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Biographies

ADMINISTRATION

Ms. Laura E. Gutierrez is our principal.  She has been a dedicated educator at the elementary level for over 18 years, serving students and their families from diverse backgrounds and needs.  She has been a teacher, Categorical Program Advisor, Elementary Instructional Specialist and an Assistant Principal.  Ms. Gutierrez is not only a magnet educator, she is also a magnet parent, with both her sons attending LAUSD magnet programs.

Ms. Gutierrez has a Master of Science in Counseling and Educational Leadership from California State University, Los Angeles; a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts & Sciences from the Annenberg School of Communication from the University of Southern California.   In addition, she has an Administrative Service Credential from Brandman University; a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in Child Welfare and Attendance/School Psychology from California State University, Los Angeles; and a BCLAD Teaching Credential: Multiple Subjects with a Language Emphasis in Spanish from California State University, Los Angeles.

When Ms. Gutierrez is not at work, she loves to spend time with her husband, 2 sons, and pet cat Alaska. 

lguti7@lausd.net

out of classroom personnel

Ms. Alice Cho is our Instructional Coach and Magnet Coordinator.

LOWER GRADE TEACHERS (PRE/K-3RD)

Pre-K & Kinder

Ms. Rocio Deras has been a teacher at Clifford Street Elementary for over 10 years and education is her passion. She has taught for 17 years, but has always worked with children since she was a young girl. Her first job right after high school was as a teacher assistant at Bushnell Way School. She then went on to teach at the Early Education Centers for about 5 years.  

She has 3 beautiful boys and enjoys visiting Disneyland and other amusement parks with her family. Mrs. Deras also enjoys doing Zumba when she can squeeze it into her busy schedule. 

rqd2765@lausd.net

1st Grade

Ms. Jacqueline Machuca has worked for LAUSD for 24 years. She has taught at Clifford for 7 years. She loves teaching first grade. 

In her spare time, Ms. Machuca loves to cook and read. She keeps active by hiking, cycling and going to the gym. Ms Machuca has two boys and loves taking them to new places.                                                    

jxm5677@lausd.net

2nd Grade

Ms. Michelle Tountas is currently the 2nd grade teacher and GATE Coordinator at Clifford Math and Technology Magnet. During her 20-year tenure at the school, she has taught a variety of grades, from kindergarten to fifth grade, and has enjoyed them all. She views teaching as an outlet for her creative and nurturing personality.  

After graduating with a degree in Media Arts from the University of Arizona, Ms. Tountas came to California and fell in love with the exciting and culturally diverse community of Echo Park. She moved to the neighborhood. Her son, who now attends college in New York, was a student at Clifford Street Elementary. 

Ms. Tountas enjoys the challenges of teaching and is consistently pursuing opportunities to better herself and meet the demands of a 21st century classroom.                                                                                                                   

mlt3041@lausd.net

3rd Grade

Ms. Malissa Apodaca Castillo has been teaching for 18 years. She attended Cal State University, Los Angeles, where she earned a degree in child development and obtained her teaching credential. She has always enjoyed working with children and truly believes she was destined to be a teacher. 

Mrs. Castillo lives with her husband and two young sons, Benjamin and Sebastian. She enjoys taking them to new places, baking and exploring nature when they find the time.

mxa6145@lausd.net

UPPER GRADE TEACHERS (4th - 6th)

4th Grade

Mr. Richard Powels is a National Board Certified Teacher. His strengths are curriculum and technology. His degree is from UCLA in Geography.

rpowels@lausd.net

5th Grade

Ms. Alicia Cheatham come to Clifford after starting her teaching career with LAUSD at Ivanhoe Elementary. She spent years as a parent volunteer, fell in love with teaching, and quickly became a teacher. She is excited to incorporate both her art and technology backgrounds into the 5th grade curriculum and looks forward to diving into US History and current events.

When she’s not in the classroom, Ms. Cheatham enjoys movies, art, and outdoor fun with her daughter, an 8th grader at Thomas Starr King Middle School.                                        

alicia.meredith@lausd.net 

6th Grade

Ms. Jessica Naranjo has been with LAUSD for approximately twenty years. She began as a teacher’s assistant at Fletcher Drive Elementary and began her teaching career there as a first grade teacher. While at Fletcher, she taught Kinder-6th grade, with the exception of 4th. In 2012, she moved on to Bushnell Way Elementary. During that assignment, she taught 6th grade for three consecutive years.

Mrs. Naranjo is married and has two children, a young adult and a teenager. She enjoys cooking cultural dishes, spending time with her family and traveling.

jxn9218@lausd.net

RESOURCE SPECIALIST PROGRAM

Ms. Anitra Flynn has been the Resource Specialist Teacher at Clifford for 9 years. In addition to coordinating Special Education services for the school, she runs the campus Learning Center for grades K-6th where students receive additional intervention during the school day to reach individual learning goals.  

Ms. Flynn received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of California, Davis and both her teaching credential and Master's degree from the California State University, Northridge. She also holds a Reading Certificate Authorization. When she is not at Clifford, she loves playing with her two adorable cats and two active doggies!

anitra.flynn@lausd.net

SUPPORT STAFF

Parent Representative and Campus Security Aide

Mrs. Norma Puentes is a mother of 2 children, who are very active. She enjoys going on hikes during her free time. 

She has been working at Clifford as the Community Representative and Supervision Aide since 2011. She loves to help people and that is one of the many reasons she enjoys working at Clifford.

norma.puentes@lausd.net

Campus Security Aide

Mrs. Idalia Marlene Perez studied in El Salvador at the Baptist College of Santa Ana. Her favorite course was photography where she learned different ways to take pictures.

She is married and has two wonderful children who attended and culminated from Clifford Street Elementary.

Mrs. Perez works 3 hours each morning as a Campus Security Aide and she's happy to volunteer several hours a day to assist where needed. She really enjoys working at Clifford and truly loves her job.

FOOD SERVICES

Satellite Cafeteria Manager

Ms. Sonia Leon  prepares and serves breakfast, lunch and after school snacks for all students.  Ms. Leon recently became a grandmother to a beautiful baby girl.

Cafeteria Helper

Ms. Frances Calderon is also a critical part of Clifford's Food Services. She enjoys working with Clifford students. Ms. Calderon is involved in the community and lovingly takes care of our plants and flowers.

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