Meet the Team
Allegiance STEAM Academy was created by a team of parents who wanted school choice in their community.
Sebastian Cognetta holds a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from the USC Rossier School of Education. He began his teaching career in 1999 teaching middle school math and science in Fontana, CA. After teaching, Dr. Cognetta supported schools and districts across the country in several initiatives to improve student outcomes. The initiatives ranged from School Leadership, Response to Intervention, Evidence-based Instruction, Inclusion and Co-teaching, Instructional Technology, Supporting English Learners and Innovation and Design Thinking.
Dr. Cognetta then helped design and lead Aveson Charter Schools, two charter schools, in Altadena, CA. Blending evidence-based practices with innovative solutions, Dr. Cognetta has helped Aveson become a national pioneer in learner-centered and personalized education.
He was also instrumental in shifting professional development for teachers from traditional models of trainings and workshops to teacher-driven, collaborative and personalized models.
As the father of two school-age children, Dr. Cognetta knows firsthand the importance of taking an active role in the education of our children and the responsibility placed on school leaders. At a January board meeting Dr. Cognetta stated, “How I approach working in education is I am humbled by the gravity of this responsibility. You are entrusting us with your most valued possession, your children.”
Callie Moreno holds a Educational Doctorate from UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program. She began her career in education at Aveson Charter Schools during its founding year. She has taught math in third through eighth grades as well as upper elementary science and social studies using a project-based learning approach. After teaching, Dr. Moreno held a position as K-8 math coordinator and instructional coach, developing and overseeing the implementation of an elementary math intervention program and working closely with teachers to develop K-8 alignment in the math department.
Dr. Moreno has worked closely with Dr. Cognetta for several years to articulate timely and relevant professional development for teachers related to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. She has collaborated with Special Educators to adapt and modify curriculum, and to identify and select appropriate instructional strategies and accommodations to meet students’ individual needs.
Outside of her work experience and formal education, the greatest experience that has prepared Dr. Moreno to lead ASA Thrive is parenthood. Observing first hand the curiosity, discovery, and development of one’s own child brings to life the importance and obligation of the school community to know and see each child as an individual.
Teachers and Staff
ASA email use policy is designed to make communication between school and home efficient, productive and personal. Teachers will use email to “push out” mass communication including newsletters and updates that pertain to an entire class. The constraints of email communication are far too great. Therefore, teachers will not be using email to communicate with individual families. For questions or concerns regarding an individual student, teachers will be communicating by phone or in face to face meetings.
Office staff, including directors and the CEO, when possible, will also limit email use when communicating with individual families.
Board of Directors
Samantha Odo received her BS in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology from University of California, San Diego in 1999. She is currently a Senior Key Account Manager for Merck KGaA a German multinational chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences company headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany. Merck KGaA has around 50,000 employees in around 70 countries and is the world's oldest operating chemical and pharmaceutical company, as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Previously, she held a Life Science Specialist position with Sigma Aldrich an American chemical, life science and biotechnology company with 9,600 employees in 40 countries.
She was also a Regional Manager for BMG Labtechnologies, Inc a capital equipment company providing research equipment to pharmaceutical, biotechology, government and university research laboratories from 2001-2009. Samantha’s interest in science started early in her childhood, but her AP Biology teacher in high school gave her a motivation to take that interest to passion of wanting to learn more. She hopes to give children an opportunity to experience science and technology as she did in a school setting in hopes to exposing as many students as possible in science and technology. School choice is very important to Samantha and her dream is to be a partner in providing families options and choices in their children’s education.
Marcilyn Jones is a native to the Inland Empire, having graduated from Canyon Hills Junior High and Ayala High School. After moving away to attend California State University, Northridge Marcilyn obtained her BA in English with a focus in Education.
Upon her completion of her BA degree, she worked in behavior Therapy with Autistic children at The Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis and then pursued her Masters of Arts in Education and her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English. In 2004, she began teaching English at Opportunities for Learning Public Charter School. She has worked in charter schools for over 10 years as a Teacher, an Assistant Principal and now an English Language Development Program Head. Her current position at Opportunities for Learning Public Charter Schools allows her to support Bilingual Learners by creating resources, training teachers on data driven instruction and overseeing instructional programs that encourage and support language acquisition for a network of over 140,000 students served since 1999 across several districts.
Throughout her professional career, she has served as a Western Association for Credentialing (WASC) Committee Member and Chair, coached Girls Basketball, supported opening/petitioning new charters, developed curriculum, is a trainer of the SIOP Instructional Model (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) and has recently completed her Administrative Credential Program in 2018.
Her passion for educational choice and evolution is the reason why she wanted to be a part of the ASA family. She is married to a Build Engineer and has three amazing children, two boys and one girl. She enjoys traveling with her family and trying new restaurants in her free time.
Because of her charter school experience, Marcilyn is a key asset to supporting the development and success of ASA, to be one of the best school options in the Chino Valley. She is excited to assist with carrying out their vision and plans for the success of all students.
Mr. Jason Liso is a staunch supporter of school choice, and the STEAM philosophy. He is excited to serve on the Board and be a part of the growth of this amazing new school.
Mr. Liso was raised in Fullerton, California. He attend grade school in the La Habra City School District and attended Sonora High School in La Habra, California. At Sonora Mr. Liso played baseball, basketball and football. He was also involved in student government, serving as the ASB Social Science Senator. After graduating in 1999, Mr. Liso then attended California State University, Fullerton as part of the inaugural class of the University Honors and Scholars Program.
While at CSUF Mr. Liso studied political science and minored in criminal justice, graduating in 2003 cum laude with University Honors. He was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honors society and Golden Key International Honors Society. Mr. Liso also worked as a Congressional Intern for Hon. Ed Royce of California's 39th Congressional District.
In 2003 Mr. Liso attended Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California where he studied law, with an emphasis in criminal law. While at Whittier, he participated in the Moot Court Program and in his third year, acted as the program's Chief Justice (President). Mr. Liso graduated from law school in 2006, magna cum laude in the top 10% of his class. He took and passed the November 2006 California Bar Exam.
Mr. Liso is currently a Deputy District Attorney for the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, a position he has held since 2007. During his time in the District Attorney's Office, he has prosecuted misdemeanor crimes and felony crimes including murder cases. One of his high profile cases involved the prosecution of a Rialto Unified School District employee accused of embezzling over $4 million dollars of public funds. Mr. Liso secured a conviction and secured over $1 million dollars of restitution for the victim school district. He is currently assigned to the Central Division prosecuting Felony Homicides.
Since 2012 Mr. Liso has served as a Captain in the United States Air Force Reserve. He is a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps attached to the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Prior to that, he was assigned to the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. During his time in the Air Force Mr. Liso has earned the Air Force Commendation Medal and was the 12th Air Force Air Reserve Component Judge Advocate General of the Year for 2015.
Mr. Liso is married to Danielle, and has twin boys who attend ASA. In his spare time Mr. Liso enjoys camping, riding ATVs, playing softball, basketball and reading about American History, military history, and sports.
Troy was raised in Chino, Ca. and attended all CVUSD public schools through high school. Originally pursuing fire science in college, he changed paths to business construction, where he found his true passion of creating projects and carrying them to fulfillment. He is currently the Director of Construction for a 100+ million dollar company overseeing all of the company properties nationwide. His extensive experience and significant executive leadership accomplishments in both business and philanthropy, will help him with his role as a Board Member, and carrying out the school’s vision and purpose.
Along with his wife, Jennifer, they founded the Gavin R Stevens Foundation, a non-profit organization, where he currently serves as president, and is also the co-founder, alongside his wife of Research 4 Sight. The organizations have had global impact for blindness research, have made groundbreaking medical discoveries. They have been published in the Nature Genetics journal, and currently they are funding a lab in Boston, where the efforts of the lead researchers, are pursuing treatment for inherited childhood blindness diseases. Troy has also served as Chairman of the Board for the Music Academy for the Blind, which resulted in greater growth and additional programs to the organization. Troy is also the Coach/Manager and mentor to his teenage boy’s soccer club team. He has been coaching sports for over 25 years, and soccer is a true passion of his, while helping children learn the best skills to carry them to high school and college.
Troy was also one of the original founders and lead petitioners of Allegiance STEAM Academy, where he along with a few others, worked tirelessly with CVUSD for approval. When ASA was board approved, it was a true highlight of his life, as he knew the lives of so many it would positively affect. He has two children, Landon and Gavin. Landon promoted last year as an 8th grader from ASA, and Gavin is currently a student at ASA. Troy loves traveling with his family to a new destination each year, watching sports, networking, coaching, volunteering, and spending weekends cooking breakfast for his family.
Advocating for his children’s education takes top priority in his family. He appreciates school choice and becoming a partner in his child’s education. He understands the importance of his child working in an environment that values innovation, along with staff and teachers who offer greater flexibility to meet his child’s needs. Having a child with special needs of his own, he is dedicated and devoted to full inclusion, and believes diversity enriches all children in and out of the classroom. All children should be allowed to thrive in a school that best suits their needs, and Mr. Stevens is deeply committed in helping to bring that philosophy to the surrounding community, and beyond.
Originally from El Salvador, a small country in Central America. She came to the United States as a teenager escaping the Salvadoran Civil War. As a teenager, she endured many obstacles when she came to the United States, including leaving her family and friends and not knowing how to speak English.
She received a Master’s Degree in Education from Claremont Graduate University in 2004. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Systems from University of Phoenix.
While in college, she worked as a Case Manager with Young Adults with disabilities in Whittier. She coached staff and developed growth plans for individuals to transition to adult life and living on their own after high school. She worked closely with the Regional Center in San Bernardino County.
She is currently teaching AP Spanish and Spanish 3 Honors at Ayala High School in Chino Hills. Before becoming a teacher she was the Facilities and Project Database Manager for Research Data Design (a company based in San Francisco). She also worked as the Recruiting and Office Manager for Hispanic and Asian Marketing Consulting Company (Cheskin) in Orange County.
She has worked well with others in collaborative settings in different leadership and managerial positions. She has worked closely with teachers as Department Chair for four years. During her teaching career she has been nominated “Teacher of the Year” for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019. She has received numerous awards including, “Teacher of the Month”, “Kid’s Choice Award” by Sylvan Learning Center, “AVID Teacher of the Month”, and “Homeroom of the Year”. In 2003 she was listed as a “source of inspiration” in a Hispanic Heritage Month Special article published in Rialto Record in which her life journey from El Salvador to California was featured.
She has been teaching high school students for 17 years. As a teacher, she holds a deep understanding of what students need to learn to be successful and to be productive citizens of 21st Century Globalization. Her personal and professional experiences with diverse groups of people reflect a positive climate of collaboration in her daily life. She is committed to work diligently for the needs of students.
She is a mother of two amazing young school children whom she strives to provide the best possible upbringing as well as best education. Like many parents, she is thankful that her children have been able to attend a “school of choice” in the Southern California area.
She enjoys traveling around the world with her family and learning different cultures, languages, traditions, and meeting new people.
She is looking forward to work closely with all families as well as teachers, and community members of Chino.