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.
• Degree in Elementary Teaching, University of Turabo
• Experienced in teaching Learners with Exceptionalities
• Business and Retail Management
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.
• Bachelors of Arts, California State University, Los Angeles
• Founder of Hola Escuelita: Spanish Immersion Preschool
• Professional Development: Differentiated Teaching
Peter Haggerty | Middle School Math and Science
Mr. Haggerty is a seasoned teacher with more than ten years of experience across all grade levels. He exudes a joy for teaching and enjoys a playful approach to instruction. In his student-centered classroom, Mr. Haggerty utilizes positive management strategies that accommodate various learning styles. He believes the goal of learning is not only to acquire knowledge, but to create an agile mind ready to employ critical thinking skills. Originally from New York, he enjoys bicycling, hiking and camping throughout California, and has a range of interests, including travel, history, music and the arts.
• National High School Merit Scholar
• B.A. American Studies, SUNY Old Westbury
• Education Major, University of La Verne
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.
• B.A. in English Literature, Guilford College in Greensboro, NC
• B.A. in Secondary Education, Guilford College in Greensboro, NC
• California Secondary Teaching Credential: English
English Learner Authorization from UCLA
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.
• B.A. in Communication Studies, with concentration in Print Journalism, Universidad Central de Venezuela
• M.A. Spanish, with a major in Contemporary Hispanic American Literature and a minor in Colonial Hispanic American Literature, UCLA
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.
• Bachelor of Arts in History from Seattle University in Seattle, Washington
• Master of Arts in History and Culture from the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey
Wilmer Bataclan | Math and Science Teacher
Prior to Brighton Hall, Mr. Bataclan (Mr. B) taught math and science at another private school for three years, to middle school and high school students in a one-to-one setting. He learned how to differentiate lesson plans for each student and is excited to put that skill to use in a larger classroom setting here at Brighton Hall as our math and science teacher. With a minor in education, Mr. B knows a bit of about the pedagogy of education and how to create a classroom environment that will promote learning. As a fun fact, even though Mr. B likes math now, he actually did not find it enjoyable until he took Algebra in 8th grade and found an appreciation for numbers and letters being used in problems. Outside of work, Mr. B loves to Yelp places, play video games and hangout 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.
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 | Coordinator
As the school coordinator, Mike is responsible for making sure that Brighton Hall’s group events come off flawlessly and that students and parents have everything they need for a successful school year. 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.