Instructional Team

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Ashley Carey

Art Teacher

Ms. Carey is originally from Washington State, and attended multiple colleges on softball scholarships. She graduated from Evergreen State College with her bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in social justice. Ms. Carey joined our team as a dedicated long-term sub last year, and she is ecstatic to join the Destiny Middle School staff as the Art teacher! Outside of teaching, she enjoys spending time with her friends, playing sports, and listening to music.

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Salena Clifton

Language Arts Teacher

Ms. Clifton graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in Education, and English. She was raised on the Oregon Coast and has a love of the outdoors, specifically hiking. For fun she likes to bake, cook, and play with her puppy. Currently she is getting settled in the Tacoma area and is looking forward to be a first-year teacher at Destiny Middle School.

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Chay Dixon

English Language Arts Teacher

Ms. Dixon is from Florida and previously taught 5th grade in Florida. Before becoming a teacher, she attended Florida State University and majored in English for Editing, Writing, and Media. Ms. Dixon is an avid writer. She also enjoys reading, hiking, camping, and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

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Becca Foster

Social Studies

Mrs. Foster was born and raised in Chandler, Arizona going on to receive her BA in Global Studies from Arizona State University. She is moving to Washington from the other Washington (D.C.) where she just graduated with her M.A. in Public Anthropology from American University. Mrs. Foster has spent the last two years working as an Education and Training Coordinator in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion on campus. In addition to helping run a youth leadership organization (The Harry Potter Alliance), she spends her free time with her Husband and two dogs (Rosie and Winnie), reading books, riding horses, and discussing the world we live in. Mrs. Simpson is incredibly excited to be teaching 6th grade social studies/ELA at Destiny Middle School and begin her teaching career this year!

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Kelly Gibson

English Language Arts Teacher

Ms. Gibson grew up in Illinois and graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where she played club water polo and studied American Studies and Business. After graduating, she taught for two years in Mississippi through Teach For America and three years in Chicago. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Gibson loves spending time with family and friends, playing and watching sports, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her boyfriend.

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Alexis Hauber

Science Teacher

Ms. Hauber grew up in the Midwest and attended the University of Iowa, earning degrees in biology and psychology. After graduation, Alexis spent eight years teaching middle and high school science in Los Angeles, where she also earned a master's degree in secondary education from Loyola Marymount University. Most recently, she spent two years working in curriculum and assessment design at the district level in Colorado. Outside of teaching, Alexis enjoys music (both listening to and performing it) and a number of outdoor and indoor fitness activities.

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Joffrey Hooks

Math Teacher

Mr. Hooks is a husband and parent, an educator, an entrepreneur, and a published poet.  A Chicago native, he possesses a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Elizabeth City State University and a Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching from Chicago State University. He will be teaching 7th grade Math this year at Destiny Middle School.

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Kaitlyn Horton

Computer Science Teacher

Mrs. Horton is from a small rural farming community in Southern Colorado called the San Luis Valley. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Graphic Design and a Bachelors of Arts degree with a concentration in Advertising from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. Mrs. Horton has a passion for learning and all things technological and has been teaching business and computers for seven years. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her two children and her husband. She enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and binging Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix in her spare time.

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Holly Knowles

Math Teacher

Ms. Knowles is originally from Issaquah, Washington and attended the University of Washington for her undergraduate studies, where she studied speech and hearing sciences and disability studies. After graduating, she moved to Rhode Island where she taught middle school math and obtained her Master's in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. Ms. Knowles is so excited to be returning to her home state, and looks forward to attending lots of Husky games and spending time with her German Shepard, Aga.

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Lenara Litmanovich

Computer Science Teacher

Ms. Litmanovich (or Ms. L) is thrilled to be starting her first year at Destiny! She was raised in Seattle, Washington, but has also lived in Russia, Ireland, England, and Los Angeles, where she graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in International Relations and Global Business. In her free time, she loves learning/reflecting through traveling, reading, painting, hiking, and different foods. But most of all, Ms. L loves spending time with her family, friends, and students!

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Jaime Morin

Math Teacher

Ms. Morin is excited to continue her second year of teaching at Destiny Middle School. Her love for travel and adventure began when her parents moved her family to the Middle East after seven years in Canada. While abroad, her family explored Europe, Africa, and Indonesia before settling in North Carolina. Ms. Morin graduated from Elon University in Elon, North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Education. Before graduating, she studied abroad in London, England and Southern India. In her free time, she loves to read books at tiny coffee shops, watch The Office, and cook for her friends and family.

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Bryston Nahm

Science Teacher

Mr. Nham was born and raised in Honolulu, HI and graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA with a degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and a minor degree in Economics. Throughout college, Mr. Nham conducted cancer biology research. Growing up, he played soccer and frequently went to the beach. He has one brother who is currently in college and plays soccer for Lake Forest College.

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Sarah Rappaport

Math Teacher

Ms. Rappaport, originally from Wellesley, Massachusetts, recently graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois with a Bachelors/Masters in Materials Science and Engineering and a Bachelor's of Music in French Horn Performance. She is very excited to join the Green Dot team as a math teacher, and to continue her westward journey across the US. In her spare time, Ms. Rappaport loves to read, write, knit, and hike.

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Sunny Sinco

Social Studies Teacher

After graduating from UCLA (go Bruins!), Ms. Sinco joined Teach for America and returned home to Washington to teach 7th grade Language Arts/Social Studies and 8th grade Language Arts in the Renton School District. In her four years there, she had many opportunities to grow in her practice and to contribute to the school community as a participant on district curriculum committees, head of the Family Engagement Committee, mentor to new teachers at her school, and assistant track coach. Sunny enjoys cooking (pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are her specialty, and a student favorite every year), reading, playing board games, and adventuring with her husband.

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Moriah Van Cleef

Math Teacher

Ms. Van Cleef is originally from Colorado and moved to Tacoma last year. She graduated from Bard College in Upstate New York where she spent most of her time organizing student run theater and competing with the swim team. Ms. Van Cleef completed the U-ACT program at the University of Washington and is continuing to pursue her master’s degree there. In her spare time she likes to hike, swim, run, cook, play with her dog, and explore new places.

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Tovah Fairshot

Lead PASS Special Education Teacher

Ms. Fairshot is thrilled to become a part of the Destiny Middle School team this year. Prior to working at Destiny, Ms. Fairshot taught in Las Vegas, Nevada and Seattle, Washington. Ms. Fairshot is a strong believer that social justice starts within the classroom and through community building. She is excited to share this passion with her students and support them with advocacy and social/life skills. Ms. Fairshot graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education. In addition to loving what she does for work, Ms. Fairshot is also an avid traveler, hiker, and dessert taste tester.

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Kara Hayes

Special Education Teacher

Ms. Hayes came to Tacoma Washington via the U.S. Army. She is from Louisiana and decided to stay in Washington when she finished her tour. Kara worked with high school seniors as an Army Recruiter. Kara is passionate about education and is pursing her Masters degree in Special Education.

She is a Founding Destiny Parent and is a Special Education Teacher. Kara enjoys creative writing, debating politics with her child and bike riding.

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Jen Nelson

Special Education Teacher

Ms. Nelson graduated from the University of Hawai'i with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science, and is currently attending an Education Graduate Program at Seattle Pacific University. For the last 4 years, she worked at Waiakea High School in Hilo, Hawai'i as a Paraeducator. She has also taught science for Upward Bound at the University of Hawai'i, and worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a Marine Science Educator at Mokupapapa Discovery Center. She is fascinated by the ocean, enjoys exploring the outdoors, and loves hanging out with her little dog, Mr. Poppers.

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Giovanna Santimauro

Lead Special Education Teacher

Ms. Santimauro grew up in San Francisco, CA. She attended Northern Arizona University, where she earned her degree in Elementary and Special Education (K-12). After college, Ms. Santimauro moved back to San Francisco where she worked as a special education teacher with middle school students for 3 years. Ms. Santimauro moved to the Seattle/Tacoma area in 2015 where she worked as a special education teacher for 9th and 10th graders. Ms. Santimauro is extremely excited to be back in middle school and to start her first year with Green Dot Destiny! She enthusiastic to continue to explore the Pacific North West and to continue to be a part of the Charter movement!

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Jamilla Grace

Instructional Aide

Ms. Grace is a person whose day-to-day goals, are helping students achieve completion of daily tasks that are presented to them by their teachers, and to better the overall development of Destiny Students. One of her strengths is her ability to adapt to individual student personalities.

You may recognize Ms. Grace out in the community through her work with Metro Parks as Program Coordinator for their Middle School Late Night, Summer Meals, along with our own MPct After School Program. Her personal mission is to empower, inspire growth, and personal development. She accomplishes this by showing genuine interest and concern. Ms. Grace’s goal is to help others be better than we were the day before.

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Doyle Harper

Instructional Aide

Mr. Harper was born in Memphis, TN and grew up in Providence, Rl . He attended North Seattle community college and played semi professional basketball. Mr. Harper doesn’t have any pets, but would love to have a dog! His hobbies are working out and playing basketball.

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Keith Lacey

Instructional Aide

Mr. Lacey grew up in Memphis, TN. He graduated at the University of Memphis with a Bachelors in psychology and have been a Mental Health Counselor working with adolescent youth and adult populations at Memphis area behavior and psychiatric hospitals. He loves the Puget Sound area and over the years has made several trips to the region. He finally decided to follow his heart and take the plunge and move to the Tacoma area where he now resides. Mr. Lacey thanks his big brother, Mr. Harper, who has been very positive and encouraging in his decision to move to the region.

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Nachelle McLaws

Instructional Aide

Ms. McLaws will miss working in the After School Program but is excited to be transitioning to an Instructional Aide role! Ms. McLaws and her husband moved from Utah to Washington last year, and they love living in Tacoma. Her favorite thing to do in Washington is to go exploring with her dog Annie.

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Destiny Middle School

1301 E 34th St
Tacoma, WA 98404

Phone: (253) 722-5883
Fax: (253) 382-2402

wa.greendot.org