GET TO KNOW YOUR COMPASS TEAM
Lead Engagement Coach
I have been serving families and students at CMS schools since 2015. I started my career in education working with 100% at risk youth at Insight Schools of California, working to ensure students and families have all of the supports in place that are necessary to obtaining a high quality education. I live in Southern California with my wife and two boys ages 9 and 16. I enjoy cooking and creating art and music with my family.
Lead Social Support Coordinator
My name is Camey Valverde. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies: Multiple Subject Education from Brandman University. My husband and I are Foster/Adoptive parents to three wonderful children. We have two beautiful girls aged 2 ½ and 1 ½ years old. We also have a handsome little boy that is 9 months old. I am excited to be part of the Compass Team as a Student Support Coordinator. I believe our students’ Social Emotional learning is important to their overall success in the virtual environment. This is my fourth school year with our schools and my seventh year overall working in education. I love helping students and families achieve their academic goals.
ELEMENTARY ENGAGEMENT COACHES
Elementary Engagement Coach
Hello! My name is Brianna Gruft. I have my Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Pepperdine University as well as my California State Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. I live in Southern California with my husband and two boys. When we aren’t camping or enjoying the outdoors, we are at the football and baseball fields watching our kid’s games! I enjoy being part of a student’s academic growth and success and I am excited to be part of the CAVA team!
Elementary Engagement Coach
More info coming soon!
Elementary Engagement Coach
Hello! My name is Natali, I am happy to be a part of a team where support and connection can lead to high levels of success and progress within CAVA. I attended K12 and know what it feels like to start new or get a refresher of what it takes to be successful at K12. I am happy to offer support and resources to parents and students through navigating the system, meeting their goals, and helping them to achieve the progress they desire.
Hi Everyone! I’ve been with the California Virtual Academies for about 4 years. I’m married with three children ages 17,11, and 10. My life is full of school, sports practices and fun times with family and friends! I look forward to working with you!
MIDDLE SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT COACHES
Hello! My name is Christina Garcia and I am excited to be on the Compass team. I believe amazing things can happen when a community of parents and teachers come together in support of their students. I am a former elementary school teacher as well as a homeschool mom. I have two girls – one in middle school and the other in elementary - who I absolutely adore. We love laughing, listening to podcasts, signing Beetles songs and cuddling, either with a book or watching a movie.
Hello! My name is Glenda Estrada. I am a seasoned home educator and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have home-schooled my (now high-school age) children from preschool through sixth grade. I am a former CAVA Learning Coach who enjoys helping and supporting Compass families in their education journey. 😀
My name is Matt Johnson and I live in Central California with my amazing fiancé Bethany. We love to spend time together, explore new experiences, and take spontaneous trips! I spent 8 years in the United States Navy, visiting many different countries all over the world. My experience is mostly in the administrative world, but I do enjoy knowing how to do many different things. I am looking forward to this school year and working with CAVA students and hopefully being a positive influence in their lives.
My name is Heather Barkdull and I am SO excited to go on this adventure with you. I have been in education for over 10 years. I lead with a positive outlook on life. I see opportunities in every difficult situation. ALL things are possible and with determination you will be successful. I believe in having fun! I will be your biggest cheerleader. Supporting you the entire way. I am a mama of 3 kiddos, 2 furbabies and 6 chickens. I enjoy all things Disney! When I am not at Disneyland, I spend my time dancing with my kiddos. I am looking forward to going on this journey with you.
Hello! My name is Laurie Lusk, and I have been with Cava for five years. I enjoy working as a Middle School Engagement Coach and focus on school success skills during support sessions to guide students while they pursue their academic goals. I have worked in education for over ten years: Before joining the Cava team, I worked at a private high school as well as a public high school. I graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona with a BA degree in Behavioral Science. I have one grown son who graduated from a UC and plans to attend graduate school at Cal Poly (We’re keeping Cal Poly in the family).
I enjoy creative writing and spend many weekend afternoons in coffee shops with my laptop working on writing projects.
Hi! My name is Ro Correa and I'm a single mom of two. I love spending time with my loved ones, having new experiences (i.e. activities, places, food), and I teach group fitness. I've worked in the educational setting for 10 years in various positions but primarily with high school students for 6 years. I'm excited to be part of the CAVA and to work with the CAVA community.
HIGH SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT COACHES
I am a proud wife and mother of three boys. I enjoy spending time with my family going on camping trips, road trips, and playing multiple sport with my boys. I was a preschool teacher for 5 years and for the last 4 years I have been working with high school students and loving it!
I have been working with Middle and High School students for over 15 years and my goal is to help your student succeed. I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but have lived in California for the last 10 years. Because I miss cajun food, I have a newfound love for cooking. I have a husband, two children, and a dog who all mean the world to me. When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family, watching sports, and watching crime documentaries. I’m looking forward to supporting your family and student.
As an Engagement Coach, I appreciate the opportunity to be able to make a difference in students’ lives daily. Along with that personally, I enjoy traveling with my family, yoga and meditation, cooking, and attending my kid’s sporting events.
Hello! My name is Kim and I am proud to be a member of the Compass team! I enjoy the challenge of engaging students in new and exciting ways. I have studied and traveled around the world while getting my BA in Social Ecology and have experience teaching elementary school students in South Korea. Now, I am back home in Southern California as a new Engagement Coach with CAVA. When I’m not working, you can find me in coffee shops reading on a variety of subjects, discovering new hiking spots with friends, and always listening to philosophy podcasts and music. I look forward to growing and connecting with you!
More info coming soon!
Hello! I've worked with middle and high school students for over 10 years. I have my BA in Criminal Justice and I'm a Certified Paralegal. It is my passion to help people and a great conquest to empower and guide parents. I've been married since 2014. I have a handsome son.
Hello! I am a single mother of a 14-year-old freshman in High School. I love to travel and have been out of the country several times. If I could be anywhere in the world I would be on a beach reading a book.
SPECIALIZED ENGAGEMENT COACHES
Bilingual Engagement Coach
Hello! My name is Maricella Pimentel (aka ELLA). I am a Bilingual Compass Engagement Coach for CAVA. As an Engagement Coach, I enjoy helping and assisting families with the tools and resources they require to help them succeed in our virtual classroom. Times are changing, and so should the way students learn and engage online. I look forward to meeting you all on your journey as virtual students! GO BEARS!
Interests & Hobbies:
arts & crafts | photography | swimming | watching movies | family outings with my husband and three kids | playing with my fur babies ginger & luna | going to the beach | relaxing in my car with the windows down | playing board games
Light Support Engagement Coach
My name is Christina Avalos and I am thrilled to be part of a team that has the same goal in mind: student success. I am a mother of 2 beautiful children and currently in a Masters of English program (virtually) at Eastern New Mexico University. My belief is that with positive support, every student has the ability to succeed. Wishing everyone a wonderful school year!
Light Support Engagement Coach
I have been working in education with students from diverse backgrounds and developmental levels for over 15 years. My passion is to meet families where they are and build from there. Two of my greatest joys are my faith and family. However, my greatest thrill is exploring different cultures around the world, especially the food!
SOCIAL SUPPORT COORDINATORS
Social Support Coordinator - Middle School
Hello! My name is Elyssa Schultheiss and I am so thrilled to be a part of the Compass team! I currently reside in Southern California with my husband Jeremy where we love to adventure near the ocean. I love to surf, do yoga, and read! I am currently working on my Master’s in Human Communication Studies and studying political rhetoric. I have worked in education for a number of years, specifically coaching college students in Speech and Debate. I am passionate about empowering students to discover their own unique voice in the world. I am so excited to support you on this journey of education!
Social Support Coordinator - High School
Hello, my name is Latrese Gerren. I currently reside in Southern California, but am originally from Illinois. My husband and I have two amazing children who keep us busy and thoroughly entertained. I enjoy attending concerts, reading, and spending time with family and friends. I have worked in education and behavioral health as it brings me great joy to help others! I am looking forward to working with the students and their families this school year!
Social Support Coordinator - High School
Hello! My name is Michael Voss, I'm a graduate student in Library and Information Science online at San Jose State University and a new Engagement Coach with California Virtual Academies! My hobbies include hiking, photography, playing chess and guitar. My wife and I live in Southern California with our two cats. I'm looking forward to getting to know you all and having a great year!"
Middle School Counseling Specialist
I have had the pleasure of working for CAVA for the last 15 years. It has been a joy to see it evolve, grow, and change throughout the years. Prior to joining CAVA in 2007, I spent six years at a brick-and-mortar school and then transitioned to teaching at a community college. I received my bachelor's degree in Spanish and a minor in Psychology from California State University, Fresno. I then decided to pursue a career in education and earned a master’s degree in Education and Counseling as well as my Pupil Personnel Service credential from California State University, Fresno. I joined the CAVA staff as a High School Guidance Counselor, becoming Lead Guidance Counselor in 2008. In 2021, I transitioned into the role of a Counseling Specialist where I can focus my energies and passion for helping to support students and families. When I am not serving students and supporting teachers, I love spending time baking, hiking, traveling, working on our property, tending to our many animals, and spending time with my three girls, family, and friends.
Elementary School and High School Counseling Specialist
Hello! I feel so fortunate to be working with kids and families at CAVA! My heart is invested in helping all of our students and staff engage to their full potential and find joy and meaning in their school experience! With almost 15 years of counseling experience at all grades levels, my background includes a BA in Psychology from Cal State, Long Beach, my MS in School Counseling from Capella University and my PPS Credential for the state of California.
I currently live in Orange County, CA with my husband and 2 youngest children who are both in high school and I also have two young adult children who have ventured into this big world of independent living! We also have a lovable Shetland Sheepdog named Charlie. My own journey of parenting has given me some of the biggest lessons in life; time is fleeting so find happiness wherever you can and discomfort is temporary so don’t get stuck in it! In my free time I enjoy hiking, yoga, spending quality time with family, music, going to the beach, reading, home decorating, cooking, gardening, and traveling. Keeping busy is my therapy!
McKINNEY VENTO & FOSTER SUPPORT COORDINATORS
McKinney Vento & Foster Support Coordinator: San Diego, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Sonoma, Sutter
My name is Cathryn Munoz, but please call me Cathy! I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Master in Public Administration.
For 13+ years, I have professionally advocated for students in foster care and students experiencing homelessness. I am passionate about building a community that supports the educational and social-emotional well-being of children/youth and families. I live in Southern California, enjoying the beautiful weather with my husband and two children. I am honored to be a part of the CAVA Team!
McKinney Vento & Foster Support Coordinator: Fresno, Kings, LA, Maricopa, IQLA
Hello! My name is Latisha Davis. I am a boy mom, a foodie, and a lover of all things health and wellness. I love to read and learn. When I am not working you will find me with family and friends enjoying cooking and eating meals together. I am an avid Hallmark Channel watcher and a collector of books. I am so excited to be on this team of professionals supporting families on their educational journeys.
COMMUNITY, CULTURE & ONBOARDING
Hello All! I am passionate about helping students succeed. I'm a mother of two boys and married to an awesome man. When I’m not glued to a computer screen, I spend most of my time at the beach, enjoying beach activities like snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding or watching my kids surf.
Culture & Family Support Coordinator
Hello and welcome to our amazing school! My job is to support teachers, administrators, and parents with the necessary tools and resources of integrating community and culture, into their work with students. Please join me each month on our Parent Trainings to learn more!
Hi Everyone! My name is Shannon Gemmell. I have a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Psychology from Brigham Young University- Idaho. My husband and I have four wonderful children, three boys and a baby girl. I am an avid reader and love spending my free time with my family. As a family, we love camping and very much enjoy the outdoors. It is great to be a member of the CAVA team. I love helping families and enjoy assisting students in reaching their academic success.
My name is Mujaji (Mu-ha-gee) Law. I have a background in nonprofit work, specifically working with traditionally underserved populations, helping students and young adults gain access to information about education and careers, which ultimately helps them achieve success in their academic and personal lives. My name is of East African mythology meaning "Rain Queen." The Rain Queen helped during extreme droughts by commanding rain to fall to nourish and replenish farmlands, so villagers and animals would not starve. In a sense, I believe my calling is to bring information to those "starving" to receive it so that they are nourished by it and can prosper! My husband, Robert, and I have an adopted daughter, Kayla, who keeps our lives in check and full of joy. We are native Southern Californians and enjoy spending time with our families, entertaining, decorating for Christmas, and hanging out at Legoland and Camp Snoopy! I am very happy to join CAVA's school system.
Hi Friend! I’m excited to start another new school year with our CAVA and iQ Academy family. I always enjoy getting to know and helping our wonderful families. On my down time, I’m typically spending time with my husband, our two teenagers and two dogs (which are like family too!). Most of that time is spent at school sporting events, but I sneak in trips to the beach whenever I get the chance.
STUDENT CHAMPION CLERK
Student Champion Clerk
Hello to all! I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2020 and recently found my way into working with a school system. I love experiencing new adventures and learning new things. Through adventuring I hope to gain stories that last for years; through learning I hope to grow and broaden my understanding of myself and the world. My passion consists of dogs, unfortunately, at the moment I do not have one. Each day brings new opportunities to do better, and I look forward to what is in store.