Welcome to Orion International Academy


Humanities


Mary Tascian-Williams

 

Mary Tascian-Williams, Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Christian School’s principal for academic year 2016-2017, a native of Romania, has been in the field of education for over twenty years as an administrator, Vice Principal, teacher, Librarian, College Counselor, Master Teacher, English Department Chair, and Adjunct Instructor teaching Curriculum and Instruction at University of Phoenix. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from Pepperdine University, two Bachelor degrees; one in journalism and one in political science from Cal State Northridge. She attended the Educational Doctorate Program at Pepperdine and completed All-but-Dissertation (ABD) in Education and Organizational Leadership.  Simultaneously with teaching she held auxiliary duties as Student Counsel Advisor, Testing Coordinator, Newspaper Advisor, and National Honors Society Advisor. Her subject matter teaching experience includes Advance Placement (AP) English Language, and AP English Literature, Honors English, World History, World Geography, Civics, US History, Journalism, Social Studies, and Spanish I.

Mrs. Tascian-Williams has language fluency speaking, reading, and writing in English, Spanish, and Romanian. She speaks Armenian fluently.   Her language proficiency enabled her to work in diverse communities and schools throughout Los Angeles County.  She worked as a bilingual Spanish teacher teaching all subjects in Spanish.  She taught AP Literature and Language at Inglewood High School.  She worked for Crystal Stairs in the 181st   Street Projects in South Central Los Angeles teaching English and Creative Writing. She taught SAT Preparation for three years on the Campus of USC in the University of Southern California Neighborhood Academic Initiative Program (NAI). Mrs. Tascian-Williams’ other experiences include working off campus in College Fairs representing the University of Southern California (USC) , being selected on numerous occasions as an SAT Essay Reader for the Educational Testing Services.  She served as a visitation team member on four Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visitation team visiting and evaluating private elementary, Middle, and High Schools.  She is the published author of Technology in the Classroom for the 21st Century and editor of the books “The KGB and The Armenian Church” and, “Martyr Forever”.

Mrs. Tascian-Williams personal mantra is, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. Her educational philosophy; “All children are capable learners and are God’s gift to humanity. The secret to education, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, lies in respecting the students”.  She resides in Azusa with her husband and daughter.



 Athletic


Mike Byars
Athletic Director
Mike Byars played for the nation’s all-time winningest coach (Robert Hughes) at the national powerhouse Dunbar High School in Ft. Worth, Texas – where he would be named an All American.  Mike spent his college career at the University of Miami (FL) and Northwestern State (LA) from 1997 – 2002, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Northwestern State in 2013. Mike would go on to have a successful career playing internationally in countries such as France, Turkey, Venezuela, Lithuania, Lebanon and Iran. He would build an awesome reputation as a dynamic, consistent, two-way player.
Mike Byars, currently serves as the Athletic Director of Orion International Athletic Academy where he scouts and develops international talent with a focus on professional eligibility. Coach Byars specializes in optimizing individual potential and overall athletic performance through intensive skill development, strength training and cognitive restructuring.




English


Erick S. Ramirez

eramirez@orionschools.org


• Master of Arts in English, La Sierra University
• Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Vocal Performance

Ramirez

Mr. Erick S. Ramirez joins Orion International Academy after having taught internationally for many years both in Europe and Asia. He was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He attended La Sierra University in Riverside, CA where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Vocal Performance, and a Master of Arts. He loves learning about music, and reading anything that comes his way.

Discovery and communication are probably my two biggest passions. I strive to learn all I can: whether it’s a new recipe, how to surf (I’m still pretty bad, but getting better), playing the guitar, or learning a new language. I try to help my students embrace a broader worldview where they seek to participate rather than simply being observers. I look forward to working with the Orion students, and hope they will also challenge me to keep learning about the world around me.


Science


Arvin Ghazarian

Science Department Chair

aghazarian@orionschools.org

• Master of Science in Medical Genetics, Tehran University
• Bachelor of Science in Cell & Molecular Biology, Tehran University

Ghazarian

Arvin Ghazarian was born in Tehran, capital of Iran. As a kid he was fascinated by science and flight, and dreamed of becoming a pilot. But over time his interest switched from the air to the living world, and he decided to become a doctor. After taking an advanced biology course at high school, he rediscovered his true passion and decided to become a geneticist, despite being accepted to medical school. He graduated from Tehran University, the highest-ranking university in Iran with a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology, and decided to earn a master’s degree in medical genetics. In order to do so, he had to be among the top 3 in a nationwide entrance exam, which he ended ranking second. During his master’s program, following a short conversation with his professor/mentor one afternoon after class, he changed his whole course of life and instead of graduating as a geneticist and becoming a scientist, he decided to move to The United States and become a science teacher. In order to do so, he had to move to Vienna, Austria, where he lived for almost a year. After moving to The United States in 2011, Mr. Ghazarian immediately started working for several companies as a tutor and eventually he started a full-time teaching career at a small private school in Los Angeles, California.
     Apart from teaching, Mr. Ghazarian also writes educational books, with a focus on test-preparation. He has written several books on biology, and one of his e-books, which is on genetics, is available on Apple store and has sold internationally. Arvin Ghazarian is proud to be among the first group of scientists who have shown the anti-cancer properties of soybeans due to a specific chemical, called genistein, which has been shown to block the spread of human lung cancer cells to other parts of the body, and have published their results as an article in a scientific journal. Mr. Ghazarian’s hobbies include watching cartoons and movies, long walks on the beach, driving, listening to music, and dining at various restaurants. His long-term goal is to become part of the inner circle at Collegeboard, and start creating the Advanced Placement (AP) tests as well as training AP teachers, and also start a company that creates online apps and games that teach science.
Fun Facts About Mr. Ghazarian:
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Drink: Water
Favorite Car: Lamborghini Gallardo Performante
Favorite Color: Black
Favorite Show: South Park
Favorite Book: Harry Potter series
Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings
Favorite Topic to Teach: AP Chemistry
Favorite City: Santa Monica
Favorite Animal: Dog
Favorite Student: All his students!
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