Lillian’s work is rooted in the belief that all students are capable of doing incredible things when given the right opportunity and support.
Lillian was a founding teacher at Oakland Unity High School. At Unity, Lillian discovered the power of engaging students in authentic project-based learning. Her students profiled Oakland’s community heroes, published a guide to local restaurants, penned and performed a play about the impact of incarceration, wrote their own business plans, and recorded podcasts documenting the journeys of Oakland immigrants. Lillian started the journalism program at Unity High School and traveled with a group of students to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to capture the stories of undocumented migrant workers who took on the toxic clean-up of houses in the Ninth Ward.
In 2009, Lillian relocated to San Diego to become the pioneer School Leadership Resident at High Tech High, a diverse by design school that attracts over 4,000 visitors every year to learn about its project-based learning model. After completing her Master’s in School Leadership, Lillian became the Director of High Tech High Chula Vista, a school of 600 students near the US-Mexico border. As Director, Lillian was a strong advocate for projects that had authentic community connections. Students at HTH Chula Vista designed and built affordable live-work units to keep artists in the city, produced a full-length documentary about reducing gun violence in the United States, reviewed legal cases for the California Innocence Project, and dissected a juvenile humpback whale in partnership with scientists from NOAA.
Since returning to Oakland, Lillian has coached Oakland principals in design thinking through School Retool and supported OUSD schools through the School Design Lab. She also coached the intrepid teaching staff at Rudsdale Continuation High School towards their first annual student exhibition. As a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow with Big Picture Learning and the Internationals Network for Public Schools, Lillian documented the efforts of SDCOE’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools to bring literacy rich project-based learning to some of the most vulnerable students in our state.
Lillian has worked in a variety of educational settings, including Teacher Magazine in Washington, D.C., the television program Sesame Street, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Lillian earned her B.A. in psychology from Yale University, her M.A.T. from Brown University, and her M.Ed. in School Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.
DiRector of Instruction
John is a dedicated educator, leader and changemaker who evolves his practice by exploring various professions in the community to see how he can bring those back to his students. John is an advocate for school change and transformation, and he believes that schools need to change the way they educate young people.
Prior to joining the team at Latitude, John worked at High Tech High Chula Vista from 2009-2017 where he helped develop the four week immersive internship program, senior individual inquiry projects, the school's drama program, and student support for struggling students. During his final two years there, John was the co-founder of the ReVision Project, a consultation design firm incubated at HTHCV. The ReVision Project utilizes the power of high school seniors to advocate for change in the community through the use of design thinking. The ReVision Project re-designed a food pantry, designed and built a community cafe, planned a Bio-Swale and Trash Boom, and conceptualized a prototype for a new university in Chula Vista. In 2016, the ReVision Project was commissioned by the city of Chula Vista Cultural Arts Commission to prototype a cultural arts lab for the city.
From 2013-15, John was the Professional Development Lead of Learning through REAL Projects with the Innovation Unit UK, a not for profit social enterprise that works to solve social problems through innovation. John focused on the growth of teachers and over 30 schools in their development and understanding of project based learning. He was also a resident educator at School 21 in the UK where he helped develop their model for PBL. While at IU, John led work across the education portfolio including the design of Rising Academies, a PBL school in Sierra Leone.
John is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where he majored in History, with a focus in Modern American History. He also has a M.Ed. in Secondary Teaching from the University of New Hampshire and a M.Ed. from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education in School Leadership.
Aatash was born in India, and soon after he turned 1, his family immigrated to California. Aatash grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Mission San Jose High School in Fremont. He went on to study Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, Aatash spent three years as an instructor for the school’s introductory computer science class, called CS10: Beauty and Joy of Computing, and completed software engineering internships at Google and Khan Academy.
It was also during his time at UC Berkeley that Aatash began to really notice what was and was not working for him and for his peers within the education system. When Sal Khan of Khan Academy gave a guest lecture on his school campus, it clicked for Aatash that he could use the technology skills he had been developing to improve the education system. At a time when he was starting to feel a disconnect between school and the real world, this aha moment sparked for him a sense of purpose that he hopes to pass on to students he works with today.
After a few years working in education technology and online learning, Aatash sought to enter the classroom. He visited schools around the world before deciding to spend some time at High Tech High in San Diego. Aatash recently completed his Masters in Educational Leadership through the High Tech High Graduate School of Education, while spending a year closely working with students and faculty at High Tech High Chula Vista. Aatash is excited to be a design teacher at Latitude High, where he will share his background in media, design, and technology with students, while helping them discover their own sense of purpose as students and as citizens.
Social-Emotional Learning & Restorative Justice Lead
At the core of Joi’s educational practice is her passion for creating innovative learning experiences and building meaningful and authentic relationships with students.
Before joining the Latitude team, Joi worked as a Public Allies Health, Wellness and Counseling Fellow at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center from 2015-2017. As a Fellow, Joi supervised Personal Growth Projects, provided low-level counseling, co-led weekend wilderness trips and served as a key adult through the restorative justice process. During her time at Eagle Rock, Joi recognized the importance of integrating social and emotional learning into curriculum. She realized that building relationships with students played an integral role in creating learning environments that addressed the needs of a diverse group of learners. In her final trimester at Eagle Rock, Joi designed and co-taught a class titled Decolonizing Gender where students explored issues of identity.
Joi has traveled extensively during her years of study in both England and Ecuador and as a Fulbright teaching assistant in Malaysia. During her Fulbright year, Joi focused on creating engaging opportunities for students to learn and practice their English skills. She also developed and facilitated English workshops for over 300 students. It was these experiences that inspired her to develop educational practices that disrupt tradition in an effort to create unique learning environments.
Joi is a creative individual and considers her interpersonal skills to be one of her strongest assets. She is inspired by youth and enjoys contributing to projects that support their academic and personal growth. Joi is excited to join Latitude High, where she will contribute her skills and creativity.
Joi is a graduate of Scripps College where she studied Sociology and Music.
Community Partnerships Lead
Riley Mack is an educator, healer and artist. She believes that learning is a unique, experiential process of discovering who we are, using the clues our ancestors and environments provide. After attending elementary school in Japan and middle school in Washington D.C., Riley and her family moved to Chula Vista to be a part of the first graduating class of High Tech High CV. Her experiences with project based learning deeply influenced her view on education.
As a member of Latitude's founding team, Riley uses her unique experiences and skills to build a rich network of community partnerships for Latitude students’ projects, site visits, and internships.
Family Engagement Lead
(Education for Change Student success team)
Christian Martinez was born in Michoacan, Mexico. He and his family migrated to Oakland, CA in 1999 to pursue a better future. In 2010, Christian commenced his career as an educator in his beloved Fruitvale community. Growing up in East Oakland, Christian developed a passion for music, recording and producing all while fostering a drive to succeed. Christian is currently pursuing his BA degree in psychology. In addition to his professional endeavors, Christian is a big fan of basketball and football.