Meet the ASA Fontana TeamNetworkFamily
Sebastian Cognetta holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from the USC Rossier School of Education. He began his teaching career in 1999 teaching middle school math and science in Fontana, CA. After teaching, Dr. Cognetta supported schools and districts across the country in several initiatives to improve student outcomes. The initiatives ranged from School Leadership, Response to Intervention, Evidence-based Instruction, Inclusion and Co-teaching, Instructional Technology, Supporting English Learners and Innovation and Design Thinking.
Dr. Cognetta then helped design and lead Aveson Charter Schools, two charter schools, in Altadena, CA. Blending evidence-based practices with innovative solutions, Dr. Cognetta has helped Aveson become a national pioneer in learner-centered and personalized education.
He was also instrumental in shifting professional development for teachers from traditional models of trainings and workshops to teacher-driven, collaborative and personalized models.
As the father of two school-age children, Dr. Cognetta knows firsthand the importance of taking an active role in the education of our children and the responsibility placed on school leaders. At a January board meeting Dr. Cognetta stated, “How I approach working in education is I am humbled by the gravity of this responsibility. You are entrusting us with your most valued possession, your children.”
Callie Moreno holds a Educational Doctorate from UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program. She began her career in education at Aveson Charter Schools during its founding year. She has taught math in third through eighth grades as well as upper elementary science and social studies using a project-based learning approach. After teaching, Dr. Moreno held a position as K-8 math coordinator and instructional coach, developing and overseeing the implementation of an elementary math intervention program and working closely with teachers to develop K-8 alignment in the math department.
Dr. Moreno has worked closely with Dr. Cognetta for several years to articulate timely and relevant professional development for teachers related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. She has collaborated with Special Educators to adapt and modify curriculum, and to identify and select appropriate instructional strategies and accommodations to meet students’ individual needs.
Outside of her work experience and formal education, the greatest experience that has prepared Dr. Moreno to lead ASA Thrive is parenthood. Observing first hand the curiosity, discovery, and development of one’s own child brings to life the importance and obligation of the school community to know and see each child as an individual.
Miguel Ángel Espinoza has a strong love of learning and passion for motivating students, teachers, and parents to reach high levels of success. Mr. Espinoza attributes his dedication to his loving and hardworking Mexican immigrant parents who taught him the importance of an education and helping others. Mr. Espinoza attended UC Riverside and earned his Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Education with a focus on English Learners. Mr. Espinoza was an elementary school teacher in Corona and West Los Angeles for over eleven years. He earned his second Master’s degree at UCLA’s Principal Leadership Institute which solidified his leadership impact on schools in California. Soon after Miguel Ángel became an Assistant Principal and Principal at several TK-8 public, charter, dual language immersion schools near San Francisco, the Central Valley, and Los Angeles. Prior to arriving at Allegiance, Miguel opened up a top ranked elementary school in Baldwin Hills, California. During his free time, Mr. Espinoza enjoys spending time with his family, dancing, and hiking with his dog, “Bruin.”
Board of Directors
Samantha Odo received her BS in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology from University of California, San Diego in 1999. She is currently a Senior Key Account Manager for Merck KGaA a German multinational chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences company headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany. Merck KGaA has around 50,000 employees in around 70 countries and is the world’s oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company, as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Previously, she held a Life Science Specialist position with Sigma Aldrich an American chemical, life science and biotechnology company with 9,600 employees in 40 countries.
She was also a Regional Manager for BMG Labtechnologies, Inc a capital equipment company providing research equipment to pharmaceutical, biotechology, government and university research laboratories from 2001-2009. Samantha’s interest in science started early in her childhood, but her AP Biology teacher in high school gave her a motivation to take that interest to passion of wanting to learn more. She hopes to give children an opportunity to experience science and technology as she did in a school setting in hopes to exposing as many students as possible in science and technology. School choice is very important to Samantha and her dream is to be a partner in providing families options and choices in their children’s education.
Marcilyn Jones is a native to the Inland Empire, having graduated from Canyon Hills Junior High and Ayala High School. After moving away to attend California State University, Northridge Marcilyn obtained her BA in English with a focus in Education.
Upon her completion of her BA degree, she worked in behavior Therapy with Autistic children at The Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis and then pursued her Masters of Arts in Education and her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English. In 2004, she began teaching English at Opportunities for Learning Public Charter School. She has worked in charter schools for over 10 years as a Teacher, an Assistant Principal and now an English Language Development Program Head. Her current position at Opportunities for Learning Public Charter Schools allows her to support Bilingual Learners by creating resources, training teachers on data driven instruction and overseeing instructional programs that encourage and support language acquisition for a network of over 140,000 students served since 1999 across several districts.
Throughout her professional career, she has served as a Western Association for Credentialing (WASC) Committee Member and Chair, coached Girls Basketball, supported opening/petitioning new charters, developed curriculum, is a trainer of the SIOP Instructional Model (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) and has recently completed her Administrative Credential Program in 2018.
Her passion for educational choice and evolution is the reason why she wanted to be a part of the ASA family. She is married to a Build Engineer and has three amazing children, two boys and one girl. She enjoys traveling with her family and trying new restaurants in her free time.
Because of her charter school experience, Marcilyn is a key asset to supporting the development and success of ASA, to be one of the best school options in the Chino Valley. She is excited to assist with carrying out their vision and plans for the success of all students.
Troy was raised in Chino, Ca. and attended all CVUSD public schools through high school. Originally pursuing fire science in college, he changed paths to business construction, where he found his true passion of creating projects and carrying them to fulfillment. He is currently the Director of Construction for a 100+ million dollar company overseeing all of the company properties nationwide. His extensive experience and significant executive leadership accomplishments in both business and philanthropy, will help him with his role as a Board Member, and carrying out the school’s vision and purpose.
Along with his wife, Jennifer, they founded the Gavin R Stevens Foundation, a non-profit organization, where he currently serves as president, and is also the co-founder, alongside his wife of Research 4 Sight. The organizations have had global impact for blindness research, have made groundbreaking medical discoveries. They have been published in the Nature Genetics journal, and currently they are funding a lab in Boston, where the efforts of the lead researchers, are pursuing treatment for inherited childhood blindness diseases. Troy has also served as Chairman of the Board for the Music Academy for the Blind, which resulted in greater growth and additional programs to the organization. Troy is also the Coach/Manager and mentor to his teenage boy’s soccer club team. He has been coaching sports for over 25 years, and soccer is a true passion of his, while helping children learn the best skills to carry them to high school and college.
Troy was also one of the original founders and lead petitioners of Allegiance STEAM Academy, where he along with a few others, worked tirelessly with CVUSD for approval. When ASA was board approved, it was a true highlight of his life, as he knew the lives of so many it would positively affect. He has two children, Landon and Gavin. Landon promoted last year as an 8th grader from ASA, and Gavin is currently a student at ASA. Troy loves traveling with his family to a new destination each year, watching sports, networking, coaching, volunteering, and spending weekends cooking breakfast for his family.
Advocating for his children’s education takes top priority in his family. He appreciates school choice and becoming a partner in his child’s education. He understands the importance of his child working in an environment that values innovation, along with staff and teachers who offer greater flexibility to meet his child’s needs. Having a child with special needs of his own, he is dedicated and devoted to full inclusion, and believes diversity enriches all children in and out of the classroom. All children should be allowed to thrive in a school that best suits their needs, and Mr. Stevens is deeply committed in helping to bring that philosophy to the surrounding community, and beyond.
Shantay Thompson, a true Inland Empire native, proudly calls Fontana home after graduating from Claremont High. A devoted mother of three, Shantay’s commitment to education and community engagement is evident through her various leadership roles. Her active involvement includes serving as PTA Treasurer and Secretary, contributing her insights as a School Site Council member, and holding the position of Vice President on the Preschool Advisory Committee. Shantay’s love for children drives her advocacy for the well-being and education of all kids, and she is known for being an exceptionally engaged parent in her children’s educational journey. With a passion for fostering a positive impact, Shantay continues to dedicate her time and efforts to enriching the lives of both her own family and the community at large.