Hi! I am the principal of The School for Entrepreneurship and Technology. This is my 11th year teaching, my seventh year as an administrator, and my second year as the Principal of SET High. I have been thinking about education reform for a long time and it was just as I started to formalize my ideas for what an ideal school would look like that I discovered that there were others who shared my same vision. I joined the SET team just as the Charter was being approved in June of 2010.
I received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UCSD in 1994, worked as a computer programmer and division head at Infotech Systems Management until 2001, and then returned to UCSD to join the doctoral program in the Computer Science Department, where I studied Ubiquitous Computing with my advisor, Bill Griswold. I was awarded a Ph.D. in 2008 for my research in Ubiquitous Video which culminated in the creation of an application called RealityFlythrough that allows people to use a video-game-like immersive interface to explore the world live and in real-time.
I began my teaching career at High Tech High where I learned not only how to make my classes fun, but relevant as well. I have fond memories of my time at High Tech High and miss my students and colleagues dearly.
I first met my wife in high school in New Delhi, India. We re-met five years later here in the U.S., married, and now have three adorable kids. Collette is almost 14, Ian is 11 and Annalise is eight. Ask me about my kids. I can talk about them incessantly .
I have a ton of interests outside of education, computers and my family. My wife and I love to travel and go on frequent long camping trips in our pop-up trailer. I love playing sports, and now satisfy that passion by coaching my kids’ soccer teams. I also love to do construction and remodeling projects on our house. Above all, I love learning, discovery, and inquiry, and I love infecting my students with this same bug.
Hello I am Darrell McClendon (or “Mr. Mc”). I am a native San Diegan, born and raised. My wife and I have four great kids (all adults and college grads!) and one wonderful granddaughter!
I am SET’s Assistant Principal, and I teach engineering as well. I graduated from the University of San Diego (undergraduate) and Walden University (graduate). I have had the privilege of teaching all high school grades from nine through 12 in a variety of subjects including electrical engineering, engineering science, product design and development and physics.
I did not take the “normal” path into teaching. I was an engineer for over 20 years before going into education. I was formerly Director of Engineering (cell phone development) at Motorola and Vice President of Research and Development at a couple of High Tech companies.
Hi, I am Lauren M Harper and I am a Math Teacher/ College Going Counselor. I have a degree in Mathematics from CSU Dominguez Hills. I chose Dominguez Hills because I had a full ride scholarship for Softball and they had Mathematics as a major. This is my fourth year teaching but third year teaching at SET High. I am also currently going into my fourth year coaching high school softball but second year coaching at Mira Mesa High School.
I was born in Mansfield Ohio to Anderson and Teresa Brown Jr. later along with my younger brother Jamaal Brown. I went on to complete High School at Antelope Valley High School while competing as a three sport athlete, attending summer college courses, and starting my early coaching career in the local Los Angeles youth recreational leagues. Later I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps and achieved a meritorious promotion to Lance corporal and a Honorable Discharge. I have had the privilege to work and maintained positive professional careers in major national companies like Bank of America, Geico, and Jostens. During my coaching career I have maintained a winning record all while working to produce my first of many collegiate athletes.
I’m Christopher Nelson-Burger and I love teaching math and art. Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. This is my 20th year of teaching. I cannot believe that I’ve been teaching for longer than all of my students have been alive! I am excited that I get to spend my time here at SET High because I do get to teach both of my favorite subjects. I am an east coast transplant from Baltimore, MD and went eight hours south to Hartsville, SC to attend Coker College (go Cobras!) where I majored in math and minored in art and theatre. Those three things are like my oxygen – I basically need them to survive. I moved to San Diego in 2000 because between 1997 and 2000 I visited here six different times and knew it’s where I wanted to live – it’s just so beautiful here. Once here, I spent ten years working at a for-profit alternative school where the student-teacher ratio is 1:1. I left there when the business aspect started to overrun the school aspect. I was working on getting my Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California (go Trojans!) and knew someone there who told me to send my resume here. It was definitely one of those “meant to be” kind of moments.
Hi, I’m Grace Howieson. I teach English, drama, journalism and yearbook. I love having those “ah-ha” moments with students and love watching them grow. I have a degree in psychology from San Diego State University and have two credentials in teaching. I am married and have a wonderful, 10 year old son. My passion is horseback riding and used to train and show my own horses. I also have a weakness for dark chocolate and ice cream!
Hi, I’m Jessica Romero, the Director of Special Education and the school psychologist at SET High. I have a degree in Special Education and School Psychology and have spent most of my career working with middle and high school-age students. I am a presenter and trainer for the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) and volunteer for various organizations that serve underprivileged communities of promote social justice.
Hello, I’m Bradon Walsall. I am currently the Biology and Forensics teacher at SET High. I have a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. This is my first year at SET and my fourth year teaching.
My name is Anthony Putaro, and I am a mathematics teacher at SET High. I have a B.S. degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from The Pennsylvania State University with an additional minor in applied mathematics. This is my first year teaching at SET High. I previously taught math at a private high school in Carlsbad, and English at a University in Old Town.
I am also CEO of a company that sells products all over the globe. The things that I have learned as an entrepreneur have helped me not only to better develop my business, but also in the real-world.
I am very excited about the new changes that are going into effect this year at SET High, and look forward to watching the school grow.
Hello, I am Mitra Jokanovic. I teach Spanish at SET High. My love and passion for travel and adventure has landed me in most Spanish-speaking countries, where I fell in love with the language, culture, and history – and further established my desire to teach that subject.
I have Political Science and Middle East Studies degrees from UC Irvine, and M.Ed from National University. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my son Marko, always looking for a new adventure.
I’m Alyx Van Stockum and I am a History teacher at SET High. I earned two bachelor’s degrees in Education and History at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York where I also played soccer.
The most important things I try to teach students are resilience and compassion. I believe it is with these two things that our students will leave their mark on the world.
Theodore Roosevelt told us, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs. Even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Hi, my name is Cami Coombes. I am the Education Specialist and Co-Teacher in Biology. I have a degree in Special Education from Liberty University. I also practice yoga, teaching families and children. I previously worked as a special educator in an elementary setting. I am a mom of three kids, one that is a freshman at SET High.
My name is Robert E Almada, and I am 47 years old. My friends and cousins call me Rob, the family elders call me Bobby (I sometimes act like I didn’t hear them). I served my enlisted service time as an engineman in a boiler room (not the telemarketing type) and as a firefighter. I received an AS from Mesa College in Water Distribution. I received a BS in Business Marketing from University of Phoenix. I am currently an MEd candidate at National University with a SPED credential. California native.
I wear my emotions on my sleeve. What you see is what you get. Hence, I am a terrible poker player. I consider my career as a teacher as an extension of my grandparent’s lives for they instilled values and a work ethic inside of me. My goal is to be more direct, cut out the fluff in my facilitation and to manage the classroom experience in such a way that order and organization are like background music at the dentist. The last lesson that I have learned is that a person’s age means little in the realm of knowledge and motivation – experience is really the only difference.
I have been married for 12 years. Sarah (wife), Alexis (10), Andrew (4) and Papi (father in law) make up our household. We have the neighborhood gathering house on the block, kids running around constantly. My wife and Papi brought Grand Central Station with them when they moved here. I wouldn’t have it any other way. My parents (Eva and Larry-step father) live in San Marcos. My step father suffered a cerebral aneurism in front of me when I was 12, and I responded quickly – stabilizing him and answering a flurry of questions from medical personnel. I helped my mom and dad through my teenage years (this introduced a selfish, only-child, to “compassion.”) I have blocked out much of that experience until recently, when I discovered my calling for helping those with challenges.
My wife has been a SPED teacher for 11 years and she is my mentor. I admire her more than she will ever know. I am grateful for being given the opportunity to find my purpose and to work in an environment where I have felt valued since I walked through our front door. SET High is the only workplace I have known where EVERYONE is fully vested in their career, living and breathing integrity.
Greetings! My name is Amor Castro. I am an academic coach at SET High. I’m a native San Diegan and a proud SDSU alumni. Go Aztecs ! I earned a Bachelor’s degree in the field of communication. Effective communication with SET High students is my goal. My student life was a journey and I’m here to share my story to inspire students. Anything is possible with a commitment to focus and hard work!
My name is William Realin. I teach nutritional science, culinary arts, and physical education at SET High School. This is my second year here at SET High. I earned my teaching credential from Fresno State University. I taught P.E. and coached baseball for eight years when I decided to pursue a different career. I spent the last 11 years working as a restaurant manager.
I’m a big believer in taking care of your body through eating the correct foods and engaging in daily activities. By teaching nutritional science, culinary arts, and PhysEd, I feel I can make a direct impact on my students lives.
Greetings students and guardians! My name is Leslie Farias and I am an Academic Coach at Set High. I am attending SDSU and double majoring in Spanish and Child and Family Development, with a minor in Counseling and Social Change. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, being outdoors, going to the beach and discovering new places. During the summer, I enjoy volunteering at the Autism Society Surf Camp. I look forward to a fabulous school year!
My name is Enrico Gandara. I grew up in Seattle, before attending Santa Monica and Rio Hondo community colleges, then transferring to UC Santa Cruz and graduating with a B.A. in Economics. I received my teaching credential through Azusa Pacific University in Social Science. This is my third year teaching at SET. I teach Modern World History, World Religion, and Contemporary Issues.
Hello, I’m Tania Lepe – an Academic Coach at SET. As an academic coach, I encourage students to work hard on their academics and help them through some of the challenges presented in their classes. During my time at SET, I will finish my Mathematics Degree and teaching credential in order to further help students. I plan to be an exceptional role model and wish to travel the world so I may share my experiences with students. I have been to four countries in the European Union and ten states in Mexico. My future trips include Thailand (and perhaps other Asian countries) and Costa Rica.
I am Rita Loughrin and I teach Chemistry, Physics and engineering at SET high. I was born and raised in Michigan, where I attended a small school – Michigan Technological University. After graduating with my Chemical Engineering degree and teaching credential in chemistry and math, I moved to Green Bay to work as an engineer at Procter and Gamble. Go Packers!
After several years as an engineer I took time out to raise a family, moving eventually to San Diego. I love, love, love science and I love, love, love to help other people discover its fun and wonder. In fact, when my three children were little, they learned the easiest way to get out of trouble after making a mess at home was to declare, “It’s a science experiment!”
I’ve been a college chem lab instructor, science museum docent and K-8 volunteer. After my children graduated from high school I was free to devote my efforts full time to teaching, leaving my part time job as a religious education director. This is my third year at Set High.
Hello! My name is Peggy Rosu, and I’m a co-teacher in the English Department at SET High. This is my first year teaching, after serving eight years in the U.S. Navy. I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, and a Master of Education from Brandman University. I spend my free time with my dogs and my husband. I am a member of the National Down Syndrome Congress, National Down Syndrome Society, and a member of the World Federation of ADHD. My husband is active duty Navy, stationed here in San Diego.
I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey, just six miles west of The Big Apple. The proximity to New York City fostered my life-long love of the arts, and instilled in me a respect for culture and living. I travel back east often, both to visit my family and take in the vitality of Broadway, the museums, the Upper West Side, the hip Soho scene, Little Italy, and the little street fairs and outdoor markets that bring international music, food, and people and perspectives into my field of learning – but California is my home! I am the mother of three adult children, a cum laude graduate of the University of California San Diego. I earned my teaching credential at San Diego State University, and earned two MBAs – one in marketing and leadership and one in healthcare – at Coleman University. Each day, I hope that my students: Experience true learning as a discipline, as an art, as an adventure, and as an act of creation.
My name is Erica Gibson and I am a proud San Diego native. My educational journey reached an important milestone when I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (with a minor in law) from the University of California, San Diego. In continuing my life-long quest for learning, I recently completed a Master of Arts in Education through National University. I am honored to serve the next generation of civic leaders by equipping them with the necessary entrepreneurial and leadership skills to compete in the 21st century marketplace. I will prepare my students in this endeavor through project-based learning that reinforces this ideal. I bring a unique perspective to the classroom, given the skill set I gained through a varied professional background, in both the private and public sectors. I am honored to be a part of the School for Entrepreneurship and Technology family and look forward to helping students achieve their educational goals.
Hello! My name is Gabrielle Hines. I’ve had the opportunity to work as a Teacher Assistant for the last four years. After witnessing the tremendous impact teachers have on students and reflecting back on my own experiences, my goal is to become a teacher.
I graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Sociology. I also LOVE sports!
I look forward to the school year, working as an Academic Coach. I am thrilled at the exciting opportunities that await us!
Hello! I’m Aletia Trepte, a native San Diegan. I grew up in the San Diego State University area, where my father was a professor at SDSU. Having been raised in a house with a father as a professor, education became a very important part of my life and was one of the many reasons I choose to be a teacher. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics, but decided to use my analytical thinking skills to teach computer science. I’m in my fourth year teaching computing to students. I first taught middle school students before moving on to SET high school.
Reaching out to the local community is important to me – I believe it increases diversity in computer science. In my community, I strive to be friendly, pro-active and attentive. The key is providing a strong communication platform through workshops, summer math review, organizing computing activities, and sitting down to talk with both the parents and students. I’m a strong supporter of young women in computing having the opportunity to organize a free all girls coding club this summer.
When I’m not teaching computer science or tutoring mathematics, I go on hikes through Torrey Pines and Mission Trails – or roller skate with my 13 year-old daughter at Skateworld. I also go to Los Angeles to see my son (always bringing my roller skates, of course) to skate one of my favorite skating rinks with my kids, the Moonlight Rollerway.
Hi, I am Dajin Mohammed, an Academic Coach at SET High. I am currently at San Diego State University studying child and family development with a minor in counseling and social change. I have tutored high school students in all subjects.