In addition to classroom instruction, all St. Therese faculty serve as mentors to our students providing faith and character formation.
Matthew Najera Headmaster
Mr. Najera is co-founder and president of Saint Therese Classical Academy. He is an experienced educator having taught catechism and Theology for over sixteen years; thirteen of those years as a high school instructor. His educational background includes a bachelor of science in Biology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of California at Davis with postgraduate studies in Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Prior to entering the field of education, he worked in Mexico for two years with the Order of Friar Minors, followed by five years in Biotechnology. In addition to serving as headmaster of the academy, Mr. Najera teaches Math and Science.
Chris Van Wyk Social Studies & Theology
Before entering the vocation of education, Mr. Van Wyk played baseball and studied Political Science at Westmont, graduating with honors. After teaching at Bishop Diego High School for eight years, Chris married and moved to San Diego, where he taught at the University of San Diego High School. He has taught English, History, and Theology at the High School level and his special subject of interest is Catholic theology. He holds an Advanced Catechetical Minister certificate through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, has taken extensive theology coursework through Mount St. Mary’s College and LMU, and is currently finishing a Masters in Theology through Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Michael Wilds Literature
Michael “Doc” Wilds is the founder of Santa Barbara’s Oxford Academy, he is the educational director of YSTRIVE for Youth, he is a co-host at KZSB Teen Sports Radio, and he also teaches Saint Thérèse Classical Academy’s Great Books Curriculum. For the past three decades, Michael has been nourishing the minds of young scholars with the great books in school settings and enrichment programs. In his words, Oxford Academy “is a place of focus, a place where, for a moment the distractions recede. Here, Literature, History, Art, Mathematics, Anthropology, Philosophy, Music, Poetry, and Physics all come together as part of the same story.” Michael brilliantly harmonizes the story of the great books with the story of our Christian faith.
Giorgio Navarini Classical Literature, Philosophy, and Choir
Giorgio Navarini graduated with a degree in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas college. He is a skilled organist, gifted singer, and promoter of sacred music. He founded the Floriani Men’s Chorus which has performed in numerous distinguished venues including the Vatican. Giorgio is also an avid outdoorsman who enjoys taking the students on trips to National Parks. His subjects include World Literature, Philosophy, Logic, and Latin.
Ines Zinkewich Science, Math, Art
Ines Zinkewich began her studies at Thomas Aquinas college transferring to the University of California Los Angeles where she graduated with a bachelors degree in Psychology. While in school, she worked as a math tutor, which included a summer serving inner-city students in Bronx New York. She also has extensive experience running both leadership and faith formation programs for high school girls. Ines loves the outdoors with hobbies that include the fine arts and soccer. She teaches Algebra, Physics, Latin, and Art.