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.
Maria Padua is our beloved counselor. Famed for her quick wit and sense of humor, she is the proverbial glue that holds the campus together. Every student knows her and craves her respect and love: they also know that she doesn’t give it out lightly, and they have to earn it.
Maria gives out semi-monthly spotlights on the website to students, teachers, and anyone else contributing in a positive way to the Hesby community. Read about that and more at her Counselor’s Corner!
Hi! My name is Mrs. Collier and I am VERY excited to be your fifth grade teacher! This year is going to be full of fun and lots of learning! I cannot wait to see what this year will have in store for us! I want to know ALL about you, but first I would like to tell you a few things about myself.
I was born on March 30th and raised right here in Los Angeles. I am married and have two wonderful kids, an 8th grader and a 5th grader. I LOVE my family very much!
I’ve been teaching in LAUSD for over 15 years now. I am passionate about teaching because I enjoy watching my students grow into independent learners.
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 4th and 5th graders. She loves how they reason and problem-solve, but the biggest perk is that the older students get her sense of humor. To promote student success, she supports meaningful parent-teacher partnership.
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.
Hana Minderhout has been teaching at Hesby Oaks since 2016 and is a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and emphasis in Art Education.
Mrs. Mindy is passionate about teaching first grade where foundational skills in reading, writing, and math come to life for the very first time! She strives to create a positive classroom environment where students grow in their independence and become active participants in their own learning process.
Rachel Niver 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.
Tracey Schroeder is a 3rd grade teacher who has taught for 10+ years. She loves her students and is passionate about watching them grow each day, both as thinkers and as caring humans who make the world a better place through their words, actions, and decision-making.
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 2 years. Caroon hopes that she can motivate her students to love reading and build strong foundational skills in writing.
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!
Hesby’s new Resource Specialist, Mrs. Pedraza, is a recent graduate from CSUN and has been with LAUSD for the past 9 years. She is excited to have joined the Hesby family and cannot wait to see her students flourish.
Mrs. Pedraza is married and has 2 daughters ages 2 and 7 who love to pretend they are 10 and 15. Her hobbies include crafting, watching movies, driving, and all things Disney. She is grateful for Frozen because she can now find cute things with her name on it (Elsa).
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.