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Meet our Staff
Jill Duoto is the Founder and Director of High Bluff Academy. She has been an educator for 30 years as a principal, teacher, curriculum director and college counselor. She taught at Francis Parker High School, Singapore American School and international schools in Brazil, Colombia and Japan. She holds a B.A. in political science from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Education from SDSU. Jill lives in Carmel Valley with her husband Mike and son Bobby.
Nicolas has been the business manager and assistant director since 2014. Nick handles all billing questions, oversees HBA’s award-winning tutoring program, advises parents and students on course selection and scheduling. Nick graduated from Canyon Crest Academy and San Francisco State University and lives in Carmel Valley with his wife Lindsey and his Golden Doodle Cider.
Assistant Director / Science Department Head
George Humphreys first designed HBA’s lab science program in 2008. He has earned local fame among the TPHS community for teaching Chemistry, AP Chemistry and Physics. George can take the most complex information and make it seem easy. He creates lasting relationships with his students who view him as a mentor and friend. George also teaches our technology, engineering and golf classes, and is the ASB advisor. George graduated from the University of San Diego and has three children: Jase, Lucy and George. When not at HBA, George can be found on the golf course.
Math and Spanish Department Head / Community Service Coordinator
Adriana Garcia designed HBA’s Spanish Language program and guided the school’s transition to Common Core math. She has been teaching at High Bluff Academy since 2010 and specializes in working with students to overcome math phobias. We haven’t met a student yet that Adriana couldn’t turn around! She is beloved by her students for her caring and compassionate attitude. Adriana was born in Tijuana and moved to San Diego when she was in 7th grade, when she learned English for the first time. She is a graduate of UCSD in Spanish Literature, holds teaching credentials in both math and Spanish, earned an M.A. in Education and is now working on her Doctorate. Adriana runs HBA’s Community Service program and plans all of the school’s special events including the graduation celebration. She is married and has two children, Alina and Alonso.
Social Studies Department Head / NHS Advisor
Geoff Stevens has been teaching Social Studies, Chemistry and ACT prep at HBA since 2012. He is the most well-rounded teacher at the school. Geoff holds teaching credentials in Social Science, Biology, Chemistry and English. Geoff graduated from Trinity College with a degree in History and minors in Biology and Creative Writing. He holds an M.A.T. in History from Boston University. Geoff is beloved by his students for his dry wit and his caring attitude. HBA graduates always credit Geoff for preparing them well for college-level writing. He also gets amazing results from his ACT prep courses. Geoff teaches College Prep and AP level U.S. History, Human Geography, American Government and Economics. He also teaches Chemistry during the summer. He enjoys playing and teaching Chess and advises the National Honors Society.
English and World History / ACT prep
Cheryl King has been teaching English, ESL and World History at HBA since 2008. She holds a B.A. in Education from the University of Memphis and an M.Ed from Oglethorpe University. Cheryl is beloved by her students for her kindness, patience and southern charm. She is the queen of grammar and has an infectious passion for literature. She is famous in the neighborhood for helping students to raise their ACT English scores and improve their essay writing. Cheryl has a son, Steven, and lives in Rancho Santa Fe.
Physics and Math Teacher
Dr. Will Anderson
Dr. Will Anderson is a Ph.D. biochemist who has lived, worked, and taught in San Diego for almost 20 years. He received his B.A. in Biological Sciences at Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry at UCSD. Dr. Will spent over 10 years doing scientific research at UCSD and The Scripps Research Institute before joining HBA. After several years of private tutoring, he joined the HBA staff in 2016 and teaches CP and AP Chemistry, CP and AP Biology, Environmental Science, and Psychology. Dr. Will uses his years of experience helping students succeed at the college level to make science accessible and exciting for students at all levels here at HBA.
After a career in international affairs, Ellen has been an English teacher since 2010 because it provides her the opportunity to work with young people to shape the reading, writing, and oral communication skills she knows are needed in today’s professional world. Encouraging and observing the growth in each of her students is one of Ellen’s greatest joys. Ellen, who holds California teaching credentials in both English and Social Science, received her BA in International Relations at the College of Wooster in Ohio, and completed her courses in education at Old Dominion University in Virginia and journalism at the University of Texas, Austin. When not in school, Ellen is taking photos of her surfing kids; sitting in a beach chair with toes in sand and book in hand; practicing yoga; or finding new and interesting places in the world to visit.
Thomas came to High Bluff Academy in 2015 after completing his Masters degree and teaching credential in Mathematics at CSU East Bay. He has a passion for teaching mathematics of all levels, from pre-algebra to AP Calculus. In addition to teaching at HBA, Thomas also teaches evening classes as an adjunct professor at Palomar Community College in San Marcos. With more than 7 years of teaching experience under his belt, Thomas is a great addition to the Math Department here at HBA. If he’s not teaching, Thomas can be found surfing, rock climbing or just enjoying time with his family and dogs.
Ethan has been teaching math and statistics at HBA since 2018. He holds a B.S. in Advanced Mathematics from Michigan State and an M.A. in Economics from UCSD. Ethan specializes in AP Statistics, Calculus, all levels of integrated math and microeconomics. He has received many awards for his scholarship including the UC Regents Fellowship and the MSU Outstanding Senior Award. Ethan has been instrumental in improving the Common Core math curriculum at HBA.
Judy has been teaching Spanish since 2005. She has taught middle school, high school, and community college language and culture. Growing up in an English-Spanish bilingual home allowed her to develop a love for both languages and their respective cultures. She received her B.A. with a teaching emphasis from San Diego State University and also holds an M.S. in Spanish Linguistics from Georgetown University. When Judy is not enthusiastically sharing her passion for Spanish and the Spanish-speaking world, she can be found at Balboa Park, the zoo, or gardening.
Math and English Teacher
Melissa teaches math and English at HBA. She is a long-time mathematics educator, having taught students ranging from elementary school through college level over a span of more than 20 years. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics-System Science from UCLA and a M.A. in Applied Mathematics from UC San Diego, where she also studied for a NSF-funded doctorate in mathematics education. Melissa enjoys helping students deepen their understanding of mathematics and learn practical skills for succeeding in math. She has taught English internationally, as well, for business, test preparation and everyday usage. Melissa is a mother of two high school/college age children and lives in Rancho Santa Fe.
Math and Physics Teacher
Sarah Smith has been teaching at HBA since 2018. She holds a B.A. in Physics with a minor in Math and M.S. in Physics both from Dartmouth College. She has taught all math classes from Integrated Math 1 through Calculus BC. She has been tutoring math and physics continuously since she was a senior at La Jolla High in 2002. Sarah worked in Yosemite for five summers and has hiked the John Muir trail.
Brian Ailes received his math teaching credential in 2017 from Point Loma Nazarene. He holds a B.A in Liberal Arts with a minor in Math. He teaches Integrated Math 1 through AP Calculus AB. When he’s not teaching math you can find him instructing tennis, cooking or analyzing baseball. He values physical fitness and enjoys researching automobiles.