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Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in La Mesa consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in La Mesa know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school.

Get to know our tutors and staff in La Mesa!


Katie Hilbert

Center Director


Katie manages center operations and supports the students and families of Sylvan of La Mesa. She graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University where she also earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. The great results from Sylvan’s personalized programs and individual attention for each student are two of the many reasons she loves working at Sylvan.  When Katie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her drinking coffee with her husband or out with her dog Charlie.


Kathy Havilan


Kathy has worked at Sylvan of La Mesa since 1996.  She graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Biology.  She likes tutoring at Sylvan because of the one to one interaction with the students.  Kathy teaches a variety of subject areas including Math, Reading, Writing, and Study Skills.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and reading.


Mark Junkin


Mark has worked at Sylvan of Bonita & Eastlake and is now a member of the Sylvan La Mesa team as well.  He graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University with a degree in Spanish Literature.  He finds the greatest joy in teaching Reading and Spanish tutoring.  When Mark is not at Sylvan, you’ll find him hiking or playing tennis.


Paul Maglio


Paul was born and raised in San Diego. He has worked with students of all ages (K-12) and currently works as an elementary school teacher in San Diego, CA. Paul has been with Sylvan Learning for many years and tutors all subjects offered by Sylvan. Paul earned his Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, his Preliminary Teaching Credential from San Diego State University, and his Clear Teaching Credential from Cal State Bakersfield. When not at Sylvan, Paul enjoys spending time with his family.


Sandy McKenna


Sandy is a retired teacher working as an instructor at Sylvan Learning of La Mesa. While Sandy has many teaching interests, she finds the greatest joy in reading and writing. She studied at the University of San Diego and earned her Masters of Teaching from Grand Canyon University.  When Sandy isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her working in the garden or enjoying the beach.


Lesley Roland


Lesley has worked at Sylvan of La Mesa since 2008.  While Lesley has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in Reading and Language Arts tutoring. She studied at San Diego State University.  When Lesley isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her spending time with friends & family and keeping active.


Shaira Tayaba


Shaira is a teacher in La Mesa, CA who finds the greatest joy in teaching reading and writing. She received her B.A. in English at UCLA and her Masters in Education at Azuza Pacific University. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, eating, and spending time with loved ones.


Mike Wake


Mike was an educator for 36 years who taught elementary grades 2 – 6 and middle school grades 6 – 8 as well as working as a middle school assistant principal. After retirement, Mike did private tutoring as a home tutor with students from pre-K to grade 8. Mike enjoys the Sylvan environment where students are motivated to improve academic skills and gain self-confidence. His favorite time is when students have an “ah-ha” moment, that moment when they “get it.” Mike honors the commitment made by families and students to succeed and looks forward to being part of that process.

Start your child on the path to academic success today

Give us a call at (619) 867-0552 or fill out the form to discuss your child’s learning goals.


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Towson, MD 21204

(888) 338-2283