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Staff and Leadership

Staff and Leadership

Leadership Team

Chuck Leslie
Head of Schools

Chuck Leslie

Mr. Leslie believes that there are few things more important than providing young people with a strong foundation that prepares them to scholastically and spiritually succeed. In 8th grade, his parents “forced” him to attend a Christian school and it changed him for the better. The caring teachers and consistent Christian message led him away from destructive behaviors and into a life dedicated to following Christ. Beyond just offering strong college prep academics, he believes that Christian schools help students see the world through the lens of God’s love, while helping them internalize Godly wisdom and Christian character.

Prior to joining the Rock Academy as Head of Schools, Chuck Leslie served as the Superintendent of Christian Unified Schools in El Cajon, and before that the Director of Development at Santa Fe Christian Schools in Solana Beach. He has 24 years of Christian school administrative experience including a consulting practice that has provided strategic planning services to a variety of schools and other non-profits around the country.

Married to Carolyn since 1989, the couple has four sons who have all graduated from Christian schools. He received a B.A. in Political Science with Honors of High Distinction from the University of California, San Diego, and his Masters in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. He also received a Van Lunen Fellowship in Executive Management in Christian Schools from Calvin College.

chuck.leslie@therockacademy.org
619.226.7625

Michelle Glenn
Middle and High School Principal

Michelle Glenn

Mrs. Glenn is committed to providing students with a Christian school experience that transforms their lives.  She knows that the recipe for student success is simple: students need to feel a sense of belonging in a safe community of like-minded friends, they need to be engaged and inspired by passionate teachers who set a high academic standard, and they need to be encouraged to grow in their knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ.  Students thrive in this context. They take ownership of their learning, they try new things and find new interests, and they mature in discipline and good character. The Principal’s goal for our graduates is that they are well-equipped future-ready leaders who pursue their calling and work, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

michelle.glenn@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Emilie Goodman
Elementary Principal

Emilie Goodman

Emilie was raised in a God-loving family in Montreal, Canada. She had the privilege of attending a Christian school where she discovered at the young age of 7 that she wanted to be a teacher. She fondly remembers the times in her life when she would ask her father a million questions about God. Through the years, God continued to reveal Himself to her through life-changing mission trips to Europe and Guatemala. It was there she discovered first-hand that living her life for God was indeed the most exciting life she could ever hope for. 
After teaching in public schools in her hometown, Emilie felt that God was preparing her for new opportunities. She decided to step out in faith, and she moved to beautiful San Diego in July 2008. Since then, she has been amazed at God’s faithfulness on a daily basis and feels incredibly blessed to have joined a great team at the Rock Academy. Emilie was the 5th grade teacher at The Rock Academy for 5 years before becoming the Elementary Principal. Each year she looks forward to partnering with families and staff in growing God’s kingdom through Christian education. Her favorite part of her profession is the freedom she has to share her passion and enthusiasm for learning and to inspire students to pursue God’s perfect plan for their lives.

“Do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has a great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35

emilie.goodman@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Delisha Doakes
Early Education Center Director

Delisha Doakes

Ms. Doakes is an advocate for young children in life and in learning. She originally went to school to become a pediatrician, but God had other plans for her to make an impact on children’s lives. This led her on a colorful journey of lesson plans, parent teacher conferences, developmental assessments, circle times and more. As an administrator, she has opportunities to mentor and support early education teachers at the Rock Academy and partner with families to ensure that their children are cared for, celebrated and well on their way to becoming lifelong learners.

delisha.doakes@therockacademy.org
619.764.5205

Rali Schwartz
Athletic Director

Rali Schwartz

Coach Schwartz is committed to seeing that every student has a personal encounter with Jesus Christ while discovering the God-given purpose for their lives. Athletics, in particular, is a powerful tool through which students can grow closer in their relationships with one another and their Creator. The Warrior Athletic Program exists to equip all student-athletes, through championship-caliber sports, for leadership both now and in the future. Blessed with an amazing staff of coaches, Warrior student-athletes are trained and prepared to make an impact both in the arena of competition and on the world.

rali.schwartz@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200 x5181

Gayl Boyett
Elementary Vice Principal

Gayl Boyett

Gayl was born and raised in San Diego. She has always had a love for working with children. She began working in the church nursery when she was eleven and was involved with children and youth ministries ever since. Her love for working with children led her and a friend to begin an after school childcare center servicing schools in the Bay Park area. Many students in their child care center struggled academically so Gayl and her friend felt God’s calling to begin a home-school tutoring program. In this program students were able to use the world as their classroom and participate in project based learning. This hands-on approach of learning helped many struggling students to attain greater academic achievement. During this 20-year adventure, Mrs. Boyett taught various subjects to grades 1 – 7.

After teaching for so many years in a small private setting, Gayl pursued her credential from San Diego Christian College. After attaining her credential, she has been amazed at how God opened the doors for her to work at the Rock Academy and feels confident that this is exactly the place she should be. She looks forward to getting to know her students and their families each year and inspiring them to learn and grow both academically and spiritually

gayl.boyett@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200 x8528

Thanh Warrens
Early Education Center Assistant Director

Thanh Warrens

Mrs. Warrens’ journey began with taking parenting classes to understand how to meet her own children’s needs. Through the parenting classes, she learned different methods of how to work with children with different challenges. She was drawn in wanting to learn more about the growth and development of young children. While working as an assistant at Grossmont Community College Child Development Center, she discovered her calling into the field of child development. She loves to observe and understand children’s behaviors and how to help them cope with changes that effect their daily routines and needs. She believes by doing this, children will be more successful in handling and communicating their emotions.

thanh.warrens@therockacademy.org
619.764.5205

Janelle Luz
Manager of Academy Finance

Janelle Luz

Assistant Director of Admissions

Jessica Wilson

Mrs. Wilson came to the Rock Academy as a parent in 2012. For the past several years, it has been a tremendous blessing for her to watch her oldest child grow in an environment of love and grace, as well as seeing her youngest flourish so beautifully in the Early Education Center.  This brought on a deep love and admiration for the Academy.  When God opened the door for her to be a part of this special team, she knew it was where she was meant to be. To be able to spend each day “loving on” our families, and sharing with others what the Rock Academy means to her is truly a gift.  From band-aids to tours, and camp in between, she is grateful for each day that brings a new opportunity to share Jesus and His love for us. #proudtobeawarrior

jessica.wilson@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200×5143

Monique Hatchett
Advancement Specialist | HR Coordinator

Monique Hatchett

Tammy Whitfield
Director of Advancement

Tammy Whitfield

Meet Our Office Administration and Teachers

Office Administration

Office Manager

Rachael Negrete

MS/HS Principal Assistant

Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. She moved to sunny San Diego to obtain her bachelors degree in business management. Angela was offered a softball scholarship at a small Christian school named the University of Saint Katherine. She was rewarded with “most improved player” two years in a row. During her junior year, the women’s basketball coach convinced her to join their team solely because they wanted to have her positive energy around. Angela’s passion is to help others and serve the Lord.  In her free time she likes to be with her family and take her dog to the beach. Angela is the Administrative Assistant for Principal Mrs. Glenn, who has nicknamed her “Sunshine”. She is extremely thankful for being a part of the the Rock Academy family and cannot wait to get to know all of the Warriors!

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

angela.ackerman@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Donna De la Torre
Registrar | International Students

Donna De la Torre

Ms. De la Torre has the privilege of overseeing all of our K-12 student records. As the Registrar you may reach out to her to request an official transcript, report cards, standardized testing results, and other important documents. She also coordinates our international student program. The Rock Academy welcomes students from all over the world. Donna has worked in Christian Education for twenty-two years. Her mission statement is: “If it doesn’t matter for eternity, it doesn’t really matter.” It is a joy to watch the students flourish as they experience acceptance, discover areas of strength, and use their gifts and talents to impact the world around them.

donna.delatorre@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200 x5182

Nilda Townsend
Administrative Assistant

Nilda Townsend

Elementary Teachers

Holly Nease
Kindergarten Teacher

Holly Nease

Holly was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in Altadena, California. She enjoyed swimming competitively and playing water polo for many years. Music was always a big part of her life as she played the piano and guitar. Being a Song Girl and making up routines was a highlight of her senior year in high school. While attending college at Point Loma Nazarene University, she heard the gospel preached in a fresh way and received Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She earned her B.A. in Early Childhood Education and received a teaching credential. Holly met and married her college sweetheart Brad at PLNU. She then earned a Master’s degree in Bilingual, Multicultural Education from Cal State Los Angeles.

Holly enjoyed teaching First Grade and Kindergarten in Pasadena Unified School District. She took some time away from teaching to raise a family with her husband. They have three amazing adult children and one son-in-law. Damon, Heather and Lauren are Westmont College graduates and Ben graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University. Their 3 grandchildren bring much joy and love into their family. You can find Holly out on her paddle board, working on her sewing machine, and creating her “Holly Wear” items found on Etsy in her spare time.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

holly.nease@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Rich Townsend
Kindergarten Teacher

Rich Townsend

Mr. Rich Townsend grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, with his parents, 3 siblings, and lots of pets. He’s the youngest of 4 boys and has a passion for teaching primary aged children. Before being an educator, he was a real estate appraiser for Home Savings. As for education, he left the LA area and attended SFSU for 2 years, taking General Education classes. Two years later, he moved to SD, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Planning from SDSU. Returning to school in 2000, he attended PLNU, receiving his multiple subject teaching credential. His initial teaching experience was in first and second grade. Shortly thereafter, one of his principals put him in kindergarten, which quickly became 15 years! He just ended 18 great years with the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

Upon turning 60 in June of this year, he “retired” from public school teaching. God opened the door for him, and he joined The Rock Academy family. He’s excited to jump on board, working alongside the “Kindergarten Queen,” Mrs. Nease.

Mr. Townsend is married to his amazing wife, Mrs. Townsend, having just celebrated their 10 year anniversary exploring the South East Coast. In his spare time, Rich loves swimming laps, skateboarding, and being outdoors. He loves going for walks and hiking. When opportunities arise, he loves traveling and experiencing new cultures. His renewed passport is itching to be used. In the past 40 years, Rich has been blessed enough to see lots of the world. He’s been to many places around the globe, including: Africa, Japan, Europe, Philippines, and Australia. In the US, he’s traveled to Alaska and Hawaii. He and his wife are always checking out potential places for future visits.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

richard.townsend@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Kindergarten Aide

Abby Smith

Kim McBride
Kindergarten Aide

Kim McBride

Kim McBride was born and raised in sunny San Diego.  She has been married to her amazing husband, Patrick, for 17 years.  Together they have two incredible children, Austin (13) and Kaylee (9), who will also be attending the Rock Academy this year.  Kim and her family have attended the Rock Church since 2022 where she currently volunteers in Rock Kids.  After graduating from Hilltop High School, she spent  7 years in the real estate industry.  She decided to leave that position in 2012 to fully devote her time and attention to raising their two children. This gave her the opportunity to be more involved in her children’s classrooms where she discovered her deep passion for teaching. She spent 5 years working with students in small groups and the last 10 months as an instructional assistant. God placed it on her heart to pursue her degree to become a teacher and she jumped in with both feet. She is currently in her second year of college working towards her teaching degree.  In her spare time, Mrs. McBride enjoys jigsaw puzzles, swimming, and watching sci-fi movies. She is very excited to embark on this new journey with God and the Rock Academy to help shape the minds of the future.

kim.mcbride@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

1st Grade Teacher

Lia Betanzos

Miss Betanzos is thrilled to be joining our First Grade team this year. She is eagerly diving into the material to plan for an amazing year. Miss Betanzos was born and raised in San Diego, and has grown up in Point Loma. She was raised in a loving home with a wonderful family and community who blessed her with finding the love of Jesus at a young age. Miss Betanzos loves to fill her days spending quality time with friends and family, surfing, going on long walks, and cooking! She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma where she grew deeper into the community by becoming a resident assistant, serving those around her and instilling the love of Christ to all. She completed her schooling earning her B.A. in Cross Disciplinary Studies: Teacher Education with a concentration in Human Development. Miss Betanzos adores children and knew God called her heart to teaching. She firmly believes that the Lord has equipped her with a heart for kids, and an enthusiastic attitude to spread the joy and love of the Lord to others, and to encourage them to do the same in their own lives. She is delighted and feels so fortunate to teach at a school where she can publicly declare her love for Jesus and her passion for teaching. Miss Betanzos hopes that every student, faculty and staff, parent, and really any person she comes into contact with feels loved, known, encouraged, and safe. She is looking forward to creating a space of inclusivity, kindness, and respect for the year!

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” 
Isaiah 41:10

1st Grade Teacher

Mollee Long

2nd Grade Teacher

Brenda Swain

Brenda was born and raised in Wisconsin. She and her sister grew up working and serving in their family’s restaurant along with all of the Etzel family. Growing up, Brenda enjoyed all sports and activities but focused on Cheer/Poms, Softball & Student Leadership in high school and played Golf in college.

Brenda came to know Jesus by a Jewish believer in Christ in Palm Beach, FL while doing an internship for college.

Shortly after her undergrad, Brenda went back to get her teaching credential & taught Middle School for 2 years.

She moved to San Diego in 2003, and worked in a private non-profit setting working with children/teens as The Children’s Programs/Camp Director for 12 years. These were some of the best years of her life knowing she was making an impact on hundreds of children/teens year after year!! Brenda has been a part of Rock Church since 2008 and raised her beautiful daughter up here to know, love & serve the Lord. She has been involved in several ministries over the years but most recently was on staff as The Rock Thrift Store Manager/Pastor since 2018.

Brenda is married to a wonderful strong God fearing leader/business owner & they have an amazing blended family of 4 young adult children. Brenda is super excited & blessed to come back to one of her first loves & passions of working with children! She is honored to be able to help shape the next generation in a Godly, loving environment alongside the phenomenal Rock Academy Team!!

Andrea Owen
2nd Grade Teacher

Andrea Owen

Hello! My name is Andrea Owen. I will be the Teacher’s Assistant for Mrs. Nease’s Kindergarten class. I have taught various elementary grades over a 17-year period, and I am looking forward to being in the kindergarten as a change. This summer I moved to San Diego from the Portland, Oregon area after living there for about 23 years, to live closer to my family. I have two grown daughters. My oldest lives in Pasadena, and my younger daughter is in her senior year at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. I am also taking classes online through GCU as I work towards a degree in History. In my spare time I love to read, walk, shop, and explore the beautiful California coast. I’m looking forward to joining the Rock Academy team!

andrea.owen@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

2nd Grade Teacher

Sarah Knutson

Ms. Knutson is excited to provide a welcoming and including student-centered classroom environment. She loves noticing individual students and helping them to overcome their difficulties. Her love for kids inspired her to begin her career in elementary education and she is committed to promoting kindness and inclusion in her classroom.The relationships she builds with each student allow each child to feel comfortable, recognized and ready to reach their highest learning potential. She encourages a growth mindset in her classroom and her innovative lessons spark learners of all abilities. Pointing students to Jesus in all situations is a high priority in her classroom. She is known for her encouraging smile and the joy she brings to the school.

sarah.knutson@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

3rd Grade Teacher

Chloe Chenfeld

3rd Grade Teacher

Marley Gang

Hello! My name is Marley Gang and I will be joining the amazing Third Grade team this year!!! I was born and raised in Pasadena until I left for college. I attended Point Loma Nazarene University, where I spent 4 years in their undergrad program earning my Bachelor’s Degree. I then completed my credential program through PLNU as well, which was an additional 5th year. During that time, I  taught within the San Diego Unified School District and I absolutely adored my time learning and growing from my master teachers. I just wrapped up my credential process a month ago, and I am ready to jump in and start my teaching journey! I have felt called to teach in private Christian schools and am excited to see how the Lord is planning on using The Rock Academy and its incredible staff to help grow and encourage students as they develop into independent humans. I’m really excited to get to know each of you and to learn from one another as we begin this journey together!

marley.gang@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

3rd Grade Teacher

Michelle Contreras

Mrs. Contreras has been passionate about teaching since an early age and is excited for this next chapter with the young warriors of 3rd grade. She is currently completing her Bachelors of Science in Liberal Studies from the University of Phoenix and enjoys growing the skills necessary to partner with you in the training up of your children. She has served the Rock Academy and Church since 2016 in various roles supporting staff and families, most recently as a substitute for all K-6 classes. She believes a foundation in biblical truth and establishing skills for learning success inspire children to grow into who they are meant to be in Christ. Mrs. Contreras and her husband Raul have 3 Rock Academy students from incoming Kindergarten through 8th grade and have made Christian Education a priority since the beginning.

michelle.contreras@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

4th Grade Teacher

Kim Stokes

It has been said that, “Students don’t care what you know until they know that you care…” It is very important that Mrs. Stokes’ students know they are valued and loved in her classroom and that each child believes they can reach their goals and dreams. Mrs. Stokes also feels that partnering with parents is key to student accountability and progress and that parents are teachers too! For the past 25 years, Mrs. Stokes has always been excited to share with students her gifts, talents and items in her “tool bag” of learning. What continues to motivate her is being able to integrate God’s Word into the curriculum, as she helps “train up” each child that comes into her classroom, knowing they have tremendous potential and possibilities. “I am truly grateful for the years the Lord has given me to serve as a teacher and Lord willing, I look forward to challenging myself and striving for excellence in teaching, in the years to come.”

kim.stokes@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

4th Grade Teacher

Megan Smith

5th Grade Teacher

Belinda Larson

5th Grade Teacher

Brandon Smith

My name is Brandon Smith, I was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. I started my teaching journey as a student intern at a private boys school in South Africa. During this time I completed my degree in Psychology and following on from that I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). In 2018, just a few months after my wife and I got married, we moved to Stockholm, Sweden where I was part of the special education department at the Internationella Engelska Skolan. During this time I worked mainly with students who had learning difficulties. This was the most incredibly fulfilling experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed working closely with my students and helping them overcome their barriers to learning.

In 2020 I started working as a Junior Practitioner at The Autism Project, a nonprofit organization. At TAP we focused on behavioral therapy and interventions for children with ASD. This experience was challenging, but seeing the growth in my students through individual specific interventions was extremely rewarding. It taught me that each student is unique and their learning styles differ too.

In 2021 I started my role as a 3rd  grade teacher and I have loved every moment being in the classroom and teaching young students to become the best versions of themselves.

I have just recently moved to the USA with my wife, Tara who is completing her masters in singing and songwriting at the LA College of Music. I will also be representing the USA Mens Touch Rugby team who will be competing at the Touch Rugby World Cup in England in July 2024. We are so looking forward to our journey in the United States and I cannot wait to be part of the warrior team.

brandon.smith@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

6th Grade Teacher

Carolina Salazar

Carolina Salazar was born and raised in Tijuana B.C., Mexico. Carolina grew up surrounded by Mexico’s traditional recipes and culture. Her parents moved to San Diego when she was sixteen years old. She discovered her passion for teaching when she was 12 years old while helping preschool students in Sunday School. Mrs. Salazar believes education should be positive, truthful, and God-centered to provide wisdom to children (Prov. 22:6, Ps. 111:10). She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in three departments: Education, Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, and English in SDSU. Mrs. Salazar continued her education at an international college where she pursued a deeper exploration of the Bible at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, TX. She has been teaching for over ten years and believes working together with parents and teachers would make a greater influence and impact on a student’s life. Her passion has always been to enrich the minds of God’s children with wisdom and truth. She has been married to her best friend for 13 years. Together they have three wonderful children; Elisa (10), Camila (8), and Ivan (7), who are very excited to meet new friends at The Rock Academy this year. Carolina and her family have attended La Roca Christian Community for over 20 years. Mrs. Salazar has a passion to equip her church with more strategic leaders, intentional parents, and engaging messages for the next generation. She and her husband have volunteered in many areas at their church, but currently, they are facilitating the curriculum for the children’s ministry and summer camps. She enjoys walks by the beach and hikes on the mountains with her family.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

carolina.salazar@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

6th Grade Teacher

Nancy Lie-Oh

Mrs. Lie-Oh‘s greatest passion and love has always been caring for and teaching children and adolescents, and it is an immense honor and blessing to be a 6th grade teacher at the Rock Academy this year. Mrs. Lie-Oh lived in California before heading to New York to attend Cornell University, where she majored in English, then NYU, where she received a Master’s in Global Affairs. After a stint in journalism, she relocated to Seoul, Korea to work for the Telecommunications branch of the South Korean conglomerate, SK. In Korea, she met her husband and embarked on a Ph.D. in International Relations at Seoul National University. She completed her doctoral coursework and lectured at another university while raising their three young children. After ten years in Korea, Mrs. Lie-Oh had the opportunity to return to the US and live in San Diego, where she was finally able to pursue her teaching credentials in Social Science, English, and ESOL (Single Subject), as well as Elementary Education (Multiple Subject). During this time, she was also able to teach at an independent school in San Diego. God then surprised her with His awesome timing and omniscient planning by giving her the opportunity to become a teacher at Rock Academy – where her children, Nathanael, Theodore, and Evangeline (Nate, Theo, and Evie), attend. Mrs. Lie-Oh is very excited and thankful for the chance to do what she loves with such amazing students, teachers, and administrators in such a God-loving, nurturing, and accepting environment. She is a very active person – meaning she is always doing something, whether it’s cooking, going to new places with her kids, or Pilates – and believes in working hard, trying your best, being kind, being adventurous, and accomplishing your dreams.

nancy.lieoh@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

K-3 Co-Laboratory Teacher

Rachel Claypool

Rachel Claypool was born and raised here in San Diego, California.  She has been a valued member of our Rock Academy staff for the past three years as a Rock Academy Camps counselor, after school care staff, teaching assistant, and substitute teacher.  Ms. Rachel brought her love for coding to our after school and summer programs, cultivating creativity and problem-solving mindsets through the use of technology.  In her spare time, Rachel has been known to add to her collection of exotic pets, complete with snakes, frogs, and even a tarantula.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics – Scientific Computation from the University of California San Diego. Ms. Rachel is passionate about students forming positive relationships with the elements of STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and math, and is beyond excited to join the Co-LAB team.

rachel.claypool@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Co-Laboratory Teacher

Cortnee Sabourin

Mrs. Coco hopes to break the barriers of traditional classroom education and bring learning to life for all of her students. As a kinesthetic learner herself, she is inspired by the “messy” classroom, hands-on projects, and wild ideas. She hopes to foster a culture of encouragement, positivity and perseverance. Through collaborative exploration, she hopes to help her students find their passions and utilize their God-given strengths. She loves watching students thrive in an atmosphere where failure is welcomed and where each child’s voice and ideas are valued. Mostly, she hopes to cultivate joy and spread the love of Jesus Christ like wildfire.

cortnee.phillips@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

ESP Director

Michelle Phillips

Mrs. Phillips holds fast to the notion that God created us with amazing gifts, and we all thrive in our own unique way.  She loves watching student learning unfold and fostering the needs of individual students. She loves the dynamic nature of her role, and her background in teaching reading strategies allows her to support a wide range of learners. Each day is a gift to imprint a core message to her students to let them know they are loved, supported, and capable of great things.

michelle.phillips@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Elementary P.E. Teacher

Darnell Uhland

Mr. Uhland is here to serve. Anyone who has attended any of his camps, after school program, or joined in at a Friday assembly knows his Rock Academy school spirit and influence run deep. Working in Christian Education for over ten years, Mr. Uhland strives to have students be strong and courageous in all that they do and to not be afraid to utilize their unique creativity. Primarily serving the students in the elementary school, he recognizes the importance to mentor students in all grades. Mr. Uhland is committed to promoting a Warrior spirit in all of the students and he creates opportunities for middle school and high school students to serve in our after school program and camps. As Director, his goal is to provide an environment where children can lead by serving others in a safe and energetic matter. During the school day, whether he is in chapel, Co-Lab, or making videos, Mr. Uhland desires to see the students grow spiritually, mentally, and socially.

darnell.uhland@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Elementary P.E. Teacher

Robin Carby

Robin Carby has been teaching physical education for 14 years. She has been in the public school system both in San Diego Unified and Chula Vista Elementary School District. In CVESD she was the PE resource teacher where she oversaw 63 elementary schools and was the teacher lead for physical education professional developments. She has one year experience in high school.  Robin has a passion for teaching  kids the value and benefit of physical exercise by teaching skills that transfer into individual and team sports. Her goal is that every student understands the importance of exercise, finds a sport or exercise program they love, foster it and stay fit for life. She is currently coaching both rec, and advanced teams for the  Peninsula Youth Softball Association. Robin was born and raised in San Diego. She attended San Diego State University and played softball her senior year. She also has two years experience playing a professional sport for the San Diego Sunfire and the So Cal Scorpions football teams  in the WPFL. To stay active and healthy she loves hiking with her two daughters Avenly and Taylor and her husband Paul, who is also a PE teacher and coach. Robin is an avid surfer, when the water is warm, and loves all water sports.

She plays pickle ball, softball, over  the line and loves to snowboard. She is also a professional photographer and owns her own business.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall run and not grow tired, they shall walk and not faint. They shall soar on high with wind like eagles.” Isaiah 40:31

robin.carby@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Performing Arts | Cheer Coach

Amanda Perales

I was born and raised in El Paso,Tx. I grew up participating in Community theatre. I cheered and danced in middle school, highschool, university, and semi pro level. During my last year in college I owned a dance studio where I taught ages 3 to adults. I taught Jazz, hip hop, modern, ballet, musical theatre, cheer and dance team prep. After graduating college I began teaching Dance and Drill Team in the public school system. I have taught middle school and highschool dance I-IV. I have been in education for 10+ years.

Here at The Rock Academy I am blessed that I will be able to use my skills and past experiences to impact and grow students. I will be the performing art teacher grades K-6, Head Varsity Cheer Coach, and Spirit Coordinator.
Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Loving each and every one of my students for who they are is very important to me. Showing them and emulating the love and grace God has shown me on a daily basis. Establishing an environment that is safe, caring, and engaging is crucial in order for students to be able to do and be their best.

I am married to my husband, Ramiro. We have 2 beautiful daughters (ages 4 and 14). We relocated to San Diego this summer from Dallas, Tx. I am looking forward to being part of the Warrior Family.

amanda.perales@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

After School Care | Camp Director

Samantha Tusi

Student Support Lead | Elementary Instructional Specialist

Mindy Mefford

Middle School and High School Teachers

Andre Snyman
HS Chemistry | Physics

Dr. Andre Snyman

Autumn Daldo
MS/HS Worship | Bible Teacher

Autumn Daldo

As a teenager, Mrs. Daldo met Jesus in a profound way that gave her unshakeable faith. As a teacher, she is passionate to ground students with truth in a world that is constantly giving them contrary messages. She is committed in the classroom to teach the Bible in a way that is applicable, creative, connecting, and relational. Whether she is teaching Bible, worship class or organizing chapel, missions trips or community service outreach- She loves building community. She is often found meeting with students to disciple and pray with them through the many issues they face in life and today’s society. Her goal is to raise up young people who know how to read and understand the Bible while also understanding the heart of their heavenly Father.

autumn.daldo@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Dean of Students

Bud Wenzel

Mr. Wenzel is passionate about equipping and inspiring students to pursue their own journeys of faith. As a church pastor for over 25 years, he desires to create an environment of trust and acceptance where students are free to wrestle with difficult questions. Mr. Wenzel believes the Bible provides meaningful, real answers for all circumstances of life. He aims to foster curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking no matter the subject and desires that students cultivate a solid foundation and personal passion for the Word of God. Mr. Wenzel is driven by the belief that teaching is more than just dispensing information. Teaching is only successful when actual learning is happening. This inspires him to be relational and creative in his teaching. He has fun with students and finds incredible joy in getting to know them, caring for them, and coming alongside them. He always says, “Teaching and learning are found on the same pathway…the pathway of real life.” He has three successful and faithful daughters, two of which attended the Rock Academy: Claire and Allison (Class of 2012).

Doug Wylie
AP Biology | AP Geography | Photography

Doug Wylie

Mr. Wylie’s approach in the classroom is one of a facilitator and as such he fosters curiosity and immersive learning experiences that lead to a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge. He also believes strongly in the idea that through hands-on and creative-based education, humans can reflect the character of God as a loving creator who empowers us to use the tools of design and reason explore His creation.

doug.wylie@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Jasmine July
MS Science | MS ASB | Volleyball Coach

Jasmine Julye

Ms. Julye is committed to seeing the lives of her students transformed as they deepen their understanding of who Christ is. While understanding that culture can shape one’s choices and outlook on life, she desires for every student to know their value and identity from a biblical standpoint. Ms. Julye believes in the importance of facilitating an environment that is safe where students can learn and grow. She knows that every student should have an opportunity to discover, inquire, and be challenged academically. Serving at The Rock Academy has inspired Ms. Julye to continue to invest in the next generation of young leaders.

jasmine.julye@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Jennifer Dean
MS/HS ESP

Jennifer Dean

Ms. Dean’s God-given passion is education. As a passionate, dynamic educational leader her goal is to facilitate a love for learning in an academic environment that provides rigor, intellectual dialogue, high level of engagement, fun and meaningful academic experiences that address the whole child. Ms. Dean is acutely aware of the pressures that today’s teenagers face and it is her heart’s desire to come alongside students and their parents as they navigate the world spiritually, academically and socially. Ms. Dean knew that when she walked into her first college-level education class that it was her calling to work in education. Students today often feel lonely or ignored and in teaching middle school it is vital to build positive relationships and acknowledge every student personally and academically. To love and encourage people is Ms. Dean’s “jam.” It is Ms. Dean’s greatest joy to serve her students, families and school community in order to prepare God-focused leaders and future-ready students who can engage in critical thinking, compassionate Christ-centered relationships and that they realize that the world is their classroom.

jennifer.dean@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200 x2610

Jenny Zark
HS English | AP Literature | AP Language

Jenny Zark

Mrs. Zark was created to teach teenagers. She is a gifted educator who comes alive in the high school classroom. Her desire is that every student who sits in her classroom would gain a clearer understanding of who God is and who He created that student to be. Her classroom is structured to promote student growth and learning. She uses literature and writing to inspire students to think critically and effectively communicate in a world that is in desperate need of people who are grounded in the truth. Mrs. Zark’s students know they are seen, heard, and valued by her, but more importantly, by God. In her classroom, students feel safe enough to take the risks necessary to learn and effect God-honoring change in their spheres of influence.

jenny.zark@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Joey Vargas
Spanish | Art | Yearbook

Joey Vargas

Joey Vargas teaches and shares his passion for Art, Espanol, and Jesus. In a mild and approachable manner,  he creates a calm and easy-going learning environment.

Mr. Vargas loves Jesus, his family, and the Rock Academy.

joey.vargas@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

MWH | Govt | Econ | HS Geog | US Hist

Kate Lucht

Kevin McClintock
MS/HS Bible

Kevin McClintock

Mr. McClintock is passionate about fostering a school culture that is deeply connected to Christ and that provides opportunity for intellectual and character growth. He understands the needs of every student to feel a sense of purpose and belonging. Students learn and engage best when they are discipled and mentored through authentic relationships with positive role models. When students are provided with these experiences, they will be prepared to transform the world in all spheres of life and influence. Jesus Christ modeled these principles throughout the Gospel and Mr. McClintock’s initiative is to persistently seek the same culture for his students.

kevin.mcclintock@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

HS Geometry | AP Pre-Calculus | AP Calculus

Kevin Stovall

MS History | MS ASB

Kuuleinani Yamamoto

Kuuleinani Yamamoto is happy to be with your student at the Rock Academy.  She has substituted K-12 at the Rock Academy for almost two years.  Mrs. Yamamoto completed a Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Leadership in Learning at Point Loma Nazarene University. In May of 2018 she graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education with a focus in Social Studies. During her time at UH Manoa, she was part of the Hawaii chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and studied abroad in South Korea for a semester. She has a deep passion for learning, exploration, and pursuing the heart of God.

Hawaii is the place Mrs. Yamamoto calls home, specifically the town of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Her parents still live in their family home in Hilo and her younger sister lives in Honolulu, Oahu where she is studying to be a doctor. While Hawaii is her hometown, she spent most of her childhood in Japan at Yokota Air Force Base as her father served 25 years in the military. Her upbringing as a military child has given Mrs. Yamamoto a love of travel, the ability to connect quickly with others, and a flexibility to adapt. She hopes that this skill set is one that will inspire and support you and your family.

kuuleinani.yamamoto@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

MS English

Mark Nelson

Melena Dailey
Algebra 1 & 2

Melena Dailey

Mrs. Dailey’s desire is to put an end to the assumption that math is difficult. Her gifts enable her to transform math into a subject that is easy, inviting, and inspiring.  Mrs. Dailey helps students to succeed and gain confidence in their understanding of mathematics; providing a safe space for students to explore, ask questions, learn through their mistakes, and be challenged.  Mrs. Dailey is committed to being a teacher who consistently presents planned, detailed, and deliberate lessons; intentionally uses classroom management to create an effective learning environment; and continually demonstrates her deep love, care, and passion for the students God brings to the Academy.

melena.dailey@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Romeo Horn
Pre Algebra | MS/HS PE

Romeo Horn

We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Horn to our Academy. He has been teaching the past six years at Gompers Preparatory Academy which is an impressive independent charter school in San Diego. When I visited Gompers, the students stood as I entered the classroom to show their respect for the visiting Principal. He played cornerback at San Diego State University and brings his heart for teamwork, determination, positivity, grit, joy, and playfulness to our team. With a genuine passion for learning and spreading knowledge, Mr. Horn is an extremely rare educator who can teach high-level math and sciences — and humanities! While keeping education “fun, but serious, but fun” in a safe and welcoming environment, one of his favorite parts about teaching is helping students experience the “Ah-Ha” moment. Mr. Horn will generate excitement and engagement and lead our students to learn more about the complex world around them thereby strengthening their walks with God. He is also the proud dad of Miles and Malia who are beloved Rock Academy students. Mr. Horn will have a full-load teaching boys PE, Speech/Health, Conceptual Physics, and AP World History.

romeo.horn@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Natalie Williamson
ESP | College and Career Counselor

Natalie Williamson

Mrs. Williamson has a heart for students and a passion for education to empower students in becoming well-rounded 21st century learners by preparing them to reach their academic, vocational, social/emotional and spiritual potential.  Her passion is to equip students and give them the tools to have a healthy mindset and live a balanced life for optimal health and well-being both in the classroom as well as in all of life. Her heart is to counsel and teach to the whole child.  She instills in adolescents the importance of living a healthy lifestyle which includes: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually as well as occupationally. Mrs. Williamson believes Christian education is the platform to model high standards and values for young people who have dreams for their lives by pursuing their educational goals.  Mrs. Williamson’s heart for her students is to see beneath the surface as she passionately strives to make a difference from the inside out.

natalie.williamson@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Stacy Halbert
Spanish 3 & 4 | ASB

Stacy Halbert

Mrs. Halbert’s priority as a teacher is to create an environment where each student feels loved and secure.  She believes that when a student is known, they then have a greater desire to learn, grow, and be successful in any subject matter.  Mrs. Halbert utilizes her joy for building relationships in order to connect students to each other and the world around them. With an enthusiasm for both the Spanish language and its culture, she strives to not only develop students’ fluency but also create opportunities for cultural connections.   Mrs. Halbert is passionate about teaching high school seniors valuable life skills that will be used as a base for being positive community leaders for years to come. She hopes that above all else her students would leave her classroom knowing that they are deeply loved by Christ and have been encouraged to share that truth wherever they go.

stacy.halbert@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

AP Psych | AP Mod World Hist | Music

Taylor Fox

Ms. Fox is a San Diego native with an immense passion for education and aiding students in figuring out what they want to do with their lives! She whole-heartedly believes in individuality and teaching based on the specific learning styles of her students. Ms. Fox is an awesome individual that strives to always have a “glass half-FULL” attitude. She comes to us from Gompers Preparatory Academy, where she has taught AP US History and AP European History for the past year. Aside from being an ACSI certified teacher, Ms. Fox is also a life-long learner. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Anderson University, a Master of Education in Curriculum Design from Concordia University, a Master of Arts in Social Studies Instruction from Alliant International University, and is currently working on her Doctor of Education in Curriculum Creation with Liberty University. Ms. Fox has no plans of stopping her own education anytime soon!   Ms. Fox specializes in Military History, but enjoys teaching all humanity courses, from history to English to Psychology and more. She also has a deep love of music and theater instruction, growing up dancing and singing herself! Her early career was in full-time performing instruction and full scale show direction. She believes that God has given her this passion to share with others.

taylor.fox@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Middle/High School Instructional Specialist

Adrienne Nicodemus

Mrs. Nicodemus attributes much of her success to an insatiable curiosity, which encourages her to be open to change, along with the ability to apply skills to new contexts or conditions. Adrienne Hunter Nicodemus completed undergraduate studies and became an All-American in Track & Field at the University of Michigan. She continued her studies at Harvard Graduate School Education (HGSE) earning an Ed.M. in Teaching & Curriculum. Nicodemus returned to HGSE  to complete  an intensive program for Aspiring School Leaders. Her work in education spanned from Boston to Detroit to San Diego, however, she cites owning and operating

SKYE Limousine was her greatest opportunity for professional growth. Not one to leave athletic feats to her collegiate years, Adrienne began competing in triathlons in her thirties. Despite currently working through injury, she continues to see herself as an athlete. Last year, Adrienne spent three months in a campervan traveling the country with her two children. While on the road, they learned a lot from museums, local folks, and their mistakes. Currently, Adrienne is a lecturer at the SDSU School of Teacher Education. In her role with the university, she coaches aspiring teachers, and leads a course on the behavioral and psychological aspects of adolescence.

adrienne.nicodemus@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

MS/HS PE & AD Assistant | HS Football Coach

Ben Jameson

Ben Jameson is originally from Pennsylvania and grew up in State College. He moved to Minnesota to get his degree from Bethel University. Ben played football and lacrosse, while majoring in Health and Physical education. Since graduation he has worked at multiple colleges as a football coach, and taught basketball and PE at the high school level. Most recently he was in South Dakota State but returned to San Diego this summer and got married to his lovely new bride, Melanie. They have a cute Pomeranian doggy together and live in North County. On Sundays they attend Venture Church in Encinitas. Ben is the assistant athletic director and high school football coach, who loves anything and everything sports.

ben.jameson@therockacademy.org
619.764.5200

Assistant Athletic Director | Head Baseball Coach

Christian Benson

Early Education Teachers

Toddler Teacher

Hannah Hems

Sura Alqaiser
Toddler Teacher

Sura Alqaiser

Mrs. Alqaisar’s purpose is to provide a loving and caring environment for the children she teaches. She loves her job and desires for each child to have a wonderful school experience where they know they are loved. She enjoys seeing her students build upon their language skills and build their character. She had dreamed of becoming a teacher and feels blessed that the Lord guided her in that direction. Her experience of being a mom of two children taught her about kindness and patience, which she now models to those in her care. She enjoys working in a Christian environment like the Rock Academy. She loves when staff collaborate to create the best and safest environment possible for the children.

Older Toddler Teacher

Kathy Vega

Nancy Lu
Younger 2’s Teacher

Nancy Lu

Ms. Lu is passionate about the growth and development of each child. She is blessed the Lord led her to the Rock Academy to teach the minds of young students. Her gentle spirit allows her to come alongside her students and encourage them to try new experiences and gain confidence. Ms. Lu teaches a transition class of Twoddlers (toddlers turning two) where every day she sees the children grow and become more independent. Ms. Lu implements activities and gives the children opportunities to mature cognitively, socially, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually!

nancy.lu@therockacademy.org
619.764.5205

Older 2’s Teacher

Corrie Galvan

Younger 3’s Teacher

Daisy Garcia

Younger 3’s Teacher

Maram Ammari

4’s Teacher

Cindy Tizapaneco

Catalina Buenviaje
Junior Kindergarten Teacher

Catalina Buenviaje

Ms. Buenviaje is empowered by the love of Christ and gives Him the praise for allowing her the opportunity to work with children. She loves encouraging them, guiding them, and setting a foundation for them to grow spiritually. She loves to implement creative activities that bring excitement to the classroom and engage children with different interests. God put a fire in her heart, and she knows it is her calling to share this warmth to everyone, especially His children. Ms. Buenviaje is very blessed to have the opportunity to “lead and teach a little mind that will become a bigger somebody someday.”

catalina.buenviaje@therockacademy.org
619.764.5205

EEC Support Teacher

Ana Espinoza

Nympha Curl
EEC Support Teacher

Nympha Curl

When Mrs. Curl’s children were young, she wanted to find a job where she could be with her children. That’s when she decided to work at a preschool. She finds great joy being able to interact with children. Her teaching journey took her from a Christian school to a secular school. It was during that time she knew something was missing, when she could not talk to the children about Jesus. Mrs. Curl was delighted when she was hired at the Rock Academy. She feels blessed to be in a Christian environment. Her passion is to teach young children about Jesus and how much He loves them. All throughout the day, you can find her teaching children about prayer and the fruit of the spirit. She believes these principles are ones they can carry on for the rest of their lives. She strives to see children grow spiritually, socially and academically.

nympha.curl@therockacademy.org
619.764.5205

EEC Support Teacher

Tania Castaneda