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Sim Center Staff


Principal: Morri Elliottmell200.jpg

I am the Principal at Sacramento Academic and Vocational Academy.  I grew up in Turlock, California and attended college at Simpson University in Redding, California.  While at Simpson, I played 3 years of baseball and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Social Science.  I earned my teaching credential at National University. I have worked at SAVA in several different rolls since 2007.  I spent three years as a teacher, two years as Vice Principal and am now serving as Principal. 

My wife Shallon and I have been married for 7 years and have two children (Landon, 5 and Laine, 3).  We love to spend our summers in Tahoe and watching/attending as many Giants games as possible.

Vice Principal: Genoveva Navarrete


Mrs. Navarrette was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. She came to California when she was four years old. She has been a teacher and ELD Specialist with SAVA for five years; She is excited to join the SAVA Administration Team. Mrs. Navarrette is  looking forward to making connections with SIM Center students and eager to work with a dynamic group of Teachers.  Before SAVA, she taught various grades in an Elementary School setting and did program administration for CSU, Sacramento.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, running and spending quality time with her family.


Administrative Assistant- Ekaterina Kostyuk


Hello! My name is Ekaterina Kostyuk. I joined SAVA family in January of 2013. I am the Clerk for Sava Sim Center.  In spring of 2013 I am graduating from California State University of Sacramento with Bachelors of Science in Business Management. I love helping out our students, parents and school staff. Outside of the job I love spending time with my family
Enrollment Specialist- Christina Nelson  
Counselor- Ana Olazava-Broadbent

Mrs. Ana joined the SAVA Sim Center team at the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year. She brings to SAVA over 9 years of guidance/college counseling experience. Born and raised in southern California she traveled to UC Santa Cruz for her Bachelor's degree and has made northern California her home. She began her counseling experience working for UC Santa Cruz as a College Facilitator and then moved to the San Jose area to be a school counselor. She earned her Masters of Arts, in Education and PPS credential at San Jose State University.

Mrs. Ana enjoys helping students/families prepare not only for high school graduation but also for the transition to college and beyond. You can find Mrs. Ana in Room 300 at the Sim Center. 

When she is not helping students out, Mrs. Ana enjoys spending time with her family, baking, reading, sleeping and when she can make it happen... spending time at the beach.

Middle School Teacher:

Amy Fitzgibbon


I am Amy FitzGibbon and I am the middle school teacher at the SAVA Sim Center.  I graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in International Relations in 1989.  I earned my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Special Education from U.S.C. in 1993 (Fight On!).  I began my teaching career in 1990 as a bilingual second grade teacher in Paramount, CA.  My husband and I moved to Sacramento in 1995.  From 1995 to 2005, I took a ten-year break from teaching to raise my kids.  I got back into the game in 2005 and I have been an Independent Study teacher for a variety of Charter Schools in the Sacramento area.  I love the SAVA Middle School Program because it is the perfect combination of class time, lab time, and independent time!  I met my husband, Mike, while I was a student at U.C. Davis. We have been married for 22 years and we have 3 kids (ages 19, 16, and 13).  When I am not teaching I enjoy spending time with family and friends.  During the hot Sacramento summers my family and I enjoy heading back to Southern California for some beach time, rest, and relaxation!

Common Core Teacher: 

Rebecca Duke


Ms. Duke began teaching at SAVA in 2011.  She holds a BA in philosophy, a Single Subject Credential in English and is also NCLB qualified to teach social science.  Teaching students to think critically in an independent study school setting is Ms. Duke’s dream job (tied with being a world-famous philosopher/author).  In her free time Ms. Duke enjoys spending time with her son Daniel.  Her next favorite thing to do is read, think, discuss and write.  Oh, and she thinks exercising is fun too.  Sometimes

Common Core Teacher: 

Kaydie Lister


Mrs. Lister considers herself a  true California girl since she was born and raised here.  She graduated from CSU Chico with a degree in Liberal Studies and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Before coming to SAVA, she taught various grades in elementary school.  She also worked at a learning center for several years where she created academic intervention plans for students of all grade levels.  In her spare time she enjoy spending time with her husband and their  son. She also loves outdoor activities on sunny days such as swimming,  jogging and family picnics. 
Common Core Teacher: Mike Mendoza Mr. Mendoza started at SAVA in December of 2013. He got his BA in Liberal Studies and his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CSU Northridge. Prior to his time at CSU Northridge, Mr. Mendoza attended Mt. San Antonio Community College where he pole vaulted for two years reaching a height of 13'6". After graduation he moved to the Sacramento area where he has helped students achieve their goals. On top of teaching, Mr. Mendoza has coached high school pole vault and enjoys integrating sports and academics. 

Mr. Mendoza has been happily married since 2007 to his wife Carrie. During his spare time he enjoys watching and playing sport (especially hockey!). On March 1, 2014 he ran his first Half Marathon and plans to stay active in the Sacramento running scene for years to come.

12th Grade Teacher: Jonson Chin


Age: Old....was born last century

Education: BA-History; Secondary Teaching Credential-Social Sciences; MA-Multicultural Education CSUS

Teaching experience: tutoring-3 years; Natomas HS-1 year; ESL Program, CSUS-3+ years; Kaplan ESL Program-3 1/2 years; SAVA- Present

Interests: US history-especially the wars, Civil War-present; buying but not often building plastic scale models; reading and music from the 1970s and classic rock

12th Grade Teacher: Daniel Cacho


Daniel Cacho, M.S. J.D., came to SAVA with professional experience in various schools and programs, primarily in Alternative Education. He gained experienced from the public and private charter classroom setting, creative teaching hybrid models for GED and Independent Study programs, the community college setting, and in educational administration.  He also has experience in correctional education with juveniles on probation and high risk criminal offenders with community based-model programs. He enjoys working with all students to ensure they reach their academic and professional goals.

12th Grade Teacher: Patrick Nevis


My name is Patrick Nevis. Formerly SAVA’s History/Social Studies Specialist for three years, I hold single and multiple subject teaching credentials as well as a Community College Life teaching credential.  I also hold a M.A. in political science from Drew University.  Prior to SAVA, I taught at elementary schools in Sacramento and West Sacramento.  I have held senior management, sales and policy positions with the State of California and Brown & Caldwell Consulting Engineers, and I have operated my own environmental consulting business for five years.  I am married to Lindsay and have a son, Ryan.  In my spare time, I enjoy referring youth soccer, reading mysteries and non-fiction history, hiking, traveling, making military models and playing with my family’s two dogs.

12th Grade Teacher: Amber Shoemaker


I grew up in Antioch and earned an Associate degree at the local community college. I then transferred to Sacramento State University where I acquired my Bachelor's degree in fine art. I earned my multiple subject teaching credential with the University of Phoenix.

I am recently married and have three dogs and two cats. My husband and I enjoy watching movies and TV series as well as playing board games.

I enjoy every day I am given the opportunity to educate and build positive and supportive relationships with students. I believe all students have potential to succeed with support and a creative outlet.

Grad Teacher: Lindsay Burns-Handley


Hi,my name is Lindsay Burns and this is my second year teaching at SAVA. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University, I received my teaching credential from CSU Fullerton, and I am currently finishing up my master’s in education at California State University, Sacramento. Go Hornets! I believe all my students can succeed given the right tools. When I’m not teaching I greatly enjoy good books and hiking with my dog.

Middle School Para-educator-

Dzina Haroshka


Hello, my name is Dzina Haroshka and I am a Para educator at SAVA. Currently, I attend California State University, Sacramento to study Health Science. I joined SAVA team in December 2013. In my free time I enjoy reading, drawing and spending time with family and friends.

Para-Educator- Nathan Lee


Hi! My name is Nathan Lee (or Nate), and I'm a paraeducator here at Sava Sim Center.  I grew up in the East Bay Area, the part that's really hot and there's corn being grown everywhere.  I moved to Sacramento in 2011 to attend CSU Sacramento where I will be earning my Bachelor's Degree in Social Science, class of Spring '14.  I plan on obtaining a single-subject teaching credential and seek to become a high school history or government teacher, as well as to be a baseball and football coach.  In my spare hours between work and school I love to spend time with my wonderful girlfriend, trying to be as spontaneous as possible.  In addition, I am an absolute sports fanatic, I've played and watched sports my whole life.  My favorites are baseball and football, GO SF GIANTS & 49ERS!! And if there's any time left in the day, I love to play adult softball.  Thank you for reading about me!!
Para-Educator: Olivia Gover