Faculty & Staff
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B.A. Political Science – UCSB; Life Credentials in both elementary and secondary education
After 11 years of classroom teaching for the Goleta Union School District, Gordon had the fortunate opportunity to help start Anacapa School in 1981, and he has been the school’s headmaster and history teacher ever since the founding. Gordon is passionate about maintaining a thriving learning community for Anacapa students to develop their academic skills, sharpen their critical thinking, and become positive contributors to society. Gordon has planned and led all of Anacapa’s multi-day excursions throughout the United States and Europe. He enjoys the challenges of planning the logistics for students to have safe, enjoyable, and memorable trips.
Every summer Gordon and his wife Suzie hike into the High Sierra for extended stays far away from the nearest road to enjoy the pristine beauty of the Sierra wilderness. Suzie and Gordon are also very connected to Italy, where they lived for a year when they were first married and visit often on vacations, including Anacapa summer trips to Italy.
Gordon and Suzie have two sons. Tom graduated from Anacapa in 1992 and is an emergency room physician. Their son Cielo graduated from Anacapa in 1995 and is a landscape architect. They have five grandchildren. Suzie and Gordon have lived for many years in the mountains above Santa Barbara in a small community on San Marcos Pass, known as the San Marcos Trout Club, where their home is surrounded by the oak woodlands of Los Padres National Forest.
Head of Faculty;
B.A. Painting – UCSB; Certificate in Commercial Design – UCSB
When she was in the fifth grade, Suzie’s parents took her to see a Van Gogh exhibit which so impressed her that she decided then and there to become an artist. She majored in painting at UCSB, worked as a graphic designer for several years, and has had several watercolor shows locally. Suzie is constantly amazed at how much there is to discover about art. Studying art offers unique learning opportunities that are very important to her, and she loves to share these with her students by challenging them to expand their artistic skills and repertoire through studio projects combined with the study of art appreciation. Her art classes include Upper School Studio Art and Lower School World of Art. From time to time, Suzie also offers afternoon elective classes such as Plein Air Painting, Figure Drawing, and Non-Western Art. Suzie is a founding teacher at Anacapa, and she is quite sure that this is her dream job in that she teaches two subjects she is passionate about—art and Italian—plus she gets to work with her husband, headmaster Gordon Sichi.
Suzie started to learn the wonderful language of Italian when visiting Gordon’s relatives in Florence on their honeymoon. Gordon and Suzie also lived in Italy for a year before their sons were born and have visited and toured the country many times, but continue to find it such a captivatingly interesting country that there are still places that they would like to explore. Every few summers, they escort a group of Anacapa students through Italy. Suzie started teaching Italian in 1983 and finds it very rewarding to share her excitement for the language and culture of Italy with others. One delicious component of her classes is the weekly cooking session, where students prepare and eat an authentic Italian dish in the school’s kitchen, and only Italian is spoken the whole class. The students very quickly become “kitchen fluent” in both language and culinary skills, and each year they offer a five-course Italian feast as an item in the school’s auction.
Outside of Anacapa, Suzie is a devoted gardener and practices yoga regularly. Whenever possible, she makes time to play with her grandchildren, who she says are teaching her about life and love
Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Robotics, Student Activities, Sports
B.S. Business Administration – University of Oregon; Teacher Education – Portland State University and Azusa Pacific University
Bryan is a homegrown Santa Barbaran with a dozen years spent in the Northwest during his high school and college years. Upon returning to Santa Barbara, he immediately went into teaching after spending the prior five years in accounting and finance.
Since 2001, Bryan has taught all levels of math at the junior high and high school levels. At Anacapa, he has enjoyed teaching math as well as elective Engineering, Robotics, and sports classes such as the S.B. Trails hiking class. Bryan is also a faculty advisor to the Anacapa Student Senate. Along with raising his two sons with his wife Sarah, Bryan enjoys road trips, hiking, biking, and anything else the boys are interested in.
B.A. Art History – UCSB; DBAE Training – Getty Institute
Paula brings over 25 years of art experience to Anacapa’s ceramics and sculpture program. Graduating from UCSB, Paula spent time in Palenque, Mexico, where she assisted in the illustration of several books by Merle Greene Robertson on the Mayan culture in Palenque. Returning to Santa Barbara, Paula worked at Elizabeth Fortner Gallery, representing some of America’s finest craft artists. Paula later spent six years working as an art teacher and the art resource coordinator at Roosevelt Elementary School. Her expertise includes ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, watercolor, and fabric. Paula and her husband Joe have two daughters.
B.A. Mathematical Science – Rice University; M.A.T. Math Education – University of Chicago
Born and raised in Illinois, Liggy was an English teacher in Taiwan before teaching mathematics for ten years at New Trier High School, north of Chicago. Eleven years ago, she moved to Santa Barbara when her husband joined the faculty of UCSB. Since then, she has enjoyed being an at-home mom to two kids, now ages 11 and 14. She is looking forward to returning to the classroom and teaching at Anacapa.
B.A. Speech and Hearing – Montclair State University; M.A. Audiology – UCSB
Salli has taught Performing Arts at Anacapa since 2001. Prior to that, she worked as a music teacher in the Goleta Union School District for many years and served on the music task force that designed a district-wide music program. In addition to the performing arts, she has also taught school clubs in Jewelry Making and Fashion Design.
Salli grew up on the East Coast and after earning her graduate degree at UCSB, fell in love with Santa Barbara and decided to stay. She and her husband Irwin own Occhiali Eyewear. Their daughter and son both graduated from Anacapa. Salli is also the assistant producer for Out of the Box Theatre Company.
B.S. and M.A. Physics – UCSB
Ernest has been teaching physics for the past 14 years, primarily at UCSB, where he continues to teach. Before joining the Anacapa School faculty, he taught physics at a private school in Beijing for two school years. Ernest enjoys computers and technology, playing soccer year-round in local adult leagues, cooking, and visiting tropical beaches for lengthy stays.
B.M. Music – Berklee College of Music
Growing up in Central Michigan, Amy’s passion for music was evident almost from birth. Throughout her teenage years she performed in her church and at local events, receiving numerous requests to teach private lessons, which she began doing at the age of 17. It was then that she discovered her other great passion: education.
In 2010 Amy moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music where she studied music education. While completing her coursework, Amy stayed busy working two administrative jobs and continuing to teach. After graduating in 2013, Amy spent a year working in the music industry in L.A. but is thrilled to now be a part of the lively education community at Anacapa. When not at school, Amy enjoys reading, relaxing, and exploring the beautiful state of California.
B.A. English – UCSB
Peggy joined the Anacapa faculty in 2000 after teaching English at Midland School in Los Olivos for 20 years. At Anacapa, Peggy has taught English to all levels, including an Advanced Placement Literature class for juniors and seniors. She loves literature and tries to instill that love in her students. She is also committed to teaching her students how to write well.
While at Anacapa, Peggy has also taught Health Science, Creative Writing, and a weaving elective. Some of the clubs Peggy has offered are Knitting, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Photography, and Painting Nesting Dolls. She serves as the coordinator for the school’s ongoing accreditation process through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Peggy and her husband Chris, an English professor at Allan Hancock College, have a son, a daughter, and five grandchildren. Peggy and Chris live in an old school house on a cattle ranch near Lompoc where they enjoy gardening, writing, and their dogs.
Spanish, Music, Sports, Student Activities
Teacher Education – Escuela Normal Rural “Vasco de Quiroga,” Mexico; A.A. Spanish and Music – SBCC
Hugo was born and raised in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. He grew up close to his father, an elementary school principal, who deeply inspired him to become an educator. As a young boy, Hugo found a passion for music and started performing at a young age, with a group of friends who were influenced by the Latin American music of the time; through music, they promoted peace and social justice, performing in local community events and schools. Hugo has toured the country playing traditional music from Latin America with the band Quetzalcoatl, and founded his own local band, “Ensamble Vientos Del Sur” (Winds of the South Ensemble), playing in different venues in town.
Hugo joined the Anacapa faculty in 2006, teaching all Spanish levels. He started the school’s music program, directing the acclaimed school band, “The Adobes.” Hugo has also taught the Soccer and Softball elective classes. In past years, Hugo has coordinated various Anacapa clubs including Salsa Dancing, International Film Studies, and Current Issues. Hugo and his wife Lucia have twin boys who graduated from Anacapa.
Marine Biology, Lower School Life Science, Sports
B.S. Geological and Environmental Sciences – Stanford University; M.A. Education – Stanford University
Megan started teaching science at Anacapa in 2010. She loves all science, but is especially interested in environmental science and even worked with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) studying the behavior of heavy metals in soils during wetland restorations. While at Stanford University, Megan played Division I water polo, helped develop an environmental education curriculum for local high schools, and volunteered in an elementary school literacy-tutoring program. After getting her master’s degree at Stanford, Megan spent time as a professional outdoor guide with Naturalists at Large.
These days, when she isn’t teaching elective courses like Rock Climbing, Running/Swimming, Yearbook, or Soccer at Anacapa, Megan enjoys taking advantage of Santa Barbara’s ample outdoor resources by surfing, rock climbing, and hiking with her fiancé Colin and their dog Kiva.
Director of Admissions; International Student Coordinator; Development
B.A. Program in the Arts-Dance Concentration – Barnard College of Columbia University
Having spent part of her childhood in Santa Barbara, Susannah traveled east for her college years to New York City, where she went on to enjoy a successful career in fashion as a knitwear designer. As her career developed, she worked for companies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto, all the while traveling extensively to Europe and Asia.
After the birth of her son, now an Anacapa Upper School student, Susannah pursued a career in real estate, in order to stay closer to home in Toronto. Eighteen years of shoveling snow and scraping the windshield in the morning inspired Susannah to make the move back to Santa Barbara so that her son could get to know the American side of his heritage. Susannah joined the Anacapa administrative team in 2012 and continues to pursue her passion for fiber arts as the adviser to the school’s knitting club. She is also active in the adult literacy program at the Santa Barbara Public Library.
B.A. English – The Colorado College; M.A. English – Teachers College, Columbia University
After graduating from college, Sheryn lived on the East Coast, where she taught junior and senior high school English and served as faculty advisor to a very active National Honor Society chapter while also completing her master’s degree. She and her husband Duane enjoyed the many cultural aspects of living in the metropolitan New York City area for seven years but were delighted to return to the West to raise their family when Duane joined the UCSB faculty in 1977. While their daughter and son were growing up, Sheryn worked part-time as an editor—first for a publisher of technical journals in veterinary medicine and later for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History—while serving as a parent volunteer in her children’s schools.
Sheryn, who joined the Anacapa administrative staff in 1993, loves working in a school setting, especially one as unique and lively as the Anacapa School environment. She appreciates being part of the team that provides a smooth-running infrastructure for the school, allowing teachers and students to focus on learning. Outside of school, Sheryn enjoys visiting Colorado to see family and explore the beauty of the Rocky Mountains as well as reading, listening to music (from classical to the blues), and camping.
Alison Nigh Strelich
B.A. Photography/Filmmaking – Brooks Institute of Photography; M.F.A. Directing – American Film Institute
After working in Los Angeles as a film director and screenwriter, Alison returned with her husband Tom to Santa Barbara in order to raise their family. Alison became an instructor at Brooks Institute, teaching in both the bachelors and masters programs over the last 15 years. An award-winning photographer and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Alison discovered over the years that the joy of sharing through teaching equals the joy of creating.
Alison teaches the Photography elective courses at Anacapa, a school she and her husband are great fans of as both their son and older daughter are Anacapa grads and their younger daughter attends Anacapa presently. When not teaching at Anacapa or Brooks Institute, Alison enjoys photographing with her camera collection, which includes digital workhorses as well as several film cameras, such as a1950’s era Speed Graphic camera that she’s outfitted with a WWII spy lens. She also plays drums in the area’s only (thank goodness!) bagpipe band, raises chickens, directs an occasional play, and generally enjoys being in Santa Barbara.
History, Lower School American Government, Sports, Improv
B.A. Theater and Community – UCSB
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Dillon first got involved with Anacapa School when he decided to enroll as a seventh grader. As he is quick to point out, he’s spent almost half of his life with the Anacapa family! After graduating from Anacapa in 2009, Dillon went straight into the theater program at UCSB. While there, he performed in a number of shows with the University and also headed the award-winning improvisational comedy troupe, Improvability, all four years.
As a faculty member at Anacapa, Dillon says it has been wonderful to come back and give to the school that gave so much to him. During his senior year in college, Dillon coached Anacapa’s first-ever basketball team, leading it to a successful, undefeated season. He also introduced the school to improv. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 2013, Dillon returned to Anacapa to work alongside his former teacher and headmaster, Gordon Sichi, as Gordon’s Teaching Assistant for the History and American Society classes.
Dillon’s sister Haley also attended Anacapa from seventh to twelfth grade. She graduated from Anacapa in 2012 and is currently a student at Northern Arizona University.
While not at school, Dillon still enjoys performing as much as he can, playing every sport, and playing with his dog, Tugg.