Valley Charter Middle School » Staff Directory

Staff Directory

Brenda Sadeghi, Principal

Brenda Sadeghi grew up in Tulare, California but now considers herself a Los Angeles native. She received her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where she double majored in political science and Chicano Studies and went on to get her teaching credential from Fresno Pacific University. She also holds a master's in educational leadership from CSUN. Prior to joining VCMS, Brenda taught at Extera Public School in Boyle Heights. She especially treasures what she calls the “oh moments” in the classroom. “I love teaching when the vast majority of the class has little experience with the concept because when they start to understand the concept, they often say, ‘Oh, I get it!’ Then I feel our experience has come full circle,” she explains. In her spare time, the Lake Balboa resident enjoys trying new things such as parasailing and kayaking. She also seeks out local destinations where she can experience different cultures and traditions.

Cinthya Gonzalez, Assistant Principal

Cinthya GonzalezCinthya Gonzalez has always known that her passion was to be in education, and create equitable opportunities for marginalized school communities. As a first generation immigrant from Mexico and English language learner, Cinthya witnessed first-hand the disparities that exist in education, when content is not made accessible to diverse student populations. Long before she became an educator, Cinthya worked as a preschool teacher assistant and dance coach for an elementary school in the city of Pacoima. It was there when she realized that her calling was to become an educator and soon after she was hired as an intern-kindergarten teacher for LAUSD. She later moved to Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, where she taught 6th-8th grade, but spent the majority of her time as an 8th grade English teacher.  Cinthya received her Liberal Arts bachelor's degree and multiple subject teaching credential from Cal State Northridge, as well as her single subject English teaching credential. Recently, Cinthya received her masters degree in school leadership, along with her administrative credential from Loyola Marymount University, GO LIONS!  Cinthya is a wife and a mother of four children, in which most of her free time is dedicated as a travel baseball parent watching her oldest son play his heart out on the baseball field across the country. Cinthya is very excited to start a new journey at VCMS as assistant principal and is looking forward to working closely with students, staff, and families.  

Cecilia Chimal, Office Manager
[email protected]Cecilia Chimal
Cecilia Chimal grew up in the San Fernando Valley and attended Mission College in Santa Clara. She worked as an administrative assistant and pre-school teaching assistant before joining VCMS. According to Ms. Chimal: “It’s never a dull day at VCMS! I get to work with nice, fun, smart people every day.” The mother of four—two boys and two girls—is a devoted girl scout troop leader and, in her words, “full-time soccer mom.”
Jessica Rosales, Office staff
Ms. Rosales joined VCMS last year and spends the majority of her time at our Sherman Way site. Ms. Rosales was raised in the San Fernando Valley and is very familiar with the neighborhoods around our school community. She is currently studying Sociology at Cal State San Marcos. When she is not working at VCMS or busy with her coursework, she enjoys spending time with her 12-year-old daughter. Ms. Rosales and her daughter enjoy activities such as: road trips, beach outings, salsa dancing, listening to music, cooking, eating tacos, attending soccer games and horseback riding. Her approach to each situation is simple: “kindness always comes back.”
Maira Lopez, Office staff 
Maira Lopez was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. Ms. Lopez graduated from California State University Northridge with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2016. She have been in the education field since 2011 as an after-school supervisor before working at VCMS, and she began working at VCMS in the fall of 2017 as an assistant teacher and has worked in various roles. Since the first day, VCMS has felt like a second home for Ms. Lopez because she gets to work with amazing staff members, teachers, and students. She believes that working with middle school students is beyond rewarding because she gets to know them during such a transitional stage in their life. During her free time she likes to spend time with her dog, friends, and family. Ms. Lopez enjoys cooking, home decorating, gardening, painting, running, going to the beach, and watching soccer games.
James Bresden, 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
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James Bresden is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, earning a degree in Political Science and a Secondary Education Credential in English. In his free time, Mr. Bresden frequents revival movie houses and valiantly attempts new recipes with varying degrees of success. Mr. Bresden began teaching in 2008 and has taught both middle school and high school, joining VCMS in 2019. He has resided in the Valley for the past 20+ years.
Victoria Caja, 8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
Victoria Caja studied English Literature as an undergraduate at the University of California, Northridge. While obtaining her degree, she simultaneously acquired a teaching credential. During her studies, she developed a passion for empowering and engaging adolescents. Victoria believes in utilizing inspiring literary works from poets and writers to encourage students to read and write with determination and joy. Furthermore, she is dedicated to creating a classroom culture of belonging and mutual respect that nurtures and fosters a growth mindset. A newcomer to the world of teaching, Victoria is delighted to be a part of the VCMS team. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys trying different cuisines, traveling, and visiting art museums.
Timothy Callahan, 6th/7th Grade Science Teacher
Timothy Callahan is a graduate of Humboldt State University, with a B.S in Biology/Science Education and received his teaching credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills.  He is joining the VCMS family this school year after teaching in various roles for the past 8 years in GUSD.  In his spare time, Mr. Callahan enjoys reading and cultivating several artistic endeavors such as: short story writing, learning/playing guitar, and photography.  He has two wonderful companion animals (Pepper and Chicken) that occupy any other time imaginable.  Mr. Callahan has a passion for the instruction of science because he has an innate curiosity about how the world around us functions as well as responds to human interaction.  He believes that it can be quite simple, intricate, complex, and fascinating all at the same time if you know what you are looking for. 
Damian Coleman, 8th Grade Mathematics Teacher, Lead Teacher
[email protected]Damien Coleman
Damian is a veteran Math teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience. After earning his Applied Mathematics degree from the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, Damian received his single subject teaching credential from National University. During his time teaching middle school, Damian also served as an instructional math coach, a department chair, a gifted coordinator, and an 8th-grade class sponsor. His experiences differentiating instruction and teaching math in a problem-based learning format make him an invaluable asset to our staff.
Arnold Gomez, 8th grade History Teacher
Arnold Gomez graduated from California State University Northridge where he earned a B.A. in History and a minor in Civic and Community Engagement in 2018. During college, he worked as TA and became passionate about teaching and helping students. He went back the following semester to CSUN to obtain his Single Subject Teaching Credential. Mr. Gomez was a student-teacher at San Fernando High school and Byrd Middle School. He always strives to be the best teacher he can be and help students with their education in any way possible, just like the many impactful teachers he had when he was a K-12 student. As a new teacher, he is motivated and dedicated to continuously improving his teaching methods and learning from his fellow teachers. He hopes to make a positive impact in his students' lives, education and to make VCMS a school that all students love. He plans to get his Master’s degree with the intention to become a principal. In his free time he enjoys watching football, reading, playing Fallout and listening to music.
Krysta Henriquez, 6th/7th grade Math Teacher

Krysta Henriquez was born and raised here in the San Fernando Valley. She received her degree in Applied Mathematics at UC Riverside. As an undergrad, she was an in-class math tutor at an elementary school in Riverside for three years, and that was where her spark for teaching really grew. After graduating, she moved to the Bronx, NY where she taught and tutored students in math, english and Spanish. After returning to the San Fernando Valley, she was a third grade TA at VCES for three years and was in awe of all the amazing students and teachers. Because of her great experiences at VCES, she is excited to stay a part of the VCS team and continue her passion for teaching math.



Ivonne Hernandez, 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
Ivonne Hernandez is a first generation Latina who grew up in Los Angeles, California. She obtained her BA in English Literature, with a minor in Religious Studies, from California State University, Northridge. Hernandez joined the VCMS team in 2019 as a teaching assistant. She then went on to join the ELA Department in 2021. Her passion for reading and writing allows her to fully engage her students and watch them grow. Ms. Hernandez strives to create a safe and inclusive classroom environment. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her cat, Penny.
Stephen Lopez, Athletic Director/PE teacher
[email protected]Stephen Lopez
Stephen Lopez is a native Angeleno, born in Culver City. He studied kinesiology at Cal Poly Pomona. Before coming to VCMS, Lopez worked as an assistant athletic trainer. “What I love about being an athletic director is seeing the joy a student gets from playing a sport that without school athletics, they might not have had the opportunity to play,” he said. When he is not at VCMS, you might find Lopez playing soccer with friends or cheering on his beloved Dodgers.
Leigh Perrin, Art Teacher
Ms. Perrin began working in the art field after high school painting furniture. She furthered her education in California Colleges (San Francisco, Oakland, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Palm Desert and San Bernardino) to study Arts, Crafts, Design, Music, and Dance. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Studio Art, emphasis on Painting, from the California State University Los Angeles. While living in the Southern California desert Ms. Perrin introduced Art Workshops to the local community through painting classes, and made holiday crafts and tie dyes. Originally from Southern California, she has recently returned to Los Angeles from Riverside County where she began teaching in 2014. Ms. Perrin appreciates the history of art and practices sketching, drawing, and communicating through Visual Arts. This is her first year teaching at Valley Charter School and she looks forward to working with young artists.
Kevin Waterman, 6th/7th Grade History Teacher, Lead Teacher
[email protected]Kevin Waterman
Vermont native Kevin Waterman, served five years in the Marine Corps infantry, including seven months in Iraq, before pursuing his bachelor’s degree in history at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He received his teaching credential at CSUN and student taught at Mulholland Middle School and Cleveland High School. On being a teacher, Waterman said, “I love working with kids and engaging with ideas. I have always been passionate about history and social studies. It feels very rewarding to see students really thinking critically and grappling with questions concerning the way the world works.” In addition to spending time with his wife and cats, in his spare time, the North Hills resident loves to read, exercise (and in particular, hike), and play strategy computer games such as Civilization V and Stronghold: Crusader.
Jennifer Melgar, English Language Development 
Jennifer Melgar studied political science and international affairs as an undergraduate at the University of California, Riverside. The Los Angeles native went on to receive her teaching credential from California State University, Northridge. Before joining the team at VCMS, Jennifer was an AVID tutor at a Riverside County area high school. In this role, she supported students in all subjects and developed critical skills for college success. She loves watching her VCMS students dig into the material and “be fully engaged in academic discussions.” Equally gratifying for her is watching students grow over the course of the school year and beyond. When she is not at VCMS, you might find Jennifer baking and decorating a delicious dessert, reading, traveling, or spending quality time with her family.
Alyssa Garcia, Dean of Students and School Culture
Alyssa M. Garcia (she/her/ella), is an integrative Chicanx educator and artist whose work centers on restorative justice, community advocacy, and visual arts education. She is the former Director of Education and Programming at Las Fotos Project, where she oversaw curriculum design, impact evaluation, community building, and professional development. Alyssa received her degree in Urban Learning from CSULA where she also pursued both single subject (art) and multiple subject credentials. She has over 10 years of experience both in and out of the traditional classroom working with ages TK-12th and beyond. She is an alumni of NALAC's National Leadership Institute and co-chair of Latino Coalition's Youth Development Committee. Alyssa is passionate about restructuring educational approaches and designing shared learning experiences. Her current professional projects include curriculum consulting and educator training. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, traveling, attending live music events, trying new restaurants, and spending time with family. She is honored to be on staff and is most excited about learning from and building rapport with VCMS students and families.
Rose Powers, Dean of Students and School Culture

Rose Powers is a recent transplant to LA from Boston, Massachusetts where she taught high school Spanish for almost 10 years.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish language from University of Massachusetts Boston and her master’s degree in teaching from Simmons University.  She then received a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in educational administration from University of Massachusetts Boston.  She ran several summer programs and worked as a substitute Dean of Students. Rose has a passion for leading professional development and has run sessions on restorative justice and culturally responsive teaching.  She believes in positive behavior reinforcement systems and looks forward to developing meaningful relationships with the students and families of VCMS.  In her spare time, Rose enjoys traveling, photography, listening to 90’s music and spending time with her husband and young son.

Cindy Yates, Reading Specialist
Cindy Yates has been an educator for over 20 years. Before becoming a reading specialist, she has been an elementary school teacher, an intervention teacher, a homeschool educational specialist, and a college instructor. Her favorite job is a reading specialist because she loves to find the best ways to help students learn and discover literature's joy.  In addition to teaching credentials, Dr. Yates holds an undergraduate degree in sociology, a master’s degree in education/reading and language arts, a reading specialist credential, and a doctorate in education. She lives in Simi Valley with her husband, three kids, a dog, and a cat. In her free time, Dr. Yates loves to read, hike, go to the movies and spend time with her family and friends.


Alicia Paoletta, School Psychologist

Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Alicia has returned to the valley after living in the Palm Springs area for the last 23 years. She earned two Bachelor’s of Arts Degrees from the University of California at Riverside in Sociology and Administrative Studies and then completed her Master’s in School Psychology and obtained a Pupil Personal Credential from California State University at San Bernardino. Since completing her Master’s in 2019 she has been testing children for Special Education and evaluating how they learn.  Alicia has worked with a large range of students with a number of disabilities.  She is dedicated to matching students with their best learning modalities. She has been working in the field of school psychology for the last 7 years. This work experience has been in the private sector for an educational psychologist and in the public sector for school districts in Riverside County and Alameda County conducting assessments and providing counseling. She believes that every student has strengths and weaknesses and that we need to use our strengths to work around those weaknesses. During her free time she enjoys taking walks with her herd of miniature schnauzers and playing Pokémon Go. Parents and teams just love her and she is a true gem!

Danielle Sinha, Special Education Coordinator anDanielle Sinhad Service Provider
Danielle Sinha graduated from UC Berkeley where she earned her degree in English. During college she began to tutor middle school students and grew a love for teaching. Danielle became an Oakland Teaching Fellow after college and has been teaching or coordinating for the past twelve years. This is Danielle's first year at Valley Charter, and she is happy to join the Valley Charter team! Danielle has also earned a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. When not working, Danielle loves baking, reading, and going on adventures with her son and husband. 
Maira Solis, School counselorMaira Solis
Maira Solis grew up in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from California State University Northridge (CSUN). While at CSUN, she double majored in Psychology and Central American Studies as well as receiving her Master's in School Counseling. She has also earned her Pupil Personnel Services credential through CSUN. As a first generation student she has used her own experiences to connect with her students and community, helping her become a stronger advocate for education. She has worked with students in TK-12 grade in various capacities. Her favorite educational role has been working as a school counselor bringing social-emotional, academic, college and career awareness to her students. As a counselor her goal is to be an ally and advocate for her students while helping create a positive learning environment for them. She believes every student is unique and experiences their own educational path. During her free time she enjoys traveling, spending time with her loved ones and her dog Frida.