Dance Staff


Mrs. GardnerSamantha Gardner holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education, and a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership. She has had the opportunity to study under the instruction of many acclaimed dance educators and choreographers such as Karen Schupp, Liz Lerman, Elizabeth Johnson, Shouze Ma, Conder Dance, C3 Dance, Epik Dance Co, and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Prior to working at PHS, Mrs. Gardner was Assistant Director of Dance at Laguna Beach High School. During her four years at LBHS, she contributed to the development of an inclusive and comprehensive dance program that played an integral role in the school community and the city of Laguna Beach. Gardner took over as Director of Dance at Portola High School in May of 2017 and is thrilled to be in her sixth year of leading the dance program in a collaborative, innovative, and growth-oriented school environment. In May 2019, her work was recognized by OCDE and Orange County Music and Arts Administrators as a recipient of the Outstanding Arts Educator award. She strives for dance to be a positive outlet for students and a means for building self-esteem and confidence in young adults. Above all, she hopes to see her dancers demonstrating the Bulldog PRIDE values of Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Drive, and Empathy both on-stage and off-stage. In addition to her work at PHS, she is an active member of the National Dance Education Organization which advocates for dance in public education. Contact Mrs. Gardner:

Julie Primero joined Portola in 2022. She graduated from UCI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science to later receive her teaching credential and Master’s in Coaching & Athletic Administration from Concordia University. Julie started teaching physical education at Cadence Park, and then taught two years of physical education in the Placentia Yorba Linda School District before coming to IUSD.