Principal - Evelyn Castro
Evelyn Castro received her B.A. in Sociology, Women’s Studies and Spanish at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her M.A. in Urban Education-Policy and Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Ms Castro is also an alumnus of Teach for America Los Angeles. Prior to joining Ednovate, Ms. Castro served as an Assistant Principal at Alliance Health Services Academy High School in Los Angeles, where she led teachers in implementing a rigorous curriculum, reinforced strong school-family communication, and led the school to full WASC accreditation. During this time she also founded several programs including RISE (Rising Inner-City Students through Education), a program dedicated to providing students and families with college support and guidance. For three consecutive years, Ms. Castro took three cohorts of high school students in RISE to the East Coast to visit top universities. Ms. Castro is a passionate school leader who believes in creating and nurturing environment where every child is valued and where a student’s strengths, areas of growth, experiences, and passions can inform a truly personalized learning experience that prepares them for college and to make Positive Multigenerational Change in the world.
“I grew up in similar circumstances as many of the students that I will serve in Santa Ana, and that has made me a school leader that approaches every situation with a great sense of urgency. My service work is driven by my sincere passion and commitment to student empowerment and freedom. In my eyes, education is the most important social justice issue of our time, and it is my goal to revolutionarily lead my school in developing students who are ready to conquer collegiate level work, have a strong sense of self-awareness, agency, and purpose, and effect Positive Multigenerational Change in their communities and the world.”
Assistant Principal - Fonda Held
Fonda Held is an educator from Des Plaines, Illinois - the "city of destiny." She has always felt pulled towards education and service, especially the belief that all individuals deserve the chance to feel heard and empowered. She received her B.S. in Social Studies Education from Miami University in Ohio before spending five years on the near-south side of Chicago at UIC College Prep, a member of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. She served there as an Americorps member (and later mentor), high school social studies teacher, department chair and advisor to a group of twenty-four your women. In 2013 she left UICCP to work towards her Masters in Education and Leadership Policy as a trinity Fellow at Marquette University. While there, served in the Carmen Network of Charter Schools in Milwaukee, WI, where she sought to connect her roles as an instructional leader and assistant to the head of schools with her academic engagement with social justice education and critical pedagogy. She is excited to serve the students and families of USC College Prep-Santa Ana as an Assistant Principal in the 2016-17 founding year.
School Operations Manager - Sharon Martland
Sharon Martland graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Sociology. She is passionate about social justice and expanding educational opportunities for all students. In 2009, she joined Teach For America staff as the Assistant to the Executive Director in the Phoenix Region. Mrs. Martland has supported national diversity initiatives, operations and large scale identity-based events for the Staff Diversity and Inclusiveness team and most recently, had been responsible for operations, logistics, and communications for the Pre-Corps Development team and the Education 4 Justice pilot program. She believes in the importance of involving student's families and communities in their school environment. Mrs. Martland is excited to co-create a welcoming, inclusive, and efficiently operating space for learning and Positive Multigenerational Change at USC College Prep, Santa Ana.
School Counselor - Hera Kim
Hera Kim completed her B.A in Psychology from University of California, San Diego and her M.S. in Counseling from San Diego State University. After earning her masters, she served as the first Intervention Counselor at Salinas High School in Salinas, California focused on providing counseling and academic interventions to freshmen and sophomores. In this new position, she developed a systematic approach to early identification of potentially at-risk students, collaborated with the school community to create a tiered intervention program, and coordinated with a cohort of providers to ensure students and families were able to access the services they needed. Prior to ongoing USC College Prep, Santa Ana, Ms. Kim was a high school counselor at Shanghai American School (SAS) in China for three years. At SAS, she implemented a comprehensive model where she provided academic, social/emotional, and pre-collegiate counseling for freshmen. She was also the coordinator for the Link Crew peer mentoring program and the advisor for the freshmen student council. Ms. Kim is looking forward to being an advocate for all students and their families at USC College Prep, Santa Ana.
Resource Teacher - Alma Uribe
Alma Uribe graduated from the California State University of Long Beach with a degree in Chicano Latino Studies and a minor in Political Science. After graduating, she joined Teach for America and started her education career in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, she was the middle school math department chair at the Academy of Multilingual Immersion Studies. Besides teaching 6th through 8th grade Mathematics, she also taught middle school Social Studies and Spanish. Through her teaching experience, Ms. Uribe has learned the importance of getting to know her students and their families. Ms. Uribe believes that in order for students to be successful they need a community behind them, which is why she is eager to work with students, families, and staff at USC College Prep, Santa Ana as the Special Education Resource Teacher to help students obtain a college degree and make their own Positive Multigenerational Change.
9th Grade English Teacher - Victor Gonzalez
Victor Gonzalez graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012, where he studied English Literature and specialized in Mexican American/Chicano Literature. During that time, he volunteered as an after school tutor in Oakland. His experiences in Oakland, primarily working with the children of Chinese immigrants, reminded him of his own experiences as the child of Mexican immigrants living in East Los Angeles. He spent his last year in college preparing to enter the teaching profession through Teach for America. He has been teaching ever since! He chose to begin a new chapter of his life at a new school because he wants to be part of a school team that provides options and access for the youth of Santa Ana. He works hard so that his students can have the tools, mindsets, and character to choose the lives they want to live. He is overjoyed to have the opportunity to teach students at USC College Prep, Santa Ana.
10th Grade English Teacher- Tanya Pacheco
Tanya Pacheco graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in English, and attended Loyola Marymount University where she received her M.A. in Urban Education with an emphasis on literacy. In 2015, she joined Teach for America and served for 2-years in the Pico-Union district. There, she taught English in a self-contained special education classroom. During the 2016 summer break, she taught 6th grade math during a summer abroad program in Quezon City, Philippines. During her time there, she studied and analyzed the public/private education systems in the country. Ms. Pacheco was born and raised in Santa Ana, and is very excited to be back in her community, serving students, and sharing her passion for reading and writing. On her breaks, Ms. Pacheco loves to travel with her family, and visit local beaches.
Physical Education Teacher - Jenna Fujii
Jenna Fujii is an educator from the suburbs of Chicago. Her passion for changing lives and making a connection with students started very young. Jenna started coaching at the age of 17 and has done so for the past 12 years. She graduated with honors, while working full time from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Health Sciences. After graduation she worked as a wellness educator, coach, and personal trainer. Upon completion of her first year teaching Health, Jenna was made lead teacher of her department. In 2015 she earned her M.Ed in Health and Wellness Education from the American College of Education. Jenna focuses on incorporating technology to provide students with opportunities for self-learning, problem solving, and real life applications. Her passion for wellness, nutrition, and fitness is undeniable. For the last two years she has been teaching at a top 25 high school in Illinois and focusing her educational philosophy on implementing hands on learning and utilizing community resources. She set up one on one internships for her students at the local hospital to maximize their experiences and exposure prior to college. Jenna is beyond excited to inspire the students at USC College Prep, Santa Ana through her contagious love of everything Wellness.
Social Studies Teacher - Sonia Wright
Sonia Wright is proud to be working in her hometown of Santa Ana! She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in American Studies and Sociology. After graduating, she worked in after school programming in the city of Santa Ana. During this time, she decided to join Teach for America and began working in Nashville, Tennessee with fourth grade. While living and working in Nashville, she completed a Master’s degree Education from Lipscomb University. Ms. Wright looks forward to working and living in her community again as well as teaching social studies- a subject she is very passionate about.
World History Teacher- Casey Rich
Casey Rich graduated from Grand Valley State University in Michigan with B.S. in Political Science & Philosophy. He earned his MA Education from the University of Nottingham, UK where his focus was on instructional strategies for small group instruction. He taught World History & Geography in Shanghai, China for 7 years before returning to the United States. He served in Teach for America for 2-years in Milwaukee Wisconsin where he taught United States History. Mr. Rich has a passion for travel and current events that he loves to share with his students as they grow to become global citizens who will make positive multigenerational change in their community. As you can see, he also loves all different types of food.
9th Grade Math Teacher - Alemar Brito
Alemar Brito completed his B.A in Sociology with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexualities Studies, and M.A. in Secondary Mathematics Education from Stanford University. While in the Bay Area, Alemar has had the opportunity to teach a wide range of subjects including Digital Art, Design Thinking, Biology, and Math. Aside from teaching, Alemar's passions center around social justice, community organizing, and creative expression. Alemar firmly believes that all students can learn math to the highest levels, and uses his versatile knowledge, interests, and perspectives to help students thrive in education and beyond. Alemar is excited to return to Santa Ana and join USC College Prep to continue making Positive Multigenerational Change.
10th Grade Math Teacher- Katherine Pak
Katherine Pak graduated from University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in Public Health Policy. She then received her Master’s Degree in Education and her teaching credentials from Pepperdine University. Before joining USC College Prep Santa Ana, Ms. Pak taught in Inglewood, CA. The vision she has set for math is that it becomes a tool in improving students academically and socially. Through math, students learn how to assess problem situations and then plan and implement steps to reach a solution. Her hope is that, as mathematicians, students become critical thinkers who are constantly curious about the “how’s” and “why’s” of the world in which they live. As individuals beyond the classroom, they can transfer and apply these skills to improve their lives and their communities. These advances may come in the form of innovative technology, through breaking glass ceilings or social barriers, or through personal reflections and development. Through the knowledge students gain in math, they will grow to be independent thinkers, advocators, and life-long learners.
Biology Teacher- Vicki Hernandez
Vicki graduated from UCLA with a BS in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering option. She then began teaching in Washington, D.C. as a Teach For America corps member, where she taught 7th grade life science. While teaching in Washington D.C., Vicki earned her master’s degree in secondary education: chemistry. After her TFA corps commitment, Vicki continued teaching 8th grade physical science at KIPP DC: Will Academy for three years. She then continued teaching in the Uncommon Schools network in Brooklyn, NY and then Troy, NY as a biology teacher. Vicki is passionate about teaching science and instilling that same passion for science in her students. She loves using her engineering background to help students relate the science they learn in her class to current breakthroughs in science discoveries that can impact their lives. Her goal as an educator is to cultivate a sense of curiosity about the world in each student and equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to gain the confidence to pursue a STEM career.
Chemistry Teacher - Michelle Leon
Michelle Leon received her B.S. in Science, Technology, and International Affairs with a concentration in Energy and Environment from Georgetown University and received her teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University in Secondary Science. Prior to joining Ednovate, she was part Teach For America in Los Angeles where she taught Biology and Physical Science at both the middle and high school level. She practiced an inquiry-based science teaching methodology in the classroom to promote students' exploration of scientific concepts. She believes in emphasizing the "why" in scientific education and making content relevant and accessible by validating students' background knowledge and differentiating content. Ms. Leon also worked as a Learning Facilitator for the Tiger Woods Learning Center where she was involved in developing a structure for informal/formal learning organizations and Out-of-School Time partners to collaborate and create a learning continuum in order to better prepare students for future careers in STEM. Now, as a Santa Ana native, Ms. Leon is excited to be coming back home and sharing her love of learning with her students. Ms. Leon is passionate about empowering students through their education to help them reach their full potential.
School Operations Assistant- Sonia Rosiles
Sonia Rosiles graduated from Chapman University with a B.A. in Dance. Born and raised in the city of Santa Ana, she graduated from Santa Ana High and attended a 4-year university directly out of high school. Her studies at Chapman University ignited a love for working with youth through her service at a private after school program. Upon graduation, she pursued a career as an educator and taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades at a Montessori School in Orange. There, she built authentic relationships within her school community and managed school operations. She also has experience working in retail, where she honed her stellar customer service skills. Sonia is thrilled to be back in her hometown serving students who remind her so much of herself and creating parent engagement opportunities to strengthen the USC College Prep Santa Ana family.
Instructional Aide- Megan Ahrens
Megan Ahrens has worked with the Special Education population since 2009 as a paraprofessional and behavior therapist/tutor. With training in the mild to moderate populations, she also worked in the in-home setting with students between the ages of three and 22. Throughout these last eight years she has consistently worked in the school setting in both Santa Ana and Irvine. Megan received her BA in Communicative Disorders in 2014 from California State University, Fullerton, and is now in her MA program at California State University, Fullerton, working towards her Counseling degree to gain MFT and LPCC licensure. She is excited to be back in Santa Ana, and has a heart for personalized progress for our students that may need extra assistance. Building a community of love, support, and respect is something she feels strongly about, and incorporating a team effort for our special education population is her ultimate goal.
Instructional Aide- Karen Quintanilla
Karen Quintanilla Barnett graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2009 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Ethnic Studies. In 2014, she graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in TESOL. A highlight of Karen’s career has been working with farmworker communities and students in Central California and helping them develop language skills necessary for daily life. Karen is excited to get to know the Santa Ana community and experience all the joys of the USC College Prep Santa Ana family.