- Mike Amarillas EngineeringXEngineering
Engineering is more than creating objects that work. To engineer is to solve problems for people. Every engineering endeavor begins with empathy, by understanding another person’s needs and developing ways to address them. Tomorrow’s problem solvers must be equipped with both technical and human skills.
A North County native, Mike Amarillas studied physics at Stanford University but couldn’t handle summer cooped up in a laboratory. He applied his varied skill set (Intramural Dodgeball Champion 2006) working as a YMCA camp counselor and became convinced his future was in teaching. After receiving his B.S. in physics he entered the Stanford Teacher Education Program to obtain a teaching credential and M.Ed. At the end of the program, he was pleased to accept a position at the same diverse public high school where he had been training. He spent the next six years teaching physics there, specializing in a version for English learners. Students in his classes built Rube Goldberg machines, launched projectiles, and contemplated our place in the universe. Mike returned to San Diego county in 2015 and began work at High Tech High North County, where his senior students converted two classrooms into a school makerspace. This fall will be his third year teaching engineering and coordinating the makerspace at HTHNC.
When not tinkering at HTHNC, Mike is most often found swimming with his son, dancing with his daughter, or watching Netflix with his wife.
- Carol Cabrera HumanitiesXHumanities
My name is Carol Cabrera and I am a maker, teacher, and learner. You can view some of the artwork that I create at www.CarolCabrera.com, alongside a link to my DP, and some of the work I did during my two graduate programs. I absolutely love school and it's hard for me to stay away from it! My BA is from the University of California, San Diego with a double major in Literature/Writing and Theatre. My first MA is from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education and is in Education with an emphasis on Teacher Leadership. My second MA is from New York University and is in Art, Education, & Community Practice.
I have a million hobbies and I will try everything once! I love to travel and see the world--ask me about some of my favorite places! Just this past summer, I visited Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czech Republic; and Munich, Germany. I play music and dabble in many instruments. I play keyboard and sing for a local 60s/70s cover band. I am also a performer and act in many local productions. On the side, I work and act for the Murder Mystery Company as part of their improv troupe! I love all sorts of adventures and I can't wait to create and experience them with each of my students.
- Matthew Haupert HumanitiesXHumanities
Before moving to sunny California, I spent the first 22 years of my life in the midwest, growing up in La Crosse, WI and then attending college at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where I earned a B.A. in English and a B.F.A. in Acting. After graduation, I packed up everything I owned and moved to Los Angeles, where I began my career in teaching and earned an M.A. in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University.
The 2017-2018 school year marks my first at High Tech High North County. I previously taught 9th grade English at Community Charter Early College High School in Los Angeles and Envision Academy in Oakland.
Things I love (outside of teaching): baseball (Go Cubs!), singing, recording and producing music, performing in plays and musicals, improv comedy, hanging out with my wife and two cats (I got married this summer!), and doing just about anything creative.
- Alicyn Henkhaus Math/PhysicsXMath/Physics
“Engineering is like dancing; you don’t learn it in a darkened lecture hall watching slides; you learn it by getting out on the dance floor and having your toes stepped on.”
--- Jack Alford (1920 - 2006), Harvey Mudd College professor and co-founder of the Engineering Clinic
I’m so excited to be at High Tech High North County because I’ve experienced the benefits of project-based learning in my own academic career. I studied Engineering at Harvey Mudd College and Building Science at USC. The projects I’ve worked on span a wide range of engineering disciplines (including design and testing of building modeling software, solar photovoltaic installation and economic analysis, and residential lighting). Educating others has been a passion for me since I was in high school, when I both volunteered at my school’s peer-to-peer tutoring program and worked at an afterschool homework center for elementary and middle school students.
This is my second year at HTHNC, and my first as a math and physics teacher. Last year I had the privilege of working with Mike Amarillas in the Maker Space and the 9th grade engineering classes. I hope to help students find problems that they are curious about in math and physics and foster an enthusiasm for problem solving.
As a Southern California native (until a few years ago when I moved down to San Diego I had spent my entire life in Los Angeles County) I love exploring our beautiful state, and I may have a small obsession with chaparral and desert wildflowers.
My digital portfolio
- Kurt Schwartz Math/PhysicsXMath/Physics
I was born and raised in Texas, where I met my wife working part time durning high school. We raised three exceptional, successful children. I made a career in the international arena of commercial and industrial building products, where I was in charge of six branches in the U.S. and Mexico.
After our children finish their educations I decided to follow the mantra of Monty Pythons Flying Circus "and now for something completely different" and become a high school science teacher. This is my fourth year teaching physics at HTHNC.
This will be my third year leading a team of future engineers into designing, developing and racing a solar boat in the Metropolitan Water District annual Solar Cup Race against 40 other high school teams.
I have a passion for the my subject and all of science and believe that learning is a life long endeavor. My hope is to instill this passion for science and learning to all the students I work with.
- Tom Schwartz Education (Ed) SpecialistXTom SchwartzEducation (Ed) Specialist
- Samantha Heller HumanitiesXHumanities
Samantha Heller grew up in Orange County, but for the past seven years she lived in the ever-foggy San Francisco. At San Francisco State University, she earned her Single Subject Credential in English and completed a B.A. in English Education. Now that she's returned to sunny SoCal, Samantha is excited to begin her teaching career at High Tech High!
Samantha believes that learning about literature and history can help us all to tell our own stories, and to hear stories of those around us, with a deeper understanding and sense of empathy. This year, she looks forward toimparting a knowledge of and appreciation for these subjects with her students. She also firmly believes that you can relate most anything back to Shakespeare, Harry Potter, or both, and that all it takes to instill a love of reading is finding the right book.
Likes include: cooking and baking, travel (the most recent adventure included a trip to Paris, London, and Dublin with her wife), cats, books, swimming in the ocean, seeing plays, spending time with family and friends, yoga, and hikes. Obsessions include Harry Potter (you will frequently see her sporting Gryiffindor gear), coffee, and dark chocolate.
- Jennifer Howard HumanitiesXHumanities
Jennifer knew she wanted to be a teacher at a very young age. She would spend hours lining up her stuffed animals for school in her bedroom. In high school she fell in love with the stories of history and knew that she wanted to inspire other students and share those same stories. Teaching in both Orange County and Los Angeles Jennifer found her way to HTHNC and is proud to say that this is her 9th year at HTHNC and her 22nd year as a teacher!! She graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in History, then attended Loyola Marymount for her teaching credential, finally earning her MA in American Studies at Pepperdine University. Born and raised in Orange County, Jennifer and her husband moved to San Diego many years ago to explore new adventures and loves living in North County. Passions include traveling all over the world; highlights have included riding a camel to the pyramids in Egypt, climbing the Great Wall of China and a glacier in Iceland, attending Oktoberfest in Germany and recently traveling through Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, and attending the Olympics in London. Her inspiration for her projects come from her passion Shakespeare and things British. Attending the theater, hosting parties and decorating for holidays, and watching movies/TV are a few of her favorite things, along with spending time with her family and friends. Jennifer looks forward to an amazing year, and getting to know each and every one of her students.
- Johnnie Lyman ChemistryXChemistry
Johnnie Lyman is a third generation Alaskan who has found herself in sunny San Diego! She went to college in a small town in New Mexico, where she earned a BS in Geology. After a year working for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources mapping the beautiful rocks near Taos, she began grad school at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. There she earned her MS in Oceanography, and she has almost completed a PhD, with her research in the past climate of the earth. She uses biogeochemistry as a tool to study the world around her, and very much hopes to bring this interconnected view of science to her students.
In her spare time, Johnnie can often be found outdoors, either running a very long way or rock climbing. She is generally not sitting still, always pushing her own limits, and smiling while doing it!
- Carly Shields Education SpecialistXEducation Specialist
Carly has just moved to San Diego from Brooklyn, New York, where she had been living the last three and a half years as a public school teacher and a girls basketball coach. Carly moved around a lot as a child and spent a portion of her life in Columbus, Ohio and Wilton, Connecticut. Carly went back to Ohio for college, where she attended Ohio Wesleyan University for a double major in Environmental Studies and Journalism, while playing both basketball and field hockey in college. She studied abroad her junior year in Tanzania and traveled the coast of East Africa to nearby countries like Kenya when studying at the University of Dar es Salaam. Carly also took two biology trips to Ecuador and Bolivia and Peru to study water issues and climate change during her time in college.
After college Carly ended up as an Art and Entertainment Journalist for the International Business Times in NYC before applying for the NYC Teaching Fellows program and beginning her teaching career in Brooklyn, while going to Hunter College at night to get her masters in Special Education.
Carly is passionate about helping students find their reason and purpose within their life while providing a fair and equal education for all. Carly is also passionate about sharing her life while also continuing to learn from her students to create a rounded experience for all learners in the classroom. Carly is excited to be continuing her educational career at High Tech High in sunny California and is eager to continue to grow as an educator and a learner herself through the ways of HTH.
When Carly is not teaching you can find her either enjoying the beach, where she's hoping to learn how to surf now that she lives in San Diego, cooking delicious food, relaxing through runs or yoga, watching football or simply spending time with friends and family. Carly also loves to travel and learn about new cultures and try new foods. She is determined to beat her father's number of countries he's traveled to around the world, reaching a total of 46 countries. She's only traveled to 18 but is eager to keep traveling and exploring new places. She lives her life by the Coast Rican motto, "pura vida!"
- Andrew Vernon MathXMath
Here's what I love:
– Traveling (international travel rocks!)
– Not traveling (e.g., laying on a beach)
– Teaching (it's my second career)
– Working out (so I have the energy to travel and teach)
– New technology (I'm an almost-rehabilitated-gadget-freak)
Here are a few (possibly little-known) facts about me:
– I have three passports (American, Canadian and British) and in the process of getting my fourth (Irish: I was born in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland)
– The "Dr."in "Dr. Drew" is for real (a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering)
– I can cook
– I meditate
– I really do like Math!
- David Corner MathXMath
This will be my ninth year teaching. Teaching at HTHNC has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Students and Staff are awesome!
During the rise of grunge and Pearl Jam, I attended Mercer University Macon obtaining a BA in Chemistry. A life long passion for the Georgia Institute of Technology (Go Jackets!) brought me to Atlanta where I earned BS in Polymer and Textile Chemistry and MS in Fiber Chemistry. I am a big fan of southern cooking and music (REM, The B-52s, Natalie Merchant, New Order etc).
After a lifetime in Georgia, I made my way to San Diego via Boston where I spent eight years in the printer industry as a chemist and engineer with Kodak Inc and various smaller companies. During my free time, I picked up an MBA at University of San Diego . Having spent so many of my secondary years behind the desk, I am now excited about giving back some of my educational and life experiences.
My free time is spent with my family and friends conversing and laughing over good food. My passion in life is learning and connecting to people. I am a big fan of the The Yellow Jackets and Atlanta Braves.
- Matt Leader BiologyXBiology
Matthew Leader is an 11th grade biology teacher at a project based charter school, High Tech High North County and Science Methods Instructor at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Before teaching biology, he traveled and volunteered in community development projects in Central and South America and worked in physical sciences and microbiology labs at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Matthew started teaching middle school math and science and has been teaching biology at High Tech High for the past seven years. He is a native of San Diego and received a Bachelor of Science at the University of California at San Diego in General Biology and Teaching Credentials at San Diego State University. Matthew is an AmeriCorps alumnus and has recently completed a Masters in Education in Teacher Leadership at the HTH Graduate School of Education and participated in internships with NASA and the J. Craig Venter Institute. He has also really enjoyed his time in recent fellowships including, the NSF funded Socrates Teacher Fellow at UCSD, SDSU’s CTCTC fellowship, and NOAA Climate Stewards Fellowship. In addition to teaching and research, he enjoys surfing, scuba diving, and spending time with his beautiful wife, daughter and son working on their hops farm in San Diego.
- Teodora Nikolova HumanitiesXHumanities
"We wish for Teodora to become a teacher" was all my mom and grandmother decided to write for/about me in an album dedicated to my childhood. They must have tapped into some cosmic clairvoyant powers since some of my earliest memories are of torturing my younger brother into endless role playing games of teacher-and-student, stubbornly attempting to explain to a three year-old the intricacies of reading and telling the time.
A decade later, my high school English teacher surprised me with the "Most Likely To Become An English Teacher" award; I wish I could have coffee with him now and commend him for an instinctual talent similar to that of my closest relatives.
But it took me another decade to get real serious about teaching as a career; after living in Ukraine and teaching English to adults for a few years, I returned to the States and suffered through two cold Ithaca winters to earn an M.A. in Education because (to this day) teaching is the only job that makes me feel truly fulfilled, excited, and inspired about the world.
Before deciding to settle down (for a bit) in the paradise that is California, I spent a year teaching in Poland and another in Bahrain.
And now I am ready and excited for a more settled existence in San Marcos as an 11th grade Humanities teacher at HTHNC. This is a truly welcoming and special community and I can't wait to be a part of the magic we will create!
Outside of the obsessive and busy life that teaching is, I am the proud mother of a little teenager--my 15 year-old gremlin dog Chita. I love Eastern European everything and think Russian is the most beautiful language in the world. It should surprise no one from CA that I eat avocados on a daily basis and love Mexican food. One of my current goals is to learn Spanish and travel to South America.
- Kelsey Ochaba HumanitiesXHumanities
Ms. Kelsey was born and raised in sunny San Diego, where she lived for twenty-two years before moving further north to Orange County, California. Here, she spent the next five years working as a professional writer and editor for a publishing company where she helped her clients’ books reach the top of Amazon. In 2015, after working as a writing teacher for English Language Learners, Ms. Kelsey made the decision to move back to San Diego with her husband and to pursue her love for helping students tell their own stories. Since then, Ms. Kelsey has spent time at High Tech High Chula Vista before moving to the North County family in January 2017. Ms. Kelsey is excited to begin her first official year at High Tech High North County—Go Raptors!
Ms. Kelsey received her B.A. in English Literature from San Diego State University (Go Aztecs!), her Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California (Fight On!), and her Single Subject Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego (Go Toreros!).
When Ms. Kelsey is not spending time in the classroom as either a teacher or student she can be found waiting on her letter to Hogwarts, reading, writing, hiking, and spending time with her husband-Dr. O, dog-Gizmo, and Siamese cat-Luna Lovegood.
- Aleida Rivera Gorgol SpanishXSpanish
2017-2018 will be my seventh year at HTHNC, and I couldn't be more excited. I absolutely love being a part of this wonderful community and cherish every second I am on campus, because it's an opportunity to connect with YOU! I believe strongly in building and maintaining relationships, and when students feel supported they do their best. I look forward to meeting you and having a banner year (don't forget to follow HTHNC on Instagram @hthnc_feed)!
College: CSU San Bernardino, BA Spanish
Grad school: National, M.Ed Cross-Cultural Teaching
Currently into: Obsessively taking fotos of Sammie + Owen, going to The Bar Method, lunching with all my favorite people, and date night with James.
- Cruz Zoeller Education SpecialistXEducation Specialist
Yes, another transplant from NY! But this one is here for good. "(Go West) Life is peaceful there", sang The Village People. It is indeed. It's also an honor to work with your students and to join HTHNC!
Oysters are my world! I feel my oats when running on the beach, cycling, swimming, and listening to music - especially disco and soul! Yoga, meditation, and best of all, spending time with my sons' Pat (22) and Pete (18) makes everything right!
Cheers to a year of growth!!!
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (Jivamukti Yoga) - “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
- Henry Cohn-Geltner Education (Ed) SpecialistXEducation (Ed) Specialist
I moved to San Diego in August 2013 from Philadelphia where I lived for 8 years. I have committed my life thus far to story, both receiving and telling stories, through a variety of media. This year we will get to explore the full potential that digital tools afford us in sharing what we have to say.
- Carlee Hollenbeck MathXMath
Let’s adventure back to just over five years ago,
Carlee Hollenbeck traveled here from the Michigan snow.
She was invited to join the famous High Tech High crew.
It was an absolute joy to try something new.
From a small farm-town college, she earned her math degree.
She started to wonder what the best way to teach math should be.
Accepted a national fellowship with thirty other teachers,
Carlee works hard to find the best math class features.
In college, she began her love of traveling around.
Teaching in Australia was the first adventure Carlee found.
She has ventured with friends and students to many other spots.
Costa Rica, Bali, the Middle East and the D.R., which she liked lots!
Last year she had the pleasure of teaching every student in 12th grade.
Throughout the semester strong connects to fractals was also made.
Within Carlee’s class, she works to balance both content and fun,
Though her students may not, she loves a good math, or really any, pun.
Planning dances and events was Carlee’s favorite thing in school.
She has helped High Tech’s ASB to show school spirit is cool.
Taking time to make posters and selecting the spirits days.
ASB is great for students to change the school in many ways!
Although Carlee spends a lot of time thinking about math making,
She has other hobbies, such as crafting, beachin’, and treat baking.
She loved college and wants to help all students be college bound.
Last year her intersession was made to help students go and make us proud!
Her deep love for the power of math will always last,
But Carlee makes lots of time to make connections with her class!
She hopes to make math meaningful and something to apply.
Let’s start off this year right North County High Tech High!
- Asal Meyer EnglishXEnglish
Due to rather inconveniently timed repair work on the streets of San Diego, Ms. M. was born at home in a cozy condominium amidst the beautiful chaos of a frantic Iranian family. After a sunny youth, Ms. M. embarked on her academic career, attending UC Irvine and receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English and Educational Studies. Shortly thereafter, Ms. M. transitioned to a big city girl, living the life of a New Yorker while receiving her Master of Arts in the Teaching of English at Teachers College, Columbia University. Finally making her way back home to the west coast (the best coast), Ms. M. found her place in the educational sanctuaries of High Tech High North County.
In her tenth year at High Tech High North County, Ms. M. continues to be wholeheartedly dedicated to finding meaning in her experiences as a teacher and furthermore, guiding her students to finding and understanding the value of meaning in their individual lives. Ms. M. knows that the Humanities can be a gateway to this pursuit. With that in mind, Ms. M. will work to empower herself and her students with the humanistic knowledge, tools, and language to believe in the magnitude of finding fulfillment in a meaningful life.
When not teaching or thinking about teaching, Ms. M. enjoys reading, navigating life with her wonderful husband and beautiful little girl, spending time with her family and friends, perfecting her cooking, feigning fitness, and attempting to control her inexplicable love for cleaning and organizing.
- Anna Petrick MultimediaXMultimedia
I grew up in Huntington Beach California. I was always interested in film and spent a lot of time making short videos in high school. This passion later translated into a career in the film/video field. My journey in multimedia began at UCSD where I received a BA in visual media. I spent 4 years working at Sony Playstation as a video editor and producer. I loved working in production, particularly filming and editing. Before working at Sony, I traveled the world and produced several surf videos. It was not the most lucrative of businesses, but it was nice to travel, surf and explore the world. This is my third year of teaching and I am excited for round two. That about sums it up.. If you are interested in checking out my past work, go to annapetrick.com
- Matt Ruppel PhysicsXPhysics
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas,” the great chemist Linus Pauling once said. To Matt Ruppel, this notion is a key to success both in and out of the classroom. His teaching philosophy encompasses this idea; specifically, he believes that all students can be scientists and do authentic science if given the opportunity to explore the world and the license to be creative. And by “exploring the world”, he often means “breaking things or making a huge mess to see how stuff works”, despite Gandalf the Gray's warning that “He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.” Gandalf was great, but one shouldn't blindly follow everything he said; he did fight a Balrog, after all.
Matt is thrilled to embark on his teaching career at High Tech High North County. Born in Aurora, Colorado and growing up in Seattle, Washington, Matt always had a passion for talking about science and doing kitchen experiments. This interest took him to the University of Washington, where he earned his B.S. in Chemistry. After college, he moved to San Diego with his high school sweetheart to attend graduate school at UC San Diego. During this time, he studied atmospheric chemistry and the creation of scientific instruments for measuring environmental systems, and leading community outreach projects at Paul Ecke Elementary in Encinitas, and at the Birch Aquarium. While in his Ph.D program, he realized that education was where his passion truly lied, specifically at the high school level. He left with an M.S. in Analytical Chemistry, and earned his teaching credential at San Diego State University. Matt did his student teaching at Health Sciences High School in the City Heights neighborhood and at Innovation Middle School in the Clairemont Mesa neighborhood. He is driven to incorporate environmental measurements into the curriculum, having had a great experience working with the COSMOS program at UC San Diego helping high school students perform research with professors over the summer. When possible, he also wants to incorporate his love of science fiction and thinking towards the future.
In his personal time, Matt enjoys reading science fiction or fantasy on a rainy day, tricking his cats with a laser pointer, bow-ties, cooking for his wife, writing his own stories, wedding and landscape photography, comic books, excessively pointing out his nerd-cred, board games, Dungeons and Dragons, and deciding that This sentence is already long enough, thank you very much, so just stop already.
- Tina Schuster InternshipXInternship
I found my way to San Diego County through a very roundabout way. After graduating from the University of Virginia, I moved to Namibia for 2 1/2 years for the Peace Corps. I fell in love with teaching while in the Peace Corps and came back to the University of Virginia to earn a Master's in Teaching for Secondary Education. I worked for 3 years at Fluvanna High School teaching Government and US History. I got the traveling bug again, and moved to the Dominican Republic for 3 years to work at the Carol Morgan American School in Santo Domingo teaching AP Government, AP Comparative Politics and European History. Although my Spanish improved greatly, my merengue skills did not. When I moved out to San Diego, I was lucky enough to teach at High Tech Middle Media Arts in Point Loma for one year. In 2012, I completed a Master's in School Leadership at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Over the past few years, I have worked with a very dedicated group of students to bring theater back to HTHNC. We produced our first school musical in 2013, and it was a huge success! I'm excited to start my sixth year of teaching Humanities to 12th graders at HTHNC. We are continuing our 12th grade internship program, which has been a great way to give students real world experience. Last semester, I spent 4 months in Finland on a Fulbright Research Grant. after spending a lot of time in Finnish schools, I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with my students.
- Shani Leader DirectorXShani LeaderDirector
Shani grew up in Northampton, a college town in Western, Massachusetts. Throughout her life, Shani aspired to find a career where she could be creative and work with kids. Shani loves traveling and learning from other cultures. She studied abroad at The University of Legon in Accra, Ghana during her junior year in college. In 2001, she earned her B.A. in Child Development and Studio Art from Tufts University in Medford, MA. Shani realized that her love of art and children combined well and she went on to get her Masters in Art Education from Tufts and The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. Needing to get away from the New England cold, Shani moved to San Diego in 2003. She was a founding teacher at the original High Tech Middle that same year and continued teaching there for three years. Teaching middle school was an amazing experience which showed her that she had a natural ability to inspire young artists. Shani taught Art at High Tech High Media Arts during the 2006-2007 school year and was continuously amazed by the work her high school students created. Knowing that high school students could be so creative when given the opportunity, she jumped at the chance to open another High Tech High in North County San Diego. Shani also saw this as a chance to challenge herself by helping start a new school and learn by working with an energizing leader and innovative staff.
Opening the north county campus, Shani took on leadership roles by being the Community Connections Coordinator for North County as well as the Art Teacher. Although Shani is passionate about teaching art she was ready for new challenges and experiences in 2009. She accepted the Dean of Students position with the hope of building a uniquely positive student run culture at High Tech High North County. Shani loves being an educator and working with a community that encourages people to teach and learn from their passions. She returned to the middle school classroom after having her daughter in 2012. In addition to being a teacher, she loves surfing, yoga, painting, traveling, and being around wonderful people.
- Tricia Abdullah College AdvisorXTricia AbdullahCollege Advisor
Tricia was born and raised in Providence, RI. The University of Rhode was where she earned a B.A. in Spanish and a M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in College Student Personnel. In 1996, she began her career in Admissions as a "Rhode Runner" for the University of Rhode Island. She served as an Admissions Officer for two recruiting cycles. After finishing her graduate studies she moved to Lubbock, TX to work at Texas Tech University as an Academic Counselor for Student Athletes. After leaving Red Raider land she had the opportunity to work with the Scarlet Knights at Rutgers University. In 2003, she returned to her alma mater to work as an Admission Advisor. After spending many winters in New England, she decided to relocate to a warmer climate. Prior to joining High Tech High North County, she spent three years working in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UC San Diego as an Admissions Officer. She is entering her tenth year as the College Advisor.
She has a fifth and eleventh grader who keep her very busy. When she is not here at HTHNC, you can catch her on the soccer field and basketball court watching her boys play sports. She loves traveling and tries to visit her home town at least once a year.
- Kisha Baker Academic CoachXAcademic Coach
Hello, my name is Kisha Baker, and I am an Inclusion Specialist here at High Tech High, North County. I am originally from Michigan, and moved here to California when my father was in the Navy. I attended California State University, San Marcos and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Communication. Before, I decided to work in Education, I worked in the Fashion Industry in Los Angeles.
- Donna Bargman Club CoordinatorXDonna BargmanClub Coordinator
- Gustavo Bautista HTHNC & HTeNC IT DirectorXGustavo BautistaHTHNC & HTeNC IT Director
- Melissa Cochran College Persistence CoordinatorXCollege Persistence Coordinator
Melissa Cochran has spent the past 12 years working in education as a teacher, researcher, and teacher educator. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2002, she moved to San Diego to pursue a career in teaching and earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching at USD. She joined the High Tech High community in January 2003 after learning about the organization’s innovative approach to teaching and learning.
After spending nearly three years in the classroom, she was inspired to learn more about education reform and moved to Washington DC to earn her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Maryland. While in the DC area, Melissa worked as a teacher educator and education researcher, but she missed working in an environment that supported innovation. She returned to High Tech High in 2010 and has spent the past few years teaching humanities at HTMNC and HTHNC. When not at work, Melissa enjoys spending her time with her husband and their two amazing children.
- Justin Dove School PsychologistXSchool Psychologist
Justin is a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio and proud alumnus of The Ohio State University. He has served as a school psychologist in Ohio (Columbus City Schools) and Georgia (Muscogee County School District & Atlanta Public Schools). This will be his first year with HTH and eighth year in the field. Justin's professional interests include special education advocacy, culturally sensitive assessment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and school-based problem-solving.
Justin appreciates culture in all its forms. His private interests include travel, sports (Buckeyes-Browns-Cavs), the arts, gastronomy, and long walks with his ten-year-old Shiba Inu, Foxy. His most memorable travel destinations have been Seoul, Honolulu, Toronto, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Savannah. Justin is excited to explore San Diego and join the HTH family for the 2017/18 school year.
- Bret Faber Athletics CoordinatorXAthletics Coordinator
Bret comes to us all the way from Detroit, Michigan. He has spent 5 years as a history teacher in Inglewood, CA and 4 years as a teacher for students with brain injuries in Boston, MA. Bret has a passion for sports that is borderline obsessive. He claims that he is better than everyone at every sport, including hockey, golf, baseball, softball, tennis, football, curling, shot put, synchronized swimming, and equestrian dressage (that's a real sport).
In his free time, he can be found watching any Michigan based sports team on television, spending time with his family, or writing hilarious bios for himself.
- Jocelyn Flores Outreach CoordinatorXJocelyn FloresOutreach Coordinator
Jocelyn Flores was born and raised in Mexico City. She came to the United States 20 years ago and has lived in North County since. She first came about High Tech High when she was looking for an innovative teaching style for her younger brother and sister to prosper from. 7 years later both of her younger siblings have graduated and are continuing with higher education.
Jocelyn has been with High Tech High since 2011 serving as the outreach coordinator. The main focus of her work involves assisting Spanish speaking families but sharing the unique teaching styles of HTH with the community. She advocates for diversity, primarily within the school, as it helps students create a valuable connection with the surrounding communities.
She is passionate about the work she does and finds it rewarding to see that her help has made a difference in the lives of the individuals whom she has helped. When not at work she enjoys spending the day with her family at Disneyland or enjoys being part of the audience for Mexican Folkloric dancer, gymnast, cheerleader six year old daughter!
- Meredith Frederick HTHNC ArtXMeredith FrederickHTHNC Art
- Jessica Garcia Academic CoachXJessica GarciaAcademic Coach
- Franci Godarzi Academic CoachXFranci GodarziAcademic Coach
Hello! I'm the 12th grade academic coach and truly enjoy working at HTHNC. I first set foot on the campus when my younger sibling attended the school and was blown away by the creativity and passion the school radiates. After finishing my BA at UCLA in Anthropology and Education, I traveled to Spain and Germany (where I was born!) and then began working with the seniors. Next year, I will be attending the University of British Columbia in Canada to pursue my MA in Society, Culture, and Politics in Education and then hopefully be a certified teacher! When I'm not working, I like planning my next trip, hiking around some of the beautiful places in San Diego, or reading a good book!
- Spencer Gooch Dean of StudentsXDean of Students
Spencer Gooch is the Dean of Students at High Tech High North County, and has worked in public schools for 16 years. Prior to his position as Dean, he worked as a 10th grade Humanities teacher also at HTHNC. He began his career in education working for a local non-profit health clinic as a peer counselor and health educator, specializing in reproductive health issues and relationship dynamics. He then moved into the field of health education, providing comprehensive reproductive health education classes to local North County School Districts. During this time he also assisted with curriculum development for pregnancy prevention programs.
Spencer believes that schools offer a unique opportunity for students in that mistakes are frequent and should be sought out. By providing spaces that are safe and encourage exploration, students are then able to develop into the kind of people they hope to be.
- Jesse Grajeda EL Support
- Fellix Lopez Academic CoachXFellix LopezAcademic Coach
- Sheila Van Metre Site ManagerXSheila Van MetreSite Manager
I was raised -- and raised a family -- in North San Diego County; but I have sought to broaden our horizons through travel. My personal and professional adventures have taken me to such places as Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Italy, and the monarch butterfly over-wintering habitat in south-central Mexico.
I worked 18 years for the Zoological Society of San Diego, most of those in the Education Department of the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park. There I learned the critical role that support staff play in helping teachers and administrators deliver lessons to their students.
I believe that experiences are more valuable than "things;" and, as one who sent her own children through charter schools, I believe that High Tech High offers unique project-based learning for the students, as well as opportunity for parents to "experience" their students' educational journey.
In my free time, I like to visit new places, work in the garden, and dote on my grand-daughters!
- Pablo Velasco Academic CoachXPablo VelascoAcademic Coach
- Izumi Yamashita Academic CoachXIzumi YamashitaAcademic Coach