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Meet our La Mesa Tutoring Staff


Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in La Mesa consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in La Mesa know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school. Get to know our tutors and staff in La Mesa!

  • Katie Hilbert, Center Director

    Katie Hilbert

    Center Director

    Katie oversees the center operations as well as the educational integrity of our programs, managing and training our team of tutors in La Mesa . She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University where she also earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. The great results from Sylvan's personalized programs and individual attention for each student are the reason she loves working at Sylvan.  When Katie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her drinking coffee with her husband or out with her dog Charlie.
  • Dakota Ellis, Instructor

    Dakota Ellis


    Dakota was born in San Diego and has lived here all her life. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2017 with a degree in Literature/Writing, and she is currently pursuing a Masters in Education at National University. She has known she wanted to teach since she was 11 years old and has worked her entire life toward that goal. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her friends and spending time outdoors.
  • Kathy Havilan, Instructor

    Kathy Havilan


    Kathy has worked at Sylvan of La Mesa since 1996.  She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Biology.  She likes tutoring at Sylvan because of the one to one interaction with the students.  Kathy teaches a variety of subject areas including Math, Reading, Writing, and Study Skills.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and reading.
  • April Herrera, Instructor

    April Herrera


    April Herrera is a San Diego native who received a Multiple Subject Credential from San Diego Christian College. She completed her Liberal Studies B.S. at National University and is furthering her studies currently at San Diego State University. April has worked in a variety of academic settings including Public, Private, and Charter Schools. She has a passion for helping learners of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Her skill set lies in combining Music and the Multiple Intelligences across the Curriculum. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the beauty of Balboa Park and Mission Trails. She likes volunteering at her local church, reading, and watching KPBS nature shows.
  • Mark Junkin, Instructor

    Mark Junkin


    Mark has worked at Sylvan of Bonita & Eastlake and is now a member of the Sylvan La Mesa team as well.  He graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Spanish Literature.  He finds the greatest joy in teaching Reading and Spanish tutoring.  When Mark is not at Sylvan, you'll find him hiking or playing tennis.
  • Paul Maglio, Instructor

    Paul Maglio


    Paul was born and raised in San Diego. He has worked with students of all ages (K-12) and currently works as an elementary school teacher in San Diego, CA. Paul has been with Sylvan Learning for many years and tutors all subjects offered by Sylvan. Paul earned his Bachelor's degree in Spanish, his Preliminary Teaching Credential from San Diego State University, and his Clear Teaching Credential from Cal State Bakersfield. When not at Sylvan, Paul enjoys spending time with his family.
  • Sandy McKenna, Instructor

    Sandy McKenna


    Sandy is a retired teacher working as an instructor at Sylvan Learning of La Mesa. While Sandy has many teaching interests, she finds the greatest joy in reading and writing. She studied at the University of San Diego and earned her Masters of Teaching from Grand Canyon University.  When Sandy isn't at Sylvan, you'll find her working in the garden or enjoying the beach.
  • Sarah Ozeroff, Instructor

    Sarah Ozeroff


    In addition to being a mom of 3 children herself, Sarah is a LMSV middle school math teacher who, prior to that, also taught pre-kindergarten for nearly a decade. Sarah earned a B.A. in Special Education and holds a multiple subject credential and special education credential as well as being an early childhood master teacher. Especially fond of providing focused academic interventions during small-group instruction, Sarah chose to work at Sylvan of La Mesa to further support learners and allow each student to grow to their full potential. During her free time, Sarah can be found with her teenagers spending family time together.
  • Lesley Roland, Instructor

    Lesley Roland


    Lesley has worked at Sylvan of La Mesa since 2008.  While Lesley has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in Reading and Language Arts tutoring. She studied at San Diego State University.  When Lesley isn't at Sylvan, you'll find her spending time with friends & family and keeping active.
  • Shaira Tayaba, Instructor

    Shaira Tayaba


    Shaira is a teacher in La Mesa, CA who finds the greatest joy in teaching reading and writing. She received her B.A. in English at UCLA and her Masters in Education at Azuza Pacific University. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, eating, and spending time with loved ones.
  • Bernie Toledo, Instructor

    Bernie Toledo


    Bernie is a returning Reading and Writing instructor and he couldn't be happier than when helping students and their families reach their academic goals.  When Bernie isn't tutoring, you can find him volunteering throughout San Diego county, reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland repeatedly, or enjoying his free time with a cup of hot coffee.
  • Mike Wake, Instructor

    Mike Wake


    Mike was an educator for 36 years who taught elementary grades 2 – 6 and middle school grades 6 – 8 as well as working as a middle school assistant principal. After retirement, Mike did private tutoring as a home tutor with students from pre-K to grade 8. Mike enjoys the Sylvan environment where students are motivated to improve academic skills and gain self-confidence. His favorite time is when students have an “ah-ha” moment, that moment when they “get it.” Mike honors the commitment made by families and students to succeed and looks forward to being part of that process.
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    This information is pulled from the Manage My Center Information section on slclink. Visit that section on slclink to update your center’s contact information.