Staff Directory


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Kindergarten and First Grade
  • Heather Love
    
    Heather Love


    Heather Love is a native of San Diego and graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University, studied abroad on Semester at Sea visiting 11 countries while earning a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and Studio Art. Heather's love for travel began at an early age. She experienced her first study abroad experience by living with a family in Japan for the summer after 6th grade.

    In her free time, Heather enjoys reading, photography and going on adventures around San Diego with her children (both students at HTe).

    Heather is thrilled to be back teaching at HTe for her second year!
  • Vanessa Moreno
    
    Vanessa Moreno


  • Maria Muñoz
    
    Maria Muñoz


  • Stacey Stevenson
    
    Stacey Stevenson


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


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

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


    Patricia Lim loves teaching at Explorer! She is passionate about teaching and learning with her students and encouraging creativity and deep thinking. Prior to teaching at Explorer, Patricia taught for three years at a charter school in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, a Multiple Subject teaching credential, and a Master of Education degree from UCSD. Aside from teaching, Patricia enjoys traveling, painting, making jewelry, and spending time with her son who is a graduate of Explorer.
  • Diane Hawke
    
    Diane Hawke


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


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

    Each day Jen is surround by an incredibly passionate staff who dedicates their lives to providing children with the best education possible. She loves being able to loop with her students and see the growth they make from the beginning of kindergarten to the end of first grade. She is enthusiastic about the Social Emotional curriculum Explorer embodies and believe it fits perfectly with Project-based learning. This type of learning allows students to become thinkers, creators and life-long learners.
  • Linda Salamanca
    
    Linda Salamanca


    I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and came to San Diego for college where I attended San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego. I have a B.A. and Master's in Psychology and a Master's in Education. Learning is something that I have always enjoyed and value as I am the first in my family to go to college. Looking back on my own career as a student, I am fortunate to have had teachers that have given me wonderful learning opportunities from elementary  to graduate school. It's something that I am truly thankful for and hope that I can give my students.  When I'm not teaching I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, reading, running and cooking.
Second and Third Grade
  • Marissa Adams
    
    Marissa Adams


    Marissa has been teaching at Explorer since 2010, primarily in second and third grade. She holds a B.A. in Sociology, a Multiple Subject Credential and Masters of Education from UCSD. When she isn't teaching, Marissa loves spending time with her family in the great outdoors.
  • Ron Carter
    
    Ron Carter


  • Melissa Fisher
    
    Melissa Fisher


  • Lisa Gore
    
    Lisa Gore


  • Rhea Manguil
    
    Rhea Manguil


    Rhea absolutely loves teaching at Explorer. She has been at Explorer since 2007 and continues to thoroughly enjoy growing and learning as a teacher, mother, and human being. She earned her teaching credential at San Diego State and recently earned a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership at the HTH Graduate School of Education. Rhea has taught every grade in the K-5 setting, except for fourth grade.

    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.
Fourth and Fifth Grade
  • Kamilah Abdul-Alim
    
    Kamilah Abdul-Alim


    Kamilah Abdul-Alim is excited to begin a new chapter in her teaching career here at HTeX.  She recently moved back to southern California from Seattle, Washington where she taught for thirteen years in grades: first, second and most recently, third.  While in Seattle, she also received National Board Certification.  At the beginning of her career, she taught first and second grade, for five years, in Rochester, NY.

    She grew up three hours north of San Diego in Oxnard, California.  Kamilah attended UC Santa Barbara and double majored in Political Science (emphasis Public Service) and African/African-American Studies.  She has a Masters degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the University of Rochester.

    She is an experienced mentor and teacher leader.  Kamilah  comes to HTeX with an extensive background in Readers, Writers and Math Workshop models as well as, social emotional learning.  She believes that teaching students about the impact of their emotions and effective ways to address adversity is essential to their social-emotional well-being and academic success.  She looks forward to incorporating all of the basic skills areas into a project-based learning framework.

    In her time away from school, Kamilah enjoys reading, walking on the beach, watching movies, swimming (just learned!!) and spending time with the men in her life (husband, 3 sons) and their cat Princess.
  • Jeffrey Feitelberg
    
    Jeffrey Feitelberg


    Jeff is an excited members of the HTeX community where he can use his passion and practice in a creative and unique way. From the San Diego community, Jeff is an educator who learns from his students, parents, and his colleagues. He has been working with children for over fifteen years and believe in meaningful learning experiences, open and honest communication, and collaboration. After completing his B.A. in Politics at UC Santa Cruz, Jeff worked for a year as a Teacher’s Associate at a school in Scripps Ranch. Then he attended the University of the Pacific to complete a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction and a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential. Currently Jeff is in his fourth year teaching. Previously he was at HTeNC for the past three years focusing on projects grounded in social justice work and citizen science. If Jeff am not in my classroom he is playing the guitar, reading a book, or in the ocean.
  • Jeff Govoni
    
    Jeff Govoni


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


    Julia Jacobsen fell in love with teaching while working in the Marshall Islands with the Dartmouth Volunteer Teaching Program.  She graduated from Dartmouth with an elementary teaching credential and B.A. in Psychology.  Julia first learned about High Tech High while she was a graduate student at Harvard in the Technology, Innovation and Education Masters program.  Upon graduation in 2011, she moved to San Diego to work as a founding fourth grade teacher at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista, where she worked for six years.  She is excited to be on a new adventure at High Tech Elementary Explorer!

    When she's not at school, Julia loves hiking, running, reading, cooking and eating.
  • Becky Frost
    
    Becky Frost


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


  • Katelyn Evenson
    
    Katelyn Evenson


  • Carrie Flowers
    
    Carrie Flowers


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


  • Vivienne Hickey
    
    Vivienne Hickey


    Vivienne is a native of San Diego.  She holds a BA in Psychology and is pursuing a Masters degree in social work.
  • Cassidy Laikin
    
    Cassidy Laikin


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

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

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


    Jessica moved to San Diego 6 years ago from Northern California to attend SDSU. She received a degree in  Education. with an emphasis in Elementary Literacy and Performing Arts. During her time at SDSU, she had the opportunity to study abroad and realized her passion for traveling and global education. She received her teaching credential and Master's from the University of San Diego last year. During this time she student taught at High Tech Explorer and was ecstatic to stay on board for the 2017-2018 school year.

    When Jessica isn't at school she loves cooking, traveling, reading, and yoga.
  • Arturo Navarro
    
    Arturo Navarro


  • Karen Spadafora
    
    Karen Spadafora


  • Bethany Tipton
    
    Bethany Tipton


    Bethany joyfully joins the HTeX team as the Inclusion Specialist supporting the 2nd and 5th grade teams in her 6th 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 3rd year within the High Tech High community.

    Bethany is one part, local San Diegan, and one part San Franciscan. Prior to joining the HTeX 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 investigated the properties for a successful school and community garden in San Diego, and San Francisco. She developed the conviction that learning by doing (and sometimes rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty) acts as the best medium for cultivating genuine learning when she established a school garden at an elementary school. She is excited to support teachers with implementing designated accommodations and modifications for all students. She is relentless about developing best practices for her field. She is a major proponent for the Zones of Regulation and Social Thinking programs. Bethany knows that student self-advocacy translates into transformative educational experiences.

    Outside of HTeX, Bethany is finding the perfect cup of coffee, watching the SF Giants win, teaching her cat Madeline new tricks, listening to podcasts, training to hike Half Dome, exploring the chaparral, and tending her garden.
  • Taryn Serna
    
    Taryn Serna
    Inclusion Specialist


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


  • Julie Hutchins Science
    
    Julie Hutchins
    Science


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


    Tasia received her B.A. in Visual Arts from UCSD. She loves teaching children art as a process in creating memorable experiences. Before coming to Explorer, Tasia developed an Elementary art program for a K-12 school that focused on group projects and exhibitions. Her projects have been exhibited in various galleries. Tasia enjoys spending time with her family, making and building things out of objects found around their neighborhood.
  • Shayna Cribbs Active Education
    
    Shayna Cribbs
    Active Education


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


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


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


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


    Kimberley grew up in San Diego and was so excited to get back to the finest city in America after leaving for a few years to finish her higher education.  As a Licensed Educational Psychologist and  Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Dr Kim, as she is known to the kids she works with, has worked with children and families in both a traditional school setting as well as private practice.  Outside of the traditional role of a school psychologist, Dr. Kim's areas of specialties include counseling/mental health and school neuropsychology.  She is a diplomate of the American Board of School neuropsychology and a registered Art Therapist with the American Art Therapy Association. 
     
    Dr. Kim completed her Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies before moving to Northern California to gain a Masters in Marital and Family Therapy and Art therapy.  After working as an art therapist in both residential and clinical settings she finished her PPS credential and began working as a school psychologist in the public school system.  She then completed a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology.  Her work as a school psychologist has spanned over 17 years although she began working in education while still in college as a teachers aide 25 years ago.
     
    Outside of work, Dr. Kim loves being with her four young daughters and husband.  She spends most of her time cheering on her kids during all their activities, reading, and exploring our amazing city.
  • Robin Rubenstein Math and Literacy Specialist
    
    Robin Rubenstein
    Math and Literacy Specialist


    Robin is excited to join the team at HTe as a School Leadership Resident. For the past two years she has been the Elementary School Principal at DREAM Charter School in New York City and she brings over 12 years of elementary school teaching and leadership experience to HTH.

    Robin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona’s School of Education and a master’s degree in Special Education with a focus in Learning Disabilities from Hunter College in New York City.

    She has lived in New York City with her husband and two daughters for the past 11 years. While in New York she taught for the New York City DOE and was the founding special education teacher at Harlem Success Academy, before working at DREAM Charter School as both a teacher and school leader.

    Robin is passionate about education equality, facilitative learning, and teaching students with learning struggles. She is committed to her own continuing education and is looking forward to working with the staff, students, and families at HTH to deepen her understanding and practice of project-based learning and school leadership.
  • Paula Camarda Site Manager
    
    Paula Camarda
    Site Manager


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


    Vince is a graduate of High Tech High and is studying Computer Science at San Diego Mesa College. He is excited to be back at the Village helping Explorer keep its computers connected and up to date.
  • Victor Gonzalez Maintenance Supervisor
    
    Victor Gonzalez
    Maintenance Supervisor


    Victor keeps Explorer clean and in tip-top shape. He has many years experience in commercial building maintenance.
Before and After School Care
  • Maggie Fragoso
    
    Maggie Fragoso
    Before/After School Director


  • Tatiana Steward
    
    Tatiana Steward
    After School Program Associate Director