6th Grade Teachers

Mrs. Wood earned her BA in Liberal Studies, along with a CLEAR Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Long Beach. In 2013 she earned her MA in Education Administration. She has been teaching sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies here at Hawthorne Middle School for the past twenty-one years and is G.A.T.E. certified. She upholds the California Standards for the teaching profession, and in her spare time enjoys spending time with her husband, twin fourteen-year old sons, and friends.
Mr. Puterbaugh
Ms. Fernandez has been teaching at the Hawthorne School District for 22 years. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies from CSUDH. In 2001 she earned her MA in Education Administration. She has been teaching sixth grade TWBI for 16 years. She is currently teaching, 6th grade Language Arts (Spanish), 6th grade Language Arts (English), 6th grade Social Studies (Spanish), 6th grade Social Studies (English), and 7th/ 8th grade TWBI Exploratory. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, as well as with her dogs King Tut and Remington.
Ms. Gonzalez earned a BA with a concentration in Math from CSUDH. She then continued her education to receive aTeaching Credential also from CSUDH. She has been in the district for six years. First as a substitute, then as a teacher. She is currently teaching 6th grade math and science and is one of our middle school's TWBI teachers. On her spare time she enjoys spending time with her loved ones.
Mr. Miller was hired as a teacher in the Hawthorne School District in 1991. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science with a Specialization in Business, and completed his educational coursework at CSUN. Having worked in HSD for 28 years, he has taught at all three middle schools in our district and is currently teaching 6th grade Language Arts and History here at Hawthorne Middle School. Some other teaching experience includes teaching in the Education Department at California State University, Long Beach. His non-teaching work experience is highlighted by his time in Washington, D. C., where he worked for a member of Congress writing speeches, doing constituent correspondence and policy work. In his spare time, Mr. Miller loves to travel and spend time with his wife and 9 year-old twins.

Ms. Saenz earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in multi-cultural studies from Biola University. She also attained her multiple subject teaching credential and her M.A. in Education from Biola University. Before starting her career in education, Ms. Saenz spent a couple of years in a customer service position at a retail business. Ms. Saenz currently teaches General Math and Earth Science to 6th graders. She is also the MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) Advisor at Hawthorne Middle School which is a program of the University of Southern California (USC). MESA is a hands-on science program which serves educationally disadvantaged students and emphasizes careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Ms. J. Brown earned her BA in Liberal Studies and a M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning from National University. After working for Palm Springs Unified School District, she moved to the coast to work for the Hawthorne School District. In the thirteen years she has been in this district, she has taught at Kornblum School and worked for the HSD grant titled, Network for Healthy CA, as a Teacher Advisor and Program Coordinator. During her time with the Network, Julie Brown published a book and provided Staff Development classes for school districts in LA County. It was her experience in Palm Springs that led her back to teaching Math in the classroom. Focusing on core curricular standards while connecting main concepts to real life experiences is something she is passionate about. When Mrs. Brown is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family.
7th Grade Teachers
Mr. Branch earned a B.S. degree in political science with a minor in history from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. He also earned his teaching credential from California State University Dominguez Hills, and has taught social studies ,or language arts since 1993.
Mrs. Figueroa earned a degree B.A. in Liberal Studies and Literacy from the California State University CSU, Dominquez Hills and a teaching credential through CSU Dominguez Hills. Mrs. Figueroa currently teaches English and Social Studies to seventh graders. She also tutors after school to help students make up work or learn skills that will help them improve in Language Arts. Mrs. Figueroa also enjoys coaching the girls soccer team who has won 3 championships since she started in the year 2006.
Ms. Min received a B.A in Liberal Studies from the California State University, Long Beach, and a minor in Child & Human Development. She earned her teaching credential from the University of Phoenix in TED/CLAD. She has taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade in HMS and is currently in 7th grade teaching Mathematics and Science. Ms. Min is passionate about the environment and in helping students to make a positive impact in where they live. She started the Ecology Club back in 2010 and the Running Club with her husband in 2015.
Ms. Schulze earned a B.A in Liberal Studies: Sociology with Honors in the major from California State University (CSU), Dominguez Hills, and a Teaching credential through CSU Dominguez Hills. Ms. Schulze currently teaches Language Arts and World History to seventh-graders. She recently obtained her a masters of arts in education and an educational administration credential from California State University, Long Beach. When Ms. Schulze is not working, she enjoys the beach, camping and spending time with family and friends.

Ms. Dedes earned a Bachelors Degree in Human Development in 2002 from California State University Long Beach. She received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CSULB shortly afterward in 2003. Ms. Dedes taught 5th grade for two years at Kelly Elementary in Compton. She then became a substitute teacher for Redondo Beach Unified while taking time off to raise her family. Since then, she has obtained a Subject Matter Authorization in Mathematics, become a math tutor, and has substitute taught middle school math for Torrance Unified School District from 2009 to 2014.

Ms. Silvia Ponce
Open Science
8th Grade Teachers
Mr. Jeff Blake is an instructor of both Physical and Life Science. While studying psychology and neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, Mr. Blake earned a Bachelor of Science. Upon moving to Los Angeles Mr. Blake earned a Masters degree in education from Chapman University and became credentialed to teach General Science as well as Biology. Mr. Blake is proud to be a teacher for the Hawthorne School District.
Mrs. Kelly Carlson has earned a bachelor's of Liberal Arts and Sciences at San Diego State University and has a Master's in Education with an Administrative Crediental from California State Northridge. She also has attained Gate Certification from the Hawthorne School District. She currently teaches the 8th grade A.V.I.D. elective class (for the past five years) and also Language Arts and Social Studies. Her favorite hobby is to spend time with her husband,daughter (Rhiannon), and son (Nicolas) at Disneyland and to read books.
Mr. Larry Cervantes went to Venice High and then USC.He received his bachelor degree and then got his teacher credential. He planned on teaching for one year but he couldn't leave because it was so much fun.Mr. Cervanteshas been teaching math for so long that he has had the privilege of now teaching the children of some of his ex-students!He lives close enough that he rides his bike to school everyday. Mr. Cervantes loves teaching because he loves interacting with the students--and he still gets plenty of vacation, just like when he was a student. He loves watching college football.His perfectSaturdayis when USC wins, and both ucla and notre dame lose.His hobbies are snowboarding (no more jumps after separating ribs and bruising his tailbone in 2015), playing racquetball, and traveling the U.S. with his family.With summers off, road trips have lasted up to 3 weeks long.They have now visited almost 25 states.ned his degree from USC. He later received his teaching credential from CSUDH. He taught math at HMS and then moved to San Antonio, Texas and taught there for 6 years before moving back home to HMS. He loves to snowboard, play racquetball, and shoot pool.

Ms. Mische has worked in the Hawthorne School District for four years (this is her fourth year with this district). Before joining this district, she worked for four years for LAUSD, as an elementary teacher.  She previously taught Math, Language Arts,Social Studies, and Science, but Language Arts is her preference. She is an English Major, with a Masters in Education, and holds 3 different Subject Matter Authorizations (general and specific) in this content area. This year, she is teaching 8th grade Language Arts, so she is very excited to be educating students in her favorite subject. Ms. Mische is very happy to be a part of the HMS team, and looking forward to another great year!


Mr. Joaquin Cruz

Mrs. Liza Marconi-Mariscal earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University of Dominguez Hills, a teaching credential through CSU Dominguez Hills, and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from California State Northridge. Ms. Marconi currently teaches Language Arts and Social Studies to eighth graders. Before teaching eighth grade, Ms. Marconi taught seventh grade Language Arts, Social Studies and Art over the past six years. In her free time, she enjoys photography, baking and travelling to new places.
Mr. Haase earned his M.A. in Education from California State University, Dominguez Hills and his B.A. in English From Saint Mary's College. He has Single Subject Credentials in both English and History, as well as a CLAD Credential.
Mr. Mundsack graduated from Pasadena High School in June 1986.In December 1994, he graduated from U.C. Irvine with a B.A. in Social Ecology.He completed Single Subject:Mathematics coursework at C.S.U. Dominguez Hills in 1998.In his free time, Mr. Mundsack enjoys bicycle riding, taking classes at the local community college, and watching movies.
Business Academy

Mr. Reuben Gaxiola earned a Bachelors of Science in Accounting from California State University of San Bernardino and a Masters Degree in Education from National University. Mr. Gaxiola has been teaching at Hawthorne Middle school for 3 years and currently teaches 7th/8th grade business communications. Mr. Gaxiola enjoys traveling, surfing, and playing sports during his time outside the classroom.


Mr. John Gutierrez is in his 20th year teaching for the Hawthorne School District, all of them here at HMS. He started in 1994 teaching art. After 6 years, a position opened up in the computer lab to teach technology as an exploratory class and he's been there since. In that time he has concentrated on the importance of technology in the lives of students with an emphasis on writing, research, and multimedia production. In 2002 he took over as yearbook advisor. However, the class does not stop at yearbook publishing. The class concentrates on news writing, video production, and is behind the scenes in all of the schools live productions and The HMS House Rock Bands performances. He graduated in 1992 from Cal State Dominguez Hills with degrees in English and communications after being recruited to play baseball there from his hometown of Woodland, CA. For the last 10 years when hes not teaching in the summer, he has maintained his love of live music production by coordinating concerts and corporate events. And for the last 7 years he's been the lead coordinator for The Pacific Symphony's Summer Concert Series at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. He recently earned a Juris Doctor degree from Glendale University College of Law.

Special Day Classes


Ms. Mullen taught high school resource and special day class for fifteen years, before coming to HMS in 2015. She has an administrative credential from Loyola Marymount University, a Masters in special ed. from LMU, and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal State Long Beach. Ms. Mullen enjoys running and hiking with her dogs, picnic dinners on the beach, and spending time with her family.

Resource Specialist
Ms. Marquez earned a B.A in Liberal Studies and a minor in Art. She has a Special Education teaching credential from California State University Dominguez Hills. Before beginning her career in education, Ms. Marquez attended Otis and El Camino College for Fashion Design and Art. Ms. Marquez currently serves as a 7th/8th grade resource specialist and teaches a Language! Intervention class. Ms. Marquez enjoys designing costumes, drawing, ceramics, and going on vacation with her family and her two dogs.
Ms. Mackner earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University,l Long Beach and has a credential in special education. Ms. Mackner currently serves as the 7th grade resource specialist. In her free time, Ms. Mackner enjoys reading, hiking, and camping.
Mr. Walters earned a BA in sociology from the State University of New York at Albany and he earned a teaching credential from CSU Dominquez hills. Before Mr. Walters's education career, he was a counselor at a facility for emotionally disturbed youth. Mr. Walters currently serves as a 6th/7th grade resource specialist. Mr. Walters enjoys playing golf and working out during his leisure time.