My name is Dana Gaertner, and I’m excited to join the HTeX team this year as a First Grade Teacher!
I grew up and went to school in a small dairy farming community in rural Wisconsin. From there I gradually made my way West, teaching and learning in large urban school districts in both Minnesota and Colorado. I began my career in education as a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher in Denver Public Schools, and then worked as a Data & Instructional Coach, and School Improvement Partner while I finished graduate school for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver (DU).
In 2017 I visited the HTH system with my leadership cohort at DU, and was intrigued by the joy and visible Project Based Learning that I saw in every classroom. Later that year, I moved to San Diego to work as a Mentor Teacher for Thrive Public Schools. At Thrive, I taught a 3rd and 4th grade combination class, and led exciting projects in Aquaponics, Constellations, and Circuitry of the Human Brain. I also mentored intern teachers, and created professional development for all staff in teaching early writers.
Along with my passion for early literacy and the design process, I also enjoy cooking, urban homesteading, engineering and design, the beach, and travel. I’m thrilled at the opportunity to teach our earliest learners again, and am really looking forward to learning more about each child’s individual strengths, interests, and experiences!
In my spare time I like to spend time with my sisters and drink boba milk tea. I also likes outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and cycling. I identify herself as a lifelong learner and enjoys taking professional development and binge on TED Talk videos.
When not at school, you can find Meg doing something active outside (hiking, biking, running, playing soccer, or swimming at the beach), reading, traveling, or spending time with her family and friends.
When Jessica isn't at school she loves cooking, traveling, reading, and yoga.
In her free time, Heather enjoys reading, photography, Disneyland and going on adventures around San Diego with her sons (One a student at HTe and the other at HTMMA).
An experienced educator, Heather was a founding faculty member at HTe and has now been a part of the amazing HTeX community for three years.
After beginning her teaching career in her native London, England, Briony sought out High Tech High after researching schools around the world where students were engaged, empowered and able to create work that mattered to them and their communities. In her work in High Tech Elementary Explorer, Briony has seen the transformative potential of project-based learning and social and emotional practices. As a teacher Briony specialized in projects that empowered students as artists and writers, taking her class camping and partnering with local bookstores and organizations which support military families. She has worked with teachers across the United States and in Hong Kong on developing projects that engage students and empower teachers.
Outside of school, Briony enjoys hiking, camping, reading, theater and traveling with her husband and twin three year olds.
Kamilah grew up three hours north of San Diego in Oxnard, California. She 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 as well as a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from High Tech High's Graduate School of Education.
As Dean, Kamilah uses her knowledge and experiences to create positive learning opportunities for all students and educators. When away from school, Kamilah enjoys walking on the beach, reading, watching movies, traveling, swimming and spending time with the men in her life (husband & three sons).