Instructional Team

English Department

Ms. Bruski received her B.A. from Colby College, a small liberal arts school on the east coast.  She received her M.A. in Secondary Education-English at Claremont Graduate University.  She taught at a private school in Orange County before joining the staff at Animo Pat Brown seven years ago.  She loves teaching ELA 12 and AP Literature and Composition, especially because she is able to help students feel truly prepared to meet the rigors of college and life.

Ms. Bruski spends her time outside of school enjoying her husband, son, and goofy dog.  She lives in Santa Monica and loves to go to the beach, go hiking in the mountains, and buy food at farmers' markets.  She also likes to go on long walks, drink iced mochas, and spend time with her friends.

Mrs. Espiritu attended LAUSD public schools in the South East Los Angeles area her whole life.  She graduated from Bell High School in 1996 and then moved across town to go to UCLA.  After UCLA, she began her teaching career back in South East Los Angeles at South Gate High School.  After 4 years of teaching, she decided to return to school to get her MA in Comparative Literature at San Francisco State University.  Upon completion, she returned to the classroom and has taught at both South East High School and Animo Pat Brown for the last 11 years.

Mrs. Espiritu loves reading fiction, hiking, and traveling.  She really cares about environmental justice and about finding ways to live in a way that least contributes to climate change and pollution.  She also really nerds out on any reading that talks about child development and how the brain learns.

Ms. Garcia is excited to be the 9th and 10th grade Literacy Enrichment teacher at Ánimo Pat Brown. In addition, she is the Student Council coordinator and the English Learner Lead. Ms. Garcia graduated from the University of Redlands with a B.A. in English, and she has a Masters in Education from Claremont Graduate University. She started her career in education in Los Angeles, and she lived and taught in the Berkeley area of Northern California for four years prior to returning to her beloved hometown of Altadena. Ms. Garcia loves working at APB, and she is very passionate about instilling a love of reading in her students.

Ms. Garcia loves the outdoors, and you can often find her hiking or camping on the weekends. In addition, she reads as much as humanly possible. She loves her cats and her family, and she enjoys cooking fun new recipes.

Ms. Lee is originally from the Bay Area. She went to UC Davis for her undergraduate career and Biola University for graduate career. She has a B.A. in English and a Masters in Teaching. She taught for two years at Alain Leroy Locke High School. She is currently in her third year at Animo Pat Brown, and loves being a gryphon!

Ms. Lee loves to dance, sing, and play sports. She also loves the Golden State Warriors and will cheer for them win or lose. When she has free time, she likes to go swing dancing and go to cycling classes. She also runs the volleyball club at school.

Ms. Pali is originally from the San Fernando Valley, but enjoys living and teaching in Los Angeles.  Despite a somewhat rocky academic high school career, Ms. Pali attended UC Santa Barbara, where she double majored in Literature and Feminist Studies.  She then moved on to Cal State University Northridge, where she intended to earn an M.A. in creative writing, but changed her focus to Rhetoric and Composition after working in the university’s writing center for a semester.  This experience inspired Ms. Pali to become a high school teacher. She joined Teach for America in 2013 and spent five years teaching English in South Los Angeles, the last four of which were proudly spent teaching all varieties of English at Alain Leroy Locke.  This is Ms. Pali’s first year at Animo Pat Brown, and she is excited to be teaching English 9, Literacy Enrichment and Student Council.

When she isn’t busy geeking out over lesson plans, you can find Ms. Pali eating sushi, reading graphic novels, playing with her dog Ollie or spending quality time with her significant other.

Mr. Pickering studied history at UC Santa Cruz and received a Masters in Education at UCLA. He worked in LAUSD for three years before joining Green Dot Public Schools to found Ánimo Pat Brown. In his 11 years in Green Dot, Mr. Pickering has had the opportunity to teach History and English as well as serving as an administrator.

Mr. Pickering loves helping students improve their writing. Being able to clearly express ideas, opinions, facts and beliefs is a crucial skill for life during and after college.

Josh Villagomez graduated from Arroyo High School in El Monte, CA and then went on to attend UCLA where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in English and a minor in Education. After a year of tutoring ESL, he attended Stanford University for his Masters Degree in Education. He has been teaching Drama, English, and Journalism at Animo Pat Brown Charter High School since 2013.

When Mr. Villagomez isn't teaching, you can find him reading on his couch with his wife and two cats. You can also find him playing with his softball team or wrestling.

History Department

Ms. Jang grew up in La Crescenta, where she attended Crescenta Valley High School. After high school, she attended the University of California, San Diego where she majored in Political Science and minored in Education Studies. After college, she earned her teaching credential and Masters at the University of Southern California. She is currently continuing her education by taking history and ethnic studies classes at Glendale Community College.

On her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. She also likes to stay active by hiking and taking fitness classes.

Mr. Sandoval grew up in Pasadena, Ca. where he went to Pasadena High School. He then attended UCLA studying History and Spanish. After getting his bachelors in History, Miguel attended UCLA's Teacher Education Program where he earned his teaching credential and a Masters in Urban Education.

Mr. Sandoval enjoys working out, trying different foods, and playing Softball. He is also a member of Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity's alumni association at UCLA and enjoys all things UCLA. Mr. Sandoval can be found hanging out with family, going to dodger games, or watching his favorite shows on the weekends.

Catherine Shieh

History (Ethnic Studies)

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Ms. Shieh was born and raised in the Bay Area. She moved down to sunny Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California, in which she studied Political Science and Urban Planning. During this time, she was actively involved involved in politics and continued a career in politics in Washington, DC. After missing better weather and glorious food, she returned to Los Angeles to teach and pursued a Masters in Education at Loyola Marymount University. She has since taught in various public schools and was one of the the founding Ethnic Studies & International Baccalaureate teachers for LAUSD. Though this is her fourth year teaching, this is her first year as a Gryphon!

Outside of the classroom, she is constantly searching for the next best place to eat, thanks to the late LA Times food writer Jonathan Gold's recommendations. Otherwise, you'll find her in Echo Park with elote while walking her puppy, Sunny.

Mr. Snyder grew up in suburban Detroit and stayed in the state for college, graduating from the University of Michigan in 2002.  After obtaining a Masters in Teaching Social Studies from Boston University, he taught in the Bronx in New York City for four years.  After a brief stint in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been teaching Government and Economics at APB since 2009.  His work at APB has also involved working with APB Alumni to support their journeys through college and beyond.

Mr. Snyder lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children, enjoying various activities, most of which are suited towards his small children.  He has recently taken an interest in rock climbing, and loves to explore new restaurants and neighborhoods around the city.

Math Department

Mr. Choi is a native Southern Californian, having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Study of Religion from the UCLA. He then went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Talbot School of Theology. Mr. Choi taught SAT and AP prep courses for ten years before deciding to teach mathematics in a public schools. Mr. Choi returned to his alma mater, UCLA, to earn his Master of Education and is now enjoying working with the wonderful students at Ánimo Pat Brown.

In his spare time, Mr. Choi enjoys playing with his daughter Sophie and son Luke, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and trying new recipes with his sous vide. He is also into sneakers and Star Wars/Marvel Legos.

Mr. Mendoza went to UCLA for both his undergraduate studies in Psychobiology and for his Masters program in Education. After he finished his Masters program, he began working for Green Dot, where he started at Locke High School. This is now is 4th year at Animo Pat Brown.

Mr. Mendoza enjoys playing video games, hiking, reading, running, escape rooms, crossword puzzles, and board games.

Mr. Bordagaray spent his formative years in Central California attending schools in Fresno Unified School District and Fresno City College. After receiving an Associate of Science degree in Mathematics, he transferred to San Francisco State University (Go Gators!) where he earned his B.A. in Mathematics for Teaching. From there he continued his graduate studies in Southern California at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Although he is all done with formal schooling, Mr. Bordagaray continues to be a life-long learner.

Mr. Bordagaray enjoys various interests, but none more than spending time with his daughter. She is only a few months old but she is already a daddy's girl. In his (very little) free time, he enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, cycling, and running; he's ran the LA Marathon twice and is excited to support SRLA again this year.

Mr. Marchese was born and raised in New York City. He attended New York University where he majored in Music Business and Technology.  Upon graduation he worked for several years in music production. After moving to Los Angeles Mr. Marchese attended Cal State Los Angeles where he earned his teaching credential as well as his Masters in Education.  He taught math in Los Angeles for several years before finding his home at APB in 2012.

In his free time Mr. Marchese enjoys camping, snowboarding and spending time with his family.

Ms. Ramirez grew up in Compton, California. She stayed in state and received her undergraduate degree from UCLA. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she was part of Teach for America and received her Master's in Math Education from Pace University. While in New York, she taught at an all girl's public school in the Bronx for 3 years, and later at an Expeditionary Learning high school in Washington Heights for 6 years. In 2016, Ms. Ramirez returned to her home state of California, and continued to teach math at APB.

Ms. Ramirez enjoys cooking, running, hiking, reading and trying new restaurants. She also loves going to the movies and watching new shows. Currently, she is spending lots of time with her baby niece and nephew.

Mr. Samaniego attended Loyola Marymount University for his undergraduate work where he received his B.S. in Health and Human Sciences. He later went on to California State University, Long Beach for his teaching credential in mathematics.

Mr. Samaniego enjoys playing chess, reading, training brazilian jiu jitsu, dancing salsa, playing board games with family, and playing sports. His favorite sports to play are basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis.

Science Department

Mr. Daniell was raised in Ohio and attended The Ohio State University where he majored in Physics. Afterwards, he attended UCLA and received a masters degree in education. He has been working with Green Dot for 8 years.

Mr. Daniell enjoys teaching, reading, spending time with friends and family, exercising, and snorkeling.

Mr. McBirnie went to UCLA and studied Aerospace Engineering.  Since then he has worked in education, serving as a tutor, student teacher, substitute teacher, and educational Aide.  He received his credential for Physics in 2016, and completed his Masters in Education in 2018

Mr. McBirnie likes to spend his time outdoors, be it hiking in the mountains or surfing at the beach.  He also enjoys music, playing piano, clarinet, and the drums. Now that he is a father, Mr. McBirnie also loves spending time with his daughter, Quinn.

Ms. Ohara has always loved the natural world; thus she loves getting students excited about Biology!  She graduated from UCLA with a major in Biology and a minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures. After graduating, she taught English in Japan for three years.  In 2008, Ms. Ohara came back to the U.S. and got her teaching credential and Masters in Education at UCLA. GO BRUINS! This is Ms. Ohara's ninth year teaching and is still enjoying every minute of it!

Ms. Ohara loves spending time with her family.  She especially enjoys reading books with her two children.  Ms. Ohara also loves exploring unique foods and restaurants.

Ms. Roselman studied Civil Engineering at UCI and obtained her Master's in Teaching at USC. She has been teaching at APB since 2014 as a chemistry and AP chemistry teacher.

Ms. Roselman loves playing soccer and cycling. She tries to stay active everyday because physical fitness is very important to her.

Special Education

Mr. Granados graduated from Ánimo Pat Brown CHS and later graduated from East Los Angeles with an A.A. in History. He is currently attending California State University of Long Beach and is aspiring to graduate with a B.A. in history. After graduating he hopes to become a History teacher at Ánimo Pat Brown in an effort to inspire and motivate students to graduate from high school and attend college. Being familiar with the school and the neighborhood, Mr. Granados hopes to connect with the students and show them that anything can be achievable with hard work and dedication.

Mr. Granados enjoys watching, playing and reading about sports. The main sports he knows are soccer, basketball and football. Mr. Granados played for the Ánimo Pat Brown soccer team during his junior year in high school. He also loves spending time with family and watching movies. He goes to the movies at least twice a month.

Mr. Ortega-Anorve was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley. A graduate of Rosemead High School, he soon found himself continuing his education at East Los Angeles College, before receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from California State University Dominguez Hills. Shortly after receiving his B.A., Mr. Ortega-Anorve undertook a new journey at CSUDH, and is currently pursuing a Teaching Credential in Special Education.

Mr. Ortega-Anorve enjoys spending time with his family, especially his son. Together, and at times accompanied by his twin brother, they enjoy snowboarding at local California mountain resorts. He also enjoys soccer, mixed martial arts, and traveling the world.

Hilda Ramos

Resource Specialist

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Ms. Ramos was born in Los Angeles and raised a block away from Animo Pat Brown.  She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she majored in Spanish and minored in Mathematics for High School Teaching.  Her interest for pursuing a career in education grew by participating in community outreach events in college.  After receiving her teaching credential from Antioch University, Los Angeles, Ms. Ramos joined the Pat Brown staff as a mathematics teacher and is now on her second year as resource teacher.

In her spare time, Ms. Ramos enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and home improvement projects.

Jenny Wu

Resource Specialist

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Ms. Wu is proud to be the Ánimo Pat Brown Lead Special Education Teacher. After earning her B.A. in Sociology with concentrations in LGBTQ Studies and African Studies from Binghamton University in New York, she joined the Los Angeles Teaching Fellows and began her credentialing coursework. Ms. Wu taught special day classes at Los Angeles Senior High School for three years and then returned to her native New York where she worked in a handful of charter and private schools. However, she missed her LA students so much, she quickly returned and is beginning her 12th year at Ánimo Pat Brown. She hopes to empower her students to be self advocates, have a positive self identity, and be passionate life long learners.

Ms. Wu enjoys spending time with her family, especially at Disneyland. She can play the flute and competed as a dancer and gymnast when she was in school. She helps sponsor the GSA and supports the 'whole learner' initiatives at APB.


Mrs. Samaniego received her teaching credential and Bachelors of Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University. During her undergraduate career, she volunteered as an art teacher at a local magnet elementary school and also a domestic violence shelter. Mrs. Samaniego was also fortunate enough to travel with a group of art therapists to create a community art installation on a Native American reservation in Hoopa Valley, California. She is now completing her third year as an art teacher at Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School.

In her spare time, Mrs. Samaniego enjoys painting, drawing, embroidering floral designs, listening to music, dancing salsa, training in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and watching movies.

Mr. Caraballo started his educational experience at University of Puerto Rico, then moved to California and completed his studies at California State University in Long Beach. After obtaining his Bachelor Degree, he was admitted to the CSULB single subject credential program, where he was able to complete his student hours at Los Alamitos High School. During his last year in the credential program he was able to obtain an Intern position with Green Dot Public Schools at Animo College Preparatory Academy, spending there his first years after successfully completing his credential program and internship. Now he has the great opportunity of being part of the Animo Pat Brown family as the Spanish 2 teacher.

He loves to spend time with his wife and kids. They love to travel and get to know new places, foods and cultures. He loves sports, especially baseball. He loves to scuba dive and do zip lining.

Kyle Cieply

Physical Education

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Mr. Cieply earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He went on to earn a Master's degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. This is his tenth year as a physical education teacher.

Mr. Cieply loves sports and/or outdoor activities! He spends his free time playing basketball, riding bicycles and hiking. Mr. Cieply and his wife love to travel! They love to explore national parks and as many foreign countries as possible!

Mrs. Medina is grateful and ecstatic to teach Spanish at APB. She was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and raised in San Diego, California.  She graduated in 2006 from the University of California in San Diego with a B.A. in Spanish Literature.  After college, Mrs. Medina began her education career as a substitute teacher and tutor.  In 2008, Mrs. Medina moved to Long Beach and worked as a Behavior Specialist, as she finished her credential program at CSU Long Beach in 2012 as a Spanish teacher.  Mrs. Medina taught at ICEF Charter Public Schools and at Huntington Beach High School District before joining the Green Dot team in 2015.  Here at APB, Mrs. Medina has passionately taught Spanish for Natives 1 and AP Spanish Language and Culture preparing students for the next level of Spanish and to pass the AP Spanish exam.  Mrs. Medina shares her passion with students both inside the classroom and outside the classroom by being actively involved in SRLA.

When not teaching Spanish, Mrs. Medina enjoys spending time with her husband and two beautiful daughters, running, being creative with DIY projects, playing the piano and is heavily involved in her church's nursery and choir ministries.

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Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School

8255 Beach Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Phone: (323) 585-3312

Principal: Brian Reed