Office Team

The Madera Technical Exploration Center has an office team dedicated to building strong relationships with all stakeholders. We strive to create a school environment that is safe, welcoming, and supportive of the needs of students, parents, and the community at large. We work closely with the seven schools that feed into our program and industry partners to create an unparalleled learning experience!

Our Office Team
KARINA CORTEZ-CÁRDENAS, Attendance Secretary
Karina was born in Madera and raised in the bay area. She moved back to Madera when she was a 6th grader. She graduated from Madera South High School in 2012. She received her Associate’s degree in Liberal Studies from Reedley College and her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Fresno State. She recently worked at Lincoln Elementary School as their Parent Resource Center Assistant. Her family is her biggest inspiration. They have taught her that with determination and perseverance anything is possible. Her family has encouraged and helped her to accomplish her goals. Her favorite place in the world is her home. She enjoys spending quality time with her husband. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling and discovering new places.
LISA FERNANDEZ, Administrative Assistant III

I have worked in education for 30 years, 20 of those years in MUSD as a Career Technician and Administrative Assistant. During this time I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with amazing students, staff, and parents. I am now having the gratification of working at MadTEC and am so excited to see our 8th-grade students taking advantage of this terrific opportunity. 

Life has been an adventure and it certainly is not a dress rehearsal. So what I embrace and hold in high regard are Honesty, Positivity, and Respect.

I love to travel; day trips and well-planned out trips, kayaking, hiking, and hanging out with my family. Watching sports is fun and exciting, but my favorite sport to watch is football! You can always find me cheering for my GB Packers! Go Pack Go!

Always remember … in all things be grateful!


Graduated from Madera High School in 1988. I was in the Delayed Entry Program for the U.S. Navy in the summer of ‘87. I knew once I graduated from high school, I was leaving for the Navy. Three days after graduation, I was at boot camp, starting my navy career. I didn’t plan on doing it for 26 years. I originally enlisted for four years, but in 1991 there was a recession and it was not a good idea to get out. 

I enlisted as a Gas Turbine Systems Technician with an Electrical background. I’ve served three ships and four shore duty commands. The only ships I haven’t been on are submarines. I qualified in almost every job onboard a ship from Sounding and Security watches, Engineering Officer of the Watch, and Fire fighting positions. Halfway into my career, I transferred to the Hovercraft community. I started as a maintenance man then worked my way up the ladder to become a Craftmaster. They get to fly the craft and I was in charge of a 5-man crew. I was also a Navy Instructor. I qualified in 1995 and I’ve taught several courses in my career. I retired after 26 years of active service.

I’ve been to and visited a lot of places on my travels because of the navy and yet I still made my way back home to Madera. Some places that I have been to are Vladivostok, Russia, Italy, France, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the Philippines, just to name a few. 

I started working for MUSD in Grounds Department. I subbed for almost a year before getting hired full-time. I started full-time as a custodian for a little while before a position opened in the Grounds department. Once in grounds for five years, then I needed a change and went into the Safety Department. Been here for close to two years. 

The best advice I’ve ever been given and I still tell people today, “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t because you will never know until you try.” People who have inspired me? I’ve had many mentors throughout my life. I can’t pick just one because they have all taught me things. My Dad always said, “Be better than me.” Mark Cass rarely spoke, but when he did everyone listened. Tony D’Esposito would give me his ear when I needed to vent. Mike Madigan would say, “Your time is coming. Just have patience.” I’ve had many more but I kept it short.

Some traits that drive me are being accountable, honesty, standards, doing what’s right even when no one is looking.

Reading, golfing, working on my VW bugs (vehicle), and family time are things I enjoy.

My name is Steve Gonzalez and I’m the RSP teacher here at MadTec. Prior to joining the team at MadTec, I served in the same position at Howard. I thoroughly enjoy my job and love coming to work every day. Prior to joining the teaching ranks in 2014, I worked in radio for 13 years, serving as a news anchor, sports talk show host, and play-by-play announcer. When I’m not at school, I enjoy listening to music, watching sports, and hanging out with my wife and three boys, ages 17, 14, and 8.
VANESSA MARIN-MACUGAY, Intervention Specialist
My name is Vanessa Marin-Macugay and I’m an Intervention Specialist at MadTec. I was born and raised in Madera and attended Alpha, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and Madera High. I have been working for MUSD for over 14 years. I was able to be a part of the Special Education Department then moved into the Student Advocate role for six years. I graduated with my BA in Psychology in 2016. I obtained my master’s degree in School Counseling with my PPS credential from National University in 2019. I am very passionate about making connections with students and their families. I try my hardest to help all students have the best educational experience possible. I love giving back to my hometown and adding value to Madera. When I am not at MTEC, I value family time and different outdoor activities. I enjoy volleyball, working out, and softball.  I adore hanging out with my husband and two daughters, ages 11 & two. Our family is highly involved in sports and travel around California. Both my daughters and my husband inspire me to always push for more in life, personally and professionally. I always try to be on my top game spiritually, mentally, and physically. I also want to spread love and just be a good human being.
JOSE A MARTINEZ "TONY," Head Custodian I

Serving as Head custodian for 3 years, and 12 years as Regular Custodian. Over 15 years of experience in sales and service, I always remember “a quitter never wins” always try to do my best. Family and children inspire me to be a good example to them and others. I love to dance salsa, soccer, and love flying, and many other sports and recreational activities. I would like to visit many countries in my retirement and perhaps live in Barcelona Spain one day.


I Graduated from CSU Fresno with my BA in Philosophy and a Minor in Child Development. After 15 years of nurturing the love of learning as an Early Education Teacher, my heart was pulled to move in a slightly different direction. I obtained my MS in School Counseling with my PPS credential from National University. I look forward to serving the students, families, and Community of Madera.

When I am not at MadTEC, I spend time with my husband and our two children enjoying all things Lego, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. I love dancing, traveling, and spending time with the people I love.

“At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou


My name is Ines Sandoval. I have worked 5 years with Madera Unified in custodial, 5 years in shipping, field work, nursery, and homemaker. The best piece of advice that I have been given is “never look back, just forward.” My children drive me to be a better person. When not at work, I enjoy staying home with my kids, dancing, traveling, watching movies, and spending time with my family. My parents are the ones that inspire me the most. My favorite place in the world is my home. I am passionate about cooking and gardening. My favorite subject in school was natural science.


I started in healthcare at the age of 17. I became a CNA at 18 and worked at a nursing home then at MCH. Later I attended the LVN program at Madera Community and have been an LVN since 2010. I’ve worked doing flu shot clinics, homecare and now I’m doing school nursing. My calling in life has always been to help people. I feel that I’m in the right career and job position. 

When it comes to thinking about people who inspire me, I can’t narrow it down to just 1 person. People who inspire me are those who keep pushing forward and stay positive no matter the struggles they face. Some of the best advice I have ever been given is that no matter the situation it’s not forever, it’s only temporary. 

Some of the values that drive me are honesty, humility, and caring for others. My favorite place in the world is home. So when I am not working I love getting to spend time with family and friends, binging TV shows, and working out when I have time. I’m passionate about spending as much time with my family. Living in the moment and making new memories together.

When I was in school, my favorite subject was math.


My name is Julie Slayton, I was born and raised in Madera. Growing up I was involved in performing arts and fine arts. I was lucky to have teachers who introduced me to various art forms and parents who let me explore those interests. While attending Madera Community and Fresno City colleges for art, my heart pulled me into teaching. I completed my Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential program through Fresno State University. 

I’ve been substitute teaching for Madera Unified since 2016 and assigned to MadTEC since 2021. I’m the permanent sub at MaderaTEC. I get the unique opportunity to work in all six labs and collaborate with 19 teachers. As a teacher who works with all six labs, I have the ability to see what our students are discovering along with getting a chance to build connections throughout our campus. It’s a privilege to support all our students as they grow academically and socially throughout the year.

When I’m not at MadTEC, my husband and I are running around to different sporting events/activities our children are involved in. It’s a joy to watch our children grow and celebrate their interests and accomplishments.  Personally, I enjoy painting, thrift shopping, crafting, and putting together decorations and installations. I also enjoy working on choreography for productions, dancing, prop making, and creating costumes for both Halloween and theatre productions. 

I am a maker; whether it is making connections in the classroom, or making some form of art, I love to gather bits and pieces from life and see what I can do with them. I hope to inspire this same creativity in others.

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