her cat named Cricket, and her snake named Happy.
Rhea and her husband, Brandon, met when they were ten years old. They have been married for nearly twenty years and have three children (all Explorer alum and current students at HTH schools). In her spare time, she likes to play the ukulele, woodwork, and enjoy beach days with Brandon and the kids.
When the opportunity came for me to pack up and make San Diego home in 2015, I took it! I received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Elementary Education and Literacy from SDSU. I received my multiple-subject teaching credential and my Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Point Loma Nazarene University. I have worked with the HTH organization as an academic coach, student teacher, and substitute teacher at the HTePL and HTeCV campuses since 2017. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and learn 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) and French Bulldog Potato!
I look forward to spending this year learning and growing with you!
She knows teachers have a unique power to transform lives, because her third grade teacher changed the course of her life with one sentence, “I think you are a genius.” Although that teacher whispered the same thing to many students, from that day on she worked hard to learn as much as “a genius” could— reading, questioning, experimenting, dreaming, and problem-solving. As a result, she is a dedicated professional who understands that helping students believe in their ability to achieve is the key to overcoming obstacles and opening doors to success.
She began her teaching career at the young age of 19, as a graduate of Stanford University determined to make a difference through education. While teaching, she also started a nonprofit community center for arts and technology in 1997 to help her students and others access safe and productive activities afterschool. Years later, Këri took a break from teaching to pursue a career in communications on clean energy issues in local, national and international markets. Her work with climate scientists and energy experts took her to over 27 different countries to build partnerships and dialogue that advance efforts to reduce emissions, save energy, and protect the environment.
After more than a decade away, she realized that nothing makes her happier than teaching children, and returned to the education field with new skills and excitement. She earned a Masters Degree in Education with a specialization of “U.S. Education in the Global Context.” She joins the HTeM team to utilize her knowledge of diverse education efforts around the world and drive for designing creative and effective lessons aligned with standards for excellence.
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.
My degree allowed me to focus on the different philosophies within education and the social obligation to defend and protect all of our kids as they grow. I have spent the last 5 years at High Tech Elementary in Point Loma working as an Inclusion Specialist across all K-5 grade levels. My experiences within High Tech have solidified my sense of duty to advocate for kids with special needs. The inclusive foundation of our school system is what drew me to expand my knowledge further with a diverse community. Through High Tech’s PBL model, I am lucky to support students and help foster their own magical curiosity in their learning through hands-on projects. Through team collaboration between students, family and teachers, I ensure that all voices and perspectives are heard, seen and valued. It is High Tech’s inclusive setting that allows me to facilitate an understanding among students that all types of learners are key members of a strong community. I feel passionate that in order to provide equitable learning opportunities it is crucial to assist students in developing relationships with diverse populations, and with that cultivate empathetic hearts.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be working and learning at HTeMesa with wonderful staff and I am excited to be the Kindergarten and Third Grade Inclusion Specialist!
Outside of school you'll find me either playing with my dog (Penny), trampling along a new trail, camping across the country in search for the perfect mountain sunrise, or perfecting my stir-fry recipe!
She has a Masters in Women's History (Sarah Lawrence College) and a Masters of Science in Childhood Education (Progressive Education Institute). She is passionate about helping students feel valued, confident and secure in who they are. She is excited about the journey ahead and hopes to work closely with both parents and teachers in order to create the best outcomes for students.
I am a San Diego native, I grew up in the North Park area but did all of my schooling in Point Loma. I studied Psychology and Child Development at San Diego State where I received my B.A. in 2019. My goals for the future would be to get a Masters in counseling and become an in-school therapist within the next year or two. My dream job has always been working with kids in a school setting, focusing mostly on mental and emotional well-being.
A bit about my background; I began working at 18 with Girl Scout's Outreach program visiting lower-income schools around San Diego, providing a fun and educational experience for girls in K-6th grade. After two wonderful years, I moved onto ABA therapy with Easterseals SoCal working exclusively with children on the Autism Spectrum. I gained a lot of training and hands-on experience that I still implement to this day. These were some of the best work experiences I had while still being a full-time college student!
From there, I began to focus my attention in the elementary school setting becoming a special education/general classroom aide at America's Finest Charter School. It was here that I realized how important it is to support children in their everyday academic setting. I worked with two 3rd grade classes, one 5th grade class, and two 6th grade classes, giving me a new challenge to focus on the different milestones kids face at different ages! Truly an amazing experience.
Now I have been working at HTeM since its opening and couldn't be happier! The values High Tech implements for their students, their families, and their staff is truly remarkable. I am grateful to be able to watch our students grow and prosper through project-based learning with HTeM!
Outside of school, I love taking my two dogs Daisy and Ollie on adventures around San Diego. You can find us at the park, hiking a new trail, or hanging out at the dog beach. I also love to spend time with my friends and family, going on road trips, and exploring new places around SD!
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 about 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, and house improvement projects!
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.
I am passionate about Social Emotional Learning, Social Justice, collaborating with parents and advocating for all of our students needs.
I recently presented at the National Association for School Psychology Conference (2019) on creating effective mental health systems within schools, and received the California School Psychology Award (2019) to implement Social-Emotional Curriculum within Schools.
Outside of work I enjoy hiking, baking, reading, traveling and adventuring with my dog.
Hello families! My name is Ruth Smith and I am so excited to continue my work with the High Tech High organization, as a support for our English Language Learners! A little bit about myself: I came to America when I was four years old and grew up in the Bay Area. I come from a huge and loving family. I knew early on that education was important. I always knew I wanted to work with children and be a part of their development and love for learning.
I received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. I then continued on to receive my Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in Education with an emphasis in Mathematics from UCSD. I began my educational career as a Guided Reading Teacher and then taught three years in the first grade. I soon joined the High Tech High Organization!I have worked with the HTH organization as a classroom teacher for the past five years, starting at HTeCV. I was thrilled to be a founding second grade teacher at High Tech Elementary Mesa and I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and learn with the HTH organization in this new role.
Outside of the classroom, a few of my favorite things to do are: spending quality time with my husband and our three year old, Maverick; trying out new recipes (please send some my way); singing karaoke; and I especially love being outdoors!
I look forward to spending this year learning and growing with you!