IVA Faculty

Deborah Chen

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Math Teacher

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Deborah Chen holds a multiple subject and a foundational level math credential from California State University Long Beach.  Prior to teaching at IVA, Ms. Chen taught middle school for three years in the Central Valley of California, where she helped develop curriculum for 7th and 8th grade math, using her interests in computer coding.  She has also served as a K-12 substitute teacher in several So-Cal school districts.

“IVA’s culture of thinking really appeals to me.  The fact that an entire school focuses on students having academic discussions, seeking conceptual understanding, and practicing intellectual virtues is just so wonderful.  Three of the master virtues that particularly stand out to me are autonomy, carefulness, and tenacity.  Being a math teacher, I encourage my students to especially practice these, and having the school-wide support really helps them value these qualities.”

Roberta Denis

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Roberta Denis, IVA's administrative assistant and a lifelong resident of Southern California, has spent her career in and around schools. She grew up in Monrovia, Calif., and earned a bachelor's in English and teaching credential from University of California, Los Angeles. She earned a master's degree in humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Ms. Denis taught middle school in Whittier until she left full-time teaching to raise her three children with her husband. During that time, she worked as a substitute teacher, supervisor of teaching candidates, classroom and school volunteer, and art teacher.

“I love it here at IVA because there is such an openness to learning, a true willingness to consider other positions and a multitude of viewpoints, and encouragement to ask “why?” I enjoy teaching advisory, because the students and I get to apply the master virtues to all areas of our lives, from Minecraft to family dynamics. Never a day goes by, here, that I don’t laugh with students, have an opportunity to learn something from them, and become a better thinker. This is a wonderful place not just for students, but for the adults who work so hard right along side them, in becoming deeper thinkers and improving themselves each day.”

Megan Flower

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English and Physical Education Teacher

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Ms. Flower is so excited to be teaching Literature and Composition as well as Physical Education this year! Ms. Flower graduated from Biola University with her BA in English and Secondary Education. She began her career in the Norwalk La Mirada School District as a middle and high school teacher where she gained experience in teaching English Literature & Composition, English as a Second Language, and intervention courses for students learning English as a second language.

Prior to joining IVA’s staff, Ms. Flower had a wonderful experience teaching at Da Vinci Science High School in Hawthorne, CA where she taught English Literature as well as electives like Creative Writing and English Support to English Learners. Ms. Flower is presently working on a Masters in Teaching at Biola University where she is focusing on effective learning strategies for teachers to use with students who have learned English as a second language.

Ms. Flower loves to be active and is excited to be teaching Physical Education for the first time. She accomplished an exciting goal when she ran the Long Beach half marathon a few years ago. One of her favorite sports to play is volleyball; she played volleyball in high school, as well as intramural volleyball in college. She has been a lifelong swimmer, spending four summers in Jr. Lifeguards in Huntington Beach as a teenager and swimming competitively in high school. Ms. Flower loves to read (of course!), practice yoga, write, travel, spend time in the outdoors, take her dog, Gracie, for long walks, cook, and spend time with her family, friends, and housemates.

"I was drawn to IVA because of the commitment to academic growth as well as character development through the intellectual virtues. I believe so strongly in the mission and vision of IVA. Students are encouraged to be curious about the world, to ask thought-provoking questions, and to continually wonder. It is a gift to work in such a life-giving community."

Rachel Gordon

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Science and P.E. Teacher

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Before coming to IVA, Rachel Gordon taught for 13 years at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Lynwood, where she was originally placed by Teach for America. Always passionate about developing students as whole individuals, Ms. Gordon also coordinated and moderated the National Geographic Bee at Patric Henry Elementary School, directed enthusiastic school choruses of 50-100 students, coached for the Mathathon, piloted a nutrition education curriculum, started a school fruit and vegetable garden, and conducted student mock trials at Inglewood and Compton courthouses. She and her husband Mark have two children: Emery (6) and Miles (4).

"After teaching in a traditional public school where success and failure were solely measured by test scores, I feel convicted that many students are missing out on learning what it takes to persist in unpredictable and complex lives. I want to examine the processes and challenges we go through, especially when they are difficult. Studying and teaching with an emphasis on experience and thinking motivates me because I am able to get to the core of what matters and what promotes life-long success. I look forward to learning through collaboration the elements of a meaningful education."

Jana McAdams

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Jana McAdams is a graduate from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelor's in Kinesiology and Single Subject Credentials in both Physical Education and Foundational Level Mathematics. While at CSUF, Jana received the Outstanding Undergraduate in Kinesiology award and is a current member of California Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD). She is a former high school cross country and track & field coach, lifeguard, and swim instructor. Jana completed the 2016 Boston Marathon and continues to strive towards becoming a lifelong mover and thinker.

"I was really drawn to IVA because of the unique way that it addresses learning within the students: it gives a realistic approach to teaching students holistically. I appreciate that the emphasis is on personal growth within the students, focusing on their process, rather than their outcome. I love being able to challenge students not only physically, but also intellectually, in the way that they see themselves as a "mover," and what that means as they transition from one grade to the next. It is a joy to be working with like-minded teachers who are all striving to impact our students in areas that will carry through the rest of their lives."

Ian McCurry

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English Teacher
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Ian McCurry, IVA's English teacher, holds a master's in teaching from Azusa Pacific University. Prior to IVA, Mr. McCurry taught 2nd and 3rd grade at a private school in Downey, and 9th- and 10th-grade English/language arts at a Los Angeles charter school. Mr. McCurry has clear multiple subject and clear single subject English credentials. In 2013, McCurry presented on “Teaching for Intellectual Virtues in the English Classroom” at a summer conference at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

"I was drawn to the mission of Intellectual Virtues Academy before the school was even properly formed. In a pedagogy seminar with 15 other educators at Loyola Marymount University, hosted by Dr. Jason Baehr and Dr. Steve Porter, I caught the vision that education really could be about more than memorization, speed, and high test scores. I was reminded that learning to think well is part of learning how to live well and be a healthy, thriving human being. The qualities of good thinking (curiosity, open-mindedness, humility, courage) cause human flourishing. Teachers, classrooms, and schools can be places that encourage students toward this type of thinking. Almost as soon as I found out there was going to be a school focused on intellectual virtues I was eager to be a part of it in any way possible."

Cari Noble

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Math Teacher
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Cari Noble, IVA's math teacher, came to teaching after spending time at home raising three children. Her gradual entry into the profession included long-term substitute teaching positions in math classrooms at Newcomb Academy and Stanford Middle School. She also worked as an elementary science lab teacher at Newcomb Academy, during which time she developed curriculum for hands-on science lessons for grades K through 5. Ms. Noble has a multiple subject credential, foundational level math credential, and a foundational level science credential. She has taught for three years at IVA, in math and science classrooms. 
“I'm drawn to the rigor at IVA. In my previous math positions, my goal was to make the students think and understand the material at a deeper level. The thought of working at a school where this was not just a lofty goal, but a requirement for good teaching, was very appealing. Two virtues, in particular, resonated with me as a math teacher: carefulness and tenacity. To have the language to encourage these qualities in my math students is amazing! For the students to know that these are qualities that are valued, not just in math class but by our whole school community, adds purpose.”