Twentynine Palms 760.367.3709 ----- Yucca Valley 760.228.2261

Kindergarten Through Eighth and Ninth through Twelfth Grade

Together, we are a group of Highly Qualified professionals, with a sincere desire for encouraging success, for all students, in all areas of life, through a love of knowledge, learning and curiosity. Our role is to guide each child towards self-discovery, relevant and authentic learning, while providing access to information. Each of us has the goal to inspire our students to develop a greater understanding of themselves as individuals and the world around them. We strive to help each child have ownership of their education, be motivated to work and to learn, and to master the skills necessary for life-long successes.

  • Mrs. Tera Noel Bottorff (HQT)ICE: Independent Continuing Education
    Grades 9-12

    Mrs. Bottorff loves being an alternative teacher in an alternative setting. She has been teaching for over thirty years and still enjoys coming to work everyday. “Meeting the needs of each of my students and helping them grow their dreams” is why she loves her job. She is considered highly qualified in the area of Science but loves teaching all subjects, especially Math.

  • Mrs. Vonda Viland (HQT)Administrator - Independent Instruction
    Grades K-12

    This is my twenty-ninth year in the Morongo Unified School District, sixteen years as a secondary English teacher and thirteen years as a site administrator. For the past fifteen years, I have worked at the alternative schools where I am blessed to work with a truly unique, gifted group of students and teachers. I have been the principal of Black Rock High School for the past four years.

    Black Rock High School is a California Model School. A documentary, The Bad Kids, was made about our program and our students in 2014. The documentary won best Verite’ documentary at Sundance Film Festival and played in numerous film festivals throughout the world in 2015-2016. It will be released into theaters in October of 2016, will screen on PBS in March of 2017, and will be available on Netflix thereafter.

    Lessons from the Bad Kids will be released in the fall of 2016. It is a book I co-authored with Dr. Deborah Turner about our at-risk students and the lessons they have to teach us as educators and as individuals. It will be available through Rowmen and Littlefield.

    During my tenure in the district, I served as several sites’ WASC coordinator, an English Department Chairperson, an interdisciplinary team leader, a district English mentor, a peer coach, a BTSA provider, an AVID teacher, a GATE coordinator, and as the district’s grant writer. I also had the opportunity to teach English at Copper Mountain College for three years.

    Before moving to the Morongo Basin, I taught third and fourth form for a year in Oxted, England.

    I grew up in a rural town in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota.

    I have been married for twenty-four years, have two wonderful step-children, and three incredible grandchildren.

  • Mrs. Dawn Schooler (HQT)ICE: Independent Continuing Education
    Grades 9-12

    Mrs. Schooler has enjoyed working in the field of education for 30 years, teaching at the secondary level. She has credentials in mathematics and physical education, and holds a master’s degree in educational counseling. Her teaching experience began with substituting and coaching at YVHS in the 80’s, and includes teaching in Orange County, Joshua Springs Christian School, and La Contenta Middle School. Mrs. Schooler is excited to be a part of the team at the Student Achievement Center.  


  • Mrs. Candace Gilbert (HQT)ICE: Independent Continuing Education
    Grades 9-12

    Candace Gilbert has been an ICE teacher for nine years; prior to that, she taught English  for five years at Yucca Valley High School and before that for three years at La Contenta Middle School. Ms. Gilbert also teaches adjunct for Copper Mountain College. She has two teaching credentials, one Multiple Subjects, and one Single Subject English, and has a Master's in English Composition.

  • Mr. Ed Lynch (HQT)ICE: Independent Continuing Education
    Grades 9-12

    Mr. Lynch has proudly taught in the district for ten years. The first six years were at La Contenta Middle School and the last four years have been at ICE. Mr. Lynch was born and raised in the state of Washington and is proud to now call the beautiful high desert home. Mr. Lynch will gladly divulge any additional information to interested parties.

  • Lynne Reynolds (HQT)ICE: Independent Continuing Education
    Grades 9-12

    I have worked for Morongo Unified School District since 1989 and have served in various roles. I have taught in both regular eduction and special education capacities. Recently, I have taught social studies (World History, United States History, Government and Economics), but have taught other subjects in the past. I have served at Yucca Valley High School, Sky High School, Monument High School and Black Rock High School. In February 2015 I began working at ICE-West. I am enjoying working with the staff and students and ICE and learning many new things.


  • Mrs. Michelle Maresh (HQT)Hi-Lite: Home Instruction-Learning Is a Team Effort
    Grades K-8

    Mrs. Maresh is a teacher of 25 years and is still honored to have the privilege to work with so many wonderful children and their families.  Mrs. Maresh is a strong advocate for home schooling and works hard to help each family become successful as home educators. She has a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an English Emphasis and an M.A. in Education.

  • Jennifer Pierce (HQT)Hi-Lite: Home Instruction-Learning Is a Team Effort
    Grades K-8

    Mrs. Pierce, proud mother of three vivacious, curious, athletic sons, graduated with a dual science degree; Biology and Geology from University California at Riverside. She and her husband, also a teacher, home school one of their sons; strongly endorse home schooling and choices in education. Mrs. Pierce enjoys teaching and watching her students grow in the knowledge. Mrs. Pierce is an active member of her church, has a home business, and is involved in the community.

  • Susan Walls (HQT)Hi-Lite: Home Instruction-Learning Is a Team Effort
    Grades K-8

    I began teaching in the Morongo Unified School District in 1988. I was assigned to Friendly Hills Elementary School, and remained there until February of 2015. Throughout my twenty-seven years at Friendly Hills, I taught grades 1-8. I was fortunate to have the chance to help open the district's second Jr. high located at an elementary school. It was an amazing experience. I am very excited about the new adventures and journeys I will be encountering at the Hi-Lite program.