Anthony Villaseñor, Principal
Hello, I am Anthony Villaseñor. Welcome to San Diego Cooperative 2 in Mountain View. I am honored and humbled to lead our staff, parents, and students in serving and supporting this thriving school community poised on the cutting edge of education reform and innovation.
I am a native San Diegan. I’m proud of my roots as a San Diego Unified alum and I’m excited to offer an outstanding model of progressive public education to children in our city. I studied curriculum development while attending the University of San Diego where earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
I became an educator to be a part of education reform effort and to make change. I committed to the charter movement to create new innovations and perspectives to what effective K-12 education can be. I feel passionate about the charter school call for embedded innovations and the integration of the latest psychology, neurology and human development research in school design. My journey began as a teacher, learning from kindergarteners. Students guided me to realize the power and potential of their own curiosities, creativity and perspective of the world. Service on the board of directors allowed me to understand the behind the scenes work done to support schools. It was that experience and passion for making positive change that propelled me into school leadership.
Teachers are amazing people and I’m inspired by the work they do everyday. My role as principal allows me lead a phenomenal group of teachers at San Diego Cooperative. Together we develop ideas and plans for student-centered learning and model a powerful and innovative multi-age program. The seamless collaboration and partnership between parents and support staff complete our school community. I’m proud of the Mt View Campus and I looking forward to continuing to work with this wonderful community to provide meaningful learning experiences for our children.
Meet Our Staff
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.
When I’m not at SDCCS, you can find me at the beach or mountains. I enjoy being outdoors, reading, and all things crafty!
Rhea Brown, Assistant Director
Hello, my name is Rhea Brown. I’m passionate about whole-child, progressive education and am proud to support the wonderful teachers, students, and families at SDCCS – Mountain View as the Assistant Director. I love being part of the SDCCCS-MV community because I strongly believe that all families deserve access to great public schools.
I attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where I combined my love of astronomy with my passion for children and social justice while earning my science teaching credential. I’ve taught math, social studies, engineering, and science in classrooms ranging from elementary school through high school. I spent three years teaching middle school science and working on a schoolwide project-based learning initiative in a district school outside of Boston before I moved to San Diego. After arriving in San Diego, I completed a master’s program in school leadership at High Tech High, where I studied restorative practices.
In my free time, I enjoy reading a good book and spending time with my friends, family, and my cat, Chloe and dog, Kofi.
MaiAda Carpano, Bridging / Middle School
My name is MaiAda Carpano and I am so excited to be part of SDCCS – Mountain View as the Bridging/Middle Humanities teacher! I am so grateful to be part of a school-wide team that shares the same passion for student-centered, hands-on, creative learning, and that works so hard to help every child to feel accepted, loved, and empowered.
I received a B.A. in International Affairs from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. I then spent some time working in the nonprofit sector and taking part in social justice work. I eventually returned to graduate school to earn a single subject teaching license in Social Studies and then a K-8 Multiple Subject license. I bring my passion for both local and global issues to the classroom, and hope to inspire all my students to discover their inner Changemaker!
When I’m not at SDCCS I like to relax with my friends, family and pets, as well as squeeze in as many hobbies as I can in my free time including: music, roller derby, travelling, eating, reading, playing nerdy board games, and doodling.
Lissette Ryan, Music / Arts Integration
Hi, I’m Lissette, and I’m thrilled to return for my third year at SDCCS Mountain View and to see our students grow as artists, musicians, and creative changemakers! My passion is helping children use their curiosity to develop skills that aid them in their self-expression. That could take the form of playing an instrument, writing a song, making cross-cultural connections through the arts, designing their own instrument, or in whatever direction their interests take!
I am a native San Diegan, and live in Blossom Valley with my husband, children Jack and Rosie, and our sheep, goats, chickens and 2 dogs. Before earning my credential and entering the classroom, I taught piano for ten years. Music brings me great joy, something I hope to share with each of my students. When I’m not at school, chances are I’m playing with my kids or the animals (or both), hiking, taking part in living history experiences, or learning a new instrument. The SDCCS family is a loving, supportive place for children and adults alike, and I am deeply grateful to be a part of our community!
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!
Andrea Gudmundson, Primary Multiage Teacher
Hi, my name is Andrea Gudmundson and I am so happy to be part of the SDCCS Mountain View family. I am originally from Northwest Washington and now love living in San Diego with my husband Ryan, our two boys Xavier and Lexan and our basset hound Ginny.
I am passionate about workshop model hands-on teaching and learning, and believe that every child is capable of learning in this organic setting. Our classroom is a place where we can explore, create, question, invent and grow together as learners. I am an avid believer in getting students reading with excitement and interest and applying their reading skills to all learning settings. I’m always looking for new books and ways to explore literacy. Talking and conversation are essential elements of effective education so I want my classroom to buzz with the voices of children actively engaged!
When I’m not at school you can probably find me playing trucks and Legos with my two boys Xavier and Lexan, splashing on the beaches, walking in my neighborhood, and sitting on my back patio relaxing. I am honored to teach your child and share in this journey with you!
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.
Gina Mirtallo, TK-Kindergarten 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.
Kelly Lonergan, Primary Multiage
Hi there—I’m Kelly! I am so excited to be a part of the Primary Multiage team as I continue my journey with SDCCS Mountain View. My hope is to create a child-centered, constructivist classroom where children can learn, grow, and love in community. I received my B.A., M.Ed., and Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego, where I first developed my passion for social justice and changemaking.
I feel most at home when I am surrounded by children exploring and creating together, probably because I grew up playing with my twelve cousins on our walnut farm in California’s Central Valley. When I am not at school, I enjoy reading, practicing yoga, traveling, and visiting Moosie’s for some mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Kate Dickinson, Changemaker Initiatives, Family and Community Engagement
I’ve had the privilege of working at SDCCS since 2006 as a classroom teacher and inclusion specialist. I have been enjoying my role in the last two years as a Differentiation Support Provider and mentor teacher, working primarily at the Mountain View campus. I also work closely with the Start Empathy Initiative through the Ashoka Network— our schools are recognized as part of a national and international network of Changemaker schools. As a Changemaker school Change Leader, I work connecting SDCCS to other K-12 institutions and universities to share our work and learn from other passionate educators. I work at USD one afternoon a week as a Community Fellow through USD’s office for Community Awareness and Social Action developing and supporting our university partnerships.
I am passionate about building innovative programs, supporting nurturing learning environments that celebrate each child and honor their joy and their journey as learners. I have a background in Inclusion and Differentiation, and my M.Ed. in Special Education from USD. I am lucky to get to play and teach in many different classrooms alongside incredibly talented teachers creative and curious children. When I got my teaching credential 14 years ago I fell in love with progressive, multiage education.
I have lived, taught, and learned both in San Diego and in Portland, Oregon; I have spent half of my life in each city and I love them both. I am at home outside in the mountains and in the trees hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and breathing clean air. I love making just about anything: building, cooking, painting etc. I love sharing my days with children—with my SDCCS family and with my girls, Luella and Zora.
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.
Janna Hemphill, Extended Day Program Director
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!
Mia Dixon, Elementary Multiage Teacher
Hello! My name is Mia Dixon and I’m thrilled to join the SDCCS family this year as an EMA classroom teacher. I was so excited to find this school when searching San Diego for a new position. I love the student-centered culture of the school and the passion the teachers have for what they do every day. I hope to be able to share my experience in project based learning, curriculum development, social emotional education, and global citizenship to SDCCS.
Originally I’m from the tiny Caribbean island of St John in the US Virgin Islands, but I’ve been in San Diego for a year teaching in two classrooms at the San Diego French American School. Before that, I spent four years living in Singapore leading a team of 13 teachers and teaching 3rd grade at Stamford American International School. While living and travelling in South East Asia, I developed a love for inquiry based learning and creating a strong classroom family.
Before teaching, I attended Fordham University in Manhattan, where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. These days I’m living in Ocean Beach, with my partner Nate and our rescued Singaporean street cat Tim Sum. When I’m not teaching, I spend a lot of time outdoors. I love rock climbing, scuba diving (anything ocean related really…), hiking, and travel.
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!
Jason Hirschhorn, Bridging/Middle
Hello, SDCCS2 family! This year, I will be the math teacher in the Bridging and Middle programs (as well as a homeroom teacher in Bridging). I’m incredibly excited to work with our students to explore and expand a subject area – math – I love so much. I’m hoping that our students will see math as a way to solve problems, will see math as intimately related to their lives and to making change, and will come to love math as something that they’re able to do and able to be successful in.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and then I attended Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. At college, I studied both computer science and social theory. After graduating from college, I taught the introductory computer science course at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut for two years.
While I loved teaching computer science to college students, my true passion has always been to work in K-12 education. I hoped to work in a place that focused on educating the whole person, that focused on empathy, that focused on meaningful learning and achievement, and that focused on changemaking. I was lucky enough to find SDCCS2, and I’m incredibly excited to begin my first year here.
Summer Zuidema, Elementary Multiage Teacher
Hello, my name is Summer Zuidema and I love being apart of the SDCCS – Mountain View family! I am originally from Oahu, Hawaii and now thoroughly enjoy everything San Diego has to offer. Hiking, surfing, camping, and cooking are just a few things I enjoy on my free time.
As a teacher, I measure a good day by how often I am able to laugh and make meaningful connections with my students. I strive to know each student as an individual learner to maximize their scholastic potential and encourage a pure love for learning. I aim to create a loving classroom community where students are free and comfortable to be their individual-self, engage in authentic learning experiences, and build lasting relationships with peers and adults. I believe in arts-integration, hands-on learning, and teaching to the whole child in order to nurture students towards successful, positive futures. I feel truly blessed to be apart of such an amazing community of educators, parents, and kiddos here at SDCCS 2.
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.
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!
Marcus Van, Bridging/Middle Humanities
“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.