(Staff photos courtesy of Marian Morgan)
Shelle Peterson grew up in Redding and graduated from Enterprise High School in 1984. She attended University of Nevada-Reno where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary Education with a major in Biology. She taught junior high and high school science, and served as a Student Leadership Advisor. Mrs. Peterson earned her Master’s in Educational Administration from Chapman University and began her administrative career in 1997. Since then, she has served as a K-8 and high school principal, and is currently in her fourth year as Superintendent/Principal of University Preparatory School.
As a fifth generation resident of Shasta County, Mrs. Peterson is uniquely committed to U-Prep’s mission in providing local students with a rigorous academic program designed to prepare them for admissions at top colleges and universities. She believes that U-Prep graduates are ambassadors of the north state and, as such, she is equally committed to students’ development as future leaders of our community, state, and nation. Mrs. Peterson supports and applauds the hard work, effort, and accomplishments that serve to define Panther students and staff.
Mrs. Peterson is married to Eric and there are four wonderful children in the family; the youngest is a U-Prep Panther. Although Mrs. Peterson has travelled extensively, one of her favorite places is a family retreat in Trinity. Beyond travelling, she has varied interests and curiosities that continue to fuel her passion for learning. She sees life as a journey of many seasons with no time to waste!
Monica Cabral is U-Prep’s new Athletic Administrator. She comes to us from Shasta Union High School District where she taught Social Science for 3 years before becoming a Counselor for 13 years. Monica acted as the Counseling Department Chair for Enterprise High School from 2006 to 2012 and was the SUHSD Department Chair (Counseling) from 2009 to 2012. Additionally, she coached volleyball at Enterprise High School for 17 years.
Monica grew up in Redding and attended this campus then known as Nova High School for 9th graders, before graduating from Enterprise High School in 1990. She went on to attend CSU Chico where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science along with a Secondary Teaching Credential. She obtained her Masters in School Counseling and Pupil Personnel Service Credential from the University of LaVerne.
Monica and her husband, John, have two children, Dylan and Kaitlyn. Monica enjoys attending U-Prep’s athletic events and is proud to be a Panther.
Ms. Angley is thrilled to be back home at U-Prep and is extremely honored to serve in her new role as an Assistant Principal! Ms. Angley was one of the lucky ones to help U-Prep open its doors in 2004 where she coached high school athletics and taught sixth grade for ten years.
In 2014, Ms. Angley earned her administrative credential and master’s degree in Administrative Leadership and was fortunate to serve as a Junior High and K-8 Assistant Principal for the past two years. She is really looking forward to working with the wonderful students, staff, and families here at U-Prep.
Away from school, Ms. Angley enjoys supporting her son who is following his dream of playing baseball at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. Ms. Angley also loves spending time with her family and friends and wants everyone to remember to always…Enjoy the Journey!
Molly grew up in Redding and is a graduate of Liberty Christian High School. She and her husband Josh were married in 2001 and have two sons, Trey and Spencer. When Mrs. Schlange isn’t at work she can usually be found cheering on her husband and sons at one of their various athletic events.
Molly began working in school finance at Shasta Union High School District in 2000 and joined the U-Prep staff in 2005. Molly is responsible for managing the daily operations of the office, coordinating events, and managing the school finances.
Molly is a member of both the California Association of School Business Officials and the Association of California School Administrators. Molly also serves as the Board Liaison to the University Preparatory School Educational Foundation.
Cory Reagan is entering his 13th year as an educator at U-Prep and his 20th overall. He started his teaching career in 1999 in Red Bluff, CA, but jumped at the chance to move to U-Prep in 2006, where he teaches 6th grade geography and 7th grade core.
Cory also coaches the U-Prep Panthers varsity baseball team, and while not in the classroom you can find Cory spending time with his fantastic family. His wife, Kristen and children, Mackenzie and Andrew, can be found taking part in all things Disney. Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the Disney clan have become close friends.
In his spare time, Cory’s love of the great outdoors takes him on many great adventures all across Northern California with his aptly named dog, Rookie. Whether it is swimming, camping, fishing, golfing, hiking, or hunting, Cory is most at home anywhere you can find mother nature. As a lifetime resident of Redding, he can be found cheering on the San Francisco Giants and enjoying all the great things the north state has to offer.
Kristen Mason is U-Prep’s High School Counselor. Mrs. Mason was born and raised in Redding and attended California State University Chico where she received her Bachelor’s degree in history with a social science credential option. Kristen obtained her Master’s in Educational Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Service credential from University of La Verne.
On her time off Kristen enjoys spending time with her husband, and their daughter, Emerie! She also enjoys being active, outdoors and travelling with friends and family. She values education and is very excited to assist in each student’s journey at U-Prep. She enjoys working with all the students, staff and families of the Panther team!
Matt Williams was born in York, Pennsylvania, but relocated to Redding in 1996, where he attended Columbia Middle School and Foothill High School. Although he didn't stay in town for college, Matt always knew he wanted to come back and be a part of the Redding Community. Matt received a bachelor's in English from Biola University in 2006, and a Masters in Counseling from Azusa Pacific University in 2009. Matt has worked at U-Prep since 2009 and is thrilled to be part of such an incredible school.
Matt is currently the head coach of the Junior Varsity Football Team and the Freshman girls basketball team. He teaches two peer mentoring classes in addition to his duties as the Junior High School Counselor at U-Prep. Matt is married and has four daughters and a son. In his free time, Matt enjoys going to the lake, snowboarding, and playing music.
Joe graduated from Vanguard University of Southern California in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. He received his Master’s degree and Credential in School Counseling from National University in 2009. Before coming to U-Prep Joe spent four years as a school counselor working for Trinity County Office of Education. He has been married for 9 years to his wife, Kristel. They have two children: Addison who is six and Isaac who is three. Joe’s hobbies are hunting, fishing, and coaching basketball.
A native of Monterey County, Elizabeth and her family relocated to Redding in 2003. Her two children were among the first batch of students to attend U-Prep (in 2005 and 2007, respectively) and Elizabeth became a Panther herself when she joined the front office staff in 2010. She has occupied the Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent position since 2014. Elizabeth adores her job and looks forward to every day at U-Prep, as each brings novel and unexpected experiences. She is grateful for the opportunity to work in one of the most beautiful buildings in Redding, with the best families and staff the North-state has to offer.
Away from the office, Elizabeth enjoys cooking, gardening, kayaking, and spending time in the outdoors with her husband, Brian, and her dog, Lu.
Sandy Lanzi joined the University Preparatory School Staff in 2006 as Registrar/Counseling Secretary, and has continued working as Registrar. Sandy truly enjoys working with the parents and students through the registration process, and is always excited to welcome them to the U-Prep family. Sandy moved from Humboldt County to Shasta County in 1997, where she now calls Palo Cedro her home. Sandy is married to her husband, Mark. They have four children, Erin, Austin, Ashley and Colby. When not at work, Sandy is often seen at her children’s sports events. She is also a volunteer 4-H Leader for Shasta County, and is often seen volunteering at 4-H related events throughout the community. Mostly, Sandy enjoys spending time with family and friends, and when time allows, she enjoys a relaxing day playing golf.
Kari Reed and her family moved from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to Redding, California, in 2006. She worked for nine years as an instructional aide and speech aide for the Columbia School District before joining the U-Prep staff in 2015.
Kari is thrilled to be working with the students, parents, and staff of University Preparatory School. She has been a part of the U-Prep family as a parent since 2007. She is very proud of her daughters, Victoria, Alexandra, and Jacqueline, all U-Prep Alumni.
When not at work, you can find Kari helping her husband, Tim, and many other wonderful parent volunteers, building and painting the sets for U-Prep's amazing Fall Musicals. Her other interests include spending time with her family and friends, reading, kayaking, and biking along the river trail.
Steven Schuster is entering his eleventh year as part of the U-Prep community and will continue to teach Basketball Specific P.E. for both junior high and high school students. In addition to his teaching duties, Steven will continue to serve as the Athletic Director as well as the Varsity Girls’ Basketball Head Coach. Before joining U-Prep Steven spent five years working at La Mirada High School, working as a substitute teacher while also assisting the Boys Varsity Basketball team for four years before becoming the Head Coach in 2010.
Steven graduated from Foothill High School in 2002. After attending Shasta College for two years, he transferred to Biola University where he earned a degree in Physical Education. Steven also holds a Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University, Irvine.
Steven is married to his wife Stefanie, and has three children, Kaylee, Easton, and Kassi. In his free time he enjoys playing sports, wakeboarding, and traveling.
Vicki Aday moved to Redding when she was just five years old and has called it home ever since. Vicki attended Nova for 9th grade when it was located in the historical building where U-Prep is today and then went on to graduate from Shasta High School. After high school, she attended Shasta College and then graduated from Simpson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Human Resources. After many years of working in payroll and accounting, Vicki is very happy to have found a home at U-Prep as the ASB Finance Clerk.
Outside of work, Mrs. Aday enjoys spending time with her husband Kevin and her daughter Kaylie; who is in High School at U-Prep. One of the things they most enjoy is spending time at the beach; especially along the Oregon coast. Mrs. Aday is an avid reader, who also loves to scrapbook, craft and decorate her home.
Nathan Gaddy, a Redding native, fondly remembers walking the halls of U-Prep when it was once Nova. The beautiful campus is one he is excited to return to as the Media Center Supervisor. Nathan has a background in Recreation Therapy from CSU, Chico and has been the Information Specialist/Librarian for the past three years in RSD.
Mr. Gaddy loves the outdoors and all that the Redding area has to offer. You can always find him riding, running, or hiking on the beautiful trails. He keeps busy mountain biking, running, watching sports, and supporting his three children in their athletic and academic endeavors. His daughters, Grace and Emma, are both students here at U-Prep, his son, Noah, will be joining the Panther family next year, and his wife teaches 6th grade Core on campus; all the Gaddys can’t wait to be in the same place. Mr. Gaddy is thrilled to be part of a warm and welcoming environment such as U-Prep.
Mrs. Adams grew up in McKinleyville and graduated from Humboldt State University. She has a Multiple Subjects degree, a minor in Computer Information Systems, and a Supplementary Authorization in English from Humboldt State University. She began her teaching career in her hometown, then transferred to Redding several years ago. This year she is teaching three sections of 9th Grade Honors English 1, one HS study hall, and two sections of Prep Latin. Additionally, she is the Cheer Advisor and High School Football, Basketball Cheer & STUNT Coach.
Mrs. Adams lives at home with her husband, Keith, along with their three beautiful and hilarious children. Payton, Caden, and Josie. It is a busy place at the Adams’ household! In her spare time she enjoys riding her horses, reading, and gathering with her friends. The Adams family likes to spend time traveling, fishing, riding horses, and just enjoying life together.
Happiness depends upon ourselves.
Nicole is a Red Bluff High School Graduate. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing, with a minor in Spanish, from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo, in December 2002. In 2006 she earned her Spanish major and teaching credential from Chico State. She taught Spanish at Red Bluff High School for two years and is starting her eleventh year at U Prep. Nicole has studied in Spain, and has attended several language conferences that focused on comprehension based teaching methods. She is extremely passionate about the Spanish language and culture AND about teaching it!
Nicole was born and raised in Northern California, and currently lives in Palo Cedro with her husband AJ, daughters Ryanne and Reese, and her three boys Jack, Jesse and Joe.
As a former high school and college athlete, Nicole enjoys athletics, fitness, yoga, health and nutrition, DIY home projects, and supporting her kids in their activities. She also believes in the importance of personal growth and development, and encourages continuous growth, improvement, and learning with her own children, as well as with her students.
Taylor Angley is entering his first year as part of the U-Prep teaching staff and will be teaching Geometry. While serving as a substitute teacher during the 2018-19 school year, he was the Junior Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator and 8th Grade Basketball Coach. He will continue to serve as the Junior Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator and will move into the role of Head Coach of Junior Varsity Basketball this year. Before joining the U-Prep community, Taylor served as the Assistant Coach for the Shasta College Men’s Basketball team in 2018-19.
Taylor graduated from Enterprise High School in 2013. He then spent three years playing Junior College baseball at Shasta College and American River College before heading to Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee on a baseball scholarship. In 2018, he graduated from Christian Brothers University with a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Sports Management.
In his free time, Taylor enjoys spending time with family and friends, coaching and mentoring young athletes, golfing, and traveling.
Brad Baker teaches Physical Education at University Preparatory School. Prior to U-Prep, he spent nine years at a boarding school on the North Shore of Long Island, New York, where he was a teacher, coach, and a head house parent for 40 high school boys. Brad graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois with a B.A. in Kinesiology and earned his M.A. in Education from Stony Brook University in New York. He relocated to Redding and began teaching at U-Prep in August of 2008. During his time off Brad enjoys the strength and beauty of the outdoors. He and his wife Rebecca take pleasure in travelling with their family and friends and experiencing new places and cultures.
Mrs. Bird grew up in the Redding area. She graduated summa cum laude from The Master's College in Santa Clarita and received her multiple subject teaching credential from Simpson University in 2001. Mrs. Bird then earned her Education Specialist teaching credential from Chico State University in 2004. After teaching special education for 9 years she moved into the classroom to teach her favorite subject, MATH!
When not at school Mrs. Bird can be found running the trails or working in her yard. Mrs. Bird also enjoys spending time with her three boys: Luke, Samuel, and her husband Mr. Bird, who also teaches here at U-Prep.
Sean Bird graduated from Simpson University in 2003 with a degree in English, and holds two Masters Degrees: one in Education, and one in English Rhetoric. At U-Prep he teaches Dual Enrollment English 1A, AP Language & Composition, and is the Panthera Yearbook Advisor.
In the classroom, students often comment that Mr. Bird's love for Star Wars is almost as cringy as his infamously bad jokes. When not in the classroom, Sean can often be found hitting the trails on his mountain bike or blasting metal music at a problematic volume. Mr. Bird thinks Juniors are the best students on earth; he is very proud to be a part of the U-Prep family, and he can't wait to see you in his class. Go Panthers!
Shannon Bright was born and raised in Northern California. She is a third-generation Humboldt State alum who graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts with a Multiple Subjects degree, with a supplement in English. She received her credential through Humboldt the following year. Mrs. Bright spent the first eleven years of her career teaching middle school in the Bay Area. The Bright family then searched for a town where the kids could ride their bikes out in the front yard. They found that here in Redding and now can’t imagine living anywhere else. Mrs. Bright has two sons; Simon, a 2019 U-Prep graduate, and Jackson, a current high student. Mrs. Bright teaches 8th grade English and is also the organizer and head chaperone of the annual 8th grade DC trip.
John Cabral has lived in the Redding area all of his life. Prior to his teaching career, he worked in industry for 13 years as a mechanical designer. Mr. Cabral enjoys spending time with his two kids, Dylan and Kaitlyn, and wife Monica. He is an avid snowboarder and enjoys playing golf and watching the Raiders and Dodgers.
Mr. Cabral graduated from CSU Chico with a degree in Social Science in 2004 and received his teaching credential in 2005. At U-Prep he is the Senior Class Advisor.
Mrs. Carey is a Redding native. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Simpson University in 2007. She received her single subject teaching credential as well as a master’s in education from National University. After teaching middle school for 5 years in Redding, Mrs. Carey taught in Pasadena, working with both middle school and high school students. She joined the U-Prep family in 2017 and teaches AP Statistics and Honors Math 8.
In her free time, Mrs. Carey enjoys long distance running, spending time with family, reading and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Due to her love of running, she has been the assistant High School Cross Country coach for several years now.
Mr. Cheng has never left schools. He received his bachelor degree in English language and literature in China. After he had taught at the same university for several years, Mr. Cheng came to the United States and earned his Master's degree and a Ph.D. in Education, both from Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, UT.
Mr. Cheng began teaching at University Preparatory School in 2006. Currently he is teaching Chinese I-IV, AP Chinese, Step-Up Chinese for Junior High students and ROTA. In the past ten years, Mr. Cheng attended many national, state and regional academic conferences and networked with teachers from all over the nation. In summers, he has taken his students to China and enjoyed seeing them experience Chinese culture with their own eyes. Mr. Cheng also helped his students visit China under the sponsorship of various organizations.
Romney Clements grew up in Redding and graced the halls of "Nova" in 1981. After high school Miss Clements moved to Chico where she attended CSUC as a Vocal Performance major. With a close circle of friends she founded Chico City Light Opera at the Eaton Road Opera House in Chico.
After moving to New York, where she lived for two years, Ms Clements moved back to Redding to finish school at Simpson College. Ms Clements is thrilled to be a part of the U-Prep family, and to give students the opportunity to perform on the same stage she first performed on.
Over the past 15 years at U-Prep she has directed the musical each year, and is looking forward to this year’s musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. In 2007 she was the U-Prep Junior High Educator of the Year nominee. In addition to teaching, Romney is currently serving as a U-Prep Administrative Intern.
Jeanne Crawford grew up in Redding and graduated from Shasta High School. She earned a BA in Math and a minor in History from UC Santa Barbara. Mrs. Crawford earned her single subject teaching credential from CSU, Chico. She LOVES math and is excited to start her fifth year at U-Prep. Mrs. Crawford teaches Algebra 1 and Honors Accelerated Math 7/8. She is also the JH Math Department Chair, helps with JH Cross Country and facilitates JH Odyssey of the Mind.
Besides teaching, Mrs. Crawford keeps busy enjoying her wonderful family which includes her husband, Toby, and 4 daughters. Her 3 youngest attend school here at U-Prep. Olivia is in 12th grade, Madelyn is in 9th grade, and Kayla is in 7th grade. Mrs. Crawford's oldest daughter, Annie, graduated from U-Prep last year and now attends college at Brigham Young University in Utah. In her free time Mrs. Crawford enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, and relaxing.
Mr. Dean teaches two subjects at U-Prep: Latin and English. Born and raised in the area, he graduated from Central Valley High School and has returned to the campus as a Nova alumnus. Michael earned his Baccalaureate from UC Davis with a major in English Literature and a minor in Latin. He is currently preparing for certification in AP Latin.
Michael spends his free time playing and coaching as many sports as he can. He especially enjoys exploring the backcountry with his two boys and wife.
Mrs. Dempsey is a U-Prep alumni and is honored to be back a part of the U-Prep community. After she graduated U-Prep in 2010, she went on to Santa Clara University where she majored in Environmental Studies. Since then, she has taught in California, South Korea and most recently, in Egypt.
She enjoys traveling and loves working with students to inspire a love of the environment. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi books, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her husband and their Australian Shepard.
“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Rochelle Deter is a Redding native who graduated from Anderson High School in 1994 and began teaching at U-Prep in 2005. She received her bachelor's degree in mathematics from Simpson College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2003. Subsequently, Rochelle received her teaching credential through Simpson University and received her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Phoenix in August 2010.
This year, Rochelle will be teaching Integrated Math 3, Integrated Math 3 Honors, and Trig/Precalculus. She coordinates the yearly Sophomore Class Trip, she is the high school adviser for the California Scholarship Federation, and the high school math department chair.
When not at school, Rochelle loves to read, cook, and garden. She enjoys travelling and camping with her husband, children, and dogs.
Dustin Fortenberry is entering his first year as part of the U-Prep teaching staff and will be teaching AP United States History and Senior Life Skills . Dustin is entering his 12th year teaching (having previously taught at Burney and Enterprise High School). He will be entering his second season as the Varsity Football Head Coach. Before joining the U-Prep community, Dustin served as a graduate assistant coach at Azusa Pacific University Football team in 2008, Varsity Baseball Head Coach and assistant football coach at Enterprise High School from 2014-19.
Dustin graduated from Enterprise High School in 2002. He then spent three years playing junior college football at Shasta College, before heading to Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California on a football scholarship. In 2008, he graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a bachelor's degree in Social Science. Dustin also earned a master's degree in school counseling from National University in 2017.
Dustin has been married to his wife Nicole since 2010 and they have two sons (Cooper 5 and Caleb 4). When he is not on campus, Dustin enjoys spending time with his family and friends, traveling, exercising, and watching his family's favorite team; the Dallas Cowboys play in person or on TV.
Mr. Fowers has been teaching music at University Preparatory School since 2004 where he has continued to expand both instrumental and choral components of the music department. He holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from Brigham Young University and Boston University, and looks to continue his educational and musical growth in the future. On a personal note, Mr. Fowers would like acknowledge the existence of his beautiful wife and editor, Betsy. Along with their wonderful children (Dawson, Jane, Emerson, and Darcy), the Fowers family is happy to be a part of the U-Prep family and Redding community.
Mr. Fowers teaches the following classes:
Jaspal Gaddy was born and raised in the small town of Gridley, CA. She went on to California State University, Chico where she earned her BA and teaching credential in Liberal Studies in 2000. She has been teaching ever since. She taught four years in Oroville before moving to her husband's hometown of Redding, where she has been teaching since 2004. Mrs. Gaddy is the 6th grade Language Arts/History Core teacher, the Junior High Student Government Advisor, and is the Junior High Cross Country Coach and Assistant Track Coach at U-Prep.
Jaspal has been married to Nathan, an amazing husband and father since 2001. They have two adorable daughters, Grace and Emma, and a little boy, Noah. She enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee, running, hiking, biking, traveling, taking pictures, scrap booking, and above all spending time with her family. Mrs. Gaddy is enjoying teaching at U-Prep and all the excitement and energy that go along with junior high.
Joe Groves earned his B.A. from the University of Washington, and his Ph.D. in Classical Studies from the University of Michigan. He also studied at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, spending a year traveling across Greece, Turkey, and Sicily, visiting as many archaeological sites as possible. He has taught at the University of Michigan, Hillsdale College, and Gustavus Adolphus College, as well as eight summers of intensive introductions to Latin and Greek for 7-10th graders through the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Having grown up in southern Oregon, Joe is excited to be back on the west coast! Outside of the the classroom, he enjoys science fiction, playing the piano, and pestering his cat, Tauntaun.
Connie (Cogle) Hurley was born and raised in Old Shasta, California. Connie graduated from Shasta High School and then continued on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from California State University Sacramento, concentrating in Physiology. While earning her Single Subject Credential in Biological Sciences, Connie started her teaching career in Lodi, CA and taught CP Biology at Tokay High School. Since moving to Redding, Connie has taught a variety of sciences at the high school level which include CP Biology, Conceptual Physics, Anatomy Physiology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Medical Biology. She’s also taught Physical Science, Earth Science, and Life Science at the junior high level.
Connie loves a variety of activities outside such as camping, hiking, and jogging. She plans on continuing her pursuit of checking off bucket list items with family and friends in tow. In the past few years she has checked off skydiving, completing a marathon, climbing Mt. Shasta, traveling to New York, seeing a Broadway show, and other exciting events. Her most treasured bucket list item would be having the privilege of being a mother to her son, Hank and her daughter, Winnie. The Hurley family are all active in their church and spend their time together with their friends and family.
Christi grew up in Sacramento, California, and graduated from St. Leo University. She earned her teaching credential from California State University of Chico in 2009 with a multiple subject credential. She first began her teaching career in Shasta Lake, California where she taught both 4th and then 5th grade. Her career at U-Prep began in 2014 teaching 6th Grade Core and Prep Latin and then JH Computer Apps. At U-Prep she enjoys running with the JH Cross Country team helping out as the caboose and advising our avid student world travelers participating in our SEPA Club.
She moved to Redding in 2004 with her husband, Loren who has spent many years at UPrep coaching (he says he is going to retire, we will see😉 ). and her three children Bond, Alex, and Sami who all attended UPrep all 7 years. Sami is our recent U-Prep graduate of 2020, and she will be attending CSU Long Beach focusing on graphic design.
In her free time Christi is currently helping train the family's new puppy, Appa. She enjoys traveling to new places and getting to know the local culture whether domestic or international. She also enjoys hiking with friends and family, reading a great book or cheering on her favorite sports teams.
Elizabeth Johnson is U-Prep’s strings, drum corps and music appreciation teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Fresno State University and her Single Subject Music Credential from National University. Her extensive musical background includes classical violin, fiddle, marching band and choir.
Mrs. Johnson taught with Redding School District’s string program for seven years before coming to U-Prep in 2006 to found the strings program here. In addition to developing a program that gives students the opportunity to begin a strings career from scratch and grow musically through their entire high school experience, she founded U-Prep’s Drum Corps in 2008. In 2013, Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Fowers established U-Prep’s full Symphonic Orchestra.
Mrs. Johnson brings her extensive experience from her outside hobby of theatrical production to the spring drama at U-Prep where she serves as director. The winner of Riverfront Playhouse’s Director of the Year for 2012 (To Kill a Mockingbird) and 2013 (The Women of Lockerbie), she has acted, produced and directed in shows at Riverfront Playhouse, Shasta College and The Root Theater.
Jefferson Pipe Band, where she serves as snare drum Corporal, travels and competes regionally. The summer of 2017, she traveled with the band to Scotland to compete in the World Bagpipe Championships in Glasgow. New members are always welcome, experienced or not!
Through music, theater and all things art, Mrs. Johnson seeks to enrich the lives and experiences of students and bring to them a heightened awareness of their world.
Gina began her teaching career in 2008 at a small charter school in Red Bluff. She joined the U-Prep family in 2009 and currently teaches AP Biology and Anatomy/Physiology. She is also the Pre-Med club advisor. Over the summer, Gina and an incredible group of U-Prep students embarked on an exciting scientific expedition to the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji where they collected data and studied conservation in remote terrestrial and marine sites, even studying marine life while scuba diving. What an experience for students and teacher alike!
Gina earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and her teaching credential through National University. Before her teaching career began, Gina worked as an environmental chemist for six years at a Redding analytical laboratory. Desiring to find a more rewarding and community-minded career, Gina decided to enter into education and has loved it ever since.
Gina has spent most of her life in northern California and loves the area for its outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and dramatic geological history. Gina loves spending time with her husband, family, and pets. Gina’s interests include photography, running, snow skiing, wake boarding, gardening, camping, and stargazing.
Michelle Johnson moved from Connecticut to the Bay Area when she was three years old. Mrs. Johnson graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor's in Science: Kinesiology with a Minor in Health and Wellness. Mrs. Johnson moved back to the Bay Area after graduation where she met her husband. They have two daughters. She received her teaching credentials in Physical Education and Health Science as well as her Master's degree in Education from National University.
Mrs. Johnson has been the head coach of the junior high track and field team since 2009. She was the assistant high school swim coach from 2010-2013. She has been the head coach of swimming since 2014. Since taking over the swim team she has won the girls division (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019), and girls league (2014, 2017, 2018, & 2019), the boys league (2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019) and boys division (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, & 2019 ). Coach Johnson was awarded Swimming Female Coach of the Year in 2016. As of 2017, she is the NAL rep for swimming.
In March 2016 Mrs. Johnson attended the annual CAHPERD conference for the 5th time. She learns new games, skills, and ways to bring energy, learning and fun into the classroom. She will be attending again in 2022. Mrs. Johnson will be starting her 17th year at University Preparatory School. She is the Physical Education Department Chair.
This will be Mrs. Johnson’s 9th year of Fitness class. She is very excited to share her passion for health and activity with the students.
Mrs. Johnson has just relocated back to Redding and couldn’t be more excited to return to the U-Prep Family. Mrs. Johnson has worn many hats for the school in previous years being; an Athletic Secretary, High School Athletic Director, ASB Advisor, and Teaching 7th Grade Core classes.
As she returns, she will take on U-Prep’s Junior High Athletic Director position. She comes to the athletic team with a Bachelor’s Degree from Chico State University where she majored in Liberal Studies and minored in Child Development. Mrs. Johnson enjoys all sports! Coaching a variety of sports including; volleyball, basketball, softball, and track. It is her hobby to be on a court or field wither that be coaching or on the sidelines cheering athletes along. She is very excited to take on this position and join the amazing Athletic Team!
Mrs. Johnson values the importance of family and is happily married to her husband of 7 years. Her husband is a City of Redding Firefighter and the two are expecting their first baby girl, Journey Jules, in early December. Mrs. Johnson and her family enjoy anytime they may get with their labs (Cooper and Moose), being active, taking trips, and spending time with friends and family.
Paul Kaukonen has been a part of the community at University Preparatory School since 2005. In his first year, he taught 7th grade ELA and World History before moving to Prep Latin and Honors English II. After a brief stint with AP Language and Composition and English 1A, Mr. Kaukonen is excited to teach AP Literature and Composition and English 1B. Mr. Kaukonen enjoys working with young adults and is looking forward to helping them figure out what is rotten in the state of Denmark.
When not in the classroom, Coach Kaukonen can be found on the west side of campus training athletes and coaching basketball. Some might say that coaching has combined two of Mr. K’s loves: preparing athletes for difficult challenges and using a whistle.
Paul married his high school sweetheart, Sarah, and they are in the process of living happily ever after. Their happiness has continued to expand with the addition of each of their four boys. The Kaukonens are reminded daily of the joys and challenges of parenthood.
Marissa grew up in Redding, graduating from Shasta High School in 1995. She then attended the University of California at Irvine, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Sociology. Marissa moved back to Redding and immediately began teaching dance at Redding Dance Centre and choreographing for Kids Unlimited, Shasta College, and a traveling competitive dance team. During this time, she earned a teaching credential from Simpson University. Marissa went on to teach fourth grade for 5 years at Verde Vale Elementary School in Anderson. Marissa was a part of The Dance Project for 5 years where she was a dancer, dance captain, and choreographer for the company.
Marissa is very excited to start her 15th year teaching dance at U-Prep. She enjoys choreographing U-Prep’s musicals and the 2 dance shows the department puts on each year. Marissa stays current with her teaching by attending numerous workshops and conventions throughout the year. Marissa started a dance team here at U-Prep, allowing the dancers to perform at football and basketball halftimes. The dance team also attends competitions around the state, earning numerous recognitions including many overalls awards, placements awards, Judge’s Choice, and Outstanding Leadership just to name a few. This year, the team consists of 25 dancers ranging from 9th-12th grade.
Marissa enjoys spending her free time with her two sons, much of that time watching them play sports. Cayden, a senior here at Uprep, plays football and baseball. Colton, a sophomore, plays basketball and baseball. Sports is a huge part of their lives, but the three of them also love traveling to the beach.
Currently, there are over 120 students enrolled in the dance department at U-Prep. This year, Marissa will be teaching 6 classes of dance ranging from Dance I-Dance VI. Shelby Stuckey, an alumni of Uprep, will be teaching alongside Marissa this year.
Tawni Kramer is returning for her sixth year teaching 9th Grade Honors English. In addition to her freshman classes, she is excited to be teaching Honors English II. Not only does she have a passion for literature and writing, but a fascination for the human experience. This year she is also teaching AP Psychology in addition to her English classes.
Tawni Kramer spent her childhood years not far from Yosemite National Park, in Groveland, CA., and then in the late 90s her family relocated to Susanville, CA. Tawni attended California State University, Chico where she earned a bachelor’s degree and went on to complete Simpson University’s California teaching credential program. Last summer she completed her Masters in Education.
When not in her classroom, Ms. Kramer can be found reading novels, coaching volleyball, sipping coffee and working on a new DIY project. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Bradd, their daughter, Rozzi, and their dog, Tobey.
Mr. Lefler is the resource teacher at University Preparatory School. He moved to Redding when he was a toddler and has lived in the area ever since, save for the time period he attended Chico State University. He graduated from CSU with a degree in Geography and received his teaching credential from Simpson University.
Mr. Lefler has officiated numerous basketball and football games over the years. In his free time, he enjoys seeing the sights that the state of California has to offer, especially backpacking throughout the Sierra Nevadas. He plays an inconsistent game of golf, likes to get outdoors to hike or run, and is an anomaly in Northern California for cheering on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Lakers.
This is Matthew Love’s 9th year here at U-Prep. This year he will be teaching our Honors Chemistry, and AP Environmental Science.
Matthew moved to Redding 10 years ago and has found a community to call home. Matthew attended California State Chico graduating with a degree in Biological Science but with a passion for all sciences. After completing his credential program he received a teaching position at Rodriguez High School in Fairfield CA. There he spent five years teaching Integrated Science, Biology, and Environmental Science. Matthew is an enthusiastic and passionate teacher who likes to get his students active in their studies with interactive lessons. He also likes to bring professional community members into the classroom, and students out into the community to learn about science.
When Matthew is not engaged with his students you might find him at Whiskeytown Lake sailing his boat or up at McCloud or Hat Creek fly fishing.
Noah Mock joined U-Prep in the spring of 2013 as a member of the 6th Grade Core Team. He previously taught for five years in Belmont, CA. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music and Recording Arts from Chico State, and after a few years of working in the Music Industry, he decided to pursue a more fulfilling career in teaching. He went on to earn his Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential from Notre Dame de Namur University. Mr. Mock is excited for another year of teaching at U-Prep. Along with 6th grade Core Language Arts and History, Mr. Mock will be teaching Guitar and Music Production.
In his freetime Noah enjoys spending time with his family getting outside on the lake or a trail. When not watching his children Landon (11) and Harper (9) pursue their interests in sports and the arts, he can be found cooking in the kitchen or working on projects around the house. Noah looks forward to coming to work everyday and sharing his love of life and learning with his students. He feels lucky to be a part of the U-Prep community and is excited to have his son Landon join him in 6th grade this year. Go Panthers!
Mr. Nichols is in his tenth year of teaching at U-Prep and has taught: 6th grade - English, History, Math and Science, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I and now is taking on the challenge of seeing each 9th grader as they participate in his Human Geography class. Having grown up in the area Mr. Nichols is able to bring a perspective on the needs and issues of the Redding area and how U-Prep can best meet those needs. An avid athlete in his younger days, now Mr. Nichols enjoys coaching and inspiring young athletes to meet their potential. He has coached at U-Prep for all 10 years in a wide range of sports: Jr. High Soccer, Track, and basketball as well as High School Soccer and Basketball. This year he will be coaching the Jr. High Soccer "B" team, 7th grade girls basketball and Varsity Boys soccer.
Michelle Oberlander was raised in Shasta County, graduating from Anderson Union High School with a healthy interest in mathematics. She attended Shasta College and continued on to Simpson University where she earned her degree in Mathematics for Teachers, and her single subject teaching credential. Since graduation she has participated in the Math Project (CSU Chico), North State NSTIR (CSU Chico), and SCMP2 professional development projects as well attending conferences and TI-Nspire training.
While working at U-Prep, Ms. Oberlander has taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Trig/Precalculus, Integrated Math 1, Honors Integrated I, Honors Integrated II, Honors Math 8, Math Lab, Computer Applications, and AP Computer Science Principles as well as advised the Robotics, Gardening, and MATHCOUNTS clubs. In 2009 the Robotics club team became a finalist (in top 8 of 27 teams) at the Botball competition and earned the KISS award. Many of the MATHCOUNTS teams have won first place and had the opportunity to participate in the state competitions held at University of the Pacific, Stanford, and (during the pandemic) online.
The best way to contact Ms. Oberlander is by e-mail.
Mr. Peck was raised and educated in San Jose, CA. He has a B.S. in Earth Science from UC Santa Cruz, and an M.A. in Education from the University of Phoenix. He has taught at a variety of schools in Northern California from the Bay Area to Redding. His work experience includes 9th grade Earth Science in Brentwood, CA, Santa Clara, CA and Hayward, CA (2 years), 7th and 8th grade Science in San Jose, CA and Magalia, CA (1 semester), and 6th grade Earth Science in Concord, CA (1 semester). Mr. Peck’s primary focus is on Field Geology, but he has a passion for all of the physical sciences. He has a strong background in Physics and the applied mathematics that accompanies it.
This is Mr. Peck’s seventh year at U-Prep. He is very excited to be back working at such a great school with such an exceptional student population.
Mr. Peck is currently living in Redding, CA, with his fiance Dr. Calista Vinyard, D.O. and their dog: Squiggy.
Cory Poole grew up in Oak Run, California and went to Foothill High School when it was housed in U-Prep's current building. He attended Shasta College, and earned a B.S. from California State University, Chico with a double major in Physics and Applied Mathematics. After graduating from Chico State, he moved to Maryland to attend the University of Maryland College Park, where he received his Master of Science in Physics. While at UMD, Cory conducted research in non-linear dynamics and chaos, with a specific focus on biophysics and cellular motility, as a member of the UMD Chaos Group. He also taught discussion and laboratory physics sections, which led to an interest in teaching. Cory taught Mathematics in Baltimore for two years, and was very happy to be able to come home to Shasta County to teach at U-Prep. He currently teaches Conceptual Physics, AP Physics 1, AP Physics C, and AP Calculus BC.
When not at school, Cory spends time on several hobbies and interests, including photography, astronomy, woodworking, reading, playing video and computer games, and creating geometric origami and math-based art. Cory and his wife Liz live in Redding with their one-year-old son Micah and their dog, a Basset hound mix named Elvis.
Mrs. Reuss is very excited and honored to be joining the amazing U-Prep staff to teach Honors English II! She earned her BA and Single Subject English Credential at California State University, Sacramento. Later she earned a Master's in Education from California State University, Chico. She has taught in many different capacities ranging from preschool to high school. The last ten years she has been working on starting a charter school in Cottonwood, but decided it was time to return to her first love in teaching, high school English!
Mrs. Reuss and her husband Tom enjoy living in Northern California with its beautiful scenery and amazing community. Tom owns and operates Cornerstone Physical Therapy in Cottonwood but can be seeing taping football players on the Panther's sideline Friday nights. They have three children who have all attended U-Prep: Claire graduated in 2017 and is attending San Diego State University, Jacob is currently a junior at U-Prep, and Sam is currently a freshman. Go Panthers!
David Rickey has taught at University Preparatory School since 2004. He teaches 7th grade life science. In the past, he has taught freshman biology, and anatomy and physiology to juniors and seniors. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences from California State University, Chico and his teaching credential at Simpson University. Prior to coming to U-Prep Mr. Rickey taught for four years at Cascade School, a college prep boarding school in Whitmore, CA, where he also coached boys soccer, girls volleyball, and boy's baseball. He is currently the head freshman volleyball coach. His favorite sports are tennis, soccer, and baseball. His hobbies include birding and camping at the ocean.
Debbie Shipman, a graduate of Shasta High School, Shasta College and CSU, Chico, joined the staff at U-Prep in 2004. In addition Mrs. Shipman earned a master's degree from the University of San Francisco. She taught for 16 years at Quincy High School in Quincy, California. A California mentor teacher for three years, Mrs. Shipman was also a PAR Consulting Teacher and a BTSA Coach. She was an instructor at Feather River College, creating the texts for her Spanish classes. At the inception of U Prep’s World Languages Department Mrs. Shipman was instrumental in establishing comprehensible input as the key curriculum component for all language teaching. At U Prep Mrs. Shipman teaches several levels of advanced Spanish.
Bobby Shufelberger teaches 8th grade U.S. History. Mr. Shufelberger began teaching in 2001 and came to U-Prep in 2004. Mr. Shufelberger enjoys attending United States History conferences, talking sports, and especially cheering on the Giants, 49ers, and Kings. He also currently coaches Varsity Softball and Junior High Flag Football. In 2000, he earned his B.A. degree from California State University, Chico.
Kent Smith is excited to begin a new chapter at U-Prep teaching 10th Grade AP Modern World History as well as continuing to advise the HS Student Government. Kent also enjoys coaching soccer at U-Prep, which he views as a natural compliment to his teaching role.
Kent grew up in Kenya and also worked with young people in Rwanda for 15 years prior to moving to Redding. He draws much of his identity and perspective from his years of international life, and is purposeful about broadening the worldview of all his students.
When not teaching or coaching, Kent most loves to be with his wife, Michelle, and their three children; Wesley, Cory, and Katia. Michelle is a Registered Nurse working with the County of Shasta. Together the Smiths enjoy exploring the outdoor beauty of Northern California whenever given the chance.
Lonett Sowles will be entering her ninth year of teaching. This is her fifth year as a U-Prep Panther! She is looking forward to an amazing year in 7th Grade Core not only with her students, but also with the dynamic 7th grade teaching team!
Lonett grew up in Northern California. She graduated from CSU, Chico in 1995. Her love of studying a foreign language led her to participate in a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica. This experience cemented her desire to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Spanish as well as single subject and multiple subject credentials.
When Lonett is not in the classroom, you can find her spending time with her family. Her husband, Tim, is an instructor at Shasta College. Abigail, their daughter, graduated from U-Prep in 2014 and is a graduate of California State University, Channel Island. Nathaniel will begin his studies this year at Shasta College. One of her favorite hobbies is running. She looks forward to her early morning weekend runs on the Sacramento River Trail where she is continually awed by the beauty of the area in which we live!
Lonett believes that teaching is a calling and a privilege. She is honored to partner with entire U-Prep team to make this a phenomenal year!
Mrs. Trueblood is very excited to be teaching 7th grade English and History, as well as 8th grade English, at Uprep this year. Mrs. Trueblood grew up in Red Bluff and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from California State University, Chico. After graduation she worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer, earning awards in writing and editing.
Mrs. Trueblood moved to Redding 20 years ago with her husband, Darren. They have three children: Zack, Madisen, and Trevor. After her move, she knew education was to become her next career and earned her teaching credential at Simpson University. This is her 15th year teaching. The past two years, she has also been involved with a service organization that provides clean water filtration systems to people in Africa. When she is not in her classroom, Mrs. Trueblood loves hiking, traveling, reading, and traveling the United States.
Ms. Lura Wilhelm is the art teacher at University Preparatory School. It is her philosophy that art is a subject that allows students to innovatively explore artistic perception and creative expression. She believes through art, students are able to be creative and explore solutions to a wide variety of challenges. She believes that art is a skill that can be used cross-curricular. She feels art allows an individual to explore the world as a life-long learner.
In May of 2014, Ms. Wilhelm attained her MA in Art Education for Boston University. Prior to her MA, Ms. Wilhelm received her BA degree in Art Education with an Emphasis in Studio Practice and her teaching credential from San Jose State University (SJSU) in San Jose Ca. She began her career in education teaching part time as a K-12 traveling Art teacher in the Silicon Valley. In 2009 she began teaching art full time at Del Mar High School in San Jose Ca. There she taught high school art for 2 years. Currently Ms. Wilhelm is teaching her 5th year of art at University Preparatory School (7th year teaching). Ms. Wilhelm teaches 6th grade Art, Art 1-4, Honors art and Advanced Placement Studio Art. She also advises the U-Prep High School Art Club and Junior High School Art Club on Tuesdays after school.
Along with art, swimming is one of Ms. Wilhelm’s passions. She was a competitive age group swimmer, a high school swimmer and she swam in college at Modesto Junior College (MJC) in Modesto Ca and at SJSU. At SJSU she received a full ride swimming scholarship and during her senior year she was voted Team Captain, held the 200 IM school record and received the award for Most Valuable Swimmer. In 2010 Ms. Wilhelm accepted the honor of being inducted into Downey High School in Modesto Athletic Hall of Fame for swimming and water polo and in 2014 she was inducted in the MJC’s Hall of Fame for swimming and water polo.
Some of her favorite pastimes include drawing, painting, swimming, running, biking, hiking and fly fishing. Ms. Wilhelm still actively paints on her free time (mostly commissioned work). Her medium of choice is watercolor, but uses a wide variety of other mediums as well.
Ally Wimer was born and raised in Northern California and is a local graduate of Foothill High School. Following high school, Ally received her AA from Shasta College in 2014 where she continued her passion for softball. Miss Wimer then pursued her education and softball career even further, when she accepted an academic and athletic scholarship to Azusa Pacific University. After graduating from APU in 2016 with her BA in Mathematics, Miss Wimer was accepted into CSU Chico’s Credential program where she received her Single Subject Credential in Mathematics in spring 2017.
This is Ally’s fifth year at U-Prep. She loves being a part of the U-Prep family. This year, Miss Wimer will be teaching Honors Math 7, Honors Math 8 and Math 7/8 Accelerated, as well as coaching 8th grade volleyball in the fall and Varsity softball in the spring.
Ally enjoys spending her free time drinking coffee, coaching and mentoring young athletes in softball and volleyball, going for long runs, lifting weights, hanging out with family and friends.