Tery Arnold is the Admissions Director at STAR Prep Academy. Before coming to STAR Prep, Tery was the Senior Director of the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Department for STAR Education for twelve years and was a part of the original development staff that launched STAR Prep Academy in 2004. A graduate of UCLA, Tery’s background in film development, children’s entertainment, performing arts and education have enabled her to effectively create, promote and implement dynamic educational programming for gifted students.
From a family of educators, Tery’s journey to becoming an educator started with the performing arts. She travelled extensively with the International Mask Research Foundation and the Los Angeles Mask Theatre, offering compelling theatre performances and cultural mask workshops in California, Holland, Belgium, and throughout the southern United States.
Marisa Cleghorn is the Senior Director of STAR Education's Supplemental Services Department. She has worked for the past 22 years as a professional educator in the Arts and Sciences. A graduate of UMASS specializing in "Interdisciplinary Education in Arts and sciences", Marisa additionally trained as a professional dancer and studied Theatre and Communications at Mercer University. Having spent a liftetime working in non-profit educational settings that provide community and school instruction ranging from the Natural Sciences to the Performing Arts, Marisa specializes in providing hands-on instruction and creating engaging educational programming for student's of all ages.
Thomas Valencia, Head of School and instructor, has been a member of the STAR Prep Academy since its founding 13 years ago. In that time, Mr. Valencia has been a dedicated instructor who deeply cares for the students, supports their needs, and encourages them to always be their best. Before becoming Head of School, Mr. Valencia was the lead social studies instructor for the middle and high school grades, as well as the AP Psychology instructor. Even as the Head of School, Mr. Valencia still enjoys being in the classroom and currently teaches Government/ Economics, World History, and serves as the school Leadership Adviser. Mr. Valencia firmly believes that everyone can succeed given the right tools and strategies.
John Manley is a science educator, educational administrator, and underwater film maker with over 30 years of experience bringing the natural world to life for students. John graduated from U. C. Berkeley in Marine Biology and received his M.S. in Shark Biology from California State University, Long Beach. John’s life and career focus has always revolved marine science, education and sharks. He founded Team Shark, an organization that has delivered experiential marine science and shark-based learning to kids and adults for 15 years. His innovative approach to marine science and shark adventures has appeared in films and publications for the following: Discovery Channel, Cousteau Productions, ESPN, National Geographic, TNT, Marie Claire, MTV, and many more. Additionally, John’s experience includes four years as the Assistant Director of Education for a residential Ocean Camp based out of Southern California. John has spent the last 15 years of his career pairing his ocean adventures with teaching middle school and high school science.
Ron Aggabao began his musical education on the piano at the age of 5, later adding the guitar at age 14. After beginning classical guitar studies with Alison Bert at Syracuse University, Ron continued to pursue classical guitar, piano, and composition under the tutelage of Alex Komodore, Susan Cable, and Nancy Gunn at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he participated in master classes with world-renowned artists such as Manuel Barrueco, David Russell, Sharon Isbin, and Wynton Marsalis. After developing a passion for the music of Africa in college, Ron spent several years touring the US as a lead guitarist for some of the country’s top world-music acts, eventually landing in Southern California, where he currently keeps busy as a lead and solo guitarist, bassist, piano accompanist, songwriter/ arranger, and studio musician. Ron currently serves as Music Director for Star Prep Academy in Los Angeles and Staff Instructor of Piano and Guitar at the Santa Monica Academy of Music.
My name is Walter Guevara, and I am the Spanish and Technology teacher for Star Prep Academy. I graduated with bachelors degrees in Computers/ Microprocessors and Electronics and Digital Design. My love for electronics, computers, and Astronomy introduced me to the art of Photography. Outside of school, I spend time with my family, including my two dogs, and I take photos at every opportunity! I believe that teaching is a continuous evolving tool that helps us share thoughts, experiences, and information for future generations to come.
Fabiana Medici is a Writer/Acting Coach and educator with 25+ years of experience in the theatrical and artistic field. She has traveled extensively and trained both beginner students and professionals alike. Fabiana has an extensive experience working with children and adults coming from different cultural and social backgrounds including those enrolled in special education programs. As a child educator Fabiana has worked in several schools in Los Angeles such as the Westside Waldorf School (teaching language through theater and communication, leading Spring and Summer camps and as an assistant for several roles in kindergarten and elementary school) and Star Prep Academy (Acting for Film) among others worldwide. Fabiana studied extensively Method Acting, Stanislavski and Grotowski techniques, mask techniques, yoga, acrobatics, clown and healing arts around the world. She says: I love to see my students shine at their highest potential and I am devoted to lead them with love and respect towards their artistic goals.
Vladimir A. Duran has been teaching math at the high school level for over 10 years. He got into math education by obtaining a B.A. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley, in 2005. As a teacher Vladimir believes in the potential of all students through hard work and perseverance. In the classroom, Vlad likes to see students collaborating on their work and communicating with each other. In addition to working as a teacher, Vlad enjoys playing music, cycling, reading comics, and playing video games.
Louis is in his second year at STAR Prep Academy, teaching Physics and middle school Humanities. A Los Angeles native, Louis has a passion for astronomy and learning about the mysteries of our universe. This passion led Louis to pursue the physical sciences, focusing on Physics and Chemistry, completing his degree at the University of California, Davis. After graduating, Louis began a Secondary Science Education program at San Diego State University. Through this program, Louis gained experience student teaching high school Physics and 8th-grade Physical Science before joining STAR.
Since taking on the Physics instruction for STAR Prep Louis has worked diligently to incorporate hands-on, project-based instruction into the curriculum, truly embracing the ideals of the school. Louis has brought science to life, helping students to build Rube Goldberg machines, make electromagnets, converting a CRT TV into an oscilloscope to visualize sound waves and more. Louis is looking forward to working with your child as the Physical Science teacher and helping them discover the incredibly exciting field of Science.
Madelaine Lorenzana studied Painting and Drawing at Otis College of Art and Design (BFA) and El Camino College (AA). Having visited over twenty-seven countries, art and travel is a lifestyle. She is continually exploring museums and art cultures all over the world. She believes in enrichment and education through experience and explorations of multi-cultures. A practicing visual artist and art educator, she participates in community events throughout Los Angeles including after school art programs. Outside of teaching, she works on commission paintings and consults on print designs.
Sathya is the first STAR Prep Academy graduate to return to the school as an instructor. He currently teaches middle and high school film as well as oversees the organization of the school's annual film festival. On top of this, he continues to study and practice filmmaking, passing down every new piece of knowledge he gains to his students, hoping to prepare them for work in the entertainment industry as well as open them up creatively
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