New School Year, New Faces: Here’s a Warm Welcome to the New Faces in Our District

Posted by: District 3 years, 5 months ago

New School Year, New Faces: Here’s a Warm Welcome to the New Faces in Our District

The start of every new school year brings excitement and new faces; this year at CUSD is no different. For the 2017-2018 school year, our district is welcoming 20 new teachers and staff members to our ranks.

District Superintendent Karl Mueller welcomed our new hires with a presentation last month encouraging student success and a healthy school culture. These new employees have been working for weeks to create a smooth transition into the new school year and we’re looking forward to their positive contributions to our CUSD team. We know you’ll take the time to get to know our new staff members as you meet them, but here’s a quick introduction to the faces you’ll be seeing around our CUSD campuses this year.

Around the District

Lisa Alonso, Preschool & Childcare Program Director—Lisa spent seven years running federal, state, and county preschools for low-income families, and has collaborated with HeadStart and QPI. She has two degrees in childhood development and was previously awarded Preschool Teacher of the year in Los Angeles County.

Jenna McKnight, Speech Language Pathologist—Jenna received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from CSUSM earlier this year. Her interest in this field was sparked while doing Applied Behavior Analysis therapy with individuals who had Autism Spectrum Disorder, and she can’t wait to bring her experience to the team.

Coronado High School (CHS)

Timothy Hopper, Assistant Principal—Tim is starting his 20th year in high school education and has been an Assistant Principal, ASB Activities Director, English department leader, and taught every grade and skill level in high school. 

Dana O’Connor, Education Specialist—After six years working at High Tech High, Dana is excited to be joining the Islanders! She’s looking forward to helping students understand and embrace their learning profiles, supporting seniors in their transition to life after high school, and empowering students to find and pursue their passions.

Sarah McKee, Math Teacher—Sarah graduated from California Lutheran University with degrees in Mathematics and Technical Theatre. She’s tutored middle school, high school, and college students, and has a great love of teaching and learning.

Coronado Middle School (CMS)

Lisa Lorentzen, Foundational Mathematics Specialist (K-8)—With more than 15 years of teaching experience, Lisa is thrilled to be joining CMS as a 6th grade math and intervention teacher. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University, Master’s Degree in Curriculum Instruction from National University and has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Supplementary Authorization in Introductory Mathematics.

Haley Leverton, English Teacher—Haley graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and an English single subject credential. She’s previously worked at Steele Canyon Charter School and is passionate, kind, and dedicated to her students.

Fathima “Nazma” Sadikeen, Math Teacher—Nazma was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the United States when she was 12 years old. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and a middle school math endorsement. 

Matt Smith, Social Science/Humanities Teacher—Matt attended San Diego State University for his Bachelor’s degree and teacher credential program. In his free time he enjoys sports, movies, and traveling.

Brooke Barto, Special Education Teacher—Brooke studied Education, with an emphasis in Special Education, at CSUSM and received her multiple subject and education specialist teaching credentials, as well as her Master of Arts in Education earlier this year. She plans on entering this new journey with enthusiasm and excitement to learn and grow with her new team. 

Lamarshell Karnas, Office Assistant III—Lamarshell received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona in Interdisciplinary Studies (Communication, Psychology & History) and holds a Master of Arts in Film Studies from National University. Before moving to Coronado, she worked as an events manager for a non-profit organization and spent last school year as a substitute teacher for CUSD.

Silver Strand / Village Elementary

Victoria “Tori” Geyer, Special Education Teacher—Tori will be serving both Silver Strand and Village Elementary Schools this year. She attended San Diego State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, and Point Loma Nazarene University where she received a credential in Multiple Subject and Education Specialist Instruction Mild/Moderate.

Silver Strand Elementary School

Rebecca Conrad, Instructional Assistant—Rebecca has been an Imperial Beach/Coronado resident for twenty-five years, and graduated from Coronado High School in 2000. She is the mother of three children who have been a part of CUSD and has been an active member of Silver Strand PTO Board since 2014.

Susan Lechowicz, Office Assistant—Susan worked in the medical field for 19 years and in the past ten years, she’s volunteered in her children's schools. Susan was Vice President of the Silver Strand PTO for two years and has also worked in the Preschool and Coronado Middle School.

Village Elementary School

Hope Montano, Mild/Moderate Special Education Teacher—Hope has been working in education for four years. She received her Bachelor’s degree at California State University at San Diego in Child Development. She holds a multiple subject credential and a mild/ moderate special education credential. She has a love for special education and strives to provide meaningful authentic experiences that promote academic growth for all students.

Cara Lennon, Mild/Moderate Special Education Teacher—Cara received her undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University where she majored in Human Development and Family Science. She then went on to Lesley University where she earned a dual Master's degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. She’s excited to begin her next chapter at Village Elementary School.

Michael Connor, Moderate/Severe Special Education Teacher—Michael completed his undergraduate work, in Communication and Education, at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He received his Master of Education, as a Low-Incidence Disabilities Specialist, at the University of Illinois. Michael is looking forward to starting the new school year and preparing his students to live, work, and participate in the community.

Amy Carmickle, Special Education Teacher—Amy has been with CUSD for the past year serving as an Instructional Assistant in PE, lunch supervisor, and as a 1:1 Instructional Assistant. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education from Regent University and in her spare time loves to spend time with family, go hiking, and walk her two beagles.

Renelle Koczan, Physical Education Instructional Aide—Renelle relocated from St. Mary’s County, Maryland where she was previously a substitute teacher. In addition to her interests in fitness and living healthy, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, craft projects, and traveling.

Heather McNeill, Physical Education Instructional Assistant—Heather holds a Master’s degree in Education. Her hobbies include repurposing/restoring furniture and many different outdoor activities.