- Hayden Gore 6th Grade HumanitiesX6th Grade Humanities
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Government in 2000, Hayden served two years in the Peace Corps with his wife Lisa, where they both led health education programs in rural primary schools of San Jose Poaquil and Santa Apolonia, Guatemala. Upon returning to the United States, Hayden worked as a bilingual teacher in Fort Worth, Texas before following his passion for human rights and enrolling in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where he would eventually earn his MA in International Human Rights.
In 2009, he began working with the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team in Lima, Peru, where he led their international training programs in Nepal and the Democratic Republic of Congo. When he finished his projects with the forensic team, Hayden was lucky enough to join the faculty at the American School of Lima as a Design Technology teacher. At the American School, he got his first introduction to project-based learning and witnessed the powerful change that happens in a classroom when students use their learning to address real world problems.
When Hayden is not in the classroom, he loves to spend time at the beach with Lisa and his two boys, James and Jude. He is a passionate surfer, reader and inquirer who is constantly inspired by his students’ thoughts and ideas.
- Ann McAfee 6th Grade Math/ScienceXAnn McAfee6th Grade Math/Science
- Lauren Reate 6th Grade HumanitiesX6th Grade Humanities
Lauren is proud to be a San Diego native, born and raised; while she loves traveling abroad she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. She attended San Diego State University for her B.A. in Deaf Education and American Sign Language with a minor in Classics. In 2015 she received her M.A.Ed in Learning and Curriculum design from the University of San Diego.
This is Lauren's sixth year teaching with HTMCV and loves working with sixth grade because it is their introduction to middle school. She loves teaching about ancient civilizations, particularly ancient Greece and can't wait to nerd out about Greek mythology with a new crew of sixth graders each year.
Lauren's absolute favorite activity outside of school is traveling - she whole-heartedly believes one of the best ways to continue learning about our world is to go out and explore it. When she's not out exploring the physical world, she likes to jump into fictional ones while cozying up with a great book; her hope is that her "to read" pile never runs out.
- Ivan Recendez 6th Grade Math/ScienceX6th Grade Math/Science
Ivan is in his 9th year of his teaching career, and he can’t wait to continue an incredible journey at High Tech Middle Chula Vista. Ivan was part of the first graduating class at one of our very own schools, High Tech High. That’s right, he loved it so much he came back to us!
Before working at HTMCV, Ivan took part in leading training sessions on working with youth, risk management, and program development. He also led youth workshops and camping retreat weekends for the Los Angeles Unified School District while working as a youth leadership counselor at various school sites throughout San Diego. After working at High Tech Middle Media Arts as an Instructional Assistant, he realized that his true passion was in education. He attended San Diego State University where he earned a BS in Mathematics and earned his teaching credential from HTH.
When Ivan is not in the classroom, he enjoys watching his beloved San Diego Padres, solving math riddles, traveling, EATING, and spending time with his friends, and family. As we all know, this year will be the 9th year of HTMCV, and he can’t wait to continue to work with such supportive and inspirational staff!
- Erin Bower 7th Grade Math/ScienceX7th Grade Math/Science
I studied Human Development with a minor in Neuroscience and Physiology at UCSD. Since then, I have had the pleasure to explore the fields of institutional research analysis, mentoring, farming, photography, music performance, and autism research. When I first heard about High Tech High, I knew immediately that I wanted to teach there. It was an honor to join the HTMCV community as an Academic Coach in 2016, and then as a 7th grade math and science teacher in 2017. I feel so fortunate to be enrolled in High Tech High's Graduate School of Education to push my understanding of the purpose of education.
In the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to education states that, "Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms." I am dedicated to understanding people holistically, fostering community, and promoting mental health education to young people, which is why social-emotional learning is such a huge part of my practice. When designing projects, I hope to empower students by connecting them to the broader community outside of our school to encourage their curiosity and activism.
When I am not at HTMCV, I can be found weeding in my garden, hiking Mission Trails, reading Harry Potter (I'm a Ravenclaw) or non-fiction, or playing guitar and singing with my friends.
- Jean Catubay 7th Grade HumanitiesXJean Catubay7th Grade Humanities
As an educator, Jean's core teaching values are centered around building authentic, meaningful relationships—to ourselves, one another, and the communities we are a part of. In a constantly evolving cultural landscape, she believes that education can be used as a vehicle for empowerment and activism. In the classroom, Jean enjoys learning with students and focuses on building a culture that celebrates diversity as well as critical analysis and reflection.
Originally from the Bay Area, Jean earned her B.A. in English Education from San Francisco State University. She is currently studying at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education to earn her M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning. Outside of academics, she has a deep appreciation for all things culture and art. Jean loves spending quality time with her loved ones, eating delicious food, and listening to music that moves you!
Ten books Ms. Jean loves (in no particular order): 1) Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, 2) The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, 3) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, 4) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, 5) Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, 6) The Tao of Wu by The RZA, 7) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 8) The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, 9) Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz, 10) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
- Adam Ko 7th Grade Math/ScienceX7th Grade Math/Science
I love God. I love my wife, Jasmine, and we have been married for ten years and I simply adore her. We have two kids, Lily Faith and Audrey Grace, and they are our biggest joys in life.
My path to teaching began in the Boy Scouts. Being in scouting for 10 years ignited my passion for learning and adventure. Whether it was backpacking, whitewater rafting or rock climbing there was always something to learn and sharing that knowledge was vital to high adventure scouting.
From there I attended the University of California, San Diego and graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in International Studies with an emphasis in Economics. I also attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia as part of an exchange program.
After college I joined the Peace Corps in Jordan as a Youth Development volunteer. Spending two years there I learned to appreciate the often misunderstood Middle East and Islamic faith, while learning Arabic.
Upon completion of my service I attended San Diego State University to get my credential in the Social Sciences. Afterwards, I joined the beloved King Chavez Charter School Organization and taught World History for one year before switching to my other passion, Math, which I taught for five years.
I completed a Masters in Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math at the University of San Diego.
It is my fifth year with the High Tech High organization and I cherish this great opportunity to learn and be inspired by my colleagues and students.
When I'm not at school, I enjoy doing activities with my girls, training for my next triathlon race and cooking all types of foods. #blessed
- Callie Sprague 7th Grade HumanitiesX7th Grade Humanities
Callie grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, where she lived with her parents, brother, and sister. After high school, Callie attended Providence College in Rhode Island. There, she earned her bachelor's degree in Marketing. After college, she worked for a human services agency in Boston where she worked with adults who have disabilities. Though she loved the work that she did there, she wanted to work with children, so she went back to school to become a teacher. She moved to San Diego where she earned her multiple subject teaching credential and master's degree in Education from USD. Outside of school, Callie loves spending time outdoors. She likes to hike, go camping, swim, ride her bike, kayak, and run. She also enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time with her wonderful friends and family. Callie has a passion for traveling and exploring the world, as well. While she was in college, Callie studied at the University of Granada in Spain, and she has also traveled through parts of Europe, South America, Northern Africa, and the United States. She loves to learn about languages, cultures, people, and history! Callie is thrilled to be starting her teaching career at HTMCV. She looks forward to growing and learning with her students and having an amazing year together!
- Elyse Farwell 8th Grade HumanitiesXElyse Farwell8th Grade Humanities
Although originally born here, Elyse has never lived in San Diego until her return to the United States this summer after teaching abroad in Quito, Ecuador where she lived and worked on her Spanish for the last three years. Before that, she received a B.A. in English Literature and her Secondary English teaching credential from Gonzaga University (go Zags!), followed by a M.A.Ed. in Reading Instruction at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Elyse has a passion for traveling. She loves to experience other cultures and enjoys opening up that world to her students through literature and writing. In her free time, she can be found curled up with a good book, hiking, dancing, or spending quality time with her family and friends. She feels incredibly lucky to have joined the amazing HTH community this year, and looks forward to getting to know her students and watching them become readers and writers.
- Leandra Fernandez 8th Grade Math/ScienceX8th Grade Math/Science
Leandra was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and earned her degree in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. After graduating, she decided to pursue her passion for education by working at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she spent two years studying student-centered, constructivist math learning and teaching. This is her third year with HTMCV. In her free time, she likes to read, exercise, and spend time with her cat, Lupe.
- James Holmes 8th Grade Math/ScienceX8th Grade Math/Science
Five years ago, Jamie came to the High Tech campus and saw students and teachers connecting with each other through projects. Instantly, he knew that he wanted to be a part of this innovative educational experience where students learn through doing and experiencing. Originally from Texas, he started teaching and working in education in the private school sector as Athletic Director, math teacher, coach, and most memorably, running a comprehensive Outdoor Education program. Working with kids in the outdoors taught him many lessons including the powerful impact of community, integrated learning and interacting directly with the environment and lessons of the backcountry. Compelled to further my education and shape his teaching philosophy, he and his wife moved to New York City where he earned a Master's in Education at Teacher's College. After graduate school, he moved back to Texas and worked as an Upper School Dean of Students and math teacher for three years before making the move to High Tech Middle Media Arts.
However, missing the classroom and the personal connections he could make with students, he discovered High Tech and made the move to San Diego with his family in tow and helped opened High Tech Middle Media Arts in the Fall of 2005.
Now, in California, James has taken to the ocean learning to surf among all the other outdoor pursuits that bring him great joy- golf, hiking, fly fishing, camping and most of all hanging out with my family. James and his amazing wife Julie of 13 years have two beautiful children, the oldest, Gavin and youngest Bella Grace. The energy of the project-based classroom and the adventure of working with the middle school child is what makes his work as a teacher so much fun. Learning experientially and a love of making learning FUN is the hallmark of his teaching philosophy and is inherent in the project-based approach to learning.
- Michelle Nho 8th Grade HumanitiesXMichelle Nho8th Grade Humanities
Michelle comes to HTMCV after serving as an educator in Chicago, where she taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade language arts and then was the assistant principal for a preschool through 8th grade school. She received her bachelor's degree in psychology and education from Duke University and her master's in education through Northwestern University.
As an educator, Michelle is most passionate about helping middle school students grow as readers, writers, and lovers of literature. She also has an interest in all things related to government and politics and is excited to work with students as they develop their political views and voices.
When she's not at HTMCV, Michelle loves going on walks and hanging out on the couch with her husband, Chris, and her dog, Laila. She's an avid reader; some of her favorite books include A People's History of the United States, Americanah, and the Divergent trilogy. She also loves to run and is learning how to garden.
- Rod Buenviaje DirectorXRod BuenviajeDirector
Rod is a proud member of the High Tech High learning community. He is one of the founding staff of the original High Tech High in Pt. Loma and is currently teaching 11th grade mathematics at the Chula Vista campus. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from National University and a teaching credential through the HTH District intern program. He has participated in the Virtual Trade Mission Foundation’s global classroom in Singapore and Brunei and has been awarded the Christa Mcauliffe Award by the NEA Foundation. He continues to support new and developing teachers by serving as a mentor through the HTH intern program. Rod is passionate about mathematics and is excited to be a part of an innovative teaching community. Rod and his wife Jen spend most of their free time in awe of their beautiful children, Joshua and Katelyn.
- Edrick Macalaguim Dean of Student AffairsXEdrick MacalaguimDean of Student Affairs
Edrick has spent the last 18 years as an educator for the Chula Vista community, 11 years at Finney Elementary School for CVESD, and the last 7 years teaching at HTMCV. He is looking forward to continuing his service for the HTH community as HTMCV's new Dean of Student Affairs.
Growing up, Edrick attended Bonita Middle and Eastlake High School, so he feels honored and blessed to be able to give back to the Chula Vista community. After high school, Edrick attended SDSU where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and his Multiple Subject CLAD Credential. In 2008, he entered the HTH Graduate School of Education, and completed his course of study with a Master of Education degree in Teacher Leadership in 2010.
When Edrick is not in the classroom, he used to train for endurance runs, roam the local trails on his mountain bike, an on occasion would play a little golf. But now, Edrick and his beautiful wife are busy with life taking care of their 6 month old daughter. So now you can find Edrick changing diapers, singing silly songs, reading tons of books like, Quantum Physics for Babies, and sharing the beauty of the world with his little girl.
- Jessica Dorsey Site ManagerXJessica DorseySite Manager
Jessica was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She has been working in the HTH community since 2007. She feels blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a great community of students and staff. She is a wife, a mother of three beautiful girls, and has a total of 8 brothers and sisters. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, cooking, and enjoying what life has to offer.
- Crystal Acuna Academic CoachXCrystal AcunaAcademic Coach
- Marco Aquinde Academic CoachXMarco AquindeAcademic Coach
A San Diego native, Marco is so excited and grateful to be returning to the High Tech Middle Chula Vista campus as a Student Teacher in 7th Grade Math/ Science. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. While at UCLA, Marco served as a Resident Mentor for the first annual My Journey to College 9th Grade Summer Scholars Program (MyJTC), a summer college-preparation program that introduces rising 9th graders to college eligibility requirements. This experience and Marco's previous experience as an Academic Coach at HTMCV have shaped his passion for equitable and meaningful education. He is currently earning an M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
When not in the classroom, Marco enjoys singing a cappella music with his friends. Music and performance are huge parts of his life. He also enjoys running, serving at his church, watching musicals/ movies, spending time with his family, and traveling the world.
Aside from science, Marco has a growing appreciation for literature and reading. Some of his favorite books include Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong, A List of Cages by Robin Roe, and Rising Strong by Brené Brown.
- Ruby Beltran Inclusion SpecialistXInclusion Specialist
Ruby is proud to call Paramount, CA her hometown. She completed her B.A. from the University of San Diego with degrees in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies, minor in Women and Gender Studies.
Ruby is thrilled to have the opportunity to be at High Tech Middle Chula Vista as an Inclusion Specialist!
During her spare time, she can be found dancing folklórico, spending time with her two kittens Conch y Elote, and drinking homebrewed tea. Ruby is inspired by her friends and colleagues that share their historias (stories) of self-discovery and familia.
- Gabrielle Berens Art TeacherXArt Teacher
My love of creating and experimenting with various art forms and my passion for art history and design have led me to my dream career as a visual arts educator. I have a BFA in Studio Art Practices from Southern Methodist University, where I studied primarily drawing, painting, and printmaking, but also worked in ceramics, sculpture, digital media, and fiber arts. After graduation, I spent several years learning and experimenting with new art mediums and traveling the world looking for artistic inspiration and experiencing diverse global cultures. The majority of my teaching experience lies in middle school, but I have also worked at the high school and elementary school level, and most recently with adults with developmental disabilities. As an educator, I believe the visual arts offers ALL students an opportunity to experiment, problem solve, and express themselves. As an artist, I believe that visual art is a global language that has the power to connect us all!
- Lauren Dodds Afterschool Program AssistantXLauren DoddsAfterschool Program Assistant
- Alex Espiritu Afterschool CoordinatorXAlex EspirituAfterschool Coordinator
- Wendy Maples Theatre TeacherXTheatre Teacher
Originally from New York, Miss Wendy holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Education from Arizona State University and a M.A. in Theatre from San Diego State University. Throughout her studies, she had the opportunity to direct a variety of student work, one-act and full-length plays. In 2005 she was nominated for a BRICK Award, honoring pioneers in youth service. A member of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, she has presented her work Nationally in Chicago, Washington D.C., Vancouver, Canada, and Atlanta, Georgia. She currently serves AATE as the Youth Network Chair, highlighting exciting theatre created for and by young artists throughout The United States!
In 2006, Ms. Maples founded Step UP Theatre, continuing her commitment to provide children with an early exposure to the performing arts. In 2009, Step UP Theatre became a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization, where she serves as Artistic Director. That same year, she was one of thirty directors selected nationally to attend the Directors Lab West in Pasadena, California. On stage, she has appeared in 'Dog Sees God', 'Fair Use' and 'Pippin' at the Diversionary Theatre.
When she’s not directing or performing around San Diego, Wendy is usually on a plane visiting family members in every corner of the globe! She is thrilled and honored to be teaching theatre at HTMCV!
- Natalie Padilla Inclusion SpecialistXNatalie PadillaInclusion Specialist
Natalie graduated from Cal State Los Angeles with a Bachelors in Liberal Studies. She was excited to joined HTMCV in 2015 as an Academic Coach. She loves engaging with students one on one and seeing there growth academically. In her spare time she enjoys cooking,hiking, exploring new places and spending time with her family.
- Peter Pelham Academic CoachXPeter PelhamAcademic Coach
Peter joined the HTMCV family two years ago and has enjoyed working with students in the 7th and 8th grades. This year, he looks forward to being part of the energy and excitement that 6th graders bring to their classroom.
Originally from the east coast, Peter grew up in a family of educators. He earned a Masters in Literature from the American University in Washington, D.C. and spent numerous years working in schools and at the National Association of Independent Schools. When not at HTMCV, Peter can be found in the ocean surfing, in the mountains camping and climbing, or traveling the California coastline with friends and family.
- Vincent Phathanak IT DirectorXVincent PhathanakIT Director
- Philip Rowland Engineering TeacherXPhilip RowlandEngineering Teacher
- Brittany Rysman School Psychologist XBrittany RysmanSchool Psychologist
Brittany Rysman earned her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Psychology with a secondary concentration in Gender Studies from the University of Southern Indiana in 2009. She then attended San Francisco State University for graduate school and earned her Master of Science (MS) degree in School Psychology in 2011. In addition, Brittany earned her Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credentials in School Psychology and School Counseling. Brittany went on to work as a school psychologist in San Rafael City Schools for six years, serving multiple elementary schools and one middle school.
After dreaming of living in San Diego for many years, she finally moved to San Diego and began working at High Tech High in Chula Vista for the 2018-2019 school year, serving the high school, middle school, and elementary school. She is very passionate about project-based learning and the culture of HTH; she is excited to begin her second year in Chula Vista, serving the middle and elementary schools.
- Carly Sumrow Inclusion SpecialistXCarly SumrowInclusion Specialist
I always wanted to be a professional student. As a child, I devoured books in my free time, carried the dictionary with me everywhere I went, and practically had to be torn out of the classroom when the bell rang each day at 2:30. That insatiable love of learning only grew as I progressed through the grades. I discovered more complex concepts to explore and more invaluable teachers and mentors to challenge me. One day while pondering what I wanted to do with my life I mused to my mom, “I wish I could just get paid to go to school and be a student forever.” In all her infinite wisdom my mom replied back with another question. “What’s stopping you?” It is that question that led me to the classroom.
While working towards my Bachelor’s Degree in English at San Diego State University I worked as an AVID tutor at Steele Canyon High School, which further solidified my passion to teach and continually grow as a learner myself. After an amazing, humbling, and unforgettable year of student teaching some of the brightest and most resilient 11th graders I have ever had the privilege of working with, I received my Single Subject credential in English. I feel so fortunate that all my experiences have led me to the High Tech High family, first as an Academic Coach and this year as an Ed Specialist Intern. I can’t wait to embark on the journey towards my Ed Specialist Credential and Masters in Teacher Leadership this year at HTH and am so looking forward to building a community that is dedicated to inspiring in children the same passion for learning I have.
- Sarah Valdivia Academic CoachXSarah ValdiviaAcademic Coach
This is my first year at High Tech Middle, and I'm very excited to be part of this community. Before HTMCV, I worked as a home-school teacher and Math Tutor.I grew up in Chula Vista, but was born in Los Angeles. Earned my degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Mathematics from San Diego State University. I love to spend my free time reading books, going to the movie theater, or kayaking.
- Dace Whiteley Academic CoachXDace WhiteleyAcademic Coach