- Max Cady 6th Grade MultimediaX6th Grade Multimedia
Max is passionate about pursuing the integration of collaboration, play, and curiosity into education. Max began his career in education working as an afterschool teacher, tutor and camp counselor. Max then worked for three years as a Learning Facilitator and Technology and Innovation Coordinator at the Liger Learning Center in Cambodia. The Liger Learning Center is a free boarding school for Cambodian students that utilizes project, experiential, and opportunity based learning to create entrepreneurial thinkers and agents of positive change in Cambodia.
Outside of education, Max currently enjoys biking, ultimate frisbee, and the delicious convenience of pressure cooking.
This will be Max’s second year at High Tech Middle Media Arts. He is originally from New York City and graduated from Macalester College with a BA in Psychology in 2010 and from the Harvard Graduate school of Education with an Ed.M in 2016.
- Grace Leber 6th Grade Math/ScienceXGrace Leber6th Grade Math/Science
Ms. Grace grew up in Fairfield, California, where she spent most of her free time running in cross country races or rehearsing for ballet performances. She made the move to Southern California to attend UCLA, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. During her time in Los Angeles, she interned an aquarium, which sparked her passion for the ocean and education. After graduating, Ms. Grace worked in environmental education, teaching students about marine science and environmental stewardship. Ms. Grace has taught both 6th and 7th grade math/ science at HTMMA, and is excited to bring her passion for the outdoors into the classroom this year!
- Katelyn Livingstone HTMMAPL - Academic CoachXKatelyn LivingstoneHTMMAPL - Academic Coach
Katelyn is a San Diego native and thrilled to be working as an Academic Coach at High Tech Middle for the 2018/2019 school year! While studying at UC Santa Cruz, she spent a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile where she discovered a passion for travel and education. After graduating from UCSC with a B.A. in literature, Katelyn moved to Madrid, Spain to teach English at a secondary school. Now happily back home in San Diego, Katelyn loves to go to the beach, try new vegetarian recipes, read, and spend time with her family.
- Charlotte Macintyre 6th Grade Math/ScienceX6th Grade Math/Science
Ms. Charlotte graduated from SDSU with a degree in Liberal Studies. She has known she has wanted to be a teacher for her entire life and played school for hours on end as a child. In fact, one year for Christmas she received an overhead projector to make the learning experience for her stuffed animals even better!
The 2018-2019 school year will be Ms. Charlotte's fourth year with the HTMMA family. In her first year, she worked for the before & after school program; her next step was into the classroom as an Academic Coach for 6th grade, and this will be her second year teaching 6th grade Math and Science.
In her free time, Ms. Charlotte loves spending time on the water, trying out new recipes, and spending time with her family. Though San Diego has her heart, Ms. Charlotte loves to travel and explore new places. This summer, she was fortunate enough to have spent 3 weeks traveling around France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Poland!
- Braden Philips 6th Grade HumanitiesX6th Grade Humanities
Education does not stop when students graduate high school or walk out of the classroom after a period ends. It does not stop when the school day is over. Education is a life long endeavor that doesn't live only in textbooks. My purpose is to engage students in a holistic education through projects focused around reading, writing, dialogue, and creation.
I grew up in San Diego and traveled to Los Angeles for college. I received my undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University in History and Education. In May 2018, I graduated from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education with my M. Ed in Educational Leadership.
Throughout undergrad, I worked as a summer camp counselor for the YMCA of San Diego at Camp Marston in Julian, and after college spent a year teaching outdoor education there as well. Even though I love the mountains, I left outdoor education to come to HTMMA.
At HTMMA, I have been a coach, taught seventh grade for a year, and finally landed in my favorite grade - sixth grade. When I am not at school, I thoroughly enjoy drumming, reading, hiking, backpacking, camping and cooking, yummy food and traveling. My favorite books are The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.
- Julie Ruble 7th Grade HumanitiesXJulie Ruble7th Grade Humanities
Julie lived in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, before moving across the country to attend High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Julie majored in Biology and English at Davidson College. For the past nine years she's taught middle school English, service learning, and lots of fun extras. She loves analyzing texts and believes, as she saw on a bumper sticker once, "All the world's a text." Teaching is her passion because she gets to form relationships with amazing students and partner with them to create innovative, effective, authentic projects to navigate.
Julie's also a writer. She writes poetry, memoir, and a food blog called Willow Bird Baking. Her other interests range far and wide: rescue dogs, yoga, reading, intersectional feminism, faith, sustainability, baking, kayaking, the outdoors, and food photography. She lives with her husband, Mike; her rescue poodle, Byrd; and her rescue turtle, Squirt.
- Matthew Adams 7th Grade HumanitiesX7th Grade Humanities
I grew up in the foothills of East County and developed a love for oaks, chaparral, and the pine forests of San Diego's mountains and high deserts.
Before joining HTMMA, I worked as a German instructor and language curriculum designer, university researcher, corpus linguist, and editor of online computer science courses at a Silicon Valley education startup. I hold a PhD in linguistics from Stanford and an MA in German from Georgetown. As an undergraduate, I double-majored in linguistics and German; I studied linguistics at UC Irvine and completed my German coursework at the University of Göttingen.
I feel incredibly privileged to be around students and colleagues who want to make the world more livable, more just, and more interesting. I'm passionate about helping students become self-directed, flexible learners as well as thoughtful, compassionate citizens whose first impulse is to satisfy curiosity rather than judge. I'm also invested in helping students become craft-aware writers, using writing and reading as tools to discover more about themselves and the world around them and to use their own experiences as the basis for constructing meaningful text.
I love traveling. I have lived in Germany and France for extended periods of time, and I enjoy yearly trips to the Republic of Korea where my wife's family lives. I'm an avid desert and mountain camper, weekend hiker, and backpacker. In San Diego, I love exploring the Cuyamacas, Lagunas, and high desert on foot.
- Shane Duenow 7th Grade MakersX7th Grade Makers
I am a graduate of the SDSU Applied Design School, with a focus in Woodworking and Furniture design. Before teaching at HTMMA, I worked as a bench carpenter in a small residential cabinet shop, an Assistant Project Manager at one of San Diego's largest architectural millwork firms, and also designed and built custom furniture. I was also part of the first graduating class of High Tech High International.
As a teacher I strongly believe that students produce their best and most interesting work when driven by their own convictions.
The goal for my class is that students will develop strategies for answering problems inside and outside the classroom. As students' solutions to these problems grow, they will be able to build a their skills and understanding. As a teacher it is important that I am able to support the students with skill building and understanding of concepts so that they are able to execute their ideas and interests to the highest quality. I believe it is important to provide students with foundational information in an conservative manner. There is a fine line of teaching a student a skill or giving them step-by-step directions to complete a task. The same is true with concepts and theories. Exposing students to published ideas and theories is important, but I do not think students need to agree with what is presented. To truly allow for student voice and develope original work I think it is important that we show students tools they may need then allow them to create their own solutions and ideas. It is important that I have a strong understanding of my students, as it allows for more accurate anticipation of possible skills and theory comprehension that will be helpful.
Knowing each student is very important to me. When I was a student, I wanted my teachers to know who I was, and for them to be an adult to talk to who weren't my parents. I want my students to feel that each day they can walk into at least one classroom and know they will be seen as an individual and not just another student. The understanding of the classroom population also allows me to be honest and give pointed feedback on ideas and work and have the words hold weight.
I truly value the voices and ideas of my students. I believe that students hold a great influence in our society and should feel empowered that they can answer real world problems with confidence.
- Jessie DuPre HTMMAPL - Academic CoachXJessie DuPreHTMMAPL - Academic Coach
Jessie claims Utah as home, but lived and grew up in six different states before returning to Salt Lake City where she received an Honors BA in Psychology and Arabic. She received a Special Education teaching credential from High Tech and is enthusiastic and honored to finally join the High Tech team. Jessie moved to San Diego almost 3 years ago as a corps member for Teach for America San Diego, teaching high school special education and coaching a cheerleading and dance team.
Jessie is committed to working towards ending education inequity and sees education as a tool for large scale transformation. Her passion lies in working alongside students with disabilities and their families, allowing space for students to realize new heights in their abilities. Jessie's ultimate vision centers around supporting students to discover joy and confidence in being independent and self sufficient.
Jessie spends any and all free time traveling abroad, reading fiction, experiencing live music, dance, cycling, the beach, and finding foodie spots, especially with her friends and family.
- Mimi Tran 7th Grade Math/ScienceX7th Grade Math/Science
After 4 years of teaching, Qui (Mimi) Tran is ecstatic to join High Tech Middle Media Arts. Before, she was teaching all subjects in 2nd grade, where she earned the title of Teacher of the Year at her school in 2017-2018. Mimi is now excited to focus her teaching on 7th grade math and science.
Mimi moved to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego, where she studied and got her B.A. in Psychology, History, and Education. She enjoyed San Diego so much, she also got her M.Ed in multiple subject education with an emphasis on mathematics through the University of California, San Diego.
As a lover of learning, Mimi likes to travel to different countries and engage in new adventures. She has a goal of visiting all the national parks. On her free time, she likes to do yoga, rock climb, snorkel, and play with her dog, Alfred.
- Gina Wickstead 7th Grade HumanitiesX7th Grade Humanities
Gina Wickstead has been a Language Arts and Social Studies teacher for 11 years, and taught for 10 years at Aki Kurose Middle School in Seattle. She received an undergraduate degree from The Evergreen State College and a Master’s in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. In 2008 she received a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificate. Along with teaching, she has been a staff and site supervisor for student teachers.
- Kat Wu 7th Grade Math/ScienceXKat Wu7th Grade Math/Science
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Katherine is a new San Diego transplant and is excited to be joining the High Tech family. Katherine has taught a variety of grade levels from 1st to 8th grade, but has been teaching middle school math and science for the last two years. Katherine earned her B.A. in political science at and social work from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and then went on to earn her M.A. in education in 2013 (Again, at Berkeley. (Go Bears!). Katherine lives with her husband, dog (Oscar), and bearded dragon (Alberto) and loves animals. She recently got to fulfill a crazy dream of swimming with sharks!
- Jacqueline Anton 8th Grade Math/ScienceX8th Grade Math/Science
Jacqueline Anton is excited to take on her role as an 8th grade Math/Science teacher at High Tech Middle Media Arts! Originally from Boston, she earned her BA in Visual Arts and Classics from Brown University and just completed her Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Before moving to San Diego, Jacqueline spent two years teaching 8th grade Math on the big island of Hawai’i. While living in Hawai’i, Jacqueline pursued her passions of painting, hiking, biking, swimming, running, and being outside. She is excited to continue to pursue those passions in San Diego!
- Sarah Banuelos HTMMAPL - Academic CoachXSarah BanuelosHTMMAPL - Academic Coach
Sarah Banuelos earned her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento, where she worked as a Teacher's Assistant in Social Psychology and was the president of the school's Sociology Honor's Society. After receiving her BA, Sarah earned her certification as a counselor specializing in addiction from the California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources. She worked in treatment centers for 5 years before making a career change to education in 2016. Ms. Sarah is originally from Southern California but has lived in 9 cities in California, including Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Santa Clara, and considers Northern California her home too. Sarah plans on making San Diego her home inevitably. Ms. Sarah loves connecting with her students and has always had a passion to work and help others. "I truly care about each and every student I work with. My goal is to make a positive impact on each student and give them the life skills and education that they deserve."
- Jennie Ganesan 8th Grade HumanitiesXJennie Ganesan8th Grade Humanities
I'm thrilled to be back at the High Tech High Village and teaching 8th grade Humanities this year at HTMMA!
I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey and earned my Bachelor's degree at Hofstra University in Long Island NY in History and Secondary Education. I taught Social Studies for six years in NY and NJ. My students and I often took our classroom outdoors to NYC, museums and historical sites.
I left the East Coast for year round warm weather and found myself in sunny San Diego. I taught at High Tech Middle, Ideate High Academy and Innovations Academy over the past 13 years. I love teaching Humanities and being able to share my passions: history, writing and the arts with my students.
When I'm not teaching, I enjoy cooking, attempting DIYs and reading. I also enjoy exploring San Diego with my husband and my two kiddos.
- Antonette Hrycyk 8th Grade HumanitiesX8th Grade Humanities
I'm originally from Western Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh (Go Penguins, Go Steelers!). I moved to Columbus, Ohio when I was 17 to attend THE Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!), where I majored in Anthropology and Comparative Studies, though I had a total of six majors in my four years there.
Following college, I worked for the YMCA of Central Ohio and the YMCA of San Diego teaching Outdoor Education (aka 6th grade science camp). While working for Camp Marston in Julian, CA, I first met the fantastic staff of High Tech Middle Media Arts - little did I know that I would be working there in four years!
Wanting to go back to school to learn more about informal learning (aka learning not in a super structured school setting), I attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for my Master's of Science in Museum Studies, where I focused on museum education and evaluation. I moved back to San Diego (accompanied by a cat named Mr. Abby) because of my love for the city and my partner's love for working at High Tech. Though I still love museums, I feel like working with the students of HTMMA on their exhibitions and turning our school into a living and breathing museum is where I am best served. I began working at HTMMA as an academic coach and this is my third year working as a Humanities teacher in 8th grade.
I live in Ocean Beach with Mr. Brady, my dog Herman, and my cat Mr. Abby. I enjoy running long distances, rock climbing, waking up early, a great non-fiction book, finding new podcasts, a good cup of coffee, and laughing. My personal heroes include Mr. Rogers, Leslie Knope, Jonas Salk, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Bryce John 6th Grade Multimedia
- Marc Shulman 8th Grade Math/ScienceX8th Grade Math/Science
I was born in Israel. Most of my family is there except for my parents who are on the east coast (Maryland.) I moved to Maryland when I was only 3, but I still call Israel my home. I feel a certain overwhelming emotion come over me when I am there, I simply feel home.
I got my undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) in Elementary Education with an emphasis in math and science education. I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. My mother and her twin were both teachers and my last name “Shulman” basically translates in Hebrew to “School Man.” I guess you can say that teaching was my calling and I answered it loud and clear. This is the career I was put on this planet to do. I love my job so much and the creative freedom that I have make my class an unforgettable experience.
I have been living in San Diego since August of 2006 and have been teaching in the High Tech High system for the same amount of time. Before coming to High Tech Middle Media Arts, I was a teacher for 5 years in Maryland. I started teaching in Gaithersburg, Maryland, my home town (where I grew up) and taught at Forest Oak Middle School in my community for 5 years. I taught 6-8 grade math and science. I had an amazing time and wonderful experiences teaching on the east coast, ones that could never be duplicated. Many of my students have graduated or are still in college today or have graduated college already and I still keep in contact with many of them.
I then made the move across the United States to wonderful San Diego, California. I scored a dream job teaching in the High Tech High “Village.” I taught 6th grade math/science at High Tech Middle Media Arts for three years, 7th and 8th grade math/science at High Tech Middle for 7 years and finally 5th grade at High Tech Elementary for a year and have loved every second in each position I've had! I earned my Masters Degree at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education with a degree in Teacher Leadership as well. After 15 years in the middle school, I decided I needed a change. Typically teachers move to a higher grade, but I knew 5th grade was my new adventure. I got to work with some of the best people I've ever met. While I had an amazing experience as a 5th grade teacher, I most at home as an 8th grade teacher, so I am thrilled to be back at my original stomping grounds, HTMMA (where I met my beautiful wife!)
I love to surf. My wife and I try to get out as often as we can. If you are ever out surfing in OB, let me know. I simply love being outside. I also have a coffee addiction. If you see me drinking coffee you can yell at me and tell me to stop. I drink about 6-8 cups a day. I probably won’t, but try anyways! I enjoy building things. Get ready to use a lot of power tools and wear your construction tool belt, because we have a lot to build this year.
Most importantly I have a wife named Sarah (who works for the HTH Grad School Credentialing office,) a beautiful 4 year old daughter and a 1 year old daughter who are all the center of my world. I feel I am the luckiest person because I have a family I couldn't be prouder of and a job I wake up daily excited to go to.
I am excited for this year to come. I have so many amazing ideas for an outlandish, amazing, and unforgettable year. Get ready to work hard and play harder!
- David Smith 8th Grade ArtX8th Grade Art
David Smith’s images are diverse in character, stemming from his urban upbringing to college life as the University of San Diego and beyond. He instills life lessons and values with each of his works. Painting ekphrastically unlocks the attribute of creating images that speak to the viewer. His ambitions dwell in revealing an interconnection between subjects that do not necessarily mesh. As long as an attempt to marry these subjects progress, his strongest paintings surface. Painting on found, discarded, or appropriated substrates able the material to voice itself.
Ultimately, his intention is to make works that communicate for groups that are so often predetermined and judged. As a young artist, David feels it is his responsibility to be the voice for the certain subjects in his work. Having grown up in Compton, Los Angeles, experiences inform his paintings because they develop a ruggedness which display their imposing presence to the observer which is why he paints on such a large scale.
Maya Lin, Isamu Noguchi, and Christo Javacheff are public artists that stimulate his series of images and installations. Encouraged by their ideology and the procedures of addressing the public, David persists. The work is not geared at the attention of a specific audience or genre; it is constructed for the people rather. Like Christo, some series are about an unveiling of something that is too often overlooked. By bringing the outside in, David Smith’s hope is to give onlookers insight.
- Melissa Daniels DirectorXDirector
After seven wonderful years as the director of High Tech Middle Chula Vista, Melissa is thrilled to be joining the High Tech Middle Media Arts family. Melissa came to High Tech High in 2006 after seven years of teaching at international schools in Cairo, Egypt and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She taught 6th grade Humanities at High Tech Middle for five years, before moving to HTMCV to become the founding director in 2011. In addition to being a school director, Melissa is also an adjunct faculty member in the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, where she has taught courses in leading progressive schools, facilitating adult learning, and teaching English language learners.
Originally from North Carolina, Melissa earned her B.A. in English Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her M.Ed in Teaching English as a Second Language from George Mason University. In 2010, she earned another M.Ed in School Leadership from High Tech High's own Graduate School of Education. When she's not in the classroom, Ms. Melissa enjoys traveling, taking photographs, running, reading, going to the beach, and watching basketball games featuring her beloved UNC Tar Heels.
- David Gillingham Dean of Student AffairsXDean of Student Affairs
David is extremely passionate about designing, making and exploring the unknown. He spent 3 years working as a low voltage electrician, during which time he developed a great adoration of building, tinkering, and problem solving. He believes that the universe is an untapped well of knowledge just waiting to be consumed and looks forward to inspiring that enthusiasm for learning in every student he encounters.
He came to HTM in May of 2011 and became the Extended Services Director. He began his first year teaching in 7th grade in 2013, teaching math and life science. His favorite project was when his students researched animals in captivity, designed Zoo enclosures for those animals and their natural habitats, and presented those designs to Architects at the San Diego Zoo. Last year, he taught 8th grade math and physics and was ecstatic to work with some of the same students. Building on their success from 7th grade, his students hosted an Air Pressure Carnival and constructed steel Marble Roller Coasters that demonstrated properties of motion. He also has co-directed the Summer Bridge Program for incoming 6th graders for the last 5 years. Before coming to High Tech Middle, David was the after school program director at Francis Parker Lower School, working there for 6 years, during which time he grew to understand the value of building relationships in an educational setting. David graduated Magna Cum Laude from National University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics and later obtained his single subject teaching credential in mathematics and science from High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Most recently, in the spring of 2017 David completed his Masters in Education in School Leadership through the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He has traveled Paris, Mexico, safaried in South Africa, and survived driving on the streets of Italy. In his free time, he enjoys boogie boarding at the beach, playing the drums and listening to music and working on his golf handicap!
- Brad Bookser IT DirectorXBrad BookserIT Director
- Carrigan Davis Afterschool StaffXCarrigan DavisAfterschool Staff
This is Carrigan's second year with the ESCAPE team and she is so excited to start another great year at HTMMA. Carrigan is an HTHMA graduate. She is currently studying biology and plans on becoming a teacher in the HTH system. Carrigan's favorite things to do are baking, roller skating, hiking, and reading a good book.
- Sarah Foat Student Support CoordinatorXSarah FoatStudent Support Coordinator
I received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from San Diego State University and a couple years later decided that education was my true calling. In between my BA and teaching credential, I moved to the east coast and worked as an animal caregiver in an animal shelter. For as long as I can remember advocating for the ethical treatment of all creatures has been a passion of mine. When I moved back to San Diego, I continued working with animals at the San Diego Humane Society. Knowing that I wanted to move forward with my career in education, I returned to SDSU and earned my teaching credential in Mild to Moderate Disabilities. I started at HTMMA as an academic coach and then moved into the school’s Inclusion Specialist team. Last year, I was the Student Support Coordinator and focused on restorative practices. This year, I am taking on the role of Reading Coach and am genuinely excited and looking forward to our adventures at HTMMA this coming year!
As a San Diego native, I naturally feel at home near the beach exploring tide pools or swimming about the ocean waves. Growing up eating some of the best Mexican food around, it has become my soul food. Some of my hobbies include rock climbing, snowboarding, and wake boarding. Dance and yoga have also been a huge part of my life as I find expressive body movement to be vital.
- Michelle Goings 6th Grade Special Ed ApprenticeXMichelle Goings6th Grade Special Ed Apprentice
Michelle Goings is extremely excited to be welcomed into the High Tech family as an Education Specialist Apprentice for the 2018/19 school year. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree from CSUSM in 2017, she took a year off to be a stay-at-home-mom to her 5 year old son, Bradley. After serving 10 years as a paraprofessional, Michelle is thrilled to continue on in her passion for students and education at High Tech Middle Media Arts!
When she isn’t in the classroom, Michelle spends her free time with her husband and son. She also serves in Mexico and Haiti on several missions trip throughout the year.
- Olivia Marquez Aftercare StaffXOlivia MarquezAftercare Staff
I'm from San Diego and have been lucky enough to live by the beach this whole time. I was a student at HTMMA back in 2005 in it's first year and my 6th grade class was the first group to do the full 6th-8th with HTMMA! I stuck with the High Tech schools for high school and went to High Tech High International. I absolutely loved my time as a student at both schools and so there was no way I could pass up the opportunity to come back. This is my second year working with the HTMMA After School Program and I'm very excited to be back this year. I graduated from Mesa College last spring with an associates in both French and Sociology. I'll be transferring to Northern Arizona University in Spring 2019 and plan to graduate with a BS in Sociology within a couple of years. My goal is to come back to San Diego after graduating and apply to the High Tech High Graduate Program and one day be a teacher!!
- Naiby Mencias Site ManagerXNaiby MenciasSite Manager
Naiby received her bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in English with an emphasis on linguistics. After a couple years of working many different roles at High Tech Middle, she has found a great place where she can utilize her bilingual skills and provide support for spanish speaking parents at High Tech Middle Media Arts. Naiby loves being a part of the High Tech community. In her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her familia.
- Sara Morrone Student TeacherXSara MorroneStudent Teacher
- Angee Mutter Inclusion SpecialistXAngee MutterInclusion Specialist
As a second-generation San Diego native I have been blessed to grow up in and around "America’s Finest City.” The daughter of an elementary school librarian, I avoided an early call to teaching and graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Journalism. I spent the next few years working for nonprofits, becoming a licensed massage therapist, and managing adult learners at the school’s massage clinic. My favorite part of the job was working with the students, helping them hone their craft and discover their love of healing. It was through a conversation with a veteran High Tech High teacher that ignited a fire to pursue my teaching credential. During the program I was continually drawn to work that focused on inclusive educational practices, and a desire to facilitate educational success for all students. After completing my Education Specialist (Mild/ Moderate) credential, I was fortunate to work at Greg Rogers Elementary where I taught a 2nd/ 3rd grade combo Special Day Class. During that time my students cultivated a garden from seeds, kept daily math and writing journals, and practiced important life skills to take with them beyond the classroom. It was with a heavy heart that I left my former students and school so that we could all grow and explore new opportunities.
I joined the team at High Tech Elementary (HTe) for its founding year, where I learned about growth mindset, project based education and deeper learning. After two years at HTe I wanted to grow, challenge, and develop as an educator, which brought me to HTMMA in 2017. Inclusion is a call to action, and my goal when working with students is to foster an experience that promotes open communication, participation, and embraces the idea of community within the education process. As a mom myself, I understand the desire for my child to love learning, make lasting friendships, and feel that they belong. Fortunately, my son is only a toddler, so I have some time to hone my tiger-mom skills.
- Cecilia Nevarez Extended Services CoordinatorXCecilia NevarezExtended Services Coordinator
Cecilia is native to San Diego and grew up with four brothers and three sisters. She spent much of her childhood with her family in Mexico. Her father trained her in archery and music appreciation and her mother gave her the skills of all things creative including sewing, cooking and adventuring. She currently lives with two little Jack Russell Terriers and most of her family remains close. Cecilia began working with High Tech Chula Vista in 2011 during which time she launched the middle and high school OAS Archery teams. In the summer of 2013 she ventured to Catalina Island and began working as the manager of Visitor Services for the Santa Catalina Island Company. After two years as an island resident, Cecilia returned to San Diego and to High Tech.
Prior to moving into her current position at HTMMA in 2015, Cecilia spent the last 20 years gaining experience and education in the field of wildlife conservation, outreach education as well as special education and social services. Cecilia’s first work experience, over 20 years ago, was volunteering for animal care and group presentations at the Chula Vista Living Coast Discovery Center. With that experience as a launching point and later gaining a degree in biology she was able to have the privilege of working for many years at the San Diego Wild Animal Park primarily with the charismatic mega fauna such as rhinos, giraffes, and elephants!
It was during her time in college that she gained experience working with youth first at a teen runaway shelter, followed by a position as counselor at a children’s home in New York. When she returned to San Diego after a year in New York, she worked closely with middle school SED students in a self-contained classroom setting for three years. Because of the rich and rewarding experiences she has had guiding youth in achieving good character and great ambition, as well as helping them to tap into their best talents and strengths, Cecilia is now working on an M.A. in Transformational Leadership and in the future looks forward to devoting herself to others in the field of personal and spiritual development.
- Lisa Quintana Student Activities CoordinatorXLisa QuintanaStudent Activities Coordinator
Lisa was 10 years old when she moved back to the United States after living 9 years overseas in Japan. California became her forever home and she finished her schooling in the South Bay community. Lisa first joined the High Tech team in 2012 as a youth leader for High Tech Elementary in Chula Vista. She worked part time for the after school program until she moved on to become an academic coach. She briefly left High Tech to finish her Liberal Studies Degree at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. There she continued to work with extended services at a number of different schools in Northern California. After receiving her BA she returned to San Diego to once again join the High Tech family. She worked at HTMCV as a program leader, activities coordinator and athletic director until she transferred to HTMMA.
During her free time, you can catch her strolling through the Little Italy’s Mercato or out with her dog. She loves to be active in the Italian community and enjoys spending time with her niece and nephew. She is highly competitive and plays in a number of adult leagues around San Diego with her husband.
- Tony Thomas IT DirectorXTony ThomasIT Director
Hailed from the Keystone State, Pennsylvania, where I grew until my early twenties. Then started my journey west to start college, at the University of Montana, in Missoula. Earned a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, from Montana State University, in Bozeman. Along the way I studied ceramics in Missoula as well. That is where I realized my interest in the arts. Over the years since I have occasionally joined a studio to throw pots. More recently I have been in a Ceramics Career Tech Education class at Coronado Adult Education. Joined HTH from Mater Dei Catholic High School. Where I worked as a IT Systems Administrator for 8 years. I love being a part of the education system. When away from school I enjoy anything outdoors and active. I love the mountains and the ocean.
- Michael Vallarelli Aftercare StaffXMichael VallarelliAftercare Staff
- B Wiesen Ed SpecialistXB WiesenEd Specialist
This is my 2nd year at HTMMA and I am excited to be back. I moved to San Diego 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas with my partner Kasson, and our cat Scout. I had just completed my bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas in English and have always been passionate about education. In past I have worked as a private tutor and caregiver to children with special needs. I am currently enrolled in High Tech High’s District Intern Program to receive my teaching credentials in Special Education.
In my free time I love exploring the beaches and trails of San Diego, and going to local plays and musicals with my partner and friends. I also enjoy volunteering at the San Diego LGBTQ Community Center.