My personal background as a life-long student with an international perspective enables me to personally relate to the students, parents, and faculty of Orion. Even though I grew up in a lower income neighborhood and I was exposed to extreme risk in my childhood, I was able to get the most out of my education with proper guidance and support from my teachers and my family. I believe my success as a student was also due to a love of learning that I have kept all of my life and has enabled me to learn four languages, English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Italian, and to become passionate about continuously improving my approaches to teaching and learning.
With a BFA in Theatre Studies: Directing from Boston University and an MA in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University, I have become addicted to exploring and experiencing a wide range of curriculum and pedagogy. Over the course of 10 years of teaching at nearly every grade level, I developed extensive experience in raising academic achievement and preparing students for success in higher education by using inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, and social-emotional learning in my teaching strategies.
This teaching experience, and the professional development that accompanied it, proved especially useful when I transitioned from teaching to administration. As an administrator with 11 years of experience, I was fortunate to have served as a head of school for three years for an international school serving K-12 students in China. After that, I wanted to explore higher education and served as a Dean of Liberal Arts and Student Life for a community college in downtown Oakland, California for over six years. While I enjoyed this experience and learned a great deal about higher education administration, I longed to return to K-12 international education. As a result, I returned to China and served as a principal for a new international primary school. As someone who believes himself to be a world citizen, I truly believe that an international education is the best way to promote a sense of global citizenship with our students and families.
Administrative Office Manager
Born in Los Angeles, CA to an Italian father and Mexican mother, Ms. Gaeta is the oldest of 7 siblings and was forced into a state of leadership and maturity from an early age. She has always loved to learn and found school to be exciting and effortless. She was recognized as being highly gifted early on and continued down the road of advanced and Honors classes with a 4+ GPA.
Always a high achiever, her first job in retail came at an early age and within six months she was promoted to department supervisor. Her leadership and customer service skills quickly developed with intensive customer service training on a weekly basis. Her former supervisor would say “She could sell sand in the desert!” and she enjoyed sales very much, but her true passion was teaching and leading others. Being in charge of training new employees and giving customer service training was her true love.
Always interested in learning more, she decided to go back to school after 12 years in the sales industry to become a dental professional. After graduating she began what was a life changing experience for her and worked for five years as an office manager in a small private office, where she learned that you can make a difference in someone’s life just by being kind, saying good morning, or simply offering a smile.
Ms. Gaeta is excited to be a part of Orion at this point in her life, and she possesses the knowledge and leadership skills to help guide both our staff and our students. She is looking forward to being part of the success and future of each and every one of our students.
“You never know what a person is going through or what type of day they experienced up until the morning you came into their life… so I believe in being kind and thoughtful. If an effortless gesture from me can make a difference for them, then I will be more than happy to give that smile.”
Passionate about helping others academically since she was a teen, Shanise Turner is no stranger to inspiring youths. Ms. Turners’ greatest successes have been achieved in the areas of excellent public speaking, outreach, college admissions, academic guidance, instructional support and administrative management with nearly 10 years of experience.
Ms. Turner has worked with a diverse spectrum of students and families. She believes every student has the full potential to achieve academic excellence, utilizing Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence as the foundation to empower students.
Shanise Turner has earned her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, with emphasis on the Helping Profession from California State University Dominguez Hills. She is currently finishing her Masters in School Counseling with her Pupil Personnel Service Credential from National University.
Ms. Turner is excited to be apart of Orion International Academy to work with students from admission and enrollment to graduation and college acceptance.
Before joining Orion International Academy, Ms. Wu worked with international programs associated with cultural exchange, second and foreign language learning, academic preparation, teachers and administrators exchange events. She is also innovative in creating tailor-made programs that meet the schools’, parent, and student needs.
Sally Wu received her Ph. D. from the department of Education Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Additionally, Ms. Wu has a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from California State University, Pomona, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications from National University.