HuckleBerry Teachers - our new SIMI Location!
HuckleBerry Center for Creative Learning Instructors include these highly qualified professionals. Please feel free to contact any of them to ask them questions about their classes and teaching styles.
While attending Keene State College in New Hampshire, majoring in Information Studies, still in the undergradute program, I moved back home to Sunny California! My husband and I met, married and began our family. A few years later I wanted to complete my education, but chose a different major, Early Childhood.
I Earned my Associate in Science Degree in Child Development from Moorpark College and completed certification for the State of California Child Development Permit, Teacher level. When my oldest was in Pre-Kindergarten, I began teaching in Early Childhood at a private school in Thousand Oaks. For 13 amazing years I taught, and took at least 9 units of CEU (Continuing Education Units) every year. The experience gained through those years has helped me develop my love and passion for teaching! I created a MakerSpace at the iLead Design Studio and taught and managed that for a year, and then joined HuckleBerry and brought MakerSpace classes to Huck! I'm returning to my first love - early childhood - by setting up Huck's Young Learners program. I hope to see your kids there!
Ellen Hillman comes to Huckleberry with an extensive background in education. Having majored in education at the University of Maryland, she was taught one essential goal for teaching students. Meet the students where they are, and take them as far as they can go! Ellen has carried this philosophy with her throughout her entire career. She began teaching as a specialist in language arts and reading for grades 4, 5, and 6 in a unique and innovative departmentalized program with the Prince Georges County Public Schools in Maryland. Years later, having moved to northern California, Ellen taught second and third grades in the Forestville Union School District. There, because she encountered such a wide range of students' interests and abilities, she was compelled to initiate a gifted program to address the needs of students who needed a more individualized program to challenge them. This worked well to keep all students engaged and performing productively. Ellen then took time off for family. After some time, and moving to Southern California, Ellen found her niche again, this time by teaching in a mix of private schools. These schools include elementary schools and high schools, day schools, Sunday schools, and afternoon enrichment classes. Needless to say, her teaching style has had to remain creative, flexible, and spontaneous to meet the needs of this ever expanding student population! Some of the positions she has held in this collection of schools include teaching, (most general subjects for grades K through 11), principal of a small K-8 school, and resource and learning specialist. Some classes were full time, some part time. (She's even written curriculum and performed training for adults in the business sector!) Currently, Ellen is a substitute teacher for the Conejo Unified School District. Her philosophy? No matter the subject, no matter the grade, no matter the location, the essential lesson from her own education still resonates...."meet the students where they are, and take them as far as they can go." Ellen strives to keep her students engaged, motivated and productive. She is excited to meet and work with her new students at Huckleberry!
Steve Yoshinaga, PhD.
PhD Molecular Science
Dr. Steve Yoshinaga has been teaching molecular science to homeschoolers for over 15 years and also homeschooled his own daughter. He brings real world experience to his science teaching, as his scientific research has helped us better understand how our body's cells work. He has published in the best scientific journals in the world. He wants his students to join him in exploring the joys of science.
Your Administrative Team!
Debbie Walker is an experienced science teacher that brings Physics and other sciences to life for students by incorporating real world examples into her lessons and creates a fun classroom atmosphere by promoting questions and discussion. Debbie earned her Bachelor's degree in Physics with a minor in Psychology from Scripps College in Claremont, CA. She spent 5 years teaching high school AP Physics, Physics and Chemistry. She took several years off teaching to pursue a full time position of Mom to her three wonderful children and two dogs. She resumed her career by teaching hands-on science to elementary school children throughout Los Angeles with Quest in Science and has been with them since 2010. She loves basketball and has enjoyed coaching her son's basketball team for the past three years. She is excited to be working with the students and families of HuckleBerry and looks forward to a great year!
BS Business Administration
Diane Pusateri is our Site Administrator.
Being a homeschool parent/teacher to my two children was the best part of my career. Nothing was more exciting than empowering my children to discover their talents and work through academic struggles. As adults, they think out of the box and are very faceted due to the vast array of opportunities and individualized education available in the homeschool community.
My educational background consists of a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from CA State University, Northridge. My work experiences have carried me from Internal Audit positions in the Banking and Medical industry to recreation with the City of Oxnard as Grant Assistant, Recreation Leader, and Senior Services Excursion Coordinator. During tax season, I am a Site Manager for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program staffed by volunteers providing free tax preparation to low income residents in Ventura County.
I look forward to assisting you in providing a safe, encouraging, and fun learning environment for your children.
Huck Simi Teachers!
BA English, teaching credential
I have always loved literature and stories. In 2002, I went to UC Berkeley to get my English degree, and while tutoring my best friend in algebra, I discovered something else I love: teaching. I soon joined Teach for America and flew off to New York City where I taught language arts for seven years, two in the South Bronx and five with the incredible Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn. I also earned my master’s degree in education from Pace University. But I found that the classroom in public schools is not where I can do my best work. The large class sizes prevent the type of individualized attention I like to bring to my students. My approach has always been to figure out where each student is, and then progress from there. It takes more time, but it's so much more meaningful! Since coming home to Southern California in 2012, I have organically grown my own tutoring business, continually refining my pedagogy running a variety of bootcamps and bookclubs and tutoring 1-on-1 in my three favorite subjects: reading, writing, and math.
MFA Film & Video
In addition to having a Master of Fine Arts degree from CalArts I have worked as a successful commercial and fine artist. My main art form is photography. I started working in darkrooms in high school and immediately fell in love with the art of photography. After getting my MFA from CalArts in film and video, I got a job in the digital effects industry in the art department of a major Hollywood post-production facility. I continued to do my own work as an award-winning filmmaker and photographer, which helped me get a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts. As a photographer I have worked as a photojournalist, magazine photographer and photo editor. My work has been viewed in all kinds of media and galleries nationally.
Over the past year I have learned I have a special talent for teaching. Most recently I successfully taught photography to people suffering from homelessness in Skid Row and Santa Monica. My emphasis is on encouraging students and gently leading them towards their vision. I believe in learning the creative and technical rules of an art form and then moving toward unhindered expression and experimentation. There have been very special teachers and mentors along the way who impacted my life dramatically. I wouldn’t be an artist if I had not known them. Now my greatest joy is to be that teacher for our next generation of creators.
MBA Nonprofit Management
Susan grew up in the San Fernando Valley although she's lived in Northern California, Illinois, Wisconsin and Jerusalem! Working with children has always been a passion of hers, whether it's in Summer Camps, religious schools or youth groups, most of her early jobs were with kids of all ages. She received a BA in Psychology and then an MBA in Nonprofit Management. She is an altruist at heart, but altruism isn't great at managing a business! When she became a mother, she decided a high paced corporate career was not what she wanted, and she began to homeschool her daughter. Currently she co-leads a homeschool co-op at her church in Reseda, volunteers her time in the Children's ministry, loves to read, teach and have fun! Her educational theories tend to be a combination of Charlotte Mason and Classical, but it's really about how to engage our children so that they can remember the whys and hows!
I have been working with young children for most of my life! I started babysitting at a young age and fell in love working with young children. I started out as a preschool teacher, then went on to be a Special Education Assistant, and then became a teacher. I have also taught in private schools. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and my CA Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, both from CSUN. I also taught Health Education through a Health Insurance Company for about four years. I homeschooled my son 2 years ago and learned all about the homeschool community, so I am excited to be teaching at HuckleBerry!! I love teaching children and see that light bulb go off in their little brains when they get a concept! How refreshing it is to share HuckleBerry's philosophy of meeting a child where they are. It is an amazing experience to instill learning into the minds of young children! I look forward to getting to know you and your children!