Nova High School

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Nova ~ Attendance

Ascalon, Lisa M

Certificated Teacher, Humanities
Susan Barth

Barth, Susan

Biological Sciences, Farm, Conservation, Health, Marine Biology

I am devoted to conservation of our natural ecosystems. I realize that it's a big topic and some folks feel hopeless to change our trajectory. If we can all commit to mini-behavior changes, we can make a huge difference. Shave a few minutes off your shower, buy less new products, reduce your animal product consumption by one meal a day or one a week if that is doable. When one change becomes a habit, start another. Talk to your friends, convince them to start.

What brought you to Nova?
Born out of alternative education, I hold high the knowledge that learners are unique and so should be their education. As soon as I walked in to Nova, it felt like home. Some things I love about Nova are the individualized attention that I get with students, that students are involved in decision making, and the ability to teach towards my passion.

How would you describe your teaching style?
When I asked the students in my room at lunch today, the responses were "Motherly", "Doesn't give up" and "Persistent".

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
Helping people make connections and find what is important and meaningful to them is very important to me. This should be at the root of all teaching.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
The students.

California State University, Northridge: BA Environmental Biology
Miami University and The Woodland Park Zoo: MA in Education, Advanced Inquiry Program
South Seattle College: Career and Tech Ed, in progress.

Biddle, Reghan

Special Education Teacher
Lance Brown

Brown, Lance

Math Teacher

I am an experienced public school math teacher. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics/Black History and a Master’s Degree in special education. I relocated to Seattle from New York City in 2016.

Personal Message

I have experienced, first-hand,  how the power of education can break the cycle of poverty.

After two decades of a career in banking, real estate and title insurance, I returned to university to fulfill my desire to become a mathematics teacher.  I will teach my students to learn how to learn.

Cougan, Catherine

Certificated Teacher, Math / Science
Adam Croft

Croft, Adam

Teacher and Coordinator

Personal Message

I work with students in classes like "Life on Earth", "Environmental Justice", and "Earthology", as well as committees like "Planet Nova", to explore how the Earth lives and how best to work for justice.

•    What brought you to Nova?

A small, personalized, democratically-run, justice-focused learning community committed to the growth and success of all students in which I could work collaboratively with both staff and students -- how could I resist?

•    How would you describe your teaching style?

My courses start with big, relevant questions that drive our shared inquiry both within and outside the classroom. I work to center students in their own learning process while de-centering dominant narratives of race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and other power inequalities. Students demonstrate their learning through multiple possible pathways, including projects, writing, classroom discussions, and other performance-based assessment. And I try to make sure our learning experience is engaging, meaningful, and compelling -- there's so much for us all to learn and do!

•    Why do you teach? And/or what do you hope to influence?

Our world is dominated by unjust systems of power and exploitation that must be confronted, deconstructed, and replaced -- if not, people and communities will continue to face violence and oppression while our society fails to live up to its potential. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to participate in the process of helping to create a more equitable, just, and life-affirming world.

•    What’s your favorite thing about Nova?

At Nova, I actually can work with students and adults to change how we teach and learn, and how we can live in this world. We share a commitment to justice that pushes and supports my own work while providing our students with an unparalleled education. We aren't perfect, but we always demand to do better. I love Nova!


Cheri Gail

Gail, Cheri

School Nurse

Visit the MCHS School Nurse page for helpful school and district resources and information.

Stefan Gruber

Gruber, Stefan

Teacher CTE

Stefan Gruber (they/them)

What brought you to Nova?

I was a Nova student in the 90’s and thought an animation department at Nova would be so wonderful. I got my Animation degree at CalArts, and came back home to create films and begin a program here in 2001.

How would you describe your teaching style?

Collaborative. My ideas for a class grow from the students and their evolving needs. I have a menu of fun exercises I offer, and many of my offerings were born from a Novian asking me “Can we do this kind of project next?”

Why do you teach?

Creating animation gives me bliss. Making animation with a community of people amplifies that bliss. At Nova I get to see patience grow in artists, and some of my favorite artists are getting their starts here in our program.

And/or what do you hope to influence?

I hope to give people at Nova a chance for peaceful self-care through the simple creation of life on a page. I live for the moment when I witness someone seeing their markings coming to life on the big screen. Our end-year showcases at Northwest Film Forum are a wild ride, and are not to be missed! We archive them here on Vimeo, check them out!!

Jared Harkness

Harkness, Jared

He/Him - Instructional Assistant

Personal Message

blah blah blah


Hester, Brent

Language Teacher

Hilliard, Tara

Instructional Assistant, Spec. Ed.

Holman, Daniel J

Certificated Teacher, Special Education
Debbie Kuttner

Kuttner, Debbie

Language Arts Teacher, Coordinator



,Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
Internship in 1997

How would you describe your teaching style?
Compassionate, radical when needed, traditional when needed.

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
Love. Hope. I hope to empower all people to feel confident about their reading, writing, and communicating abilities.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
Culture of Kindness

Laird, Rebecca

Special Education Teacher - she/her
Terrance McKittrick

McKittrick, Terrance

Language Arts Teacher, Coordinator

Personal Message

What brought you to Nova?
This was the only school I saw who made students first, taught with compassion, sincerity, and rigor, and was always working to become better.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I am trying to get students to find their voice, learn how to critically think, and realize there are multiple processes in becoming an actual human being.

Why do you teach? and/or What do you hope to influence?
I teach because I love to learn with others. I teach because I am driven by the impulse to help in any way I can. I'm hoping to help my students realize not only the honor it is to learn how to become a human but to also realize the responsibility they have to center others and their world while they engage in that process.  It is also incredibly essential for me to work with my fellow teachers and ultimately my students decentralized the white narrative and doing antiracist work.

What's your favorite thing about Nova?
Nova is a safe place for students to learn about who they are and work with others to facilitate the growth of justice, truth, and community.

Milnor, Rhettleigh C

Instructional Assistant, Spec. Ed.

Mitchell, Melanie J

Instructional Assistant, Spec. Ed.
Melissa Park

Park, Melissa

She/Her - Humanities & Ethnic Studies Teacher, Coordinator

Personal Message