Head of School/ Co-Founder / Middle School Language Arts Teacher
Sherry Risch has developed a distinct philosophy of education that combines the best teaching practices and principles of learning with her personal beliefs of the importance of community, family, and the needs of the whole child. In 1983, she co-founded The Child’s Primary School, a private kindergarten through eighth grade school, based on those principles. Ms. Risch is continually re-inventing herself and has created an environment that fosters the joy of lifelong learning- a place where teachers join together to design innovative curriculum. Ms. Risch is a founding board member of Women’s Empowerment International serving women living in poverty, and in her spare time, enjoys traveling and singing gospel music in San Diego’s MLK Community Choir. She holds a B.S. in Special and Elementary Education from Miami University, Oxford Ohio, and served on the Committee for Primary Assessment and Curriculum Development in Ohio. Sherry continues to find joy and inspiration teaching at TCPS.
Assistant Head of School and Middle School History Teacher
Donny is the Assistant Head of School and one of the middle school teachers. He teaches History and Geography for all middle school grades. Donny has his B.A. in History from University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Single Subject Credential from Sonoma State University. He has Web Design and Graphic Design Certificates from the University of California, San Diego. His knowledge base in photography comes from passion as a professional nature photographer. Adding to Donny’s educational background are his twelve years of experience in outdoor education for the Catalina Island Marine Institute, where he taught marine ecology, geology, astronomy, underwater photography, and was the SCUBA divemaster. Donny has been a part of the TCPS family since 2001. His favorite thing about TCPS is the amazing connection he feels between the students, parents, and staff; and not just for the grades he teaches, but across all grade levels.
Mariel joined TCPS in 2017 as our Business Administrator. Her background in engineering and project management accounts for her love of spreadsheets and task lists. She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from San Diego State and was the office manager of a family business for over 10 years. She enjoys volunteering in the community and has served in leadership roles for several local non-profit organizations. A long-time resident of San Diego, she loves family time with her husband, two sons and their beloved dog. She’s a big fan of anything related to yoga and in her free time, she can be found cheering on the sidelines at her kids’ activities.
Marketing and Admissions
Alex Dausch has been in San Diego for nearly 9 years now. Originally from New Orleans, Alex also lived in northwest Ohio during his high school and college years. Alex attended Bowling Green State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His unique work history includes managing a music school, serving as Assistant Manager at a boutique hotel, working as the Student Services Coordinator at a Montessori non-profit, and most recently an International Admissions Advisor at UCSD Extension. When he is not busy working, Alex enjoys playing and recording music, gardening, cooking, and spending time with his family.
Rachel has been with TCPS as the Kindergarten teacher since 2011. She graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her B.A. in Speech Communications. She later pursued a career in teaching at Point Loma Nazarene where she obtained her M.A. in Education and her teaching credentials. Before coming to TCPS, Rachel taught music in Point Loma for grades K-3. She worked with Peace Corps-Belize as a teacher trainer for two years while coaching girls’ soccer, and co-advising a girls club. A Pennsylvania native, her love for teaching grew while teaching pre-school for 6 years. She lives in Ocean Beach with her husband (and son, Frankie!) and enjoys spending time with family, singing, cooking, yoga, and running. Students inspire and refresh her love for teaching every single day. She is dedicated to bringing her best to the classroom and providing rich experiences for her students.
Ms. Swaney is grateful and excited to join the TCPS faculty this year! This is her nineteenth year as an independent school educator; she has taught grades pre-K through six across four states: Massachusetts, Florida, Hawaii, and California. Ms. Swaney earned her BA in psychology from Wells College in New York and then completed her MEd at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, where she also earned her teaching certification for grades one through six. Outside of school, Ms. Swaney enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, biking, music, hiking, surfing, yoga, and all things healthy!
Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Elizabeth enjoys traveling and reading, and her number one love is her dog, Sandy, a miniature white poodle.
Cara joined the TCPS faculty in 2010, as a Math Teacher and the Program Coordinator. In 2013, Cara became the 2 & 3 Homeroom Teacher at TCPS. Cara has a B.A. in Education Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education from Stonehill College, Massachusetts. She also has her M.A. in Mathematics Education from San Diego State University. Though she has been in San Diego for a few years, Cara is grew up in Rhode Island and lived and worked in the Boston area before moving to San Diego. In the past, Cara has taught third grade in a public school, was a substitute teacher in Grades K-6, a tutor for third grade students, a test-prep tutor for middle school students, and a co-coordinator of a junior high tutoring program in Brockton, MA. Her goal as a teacher at TCPS is to help students become confident mathematicians and problem solvers. In her free time, she likes cooking and started a container vegetable garden this year so that she could cook with fresh vegetables. She loves to travel whenever possible, especially to the many beautiful places in California.
Sandra is a San Diego native who was born in Chula Vista, then moved to Rancho Penasquitos where she graduated from Mt. Carmel High School. After high school, Sandra attended San Francisco State University and received her BA in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish. Sandra received her multiple subject credential from the Bay Area Teacher Training Institute while working as a first grade co-teacher at The Bentley School in Oakland, Ca. From 2007 to 2009, Sandra, along with her husband, worked for Peace Corps-Vanuatu in the South Pacific as an early education literacy trainer for local teachers. She also lead sewing workshops and helped women entrepreneurs in her village market and sell woven baskets. After returning home, Sandra taught 4th grade for three years in San Diego. In 2014, she became our long-term Kinder teacher. Two years later, she has returned to teach 4th grade. In her free time she loves to spend time with her husband and two daughters, work on sewing projects, create art of all kinds, and build sandcastles at the beach.
After recently returning from her maternity leave, Melissa Smith is our new grade 5 homeroom teacher. Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Washington and a Master in Teaching from Northwest University in Washington. Melissa was born in Ventura, California, and raised near Seattle, Washington. She is excited to be moving back to California to join TCPS. Melissa enjoys cooking and baking with her husband and trying to perfect new recipes.
Vickie is the TCPS Music Teacher, as well as our program support and on-site substitute teacher. Vickie earned her Bachelor’s degree from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and her teaching credential from the University of San Diego. Before teaching at TCPS, she taught Language Arts for San Diego City Schools. Vickie spent many years acting and singing in musical theater, and is now a professional musician and a piano teacher. She is also involved in Renaissance and Medieval musical performance. In addition to being a teacher here, Vickie teaches music during the summers at Gateways Summer School. She also has a son who is a graduate of TCPS. Vickie has brought her love for music, instruments, singing, and poetry to the students attending TCPS since 1993. She is continually amazed at the musical creativity the students possess when given the time to foster their talents.
Senora Sánchez Aguirre
Marisol was born and raised in México. Her daughter has been attending TCPS since 2012. Marisol has taught Spanish at public elementary schools, at a private Middle School, and adults at SDSU and Palomar College. During her B.A. Program she took courses at Universities including Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Occidente in Guadalajara, Unversidad Autónoma de Baja California and CETYS in Tijuana, México. She obtained her M.A. in Spanish from San Diego State University. She is a published author of poems and editor of Spanish books. Her first job as a teacher was at the age of 13. She enjoys meditation and mindfulness. She enjoys TCPS environment of inclusiveness, respect, strong academics, communication and wholesomeness. She is very excited to be part of the TCPS faculty.
Haley is the Science teacher for all ages at TCPS. She was born and raised in Moorpark, CA, which is in Ventura County. Haley received her BA from California Lutheran University in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish and a concentration in Art. She also holds her M.S. in Educational Leadership as well as a certification to teach Gifted and Talented students. Before joining TCPS, Haley taught middle school science in Ventura for two years, elementary school in San Diego for two years, and another year teaching Science in Imperial Beach. She lives in Point Loma and enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, cooking, and exercising. Haley loves being a part of the TCPS family!
Mark teaches Math from fifth grade to eighth grade. He brings over fifteen years of teaching experience to TCPS, including ten years teaching middle school math. Mark grew up in the San Diego area and received his undergraduate degree from Revelle College at U.C. San Diego and his teaching credentials through San Diego State University. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mark was an environmental attorney for 15 years obtaining his J.D. degree from the University of Oregon and an LL.M. degree in energy law from the University of Utah. Mark found his true passion with teaching. He loves exploring math with middle school students while integrating math with science, technology and other subjects. Mark has been happily married for over 30 years and has two wonderful grown sons. He enjoys nature including hiking and nature photography. He is also fascinated by technology and has an on-line museum showcasing his collection of vintage typewriters, cameras, calculators and computers.
Greg joined TCPS as the P.E. Teacher and Extended Care Supervisor in 2013. Greg previously taught P.E. at Emory Elementary School in Imperial Beach and was the Head Varsity Baseball Coach at Olympian High School for the previous three years. While at Olympian, Greg also taught 12th grade math. Greg is a local San Diego Native and graduate of Mission Bay High School. After high school, Greg spent two years playing Baseball at San Diego Mesa Junior College, before getting a scholarship to play at Pace University in New York. Greg returned home to San Diego and received his BA in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Education from San Diego State University. Greg holds a single subject P.E. credential from National University. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife, 3 year old identical twin boys (Parker and Mason) and 8 month old daughter (Vivian).
Angela fell in love with books and learning as a child. This passion has lead her down many paths that have shaped her education and her life. Her true joy comes from exploring and immersing herself in experiences that she can share with others. Angela has studied at The Globe Theatre in London, Nancie Atwell’s Center for Teaching and Learning, the Disney Institute, and recently completed Stanford University’s mathematics coursework with Jo Boaler. Angela holds an M.A. in Education from Bradley University and B.F.A. in Theater from the University of Illinois. Before becoming a teacher, she spent several years working in outreach education in zoos and museums and as a Y.E.S. facilitator at Walt Disney World. She taught for nine years at La Jolla Country Day School as a lead teacher in grades three and five, elementary department chair, and as the Junior Shakespeareans drama instructor. During the summer months, Angela volunteered in China, Russia and developing nations in Africa and South America to share her love of teaching and learn from the global community. Her daughter, Norah, was born in 2013 which led Angela to take a break from the classroom and nurture both her child and the many women whom she served as a doula and childbirth educator. When she isn’t baking, reading, or dancing with Norah, Angela loves to engage in nature and with art. Angela marvels at the sense of wonder and curiosity that each child brings to the world and is looking forward to working with the thoughtful, inquisitive, and mindful students at TCPS!
Extended Care Supervisor
Jasmine joined our TCPS family as an extended care supervisor in 2018. She is a graduate of UCSD, with a Literatures in English degree. She has tutored for grades K-12, independently and in learning centers, and has coordinated after-school programming for elementary students. Jasmine’s interests include social justice, Buddhism and mindfulness, and dominoes. She volunteers as a co-facilitator at a people of color sangha.
Jan is the Administrative Assistant here at TCPS. She received a B.S. in Dietetics from University of California Davis. Jan spent the first part of her career as an Administrative Dietitian in Boston, MA and Berkley, CA. She also was the secretary for All Saints’ Episcopal School, and worked with their lunch program for 25 years. Jan is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Society of Mayflower Descendants. Crocheting afghans for Project Linus keeps her fingers busy in the evenings. She is a self-described Alaska “junkie.” Each year Jan coordinates participation of TCPS in Naturalization Ceremonies for new citizens. Jan has been with TCPS since the 2006 school year.