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.



Chris Kavanaugh

The Middle School History Program is run MHMS by Mr. Kavanaugh. With a strong background in the social sciences, a B.A. in history, and many years of teaching experience, he is ready to make this an amazing year of learning for his middle school students. Mr.K will also be the core teacher for the 6th graders (English & History). 

Andrea Liptac

In her 3rd year at MHMS, Ms.Liptac is thrilled to be teaching the 7th and 8th grade English classes in addition to the art classes. She is planning on making her English classes as engaging and colorful as her art classes, giving the students many opportunities to debate what they've read about and write their thoughts. She plans to divide the week into grammar sessions, writing workshops, and literature days to insure that students are covering all the basics.   


Jodie Robbins

Mr. Robbins teaches Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Science and computer classes to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. He is a graduate of Cal State East Bay and holds a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with an Early Childhood Studies option. For the past six years, he has worked in the public school system, most recently teaching middle school mathematics and science in east Oakland. He completed his Multiple-Subjects Teaching Credential while at Cal State East Bay and has taught kindergarten through 8th grade. Mr.Robbins also runs the 5th-8th grade Soccer Club at MHMS. In his free time, Mr. Robbins enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, playing soccer, and spending time at the beach.

Meenu Dhingra

Ms.Meenu teaches Algebra, Geometry, and some of the science classes to the 6th-8th graders at MHMS and truly helps them understand the difficult concepts. She partners up with Mr.Robbins and Ms.Leon to make sure that each child is studying the math level that suits him/her and is being challenged. In science, she is excited about holding science lab every Friday and making sure that the students have a hands-on experience. Ms.Meenu has over 5 years of middle school teaching experience.  In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and 2 children.


Denise Allender

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.  

Vicky Tran

Ms.Vicki Tran

is very excited to be teaching one of the 1st grades at Mission Hills Middle School. 

Ms.Tran has a B.A from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Psychology, as well as a Masters in Education from the University of Southern California. She has also obtained her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from USC. Becoming an elementary school teacher has been her dream since she herself was in elementary school. She has three years of experience working with students in a private school setting. Her goal in the classroom is to provide a safe and challenging environment for students to learn in.     

Alice Cavanaugh

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. 

Amanda Alexander-Contreras 

Mrs.Amanda Alexander-Contreras returns from her maternity leave and is very excited to teach the 1st graders again! This is Mrs.Alexander's 3rd year at MHMS. Mrs.Alexander has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education with a minor in mathematics as well as her elementary education certification. She has over 8 years of PreK-5th grade teaching experience. Mrs. Alexander loves to create a nurturing learning environment for her students and to inspire them to become lifelong learners.  

Mary-Ann Parker

This will be Mrs. Mary Ann Parker's 2nd year teaching at Mission Hills Middle School. She has taught Kindergarten & 2nd grade for five years in a private school setting and brings her wealth of knowledge and experience to her 2nd grade classroom at MHMS. Mrs. Parker holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential for the State of California.  Her goal is to meet and exceed state standards for all her students.  When not in the classroom, she also volunteers as a Meet Official for USA Swimming, where her daughter is a competitive swimmer.

Lisa Wardle

Mrs.Wardle teaches one of the 2nd grade classes at MHMS. She graduated from California State University of Fullerton in 2005 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. She went on to National University where she completed her Multiple Subject credential courses as well as completed the courses for her Masters in Diverse Education. She has been working with children for 16 years and has been teaching grades Kindergarten and second grade for the past 11 years. She has the ability to teach, motivate, and direct while maintaining the children’s interest and their achievement. When she is not teaching, she loves spending time with her 2 year-old daughter Bella and her husband. She enjoys going on bike rides and absolutely loves the ocean.  She is excited to be a part of Mission Hills.  

Stuart Pace

Mr. Pace has 17 years of teaching experience, including six years teaching 1st/2nd Grade, and he is excited to be joining the team of 2nd Grade teachers at MHMS.  He has a BA in Classical Greek from BYU, and an MA in Classical Philology from UCLA.  He loves languages, poetry, literature, art, music, science, drama, and films with subtitles.  As an aspiring writer himself, Mr. Pace tries to help all of his students unlock their inner author.  Although he is a talented singer, he admits to playing a very rudimentary guitar, and usually prefers to incorporate music into the classroom a cappella.  When he is not teaching, Mr. Pace enjoys spending time with his wife, coaching his daughter’s soccer team and leading his son’s Cub Scout Pack on hikes throughout the Bay Area.

Adoralee Lamm

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.

Stacy Quintana

Ms. Quintana looks forward to a year with her energetic 3rd graders at MHMS.  Ms.Quintana has studied within the Child Development field, giving her the tools necessary to understand where children are capable of thriving.  She is also very familiar with current study techniques and programs that are available to aide students reach their full potential.  She has also been in various school settings in the past 10 years, allowing her to experience different school curriculums.  She hopes to use her experiences to help her students become well-rounded learners. In her free time...well, with a full-time teaching position and 4 children, she doesn't have much free time. But she loves to be with her family when she is not working.  

Rebekah Allender

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

Laura Scott is very excited about her 2nd year as 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. Mrs.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 her free time, Mrs.Scott loves to be with her husband, her baby, and her puppy. 

 Mitch Lin

In his 5th year at MHMS, Mr. Mitch Lin is teaching one of the 5th grade classes. 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. His students always look forward to going to the Science Camp with him. When not teaching, Mitch enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 little ones. 

Aleta Plummer 

As the teacher of the other 5th grade class, Ms. Plummer brings over 9 years of teaching experience to her students. Ms.Plummer holds a B.A. from San Francisco State University. She has taught & counseled students of different ages in both public and private school settings, including schools in Japan and South Korea.  She loves to create a warm but firm classroom environment to fully prepare her students for Middle School. Ms.Plummer is very artistic and an amazing cook!  


Mayette Losloso

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. She never runs out of energy! In her free time, Ms.Mayette loves to spend time with her two sons.

Megha Bodapati

As Ms.Mayette's assistant teacher for the 2nd year, Ms.Megha brings her expertise and creativity to the classroom. With many years of experience supervising K-3rd graders, Ms.Megha understands the importance of finding the balance between fun and structure in the lives of four-year-olds. Students, co-workers, and parents love her patience, nurturing character, and warm smile!   

Andrea Pulido

This is Andrea's 1st year as an assistant teacher at MHMS. She has several years of experience teaching ages 3-5 in private school settings. She brings her warm personality and experience in the field of early childhood to her new classroom. In her off time, she enjoys spending valuable time with her 2 children and husband.


Ann Huynh

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! 

Alexandra Myers

In her 4th year at MHMS, Ms.Alex will continue co-teaching one of the Kindergarten classes with Ms.Ann. Ms.Alex has over 6 years of experience working for the Newark Unified School District, focusing mostly on children grades K-2.  She was especially involved in ensuring that students were not falling behind in their reading and language skills. She loves bringing her expertise and warm personality to the classroom at MHMS. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family.

Luisa Smith

Ms.Smith excitedly takes on the responsibility of 24 kindergarten students at MHMS. She absolutely loves working with children of all ages; this is her 5th year of teaching and 3rd year of teaching kindergarten.   Ms.Smith was born and raised in the South Bay Area. She received her B.A. from the California State University of Chico in Social Science and Education. She is currently working on her M.A. In Education and Leadership through University of Phoenix. She has taught infants, Pre-K, Kindergarten, and High School over the last 7 years of her career. She looks forward to a year of fun, learning, growth with the students at MHMS.  In her free time, she can be found traveling with her two kids and husband. 

Shafon  Johnson

Ms.Shafon partners up with Ms.Smith to make sure that their students have an amazing year! This is Ms.Shafon's 6th year as a kindergarten assistant.  She enjoys working with children and looks forward to a successful school year.  She is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Cal State East Bay.  She is also a mother of a fifth grader. In her free time, she loves to dance, ride bikes, and go swimming with her son. 

Yolanda Maharaj

Ms. Yolanda is delighted to teach one of the kindergarten classes at MHMS. She has been working with children since 2007. She went to school in Sacramento, CA and worked as a preschool teacher for 7 years. Ms. Yolanda comes from a family of teachers and teaching is something that familiar and comforting to her. She lives in Fremont with her husband, Rodger and their daughter, Mia. Ms.Yolanda looks forward to meeting and working with all of her families.

Christine Reyes

This is Ms. Christine's 3rd year at MHMS, and she looks forward to working with Ms.Yolanda to help the students reach their full potential.  Ms.Christine graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Child Development. She has been working with kids for over 5 years and loves every minute of it.  She first started as a school aide/staff assistant/substitute teacher/tutor and now has moved up to Kindergarten teaching assistant. Her passions include working with kids, arts and crafts and The Golden State Warriors. You can always catch her playing with the kids, laughing, and running around.


Trish Boisseree


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.

Tammy Pachura

In her 4th year at MHMS, Ms. Pachura  enjoys serving as a mentor teacher for other Staff members, particularly grades K-2. She has a B.A. 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 husband, daughter, and son.



Ann Marisela Torres

In her second year at MHMS, 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! 




This 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 5th-8th grade art classes. 


Suzie Ghanem (grades 1-4)

With her creative ideas, warm personality, and beautiful smile, it's not hard for Ms.Suzy to get her students to love French.  She teaches through games, oral drills, songs, and acting. This is Ms.Suzy's 4th year at MHMS.

Raouf Ghanem (grades 5-8)

In his 4th year at MHMS, Mr.Ghanem knows exactly what it takes to keep the older students interested in French. He teaches a lot of grammar and vocabulary, then uses games and projects to help the students apply what they have learned. He loves to have the students cook French recipes-- bon appetit! 


Ann Marisela Torres


Christina Leon

In her 4th year at MHMS, Mrs.Leon runs the MHMS Physical Education Program with the uttermost enthusiasm and care, encouraging the students to always do their best and have fun. She sometimes holds her classes out on the field, timing the kids as they run and exercise. Other times, she takes them to the gym for basketball, volleyball, hockey, or indoor soccer. Mrs.Leon also teaches some of the middle school math classes. 

Kevin Bellot (Coach Kevin)

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.  


Julia Wiersema  

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. 

MHMS Supporting Staff

Hanilie Yadao

The MHMS Lunch Program is run by Ms. Hanilie (Ms.Lei). With her beautiful smile, her willingness to go the extra mile, and her amazing ability to cook, she is loved by everyone. Ms.Lei is also the parent of a 2nd grader at MHMS!

Ms.Emma, Ms.Maria, Ms.Tessi, Ms.Priscilla, & Ms.Amanda are the teachers' aides that are on duty during all recesses, lunchtime, and during the before & after school daycare. They supervise & guide the children, play with them, listen to them, and take care of them. They share many laughs, wipe many hands, and magically make many injuries disappear! We totally appreciate their hard work and dedication!


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!