Merced County Office of Education

Our Teachers

​​​Our Car​​ing and Committed Teachers

My name is Maria Villanueva and I am a teacher at Merced Scholars Charter School. I received my Bachelors of Art Degree from California State University, Stanislaus, in May 2003. I currently hold a Multiple Subject/BCLAD (Spanish) Credential.

​I joined the Merced Scholars Charter School staff, as a Personalized Teacher, in 2005. Since then I have found home schooling highly rewarding. I enjoy working at Merced Scholars because the parents in collaboration with the students and staff make learning a positive experience. ​​I aim to inspire students to develop an appreciation for math and approach it with a positive attitude.​


​Hi, I’m Mrs. Miller. I've been around educators my whole life. Teaching goes back three generations in my family, so even though I fought hard to do something different with my life, in the end, I'm proud to say that I have continued the family tradition.

​​I graduated from Fresno State with my Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. After several years in the social work field, I decided to go back to school to obtain my teaching credential at Chapman University. Since obtaining my credential, I have been a substitute teacher, Reading Clinician, and classroom teacher. I joined the staff at Merced Scholars Charter School in the 2006-2007 school year as a Personalized Learning Teacher. I have completed the Verification Process in Special Settings (VPSS) in Math, English, Social Studies and Science. These classes provided me the content knowledge to better serve my students.  

My favorite part about working here at MSCS is getting to know my students in a more in-depth manner. My aim is to continue to learn about technological advancements from our students so that I am better able to work and communicate with them.


Hi, my name is Kristyn Lopez. I have been teaching at Merced Scholars Charter School (MSCS) since it opened in 2004. I hold a degree in science from California State University, Fresno and a teaching credential from Chapman University. I have worked for Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) since August of 1997 in the home school field, and taught in the regular high school setting preceding my employment at MCOE. I currently hold a CLAD Credential, and a HOUSSE credential in all subjects. 

​I enjoy working with MSCS home school families and meeting the challenges of the ever-changing role of alternative education in order to meet the needs of the individual student. My plans are to continue to nurture and instill motivation in our students in their future endeavors.


Hello, I’m Pamela Simmons!

I graduated from CSU Stanislaus with a Bachelors in Social Sciences, and a Masters in Public Administration. I received my teaching credential from National University. I joined Merced scholars in the 16-17 school year, after working with at risk kids for 19 years with MCOE.   

I really enjoy the one-on-one time I get to spend with my students. I want to develop school curriculum that is project based and meets my students diverse modalities of learning.



Welcome to Merced Scholars Charter School. I am Mrs. Dal Porto. My connection with the school began as a parent in 2014. I joined the school as a teacher in 2015. I have earned a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology in 2005, as well as a Multiple Subject credential from Fresno State University in 2009. Also, I received a mild/moderate special education teaching credential in 2015. I began working for MCOE in 2003 as a teacher’s aid. 

The thing I love the most about working here is getting to know the students and developing relationships. My future goal is to help facilitate and integrate online learning opportunities for our students.


Hi, I‘m Mrs. Woody!I have worked for Merced County Office of Education for various programs under the Career and Alternative Education Department since 1999 and teaching since 2004. I have a Clear Vocational Education Single Subject Credential – Office Occupations & Computer Applications. I teach Computer Applications, Computer Literacy, Computer Programming/ Robotics, Web Technologies, and Early Programming at Merced Scholars Charter School. I graduated from Merced High School and have attended Merced and Stanislaus Colleges. The 2011 school year was my first full year at MSCS and it was quite a rewarding experience.  

I enjoy having the opportunity to provide students with computer skills that will enable them to survive in today’s ever-changing technology driven society. Students need to be able to do more than “text” on a cell phone or post to social network sites such as Facebook. I hope to inspire them to go beyond learning the basics and not be afraid to try new things. Having computer skills is not only necessary but is a powerful tool that can open doors and provide unlimited resources for learning. I hope to inspire and encourage students to use our technology programs to expand their horizons in the coming years.​


Hello, my name is Elaine Post and I teach Business and Marketing. I have a BA in Business Administration and single subject teaching credentials in Marketing and Business. I started my career as a news journalist and editor. I then spent years as a Public Information Officer which then turned into my becoming a Redevelopment Manager and later Director. In these positions I learned about or assisted others in business and marketing. 

I traveled the United States marketing our community with hopes of attracting businesses and representing or lobbying our efforts in Washington D.C. in hopes of bringing funding to our area. One thing I learned through those years is our children are our future. I wanted to make a difference in a classroom environment helping our youth learn to become motivated to enter the workforce on career paths that made sense for them personally. 

I joined the team at Merced Scholars Charter School because they too embrace the idea that each child learns differently and teaching to those differences will help the student become the best they can be upon graduation. We use a lot of tools in my classroom, laser cutters, 3D printers, CnC machines, t-shirt presses, all designed to help students not only connect the dots with Business and Marketing concepts, but to learn work ethic, patience, problem solving and creativity. I strongly believe this campus does all it can to provide this unique experience to our youth and I am honored to be a part of this team.​