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9th Grade
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Trisha IbarraDP
9th/12th Grade Multimedia
Trisha Oralie Martin Ibarra was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She spent the last eight years working as teaching artist in Chicago, IL and is excited to join the HTHMA community. Earning an MFA from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from San Diego State University, she was destined to make her way in both education and the arts. Her teaching and artistic practice are reflective of her Filipino heritage and the philosophy that all human kind, in tandem with the visible and invisible world, are one.

When Trisha is not in the classroom, she can be found getting her hands dirty with her plants or artwork, organizing a community event, snuggled up with her pet reading or spending time with her family and friends...and yes, she loves dark chocolate and alternative milk lattes.
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Ashley PereiraDP
9th Grade Humanities
A bit about me: I am brand-new to the San Diego area; my partner is in the Navy and was recently stationed here. Before moving to California, I lived in Denver, CO where I spent the past five years of my life finding my calling in teaching and project-based learning. In my free time I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, cooking, camping, hiking, traveling, and seeing live music. I am obsessed with my dog (a Corgi named Bilbo Swaggins) and I am originally from St. Louis, MO (go Cardinals!). When I was growing up, my father--an immigrant who worked to pay his way through college when he came to the U.S.--always emphasized the importance of education, and it is absolutely thanks to his upbringing and influence that I became a teacher.

A bit about my teaching philosophy: I believe a successful classroom not only prepares students to be excellent readers and writers, but also empowers them to be effective world citizens. I celebrate diversity in my classroom--each one of us comes to the table with different outlooks, values, and experience, and all of these perspectives are valuable. We learn best from one another, so I strive to make my classroom a space where every individual voice is both heard and honored. My hope is that these practices empower my students to develop their own individual worldview and unlock their passions for learning and for our global community.
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Annie Quinn
9th Grade Math/Physics
My name is Annie Quinn, and I am excited to join the High Tech High Media Arts community this year as a 9th grade physics teacher. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and moved to San Diego over a decade ago to study Neuroscience and Education at UCSD. After graduating, I spent a few years splitting my time working as a research assistant, Boys and Girls Club Director, and high school water polo coach before moving to Chicago to complete my graduate degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. During my first year of teaching, I hope to inspire students to develop an appreciation for scientific inquiry by creating engaging, hands-on, and meaningful experiences in our classroom and our community.

When I’m not in the classroom, you will likely find me at the pool enjoying a swim workout or coaching the HTHPL water polo team (Go Storm!). My husband Alex and I jump at any opportunity to be outside hiking, camping, biking, or just enjoying the beautiful San Diego sun.
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Dan Slowik
9th Grade Humanities
Prior to teaching, Dan attended the University of Dubuque, where he was a member of the men’s basketball team. Following his years at Dubuque, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Geography Education at Illinois State University. After college, Dan taught high school history on the South Side of Chicago for 4 years, where he also coached basketball. Dan’s teaching philosophy is to first gain students’ trust aided by a welcoming and open-minded environment (mixed with some terrible jokes) in order to foster individualized educational growth throughout the school year.
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Chris WakefieldDP
9th Grade Math/Physics

Chris Wakefield is an experienced educator who has 18 years of educational experience, in which a decade was at High Tech High Media Arts.  Chris brings an innovative way of thinking to education focusing on student engagement.  He has developed more than 20 projects, while teaching Math and Physics at HTHMA that allowed students to design and build authentic, practical real-world products that challenged students to go beyond the classroom.  This semester students will examine exponential functions while they learn about student loans, mortgages, and 401k’s.  Students will also create works of art as they learn to manipulate Geometric Transformations.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Chris was selected to work with the Innovation Unit in London, England to help schools transition to Project Based Learning.  From this experience, Chris learned how to structure projects so that students craving challenge are pushed with above grade level work while emerging learners get the support that they need to be successful.

Chris holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, a Master’s Degree from George Mason University, and a Master’s Degree in School Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.  When he is not at school you will find Chris riding his road bike all around San Diego, having dinner with friends, and reading a book on the beach with his wife who he married in November 2017.

10th Grade
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Ernesto Orozco
10th Grade Spanish
I am originally from Long Beach, Ca and moved to San Diego after I got married.  My roots are from both Mexico and El Salvador. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Latin American & Latino Studies and Politics in 2006.  I received my Masters in Education and teaching credential to teach Spanish from UC San Diego in 2018. I am the son of immigrants, a teacher of color, a musician and a new father. This shapes what I teach, how I teach, and most importantly, why I teach.  When I am not in the classroom, I continue to play music, specifically, Son Jarocho. I also play soccer almost every weekend. 


Some of my favorites:

Favorite Shows: Star Trek The Next Generation, The Simpsons, & RuPaul's Drag Race

Favorite Books: Always Running & 1984

Favorite Quote: “Quien comienza por sentirse capaz, acaba por serlo”

Favorite Rompecabeza: Borges y Yo by Jorge Luis Borges
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Timothy Ro
10th/11th Grade Math
I am excited to be returning to HTHMA for my second year of teaching. I am originally from Garden Grove, where I was born and raised in the recently dubbed "Orange County Koreatown," or what I personally elect to call it, "The Boulevard of the Korean American Dream." From there, I attended the University of Washington, Seattle to pursue a bachelor's in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. Along the way, I picked up part-time jobs in different educational capacities and I became hooked on the best teaching practices and reforming education in the US. I added a minor in Education, Learning, and Societies and am currently earning my teaching credential through the HTH Graduate School of Education.

In my free time, I deeply enjoy playing board games and video games with old friends or trying to find the best food in San Diego!
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Lauryn StephensonDP
10th Grade Humanities
I am a San Diego native who enjoys traveling to new places, reading (especially Science Fiction), watching scary movies, cooking (and eating!), doing yoga, backpacking, and running. I received my Bachelor's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and my Master's degree in Teaching and Education from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
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Carli Underhill
10th Grade Chemistry
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Maria-Elena Valenzuela
10th Grade Humanities
I am from the city of Tijuana, Mexico. My parents are from Mexico: my father was a Bracero, a field worker and my mother worked in a factory. When I was twelve years old I began to cross the border on a daily basis to attend school in San Diego.  I am the first person in my family to graduate from high school and college.  I attended San Diego City College and worked in several organizations which focused on human rights. My first teaching experience was in an indigenous Maya community in Chiapas, Mexico. 

I transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz where I earned a B.A. degree in Latin American and Latino Studies as well as a M.A. degree in Education. I worked as a Spanish and Social Studies teacher at the high school level in Watsonville, California, a community located south of Santa Cruz and also earned a second M.A. degree in Educational Administration at Santa Clara University.  I coordinated an after school program and worked as an Assistant Principal of Student Services. For several years, I served as a faculty advisory to the Dream Club, which supports undocumented students and families. I currently live with my husband and step daughter in North Park. I greatly enjoy cooking, riding my bicycle, traveling and the arts!
11th Grade
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Dan AllenDP
11th Grade Art

I began my art career at the age of four. I remember copying a coloring book page instead of coloring it in with crayons. My preschool teacher praised my ability to recreate the drawing that I seen in the book. My peers said that it was cool. My mother hung it on the refrigerator and later stored it with my other childhood memorabilia. It was the first time I can remember being congratulated. Fast forward to junior high school, with encouragement from my teachers, I was entering art fairs and winning awards for my artwork. While in high school I fell in love with ceramics and sculpture and got my first kiln and potter’s wheel (both of which I still have today). I received my art degree from San Diego State University and after college I began working for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Later, I started a mural painting business for five years and I opened my own Art gallery in downtown San Diego which lasted for three years.

I began teaching at High Tech High Media Arts in January 2015. This has allowed my artistic journey to come full circle. Now I am the teacher full of praise for the beauty that students share with me everyday. Thank you for taking the time to explore this amazing world.
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Timothy Ro
10th/11th Grade Math
I am excited to be returning to HTHMA for my second year of teaching. I am originally from Garden Grove, where I was born and raised in the recently dubbed "Orange County Koreatown," or what I personally elect to call it, "The Boulevard of the Korean American Dream." From there, I attended the University of Washington, Seattle to pursue a bachelor's in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. Along the way, I picked up part-time jobs in different educational capacities and I became hooked on the best teaching practices and reforming education in the US. I added a minor in Education, Learning, and Societies and am currently earning my teaching credential through the HTH Graduate School of Education.

In my free time, I deeply enjoy playing board games and video games with old friends or trying to find the best food in San Diego!
12th Grade
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Paola Capó-GarcíaDP
12th Grade English
I’m an educator, poet, and translator from San Juan, PR. I moved to the U.S. in 2005 and got my B.S. in Magazine Journalism and English & Textual Studies from Syracuse University. After working in online and print journalism in NYC for a few years, I decided to pursue my M.A. in English at UC Davis and then my M.F.A. in Creative Writing at UC San Diego. I’ve taught undergraduate literature, composition, and rhetoric courses at both universities and I’m excited to bring my college knowledge to the HTHMA classroom! My priorities as an educator are to introduce students (and myself) to underrepresented writers, explore the possibilities of language, and make students more confident as writers/communicators.

Some facts about me: I think writing, in some ways, can save the world. Soy bilingüe. Eating is the most fun thing to do. Being from Puerto Rico means I’d rather be at the beach. I have seen every TV show ever, except Dr. Who. I used to be a dancer, now I can barely sway. I get an odd thrill from decorating a room. And my dogs, Furio and Boris, are my best friends.
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Philip EstradaDP
12th Grade Physics
I've been at High Tech High since fall 2016. After having a great experience volunteering as a math and science tutor I began pursuing a credential and eventually became a Physics and Engineering teacher at HTHMA where I get to use all sorts of great tools and make interesting things.

Outside of school, I like surfing, rock climbing, homebrewing and cooking at home with my wife in Point Loma. I'm interested in technology and taking things apart, so I help students fix their phones. I'm fortunate to have been able to travel over the last few years and together with my wife have been to Paris and Southern France, Copenhagen, London, New York, Mexico, Germany, Austria and San Francisco. We would like to visit Japan, Prague or Turkey in the future.
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Mele SatoDP
12th Grade Math

Mathematics has always shaped and informed how I interact with the world around me. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i and moved to the mainland to attend Harvey Mudd College, a school where I connected with others who are as passionate and curious about mathematics as me. It wasn't until after college that I truly understood and embraced Harvey Mudd's mission statement:

"Harvey Mudd College seeks to educate engineers, scientists, and mathematicians well versed in all of these areas and in the humanities and the social sciences so that they may assume leadership in their fields with a clear understanding of the impact of their work on society."

I strive to create meaningful experiences for all students and adults so that they may connect and influence each other in life and in learning. My priorities as an educator are to immerse my students (and myself) in mathematics as a tool to learn about our world and dismantle injustices, grow as mathematical explorers, appreciate the beauty of mathematics, and to disrupt the notion that there is such a thing as a math person.

ED Specialist
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Steve Kirchberg
Education Specialist
I am from San Diego and have worked with High Tech High since 2015. At HTH I have worked as an Academic Coach, Spanish teacher and now as an Inclusion Specialist. At San Diego State University I studied Spanish and psychology, and I am dual credentialed in Spanish and Inclusion. My teaching experience began as a vocational English teacher to Iraqi refugees and as a high school Spanish tutor.

I have lived in Peru and Chile and spent a lot of time around Latin America. Learning Spanish is the most valuable thing I have gained from education. At HTHMA I want my students to leave school feeling heard, empowered and curious.

I love food, surf, travel, art and spending time with my small family.
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Molly Maher
Education Specialist
Hello, my name is Molly Maher and this is my fourth year teaching high school students. I am new to California and traveled exactly 1,737 miles from my home town of Indiana to join the High Tech High team the first of August.  I went to school at Marymount University just outside of Washington D.C. to play college lacrosse and taught two years at an urban high school in our nation’s capitol. Since landing in San Diego two weeks ago, I am trying to learn to surf (you can see me getting barreled at the local beaches). I enjoy learning, trying new activities, and find Ellen DeGeneres hilarious. I can never get enough of traveling…I love to visit other countries, learn about their cultures and share time with people from all different backgrounds. People describe me as enthusiastic and high energy, but that is usually after my first coffee. I can’t wait to meet my new students and already know we are going to have a wonderful year!
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Tina MilzDP
Education Specialist
Hello there— I’m Tina. I graduated from HTHMA in 2014 and now I’m back as an Ed Specialist! I received my bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz in 2018 where I primarily focused on food systems and agricultural social justice movements. I applied this knowledge by working on the campus farm, where we practiced sustainable organic farming techniques.

I discovered my love of teaching at UC Santa Cruz while working as an undergraduate teacher’s assistant for the Sociology department, where I designed my own lessons to supplement upper and lower division sociological theory courses. I found myself using collaborative techniques that my teachers at HTHMA used because they were not only the most effective, but the most enjoyable. I strongly believe that educators have a lot to learn from their students.

I look forward to supporting HTHMA students as an ed specialist both academically and personally. They have the incredible opportunity to attend this school and I want to make sure that they experience it it to the fullest!

Outside of school, you can find me cooking, hiking, painting, or playing with my cat Goji. See you in class! :-)
All School
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Ray Trinidad
Dean of Students
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Danielle Bell-Dunnam
Mental Health Intern
Danielle was born in a small town of about 1200 people in Kansas, and graduated BA in Mass Media. She joined and worked in the corporate workforce for over 15 years, which is what brought her to San Diego, before deciding to switch to the nonprofit sector in hopes of making a difference. She has worked with youth who would become first generation college students, and at a high school for three years. There, she assisted with Career Development, and administered a grant from the State of CA, which helped students with disabilities achieve their post-secondary plans and dreams. She went back to school, a lifelong dream of her own, and received her MA in Counseling Psychology in August 2020. Danielle did her practicum work at High Tech High and is happy to rejoin the team as her first job post-graduation.

Danielle plays indoor, beach and grass volleyball whenever she gets the opportunity. She loves music, especially live music and traveling. She also enjoys paddleboarding, hiking, snorkeling and most anything outdoors. She is a sports fan and cheers for the KC Royals and KC Chiefs (and often the Padres). Danielle loves her time with friends and family and is married to her husband Ryan. Her pride and joy are her many nieces and nephews.
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Misty Bonta
Mental Health Therapist/Clinician
Misty Bonta is the SANDCASP Past President and serves on the CASP Board. She is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) with over 12 years of experience working in various educational environments. She has served as a Teacher, Administrator and School Psychologist and possesses extensive experience in elementary, middle, and high school settings.  Her specialty is working with children who have severe emotional, behavioral, social, and academic needs and building/maintaining strong collaborative relationships with staff, teachers, students, and families. She is a proven leader with a demonstrated ability to be a change agent for students, schools, districts, and the field of School Psychology. Misty has been a professor at Alliant University and currently works at High Tech High and High Tech High Media Arts. Her life passions include health, love, music, art, food, culture, animals, travel, and trying to make this world a better place one day at a time.
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Brad Bookser
IT Director
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Haley Chung
Academic Coach
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Brandon DavidsonDP
Internship Coordinator
I am excited to be in my 12th year with HTHMA and feel proud to call it my home. As the Internship Coordinator, I will be working to support students and teachers with the internship experience in both 11th and 12 grade and career exploration opportunities for all grades. I look forward to working with our students as they engage in the world of work outside of school and begin to develop workplace identities. I feel strongly that these experiences help students know themselves and make informed choices about college, career and life after high school.

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, grew up in the greater Boston area and attended Williams College, graduating with a degree in Biology. While still in the Boston area, I spent time volunteering at the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. I then worked to create educational tours for students and teachers to visit destinations all over the world before making the move to San Diego. Once in San Diego, I attended San Diego State University where I received my teaching credential and found my way to HTHMA. My passions outside of school include my family, travel, cooking, CrossFit, backpacking, the ocean and reading.
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Samantha Davidson
Director of College Advising
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Diana Gonzalez
Spanish Teacher / EL & ELAC Coordinator
Diana is a social justice advocate. Prior to teaching, she worked as a paralegal for the ACLU of Southern California working on issues ranging from advocating for menstrual supplies for incarcerated women to supporting students asking for a school board sanctuary policy. Diana attended Stanford University (class of 2013) where she majored in Sociology with a concentration on social inequality; in her free time she played the flute and guitarrón with the Mariachi student ensemble and danced with the Ballet Folklórico student ensemble as well. She headed back to The Farm (Stanford) to obtain her Master's in Education in 2018 and teaching credentials in English and Spanish. She grew up in City Heights, San Diego and has also lived in San Jose, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico. She is delighted to join the High Tech High family! She will be teaching 9th and 12th grade Spanish and will be the English Learners and ELAC Coordinator.

When she is not in the classroom, Diana is usually curled up with a book at home or out dancing with family and friends. She loves her cat, Gina and enjoys playing with her as much as possible.
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Tianna Lopez
Site Manager

Tianna was born and raised in San Diego.  She has a background in nursing and over a decade of Site Manager experience. Before moving to Seattle, Washington in 2015 to serve as founding operations manager for one of Seattle’s first Charter High Schools, she was HTMMA’s site manager and dance teacher for eight years.  After supporting A wonderful Seattle community for the last six years, She is ready to come back home to San Diego and the High Tech community. She is excited to spend quality time with her Mother, Daughter and the rest of her family and looks forward to connecting and reconnecting with the High Tech community.

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Patricia Miller
Academic Coach
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Denise Nguyen
Speech Language Pathologist
Denise is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, where she received her B.A. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (Go Gophers!). She went on to live in Gwangju, South Korea teaching English to elementary students for a year before returning to the states to earn her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Portland State University. She has experience interning at a large pediatric hospital and middle school as well as working in a private pediatric clinic setting.

In her free time she enjoys cooking, attending live music shows, traveling, and all the amazing outdoor activities that San Diego has to offer - hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, paddleboarding and swimming at the beach!
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Tony Thomas
IT Systems Manager
Hailed from the Keystone State, Pennsylvania, where I grew until my early twenties. Then started my journey west to start college, at the University of Montana, in Missoula. Earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, from Montana State University, in Bozeman. Along the way I studied ceramics in Missoula as well. That is where I realized my interest  in the arts. Over the years since I have occasionally joined a studio to throw pots. More recently I have been in a Ceramics Career Tech Education class at Coronado Adult Education. Joined HTH from Mater Dei Catholic High School. Where I worked as a IT Systems Administrator for 8 years. I love being a part of the education system. When away from school I enjoy anything outdoors and active. I love the mountains and the ocean.