Faculty

Stephanie Rioux

M.A. Education
M.F.A. Writing
Cal Arts

Teaching at ACI these last 10 years has been a privilege. I’ve been continually impressed by our students. They are full of life, are eager to interact and to learn, and daily surprise me with their can-do attitude. For me the most important part of teaching has been the opportunity to observe “my kids” and, based on what I see, form positive working relationships with them. Each student is a unique individual with distinctive aptitudes and gifts. If I can identify what those are, I can reach them and better help them develop as readers and writers. I know that it can sometimes take years, even decades, for a lesson to bear fruit. I hope that, in time, my students will become more conscious of language and take pleasure in the skill and creativity with which they can understand and use it. Of course, I hope that the time they’ve spent with me contributes in some small measure to that realization.

Wes Dickson

University of Alabama
M.F.A. Creative Writing

Wes Dickson is both a dynamic and experienced teacher as well as an accomplished writer of SAT tests for ACI. He received an undergraduate degree in English as well as earning his Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama. Since 1999, “Mr. Wes” has served full time as a primary motivator of ACI students, teaching them the ins and outs of the SAT test. Additionally, he has worked to develop ACI’s English curriculum and test material as well as take part in the training of teachers. In January 2011, Mr. Wes was welcomed as Assistant Director of ACI’s Diamond Bar branch. Mr. Wes’s goal is to impart to his students a love of knowledge and a desire to excel inside the classroom and beyond.

Krista Robertson

M.A. History & B.A. History, CSU Fullerton

Education is a strong value in my family and an important part of my life. As a result, I strive to inspire in my students a love and appreciation of learning. As an instructor, I realized that teaching was my true passion. I knew that I wanted to spend my life imparting knowledge and helping students grow and accomplish their goals. I believe in hard work and dedication, and I hope to instill these values in my students as well.

April Harmer-Ball

B.A. Education, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

What I achieve by teaching is helping a generation of young people become ready to engage the world with new ideas. I give my students the ability to think for themselves. Every student can learn and succeed; education is what each student can make of it, and it is the one thing that no one can take away. I want my students to know that life is not found in a book (though a book is a good place to start!). I want my students to be well prepared for life overall, so as a teacher it is my job to teach not just what is expected academically but also how to use this knowledge in life. The most important thing I can do is to show my students that I love what I do and that I want them to succeed. That’s what teaching is all about!

Kristyn Nishimoto

University of California, Irvine
BA Psychology and Social Behavior

I have always had a love for knowledge and sharing that knowledge with others. As a teacher, I hope to help students develop this for themselves, as well as encourage them to become active in their own education. I believe that all children are unique and so I seek to meet students’ individual needs in order to help them reach their full potential. Through providing interactive lessons, presenting challenging curriculum, and offering opportunities for critical thinking, I strive to help students acquire the skills they need to be successful in the future.

Evan Mielke

University of Kansas
BA English

I’ve spent the better part of my life in the classroom as either a student or a teacher. From toddlers to teenagers, I understand what type of material and presentation excites and interests students. I encourage my students to speak up in class, whether it’s to challenge my facts or express their own world-views and opinions. Education is a circular process: everyone must be involved and committed at every level, or the circle unravels.

Jarissa Lin

California State University, Los Angeles
M.A. TESOL

As my degree is in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), I am most interested in the unique challenges that language learners face in the classroom. It is important for students to know that learning a new language is like learning any other subject in school, and it must be approached with enthusiasm. Even though these students are confronted with a language barrier on top of the many difficulties that arise from tackling other school subjects, I want them to see the language-learning process as a long-term benefit, rather than a burden. I am constantly amazed at the adaptability of language learners and believe that individuals who successfully learn to communicate effectively in another language show nothing less than incredible motivation. I hope every one of my students can develop such a drive and use it to succeed in other aspects of their lives as well.

Brandon Mathews

University of Southern California
B.S. in Physics

The best way students to understand is by breaking down complex topics into incremental steps. By doing so, I feel I help my students excel as well as keep my classes fun and interesting. In fact, I find myself happiest when teaching, and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. The moment a student goes from struggling with a concept to grasping and eventually mastering it is extremely rewarding.

Elidia Esqueda

UC San Diego
B.A. Ethnic Studies

Teaching and working with students has always been a part of my life and brings me great joy. In college, I tutored math and peer mentored first generation students. After college, I taught in NYC and LA. Later, In San Francisco, I worked with international students and even studied Education Law. I have found that each student has his or her unique perspective, and teaching in such a variety of settings has allowed me to develop techniques to reach every student on his or her own level. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to assist young minds in developing their strengths and reaching for their dreams.

Gabriel Santana

University of California, Riverside
BA English Literature

I think the fundamental goal of teaching is to instill a desire for knowledge in the students we teach. In the classroom, I try to challenge the students to see the connections between all the bodies of knowledge available to them, and to understand that learning is never a task that can be completed if one has the foresight to study the delicate balance of the greater world we live in. In relating to students, I draw upon my years of teaching abroad to help me better understand the simple and the complex relationships that the students develop between each other and with the world that they are growing up in, and I use this to help me teach the material in a way that becomes relevant and useful to them in their daily lives.