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OUR TEAM

I have a fundamental belief that we learn throughout our lives and that every experience we have and every person we meet can provide us with an opportunity to learn, if we open our hearts and minds to listen.
Our founder

Kellye McKinna, Ph.D.

Dr. McKinna, a graduate of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education, has been an educator for over twenty-five years helping children learn and achieve to their highest potential. As a director of several schools, she has developed curricula, including both elementary and middle school.

 

Dr. McKinna created McKinna Learning Center in 2008 as a unique progressive school, whose mission is to empower students with learning differences to realize their individual potential, foster their innate desire to learn and act with social responsibility.  She combines educational and therapeutic approaches for evaluation, remediation, case management, and communication/advocacy on behalf of children, adolescents and adults with learning disabilities or learning problems.

 

Dr. McKinna holds a PH.D. in Educational Psychology.  She has written on the topic of The Social Perspective-taking Knowledge and Performance of Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Additionally, she has conducted workshops for parents on topics such as, “What is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” “Finding the Right School for Your Child and Family,” and “Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities.”

STRENGTHS

  • Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness

  • Curiosity and interest in the world

  • Zest, enthusiasm, and energy

  • Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness

VALUES

  • Family

  • Compassion

  • Integrity

  • Perseverance

  • Humor

"Give a man fish he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat forever."

Arianna Grindle

READING SPECIALIST/ELEMENTARY TEACHER

Raised in Kailua, HI on Oahu, Arianna graduated from Punahou School, where she began her passion for progressive education and teaching experiences. As an aide to the ninth-grade social sciences and AP environmental science at Punahou, Arianna learned to plan and structure curriculum. Arianna triple majored from Pepperdine University with degrees in Sociology, Psychology, and Early Childhood Education. In the classroom, it is clear that Arianna not only understands, sees and fosters the uniqueness of each individual student, but also how to use those unique qualities to learn, listen and interact within the rules of society. While at Pepperdine, Arianna participated in their PepSTEP program designed to credential teachers; she received her California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2009. It was while Arianna was working in the classroom of Dr. McKinna’s daughter, at Point Dume Marine Science School, that she had her first interview. As a parent volunteer Dr. McKinna observed Arianna teaching in the classroom, and when she decided to expand MLC to have an elementary school program, she asked Arianna to be her first full time teacher.  Arianna has been a lead teacher at McKinna since 2009. Arianna is passionate about teaching people to be comfortable and confident with the learning process.

STRENGTHS

  • Reliable

  • Consistent

  • Creative

  • Intuitive

  • Passionate

VALUES

  • Effort

  • Grit

  • Responsibility

  • Accountability

  • Perseverance

"Give a man fish he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat forever."

Bridget Cundiff

TEACHER

“It is my belief that each child has an innate desire and potential for success. I have made it my life’s mission to help each child discover their voice and their strengths.” Bridget began her career working with challenged children in group homes and school settings. In the Bay Area, she worked assisting families as an administrator for a weekend respite care program. From very young children to adolescents, and from profoundly disabled youth to foster youth and the highly gifted, she discovered that each child formed connections and made progress in their own way. With a bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology from UC Santa Barbara, Bridget decided to further her education, and five years ago, she received her Teaching Credential from Cal State Channel Islands. Since then, she has worked with 3rd graders, 5th graders, and 9th-12th grade students. Bridget is beyond excited to work with the McKinna Learning Center, where she feels that she can combine her practice in individualized education with her experience in classroom instruction.

STRENGTHS

  • Compassion

  • Patience

  • Positivity

  • Adaptability

  • Resourcefulness

VALUES

  • Integrity

  • Family

  • Collaboration

  • Individual opportunity 

  • Environmental awareness

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“By thinking of things, you could understand them.” —James Joyce
 
“Only connect…”
—E.M. Forster

Angela Adams DeMoss

WRITING SPECIALIST/ENGLISH & HISTORY TEACHER

Angela Adams DeMoss first worked for the McKinna Learning Center as an educational therapist and teacher from 2009 to 2017, when she moved to Stockton, CA, and is delighted to be returning this academic year. Born in Southampton, England, she spent her formative years in the San Diego area. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Sacramento, a Master of Arts degree from Mills College, and a teaching credential from San Diego Christian College, all in English. She also has an Associate of Sciences degree in Paralegal Studies from Cuyamaca College. She has tutored and taught in public, private, and charter schools, from third grade to college level. In her spare time, she likes to cook, read novels, travel, and spend time with her family.

STRENGTHS

  • Compassion

  • Building strong relationships

  • Enthusiasm

  • Tenacity

  • Flexibility

VALUES

  • Integrity

  • Growth mindset

  • Hard work

  • Family

  • Flexibility

“Happiness is seeing a smile on a child’s face as they learn.”

Priyanka Shetch Kothari

MATH AND SCIENCE SPECIALIST/TEACHER

This is Mrs. Priyanka Kothari’s first year teaching at The McKinna Learning Center. She has a Masters in Accounting and Bachelors in Finance and Accounting with a minor in General Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently pursuing her diploma in international teaching and special education from the London School of Teachers. Her first teaching position was in 2014 at the London School of Economics Affiliate Center in Mumbai, India, where she taught auditing to undergraduate students. This helped her discover her passion for education and she has decided not to look back ever since. She was a paraeducator for multiple schools in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, and has been working with Dr. Kellye McKinna as a high school tutor since 2018. Her favorite subjects are Math and Science, and she enjoys teaching students from K-10. She absolutely loves what she does and where she is. Her motto is, “Teaching is a work of the heart”.

Mrs. Kothari grew up in Mumbai, India, a beach city like Malibu, so she feels very much at home here. She is happy to serve the community. She speaks, reads, and writes four languages. Her hobbies are cooking, baking, watching Bollywood Movies, and painting. Her favorite sports are swimming and cricket. She currently lives in Riverside with her husband and a loving toddler.

STRENGTHS

  • Compassion

  • Building strong relationships

  • Enthusiasm

  • Adaptability

  • Flexibility

VALUES

  • Integrity

  • Growth mindset

  • Hard work

  • Family

  • Accountability

“No one is perfect, that's why pencils have erasers.”

Bianca Saldivar

MATH SPECIALIST/MATH, SCIENCE & SPANISH TEACHER

Bianca Saldivar is an accomplished and driven Latina who broke barriers by becoming the first of her family to have graduated with a Master’s of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach. She graduated with Dean’s Honors three semesters in a row. Bianca Saldivar also obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010 where she graduated with a triple major and honors. Bianca has been in the field of education for over 16 years beginning with her involvement as a Teacher’s Assistant 2006, AVID Tutor in 2008, and finally Math Teacher 2012 at the McKinna Learning Center. As the lead Math Teacher at the McKinna Learning Center, Bianca has had the opportunity to work with children of various ages and grade levels. Her strengths as an educator are being able evaluate each student’s strengths and weaknesses in their subject area and make an individualized plan to make them feel confident in themselves. She has a gift of making students feel comfortable and an ability to teach all types of learners. She believes that every student can achieve greatness and just needs to be taught in a different modality that makes sense to them. Among her many accomplishments, she has had the honor of being a co-author of a publication in the Journal of Instructional Psychology. Bianca has also worked for the University of California Los Angeles in a groundbreaking research study involving Community Involvement and Education. Bianca is a positive role model and philanthropist in her Latino community and leads by example. Lastly, Bianca Saldivar has many hobbies and interests including learning to dance salsa, meditation, and lifting.  

STRENGTHS

  • Kind/Altruistic

  • Adaptable  

  • Driven

  • Energetic

  • Reliable

  • Precision

  • Multicultural Sensitivity

STRENGTHS

  • Perseverance

  • Honesty

  • Kindness

  • Hard-work

  • Loyalty