Leadership (E), Middle School Instructional Coach
Education: Bachelor of Arts, African American Studies, English concentration, University of California, Los Angeles. Masters of Education, Social Justice Emphasis, University of California, Los Angeles
Bio: Rose Agamegwa started her teaching career with LAUSD in 2000. She taught K, 1, and 5th grades at Western Avenue Elementary School. She and her fiancé, Doug, moved to the Dallas area in 2005 where she taught 5th grade for 4 years. New opportunities led them back to Los Angeles in 2009 and, since then, she has taught middle school at two charter schools and eventually found her way back to LAUSD in 2013 as a 2nd grade teacher at Melrose Avenue S.T.E.A.M. Magnet. Rose is an all-girls alumna. She says that her years at Immaculate Heart High School were some of “the best years” of her life. Her love of upper grades and single-gender education has led her to GALA, where she hopes to be part of what will become the best times of these girls’ lives! She understands all too well the challenges, yet the beauty of being a woman in today’s society. Rose loves all things orange, gold, and leopard. She is currently learning to blog. In her spare time, she loves to plan parties, watch TV, decorate and redecorate her home, and spend time with her husband, family, and friends.
English (7), American Literature (11), Creative Writing (6), Yearbook (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with a Minor in Sustainable Design and Business Administration Concentration, University of California, Berkeley. Masters of Arts in Teaching with a Gifted Education Certificate, University of Southern California.
Bio: Iris Agrafiotis grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and is the daughter of Greek immigrants. During her high school years, she was a competitive gymnast and nationally ranked triple jumper. She then attended UC Berkeley, where she studied architecture and city planning. After receiving her BA, she worked for several tech startups based out of Silicon Valley doing sales, marketing, public relations, and partnerships. In a change of heart, she transitioned to a career in education and received her Master’s of Arts in Teaching from USC, specializing in English Language Arts and Gifted Education. Prior to joining the GALA team, Ms. Agrafiotis helped to successfully found a new public charter middle school in the San Fernando valley. She joins GALA eager to share her passion for lifelong learning and entrepreneurship. She is also a certified Pilates Mat Instructor through the Equinox Pilates Institute and loves teaching Pilates, yoga, gymnastics, and other forms of fitness. In her spare time, she likes to travel, cook, paddleboard, and spend time with family and friends.
Math (7), Exploring Computer Science, Mathletes (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Los Angeles
Master of Education (in process) - University of California, Los Angeles
Bio: Ms. Artis grew up in San Diego, California before moving to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. During her undergraduate years, she rediscovered her love for teaching and working with students as an intern for CalTeach and a camp counselor for UCLA UniCamp. After years as an AVID tutor in Santa Monica, she entered the UCLA Teacher Education Program where she is currently working towards her Masters in Education. Ms. Artis is passionate about teaching mathematics and creating an environment where students' math identities can grow in the face of challenges. She is excited to be part of the GALA family and is committed to supporting and empowering young women in their journey with STEM.
Algebra 1, Geometry, Math (8)
Bachelors of Science in Mathematical & Scientific Computation; Minor in Education -- University of California, Davis
Masters of Education -- University of California, Los Angeles
Bio: Ms. Barajas grew up in a small Central Valley town before moving to Los Angeles. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is passionate about co-creating a supportive and inclusive learning community where everyone’s voices are heard and all identities are valued. She loves math and finding ways to help students see math as a tool to understand the world around them. As a Latina in STEM, she is passionate about working with families, communities, and colleagues to empower girls through education and support girls' sense of belonging in STEM. Ms. Barajas is excited to start her teaching career at GALA!
Spanish 1, Spanish 2, Spanish 1 (E)
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Suffolk University
Spanish Single Subject Teaching Credential,
California State University, Los Angeles
Ms. Black grew up in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. There she attended an all-girls polytechnic elementary and secondary Catholic school. The education, love,
support, and empowerment received at this school has made a big positive impact in her life, personally and as an educator. During her adolescence, Ms. Black moved to the United States; being an immigrant and latina in the US were now part of her identity, and preserving her culture, her mother tongue, became essential to her. After completing high school in Massachusetts, Ms. Black attended Suffolk University; there she fell in love with teaching working at a preschool in East Boston through the AmeriCorps Jumpstart program. At SU, she also worked as a Spanish Modern Language Assistant to the Spanish professors, being a TA and tutor. That is where Ms. Black developed a passion for teaching the Spanish language, history and diverse cultures of Spanish speaking countries. Upon completing her undergraduate studies and taking some time for travel, volunteerism, and working in performing arts non-profit organizations in Boston, Ms. Black moved to the city of angels. Living in Los Angeles, she attended Cal State LA where she received her teaching credential in Spanish. In her spare time, Ms. Black loves to spend time with her cat Prince Watson, listening to music, reading, travelling, going hiking, camping, attending concerts, going to comedy shows, playing golf, going to the nursery, and checking out new exhibitions at museums and art galleries. Ms. Black is excited to join the GALA family and work with our communities to empower our girls to be confident, to thrive, and to become actively engaged justice-oriented global citizens.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Masters of Arts, Elementary Education, Bilingual, Bicultural Education, California State University, Northridge
Administrative Services Credential, California State University, Northridge
Bio: Ms. Brown has always called Los Angeles home and attended local LAUSD schools through middle school. In high school, Ms. Brown attended Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls secondary school. Ms. Brown started her teaching career with LAUSD in 1991 as a 6th grade teacher and taught for many years, helping her students find their voices through improved literacy. Identified as a literacy expert, Ms. Brown worked for seven years as a LAUSD literacy coach and district literacy/intervention specialist. Ms. Brown’s passion and commitment has always been working directly with students, so she returned to a full time teaching position. She looks forward to educating and supporting the young women of GALA! Ms. Brown enjoys spending time with her friends and family, bogey boarding, and doing volunteer work. Some of her favorite things are donuts, rescue animals, glitter and Halloween!
Science (7), AP Biology, Horticulture (6)
Education: Bachelor of Science, Psychobiology, UCLA; Master of Education, UCLA (in progress)
Awards: LAUSD 2020 Rookie of the Year.
Bio: Ms. Clark grew up in San Rafael, California, which is just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. She is very excited to join the GALA family, and looks forward to empowering and supporting young women to become leaders in STEM fields. She is passionate about science, specifically Biology, and loves spending time outdoors. She is happiest when she is playing volleyball, hiking, camping, waterskiing, backpacking, crafting, or spending time with her family.
Science (8), Biology, Sports Medicine, Assistant Athletic Director
Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences, Clemson University
Master of Arts, Secondary Science Education, California State University Northridge
Bio: Ms Eckel moved from the small town of Florence, New Jersey to Los Angeles in 2006. After receiving her BS in Biological Sciences from Clemson University (Go Tigers!), she began her teaching career as a Senior Teaching Assistant at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor New Jersey. At the community college she taught many nursing and pre-nursing students in a variety of lab courses including Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, and Non-Majors Biology. Ms. Eckel began teaching science in Los Angeles Unified School District in 2006 and is excited to join the GALA family. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, baking, sports, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Leadership (E), Title 1 Coordinator, Testing Coordinator
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies, Mathematics Minor, California State University, Fullerton
Masters of Arts, Teaching Mathematics, University of Southern California (USC)
Bio: Ashley Fernandes has always had a passion for teaching Mathematics. From a young age, she loved helping her classmates and three siblings with their math homework and studying for tests. As a proud alumna of an all-girls school, Mrs. Fernandes credits many of her amazing high school teachers for her motivation to become a teacher. In her spare time, Mrs. Fernandes loves spending time with her husband and two daughters, baking and decorating cookies, and watching new and old movies. She is one of the founding teachers at GALA and excited to see the school continue to grow and prosper.
Spanish (2), Spanish (3)
Education: Bachelor of Arts, major in Spanish, minor in education, University of California, Los Angeles. Elementary Education, California State University, Los Angeles. Single Subject Education, Mount Saint Mary’s University. Ms. Flores attended primary catholic school, and LAUSD middle and high school.
Bio: Ms. Flores has taught 2nd and 5th grade and was the head of the Spanish Department at Cathedral Chapel School since 2001. She studied and lived in Granada, Spain. Her passion is teaching and she is thrilled to play a role in your daughter’s education at GALA. She loves to travel and spend time with her husband, daughter, and the rest of her family.
History (7), US History, AP US History, Ethnic Studies (E)
M.A. in Education, Stanford University
M.A. in Latin American Studies, Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies at Georgetown University
B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill
Bio: Mr. Gonzalez recently moved to Los Angeles after completing a Master of Arts in Education at Stanford University. He is from Bogota, Colombia and has lived in North Carolina for several years. He likes to research historical topics related to human rights and other themes in Latin American history. During his studies at UNC Chapel Hill and Georgetown University, he worked with distinguished anthropologists, historians, and political scientists on many research projects. In 2019, he began teaching history in Bogota in elementary school, and his love for the profession led him to continue teaching in the Bay Area. He previously taught European and World History in Mountain View, California. In his spare time, Mr. Gonzalez enjoys reading history books, watching soccer, and dancing salsa. He's also an expert pizza maker and a Carolina Tar Heels fan! In all, Mr. Gonzalez is happy to join GALA and teach girls the importance of history and politics in our daily lives.
Math (6), Computer Science (6), Exploring Computer Science, Pentathalon (E)
Bachelor of Science, Applied Mathematics, UCLA
Master of Education, UCLA (in progress)
Bio: Mr. Hale’s first computer had an Intel 386, which made him cooler than all his friends, and he’s been studying hardware and software ever since. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley and has lived in Southern California his whole life. In school, his first love was history, second love classics, but then he fell in love with math when he discovered how challenging and empowering it could be. He wants to help students overcome math anxiety and frustration so they can have the same epiphany. He loves GALA because he knows, at some schools, computing and math are fields where not everyone feels like they belong, and the girls of GALA will be the ones to change that. When he’s not teaching, Mr. Hale loves cooking and eating, drinking unreasonable amounts of coffee, and exploring places he’s never been with his trusty companion Mitch, the best dog in the world... which is objectively true.
AP World History, AP Psychology
Education: Bachelor of Arts, History & Education, University of California, Santa Cruz
Bio: James Harpole was raised in the Los Angeles area and graduated from South High School in Torrance. He received a BA in History and a minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz. For his BA, he primarily focused on the early histories of the United States and Central/South America, however, he enjoys learning about all types of history. He is passionate about issues involving education- particularly about educational equity and public school reform. He is excited to begin working at GALA, as he feels that it is very important to encourage girls to enter STEM fields. In his spare time, Mr. Harpole loves going to the movies, hiking, running , loves animals and meeting new people.
English (9), Advanced Composition (12), Youth and Law (Mock Trial Team) (E)
Education: Master of EducationTeacher Education ProgramGraduate School of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Bio: Ms. Leslie Hemstreet realized her lifelong dream of being a teacher after moving from Portland, OR to Los Angeles in 2011. A former librarian, her first job in LA was opening a brand-new computer lab for Gardena Elementary and she instantly fell in love with LAUSD. After getting her elementary credential and Master’s in Education from UCLA, she taught at an LAUSD science magnet for several years. After earning double single-subject credentials from UCLA in both Social Sciences and English Language Arts, she was recruited to teach high school. She believes in single-gender education even more strongly after watching her own GALA goddess (class of 2024) flourish. She loves rescuing dogs, cats, and chickens… she also aspires to have a rescued goat, llama, and horse someday. Besides being a total news junkie, she loves reading and writing science fiction, speculative fiction, and teen dystopian fiction.
Education: Masters of Science in Teaching Exceptional Adolescents, Fordham University, New York.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with three minors in Educational Theatre, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies, and French, College of Arts and Science, New York University.
Bio: Originally from Florida by way of New York, Lindsay moved to Los Angeles in 2019 from Brooklyn, where she taught 7th grade Social Studies, Science, Writing, and Reading Intervention in both lead teaching and integrated co-teaching roles for four years. As a queer woman, she was a proud sponsor of the Gender & Sexualities Alliance, and for three years in a row, she supported students in organizing an annual Walkout to End Gun Violence as part of an interdisciplinary unit. Her passion for intersectionality, social and racial justice, and educational equity runs deep, and she is thrilled to be in a position where she can work with youth across all grade levels and subject areas to ensure they have the support to learn and do more than they thought possible! She is humbled to work with such driven and caring young people and absolutely loves GALA! It's also very important for everyone to know just how obsessed she is with her pup Eleanor Roosevelt! In her spare time, Lindsay enjoys cuddling with Ellie, dancing like a fool, going to the theatre, playing with her niece and nephew, and imagining a world where love, care, and community are at the heart of our society and its systems.
Algebra 1 (8), Algebra 2
Education: Master of Arts in Integrated STEM Teaching, Cal State LA; Online Teaching and Learning Certificate, Cal State LA; Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, Minor in Mathematics, Trinity University
Bio: Arden Houghton is entering her second year as an educator. She has always loved math and is ecstatic to teach young women how to embrace their love of STEM as well. Ms. Houghton attended an all-girls' high school in Houston before going to college in San Antonio. In San Antonio, she discovered her love for education and began taking as many education-related courses as Trinity would allow. After taking a year after graduation to help take care of her grandmother, Ms. Houghton picked up everything and moved to Los Angeles, where she entered the Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency program through California State University, Los Angeles. Through this program, Ms. Houghton learned how to teach math through a social justice lens and make sure that all students know they can perform well in their STEM classes. During her sparse free time, Ms. Houghton enjoys reading, cuddling with her dog (Saoirse), going on hikes, and flying back to Texas to visit family. She cannot wait to meet the girls at GALA and help them achieve their full potential.
Education: BFA in Visual Arts, University of Colorado, Boulder
Bio: Jennifer grew up in the outskirts of New York City, where she discovered her love for the arts at a young age. She went on to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she majored in fine arts. After graduating, she began working as a designer in magazine publishing. Her ambition for increased work opportunities brought her to Los Angeles in 2000, where she began to work in the entertainment field. She has since worked for advertising agencies representing the major studios in LA, designing film and tv campaigns. She took time out from fulltime advertising work when she started a family, which is also when she gained experience teaching middle and high school age students. Jennifer is excited to share her love and knowledge of graphic design and passion for art with the students at GALA. She and her two kids, two dogs and husband live in Echo Park, where she enjoys daily hillside walks. Jennifer is an accomplished ceramic artist and maintains an art studio at her house, where you will likely find her when she is not teaching. She also enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking and playing tennis.
English (7), AP Seminar, Poetry Slam (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies, The New School, New York. Masters of Arts in Teaching, University of Southern California.
Bio: Rachel Knopfler grew up in Los Olivos, a small town near Santa Barbara, California. After receiving a BA from The New School in New York, she had a career in public relations where she worked with technology companies based out of Silicon Valley. After working in the technology sector, she transitioned to education and pursued a Master’s of Arts in Teaching at USC. Rachel deeply connects to STEM focused education, and to GALA’s mission to create an all-girls environment that fosters diversity, female leadership, and excellence. In her spare time, she can be found at the dance studio taking lots of dance classes from jazz-funk to hip-hop or spending quality time with friends and family.
AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A (Java), Intro to Data Science, HS Robotics (E)
Education: Bachelor or Science, Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, University of California, Berkeley
Bio: John Landa is a former Software Engineer whose resume includes IBM and a dot-com company. His teaching career began at South Gate High School where he taught Math and Computer Science. He later moved to South East High School where he was the lead teacher of the Technology and Media Academy. John spent the last 8 years working at UCLA for the Exploring Computer Science (ECS) program writing curriculum, training new Computer Science teachers, and striving for equity in Computer Science. His latest curriculum project has been writing a unit on E-Textiles which combines sewing, crafting, circuitry, and programming. John still works for Code.org and ECS training new K-12 Computer Science teachers. He joins GALA eager to share his passion for creativity and problem solving with his new students. John’s favorite activity is spending time with his wife and three daughters.
History (8), World History (10), Pentathalon (E)
Bachelor of Arts in History, California State University, Long Beach
Social Science Teaching Credential, Biola University
Masters of Arts (in progress) in Education, Biola University
Bio: My family immigrated to the United States of America with nothing but a hope for a better life and to provide me with opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. Along with the experience of being an English Learner, I have adopted my parent’s ideals of resiliency, responsibility, and hard work that have guided me to become the person I am today. I have received a BA in History with primary focus in U.S. and Early Modern Europe. In addition to teaching History (AP European, World, U.S., and Human Geography) in various schools and learning centers, I am passionate about working with students to help achieve their goals both inside and outside the classroom. Along with working closely with Korean EL students, I have worked as a translator for middle-schools, colleges, broadcast stations, and sports teams. In my spare time, I enjoy Pilates, visiting museums and art galleries, catching up on shows, and spending time with friends and family. By teaching History, I hope that my students learn to build connections with their communities, culture, and identities in our ever-changing society. As a first-year educator, I am very excited to join the GALA team in supporting the next generation of empowered women and global citizens.
Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, AP Statistics, Engineering (E)
Education: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia
Math Credential, California State University Dominguez Hills
Bio: After an engineering career designing bridges and buildings, I shifted gears into education and began teaching math full time in 2012. I've taught Geometry, Precalculus, AP Calculus AB, Intro to Engineering, Physics, and a social and emotional curriculum in Advisory. I also head the WASC accreditation team, and am the NHS moderator. In my spare time, I'm always reading for my two book clubs, and love to travel with my husband and two college-aged daughters.
Music, Choir (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Cello Performance, Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, and Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL
Bio: Mrs. Leppard comes to Los Angeles by way of Orlando, FL where she attended the University of Central Florida for undergraduate and graduate school. She holds performance degrees in cello and voice. She began teaching for a non-profit music program which offered instruction in stringed instruments for Title I schools in the Orlando area, and then transitioned to teaching music in the public schools. This began a lifelong passion for music education and a desire to share her love of music and expertise with students. She has taught orchestra, guitar, band, general music, music appreciation, digital music production, and chorus and is very excited to bring those skills to the amazing girls at GALA. In her free time, Mrs. Leppard enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, camping, sewing, rockhounding, cycling, gardening, and reading.
Science (8), Physics, AP Physics, Robotics-Middle School (E)
Bio: I came from a family of teachers and we weren’t well off. Teaching became my life’s ambition because I wanted others to see that poverty can be overcome and education is the key.My teaching career started in 2004 as a Physics Teacher in Baguio City, Philippines. During my teaching career in the Philippines, I coached students for various Science Quiz Bee Competitions and Science Fair Projects from school level to national levels in the country. When I moved to Los Angeles, I started teaching for LAUSD in 2007 as an 8th Grade Science Teacher and in 2014 I moved to Senior High School to teach Physics, Chemistry and Exploring Computer Science. I want to share my passion in S.T.E.M. to all my students that is why I started a Robotics Team in my former High School and went to several competitions. After work, I spend most of my time with my wife, who is also a teacher, and two sons Jez and Shan. I love fishing and travelling.
Science (6), AP Environmental Science
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Studies, Wellesley College
Master of Arts, Urban Education, Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
Bio: As a proud graduate of a women's college, Ms. McFadden is thrilled to be a part of the GALA family and is fiercely committed to helping catalyze the leadership of girls in STEM fields. Ms. McFadden’s love of science and learning has brought her to roles as both a classroom teacher and a teacher coach. She taught biology and was co-lead teacher of the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Academy (a California Partnership Academy) at John Muir High School in Pasadena Unified School District. Most recently, she has served as an instructional coach with Teach For America, supporting new teachers in developing rigorous, social justice-oriented pedagogy. Ms. McFadden earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Wellesley College, during which time she explored her passion for the outdoors and conservation through studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Mexico, and Tanzania. In her spare time, Ms. McFadden enjoys hiking, running, and cheering on her favorite sports teams (go Orioles!).
Physical Education (6) (7) (8), Tennis Coach (HS)
Education: Leeds University (Sports Business Management), Nottingham University (Physical Education)
Bio: Mr Morrison was born and raised in the U.K. where he graduated from Leeds University in Sports Business Management. He always had a passion for sport and had a lot of experience coaching football, apologies soccer, so naturally pursued teaching and gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Physical Education from Nottingham University. Mr. Morrison believes that P.E. is an extremely important and unique subject; students not only leave school knowing how to lead a healthy lifestyle, but they also develop key social skills in order to thrive in the workplace. In his spare time, Mr. Morrison likes to DJ, produce music and travel. He did an around the world trip with his wife visiting 16 countries and believes it has given him a better perspective of the unique cultural differences we have in society. He is also a die hard Manchester United fan! He’s excited to join the GALA family and is looking forward to the new school year.
Math (6), Accelerated Math (7), Aerospace and Flight (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies:Teaching English as a Second Language and Middle School Mathematics, Northeastern Illinois University-Chicago, IL.Master of Arts:Middle Level Education in Mathematics and English as a Second Language, Northeastern Illinois University
Bio: Mr. Mulka has just moved to Los Angeles and has enjoyed his first year sight seeing and immersing himself into the new culture that surrounds him. Mr. Mulka is originally from Chicago, where he moved to LA with his husband of 11 years and his beautiful dog, Kelie (who is his fur baby). Mr. Mulka has been in multiple teaching settings, but has a true passion for mathematics. During graduate school, Mr. Mulka was a graduate assistant whose prime responsibility was to get his undergraduate students to pass the math credential for college. Before he was a math teacher, Mr. Mulka was a professional makeup trainer in which he inspired everyone not to look great on the outside, but most importantly beautiful on the inside. His passion to excellence, humor and dedication led him to become a math teacher who focuses holistic on concepts to make his students more well rounded in every aspects of life. Mr. Mulka is honored to become part of GALA and cannot wait to see our future leaders blossom and become part of the change and solutions we are seeking. Mr. Mulka has many hobbies of interest, but there is one that he has been studying for the last 5 years. Mr. Mulka is an advocate and an enthusiast to the preservation and survival of the honey bee. Mr. Mulka has created several lessons in advisory and math to spread the awareness of the honey bee. Outside of the preservation and survival of the honeybee, he enjoys to rollerblade, trying new restaurants, traveling and catching up on the latest makeup trends.
Physical Education, Athletic Director
Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology, Cal Poly Pomona
Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision, University of Phoenix
Bio: Ms. Petrich is a California native from the city of Long Beach, graduating in 1996 from Saint Joseph High School. She continued her education at Cal Poly Pomona, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, as well as, a single subject credential in Physical Education. Ms. Petrich also earned a Masters in Educational Leadership and Supervision, along with an Administrative Credential from the University of Phoenix. She has been teaching middle and high school physical education in LAUSD since 2008. Her goal is to teach students how to be active, healthy, productive adults once they have graduated. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, reading, attending concerts, and game night with family and friends.
Physical Education (7), Physical Education (8), Advanced PE, Broadcast (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Psychology & Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine
Master of Arts, Teaching, University of Southern California
Bio: Mrs. Ragozzino grew up in La Mirada, California and now resides in West Hollywood. She graduated from an all-girl high school and had the best experience. She taught in elementary schools for 10 years and decided to get an added credential to teach physical education to share her enthusiasm for fitness and health. Wellness has been an important part of her life and passion; a specialty she’s beyond excited to share with the GALA family. Her goal is to empower young women to feel confident and teach them how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. She has her CrossFit Level 1 certification and is also a certified group fitness instructor.
English (8), AP English Language & Composition, English Learner Coordinator, Broadcast (E)
Education: Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism, Ohio University
Master of Education, Wright State University
Bio: Sheila Reid launched her teaching career in 1995 at Bowsher High School in Toledo, Ohio. She was a part of the Toledo Area Writing Project, Humanities 2000 (a partnership with The University of Toledo), and she participated in an Asian Studies Program where she collaborated with other colleagues to provide presentations to fellow educators. In 2000, she moved to San Bernardino, California where she continued her teaching career. She participated in the Inland Area Writing Project, obtained her CLAD credential, AVID training, and taught AVID courses. In Los Angeles, she educated freshmen at Lynwood High School while she also instructed adult learners at LA College International. She taught courses in College Writing, Literature, and Introduction to Computers. When offered to be the Dean of General Education, she welcomed the opportunity and fulfilled her duties until her position ended in 2010. That same year, she moved to New York, where she taught Pre-AP English to freshmen students. Missing family and close friends, she returned to California in 2012. In Blythe, she taught ninth graders and was trained in the most recent Jane Schaffer Writing Strategies. She has since moved back to the Los Angeles area, where she is happy to be a part of LAUSD. She is looking forward to collaborating with her fellow educators and sharing her passion for literature and writing with our young ladies at GALA.
Science (7), Chemistry, AP Chemistry, Bio-Medical (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis
Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education at Stanford University
Bio: Ms. Streff grew up in the small town of Red Wing, Minnesota before heading to St. Louis for undergrad, where she discovered her passion for chemistry. After a year spent at Stanford in a PhD program for organic chemistry research, she realized her true calling lay in teaching, and she transitioned to a master's program in science education. After earning her Master's, Ms. Streff moved to Los Angeles in 2020. She is entering her second year of teaching in LAUSD, and is excited to join GALA and educate the next generation of scientists. In her free time, Ms. Streff loves to spend time with her husband, cook lasagna, bake new desserts, and take care of her pets.
Education: Bachelors of Science, Biology, SUNY Albany
Masters of Architecture, Southern California Institute of Architecture
Bio: I moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles to study architecture and have been smitten with both the field of architecture and the city of Los Angeles ever since. I love LA’s diversity, its eccentricities and, of course, its weather. I also love the wide range of architectural styles that coexist within the city. In the twenty years that I have been working in the field of architecture I have had the opportunity to work with several amazing architects that have helped to shape Los Angeles, including Frank Gehry, Barbara Bestor and Brenda Levin, and have had the chance to work on projects including Blackbirds, Silvertop and Dodgers Stadium. I love the field of architecture and its balance between art and science, abstract and concrete, drawings and the built environment, and am very excited to share it with the students of GALA.
English (6), History (6), Middle School Journalism (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Ethnic Studies and Education, University of California, San Diego. Masters of Education, School Leadership Program, California State University, Dominguez Hills (in progress), Administrative Services Credential, California State University, Dominguez Hills (in progress)
Bio: Ms. Valera is a proud first-generation Filipina American and lifelong Angelena. As a child, she adored listening to the stories of her Lolo and Lola, both of whom were teachers before they immigrated from the Philippines. Supported by her hardworking family, she learned empowerment through education. After attending both public and private schools around the San Fernando Valley and graduating from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, her passion for equity and social justice led her to study Ethnic Studies and Education at UCSD. Upon graduating, she jumped right into her first teaching job, while earning her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at CSUN. During her 23 years as an educator, she has remained passionate about providing her students with an empathetic, empowering, and equitable education. Before GALA, she taught Kindergarten, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. Her past eight years were spent at Melrose Avenue Elementary Math/Science/Technology Magnet in West Hollywood. Ms. Valera brings with her a deep love of reading, writing, and history, as well as a fervent commitment to the implementation of Social Emotional Learning, restorative and trauma-informed practices, anti-racist curriculum, and culturally/linguistically responsive pedagogy. As a mother to an innovative and strong 11-year-old girl, she feels especially honored to be part of GALA's mission of ensuring that young women possess the academic foundation, leadership qualities, growth mindset, and self-confidence to go out and succeed in STEM fields. When not teaching or learning, she loves reading, hiking, and spending time with family, especially her husband, daughter, Abigail, and rambunctious Boston Terrier, Roscoe. One day, she hopes to write a children's book about the adventures of Abigail and Roscoe.
English (10), AP Research, Journalism (E)
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and History from Wesleyan College. Master of Education, UCLA (2018)
Bio: Ms. Warlick moved to Los Angeles from her home state of Georgia. Soon thereafter, she began teaching at an international school in Redondo Beach where she fell deeply in love with teaching. She is currently working on her Master of Education at UCLA. As soon as she found out about GALA, she knew she wanted to work here and that GALA would be the perfect place to continue her career. She is a proud graduate of an all-women’s college and is passionate about education and social justice. In her spare time, she loves running, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She also loves squirrels!