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SMUSD Welcomes New Educators

PICTURED ABOVE, left to right, are Carver Principal Dr. Michael Lin; SMUSD Chief Technology Officer Dr. Stephen Choi; Donna Cox, a new 4th grade teacher at Valentine; Casey Anderson, a new Kindergarten teacher at Valentine; Catherine Chiang, new Transitional Kindergarten teacher at Valentine; Yoanha Delgado, new SAI teacher at SMHS; Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Linda de la Torre; Superintendent Dr. Jeff Wilson; Jessica VanderBaan, new Chemistry teacher at SMHS; Katherine Simpson, new Band teacher at HMS; Terry Cross, new CTE teacher at SMHS; Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jason Kurtenbach and Justin Mesa, new head football Coach and PE teacher at SMHS. Rafael Najarian Photos

The San Marino Unified School District held a new employee orientation and luncheon last week, where nine new educators were introduced.

Jessica VanderBaan | Chemistry, SMHS

Ms. VanderBaan has 5 years of experience teaching Chemistry, Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. Before joining the San Marino Unified School District, she taught in the Yuma Union School District where she also coached the girls’ varsity soccer program for 4 years. Ms. VanderBaan attended Northwestern College, where she majored in Biology teaching with a Chemistry endorsement. She was also a member of the women’s soccer team during those years. Ms. VanderBaan enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and watching or playing soccer and basketball.

Katherine Simpson | Band, HMS

Colleen Hollington has 8 years of experience Ms. Simpson is thrilled to be joining Huntington Middle School’s VAPA team this year. She is newly arrived from Colorado Springs, Colorado where she previously taught instrumental music for eight years at both Timberview Middle School and Woodland Park Middle School. In addition to teaching full 6-8th grade concert bands, Ms. Simpson cultivated thriving jazz programs at her both her former middle schools and implemented a semester-long History of Rock course elective. Ms. Simpson’s programs have achieved excellence and her students have consistently received top ratings at state festivals. She has performed with her ensembles at KUVO Jazz Radio, Greeley Jazz Festival, Canyon City Blossom Festival and Disneyland in addition to holding regular performances throughout her school communities. She has served as the resident woodwind sectional coach for the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, judged numerous local solo and ensemble festivals, and maintains a private clarinet studio where several of her former students have been accepted as music performance and music education majors at both the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. Ms. Simpson lives with her husband in Monrovia and in her free time, is an avid scuba diver, amateur cook and Harry Potter enthusiast.

Terry Cross | CTE, SMHS

Mr. Cross has been a CTE instructor in the arts media entertainment field for 11 years. Following a career in television and video production, Mr. Cross began teaching video production to high school students in Los Angles. As a life long learner Mr. Cross pursued studies in graphic design and 3D printing and has been teaching graphic design in the past 4 years to high school and adult students. Mr. Cross is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a major in Communications and a minor in Computer Applications. He received his Masters in Educational Technology and Media Leadership from Cal State Long Beach.

Catherine Chiang | Transitional Kindergarten, Valentine

Catherine was born in Taiwan and raised in Alhambra, California. She graduated from UCLA in 2012. After graduation, she moved to New York City as a Teach for America corps member, where she taught Pre-kindergarten in Harlem for 2 years and completed her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She then went to work as a kindergarten and Special Education teacher for the New York City Department of Education in the Bronx for five years. She also completed an advanced certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Wanting to be closer to family and friends, Catherine has moved back home to Los Angeles and to give back to her community.

Eileen Singh | School Psychologist, Carver

Mrs. Singh is a new school psychologist to the San Marino Unified School District. While volunteering in her son’s kindergarten classroom, a passion to work with students developed. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in psychology, Mrs. Singh decided to pursue a Master’s degree in school psychology to continue her work with students. She has experience working as an instructional aide in an autism-focused classroom as well as experience working as a substitute teacher at all grade levels. Her recent graduate research attempted to determine if social emotional inclusion into school curriculum would decrease incidences of conflicts among kindergarten students. Aside from her passion to work with students, Mrs. Singh enjoys sipping on hot coffee, reading books to her young daughter, and watching her sons play sports.

Donna Cox | 4th Grade, Valentine

Mrs. Cox has ten years of experience teaching elementary students in a variety of grade levels, including Kindergarten, 1st Grade and 3rd Grade. She is excited to return to Valentine Elementary as a 4th grade teacher after some brief time away to enjoy motherhood. Mrs. Cox earned an Elementary Teaching Credential and a Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of California, Irvine. When she’s not in the classroom, Mrs. Cox enjoys going camping, watching football, and golfing with her husband, Trey, and four-year-old son, Carson.

Casey Anderson | Kindergarten, Valentine

Ms. Anderson has 5 years of experience teaching kindergarten. She earned her undergraduate degree at UCLA and returned to earn her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters Degree in Education from UCLA’s Teacher Education Program. She was the Grade Level Lead Planner and co-chair of the Social Emotional Learning Committee at her previous school. In her free time, Ms. Anderson enjoys traveling, hiking, baking and taking long walks with her dog, Polly.

JUSTIN MESA | Physical Education, SMHS

Justin Mesa was hired as San Marino’s new head football coach in May 2019. He spent the past two years as the Director of Recruiting at the University of Wyoming. Mesa was a member of a 2017 Wyoming football staff that guided the Cowboys to their second consecutive winning season and second consecutive bowl berth in 2017.

Yoanha Delgado | SAI, SMHS

Yoanha Delgado has been teaching special education, mild/moderate for six years. Before joining the San Marino High family, she worked as a Resource Specialist teacher for Green Dot Public Schools. During her tenure, she held leadership roles as Department Head and as part of the Instructional Leadership and School Culture Teams. On her free time, Ms. Delgado enjoys spending time attending Dodger games, concerts, and supporting her two daughters at cheerleading competitions.

Dr. Gates, Linda de la Torre, Jennifer Wheeler, Judy Correnti


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