Daniel comes to the Academy after spending years in education—first as a private tutor and then as a teacher. He received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his Master's in Teaching from Point Loma Nazarene University. Daniel has taught math in Orange County and San Diego, working with students from both the middle and high school levels in a wide range of courses, including nearly everything from Integrated Math 7 through AP Calculus.
"I chose the Academy because its core virtues look at advancing education in innovative ways. My goal is to find and implement new, research-supported methods to teach math, and to help students think critically while integrating technology in ways that extend and support student learning."
Special Education Teacher
Jessica graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Special Education. Her experience in the country provided her with exposure to both urban and rural settings. She has worked with children with special needs in the marginalized areas of the Philippines, and here in the United States created instructional materials for classroom instruction to facilitate their learning and increase the number of educational resources.
"I truly believe that "learning never stops" and the Academy provides opportunities for teachers to continuously grow professionally and hone their craft. Moreover, the core virtues of the Academy provides the faculty with an innovative way to educate the students. In return, it enables the students to embrace the curiosity and wonderment of their surroundings. Hence, I am very grateful to be a part of a team that shares the common goal for student achievement."
David grew up in the historically significant Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, and became fascinated by history, after discovering in college that the past is akin to different cultures. Since graduating, David has taught history, literature, and ESL to middle school and high school students in both South Korea and the United States. He has a Bachelor’s of Art degree in History from Stanford, studied the History of Education in a Master’s program at Harvard, and completed a teaching Master’s program at USC. He is eager to help students find ways to make the past relevant to their lives.
“I have been amazed at the openness, friendliness, seriousness of purpose, and intellectual humility that make the Academy such a special community. The Academy turns its Intellectual Virtues into a part of everything that happens on campus. The community is genuinely remarkable, and I feel extremely lucky to be able to learn from, and work with, the students and teachers of Intellectual Virtues Academy High School!”
Joseph has taught science at the high school level for the past 9 years, including teaching Biology, Honors Biology, AP Biology, and Marine Biology. He led his AP Biology students to pass the test at rates higher than the national average.
Joseph also coached girls basketball as the head JV coach and Varsity assistant coach. Twice his teams won CIF championships. He is currently finishing up his MEd at Hope International University.
"I chose to come to the Academy because I was looking for a school that looked beyond traditional teaching methods in order to most effectively engage students. I am looking forward to continuing to grow as an educator, and use my knowledge and experience to educate and mentor the students at the Academy."
GREG NAVARRO PICKENS
Greg comes to the Academy as a passionate artist and arts educator of 30 years. He is the co-founder of two Long Beach non-profit arts agencies – Artists Reaching Kids (ARK) and The Art Exchange, and has taught all grade levels from Kindergarten to College. He has produced over 150 murals locally involving youth participants of all ages. Greg earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas, San Antonio. He presently consults as an Arts Integration Specialist.
“I chose to teach at the Academy because I was very inspired by the concept of the Intellectual Virtues being the school’s guiding principle. I was excited to see “Creativity” listed at the top of these virtues which is something I hadn’t encountered in a school before. The opportunity to help create a meaningful arts integrated curriculum in such a supportive, friendly environment was very compelling and I happily joined the team.”
Associate Director and Special Education Teacher
Julie is thrilled to be joining the Academy community and collaborating with students and families. She has experience teaching at the elementary, high school, and university levels. Julie immigrated to the United States from South Korea when she was 6 years old. She was inspired to make a difference once she saw how students "fell through the cracks", so she received a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education. Julie went on to earn a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology, and a Ph.D in Counselor Education and Supervision.
Julie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Julie has always had a passion for special needs populations, working with children in foster care, the chronically mentally ill adult population, children with special needs, adolescents in the school setting, and adults in private practice.
"I chose the Academy because it was an awesome opportunity to make a difference in the underserved community. This population is near and dear to my heart, and I wanted to continue to foster the fun in education while inspiring students to continue on the path to success. I also was intrigued by the challenge of being a part of a start up/inaugural year of a school."
Marisol is excited to begin her teaching career with the Academy. Marisol graduated with a B.A. in Spanish from California State University, Long Beach, where she also obtained her teaching credential. Before teaching, she worked for three years with students with social-cognitive deficits. She is looking forward to showing her students that language learning can be personable, engaging, and culturally relevant to their lives.
"I am eager to be involved with the school community and growing as an educator at the Academy. In the future, I hope to pursue a Master's degree in either Teaching Spanish as a Second Language or Social & Cultural Analysis of Education."
Physical Education Teacher
Courtney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University and earned a Master's Degree in Sports Administration and Coaching. As a collegiate water polo athlete, she developed a passion for health, fitness, and coaching. After graduation, she coached water polo for four years and was a substitute PE and health teacher.
"I am so humbled and honored to have been asked to join the incredible and accomplished staff at the Academy. The determining factor was the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded professionals in such a tight-knit community. I am so excited to grow as an educator and to share my passion for health and fitness. It is my goal to show that being active is not something to be dreaded; it can be FUN and WILL be fun in my classroom!"
John came to teaching English with a background in advertising, creative writing, musical performance, and parenting. All of those pursuits require creative approaches to solving problems and being able to communicate those ideas.
He joins our English department after 12 years with LAUSD, including teaching Honors, AP, Journalism and Yearbook. He completed a fellowship with Teach Plus, an education reform think tank, and became a National Board Certified Teacher.
"I firmly believe in the role of character growth on academic achievement. I say things like, "Effort equals results," and "I don't teach English; I teach humans." Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Intellectual Virtues Academy was completely staffed by like-minded professionals! I chose to work at the Academy to bring my enthusiasm, creativity and rigor to this community. I also chose to enroll my son at the middle school. I'm all in."
Associate Director and Humanities Teacher
Throughout his academic career, Dustin has been devoted to engaging K-12 students on a variety of topics in the humanities and philosophy. He is currently a PhD candidate with a focus on environmental ethics, at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he has taught a wide range of courses, including Logic, Introduction to Philosophy, and Environmental Ethics. He has a very comprehensive career teaching students of all ages, including earning a fellowship to teach and develop curriculum for a high school International Baccalaureate course.
"The Academy offers a rare opportunity for students and teachers to develop habits of mind that support good lives, strong relationships, and inclusive communities. It allows us space to investigate big, philosophical questions, apply our thinking to real, relevant social issues, and reflect on our thinking in a way that fosters critical, engaged, and compassionate citizens. This is, I think, the best we can hope for as we try to build supportive, forward-thinking communities. I am humbled to be part of such a passionate, intentional community of inquiry."
English and ELD Teacher
Darren has sixteen years' experience as an educator. He loves studying and teaching languages. In addition to Mandarin and Spanish, he has also taught a bit of French and Japanese. Currently, Mr. Taylor is studying Classical Chinese, Farsi, and Vietnamese.
"I am looking forward to getting to know everyone at IVA and working with the amazing students!"