An independent private school serving San Diego students in grades K-8.

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Faculty & Staff

Jim Price

Executive Director

Jim is the Executive Director of TCPS. Jim also has two children, both of whom are TCPS graduates. Jim received his B.A. in Political Science at Washington State University, and his M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. Additionally, he has a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Chapman University. Besides Jim's twenty years of business and management experience, he also has twenty years of experience working with children and teens through public schools, residential treatment facilities, summer camps, and as a club and high school soccer coach. Jim also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.   Jim has been a leader in the TCPS family for since 2003 and enjoys being here because he feels that TCPS truly prepares students for their future academic pursuits and beyond.  Jim's interests away from work include cooking, wine tasting, and pampering his two very spoiled dogs. 

Sherry Risch

Principal/ Middle School Language Arts Teacher

Sherry Risch has developed a distinct philosophy of education that combines the best teaching practices and principles of learning with her personal beliefs of the importance of community, family, and the needs of the whole child.  In 1983, she co-founded The Child's Primary School, a private kindergarten through eighth grade school, based on those principles.  Ms. Risch is continually re-inventing herself and has created an environment that fosters the joy of lifelong learning- a place where teachers join together to design innovative curriculum. Ms. Risch is a founding board member of Women's Empowerment International serving women living in poverty, and in her spare time, enjoys traveling and singing in San Diego's MLK Community Choir. She holds a B.S. in Special and Elementary Education from Miami University, Oxford Ohio, and served on the Committee for Primary Assessment and Curriculum Development in Ohio.  Sherry continues to find joy and inspiration teaching at The Child's Primary School.

Donny Kim

Vice Principal and Middle School History Teacher

Donny is the Vice Principal and one of the middle school teachers at TCPS.  He teaches Geography and History for all middle school grades.  Donny also teaches photography and computer electives for the seventh and eighth graders.  Donny has his B.A. in History from University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as his Single Subject Credential from Sonoma State University.  He has Web Design and Graphic Design Certificates from the University of California, San Diego.  His knowledge base in photography comes from passion as a professional nature photographer.  Adding to Donny's experience is his twelve years of experience in outdoor education for the Catalina Island Marine Institute, where he taught marine ecology, geology, astronomy, underwater photography, and was the SCUBA Divemaster.  Donny has been a part of the TCPS family since 1999.  His favorite thing about TCPS is the amazing connection he feels between the students, parents, and staff; and not just for the grades he teaches, but across all grade levels. 

Rachel Szalay

Kindergarten Teacher

Rachel joined TCPS as the Kindergarten teacher in 2011.  She graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her B.A. in Speech Communications.  She later pursued a career in teaching at Point Loma Nazarene where she obtained her M.A. in Education and her teaching credentials.  Before coming to TCPS, Rachel taught music in Point Loma for grades K-3.   She also worked with Peace Corps-Belize as a teacher trainer for two years while coaching girls' soccer, and co-advising a girls club.  A Pennsylvania native, her love for teaching grew while teaching pre-school for 6 years.  She lives in Ocean Beach and enjoys spending time with family, singing, cooking, yoga, and running.  Students inspire and refresh her love for teaching every single day.  She is dedicated to bringing her best to the classroom and providing rich experiences for her students.    

Stephanie Barnes

First Grade Teacher

Stephanie is the First Grade Teacher at TCPS and the Community Outreach Coordinator. Prior to teaching First Grade, Stephanie was the grade 2 & 3 Homeroom Teacher at TCPS. Her two children graduated from TCPS and are currently in high school.  Stephanie has a degree in Liberal Arts and obtained her Teaching Credentials in General and Special Education from California State University, Sacramento.  She is currently attending The University of San Diego where she is pursuing her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree and a Graduate Certificate in Peace and Global Education.  Stephanie enjoys poetry and public speaking, and shares those passions with the children in her classroom.  She has over twenty years of involvement with Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times where she has trained staff and worked with cancer patients and their families.  Stephanie has been part of the TCPS staff since 1999 and is continually impressed by the way that students of all ages get to know one another and work together.

Cara Dunn

Grade 2 and 3 Homeroom Teacher

Cara joined the TCPS faculty in 2010, as a Math Teacher and the Program Coordinator. In 2013, Cara became the 2 & 3 Homeroom Teacher at TCPS. Cara has a B.A. in Education Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education from Stonehill College, Massachusetts.  She also has her M.A. in Mathematics Education from San Diego State University.  Though she has been in San Diego for a few years, Cara is grew up in Rhode Island and lived and worked in the Boston area before moving to San Diego.  In the past, Cara has taught third grade in a public school, was a substitute teacher in Grades K-6, a tutor for third grade students, a test-prep tutor for middle school students, and a co-coordinator of a junior high tutoring program in Brockton, MA.  Her goal as a teacher at TCPS is to help students become confident mathematicians and problem solvers.  In her free time, she likes cooking and started a container vegetable garden this year so that she could cook with fresh vegetables.  She loves to travel whenever possible, especially to the many beautiful places in California.

Marisa Vernec

Grade 4/5 Homeroom Teacher

Marisa joined TCPS as the Grade 4/5 Homeroom Teacher in the fall of 2012.  She is a former student and graduate of The Child's Primary School.  After graduating from TCPS, Marisa attended Francis Parker School and The University of California, Davis.  She earned her B.A. in Psychology from UC Davis and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials from Point Loma Nazarene University.  Marisa taught middle school at another San Diego private school for three years prior to returning to TCPS.  She is not only passionate about education and teaching, but also about travel.  She has been all over the world, from places like France and Italy to India and Turkey.  She so values the learning that comes from experiencing new food, culture, and adventures.  Other interests of hers include indoor and outdoor volleyball, cozying up with a good book, and cooking!

Vickie Jenkins

Music/Asst. Classroom Teacher

Vickie is the TCPS Music Teacher, as well as an assistant in the second/third and fourth/fifth grade classrooms.  Vickie earned her Bachelor's degree from Scripps College in Claremont, CA and her teaching credential from the University of San Diego.  Before teaching at TCPS, she taught Language Arts for San Diego City Schools.  Vickie spent many years acting and singing in musical theater, and is now a professional musician and a piano teacher.  She is also involved in Renaissance and Medieval musical performance.  In addition to being a teacher here, Vickie teaches music during the summers at Gateways Summer School.  She also has a son who is a graduate of TCPS.  Vickie has brought her love for music, instruments, singing, and poetry to the students attending TCPS since 1993.  She is continually amazed at the musical creativity the students possess when given the time to foster their talents. 

Ms. Sanchez

Spanish Teacher

Ms. Sanchez is the Spanish Teacher for all ages at TCPS.  She teaches Spanish to adults as well.  Ms. Sanchez received her B.A. from San Diego State University in Spanish with a minor in Child and Family Development and a focus in domestic violence.  Ms. Sanchez spent a semester studying in Panama and Costa Rica, where she continued to perfect her knowledge of the Spanish language.  She also lived in Toronto for two years where she did mission work and taught English.  Ms. Sanchez enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and helping others to be better speakers of both English and Spanish.  Ms. Sanchez has been a part of the TCPS family for the past two years, and loves that the school lets kids be kids, and that they work on cross-age group projects.

Haley Morris

Science Teacher

Haley is the Science teacher for all ages at TCPS.  She was born and raised in Moorpark, CA, which is in Ventura County.  Haley received her BA from California Lutheran University in Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish and a concentration in Art.  She also holds her M.S. in Educational Leadership as well as a certification to teach Gifted and Talented students. Before joining TCPS, Haley taught middle school science in Ventura for two years, elementary school in San Diego for two years, and another year teaching Science in Imperial Beach.  She lives in Point Loma and enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, cooking, and doing CrossFit.  Haley loves being apart of the TCPS family!

Mark Martin

Math Teacher

Mark teaches Math from fifth grade to eighth grade. He brings over fifteen years of teaching experience to TCPS, including ten years teaching middle school math. Mark grew up in the San Diego area and received his undergraduate degree from Revelle College at U.C. San Diego and his teaching credentials through San Diego State University. Prior to becoming a teacher, Mark was an environmental attorney for 15 years obtaining his J.D. degree from the University of Oregon and an LL.M. degree in energy law from the University of Utah. Mark found his true passion with teaching. He loves exploring math with middle school students while integrating math with science, technology and other subjects. Mark has been happily married for over 30 years and has two wonderful grown sons. He enjoys nature including hiking and nature photography. He is also fascinated by technology and has an on-line museum showcasing his collection of vintage typewriters, cameras, calculators and computers.

Greg West

P.E. Teacher/Math Assistant/ After School Supervisor

Greg join TCPS as the P.E. Teacher, Math Assistant as well as After School Supervisor in 2013. Greg previously taught P.E. at Emory Elementary School in Imperial Beach and was the Head Varsity Baseball Coach at Olympian High School for the previous three years. While at Olympian, Greg also taught 12th grade math. Greg is a local San Diego Native and graduate of Mission Bay High School. After high school, Greg spent two years playing Baseball at San Diego Mesa Junior College, before getting a scholarship to play at Pace University in New York. Greg returned home to San Diego and received his Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Education from San Diego State University. Greg holds a single subject P.E. credential from National University. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and identical twin boys, Parker and Mason.

Sarah Zoric

Middle School Assistant

Sarah joined TCPS as the Middle School Assistant in 2013.  Sarah has her B.A. in Communications from Christopher Newport University (CNU) and her M.A. in Communications from San Diego State University (SDSU).  Before joining TCPS, Sarah taught public speaking at SDSU and later worked as a researcher and teacher to middle school students at-risk for gang involvement.  Sarah is a Virginia native whose love for exploration moved her to CA and motivated her travels to Tanzania, Mexico, Nepal, Cambodia, France, Italy, and Greece.  This same love for discovery feeds her interest in research.  She has worked as a researcher in both San Diego and Nepal.  She now teaches Research at TCPS and loves helping students see the importance of a well-informed opinion and innovative research in our world.  Sarah is also the librarian at TCPS.  Before this position, she was a Reading Instructor for students of all ages (pre-K to adult).  She is thrilled to continue sharing her passion and knowledge of good books with the students she works with.  In her free time, Sarah enjoys running, yoga, art, reading, learning French, and spending time with loved ones.

Jan Landt

Executive Assistant

Jan is the Executive Assistant here at TCPS.  She received a B.S. in Dietetics from University of California Davis.  Jan spent the first part of her career as an Administrative Dietitian in Boston and Berkley, CA.  She also was the Secretary for All Saints Episcopal School, and worked with their lunch program for 25 years.  Jan is an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Society of Mayflower Descendants, as well as the Senior Leader of Children of the American Revolution at local, state, and national levels.  Jan keeps everyone smiling at TCPS with her baking skills, as well as with all of her creativity in handicrafts.  Each year Jan coordinates participation of TCPS in Naturalization Ceremonies for new citizens. Jan has been with TCPS since the 2006 school year, and loves the daily interaction with the students, staff, and parents.    

Alyssa Ballard

Operations Assistant

Alyssa is the Operations Assistant at The Child's Primary School. Alyssa is a San Diego native who earned her Associate Degree in Speech Communication from San Diego City College then moved to Dublin, California to pursue her Bachelor Degree. In northern California, Alyssa moved in with a family of five including two boys aged 4 and 9, and one girl aged 6. Living with those three and babysitting their close friends helped cultivate Alyssa's love for being around children. She graduated June 2014 with her B.A. degree in Professional, Public, and Organizational Communication which emphasized human relations, public relations, interviewing, and research methods. Alyssa is so excited she is able to use her knowledge of communication and business operations to help TCPS as well as simultaneously spending time around children!

Ying Moua

After-School Assistant

Ying joined TCPS in 2012 as our After-School Assistant. Ying is currently pursuing her degree in child development. Ying has worked with the Girl Scouts of America as a leader and Event Coordinator for several years. Additionally, Ying works with Supplemental Education Services where she provides tutoring services to students.

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San Diego Private School offering a premier academic and social-emotional program for students in kindergarten, elementary school, and middle school. TCPS students will experience a creative and dynamic academic experience which promotes individual success and a love for learning within a close-knit private school community. Our small class sizes, dedicated teachers, and creative academic program make TCPS the premier San Diego private school.


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