Head of School
Grade 8 History Teacher
Donny has a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Kansas, a B.A. in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara, along with a Single Subject Teaching Credential. Donny is a strong believer in life-long learning and recognizes the importance and excitement of learning new things. He has Web Design and Graphic Design certifications from the University of California, San Diego. 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 SCUBA certification courses. He has been a part of the TCPS family since 2001 previously serving as a homeroom teacher, advanced research teacher, middle school history teacher, and assistant head of school. As the current Head of School, he is excited to continue to teach in the classroom as the Grade 8 history teacher as his greatest joy in education comes from teaching and working directly with our students. TCPS students bring such a passion and enthusiasm for learning which makes education immensely rewarding and fun!
Director of Operations and Giving
Mariel joined TCPS in 2017 as our Business Administrator and is now TCPS Director of Operations and Giving. Her background in engineering and project management accounts for her love of spreadsheets and numbers. 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.
Schuyler Rainey Twyman
Director of Admissions and Marketing
Schuyler Rainey Twyman has a long affiliation with The Child’s Primary School. She was a parent and active volunteer at TCPS for several years while her three children were enrolled as students. Schuyler has a B.A. in English Literature from Yale University and did post-baccalaureate studies specializing in child psychology at SDSU. She has previously worked on Capitol Hill as an aide and speechwriter, in admissions and student services and most recently was Director of Customer Service for an international internet marketing company. In her spare time she enjoys taking classes, reading, cheering for her children in their sporting events and activities, and spending as much time as possible walking by the beach. Schuyler has long been an advocate for TCPS and is thrilled to be back on campus, sharing her love for TCPS in a professional capacity with new families and the public.
Lower School Lead
Rachel has been with TCPS as the kindergarten teacher since 2011 and became the Lower School lead teacher in 2018. Rachel graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her B.A. in Speech Communications. She pursued a career in teaching at Point Loma Nazarene where she earned her M.A. in Education and multiple subject teaching credential. 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 six years. She lives in Ocean Beach with her husband, son, and daughter and enjoys spending time with family, singing, and cooking. Students inspire and refresh her love for teaching every single day. She is dedicated to bringing fun learning experiences to the classroom and providing rich experiences for her students.
Grade 1 Teacher
Mary is excited to be joining the TCPS team for the 2020-2021 school year. She grew up in St Louis, Missouri and earned her B.S. in Animal Science at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She began her career in education with the Education Department at the San Diego Zoo during summer internships and moved to San Diego in 2016. Mary obtained her M.Ed and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UCSD while student teaching in a first grade classroom. She is looking forward to creating challenging and rewarding classroom experiences that inspire her students and teaching them skills for lifelong learning. In Mary’s free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and caring for her new kitten, Leonardo.
Jenni Van Tuyl
Grade 2 Teacher
Jenni graduated with her B.S. from the University of WI, and later earned her M.A. from San Diego State University. She has over 20 years of experience teaching at the primary level. Jenni lives for those lightbulb moments of “aha” and feelings of success when a child first understands a concept or finally masters a skill! Jenni was delighted when she had the opportunity to join the TCPS faculty full-time a few years ago! The amazing students, creative staff, and outstanding parent community make this a wonderful place for everyone to learn and grow. In her free time, Jenni enjoys reading, traveling, baking, and spending time with friends and family.
Grade 3 TeacherCara joined the TCPS faculty in 2010 as a Middle School Math teacher and Program Coordinator. In 2013, Cara became a full time homeroom teacher at TCPS. She has taught both 2nd and 3rd grade and is currently the 3rd grade homeroom teacher. Cara has a B.A. in Education Studies with a minor in English from Stonehill College, Massachusetts. She earned her M.A. in Mathematics Education from San Diego State University. Though she has been in San Diego for over 15 years, Cara grew up in Rhode Island and lived and worked in the Boston area before moving to San Diego. In the past, Cara taught third grade in a public school outside of Boston, 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 and to introduce them to mindfulness in the classroom setting. In her free time, she loves yoga and cooking. She loves to travel whenever possible, especially to the many beautiful places in California.
Grade 4 TeacherSandra is a San Diego native and a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School in Rancho Peñasquitos. Sandra attended San Francisco State University and received her B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish. Sandra received her multiple subject teaching 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 led sewing workshops and helped women entrepreneurs in her village sell their woven baskets. After returning home, Sandra went right back into teaching. In 2014, Sandra came to TCPS as a Kindergarten substitute teacher. Since 2016 Sandra has been teaching 4th grade at TCPS. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and two daughters, work on sewing projects, and create art.
Grade 5 Teacher
Sara has a Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona where she taught 4th grade for 5 years. She recently moved to the San Diego area and is thrilled to be joining TCPS! As a teacher at TCPS, Sara’s goal is to provide a welcoming environment where students feel safe to share opinions and learn about others. She also wants to provide engaging and fun learning material to spark a life-long love of learning! In her free time, Sara enjoys golfing and traveling to new places to learn about different cultures. She also loves to spend time with her new Husky puppy, Kaya!
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 at TCPS, 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 nurture their talents.
Spanish Teacher (K-8)
Ashley comes from Chicago with several years’ experience teaching all ages from Pre-K through High School. She received her B.A. in Spanish from the University of Kentucky (Go CATS!) and her M.A.T. at National Louis University in Elementary Bilingual Education. In her free time she enjoys taking her corgi Mickey to the beach with her husband, and exploring San Diego. Ashley loves being a part of the TCPS community and getting to know each and every student since she teaches all grade levels at TCPS!
Science Teacher, Elementary and Middle School
Caitlyn Toropova is thrilled to become a full-time member of the TCPS family after having subbed here for several years. She originally was a marine biologist working internationally in the conservation field, during which she always had an outreach and teaching component of her work. Caitlyn earned her MS in Biology from Humboldt State University focusing on marine mammal behavior before switching to education full time in 2011. She recently earned her Master’s of Education and single subject credential and has taught in public, private and charter schools throughout San Diego. Caitlyn brings her passion for the natural world into the classroom and is inspired by students learning to recognize and appreciate that science is all around them. Working with students who can question and observe the scientific world fuels her desire to be the best teacher she can be!
Middle School Math Teacher (6-8)
Coding Teacher (K-5)
Michael has over fifteen years of teaching experience, including twelve years teaching middle school math. Attending both public and private schools just outside NYC, Michael earned his BA from Lake Forest College and his MAT from Manhattanville College. Prior to finding his passion for teaching, he enjoyed working in broadcasting for CBS and ABC News in New York. Michael is excited to be a part of TCPS and share his knowledge with students, increasing their curiosity, motivation and confidence. Michael enjoys spending time with family and friends. Photography, surfing, and triathlons are just some of his favorite hobbies.
Extended Care Supervisor
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 B.A. 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, identical twin boys (Parker and Mason), daughter (Vivian), and youngest son (Wyatt).
Middle School Language Arts Teacher (6-8)
For as long as she can remember, Melissa has wanted to be a teacher. Inspired by one of her all-time favorite poets, Melissa tries to live by Maya Angelou’s quote, “I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.” Raised near Seattle, Washington, Melissa graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and received her Masters in Teaching from Northwest University in Washington. Melissa has taught in private schools since 2010 and joined TCPS in 2016. While she joined the staff as the 5th grade teacher, she is thrilled to transition into the Middle School Language Arts position, as well as the school librarian. She can’t wait to take her love of reading and writing and bring it to life, both in the classroom and in the library! As a teacher, Melissa’s goal is to provide a positive classroom environment where her students feel safe, valued, and heard. When at home, Melissa enjoys writing and hand-lettering, as well as spending time with her husband Charles and their daughter Malaya. As a family, they love cooking, baking, sports, and being active.
Middle School History Teacher (6-7)
Middle School Advanced Research Teacher (7-8)
Rachel knew she wanted to work with children when she fell in love with playing and teaching piano at a very young age. She received her Bachelor’s in Child Psychology and Education at the University of North Florida and shortly after moved to Israel to teach English. It was then when Rachel fell in love with traveling the world, authentically experiencing cultures, and eating all the delicious and exotic food! This is also when she realized how incredible history can be – and she knew she had to become a history teacher. She received her Master’s in Educational Leadership at the University of Florida (go Gators!) then moved to San Diego where she loves nothing more than hiking and going to the beach with her 2 dogs and fiancé. Rachel has been teaching since 2012 and is thrilled for another incredible year here at TCPS sharing her passion for history and research!
On-Site Substitute Teacher
Dandridge is a devoted educator who motivates and inspires her students. She has teaching experience instructing children with a diverse range of abilities. Her passion for teaching began as a mother. Her daughter opened her eyes to the rewarding life of working with young children and helped develop her interest in children’s development. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Educational Studies Cum Laude and followed that with a Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University Magna Cum Laude. Above all, being a teacher has had a gratifying impact on her life and she is now excited to be a part of the TCPS team. Dandridge loves kids and it fills her heart to watch them grow and develop their skills.
Kate was born in New Jersey and graduated from Rowan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies. Over the past few years she has worked promotions at a radio station, volunteered at numerous animal shelters, and enjoyed various customer service positions while moving around the country with her husband, who recently finished his service in the Coast Guard. After settling in San Diego, she discovered and fell in love with TCPS, which happily led to her son’s enrollment. Kate loves all sports, exploring new places and adventuring with her son, daughter, husband, and dog, Scout.