Faculty & Staff
General email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 since the school’s 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. Bryan is also a faculty advisor to the Anacapa Student Senate. Along with raising his two sons and daughter with his wife Sarah, Bryan enjoys road trips, hiking, and biking. In recent years, Bryan and a small group of friends have collaborated on a successful entrepreneurial endeavor—Captain Fatty’s Craft Brewery headquartered in Goleta. Bryan serves as Chief Financial Officer of the operation.
B.A. in Communication/Journalism – St. John Fisher College
Karen was born and raised in upstate NY. After college graduation, a trip to southern California solidified her love for the beach and desire to remain out west.
Her communications/journalism degree led her to working in public relations for the automotive industry, marketing in the floral wire service industry and event planning in the financial planning and homecare industries. These varied positions have helped to build her problem-solving, project management and communications skills.
In 2012, Karen and her husband returned to southern California, this time to Santa Barbara, after six years in Seattle, WA, where they started their family. Karen enjoyed being an at-home mom with her two sons and daughter for a number of years, but is excited for her new role at Anacapa! In her free time, Karen can be found playing beach volleyball, running or trail running, surfing or baking.
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. Twelve 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 12 and 15. In 2014, Liggy returned to the classroom, teaching math at Anacapa.
B.F.A. University of Pennsylvania; A.S. Computer Science, A.A. Multimedia Arts and Technologies, A.A. Film Production, A.A. Animation – SBCC
Francis has an unusual skill set as a visual artist, writer and programmer. He has experience as a fine artist, designer, photographer, desktop publisher, and multimedia artist. In addition to his position at Anacapa School, he is now in his third year as a Computer Technology Specialist teacher at The Montessori Center School in Goleta. Originally from a farming town outside of Philadelphia, Francis was admitted to The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at age 16, and was the youngest student to be admitted to the University of Pennsylvania’s coordinated program with the Academy. Francis then moved to Maui, where he lived and worked for a decade as a freelance artist and entrepreneur, designing modern aloha shirts. In 1997 he discovered Santa Barbara City College and moved to Santa Barbara to study film and animation. At SBCC he realized that programming was an essential skill that many artists did not have in the new digital world so he studied computer science and later used those skills as a visual effects artist for feature films.
Well-traveled, Francis speaks a few foreign languages -French fluently- and likes to garden, sail, play tennis, and snowboard. His current passion is producing educational media, which he does as a professional consultant, and plans to begin graduate study in Educational Technology in 2016-2017.
Biology, Lower School Physical Science, Documentary Film-Making, Sports
B.A. Biology – Brown University; M.A. Geography – UCSB
Emily is passionate about science. She came to Anacapa in 2015 with an impressive teaching resume, which includes teaching science at Girls Inc. of Santa Barbara and teaching assistant experience at UCSB. Emily also has considerable experience teaching abroad, having served as a teaching assistant in South Africa, an outdoor group leader in Australia, and an assistant expedition leader in Vietnam and Cambodia.
In her free time, Emily loves to go on sunset beach walks, travel, garden, cook fresh and healthy foods, read the news, practice yogalates, hike and bike, and catch up with friends near and far. She is excited to join the Anacapa team, especially because of the school’s focus on community and experiential education.
B.A. Sociology – UCSB
Morgan was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Eager for a change in scenery, she moved to Santa Barbara to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara. After earning her B.A. in sociology, Morgan moved to the Dominican Republic where she found a niche caring for stray dogs and volunteering with youth groups. Morgan eventually moved back to California and spent three years managing a local non-profit dog rescue in Goleta, where she cultivated a variety of administrative skills. While Morgan had always been an animal lover, she did not expect to develop such a deep respect and fondness for the non-profit community as a whole. She is passionate about helping others, and staying active and eager to learn.
Morgan joined the Anacapa School team in May 2016 and is excited to be part of another exceptional non-profit community. When she is not working, Morgan enjoys volunteering at the dog rescue, spending time with her own dogs, practicing yoga, and traveling.
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.
Admissions; Business Coordinator
B.A. Business Economics – UCSB
Natalie was born and raised in San Diego, California. When the time came to decide where to go to college, Natalie wanted to move to a smaller town with character, and remain close to the ocean. Santa Barbara checked all the boxes! Following her graduation from UCSB, Natalie worked as a mortgage loan processor in Santa Barbara, developing her business and financial planning skills. Meanwhile, Natalie began exploring the local mountains: rock climbing, hiking, and backpacking. After a year in the finance industry and a developed interest in the outdoors, Natalie jumped at the opportunity to go abroad, spending a year in New Zealand working in the hospitality industry and on an organic farm. During this time, Natalie gained valuable skills in sustainable tourism and organic farming practices, while taking advantage of New Zealand’s many outdoor recreation opportunities.
Natalie returned to Santa Barbara in January 2015 and, in April, joined the administrative staff of Anacapa School, where she is excited to be a part of a special community. Natalie also works part time as a restoration field assistant at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration at UCSB, where she enjoys learning about plant communities and restoring native landscapes. Outside of work, you can find Natalie hiking, rock climbing, surfing, or biking around Santa Barbara.
Media Coordinator & Yearbook
B.A. Film and Media Studies, Art – UCSB
Brittany was born and raised in Granite Bay, California. She graduated high school early and moved to Guilin, China to teach English as a second language. She came to Santa Barbara in 2011 to attend UCSB. There she fell in love with the arts and hosted a weekly radio show at KCSB, performed on the improvisational comedy troupe, Improvability, and worked as Art Director of WORD, an Isla Vista Culture and Arts Magazine.
After graduating UCSB, Brittany started work as a full-time freelance graphic designer and can be found working on her laptop at local coffee shops any given day. In her free time, Brittany loves to travel, cook, and spend time outdoors. She loves adventure and is happiest when exploring a new city, tasting foreign foods, or trying out a new hobby.
She’s been involved with the Anacapa community for the past three years and is excited to officially be a part of the Anacapa School.
Literature, Creative Writing, Sports
B.A. English Literature – Franklin and Marshall College; M.A. Teaching (English) – Montclair State University
After graduating from college and teaching in an outdoor school in Southern California for three years, Emily went on to pursue her graduate studies in education. Upon completion of her M.A. degree, Emily was honored by the State of New Jersey Department of Education, winning the 2015 New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award in English, a testament to her talent in the classroom. In addition to her English expertise, Emily also brings her experience in physical education, having served in the past as a coach in both gymnastics and swimming.
Emily moved to Goleta in the summer of 2015 after a three-week cross-country road trip and joined the Anacapa faculty soon after her arrival. In addition to teaching and literature, Emily enjoys anything that gets her outdoors including hiking, camping, and teaching herself to surf.
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 for 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 their two daughters are Anacapa graduates. Outside the classroom and darkroom, Alison enjoys photographing with her camera collection, which includes digital workhorses as well as several film cameras, such as a 1950’s-era Speed Graphic camera that she’s outfitted with a WWII spy lens. She also plays drums in the area’s only bagpipe band, raises chickens, directs an occasional play, and generally enjoys being in Santa Barbara.
History, Geography, Performing Arts, Sports
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, teaching Upper School history.
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.