November 24, 2013

Meet the Faculty

Elissa Reade – Owner/Administrator

Elissa has twelve years of teaching experience; two as a substitute in public schools, three teaching at Meridian Academy, and seven spent home schooling and teaching other children in our community. She is very passionate about teaching and individualized learning. She believes that no two children are the same, and as a teacher it is her job to help them seek out their own individual passions and talents. She studied biochemistry at UCSD earning her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She loves the sciences and strives to help children find the joy in making scientific discoveries. As a co-founder of Meridian Academy, she loves to help children and families rediscover the joy in learning and working creatively. Elissa has four children, and is married to Frank who works for the City of San Marcos as a firefighter paramedic.




Kat Snodgrass – Owner/Administrator

Katherine SnodgrassKat lives with her husband and four children in Escondido. She has spent many years teaching and inspiring children in different capacities. After receiving a scholarship to San Diego State University in cheerleading, she coached youth teams at West and Gold Gymnastics in San Marcos and through the national company, UCA. She has thirteen years experience in business working in the accounting department of TAG automotive company and is an equal partner with her husband in their business, North County Auto Specialists. She home schooled her own children for five years before starting Meridian Academy and was able to volunteer through the community in many different educational youth groups. She is thrilled to be able to develop an education environment where children are free to pursue their own interests and to inspire a lifelong passion for education. Katherine has always had a deep-rooted love for History and Language Arts and feels that it is through the classics that children can learn many of life’s most important lessons.



Amanda Liberto – Kindergartener, 1st, 2nd Grade Teacher

Amanda is a San Diego native, yet anyone who knows her knows she is more of a country gal at heart. Her Ohio-native sweetheart and she joke that maybe he thought too quickly that he could escape the country life when he moved to California. In any event, Ms. Liberto feels blessed to become Mrs. McNamara in Spring of 2018! Her love for being out on the farm has allowed her to assist working with students with special needs in horse-therapy. Seeing a student genuinely love to learn and take pride in their successes highlights her efforts. Most recently, she took those passions and taught as a teacher for students with Autism. No two students are the same, as an educator she believes in “finding a way that works” for each individual child. When attending San Diego State University to attain her B.A. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences she served in the role as a reading teacher. The goal of these classes were to make reading exciting, challenging, yet rewarding; while incorporating phonetics and play. On Sundays, she has taught “kids church” for the last few years and adores her class! Teaching young hearts kindness and engaging developing minds with curiosity are her motives in teaching. She is so excited to teach the K/1/2 class at Meridian!


Jillene Rios – 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Teacher/Art Teacher

Jillene3Jillene is a 20 year veteran teacher of various home and charter school programs in North County as well as teaching and developing curriculum with Abrakadoodle Art Education.  Having taught her own three boys in all aspects and studies of general education from Kindergarten through the 8th grade, she has learned through study, experience and the pursuit of teaching excellence, methods of instruction that inspire and motivate her students to love learning. Due to the creative methods and skills she has acquired, she has repeatedly been sought out and hired by parents and schools to teach their students.  She is very excited about creating a program that will provide a leadership education that emphasizes creativity and different learning styles.  Jillene’s main passion is art and art history.  She feels that if you want your children to increase their overall brain functioning capabilities, improve cognitive and creative skills, raise their self-esteem levels, and increase their enthusiasm for learning, then have them involved in art! Jillene is currently teaching the 2/3/4 classroom and you can see a sample of her class’ amazing projects on her blog



Amy Stock – 4th, 5th Grade Teacher

Amy is extremely eager for this upcoming school year, and to get to know each and every student on a deeper level. Amy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management with and a Minor in Psychology. After spending some time working in event management, she discovered that her passion was with children, and constant growth of the mind and character. That is when she decided to return to school for her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, at the University of Central Florida. Upon this journey, she found everything she was looking for, and that teaching was truly her craft. Amy was born and raised in Florida. She and her fiancé Matt, spent a few years living in the beautiful Breckenridge, CO, and now they reside in North County San Diego. Amy has many years of teaching experience in Montessori based schools, public schools, and overseas. She believes that the learning experience is successful when student and teacher truly understand, trust, and respect one another. Her mission as a teacher is not only to focus on academic curriculum, but to help children grow as individuals, and find their own passions in life. She believes kindness and honesty are two of the most valuable characteristics a person can behold; and she hopes to run a classroom based on those ideals. When outside of the classroom, Amy and Matt thrive off international travel and all outdoor activities. At home, they are happiest when they are spending time with their kitty child, named Belize.


Kim Packard – Music Teacher

Kim loves music, education and children. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Utah State University in Voice Performance and a Master of Music degree in Opera Performance from Arizona State University. She has performed numerous roles in both opera and musical theatre, and has traveled internationally to perform in London, Guatemala & El Salvador with Utah State Opera Outreach Program. In addition to solo work she also has a passion for choral music and is currently a member of Millennial Choirs & Orchestra which performs biannual concerts in Costa Mesa, California. In her spare time she combines her love of music education & children to teach Let’s Play Music, a music theory and musicianship course, to children in the community ages 4-8. She currently lives in San Marcos with her husband and two daughters and is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her love of music and education as the music teacher at Meridian Academy.