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Faculty



Mrs. Susan Vlach, Principal

Mrs. Susan Vlach, Principal
Mrs. Vlach has served as SBJA’s principal for 29 years. After graduating from Pepperdine College, she taught in the Torrance Unified School District for five years. She was asked to open SBJA’s first kindergarten program in 1980, and subsequently taught in that capacity for five years. There are current SBJA parents who were Mrs. Vlach’s kindergarten students, reminding the school community that SBJA is a true extended family.
Email: svlach@sbja.com



Linda Mack

Mrs. Linda Mack, Kindergarten
Mrs. Mack was born and raised in Southern California as well as an alumnus of SBJA. She graduated from La Sierra University and has always been in the education world. Although this is her first year teaching Kindergarten, it is not her first-time “teaching”. Mrs. Mack spent the last three years as a registrar and a part- time teacher for a high school in Northern California. She has enjoyed working with children for as long as she can remember. Over the years she has found passion working in collaboration with children to experience the wonders of the world around us. Engaging in meaningful and integrated projects, thinking deeper about what makes a worm wiggle, taking a second look at a favorite book and experiencing a wild game of tag on a windy sunny day brings me joy. She looks forward to the many adventures that teaching Kindergarten will bring this year!.
Email: lmack@sbja.com



Mrs. Dinah Villanueva, Gr. 1

Mrs. Dinah Villanueva, Gr. 1
First graders have the privilege of enjoying the kind and loving personality of Mrs. Dinah Villanueva, the perfect mentor for impressionable first graders. Mrs. Villanueva has taught for 18 years, six of them at South Bay Junior Academy. She also taught at the White Memorial Adventist School and the Antelope Valley Adventist School. She graduated from La Sierra University.
Email: dvillanueva@sbja.com



Mrs. Silvija Sekulich, Gr. 2

Mrs. Silvija Sekulich, Gr. 2
Second grade teacher Mrs. Silvija Sekulich is a wonderful example of a South Bay Junior Academy alumnus. She, along with her two sisters, attended SBJA throughout her elementary and junior high years, and it was at SBJA that Mrs. Sekulich decided to be a teacher. She went on to graduate from California State University at Long Beach, and subsequently earned her Master’s Degree in Education at La Sierra University. The Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has used her expertise to train other teachers as they use our reading program, Pathways.
Email: ssekulich@sbja.com



Mrs. Cheri Dawson, Gr. 3

Mrs. Cheri Dawson, Gr. 3
Third grade teacher Mrs. Cheri Dawson is a woman of many talents. After graduating from college with a degree in business, she was a manager at FedEx before coming to SBJA as the office manager. During those years as the school’s office manager, she completed her Master’s degree in Education, and subsequently took over SBJA’s third grade classroom. “A very hard worker” describes her well — in addition to all her responsibilities as the third grade teacher, she also manages the fall Magazine Sale, and is a go-to teacher for our online website attendance and grade reporting.
Email: cdawson@sbja.com



Mrs. Kirsten Born, Gr. 4

Mrs. Kirsten Born, Gr. 4
Another SBJA alumnus is fourth grade teacher Mrs. Kirsten Born. After the tenth grade she transferred to Monterey Bay Academy where she graduated. She then attended La Sierra University and graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills. Mrs. Born has been the SBJA Jog-athon Faculty Sponsor for as long as any of us can remember, and does a fantastic job. She is loved by 18 former classes of fourth graders!?
Email: kborn@sbja.com



Mrs. Allison Sleeman, Gr. 5

Mrs. Allison Sleeman, Gr. 5
Our third SBJA alumnus is fifth grade teacher Mrs. Allison Sleeman who, as polled, receives the award for “most humorous.” Mrs. Sleeman graduated from La Sierra University, and has the distinction of having taught in England as well as the U.S. Mrs. Sleeman’s grandmother-in-law, “Grandma Betty,” started the Gucha Village Orphanage in Kenya that SBJA families help to support through monthly Jeans Days. She has been in charge of SBJA’s fifth graders for five years.
Email: asleeman@sbja.com



Ruth

Mrs. Ruth Perez, Gr. 6-7-8
Ruth Perez worked for many years as an SBJA volunteer after her daughter enrolled in kindergarten. After Mrs. Perez finished her education degree, we were delighted to have her join our faculty. She is part of the departmentalized Middle School program where she specializes in Social Studies. She and her husband Mario live in Gardena, and are preparing to send their high school senior daughter off to England for college. We know where Mrs. Perez will be spending her vacation time for the next few years!
Email: rperez@sbja.com



john

Mr. Jonathan Fox, Gr. 6-7-8
Although new to the South Bay, Mr. Fox was born and raised in California. During his education at Pacific Union College, he spent a year in Honduras teaching English and acquiring a love for travel. Mr. Fox has spent the last eight years teaching high school English on a beautiful and remote island in Washington State. He is glad that trips to Target will no longer take three hours but is holding on to small-town living by walking to work each day. Mr. Fox is the English teacher and yearbook sponsor.
Email: jfox@sbja.com



Mrs. Diane Voigt, Gr. 7-10

Mrs. Diane Voigt, Gr. 6-7-8
Science teacher Mrs. Diane Voigt brings a wealth of experience to SBJA as a former research assistant at both USC and UCLA. She has her Master’s Degree in Biology. After attending college in Australia, her first teaching position was in the Solomon Islands. Mrs. Voigt is the coordinator of our Cool Schools Peer Mediation Program, the coordinator of our school’s “houses,” and the Mission Trip sponsor.
Email: dvoigt@sbja.com



Mr. Chris Watkins, Math

Mr. Chris Watkins, Math/IT
Mr. Watkins is a man of many talents, teaching our higher level math along with serving as the school’s IT manager. Mr. Watkins grew up in Huntsville, AL, and graduated from Pacific Union College in Angwin, CA with a degree in French. He spent one year studying French at the Seventh-day Adventist college in Cologne, France. In addition to his school assignments, he is an expert bass player and is very competitive in basketball. Mr. Watkins makes all the school’s musical and drama productions look professional with his technical abilities.
Email: cwatkins@sbja.com



Chris Mack/> Mr. Chris Mack, P.E. Teacher and Behavior Specialist. Mr. Christopher Mack has exhibited a passion for working with youth over a variety of venues. Most recently he has served as a high school Behavior Specialist responsible for creating and maintaining support for students who struggle to demonstrate successful behaviors. He obtained his Master’s degree in counseling at La Sierra University. In Christopher’s free time he enjoys singing, playing basketball, and spending time with his family. 
Email: cmack@sbja.com