Welcoming New Teachers to the Bulldog Staff for the 2020-21 School Year


Photo Courtesy of Amanda D’Avila, Desmond Hernandez, Kayla Zimmerman, Anthony Fullman and Katherine Dillon

Because of COVID-19, many of the new teachers have unconventionally introduced themselves to their students through Zoom. As September 24 approaches, the teachers have been preparing to teach on campus for the first time and fully immerse themselves in Portola’s atmosphere.

Grace Baek and Ariana Wu

This 2020-21 school year, Amanda D’Avila, Katherine Dillon, Anthony Fullman, Desmond Hernandez, Christian Quinteros and Kayla Zimmermanjoin the teaching staff. Gil Carey joins the staff as project success specialist while Marisol Rashidian joins the office as the new attendance clerk. 


Teacher: Amanda D’Avila

Subject: Literary and Language Arts 9 

Why do you teach English? I love English because it’s all about telling your story, finding out who you are and creating an identity for yourself. Because high school is such a transformative time in your life, learning from others’ stories, connecting and learning empathy from characters and harnessing your power to speak your truth through either writing or speaking [is] really powerful. I think it is a class that every student needs no matter what career field you want to go to.  


Teacher: Desmond Hernandez

Subjects: Fit4Life, Fitness & Strength

What’s your favorite thing about teaching Fit4Life?

I think Fit4Life is cool because it’s with freshmen, and they really don’t know the capabilities that their bodies have right now. Letting them explore that and figure out their physical strength and endurances is really cool to be a part of. 


Teacher: Anthony Fullman

Subjects: Fit4Life, Court Sports

Why did you first interview for a job at Portola?

I actually grew up in Irvine. I went to high school down the road, Northwood, and moved back after college. I went to school in Washington, moved back and wanted to get back involved in the school district, so I started coaching [football] at Portola almost immediately for the last three years with Peter Abe. I really wanted to get involved, and I saw an opportunity to step up when they needed a PE teacher…A lot of the students that are at Portola now I taught previously at Stonegate Elementary, so there was a big overlap, and some of the teachers at Portola even taught me in high school, so it’s interesting to see everything come back around.


Teacher: Kayla Zimmerman

Subjects:  Consumer Math, Math I, Math I CD

What made you interested in working at Portola initially?

Portola has a great staff, a good location, it’s a new school, and the school is growing. I came from Creekside and San Joaquin where I was a teacher in my own department, the only teacher, so it was nice to come somewhere where there was a community.


Teacher: Katherine Dillon

Subjects: AP Computer Science Principles, Precalculus, Honors Precalculus

Do you have any prior teaching experience?

I tutored at my own tutoring company for three years. I tutored math from all levels from fourth grade to college. I, last year, student-taught at Valley High School in Santa Ana, but this is my first year teaching for real. Last year I did teach online at Santa Ana, but I already knew the students beforehand, so it’s really weird to not know any of the students and meet them on Zoom for the first time. It’s still exciting to experience the new way of teaching.