Meet Our Teachers & Staff
OCASA is guided by an experienced and caring team of educators who put the needs of students and their families first.
Dr. Baillie Principal, OCASA College PrepDr. Alicia Baillie has been an educator for over 17 years and is bringing that experience to her role as the Principal at OCASA College Prep. Prior to coming to OCASA College Prep, Dr. Baillie has led nationally ranked secondary schools and won numerous awards. These recognitions include a National Blue Ribbon, a California Distinguished School Award, a California Exemplary CTE program distinction, and recognition from the Walt Disney Motif Awards.
Dr. Beddow-Schubert Principal, OCASA Elementary
Dr. Beddow-Schubert, a Smithsonian Institute Laurette and Apple Distinguished Educator, comes from a long line of educators and has been in education since 1989. She has multiple teaching experiences including-elementary classroom teacher, Title I reading teacher, technology integration specialist, secondary business teacher, principal, Director of Instructional Technology, Director of Teaching and Learning-Equity Services as well as a Director of Research and Evaluation for Educational Innovation non-profit. Dr. Beddow-Schubert joined OCASA in 2020 and believes she has found her dream job! She is passionate about meeting the whole child on a learning continuum and supporting their growth along that journey.
Mrs. Blanchi Director of Operations
Dot Blanchi is the Director of Operations at OCASA and loves helping people solve problems, learning new systems, and working with data. She has spent the majority of her career in a corporate environment, gaining experiences in areas such as technology, software, organization, and training. While operations in her primary job function by day, Dot enjoys spending time with her three kids and husband, entertaining friends, and traveling the world.
Mr. Mathur Founder & Executive Director
Mr. Mathur has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry & Biology from Chapman University and a Masters of Business Administration from UCLA Anderson. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Charter School Administration. Mr. Mathur believes that applying classroom learning to real-world projects is the best way for students to master concepts.
OCASA Elementary (Kindergarten to 5th Grade)
Mrs. Banker Beyond the Stars Coordinator
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Diane Banker and I am the BTS Site Coordinator at OCASA. I am so honored and delighted to be part of this school community. Professionally I have been in the education field for the past 31 years. My educational background is Early Childhood Development. I have directed programs, from infant thru school age. My focus for the past 11 years has been school age afterschool, and camp programming. I believe in building solid relationships with the students, families and staff. Supporting children and parents to create a safe, loving, fun and positive environment for all.
Ms. Burgess Beyond the Stars Leader
Ms. Simone has a bachelors in social work and will soon be enrolling to get her masters. She works as a school behavioral technician during the day where she works with students on the spectrum as well as students with behavioral issues. Ms. Simone is excited to be apart of the program and strongly believes in using positive reinforcement to encourage students to reach their full potential.
Mr. Corrigan Yellow Band Lead Teacher
Ryan Corrigan has worked in education for 6 years, gaining experience in classroom management, building strong relationships with children, and delivering curriculum to students in various ways. He has a multiple subject credential from Cal State Fullerton and a business degree in marketing from Northern Arizona University. As a seasoned classroom teacher, he is passionate about advancing critical thinking skills in his students. In addition to teaching, he has also been involved in coaching youth basketball and educating remote learners about current events. Outside of school, Ryan enjoys playing basketball, snowboarding, and attending Angels games.
Mr. Coss Arts Quest / Music
Musician at Heart -
A renowned University of Pacific music program graduate, Stephen Coss possesses a B.A. in Jazz Studies and an M.A. in Music Education. His body of musical work includes complete orchestral pieces, solo piano works, and compositions that encompass a variety of styles, from Jazz to Electronic. In addition, Stephen is a skilled live musician and has performed with many renowned Jazz artists. Stephen is also a passionate private and public school teacher with over 16 years of professional teaching experience.
Ms. Cronic Red Band Lead Teacher
Ms. Cronic has dedicated her career to caring for and educating children of all abilities and needs. As an educator, Ms. Cronic is passionate about teaching a child as a whole and incorporating hands-on learning. She possesses a Multi-Subject Teaching Credential and has earned a degree in Liberal Studies from California State University Fullerton.
Mr. D'Ambrosio Yellow Band Instructional Assistant
Mr. Paul D’Ambrosio (Mr. D), is new to OCASA, but has been teaching martial arts and life fundamentals to children and families for over 25 years. He holds the title of Master Instructor and the rank of 7th degree black belt. After closing his Taekwon-do business last year, Mr. D began substitute teaching at OCASA and found a new passion. Realizing that he could be of more service and could have more of an impact if he was in the classroom daily, he decided to take on the role of Instructional Assistant. He is a supportive and dedicated teacher who strives to help students learn and grow. He is very glad to be working at OCASA and looks forward to an exciting school year. Outside of school he enjoys practicing Taekwon-do, playing golf, and spending time with his family.
Ms. Demari Red Band Resident Teacher
Ms. Kayla Demari is going into her 2nd year at OCASA as a Teacher Resident.. As an educator, she enjoys having the ability to give students the experience of a creative, safe, and warm environment to flourish in their learning skills and social-emotional development. Ms. Demari received her undergraduate in Sociology from the College of Charleston and is in the process of attaining her teaching credential through the Marshall Residency Program partnership with OCASA. Outside the classroom, Ms. Demari loves being a foodie, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.
Mrs. Filer Yellow Band Lead Teacher
Ms. Angie Filer has worked with children for almost 10 years in a variety of settings. She earned her Associate's Degree in Child Development & Early Education in Pittsburgh, PA and her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Hiram College in Ohio. She was a substitute teacher in Pennsylvania for 2 months before moving to California. Ms. Flier was a substitute teacher for Scoot Education for a year and a half, which included working at OCASA, before being brought on to the OCASA team full time as an Instructional Assistant. Now, as a lead teacher at OCASA, she continues her teaching journey.. In addition to her classroom experience, Ms. Flier has been a swim instructor and swim coach for children 1 year old to collegiate athletes since 2016.
Mrs. Greenfield Beyond the Stars Leader
Ms. Groeniger Orange Band Lead Teacher
Ms. Groeniger has been with OCASA for three years. She is a dedicated educator that has worked in the field of education for five years. She obtained her Multiple-Subject teaching credential and Master's degree in Education from Chapman University. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from CSULB in Criminal Justice and a Masters degree from ASU in Criminology and Criminal Justice. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones, hiking, and running.
Ms. Harris Yellow Band Instructional Assistant
Izzy Harris is an Instructional Assistant at OCASA. She obtained her BA in Language Science at the University of California-Irvine. Izzy has experience working closely with children in various educational settings, including volunteer work, after-school youth centers, substitute teaching, and teaching dance. Last year, she worked as a substitute teacher, where she discovered a passion for working with students, and is excited to continue working in education full time to become a Speech Pathologist. As an Instructional Assistant, Izzy hopes to contribute to a nurturing, stimulating, and supportive learning environment where every student can reach their full potential and develop lifelong skills to help them succeed.
Ms. Hoffman Orange Band Lead Teacher
Ms. Hoffman has worked in education for 4 years, gaining experience in multiage instruction and individualized learning. She has spent a significant portion of her educational career in multi-age classrooms. She is passionate about catering instruction to the individual needs of each student and fostering a love of learning within her students. Outside of school, Ms. Hoffman enjoys camping, cooking, and dance.
Mrs. Holt Orange Band Lead Teacher
Katie Holt decided she wanted to be a teacher in the first grade. To pursue that dream she attended SDSU majoring in Liberal Studies, received her credential at Cal State Fullerton and her Masters in Educational Administration from Concordia University. Mrs. Holt began her teaching career in Newport-Mesa USD and spent ten years teaching various elementary grade levels mastering curriculum design, classroom management and fostering her passion for teaching a diverse population. After the birth of her second daughter, (Jane and Annie both attend OCASA) she decided to stay home, while she continued to tutor and started her own homeschool business during the pandemic. She is excited to get back into the classroom and share her love of reading and the outdoors with her students.
Mrs. Kredo Spanish Language & Culture Teacher
Sheila Kredo is the Spanish teacher at OCASA Elementary and loves helping students learn about the diversity, traditions, and culture of the Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America. She has spent the majority of her career in the education industry, gaining experiences in areas such as child development and curriculum differentiation. While teaching Spanish is her primary job function by day, Sheila also enjoys traveling to new places and crafting.
Mrs. L'amour Visual Arts Teacher
Gina has worked as a Visual Arts teacher for over 25 years. She is a graduate from C.S.U.L.B. with a BA in Art. After graduating she worked as a professional artist having her art published and exhibited at an art gallery in Pasadena. Gina went back to school to get her teaching credential and found teaching to be much more gratifying. She began her teaching experience at Garden Grove Unified as a middle school art teacher and then taught at a private school teaching kindergarten through 8th grade. As a visual arts teacher her goals include giving her students encouragement, praise and confidence in their abilities. Outside of teaching, Gina enjoys spending time with her three sons, family, friends and dog. She also enjoys drawing, painting, and crafting, as well as, volunteering as a make-up artist at the Pageant of the Masters.
Mr. Lamee Orange Band Instructional AssistantMr. Braedon Lamee has worked in education for 8 years now in a variety of classroom settings. His first job out of high school was working as an Instructional Assistant and has loved working with children ever since! Mr. Lamee is new to OCASA, but enjoys teaching children and helping them grow to be the best they can be! Mr. Lamee also has a background in video production, so outside of work he is video editing or catching up on the latest movies.
Mrs. Lihme Yellow Band Lead Teacher
Mrs. Amee Lihme has worked in education for 23 years, gaining experience in reading intervention, Writers Workshop, and curriculum differentiation. As a seasoned teacher, she is passionate about helping students find books they love to read, and facilitating students' choice in learning. In addition to classroom teaching, Amee has also worked as a reading intervention teacher, and as a director of curriculum and instruction. Outside school, Amee enjoys bird watching and spending time with her family.
Ms. Mason Red Band Instructional Assistant
Mrs. Mason is a Red Band Instructional Aid at OCASA. Her passion is getting to know students’ specific needs and what it takes for them to be successful. Her professional background includes educating children with all abilities. Mrs. Mason earned her degree in Liberal Studies at San Diego State University, and then went on to receive her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Cal State Long Beach. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her family, and being outdoors.
Mrs. McClain Office Administrator
Hobi McClain is the Office Administrator at Orange County Academy of Sciences and Arts. She has been with OCASA since day one, opening the school in 2016. Hobi loves working with children. She admires their honesty, creativity, and curiosity for learning. She has spent the majority of her career working with Nordstrom as a retail buyer, gaining unparalleled experiences in areas such as customer relations, leadership, interpersonal skills and attention to detail. While Office Administrator is her primary job function by day, she also enjoys spending time with her family, making people laugh, curling up with a good book, and traveling.
Ms. Ramirez Orange Band Resident Teacher
Nancy Ramirez is an Instructional Assistant at OCASA and has been working in education since 2019. She has worked with students of various ages and found her passion in working with the elementary ages. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Child Development from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She has an aspiration to be a future educator. She intends to assist students in flourishing their learning skills and overcoming obstacles. Outside of being an Instructional Assistant, Ms. Ramirez enjoys spending time with friends and family, exercising, and visiting new places.
Mr. Rios-Benitez Porter
Mrs. Robertson STEM Master Teacher
Vanessa Robertson has worked in education for 19 years, gaining experience in languages, technology, and child development. As a seasoned educator, she is passionate about advancing inquiry-based learning and a love for STEM education. In addition to maintaining her school’s maker space, she is also involved in her school’s garden and supporting innovation on her campus. Outside of school, Mrs. Robertson enjoys baking, hanging out with her husband, playing with her dog, and recently began playing the handbells at her church.
Ms. Taylor Red Band Lead Teacher
Jillian Taylor joined the OCASA team during the 2022-2023 school year and will now serve as a Red Band Instructional Assistant. She has worked in education for 25 years with students from preschool through elementary age. She is passionate about developing positive connections with students and being active in their daily emotional and academic growth. Jillian obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Menlo College in Atherton, CA. She then continued her studies in Early Childhood and Human Development at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA. While there, she obtained her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Most recently she has worked as an Instructional Aid in Capistrano Unified School District. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her husband, four children, and three dogs. She also loves nature, gardening, walking, yoga, pilates, cooking, and baking.
Ms. Willey Red Band Lead Teacher
Jenna Willey is a red Band teacher at OCASA.. Ms. Willey began her educational career in 2016. She has a Montessori background with a credential earned through the University of California-Irvine. Ms. Willey also has a Bachelors degree in Communications from Cal State-Fullerton and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Special Education from Grand Canyon University. Ms. Willey is an enthusiastic educator striving for all of her students to fall in love with learning and believing in themselves! She has a creative, innovative & hands on approach. On a personal level, she also enjoys live music and hiking in her free time!
Mr. Williams Orange Band Instructional Assistant
Mr. Blake Williams is an experienced educator, student, and coach. Driven by the desire to better the students inside and outside the classroom, he takes pride in providing the best opportunities to make success possible. As an Instructional Assistant, his goals include providing support for teachers, children, and other staff. In addition to his primary job functions, Blake has been
recognized by positivity for his extraordinary commitment to the development of the students. One day he wants to take over as lead teacher of his own class. Outside of work, he loves to go to the movies, coach his high school basketball team, play basketball, as well as watching sports!
Mr. Yackley Yellow Band Instructional Assistant
Jared Yackley is a graduate of philosophy from the University of California-Berkeley. While this is his second year at OCASA, he has been involved in education since he was 13 years old, when he began to tutor friends and classmates in mathematics. Paired with many childhood experiences of helping his mother with her classroom, as she was an elementary school teacher before retirement, Jared has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to quality education and assisting students and peers in achieving their goals.
OCASA College Prep (6th Grade to 12th Grade)
Ms. Ajakwe Math Teacher / Activities Director
Shawn Ajakwe has worked in education since 2012. She joined OCASA as a math 6 and 7 teacher at the start of the 20/21 school year. With experience in virtual, hybrid and in-person educational settings, Mrs. Ajakwe is skillful in creating a safe, supportive classroom environment by eliminating diverse barriers to learning as well as engaging students in a fun, rich culture of learning that combines math with real-world scenarios. Mrs. A is on a mission to help each of her students recognize his/her/their mathlete potential through promoting an enduring understanding of math language, consistent practice and full. When she isn’t teaching, Shawn Ajakwe enjoys fitness activities, family gatherings and relaxing excursions in natural settings with her husband of many delightful years.
Ms. Casarrubias Lunch Service Support
Martha Casarrubias is a Lunch Service Support who manages our school lunch program. She holds an AA degree in foods and nutrition. She began her journey at OCASA in November of 2020 She loves connecting with and serving the students and teaching them customer service skills at the same time. Martha Casarrubias lives in Rancho Santa Margarita with her husband, three children, and her dog Rio. Together they enjoy going to the beach, family time together.
Mrs. Corrigan English & PLTW Teacher
Emily Corrigan has worked in education for 18 years, gaining experience in English education, STEAM education, and Project Lead The Way curriculum. Mrs. Corrigan earned her degree in English from California State University, Fullerton and later went on to earn her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English from National University. She also holds teaching credentials in Flight and Space, Design and Modeling, and Computer Science Essentials from Project Lead The Way. As a teacher, Mrs. Corrigan is passionate about advancing her students’ literacy skills and problem-solving abilities. She loves the humor, joy, and creativity that her students bring to her life. Outside of school, Mrs. Corrigan enjoys hiking, cooking, and camping with her husband (our own Mr. Corrigan from OCASA Elementary.)
Ms. Garcia Office Administrator
Sindy Garcia is currently in her third year serving as the Office Administrator at OCASA College Prep. With a dedicated career primarily focused on the childcare industry, Sindy has consistently demonstrated her commitment to providing exceptional support to staff, students, and families while maintaining an unwaverly positive attitude. Beyond her role as an Office Administrator, Sindy's passion for spreading positivity extends to her personal life. Outside the office, she finds joy in exploring new destinations through travel and spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Gleeson PE & Health Teacher
Ms. Huynh Math, Computer Science and PLTW TeacherAs a Southern California native, Ms. Huynh completed her B.S. in Applied Mathematics and TESOL minor at UCSB & MA in Teaching with an emphasis in Math Education at Chapman University. She enjoys teaching all levels of math and her interest in applied math has expanded her into a Robotics and PLTW Computer Science teacher. She has worked with K-12 students and as a peer mentor for college students, dedicating her life to steer students away from the "I'm not a math person" stigma. With an interest in linguistics, Ms. Huynh speaks four languages: English, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin, hoping to take on Spanish next.
Mrs. Kane Math / Science / PLTW TeacherMrs. Kane's passion for teaching can be traced back to when she was an Instructional Assistant at OCASA Elementary, where she spent significant time working on reading fluency and mathematics with yellowband students. As a middle school teacher, she specializes in 6th grade math & science, robotics, and PLTW Medical Detectives. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys going to the beach, exercising, and spending time with her family.
Mr. Mendoza PorterBorn and raised in the picturesque city of San Juan Capistrano, Victor Mendoza brings a deep sense of community pride and a strong work ethic to his role as our esteemed Day Porter. With an unwavering commitment to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and efficiency, Victor is an invaluable member of our team.
Mr. McClure Science TeacherDaniel McClure is currently in his 7th year teaching science. He is currently getting his Masters in optics through the University of Arizona. He loves science, especially physics. He is passionate about educating students in everything science as well as helping them develop lifelong self-direction skills.
Mrs. Miller Math Teacher
Since graduating from BYU-Idaho in Mathematics Education, Sydney Miller has dedicated her life to teaching Mathematics. She has worked helping students understand mathematical concepts in both an individual and group setting. Her passion for mathematics focuses on showing students how problem-solving skills are used throughout their lives.
Ms. Vogel English & PLTW TeacherMs. Vogel is a dedicated educator and is passionate about literacy, foreign languages, and technology. She earned her Bachelor in Secondary Education from Temple University and holds teaching credentials in English and Spanish. As an educator, Ms. Vogel strives to develop lifelong learners who can think critically and creatively. Outside of teaching, Ms. Vogel loves swing dancing, surfing, and traveling.
Mr. Wheatley Social Studies TeacherMr. Wheatley is a recent graduate of Pepperdine University, where he received his masters in Teaching last year after moving down from the Bay Area with his wife and two young boys. This is his first year teaching at OCASA, helping students uncover the secrets of ancient civilizations, early American history, and even their own minds in AP Psychology. His lifelong fascination with history has taken him to study cultures, religions, and peoples in America, Mexico, England, Spain, Egypt, India, and many more amazing places around the world. Through teaching Mr. Wheatley strives to connect students’ lives today with all the lessons of our shared past.
Ms. Casas Director of Student ServicesChristina is joining the OCASA team with 17 years of credentialed experience in education. She graduated from Chapman University with Master's Degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction and Special Education. Throughout her career, she has been a classroom teacher, inclusion specialist, and special education coordinator for various schools throughout Orange County. She strives to build positive relationships with her students and encourages them to become life-long learners and critical thinkers. Outside of school, Christina is a mom of 3 plus a step-mom to 2 and enjoys traveling and camping with her family. She is also a professional portrait photographer and loves listening to live music.
Mrs. Foster School Psychologist
Mrs. Foster graduated from Azusa Pacific with a master's degree in school psychology and an education specialist degree. She has since gained experience in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Capturing Kids’ Hearts (team and relationship building with kids), bullying prevention, risk assessments, threat assessments, implicit bias, Cognitive Behavior Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), PREPaRE crisis training, and PSW (Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses), among other things. As a seasoned school psychologist, she is passionate about helping students be successful socially, emotionally, and behaviorally, to support academic success. Outside of school, Dee enjoys hiking, the beach, and the mountains.
Mr. Holt Education Specialist
Mike Holt is an experienced educator and childcare worker. Driven by learning, he takes pride in providing the best environment for learning possible. As the Ed. Specialist, his goals include providing a safe environment for our students to learn, create, and grow. Outside of school, Mike enjoys painting and surfing.
Mrs. Jaeckel School Counselor
Mrs. Jaeckely has provided mental health support to students in the school setting for 10 years. She received her BA in Sociology with a Social Work emphasis from Chapman University and her Masters in Education in School Counseling and Pupil Services Credential from USC (Fight On!). She is excited to be part of the OCASA family and bring my passion and creativity when supporting students. Outside of school, she loves spending time with my husband, daughter, and two pugs while traveling, hiking, reading, and enjoying musical theater.
Ms. Lee School Counselor
A Southern California native, Ms. Lee earned her B.A. in public relations from San Diego State University, and her Masters in school counseling from USC Rossier School of Education in 2020 (fight on!). As her third year in counseling, Ms. Lee has worked with all levels of students - elementary, middle, and primarily high. Her vocation in life is assisting students in reaching their goals and helping them discover their potential. When she isn’t working, Ms. Lee loves working out, traveling, thrifting, and trying new recipes. As she starts her first year with OCASA, she wants to remind students to forget about all the reasons why something may not work. You only need to find one good reason why it WILL!
OCASA Support Team
Mrs. Boyne Accounting Assistant
Jessie Boyne grew up in Laguna Niguel where she presently resides. She earned a Bachelor's Degree from Chapman University in Communications and Studied Abroad in Spain her senior year. Jessie has been an Office Manager for a Laguna Beach law firm for the last 17 years and has been with OCASA for the last 4 years as an Accounting Assistant. In her free time, she is kept busy with her children's various athletic events and tournaments.
Mr. Patella Information Technology Support
Mr. Patella is an experienced school IT support tech. Driven by his passion for education, he takes pride in providing the best experience possible to teachers, students and their families. Muzi has a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Computer Science and Mathematics from Midlands State University in addition to Apple, Cisco, CompTIA, and VMware certifications. Prior to OCASA, Muzi worked in several educational organizations including Irvine Valley College. Outside of work, Muzi enjoys spending time with his family.
Aurora Borealis OCASA Elementary
Aurora Borealis is a beloved member of Team OCASA. Affectionately known as Aurora, this Golden Doodle is generally found in the courtyard with students and staff enjoying a significant amount of petting from them as well as their morning greetings. Aurora visits classrooms nearly every day to motivate students in their learning. When needed, Aurora provides companionship for students having a difficult time. If she is not supporting the OCASA community, Aurora enjoys playing at dog parks with her family and other dog friends.