Introducing new M-A teachers & staff

10 mins read
Cary Milia.

Cary Milia
Room: D-7
Teaches: Academic Resource, English III, and Study Skills

“My favorite teacher was Mr. Ferrell, he was an English teacher in junior year, and he really made me feel valued as a member of the class.”

“I want my students to know that I will always strive to listen to them and treat them with respect.”



Mitchell Hernandez.

Mitchell Hernandez
Teaches: Economics and Modern European History

“My favorite teacher was the graduate chair of philosophy at San Jose State, he was very approachable, very bright, very intelligent, but more than that he was a human being.”

“I want my students to know that I’m always here for them if they have problems with their work, I’m very approachable, no pressure if they need to come in and say hello.”



Laura Mercer.

Laura Mercer
Teaches: Sophomore English

“I like hiking, I like ocean swimming, and I also like biking.”

“I want my students to know that I am very approachable, my door is open anytime they need me whether academically or personally. I would like my students not to know that I was not a very good high school student my self.”



Courtney Shaw.

Courtney Shaw
Teaches: Algebra Topics and Geometry

“I would have to say that my favorite teacher was a psychology teacher because I felt like he was somebody I could relate to personality-wise, he was very entertaining and everything we did in class had a real-world application. If you find some way you can relate something to your own life it’s more interesting.”

“I want my students to know how much I care, even when times are hard, that I will do whatever I can to make things easy, fun, relatable, and everything I do, my intentions are that.”



Caitlyn Macrae.

Caitlyn Macrae
Teaches: Chemistry and AS Chemistry

“My favorite teacher was my high school Biology teacher because she was kind of quirky but also clearly really cared about her students and always made her labs really interesting and they always connected to the material.”

“I want my students to know that they can come in anytime to talk to me if they need help or if they just want to chat, I’m available and I’m a really good listener.”



Marianna Heyer.

Marianna Heyer
Teaches: ELD I and English II

“[My favorite teacher was] my fifth grade English teacher, because she had us writing all the time, every day. Creative writing, narratives, poetry. I really loved that teacher, she was really supportive. She’s still a friend, now.”

“I’m really passionate about teaching and I hope they get that. I’m excited to see how they grow and see them graduate in two years, that’s something that’s kind of thrilling.”



Anne Olson.

Anne Olson
Teaches: Modern European History and United States History

“My favorite teacher growing up… his name was Brandon Spars and he taught African Studies, and he was really engaging and used a lot of stories in his class, so it was really awesome content material.”

“I want my students to know that I’m a self-proclaimed history nerd, and in my classroom, they’re not students, they’re explorers of space and time.”



Mallory Bryne.

Mallory Bryne
Teaches: 9th grade Life Skills/World Studies, 10th grade Modern European History, 9th Grade AVID

“One of my favorite teachers was my High school history teacher, she was my favorite teacher because she actively engaged students in pretty thoughtful conversations regarding U.S. History and she really made history real for us. She was very caring, thoughtful and was able to engage her students in class.”

“One thing that my students should know about me is that I am very introverted so it’s really difficult for me to be high energy 24/7.”



Cameron Rowland.

Cameron Rowland
Teaches: U.S. History and Modern European History

“One of my favorite teachers growing up was Mr. Welsh, who taught AP US History here at M-A. He was the first person who really showed me a new type of history, where it wasn’t just what it said in the textbook and that’s the facts, it was going out and exploring history and figuring out what you think of it.”

“I want my students to know that respect is a really big deal for me and what I don’t want them to know is that I was in musicals when I was little. My favorite play that I was in was Into The Woods, I played the cow.”



Keith Burgelin.

Keith Burgelin
Teaches: English III, English Language Learners

“I actually attended Menlo-Atherton High school so of course, I have to reference the amazing teachers that I had. Specifically, because I am an English teacher I have to acknowledge Ms. Gill and Ms. Otsuka that really did motivate me to get into this profession.”

“I want [my students] to know that I am so passionate about this, that working with people is one of the things I love most and what I love about teaching and also the subject matter, so English literature, analyzing, delving into a text is what I love to do and I am so happy to be here.”



Mark Helfenberger.

Mark Helfenberger
Teaches: Biology

“In High School my favorite teacher was Mr. Hinchkey. He was a science teacher as well, and he was always really excited about science he sometimes acted a little weird and crazy but we really always enjoyed his class, he made us want to be there and want to learn science.”

“I really want my students to know that they can always come to me if they need anything, no matter what it is. What I don’t want them to know is that I’m an absolutely terrible dancer and they don’t need to see that.”




Greta Guerrero-Betteo.

Greta Guerrero-Betteo
Teaches: Spanish 1, Spanish 4, and Native Speakers

“[My favorite teacher was] Mr. Leubin, he was a grandson of a Holocaust survivor and he was my history teacher so whenever he taught, he taught with experience, would share stories, would really get us engaged. I fell in love with history, he was a big story teller so I was able to learn history through story telling. And my first book that I read in English as an immigrant was The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank.”

“I want my students to know that I care, that I truly, truly care and that I will find a way to support them even in the most challenging of situations. I don’t give up, I will not give up. I tell my students that it is much harder to fail this class then to pass it because I won’t give up.”



Lisa Hennefarth.

Lisa Hennefarth
Teaches: Algebra, Topics

“I went to Catholic school and my favorite teacher was my second-grade teacher her name was Sister Adriane. I liked her because she was very gentle, gentle spirited, she played the guitar and she would sing to us and I loved that. It was at the time when a TV show was on called The Flying Nun and she reminded me of her.”

“I think the biggest thing that I want my students to understand is that I try to create a classroom environment where students feel safe and that they feel that I’m fair and equitable. And that I’m somebody I want them to be able to talk to or seek me out if they need help or they have a question.”



Khoa Dao.

Khoa Dao
Teaches: Algebra 1 and finite math
“I like playing video games especially Dota 2, I’m a foodie I love to eat and I’m always looking for a great new restaurant to go to and try, I like to go to the gym a lot and I used to play tennis.”

“I want my students to know that I really care for them and I really want them to succeed, that they can always come to me if they ever need anything.”



Mary Robinson.

Mary Robinson
Teaches: AS English 1, Academy 2, and English 2

“I had an English teacher called Ms. Gaylord and she was my freshman and sophomore English teacher and she was so wonderful because she was very playful, energetic and in fact she had this alter ego that on our very first day she introduced us to, Trixie Vixen… She then had us write poems about our alter egos. That’s where I found my love for writing and learned how fun and playful it could be. I really admire her for her guts.”

“I want my students to know that I believe in second and third and fourth chances, I want them to know that I understand that mistakes happen and that forgiveness is key in order to move on.”



Lena Presseskey.

Lena Presseskey
Teaches: AS English II and English I support

“My favorite teacher was Liane Strub who’s here at M-A, because she is so passionate about literature, and because she’s a hoot and she makes class so fun.”

“I want my students to know that I am a tough grader because I have high expectations.”






Jenny Hoffman.

Jenny Hoffman
Guidance Office

“My favorite teacher was Mr. Horton, my 7th and 8th grade English teacher. He challenged me to read Homer and Shakespeare in Jr. High, and taught me to love reading works that I might have otherwise found dry by adding cool projects and bringing things to life with his dynamic teaching style. We even participated in a worldwide problem-solving competition, which was fun.”

“I want my students to know that I am very excited to be a part of the M-A community. My husband was a graduate of M-A, so I’ve been hearing about what a great place it is for many years, and am happy to be a member of such a diverse and positive community.”



Amanda Bianchi.

Amanda Bianchi
Teaches:  P.E.

“My favorite teacher was Ms. Lotty, my seventh grade P.E. Teacher and she was also my coach and so I really like sports and she was a great influence.”

“I can be sarcastic and seem intimidating but I actually like to have a lot of fun in P.E. My favorite P.E. game to teach is badminton, my favorite sport to play is basketball and my favorite sport to watch on T.V. is football.”



Michael Solis.

Michael Solis
Room: I-1
Teaches: Academy of multi media arts

“My favorite teacher was my English teacher, my freshman year of high school. He really challenged us as students and he really cared about us as individuals, he was a really cool guy and I’m still friends with him.”

“[I want my students to know] I’m really interested in modern art forms and interventions.”





Valeria Lorenzo.

Valeria Lorenzo
Room: G-3
Teaches: Study skills classes, US Government, works for the Research department

“My favorite teacher was my ESL teacher because I came here when I was thirteen years old and had to study English as a second language, and she really pushed me to do well in school and motivated me to take regular English.”

“I want my students to know that I’m here to help them, to ask for help and to reach out when they really need it.”



Lee Trampleasure.

Lee Trampleasure
Room: D-4
Teaches: Physics, AS Physics

“My first favorite teacher was my 7th and 8th grade science teacher because he just made science interesting and exciting. In senior year of high school we had something called social living, everyone called it sex drugs and Rock n Roll, it was all about how you think about things and we had to do reflective journalism and I really like what my teacher said: look, you have to write the journal but if you feel like this is something you don’t want me to read fold it over and staple it and I thought that was really neat.”

“I like hiking, bike riding, I have ridden the entire west coast from Canada all the way down to San Luis Obispo. I did my first trip in high school during my junior and senior year, some of my friends and I got on our bikes and rode all the way to Seattle.”



Robert Everett Lawrence.

Robert Everett Lawrence
Room: D-11
Teaches: Regular geometry, algebra support

“My favorite teacher, no surprise, was a math teacher and the reason she was my favorite teacher was because it was a very challenging class and she had an ability to make the difficulty seem reachable, I think she did that by creating relationships with the students and really spending time to get to know them which made the class comfortable so that when it was difficult it didn’t feel that way.”

“I want my students to know that I am strict because I care about their learning and this is an environment where my kids can’t get away with much and that’s on purpose because we’ve got a job to do here but that doesn’t mean I’m not fun, I am fun but it takes me a while until I can really let that side of my personality come out because I have to establish that I can trust the kids to let me be that way and still get learning done.”



Margaret McKinley.

Margaret McKinley
Room: E-22
Teaches: Integrated Math and Pheonix

“I’ve been so focused on my kids because I have three children so I’m just starting to redevelop interests because they’ve taken up so much of my time with sports and things, so I like youth sports, going to watch them play sports, I like to read, and when I have time I like to sit down and play the piano.”

“I’d like to see my students really progress.”

Sarah Orttung is a senior in her third year on the staff. She likes to write features and opinions to bring attention to issues that may otherwise be overlooked. She hopes that the Chronicle can be a force for social change, and is excited to help others on their staff use their voices in an influential way.

Erica Miner is a senior, this will be her second year on staff and first year as the media specialist. She enjoys photography and film and focuses on multimedia production. For her last year of high school, she hopes to contribute unique and meaningful content.

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