Staff Directory


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6th Grade
  • Ben Chen Math/Science
    
    Ben Chen
    Math/Science


    This is Ben's second year at High Tech Middle and he couldn't be more excited!

    Ben began teaching in 2011 and has been teaching middle school math & science since 2013. He is particularly enjoys diving into the world of project-based learning at HTM after successfully mentoring three years of students on their award winning science fair entries in New Jersey. Ben cares deeply about student learning and believes all students can achieve their best when they are given the tools they need to succeed. His desire to teach physics and mathematics is informed by his interests in science fiction novels, strategic card games, and technology such as building computers and flying quadcopters.

    In his former career, Ben was professionally trained to balance T charts and calculate income taxes. When he’s not working at school, Ben can be found curled up with a good book or playing doubles beach volleyball at OB or MB!
  • Ben Krueger Audio Lab
    
    Ben Krueger
    Audio Lab


    Originally from San Diego, Ben received his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in business and marketing.  After graduating, he packed up and moved to Chicago to work in broadcast media.  While there he started performing stand-up comedy and studied comedic writing at Second City Theater.  After realizing that he was missing the human interaction and growth that he wanted from his career choice, he switched paths and moved back to California to pursue teaching.  He attended San Francisco State's teacher credentialing program and subsequently taught 6th and 7th grade math and science in San Francisco city schools.  There he was introduced to the challenges of teaching and the rewards of working to build a strong classroom community.  Most recently Ben had the opportunity to move back to San Diego to work in a teacher credentialing program while pursuing his Masters in Education.  While not teaching Ben loves playing guitar in bands, reading about science, playing soccer, and riding his bike.  He hopes to help instill in his students a love of learning as well as a connection with all living things around them.
  • Charlie Linnik Maker Studio
    
    Charlie Linnik
    Maker Studio


    Charlie Linnik grew up in San Diego, California. She went to U.C.S.D. where she received her B.A. in Visual Arts and M.Ed. in Education Studies. She also graduated from our very own High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She is an avid surfer, and has been surfing for over 10 years. When she is not in the water she can be found painting, or reading graphic novels. Charlie is a lover of books, movies and any type of sour candy.
  • Ryan Luz Humanities
    
    Ryan Luz
    Humanities


    2015 will be my second year working at High Tech Middle. Last year, I taught 8th grade humanities and this coming year I will be teaching 7th grade humanities. Previously, I student taught in both a middle school and a high school in Jurupa Valley while pursuing my teaching credential at UC Riverside. I received a Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from UC San Diego in 2012, and received my B.A. from the University of San Diego in 2008. I love San Diego and am fiercely loyal to both the Chargers and Padres. In my free time I enjoy playing basketball and soccer, practicing photography, reading and writing, going to the beach, but loves nothing more than spending time with my girlfriend, Anabel, and dog, Petula.
  • Monique Sias Humanities
    
    Monique Sias
    Humanities


    HTM is my favorite place in the world because I get the opportunity to cultivate relationships and learn alongside our amazing students.
  • Brooke Young Math/Science
    
    Brooke Young
    Math/Science


    Brooke Young was born and raised in Southern California. After high school, she headed up to Santa Cruz. While attending UCSC, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Film and Digital Media. Brooke wanted to use all of the interesting things she learned while earning her degree to inspire kids to tell stories and document important ideas. That’s when she ended up at High Tech Middle first working as an Academic Coach. This year Brooke is teaching sixth grade Math/Science. She is absolutely thrilled that she has been given the opportunity to work with all the amazing students at High Tech Middle.

    In her free time, Brooke loves to travel, hike, and spend time with her family. She has had the opportunity to visit many amazing places like Budapest and Japan. On the weekends you’ll probably find her hiking with her dogs, Tessie and Fan, or playing with her nieces and nephew.
  • Katie Sewell Apprentice
    
    Katie Sewell
    Apprentice


  • Amie Flores Inclusion Specialist
    
    Amie Flores
    Inclusion Specialist


7th Grade
  • Rachel Nichols Humanities
    
    Rachel Nichols
    Humanities


    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.
  • Joshua Brower Math/Science
    
    Joshua Brower
    Math/Science


    Playing in the ocean was a favorite activity for Joshua during his childhood on the east coast of Florida. His experience exploring the natural world inspired him to pursue a career in science. His passion for science and the environment brought him to Florida State University where he earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a certificate in Living Marine Resource Ecology. He got his first taste of running a classroom his senior year when he served as a Laboratory instructor for the Biology for non-majors class. During that time Joshua also introduced middle and high school students to the natural history of plants and animals in the Northern Gulf of Mexico through the Saturday-at-the-sea program. Joshua brought his dual passions for both science and education to his pursuit of a M.S. in Biology at San Diego State University. At SDSU Joshua taught laboratory courses, conducted original ecology research, managed the Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory, and brought science to the community through the Marine Ecology and Biology Student Association.

    Joshua was very excited to join the High Tech High North County team teaching Environmental Science for the 2014-2015 school year. During his first year at HTHNC students in Joshua’s class used an interdisciplinary approach to explore the impacts of human society on the environment. Among many other things, Joshua hopes students leave his class with improved research skills, a better understanding of data interpretation, and the skills necessary to formulate specific research questions.

    Outside of teaching, Joshua enjoys time outdoors spent surfing, fishing, cycling, and climbing, as well as artistic pursuits including photography, music, and wood-working.
  • Omar Clarke Math/Science
    
    Omar Clarke
    Math/Science


    This is Omar’s first year working at High Tech Middle, as well as his first year living in San Diego, California.

    Omar is originally from St. Catherine, Jamaica where his love for aquatic exploration peaked. In his early teens, Omar and his family migrated to NYC, where he remained for the past 15 years. He initially received his BA in Marine Sciences at SUNY Stony Brook in Long Island NY. Shortly after, Omar studied for and obtained his MA in Biology Education at New York University.

    Omar’s introduction to teaching came in the form of after school dance choreography. After his undergraduate study was complete, Omar was offered an opportunity to teach Step and African Dance to middle school boys. Shortly after, he made his transition to classroom teaching. He began by teaching 9th grade Biology, followed by middle school general Science over the course of three years in NYC.

    Omar is excited to be apart of the High Tech Middle school community, primarily because he has the opportunity to teach topics that he and his students are both passionate about. Omar is most interested in studies that viscerally explores the natural sciences. Students will leave Omar’s class with a deeper understanding of the scientific process, enabling them to effectively analyze, interpret and develop models that addresses societal issues in and around their communities.

    When Omar is not teaching, he is busy reading and blogging about Holistic Health. He also has a passion for creating and cooking vegan and vegetarian inspired meals. Lastly, Omar enjoys yoga, running and dancing as a way to maintain balance in both his personal and professional life.
  • Deanna Driscoll Drama
    
    Deanna Driscoll
    Drama


    DeAnna Driscoll is honored to have been running the drama department at HTM since the school opened in 2003. Ms. DeAnna grew up in Colorado's Aspen Valley and went on to New York City where she graduated with honors from the National Shakespeare Conservatory. After acting in professional productions around the country she eventually ended up in San Diego. DeAnna is a proud member of both the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association. She enjoys working on stage and in film and television when she is not enjoying her time with her students at HTM. She loves live music, museums, cooking, hiking and most of all spending time with her 16 year old daughter.
  • Keli Gagen Humanities
    
    Keli Gagen
    Humanities


  • Ben Krueger Audio Lab
    
    Ben Krueger
    Audio Lab


    Originally from San Diego, Ben received his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in business and marketing.  After graduating, he packed up and moved to Chicago to work in broadcast media.  While there he started performing stand-up comedy and studied comedic writing at Second City Theater.  After realizing that he was missing the human interaction and growth that he wanted from his career choice, he switched paths and moved back to California to pursue teaching.  He attended San Francisco State's teacher credentialing program and subsequently taught 6th and 7th grade math and science in San Francisco city schools.  There he was introduced to the challenges of teaching and the rewards of working to build a strong classroom community.  Most recently Ben had the opportunity to move back to San Diego to work in a teacher credentialing program while pursuing his Masters in Education.  While not teaching Ben loves playing guitar in bands, reading about science, playing soccer, and riding his bike.  He hopes to help instill in his students a love of learning as well as a connection with all living things around them.
  • Christopher Barrera Ed Specialist
    
    Christopher Barrera
    Ed Specialist


    All humans are social scientists. Our whole lives are spent observing the world, making hypotheses from our observations, and conducting ourselves socially based on the conclusions of our research. This holds especially true for young adults in the adolescent process of learning identity and ideology in a constantly evolving social world. As with any scientist, her or his research is only as good as the training, tools, and tenacity behind it. This is where I come in.

    My humanities class is a laboratory dedicated to providing the most comprehensive training, sharpest tools, and strongest encouragement for our young social scientists at HTM. My goal is for students to develop a passion for thinking critically about the world in which they live and their place in it. I want to inspire students to connect personally with the studies of literature, philosophy, music, visual art, language, technology, and every other cultural aspect that shapes the conditions and events of human life.

    A bit about me:
    I was educated at UCSD where I studied cultural, political, and legal theory in the Department of Communication and graduated Honors with Distinction. My thesis work was a study of visual culture, law, and displays of violence in the digital era. This research afforded me the rare opportunity to speak at domestic and international universities and work with scholars from all over the world.

    At HTM, I started in early 2014 working in inclusion as an academic coach. The 2016-2017 year will be my second as a classroom teacher and I’m extremely fortunate to be working with such wonderful colleagues and students as part of the 8th grade team.
    I have a passion for academic study and research as much as practical applications and making sure that education is always firmly grounded in personal investment and joy.
    In my free time, I love reading, playing tennis, doing yoga, watching good dramas or documentaries, and spending an inordinate amount of time reading random Wikipedia articles.
8th Grade
  • Deanna Driscoll Drama
    
    Deanna Driscoll
    Drama


    DeAnna Driscoll is honored to have been running the drama department at HTM since the school opened in 2003. Ms. DeAnna grew up in Colorado's Aspen Valley and went on to New York City where she graduated with honors from the National Shakespeare Conservatory. After acting in professional productions around the country she eventually ended up in San Diego. DeAnna is a proud member of both the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association. She enjoys working on stage and in film and television when she is not enjoying her time with her students at HTM. She loves live music, museums, cooking, hiking and most of all spending time with her 16 year old daughter.
  • Carrie Lawrence Science
    
    Carrie Lawrence
    Science


    Carrie Lawrence grew up in San Diego, California. She attended San Diego State University for one year before moving to Alaska. She received her B.A in Education from Alaska Pacific University and taught all over the state for sixteen years. She moved to Austin, Texas in before returning to San Diego to work at High Tech Middle. She is a mother to three teenage boys and enjoys backpacking, kayaking and taking road trips.
  • Michelle Laxton Humanities
    
    Michelle Laxton
    Humanities


    Originally from New Jersey, Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts​ in Communication Studies from the College of New Jersey and a Master of Arts​ in Latin American Studies from ​the University of California, San Diego. Inspired by a passion for wellness, she also earned an ​associate's degree​ in Nutrition Studies and taught yoga for several years. Michelle previously worked in international development and small business marketing and communications, and is happy to have found her home in education at HTM.

    In her spare time, Michelle enjoys game nights with her family, sharing laughs with friends, and reading at the beach.
  • Charlie Linnik Maker Studio
    
    Charlie Linnik
    Maker Studio


    Charlie Linnik grew up in San Diego, California. She went to U.C.S.D. where she received her B.A. in Visual Arts and M.Ed. in Education Studies. She also graduated from our very own High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She is an avid surfer, and has been surfing for over 10 years. When she is not in the water she can be found painting, or reading graphic novels. Charlie is a lover of books, movies and any type of sour candy.
  • Katie Pond Math
    
    Katie Pond
    Math


    Originally from Colorado, Katie moved to Washington, DC to earn her Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University and then worked in education policy there, before joining DC Teaching Fellows to become a classroom teacher in 2012.

    In 2014, Katie, her husband, and her cat Simba boarded a plane to America's Finest City and never looked back.  Joining the High Tech Middle community has been a huge privilege, and she loves being creative and bringing math and science alive through projects.

    In her spare time she loves to read, follow and discuss politics, and go for runs in her neighborhood.
  • Mary Williams Humanities
    
    Mary Williams
    Humanities


    Mary is looking forward to her fifth year at HTM.

    She has a Masters degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Florida, and has taught middle school for about twelve years. Her previous teaching position was at The American School of the Hague in The Netherlands, where she developed a fondness for stroopwaffles and a love/hate relationship with bicycling in the rain. She then spent about five months living in Lagos, Nigeria -- an experience that changed her forever -- before returning to the states and moving to California.

    After moving to San Diego four years ago, she loves hanging at the beach and enjoying all things outdoors with her husband, daughter, and dogs...
  • Sydney Aldridge Apprentice
    
    Sydney Aldridge
    Apprentice


  • Micaela Mustain Ed Specialist
    
    Micaela Mustain
    Ed Specialist


All School
  • Nikki Hinostro Director
    
    Nikki Hinostro
    Director


     Nikki Hinostro is a native to San Diego and grew up in Encinitas. At the University of Notre Dame she double majored in Psychology and Computers while playing on the women’s soccer team. Upon graduating in 1998, she worked in East Los Angeles as a 5th grade teacher and soccer coach through a two year teaching service program called ResponseAbility. During her time in Los Angeles she also attended Loyola Marymount University where she received her Masters of Education.
    After two years in Los Angeles she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and began teaching 5th and 6th grade at Benjamin Banneker Charter School where students were offered a rigorous education with a focus on math, science and technology. She also began coaching the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School at that time. In 2002 she transitioned into the Cambridge Public School District and worked as a middle school math teacher for Fletcher-Maynard Academy. There she also worked as co-leader of the middle school and facilitated team building and middle school reform.

    In 2004 Nikki returned to San Diego and began working for High Tech High first teaching at High Tech Middle in the 7th grade utilizing project based learning to integrate math and science. In 2005 Nikki became the Director of High Tech Middle Media Arts, and worked with a dynamic staff to build a positive and engaging culture for this school's opening. Then, in the Fall of 2007, Nikki and a group of innovative and energized educators opened High Tech High North County. HTHNC is one of the first State Wide Benefit Charter Schools in California. As the Director of HTHNC Nikki worked to lay a solid foundation for HTHNC in the North County with a very inspirational founding group of staff and students.  In 2011, Nikki transferred to High Tech High International where she worked in roles as a director and a dean until 2014. She is currently the director at High Tech Middle.
  • Mike Vasquez Dean of Student Affairs
    
    Mike Vasquez
    Dean of Student Affairs


    Mike Vasquez escaped the climate extremes of his hometown desert, California City, in order to follow his love of running and biology in San Diego. It was at the University of California San Diego where he earned his bachelors of science degree in Biology: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution and where he developed a greater appreciation for nature while leading kayaking courses in Baja California, Mexico and backpacking courses in the Sierra Nevada.

    He realized that he would find fulfillment by working with people and sharing the lessons of nature and so he followed his calling to become a science teacher where he could inspire people of all ages - and what better place to inspire than at HTM through project based learning.

    The five years he spent teaching math and science at High Tech Middle passed quickly and when the opportunity to bring the digital arts and multimedia design back to HTM presented itself, he jumped at the chance to try something new. And for the next 5 years, he pushed students to create amazing photos, videos, and other graphic design projects.

    Despite all of the technical skills his students were attaining, he started to worry that the amount of time his students spent in front of screens each day might be setting them up for difficulty in their futures.  Plugged Unplugged seeks to address this issue by providing students a space to develop technical skills around computing while they are "plugged in," as well as cultivate an appreciation for growing their mind, body, and spirit during the "unplugged" portion of our class.


     

  • Veronica Martinez Site Manager
    
    Veronica Martinez
    Site Manager


    I am incredibly honored and excited to start my first year at High Tech Middle! A little bit about me...I was born in Salinas, CA. But, my fmaily and I moved to a new town nearly every year due to my dad's job. But, in  2001, we finally settled down in Bakersfield,CA for 11 years (although we still moved 6 times during those 11 years! We clearly LOVED packing boxes!).

     

    After I graduated from North High School in 2011, I moved down to San Diego to attend San Diego Christian College; my family followed shortly after my first year. I was involved in different activities during college. I joined a ministry team as a singer, ran the Women's Ministry group for 3 years, and ran cross country! I graduated in 2015 with my BA in Communication and a minor in English. After graduating I worked as an Admissions Coordinator, Graduation Coach, and finally landed with the county at IHSS Public Authority as a Provider Enrollment Specialist.

     

    Some of my favorite hobbies are also some of my greatest passions! I serve as a Youth Coordinator, Worship Leader, and Small Group leader at my church. As a youth coordinator, I work with middle/high school students encouraging them to continue in their education and reach their goals/dreams! As a worship leader, I get to lead our congregation by singing beautiful songs and work with young vocalists to help them develop their singing abilities. As a small group leader, I meet weekly with college and young adult ladies as they enter adulthood, encouraging them to be the strong young women they were created to be! Ultimately, I have a passion to inspire, challenge, and lead young people to be the best versions of themselves that they can. I had many adults pour into my own life as a teenager and young adult and that's what I hope to do as well!

     

    Other then that, I'm your typical, coffee-shop-loving, nerdy-book-worm, nature-loving, partially-athletic (I love to hike and jog and swim etc.) girl!

     

     
  • Sarah Barnes Ed Specialist Mentor
    
    Sarah Barnes
    Ed Specialist Mentor


    Sarah co-teaches the Inclusive Classrooms course for the GSE. Sarah joined High Tech High in 2007 and has enjoyed working as both a general education teacher and an Ed Specialist at the K-12 level. Sarah has spent her career looking at school cultural practices that create opportunities for diverse learners to engage in classrooms together and feels most fulfilled when the lines between special education and general education are blurred. Sarah was awarded a Fulbright- Hays grant to study diversity in education in Brazil; specifically the inequitable systems that historically have marginalized indigenous and afro-brazilian communities. Her work in inclusion has also been informed by the semester she spent in Northern Uganda. Sarah participated in a teacher exchange program while supporting educational practices that integrated students who had experienced trauma into the classroom and community. Sarah maintains  a multiple subject teaching credential, a single subject English credential, as well as her special education (ed specialist) credential with Autism authorization. She holds a Masters of Arts in Special Education. 

    As Ed Specialist Program Manager Sarah supports inclusion and Special Education programs across the thirteen High Tech High schools and works with the High Tech High Credentialing program to implement professional development, coursework, and mentorship for new Ed Specialist teachers. 
  • Cindy Beals GSE Resident
    
    Cindy Beals
    GSE Resident


    Cindy Beals grew up in Northern California, then moved to Michigan where she graduated with Bachelors and Masters in Math. She joins HTH GSE after 27 years as an educator, teaching math, physics, engineering/robotics, coaching teachers and designing curriculum. She has worked in schools in Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, Los Angeles, Istanbul and, most recently, Hong Kong. Cindy’s wanderlust has led her to travel to all seven continents, fifty states, and over sixty countries. She’s also excited to be in San Diego so she can spend more time playing cards and board games with her nieces and nephews in nearby Ramona.
  • Alicia Briscoe ELL Coordinator
    
    Alicia Briscoe
    ELL Coordinator


  • Eduardo Gallardo IT
    
    Eduardo Gallardo
    IT


    Mr. Eduardo as the students call him, is the IT Systems Coordinator for High Tech Middle and High Tech High . He is an alumni from High Tech High Class of 2006.He enjoys working in the IT department helping out students and staff with their technology needs. During his free time he enjoys watching soccer Real Madrid and Mexico National Team. As well exploring new places in San Diego and outside San Diego.
  • Isaac Gomez Extended Services Coordinator
    
    Isaac Gomez
    Extended Services Coordinator


  • Christine Hatch Academic Coach and Student Support Team Coordinator
    
    Christine Hatch
    Academic Coach and Student Support Team Coordinator


    I am the Academic Coach for the Shulman/Barrera/Linnik team. After 8 years working as an academic coach at HTMMA, this will be my first year at HTM.
    High Tech High is a big part of my family! Aside from my connection, my three children have graduated from High Tech Middle and my husband, Blair, taught Multimedia at HTH for 12 years.
    When I am not at school, I love working out at the Y, being outdoors, and spending time with my family and friends.
  • Asa Hunter Extended Services
    
    Asa Hunter
    Extended Services


  • Kristin Komatsubara Instructional Coach
    
    Kristin Komatsubara
    Instructional Coach


    Kristin Komatsubara is a teacher and life-long learner -- earning her B.S. in Education from USC, M.A. in Curriculum Design from UCSD, and currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership. Kristin began teaching with the High Tech organization in 2007 with the original High Tech Middle in Point Loma. She was a founding staff member, mentor, and interim director for High Tech Middle North County and director of HTeNC. She is excited to be supporting math and science instruction at the middle schools this year. Originally from sunny Honolulu, Hawaii, Kristin feels right at home on the San Diego beaches. She loves to travel and has spent summers teaching in South Africa, China, and Hawaii.
  • Cathryn Magielnicki School Psychologist
    
    Cathryn Magielnicki
    School Psychologist


  • Cree Ray Academic Coach
    
    Cree Ray
    Academic Coach


  • Uriel Ruano-Gallardo Extended Services Coordinator
    
    Uriel Ruano-Gallardo
    Extended Services Coordinator


  • Mirla Almada Academic Coach
    
    Mirla Almada
    Academic Coach