Staff – IDEATE High Academy
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Chris Wakefield

Chris Wakefield is an experienced educator who is passionate about bringing Design Thinking into the forefront of education.  With 15 years of educational experience, in which a decade was based in Project Based Learning at High Tech High Media Arts (HTHMA) in San Diego, California, Chris brings an innovative way of thinking to education focusing on student engagement. He developed more than 20 projects, while teaching Math and Physics at HTHMA, that allowed students to design and build authentic, practical real-world products that challenged students to go beyond the classroom.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Chris was selected to work with the Innovation Unit in London, England to help schools transition to Project Based Learning.  From this experience, Chris learned that in order for a school to make meaningful innovation, there must be clear communication and a willingness to think outside of the box.

Chris holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, a Master’s Degree from George Mason University, and a Master’s Degree in School Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.  When he is not at school you will find Chris riding his road bike all around San Diego, having dinner with friends and reading a book on the beach.

Alaina Skelley

Alaina Skelley recently graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in chemistry. In addition, Alaina was part of the UTeach program where she earned a 7-12 composite science teaching certificate. UTeach is a rigorous inquiry-based teaching program that emphasizes hands-on investigation, problem-solving, and reasoning to enhance student mastery of content and concepts of STEM subjects.

Alaina is very excited about being part of the staff at IDEATE High because of the approach to education it offers. She believes that students succeed when they see a purpose in what they are learning. When students get to design, build, and innovate their own projects, based on empathy and real-world problems, there is actual motivation for their learning. Alaina student-taught chemistry at a Title 1 high school and saw the struggle to motivate students. For her last unit, she implemented a three-week long project which was displayed for all other teachers, administration, and peers. This project won an honorable mention in the Project Based Instruction Implementation Award, and greatly succeeded in stimulating students’ interest on complicated content (acid/base chemistry)!

Alaina is passionate about teaching because she loves seeing students grow as individuals. She loves being part of the process of helping students accomplish more than they thought the could! Alaina also loves to run competitively. She ran cross country and track for the University of Texas and has two Big 12 Conference championship titles.

Rachel Hatch

Rachel Hatch is a senior administrative professional and youth advocate with over 14 years experience in dynamic environments. She is over the moon to have the opportunity to join the collaborative learning community that Urban Discovery Academy has cultivated; and which Ideate Academy will continue to grow.

Rachel was raised in San Diego and was an elementary through secondary student in the Cajon Valley Union School District. She attended Point Loma Nazarene University, from which she graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors. Rachel’s professional experience in education includes nearly a decade as the Site Manager for the flagship campus of the High Tech High network of charter schools, an internship at Kipp Adelante Preparatory Academy and even some time at Austin Community College. Her educational and professional background gives her unique perspectives into the lives of San Diego students as well as the local progressive charter school environment. 

Rachel believes strongly in volunteerism and currently volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster youth with Voices for Children. She also volunteers for Best Day Foundation, an organization that helps children with special needs build confidence and self-esteem through water sports. When she is not working or volunteering, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, reading and listening to a ridiculous amount of podcasts. 

Seth Schiering

I have had a wonderful career in education up to this point, having spent 6 years teaching with District 75 in New York and the past 3 years in southern California. I have taught a wide range of students on various levels and cultural backgrounds. My passion for education stems from the fact that every child has the ability to learn.