school the way it should be
Supported by amazing teachers
Every morning teachers at Pacific Academy Encinitas see every students’ face, be they happy, tired, eager, or anxious. It is a rare opportunity to work with students in such a way that we have the ability to really see each one of them and how the various stresses of life and being young affect them. Whether it's in or out of the classroom, assessing how we can best serve Pacific Academy students is our top goal.
Pacific Academy Encinitas is a school that exists because of the passion the teachers and administrators possess to become a school that lives up to what we imagined a school would be like when we were in college. In many ways, it is rare in our modern society to work at and attend a school that is more concerned with critical thinking and individuality, as opposed to how well a student scores on a standardized test.
Many of us come from public school backgrounds; places we knew as being often overwhelmed by students, and were being simply being another face in the crowd was the most common experience. In reflection, we look back at our high school selves and think, “What would have been different if I would have had received this level of teacher support? What confidence might I have gained by from a teacher who had a real concern for my well-being?” Working at PAE we are able to answer those questions for ourselves and our students, every day.
Single Subject Teaching Credential
M. Ed., Diversity in the Classroom
Mario is an extraordinary hands-on leader at PAE who has been with Pacific Academy for over 12 years. His educational journey started well before he earned his first degree. Mario began working with Native American youth in California and Hawaii to help them find their pathway to college and became inspired by this prospect of assisting students to achieve their goals.
After graduating college, Mario moved into the teaching world and began his teaching career in the Hawaiian Islands. While he was a full-time teacher, he decided to continue his education and earned a Master's degree in Classroom Diversity with a focus on Cognitive Development.
As a fully credentialed teacher, he worked as an educator for over a decade in public, charter, and private school classrooms. Mario’s experience working with students in both large schools and small-by-design programs has shaped his educational philosophy. From Maui to Los Angeles, East County SD to North County SD, Mario’s extensive experience gives him a unique perspective on education.
To further his academic scope, Mario earned his Administrative Credential and has happily been a principal at Pacific Academy Encinitas since 2014.
M.A. Education, San Diego State University
B.A. Liberal Studies, Point Loma Nazarene University
Katie grew up and was schooled in Southern California, but early on discovered that the world is wide and filled with educational opportunity.
She became, and remains, a world traveler and an avid explorer of wild places. This energetic approach to life and learning has made her intellectually nimble, emotionally adaptable and artfully improvisational. All these qualities are essential for good teaching and engaged students, adding depth, texture, nuanced insight and authentic creativity to the academic experience.
While Katie's nearly two decades of hands-on teaching experience is impressive enough, the real key to her artistry in teaching is the keen ability to see and accept the uniqueness of a student and then help to orchestrate the symphony of possibilities embodied in an individual. This is the secret sauce of the teacher and in the end, probably the reason for doing the work.
Outside the halls of academia, Katie leads an enthusiastic and ever evolving life with active interest in travel, hiking/backpacking, yoga, photography, animal husbandry, gardening, numerous artistic endeavors and finally, she is a real fine baker.
History Department chair
AP History, US History Teacher
M.A., Education, University of Phoenix
B.A., History, Cal State University Fullerton
A.S., Mathematics/ Science, Mt. San Jacinto Junior College
Dylan Jones holds a Master’s Degree in Education and a Cleared California Teaching Credential from the University of Phoenix, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from California State University, Fullerton, and an Associate’s Degree in Math/Science from Mt. San Jacinto Junior College. Dylan cleared his Teaching Credential through High Tech High and holds a Certificate of Merit from the Southern California AP Institute for AP US History.
Dylan believes that education is the key to creating a peaceful, global community. Dylan’s academic dream is to contribute to the world in a positive way, which is also his reason for deciding to become a teacher. Dylan currently teaches AP US History, US History, U.S. Government and Politics, Economics, Music Theory 1, and Music Theory 2 at Pacific Academy, Encinitas. When he's not teaching in the classroom, you can either find him sweating in the boxing gym, or on stage somewhere rocking out with his band.
B.S., Biology and Chemistry
Saint Francis University
Kelly graduated from Saint Francis University with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology and a Minor in Chemistry. After graduation, she worked at several outdoor education facilities on both the east and west coast teaching marine science.
Kelly continued her love for working with children by working as an academic coach modifying curriculum for students with IEPs and 504s at High Tech High Media Arts and High Tech Middle Arts in San Marcos. While at HTMMA, she also taught math and science.
Executive Admissions Assistant, Int'l Student Liaison
B. Arch., University of Southern California
May graduated from USC with a degree in Architecture. After working in the architectural field for some years, she took a break to take care of her family. During that time, she actively volunteered at her son's school as a graphic editor for a school newspaper, LEGO league coach, Science Olympiad committee member, and Boy Scout troop Advancement Chairperson.
May switched gears to the educational field because she finds working with young people so deeply rewarding. She connects with the international students especially as she shares a similar background has come to the US when she was a teenager.
High School English Teacher
M.A., Teaching, University of Southern California, Los Angles, California
B.S., Early Childhood Education and a minor in English, Iona College, New Rochelle, New York
After growing up in New York, Brittney relocated to California in order to further her teaching career. During her four years at Iona College, she played lacrosse in the MAAC conference and was involved in several different community service programs. These community service programs included mentoring high school students in both sports and academics.
After graduating, she continued her education by earning a Master of Arts in Teaching at USC. Brittney is the English Department Head and is currently teaching upper-level high school English classes. Her teaching philosophy is to cultivate a conducive learning environment that encourages students to learn through exploration and discovery.
MATH, CHINESE TEACHER
B.S. Chemistry, California Polytechnic State University
Rob was born and grew up in northeastern China until he moved to California in the 3rd grade. Beginning in the 5th grade, various science communicators became his inspirations, including Bill Nye, Michael Stevens of Vsauce, Carl Sagan, and more. He initially pursued scientific research, which he was able to do by co-authoring published research as a student researcher at the Jisan Research Institute.
After deciding in college that a career in the chemical industry wasn't for him, he decided to pursue education, having had pleasant experiences tutoring and mentoring peers. Having worked extensively in co-op teaching and tutoring at various grade levels spanning from 1st to 12th grade, Rob is excited to finally begin teaching full-time. He is currently piloting a Chinese language program at PAE, beginning with an intro-level course for K-5, and hoping to expand the program in the coming years.
Elementary School Teacher
B.A. in Religious Studies; Minor in Sociology from San Diego State University
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate through International TEFL Academy
A California native, Chante worked for years in after-school programs and volunteering as a summer camp counselor. Though initially her pursuits were towards Social Work, her love of the work she was engaged in around students and children made her realize her skills were more conducive to a career in education.
Two years after graduating from San Diego State, Chante began taking teacher education courses. She spent a few more years working in after school programs around San Diego County, most recently as a Site Lead for Santee School District’s Project SAFE. Chante is excited to be at Pacific Academy where she can embrace her passion for learning and working with students from all walks of life.
K-12 Spanish TEACHER
B.A. Latin American Studies | San Diego State University
B.A. in Religious Studies; Minor in Sociology from San Diego State University
Maria was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies. She has 20 years of classroom experience with Pre-K-8th grade students, faculty and parents. Maria began her teaching career as a College Prep Advisor for the Student Outreach Services at San Diego State University. She later became a Teacher's Assistant at Kit Carson Elementary School. Since then she has held a position as Dean of Students at Harriet Tubman Charter School and has taught Spanish Immersion as a visiting teacher for the San Diego Unified School District.
Maria enjoys teaching all grade levels. Her hobbies include reading, swimming, crafting and recently has taken up trail running. Her dream one day is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Teacher
Multiple Subject Credential, California State University of Long Beach
Single Subject Credential in Social Studies, San Diego State University
B.S., Social Science, San Diego States University
Katherine obtained her Bachelor’s Degree and Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Science at San Diego State University. She later earned her Multiple Subject Credential from California State University of Long Beach. She published a book titled “Health Across The Curriculum: Bringing Nutrition Education To The Elementary School Classroom” in 2017.
For the past four years, Katherine has utilized all her abilities offering classes to elementary, middle, and high school levels at Pacific Academy, along with after school poker clubs and other community development adventures. Katherine’s two kids, Stella and Gregory, are the center of her heart and world. She is grateful and honored to be a part of the Pacific Academy family.
MATH DEPARTMENT HEAD
DIRECTOR OF ACADEMICS
M.A., Education, University of Oregon
B.S., Mathematics and General Science, University of Oregon
Mr. Strong has been teaching at Pacific Academy Encinitas for the past 10 years. He has over 20 years of experience in teaching mathematics and science.
He enjoys traveling with his kids and is an avid fan of his Oregon Ducks. Mr. Strong has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and General Science as well as a Master's of Education from the University of Oregon.
ENGLISH, YEARBOOK, ART
Kate was born and raised in Southern California. She grew up in Huntington Beach and attended California State University, Long Beach for her undergraduate and graduate courses. She has a BA in Liberal Studies with a Concentration in Health, Physical Education, and Life Management. She earned her Multiple Subject Credential in 1998 through Long Beach State.
While working as an elementary teacher in Long Beach, California Kate pursued her MA in Education with a focus on Curricular Design through Long Beach State. Kate holds a Single Subject Credential in English from UCLA and has worked in grades K-12 and Special Education for over a decade.
Kate is married and has three children, two lovely girls, and an inquisitive boy. She and her family enjoy spending time at the beach and visiting with family and friends.
B.A. in Liberal Studies Multiple Subject\ California State University Bakersfield
Priscila was born in the Dominican Republic, but was raised in Bakersfield, CA. She graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. Priscila began her teaching career in Roatan, Honduras with an organization called Helping Children of The World(HCOW). She taught Math and English in a village on the island. She focused on tracking student academic improvements and building student portfolios to report to the Board of Education.
She continued her career by being a preschool teacher for two years. Priscila has worked with students grades K-8th through long term substitute teaching positions, tutoring, and mentoring at afterschool programs. This year she will be completing her fourth year teaching kindergarten. Priscila enjoys traveling, hiking, family, and eating gelato.
MATH AND BIOLOGY
David graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology. He spent time as a
Neuroscience researcher in the Leutgeb Lab at UCSD. He studied the role of the Hippocampus in
learning and memory.
While in high school, David began volunteering in the church nursery, and coaching youth wrestling. His
passion for Science and the joy of working with children led him to a career in education.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER
B.S. Elementary Education / Northern Arizona University
Kyle grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. After High School, he pursued a higher education and moved to Flagstaff, Arizona. During his four years at Northern Arizona University, he spent the majority of his time snowboarding and hiking in Sedona. After graduating college and earning his teaching credential, he moved back to Huntington Beach before settling down in Encinitas.
Kyle enjoys surfing, snowboarding, ceramics, reading, and cooking. His goal as an educator is to promote critical thinking, nurture student curiosity, and to create a learning environment that values creativity.
ADMIN ASSISTANT & MARKETING
Layla moved to Encinitas in 1997, and would consider herself a proud local. Cardiff-by-the-Sea is where she calls home, along with her husband and daughter. Layla began a career in Marketing in the medical field before earning her BA in Communication at Cal State San Marcos.
Layla is an avid beach-goer, a big foodie, and loves the outdoors. Travel has also been a major part of her life and personal growth. Layla's love of travel and culture encouraged her to become a mentor with International Rescue Committee (IRC), where she has cultivated her love of working with children, and families from all backgrounds and nationalities. She is delighted to be working with the Pacific Academy team.
PHYSICS, SCIENCE, GOEMETRY
Micah graduated from California State Polytechnic University of San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor's Degree in Physics. During this time he worked with the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation to help organize and run tournaments as well as making robotics accessible to students in 6-12. His experience with working with students during that time, he decided to become a teacher.
After graduation, he taught at Central Coast New Tech High School and Nipomo High School. During this time he was a football and baseball coach and the anime club advisor for students on campus. He is excited to join Pacific academy and is looking forward to the 2022-2023 school year.
Originally hailing from Colorado, Amber Jones recently moved from Castle Rock with her high school sweetheart, and two beautiful teenagers. She earned her BA in Kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado, and has been teaching and coaching for over 24 years.
She recently taught Yoga, Adventure Ed, Dance, and Health. Her thoughtful curriculum was delivered to reflect self-acceptance and inclusion, and led to Amber being honored as Educator of the Year at the Respect Awards in New York. Walking the Red Carpet along with Robin Roberts & George Stephanopoulos was a highlight in her career.
Amber is the founder of the youth sports program, PEP Club Sports. She served as the Vice President of Sportswomen of Colorado, and Chair of GLSEN Denver. In her spare time, she discovered a passion for playing semi-pro tackle football, aerial dance, and escape room design. Amber is often seen photographing her kids during basketball and lacrosse games, and her guilty pleasure is a relaxed evening dealing Texas Hold 'em.
Elementary school Teacher
Cassidy was born and raised in San Diego, California and grew up in a small town called Alpine. She graduated from Northern Arizona University where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Communication. A year after graduating from NAU, she decided to further her education and completed the Teaching Program at San Diego Christian College. While completing her teaching program, Cassidy became a Special Education Instructional Aide at a local elementary school where she worked with students from grades K-5th with a variety of different learning needs.
Outside of teaching, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, hanging out with her friends and family, shopping, eating sweet treats and most importantly, drinking coffee! She is super excited to join the PAE team and can't wait for this school year!