SDA Welcomes New Staff Members
October 9, 2020
You may have seen some new faces or heard new names. They came from all walks of life from La Costa Canyon to France. But the common thread that holds them together: the love for fostering a connection with students and the San Dieguito Academy community.
Meet the first round of new staff members who join our school.
Jeremy Meadows, Assistant Principal
He’s only been on campus for a couple of months, but new assistant principal Jeremy Meadows is excited to leave his mark at SDA after “loving the culture and staff and students,” in his early tenure on campus. After working as an assistant principal for the past five years, he looks forward to being at a school that offers so many unique classes and a 4×4 schedule.
Meadows grew up just north of Encinitas in Vista, CA. He attended Rancho Buena Vista High School and worked as a lifeguard in Carlsbad for several years before getting his undergraduate degree at the University of California Santa Barbara. He then went on to get his teaching credential and master’s degrees in special education and school administration at California State Dominguez-Hills. He also got a Doctorate of Education at the University of Southern California.
After previously working at Palos Verdes High School and La Costa Canyon High School, Meadows looks to “help the social and emotional piece that students are going through” by working with students, teachers, and families in the special education program.
In his free time, he likes going to the beach, golfing, remodeling his house, and spending time with his wife, and five-month-year-old daughter. He is a fan of the Lakers, Padres, Patriots, and USC football. Once the campus opens up, he looks forward to going to school events and meeting students and staff in person.
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Will Raschke, AP World History and varsity volleyball
Raschke became interested in being a teacher for many reasons, his main reason being his desire to create positive experiences for his students. Raschke explained how he is passionate about forming connections with students and making a thoughtful impact on their lives.
Other than being an AP World teacher, Raschke has always been interested in volleyball. He started playing indoor and beach when he was a kid and said the sport just grew on him. He said his love for volleyball continued to grow when he played club volleyball in college. Outside of playing volleyball, Raschke loves wood-working, playing tennis, and gardening.
Although his first year at SDA has been filled with Google Meets instead of on-campus classes, Raschke still enjoys getting to work with students. He admits that he’s faced a few struggles, but he said he prefers to return to campus once it is safe for the community. He says that “all teachers are trying to make online learning valuable.”
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Sue Foote, Library Media Technician
Sue Foote, SDA’s Library Media Technician attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and received a major in Business and a minor in Economics. However, her love for her children and passion for reading led her to work with elementary school students at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary. Foote has a fondness for the critically acclaimed series Harry Potter and even created a Harry Potter club back at Olivenhain Pioneer for her students. She said she loves reading because “You’ll be able to experience someone else’s life experiences without having to go through them yourself. Books can be windows into someone else’s life or a mirror that reflects your own, so it’s just a great way to get to know the world better.”
During the last month of school, Mrs. Foote completed her transition from Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary to San Dieguito Academy. She was shocked due to the lack of books highschoolers checked out, compared to elementary students, and said she plans to bring back students’ passion for reading. Mrs. Foote intends to hold a book fair next month to give students the opportunity to explore new books and enjoy some hard copy stories. Details to follow soon.
Stay up to date on the Mustang Commons by following her on Instagram, as well as joining The Mustang Commons Google Classroom, where students of all grades can participate in games, quizzes, contests, and more. The code for the classroom is uomp3vk, and her Instagram handle is @sda_mustangcommons.
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Robert Iverson, Chemistry
Robert Iverson, one of our latest chemistry teachers, has taught a variety of science classes for nineteen years. Iverson is a huge advocate for students creating the culture of the school. He believes it is crucial for the culture of a school to be one that the students have created and one that connects every single student together.
Iverson believes that it is partially the teacher’s responsibility to help guide the students to become the best they can be. “I love working with kids and students, helping them grow into who they’re meant to be,” he said.
Iverson said he believes that one of the greatest responsibilities as a teacher is to build relationships with as many students as possible. He strongly dislikes having to teach online, and that there’s less of an opportunity to connect or gauge how students are really doing.
While he isn’t able to see students, Iverson has his small zoo made up of diverse animals ranging from fish, snakes, a puppy, a chinchilla, and more. He hopes that when we all return back to school, he’ll be able to share them with his students.
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Kim Kuzma, French
Kim Kuzma is one of the new staff members at SDA, replacing Rouba Smith as the sole French teacher. She has been a teacher since the ’90s and loves her job! She once lived in France and decided to teach French would be the perfect solution!
Kuzma’s journey to mastering the French language was an interesting one. She was offered an opportunity to move to Strasbourg, France in her senior year of college where she lived with a French family as an Au Pair, which is “a nanny who lives with the family.” She took a little French in high school and college, she says, but she furthered her French education when she got to France and enrolled in a university, eventually earning the highest degree you can in the French language. She has been back to France many times and received a scholarship to teach there for six weeks. She doesn’t speak any other languages fluently besides French, but she knows a bit of Hungarian from her time living in Budapest, and a few words in Spanish.
Kuzma has been teaching since about 1996 but has taken several years off to be with her children. She says that her favorite thing about teaching is getting to know the students, learning what is exciting to them, and helping them to learn new things. She likes to provide students new opportunities and things to think about when they’re older to inspire them. She was very excited to come to SDA because she had heard great things about it and was enthused to come and teach here. As she loves teaching, she also decided she would teach online! So she teaches at National University High School. She says that the most important thing she has learned from teaching is to be flexible and to be responsive to what students are interested in and what they need and move forward so they can learn French in a way that’s exciting for them.
While Madame Kuzma loves to teach French, she also enjoys going on long hikes, spending time with her family– including her two kids who currently attend Oak Crest Middle School and her black lab named Zinzan– and eating Thai food.
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