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Staff » Advisors


Courtney Wright
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 an 11th 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!



Aaron Laniosz
NuVu Studio

Aaron Laniosz was born and raised in Illinois. He attended The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where he received his Master of Architecture Degree. After graduation, Aaron worked in Chicago designing tall buildings. Wanting to return to an academic environment, Aaron moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and began teaching as a design and technology fellow at NuVu Studio, an innovation school for high school students. Last year, Aaron taught in Lakeland, Florida at a NuVuX partner school. He is excited to join the Odyssey team. In addition to teaching and design, Aaron likes to skateboard, snowboard, rock climb, and practice gymnastics. 



Alys Lee
Math Studio

Alys Lee was born and raised in Southern California.  She has wanted to be a teacher her entire life, and she is so excited to continue her dreams at Odyssey.  After graduating from the University of California, San Diego, she got her teaching credential at California State University, Northridge.   Most recently, Alys has been teaching at a high school in Huntington Park, where she has taught every grade from 9th to 12th.  


When she is not working, Alys likes to spend time with her family.  She has been married to her wonderful husband, James, for 9 years and has two very rambunctious boys who are now 6 and 7 years old.  In her spare time, Alys likes to cook and eat (eating more than cooking), read books, play video games. and board games.  



Hunter Simmons
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.


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. He is a diehard San Diego Padres fan and loves all-things Disney. He lives in Fullerton with his wife and two sons, and he his thrilled to be a part of the Odyssey team.



Desiree Martinez
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. For the last three years, she has been teaching English Language Arts at Frank J. Zamboni Middle School in Paramount. Desiree is passionate about being an active part of the school culture and is excited to begin her journey at Odyssey STEM Academy. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Grand Canyon University. In her spare time, Desiree loves to travel to cities and natural wonders alike. Some of her hobbies include hiking, camping, and kayaking. She played soccer throughout most of her life and proudly supports the LA Galaxy.



Chanelle Jacobson
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




Samantha Siañez

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!




Dylan Karzen
STEM Studio

Born and Raised in Long Beach and a graduate of Lakewood High School, Dylan is excited to be part of the amazing team here at Odyssey.

Dylan went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he earned a BS in Civil Engineering, taking their motto of “learn by doing” to heart. After college, he worked as a Transportation Engineer before going back to school to pursue a career in education. He attended an immersive residency program at Cal State Dominguez Hills, earning credentials in both math and physics as well as an MA in education. Before coming to Odyssey, Dylan taught for 5 years in South Central Los Angeles.

Dylan currently lives in Long Beach, with his wife, Colby, and dog, Luna. They enjoy visiting friends and family throughout Southern California while finding as much good food as they can along the way.




Nicole Bottomley
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. She recently received her teaching credential. It is her goal to inspire scholars at Odyssey to explore biology 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.




Marianne Leon
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




Wences Zepeda
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.




Jonathan Blanco 
College and Career Counselor

Jonathan Blanco is passionate about supporting students in reaching their full academic, career, and social emotional potential. As an Army veteran he has had unique opportunities to work with diverse populations through his travels and military experiences.  He began his career in education working at a community college in Los Angeles providing community outreach, as well as college and career readiness for local high schools. Jonathan is a first generation college student having graduated from Fullerton College, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach. Outside of school he enjoys spending time with family, working out, playing basketball and enjoying new foods.




Caroline Ramirez
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 recently completed the Master’s program at California State University, Northridge in Secondary Science Education.


She taught Biology, Biomedical Science, Physiology, and General Science at Vaughn International Studies Academy in Pacoima, California, for eight years and coached the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team. And is now very excited to be part of the Odyssey team.


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




Gisell San Jose
Humanities Studio

Gisell San Jose grew up in Eagle Rock, California for 13 years, then moved to Ventura County where she currently resides with her fiancé and their 3 cats. She attended California State University Northridge, where she received her BA in English. After trying out a few other career paths, she decided to pursue her passion of teaching, and earned her teaching credential at California State University Channel Islands. At the same university, she is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. This past school year she taught 7th grade English Language Arts at Anacapa Middle School, and found that the classroom is exactly where she is meant to be. 

      Some fun facts about Gisell are that she is an avid sneaker collector, a foodie of all kinds, a proud cat lady, a volleyball coach, a lover of all books, and truly a lifelong learner. 


She is excited to be a part of such an amazing team at Odyssey!




Mark Mussari
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 (5) and son (1). 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.




Quinn Tran
Math Studio

Quinn was born and raised in Orange County, California. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Child and Adolescent Development with a minor in Asian American Studies from California State University Fullerton. She also received her teaching credential in foundational-level mathematics from Cal State Fullerton.

Quinn is passionate about teaching, and believes teaching is a powerful way to give back to communities. She is interested in working to serve and support communities. Quinn’s love of mathematics stems from an interest in puzzles, and understanding the world around her.

In her free time, Quinn likes to relax with loved ones, play video games, and watch documentaries. Quinn is excited to begin collaborating with her colleagues at Odyssey to serve the community.