Meet Our Team

 

At Southeast DREAMS Magnet, teachers work in a highly collaborative environment to develop cross-curricular and student-centered projects that charge students with employing design thinking strategies with an entrepreneurial mindset. Our teachers embody the same six entrepreneurial mindsets that they help develop in our students: initiative and self-direction, risk-taking, flexibility and adaptability, and creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration. Meet our teachers below:

 
 
 

The Founders

 
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Ms. Yi

Magnet Coordinator

My educational pedagogy is deeply rooted in the belief that all students are primed for greatness. I am proud to be part of an amazing team of movers and shakers at Southeast DREAMS Magnet. We are passionate about helping students realize their potential for academic success and social development.  My activities: In 2009, I earned a Masters of Education in Science Education from UCLA and went on to attend Columbia University to pursue graduate studies in Educational Leadership. In 2013, I published my work on project-based learning called “Developing the Holistic 21st Century Student: Improving Attitudes, Collaboration Skills and Academic Achievement through Project-Based Learning in Middle-School Science” through UCLA’s Teacher Initiated Inquiry Project. I am also a lecturer at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where I teach an Introductory Course to Middle School Practices in Science Education.


WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Project-Based Learning

  • The intersections of Art, Design, Science, and Education

  • Making learning palatable, relevant, and impactful for all students

 

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Ms. Tarr

English and Theatre Teacher

My educational philosophy is grounded in the authentic belief that all students intrinsically want to learn and do well, and that the responsibility of the educational system is to provide a place for them to unearth their passion, their talent, and true calling - to find, as Sir Ken Robinson says, their element. My activities include: The National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City, a 15-year acting career, traveling with students to NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival, to the San Francisco Art Institute, with student performances showcased at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Coconut Grove Theatre, InnerArts, Grand Park, and at other local elementary and middle schools. In 2012, I was awarded the Center Theatre Group’s Theatre Educator Fellowship with a $5,000 grant to study Spanish and Theatre Arts in various cities in Mexico. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in ELA Early Adolescence.


WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Helping young people

  • Creating an engaging program that allows students multiple opportunities to use their voice to create positive change at school, in the community, and beyond through a project-based learning curriculum

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Mr. Medina

English and Computer Science Teacher

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My educational philosophy centers on my students having authentic, professional learning experiences. My work in our school community has centered on students meeting exceptional levels of performance, being engaged with challenging tasks, and working collaboratively to create authentic expressions of work. I have multiple teaching credentials in English, Social Studies, and Computer Applications, and I have my graduate degree in Computer Design. I am a member of the California International Studies Project-School of Education at Stanford University. In 2014, I was awarded a New York Stock Exchange Euronext Teacher Exchange Fellowship to embed financial literacy in Computer Education. In 2016, I received an Innovation in Financial Education award through the MassMutual Foundation. In 2017, I was accepted into a Code.org teaching fellowship to embed design thinking into computer education. I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education (Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood).


WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT

  • Working to build a magnet center that exemplifies the National Magnet Standards of Excellence.

  • Finding interesting intersections between digital literacy, technology, real-world applications, and the expression of my students' creativity.

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The Team

 
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Ms. Mendoza
Science and Leadership Teacher

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The core values of my philosophy of education include developing students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills and teaching students empathy and integrity. I aspire to create a community of learners in my classroom, which I believe is necessary to support student learning and create a safe, welcome environment for the success of all students; my goal is to help students navigate their lives with an appreciation for scientific inquiry, as well as collaboration and compassion. My activities: UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (M.Ed in Secondary Science 2019), UCLA Bachelors of Science in Psychobiology, Assistant Director of a math learning center in Los Angeles. MLG (Mastery Learning and Grading) Certified Teacher (Spring 2019).

 

WHAT I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Cross-curricular connections between science and social science

  • Engaging and relevant curriculum

  • Increasing student awareness of social issues as it relates to science and promoting student activism and advocacy

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Ms. Diaz
History and Visual Arts Teacher

My Educational Philosophy is concentrated on the idea that Knowledge is Power. I have passion for the Social Sciences (i.e.: History, Government, Geography, etc) and want my students to embrace these topics as a knowledge base to empower themselves and their community. I enable an individual-thinking environment in my classroom, that allows for freedom of expression, and creativity. My activities include: 2018 The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, UCLA History/Geography Project "Places and Time: Los Angeles History and Geography”, Kagan Professional Development: Win-win discipline and Cooperative Learning.  Graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with Dual Degrees in History and Social Science, and currently working on my Masters in Art History.


WHAT I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Empowering young minds! Today's youth needs to be made aware of their potential and how they can leave a positive mark in this world.

  • Teaching the community History, so that the wrongs of the past do not repeat in our present and future.

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Mr. Jimeno
Math and World Arts Teacher

My educational philosophy is grounded in the belief that a quality public education is the best lever we have as a society to ensure we produce individuals with the critical thinking skills to be engaged participants in our polity, and responsible consumers in our economy.  When our schools are student-centered and the relationship between teachers, students, and parents is seen as a partnership, we unlock the true potential of our educational system.

My activities include receiving a PhD in Political Science and going on to teach Research Methods at the University of Arkansas, among other classes.  I published several book chapters on perceptions of immigration by the American public, as well as the political incorporation of Latin American immigrants in the United States.  My desire to further my education in the Social Sciences stemmed from my experience as a History and Government teacher for the district.

 

WHAT I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Educational equity, or the belief that structural constraints largely drive gaps in achievement and if we address those individually for each student then they will find success as life-long learners.

  • True assessments of learning that also accomplish the goal of having students feel motivated to continue their quest for knowledge and to apply that knowledge to their daily lives.

 
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Mr. Dang
Mathematics and Computer Science Teacher

My education philosophy is based on students participating as active constructors of their own knowledge through extensive collaboration with their peers and engagement in challenging and authentic learning experiences. Furthermore, I firmly believe in the power of young people and that all students deserve the opportunity to develop themselves as agents of change within their home, school, and community. Some of my activities include youth mentorship through Big Citizen Hub and Americorps City Year. I was also a Workshop Facilitator at UCLA for 1st Year Undergraduates taking Pre-Calculus. MLG (Mastery Learning and Grading) Certified Teacher (Summer 2018).

 

WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Mentorship

  • Service-Based Learning Programs

  • Real-life and interdisciplinary connections to mathematics

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Mr. Zamudio
Physical Education Teacher

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The goal of education is an enriching process of ongoing growth and it must prepare students to become valuable members of society. It focuses on the real world and teaches students to read, write, speak, compute and incorporate life long fitness and health clearly and logically in order to become responsible members of society.


The core focus of the curriculum in my class is knowledge and skills of physical education, physical activity, life-long fitness, nutrition and covering the standards as they relate to physical education. I design challenging enriching and innovative activities that address the diverse interests and needs of students. Believing that students learn best from what they consider most relevant to their lives and understanding that this can be difficult to do when pertaining to physical education. I try to ensure that each lesson hooks my students and draws them in by using personal interest. 

WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Helping students ascertain their inner strengths and abilities

  • Guiding students toward self-efficacy

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Ms. Torres
History and Calligraphy Teacher

My educational philosophy is grounded in the belief that every child can and will succeed in ways that reflect their own aptitude and interests. Within the classroom, each child has the opportunity to utilize their individual talents for the betterment of their group in a student-centered curriculum. This curriculum utilizes strategies and methodologies from: Kagan Publishing & Professional Development, UCLA History Geography Project “Places and Time, Los Angeles History and Geography”, and Art Center’s Teacher Institute of Design Based Learning.
 
My ability to motivate and connect with students helps to create a culture in which they are learning from both the teacher and their classmates. I believe this creates a well-rounded 21st century thinker in which each student has something to offer our modern society. Through the study of social science, I will help guide students on their path to becoming global collaborators and ultimately agents of change.

 

WHAT I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT:

  • Youth empowerment

  • Student creativity

  • Building empathy

  • Making history relevant to students' life and their community