Faculty & Staff
Stacey CaillierDirector, Center for Research on Equity and Innovation
Michelle PledgerProject Co-Director, Deeper Learning Hub
Michelle Pledger is the Project Co-director of the Deeper Learning Hub, a national practitioner hub whose mission is to spread deeper learning practices and ensure that more students across the country are achieving deeper learning outcomes. She is co-leading the Share Your Learning Campaign which aims to spread student-centered practices (exhibitions, student led conferences, and presentations of learning) to 5 million students by 2020. She also works for the Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education as Coordinator of High Tech High submissions to Education Week’s Learning Deeply blog, and as a co-planner and facilitator of the annual Equity Deep Dive.
Michelle earned her Master’s in Pacific International Affairs, with a career concentration in International Development and a regional specialization in Latin America at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego. Prior to entering graduate school, Michelle lived in Bisai, Japan for two years, teaching English and American culture at public junior high schools while engaging in performance dance and theater. Michelle earned her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Irvine, with a major in International Studies and a minor in Clinical Psychology. During this time she also attended La Universidad Católica Pontificia in Santiago, Chile for one semester. Proficient in Spanish and conversational Japanese, Michelle enjoys international travel and leaves the country at least twice a year. While working at High Tech, Michelle has taken students to Washington D.C., the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the U.K., France, Panama, and Costa Rica.
Michelle earned her Certification in Dance at Palomar College and was awarded 2013 Dancer of the Year. A winner of numerous accolades for competitive public speaking through Toastmasters International, her most notable speaking engagements include the 2014 USC Shoah Foundation Gala when Steven Spielberg honored President Barack Obama with the Ambassador for Humanity Award, TEDx Hollywood, and the Past is Present 70th commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. She is currently earning her doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in social justice at the University of California, San Diego and California State University, San Marcos. With a dual passion for education and dance, Michelle embraces an energetic teaching and coaching style.
Anna ChampionStudent Accounts & Financial Coordinator
Anna recently moved to California in January of 2017. Prior to that she lived in Mississippi for 19 years. During her professional career in Mississippi, she served in many diverse roles. She began as a staff accountant. From there, she worked in administration at a finance department, with a NASA contractor at Stennis Space Center. One of her favorite places of employment was at the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach. There, she held the position of a Business Operations Manager. She loved the scenic view on the Gulf Coast campus, the culture of the organization, and people that she worked with. Anna is happy to be working in the educational industry again and excited to be joining the team at High Tech High. Anna graduated from William Carey University with a B.S. in Business Administration, major in Accounting.
Ben joined High Tech High to teach physics as a founding faculty member in fall 2000. He has been a school director, chief operating officer, and chief academic officer for High Tech High and is now the provost of the Graduate School of Education. As a student at Haverford College, Ben majored in physics and was credentialed in secondary physics and math, student teaching at Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia. After graduation, he traveled to the Philippines and taught science and math at an international school in Manila. Upon his return to the U.S., he taught physics and AP physics at the Madeira School, a girls’ boarding school in suburban Washington, D.C. He then moved to California to coach basketball and to teach physics at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges. He earned an M.A. in Science Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of California, San Diego.
Ben’s research is focused on continuous improvement in schools, which is an effort to spread good practices in education using a broad range of both outcome and process data. He completed a dissertation on increasing college access for traditionally underserved students using these methods (excerpt: bit.ly/hthcalgrant). Ben has also led work in conjunction with the Hewlett Foundation around spreading deeper learning practices and principles. Follow him on twitter @bendaley.
Sarah FineProgram Director, GSE Teaching Apprenticeship
Sarah Fine recently earned her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she collaborated with Associate Professor Jal Mehta on a long-term ethnographic study of secondary schools that are striving to enact deeper learning for all of their students. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, she worked as a teacher, department chair, and instructional coach at an urban charter high school in the District of Columbia, and as a freelance education journalist. Her work has appeared in a diverse array of publications, including the Washington Post, Education Week, and academic journals such as the Harvard Educational Review. Her co-authored book, In Search of Deeper Learning: Inside the Effort to Remake the American High School is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in 2018.
Ryan GallagherEducation Research Specialist
Ryan Gallagher is an Educational research specialist within the Center for Research on Equity & Innovation at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He coaches improvement science projects within HTH K-12 schools, co-facilitates a networked improvement community focused on college, career and civic readiness, and directs the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Early Implementation Initiative at High Tech High. Ryan has taught middle and high school within the HTH system since 2004, and co-designed and facilitated HTH’s first MOOC on Deeper Learning. Ryan holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Philosophy from UC San Diego and was a member of the first graduating cohort of students in the HTH GSE where he is now a faculty member. He is a proud Ryan member of the Distinguished Educators Panel at the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center and is featured in Kathleen Cushman’s recent book The Motivation Equation!
Erica GearyData Analyst
Maria HerediaChief Operations Officer and General Counsel
Maria Heredia’s work focuses on supporting innovative and effective educational opportunities for students and teachers. She has been actively involved with charter schools and education nonprofits in California for twenty years. She works with High Tech High in the dual role of Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel focusing on school operations and policy. Previously Maria served as Senior Vice President of Legal Advocacy and General Counsel to the California Charter Schools Association. At CCSA, Maria worked to expand advocacy efforts on behalf of California charter schools, while leading an action that significantly increased the facilities available to children attending charter schools in Los Angeles. Prior to that she worked in private practice. Maria has enjoyed teaching graduate level classes in education law and policy and volunteering with local nonprofits. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School where she focused on the Lawyering for Social Change curriculum, and Harvard University where she earned an A.B. in American History and Literature.
Mari JonesProject Co-director of the Deeper Learning Hub
Mari Jones is the Project Co-director of the Deeper Learning Hub, a national practitioner hub whose mission is to spread deeper learning practices and ensure that more students across the country are achieving deeper learning outcomes. She is co-leading the Share Your Learning Campaign which aims to focus on spreading a small set of practices (exhibition, student-led conferences, and presentations of learning), to 5 million students by 2020. She is also an Improvement Facilitator for the Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
Mari has always felt that education is a form of activism, and she is passionate about promoting social change and equity by empowering youth. As an elementary educator for 14 years, she spent half of her career in National City, working primarily with English Learners and the other half working at High Tech Elementary Explorer, which nurtured her passion for social emotional learning and crafting opportunities for meaningful learning experiences. She spent the past 2 years in the M.Ed. Educational Leadership program at HTH Graduate School of Education where her work largely focused on the intersection of project based learning and social emotional learning as important pathways that lead to the development of deeper learning competencies, and on professional development to support new teachers. Her work with the GSE enabled her to work in educational outreach, facilitating professional development for teachers outside of High Tech High, as well as through the mentorship program at the PBL Career Pathways Leadership Academy, a partnership between HTH and the California Department of Education. She holds a B.A. in Communication, a Multiple-Subject Bilingual, Cross-cultural, Language and Academic Development Credential, and an M.Ed. in Research, Equity, and Technology from UCSD.
Stacey LopazNew School Creation Fellowship, Director of Innovation & Pedagogy
Stacey’s passion for progressive education came from her time spent as an elementary school teacher in New Orleans, as part of her work with Teach for America from 2002 to 2004. Since then, Stacey has been constantly engaged in the study and practice of project-based learning as a vehicle for equity, across all grades. Stacey has been the founding teacher and director at two different HTH schools, K-8.
Hayley MurugesanDirector, Student Affairs
As the Director of Student Affairs at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, Hayley Murugesan directs student development efforts and serves as the Registrar, Financial Aid Director, and Title IX Coordinator. Hayley’s career in education began in San Francisco, where she taught at School of the Arts High School and San Francisco Day School to develop engaging programs for both high school and elementary students. In 2006, Hayley’s desire to create innovative and collaborative learning environments grew through her position as a 7th grade English teacher at Academy of the Pacific Rim in Boston. After traveling and working with schools across the country and abroad in Budapest, Hungary, Hayley joined Summit Education Initiative as a Project Manager leveraging the support of business and community leaders to implement an early-education program for underserved families in Ohio. Upon settling in San Diego in 2008, Hayley became the Site Manager at STAR and directed a socialization and skills training program for children with autism before joining the High Tech High team. Hayley graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in History and M.A. in Teaching where she was a finalist for the Dean’s Medal for Excellence.
Carmen RamirezAdministrative Assistant
Carmen recently joined the High Tech High community. Prior to working at HTH, Carmen worked at the University of California San Diego, and for UCSD Health Systems. She worked closely with physicians, researchers, and faculty providing executive and programmatic support in various departments such as, Anesthesiology, and Family & Preventive Medicine (Sports Medicine Division). She will be assisting with the Career Pathways PBL Leadership Academy, and is excited to be part of the team. She’s currently pursing a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
Rob RiordanPresident Emeritus
Rob Riordan, Ed.D., is a co-founder of High Tech High and President Emeritus of the HTH Graduate School of Education. A teacher, trainer, and program developer for over 40 years, he has worked with teams to develop 14 new schools (11 at High Tech High) spanning the K-12 years. As a long-time teacher in the Cambridge (MA) Rindge and Latin School, Rob developed an award-winning writing center and two pioneering school-to-work transition programs: the Cambridge-Polaroid Technical Internship Program and the Cambridge-Lesley Careers in Education Program. For several years during this time, as a faculty member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he led the practicum seminar for Harvard’s student teachers. Later, under the auspices of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education, he directed the New Urban High School project that led to the development of High Tech High. Rob holds a B.A. from Haverford College and an M.A.T. and Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where his doctoral dissertation was a five-year case history of the evolution of goals and practices in a public alternative high school. He is co-author, with Adria Steinberg and Kathleen Cushman, of Schooling for the Real World: The Essential Guide to Rigorous and Relevant Learning.
Larry Rosenstock, J.D., M.Ed, L.H.D, is President of the HTH GSE as well as a core faculty member. He is also CEO and founding principal of High Tech High, a network of twelve K-12 public charter schools in California. Larry taught carpentry in urban high schools in Boston and Cambridge and was principal of the Rindge School of Technical Arts, and of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. A member of the Massachusetts and U.S. Supreme Court Bars, he served as an attorney at the Harvard Center for Law and Education, and served as lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley School of Education. He directed the federal New Urban High School Project, and was president of the Price Charitable Fund. He is a winner of the Ford Foundation Innovations in State and Local Government Award, an Ashoka Fellow, and recipient of the McGraw Prize in Education.
Ben SanoffResearcher, Center for Research on Equity & Innovation
Ben Sanoff has been a high school teacher and school leader for nine years, primarily at Berkeley High School, and is currently a researcher at Center for Research on Equity and Innovation at the High Tech High GSE. Inspired to become an educator as a result of his educational experiences growing up in Cambridge Massachusetts, Ben attended Colby College, received a Master’s of Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and was awarded a Master’s of Education in School Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
He served as a social studies teacher, technology coordinator, and teacher leader at Berkeley High, where he was deeply involved in program design, professional development, and technology implementation to help address issues of equity and make instruction more student centered. As technology coordinator, Ben developed a blended learning program and later as a teacher implemented a self paced mastery economics course. In addition, Ben developed a tiered set of interventions for students in AP classes by establishing a partnership with UC Berkeley, recruiting and coordinating undergraduate mentors to serve as study group leaders for students in AP courses. He wrote for and was awarded the UC Berkeley Chancellorship grant to scale up this partnership. Last year his work on student consulting was published in the Unboxed Spring 2016 edition and on the Edweek Deeper Learning blog.
Randy SchererProject Director, HTH PBL Leadership Academy.
Randy Scherer directs the California Career Pathways PBL Leadership Academy, a new professional development program developed in conjunction with the California Department of Education.
For the past ten years, Randy taught humanities at High Tech High Media Arts, where we was a founding member of the faculty. Prior to joining the HTH Village of schools, Randy was the Production Manager for three national magazines in New York City. Throughout his teaching career, Randy has remained active in print media and has published four nonfiction books. At HTH, Randy was a founding member and editor of UnBoxed: The Journal of Adult Learning in Schools. He has developed and presented workshops centered on project based learning and school reform for educators and policy makers in the US and abroad.
Randy received his B.A. in Political Science and English from Binghamton University, his teaching credential from the University of San Diego and his M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
Tina SchusterProfessional Learning Coordinator
Daisy SharrockProject Director - Mathematical Agency Improvement Community
Daisy Sharrock leads the Mathematical Agency Improvement Community (MAIC), a network of 18 southern California schools working to abolish the phrase “I am not a math person.” The network of teachers and administrators uses improvement tools and methodologies to identify, test, and scale classroom practices that increase students’ mathematical agency and success across diverse contexts. Daisy also teaches in the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, conducts improvement science professional development across the High Tech High K-12 schools, and assists in the development and convening of an improvement network drawn from California schools, districts and CMOs within the Deeper Learning network to tackle the persistent problem of college, career and civic readiness for all students.
Kelly Wilson is the Dean for the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She helped develop and open East Palo Alto High School as a founding faculty member, as well as the second HTH high school, HTH International, as the founding director. In K-12 schools, Kelly has taught math, physics, and robotics, and in higher education courses ranging from facilitating adult learning and leading innovative schools to new school creation. In either setting, Kelly’s passion is to shape learning environments that are personalized, authentic and transformative. Kelly holds a B.S. in Biology from UC San Diego, M.A. in Education from Stanford University and is currently a doctoral student in the Ed.D. in Organizational Change and Leadership program at USC.
Katie WrightM.Ed. Program Director
Katie began working at HTH in 2005, initially for the central office, and later teaching reading, writing, social science, and special education. After serving as Academic Dean at High Tech Middle Media Arts, Katie moved into the role of Director of Special Education for the HTH schools, while earning her M.Ed through the HTH GSE. Katie is returning to HTH after working for the Institute for Entrepreneurship in Education, a nonprofit institute at the University of San Diego, where she engaged leaders and teachers in professional learning on topics including instructional leadership, project-based learning, and equity. Katie is passionate about creating inclusive, asset-based, transformative learning environments for students. Katie is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, she holds her B.A. in English and Spanish Literature from UCSD, and her M.Ed in School Leadership from the HTH GSE.
Eric ChagalaPrincipal VIDA
Dr. Chagala graduated from UCLA with a degree in International Relations and received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He serves as the Founding Principal of Vista Innovation & Design Academy and has been with the Vista Unified School District for 15 years. In 2013, Dr. Chagala was awarded as “Vista Unified School District Administrator of the Year.” Dr. Chagala is part of the HTH GSE practitioner faculty and is in his third year of teaching the HTH 230: Leading Innovative Schools course.
Melissa DanielsDirector, High Tech Middle Chula Vista
Melissa began her teaching career at international schools in both Cairo, Egypt and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After teaching internationally for seven years, Melissa joined High Tech High as a 6th grade humanities teacher. In 2011, she became the founding director of High Tech Middle Chula Vista.
While teaching overseas, Melissa developed an interest in multicultural education and teaching English learners, in which she earned an M.Ed from George Mason University. She earned her second M.Ed as a founding member of High Tech High’s School Leadership graduate program. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the HTH GSE, teaching courses in progressive school leadership and fostering adult learning.
Dr. Jasmine DarnellDesigner of Learning Ecosystems for People Advancement & Organizational Effectiveness
Dr. Jasmine D. Darnell is on a mission to eliminate the barriers that hinder the professional growth of rising and seasoned leaders. Over the past fifteen years, while holding leadership positions in the nonprofit, corporate, local government, and higher education sectors, she has worked diligently to close employability and promotability gaps for underrepresented populations. She has a passion for training, facilitating and teaching. Dr. Darnell promotes purpose, people, and performance in her work and is a passionate researcher of future workplace learning and leadership. She has successfully given over a dozen presentations at academic conferences across the nation. She holds a BS in human services, an MBA in organizational leadership, an MA in teaching and learning with technology, and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. In addition to her professional pursuits, Dr. Darnell is a connoisseur of açaí and a competitive board game player. She is heavily involved in her church community and thoroughly enjoys watching films with her husband and daughter.
Edrick Macalaguim7th grade Humanities teacher, High Tech Middle Chula Vista
Edrick has 14 years of classroom experience, with an undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies and a Multiple Subject CLAD Credential from SDSU, as well as a Master’s of Education degree in Teacher Leadership from High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He is currently working at High Tech Middle Chula Vista as a 7th grade humanities teacher. Although he has only worked with High Tech High for a few short years, he has had multiple opportunities to extend his services outside of the classroom. He has developed and hosted workshops for new incoming teachers, has led a dilemma consultancy protocol with superintendents from around the country at the 2013 annual EdLeader21 conference, and has mentored several new teachers at the HTMCV campus.
Jim MayChief Schools Officer, New Tech Network
Jim May began teaching in the HTH GSE during the 2014-15 academic year and currently serves as the Chief Schools Officer for New Tech Network (NTN). As Chief Schools Officer, Jim focuses on supporting the implementation efforts of the over 175 schools across 28 states, China, and Australia that make up the New Tech Network. Working to ensure that every NTN school has the support it needs to become a great school, he supports NTN’s school coaches, assessment initiatives, and leadership development work. Prior to joining the New Tech Network in 2011, he was a founding staff member of Two River Public Charter School (an Expeditionary Learning School) in Washington, DC and served as the school’s Principal until 2010. Jim has also served as a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar, a fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership, and a fellow at the National Center for Leadership. His career began as a high school social studies teacher at Chapin High School in Chapin, South Carolina. His degrees are from Presbyterian college and The George Washington University.
Juliet MohnkernDirector, High Tech Middle North County
Juliet Mohnkern is the Director of High Tech Middle North County and currently teaches the course Equity, Diversity and Design Principles at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. In 2015, she completed an M.Ed in Educational Leadership at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education which included a residency at High Tech Middle Chula Vista. Previously, she was the Director of Public Policy and Curriculum Innovation at Chavez Schools in Washington, DC where she also taught Senior Public Policy Thesis and coached the debate team. With colleagues from Chavez, she founded Education to Save the World, an organization that brought together educators passionate about empowering students to create a more just, healthy, and sustainable world. In 2013, she was recognized by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as an Emerging Leader. She has presented on pedagogy and assessment at the Foundation for Critical Thinking Annual Conference, DC’s Young Education Professionals Policy to Practice Conference, National Association for Public Charter Schools Annual Conference, and National Association for Public Charter Schools Annual Conference. Before moving to DC, Juliet worked at Match Public Charter School in Boston. She has a Master’s in Ethics, Peace Studies and Global Affairs from American University and a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Boston College.
Brett PetersonDirector, High Tech High International
Brett began teaching with the High Tech High GSE in the fall of 2014. He is the Director of High Tech High International, a nationally recognized, progressive, project based charter school in San Diego, California. He is the Director of The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High, a nationally recognized, progressive, project based charter school in San Diego, California. He taught at the school for five years and continues to serve as a network ambassador and consultant, training teachers, administrators, and superintendents in implementing project based learning in several states, Israel, and the U.K. In addition, Peterson serves as a Director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s National Board where he advises the national organization about grass roots impacts of policies, marketing and strategic vision. Recently, he served on the U.S. Department of Education’s Western Regional Advisory Committee. His belief that teaching and learning go hand in hand guided him as he earned a Master’s in History from the University of San Diego and a Master’s in Curriculum Design from UCSD. Before coming to San Diego he earned a BA in History from the University of Notre Dame. He is currently a PhD candidate in the joint SDSU-Claremont Graduate School of Education program where his research focuses on the history of progressive education in United States.
Kaleb RashadDirector, High Tech High
Kaleb Rashad, Ed.D, is an adjunct faculty member at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education and the Director of High Tech High. Kaleb is passionate about creating schools that inspire students to pursue their dreams, arming both schools & students with the tools & mindsets of design thinking, & developing the creative confidence of every learner to take action in the world. He teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and design thinking. His dissertation research focuses on how teachers perceive trustworthy principal behaviors & school practices that support trust-rich environments. Kaleb received a B.A. in Human Development from Azusa Pacific University (APU), an M.A. in Teaching & Learning and an M.A. in Educational Administration from APU. Before entering college, Kaleb served in the US Marines, at Camp Pendleton, for four years. Other professional activities include studying Design Thinking at Stanford University, with the Henry Ford Learning Institute, Lime Design & with the Mt. Vernon Institute for Innovation. Kaleb is also training to become a consultant with Thinking Collaborative (aka The Center for Adaptive Schools). Connect with him on Twitter at: @kalebrashad
Diana Cornejo-SanchezDirector, High Tech High Teacher Center
Diana Cornejo-Sanchez has over 12 years of experience as a teacher and mentor to teachers. Diana was a founding teacher at High Tech High Media Arts when it first opened in 2005, where she worked for over ten years and honed her expertise in project-based learning. Prior to joining the Urban Discovery Academy community, Diana worked as the Assistant Director of the Leadership and Professional Learning Team for the Jacob’s Institute of Innovations in Learning at the University of San Diego. Diana received her Bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish from the University of San Diego (USD) in 2004. She also completed her Single Subject Credentials in English and Spanish during this time and added a Social Science credential in 2014. She graduated with her Master’s in Education with a specialization in Language, Literacy, and Culture in 2006 from USD. She completed her Administrative Credential in 2014 through USD’s Educational Leadership Development Academy.
Dr. Dominique SmithVice Principal/Director of Student Support, Health Sciences High & Middle College
Dominique holds a master’s degree from USC (University of Southern California), USA, in Social Work, and a doctorate from San Diego State University. He is the Vice Principal of Health Sciences High and Middle College, San Diego, California, and works as an instructor for the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP). He is the author of Better than Carrots or Sticks with Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey. He is the winner of the National Safety Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council.
Patrick YurickLead MOOC Instructor
Patrick has been working as an art educator in southern California for the last six years. His passions are for telling stories and designing ways for people to learn. He also has been on the ground floor of the MOOC movement as the lead MOOC instructor & developer at the High Tech High Graduate School Of Education as well as at Making Comics Worldwide, a nonprofit in which he founded.