English (6), History (6), 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.
Math (6), Exploring Computer Science
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.
English (6), History (6), Creative Writing (6th E), Speech (E)
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!
English (6), History (6), Horticulture (6th E), Environmental Science (E)
Bachelor of Arts in World Arts & Cultures with a Dance Concentration and Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Master of Education in Elementary Education, University of California, Los Angeles
Bio: Stephanie Castro has taught middle school English in LAUSD since 2014. She is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and is passionate about providing all of her students with quality instruction and a supportive learning environment. Stephanie views the classroom as a site of great possibility where we can imagine and create a more just world. She began her career at Studio School in Glassell Park where she worked with a great team of dedicated teachers, and is now incredibly excited to be joining the GALA team. Stephanie looks forward to guiding her students as they develop critical skills, acquire knowledge, and realize their brilliance and power. She is also a registered yoga teacher and has shared yoga with groups of all ages. Stephanie loves learning about different tools for wellness and enjoys sharing them with friends and family. In her free time she loves dancing, reading, hiking, traveling, playing soccer, and cooking.
Science (7), AP Biology, Volleyball (CIF)
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, Chemistry, AP Chemistry, LaCrosse/Volleyball (CIF), 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.
Math (6), 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 Purpura 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 study for tests. As a proud alumna of an all-girls school in Fullerton, CA, Ms. Purpura credits many of her amazing high school teachers for her motivation to become a teacher. She taught Geometry and Algebra at Manual Arts High School, and was the cheerleading coach for the past two years. Previously, Ms. Purpura taught at both the high school and middle school levels at Glendale High School and LACES. She is a fellow with the Math for America organization, supporting math teacher-leaders in their endeavors in the classroom. Ms. Purpura loves going to the movies, spending time with her friends, family, and fiancé (she's getting married in November!), and sharing and learning about Essential Oils. Ms. Purpura is extremely excited to begin her new journey at GALA.
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, Journalism (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.
Government, AP World History, AP Psychology, Leadership (E)
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 (8), English (9), American Literature (11), 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: Lindsay Herz recently moved to Los Angeles after teaching 7th grade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn for four years at Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School. There, she has taught Social Studies, Science, Writing, and Reading Intervention in both lead teaching and integrated co-teaching roles. At different points while at Launch, Lindsay served as Grade Level Chair, Special Education Coordinator, and co-chair of the Cultural Competency Committee. She is deeply passionate about educational equity and is thrilled to be in a position where she can work with girls across all grade levels and subject areas to ensure they have the tools and support to learn and do more than they thought possible! She is thrilled to be working with driven young women who will be our future leaders and innovators and recognizes that in order to change the status quo, women need to lift one another up and work together. She is deeply grateful to help cultivate a space where that work can happen at GALA. Originally from Florida by way of New York, Lindsay moved to Los Angeles to be with her partner Lindsey, who attend UCLA Law. In her spare time, Lindsay enjoys hip-hop dancing, going to the theatre, playing with her niece and nephew, hosting dinner parties, and hanging out with her partner.
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Intro to Theater (E)
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: 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
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 (7), History (8), World History
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.
Geometry, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus, 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.
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!).
Science (8), Exploring Computer Principles, AP Physics, Robotics-Middle School (E)
Math (7), Accelerated Math (7), Math (8), 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.
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), Advanced Composition, AP English Language, English Learner Coordinator
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.
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.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Music Composition, UCSB College of Creative Studies
Master of Arts, Ethnomusicology, UCLA
Bio: Ms. Truher is a composer, performer, and music scholar from Southern California who has travelled the world extensively and shared the stage with such luminaries as Linda Rondstadt, Sheila E., Lalo Guerrero, Celia Cruz, and the Mariachi Divas. She has prepared music and musicians for film and theatrical productions for Universal Pictures, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and other notable companies. As an instructor, Ms. Truher has worked with students from Kindergarten to college seniors, teaching vocal, instrumental, music theory and ethnomusicology, and has completed her 20th year with LAUSD. In her music classes, she strives to bring out the musicality of every student and to explore the ways in which music participation supports learning in all academic areas. Ms. Truher’s scholarly interest in music as a bridge for understanding has led her to focus on the music of Latin America, West Africa, and the Renaissance period of Spain. In her spare time she enjoys oil painting and visiting local museums and galleries.
English (9) (10), AP Research, Women's Studies (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!
THIS LIST SUBJECT TO CHANGE. For course descriptions, click HERE.