Known affectionately as “Mr. T”, Movses Tarakhchyan is Hesby’s fearless leader. He thinks of Hesby as one big family, and cares deeply about every student, parent, and teacher that passes through its gates. He strives for excellence in all areas of education and is devoted to providing the best possible experience for his students.
We at Hesby are fortunate to have the best teachers, best students, and of course, the best families. Thank you for believing in public education, and thank you for trusting us with your children’s safety and education.
Greetings Huskies! My name is José Castillo and I am excited to be a part of Hesby’s wonderful community. Throughout the years, I have had the privilege of working with students as a TA, 1-on-1 Behavioral Aide, Teacher, Dean of Students, Programs Coordinator, and now as an APEIS. It is my goal to encourage students to gain a lifelong love for learning so that they may achieve all their dreams.
Parisa Collier has been teaching in LAUSD for the past 18 years. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor and Masters degree in Administration. She is married and has two kids who also attended Hesby Oaks.
Mrs. Collier believes the classroom community is a place for students to learn through inquiry. She strives to cultivate a classroom of independent learners that are critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and active collaborators. She is passionate about teaching because she enjoys watching her students grow into independent learners.
On her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, and enjoying life to the fullest.
This is my fourth year teaching at Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter, and I have been teaching TK and Kindergarten for over ten years. Both of my children attended Hesby. My oldest child started the first year it opened in Mrs. Preuss’s class and now attends UC Berkeley. My youngest is a senior at Notre Dame High School. I love teaching TK and Kindergarten, and enjoy cooking, reading, and hiking on the weekends.
Arlet has been an LAUSD teacher since 1999 and thoroughly enjoys working with elementary school-aged children. After over 20 years of teaching, she decided to make the shift from 5th grade to 2nd! “Second graders are innocent and love learning! Everything is still so fun for them,” stated Mrs. Dorian after completing her first year as a second grade teacher. Arlet is a strong advocate for parent-teacher collaboration and believes working together nurtures a foundational love for learning in her students.
Nika Esmailizadeh is excited to be joining the Hesby community this year! She has been in K-3 classrooms since 2020. Nika recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Education followed by a Masters in Education.
As an educator, Nika hopes to empower students to think critically about their world around them, identify their skills and utilize them to become agents of change in their communities.
Renee Gustafson has been teaching since the fall of 1997. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts’ Degree in Liberal Studies. She has a multiple subject teaching credential with a supplementary authorization in Mathematics. Ms. Gustafson joined the staff at Hesby Oaks in the fall of 2011.
Ms. Gustafson believes the classroom community is a place for students to learn through inquiry and play. She strives to cultivate a classroom of independent learners that are critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and active collaborators.
Annie Kurkjian has been teaching since 2009. She has experience with grades 3-5. She believes that education is the key to success. She hopes to continue to motivate students to reach for their goals and to discover what truly inspires them.
Her aim is to always provide an environment that encourages students to be confident in order for them to realize their full potential. She looks forward to a fun and challenging school year.
Ms. Mac is a California native that enjoys being outdoors. She is a good Samaritan and always willing to help out a complete stranger. According to her, celery juice and laughing are the best medicine. An athlete once, she now plays golf and tennis. She is an especially gifted napper, and dogs are her best cuddle buddies. Ms. Mac likes long, romantic walks down every aisle of Costco. She prefers her puns intended. And most of all, she believes that the best things in life are not things, but experiences. Let’s enjoy our time together.
My mission as a kindergarten teacher is to motivate, inspire, encourage, and support my students in a positive safe and caring environment where they are educated and can grow emotionally, cognitively, and socially while building a foundation for success and life-long learning.
Ashley Mehrsaz is thrilled to be one of the newest editions to the Hesby family! She attended undergraduate school at CSUN with a B.A. in Child Development: Applied Developmental Science and graduate school at USC with a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.
Ashley loves teaching kindergarten and hopes to instill a love for learning and play in her classroom in addition to guiding her students to develop their own sense of agency and identity as learners!
Rachel Ritter is a recent graduate of California State University Northridge and has been at Hesby Oaks since 2018. She loves working with children and seeing the joy they have in learning and life in general. When she is not teaching, you will find her trying new cookie recipes, relaxing at the beach, or enjoying time with friends and family.
Stefani Romero has been teaching since 2016. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and a Master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction at California State University.
Mrs. Romero loves to sing & bring music into the classroom as often as possible. She cultivates a community of kindness & altruism in her classroom. Her goal is to empower the littles to strengthen their foundational skills & have fun along the way!
Kathie Yonemura teaches fourth grade; she has been teaching since 1987. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and LAUSD Teacher of the Year. She loves all things California history! Her goal is to create lifelong readers, to encourage students to find the joy in learning and to develop a growth mindset!
Caroon is a 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts teacher. Additionally, she teaches 6th grade Speech; she has been teaching for 5 years and going. Caroon hopes that she can motivate her students to love reading and build strong foundational skills in writing. Above all she hopes to ignite a love for reading in her students…or at least an interest.
When she is not grading ALL of her students’ papers, she is usually reading for fun or hanging out with her husband, daughter and dog watching reruns of her favorite shows and movies.
Mr. B loves science! He graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and loves traveling the world and learning more about different people and cultures.
When he’s not in the classroom, you can find him staying physically fit and active- he loves swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.
Above all, he values family, friends, students, religion, education, the Earth, food, and music!
Michael Marcus is among the top 6th grade teachers at Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter. He enjoys all things Hesby! You can usually find him in room 18, home of the world’s best students, teaching math and science.
Danny Pattison currently teaches 7th & 8th grade History and Theater. He’s been teaching at Hesby for 14 years, with experience in both elementary and middle school. His goal is to help prepare his students for the rigors of high school and college, while still having fun!
Ms. Walsh grew up in Southern California. She graduated from Newbury Park High School, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from UC Santa Barbara, and a Master’s Degree in Math Education from CSU Northridge. She has been teaching middle school math since 2001 and hopes to continue teaching at Hesby until she retires at age 103. Her hobbies include doing math for fun, traveling, exploring, skiing, hiking, cooking, playing games, and laughing!
Curtis Wynkoop is a Co-Lead 6th grade teacher at Hesby Oaks Leadership Academy. He is grateful to work next to room 18 where the second greatest students are taught.
He enjoys teaching his students how to properly say “Ur” and “Uruk” (cities from ancient Mesopotamia) while engaging them in many kinds of reading and writing and reminding them to use punctuation and break up sentences that are far too long involving several different ideas that could and should be made into much smaller sentences so that the reader isn’t troubled by such a run-on and awkward to read and understand train wreck of writing such as the one you’re reading now.
His pet peeves include such things as misusing “there,” “they’re” and “their” as well as those writers who don’t use an Oxford comma. He has declared war against proper punctuation and has been known to say, “Someone, can be a good writer; but when, they’re writing is!… lacking-proper punctuation here and their, it really affects: there work).
Lastly, he enjoys writing about himself in third person.
Brad has been an LAUSD Physical Education teacher for the last 25 years, the last 13 here at Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter. Since he established the Physical Education program here at Hesby in 2007-2008 school year, he has not only enjoyed implementing a rigorous curriculum that encompasses health and fitness for our Huskies, but also has the thrill of his life being a part of the Hesby family, and looks forward to seeing his students every day!
Hi, my name is Ericka Ventura and I am a Resource Specialist here at Hesby. I began my career in education as an ELD paraprofessional and later as a special education assistant. I have been teaching since 2004 and have worked as both a special day class and resource teacher. I have been at Hesby since 2016. I love collaborating with such an amazing group of educators and helping my students grow and succeed.
My name is Eddy Rodriguez, and I am a Resource Specialist at Hesby. I began my journey in education as a Special Education Teacher Aide. I have been teaching since 2019 and joined the Hesby Team in 2022. My main mission is to support my students so they can succeed in school and their future endeavors.