4th Grade

Susan McKeon, M.Ed, 2017 Quantum Academy Teacher of the Year, is a professional artist and a teacher in the Escondido Union School District since 2001 and has taught grades 4 and 5. She has participated in the CSU San Marcos DREAM workshops, UCSD’s Gifted and Talented program, AIMS Cohort of Arts Integration with Math and Science, and EUSD’s Apple Distinguished iRead Program. Believing that new knowledge requires a mind open to curiosity, challenge, creativity, and struggle, she inspires students to embrace the joys of learning in order to enter a world of endless possibilities. smckeon@eusd.org

Evan Ward has been teaching elementary education for three years, and this is his first year in the Escondido Union School District. He graduated in Liberal Studies at the University of San Diego. His interests outside of teaching include going to the beach, playing basketball, and working in wildlife conservation. He believes in helping his students build a growth mindset which encourages them to look for new ways in finding a solution. He has a passion for making all learning engaging and meaningful and looks forward to preparing our leaders of tomorrow. eward@eusd.org

Debbie Elliott, 2010 Rose Elementary EEEA Teacher of the Year, 2018 Culturally Responsive Teaching Endorsement, and 2019 Oak Hill Elementary Teacher of the Year, has been teaching 4th and 5th grade in the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) since 2005. She has been a member and contributor to the iRead community, an Apple Distinguished program and selected to work at the first 1:1 device school in EUSD. Debbie was born and raised in Escondido and thrived in the public schools in EUSD. She believes in embracing compassion and empathy for the individual/human and enthusiastically welcomes challenges that encourage her students to learn and grow to their fullest potential. Most importantly, Debbie loves to learn with her students in a safe, happy, equitable, and inclusive environment. delliott@eusd.org

5th Grade

Photo of Mr. Benson

Joey Benson, 2018 Quantum Academy Teacher of the Year, has been teaching with the Escondido Union School District since 2005. He has experience teaching 1st through 5th grade. He has spent the last 5 years in 5th. Joey is an active participant in iREAD, an Apple Distinguished program. He has taught with 1:1 devices for the past 5 years starting with iPods and then with iPads for the last two years. He encourages his students to not only be extraordinary in what they do, but also in who they are. jbenson@eusd.org

Diane DeWindt has been teaching in Escondido since 2005. The last 7 years have been in 5th grade and prior to that 3rd grade. Passions in STEAM learning practices have led students to be winners in many areas. She has been an active member of iRead, teaching with 1:1 devices for the past 6 years, a Math Field Day coach for many years, led teams at the STEAM Maker Festival, and a school site Teacher of the Year. Twenty-five years in business prior to teaching helps bring an authentic real world knowledge and enthusiasm to students. She encourages students to be the best they can be, by taking care of those around them. Classroom Motto: Be the change you want to see in the world! ddewindt@eusd.org

Tanner Simmonds is a third generation San Diego native, although he left his roots in Southern California for a bit to attend U.C. Berkeley. It was there he developed a great interest in both math and science. From Berkeley, he attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. His prior teaching experience has been in both 6th grade and 3rd grade where he empowered students to think creatively, critically, and with the possibility of great innovation. Mr. Simmonds is thrilled to be a Quark! tsimmonds@eusd.org

6th Grade

Photo of Mrs. Miramontes Solorzano

Vanessa Miramontes, 2015 Mission MS Teacher of the Year, 2015 EUSD Middle School Teacher of the Year, and 2001 Lincoln Elementary School Rookie Teacher of the Year, has been teaching in the Escondido Union School District since 2001. She has taught fifth grade, math support, yearbook, language arts, and technology in the middle school setting. She has experience teaching in a 1:1 classroom where every student has an iPad and laptop and is exploring new technologies such as 3D printing, prototyping, videography, robotics, and MincraftEDU. She is currently working alongside with CSUSM MakerEDX cohort, establishing a Maker Space for students and staff. She is making a difference in each child every day by being a positive role model, she influences students in a positive way. She brings her personal experiences and the challenges that she faced, letting them know that, yes, they can do it, and if you believe, you can achieve. vmiramontessolorzano@eusd.org,

Photo of Mrs. Buhler

Kim Buhler, 2011 LR Green Elementary School Teacher of the Year and 2015 San Diego CUE Teacher of the Year, graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from UCLA and decided to use her creativity with students in a public school setting. She earned her Bilingual Certificate in Spanish. While teaching at Glen View School in Escondido, she worked on her Science add-on credential at UCSD. She is a GATE certified teacher and has taught grades 1-6 in public school for over thirty years. She has participated in the district iRead program, and Project Live. She served as a team lead, a technology resource teacher, and on school site council for many years. She is a member of the Computer Using Educators and Maker Space groups. Her three sons have gone through Escondido schools and she is a local Escondido resident. Teaching students is her absolute joy. kbuhler@eusd.org

Michelle McKechnie I have been teaching middle school for over ten years. I studied Political Science at California State University, Fullerton. As a lover and teacher of history, it is my goal to engage students in living and becoming a part of history. I incorporate my passions for the fine arts, writing, history, and technology to create projects that are meaningful and applicable. I work to build strong lasting connections to those around me and I embrace the philosophy that each of us are magical and have something to contribute to the world. mmckechnie@eusd.org

7th Grade

Amy Murphy

I am passionate about bringing learning to life, high student engagement, exhibiting student creations, dreaming big and working bigger, thinking outside the box, and staying true to her ideas come what may. I am a Certified Apple Teacher, Google Certified. I love 7th-grade history and collaborating with middle school students. I know that when students align their passions and personal interests with academic goals, profound learning and change happens. amurphy@eusd.org Visit PBL7 online.

Greg Gombert (a.k.a. Mr. G) is a recent graduate of Cal State San Marcos’ teaching credential program. He joins Quantum Academy after 25-years in the US Navy circumnavigating the world. He also holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (Pre-medicine (Biology), the Naval Postgraduate School (Middle East/Sub-Saharan African Affairs, Hydropolitics), and the University of Southern California (MBA). Mr. G. believes in raising young learners who can navigate the world as responsible global citizens who are tolerant, kind, respectful, and curious. ggombert@eusd.org

Dr. Amanda Durschlag, 2020 Rose Elementary EEEA Teacher of the Year, 2018 Culturally Responsive Teaching Endorsement, has been teaching elementary school in EUSD for 6 years. This is her 7th year teaching, and first year in middle school. Amanda has a Master’s Degree in Teaching and a Doctoral Degree in Teacher Leadership in Digital Transformation. She also is pursuing a National Board Certification in English as a New Language. She is an Apple-certified teacher with Swift Playground recognition. Amanda’s passions lie within educational technology. Outside of teaching, she enjoys what San Diego has to offer by being active outdoors and soaking up the sun. adurschlag@eusd.org

8th Grade

Cindy Jackson, 2014 San Diego County Teacher of the Year and 2014 California Teacher of the Year State Finalist, has been teaching middle school since 2000. She has been teaching in a 1:1 iPad classroom, participates in iRead, and is experienced with problem-based learning. She has a Masters Degree in Educational Technology and Curriculum Design and uses this knowledge to facilitate her students’ learning. She builds lasting relationships with her students, helps them discover the passions and power they have in their lives, and believes all children should feel safe and respected in order to learn. cjackson@eusd.org

Photo of Mrs. Hansen

Christine Hansen, 2019 Quantum Academy Teacher of the Year, 2019 EUSD Teacher of the Year, and 2020 San Diego County Teacher of the Year, has been serving the Escondido Union School District and community since 2006. She has taught Math, Science, and Humanities in middle school and is National Board Certified in Math. Ms. Hansen has received many grants including the opportunity to participate in a Zero Gravity flight. She believes that everyone is a Math Person! chansen@eusd.org

Zoe Carpenter, 2012 San Diego County School Board Member of the Year, 2021 Quantum Academy Teacher of the Year, brings 25 years of educational experience with students, from kindergarten to college, into her classroom. She has industry experience, providing engineering and technical training to high tech companies as a senior training engineer. She has been a participant of EUSD’s Apple Distinguished iRead Program and has taught with 1:1 iPads the last seven years. She has spent the last four years at Quantum Academy and currently teaches 7 th /8 th grade science. She believes students can accomplish anything with a growth mindset and the power of YET. zcarpenter@eusd.org

SAI teacher and paraEDUCATOR

Photo of Mrs. Evans

Jill Evans, 2020 Quantum Academy Teacher of the Year, comes with over 20 years experience teaching special education as well as general education. She has worked in Los Angeles Unified, San Diego Unified, Rancho Santa Fe, and Poway Unified Districts. Jill has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has a Master’s Degree in Instruction and Leadership and was nominated for Disney’s American Teacher Awards in 2000. Jill inspires her students to be their best always and to be life long learners. jievans@eusd.org

Magali Ramos, 2020 Quantum Academy Classified Employee of the Year has been working in the district since 2015. She has BA in Psychological Science. She is happy to be at Quantum Academy. magramos@eusd.org

PE Teacher

Photo of Mrs. Moretti

Marissa Moretti, M.ed is happy to be one of the first elementary grade level certificated Physical Education teachers in the Escondido Union School District. EUSD has put together a new PE program that she is thrilled to share with Quantum Academy. Before joining this district, she taught in Poway Unified and San Diego Unified. The majority of her background is in Physical Education. This is where she holds a passion for teaching fitness education. Currently, she holds a Single Subject credential in Physical Education and a Masters of Elementary Education in grades K-6. I look forward to diving into the world of fitness with everyone here at Quantum, to not only share my love and knowledge of the subject, but to be a resource to introduce you to PE: "Powerful Education". mmoretti@eusd.org

Music/band Teacher