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David Walck is exceptionally unique. Besides teaching, he is an avid painter, musician, and fire performer. He incorporates mathematics into all of these disciplines and shares with his students how mathematics has helped him to excel in these seemingly unrelated areas. This approach helps to instill in the students a desire to learn. This combined with his ability to break things down logically and simply sets the students up for success.
Andrew Dang was searching for his soul when he arrived at Excelsius Academy. After he graduated from UC Irvine, Andrew pursued a career in music, and in 2007 he became the first American hip-hop artist to headline a tour of Vietnam. Pleased with his success, he returned in 2010 for a second tour, and this time he planned on staying indefinitely.
The lure of fame and wealth was attractive, but Andrew, the son of a former monk, found himself more motivated by the impact he was making on the youthful audience that came to watch him perform. Simply put, those kids were the best fans any entertainer could ask for.
His success, however, came with unintended consequences. Over time Andrew became more aware of the corruption and inequality that surrounded him, and while he lived lavishly, he witnessed others toil. His investors became more controlling and his conscience questioned whether he was becoming a champion of the people or a puppet for the ranks of oppression. Much to the ire of those around him, Andrew followed his heart and abandoned his career in Asia and returned home to America.
Dejected and defeated, Andrew began his life anew, and in his search of purpose he found wisdom from a reliable source, his mother. She told him that he didn’t just have a talent for music, he also had a talent for teaching. In Vietnam, he had the chance to live life as a star, but now, after all his trials and tribulations, Andrew had the chance to become something more meaningful: a role model. It took many years, but Andrew finally began listening to his mom’s advice.
Andrew currently works for the Garden Grove Unified School District as a substitute teacher and test proctor. He is an environmentalist, Vegan advocate, and plans on releasing his first album in 2014.
An elementary teacher, Stephanie Bertelson was named Teacher of the Year for 2013 at Excelsius Academy. Ms. Bertelson has been an educator for 6 years. She has her Masters in Elementary Education as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.
Parents of the students enrolled in Ms. Bertelson’s classes have unanimously agreed on her passion, thoroughness, and dedication for the success of her students. “I could feel how much time and effort Ms. Stephanie put into for her class, and I knew exactly how much and what lessons my daughter is learning from school,” said Diana Nguyen, Parent of Diane Le a student of the 2013 Summer School Program.
Colleagues described Bertelson as a passionate educator, who has supported hundreds of students. “Time and time again, I have seen Ms. Bertelson reach out to her students who are struggling and feel that they have lost hope. Ms. Bertelson provides her students the encouragement, knowledge, and confidence they need to succeed,” said Gina Le, Principal of Excelsius Academy.
Ms. Bertelson currently teaches 4th and 5th grade at Excelsius Academy as well as working for the Garden Grove and Westminster School Districts.
Vice Principal Kim Pham is an educational innovator who seeks to deliver the best academic programs at Excelsius Academy. With years of experience in the education field and as an Attorney, Mrs. Pham delves into her educational programs with passion and experience. She has developed several innovative programs at Excelsius Academy (e.g., Career Exploration, International School, and the Private STEM School) while ensuring the smooth operations of the Academy’s existing programs. She has also expanded the course offerings at the Academy and helped in fine-tuning all Academy events.
Mrs. Pham enjoys working with youths and teaching them the foundation to be sympathetic leaders and nurturing creators. She believes that learning involves experience by experimentation, interactions with the surrounding environment, and the application of theories and concepts. She feels a true calling to broaden the life and educational opportunities for all her students.
Mrs. Pham is also the Advisor to the Academy and to our Principal. She currently lives in Australia and is continuing her pursuits to build a better education for all.
BA, UCI (Sociology, cum laude)
BA, UCI (Environmental Analysis & Design, magna cum laude)
JD, UCLA – Law
Admitted to the State Bar of California
Gina Nga Le
Principal Gina Le embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in her pursuit of academic and student excellence at Excelsius Academy. Principal Le developed a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to learn by experience and application. She transformed the Academy into a thriving summer school and private education institution.
Under her leadership, the Academy received WASC-accreditation. She is both confidante and trustee of her students. Students participate in popular events such as, the annual Spelling Bee, Debate, and Math Competition. Principal Le holds free workshops on colleges, financial aid, and resume building for the community. She instills in her students both leadership and value by teaching them core value of being a good character. Because of Ms. Le’s innovative approach to education, Excelsius Academy students are smart, inquisitive, and possess the character traits of leaders and humanitarians. As such, Principal Gina Le is the Entrepreneur who empowers others to excellence.