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Our Staff

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Our Staff

Rick Nelson

Rick Nelson

Position: Principal, 7th and 8th homeroom
Phone: 530-588-4730
Email: rick.nelson@myuja.org

Experience

Rick has been a Middle School teacher for the last 33 years with 26 of those years being a teaching principal. He has taught in Paso Robles,
CA (7 years), Las Vegas, NV (5 years), Chico, CA (18 years), Salem, OR (2 years), and in Ukiah since 2020.

Education

Highest Degree: Master of Arts
Major Field: Elementary Education
College Where Earned: Pacific Union College
Year Earned: 1988

Biography

Rick enjoys spending time outdoors backpacking in the mountains of Northern California. He loves teaching Bible class, introducing students to Jesus, and writing about a loving God. Laughing with his wife and three children gives him great joy and much peace of mind.



Beth Garibaldi

Beth Garibaldi

Position: Math and Science
Phone: 707-322-2805
Email: beth.garibaldi@myuja.org

Experience

Beth has taught middle school for most of her career. She taught grades 4-6 for 10+ years in Huntsville, Alabama before moving to California. She then taught grades 5-8 in Cloverdale for 20 years. Her job in Ukiah started out in Kindergarten, with junior high science and math classes in the afternoons. After five years, she moved to full-time with the older students.

Education

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science
Major Field: Elementary Education
College Where Earned: Southern Adventist University
Year Earned: 1978

Biography

Beth loves hiking and backpacking, skiing, and almost any other activity in nature. She loves gardening and reading. She has two adult children and
two grandchildren she loves to spend time with. She lives with her fur family, a dog and two cats.



Wendi Olivera

Wendi Olivera

Position: Kindergarten
Phone: 707-462-6350 ext. 20
Email: wendi.olivera@myuja.org

Experience

Wendi began working at Ukiah Junior Academy in 2006. From 2006-2016 she was a substitute and aide in the kindergarten, and first & second grade classrooms. She has been the kindergarten teacher at UJA since the fall of 2016.

Education

Highest Degree: Bachelor's Degree
Major Field: Liberal Arts and Early Education
College Where Earned: Sonoma State University
Year Earned: 2016

Biography

Wendi grew up in a large family of 9 children and has always enjoyed working with kids. She is now married 20 years and raising 2 teenagers. Teaching has been her passion and working with the little ones she finds especially rewarding. In the classroom, Wendi works hard to make sure each of her students feel loved and safe in a happy Christian environment. Wendi also loves all things arts and crafts, games, bird watching, American
Sign Language, studying the Word of God, and learning new things like how to play the guitar!



Jill Richards

Jill Richards

Position: 3rd and 4th grades
Phone: 707-536-6500
Email: jill.richards@myuja.org

Experience

Jill has worked in the field of education for 25+ years, spanning many different positions. She taught elementary in VA and WV, and high school religion and English to ESL students at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy. Other education related jobs – high-school librarian, (CA) student teacher/undergrad supervisor for two Education programs (MT, CA), consultant, high school registrar (AZ) and public-school administrator (MT). She started to teach at
Ukiah in 2019.

Education

Highest Degree: Master of Arts
Major Field: Curriculum and Instruction
College Where Earned: Andrews University
Year Earned: 1993

Biography

At school, Jill’s favorite things to do are getting to know students, introducing awesome literature and sharing what Jesus has done for her. While at
home, she enjoys creating, learning and being with her family and friends. Jill is blessed to live in a country setting with her husband, two daughters and crazy dog, Soldier.





Peter Garcilazo

Peter Garcilazo

Position: Grades 5 and 6 Teacher
Phone: 707-972-6031
Email: peter.garcilazo@myuja.org

Experience

Peter has been a teacher at Ukiah Junior Academy since 2015 and also spent a year as a task force worker at Ukiah Junior Academy in 2013-2014.

Education

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Arts
Major Field: Music
College Where Earned: Walla Walla University
Year Earned: 2012

Biography

Peter enjoys playing basketball, watching basketball, and playing basketball video games. He also loves playing with his kids, going for walks, and watching movies with his family.



Benjamin Oliver

Benjamin Oliver

Position: Grade 2
Phone: 707-339-0910
Email: benjamin.oliver@myuja.org

Experience

Benji has been an elementary school teacher since 2015, working as a sub in Southern California for two years and then moving up to Ukiah Junior Academy as the second grade teacher since 2017.

Education

Highest Degree: Master of Education
Major Field: Elementary Education
College Where Earned: Concordia University, Nebraska
Year Earned: 2021

Biography

Benji loves being with family, playing and watching sports, being around animals, learning about new technology, and helping students become the best version of themselves. He has been married to Liz Oliver (Rice) for 5+ years and has two cats, Rore and Figlet.



Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson

Position: 1st Grade
Phone: 530-519-2837
Email: deborah.nelson@myuja.org

Experience

Debbie began her teaching career in Templeton, CA and taught grades 1-4 for 7 years. She then taught first grade for 2 years in Las Vegas, NV. She
spent several years officially away from the classroom to raise her 3 children. When the youngest went to Kindergarten she worked for 7 years as a preschool director in Chico, CA. In Salem, Oregon Debbie enjoyed teaching a pre-K class. She began teaching first grade in Ukiah in the fall of 2020.

Education

Highest Degree: Master of Arts
Major Field: Elementary Education
College Where Earned: Pacific Union College
Year Earned: 1988

Biography

Debbie’s favorite thing is to love kids. She has found great joy in loving the kids God gave her to raise and the kids God has sent to her classroom.
When she has a chance she likes to bake, read and spend time in nature.



Margie Salcedo Rice

Margie Salcedo Rice

Position: K-10 Music teacher
Phone: 707-972-9552
Email: margie.rice@myuja.org

Experience

Margie has been a music teacher at Ukiah Junior Academy for the last 32 years teaching Violin with over 20 of those years being a chorale director for K-10. She has also taught strings and orchestra at Rio Lindo Adventist Academy (6 years), orchestra at Mendocino Community College, (5 years), and choir and orchestra at Instilling Goodness, Developing Virtue girl’s school (2 years). Margie has been a member of the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra since 1985 and their concertmistress for the last 30 years. Margie has had a private violin and vocal studio in Ukiah, CA since 1986.

Education

Highest Degree: Juris Doctor
Major Field: Legal Studies
College Where Earned: Purdue University Global
Year Earned: 2018

Biography

Margie enjoys making music with her talented family, Jessica (violin), Patricia (violin), and Elizabeth (Cello) as well as her son in law (Benji Oliver). Margie is also a Christian Recording Artist and has produced three albums with Chapel Records and appears regularly on 3ABN and HOPE Channel with the Family Reunion singers. She loves spending time with her growing family which includes two precious grandsons, Daniel and Giovanni. Margie has been married to Geoffrey Rice, M.D. since 1985 and enjoys backpacking, exercising, and being out in nature with God. Sharing her love for Jesus through music is a privilege and brings her great joy.


Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson

Position: Business Manager
Phone: (707)234-9233
Email: dave.anderson@nccsda.com

Experience

Dave has been the Business Manager at Ukiah Junior Academy since 2009. He has also been the Treasurer at the Ukiah Seventh-day Adventist church since 2004. Dave pastored a five-church district in Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference of the Canadian Union. He taught school in Rwanda, Newfoundland, Canada, and California before returning to school to obtain his RN degree from Santa Rosa Junior College.
He worked as a Registered Nurse from 1981 to 1995 in a variety of nursing units. At Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, he worked as a Perioperative Nurse from 1995 to his retirement from nursing in 2013.

Education

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Theology
Major Field: Theology
College Where Earned: Canadian Union College (Burman University)
Year Earned: 1964

Biography

Dave went to Burma (Myanmar) as a missionary's kid in 1952 where he lived with his parents in several locales. He attended Vincent Hill School in Mussoorie, India, from 1955-1960. He enjoys travel near and far away, having circled the world by ocean and by air. He has played in a number of school bands and musical groups with a variety of instruments and has directed choirs and singing groups.
Dave's hobbies include playing his keyboard, plant cultivation, and photography, especially flowers and birds. The only trouble with trying to capture a bird by photo is that they usually don't cooperate. He loves sharing the home office with his wife, Donna Faye, and getting to see his daughter and two adult grandchildren as often as possible.


Allison Kurtz

Allison Kurtz

Position: Office Manager
Phone: 707-462-6350
Email: office@myuja.org

Experience

Allison worked as an office manager for five years at her father's dental practice in Willits. After that, she worked for three years at J&B Dental lab before coming to Ukiah Junior Academy in 2020.

Education

Highest Degree: Bachelor of Science
Major Field: Film and Television
College Where Earned: Pacific Union College
Year Earned: 2009

Biography

Allison loves being out in nature and has a great appreciation for anything that is plant or animal. She enjoys "movie nights" with her four nephews, hanging out with family, spending time with her blind dog Bartimaeus, hiking, and working on her hobbies.



Ashlin Olivera

Ashlin Olivera

Position: After School Care
Phone: 707-391-7381
Email: amolivera@puc.edu

Experience

Ashlin has a mix of work experience in hard labor, working as a Teachers Assistant at Rio Lindo Academy for 2 years and a mentor for one. Her experience at UJA is informal, but she has volunteered work here for her mom (Mrs. Olivera) in Kindergarten for a long time.

Education

Highest Degree: Currently Sophomore
Major Field: Biology Pre-Vet
College Where Earned: Pacific Union College

Biography

Ashlin has many interests that lead her in different directions, including art, animals, nature, sports, and working with her hands. In a usual day, she spends most of it pursuing her Biology degree when not at work, but in free time she enjoys being outside and active. If you see Ashlin around, you will most likely see her puppy Tula by her side as well as she works to train her and enjoy her companion as much as possible.

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