At Kavod, we provide a student-centered learning environment. What this means is that every decision we make as educators is designed to help each and every student meet his or her full academic potential. We aim to get to know our students as individual learners and adapt the curriculum and instruction so that it taps into their unique talents and helps them overcome their individual obstacles. In order to do this, Kavod hires teachers who have a demonstrated commitment and talent to our teaching philosophy. We also provide our teachers with a tremendous amount of professional support to help them continually improve and hone their skills.

Meet The Faculty 

(Biographies reflect experience of faculty prior to joining the Kavod team.)

Liza Haugen 

Liza Haugen grew up in sunny San Diego. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with an emphasis on Children’s Services and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential  from California State University, San Marcos. This is Liza’s fourth year of teaching 2nd grade at Kavod Charter, and her 9th year in education. Liza’s commitment to education and enthusiasm to teach drives her passion for teaching.

Liza values spending time with her family and enjoys being outdoors. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and gardening. Kavod is very proud of Liza for receiving the NBC San Diego Inspirational Teacher of the Month award in November 2017! See the video hre.

Laura Day  

Laura Day was born and raised on the eastern shore of Maryland where she enjoyed crabbing and golfing.  Laura received her Bachelors of Arts at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina where she graduated with honors.  Laura is in her 12th year of teaching as she has spent those years teaching both kindergarten and 1st grade.  Since Laura was 3 years old, she knew she wanted to be an educator.  Every year around Christmas, she would always hope an overhead projector would be under her tree so that she could be like her teachers and teach the kids in the neighborhood.  You can only imagine Laura’s excitement her first year teaching she finally got her wish with her first overhead projector!

Laura enjoys spending her extra time working with rescue animals and enjoying all that San Diego has to offer.  Moving to San Diego has been a childhood dream for her and she couldn’t be more ecstatic to be a part of the incredible Kavod family.   

Taryon Balona  

Taryon Balona grew up in Southern California and attended school through the California State University system. He graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Liberal Studies major and Geography minor. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he went on to obtain his Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from California State University San Marcos.

Taryon is passionate about individualized education and follows the workshop model. Taryon has found the perfect home at Kavod because of their shared commitment to academic excellence, dual language, social responsibility, and global awareness.

Lance Buchanan

Lance is originally from Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina. He grew up swimming in lakes, hiking mountains, and enjoying the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lance received his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies K-8 degree along with his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Western Governors University. He is currently pursuing his MS Special Education degree, and enjoys integrating technology into his lessons to engage all learners.

Like most people, Lance drinks too much coffee and loves to have fun! Travel is his passion and he loves to experience the culture of new places by being adventurous…(Even if that means eating bugs!) While living overseas, Lance has had the opportunity to explore new ways of life all over Asia. He is inspired by those that overcome obstacles, and rise above expectations to accomplish their goals. Overall, Lance is ecstatic to be part of the Kavod family and wants to welcome everyone for the 2018-2019 school year!

Marie Bartz

Marie Bartz was raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Loyola University Chicago with endorsements in English as a Second Language (ESL) and Reading. Marie is excited to begin her teaching career at Kavod. Kavod’s emphasis on global mindedness, service-learning, and respect are reflected in her teaching. Marie’s classroom is a place where students are nurtured academically, as well as socially and emotionally. She applies growth mindset and social-emotional practices, incorporating mindfulness and reflection as a part of every school day. Marie promotes a student-centered classroom where students are leaders in their learning, engaging in inquiry, and collaborating with classmates.

 Marie is excited for San Diego to be her new home. In her free time, she plans on spending time exploring the new city and other parts of California.

Tom St. Hilaire

Tom grew up in Hoosick Falls, New York, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Childhood Education from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. He then went on to earn his Master’s from the University of St. Mary in Curriculum and Instruction. Becoming a teacher was always his objective in life.

After college, Tom lived in Bennington, VT for seven years, teaching a wide variety of subjects at a private school in Bennington, VT before eventually settling in as a 6th grade teacher in Shaftsbury, VT.

Tom made the move across country in the summer of 2018 to live in El Cajon, CA. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports, going to the beach, movies, concerts and watching horse races. He also enjoys being with his friends and family.

Sierra Stulac

Sierra Stulac grew up near Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Sierra received her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Special Education from the University of Nevada, Reno. Sierra recently moved to San Diego, CA to continue her teaching journey; where she is looking forward to spending the year learning and growing with her students!

When not in the classroom, Sierra enjoys spending her time with her family, traveling, hiking, running, dancing, surfing, skiing and all around enjoying the outdoors. She danced for the Sierra Ballet Theater Company for 4 years and is currently training for various long distance racing events.

Arabella Gossett

Arabella Gossett was born and raised in Northwest Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies, EC-6 with a specialization in ESL (English as a second language) from Texas Tech University in 2017. After graduation, she taught 2nd grade in Texas before moving to San Diego with her husband. Arabella is passionate about working with children and looks forward to this new journey at Kavod.

In addition to teaching and drinking coffee, Arabella loves traveling with her husband, exercising, hiking, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.

Chelcee Putters (Math Specialist)

Chelcee Putters grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of West Georgia. After graduation, she moved to teach fourth grade in Greeley, Colorado, where she worked with a diverse culture of students and taught using technology and small group approaches.

Chelcee moved to San Diego to continue on with her teaching journey and is looking forward to exploring and discovering what all this city has to offer. Besides teaching, her passions include friends and family, baseball, music, and traveling.

Maria Sandoval (Spanish)

Maria Sandoval graduated from one of the most renowned universities in her beloved native country of Ecuador and holds a Master’s Degree from National University. Maria has more than five years experience working at different charter schools in San Diego. During this time she has had the opportunity to work closely with — and learn from — some of the best educators in San Diego, some of them recognized for their work by the California Charter Schools Association.

Maria has enjoyed a life-long love for traveling and she believes that getting to know the culture of different people, their beliefs, and their system of doing things helps us understand each other better as individuals. This is one of the reasons why Maria chooses to teach Spanish, as a way to share the commonalities that citizens from Spanish speaking countries have with the rest of the world.

Maria is passionate about education and enjoys the time she spends with her students. They keep her young at heart. Maria truly believes that education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty and is determined to help every student to succeed.

Maria Sandoval se graduó de de la Universidad Politecnica del Litoral, una de las más renombradas universidades de su amado país natal Ecuador. Maria tiene más  de cinco años de experiencia trabajando en diferentes escuelas charter en San Diego. Durante todo este tiempo María ha tenido la oportunidad de trabajar de cerca con profesores reconocidos como profesores del año por la Asociacion de Escuelas Charter de California. Maria se encuentra finalizando su Master en Educación actualmente.

 Maria tiene una pasión por viajar. Ella cree que conociendo la cultura de  personas diferentes a nosotros, sus sistemas de creencias y su forma de hacer las cosas, nos ayuda a comprender mejor unos a otros como individuos. Esta es una de las razones por la que María escogió enseñar Español, como una forma de compartir las comunalidades que ciudadanos de países hispano hablantes tienen con el resto del mundo.

 Maria  tiene una pasión por la enseñanza y disfruta el tiempo que pasa con sus estudiantes. La mantienen joven. Maria cree firmemente que la educación es la única forma de erradicar la pobreza mundial y está determinada a ayudar a triunfar a cada estudiante.

Netta Ben Kish (Hebrew)

Netta Ben Kish recently moved to the United States from Israel, after finishing her MA degree in Mass Communications with honors at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

She has taught at Tarbuton and Alef Hebrew School, and back in Israel, for nine years, she taught Hebrew, mathematics and science to children of many ages. Her main reason for choosing Kavod, is her love of children and her passion for teaching.

Netta is a native Hebrew speaker, and has years of experience along with great motivation and ambition. As a curious person she loves to read and expand her knowledge. She loves to challenge and intrigue the children , and believes that with the right attitude everyone can succeed.

Netta served in the Israeli Defense Forces as a computer officer in the rank of Captain, and was elected to receive the Excellent Officer Award while in service.

Yarden Shalom- Shaul  (Hebrew)

Yarden has recently moved to San Diego from Israel. She was born, raised and educated in Jerusalem. After graduating from high school, she joined the Israel Defense Forces and served as an educator and commander in the Education Corps.

After completing her military service in the IDF, Yarden moved to Tel Aviv, where she graduated with honors at SMKB College and received her B.Ed in Social Sciences and Education. Yarden taught Hebrew for two years at a school for disadvantaged youth in South- Tel Aviv and then taught Hebrew literature and World Literature for three years in Junior High in Ramat Hasharon, Israel.

Yarden loves traveling the world and exploring different cultures. She also enjoys oil painting and all forms of art. Her dream is to learn how to play guitar and she believes with all her heart that a smile improves every situation. Yarden feels that education is the profession for her.  Her passion is working with children and teaching enables her to fulfill this.

Barel Shaul (Physical Education)

Barel was born in Ramat Gan, Israel. He moved to San Diego a year ago. Barel served on the artillery force in the IDF. After his service, Barel studied sports communication in college and then continued his studies at the Israeli coaching convention. Barel was the coach of the Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv and the Hapo’el Ramat Gan basketball teams.

For Barel, sports is life. He believes people can benefit from sports and that sports can help people improve themselves. He believes that through sports we can learn values, healthy competition, being supportive team players, and a lot of things that kids needs to grow and become better human beings. Barel believes beginning sports at a young age prepares kids for the rest of their lives.

.בראל נולד ברמת גן שבישראל ועבר לסן דייגו לפני כשנה.

בסיום לימודי התיכון הוא התגייס לצה”ל ושירת בחיל התותחנים.

בסיום שירותו הצבאי בראל החל ללמוד תקשורת ספורט בסמינר הקיבוצים.

לאחר מכן הוא למד בהתאחדות הישראלית לכדורגל ואופ”א קורס מאמני כדורגל.

בראל אימן במשך שנתיים את קבוצת בני יהודה תל אביב ואת קבוצת הפועל רמת גן.

עבור בראל ספורט הוא החיים. ספורט תורם לאדם והופך אותו לאדם טוב יותר. באמצעות ספורט ניתן ללמוד תחרותיות, ערכיות, עזרה וכל מה שילד צריך על מנת לגדול ולהתפתח לאדם טוב יותר.  

בראל מאמין כי התמדה בספורט מגיל צעיר מכינה את הילדים להמשך חייהם.


Families can apply via the schoolmint portal.

Enrollment is time sensitive. Some classes are already on a waitlist for the 2019-2020 school year.

You can reach out to our Director of Enrollment to learn more at

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Information Sessions are Currently Suspended Due to School Closure

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