Welcome new 2019-2020 faculty!

Mrs. Caroline Chung- Speech Language Pathologist

Caroline succeeds Mr. Paul Bishop who accepted a position at the high school level in IUSD.

Caroline joins us after taking last year off to help raise her two children.  Previously, Caroline served at the elementary and early childhood level as a speech language pathologist in the Fremont Unified School District for several years.  Prior to Fremont, Caroline was an intern in both the Mountain View-Whisman School District and with Sutter Health.  Prior to Caroline’s professional experience and education in speech, Caroline taught kindergarten, first, and second grade in Illinois and New York.  Caroline earned her BA in English from the University of Michigan, her MS and teaching credential in childhood education from St. John’s University, and her MA in speech from San Jose State University.  Caroline’s last principal described her as professional, calm, prepared, an effective communicator, and “a true advocate for students”.  The Chung family has relocated to Irvine and Caroline is very excited to be joining the IUSD and PV family.

Ms. Sandy Eisele- TK-5th Grade Education Specialist Teacher

Sandy will be serving students for the first half of the school year while Mrs. Joyce Lam is on maternity leave.  The days Sandy is not available, recently retired PV education specialist Mrs. Barbara Ganser will be filling in.

Sandy joins us after retiring from a distinguished career in IUSD.  Sandy started with IUSD in 1973 and worked through 2010 at Green Tree Elementary School.  Since 2010, Sandy has filled in occasionally in K through 12th grade in education specialist roles.  Sandy’s career in education started a child as she tutored friends in mathematics in the basement of her family’s home.  Sandy’s father even built stools for her “classroom”.  Prior to teaching, Sandy served as a canoeing camp counselor and a Sunday school teacher in Topeka, Kansas.  Sandy earned her BA in psychology from the University of Kansas and her special education credential from CSUF.  Sandy is highly respected in IUSD and very excited to be joining the PV community for the next six months.

Ms. Floribeth Flores- Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Teacher

Floribeth succeeds Ms. Susan Oshiro who retired from IUSD.  

Floribeth most recently served as our long term sub in TK while Ms. Oshiro was on leave for several months last school year.  Previously, Floribeth subbed here numerous times in several classrooms.  Prior to subbing, Floribeth served PV students and families as an instructional assistant and student taught with Mrs. Hope Benzie in 4th grade.  Floribeth’s non-PV experience includes a student teaching placement in 1st grade in Santa Ana, working for the city of Orange in recreation, and working as an instructor though CSUF and Buena Park Unified for their Titans After School Education and Safety Program.  Floribeth earned her BA in liberal studies and her teaching credential from CSUF.  Floribeth is fluent in Spanish and earned her Pastoral Music Certificate from Loyola Marymount.  Floribeth is thrilled to be able to continue to serve the PV community!  

Mrs. Kristen (“KC”) Garrett- 2nd Grade Teacher

KC succeeds Mrs. Christy Smith who took a leave of absence from IUSD for the 2019-2020 school year.  

KC most recently taught at IUSD’s Deerfield Elementary School in 6th grade.  Previously, KC taught both 3rd and 4th grades in the Newport Mesa Unified School District.  Prior to KC’s experience in Newport Mesa, she student taught in the Anaheim City School District at the 1st grade level.  KC was described by her previous principal as “extraordinary”, “incredible”, “professional”, and “a natural”.  KC earned her BA in American Studies and her teaching credential and MA from CSUF.  KC is very excited to be joining the PV family!

Mrs. Shirley Lee (formerly Ms. Cho)- 2nd Grade Teacher

Shirley succeeds Ms. Natalie Elliott, Mrs. Andrea Miller, and Mrs. Hannah Singery who have all relocated to be closer to family.

Shirley was formerly a long term sub and instructional assistant with us.  Most recently, Shirley taught at IUSD’s Cypress Village Elementary School in 4th grade.  Shirley completed her student teaching in IUSD in 2nd and a 4th/5th grade combination class.  Shirley previously was a classroom teacher in 2nd through 6th grades at the Student Learning Center in Artesia.  Shirley earned her BA at CSULB and he MA and teaching credential at Pepperdine.  Shirley is fluent in Korean and has taught English in Brazil, Kenya, and Mexico.  Shirley is thrilled to be rejoining the PV team.

Ms. Elizabeth Rose Niehaus- 4th/5th Grade Science Teacher

Elizabeth will be serving students for the first half of the school year while Mrs. Diana Kim is on maternity leave.

Elizabeth’s teaching experience includes teaching at Irvine High School, substitute teaching, and teaching at the Spark of Knowledge Learning Center in Fountain Valley.  Elizabeth student taught at IUSD’s University High School.  Elizabeth was an education and outreach intern with the environmental biology department and a research team member with the education and earth systems department, both at UCI.  Elizabeth earned her BS in earth system sciences (with a geosciences concentration) and her science teaching credential from UCI.  Elizabeth is very excited to work with our 4th and 5th graders these next six months!

Mrs. Laurel Berkheimer-Wolf- 6th Grade ELA & History Teacher

Laurel succeeds Ms. Josette Macaluso who retired from IUSD.  

Laurel joins us after teaching in Columbia South Carolina and in Tustin Unified.  Laurel has taught economics, government, US history, current events, language arts, reading, and elementary intervention.  Laurel has also worked as an executive for the Boy Scouts and has a variety of leadership experience including the Women’s Leadership Program at William and Mary.  Laurel earned her BA from William and Mary in history with a film minor.  Laurel earned her multiple subject teaching credential and MA at USC.  Laurel earned her social studies teaching credential at UCR.  Laurel was described by one of her principals as “gifted”, “passionate”, and “dedicated”.  Laurel is very excited to share her passion for children, English, and History with the Plaza Vista community.

Mr. James Alvarado- High School Latin 1 Teacher

This is a new support and opportunity available to our 8th grade students.  Details available from our counselor, Ms. Parola on this “hybrid”/blended (in person and on-line) course!

James joins the PV team after teaching Latin in IUSD for several years including at Woodbridge and San Joaquin High Schools.  James has experience teaching Latin 1, 2, 3, and Advanced Placement.  He has also taught Advanced Placement computer science.  Prior to IUSD, James taught Latin and drama at JSerra and Cornelia Connelly High Schools.  Prior to teaching, James worked in IT in the biomedical field.  James earned his BA with a double major (studio art and classical design), his MA in history, and his Doctorate in educational leadership all from CSULB.  James is highly regarded in IUSD and excited to join our willing 8th graders on their Latin journey!  

Returning faculty in new capacities!

Ms. Alyssa Christopher- Kindergarten Teacher

Alyssa succeeds Mrs. Sheila Jones who retired from IUSD.  

Alyssa relocated last year and returns to Orange County, IUSD, and PV.  Alyssa previously taught 1st grade at PV.  Prior to teaching at PV, Alyssa served as student teacher in the Saddleback Valley Unified School district in 1st and 4th grades.  Prior to student teaching, Alyssa was an instructional assistant at IUSD’s Stonegate Elementary School in kindergarten and 2nd grade.  Alyssa earned her BS in child development (with a psychology minor) from Cal Poly and her teaching credential from Concordia University.  Alyssa is very excited to experience kindergarten with her students!

Mrs. Janelle David- 1st Grade Teacher

Janelle is teaching with Mrs. Cindy Danielian on the 1st grade team.  

Janelle most recently served as a special education instructional assistant here at PV.  Janelle’s two children attend PV.  Like Coach Sperling, Janelle had a run at Gymboree as a lead teacher and operations manager for five years.  Janelle earned her BA in liberal studies and her teaching credential from CSULB.  Janelle is a respected educator and community member at Plaza Vista and is very excited to continue to serve our community in her new role.

Mrs. Kris Oppenlander- 1st Grade Teacher

Kris is teaching with Mrs. Kathy Lew on the 1st grade team.  

Kris most recently taught in 1st and 3rd grades with Cindy Danielian and Toni Wilson, respectively.  Previously, Kris taught 4th grade while Emily Franko was on maternity leave.  Kris had all three of her children come through Plaza Vista and lives in the community.  Kris taught 3rd and 5th grade for twelve years in the Bellflower Unified School District where she held a number of leadership capacities including serving as a mentor teacher for beginning teachers and a master teacher for student teachers.  Kris then took some time off from teaching full-time to raise her family and volunteered here for nearly fifteen years with the PV PTA Board and in a number of other volunteers roles while substitute teaching in IUSD (mostly at PV).  Kris is excited to continue to teach “at home”.