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 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. 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.
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. English and Film – Scripps College
Hilary believes that being recognized in high school for her writing put her on the path she still follows today. First, it inspired her to continue to write. Second, it showed her the power that schools and teachers have to influence students’ lives for the better.
After receiving her B.A. in English and Film at Scripps College, Hilary plunged headfirst into the world of newspaper and magazine publishing. She worked for several different publications including Sunset Magazine, California Magazine, and L.A. Weekly. She had the opportunity to wear many different hats during her years in publishing and worked as a writer, researcher, producer, art director, editor, stylist, design consultant, and photo editor. One of her favorite roles was getting to be a part of a small team that created several new start-up magazines for Time-Warner.
When Hilary and her husband, Ned, had their first daughter, they moved from the Bay Area to raise their children in Santa Barbara, a city that had been home to Hilary’s family for generations. Hilary continued to write and produce as a freelancer and also got involved in the Santa Barbara community. She enjoyed writing and publishing her first children’s book in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art during this time. With her children in school, Hilary was also re-immersed in a school community and reminded of how much she loved learning environments. Hilary started to volunteer and work with schools, serving on the Board of Trustees at Marymount of Santa Barbara, tutoring writing at SBCC, and helping rising high school juniors write their college essays.
Hilary is excited to join the team at Anacapa where she will have the opportunity to be involved in communications and the day-to-day running of the school. On weekends and vacations, Hilary loves to spend time with her family when her two girls are home from school. She also loves to travel, hike, run, find inspiration in home and design magazines, and curl up with a good book.
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.
B.M. Professional Music, Music Education – 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 Los Angeles but is thrilled to now be a part of the lively education community at Anacapa. When not at school, Amy and her husband enjoy reading, relaxing, and exploring the beautiful state of California.
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.
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.
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 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.