Meet the new Irvine High teachers

Ashleigh Frazer – English Teacher

Photo of Ashleigh Frazer

What is something you are looking forward to this school year?
I am looking forward to helping students grow in their writing skills.

What is one fun fact about yourself?
I love playing video games in my free time. I’ve been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XVI recently. I also collect comic books.

What is your favorite book/media?
I have a lot of favorites, though I’ve probably seen the Lord of the Rings movies the most.

Who is your favorite character?
Samwise Gamgee because let’s face it, Sam was the real hero of the Lord of Rings trilogy.

 

Photo of Tiffany Gomez

Tiffany Gomez – English Teacher
What has been a positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
I absolutely love all my students and I love that I have a classroom where my former students can visit me. It’s been so fun catching up with my prior students from my student teaching experience and seeing how they’ve changed from when I last saw them.

What is your favorite book/media?
I am a big Korean drama fan and spent 99% of my summer break binge watching them. My all time favorite books are Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Who is your favorite character of all time and why?
Sailor Moon because she fights evil by moonlight and wins love by daylight.

 

Madison Krusmark – English Teacher

Photo of Madison Krusmark

What is something you are looking forward to this school year?
I am looking forward to seeing students in person three days a week and getting to attend things like sporting events and dances.

What has been a positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
This is my first year at Irvine and the staff and students are amazing! Everyone is so supportive and joyous and I look forward to coming to work every day.

Who is your all time favorite character and why?
My favorite character is Will Hunting from Good Will Hunting because he is relatable, funny, and the epitome of chasing what you want, even when life is hard.

 

Photo of Nick Singleton

Nick Singleton – Math Teacher
What has been a positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
All the students and faculty have been so welcoming and polite.

What is one fun fact about yourself?
I was a scuba diver instructor before becoming a teacher.

If you could be any function which function would you be and why?
A step function because it is always moving up one step at a time.

 

For students who don’t prefer math, what is one interesting fact you would tell them about the subject?
Math is not magic nor is it something you are born with. It takes time and effort before it gets easy. At one time walking and talking was an impossible task for each of us.

 

Alexander Zechiel – Math Teacher

Photo of Alexander Zechiel

What is something you are looking forward to this school year?
Being able to see my students five days a week. Being back on campus without distancing requirements has been so great.

If you could be any function, which function would you be?
I would be a Dirac Delta function because I’m infinitely tall (not actually true), infinitely skinny (definitely not true), and the area under me is precisely equal to one (that one is actually true).

To you, what makes math an important subject to teach?
Mathematics is a subject that is demonstrably true and extremely useful in nearly all human endeavors. It is a language that describes the world around us with astounding accuracy and simplicity.

For students who don’t prefer math, what is one interesting fact you would tell them about the subject?
There are numbers that don’t exist on the number line, but above and below the number line. In fact, there is an entire number plane full of numbers!

 

Photo of Sinta Galang

Sinta Galang – Biology and Anatomy Teacher
What is something you are looking forward to this school year?
I look forward to making connections with students, other staff, and being part of the school community by attending games, concerts, plays, and many more activities.

What is one fun fact about yourself?
I was in marching band, jazz band, and concert band starting in 5th grade all the way through senior year of high school.

If you could be any atom which one would it be and why?
Carbon because it is essential to life, readily able to form bonds and under extreme pressure becomes a diamond!

 

Kerry Hughes – Biology Teacher

Photo of Kerry Hughes

What has been a positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
The most positive experience has been working with my entire department. I feel very lucky to be working with them and they have all been such a great support system during my first year.

If you could be any mammal in the world, which one would you be?
If I could be any mammal, I would be a rat. They are clean, affectionate, and playful animals who are always willing to help their rat pals in need. In addition, they help educate people about science.

 

 

Photo of Erica Kallestad

Erica Kallestad – Biology and Chemistry Teacher

What has been a positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
Everyone that I have met, both staff and teachers, have been so welcoming and kind.

What is one fun fact about yourself?
I worked as a marine biologist for several years before teaching.

If you could be any mammal in the world, which one would you be and why?
A dog because they get and give so much love and get to just chill out all day.

 

Karen Briseno – Spanish Teacher

Photo of Karen Briseno

What is something you are looking forward to this school year?
The start of lacrosse season, getting to work with my amazing department and getting to know my students as individuals.

If you could travel to any Latin American country, which one would you travel to and why?
Perú is next on my list of places to travel because I want to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, the diversity of the people, food, and geography.

What is your favorite Latin dish and why?
Ceviche because it is just so good. I love latin styled seafood and ceviche is so fresh and citrusy tasting. I have great memories of my cousins dropping everything to come over for dinner whenever my mom would make ceviche.

 

Photo of Jonathan Mesisca

Jonathan Mesisca – Drama and English Teacher
What has been a positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
Getting to know the personalities of the students in my classrooms: Advanced Drama, Intermediate Drama, Creative Drama, Technical Theatre, TA, and Honors English 2 – they all have such great hearts, an enthusiasm for learning, and a desire to serve their school and community.

Who is your all time favorite character and why? (from anything)
Scrooge because Dickens writes everything with such clarity and detail. He is an artist at painting the picture of the location and serves up such plenteous descriptions of his characters. With Scrooge, we see a person that has been roughed up by what life has dealt him. He falls victim to his circumstances. Like all good stories, we cheer for him, and in the end, he is given redemption. None of us are out of time, until we are out of time. We need to learn to be more patient and kind with one another and to reflect on our past, live in the present and plan to build a better future.

What is your favorite Musical and why?
The Fantasticks because it was the second musical that I did in High School, and then I performed it four times professionally in over 75 performances in Chicago, Maine, and Southern California.

 

Rebecca France – Special Education Teacher

Photo of Rebecca France

What is something you are looking forward to this school year?
I am looking forward to developing the moderate/severe special education program here at Irvine High.

Who do you look up to and why?
Malala Yousafzai because she is so young and amazingly brave. She has also advocated to give females the right to be educated.

What is your favorite pastime and why?
I love to spend time with my family, including my two dogs, Shelby and Ruby. My dogs are really my fur babies and they are cute and fun.

 

Photo of Tyler Tran

Tyler Tran – Special Education Teacher
What has been one positive experience this year so far at Irvine High School?
One positive experience is working with the amazing staff members who are a part of Irvine High. They really make this career worthwhile and help out in every way possible.

What is your favorite pastime and why?
I love downhill mountain biking during my free time. There is nothing more exciting than going down the side of a mountain or cliffside, 20 miles an hour, holding on for dear life. While accidents do happen, the adventure of finding new spots, meeting new people, and learning new tricks makes it all worth it.