9th Grade Math
Hello everyone! I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I attended San Diego State University where I earned both my bachelor's degree and teaching credential. I became interested in teaching after graduating college, and after giving it a try, I realized how important it is and how much I really enjoy it! I now enter my first year of teaching very motivated and excited to help my students grow here at High Tech High!
During my free time, I really enjoy traveling, hiking, reading, exercising, eating (which is why I exercise), and watching sports.
When I was a child all I wanted to do was build things with Legos and get lost in the imaginary worlds I experienced in tv, movies and video games. I have always had an interest in airplanes, spaceships and rockets and at one point dreamed of being an astronaut. I took those passions and decided to study Aerospace Engineering at UCSD. After college I chased my dream job and moved to Texas only to steer myself into a boring desk job. I had an opportunity to share my job to a class of students and realized a change in scenery was in order. I moved back to San Diego and earned a Teaching Credential at SDSU. This is my fourth year as a part of the HTHCV crew and I'm thrilled to be back and excited by the challenges and opportunities this year will bring!
When I’m not in the classroom or listening to podcasts on my commute I can be found at my local game shop playing all sorts of board and card games or at the movie theater absorbing the latest blockbuster. I also enjoy playing video games with my children and occasionally building new lego worlds with my nephews.
If you are reading this, I hope that I get the chance to meet you. I never know what to put in a bio of a couple of paragraphs, I would much rather have tea/coffee and swap stories!
I have been with HTH Chula Vista since the beginning and love working in the community of Chula Vista. As a previous mechanical engineer, I enjoy infusing design and engineering processes and concepts into the projects and 9th grade year.
I have particular interest teaching in the themes of sustainability and peace. I hope to bring these themes into the Physics course and explore ways to envision and make a new world.
Personally, I just want to be the best human being I can be. I aspire to do so and hopefully instill this desire within our "Co-Op",which is the students and staff in the courses of Physics, Humanities (with instructor Sara Islas), and Art. Live long and prosper! (I am a Trekkie too.)
Alexia was born and raised in Chula Vista, and is very excited to be back for year four of serving the community with the HTHCV team! She received her BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and worked full time on-campus for a couple of years within the housing department focused on supporting first year college students. Alexia completed the Master's Credential Cohort Program at the University of San Diego, with teaching placements in US History classrooms within the San Diego Unified School District. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, attending musicals, playing volleyball, painting, traveling, and spending quality time with her partner, friends, and family. Alexia's HTHCV journey now includes working closely with student leaders by advising the student-led Ethnic Studies elective class and the feminist club Asked For It (A.F.I)!
I was born and raised in Southbay San Diego and am very excited to be back with High Tech High Chula Vista after student teaching here as part of the HTH Teacher Apprentice Program. Prior to working at the High School level, I was an Academic Coach at High Tech Middle Chula Vista and believe in creating a classroom which values neuro-diversity and equity. I received my B.A. from San Diego State University working full-time off campus at a local credit union and volunteering for a local grassroots organization. After more than half a decade working in the insurance & financial industry I’m currently completing my Master's of Education in Teaching and Learning through the HTH Graduate School of Education. When I’m not on campus in my free time I enjoy hiking, running, reading, politics, playing basketball, traveling and enjoying time with friends and family.
9th Grade Academic Coach
Mary Lou Paredes
9th Grade Inclusion Specialist
Mary Lou graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Finance and Accounting from NYU's Stern School of Business. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, she lived in New York City, London (study abroad), Hong Kong and San Francisco before settling down in sunny San Diego. After spending one summer teaching English in Guanajuato, Mexico, she decided that she wanted to leave the corporate world to pursue teaching full-time as she was passionate about helping others reach their full potential through education.
Before she was an Education Specialist, Mary Lou was an Academic Coach and Student Teacher at HTHCV for 3 years. In May 2020, she graduated from the University of San Diego with a Master's degree in Teaching and Curriculum Instruction.
In her spare time, Mary Lou enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exploring new places, singing karaoke, and spending time outdoors.
Ms. Shirk is extremely excited and honored to be one of the fabulous 9th Grade Humanities teachers at HTHCV! She is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and attended the College of Charleston her first two years of her undergraduate work. She transferred to San Diego State University for her final years of undergraduate and obtained her degree in English and Comparative Literature. Ms. Shirk loves SDSU so much that she continued her graduate and credential work there to help move her closer to her dream of becoming a high school English teacher.
The Sweetwater District has always been very near and dear to Ms. Shirk. She did her student teaching at Mar Vista Middle School and Hilltop High School. During the middle of her credentialing year, she was hired as a full time English teacher for Hilltop and made many wonderful student and colleague connections. The defining moment in her career, thus far, has been her acceptance into the High Tech High family. She is very passionate about her students and course content. When she is not teaching the youth of America she likes to spend time with family and friends, go to the gym, be by the water, read and watch junky reality television.
This is now my fourth year at HTHCV and I am excited to teach math to both 11th and 12th grade this year. Integrated Math 3 and Calculus are amazing classes with real-world applications. Have a great year!
10th Grade Math
I am a San Diego native, Mexican-American thriving on moving forward with the help of my family and friends. I hope to develop a foundational understanding of mathematics and an interest in the STEAM fields for our students so that they are able to open the doors to infinity (my favorite concept in math)! My teaching philosophy is revolving about respect, professional relationships and demanding with care. I enjoy sports (baseball, basketball and golf), exercising and training (weight lifting, running, bike riding and hiking) and love to read!
10th Grade Humanities
Iridian Larrinaga was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. She moved to San Diego to attend University of California, San Diego where she received her Bachelor's in Spanish Literature in 2018. She finished her Master's in Education and teaching credential at UCSD in 2019.
On her free time she enjoys dancing, writing, going to concerts and music festivals. Her favorite writer is Juan Rulfo and she has great admiration for Frida Kahlo.
Hello! My name is Vivian Nguyen, and I am super excited to be cultivating mathematicians in our Math 2 classes this year. I was born and raised in San Jose, California, where I was inspired by many of my own K-12 teachers to become a teacher myself. I moved down to Los Angeles to attend UCLA (go Bruins!) and earned a Bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Education in 2020. I just recently earned my teaching credential in May 2021 and am currently working to get my Masters in Teaching, both of which at SDSU. Some things I enjoy doing when I’m not teaching or going to school: baking, crocheting, dancing, trying new foods (always open to suggestions)!
Celina Rodriguez was raised in San Diego, California. She attended UC Davis where she earned her Bachelor’s in Chicana/o Studies & International Relations and her Masters in Education. Her thesis work focused on the transformative power of a Chicana/o Art curriculum to engage and empower students and community through silk-screen printing and murals. Her academic passions include Chicana/o Studies, African-American Studies, and history.
In her free time Celina enjoys spending time in nature, hanging with her family, photography, and traveling off the beaten path. Ever the curious seeker, Celina has visited 37 countries and counting.
Hello everyone! I was born and raised in New York, where I earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Brooklyn College, encountered my lifelong intellectual hero, Socrates, and discovered my passion for teaching and learning.
After graduating, I taught English as a Second Language before moving to Atlanta in 2012, where I earned a master's degree in Philosophy from Georgia State University, and then to Boston in 2014, where I earned my Ph.D.
Before moving to San Diego and joining the HTH family in 2020, I taught and assisted university courses in philosophy, ethics, and academic writing at Boston University, Georgia State University, and Harvard University.
In my free time, I love to write, play the guitar, sing, dance, climb, run, surf, cycle, practice yoga, play board games, take photos, watch movies, enjoy the great outdoors, and of course, contemplate the great mysteries of the universe.
I love teaching chemistry at HTHCV. In my classroom, you would normally see students working in groups, engaging in academic discussion, creating and presenting original work, and most of all learning how to be scientists. I believe in using inquiry and a natural tendency for socializing as tools for learning. I want students to come away with reading, writing, and speaking skills that will translate to any profession, science or other.
In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing, fishing, and surfing.
My name is Zak Beltz, and this will be my second year with HTHCV. I grew up nestled between towering redwoods and the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz, CA. I earned a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Sonoma State University, and have since worked in various aspects of animal care and Education. I love to spend time outside hiking, in water, and eating with friends and family.
11th Grade Biology
Hi there! My name is Elise Bostic and I teach Biology and Environmental Science. I began teaching high school science in 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona after graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Biological Sciences. In 2011, I earned my master’s degree from the University of Arizona in Teaching and Teacher Education. I have also taught education courses at the University of Arizona and Online Astrobiology for Teachers at Montana State University. In 2017, I began teaching at a pathway school in Denver, Colorado before moving to Chula Vista in 2020 to work at High Tech High Chula Vista. I have been following the work on HTH for years and feel grateful for the opportunity to work at a fully project-based school.
Facilitating high school science is my passion. I love working with students and exposing them to the wonders of life science at such an important time in their lives. I truly believe all students can learn and grow as scientists. I have learned so much from my former students (and colleagues) and carry their stories, successes, and struggles into my daily practice as an educator.
When I am not teaching I enjoy reading, being outdoors, and spending time with my husband, Wyatt and our son Gabriel. We love to travel, cook, hang out with our families in Arizona and California, and relax with our friends.
11th Grade Inclusion Specialist
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in 7th grade. I love teaching and getting to know each and every one of my students.
I grew up in San Diego and went to UC San Diego where I received a bachelors in chemistry, masters in chemistry, masters in education, and my teaching credential. I have taught chemistry for 9 years and am now an education specialist. I am here to support you in any way I can!
I am married and have a 4 year old son and love any type of physical activity from backpacking to sports.
11th Grade Math
11th Grade Academic Coach
Hello! I am a traveler, Stranger Things fan, and sticker collector, and much more. My name is Christina Payne and I am really looking forward to this upcoming school year as an 11th Grade Biology teacher at HTHCV. Now that I look back on my high school years, I remember all the opportunities I had to travel for tennis tournaments, photography, and music festivals. I grew up traveling as a kid and I still have the traveling bug. I hope to provide my students with amazing experiences along with the skills they need once they graduate High Tech High Chula Vista.
After high school, I attended San Diego State University where I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biology & minor in Chemistry; then, finished my teaching credential while working in a cardiovascular research lab and had the opportunity to work on a cancer research grant. I am excited to see projects come to life and to blend my passions related to science and art.
Hi, I'm Andres Perez and this is my fifth year in teaching and ninth year in education. I grew up in Chula Vista and El Cajon before going to Sacramento State and Columbia University. I love spending time with family, news, and reading.
I’m a San Diego native who graduated from Chapman University with a degree in Creative Writing (cluster in Communication and Leadership). After completing my undergrad education I worked in politics across San Diego, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. doing political communication and campaign finance investigation. In 2016, I graduated from the University of San Diego with a Masters in Education. Before starting graduate school I also worked at a radio station in Laguna Beach hosting and producing morning and nighttime programs. I continue to produce podcasts and enjoy recording interviews with friends and family about their stories and life experiences.
Born in San Diego and raised in Chula Vista, Connor has the privilege of continuing to live and work in the community that he loves and calls home. Connor first found the High Tech High community as a student at High Tech High Chula Vista from 2009-2013. Then after graduating, Connor attended the University of California San Diego where he studied Cognitive & Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Education Studies.
While at UCSD, Connor developed a passion for the brain, as well as exploring the relationship between factors such as our environmental experiences and our learning and development. Throughout much of his youth, Connor dealt with chronic anxiety that often left him fatigued and downhearted. It is because of these experiences that he now strives to build meaningful relationships with his students in addition to teaching science content; and as often as possible to incorporate social-emotional learning into his lessons. His hope is that his students will not only leave his classroom as more confident scientists, but also as more thoughtful humans with a deeper understanding of themselves.
When he isn't in the classroom you will likely find Connor out exploring with his dogs. He enjoys spending time outdoors and finds that some of his best thinking happens while he is walking in wilderness. He also enjoys spending time with his family, listening to and writing music (guitar is his favorite instrument to play), cooking, and staying up to date on all of the new and interesting scientific experiments and discoveries!
I have been a lover of learning my entire life, and I am lucky to have had the time and space to pursue my interests and learn more about the world around me. The most important thing I have ever learned about are the injustices that much of our world is built and my position of privilege within that. I only came to this understanding because of the loving people around me who guided me to learn more, and then also how to take action and join in with others to help right these wrongs. This is how I see my role as a teacher of the humanities; it is my responsibility to lovingly give my students the time and the space to pursue their own interests and learn more about the world around them, and then to guide them in the creation of work that will have a direct and positive impact on their community.
MariaTeresa Ceseña (a.k.a. Dr. C) was born and raised in Riverside, CA. After graduating from high school she attended UC Irvine to study archaeology; she dreamed of becoming the next Indiana Jones. She eventually transferred to UC Riverside where she graduated with a degree in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. Her next move brought her to San Diego to complete a Ph.D. program in Ethnic Studies at UCSD. From 2008 to 2013 Dr. C taught courses in writing and Ethnic Studies at UCSD and the University of San Diego.
Dr. C joined the HTHCV family in the Fall of 2013. Having taught at the university level for several years, she has a good sense of what college professors are expecting from their students and is committed to helping all students prepare for the transition from high school to college or wherever their journeys may lead.
Hi! My name is Jaz (short for Jasmine), and I hail from Chula Vista (I went to high school down the road at Eastlake High!) While working in the surf/skate industry, I earned a bachelor's degree from SDSU in Mathematics for Single Subject teaching. After college, I taught in a differentiated learning environment for three years before joining the HTHCV family.
In my spare time, I paint commissioned pet portraits and spend time with my French Bulldog puppy Flaco. Some fun facts about me: I run a fantasy league for The Bachelor and love to play Dungeons & Dragons.
12th Grade Humanities
12th Grade Humanities
My name is Mackenzie (Mack) King, and I am privileged to call myself a High Tech High Chula Vista (HTHCV) teacher! I joined the High Tech High community in 2011 and have since taught at two HTH schools. I am thrilled that this coming academic year I have the opportunity to teach humanities with an awesome team of seniors!
Before becoming a teacher, I worked at a District Attorney's office, studied bonobos at the San Diego Zoo, and worked for a 911 ambulance system as an EMT. I'm the type of person who has more interests than I can count which is why teaching at HTHCV is a perfect fit. Working at a project-based learning school allows me to pursue and explore all of my interests each year through different projects with a collaborative team of students to accompany me on that journey.
Outside of teaching, I love reading, writing, cooking, watching movies, playing volleyball, Olympic weightlifting, drinking espresso, and eating lots of yummy food covered in hot sauce.
12th Grade Inclusion Specialist
Ms. Leizl is very excited to be back at HTHCV! Born and raised in Chula Vista, Ms. Leizl was part of HTHCV's founding class. Ms. Leizl received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a literacy focus at San Diego State University. After working as a Behavioral Interventionist to children with Autism and their families, she soon earned her Education Specialist Instruction Credential and Master's of Education at University of San Diego.
I am in my 11th year here at HTH Chula Vista and I am excited to continue my work as a 12th grade engineering & design teacher. In my class I value student agency and developing the skills students need to drive their own learning and to discover what they value. Before teaching at HTH I worked as a design engineer for a bearing manufacturer. My time there showed me what is needed to be successful in the world beyond school and it has shaped what I teach in my classroom. I believe that what we do in my class is applicable to all students, whether they are pursuing engineering or some other field. Outside of school I am an avid music lover. I enjoy listening to live music and I am often moved by the level of positivity that comes from a group of people dancing and having a good time together. I dabble in creating music as well. I have been playing guitar for over 20 years and consider myself a synth head. I enjoy sharing my love of music with the students and try to often design projects around music. To stay healthy I go to the climbing gym and rejuvenate by being outdoors.
12th Grade Inclusion Specialist
My name is Alberto Rojas-Duran. I am a 12th-grade academic coach and student teacher this year. I am also the head coach of the HTHCV Bruins Baseball team.
Teaching art at HTHCV is my dream of merging my love for creating art and working with youth. I originally moved to San Diego from The Bay Area to pursue a degree in Social Work and Art. It was then that I discovered my love for working with youth and how I can bring my art into that practice. I have worked in art education through The New Children's Museum and a non profit called ArtReach where I taught art in schools throughout San Diego. I started as an Academic Coach at HTHCV and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to pursue my dream job of teaching art with these amazing students.
Megan has been at High Tech High since 2012 teaching 12th grade Engineering and Art. Megan is originally from Cleveland Ohio, one of the greatest cities in the mid-west with its erratic weather patterns, empty steel manufacturing plants, tasty polish pierogies and of course the Cleveland Browns!
Megan attended the Ohio State University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. After a few years of working in the architectural profession, she decided it was time to go back to school for her Master’s degree. That is what brought her to San Diego. In 2007 Megan received her Master’s degree in Architecture from the New School of Architecture and Design. Shortly after graduation Megan began working with Estudio Teddy Cruz, an architectural practice engaged in social issues. She collaborated with ETC for four years. It was while working at Estudio Teddy Cruz that Megan began teaching as an adjunct instructor at the New School of Architecture and Design and loved it from the very start. Having the opportunity to both teach and practice her passion is to have the best of both worlds. It is this real world work experience and teaching experience that Megan is so excited to bring to the High Tech High classroom.
When Megan is not teaching she enjoys exploring the city and its neighborhoods by bike or foot. She also loves traveling, visiting home (Cleveland) and spending time with her family and friends.
Edrick has spent the last 20+ years as an educator for the Chula Vista community, 12 years at Finney Elementary School for CVESD, 8 years working at HTMCV, 6 as a humanities teacher, and 2 years at the Dean of Students. He is looking forward to continuing his service for the HTH community as HTHCV's new Director.
Growing up, Edrick attended Bonita Middle and Eastlake High School, so he feels honored and blessed to be able to give back to the Chula Vista community. After high school, Edrick attended SDSU where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and his Multiple Subject CLAD Credential. In 2008, he entered the HTH Graduate School of Education, and completed his course of study with a Master of Education degree in Teacher Leadership in 2010.
When Edrick is not in the classroom, he used to train for endurance runs, roam the local trails on his mountain bike, an on occasion would play a little golf. But now, Edrick and his beautiful wife are busy with life taking care of their 2 year old daughter. So now you can find Edrick potty training, singing silly songs, reading tons of books like, Quantum Physics for Babies, and sharing the beauty of the world with his little girl and wife.
Dean of Students
Sylvia was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in San Diego with her loving parents and 3 siblings. Sylvia attended Sweetwater High School in National City, Ca.
Sylvia's most memorable moments growing up were the twice yearly trips her family would take to Chihuahua, Mexico where her maternal grandparents and extended family are from as well as monthly visits to her father's extended family in Los Angeles. Having come from a bi-racial, bi-cultural family background, Sylvia believes she's been blessed with "the best of both worlds."
In her spare time, Sylvia enjoys traveling, reading, & spending precious time with her four children, extended family & friends!
Favorites Questionnaire (by request)
My Birthday: August 16
Favorite Candy: Dark Chocolate w/Almonds
Favorite Flower: Gerber daisy
Favorite Drink: Peppermint & Chamomile teas (decaf)
Associate Director of College Advising / Title IX Coordinator
Michelle was born in Minnesota, and as a navy "brat," moved a lot, attending 10 elementary schools before landing in San Diego. She married her high school sweetheart, and they have three kids: Haley, Hannah & Hayden (HTHCV c/o 2012, '16 & '29 respectively). She earned her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University, M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of San Diego, and Certificate in College Counseling through UCLA Extension. She is a founding staff member of HTHCV, and has also worked as an external application reader for UCSD. Outside of work, she spends the majority of her time on her son's soccer field or tennis court.
Director of College Advising
Giselle Aguayo was born and raised in San Diego. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Latino Studies from San Francisco State University. In addition to being an academic coach at High Tech High, she is a production assistant at the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory.
In her free time, she enjoys playing guitar and bass (as well as dabbling in other instruments), trying new recipes, painting, reading, and thrifting.
CrASH Attendance Assistant
Hello, My name is Elizabeth Castro and I was born and raised in San Diego and have lived in Chula Vista most of my life. Mother of two children, I decided to become a stay at home mom for 11 yrs. During these years at home I went to Beauty College in the evenings and became a licensed Esthetician and Certified Makeup Artist. My true passion has always been my children. Both my son and daughter are graduates of HTHCV. My son went to SDSU and my daughter Wheaton College in Illinois.
I take great pride in representing High Tech High Chula Vista both as a parent and an employee.
Special Education Coordinator
Born in Los Angeles raised in the South Bay. Enjoying giving back to the community in a way possible. I enjoy outdoor activities from playing sports to going camping. Having kiddos of my own one in High school and another entering Middle school.
David Hua is a lifelong San Diegan who attended UCSD and received a BS in Electrical Engineering in 2005. Upon finishing college, Dave joined the High Tech High family at HTHI and helped startup HTHCV in 2007, HTMCV/HTECV in 2011, and helped startup the Mesa campus in 2018 & 2019. He is excited for the 2021-22 school year as HTHCV embarks on our 15th year, HTMCV/HTECV their 11th year and the Mesa campus completely opens with HTHM in its 4th year and HTMM/HTEM in their 3rd year. It has been quite a journey but he has enjoyed every step of the way and working for such a dynamic and innovative organization.
Dave is proud to be going into his 17th year with the High Tech High family and has enjoyed learning a lot from students throughout the years. He truly enjoys working and advising students in their quest to go to college and feels lucky to have a chance to convince kids he's not just an ordinary IT "geek" hiding in "the Dave Cave". In his free time, he loves to spend time with his family, travel the world, go to the beach, hike/camp, eat lots of food, and root for the Chargers and Padres in his favorite city in the world, San Diego. There's no place like 127.0.0.1 :).
Internship Coordinator & ASES Grant Manager
Yoli Soler grew up in the San Joaquin Valley surrounded by vineyards, cherry orchards, tons of cows, and of course her familia. She attended UC Davis, and earned a Degree in Sociology and Spanish with a minor in Chican@ Studies. Yoli launched her teaching career in Sacramento. She moved down to sunny SoCal in 2008, and this is her 10th year with HTHCV.
Yoli loves teaching her students about the history and culture of Latin American countries. You will often find her and her students learning about these countries and their citizens, instead of conjugating verbs.
Yoli and her husband welcomed a baby boy named Dante in May of 2017. They stay busy watching him grow, and explore. They are learning so much!
Yoli likes her students to call her Senorita Soler, she says it is part of the Spanish language to use such formalities. For those who are looking into doing some traveling while at High Tech High, Señorita Soler and Señorita Marisol Franco are planning another trip to Spain so stop by to get information.
CrASH Athletic Director