• Joseph Atman, S.T.D., PhD Fellow

    Executive Director

    Joseph Atman is Middle Tree’s chairman and CEO, and a co-­founder of Middle Tree. As a published writer, philosopher, theologian, teacher, and musician, Middle Tree is Atman’s fully-­realized educational dream

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    Hailing originally from Barrington, Illinois, he went on to Hofstra University’s New College in New York to receive both his B.A. and M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in writing and philosophy. While at Hofstra he had the good fortune to work for his beloved New College as the assistant to the dean, where he learned the day-­to­-day operations involved in running an academy as both an administrator and an instructor.


    After receiving his Master’s degree, he accepted an offer from Claremont Graduate University’s School of Religion, where he’s currently a PhD Fellow in the Philosophy of Religion and Theology. He also has a doctorate in sacred theology from Saint Mary's seminary.


    Along with an incredible board, dynamic teachers, and a devoted staff, he’s helping to ensure that Middle Tree is a catalyst for changing the way education is done.


    For more about MR. Atman’s take on Middle Tree’s philosophy, click here

Brandon Ecks

Education Director and Teacher


Brandon Ecks has been teaching writing and test preparation since 2005. After receiving a double major in music education and English literature in 2010 from Cal Poly Pomona, he attended California State University San Bernardino for a secondary teaching credential in English in 2013. Currently, he is a high school English teacher at Public Safety Academy in San Bernardino, teaching sophomore and senior English, as well as AP literature.

  • Queenie Chen


    Queenie Chen is one of the many accomplished tutors at Middle Tree. She received her undergraduate degree from Occidental College with a major in Biochemistry and a minor in History, and a JD and LLM in Taxation from Loyola Law School.

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    She has over 10 years of tutoring and teaching experience, starting with her peer tutoring activities in high school through college. While in law school, Queenie taught SAT, PSAT, English, and Public Speaking and tutored regular high school and Advanced Placement subjects at a learning and tutoring center. Her experiences have shaped her belief that all students are capable to learn any subject depending on how they are taught, and inspiration is the best motivator for learning.



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  • Eric Otremba

    Co-Director of Education

    Eric Otremba has over a decade of experience teaching a variety of subjects at the high school and college levels.

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    Eric earned a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Minnesota in 2012, and has taught History, Religion, and American Studies courses at several colleges including Macalester College in Minnesota and Pitzer College in Claremont.  Prior to his graduate work in history, Eric taught World History, English, and ESL at a high school in Belize, Central America.



  • Trish Deehring

    Community Development Director

    After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English, Trisch went on to receive an MA in Cultural Anthropology and a Secondary Education teaching credential from Cal State Fullerton. She’s been working with at-risk student populations in Orange and Los Angeles Counties since 2005.

  • Amanda Biggs

    Marketing Director

    Amanda has worked and volunteered in several different NGO’s globally over the last decade. Her experiences include socio economic development in China, program development in Kosovo, and web development in the United States.

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    She has over 10 years marketing experience for several companies in the Central Valley and specializes in web and social media development. Amanda has a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Services and hopes to work with nonprofits for the rest of her life, bringing to communities new programs that help develop and enhance quality of life.



  • Whitney Mayo


    Whitney Mayo is an active community service member working specifically with
    children for education and foster outreach. She has contributed to the YMCA, Steven's
    Hope for Children and Victor Valley College, where she focuses on teaching leadership to
    future generations.

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    During that time Miss Mayo obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, San Bernardino where key areas of interest include American political theory, foreign policy and constitutional law. With time, Miss Mayo aspires to teach, and work for the state of California in education policy.


Middle Tree

A Non-Profit Partner in Education

© 2015 Middle Tree


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