Orange County School of the Arts' Literature and Composition students are inspired to be original thinkers, who write and speak articulately. These students also make intelligent connections between literary works, their lives, and the world, and thus are well prepared for life beyond the classroom.

Jessica Berliner

Jessica Berliner

Instructor

jessica.berliner@ocsarts.net

Jessica Berliner holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of California, Los Angeles.  Ms. Berliner earned a teaching credential and master’s degree in teaching from University of California, Irvine. She joined Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 2016 teaching Literature and Composition.  Additionally, she teaches AP Psychology and AP Seminar, the first course of the AP Capstone program. 

Kelly Cano

Kelly Cano

Instructor

Kelly.Cano@ocsarts.net

Kelly Cano holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education from California State University Long Beach, as well as a master’s degree in teaching with an emphasis in multicultural education. She earned her teaching credential with a CLAD certificate.

Mrs. Cano joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2011, after working with reading intervention programs in Long Beach Unified School District for a number of years. Mrs. Cano has taught students in all grades 7-12, but has found her joy working with OCSA’s 7th and 8th grade students. Mrs. Cano is passionate about exploring reading and writing with her students, and is thrilled to be a part of a school which fosters such creativity and enthusiasm for learning.

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Kathleen Cesareo

Kathleen Cesareo

Instructor

Kathleen.Cesareo@ocsarts.net

Kathleen Cesareo holds a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Fullerton and a master’s degree in teaching with a specialization in educational technology from National University. With this specialization, Mrs. Cesareo has incorporated various technology tools with an emphasis on collaboration into the classroom. She earned her teaching credential with a CLAD certificate.

Mrs. Cesareo joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2013 and serves as an academic instructor of Literature and Composition courses for 9th grade honors and 10th grade college prep. Since early in her academic career, she has had a passion for teaching and helping to inspire a love of learning in her students.

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Katherine Christy

Katherine Christy

Instructor

katherine.christy@ocsarts.net

Katherine Christy holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Riverside. She also earned her single-subject teaching credential in English and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of California, Irvine. Mrs. Christy serves as an academic instructor in the Literature and Composition department. She teaches AP Language and Composition, as well as Comparative Mythology and Science Fiction for students in 12th grade.

Kelly Cirigliano

Kelly Cirigliano

Instructor

Kelly.Cirigliano@ocsarts.net

Kelly Cirigliano holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) in English, with a minor in Philosophy, from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning in a Global Society, from National University.

Mrs. Cirigliano was thrilled to join OCSA’s Literature and Composition curriculum team in 2008. Since then she has predominately taught ninth and eleventh grade College Preparatory Literature and Composition, as well as the senior level academic elective, the Global Voice of Poetry. Prior to entering a career in education, Mrs. Cirigliano pursued a career in the arts; for this reason, she feels especially fortunate to work in an environment that fosters aesthetic appreciation and encourages creativity.

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Stacie Cruz

Stacie Cruz

Instructor

Stacie.Cruz@ocsarts.net

Valuing learning at least a little bit about everything, Stacie Cruz attended Santa Clara University earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in African Literature. She earned her credential and master’s degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Cruz joined Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 2000.

She has served as a peer coach and mentor teacher since 1999 and works with new academic and conservatory teachers to develop instructional skills. Ms. Cruz earned a Greater Anaheim SELPA Honor for her work with Special Needs Students, 2001.  Since 1995, she has taught English and social studies to middle and high school students. She teaches 9th Grade Literature and Composition I and Honors I. As a passionate consumer of film and popular culture she teaches OCSA’s twelfth grade course, Popular Culture and Film Composition. Additionally, she serves as an arts instructor of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory teaching Food History. Ms. Cruz believes that learning is a process, not a result. She is passionately dedicated to supporting her students from whom, she is proud to say, she learns from every day.

 

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Kathryn Fleener

Kathryn Fleener

Instructor

kathryn.fleener@ocsarts.net

Kathryn Fleener holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater with a minor in English. She then went on to earn a Master’s of Arts in Teaching and her English Credential from University of California, Irvine. Ms. Fleener started her teaching career at Orange County School of the Arts in 2019 with 9th-graders and has since worked with 9th, 10th, and 12th grade students.

Ms. Fleener loves combining her passions for teaching, performing, and literary analysis and loves that her new stage is a classroom and her audience is her students!

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Amy Gallagher

Amy Gallagher

Instructor

Amy.Gallagher@ocsarts.net

Amy Gallagher holds a bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton. Mrs. Gallagher has earned a Multiple Subject K-6 Teaching Credential and a Single Subject English K-12 Credential also from California State University, Fullerton. After teaching Social Studies and English in Capistrano Unified School District and Santa Ana Unified School District, she joined the OCSA family in 2010.

Mrs. Gallagher currently teaches 7th Grade Literature and Composition and advises the yearbook staff. As a former entertainment cast member for The Walt Disney Company, Mrs. Gallagher shares a passion for performing with her students and enjoys integrating the arts into instruction. She is a proud mom of two boys and resides in Mission Viejo.

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Rachel Gorman

Rachel Gorman

Instructor

Rachel.Gorman@ocsarts.net

Rachel Gorman holds a bachelor's degree in English and a CA teaching credential from California State University, Fullerton and is currently pursuing a master’s in Art History. She is excited to be working on a degree in which she can specialize in curriculum and instruction that engages students in expanding their visual literacy and appreciation for literature and writing. Ms. Gorman joined Orange County School of the Art’s Literature and Composition team in 2014.

Courtney Harper

Courtney Harper

Instructor

Courtney.Harper@ocsarts.net

After working for nearly ten years in the professional theatre industry, Courtney Harper is thrilled to join the Literature and Composition department at Orange County School of the Arts. Ms. Harper holds both a bachelor of the arts degree in drama with honors in directing and a master of the arts degree in teaching with a single subject credential in English language arts from University of California, Irvine.

An artist at heart, who made her Broadway debut in 2010, she has worked with Tony Award winners and those stepping onstage for the first time, Ms. Harper considers creating an ensemble environment and community of collaboration in her classroom her greatest artistic feat yet.

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Samantha Mo

Samantha Mo

Instructor

samantha.mo@ocsarts.net

Samantha Mo holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s degree in Teaching from the University of California, Irvine.  She earned her teaching credential with a CLAD certificate.  Ms. Mo joined Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) in 2003 and serves as an academic instructor in the English department. 

Having taught 7th through 10th grade English at OCSA, Ms. Mo currently teaches 8th and 10th Grade English.  A recipient of the Thomas Owen Scholarship and a fellow of the UCI Writing Project, she also still teaches at their Summer Institute for Writing.

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Karl Peterson

Karl Peterson

Instructor

karl.peterson@ocsarts.net

Karl Peterson graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism. After receiving teaching credentials in English/Language Arts, History and Journalism, Mr. Peterson taught English and History to seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Fullerton School District. Mr. Peterson has taught at the Orange School of the Arts since 2016.

Katie Rush

Katie Rush

Instructor

Katie.Rush@ocsarts.net

Katie Rush holds a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Fullerton. From there, she went on to Chapman University to earn her teaching credential with a CLAD certificate. After teaching for several years, she returned to California State University, Fullerton to earn her master’s degree in education, specializing in curriculum and instruction for the secondary classroom.

Mrs. Rush has been teaching middle and high school students since 2008. She joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2012 and currently teaches Literature and Composition for 8th and 9th grade.

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Pamela Smith

Pamela Smith

Instructor

Pamela.Smith@ocsarts.net

Pamela Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a special emphasis in comparative literature from California State University, Long Beach, where she also earned her teaching credential with CLAD certificate. As a graduate student, Ms. Smith worked as a tutor in the writer’s resource lab, taught English 1E: Intensive Writing Skills, and was a Written Proficiency Exam instructor before coming to Orange County School of the Arts in 2005.

She has taught Literature and Composition I, II Honors, and III, and has been teaching AP English Language and Composition since 2007. Ms. Smith is passionate about teaching critical reading skills, the strategies and conventions of written composition, and preparing juniors for some of the challenges they face during the academic year, including SAT and ACT preparation, the AP Lang Exam, and college application essays for senior year. Her ultimate goal is to develop the skills students will need to successfully meet the reading, writing, and research demands of post-secondary education.

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Deidre Spicer

Deidre Spicer

Instructor

Deidre.Spicer@ocsarts.net

Deidre Spicer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Literature and Composition, specializing in Medieval Literature. She earned her Single Subject teaching credential from California State University of Fullerton. In two separate summer programs, she has studied Shakespeare at Cambridge University in England and Greek Mythology in Athens and other Grecian Islands.

Ms. Spicer joined Orange County School of the Arts in 2000 and serves as an instructor in the Literature and Composition department where she teaches or has taught senior Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, Sophomore Literature and Composition Honors, and 7th grade Literature and Composition. She also taught Poetry for the Creative Writing program for two years. Additionally, she served as adjunct faculty teaching Freshman Writing at Chapman University for one year and Irvine Valley College for fourteen years.

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Candice Tardif

Candice Tardif

Instructor

Candice.Tardif@ocsarts.net

Candice Tardif holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and History from USC, and she earned her credential and Master of Arts in teaching degree from the University of California, Irvine. An alumna of the Instrumental Music program at the Orange County School of the Arts, Ms. Tardif rejoined the OCSA community in 2015 to serve as an academic instructor of the Literature and Composition department.

In addition to teaching 7th and 9th grade Literature and Composition, Ms. Tardif teaches String Literature and History as an instructor of the String Music conservatory.

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Ashley Wei

Ashley Wei

Instructor

ashley.wei@ocsarts.net

Ashley Wei holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from UC Los Angeles as well as a master’s degree in teaching from UC Irvine. Mrs. Wei got her start at Orange County School of the Arts as a student teacher in 2016 before joining the Literature and Composition team full-time. She has had the opportunity to teach all high school grade levels (except seniors-so far!). Mrs. Wei cultivated a passion for writing instruction while working as a peer tutor at UCLA and has enjoyed helping her students develop their own voices as they read diverse perspectives.