Prior to starting college, she trained at the Santa Cruz Women's Health Center to be a phlebotomist and a clinical laboratory assistant. She worked at Unilab, Santa Cruz Medical Clinic and performed home visits to do medical exams for life insurance applicants. Malika has been teaching and tutoring for around two decades and was raised by a local homeschooling consultant teacher for AFE (Patty Palazzo). During her time off, Malika enjoys spending time with her family in her hometown of Santa Cruz and on Lake Nacimiento. She has a fantastic husband (co-owner, Nate Bell) and two exuberant daughters (Leilani, 14 and Ruby, 9) who keep her busy traveling around the US for cheer competitions.

therapy like Theory of Mind, Emotion Regulation using The Zones of Regulation, Coping Mechanisms, Calming Strategies, Sensory Integration, De-escalation Protocol(s), etc. I have supported many families and children throughout my career and I am dedicated to continue my work as an educator and a facilitator.

BouJee Bell

Class room helper for all ages

M.s. in Snorting

Email: boujee@barkmail.woof

Bougie has been with the Learning Center for 3 years and has become an irreplaceable part of the team. When she first started at the Center she became Santa Cruz SnapChat famous but is now enjoying a more anonymous. She enjoys pats and napping all over the Learning Center. 
Jay Danes 

Middle school and High School Social Studies Teacher, Tutor


Jay grew up in the land of pizza, New Jersey. He began teaching at Parker Elementary School in Trenton, NJ in 2001. He has 17 years of diverse educational experiences and is looking forward to working with the Santa Cruz Learning Center community. Deciding that California living was the way to go, Jason began working with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education in 2003 as an Instructional Aide in the emotionally disturbed program. From there Jason taught

Learning Language and Math. While there, Ajita got a first hand look inside the education system and hands on experience tutoring students 1st-7th grade. Ajita loves working for the Learning Center and is excited to continue learning and teaching here. Ajita is also the Office Manager. Do not be surprised if you get emails from her! 

Dianne Guindon

The real stars of the team

 and succeed in completing their Spanish courses is exciting and a wonderful reward for both the student as well as herself. Many times the students she has tutored go onto completing the Spanish SAT subject test, which increases their chances of acceptance to college. Monica is ecstatic about tutoring Spanish at Santa Cruz Learning Center and she is happy to be a part of our community.

K-8 Reading, Writing and Math, German, Algebra 1, Art History, Psychology
Experienced tutor for kids with Learning Disabilities including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders and Supporting IEP goals
Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology

Rebekah Sousae

Middle school and High School science teachers, Tutor

M.A. Molecular Cell Development 


Rebekah is a published research scientist with a Masters in Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology from UC Santa Cruz. She specializes in working with children who have special needs and spent the past 4 years as a foster parent for Santa Cruz County. Although Rebekah spends her days in the classroom, her scientific passion is kept alive through hobby genetics of Coturnix Quail as part of Mini Meadows Homestead.
Kaia Duke

English, Life Science, Intro to Pre-Algebra and Elementary; Multi-Subject Tutor

b.a. in English with an emphasis in Literary Studies


Kaia is our Elementary, Life Science, and Intro to Pre-Algebra educator. She grew up in central Arkansas and graduated from Hendrix College in 2015 with a B.A. in English. After completing school, Kaia served two years with City Year Baton Rouge, an education-based non-profit that places young people in high need urban schools as tutors and mentors. During her time in Baton Rouge, Kaia taught small groups in a 3rd grade English class, tutored 1st-5th graders, loved reading with her students, and 

Monica Meyer

middle school and High school Teacher,  Art Tutor

masters of Fine Arts 


Monica grew up in Santa Cruz where she spent her childhood kayaking, hiking, swimming, and exploring the natural world. Almost every summer Monica would go to Baja California, where her father taught a marine biology course, which sparked her passion for the subject. In college she decided to pursue her other passion and major in art. Her studies led her to London where she got a degree in Art, Design, and Media and then a Masters of Fine Art with an emphasis in film and sculpture. She is interested in the intersection between science and art and is excited to share these wonderful subjects with students.
(Pictured with Monica is Lucy, a very good girl)
Marbles Bell

Class room helper for all ages

M.s. in Cuddling 

Email: marblesboy@barkmail.woof

Marbles has been with the Learning Center from the beginning. He is a critical part of our team. He enjoys tail wagging and laying on back packs. 

​​meet OUR TEAM of Talented Educators! 

teaching, and joined us at the Learning Center. Rylan was able to better hone his Spanish skills while traveling and is now fluent. When not teaching, Rylan can be found in the ocean or on a run in the forest, or perhaps behind a computer maintaining his technical skills. Other hobbies include guitar, mushroom hunting and print making.

Dianne grew up in Indianapolis, IN and moved to Santa Cruz in 1994. She has attended Ball State College in Muncie, IN and IUPUI at Indpls for Elementary Education. She taught in a Chapter 1 pre-school for children with Language delays. After moving to Santa Cruz, Dianne worked for Preschools and the Santa Cruz Toddler Center using RIE philosophy. After taking some time off to raise her 3 sons, she returned to teaching as a 1:1 aide in the classrooms of Santa Cruz City Schools. She has successfully completed grades K-12 twice with the exception of 4th, 7th and 8th. Currently, she is a Teacher Assistant in the Resource room at Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary and substitutes for Balance4Kids working with kids who need additional support in the classroom. She also is the Arts and Crafts teacher in the summer. Dianne is excited to be able to support kids learning and curiosity at Santa Cruz Learning Center. She hopes to add her personal purple magical passion to students learning.

Melanie Clark, MA

Elementary Teacher, Middle School, High School, and tutor 



​My name is Melanie Clark. I am an Educational Therapist. I have a Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology and a BA is Communicative Disorders and Sciences with an emphasis in speech language pathology. I have dedicated 20 years of my life to children as a behaviorist. I work with people to help them to gain a variety of skill sets. I use many different programs in my 

Tutor & Art teacher

BA in Psychology

MONica Alvarez

Spanish Teacher

B.A. in Spanish and Communications


Monica Alvarez is in love with the Spanish language. She majored in Spanish and Communications at CSUS, and took a year of credential classes to teach LEP and Spanish.  After many years of work in Administration, she has found a home with Santa Cruz Learning Center where she can do what she loves, tutoring Spanish. Monica feels that the fundamentals of learning any language are sometimes challenging.  She feels that helping a student understand these challenges, overcome them
Rylan Hunt 

Multi-Subject Tutor, Spanish Tutor

B.a. in physics and Applied Mathematics 


Rylan works mainly with our Math and Physical Science students. He is a graduate of Aptos High and UC Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics. Since graduating in 2013, Rylan has worked half time as a tutor and half time editing math research for publication. After returning from a year of travels in South America, he decided to put more energy into 
Ajita Harrison

Government, Economics, History teacher; Multi Subject tutor

Office Manager

BA in Political Science with an emphasis in Woman's Studies


Ajita is our Social Studies teacher as well as a Math and English tutor. After graduating from Harbor High School she attended Whittier College. She graduated from Whittier College with a BA in Political Science. She then volunteered with City Year Baton Rouge, an AmeriCorps program that deploys corps members in high need urban cities targeting students that are falling behind in English 

Fourth grade at the Aptos Academy for two years before the school closed down. Since then he has worked for Club Z tutoring and has his own tutoring clients. Jason teaches in a relaxed and informative manner, and loves to incorporate real world life situations into his lessons. Jason heartily enjoys living in Santa Cruz county and loves the outdoors, frequently taking hikes with his rescue dog Cylus. He also loves to garden and grows killer eggplants,tomatoes, and squash. Jason also has a fondness for downtempo and trip hop music. He is stoked to be a part of the Santa Cruz Learning Center community!

volunteered in the community. She is a lifelong swimmer and coach who loves seeing her students blossom in all areas of life. Kaia recently moved to Santa Cruz and is excited to live so close to the ocean and explore the city. She looks forward to sharing her love of all things words and learning with the students this year. When she’s not at school, Kaia is either teaching swim lessons, outside, or reading a book. 

Malika teaches Math, Science, and SAT/ACT Prep at the SC Learning Center and is an academic advocate. She tutors in math, and science and works with students (of all ages) on organization and educational planning. Until recently, she worked concurrently at UC Santa Cruz as the Director of STEM Diversity Programs. Malika was a re-entry​ college student (six years after graduating from Santa Cruz High in 1992) and transferred from Cabrillo College to UC Santa Cruz where she received her Bachelor's and  and Master's degrees​ in Chemistry. Her research was in marine natural products as well as bioinorganic chemistry involving the photochemistry of nitric oxide.  

501 Cedar St Ste C, Santa Cruz CA 95060  |   831-331-5611  |

Malika Bell, MS

Owner, Teacher, Academic Cheerleader

Ms in Chemistry from UCSC