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SCA Staff

At SCA, we believe that a quality education is based, in part, on strong relationships.  We want you to know us and we want to know you so we can serve you to the best of our ability.  We invite you to begin this relationship by learning more about our staff.
 

Traci Burton
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Traci Burton

Traci Newcomb
-School Counselor
 
Traci began serving the SCA community beginning with the 2018-19 school year.   Traci's duties including providing academic and social/ emotional counseling to SCA students and families. In addition to these duties, she is the testing coordinator for PSAT, CAST and CAASPP exams.  She enthusiastically enjoys the challenge of helping students succeed and reach their goals.

Traci served in the U.S. Air Force as a Medical Administrations Specialist at Travis AFB.  She earned her bachelor's degree from CSU, Sacramento in Business Administration and then completed her Masters in Educational Counseling from National University.  Previous to SCA, Traci worked at Sequoia Middle School in Redding for 3 years as a guidance counselor.

Her family provides her with love, support, and many adventures.  She enjoys the outdoors, especially skiing, hiking and playing golf.  She has two children who are her pride and joy.
Karen Chappelear
 
Karen Chappelear
- Librarian
- Facilitator
- Study Hall and Work Experience Teacher
 
Karen started working at SCA in Spring 2014.  She has worked with many students in our school when she was a paraprofessional in the special education department.  She began facilitating students in the 2017-18 school year and currently works primarily with 10th and 11th-grade students.  She has great enthusiasm for history and is the school librarian.  

Karen grew up in an Army family, moving all over the world with her father's stationings.  She has lived in Germany, Panama and several states.  When it was time to settle down, her family landed in Redding, where she attended Central Valley High School and Shasta College.  She moved to the Bay Area to raise her twin boys, Logan and Derek. She moved back to Redding in 2008.  She completed her bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership in May 2010 and her Single Subject teaching credential in Social Science in May 2012.

Karen loves spending time with her boys, reading historical books, scrapbooking, card making, and embroidery. 
 

 
April Dixon
 
April Dixon
- Assistant Director
- Facilitator
- Classroom Art Teacher
 
April has taught art at SCA since the Fall of 2011. In the Fall of 2014, she became a Facilitator and then the Assistant Director in 2017. She teaches Art 1-4 and Ceramics in the classroom. Because she has a hard time saying “no” to anything that benefits our school community, she advises the Esports Club at SCA, organizes school-wide field trips and student activities, creates the annual yearbook, the Senior Slideshow, and runs our social media accounts. 

April grew up in Redding. She comes from a large blended family and has been a competitive athlete her entire life. She always wanted to be a teacher and every job she has ever had has been working with kids. She earned her Associate’s Degree from Shasta College and then a Bachelor's Degree from San Diego State University. She returned to Redding and earned her teaching credentials in Art, English, and PE as well as a Master’s Degree in Education from Simpson University.  Before she joined the staff at SCA, she worked as a teacher and coach in the Shasta Union High School District and at Grant Middle School.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, and their dogs. She loves sports and all things outdoors, especially hiking and snowboarding. She also keeps very busy coaching both of her boy’s soccer teams and playing competitive coed softball.
 
  
 
Debbie Grigsby
 
Debbie Grigsby
- Facilitator
- Intro to Robotics Teacher
 
Debbie Grigsby believes the personalized learning model at SCA is a dynamic and wonderful way for high schoolers to learn.  She started at SCA in the fall 2018. Debbie also teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as the Introduction to Robotics teacher.

Debbie has been a teacher for 23 years in many different capacities.  She taught 5th and 6th graders at a site based, classroom charter school in Arizona. She traveled Shasta County for the past 13 years as a homeschool teacher for another charter school in Redding.   She also taught reading and math interventions, was a home and hospital teacher, as well as a substitute teacher. Debbie homeschooled her own daughters in English and history through SCA.

Graduated from Shasta High School in Redding then University of California at Davis in 1992 with a BS in Human development, Debbie went on to get her teaching credentials from Simpson University in 1996.

Debbie and her high school sweetheart husband of 26 years have been working on their fixer upper house for 10 years.  That is one of her favorite hobbies as well as hiking, kayaking, being outside and entertaining friends and cooking with her adult daughters (Kathleen, Hannah and Caroline) in her “new” kitchen.  
 

 
Amanda Kakacek
 
Amanda Kakacek
- Classroom Science Teacher
 
Amanda joined the SCA staff in 2017 as a facilitator and STEM teacher.  She provides the classroom instruction for Earth and Space Science, Biology, and Honors Chemistry. 
 
Amanda grew up in a large family in the San Francisco Bay Area.  With the goal of becoming a veterinarian, she earned her BS in Anatomy/Physiology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  Instead of going on to graduate school, she worked in the medical industry including blood banking and audiology. She returned to school at the University of Pacific in Stockton to study for a masters in Molecular Biology.  While there, she developed a love of teaching.  After relocating to Corning, she earned her teaching credential and a Masters degree from Western Governors University.
 
Amanda and her husband have three dogs, a California Desert tortoise, Nigerian goats and they raise Dorper sheep. When not tending her menagerie, Amanda loves to cook (cooking is chemistry!), to garden, and to read.  Her favorite adventures involve camping, hiking, watching the night sky, and collecting rocks and plants.
 

 
Jason Paine
 
Jason Paine
- Facilitator
-Classroom Art Instructor
 
Jason joined SCA in 2019 and works as a 10th/11th-grade facilitator. He loves helping students reach their goals and guide them towards academic excellence. 

He grew up on the central coast of California in Pismo Beach before heading off to university in Los Angeles. Jason received his credential in Social Science and M.A. in Education from Biola University. After teaching for 3 years in inner-city LA, he went overseas to Hong Kong, China to teach at the International Christian School of Hong Kong. While in Hong Kong, Jason taught middle school math and science as well as high school world religions and philosophy. After twelve years overseas, the pull of family brought Jason to settle in Redding. Before coming to SCA Jason worked for one year as a facilitator and onsite social science teacher at a charter school in Siskiyou county.  

Living abroad fueled a passion for travel and enabled Jason to travel extensively throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania. While traveling in Venice a new passion was ignited as he marveled at the Italian glassblowers craft masterpieces.  He now has a home glass blowing studio and side business selling his work. When he is not teaching or blowing molten glass he enjoys running, hiking, camping, and hanging out with his wife and 3 children.


 

 
Jessica Parker
 
Jessica Parker
- Accounting/Attendance Clerk
 
In early 2019 Jessica joined the SCA family after completing a long-term substitute position and developing a strong connection with the SCA staff. She previously worked within SUHSD for 4 years as a clerical substitute while operating a landscape construction company she has owned for 12 years.
Jessica grew up living all over the country, however, she has lived in Redding for 21 years. She had the opportunity to stay home with her 4 kids, with whom she still loves to spend her time. Hiking & running in the trails that are offered in the area and boating in the nearby lakes are among her favorite activities. She looks forward to her future with SCA and developing more long term relationships with students, families and vendors.
 

 

Cody Pierce
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Cody Pierce
 
Cody Pierce
- Paraprofessional
 
Cody joined the staff at SCA in the Fall of 2019 as an Instructional Paraprofessional. He helps with supervision during the school day, tutors students in various subjects, is responsible for general maintenance of the school facilities, and has been known to restring a guitar or two.  

A lifelong resident of Redding, he graduated from Enterprise High School and then attend Shasta College with a focus on music. Cody’s work experience includes being the administrator of two adult residential facilities and working with developmentally disabled adults in an occupational readiness program. Cody enjoys working at SCA where he can positively affect the lives of young people.

Cody’s hobbies include spending time with his two dogs, collecting and trading comics and collectible toys, and playing the guitar with his band.  


 
 
 

 
David Pierce
 
Dr. David Pierce
- Facilitator
-Robotics Instructor
-IT Supervisor
 
David has been teaching at SCA since 2018; his specialties here are Engineering and IT. He has previously taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, Shasta College, Simpson University, as well as some other Redding-area high schools. Before moving to Redding, he was headmaster of a boarding high school in the Ugandan bush. He is also a former Navy officer, having worked primarily in submarines, nuclear power, and research & development.
 
Tina Taxara
 
Tina Taxara
- School Secretary
 
Tina began working as a School Secretary at SCA in 2001. She coordinates with the administration, enrolls students and issues work permits.

She graduated from high school in Urbana, Illinois and the following year graduated from Patricia Stevens Career College in Chicago. She then moved to the Bay Area where she worked in the electronics industry for 10 years before moving to Shasta County. Before coming to SSHS, she worked in the Attendance Office at Shasta High School. Tina loves spending time with her 3 kids and 4 grand kids  She also enjoys riding her mare, Beauty, along with her golden doodle, Sophie.
 

 
CeCe Walters
 
CeCe Walters
- Administrative Assistant
-Health Clerk
 
CeCe joined SCA in April of 2016. CeCe went to Shasta College and then to Sacramento State University where she studied Spanish and French. She also studied abroad in Spain for a summer. She then married her high school sweetheart and decided to stay home with her 3 beautiful kids. She was a stay at home mom for 18 years, before entering back into the work place. Because of her passion for working with kids, she wanted to work in a school environment and enjoys her role as an administrative assistant where she can interact with students and families on a daily basis. 

She loves to spend time with her husband Don and their three kids. Her hobbies include playing volleyball, tennis, hiking, kayaking, skiing, camping, traveling, painting, and photography. She also enjoys volunteering  and coaching volleyball.
 

 
Kelly Brace 2-11-20
 
Kelly Brace
-Registrar
-Attendance
-Special Education Secretary
 
Kelly began working for SCA in December 2011.  As Registrar, Kelly is responsible for transcripts and grade data entry for Aeries.  As the Special Education Secretary, Kelly is a support to the special education department as the SEIS data manager and scheduling of IEP meetings. Kelly also frequently organizes social events for the students. 

Kelly's work experience ranges from child daycare to office management at a local foster care agency.  In a school setting, she has worked as a teacher's aide and office clerk and volunteer for parent clubs.  She finds a lot of joy working with youth and their families.

Kelly loves spending time with her family and will talk your ear off about her 5 grandsons if you give her a chance.
 

 
Ben Claassen
 
Benjamin Claassen
- SCA Director
 
Ben is the Director of Shasta Charter Academy.  He was hired as a facilitator in 2001 and has facilitated over 300 students, primarily freshman.  He also taught on-site Earth Science for six years.

Ben grew up on ranches on the Central Coast of California where he was homeschooled from preschool to 12th grade.  He then went on to earn a BA in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia in 1999.  He then earned his Single Subject teaching credential in Biology at CSU, Chico in 2002 and earned an M.A. in Educational Leadership from CSU, Chico in 2011.

He loves spending time with his wife, Erin, and their three children, Andrew, Jonny, and Audrey.  He also enjoys fishing, backpacking, and hunting in his spare time.
 

 
Colleen Contreras
 
Colleen Contreras
- RSP Aide
-Math Tutor
 
 
Colleen has been tutoring math students for Shasta Charter Academy off and on for years as a vendor.  She had enrolled her oldest daughter at SCA in 2005 and really appreciated what the school had to offer.  In 2015, she was hired as a Math Tutor on campus to support the math classes there.  Eventually she began working in the classrooms, too.  In 2018, she took a new position at the school as a SPED (Special Ed) Paraprofessional/Aide to support the 2 SPED teachers and many students.  She works in the English classes,some math classes, history, and does one-on-one tutoring with her students to provide them with the extra help they need.  She loves being part of the awesome Shasta Charter Academy support team that helps their students be successful.  
 
Colleen grew up in Seattle, but moved to the Bay Area as a teen.   A few years later she moved to Weaverville and Cottonwood - more to her liking than the city.  She attended Shasta College, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Music.  After she received her  AA,  she worked at Shasta College for over 8 years in the Math and Business Learning Center.  She started as a student tutor and then became a paraprofessional working  in the classrooms with students and teachers.  She has also been privately tutoring mathematics students for over 28 years.  
 
Colleen has 3 daughters.  Two of them are teenageers and still at home and the oldest is grown and married.  She lives in the country so she can enjoy the quiet and her animals, especially her dogs and horses.  She spends much of her free time doing things involved with them and her girls.  Also, she enjoys working on projects around her place.  She loves the outdoors, hiking, riding horses, bike riding, playing on her tractor, cooking, MATH, and her family. 

 
Sammie Ford
 
Sammie Ford
- RSP Facilitator
- Classroom Math Teacher
 
Sammie has three teaching credentials, a life standard secondary for math and social science, a life learning handicapped for special education and a Resource Specialist credential.

After graduating from CSU, Chico, her first teaching position was with Shasta County Office of Education where she taught at risk-students for seven years. She then moved to Central Valley High. In 2006, after 25 years at Central Valley High, she retired from teaching. After a year of retirement, she discovered that she really missed working with students and other teachers. She applied for a position and became a teacher at Shasta Charter Academy in 2007.

She is a parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent. She loves spending time with her family and especially her wonderful grandchildren. She enjoys teaching Math and loves studying history and genealogies. She specializes in math tricks and it gives her great pleasure to share those delightful tidbits with her students.
 

 
Chris Ingersoll
 
Chris Ingersoll
- Facilitator
 
Chris has been with SCA since 2007. He started as a math and guitar tutor and then as a teacher’s aide in the classroom. He was hired as a facilitator in the 09-10 school year to work primarily with the Bridges program.

He came from a logging background, 16 years in the woods and at the lumberyards, and returned to school and graduated with credentials from Simpson University in 1999. Since then he has substitute taught throughout Shasta County, taught in the public school system in Tehama County, and has now found a career at SCA.

He has two boys, both schooled and graduated locally.  Music and his wife, Anne Marie, are his passions.  During the summer, he can be found at the 6,000 foot elevation, often on the Pacific Crest Trail as it winds through the Sierras and Cascade Mountains.
 

 
Cathy Laughy
 
Cathy Laughy
- Facilitator
 
Cathy has been teaching and facilitating at Shasta Charter Academy since 2005. She started teaching junior high and high school math classes,  and now is a high school facilitator. 

Cathy graduated in 1982 from Cal State University, Los Angeles, where she earned her B. A. and Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. She started her career as a third grade teacher in Arcadia, California. She then had the privilege of homeschooling her two daughters through high school.

Cathy and husband, Ryan, love working with SCA’s wonderful staff and families. They love living in Northern California where they enjoy many outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing and skiing.
 
 

 
Ryan Laughy
 
Ryan Laughy
- Facilitator
- Classroom Digital Art and Photography Teacher
 
Ryan was hired to teach at SCA in 2001, after successfully operating his own private school in Shingletown. He spends most of his time helping seniors get where they are going. The remainder of his days are spent developing and teaching the digital arts program.

In 1979, he graduated from Cal State Los Angeles, having majored in design and liberal studies. After receiving his teaching credential the following year, he taught fifth grade in both public and private schools, spent seven years as headmaster of a private school, and helped his brilliant wife Catherine home school their two daughters.

He loves living in the north state, which has proven to be a wonderful change from southern California. He enjoys hiking, camping, sailing, kayaking, and geocaching, as well as photography and painting. Life is good!
 

 
 
Mike Neumeister
 
Mike Neumeister
- Bridges Facilitator
 
Mike joined SCA in 2006 to work with students that have had a hard start of their high school careers and might be at-risk of not finishing their race for a high school diploma.  He came to design and build a bridge for these students, thus his program is called, "Bridges".

After graduating form Millikan High School in Long Beach, he attended colleges in Long Beach, Costa Mesa, and Westminster and majored in music and photography.  He attended the University of Disney (not really a college but definitely an education) where he was a dancer, PR ambassador, and a stage manager.  He completed a B.S. Degree in Business and earned his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Simpson College in 1996 after he moved to Shasta county with his wife and family.

Mike enjoys outdoor education, which nearly cost him his life twice.  He currently lives in Cottonwood with his wife, Cathy, and son, Joseph, where he enjoys raquetball, involvement at his church, and being a hard-core Mac user.
 
 

 
Christine Peterson
 

Christine Peterson
-Facilitator 
-Classroom Math Teacher
 
Christine started at SCA in the fall of 2017 as a facilitator and classroom teacher. She teaches math classes here at SCA and facilitates sophomore students. 
Christine grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Hayward High School in 1993. She attended Chabot Community College and then earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) in 1997. During college, she worked as a summer facilitator for AMP (Alliance for Minority Participation) at Cal State Hayward facilitating/teaching pre-calculus.
 
After working in a small private school in Yreka, CA for 3 years, she earned her mathematics single subject teaching credential from Simpson College (now Simpson University) in 2001. After getting her credential, she worked at Datawise (an educational software company) here in Redding as QA and at Sylvan Learning Center tutoring math, English, and SAT prep classes. She was also a substitute teacher as well. After taking a break to raise her two boys, she worked at Liberty Christian School for 5 years teaching middle school and high school math. She taught 6th grade math through 12th grade Trig/Pre-Calculus. 
 
Christine married her husband Dan right after graduating from Cal State Hayward in 1997. They lived in Yreka for 3 years before moving to Redding and now live in Anderson with their 2 boys, 2 cats, and a dog. She enjoys reading, ice skating, biking, volleyball, going to the beach, helping at church, and doing stuff with her family. She has known since 3rd grade that she has wanted to teach.


 
Kelli Stroud
 
Kelli Stroud
- Facilitator
 
Kelli began working at SCA in August 2019, as an RSP Facilitator and she also teaches two on-site English classes. She has 15 years of experience teaching Special Education.   
Kelli was born and raised in Medford, OR.  She began her college experience in Weed, CA where she met her Junior college sweetheart husband of 15 years. She then went on to receive a double bachelor’s from The University of Nevada, Reno in the areas of General Education and Mild / Moderate Special Education.  She then went on to Humboldt State University to earn an additional teaching degree in Moderate / Severe Special Education. 
 

 
Matt Wahlman
 
Matt Wahlman
- Chief Business Official
- Math Department Chair
 
Matt is the Chief Business Official of Shasta Charter Academy. Since Matt also has been a math teacher at SCA, he is also the Math Department Chair.

Matt grew up in the Redding area, but received his degree in Economics and minor in Marketing from Pepperdine University.  He is credentialed to teach Economics and Physical Education as well as Mathematics.

Matt enjoys playing soccer, having meaningful conversations, camping, hiking, watching students succeed and spending time with his family and friends.