- Anna Chiles HumanitiesXHumanities
I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating high school, I ventured up to the Philadelphia, PA area to attend Bryn Mawr College, a wonderful liberal arts college for women. There, I studied Sociology, Education, and French, ultimately graduating with a Bachelor's degree in hand and a passion for teaching and learning. Since graduation from college, I have worked in education in 3 of the 4 corners of the continental US.
The 2015-2016 school year marks my fourth year at High Tech High Media Arts. I am STILL thrilled to be in a city that I love pursuing my dream job as a Humanities teacher. I'm so lucky to be working alongside some of the most thoughtful and creative educators out there!
When I'm not at school, you might find me with my two favorite beings: my husband, Wilson, and my dog, Scout (sorry, Mom). I love to read, travel, cook, and share meals with the people that I love. Here's to a great year!
Favorite book of the summer: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Coolest places that I traveled to this summer: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy
- Trisha Ibarra Multimedia ArtsXMultimedia Arts
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.
- Scott Stambach physics
- Chris Wakefield MathXMath
Chris Wakefield is an experienced educator who has 17 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.
- Earl Walls HumanitiesXHumanities
My name is Earl Walls. I was born and raised in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area and have been living in San Diego since 2011. After graduating from Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication at San Diego State University. Following my graduation from State, I taught middle school English and History for two years while earning credentials from HTH's District Intern Program. I am so excited to have arrived here at Media Arts and thrilled to have a fantastic year with you all!
Outside of teaching, I am an avid hometown sports fan (Giants, 49ers, Warriors to be exact)! I rep my teams unapologetically in every city I go. I am a Hip-Hop kid with an old soul, drawing influence from everything between Motown and G-Funk. I am outwardly expressive and full of energy, which explain my knack for making new connections and writing and performing spoken word and hip-hop music myself. I love my family; my heart and soul revolve around their well-being. I dedicate my work in the classroom to my late father, who was an educator for roughly 25 years and passed away the summer before I started teaching. From him I learned that the classroom can be the place where many kids discover their infinite potential. I'd love to pass the same message along to my students. Cheers!
- Cate Challen MathXMath
I am an Australian native with a background in biotechnology and venture investing. After completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, I went on to complete a Doctor of Biotechnology degree at the University of Queensland, Australia focusing on the intersection of science and business. In my previous roles, I evaluated new technologies and modeled financial returns to inform operational decisions. I have always had a passion for science and mathematics, and I gain immense satisfaction from empowering students to make valuable contributions to society. My goal is to encourage students to see the beauty in science that is all around us and to appreciate the power of mathematics as a tool for understanding, communicating and decision-making.
In addition to my professional focus, I am an avid traveler, adventurer and lover of the outdoors. Therefore, the opportunity to come to San Diego, a hub for innovation and a mecca for outdoor activities, was something I could not resist. In 2012 I moved here with my husband. We love to surf, hike, eat Mexican food and just generally enjoy the mild San Diego climate.
- Steve Kirchberg SpanishXSpanish
I was born in San Diego, and have moved away twice, only to return for more waves, weather and tacos.
I have a B.A. in Spanish Language from San Diego State University, and am most passionate teaching Latin American culture, history and politics. I am thrilled to come back to HTHMA as the 10th grade Spanish teacher. In my class, students will learn to connect and communicate with new people and new ideas.
When I’m not planning Spanish lessons, I can be found surfing, on my bici or looking for los tacos más sabrosos en San Diego.
- Allison Lahl HumanitiesXHumanities
Allison earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master's degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. As an avid reader and book lover, she strives to help cultivate a passion for the written word in all of her students. She believes that everyone is a reader and a writer, and one of her goals is to help each student find their individual and unique voice.
When not in the classroom, Allison loves spending time with her husband, dog, and two cats. She also enjoys puzzles, board games, escape rooms, and writing whenever she can.
- Matt Martin ChemistryXChemistry
I was at a loss as to what to write on my bio page… say I asked people closest to me for help. Here’s what I got…
My Dad says…
Matt's dad says he has always like Matt's sense of humor and intelligence. Seeing Matt grow up was like having his own Jeopardy contestant, except that Matt never answered in the form of a question. That was a little annoying. Before Google there was Matt.
Matt’s Wife Katie Says…
Matt is the most thoughtful and loyal person I know but more importantly, he is devilishly handsome. He is a natural teacher and has a gift for conveying the complexities of the world and answering the endless barrage of “Why?” questions from our 2 and 3 year old kids. He is a self-taught carpenter who routinely attempts insane projects, the house chef, and my mom’s favorite child. He loves traveling and experiencing all he can in life. His adventurous spirit is contagious to all around him and although he used to travel the world (and hopes to do more soon), he now spends time searching for the best bounce house and playgrounds for the kids.
Matt’s Mom answered in the form of four limericks…
There once was a lad named Matt Martin,
Who loved studying math, science, and lichen,
He amazed his teachers,
Hit baseballs in the bleachers,
And then saw the world while travelin’.
There once was a lad named Matt Martin,
Who loved golf, travelling and campin’,
He challenged his teachers,
Enjoyed exciting ventures,
But, now he’s changing diapers!
There once was a lad named Matt Martin,
Who kept his fire rescue well hidden,
He became quite a hero,
But without any ego,
And now he’s loved by a million!
There once was a Matt from Pennsylvania,
Who was always quite a bit of an outlaw,
He played jokes on his teachers,
Ran with all kinds of creatures,
But always loved his grandma and grandpa!
My sister says….
I'm a show off, I play with fireworks too much, I learned everything I know from video games, well except the dog. I taught her everything she knows… about getting away with things, Brothers are like a box of chocolates… Sweet on the outside and nutty on the inside. She wouldn't trade me for the last person on earth…
Matt’s Toddlers say…
My Daddy is big and strong
- María-Elena Valenzuela Spanish / EL CoordinatorXMaría-Elena ValenzuelaSpanish / EL Coordinator
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!
- Colby Young HumanitiesXHumanities
Colby Young’s work in education focuses on building curricula and programs that cultivate student agency and interest in social justice as global citizens. Since beginning work in gang prevention through AmeriCorps in 2005, Colby has taught subjects in Social Studies and English in South Korea, the Boston area, and currently San Diego. Colby is a former History Department Chair, and now teaches Humanities while facilitating educator development through High Tech High and Boston University’s School of Education. As a teacher and researcher, Colby’s areas of interest include: peer leadership, social justice youth development, and the intersection of video games and learning. Colby is a doctoral candidate and proud new Dad.
- Rachel Angeles HumanitiesXHumanities
I am a San Diego native that does not like it when the weather is too hot or too cold.
I teach 11th grade Humanities at High Tech High Media Arts. I received my undergraduate degree in sociology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and my master's in education at National University. I have always wanted to be in education because I love being inspired by students, their families, and colleagues. If I wasn't teaching, I would be trying to perfect my family's old recipes from the Philippines in my own restaurant or living on a boat and fishing every single day.
Digital Portfolio: //humanitieswithangeles.weebly.com/
- Jorge Cerna HumanitiesXHumanities
Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are. - John Wooden
Some quick facts about me are that I love my daughters (my wife too), I have been shaped by the game of basketball, San Diego is my home, and learning from your experience is something I value.
I am happy to join this community as a 11th grade Humanities teacher. A big part of what excites me about humanities is the ability to analyze what has happened, what is happening, and how to learn from it all. My educational experience includes a BA in Social Science, an MA in Kinesiology, and my teaching credential from National University. Prior to seeking a job in education, I worked as a college basketball coach at San Diego State University and Cal State Fullerton.
- Brandon Davidson BiologyXBiology
Brandon teaches 11th grade biology at High Tech High Media Arts and he is entering his eleventh year at the school. Brandon was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in the greater Boston area. He attended Williams College and graduated with a degree in Biology. While still in the Boston area, Brandon spent time volunteering at the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He 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, he attended San Diego State University where he received his teaching credential. Brandon's passions outside of biology include his family, travel, cooking backpacking, the ocean and reading.
- Chris Millow Environmental ScienceXEnvironmental Science
I've always been amazed and inspired by the biological diversity of our planet - about the countless living things in our backyard and beyond. The natural world presents endless opportunity for wonder, exploration, and discovery, and I'm excited about actively engaging others as conscious stewards of the world around them.
I hold a Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Conservation & Entomology from the University of Delaware, a Master's degree in Ecology from SDSU, and I received my Teaching Credential through the HTH Graduate School of Education. Before joining HTHMA, I worked for The Audubon Society, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, NOAA, EPA, Seattle Public Schools, and various environmental non-profits. My degrees and jobs have taken me around the world, allowing me to experience remarkable things – the stories of which I am happy to share with you in person.
As Environmental Science teacher at HTHMA, I lead our greenhouse and garden spaces, which I look forward to growing – along with help from students and teachers, families, and community members – as vibrant, verdant resources for years to come.
My favorite part of working at HTHMA is the relationships we cultivate. Please reach out to me at any time with questions, concerns, or ideas; my door is always open.
- Sirena Van Epp MathXMath
As an East Coast native, Sirena grew up in Virginia and New Jersey before headed off to college on the West Coast. At Occidental College in Los Angeles, she studied mathematics and studio art while being involved in her school's club ultimate frisbee team and numerous tutoring programs in the math department. After graduating from Oxy in 2015, Sirena moved to San Diego where she spent a year as a teaching apprentice at HTHMA, and the following year teacher 10th and 11th grade math. She is beyond excited to be focusing all of her attention on the 11th graders and their journey in math this year!
- Sani Vanderspek HumanitiesXHumanities
This is my second year teaching humanities at HTHMA. I earned a BA from UC Berkeley in Gender and Women's Studies and an MS in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford. Currently, I am working on a dual Single Subject Credential in English and Social Science.
Outside of school, I spend most of my time learning and connecting the dots between random things to become a better friend, person, colleague, and educator in this surprising world. I also love to play soccer, get in the ocean, and spend summers far away.
- Rachel Nichols EnglishXEnglish
Rachel Nichols is from Bloomington, Indiana. Like most Hoosiers, she loves to watch and play basketball. If given the opportunity, she will convince you that basketball is the greatest game ever invented (and that the movie Hoosiers should be a required film at every grade level). Rachel moved to San Diego in the fall of 2008. She never complains about the weather here.Rachel did her undergraduate work at Indiana University and earned her MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Indiana University's School of Education. She has had the pleasure of teaching high school students for seventeen years.
When she is not teaching, Rachel loves to be involved in athletics. She has coached one United States Olympian, a few teams of Special Olympians, and many other athletes. Ms. Nichols loves to read, travel, watch films, listen to podcasts, and play all types of games. When school is not in session, you will most likely find her spending time at an outside cafe with her spouse, Meg.
- Dan Allen Art and MusicXArt and Music
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.
- Brendan Cavalier Engineering/PhysicsXEngineering/Physics
Who is Brendan? Interesting question, glad I'm here to type it for you ... I'll try to keep it short, though the story is decades long.
Prior to working at HTHMA Brendan was a working Electrical Engineer at General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Division. He worked on several projects there including the EMALS program, and electromagnetic aircraft launch system for the next generation of US aircraft carrier, AAG the advanced arresting gear for those same carriers, the Urban MagLev program, Navy Rail Gun, Homopolar Motor, and several military power conversion systems.
Before GA, Brendan received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from SDSU, with minors in Computer Science and Theatre Arts. Since Graduation, Brendan has helped found and run two Non-Profit Theatres in San Diego, and continues to work with them.
Right now, Brendan is probably working on lesson plans, or in rehearsal.
- Margaret Noble Computer Programming in the ArtsXComputer Programming in the Arts
Artist and Educator
Margaret Noble was born in Texas, raised in San Diego and received her key artistic training in Chicago. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Sound Art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Margaret Noble came to education from industry as a professional artist and since her start at High Tech High, she has consistently supported learners in producing meaningful and cutting edge student artworks. Her classes have exhibited projects at The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, The Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego, The San Diego Museum of Art, Sushi Performance Arts Center, The San Diego Art Institute and the University of California San Diego. Her students have also won several awards for their service and projects.
Margaret Noble’s students leave her class prepared for the world with critical analytical and practical skills in design and technology. Her students experience an authentic art studio laboratory and community driven art exhibitions grounded in the professional practice of contemporary art.
- Mele Sato MathematicsXMathematics
I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i and moved to the mainland to attend Harvey Mudd College. It was there that I received my B.S. in mathematics and a concentration in music. After teaching in the Los Angeles area I furthered my passion for teaching mathematics by attending the University of California at Santa Barbara where I earned my teaching credentials in both math and physics as well as my M.Ed. in Math Education.
Even though I LOVE math, I frequently find myself cooking all sorts of yummy food, making music, swimming in the ocean, playing soccer, rock climbing, hiking and camping, scarfing down some ono ramen, and knitting all sorts of maths and crafts!
- Amanda Carlson X
I graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor's in History and Education and then continued on to New York University where I graduated with a Master's in Special Education. I've spent the majority of my teaching career working at a middle school in Harlem where I served as the Special Education Coordinator and Inclusion Teacher for many years. After visiting HTH, the inclusive culture built around finding your passion instantly drew me in.
A little bit about me...I am a born and raised New Yorker who loves bagels, pizza, and snow. When I am not at school, I enjoy traveling, reading, FaceTiming my family back east, trying new restaurants, working out, and spending quality time with my husband, Ron and our pug, Gizmo. (He's a 3rd grade teacher at HTeX! Ron, not Giz.)
Simply put-I love kids. I advocate for them. I believe in them. I revere them.
- Joyce Chen X
A true California native, I was born and raised in Los Angeles - I love sunshine, beaches, and a mild temperature between 68 and 80 degrees, preferably with a crisp ocean breeze. After doing some university hopping, I received my BA in Communicative Disorders from California State University Fullerton and relocated to San Diego. Shortly after, I received a MS in Special Education from National University. I am currently working on my second master's in Learning Design and Technology.
Working with students is incredibly rewarding, and is truly the best part of the job. I am very excited to join High Tech High Media Arts as an Education Specialist! My goal is to help students discover their passions and strengths during their schooling. Outside of work and school, I enjoy traveling, maintaining an active lifestyle, dabbling in aerial arts, and trying new restaurants.
- Alexandra Murphy X
I am the 10th/11th Grade Inclusion Specialist here at High Tech High Media Arts. I was born and raised in New England. After high school I went on to receive my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After working in the field for over two years I realized my passions were truly elsewhere. I grew up in a family of educators and I saw how meaningful and impactful their jobs were and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to bring education to all students. I packed my bags and moved to New York City where I received my Master’s of Education with a concentration in Urban Special Education. I went on to teach in New York City and Boston, MA and have now come to High Tech High. I love working in a fully inclusive school with a different approach to learning that I truly believe is the best approach for teaching all.
Outside of school my hobbies include eating out & cooking (foodie here!), hiking with my pup, going to church, traveling to historical places and learning about different cultures. I most recently spent some time in Ireland and hope to plan a big summer trip for 2018. Some of my favorite things include puppies, football (GO Patriots!), Harry Potter, strawberries and coffee!
- Michael Shear X
As the 12th grade Inclusion Specialist, I'm making it my goal to prepare my seniors for the outside world by helping them to actively develop contingency plans, as well as encouraging them to explore future college and career options.
I've been called the Wade Wilson of teaching because I believe in readying my students for their future as heroes by reinforcing ambition, communicating clearly and including humor in every challenge.
I was born in Central New York, and spent the first 20 years of my life there. While in New York, I attended Onondaga College and Syracuse University: Newhouse.
In 2000, I moved to San Diego, and attended San Diego State University while working full-time as an editor. I graduated with a double major in Journalism/English and a minor in Comparative Literature, as well as a certification in CDIS/American Sign Language. I have worked in San Diego school districts for the last 6 years, and am beyond excited to make High Tech my new home!
When I'm not in school, you can find me at the archery range with my 80# compound bow (Vera) and my 45# recurve (Velma). I enjoy board game nights with friends (Betrayal at House on the Hill and Dead of Winter are faves!), watching hockey (GO GULLS!), going to my favorite restaurants for theme nights (Wing Wednesday, Taco Tuesday and Tiki Thursday) hiking and getting mileage outdoors when properly baited--a bag of dried bacon usually does the trick! I also read compulsively, binge watch TV shows and have a media library of movies and games that easily exceeds 5,000 titles!
- Isaac Jones DirectorXIsaac JonesDirector
I am extremely proud to be the Director of HTHMA. Over the past 15 years, I have taught in New York City, Costa Rica, and at High Tech High. Most recently, I have been the Director of High Tech High North County for the past 6 years. As an educator, I believe strongly in engaging all students through real-world projects that force us to question, analyze, and wonder. Please feel free to contact me with questions, ideas, and concerns.
"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey
- Tenesha Villanueva Director of College AdvisingXDirector of College Advising
Tenesha's own experience as a first generation college-bound student fuels her passion for college access and success. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Director of College Advising at HTHMA where she can support students in finding the best pathway for their future.
Born and raised in Virginia, Tenesha received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Education from Old Dominion University. Over the past 10 years, her roles have included students affairs work (on the collegiate level) as well as college access and persistence work (on the K-12 level). Most recently she served as YES Prep's Public School Director of Alumni Programs, where she led efforts around alumni data tracking, program management and partnership development.
Tenesha's first two loves are her husband Keith and their beautiful son Koren. When she's not working, she enjoys spending quality time with them and exploring new things around San Diego.
- Misty Bonta School PsychologistXMisty BontaSchool Psychologist
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.
- Erin Duarte Site ManagerXErin DuarteSite Manager
- Ady Kayrouz Dean of StudentsXAdy KayrouzDean of Students
Ady joins the HTHMA staff as Dean of Students after serving as the GSE Professional Development Coordinator, where she collaborated with educators, administrators, schools, districts and policy makers across the globe, to provide adult learning and professional development opportunities. She initially joined the HTH family as a Humanities teacher, after having served in a number of districts, schools and organizations in California and Rhode Island. Ady is a passionate, career educator and consultant, with a committed focus on education reform and equity. Experienced in program and curriculum design, leadership, administration, professional development, consultation, instructional pedagogy, student-centric methodologies, assessment design and community outreach, Ady’s work is centered around constructivist learning and transformative changes. Ady holds a B.A in English and a M.A. in Literature, and is fluent in Spanish, Arabic and French.
- Alexandra Sanches Community OutreachXAlexandra SanchesCommunity Outreach
- Josh Berrett ITXJosh BerrettIT
Josh is the Associate Director of IT at HTHMA. He is originally from the great state of Idaho, where he grew up on a farm and knows how to handle heavy equipment and raise livestock but he has always had an affinity for computers. He likes to study philosophy, psychology and comparative mythology and enjoys wide open spaces in nature.