Odyssey STEM Academy

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Staff » Advisors

Advisors

 
Andrew
Andrew Lau
Advisor
Makerspace
 
 

 

Andrew Lau is an architectural designer, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He obtained his Bachelors of Architecture with a Minor in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California and his Masters of Science in Integrated Digital Media from New York University.

 

After graduating, he practiced as an architectural designer in several firms, which

focused on multi-family housing. During that time, he volunteered in nonprofit-programs centered on developing design workshops with topics covering speculative fiction, ecological urbanism, and community empowerment.

 

Andrew’s interest in design focuses on the interdisciplinary opportunities that can be leveraged between technology, the biological sciences, and culture to facilitate

sustainable futures.

 

In his free time, he enjoys exploring the wide catalog of cinema, exploring a city via bicycle, and diving into the world of food, fungi, and fermentation. 

 

 

 
angelica
Angelica Garcia
11th Grade
Advisor
Humanities Studio

 

Angelica Garcia was born and raised in South East Los Angeles. She grew up in the city of South Gate with her 5 siblings, parents and their pet cats. She attended California State University of Los Angeles for her undergrad where she received a BA in History. She then attended the University of Southern California for her MA in Teaching and Social Science Credential and continued her education at the University of California Los Angeles where she received her English Credential. For the last seven years Angelica taught Humanities at Aspire Ollin in Huntington Park. This year she is ecstatic to be here at Odyssey and looks forward to building loving relationships and promoting social consciousness and lifelong learning. 

 

Angelica lives in Long Beach with her partner and their three cats: Maddy, Molly and Mortimer. When she's not teaching she helps run the non-profit Chicxs Rockerxs South East Los Angeles (CRSELA). In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, binge watching anime, attempting to roller skate and falling asleep watching true crime television

 

 

 
Anthony
Anthony Meyer
Advisor
11th Grade
Math Studio

 

Anthony was born and raised in Modesto, CA.  Wanting to get away from all the cows, I mean home, he decided to attend Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI.  After having endured four long Michigan winters he emerged victoriously with Bachelor’s degrees in both math and philosophy, and somehow also managed to meet and woo his now wife.

 

Between here and there Anthony has lived in a number of locations along the Pacific coast (where it’s warm!) including Eugene, OR, Redding, CA, and his current home of Bellflower.  After trying his hand at being a personal trainer, life coach, and electrician, Anthony discovered that teaching is his true passion.

 

When not teaching or chasing his three kids around, you’ll likely find him up in a tree or with his nose in a book.  Or both.  Yeah, probably both actually.

 

 

 
Caroline
Caroline Ramirez
Advisor
11th Grade
STEM Studio

 

Caroline Ramirez grew up in Calexico, California and was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles right after high school and majored in Biology. To continue with her passion for teaching she enrolled in the credential program at California State University, Dominguez Hills and received her Science Teaching Credential. She completed the Master’s program at California State University, Northridge in Secondary Science Education.

 

This is her second year teaching at Odyssey. She taught Environmental Sustainability during distance learning and is looking forward to teaching 11th grade STEM in person.

 

Caroline currently lives in Long Beach with her partner and her dogs Max and Cuca. In her free time she enjoys doing CrossFit, traveling, playing basketball, hiking, watching Laker games, trying all kinds of food, going to the beach, and chilling with her dogs.

 

 

chanelle
Chanelle Jacobson
Advisor
10th Grade
Humanities Studio

 

 

Chanelle Jacobson grew up in San Diego, CA and moved to Long Beach in 2007 where she currently resides with her boyfriend and 2 turtles, Sancho and Friday. She graduated from California State University Long Beach with a double major in English Education and Creative Writing, as well as her teaching credential, and is looking to go back to acquire her MFA. Before coming to Odyssey, Chanelle taught in South Central Los Angeles for three years. In her spare time she enjoys playing video games, reading, writing poetry, and traveling. She loves all things nerdy, especially Harry Potter and Game of Thrones! #HufflepuffLife #TheNorthRemembers #UnbowedUnbentUnbroken

 

 

Chelsea
Chelsea McFayden
Advisor
10th Grade
STEM Studio

Chelsea McFadyen was born and raised in Long Beach, California. She has a twin sister and a younger sister, and people frequently think her younger sister is actually her twin. She grew up playing soccer and volunteering in her community. She is inspired by the natural world and decided to attend California State University, Long Beach to earn her bachelor’s degree in biology. She then returned to CSULB to complete her teaching credential.

 

She is excited to help students develop their passions and help them on their journey toward success and happiness. In her free time, she enjoys baking, exercising, and playing with her three dogs.

 

 

Courtney
Courtney Wright
Advisor
9th Grade
Humanities Studio

 

Courtney is a Nebraska native turned Californian living in Long Beach, CA with her husband and pup (Luno). She is passionate about interest-based learning and working with young people to find out what motivates and inspires them! She attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and received her BS in English Education and is currently attending University of Southern California, pursuing a Master’s of Education. Courtney is a 9th grade Humanities advisor and has been with Odyssey since it was founded. She co-hosts a podcast about Odyssey and learning with advisor Hunter Simmons called “The Odyssey of Learning.” Give it a listen here (https://twitter.com/PodcastOdyssey). When she’s not at school, Courtney loves hiking, traveling, and baking bread!

 

 

 

 
Daniel
Daniel Huynh
Advisor
9th Grade
STEM Studio

 

Daniel Huynh is a man of many talents and skills, but consuming dairy is clearly not one of them. Born and raised in Westminster, CA, Daniel attended University of California, Irvine to pursue a B.S in Mechanical Engineering, then stayed there a bit longer to complete his dual Master’s in Education and Physics Single Subject Credential. Ever since then, he has been teaching Earth Science, Physics, and Robotics at both the high and middle school level, and this will be his 4th year teaching. As an educator, his mission is to empower scholars to pursue higher education or their careers. He believes that all scholars, even in the face of adversity, have the potential to achieve the highest of accolades. 

 

In his free time, Daniel likes to go to the gym, watch Youtube videos, listen to music, watch silly dog videos on TikTok, and eat. Daniel LOVES Marvel comics to the point where he dressed as Thanos for Halloween. When Daniel is on break and not broke, he loves to travel (his current goal is to hit all 50 states and National Parks before he settles down with a family). His top 2 favorite shows are Naruto and Demon Slayer. He believes he has a pretty sick Mickey Mouse impression. And again, please don’t feed him dairy. Thank you.

 

Stoked to be at Odyssey!

 

 

desiree
Desiree Martinez
Advisor
11th Grade 
Humanities Studio

 

Desiree Martinez was born and raised in California. She attended California State University Long Beach where she got a degree in English Education as well as her English teaching credential. She completed her Master’s program in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University just last year.

 

This is Desiree’s second year with Odyssey STEM Academy. She is passionate about being an active part of the school culture and is excited to continue her journey at OSA in-person! 

 

In her spare time, Desiree loves to travel to cities and natural wonders alike. Some of her hobbies include hiking, camping, woodworking, sewing and kayaking. She played soccer throughout most of her life and proudly supports the LA Galaxy.

 

 

 
Fabian
Fabian Perez
Advisor
9th Grade
STEM Studio

 

Fabian Perez grew up in Paramount, California. After graduating from Paramount High School, he attended California State University, Long Beach, and earned bachelor's degrees in applied mathematics and physics. Fabian also received a teaching credential in math and physics from CSULB because he wants to inspire students in his community to work hard and be life-long learners. Fabian recently re-enrolled at CSULB to pursue a master's degree in applied math. 

 

When he is not working or studying, Fabian hangs out with his friends exploring cities, eating at restaurants, playing sports, or relaxing in nature. Fabian enjoys playing video games with great stories such as Spider-man, Red Dead Redemption, and Persona 5 Royal. He also enjoys watching TV shows/movies with overpowered superheroes like One Punch Man, Omni-man, and Worldbreaker Hulk. Fabian is excited to start working and learning with the scholars at Odyssey and helping them achieve their goals.

 

 

 fperez
Flor Perez
Advisor
11th Grade
Math Studio

 

Flor Perez grew up in Los Angeles, California. She first attended Glendale Community College and later transferred to the University of California - Santa Barbara. She studied mathematics and received her teaching credential and Masters in Education. Before coming to Odyssey, Flor taught high school math in Huntington Park, California. Her goal is to provide scholars with opportunities to think critically, collaborate, and reflect on their learning experiences. 

 

During her spare time, Flor likes to draw, knit, embroider, and do nail art. She also enjoys traveling and working abroad during the summers to teach problem solving courses in the UAE.

 

 

 
gail
Gail Gallaher
Advisor 
10th Grade
STEM Studio

 

Gail grew up in Spokane Valley, Washington, where she learned to love Douglas Fir trees, being out on the water, and all kinds of science. She studied Biology at Pomona College and then earned her teaching credential and MA in Education at Stanford University. Gail is passionate about helping young people grow into the best versions of themselves as scientists, scholars, and - most importantly - human beings. She loves learning about how to make more community happen and feels lucky to be part of the amazing Odyssey community. When she’s not teaching, you can probably find Gail reading a book, watching professional women’s soccer, or nerding out about how cool birds are.

 

 

 

 
hunter
Hunter Simmons
Advisor
12th Grade
Humanities Studio

 

A San Diego native, Hunter Simmons has always had a passion for learning and teaching. He studied history and English at the University of California – Santa Barbara, and soon after received his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of San Diego. Simmons officially began his teaching career in Escondido at Del Lago Academy before moving with his family to the Los Angeles area in 2018. He enjoys working with scholars to help them become global citizens: individuals who are driven to enact positive changes in the community, nation, and world through collaborative and imaginative projects. Simmons believes every scholar has a powerful voice, and he makes it his personal goal to ensure all voices are expressed and heard. A founding staff member of Odyssey STEM Academy, Simmons is currently the 12th grade AP English Language and Composition advisor, and also co-hosts a podcast about Odyssey and learning with advisor Courtney Wright called “The Odyssey of Learning.” Give it a listen here https://twitter.com/PodcastOdyssey In addition, Simmons colors his environment with the help of his hobbies: music, sports, and film. He is an avid drummer and will play and perform with anyone; a diehard San Diego Padres fan and lover of all-things Disney; and lives in Fullerton with his wife and three children. He is thrilled to be a part of the Odyssey team!

 

 

 

 
jeremy
Jeremy Cisneros
Advisor
RSP

Jeremy was born and raised in Downey, CA. Jeremy attended Cal State Long Beach pursuing his Bachelors in History and is now working on his Masters at Azusa Pacific University in Learning and Technology. Before coming to Odyssey, Jeremy has been servicing the youth in Paramount since 2010, supporting in recreation and other roles with Paramount Unified.  When he is not teaching Jeremy enjoys playing video games, sports, going outdoors, watching anime/movies, and going on adventures with his dogs. Jeremy is grateful and excited to be at Odyssey to continue supporting Paramount youth.

 

 

 
marianne
Marianne Leon
Advisor
9th Grade
Humanities Studio

 

Marianne was born and raised in Pico Rivera, California. She attended Catholic School until she attended Rio Hondo City College receiving an A.A. in English and Literature. She then transferred to Cal State Long Beach, where she received both her B.A. in English Education and her Single Subject Credential in English. She plans to continue on with her education aiming to receive her master’s degree and her doctoral degree. She has worked within Paramount since 2015 and for the last two years worked at Leona Jackson Middle School teaching 8th grade ELA, Avid Excel, and 7th/8th grade ELD. In other news, Marianne enjoys reading, writing, singing (places no one can hear her), playing with her Basset Hound, Orejitas, enjoying the little natural pleasures of the world, and immersing herself in nature. One of her favorite memories is hiking and climbing up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, which is a 16 mile hike. She is always ready for any new adventure because she knows it is another chance to learn and grow.

Marianne is both excited and passionate about working at Odyssey this upcoming school year. She loves the enthusiasm of the Admin, teachers, and students. She is a firm believer in the growth mindset: “if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again!” - William Hickson

 

 

 

 
mark
Mark Mussari
Advisor 
10th Grade
Math Studio

 

Mark Mussari has called Southern California home for the majority of his life, although he has lived briefly in many other states. Mark attended California State University Dominguez Hills for his undergraduate degree. After getting married and the birth of his daughter Mark went back to school, attended Western Governors University where he earned his Masters and teaching credential. He most recently taught in Downey Unified. 

Mark currently lives in Lakewood with his wife and his two young children; his daughter (6) and son (2). They share a love for traveling around the world, spending time at the beach and cooking and eating meals that remind them of where they’ve traveled. 

Teaching has been a passion of his for as long as he can remember and Mark is excited to be fulfilling his dreams with so many great scholars, faculty and parents here at Odyssey.

 

 

 

 mclark
Michael Clark
Advisor
11th Grade
Math Studio

Mike grew up in Riverside, California. He attended University of California Riverside and then earned his credential and Masters at Azusa Pacific University. Mike has taught throughout Southern California and also Des Moines, Iowa over the last decade. He is passionate about Mathematics, justice, social change, and helping his scholars draw connections between their school and their world. When he is not busy on campus, Mike is probably 100 ft up off the group rock climbing which has been a passion of his for as long as he has been a teacher. Mike also loves to play his ukulele, travel, and explore new places with his Australian Cattle Dog Winston

 

 

 
nicole
Nicole Bottomley
Advisor
12th Grade
STEM Studio

Nicole grew up in a tiny town in Northern California where she spent most of her childhood outdoors. This instilled a deep appreciation for nature and living things, and in turn sparked a lifelong curiosity for understanding how things “work”. She attended Chapman University and Cal State Long Beach, where she earned a BS in Biology and MS in Microbiology respectively. For over a decade, Nicole worked in the biotech industry as a R&D scientist. During this time, she also taught college biology and microbiology courses, which moved her to pursue her passion of teaching. Going into her third year at Odyssey, It is her goal to inspire scholars at Odyssey to explore biology, engineering, and biotechnology to discover new possibilities, the sky's the limit! Outside of school, Nicole spends most of her time chasing around her two young sons, but her favorite pastime is traveling to new places and exploring nature with her family and dog Griffin.

 

 

 
phudak
Paul Hudak
Advisor
10th Grade
STEM Studio

Paul was born in Chicago and raised in upstate New York. He attended SUNY Albany and SUNY New Paltz pursuing a degree in Secondary Education. At the ripe age of 21 Paul packed up his belongings and began an odyssey pursuing an experiential education in Sustainable Agriculture. Apprenticeships in Oregon, Tennessee, Georgia, Finland, Italy, France and Belgium provided him with the  knowledge to begin managing large-scale organic farms in the Western United States. After many years farming with Belgian draft horses and at a Farm-to-Table restaurant, he found his way back to education.

He has been working with Big Picture Learning for almost 15 years starting Seed-to-Table programs at multiple schools on the West Coast. Paul is grateful to be working at Odyssey and learning from scholars as they help shape the ESC program together. 

When not at work Paul is either swimming, biking, hiking, cooking, reading, travelling or dancing with his wife Meredith.

 

 

 
Pedro
Pedro Navarro
Advisor
11th Grade
Spanish

 

What can I say about Pedro? He’s a family man. Born in Guatemala, survived the mean streets of North Long Beach in the early to late 1990s, and thanks to a loving mother and a supportive counselor at Jordan HS, he left the hood to attend the University of California at Davis. Family history drew him to study abroad in Mexico City, and for a whole year studied at the largest university of Latin America, UNAM, and backpacked through Mexico, Cuba and Central America. The Oakland Bay Area was the next move, where he found his passion for teaching, starting with the young ones in Kindergarten through 7th grade science. Now back home in North Long Beach, Pedro has been teaching high school Spanish in South LA for the last 9 years and he recently finished a double MA in Education at California State University, Long Beach. He is honored to serve and learn at the illustrious Odyssey STEM Academy!

 

In his free time, Pedro loves spending time with family, playing with his two dogs, and enjoys digging at used bookstores, record stores, and antique shops. On clear nights, you can catch him gazing at the planets, moons and stars.

 

 

 

 
quinn
Quinn Tran
Advisor
10th Grade
Math Studio

Quinn was born in Orange County, CA and is grateful to be at Odyssey to continue her math career. This is her second year of teaching and she is looking forward to connecting with the community and empowering scholars through math.

 

She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with her Bachelors of Science in Child and Adolescent Development Study with a minor in Asian American Studies. She returned to CSUF to get her teaching credential. 

 

When not teaching, Quinn enjoys playing video games, reading books, and trying new types of food. She is passionate about indie music and color schemes

 

 

 
sianez
Samantha Siañez
Advisor
12th Grade
Spanish

 

Samantha Siañez was born and raised in South Gate, California (within Los Angeles.) She played soccer throughout her middle and high school years and continued to play for fun while she was attending the University of California, Santa Barbara. Samantha studied Spanish & Spanish Literature and then began to pursue her teaching career. She taught Spanish to 11th and 12th grade students in Los Angeles while pursuing her Masters in Urban Education at LMU.

During her spare time, Samantha loves being around animals and nature (all of her pets are rescues!) She also enjoys traveling with friends and loved ones, especially if that means learning something new. 

Samantha eagerly looks forward to working closely with the entire Odyssey community!

 

 

 

 
Sarah
Advisor
RSP

Sarah Kennedy was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. She got her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and her master’s degree in specialized academic instruction from Wayne State University in Detroit. This is her first year at Odyssey Stem Academy, and she has enjoyed getting to know everybody and becoming part of the community. Sarah is a dedicated teacher, and she approaches her work with positivity, empathy, and compassion. She is passionate about empowering scholars to reach their full potential.

 

She moved to California in 2010 and has been a resident of Long Beach since 2020. When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her husband, her adorable son, and her two cats. 

 

 

 

 
wences
Wences Zepeda
Advisor
12th Grade
Math Studio

 

Wenceslaus Zepeda was born in the motherland of Nayarit, Mexico and grew up in Compton by way of California. He is proudly the product of Paramount Unified. After high school he took the circuitous route of UC Irvine, Orange Coast College, Long Beach City College and received his degree in Pure Mathematics from Cal State Long Beach. He earned his teaching credential from Cal State Dominguez Hills and has recently re-enrolled to earn his Masters in Pure Mathematics from Long Beach State, Why because he loves the pain. He also enjoys in these times, long walks from the living room to his office while gazing at a blue wall, just pretending it is the beach. Amongst his many talents is the ability to perform CPR in at least four languages. Wences spends his time reading and breaking things to see how they truly work and mostly enjoying his three daughters (I think) and one wife.

 

 
 
 
Zach
Zachary Pasillas
Advisor
9th Grade
Math Studio
 

After more than a decade teaching in Northern California, Zachary Pasillas is back to bring his unique mixture of chaos and order to Odyssey STEM Academy. This school is a perfect fit for his over the top, hyper-creative, gamified hijinks. A class culture of positivity, curiosity, and collaboration will set the stage for us to overcome our math phobias; to face challenges together with grit and grace, and become clever learners (and people).


After many years at UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the University La Verne, Zack earned his M.Ed. and has been blessed to apply that knowledge in many settings working with young people and adults. Through his 7 years of nonprofit social work bringing restorative and therapeutic programming to clinics, prisons, and psychiatric hospitals, he has built a unique skill set to support students and families far beyond the classroom. He’s a passionate teacher/advisor, but also a musician, advanced scuba diver, artist, wilderness survivalist, and 90’s Hip Hop/RnB enthusiast.