We have a fabulous Board of Directors. Their guidance, input and leadership are invaluable to ASA. These professionals ensure our school stays true to its mission in all its decisions. They always look out for the best interest of the school. We thank them for their commitment, their time and their ideas on how to continually improve our campus, and their efforts to help position ASA as one of the Valley’s most sought-after educations.
I truly believe that our future leaders will need both the critical thinking skills that come from academic excellence and the creativity that comes from the arts.
Anthony Dietz, an engineer and entrepreneur, is the founder of Paxauris, a startup company developing innovative hearing protection products. Dr. Dietz received his undergraduate degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Sydney and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. After graduating, Dr. Dietz served with the Royal Australian Air Force at the Aircraft Research and Development Unit where he worked as a flight test engineer. Dr. Dietz then worked in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, first as a National Research Council Research Associate, and later as a senior research scientist with MCAT Inc. For the past fifteen years, he has worked at Creare, an engineering research and development firm in New Hampshire, where he led efforts to develop innovative solutions to a wide range of problems including improved hearing protection for Navy crews, superconducting systems for quieter and more efficient aircraft, and advanced sensors for autonomous aerial vehicles. The father of five daughters, Dr. Dietz has coached elementary-school soccer and skiing and he has also coached four middle-school robotics teams in the First Lego League. Two of his daughters currently attend ASA.
ASA builds critical skills such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. All critical skills needed for the future success of our children
Carlos Contreras is the regional public affairs director for Arizona and Latin America at Intel. As a third-generation engineer, Carlos has built a career focused on technology, creation, and community. Currently, Carlos oversees a team responsible for community engagement, governmental affairs and communication strategy for sites in Arizona, Costa Rica and Guadalajara. These Intel sites count on the talents of 14,000 employees and include cutting edge manufacturing, research and development, engineering labs, shared service centers, and a broad spectrum of Intel business units.
Contreras began his career as a process engineer for Procter & Gamble paper products before attending the Thunderbird School of Global Management where he completed a master’s degree in International Management. He began his career at Intel in 1996 working in finance. He supported capital and materials purchasing, research and development, and served as finance controller for Intel’s Costa Rica manufacturing site. After 10 years in finance, Contreras took on a new role as a regional education manager. This was followed by a four-year assignment in Washington, D.C. as the U.S. education director for Intel. In this role, Contreras developed and implemented programs that mobilized science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in classrooms nationwide and drove education policy change at the national and local level. He additionally oversaw Intel’s education programs in the United States including grants advancing math, science, and engineering pipeline projects such as science fairs, maker education, pre-engineering and coding programs while also providing more accessibility to students. From a young age, Carlos had a natural inclination for hands-on exploration with technology and mechanics. Because of this, he continues to find opportunities for young people to ignite this same passion for creating innovative solutions.
In a standardized environment where Arizona schools are pressured to be more alike than different, ASA is the most innovative school in the state. It is an empowering place where students can express their creativity through the arts and excel as scholars in the classroom.
David R. Garcia is an Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. His academic publications focus on school choice, accountability and the factors that facilitate or distort policy implementation in public education. His research has appeared in numerous journals including Teachers College Record, Educational Policy and the Journal of School Choice. In addition, he was co-editor of Review of Research in Education and an associate editor for Education Policy Analysis Archives, both leading academic journals in education. In 2015 and 2016, he was recognized nationally as an influential public scholar according to the edu-scholar rankings. In 2018, he authored Essential Knowledge: School Choice (MIT Press). As an Assistant Professor, he was named a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to ASU, he served as the Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Arizona, as a research analyst for the Arizona state legislature, and as a national peer consultant. He works with many community organizations on education policy issues and has been recognized for his contributions to public education. In 2018, David was the Democratic candidate for Governor. Garcia received a Bachelor of Arts and Honors Diploma from Arizona State University. He also holds a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Chicago in Education Policy, Research and Institutional Studies. He is a veteran who proudly served in the U.S. Army Infantry. He lives in Phoenix with his wife, Lori, and their two daughters who attend ASA.
ASA is preparing my children to be productive, creative, and innovative members of our community.
Dr. Javier Cárdenas is a pediatric neurologist with Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, College of Medicine and completed his undergraduate education at Arizona State University. He is a strong advocate for child safety, particularly as it relates to neurological injury and reentry into the school system. Dr. Cárdenas and his extended family have been involved in the Arizona arts community for many years. He also has three children currently attending ASA. Dr. Cárdenas was the recipient of the ASU Young Alumni Achievement award in 2014 for his work in the field of pediatric traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, specifically, the prevention of concussion injuries in young student athletes.
ASA offers a unique blend of rigorous academics and creativity. The teachers are passionate about the programs and the subjects they are teaching. This combination provides students with the tools they need to be confident, prepared and out-of-the-box thinkers.
Kevin Allen is the Chief Financial Officer of Wentworth Property Company, a commercial developer headquartered in Phoenix, AZ. He has over 25 years of real estate and development experience ranging from commercial to private clubs. He has worked for some of the more notable developers in Phoenix, namely Discovery Land Company, Opus West and SunCor Development. Kevin is also a licensed CPA in the State of Arizona and provides his CPA services to other nonprofits such as Schools with Heart Foundation. He attended Purdue University and received his Bachelor degree in Accountancy from Radford University. Kevin is married and has 4 children, one of which currently attends Arizona School for the Arts.
Ed Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University where he is an associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. He also serves as the academic director of Future Tense, a partnership between ASU, New America and Slate Magazine, a co-director of Emerge, an annual festival of art, ideas and the future, and a co-director of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative. Ed’s research and teaching explores how imagination works in creative collaboration and computational culture, as well as its role at the intersection of the humanities, arts and sciences. He is the author of What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing (MIT Press, spring 2017) and co-editor of Future Tense Fiction (Unnamed Press, 2019), Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press, spring 2017) and Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (William Morrow, 2014). He completed his PhD in English and American Literature at Stanford University in 2011 and his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University in 2002. Before graduate school, Ed worked as a journalist at Time, Slate, and Popular Science.
As President Obama said, “the future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.” Stimulating creativity through the performing arts strengthens the ability to understand science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. Downtown Phoenix presents many challenges and opportunities to educate the diverse population of children who want to or are encouraged by parents to attend a charter school. ASA promotes the development of imagination, curiosity, leadership and the diversity of the faculty, administrative support, curriculum and school population broadens understanding for the collective future.
Betty Hum is currently an attorney consultant with AxiomLaw and a part-time photographer. She was formerly with Intel Corporation in the Legal Department where her team managed world-wide construction legal issues. She also developed and managed the Intel world-wide anti-corruption legal group as part of the Intel legal compliance function. Prior to Intel, Ms. Hum was in private practice where she specialized in construction legal issues, employment and immigration law. Prior to moving to Arizona, her community activities in the arts included the formation of a Board of Directors for a dance company in Minneapolis as well as the Board of Directors of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Since moving to Arizona Ms. Hum has served on numerous boards including, a life director to the Board of Directors of the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Arizona State University Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture. She provides photography services to several non-profits in the Valley, including the Scottsdale Center for the Arts and KJZZ.
Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC, is the Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer of WebPT, the leading software solution for physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Heidi advises on the company’s strategic direction and product innovation, while advocating for the rehab therapy profession on an international scale. Since the company’s launch in 2008, Heidi has guided WebPT through exponential growth. Today, it’s the fastest-growing physical therapy software in the country, employing over 500 people and serving more than 92,000 therapy professionals at more than 17,000 clinics. WebPT also touts seven consecutive appearances on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list and has ranked twice on the Inc. 500 list. Heidi has been recognized as one of Health Data Management’s Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT, was named a Most Admired Leader and in 2018, was honored as the Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year at the Arizona Technology Council’s Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. She is also a proud member of the YPO Scottsdale Chapter.
Prior to co-founding WebPT, Heidi practiced as a sports medicine and orthopedic physical therapist for more than 15 years. Today, she regularly speaks as a subject-matter expert at regional, national and international technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership events, as well as at national and international PT industry and business focused conferences.
Heidi serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Arizona Science Center, the Institute for Private Practice Physical Therapy, Conscious Capitalism AZ Chapter, Greater Phoenix Economic Council Healthcare Innovation and the Arizona Community Foundation. She also dedicates time to mentorship within WebPT (through her employee empowerment group PropelUs) and in the broader community (through her work with physical therapy students, entrepreneurs, and women in business). She is also a founding member of the Arizona chapter of Golden Seeds, an early stage investment firm focusing on women founders and leaders creating lasting impact.
Her most cherished role is mother to her nine-year-old daughter, Ava. Having been a college basketball athlete at UC Davis, she remains very active enjoying hot yoga, hiking, biking and world travel.
The people, the culture and the commitment to the arts as a catalyst, a laboratory, a mirror for human development. I’m honored to be a part of this place.
Alex Laing began playing the clarinet at age 11 in his hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland. Alex is a graduate of Northwestern University, he received his master’s degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, an artist’s diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam and a certificate in nonprofit management from Arizona State University’s Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. In 2002 he joined The Phoenix Symphony as principal clarinet. An accomplished instrumental artist, Alex’s work represents a modern take on orchestral practice. Active in his community as a performing and teaching artist, he is committed to exploring how an orchestral musician and an orchestra navigates the push and pull between a legacy art form and its unfixed future.
A long-time believer in community engaged music making, he recently started The Leading Tone, a nonprofit after school program. The project brings music to young people and explores teaching artistry and creative youth development. Alex is fortunate to have garnered honors and awards in his career, most recently being recognized with a 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence and named one of Musical America’s Professionals of the Year for 2017.
Reflecting his belief that ‘music isn’t just sound; it’s sounds, words and people’ he is frequently sought as a collaborator. In addition to his work with The Phoenix Symphony, recent seasons have found him contributing his sound in a range of other projects including: as a soloist with the Sphinx Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall; with Lawrence Brownlee (in the world premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycle of My Being); with Thomas Hampson (as part of his Song of America: Beyond Liberty project); with the Re-Collective Orchestra (in the 2019 soundtrack recording of Disney’s The Lion King) and as a member of Gateways Festival Orchestra.
Alex has been an invited speaker to the annual conferences of both the Association of British Orchestras and the League of American Orchestras where, in 2019 he was a keynote speaker. As a teacher he has been a frequent collaborator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) program, and a faculty member for both the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and the League of American Orchestra’s ‘Essentials of Orchestra Management Seminar’. He’s currently serving as lead faculty for the 2019/20 YOLA National Institute and, in addition to ASA, serves on the board of directors for Gateways Music Festival.
Alex is particularly excited about his most recent collaboration: joining the creative team for From The Top (FTT) the nationally broadcast radio show and platform for young musicians. In addition to making contributions to the radio show, he will play a role in mentoring and supporting the development of FTT’s incredible young musicians.
Karen is a trial lawyer who advocates for patients and families in medical malpractice, wrongful death and traumatic brain injury cases. Karen has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University. She clerked in the Arizona State Court of Appeals, worked as an Assistant Attorney General, and served as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem. She has argued before the Arizona Supreme Court successfully creating new law to protect patients. In addition to receiving top ratings for ethics, recognition in U.S. News and World Reports Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms and Best Female Lawyers, Karen was selected by her adversaries to be a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a bipartisan group that protects our citizens’ right to trial by jury. She is on the Board of the Arizona Association for Justice and has worked with Lawyer Moms of America to alleviate the refugee crisis in our Country. In addition to managing her own law firm, Karen also has founded The Edible Apothecary, and created whole-food plant-based meals and nutrition education. Karen is certified in whole-food plant-based nutrition through e-Cornell, and Rouxbe Culinary School. Karen is married to Dan Klein and they have two grown children and a son who attends ASA.
ASA provides a unique educational environment that incorporates the arts to empower students to learn who they are and what they are truly capable of.
Marcia Mintz is the Chief Executive Officer of Boys & Girls Clubs Metro Phoenix. She has more than 25 years of global and national corporate and nonprofit experience. Prior to BGCMP, she served as President of John C. Lincoln Health Foundation and Senior Vice President of Community Benefit for HonorHealth. Ms. Mintz also served as the chief development officer of Valley of the Sun United Way. Earlier in her career, she worked in the Bay Area creating corporate and individual partnerships for a non-profit multi-use residential and recreational campus and eight years in global program development. She has worked and lived in Latin America, Cuba, Europe and the Baltic States.She was named one of AZ Business magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business in 2017 and a Woman Who Moves the Valley 2012 by Arizona Foothills magazine. Ms. Mintz earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona’s Eller School of Management and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. She serves on the board of Arizona School for the Arts, Arizona Community Foundation’s LGBTQ Center of Philanthropy, Arizona State University’s Community Council and, Paradise Valley Unified School District Business Advisory Council.
Allison Otu is the University of Arizona Health Sciences Executive Director for Corporate and Community Relations. Mrs. Otu has been with the University since 2012 and is responsible for strategic planning and outreach in the corporate, community, civic and health care sectors in Phoenix, Tucson and across Arizona.
Allison serves on the Board of Directors of Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Inc. and as the Vice Chair of Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs on the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Institutional Advancement Steering Committee. She was the founder and organizer behind Connect2STEM – the largest STEM outreach event in Phoenix – which celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine. Connect2STEM has attracted over 30,500 attendees and generated 1 million media impressions over the last five years.
Mrs. Otu received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. and her Executive MBA from University of Arizona Eller College of Management.
It is such an honor to have been part of the ASA family for over a decade. I never cease to be amazed to see how ASA’s academic and arts programs and culture enable students to both become self-directed scholars and artists, while ever building and sustaining a safe and accepting school community.
John Snider is a Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets where he heads its national Charter School Finance Group. Mr. Snider joined RBCCM in 1989 and in his current role coordinates and oversees the firm’s investment banking efforts for charter schools across the country, with over $2.25 billion of facilities funded since 2000. In his time at RBCCM, Mr. Snider has been involved with a number of other notable public financing projects, including funding of the University of Phoenix Stadium home of the Arizona Cardinals. In addition to his service on the ASA board, Mr. Snider is also a current board member and finance committee chair of the Arizona Charter Schools Association and previously was a board member and President of the Phoenix Boys Choir Association. He received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Chicago. Two of his children graduated from ASA and one is a current ASA student.
Honorary Alumni Member
Changing the foundations of the classical canon, Mexican-American artist, Jesús López is a trailblazer in the arts landscape in the latinx community of Phoenix. Jesús has performed in a number of orchestras and chamber ensembles. He served as the concertmaster of the Siman Orchestral Foundation’s International Orchestra during their European tour. While a performer of standard Eurocentric classical music, Jesús is a champion of works by Latinx composers. His passion led to the co-founding of La Raza Chamber Players, a chamber group of Latinx musicians playing works by Latinx composers. Jesús is a diversified music educator working with a variety of students in both group and private settings. He has held teaching positions with Arizona School for the Arts and Harmony Project Phoenix. His dedication to arts advocacy stemmed from being a founding member of the City of Phoenix’s Youth Arts and Culture Council, where he served as the co-chair of Events. During his time as a council-member, he helped develop and facilitate the initial Young Artist Summit, Youth Arts Showcase, and the Youth Arts Engagement Grant. In 2017, Jesús was identified as part of a cohort of 18 young people as the City of Phoenix’s Young People of the Year, recognized for community development and service. Jesús is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration from Arizona State University; as well as a minor in Violin Performance studying under Dr. Katherine McLin. He is also receiving a certificate in Socially Engaged Practice in Design and the Arts.
Honorary Academic Faculty Member
The students of ASA are a dynamic group of individuals who bring their best selves on a daily basis. Their passion to learn inspires and pushes me to bring my best.
Richard Livoni has been a resident of the Valley for his entire life, growing up in Mesa and earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science from Arizona State University. After graduate school, Mr Livoni moved east to New York City where he taught social studies at the middle and high school level. In 2009, Mr. Livoni returned from New York to become a founding teacher at Phoenix Collegiate Academy in South Phoenix. Finally, in 2012 Mr. Livoni came to ASA.
12th Grade American Government and Economics
AP American Government
B.A. Political Science – Arizona State University
M.A. Political Science – Arizona State University
Honorary Arts Faculty Member
Not only does ASA support the arts, the school strategically uses them to influence the success of the student’s future. I just had to be a part of it!
As a seasoned performer, director and educator, Aaron Thacker-Woodruff has had the privilege of working with students in many great cities! While performing in New Orleans, he taught for The National Housing Partnership, bringing music and performance education to children in low-income communities. Through this work, he became active in fundraising, securing corporate partnerships that funded performance, health and social education at schools across New Orleans. In Chicago, Mr. Thacker-Woodruff served as the Chair of Musicianship for the Chicago Center for Music Education/ChiME, where he focused on developing music curriculum and assessment, teaching, and directing. In Chicago he also designed performance curriculum for Porchlight Music Theatre, The Metropolis Center for Performing Arts, and Emerald City Theatre. Mr. Thacker-Woodruff’s more recent regional performances include: Artie Green in Sunset Boulevard, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Patrick Dennis in Mame, and Emcee in Cabaret. He originated the role of Joey LaRose in Let Freedom Swing! at the National World War II Museum and was featured in the Tim Burton-produced film, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. One of his most memorable performance experiences was dancing and singing with Kristin Chenoweth for the grand opening of the Oklahoma City Civic Center.
Middle School Theatre 1
Acting 1 and 2
Musical Theatre Acting 2
B.F.A Musical Theatre Performance – Sam Houston State University
M.F.A. Music Theatre History and Direction- Tulane University