Orchestra and Digital Music Teacher
Mr. Berry is excited to be bringing music to RVLA! Mr. Berry earned his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of South Carolina and after teaching for a time went on to complete a Master of Music degree in Music Composition at the University of Edinburgh. Mr. Berry spent the last 3 years as the Music Director for Excel Public Charter School in Kent. Students will spend their time with Mr. Berry learning how to produce electronic music, podcast and foley or learning to play instruments from the orchestras string family. He also has experience leading students in after school radio broadcasting club and Dungeons and Dragons club.
In his spare time Mr. Berry enjoys writing miniatures for chamber ensembles, playing video games and collecting synthesizers and noise makers of all kinds.
Special Education Teacher
Cecille Bitanga moved to Seattle last year from the Bay Area but grew up in Montreal, CAN. She attended San Jose State University and graduated with a B.S. in Health Science. She joined AmeriCorps after college and worked as a Volunteer Coordinator for a non-profit organization assisting adults with mental health. This is where she discovered her passion in working with individuals with special needs. After AmeriCorps, she continued to work with adults with mental illnesses as a Recreational Therapist for the City of San Jose. She decided to go back to school and earned her M.S. in Special Education. In California, she taught Computer Science, Math and English Language Arts at the middle school level. She is excited to finally work in Special Education in the great Pacific Northwest! In her free time, she enjoys exploring new places, hiking, baking, and spending time with her cat and dog.
Visual Arts Teacher
Mr. Carey is extremely excited to join the Rainier Valley Leadership Academy team this year! He graduated from Evergreen State College where he studied Education and Psychology, with an emphasis in social justice work. Eli Carey is entering his third year as a Green Dot art teacher, transferring over from Destiny Middle School, where he created and implemented an extremely successful art program for the past couple of years. In his free time, Eli likes to play sports, spend time with friends and family, and watch ‘The Office’ reruns whenever he has time. He is extremely grateful for the opportunity to join RVLA’s team and continue growing a successful art program for all students.
I graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India with Bachelors in mathematics and computer programing. Thereon I completed my masters in mathematics from University of Mumbai. I have experience teaching High School as well as undergraduate students.
I enjoy reading and cooking.
I am excited to be a part of RVLA team!!
EL Coordinator/Administrative Intern
I’m Emily Ezpeleta and this year I will be serving as an EL Coordinator while completing an admin internship. I am so excited to be here!
For the last seven years, I have worked with EL students in almost every capacity possible: elementary, middle, and high school. As the daughter of a Cuban Immigrant and a public-school teacher, I just love working in schools with immigrant, refugee, and language learning communities.
I have a black lab/border collie named Celie who represents about 1/3 of the pictures in my phone. I talk about her as though she’s a person mostly because she thinks she’s a person: a beautiful person! I travel every year and I buy jewelry every place that I go, which means most of my jewelry has a story. Feel free to ask, I love talking about my travels.
I'm looking forward to getting to know you all this year!
Special Education Teacher
Mr. Garcia is excited to be a Special Education teacher at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. He graduated from CSULA with a degree in Economics. Then, he obtained a teaching credential with a focus on strategies to help students with special needs. He has been a math teacher in Los Angeles, CA and in Kent, WA serving students with diverse cultural backgrounds and academic abilities.
Mr. Garcia enjoys hiking in Discovery Park, spending time with his family and cat, and trying a variety of vegetarian foods. He looks forward to working with wonderful students, staff, and families at RVLA.
Ms. Hauber is honored to be joining Rainier Valley Leadership Academy in the 2019 – 2020 school year as the 9th/10th grade physics teacher. She grew up in the Midwest and attended the University of Iowa, earning degrees in biology and psychology. After graduation, Ms. Hauber 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. She then spent two years working in curriculum development and assessment design for middle and high school math, science, and music at the district level in Colorado. Most recently, Ms. Hauber taught all levels of middle school science for three years at Destiny Charter Middle School.
Ms. Hauber enjoys singing with the Seattle Choral Company, attending musical performances around Seattle, eating amazing food, and exploring new hiking trails around the state. She looks forward to helping students engage deeply in scientific thinking and engineering design, develop deeper understanding of and appreciation for the world (and universe) around them, and grow as informed and conscientious citizens.
Ben Olsen is excited to be serving as Spanish Instructor for Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. Originally from Spooner, Wisconsin, Ben attended Martin Luther College in Minnesota, with a B.A. in Education and Spanish Language. He has had the privilege to teach Spanish at all levels in a variety of states and settings including South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and now Washington. He also has had wonderful experiences in several Latino countries, traveling and taking classes in countries like Argentina and Mexico.
Mr. Olsen enjoys football season, golfing, and exploring the scenic Washington area with family and friends. He looks forward to working with a dedicated staff, serving at a school where student success is put first.
World History Teacher
Ms. Amy Razo is joining RVLA from Los Angeles, California where she was born, raised, and where she began teaching over 7 years ago. Ms. Razo began her teaching career at Dominguez High School in Compton, California and spent the last three school years teaching for Green Dot Public Schools at Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy in Watts.
Ms. Razo is a proud, two-time graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History in 2010. It was during her undergraduate years that Ms. Razo discovered her passion for learning history that is diverse and representative, as well where she became aware of the ways in which education has left students of color historically underserved. Combining her new passions, Ms. Razo decided to pursue her teaching credential and graduate degree through UCLA’s Teacher Education Program where her training was focused specifically on serving urban communities. She began teaching in 2011 and graduated with her Master’s Degree in Education in 2012.
Ms. Razo is thrilled to serve as RVLA’s grade level lead and as a social studies course lead for Green Dot Washington. She is so excited at the opportunity to work with RVLA staff, students, and families to build a strong school culture that will set students on the path to success!
In her spare time, Ms. Razo enjoys hiking, rock climbing, camping, photography, and traveling. She loves spending time with her friends and family, especially her niece and nephews. Although she will miss being close to them, she is so excited to explore and begin her new life in Washington!