High-Quality Teachers

Summit Public Schools has a world-class faculty collaborating to achieve our common mission- providing college opportunity and access to every student.  Faculty at Summit Public Schools have the remarkable capacity for connecting with young people, have a passion for their subjects, and have a strong level of dedication, respect and compassion for students.

Juliet Mohnkern
Executive Director

Juliet Mohnkern comes to Denali from High Tech Middle Chula Vista, a middle school in San Diego, where she was the School Leadership Resident and Interim Director.  Though she had intended to return the East Coast after her time in San Diego, Juliet fell in love with the Summit mission and model for re-imagining school to prepare students for college and beyond.  Prior to moving to California, Juliet worked at Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy in Washington, DC teaching senior thesis until she became the Director of Public Policy and Curriculum Innovation. She also coached the debate team and supported Model United Nations. She began her career in education at Match Public Charter School in Boston, MA. Juliet is originally from Connecticut and holds a BA in Classics from Boston College and graduate degrees from American University and High Tech High Graduate School of Education.

Joe Bielecki
Assistant Director

Joe began teaching middle school math and science in east San Jose in 2003, and has supported students in the Bay Area ever since. After teaching in traditional public and public charter schools for 8 years, Joe joined Summit as the founding Assistant Director at Summit Public Schools: Rainier and Tahoma in 2011. Joe holds a BA in History from Lewis and Clark College, a MS in Education from CSU East Bay, and a MA in Educational Leadership from U.C. Berkeley's Principal Leadership Institute. 

Jessica Miranda
Operation Manager

Jessica was born and raised in east San Jose. Jessica has been working with charter schools for over 9 years. Jessica, along with Mr. Bielecki founded the two east San Jose schools and last year Mr. Bielecki asked Jessica to join Denali as the Operations Manager.Jessica continues to work on her BA in Psychology from San Jose State University.

Brian Johnson

6th Grade Science Teacher

Brian comes from a family of teachers, and was the founding science teacher at Summit Public Schools: Denali. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University, a master's in education from Stanford University, and is a National Board Certified Teacher. Prior to joining Denali, Brian was on the faculty of Summit Public Schools: Summit Prep as both a teacher and administrator. He started his career as a mechanical engineer. He loves talking shop with other science teachers, and has presented at several teaching and education conferences. Brian and his wife (also a middle school science teacher!) have two children.

Miguel Gravelle 
6th Grade Social Studies 

Miguel Gravelle, 6th grade Humanities-History Teacher, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Xavier University, completed his Masters of Arts in Teaching History for Social Justice at Marlboro College, and holds a California Clear Credential in Social Sciences.  He also spent two years teaching English as a second language in the Cape Verde Islands of West Africa and a year teaching health while founding and leading a youth center in Botswana. Miguel's teaching philosophy is rooted in community, building cognitive skills, forging habits of success, and providing individualized instruction that harnesses the best of blended learning and flipped instruction, which is why he is so happy to join Summit Denali! When he's not reading history or writing poetry in Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Kriolu, or English, Miguel enjoys hiking, swimming, rock climbing, biking, playing the autoharp, learning guitar, and practicing TaeKwonDo, Muy Thai, KungFu, Krav Maga, and Capoeira.  

Sarah Andersen
6th Grade English

Sarah is originally from the Bay Area. While she was earning her Bachelor's degree in English at San Jose State University, Sarah worked as a writing tutor, which sparked her interest in teaching and education. Sarah continued her education at SJSU and earned her teaching credential. She began her teaching career as an 8th grade English teacher and found she loves working with middle school students. Sarah is eager to continue working at Summit Denali as part of the 6th grade Humanities team.

Lauren Mayer
6th Grade Math 

Lauren Mayer is the 6th grade math teacher at Summit Denali. She attended the Kutztown University of Pennsylvania to study Sports Management. Following college she attended Saint Joseph's University for her graduate program to complete a degree in Middle School Education. While in this program, Ms. Mayer had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of students in schools as well as through coaching cross country at the high school level. She is excited to begin her journey in California here at Denali!

Donna LeFever
7th Grade Math 

Donna grew up in Santa Cruz where she fell in love with the ocean! Donna played many sports in middle school and high school, but volleyball was always her favorite! She went to college at UC San Diego so that she could stay close to the beach. In college, Donna studied Political Science and competed on their track and field team. After college, she worked at High Tech Middle Media Arts in San Diego as a 6th grade Math and Science teacher. Outside of teaching she loves going to the beach, playing sports, reading Dr. Seuss books and hanging out with family! Donna has moved back to the Bay Area to be closer to family and is excited to join the Denali team as a 7th grade Math teacher.

Daniel Choi
7th Grade Social Studies

Daniel is originally from Chicago, Illinois but lived/traveled all over the world! His cultural experience around the world inspired him to pursue a career that works closely with the youth.  After completing his Bachelor's degree in History and minor in Elementary Education at the University of California, San Diego, Daniel began his teaching career as a 7th grade History teacher at Summit Public Schools: Denali. He continues to pursue higher education through an Urban Education Masters program at Loyola Marymount University. He is also a musician, worship leader, and a youth teacher at a local church. Daniel is excited to continue his journey as a 7th grade Humanities teacher in Denali and bring joy in the classroom!

James Kahler 
7th Grade English

James grew up in equal parts Arizona and Southern California. An anteater (the UC Irvine mascot) at heart, he got a B.A. in Psychology, Teaching Credential, and M.A. in Teaching from UC Irvine. After completing his degree, he taught at a charter school in the East Bay and is enjoying getting to know the Bay Area. An avid reader, he is passionate about all things geeky.  He is incredibly excited to be apart of the Denali team! 

Cyatharine Alias
7th Grade Science

Cyatharine is originally from a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. She then moved to Cambridge, MA to complete her Bachelor's degree in Sociology at Harvard University. After a summer as a camp counselor developing engaging and curriculum for middle school students, she decided to think about education as a career path. Throughout her years as an undergraduate, Cyatharine continued to work with children in after school and summer programming as a mentor and tutor. She then decided to also pursue teacher certification for middle school science. Cyatharine is thrilled to join the Summit Denali team and bring her joy and commitment to middle school students in her role as the 7th grade science teacher.

Nick Sidlin
8th Grade Social Studies

Nicholas is an Oregon native and a graduate of Southern Oregon University. After college he moved to Washington D.C. to work on projects related to education and health. He developed his passion for teaching while volunteering as a health-literacy educator in the Peace Corps in Guyana, South America. Following the Peace Corps, Nicholas completed his Master of Arts in Education at the Catholic University of America. He began his career as an educator at the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy in Washington D.C. After several years at Chavez, Nicholas accepted a job at KIPP D.C. Will Academy as an 8th grade lead teacher. Nicholas is excited to be back on the West Coast and  to join the Summit Denali team. He is looking forward to bringing his experience and passion of teaching to his role this year as the 8th grade social studies teacher.

Madhulikha Muppidi
8th Grade Math

Ms. Muppidi is the 8th grade math teacher at Summit Denali. She went to the University of Southern California for college and studied Business and International Relations. She spent the 2011-2012 school year as a tutor at the Match High School and participated in the Match Teacher Residency program before joining the Match Middle School staff as the 8th grade math teacher. After spending 4 years in Boston, Ms. Muppidi is excited to be back in California. She loves to travel, read, play board games, and watch USC football. Ms. Muppidi is thrilled to bring her love of math to the Summit Denali team.

Mary Ellen Weaver
8th Grade Science

Mary Ellen is a born and bred midwesterner, originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL.  Through tutoring and volunteering with elementary and middle school students during high school, Mary Ellen decided to pursue her two loves of teaching and the environment, by attending The University of Iowa (Go Hawks!) and majoring in Earth Science Education (BS)  and Elementary Education (BA).  She also holds two minors in Sustainability and Spanish.  After completing her undergraduate degree, Mary Ellen moved to Big Bear, California for two years to teach 5th and 6th grade Outdoor Environmental Education.  She has recently transitioned back into a traditional classroom, and has also taught 7th and 8th grade Science at a school in the northern suburbs of the city of Chicago.  When not found in a classroom spreading her passion of science, you can find her backpacking, rock climbing, and training for long distance races! Mary Ellen is excited to join the Summit Denali team and bring her commitment to middle school students to her role this year a the 8th grade Science teacher!

Morgan Derby 
8th Grade English 

Morgan has lived in many places - Washington, D.C., the Twin Cities, Boston, and even Ecuador and Mexico - but she is happy to have found her personal and professional homes here in California and at Summit. Morgan first fell in love with teaching through three years of service in college residential life and four summers of high school enrichment programming at Yale University. After completing Bachelor's degrees in both International Studies and English at Macalester College, Morgan began her formal career teaching 10th through 12th grade English at an "International Baccalaureate for All" charter school. After three years in the classroom, Morgan decided to pursue a Master's Degree in Mindfulness-Based Education at Lesley University, focusing on best practices in social, emotional, and neurological development. Morgan is also honored to have served in a variety of other roles including a Critical Friends Group, Student Support Team, Student-Faculty Well-Being Committee, Volunteer Instructor with At-Risk Youth, Certified Yoga and Mindfulness Instructor, and Creativity Action and Service Program Coordinator.

Kristen Hockel
Resource Specialist 

Kristen Hockel is originally from Loveland, Colorado.  Through her experiences volunteering with youth organizations her passion for education began to develop.  She attended Benedictine College and graduated with Bachelor degrees in elementary education and special education. She just recently moved to California.  Kristen is very excited to become a part of the Summit Denali team and bring her love of learning to the students she serves as a Resource Specialist.

Hillary Odom
Resource Specialist 

Hillary moved from Orange County, California to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University as an undergraduate student. After completing her Bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Development, she enrolled in graduate school at the University of San Francisco where she is currently working to receive her Master's of Art in Special Education. Hillary is thrilled to join the Summit Denali team and bring her enthusiasm for teaching to middle school students to her role this year as a Resource Specialist.

Mia Primeau
Wellness & PE

Mia is joining the Summit team with passion for youth empowerment and holistic health education.  
Mia's early work focused on community nutrition and food science. While completing her Bachelors degree in Nutrition, Mia worked with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as a health advocate and educator for youth and families. She went on to teach nutrition and wellness classes to cancer survivors at Women and Infants Hospital. In 2009, Mia received her yoga teaching credential and founded the Yoga Program at The University of Rhode Island. She went on to develop and implement a yoga and nutrition education program for at-risk youth attending the Robertson School of Central Falls, Rhode Island. Recognizing that physical health interventions could only go so far, Mia went back for her Masters degree in somatic psychology in 2012. She has found her true calling in helping children and families reestablish the body-mind connection through the use of practical and self-sustaining resources. Mia has her heart in her work, and is so thrilled to bring her commitment and passion to Summit Denali as the Wellness and Student Resource Instructor!