- Gabrielle DuThinh Humanities
- Tracy French HumanitiesXHumanities
I received my degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Visual and Performing Arts from Cal State San Marcos in 2001. I continued on at CSUSM to receive my teaching credential in 2002 with a focus on middle school students. I have had the opportunity to work with kids at every level 612 in Pasadena, Chicago, and San Diego, but 6th graders are by far my favorite people. I love their enthusiasm and energy. They will do anything to make the world a more just and beautiful place.
Over the years I've worn many hats. I've been a Humanities teacher, a Drama teacher, an Art Teacher, and even Dean of Students. I work to incorporate my love of the arts and storytelling into everything that we do. I stress the importance of relationships in the classroom and encourage kids to work through conflict respectfully. As a founding member of our school, I am immensely proud of the environment we have built!
Outside of school I can be found spending time with my husband and baby girl, Alice, at a concert or play, creating art, or nerding out about a game or book.
- Freddy Miranda Academic CoachXAcademic Coach
Freddy is entering his third year working as an academic coach here at High Tech Middle North County. He earned a BA in Political Science with a Minor in Chicano/a & Latino/a Studies from the University of California, Irvine in 2015. Upon graduating, he has switched his focus towards education and his ultimate goal is to become a school teacher.
Freddy was raised right here in San Marcos where he has spent the majority of his life. He also lived in Orange County for four years while he attended college, but North County San Diego feels like home.
- Curtis Taylor Math/ScienceXMath/Science
Curtis Taylor is originally from Greenville, South Carolina. He has earned his B.A degree in Elementary Education from Clemson University (Go Tigers!) and his M.Ed. in STEAM Education from the University of San Diego. Currently, he is pursuing his Doctorate of Education through University of California, San Diego and California State University San Marcos. Curtis is also a graduate of the Call Me MISTER program, which is a growing program to raise the number of males teaching in the classroom.
Curtis is very thrilled of entering his 8th year of teaching! He was privileged to teach 3rd and 5th grade in Greenville County Schools and worked with the University of South Carolina, Lancaster teaching math to aspiring first generation college students. He has been with High Tech since the Fall of 2013 and is excited to continue the work with such amazing students! His hobbies include singing, dancing, working out, and just spending time with his family and friends.
- Lynne Titcomb Academic CoachXAcademic Coach
Lynne earned both her BA degree in Sociology and her MA in Education from the University of California San Diego. After receiving her teaching credential, she worked in the Oceanside School District. Prior to joining HTMNC, Lynne taught fourth grade at a charter school in Encinitas. She loves working with sixth grade and thrilled to be part of the High Tech Middle North County team.Lynne lives in Carlsbad with her husband, Matt, and her children, Sydney and Jake. She loves spending time with her family traveling, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and geocaching. Her adventures include; riding an elephant in Thailand, cave tubing and snorkeling with sharks in Belize, hiking pyramids in Guatemala, climbing the Great Wall in China, and mountain biking in the rain forests of St. Lucia.
- Fernando Vega Performing ArtsXPerforming Arts
Mr. Vega is the 2013-2014 Artist in Residence at U.C.S.D's Thurgood Marshall College. He grew up in this very neighborhood. Mr. Vega got his start as a ford foundation scholar with the Old Globe Theatre’s Teatro Meta, a bilingual actor training program. He attended United States International University in San Diego and London receiving a Bachelor of fine art in Musical Theatre. Mr. Vega is now a vested member of the Actors Equity Association. His singing and acting jobs have taken him to Canada, Mexico and nearly every state in the U.S. You might have seen him in a few commercials as well. Mr. Vega has been a teaching artist for Playwrights Project, Lambs Players Theater, San Diego Junior Theatre and The Globe Theater’s Teatro Meta. San Diego audiences have seen him onstage in musicals, comedies and classical dramas. Shows include “Quincenera” by Broadway playwright and T.V. writer Rick Najera, Broadway and Hollywood legend Luis Valdez’s “Corridos Remix” and The Merchant of Venice at the San Diego Rep. Mr. Vega worked as a director and professor of theatre for California State University San Marcos while earning California teaching credentials in drama and social science and introductory mathematics. This year he will lecture an honors theatre course at U.C.S.D. Mr. Vega is a founding charter member of the San Diego Shakespeare Society. He is married to his wonderful wife Sarah and has twin two year olds daughters and a six year old daughter
- Adrienne Villarreal Math/ScienceXMath/Science
Adrienne earned her teaching credential and her Masters in Education from University of California, San Diego. After coordinating programs for youth & families with the YMCA of San Diego County for 8 years, she taught K-third graders in National City. In the spring of 2012 she began helping to coordinate the after care CLUB program at High Tech Middle North County. In the fall of 2012, Adrienne taught 8th grade math/science at HTMNC, transitioning to 6th grade math/science in the winter of that year, where she has continued since. Adrienne enjoys the independence and curiosity of middle school students. When Adrienne is not at school you can find her playing basketball, exploring the Southwest with her family, hiking with friends around the county or catching an NBA game.
- Sacha Casciato Math/ScienceXMath/Science
I was born in Hawaii but grew up in San Diego. I live in East County where I could have cows and chickens if I want. I went to UCSD. Go Tritons! I have a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Masters in Education. I am a tinkerer, I love to work with technology and build cool things. I love any kind of puzzle, from Sudoku to city planning or conservation dilemmas. I love doing things that I am bad at. For example: Dancing, singing, public speaking, video games, and so much more.
I love the outdoors. I love trying new things and meeting new people. I am fascinated by different environments and other cultures. I have a passion for teaching because I have a passion for learning that I would like to spread. Connecting with students is the best part of teaching!
- Corey Clark HumanitiesXHumanities
Corey Clark is originally from Riverside, California. Shortly after graduating from the University of California Riverside with a Bachelor of Arts and teaching credential, he began his teaching career. Corey has experience in both private and charter schools. In addition to his teaching profession, he also accepted a role as an Athletic Director for two years. Although he loved his time in the Inland Empire, he moved to Escondido to take a position at High Tech Middle San Marcos to pursue his love of project based learning. He has never been more excited to begin a school year, and he is honored to be a part of the HTH organization.
Outside of school, he loves to rock climb, hike, adventure, read, play basketball or any sport, travel, listen to music, watch movies, and spend time with family.
- Charley Jacob Maker SpaceXMaker Space
Charley Jacob is native to Southern California and continually has had paint or ink on his hands since the mid 90's. He has several pairs of Vans shoes from an ever growing collection that nearly predates his students. He has been on a quest to understand why California burritos have french fries since moving to San Diego. He brings his passion for designing and building things to his classroom and loves seeing his students develop their ideas into beautiful work.
He joined the HTMNC team in Fall 2014. Before this role, Charley worked with students and young educators as a director of After School Programs. In addition to his experience in education, he was a small business owner, designing and screen printing shirts, and painting surfboards for LA based manufacturer. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts with a Studio emphasis from UCSD (selected partly because of its proximity to Black's) and teaching credential from CSUSM. Charley is currently earning a Master in Educational Leadership at HTH Graduate School of Education. He enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, and their two children especially floating in the ocean, cooking, and making things.
- Matt Nguyen Academic CoachXAcademic Coach
Matthew Nguyen (Mr. Matt) is a second year Academic Coach for the 7th grade. Born in San Diego and raised in San Marcos, Matt graduated from Mission Hills High School in 2011 and earned a degree in Psychology from UC Irvine in 2015. Matt has previously worked as an Intramural Sports Official and Supervisor, and as a private tutor.
On his free time, Matt enjoys playing volleyball, programming, and playing guitar. Fun Fact: Matt was roommates with Mr. Freddy for 3 years at UC Irvine!
- David Visser HumanitiesXHumanities
Mr. V was born and raised in Southern California and attended California State University San Marcos where he earned his bachelors degree in Liberal Studies and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. He is very excited to be teaching 7th grade Humanities at HTMNC and is looking forward to an amazing year. His favorite hobbies include skateboarding, hiking, going to the beach, and traveling with his fiancé.
- Kristen Voss Math/ScienceXMath/Science
Kristen was born and raised in Fresno, CA, where she became passionate about helping students positively change their lives through education. While earning her Bachelor degree Kristen worked for several Federal Grant Funded Programs such as Upward Bound and GEAR UP, which allowed her the opportunity to mentor and tutor disadvantaged youth. Through her work with Upward Bound and GEAR UP, Kristen saw how life changing access to higher education can be for people and decided to help all students gain access to college and beyond. Kristen moved to San Diego County to be closer to her husband and to attend California State University, San Marcos where she earned her BA in Liberal Studies with a depth of study in Mathematical Concepts, a multiple subject teaching credential, and a certificate of advanced studies in middle level education.
When not at school, Kristen enjoys doing yoga, reading, and spending time with her cats.
- Lauren Hagan Math/ScienceXMath/Science
I was born and raised on a small farm in Whitesville, KY. I had a passion for volleyball and ended up playing for the University of Kansas. While at Kansas, I received a Bachelor’s degree in middle math education and stayed an additional year to gain a Master’s degree in curriculum and teaching. From here, I ventured to Managua, Nicaragua to teach 6th grade mathematics. Once back in the states, I found myself moving to North Carolina to teach at a project based learning school in Durham. However, the west coast has always intrigued me and I found myself aching to get out to San Diego- especially during the winter! I love middle schoolers and I am thrilled to teach 8th grade math/science/project at High Tech High Middle North County.
In my free time I can be found hanging with my sweet Boston terrier named Hank. Together, Hank and I spent 4 weeks moving across the county to see some amazing National Parks. I love adventure and travel and I'm also into beach volleyball, bullet journaling, and developing a green thumb.
- Kelly Jacob HumanitiesXHumanities
Kelly is a caffeine-based life form who has an unnatural obsession with tree sloths and pugs. It has been said that her laugh can be heard across campus. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego, where she competed on the inner-tube water polo team. However, she considers herself a bit of a rebel, as she has never waited the full 15 minutes after eating before getting in a pool.
She is deathly afraid of cheese sticks and driving behind small trucks filled with household goods. She does not like to eat potato chips that are folded over onto themselves because at that point, they are more like worthless taco shells. She is a member of the pro-Oxford comma faction, preferring to avoid ambiguity. She has never eaten a Big Mac (and doesn't intend to). Though she works on the skill daily, Kelly has not yet been able to master the art of negotiating with her 3 year old. She shares a passion for Disneyland with her 6 year old and bonds with her husband at Chipotle.
Kelly has a Master's degree in education, an administrative credential, and considers it a privilege to have been able to spend the last 11 years sharing in the crazy that is middle school.
- Zamequa Lopez-Fuentes HumanitiesXHumanities
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. After high school, I attempted to expand my horizons; completing my freshman and sophomore years at Sacramento State University. I shortly realized that I missed home, and returned to finish my studies at the University of San Diego. I received my B.A. and SingleSubject Teaching Credential in English from USD, and quickly began teaching. Before coming to teach at HTMNC, I taught at another charter school in the county, but somehow I always knew that HTH was where I belonged.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two dogs Navidad and Blue. We can often be found at one of the dog parks or beaches across our beautiful county.
- Blaine Mazzetti Math/Science ApprenticeXMath/Science Apprentice
Blaine is from Rincon Indian Reservation in Northern San Diego. He studied History with an emphasis on Native American Studies at UCLA. Blaine loves to spend time with his wife and two daughters. His interests include playing music and photography. Blaine is of the Luiseño (Payomkawichum) people of Rincon and is very interested in bringing the relevance of Indigenous knowledge and tradition to local schools.
- Chris Olivas Math/ScienceXMath/Science
Mr. Olivas grew up right here in San Diego. He loves traveling and has lived in many different places like Australia, Argentina, and recently in South Africa but always returns because San Diego truly is America's finest city! As a San Diego native, he loves the outdoors and especially the ocean. In high school he was on the swim team, water polo team, and surf team. He went to UCSD to study marine biology and has done some research on sharks at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. He also spent all of his summers lifeguarding at Mission Beach and helping to run the San Diego Junior Lifeguard program.
Mr. Olivas has taught high school and middle school math and science at several High Tech High schools since 2008 (but HTM NC is obviously his favorite!) He loves designing projects that allow students to learn new skills and apply them to make authentic work. He is always planning projects around preserving our natural world and our place in it as human beings. He loves to get creative with art, photography, and video inside and outside of school. In a past life he thinks he was a lion and in this current life he thinks he is a Jedi.
- Brent Spirnak Digital ArtsXDigital Arts
My life began in Mission Viejo, CA but moved to Anaheim where I spent my youth. I then migrated to San Diego to major in film at San Diego State. In school I was involved with many film productions and group projects. In 2007, I graduated with a bachelors degree in Television, Film and New Media. From there I was hired at High Tech High as the video ethnographer where I captured and created videos about project based learning.
My teaching philosophy promotes an experiential learning environment where students learn communally from both their mistakes and successes.
While not at school I can be found bodysurfing, grilling, playing soccer and hanging out with my wife Megan.
- Brian Voss Academic CoachXBrian VossAcademic Coach
Brian was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was raised in a town of 2,000 people named Minden, Nebraska. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served five years and ended his contract as a Sergeant. The weather was way too nice for Brian to return to Nebraska, so he stayed in North San Diego County.
After the Marine Corps, he went to college where he received an Associate's Degree from Mira Costa College, and a Bachelor's Degree from CSU San Marcos, both in psychology. He spent time as a research assistant while at CSU San Marcos, studying the differences in selective trust in 3-5 year olds.
This is Brian's first year at HTMNC. When Brian isn't working, he spends way too much time with his three cats, and he also plays too many video games.
- Juliet Mohnkern DirectorXDirector
Juliet is originally from Connecticut and has taught and led in schools in Boston and Washington, DC. She moved to San Diego to attend High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education where she earned her MA in School Leadership. During her graduate work at High Tech, Juliet was the school leadership resident and interim director at High Tech Middle Chula Vista.
Juliet loves learning and explored her passions through undergraduate work in Classics at Boston College and graduate work in Ethics, Peace Studies, and Global Affairs at American University. Juliet finds joy in working with young people - especially middle schoolers! - to uncover their potential, explore ideas, and create meaningful work. She loves running, spending time outside especially at the beach, and enjoying good food with family and friends.
- Bianca Cano After Care Program ManagerXAfter Care Program Manager
Bianca has lived in San Diego the majority of her life but was born in the Imperial Valley and was lucky enough to have lived in North Carolina after graduating from college. While in North Carolina she was amazed by the weather, and the lightning bugs, also known as fire flies. She has been fortunate enough to have been mentored and worked in Chula Vista Elementary School District, San Diego Unified School District and Pender County Schools in North Carolina before making her way to HTH. This is her third year with the HTH organization.
Bianca received her B.A. from San Diego State University and is currently in graduate school at Point Loma Nazarene University working towards a Masters degree in school counseling with a P.P.S. credential. She has worked diligently to combine her love of dogs and children and hopes to complete a research paper and field study on the benefits of therapy dogs in the academic setting.
Bianca has played softball since she was eight years old and still loves playing co-ed softball in San Marcos. She has found that her love for sports played a tremendous role in her dedication to team work, communication, and teaching. She also enjoys being around friends and family. She has some of the best laughers in her family and is always looking to share a smile or moment of laughter with others!
- Sean Delgado Education SpecialistXSean DelgadoEducation Specialist
I am very excited to take on the role of Inclusion Specialist for HTMNC. Being the youngest of 12, I found myself fortunate to call San Diego my home at the age of 3. My parents moved here from Torrington, WY and it could not have benefitted me more. I have a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and have experience working with individuals with disabilities in both a classroom and day-program setting. My passion and experiences are predominantly in the Special Education field. I am a novice at American Sign Language, which I hope to get better at. I try to stay as active as possible playing soccer, hockey and hiking whenever I can find time. Harry Potter is a minor addiction of mine (Hufflepuff all day!) and I follow Liverpool Soccer.
- Justin Dove School PsychologistXJustin DoveSchool 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 therapeutic approaches, and school-based problem-solving.
Justin appreciates culture in all its forms. His personal interests include social justice, travel, sports (Buckeyes-Browns-Cavs), the arts, gastronomy, and long walks with his eleven-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 North County family for the 2017/18 school year.
- Jessie DuPre Education SpecialistXEducation Specialist
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 cheer-leading 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.
- Bret Faber Sports CoordinatorXSports 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 Community Outreach CoordinatorXJocelyn FloresCommunity Outreach 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!
- Christine Hatch Education SpecialistXChristine HatchEducation Specialist
I am fluent in American Sign Language and consider it a super power to be able to talk to people under water, through walls, or across a room without ever using my voice.
I grew up here in San Diego and graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature and Creative Writing. I've spent 10 years heavily involved in the poetry slam community, which is what guided me into teaching. I was helping high school students in the Bronx prepare for a poetry competition called Brave New Voices and fell in love with education.
Before joining HTMNC I worked as a Special Education teacher in Brooklyn, gaining a Masters in Special Education through the teaching fellows. I've also worked as a counselor for homeless LGBT youth through the Ali Forney Center in New York and a resource counselor for special needs adults here in San Diego.
In my spare time you'll find me quilting, playing with my dog, Oliver, reading, dancing or watching crime dramas. Working with children as an educator or an emotional support has always been one of my passions, and I'm excited to get started as an Inclusion Specialist at High Tech Middle.
- Bob King IT Administrator HTMNC & HTHNCXBob KingIT Administrator HTMNC & HTHNC
- Cindy Pahl Office ManagerXCindy PahlOffice Manager
Cindy has always lived the life of an educator - with a B.S. and M.A. in Education and more than 25 years of experience in informal science programming. Originally from Maine, Cindy has lived on both coasts and while she misses the fall foliage, she loves the California weather! Cindy fell in love with High Tech High when her daughter joined the San Marcos campus (and was a member of the school's first graduating class in 2011!) and knew this was the next stop in her career. As the Office Manager Cindy will spend her time helping keep parents, students, and teachers supported and organized. She looks forward to being a part of shaping this year at HTMNC!
- Jasee Rana Academic Coach
- Renee Rojas Social Emotional CoordinatorXSocial Emotional Coordinator
Renee graduated from Cal State San Bernardino in 2011 and earned her BA degree in Liberal Arts. With a passion for education, Renee pursued her graduate degree in Educational Counseling, along with a credential in Pupil Personnel Services. Before joining the High Tech High community, Renee gained experience working with youth in multiple settings as a lifeguard, in hospitals, and with foster youth. Renee moved from San Bernardino to work at High Tech in 2012 in the AfterCare program as a Youth Leader. During that time, she developed a deep passion for students with special needs and pursued work within the community as an academic coach. After spending 5 years in the classroom in this role, Renee is excited to use her growing knowledge base, educational background, and experience to support a greater amount of students as High Tech Middle North County’s Social Emotional Coordinator. Renee is devoted to positively impacting her students and enabling them to become successful, not only academically, but personally. When Renee is not at work, you can find her with her yorkie, Ariel, crocheting blankets for loved ones, swimming, or discovering her new home in San Diego.
- Polett Schafer EL and SST TeacherXEL and SST Teacher
Hello HTMNC! My name is Polett Schafer and I am a pug loving, music bumping, VR playing, book hoarding, history geek that will be supporting our struggling learners and our emerging bilingual students on campus!
After graduating from CSUSM with a BA in History, I spent four years working at a middle school in Oceanside in a variety of roles; two years as Assistant Site Coordinator of an after-school program and two years as a service-member of AmeriCorps. As a service member I managed a tutoring and mentoring program. I was able to experience the transformative power of developing authentic and caring relationships with wonderful students.
Deep learning happens in a caring community and I intend to make these strong relationships with you all the foundation of my work this year. My professional experience inspired me to earn my teaching credential, with an emphasis on middle school students because I have the sense of humor of a middle schooler :)
Currently, I live in Fallbrook with my wonderful husband of 6 years. We have five pets that we love dearly. We enjoy taking our dogs on walks, eating at new restaurants, traveling, going to concerts or stand-up comedy shows, watching funny movies or documentaries, and hiking. I love to read, practice yoga, and spend quality time with my friends and family.
Here is the link to my DP to learn more about me and my previous work!