Meet Our Staff
Rhea Brown, Co-Principal
Hello, my name is Rhea Brown, and I am proud to support the wonderful teachers, students, and families at SDCCS – Mountain View as the Co-Principal. I love being part of the SDCCCS-MV community of changemakers! It is a privilege to be part of a school that truly honors the growth and development of each individual child and partners with families to provide a nurturing, supportive learning environment.
I attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where I combined my love of astronomy with my passion for children and social justice to earn my science teaching credential. I’ve taught math, social studies, engineering, and science in classrooms ranging from elementary school through high school. Before I moved to San Diego, I taught middle school science and led a school-wide project-based learning initiative. After arriving in San Diego, I completed a master’s program in school leadership at High Tech High, where I focused on restorative practices. I’ve always been passionate about innovative teaching practices, social justice, and social/emotional learning, so I was thrilled to find a school like SDCCS-MV.
As a school leader at SDCCS-MV, it is an honor to support the talented, dedicated teachers and staff in providing a constructivist, child-centered education. I am proud to be part of this community, and look forward to continuing to learn and grow alongside the wonderful students, families, and staff at SDCCS-MV.
Sonia Bouchard, TK – Kindergarten Teacher
Hello, I am Sonia and I am thrilled to be working at SDCCS – Mountain View. Though 2014-2015 is my first year as a classroom teacher, I am not new to educating young children. Prior to teaching TK/K, I taught for six years in the VAPA (Visual & Performing Arts) Department as a Dance & Theater Teaching Specialist with the San Diego Unified School District. Working primarily with students in grades K-2 and their teachers, I modeled teaching strategies that used dance and theater to support academic learning. My work with the district inspired me to seek a credential at PLNU and through my own research as a parent I knew SDCCS was a good fit for my teaching style. To deepen my knowledge of constructivist practice I requested placement at SDCCS Linda Vista for my student teaching study. There I witnessed first hand the way a constructivist, multiage classroom supports individualized learning, and how social and emotional development is integral to academic achievement. I appreciate the opportunity to spend each new day with these beautiful children helping them to discover the amazing world around them and their own powers of love and creativity.
Katy Lavine, TK – Kindergarten Teacher
Hi, my name is Katy Lavine. I was born and raised in San Diego and am very happy to be living here again! I recently moved from the Bay Area, where I started my teaching career. I spent the last three years teaching kindergarten, and am excited to continue learning from kindergarteners here at San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2. When looking for a new school, it was incredibly important to me to find a place where I could help create a student-centered classroom where children are encouraged to explore, be curious, take risks and have fun while learning. I am so happy to have landed here at SDCCS – Mountain View and I find such joy in watching my students get excited about what they are learning.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of San Diego, and returned a year later to work towards a teaching credential and Masters in Education. When I am not at school, I love to spend time with family, be outdoors, cook, and read.
Erica Diamond, Primary Multiage Teacher
Hi, my name is Erica Diamond. I am a native San Diegan residing in Normal Heights with my husband, son, two dogs, and three chickens. I love spending time in nature, walking around the neighborhood, hiking, swimming in the ocean, gardening, doing yoga, and playing with my family.As an educator, I believe teaching and educating is about empowering students as active agents in this world who have important contributions to make to our society. I aim to create an inviting, nurturing, and engaging learning environment for all students to thrive in. It is important to me to honor the different ways children learn based on their developmental stages of learning, what experiences they encounter, and what they already know about these experiences. I believe that children are changemakers in this world and that developing emotional competence is the way to fuel children’s motivation and imagination so that they can learn to solve problems and drive positive change. I strive to create an environment where every student is respected and acknowledged for their contributions to the learning community and our society as a whole. I believe that a hands-on, minds-on, constructivist approach to education will provide students with the necessary experiences to develop a love of learning that will last throughout their lifetimes. I absolutely love our amazing school and can’t imagine teaching or learning anywhere else!
Gina Mirtallo, Primary Multiage Teacher
Hello, I’m Miss Gina! For the last nine years, I have been an early childhood educator and summer camp director just across the bay in Coronado. I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Recreation Administration, hold an Early Childhood Site Supervisor Permit, completed a graduate certificate to become an Early Childhood Socio-Emotional Behavior Regulation Intervention Specialist, and most recently completed the multiple subject credential program to teach elementary at Cal State Teach. I have created and led camps for the City of Coronado and worked for the Coronado Unified School District as a teacher at Crown Preschool. Both of these programs are fully inclusive, welcoming all children with open arms.I have learned a lot from my past experiences and am excited to apply what I know at a school like SDCCS! My favorite activity to explore with children is art and I look forward to integrating art into many of our activities. I strive to provide a supportive environment where children feel safe and are encouraged to try new things, gain independence, and make lasting friendships. Social and emotional learning are a major focus of my teaching, which helps to create a strong sense of community within the group. I am truly a kid at heart and provide children with ample opportunities to have fun, collaborate with one another, and learn through play.
When I am not in the classroom, I can most likely be found outdoors on an adventure with friends. I feel at home in nature and love to travel as much as possible to experience new people, places, and things. I also love living in San Diego, so exploring locally is on the agenda as well.
Jacqueline Venegas, Primary Multiage Teacher
Hello to our wonderful SDCCS Mountain View community! My name is Jackie Venegas and I am beyond excited to be joining this amazing staff and more specifically, the Primary Multiage Team. I am a native San Diegan and grew up just minutes away in National City. I am a proud product of public schools and graduated from Hilltop High School.
After 6 long years, I am so relieved to be back in San Diego! I attended UC Berkeley where I received my BA in Sociology. With the powerful history of the Bay Area, Berkeley’s education ignited a passion for social justice, political activism, and a quest for bringing these concepts into our schools. I then went on to receive my teaching credential and M.Ed from UCLA’S Teacher Education Program, having recently finished in January 2017. My thesis explored culturally responsive classroom management, personal responsibility, and the importance of student-teacher collaboration in creating a positive learning environment.
My teaching philosophy is well-aligned with SDCCS. I believe in the autonomy of children, empowering students to understand their independence and decision-making abilities, and providing students with a caring and nurturing environment. I also maintain the highest expectations from my students, and work to provide them with learning opportunities that are culturally responsive and validating for all families and our communities. In our classroom, we work hard and play hard! When I’m not in the classroom, you can find me knitting away on a new project, trying to brush up on my calligraphy skills, or in a nearby taco shop. I’m ecstatic at the prospect of a new year and can’t wait to meet everyone!
Anissa Ruiz, Elementary Multiage
Hi there, I’m Anissa! I am super excited about continuing my journey here at SDCCS Mountain View as a teacher this year! I was an Instructional Assistant here at MV for a year and a half and I am looking forward to take this new step.
The flaws in the educational system that I have experienced first hand have fueled my love and passion for providing equitable education for all children. I am so grateful to be working with a team that believes in the power of change through reflection and collaboration for the betterment of children. As a teacher I like to create a space for children to thrive in a safe learning environment. I believe that in order to successfully teach a child you must get to know their emotional, social and educational strengths and needs. Working with kids makes my heart smile and I am so excited to have the opportunity to teach your children!
When I am not at school you can find me in my front porch spending time with my family eating pizza, grilling, baking and cooking good food!
Catalina Trejo-Bloom, Elementary Multiage Teacher
Hola! My name is Catalina Trejo-Bloom and I will be one of the Elementary Multiage teachers this coming year. I am excited to join the SDCCS-Mountain View family!
I have worked with youth for 11 years, first as a youth programs coordinator for a non-profit in a San Ysidro and then as a classroom teacher in Qatar and New York City. I earned my Masters of Education at USD and then began my teaching career by teaching internationally in Doha, Qatar before returning to the United States to teach in the South Bronx.
As a teacher and mentor, I have come to believe that education is meant to inspire lifelong learning and curiosity. I believe we can learn best through our interactions with others and in an environment where they feel safe and cared for.
I was born in Tijuana and raised in both Tijuana and Chula Vista. I speak Spanish and love learning new languages. When I’m not teaching, I love to travel and experience new cultures, especially through cooking classes! This year I will also be showing my husband around San Diego as he becomes familiar with my hometown and state.
Griselda Garcia, Elementary Multiage Teacher
Marcus Van, Bridging/Middle Humanities Teacher
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt.
My grandparents moved to California from Texas and Arkansas in the 1950s and had 8 kids whom they groomed to be efficient and hard workers. Therefore, it makes sense that I have the southern hospitality and work ethic that’s been passed down from generation to generation. I am a believer that it is only through hard work and hands on experiences that goals can be met and dreams can be achieved.
I started my teaching career in 2004 on the shores of Taiwan, the computer micro-chip processing capitol of the world. I spent seven years teaching English to children from pre-K-12. My experience ranges from basic alphabet instruction to Advanced English Grammar and SAT vocabulary preparation. Having experience teaching the full spectrum of ages allows me to draw from an abundant toolbox of instructional strategies to suit each individual learning. I hold a BA in Communications from SFSU and an MA in TESOL and Certificate of Peacebuilding from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, VT.
When I’m not at work, you can find me taking narrow and often unbeaten hiking trails or riding my bike near the ocean. You will also find me traveling. I enjoyed exploring the lush, densely populated island of Taiwan and other locations in that travel-rich region. High on my list of favorite destinations are: Guam, the Philippines, and of course, the azure water and white sand beaches of the Thailand.
I’m an educator because the future doctors, presidents, teachers, police officers, healers, and writers are being born daily. It is not just a catchy Whitney Houston song: the children are the future and I am honored to be a part of creating autonomous, empathetic, and well-rounded human beings. I’m looking forward to being a part of SDCCS and your child’s future.
Jay Tran, Bridging Math/Science Teacher
Crystal Lopez, Middle Math/Science Teache
Ted Sciolla, Middle Humanities Teacher
Jocelyn Calica, Physical Education Teacher
Kelley Herring, School Counselor
As a counselor, I seek multi-faceted opportunities to support kids by encouraging peer relationships, teaching communication and social skills, and by helping to develop self-awareness and build self-esteem. I feel so fortunate to be part of a team that approaches education from a whole-child perspective; where social, emotional and academic development are inextricably linked. I love being surrounded by people who work together to encourage every student’s individuality, creativity, and freedom of expression. As Mountain View celebrates the beginning of our third year, I am starting my third year with the Co-Op schools. I hold a Master of Science in School Counseling and a California Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential in School Counseling.
Although I have lived the past 9 years in San Diego, I am a Colorado native with a lifelong love of playing in the cold & snow- including skiing, snowshoeing & ice skating. Outside of school, I enjoy most any activity that I can do alongside my family, which includes two (very different) 7 year-old twins, Josh & Alex, my partner Amy, and our dog Indie. Together we love to hike, ride bicycles, scooter, play board games, plan surprises for each other, wrestle, read new books, travel, and go swimming.
Lindsay Curtius, Education Specialist
Hello SDCCS family! My name is Lindsay Curtius and I am the Education Specialist at SDCCS – Mountain View. I am originally from Philadelphia Pennsylvania but have lived in San Diego by the beach for five years!
I have a very diverse professional background. For years, I worked on film sets successfully utilizing my undergraduate degree. Yet, I felt a pull and desire to help students with their individualized educational paths. I switched careers and for more than ten years I have educated, assisted and advocated for students with different learning needs. I now have a masters of special education with a focus on autism.
In my position at SDCCS – Mountain View, I have the opportunity to assist students with developmental, sensory, and behavioral needs. I love supporting children as they learn, grow, and thrive at the school I love.
Star, Therapy Dog
Hello, my name is Star! I am the Service Dog for the Classroom at SDCCS – Mountain View. I am originally from New York State. I was trained by NEADS, National Education for Assistance Dog Services, in Massachusetts for 20 months before I met my handler Lindsay Curtius. We trained together in Massachusetts before traveling on an airplane back to my new home of sunny San Diego!
I was matched specifically with SDCCS to assist students of all ages both in and outside the classroom environment. Dogs at schools assist in the social development of children by teaching responsibility, compassion, self-esteem, and empathy. It has also been found that we decrease unexpected behaviors and promote positive behavior in students.
In my position at SDCCS, I work hard to perform all my tricks that I was taught to help children with all different kinds of needs. I enjoy being read to, talked to, and I love playing ball!
When I’m not working at SDCCS I enjoy camping, hiking, and running on the beach!
If you see me around campus, please say hello!
Catie Griffith (Education Specialist)
Beth Brown (Inclusion Specialist)
Cassidy Bull (Speech Language Pathologist)
Melissa Scott, Adapted Physical Education Teacher
I have been providing support to students at Mountain View and Linda Vista campuses since 2012, but first joined the SDCCS family in 2007 as a parent.. Teaching APE is my third career after great experiences in Natural Resource Management/Environmental Education and as an Personal trainer specializing in clients with specific needs. I see it as a culmination of the skills I have developed throughout my professional life and love working with students at SDCCS. I am passionate about helping children learn, play, enjoy the outdoors and to feel at home in their bodies through both spontaneous and intentional types of movement.
I earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation from Humboldt State and a certificate in Exercise Science from UCSD. I also hold both Multiple Subject and Adapted Physical Education teaching credentials along with Personal Training and Medical Exercise Specialist Certifications. Basically, I like to learn stuff and am fortunate to work with a bunch of curious kids and adults who teach me every day!
Outside of work I love to play outside with my husband and sons, work in the dirt, be in trees as much as possible and label and laminate everything humanly possible.