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.

 

 

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MARIO GONZALEZ
PRINCIPAL

Administrative Credential 

Single Subject Teaching Credential

M. Ed., Diversity in the Classroom

B.A., History.

 

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.

KATIE HUETINCK

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.

Math & English Teacher
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DYLAN JONES
AP History, US History Teacher

M.A., Education, University of Phoenix
B.A., History, Cal State University Fullerton
A.A., History, 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. 

KELLY PAWLAK
SCIENCE TEACHER

 

B.A., 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.

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MAY HO LEE
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. 

BRITTNEY MABUS
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. 

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ROB XU

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. 

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CHANTE GONZALEZ
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.  

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MARIA SANTOS-OCHOA
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. 

KATHERINE GABERIEL
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 grew up in East County San Diego and 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. While living in Santa Barbara, she taught as an International Baccalaureate Inquiry Teacher for grades K-6, a Curriculum Specialist, and a Middle School Math Teacher. Katherine also tutored in English Language Arts and Mathematics for many years including preparation for an advanced math tournament called the Math Superbowl. Most recently, she published a book titled Health Across The Curriculum: Bringing Nutrition Education To The Elementary School Classroom. Katherine loves to cook, play with her two kiddos, garden, read, swim, and try anything new. Katherine is excited to join the Pacific Academy family and can’t wait to jump in.

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STEPHEN STRONG
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. 

KATE SETIAN-GONZALEZ 

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.  

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CAROLINE COLLINS 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER

M.A. Education, University of San Francisco

B.A. Psychology, University of San Francisco

 

Until high school, Caroline grew up just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. During ninth grade, she moved to Carlsbad, California where she attended La Costa Canyon High School and played beach volleyball. Caroline then went on to the University of San Francisco to get a B.A. in Psychology and complete USF's 5-year teacher education program where she got her teaching credentials and her M.A. in Education. Caroline has always known she wanted to be a teacher. She comes from a huge extended family, where she constantly had to look out for lots of cousins. Between that and some wonderful school experiences, she decided teaching was her passion. This is her second year of teaching and second year of teaching Kindergarten. Caroline strives to create a welcoming and collaborative classroom for all of her students to succeed! Outside of school, Caroline loves to read, cook and is currently trying to teach herself to surf (because she loves the beach).

KIRTAN SMITH

HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY

 

Notre Dame de Namur University

B.A., International Relations, UCLA

Kirtan Smith was born in Los Angeles and raised in ashrams in California, England, and India. In high school, he was a varsity football captain and went on to play rugby at UCLA as a political science major. After college, he spent ten years living in Brazil and working as an English teacher, outdoor adventure guide, kayaking instructor, and yoga teacher.  From the big island of Rio de Janeiro to the small island of Manhattan to study under an apprentice with some of the world’s most renowned yoga teachers.  He returned to California with his fiancé and taught yoga in the Bay Area at Google, Uber, and Stanford. Along with his wife Eileen and children Kai Bodhi (4) and Keilani Rose (2) he now calls Escondido home. He has experience teaching 6th and 11th grades and brings his passion for teaching, history, and world cultures to Pacific Academy.

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CHELSEA COOPER

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER

Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Azusa Pacific University MA in Digital Learning: Teaching in the 21st Century

Chelsea grew up in Laguna Beach and recently moved to Encinitas. She earned her multiple subject teaching credentials and master's from Azusa Pacific University. Chelsea loves children, traveling, and the beach. When she's not teaching you can usually find her somewhere near the ocean. Her passion lies in educating the hearts and minds of young children and bringing a global perspective to the classroom. Chelsea is very excited to join the Pacific Academy Family!