Teachers 2016-17

“One way to build community in the classroom is to recognize the value of each individual voice.”— Hooks



Ms. Monica Alarcon, Fifth Grade

Hi, my name is Monica Alarcon.  This will be my first year teaching at REACH, and I am so excited to be with 5th and 6th grade teaching Language Arts and Social Studies.

A little about myself, I have lived in Riverside my whole life and currently still live here with my wonderful husband and son. I graduated from California State University San Bernardino in 2013 with my Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies as well as with my Teaching Credential.  

I have been a part of education for the past 8 years and have previously taught preschool, 2nd grade, and 5th grade in RUSD.

I am looking forward to a great year with our 5th and 6th grade scholars, and watching them grow and prepare for their middle school adventure!

Email: malarcon@reachroyals.org

Blog: mrsalarcon.shutterfly.com



Ms. Cindy Clemens, Fourth Grade


Hi! My name is Cindy Clemens and I am very excited to join the REACH Leadership STEAM Academy staff as a fourth grade teacher! My goal this year is to instill a love of learning in each of my students and set them on a path to become lifelong learners!

After careers in Aerospace and Insurance I went back to school at CSU Bakersfield where I earned my Bachelors Degree in LIberal Studies with a concentration in Diversity and Pluralism in U.S. Society, along with my multiple subjects credential.  I went on to Azusa Pacific University and earned a Masters Degree in Educational Technology.

I have been teaching the past four years and have experience in kinder, first, third, fourth and fifth grades. Outside the classroom I enjoy spending time with my family.  I am married to my best friend and between us we have four children and seven grandchildren.  I love the beach, hiking up in Big Bear, and reading.

I am looking forward to many wonderful adventures this year in fourth grade!

Email: cclemens@reachroyals.org

Blog: reachfantasticfourth.shutterfly.com



Mrs. Crystal Conteras, Third Grade


My name is Crystal Contreras and I am excited to begin my fourth year at REACH. In my previous three years at REACH I was the transitional kindergarten teacher and decided that I was ready for the challenge of third grade.

Our team has been working very hard to create a well rounded program that will allow each third grader to be successful and we can’t wait to get started!

I graduated in 2005 from California Baptist University with my B.A. and a multiple subject teaching credential. I have worked in elementary education for almost 10 years and I look forward to a wonderful year with my newest group of students!

Email: ccontreras@reachroyals.org

Blog: https://thirdgradethunder20162017.shutterfly.com



Mrs. Marie Contreras, Transitional Kindergarten


Hi, I am Marie Contreras. I cannot wait to start my first year at REACH Leadership STEAM Academy teaching TK. I previously taught First grade and have experience working as an instructional aide in Kindergarten. I also have experience as an English Language Development teacher. Altogether I have ten years of experience in the educational field.

I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Studies from California State University, Fullerton where I also earned my Credential.

In addition to being a teacher, I am also a mother. I love spending time with my daughter and son outdoors, playing at the park or camping. We also love playing Legos, baking and coloring.

I am beyond excited to be teaching TK and I can’t wait to help foster the foundation for a love of learning in our REACH students.

Email: mcontreras@reachroyals.org

Blog: https://terrifictkatreach.shutterfly.com



Mrs. Jessica Gallegos, First Grade

Hello! My name is Jessica Gallegos and I am so excited to be teaching 1st grade for my second year at REACH Leadership STEAM Academy! I grew up here in Southern California with my two sisters and my parents. I received my Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal State Fullerton and I have taught a wide variety of ages over the last 9 years. My first 8 years in education I served as a pre-school/TK teacher and a pre-school administrator for a small private school in Orange County. I am happily married to my wonderful husband of 3 years and we currently live in Santa Ana.  We enjoy camping, hiking, and doing anything adventurous! I feel so blessed to be part of the 1st grade teaching team at REACH and I am looking forward to another amazing school year full of learning, growth, and fun!

Email: jgallegos@reachroyals.org
Blog: reach1st2016.weebly.com



Ms. Monae Gascon, Fourth Grade


Hi!  My name is Monae Gascon and I am super excited to begin my first year at REACH teaching 4th grade.  I have previously taught 1st grade and preschool.  I have worked in the field of education for 10 years.  I received my B.A. from San Diego State, my Multiple Subject Credential from Clark Atlanta, and my M.Ed from Lesley University.
I currently live in Riverside with my husband of 9 years, and my two babies, ages 4 and 2 (so not really babies!).
I look forward to working with 4th grade and ensuring that I meet the needs of each of my students.  It will be a year filled with great memories and teachable moments!


Mrs. Ana Gil, Kindergarten

Hi, My name is Ana Gil (formerly Miss. Maciel, I got married over the summer!) I am beyond excited and honored to work at REACH Leadership STEAM Academy for a fourth year as a Kindergarten teacher. I am looking forward to giving back to the city that has given so much to me educationally. My educational career consists of local schools, ranging from Longfellow Elementary to John W. North High School. At a very young age I knew growing up I would become a teacher and have done everything possible and have worked hard in school to help me fulfill my dream of becoming an elementary teacher. I have my BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Spanish and a minor in Education from the University of California, Riverside. For my graduate studies I returned to UCR in which I graduated with my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters in General Education and most recently obtained my BCLAD certification. I have worked in the education field for many years now with grades k-8. I am looking forward to a year filled with many questions, answers, laughter…a year in general filled with lots of great memories and learning experiences.

Email: agil@reachroyals.org

Blog: http://mrsgils-classroom.blogspot.com



Ms. Vanessa Henry, First Grade


Hello and thanks for checking out REACH Leadership Academy. My name is Ms. Vanessa Henry. I am so thrilled to be starting my second year at REACH in 3rd grade. I feel this is a wonderful age filled with curiosity and growth.

 I live in Riverside with my beautiful, energetic, five year old, daughter named Scarlett and our pets, M.J.(dog), Olaf (cat) and Masha (Beta fish). I love to travel and explore this amazing world we live in. If I’m not off on an adventure, you can often find me at Disneyland or our local Starbucks.

 I earned my B.A. from California State University of San Bernardino and then went on to earn my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. This will be my fourth year as a full time teacher. I can’t wait to meet my new batch of students and start this fantastic school year!

Email: vhenry@reachroyals.org

Blog: https://thirdgradethunder20162017.shutterfly.com



Mrs. Colby James, Second Grade


Hello, my name is Colby James.  I am very excited to be teaching second grade at REACH Leadership Academy!  I was born and raised in Hattiesburg, MS.  I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000 with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education.  I taught for thirteen years at Dixie Attendance Center in Hattiesburg.  During my time at Dixie, I taught first grade, Kindergarten, sixth grade, and second grade.  I moved to California with my fiancé in April of 2015, and our son was born in September of the same year.  I live in Riverside with my new little family.  Teaching students and, hopefully, installing a love of learning in them is my passion.  I absolutely love to watch my students grow and transform throughout the school year.  The transformation children make in such a short amount of time really is amazing to me!  I am excited to start my first year at REACH and to be working with an amazing team of educators, parents, and students!

Email: cjames@reachroyals.org

Blog: mrsjuarezkinderclass.blogspot.com



Mrs. Caitlin Juarez, Kindergarten

Hello, my name is Caitlin Juarez and this is my third year teaching kindergarten at REACH Leadership STEAM Academy. My goal for this year is to give each student a strong educational foundation in order that they may become successful in the many years of education ahead of them. A little about myself, I was born and raised in Southern California and currently live with my husband in Murrieta, CA. I attended California State University, Fullerton where I received my Bachelors Degree in Child and Adolescent Development. I continued my education earning my Masters of Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from National University. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband, two puppies, and family, reading, crafting and cooking. I am excited about the school year and look forward to many years of educating and shaping the minds of young learners.

Email: cjuarez@reachroyals.org

Blog: mrsjuarezkinderclass.blogspot.com



Ms. Noemi Lopez, First Grade


Hello! I am Ms. Lopez. This is my first year at REACH and I am ready for an exciting school year! I recently moved to Riverside County with my fiancé and our son from the lovely city of Long Beach. So far we have enjoyed discovering our new neighborhood and all it has to offer.

In 2011, I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with my B.A. in Liberal Studies and credential as well as a BCLAD in Spanish. I have worked with children ages preschool to 8th grade in my last nine years as an educator. As a classroom teacher, I have taught kindergarten and first grade and I am thrilled to be teaching first grade again this year. I can’t wait to get this year started!

Email: nlopez@reachroyals.org

Blog: reach1st2016.weebly.com


Mrs. Emily Opris, Third Grade


Hello! My name is Emily Opris and I am teaching 3rd grade this year at REACH! I joined the REACH team last May to teach 5th grade for the remainder of the school year.  However, this is my first full year of teaching. I am so excited to teach 3rd grade!

I grew up in Orange County, but am currently living in Rancho Cucamonga with my wonderful husband (we got married this past June).  I received my B.S. in Liberal Studies as well as my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.

I am very excited to be teaching 3rd grade this year and especially excited to get to know your child! It is my goal to create a safe community for your child; a place where they can grow and learn.  I am looking forward to all of the wonderful things this school year will bring!

Email: eopris@reachroyals.org

Class Blog: http://eopris.weebly.com/

Third Grade Blog: https://thirdgradethunder20162017.shutterfly.com/



Mrs. Laura Opris,  First Grade

Hi! My name is Laura Opris and  I live in Yucaipa with my wonderful husband (married almost 5 years). We do not have any children yet but definitely plan to! We have two yellow labs named Thumper and Mac whom we spoil for now! We love spending time with family, being outdoors, going on adventures, traveling, and watching movies!

I received my B.S. in accounting from California Baptist University, Then went on to graduate school where I obtained my M.Ed and Multiple Subjects Credential from the University of California, Riverside. This will be my fifth year teaching first grade. I also have experience in Kindergarten and sixth grade in the Corona district, and in an SDC class in the Redlands district. I absolutely love teaching 1st grade and look forward to it each year!

Email: lopris@reachroyals.org

Blog: reach1st2016.weebly.com



Ms. Karla Sanchez, Fourth Grade

This is my fourth year at REACH Leadership Academy and I couldn’t be more excited to be teaching 4th Grade for the 2016-2017 school year! I am starting my 6th year of teaching, and have taught High School at a Charter in San Bernardino and spent the last three years teaching Third and Fourth Grade Royals at REACH.

I attended California Baptist University where I received my BA in Liberal Studies, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and Master’s Degree in Education. I’ve been working with children since the age of 16 and come from a family of educators. I am also  a mother to a 9 year old daughter who will be in 4th grade at REACH! I am happy and excited to be working with my fourth grade class and cannot wait to see the growth that will happen this year.

Email: ksanchez@reachroyals.org

Blog: https://reachfantasticfourth.shutterfly.com/



Ms. Violet Smith, Second Grade

My Name is Violet Smith. I am thrilled to be returning to REACH for a second year. This year I will be teaching second grade at our Linden campus, where I will also be an Administrative Designee. After earning my master’s in education, I taught first and third grade. Since then, I have taught second grade. I am elated to be entering my fifth year working with this industrious, excitable age group. I am also counting down the months until I become Mrs. Nichols! I am looking forward to a July 1, 2017 wedding at Pebble Beach. Please check my blog weekly at violetsmith.blogspot.com and subscribe to my Remind by texting @ea99h to 81010. I am looking forward to a great year as your partner in your child’s education.


Mrs. Brandi Snyder, Second Grade

Hello! My name is Brandi Snyder. I am excited to be one of the 2nd grade teachers at REACH Leadership Academy. I was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from Jurupa Valley High School in 2003. Directly after high school I took a detour and became a nanny to five wonderful children that later became six. I attended Riverside Community College before transferring to California Baptist University where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, majoring in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Early Human Development. I more recently completed the Credentialing program and CBU with a credential in Multiple Subject. During this time I was a tutor for Sylvan Learning Center working with students of all ages and in many different subject areas. In addition to working at Sylvan, I spent two years as a substitute teacher in the Jurupa and Riverside school districts and of course, our very own REACH. This is my third year at REACH as a second grade teacher and I am excited for the new year to begin. During the 2016-2017 school year, I hope to inspire, challenge, and drive students in meeting their full potential.  Children are our future, and their education and well-being is top priority in my classroom.



Ms. Emily Quach, Kindergarten


Welcome to REACH Leadership Academy! My name is Emily Quach. I am extremely thrilled to start my second year at REACH as a Kindergarten teacher. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology at CSU Fullerton. After completing my multiple subject teaching credential, I started my teaching career as an art teacher and, later, a pre-kindergarten teacher for four years. In addition, I have worked as a K-6 SES tutor for seven years. During my free time, I love to travel, explore different cultural events and play board games with my friends and family. As an educator, I strive to create a caring, positive, and engaging learning environment for all of my students. I personally love to explore and learn new things, and I look forward to instilling a curiosity and love for learning in all of my students this year!

Email: equach@reachroyals.org

Blog: http://msquach.weebly.com

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It’s house competition day and we taught our kinder friends how to play Gaga Ball! 💚🖤💙❤️💛💜#funfriday #reach #kinderjoyKeep bringing your young scholars to school on time! It will be worth it 💸It is college prep Wednesday, and this is the way we start our day 🎓#reachscholars #classof2033 #year6 #collegeboundHow exciting would it be to have a school wide pizza party 🤔😋🍕 #letsgetit #reachgoalsREACH family! Help us meet our attendance goal !
More on goals and rewards to follow ✨The amount of excitement these scholars had on their way to Science Camp was so encouraging! We miss them already ✨#6thgradersrock #reachleadershipacademy #year6Representing The Dream✨
Thank you, Dr. King. Your legacy lives on at REACH Leadership Academy #swipe #neverstopdreaming #MLK #spreadlove #year6 #reachleadershipacademyHappy New Year, Reach family ✨ 2017, thanks for all the laughs ✌🏽 2018, we’re ready for you! #newyearsamereach #year6 #reachleadershipacademy #throwback #reminiscencingReminiscing on last year’s color run, while preparing for today’s superhero run! Join us on our new campus as we make new memories 🌊 #flashbackfriday #jogathon #year6 #reachleadershipacademy #memoriesforalifetimeThe color of friendship ❤️💛🖤💚💙 #year6 #onfridayswerepourhouses #reachkids #reachleadershipacademyWe are loving our new campus! Can't you tell 😉✨ #fridayvibes #newyearnewcampus #reachleadershipacademy #year6Happy Friday from our new campus ✨ Hope you're having as good a day as our Kinder friends ☺️#newyearnewcampus #year6 #reachleadershipacademy #reachkids