Intellectual Virtues Academy Of Long Beach

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Directors and Staff

James J. McGrath – Founding Director

Prior to joining the Academy full-time in August 2015, Mr. McGrath practiced law with a prominent international law firm representing Fortune 100 companies spanning a variety of industries including real estate finance. He was named a Rising Star in Southern California Super Lawyers and Los Angeles Magazine.  For seven years, Mr. McGrath served on the Board of Directors of Bright Star Schools in Los Angeles, a small network of high-performing charter schools serving students who are predominantly low-income and non-white. He was also involved in overseeing Bright Star’s development and launch of 6 new schools during his Board tenure.  He also served on the Board of IVA for about 2 years, serving as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Academic Committee. 


Before law school, Mr. McGrath was an adjunct philosophy professor at Long Beach City College.  He also taught mathematics at Santa Margarita High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, where he coached baseball. Mr. McGrath earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy from U.C. Berkeley, a Master’s in the Philosophy of Education at U.C. Irvine (his master’s thesis pertained to developmental virtue theory), and he earned a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where he was co-chief managing editor of the Women’s Law Journal and class president.


Mickie Tubbs- Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Mickie Tubbs is elated to be the founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Academy.  She is looking forward to working closely with a talented, diverse faculty in developing a rigorous, college-ready instructional program rooted in our intellectual virtues.  Mickie has experience teaching at the elementary, high school, and university levels across four states.

Mickie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education and took her first job as a math teacher right out of college. She quickly realized her passion for providing equitable services to underserved populations, as well as the power of peer collaboration.  Mickie approaches dynamic, complex, and changing situations with a determination, a positive attitude, and a belief that effective solutions evolve out of collaboration.  

Micke was determined to provide equitable educational experiences for English Learners, Special Needs Students, as well as socio-economically challenged, therefore she earned her Masters and Ed.D in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. Fueled by the "leveling power" of technology, she opened two comprehensive high schools using a blended instructional model to personalize instruction.  Through this model, underperforming students achieved multiple years of academic improvement, graduated on time, and were eligible for acceptance at four-year universities.

Through this work, Mickie has also designed and lead professional development on student-centered pedagogies to inspire and empower all teachers on how to craft transformative instructional experiences for all students. 


Summer Sanders –Director of Student Services

Mrs. Sanders was hired in September 2015 to help lead the Academy’s initial community engagement and outreach. Mrs. Sanders now serves as the Academy’s College Counselor and oversees Student Services. Mrs. Sanders served in a similar hybrid role for the past six years at an arts integrated K-8 school in San Francisco, as a K-8 Counselor and Middle School Administrator. In the role, she was responsible for creating an engaging, active middle school program, supporting students and their families, and coaching teachers. Mrs. Sanders provided on-going, collaborative professional development to teachers/staff and counseling interns, thoughtfully constructing a responsive and positive staff community. She also developed a comprehensive school counseling program, advisory program, and Peaceful School culture, which received a Distinguished School Award in 2014.


Her expertise in her 16 years in education has been to support college, high school, middle school, and elementary school students with their personal/social, career, and academic development. She is passionate about advocating for her students, giving them a voice, and helping others listen. Her education has focused on Human Services, Child/Adolescent Development, Counseling, Mental Health, Social Justice, and Education. She has a Masters degree in Counseling, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, obtained Credentials in School Counseling/Guidance and Preliminary Administrative Services. Mrs. Sanders is passionate about equitable learning opportunities, taking a holistic approach to education, utilizing constructivist inquiry-based pedagogies, with the belief that social relationships are a constructive learning opportunity for both staff and student development. Summer enjoys adventures, walks, and spending as much time with her family on sunny beaches.



Crystal Day- Outreach Coordinator

Originally from Maryland, Crystal is passionate about education and has 12 years of experience in educational administration. She thrives on building relationships and fostering meaningful community connections, and has an expertise in marketing and database management/analytics. Crystal is naturally drawn to progressive education, and served as Director of Admission at an independent K-8 school in Long Beach prior to joining the Outreach Department at Intellectual Virtues Academy. Outside of the Academy, Crystal enjoys running and Bikram yoga, gardening, and spending time with her family. 







Cynthia Angheven- Office Clerk, Translator

Miss Angheven started working for Intellectual Virtues Academy (IVA) Middle School in 2015. She currently is in school trying to get her Associate of Science Degree in Social Science, to become a Spanish/Geography Teacher. She loves to read, spend time with her family, and would like to travel the world.