Barbara Cruz | Elementary School Teacher
Ms. Cruz is a native of Puerto Rico and she has over ten years of teaching experience. She has always wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a little girl. Ms. Cruz has previously worked at private colleges and understands the nuances and advantages of a small classroom environment. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, arts & crafts and exploring new hobbies.
Sandra Garces | Elementary School Teacher
A Brighton Hall veteran, Ms. Garces has over ten years of teaching experience in elementary education. During a six year leave of absence to raise her daughter, Ms. Garces founded a homeschool program that later became a successful language immersion preschool. Ms. Garces believes in individualized learning, and she brings her lessons to life through hands-on, visual projects that empower children to make positive contributions to our world. With her continuing passion for teaching, Ms. Garces is thrilled to continue her journey in the field of education with her Brighton Hall family. In her spare time, Ms. Garces enjoys hiking, swimming and sightseeing.
Rico Tan | Middle School Math and Science
Mr. Tan loves mathematics and loves teaching it even more. He presents mathematics injected with jests and real-world relevance. As for Science, Mr. Tan loves to apply the concepts in class exist through labs or articles. In short, Mr. Tan loves to prove that the topics in class are real and useful. Mr. Tan believes in four things:
1) Learning topics is like eating a sandwich; you consume it a bite at a time.
2) Answering the questions “how?” and “why?” are more important than answering “what?”
3) Mistakes are only mistakes if you learn nothing from them.
4) Teachers also learn a lot from their students.
Besides taking naps, Mr. Tan enjoys driving, sightseeing, and watching math videos. He also likes animals and cars.
Suzanne Hunt | Middle School & High School English
Ms. Hunt fell in love with the idea of teaching English in college, where she originally set out to study psychology. As she continues to grow as an educator, Ms. Hunt encourages her students’ individual interests to shape their learning experience while introducing them to unique topics and characters through a variety of texts. In her spare time, Ms. Hunt enjoys cooking, hiking, and traveling.
Wilmer Rojas | Spanish Teacher
Mr. Rojas was born in Venezuela, where he worked as a proofreader, reporter and international news copy editor for three major newspapers. Since moving to the US in 1994 to study at UCLA, Mr. Rojas has been teaching Spanish for over two decades. Although formally trained in the Communicative Language Teaching approach to second language acquisition, he has mastered various methods and techniques throughout his career: the Natural Approach, Total Physical Response, Cooperative Language Learning, Task-Based Language Teaching. Mr. Rojas loves writing and reading everything from classic literature, to thrillers, to popular science.
Andre Springman | History Teacher
Mr. Springman is passionate about empowering students to understand the world and human experience through the study of history and the social sciences. As an educator, Mr. Springman encourages students to discuss complex topics, explore various viewpoints and engage the world as a leader and global person. Pedagogically, he prefers to teach through discussions, research projects and allowing students the opportunity to explore topics of their interests. Outside of teaching, his interests include tea, cooking, watching documentaries, exploring museums, traveling and reading.
• Master of Science, Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University
Wilmer Bataclan | Math and Science Teacher
Mr. Bataclan has been teaching math and science for middle and high school students for three years at Brighton Hall. He graduated from the University of La Verne with a Bachelors in Mathematics and a minor in education. As of July 2022, he graduated with his Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University. His capstone research focused on evaluating math curriculum and finding ways to improve on it in order to promote student achievement. Outside of school, Mr. B likes to try new food places, play video games and hang out with friends.
Miss Sierra Ball | Science, Math, and Social Studies Teacher
Miss Sierra is a Southern California native who grew up in the small town of Wrightwood. She earned a dual Bachelor of Science degree in biology and history from Southern Utah University, where she was awarded the President’s scholarship in academics all four years and was a Dean’s list honoree. She also completed biology graduate research at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. Sierra loves ecology and in particular, microbiology. In her free time Sierra enjoys swimming, horseback riding, reading and painting.
• Master of Science from the University of Nebraska
Office hours: Mondays and Thursdays 1:00-1:30 pm
Brighton Hall is lucky to welcome Woody as Head of Student Protection. Father of a student here, Woody makes sure that our Brighton Hall family is secure on campus at all times, while delighting our students with his benevolent and helpful nature. Our school landscaping benefits from his expert touch, and our event photography benefits from Woody’s extensive background in cinematography.
Melonie Magruder | Office Manager / Admissions Coordinator
After her son graduated from Brighton Hall, Melonie returned as a vibrant member of our staff. With her warm demeanor and extensive background in journalism, Melonie makes parents feel welcome and ensures the office runs smoothly, while acting as Student Council advisor and occasionally filling in to bring gastronomic expertise to the Baking Club. Melonie enjoys writing screenplays, gardening, painting murals, cooking and visiting her daughter and miraculous grandchildren in France.
Mike Sarti | Design & Program Director
As Brighton Hall’s Program Director, Mike is responsible for making sure the school’s daily operations and special events run smoothly. As the Design Director, he’s in charge of the school’s art and promotional material. Originally from the east coast, Mike has several years of experience working with children, having taught and counseled at-risk youth at a group home in Washington, D.C. He’s also worked professionally in post production, and as a script analyst for various production companies in L.A. In his spare time, Mike enjoys writing, running and music production.