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Meet The Faculty



Daniel Avery

Math Teacher


Daniel comes to IVA High after spending years in education—first as a private tutor and then as a teacher. He received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his Master's in Teaching from Point Loma Nazarene University. Daniel has taught math in Orange County and San Diego, working with students from both the middle and high school levels in a wide range of courses, including nearly everything from Integrated Math 7 through AP Calculus.    

"I chose IVA High because its core virtues look at advancing education in innovative ways. My goal is to find and implement new, research-supported methods to teach math, and to help students think critically while integrating technology in ways that extend and support student learning."

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Serena Buie

English/RSP Teacher/ELD


Serena received her BA in English from Westmont College and worked at a mental health treatment center for teens and then at IVA Middle School for several years before going to CSULB for her credential. Before joining IVA High, she spent two years teaching English in Pamplona, Spain. Serena is passionate about literacy, English as a Second Language, and fostering students' love of reading. 
"I love the educational model at IVA High and I'm so excited to join the wonderful community here! It is a privilege to work in an environment that prioritizes student voice and helps students develop into life-long learners."


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Jessica Killackey

History Teacher


Jessica is excited to be joining the IVA High community! She earned her BA in History from UC Berkeley and Santa Barbara City College and received her teaching credential from Cal State LA. Prior to joining IVA High, she worked in K-12 education for several years in the San Diego and San Gabriel Valley areas. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, collecting records, and photography. Jessica was drawn to working with students at IVA to help engage with learning in new and exciting ways.


Marisol Marquez

College and Career Teacher/Outreach Team


Marisol graduated with a B.A. in Spanish from California State University, Long Beach, where she also obtained her teaching credential. Before teaching, she worked for three years with students with social-cognitive deficits. She joined the IVA High community to show her students that language learning can be personable, engaging, and culturally relevant to their lives.   

"I am eager to be involved with the school community and grow as an educator at IVA High. I look forward to pursuing a Master's in Education in School Counseling in the future."  


John Rodriguez, NBCT                    

English Teacher


John came to teaching English with a background in advertising, creative writing, musical performance, and parenting. All of those pursuits require creative approaches to solving problems and being able to communicate those ideas.  He joined our English department after 12 years with LAUSD, including teaching Honors, AP, Journalism and Yearbook. He completed a fellowship with Teach Plus, an education reform think tank, and became a National Board Certified Teacher.   

"I firmly believe in the role of character growth on academic achievement. I say things like, "Effort equals results," and "I don't teach English; I teach humans." Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Intellectual Virtues Academy was completely staffed by like-minded professionals! I chose to work at the IVA High to bring my enthusiasm, creativity and rigor to this community. I also chose to enroll my son at the middle school. I'm all in."    


Dustin Schmidt 

Associate Director and Humanities Teacher


Throughout his academic career, Dustin has been devoted to engaging K-12 students on a variety of topics in the humanities and philosophy. He is currently a PhD candidate with a focus on environmental ethics, at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he has taught a wide range of courses, including Logic, Introduction to Philosophy, and Environmental Ethics. He has a very comprehensive career teaching students of all ages, including earning a fellowship to teach and develop curriculum for a high school International Baccalaureate course. 

"IVA High offers a rare opportunity for students and teachers to develop habits of mind that support good lives, strong relationships, and inclusive communities. It allows us space to investigate big, philosophical questions, apply our thinking to real, relevant social issues, and reflect on our thinking in a way that fosters critical, engaged, and compassionate citizens. This is, I think, the best we can hope for as we try to build supportive, forward-thinking communities. I am humbled to be part of such a passionate, intentional community of inquiry."