Hi! My name is Chelsea Burge. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida in 2015, I decided to make the trek from one sunny state to another. I am in love with San Diego’s beaches, hikes, and Mexican food! My acceptance into Teach For America brought me to earning my teaching credential and Master’s degree in Special Education Science. I love SET High for its incredible, unique STUDENT POPULATION! Every day here is truly a joy. You can either catch me in my office having my morning coffee or in Ms. Lennon’s classroom where I co-teach English.
I am a new Teacher here at SET High. I have industry experience from Orbital ATK/Northrop Grumman making missile and radome parts. I also have previous teaching experience at High Tech High. I worked with cutting edge materials and automated production equipment. I love to experiment in my free time. I build solid fuel rocket motors and I have a laser table with optic/laser ablation experiments. One of my rockets was featured on the TV show Outrageous Acts of Science! I’ve also built an Ejection Seat and a little Jet Pack! Feel free to inquire about my latest projects anytime!
Hi, my name is Austin Murphy and I am a mathematics teacher at SET High. I earned my BA in Music from UC Santa Barbara and my Master’s in Education with a specialization in Teacher Leadership from National University alongside my Preliminary Teaching Credential. This is my first year teaching at SET High following two years that I previously spent teaching at Madera High School in the Central Valley.
As a proponent of lifelong learning and a versatile educator with a wide variety of interests and work experience (music, journalism, athletics, etc.), I am beyond excited to join such an incredible faculty and community where students are encouraged to think creatively and challenge themselves.
Hi my name is Johnny Heid. I am the art teacher at SET High. I majored in Applied Design at SDSU and I have worked as an art teacher and a commission artist part-time for several years. I have a passion for art and love to share that with others. I believe anyone can learn to be an artist with time and effort.
Hi! I am the principal of The School for Entrepreneurship & Technology. This is my 13th year teaching, my 9th year as an administrator, and my 4th year as the Principal of SET High. I have been thinking about education reform for a long time and it was just as I started to formalize my ideas for what an ideal school would look like that I discovered that there were others who shared my same vision. I joined the SET team just as the charter was being approved in June of 2010.
I received a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from UCSD in 1994, worked as a computer programmer and division head at Infotech Systems Management until 2001, and then returned to UCSD to join the doctoral program in the Computer Science Department, where I studied Ubiquitous Computing with my advisor, Bill Griswold. I was awarded a Ph.D. in 2008 for my research in Ubiquitous Video which culminated in the creation of an application called RealityFlythrough that allows people to use a video-game-like immersive interface to explore the world live and in real-time.
I began my teaching career at High Tech High where I learned not only how to make my classes fun, but relevant as well. I have fond memories of my time at High Tech High and miss my students and colleagues dearly.
I first met my wife in high school in New Delhi, India. We re-met five years later here in the U.S., married, and now have three adorable kids. Collette is almost 16, Ian is 13, and Annalise is 10. Ask me about my kids. I can talk about them incessantly.
I have a ton of interests outside of education, computers and my family. My wife and I love to travel and go on frequent long camping trips in our pop-up trailer. I love playing sports and now satisfy that passion by coaching my kids’ soccer teams. I also love to do construction and remodeling projects on our house. Above all, I love learning, discovery, and inquiry, and I love infecting my students with this same bug.
Assistant Principal, Engineering Chief Business Officer
Hello I am Darrell McClendon (or “Mr. Mc”). I am a native San Diegan, born and raised. My wife and I have four wonderful children (all adults and all college grads!) and one phenomenal granddaughter!
I am SET’s Assistant Principal and Chief Business Officer. I graduated from the University of San Diego (undergraduate) and Walden University (graduate). I have had the privilege of teaching all high school grades, 9 through 12 in a variety of subjects including electrical engineering, engineering science, product design and development, math, and physics.
I did not take the “normal” path into teaching. I was an engineer for over 20 years before going into education. I was formerly Director of Engineering (cell phone development) at Motorola and Vice President of Research and Development at a couple of high tech companies.
Hello, I’m Jessica Romero, the Director of Special Education and the school psychologist at SET High. I have over 13 years of experience working with middle and high school-age students as an Education Specialist and school psychologist. I am extremely passionate about educating young adults about the importance of mental health and I enjoy coaching the Peer Counseling club at SET. Outside of SET, I enjoy working with aspiring educators as an adjunct instructor at Brandman University. Teaching energizes me and keeps me current in my field. I feel so fortunate to work with the amazing SET High staff and student body and am excited to see our school grow and evolve. Go Lions!
I am Rita Loughrin and I teach chemistry, physics, and engineering at SET High. I was born and raised in Michigan, where I attended a small school – Michigan Technological University. After graduating with my Chemical Engineering degree and teaching credential in chemistry and math, I moved to Green Bay to work as an engineer at Procter and Gamble. Go Packers!
After several years as an engineer, I took time out to raise a family, moving eventually to San Diego. I love, love, love science and I love, love, love to help other people discover its fun and wonder. In fact, when my three children were little, they learned the easiest way to get out of trouble after making a mess at home was to declare, “It’s a science experiment!”
I’ve been a college chem lab instructor, science museum docent, and K-8 volunteer. After my children graduated from high school I was free to devote my efforts full time to teaching, leaving my part time job as a religious education director. This is my sixth year at SET High.
Hello, I’m Bradon Walsall. I am currently the Biology and Space Science teacher at SET High. I have a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. This is my third year at SET and my sixth year teaching.
My name is Anthony Putaro and I am a mathematics teacher at SET High. I have a B.S. degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from The Pennsylvania State University with an additional minor in Applied Mathematics. This is my first year teaching at SET High. I previously taught math at a private high school in Carlsbad and English at a university in Old Town.
I am also CEO of a company that sells products all over the globe. The things that I have learned as an entrepreneur have helped me not only to better develop my business, but also in the real-world.
I am very excited about the new changes that are going into effect this year at SET High and look forward to watching the school grow.
Hello, I am Mitra Jokanovic. I teach Spanish and Social Science at SET High. My love and passion for travel and adventure has landed me in most Spanish-speaking countries, where I fell in love with the language, culture, and history – and further established my desire to teach that subject.
I have Political Science and Middle East Studies degrees from UC Irvine, and M.Ed from National University. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my son Marko, always looking for a new adventure.
My name is Enrico Gandara. I grew up in Seattle, before attending Santa Monica and Rio Hondo community colleges, then transferring to UC Santa Cruz and graduating with a B.A. in Economics. I received my teaching credential through Azusa Pacific University in Social Science. This is my third year teaching at SET. I teach Modern World History, World Religion, and Contemporary Issues.
Greetings! My name is Ava Marie Lennon and teach English at SET High. With a passion for teaching and reading since birth, I knew my path in life was to guide students in learning about both literature and the world around them. With this goal in mind, I worked as an AVID tutor while attending college full-time at San Diego State University. This provided me with a solid foundation in teaching and classroom management as I worked towards my degree.
After graduating from SDSU, I began working toward my credential at Brandman University. While in the program, I was lucky enough to be offered an internship at SET High! I fell in love with the school, students, and freedom I was allowed, and I have been here ever since.
At SET, I am given the tools and space to shower students with my love for learning, teaching, and English. My classes are interactive, hands-on, and individualized in order to inspire free-thinking and a love of learning. Because I know all students learn differently, I encourage my students to demonstrate their understanding of what is being taught using a variety of different mediums such as art, writing, music, and speech. All students can be taught, it is just a matter of finding what speaks to them as individuals.
My name is Erica Gibson and I am a proud San Diego native. My educational journey reached an important milestone when I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (with a minor in law) from the University of California, San Diego. In continuing my life-long quest for learning, I recently completed a Master of Arts in Education through National University. I am honored to serve the next generation of civic leaders by equipping them with the necessary entrepreneurial and leadership skills to compete in the 21st century marketplace. I will prepare my students in this endeavor through project-based learning that reinforces this ideal. I bring a unique perspective to the classroom, given the skill set I gained through a varied professional background, in both the private and public sectors. I am honored to be a part of the School for Entrepreneurship and Technology family and look forward to helping students achieve their educational goals.
Hello! My name is Peggy Rosu and I’m a co-teacher in the English Department at SET High. This is my first year teaching, after serving eight years in the U.S. Navy. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and a Master of Education from Brandman University. I spend my free time with my dogs and my husband. I am a member of the National Down Syndrome Congress, National Down Syndrome Society, and a member of the World Federation of ADHD. My husband is active duty Navy, stationed here in San Diego.
Hey hey hey! Mrs. Geis here, or Mrs. G as the students like to call me. I am a native San Diegan who wouldn’t live in cold weather if you paid me. I am a fun-loving, positive energy-giving thought leader, whose driving passion is to help people stand in their purpose and walk in their truth.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Diversified Liberal Arts and a Master’s of Education in Literacy from the University of San Diego, where I also played softball and was a member of the Black Student Union. I taught Religious Studies in the Diocese of San Diego for 6 years while also coaching high school softball and basketball. I’m currently teaching Leadership with an emphasis on Personal Growth and Development here at SET High.
When I’m not teaching in a classroom I am speaking to students, parents, and teachers all throughout San Diego or traveling the world. My other love is facilitating for The Anti-Defamation League, where I get to empower students to be leaders of promoting inclusive and compassionate environments wherever they go.
I was born in Tijuana then moved to Carlsbad at age 14. I went to Palomar College and transferred to SDSU. I speak Spanish, English, and Portuguese and have been a classically trained musician since age 7.
I have been teaching at SET High since 2013. I love teaching here because of the amazing students and staff! I spend my free time with my kids Xavier and Andres.
I’m JessicaBush and I am an Education Specialist at SET High. I grew up in San Diego and graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. degree in Sociology. After working with children in a residential facility for several years, I discovered a passion for working with high school students to teach them self-advocacy and acquire skills towards transitioning out of high school. This passion was highly influential in my decision to enroll back in school at National University in order to obtain a M.A. in Education. I am looking forward to working with students at SET to develop independence, recognize their personal strengths, and provide necessary tools in furthering their education.
Greetings! My name is Amor Castro. I am an academic coach at SET High. I’m a native San Diegan and a proud SDSU alumni. Go Aztecs! I earned a Bachelor’s degree in the field of communication. Effective communication with SET High students is my goal. My student life was a journey and I’m here to share my story to inspire students. Anything is possible with a commitment to focus and hard work!
Greetings students and guardians! My name is Leslie Farias and I am an Academic Coach at SET High. I am attending SDSU and double majoring in Spanish and Child and Family Development, with a minor in Counseling and Social Change. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, being outdoors, going to the beach, and discovering new places. During the summer I enjoy volunteering at the Autism Society Surf Camp. I look forward to a fabulous school year!
Hello, I’m Tania Lepe – an Academic Coach at SET. As an academic coach, I encourage students to work hard on their academics and help them through some of the challenges presented in their classes. During my time at SET, I will finish my Mathematics Degree and teaching credential in order to further help students. I plan to be an exceptional role model and wish to travel the world so I may share my experiences with students. I have been to four countries in the European Union, ten States in Mexico, Fiji, Thailand, and Costa Rica. My future trips include Guatemala and the rest of the Mexican states.
I was born and raised in San Diego, left once only to return within months, this is where I want to be while pivoting to other cool parts of this earth! I am honored to be an academic coach here at SET High! I graduated from San Diego State University with a Communication degree! I learned so much about the human interaction, different ways we communicate even so without saying a word and how effective communication enhances our lives. With that perspective in mind, I am determined in making a difference here by working alongside faculty and staff to provide the students with the tools and resources they need in order to reach their maximum potential. With a group that believes in their students, change happens and it is for the best.
I love exploring San Diego and other destinations if the opportunity presents itself. I especially enjoy the outdoors, from watching the sunrise and the beautiful sunsets to running, hiking, and rollerblading. The small things in life are in the end, the greatest!
I am excited and looking forward to the new school year.
My name is Kayla Solmonsson. I am an entrepreneur, a mother, and a student. I currently attend National University and I am working on my BA in Integrated Psychology. Along with being an Academic Coach, I am one of the GSA advisors on campus. I practice unconditional acceptance and focus on working with teens experiencing challenges. Helping others is not just a job, it’s a privilege. I believe the teenage years to be the most vital time in youth as they can truly make or break an individual’s future. I bring creative and resilient problem solving as well as teamwork to the table and help each student I work with achieve their goals. I strive to prepare them for the bright and successful future they deserve.