Ayse Kaya--School Director
Mrs.Ayse Kaya is one of the co-founders and the Director of Mission Hills Middle School. She is in charge of developing the school curriculum and ensuring that the academic needs of the students are met. Her B.A. Degree in Psychology from Stanford University, her numerous teaching credentials, and 23 years of teaching experience have enabled her to create a unique and truly well-balanced curriculum for the students of MHMS. Mrs.Kaya always goes the extra mile for her students, the parents, and the development of MHMS.
MHMS MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM (grades 6-8)
The History Program of MHMS is directed by Ms.Bonnie Reeves.Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Bonnie is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley (B.A. history, biological sciences), Occidental College (M.A. history), and University of Southern California (J.D. law). After years in private practice as a corporate attorney, she was able to indulge in her passion-teaching-when a corporate client asked her to teach a class at its private school. That was enough to convince her that she belonged in the classroom, and Bonnie happily traded her shingle and corporate demeanor for a dry erase marker and virtually perpetual smile. A highly gifted instructor, parents are unanimous in their praise of her ability to motivate their children. This is Bonnie's 5th year at MHMS.
MATHEMATICS & SCIENCE
Mrs.Surbhi Garg teaches the Middle School science classes and the 7th-8th grade mathematics. Mrs.Garg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a Master's degree in Chemistry. She has experience in teaching mathematics and science to 6th-8th graders in private schools and tutoring students in many different subjects. Her teaching style is very interactive and her goal is to make her students feel confident about mathematics and science. This is Mrs.Garg's 4th year at MHMS. In her free time, Mrs.Garg devotes her time to her husband and her daughter.
MHMS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PROGRAM
With over 25 years of teaching experience in the private school setting, Ms. Allender has been passionately teaching the 1st grade at MHMS for three years. She is not only a great team player, but also an amazing leader. She has a desire to provide quality education to her students which will allow them to succeed in all academic areas. Mrs.Allender adapts her lessons to fit the needs of her students and their abilities. Her classroom is always organized and ready to show each child's creativity. When she is not teaching or developing exciting lesson plans, Mrs.Allender enjoys spending time with her two daughters, Rebekah and Amber.
This is Ms. Amanda Alexander's second year at MHMS. She is very excited to be teaching one of the first grade classes. Ms. Alexander has a B.A. in Art Education, with a minor in mathematics. In 2005 she went back to school to receive her licensure in Elementary Education from Johnson State College. Ms. Alexander has worked with children for over nine years. She has worked with children from Pre-Kindergarten all the way to high school. Born and raised in Vermont, she decided she had enough of the cold winters and decided to venture west to the great state of California. She loves living in California. In her spare time she loves spending time with her baby son Maximus.
Ms.Cavanaugh is very excited to be teaching the 1st graders for the second year in a row. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and an MA from Holy Names University. She has many years of experience working with children ages 6-12 years in different school settings. Mrs.Cavanaugh is also very familiar with the system of using tasks to level a class of children into reading and math groups. As a mother of a 1st grade daughter herself, Mrs.Cavanaugh totally understands what it's like to be a working parent. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family.
In her 4th year at MHMS, Ms. Pachura loves serving as a mentor teacher for other Staff members. She has a BA in Social Work with an emphasis in Child Behavior and Development.Teaching in different private school settings has given her the opportunity to teach a diverse group of students ranging from those who functioned on and above grade level standards, to students challenged with emotional or behavioral issues. She has in-depth knowledge of accommodating different styles of learning and incorporating effective methods to meet students' unique needs. No matter what the topic may be, Mrs.Pachura always finds way to spark the interest of her students and engage them in the learning process. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, daughter, son, and husband.
With over 25 years of experience as an elementary grade teacher in a private school setting, Mrs.Lamm has been the 3rd grade teacher at MHMS for 4 years. With her patience, warmth, and flexibility, she is able to make all of her students love learning and perform at the top of their ability. Parents seek her advice, colleagues respect her knowledge, and students always remember her. When she is not teaching or creating exciting lesson plans, Mrs.Lamm loves to spend time with her family and her pets.
Mrs. Jean Abbett has over 13 years of teaching experience and a passion to motivate her students to become life-long learners. Mrs. Abbett holds a BA in Psychology from CSU East Bay and an MA in Psychology from Biola University where she did her post-graduate work for her California teaching credential. Mrs. Abbett always told her own son and daughter that “reading brings knowledge and knowledge is empowering.” She creates a classroom environment centered around respect and positive attitudes. She is very excited to be a part of the MHMS 3rd grade team for 2 years in a row. Mrs. Abbett has been a working mother and understands the issues of working parents. She home-schooled the middle school years and then taught at a private school for ten years. When she is not teaching, she is crocheting granny squares, having tea with friends, or spending time with family and Miss Marple the Cat.
This is Ms. Rebekah Allender's 3rd year teaching the 4th graders at Mission Hills Middle School. Ms. Allender holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from CSU East Bay, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has also received her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology Leadership. Ms. Allender has experience teaching Preschool to 5th grade students in a variety of settings. She enjoys incorporating creative art projects and technology into curriculum to meet the learning needs of all students. Coming from a family of teachers has helped mold her into the teacher that she is today. In her free time, she enjoys watching Reality TV, going to many sporting events with her family (primarily A’s baseball and Sharks hockey), and playing with her two Yellow Labs.
Laura Scott is very excited about being one of the fourth grade teachers at MHMS. She has had a strong passion and desire to work with kids since she was in the 6th grade. She has over 5 years of experience teaching in different private schools settings. Ms.Scott's favorite thing about teaching is when a student has a 'light bulb' moment, feels accomplished and proud. She has a very positive attitude and always strives to bring out the best in her students.
In his 5th year at MHMS, Mr. Mitch Lin is teaching the 5th grade students. Mr.Lin has a B.S. from California State University Hayward and a Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix. He also holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in the State of California. Mitch has over five years of experience working with students in a variety of settings. He strives to create an environment where students feel safe, challenged, and motivated to learn. Students look forward to having him as a 5th grade teacher and going to the Science Camp with him. When not teaching, Mitch enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 little ones.
MHMS PRE-K & KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM:
For the 4th year in a row, the MHMS Pre-K program is led by Ms.Mayette who has taught children ages 3-5 for over 20 years. With her educational background and extensive experience, Ms.Mayette meets the individual needs of the children in her classroom and ensures that they are well-prepared for kindergarten. Parents welcome her expertise and willingness to always take the time to talk to them. She provides such a warm, nurturing environment that the children are happy to tackle any new,challenging concept that she introduces to them. Her creative projects decorate the walls outside her classroom. In her free time, Ms.Mayette loves to spend time with her two sons.Megha Bodapati
This is Ms.Ann's 5th year as the Kindergarten Teacher for MHMS. She has a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley in Cognitive Science and Education, as well as a Multiple Teaching Credential from San Jose State University. Little ones are her passion; she has worked with Pre-K and Kindergarten children for over 8 years. Her first class at MHMS began with 4 students. Today, she has a full class of students and an assistant! Ms.Ann lives in San Jose with her husband and adorable puppy 'Moose'. In her free time, she likes to go to the Giants and Sharks games to eat garlic fries and nachos! She brings her experience, creativity, and warm smile to give your children an amazing year!
In her 5th year as the counselor at Mission Hills Middle School, Mrs.Boisseree is excited about helping to build an environment that supports each child’s learning style, strengths, and talents. She adheres to a proactive and prevention model that empowers students to become active and responsible participants in their academic learning and social interactions. She loves learning, exploring ideas, and making connections. Her degrees in counseling, psychology, social welfare, and education are a testament to her belief in lifelong learning (B.A. in psychology and social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley; M.S. in counseling and child clinical psychology from California State University, East Bay; California license as an Educational Psychologist; California Pupil Personnel Services Credential in Counseling and School Psychology). For over twenty years, she has worked with students of various grade levels (from preschool through college), their teachers, and parents.
Ann Marisela Torres
Ms.Mary, as the students call her, is the Librarian at Mission Hills Middle School. She brings her passion, her laughter, and her creativity to the school's beautifully set-up library. Once the students hear the soft music playing, find a book they like, and sit on the comfy seats, it's almost impossible to get them out of there!
ART, COMPUTER, & DRAMA
ANDREA LIPTACThis is Ms.Liptac's 3rd year at Mission Hills Middle School, both as a parent and a teacher. An artist with never-ending energy & creativity, Ms.Liptac makes sure that there is never a dull moment in any of her classes.
Suzie Ghanem (grades 1-4)
As the assistant PE teacher and the basketball coach at MHMS, Coach Kevin brings smiles everywhere he goes. Students love his sense of humor, his inspirational words, and his encouraging ways.
This is Ms. Julia Wiersema's 2nd year running the MHMS Music Program. Ms.Wiersema has been teaching music in some capacity for over thirty years. She holds a B.A. in Music from University of California Santa Barbara. She has an M.A. (abt) in Piano Performance and Music Theory. She has taught at the Middle School, High School, Community College and University levels, as well as private lessons in piano, theory, voice and composition. With her creative lesson plans, she has brought the music program to a whole new level.
We are proud of our Mission Hills Middle School Staff—we work together to make education a positive experience for all children!
MHMS—Where Minds are Thinking While Faces are Smiling!