Andrea Balestrieri has her Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies from Hodges University. She moved to the New Port Richey area in 1975 from Massachusetts and graduated locally. She has owned a business, did hiring and training and worked for a large charity, but nothing compares to teaching. It never gets boring! She has worked with self-contained intellectually disabled students at J.W. Mitchell High School, Anclote High School and now as a Gulf High School Buccaneer. She loves helping my students learn and am excited to see them grow up and move out into the world. Ms. Balestrieri is thrilled to work for one of the first high schools in Pasco County. There is a rich history here and is always amazed at the amount of people she meets in the community that have attended Gulf High School. She loves to travel and read. She has one daughter, two doggies and a wonderful man by her side.
JD Baker (SSAP) He joined the Gulf faculty at the midway of the 2018 school year. He worked at Ridgewood High School for the past 15 years, where he was Head Boys/Girls Cross Country Coach (15 years), Head Boys Track (10 years), Girls Weightlifting (6 years). He has a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of South Florida and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. J.D. has taught PE, H.O.P.E., in addition was part of the Bio Medical program at RHS, in addition, was SSAP for 4 years.
Kaitlin Bixler is a social studies teacher. She has her B.S. in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. She graduated from Mitchell High School and grew up in the Clearwater area. Having spent a year at Ridgewood High School prior to Gulf, Ms. Bixler is very excited to continue her career in Pasco County. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys hanging out with her family and her dog.
Crystal Blatchley is a math teacher who joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2010-2011 school year, coming here from Hudson High School. She previously taught at Collins Middle School in Collins, Mississippi, and in Morgan City and Lafayette, Louisiana. She was born in Erie, Pa., and moved to Florida at age 13. She attended Gulf Middle School and Gulf High School, from which she graduated in 1990. She played volleyball, basketball, and softball at Gulf. She has a degree in Sports Medicine from Elon University in Elon, N. C.
Carmen Bozolo is a spanish teacher who has her Bachelors Degree in education from USF. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York. At River Ridge High School she started as a ESOL para, worked as Tech/media assistant. Ms. Bozolo is certified to teach Spanish K-12 and has taught Spanish I, II and III and Sponsored the Spanish Honor Society.
Bruno Buonsanto was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is also class of 1989 alumnus of Gulf high School. He is a Navy veteran, having served in Desert Storm/Shield on board the USS Midway CV-41 (Air Craft Carrier forward deployed Yokosuka, Japan). Mr. Buonsanto worked previously for Waste Management Inc. and managed a construction landfill in Hudson. After leaving the waste disposal industry and before joining the Gulf High staff in 2008, he was employed by Data-tron Communications as a project manager. He played 3 years of semi-pro football and 4 years of arena football for the AIFA (Gulf Coast Raiders), NIFL (Florida Knights), and the APFL (Florida Scorpions). He is currently the Head Girls Basketball coach here at Gulf and Assistant Football coach. All of his children have graduated from Gulf high and he has one son attending Gulf high now.
Phyllis Butler joined the faculty at the start of the 2008-09 school year. She teaches health occupations. Mrs. Butler has been an assistant director of a skilled nursing facility. She has been a nurse for eight years. She was born in St. Petersburg. She is a Hudson High School graduate and attended PHCC. She has three daughters, two of whom are students at Hudson High School.
Todd Byers is the JPTS teacher. He joined the faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. He has worked in Career Ready classes. He was born in Denver. He attended Colorado State University and his master’s degree is from University of Colorado Denver. He loves flyfishing and loves his wife and walks his cat on a leash.
Frances Costa is the GHS Health Career Academy science teacher. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2005-06 school year. Prior to GHS, she taught science to at-risk teens at PACE for four years. She has a master of science degree in biology from State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is a part-time science instructor at Pasco-Hernando Community College. On weekends, she volunteers as the activities director at an assisted living facility.
Angela Cotney is the guidance counselor for students whose last names begin with C, D, and G-M. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. She has an M. Ed. degree and an Ed. S. degree from the University of Florida. She previously was the guidance counselor at Hawthorne High School in Alachua County. She attended Gaither High School in Tampa. Her father is Mark Cotney, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 to 1984 and subsequently coached for two years.
Elizabeth Diaz joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2011-12 school year, teaching Nutrition & Wellness and Child Development. She was born in New York and came to Florida in 1989. She is a graduate of Springstead H. S. and she majored in Family and Consumer Science at FSU.
Kari Dittman teaches Reading. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2016-17 school year. Mrs. Dittman taught at Dayspring Academy Charter School for 8 years and has been teaching for 16 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Florida. She was born in South Bend, IN, but was raised in Pasco County and graduated from Hudson High School.
Jennifer Dixon began teaching in Florida in 2003. Since then, she has taught every grade from Kindergarten – 12th grade and has taught multiple subject areas. Ms. Dixon attended California University of Pennsylvania and received her B.A. degree in Political Science in 1999. She has also taken continuing education courses at the University of Pittsburgh and University of South Florida. Ms. Dixon holds a Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate in Art K-12, Exceptional Student Education K-12, and Social Science 6-12. She also has a Certificate in English Language Teaching (TEFL/TESOL) acknowledged by the British Council. Ms. Dixon studied abroad in St. Brieuc, France in 1994 during her junior year of high school. She enjoys international travel and studying other cultures and languages.
Steve Donaldson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Bellevue University/University of Nebraska Omaha where he graduated from the AFROTC program and has a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. He currently teaches Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. Government and Politics and Comparative Governments as well as International Baccalaureate (IB) History of the America’s classes, and sponsors the History Honor Club. Mr. Donaldson has been teaching at Gulf High School since 2004. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer (retired Major) and former business owner. He currently resides in Starkey Ranch and has lived in the Tampa area since 1992 and Pasco County since 1999. Mr. Donaldson is married with three children and seven grandchildren.
Lydia Donato teaches World History and AP U. S. History. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. She taught for three years at the Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars in East Harlem, N. Y. She is a graduate of Adelphi University in Garden City, N. Y., and she attended Long Beach High School in Long Beach, N. Y. Ms. Donato reports that she likes to travel and has visited Greece, Italy, and Ireland.
Judith Duncan joined the Gulf High School faculty at the start of the 2007-08 school year. She is the ESOL paraprofessional. Before coming to Gulf she served in a similar capacity at Gulf Highlands Elementary School for one year. She was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and earned a B. A. degree in Education from Chihuahua College. When she joined our faculty, she had lived in the U. S. for eleven years. Her husband, Ron Duncan, works for Bank of America. They have three children.
Steven Emerson teaches Reading. He joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. He had been the boys varsity soccer coach for three years, and earlier he was the girls soccer coach. Mr. Emerson taught at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School for 15 years and has been employed by the district for 19 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from St. Leo University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. Mr. Emerson was born in New Jersey and raised on Long Island. He attended Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, N. Y.
Heather Evans joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2006-07 school year. She teaches four sections of 10th grade English and on section of 9th grade English. The year before joining Gulf, she taught 8th grade English at Cypress Lake Middle School in Fort Myers. She was born in Sharon, Pa., and attended high school at West Middlesex High School in West Middlesex, Pa. She has a B. A. degree in English literature from Slippery Rock University.
Dimitrios Fakitsas teaches math. He joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. Mr. Fakitsas has been teaching since 2003. He earlier taught physical education but was subsequently certified in mathematics. He taught math at the Athenian Academy in Pinellas County last year. Mr. Fakitsas was born in Lamia in Greece and lived in Athens. He attended the 40th Athens High School and the Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Ana Maria Florez teaches math. She has her degree in Agricultural Engineering, National University of Colombia. She comes from Colombia South America, graduated as an engineer in 2000, and has worked as a teacher for 12 years. Ms. Florez speaks English and Spanish.
Jennifer Fugate teaches science. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. She has a B. S. degree in biology with a minor in psychology and a B. S. degree in chemistry with a minor in physics from Maryville College in St. Louis. She was born in St. Louis and grew up there. She previously taught at Ridgewood High School, and earlier taught at Zephyrhills High School for four years. Before becoming a teacher she worked for Sea World and for National Marine Fisheries.
Tanya Fuss is the chairman of the English department. She taught at River Ridge High School before coming to Gulf.
Claire E. Gabay teaches Spanish and mathematics. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. She was previously a dropout prevention teacher at Zephyrhills High School for two years. She has a civil engineering degree from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in Education from NLU. Before becoming a teacher, she worked for Xerox and Nielsen Media Research. She was born in Cartagena, Colombia, and came to the U. S. in 1981.
Lynn Goettel is the school nurse.
Raúl González joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2011-12 school year, teaching Algebra 1B and Geometry. He taught at the end of the previous year at Gulf Middle School and taught math for one year at Cypress Creek H. S. in Orlando. He also teaches Spanish at PHCC and taught Spanish at Valencia Community College for two years. He graduated from the Colegio Marista school in Puerto Rico and the University of Central Florida. He came to Florida in 1996.
Jeffrey Green teaches mathematics. He joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. He has a B. S. degree in mathematics from Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa., and completed the teacher certification program at Dickinson College. He was born in Philadelphia and grew up there. He has lived there, and in Sicily, Pennsylvania, New York City, and Los Angeles. He previously taught in the Central Dauphin school district in Pennsylvania and the William S. Hart school district in Santa Clarita, California.
Master Patrol Officer AJ Iozzio (Officer Joe) has been with the New Port Richey Police Department for twenty years. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. Petersburg College. He has been assigned to several different specialty units, over his career, such as a hostage negotiator, search and recovery dive team member, a Field Training Officer and an agency instructor. He was assigned as a school resource officer at Schwettman Education Center from 2004 through 2007 then went back to patrol until becoming the School Resource Officer at Gulf High School in February of 2017.
Sharaya Janes is our Resource Management Associate. She works in the Media Center. She is the sponsor of the junior class and the SADD Club. She is a 2012 graduate of GHS. She worked in the office at Gulf Middle School during her senior year.
Patty Joens is the principal’s secretary. She joined the staff of Gulf High at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Mrs. Joens had been at Bayonet Point Middle School for eleven years, and was Mr. Knobl’s secretary when he was principal there. (Mr. Knobl was later a principal at GHS.) She is originally from New Jersey. Patricia Pinto graduated from Gulf High School in 1988. Her husband Jason is principal of River Ridge Middle School.
Laurel Keesler teaches Intensive Reading. She joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. She was formerly a Literary Specialist at Land O’ Lakes High School and a Reading Resource Teacher at Gulfside Elementary School. She is originally from upstate New York and attended school in Buffalo. She has a master’s in Education in the area of Reading and has attended St. Leo University for Educational Leadership.
Andrea Knauber is an ESE teacher. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. She is originally from Colombia and moved to the U. S. in 2006. She has a B. A. in Sociology and a M. Ed. exceptional student education, reading and ESOL endorsements from Saint Leo University. Ms. Knauber worked for almost 7 years in Hillsborough county with middle and high school refugee students supporting their English language acquisition and cultural adaptation.
Janis Ledman is an English teacher in our IB program. She taught at Ridgewood before coming to Gulf.
Dean Lofton teaches Science. He is the Cross Country coach. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1978 and obtained his Science Ed. degree from USF.
Rick Lopez is a proud graduate of Gulf High (’95), along with his wife Shannon, and both joined the staff at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Mr. Lopez teaches English, is a Support Facilitator with the ESE Department, and has previously taught Theater, sponsored a Thespian troupe, and coached Soccer. He was born and raised in West Pasco, graduated with a B.A. in Literature from UCF, and worked as a tester, designer, and producer at EA Sports – Tiburon in Orlando for 8 years. Mr. Lopez enjoys sports, theater, movies, television, and napping; however, all of these hobbies have suffered due to his three lovely children (Sean, Ricky, and Sofia) that take up all his free time. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Shannon Lopez has her BA from UCF and Masters Degree from USF. This will be her thirteenth year with Pasco County Schools and she is thrilled to be returning to Gulf High, where she graduated in 1995. Mrs. Lopez received my undergraduate degree from UCF and my Masters degree in Exceptional Student Education from USF. Both she and her husband are natives of New Port Richey and first met in the halls of Gulf Middle School. She is the proud mother of three beautiful children, Sean, Ricky, and Sofia.
Andrew Madeloni joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2007-08 school year. He teaches social studies. He came to Gulf from Chasco Middle School, where he taught for one year. Before that, he taught for nine years at Hudson Middle School. He served in the U. S. Navy for 15 years. He was born in Brooklyn and attended Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, N. Y. He earned a B. A. degree in Social Science Education from USF. One of his brothers is a principal of a school in Massachusetts; the other works for the YMCA in Long Beach, N. Y.
Wanda McClellan teaches English and social studies. She joined the Gulf faculty in the middle of the 2003-04 school year. Mrs. McClellan was born in New Orleans and was raised in Monroe, Louisiana. She has a B. A. degree from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. She taught at the Renaissance Center in Citrus County for seven years. She has three children, ages 20, 18, and 15. Her husband runs the MRI Center at Community Hospital in New Port Richey. She says she likes sports, and her favorite sport is baseball. She was the Citrus County Teacher of the Year in 2002.
CDR John McGuire joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2011-12 school year. He is the Senior Naval Science Instructor (SNSI) in our NJROTC program. He retired from the Navy after 21 years of active duty in 2007 and has been teaching NJROTC ever since. He attended the University of Florida for 3 years and graduated with a BS in Economics from Florida State University. He earned an MS in Manpower Systems Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He has two sons, Tyler (26) and Steven (24). His hobbies are boating, fishing, diving, and anything related to the water.
Charlene Nibert is the Student Achievement Coach for Reading. She came to GHS from River Ridge High School at the start of the 2010-2011 school year. Ms. Nibert is a graduate of THE Ohio State University and has taught in Pasco County for her whole career. She started at the elementary level and worked herself up to high school 8 years ago when she received her reading endorsement. Ms. Nibert will be the Reading teacher for the Juniors and Seniors, and will be the Achievement Coach for Reading. He has been employed by Pasco County Schools since 1979. She is a proud mother of a son and a daughter, and grandmother of two with no. 3 due in December. Ms. Nibert reports that she is an avid reader and loves the outdoors, kayaking, canoeing, and jet skiing.
Denise Noble is an ESE instructional assistant. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Denise has a Bachelor of Science degree in Educational Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Humanities from St. Petersburg College. She originally started out as an archaeology major. She has been married for 30 years and has two adult children currently in college. She loves dogs and has two rescues and soon to be three. Denise enjoys kayaking, gardening, baking and reading.
Pam Reed MS CCC-SLP, MFA – Pam comes to GHS with many years of experience as a Speech Language Pathologist. She is a former vocal/dialect coach and taught as an Adjunct Professor at USF and Eckerd College. Pam enjoys building confidence and self-esteem in her students. She hopes to inspire them to become effective communicators.
JoAnn Reynolds is an ESE/Math co-teacher. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2013-14 school year. She previously taught Math at Sunlake and Fivay high schools and has been employed by the school district since 1998. Ms. Reynolds is a USF graduate.
Jose Rodriguez joined the Gulf High School faculty at the start of the 2005-06 school year, having just retired from the Navy after 20 years of service. He formerly worked in the business administration field, as a counselor, and as a Navy recruiting supervisor for his final tour of duty. Chief Rodriguez currently teaches in our NJROTC program (Naval Science 1) and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.
Bill Rutherford is the Gulf High School Director of Music. His responsibilities include conducting the GHS Concert Band, the GHS Marching Buccaneers, the GHS Color Guard, ‘Jazz Fusion’, teaching music theory with piano, and IB Music. Mr. Rutherford graduated from Gulf High School in 1988 and received a Bachelor’s degree from the USF School of Music in 1992. Mr. Rutherford joined the GHS faculty in 1994. He is married to Kelly Rutherford, who is the GHS Color Guard Sponsor and also teaches at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School. They have 3 children: Elizabeth, Brittany, and Andrew. His hobbies are traveling, playing sports, and video production.
Kelly Seltzer teaches English and Pre-IB Inquiry Skills. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Prior to joining Gulf she taught at Fivay High School. Before moving to Florida, Mrs. Seltzer taught at the High School for Service and Learning in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is originally from Long Island and graduated from Brentwood High School. Mrs. Seltzer has a B.A. in English from Empire State College and a M.A. in English Education from Adelphi University. Mrs. Seltzer is a diehard New York sports fan and is especially devoted to the New York Yankees.
Breck Shoemaker has a Marine Biology Bachelor’s degree from The University of Southern Mississippi. She was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She moved to Florida in 2015 with her son and loves it! She’s excited to be a Buccaneer!
Dawn Smith is an EBD/ESE teacher. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year. She worked at Paul R. Smith Middle School for the past nine years, four as a Support Facilitator and five as a teacher in the EBD unit. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from University of South Florida and recently finished her Master’s degree from University of Cincinnati in Behavior Analysis. She grew up in Cincinnati and has lived in Florida since 2003. Her son graduated college last year and lives in Orlando.
Suzanne Stacey joined the GHS faculty in 2016 and teaches Pre-IB, AP and IB Biology. She started teaching in 2006 after working as a Dietitian for several years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University. She also has a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. She is married to a GHS graduate and they have two daughters, Emily and Elizabeth.
Kim Stager is our bookkeeper.
Tim Stevens is a PE teacher. He joined our faculty at the start of the 2013-14 school year. Earlier he taught at River Ridge High School.
Chad Stoneking joined the GHS faculty at the start of the 2007-08 school year. He teaches drafting. Mr. Stoneking was born in Parkersburg, W. Va., and attended Parkersburg South High School. He has a B. F. A. degree in Art Education from Ohio University and a B. F. A. degree in Graphic Design from Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va.
Jesse Stringer teaches social studies. He joined the Gulf faculty at the start of the 2004-2005 school year. He has an M. A. degree in Secondary Education with a minor in history from West Virginia University. He also attended Tulane and Clemson. He was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Washington, Pa.
Rachel Thomas currently teaches English I and AVID I. This is her first year at Gulf HS; she previously taught English and Creative Writing at River Ridge High School for 5 years, and she taught English and Reading at Gaither High School in Hillsborough County for 4 years prior to that. Ms. Thomas has a B.S. in Psychology and Performance Management from Florida State University and hopes to begin working towards a master’s degree soon. She is ESE certified, as well as certified to teach English and Social Sciences in grades 6-12
Michele Walicke is a reading teacher. She joined our faculty at the start of the 2013-14 school year, coming to us from Calusa Elementary School. She is a 2005 graduate of Gulf High School. She most recently taught second grade at Calusa Elementary School. She graduated from USF with a B. S. degree in Education. She was born in Long Island, N. Y., but was rasied in Florida. She writes, “I am excited to be coming home to my alma mater, as well as to be coaching the school’s swim team.” She swam three years for Gulf and was our swim team captain during her senior year. She holds a school record in the 200 Medley Relay, and was a state finalist in 2003. Her hobbies include swimming, reading, golfing, and skating roller derby.
James Washington is an English teacher at Gulf. He joined our faculty at the start of the 2015-16 school year, coming to us from Zephyrhills High School, where taught for eight years. He lives in Spring Hill, and will now have a shorter commute. Mr. Washington earlier taught in Hillsborough County for 12 years. He taught at McLane Middle School in Brandon, Rogers Middle School in Riverview, and Benito and Liberty middle schools in Tampa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education and a master’s degree in reading at Saint Leo University. He attended Gulf High School, graduating in 1991. Mr. Washington has been a nationally board certified English teacher. Last year at ZHS Mr. Washington took 40 students to Italy during spring break. He has already arranged for a trip to Germany for ZHS students during spring break this school year and plans to allow Gulf students to participate. In 2017 he plans a Holocaust tour. Mr. Washington reports that he went skydiving this year over the summer for the first time. At Gulf he will teach 9th grade English honors and regular and Critical Thinking.
Ken Weightman teaches Visual Art and IB Art courses, and is the sponsor of the National Art Honor Society.