Brianna MoncriefTeacher assistant, Kindergarten
I was born and raised in beautiful San Diego. I moved away to go to school but decided I did not want to be anywhere else! My mom is one of the founding teachers at Innovations so I have been around since the beginning. I started working in the classrooms/after school care about 7 years ago and quickly realized that teaching is what I want to do.
When I am not at school you can find me on road trips, going to the beach, hiking, listening to music, and spending time with my family. I love Innovations Academy and all the wonderful people I have been able to meet and learn from. I am excited to have another great year with great people!
Nallely LopezTeacher assistant, Kindergarten
Hi! I was born and raised here in beautiful San Diego. This is my first year working in a kindergarten classroom at I.A. and I couldn’t be more excited for this school year! In my spare time I like to explore the city and go on new adventures with my dog Nikko. I also love trying new foods from different countries and of course traveling!
Courtney NorthcuttTeacher assistant, 1st Grade
Hi! My name is Courtney! This is my first year in a classroom and I’m so excited! I grew up in Orange County before moving to Tucson, AZ in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. One day, I up and left to visit my best friend in Huntington Beach and never went back to AZ. I’ve been back in California for four years and it’s been the best years yet! I’m currently working on my Bachelors in Elementary Education through Grand Canyon University’s online program. In my spare time I love doing DIY crafts and traveling with my fiancé.
Niyati PandeyTeacher assistant, 2nd Grade
Hi everyone, my name is Niyati. I am a 2nd grade TA. I have lived in San Diego for 14 years. I have a wonderful husband and two girls ages 12 & 9. I have a Masters degree in business and have worked corporate jobs for many years. As my kids were growing I volunteered my time at their school, helping teachers and children in different ways. Somewhere during those times I started to realize how much I loved being with children. I was fortunate to get an opportunity at Innovations Academy. The philosophy and method has been a great learning experience. Helping children learn and grow is a very satisfying feeling for me. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, running or just snuggling with a book and a cup of tea.
Lexi QuezadaTeacher assistant, 2nd GradeI was born and raised in San Diego. I went to school in Poway Unified School District and graduated with my degree in Social Sciences from California State University, San Marcos in 2016. At first when I graduated, I wanted to become a Marriage Family Therapist but after some consideration and working alongside Ali, I’ve found my passion for teaching. Eventually I’d like to go back to school to become a therapist but for now I’m on my way to get my teaching credential.When I’m not at school you can find me at the beach, road tripping, hiking or going on hidden adventures photographing everything. My passion is photography and art. My goal when I become a teacher is to incorporate art into almost everything I do.
Samantha MooreTeacher assistant, 3rd Grade
I am a California native and have lived in and loved San Diego for the last six years. I just recently graduated from Cal State San Marcos and have loved my time here at Innovations Academy so far. When I am not at school I am at the beach, or exploring near and far places and I hope to be entering a credential program in the near future. Working with Dre and everyone here at Innovations Academy has been amazing and the students are nothing short of that as well. I am learning so much about the importance of the social and emotional part of education and have seen in action the many different methods and techniques that can be used to help students learn in a way that’s best for them! It’s awesome to work with so many people who are passionate about their students’ education and lifelong skills. I am learning so much and am excited for a great year!
Alysa WinklerTeacher assistant, 3rd Grade
Hello! My name is Alysa Winkler and I am relatively new to San Diego, and California! I’m a Midwest gal, born and raised in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. After graduating high school, I enrolled at the University of Missouri where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Pre-Veterinary Animal Science and graduated in May of 2017. I have a passion for conservation biology and marine biology and intend to incorporate teaching children to love and value those things as much as I do!
I came out to the San Diego area in June 2017 for a job opportunity at YMCA Camp Surf in Imperial Beach. Over the summer, I was an overnight camp counselor and worked mostly with teens. During the fall season, I was hired on as a team building and outdoor education program instructor. This position confirmed my love for teaching youth about the environment! In October, I had the pleasure of making connections with Innovations Academy when the 5th graders took a trip to Camp Surf. The kids were a blast to be around and really impressed me with their ability to be themselves and show interest in a variety of intellectual subjects.
After having the opportunity to live and work on the beach for 5 months, I fell in love with the ocean, nature, and people in San Diego and decided to stick around! I was hired at Innovations in November 2017 as Jill’s 3rd grade teacher assistant and couldn’t be enjoying myself more. I have been blown away by the values and styles of our school. Our students have been such a joy to work with and I am so excited to continue guiding and seeing them grow throughout the school year.
In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, doing yoga, cooking and baking, gardening, seeing live music, and hanging out with animal friends of course! My favorite outdoor activities include mountain biking, hiking, body boarding, scuba diving, and picking wild flowers.
I’m so excited to continue my experience at Innovations Academy and meet more inspiring peers!
Allison KnightTeacher assistant, 4th Grade
Hi everyone! I am so excited and grateful to be apart of Innovations Academy again this year! I became a Teacher’s Assistant for IA in January of 2016, and I am currently with our extraordinary fourth graders. I cannot rave more about our staff, parents and students in the wonderful community. I cannot be more grateful to have this opportunity to work with these extraordinary students.
I am a San Diego Native. I went to La Jolla High and spent 90% of my time in a pool. I grew up loving any body of water, whether it was surfing in the ocean, competing in the swimming pool or kayaking in the bay… I couldn’t get enough. I still can’t! I lifeguard for the City of San Diego during the summers, so I can get paid to be in the water most of the day!
I was lucky enough to get into UC Santa Barbara and I swam all four years. I was so lucky to have a home away from home. With UCSB right next to the ocean, my heart couldn’t have been happier. They were the most thrilling yet challenging years of my life! Swimming was my job and paid for a lot of my schooling, so I am extremely grateful that I got to do something I was truly passionate about to get me through college. I graduated with a B.A. in Sociology with certificate in Sports Management in June of 2014.
Both my parents were teachers. My mother was a third grade teacher, while my dad taught high school history and economics. I was always in their rooms helping them set up for projects, organize and decorate their classrooms. I absolutely LOVED it. It felt so natural to be back in a classroom. I knew I had found a passion in education.
I am thrilled to have another incredible year with my 4th graders! I truly cherish each and every one of them in their own unique ways. Thank you for letting me be a part of your child’s journey!
Morganne SigismontiTeacher assistant, 4th Grade
I am a San Diego native and grew up in a project-based environment in middle and high school. I received my bachelor’s degree in Biology from Lewis & Clark college after four years of investing in my passion for science and community at a total of three different colleges. At my final college, I worked as a Teaching Assistant and tutor for college biology courses, ran a group fitness club, took fun courses (such as rock climbing and ceramics), conducted research on arachnids, and spent as much time as I could hiking the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Before I came to Innovations Academy, I continued arachnid research with scientists at San Diego State University, conducting field research in California, Oregon, and Washington, and I worked as a counselor at a girls science and engineering camp at Stanford University. In my free time, I volunteer at Cabrillo National Monument as a tide-pool educator and The San Diego Zoo as an insect house educator. I also like to practice yoga, hike, and spend time with my friends and family. Through all of my experiences, my passion for wildlife conservation, wellness, and educating others have grown. I am currently enjoying my experience working with fourth graders, as well as gaining skills in mindfulness and project-based learning.
Larissa SantiagoTeacher assistant, 8th Grade
Hello everyone! I was born and raised in San Diego and I’m aspiring to be a teacher. I received my Bachelor’s in Education from San Diego State, and am applying to Point Loma Nazarene to receive my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential along with a Master’s in Teaching. I have truly enjoyed working with IA and believe deeply in what we as a school stand for. I am amazed that I have found a place that shares all the same values that I do: That children and adults should be equally accountable for collaborating in the creation of an education that allows us to continuously grow as humans. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year holds for each of us.
Maria IbarraTeacher assistant, 5th grade
Hello my name is Maria. I was born in Oceanside but raised in Orange County. I moved to San Diego about a year and half ago, and am so glad I did because it is beautiful. In my spare time I love to go hiking, running, spend time with family, and just relax at home.
I started working at IA last school year, and I have loved every day of it. Emily is a great teacher and mentor, not only to the children but to me as well. It’s a truly safe space for children and staff as well. I have really learned about the importance of social emotional skills as well as the different learning capabilities of children. At IA I have also learned to value and truly accept mistakes, because they are opportunities to learn and grow. I currently have an associate’s degree in Liberal arts and Psychology, and am working on transferring to obtain a bachelors degree in special education.
Working at IA has been such an incredible learning experience and I cannot wait to see wait to see what this school year has to offer!