Our Team

Jay M Dunlap

Jay M Dunlap

Executive DIrector

Jay M Dunlap

Mr. Dunlap dedicated over 20 years of his career to teaching his students to thrive as thinkers, and as human beings.

Mr. Dunlap holds both CA Professional CLAD Single Subjects and Administrative Services Credentials. Mr. Dunlap is driven to understand how people learn academically, socially and neurologically. He enjoys bringing research to life in the classroom, developing curricula and designing learning experiences for unique individuals. In this capacity, Mr. Dunlap drafted, co-wrote, and advised on several successful dependent and independent charter school petitions.

Mr. Dunlap continues to enjoy teaching subjects including: Electronics, Spanish Language, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Biology, Literature, Composition, Psychology and Communication Technologies.

Mr. Dunlap's Professional Experiences include:

  • ESL Teacher, Oaxaca City College, Ocotlan de Morelos, Mexico
  • Founder/Teacher, SLVUSD Creative Studies Program
  • Teacher, White Oak High School
  • National School Leadership Fellowship (New Leaders)
  • Intern Principal, Leadership High School, San Francisco
  • Founding Principal/Superintendent, Oakland Aviation High School
  • SLVUSD Charter School Principal (8 independent K-12 classroom and homeschool programs)
  • Director of A-school Development, American Association for International Education (AAFIE)
  • Educational Delegate to the Chinese Ministry of Education in Beijing, Shanghi/Pudong and Wuhan, China
  • Chief Educational Officer, Learning Farm Educational Consultants
  • Volunteer and Chair on multiple WASC teams, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Kris Neustatder

Kris Neustatder

Executive Director

Kris Neustadter

Ms. Neustadter comes from a long line of educators, including parents and grandparents. She tried to “avoid” going into teaching by starting her career in banking, but ended up being the manager of the district training branch and finally gave up the “fight” and became a teacher. Her original plan was to be a social studies and English teacher, but after substituting in a couple of high school special education classrooms, she realized her passion was to work with kids who learn differently. She returned to school and added to her social studies and English credentials by earning her Learning Disabilities Credential and her Resource Specialist Credential. She worked for over 15 years in the San Lorenzo Valley School District in special education, but also started a number of programs including Jump Start, for struggling students transitioning from middle school to high school, and Sierra Adventure a course designed to promote optimal learning for students and to allow hands on experience studying California history, geology, and biology out in the field for 3 weeks 24 hours a day during the summer.

Neustadter returned to school in 2003 and received her Master’s in Educational Leadership and her Administrative Credential from SJSU in 2005. In 2006, Kris left SLV High School and headed to Delta Charter School on the Cabrillo Campus as the Special Education Coordinator. Here she worked with the Delta team to create programs including an all school Directed Studies program to support all types of learners in being successful in school.

Kris Neustadter came to MCP in June 2013 after a friend told her about the vision of MCP and its incredible student body. Kris met with Jay and the rest is history! She is now proud to be the Director of Student Services supporting teachers and students to fulfill their educational and professional goals.

Luisa Cardoza

Luisa Cardoza

School Site Admin.

Luisa Cardoza

Ms. Cardoza has over 20 years of working on the customer service front line, with 10 of those years in non-profit performing arts and event management. She has also worked as a professional development trainer, but her real passion is radio. She has been a DJ at local KZSC Radio (UC Santa Cruz's radio station) since 2004, a broadcast journalist at KALW Radio in San Francisco, and is a voice actor.

Ms Cardoza wears many different hats at MCP, including a teaching hat! In addition to being responsible for overseeing the front office, registrar duties, and administrative support to the directors and staff, she's also teaching a radio/audio production/storytelling class.

Katie Akagi

Katie Akagi

Math, Digital Media Arts, Physical Education

Katie Akagi

Akagi is passionate about teaching students who have been under-served by the traditional education system. With a personable and approachable demeanor, Akagi is able to connect easily with students as a teacher, advisor and friend.

Katie Akagi has been a professional educator since 2000. Her teaching background includes a broad range of experiences including, working as a tutor at Cabrillo College, a TA at UCSC, a teacher at Delta High School (a charter school for at risk youth), and as a "student advocate" for the Harlem Children‘s Zone. Akagi’s academic background includes an undergraduate degree in feminist studies, a significant amount of upper-division coursework in mathematics education and literature, and an MS in journalism from Columbia University in New York.

Director of Math and Science

Dr. Rebecca Hoover

Dr. Hoover believes that all students deserve quality, hands-on education in the sciences and mathematics. Developing exciting science and math curricula that is accessible for a diverse group of learners is her passion. She encourages her students to explore and investigate and experience math and science as much as possible both in and out of the classroom.

Dr. Hoover began her career as a Research Oceanographer. She earned a PhD in Oceanography and worked as an instructor and researcher at the University of Hawaii, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Monterey Peninsula College before making the transition to a full-time secondary school educator. As a high school teacher, she was a founding member of the faculty at The New High School Project at Chartwell School, where she designed the science program for high school students with learning differences and developed integrated project-based learning curricula for all of the science classes. She is now happy to be starting her fourth year as part of the educational team at MCP.

Karen Babbitt

Karen Babbitt

Drama, Video Productions, English

Karin Babbitt

Ms. Babbit has been a high school teacher and college instructor for over twenty years, delivering differentiated lessons in English, Theater, Play Production and Video Productions to grades 9 – 12. Her distinct specialty is in tapping into the relational themes in literature and theater and guiding students to academic and personal growth.

Babbitt spent the first half of her life as an entertainment professional in Los Angeles. Karin is an active member of Screen Actor‘s Guild and the Writer’s Guild of America.

Middle School Core Lead

Jessica Harris

Ms. Harris’ teaching career is rooted in her deep passion for working with youth. She is enthusiastic about developing all student’s social, emotional, and academic selves so that they are prepared for high school, as well as the world outside the classroom. Ms. Harris believes in the importance of personalizing the education process and grounding learning in authentic life-based experiences.


Ms. Harris began her career as an educator in 2009, and has experience teaching middle, high, and adult education students. Her voracity for writing led to her focus in English. She has previously specialized in teaching the language arts, as well as AVID, a program designed to build foundational skills for college.


Ms. Harris’ academic background includes a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, a Teaching Credential in English, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of California.

Social Studies English

Elizabeth Metelak

Elizabeth Metelak thrives on a passion for untangling the human experience and making meaningful connections through the study of history, both for herself and for her students. She knew from a very early age that she wanted to teach history and worked tirelessly toward this goal despite many naysayers who thought she should use her talents for more lucrative and “prestigious” purposes. A fervent belief in equality and social justice nudged her toward Teach for America in 2012, where her formal teaching career began. Those same beliefs also brought MCP to her attention when she later relocated to Santa Cruz and continue to drive her work as an educator of students with learning differences.

Ms. Metelak’s teaching experiences range from tutoring elementary and middle school-aged English Language Learners, working in an after-school tutoring program run by the San Luis Obispo Housing Authority, serving as a TA at Cal Poly: San Luis Obispo, joining Teach for America’s highly competitive 2012 Connecticut Corps, and teaching at Achievement First: Amistad High School, a non-profit, public charter school serving low-income, minority students in inner-city New Haven. At Achievement First, she helped develop a new two-year world history curriculum and collaborated closely with the Coordinator of Special Services to make a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum accessible to students with learning differences.

Ms. Metelak’s academic background includes an undergraduate degree in history with a minor in Latin American studies, graduate level course-work in education, a Social Studies Teaching Credential from the State of California, and an MA in Russian and Eastern European history from Indiana University: Bloomington.