FACULTY & STAFF

We would be like any other school without our incredible faculty and staff. We have 1:16 class ratios and 66% of our staff hold either Masters or PhD/DMA degrees. Small class sizes allow our faculty of academic scholars and of performing artists to provide personalized attention to all students. We use a grade-level approach to support students holistically, integrating studies and reinforcing cultural norms to bring out their best. We appreciate our faculty and staff’s everyday efforts, their commitment to excellence and passion for teaching.

Why ASA?
I am at ASA because of the students. They are the most incredible group of people to be around. I am continuously amazed and inspired by their willingness to take risks, be involved with their community, and explore new ideas. I have the honor of working with students of every grade level, and I am astounded by them all. The students challenge me to continuously grow in my teaching craft and as an artist. It is an honor to be apart of their learning journey.

Monica Sauer Anthony, flutist, enjoys a very versatile career in performing and educating in the Phoenix area. Currently, she performs with the Mill Ave Chamber Players and Symphony of the Southwest. Monica has frequently played with the West Valley Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Arizona Opera, Phoenix Opera, and Opera Southwest. As a lover of new music, she regularly performs with Crossing 32nd Street New Music Ensemble. Ms. Anthony joined ASA in 2006. She has developed a progressive approach to prepare young woodwind players to enter the performing and academic world beyond high school. She has started an after-school chamber music program and organized a series of summer music workshops for middle school and high school students. In addition to training performers, she has designed the curriculum for the Music History and Culture courses at ASA. Ms. Anthony has taught master classes and judged competitions all over the Southwest and California.  She received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Arizona State University.

On campus:
Band Foundations 1 –  Woodwind Studies (5th and 6th Grade)
Band Foundations 2 –  Woodwind Studies (5th and 6th Grade)
Band Foundations – Flute/Oboe Studies
Concert Band – Flute/Oboe Studies
Symphonic Winds – Flute/Oboe Studies
Chamber Winds – Flute/Oboe Studies
Music History and Culture

Education:
B.M. Flute Performance – Arizona State University
M.M. Flute Performance – Arizona State University

Email:
anthony@goasa.org

Why ASA?
It makes me happy to be in a community of people who care so much for students.

Renee Ashlock earned a B.A. in Biology at Rhode Island College in 1989  and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of Connecticut  in 1991. After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies, she worked at the university level in student activities from 1991-2001 in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. She spent six years at home with her kids and as a part-time youth minister from 2001 to 2006 in Baltimore, Maryland. She pursued her passion for photography during that time, taking portraits and shooting weddings and still does this in her free time. After being a substitute at her children’s schools, Mrs. Ashlock realized that she loved to teach. Upon moving to Arizona in 2006, she became certified to teach middle school science and high school biology. Prior to coming to ASA, she taught middle school science at St. John Vianney Catholic School and high school biology, physical science, and forensic science at Bourgade Catholic High School. Watching the impact ASA education had on her own daughter, Mrs. Ashlock desired to join its faculty. She was excited to have that opportunity in 2016.

On campus:
Biology

Education:
B.A. – Rhode Island College
M.A. – The University of Connecticut

Email:
ashlock@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because arts make the world go round!

Lizzie Baggleman joined ASA in the spring of 2015, starting her journey in the theater department and leading her to the life skills department full time teaching both 7th and 8th grade life skills. As a native Phoenician, all of her schooling can be found on the corner of 32nd Street and Shea Boulevard in Phoenix – Mercury Mine Elementary School, Shea Middle School and Shadow Mountain High School. Ms. Baggleman graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Theatre in 2013. She enjoys being onstage as well as involved in the production team offstage. Favorite credits as an actress include “Tarzan” (Mother/Arizona Broadway Theatre), “Unstoppable Me” (Becca/ PT’s Cookie Company), “Hairspray” (Tracy Turnblad/ DST), “Urinetown” (Little Becky Two Shoes/ PVCC), and “The Wedding Singer” (Julia/ DST). Some of her other passions include Disney, road trips, and sweets.

On campus:
7th and 8th Grade Life Skills

Education:
B.A. Theatre – Arizona State University

Email:
baggleman@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is the school I wish I attended as a child. The drive and passion the students have for academics and the arts motivates me to help them achieve their potential and continue to champion the value of the arts in the community.

Dianna Bellian earned her Bachelor’s degree from the honors program at Barry University in Miami, Florida in 2014. She continued her education and received a Master’s degree in Literature from Eastern Illinois University, where she also worked as a graduate assistant in the school’s Writing Center and taught freshman-level English. Before coming to ASA, Ms. Bellian taught composition and rhetoric at Mesa and Paradise Valley community colleges from 2016-2018. A writer, painter, and former dancer/violinist, Ms. Bellian is excited to continue learning, growing, and prospering with ASA.

On campus:
9th Grade English

Education:
B.A. English Literature—Barry University
M.A. English Literature—Eastern Illinois University

Email:
dianna.bellian@goasa.org

Why ASA?
It’s the school I wish I went to and it’s the education every child deserves.

Jamie Bellian began teaching sixth grade in 2011, and joined the ASA Faculty in 2013. Prior to her teaching career, Ms. Bellian served as the Fellowship Coordinator at Building Excellent Schools, a non-profit that supports relentless entrepreneurs to design, found, lead and sustain excellent charter schools in underserved communities nationwide. Ms. Bellian is an avid outdoorswoman and traveler who views traveling as a tool that brings inspiration, ideas, and fresh, engaging curriculum to her students.  During summers ‘off’ from teaching, Ms. Bellian has designed curriculum for and taught online middle school research and writing courses, participated in graduate level professional development programs through Arizona State University and the University of Oregon in Panama City, Panama, and Oaxaca, Mexico, respectively, and has visited twenty-three U.S. National Parks and four continents to date.  Ms. Bellian is also a certified coach by the Positive Coaching Alliance, and is the faculty sponsor of both ASA’s cross-country and mock trial teams.

On campus:
6th Grade Science

Education:
B.S. Political Science – Arizona State University

Email:
bellian@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Creativity and intelligence abound at ASA, from teachers and students, and surrounding myself with these people is what makes it all fun.

Dana Bender received her Bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education from Wichita State University in Kansas. After teaching several years, she relocated to attend Arizona State University where she obtained her Master’s degree in Choral Conducting. She has taught choral music in Mesa Public Schools and the Tempe Elementary School District, music theory classes at Phoenix College, and has served as a church musician and children’s choir director for many years. Ms. Bender taught at ASA from 2003-2005 and, after taking time away to pursue a career in Christian education, she returned to ASA full time in 2010. Ms. Bender was a soprano in the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale from 1995-2014 under the direction of Jon Washburn and Charles Bruffy. The Phoenix Chorale is the only fully-professional choir in Arizona.

On campus:
Vocal Foundations 3
Bel Canto
Chamber Singers
Choral Arts Team Leader

Education:
B.M. – Wichita State University
M.M. – Arizona State University

Email:
bender@goasa.org

Why ASA?
The adults and children at ASA have collectively established a strong sense of culture in the way that they welcome people into their community, as well as uphold high standards for all to carry out.

Amanda Birch graduated from the University of Arizona in 2013 and has been teaching in Arizona ever since. In the summer of 2013, she attended San Diego State University to obtain her certification to teach English as a Foreign language. She recently traveled to Hangzhou, China employed as the culture teacher for 5th and 6th graders. When Ms. Birch is not in the classroom, she can be found braving the heights at a circus arts studio. Her high energy and commitment to providing rigorous engaging lessons allows for a cooperative, student-centered environment. She looks forward to growing professionally at Arizona School for the Arts.

On campus:
5th Grade English

Education:
B.A. Education – University of Arizona

Email:
birch@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because my kids need me and I need them!

While Stephanie Bortmas was born in Champaign, Illinois, she has spent most of her life in Phoenix. In 2006, Mrs. Bortmas earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in chemical dependency counseling from Ottawa University. She later attended Grand Canyon University and graduated with a Master’s degree in Special Education. Joining ASA’s Special Education Department in December 2015, Mrs. Bortmas brought with her more than eight years of teaching experience and a passion for working with unique learners. Mrs. Bortmas believes that every child can learn and achieve; she enjoys helping students unlock the key to their own success.

On campus:
Special Education

Education:
A. S. Organizational Leadership and Supervision – Purdue University
B.S. Psychology – Ottawa University

Email:
bortmas@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA provides an environment of self growth for both the students and faculty. Teachers are given the freedom and opportunities to help students learn in their own style. Being a teacher at ASA means being respected as a professional and acknowledged as a leader while a member of a fantastic faculty.

Dr. Amy Brady began her teaching career in 1990 after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a major in elementary education and a minor in English. For 12 years she taught middle school language arts at a private school in Ohio. While teaching in middle school, Dr. Brady completed her Master’s degree in Literacy at Ashland University. Beginning in 2002, she taught as an adjunct professor for Ashland University in the College of Education where her primary focus was literacy and literature. In 2008, she earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education from Cleveland State University. From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Brady was a full time assistant professor at Ashland University for the College of Education. During her tenure at Ashland University, Dr. Brady presented at regional and national conferences and conducted professional teacher development in Taiwan addressing topics including cooperative learning, differentiation, and professional teacher development.

On campus:
7th Grade English
7th Grade Advanced English
English Department Chair

Education:
B.S. Education – Bowling Green State University
M.Ed. – Ashland University
Ph.D. Urban Education – Cleveland State University

Email:
Brady@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love ASA students. I love the synergy between the arts and academics. I love the focus on community.

Kimberly Brown earned a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Political Science from Barrett The Honors College at Arizona State University.  An avid reader and Arizona localist, she spent a year after college working as an assistant manager at her favorite local bookstore, Changing Hands, before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, to pursue her Master’s degree.  After studying at the University of Edinburgh, she was awarded her M.Sc. in Theology in History. Upon returning to the United States, she joined Teach for America to share with students the joy and importance of studying history. She spent the next four years teaching history and humanities to students in Chicago and Phoenix. In 2015 she joined the nonprofit sector as the AmeriCorps and VISTA program manager at Mesa United Way. Although her work was meaningful, she missed her students and in the summer of 2016 she enthusiastically accepted an opportunity to join the ASA team as the 11th grade social studies teacher.

On campus:
U.S. history
AP U.S. history

Education:
B.A. – Arizona State University
B.A. – Arizona State University
M.Sc. – University of Edinburgh
Teaching certificate – Dominican University

Email:
brown@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA focuses on educating the whole student and engaging all parts of the mind. As a musician and arts teacher, this allows me to develop lifelong music goals with students, which will help them grow into well-rounded adults.

Ashley Burrows received her Bachelors of Music in bassoon performance from California State University Stanislaus in 2013.  She began her career as a professional woodwind specialist in California with The Sound of Music and went on to perform with symphonies and pit orchestras around the state’s Central Valley. Ms. Burrows later decided to pursue her Masters degree in Bassoon Performance at Arizona State University. She won the Herbert Smith Music Fellowship at ASU and completed her Masters of Music in 2017.  Shortly thereafter she began substitute teaching, accepting a long-term position in junior high special education. Ms. Burrows fell in love with the students and helping them transition into young adults. Ms. Burrows is also an active performer in the Phoenix metropolitan area playing woodwind instruments for pit orchestras and jazz bands across the Valley.

On campus:
Band Foundations
Concert Band
Symphonic Winds
Chamber Winds

Email:
burrows@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because I like hallways filled with music.

Originally from Ecuador, Isabel Campaña came to the United States in 1996. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Art History and French Literature from Oklahoma State University and Master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After four years of teaching both language and arts at the college and elementary school levels, she relocated to Varanasi, India to attend a two-year post-graduate course in Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy at Banaras Hindu University. Ms.Campaña is fascinated by modern and ancient languages and is delighted to explore this interest with both French and Spanish students at ASA.

On campus:
9th Grade Spanish
12th Grade French

Education:
B.A. Art History/French Literature – Oklahoma State University
M.A. Foreign Languages and Literature – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Post-Graduate Certification Sanskrit/Indian Philosophy – Banaras Hindu University

Email:
Campana@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is a great place to be! I love having the opportunity to teach ALL students how to play the piano – especially those who never even gave the piano a thought before they stepped on campus.

Pianist Dianne Cangelosi began her formative years of music study at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She has an extensive background in the collaborative arts that encompass a wide range of styles, periods, and genres. She has freelanced at Grand Canyon University and several community colleges including Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley and Phoenix College collaborating with both vocalists and instrumentalists. She remains in demand as a collaborative artist for recitals, competitions, opera workshops, theatrical productions, choral festivals and community choirs. She has toured to Canada, Europe and throughout the United States with the Phoenix Girls Chorus and is the collaborative pianist for the choral concerts at ASA.

On campus:
7th and 8th Grade Piano

Education:
B.M. – Rutgers University
M.M. – Arizona State University

Email:
cangelosi@goasa.org

Why ASA?
The combination of strong arts and academic education is very much at the heart of why I teach.  ASA provides that in an environment that is open, warm, and values the individual dreams and voice of each student.

Rob Chambers brings more than 30 years’ experience as an educator, artist, and leader to ASA. He was the founding Theatre Department Head at The Chicago High School for the Arts for eight years. Prior to that, he led the Training and Education Division at The Second City, overseeing programming at six centers in the United States and Canada for the famed comedy and improvisation theatre. He has held leadership positions at Theatre Mir (Artistic Director), League of Chicago Theatres (Marketing Manager), Hartford Stage (Marketing Manager), and Melanie Stewart Dance (Managing Director), and he was awarded an arts management fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. As a director of plays and musicals with an emphasis on original productions, he has worked with Common Ground Stage & Film in New York; The Second City, Silk Road, Circle, Live Bait, City Lit, Bailiwick, Public Trust, Chicago Dramatists, Women’s Theatre Alliance, and Barat College in Chicago; New Britain Repertory and Mark Twain Masquers in Connecticut; and Society Hill Playhouse and PlayWorks Company in Philadelphia.

On campus:
Devising
Directing
Improvisation

Education:
B.A. Radio-TV-Film – Temple University
M.F.A. Directing – The Theatre School at DePaul University

Email:
chambers@goasa.org

Why ASA?
From the experiences of collaboration with some ASA students, it is very fun to work with creative and enthusiastic students as well as teachers.

Dr. HaeJu Choi is a native of Seoul, South Korea. She earned her Bachelor’s degree with a Piano Performance major from the University of Kansas, where she was selected to perform honors recitals in 2004 and 2005. She was a winner of the KMTA (Kansas Music Teachers Association) competition in 2004 and 2005,  the UMKC (University of Missouri Kansas City) scholarship competition, and the MTNA regional competition in 2006. After Dr. HaeJu switched her major to collaborative piano, she earned a Master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music. As an active collaborative pianist, she has performed in Asia, North America, and Europe. She recently graduated from Arizona State University with a Doctoral Music of Arts.

On campus:
High School Class Piano

Email:
choi@goasa.org

Why ASA?
If we don’t have our youth, we don’t have our future. And if I can be part of shaping and teaching what the future will be, then I’m all in. And what’s more – if it involves the arts, I know the future will be bright.

Ian Christiansen earned a B.F.A. in Acting/Drama in 2004 at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. During his time abroad in 2003, he studied mask, movement, and classical acting at National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia. He was a company member with the American Mime Theatre in New York from 2005-2007. In Arizona, he has been a theatre faculty associate at both Arizona State University and Mesa Community College, where he taught acting, voice and diction, and acting for the camera. He has taught various workshops in movement and classical acting for Southwest Shakespeare Company and Arizona Theatre Company. He is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has worked professionally for many Valley theatre companies, including Arizona Opera and The Phoenix Symphony. Mr. Christiansen became a member of ASA’s theatre department faculty in 2014.

On campus:
Theatre Foundations 1
Movement/Combat
MS Storytelling
HS Storytelling

Education:
B.F.A. Acting – Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama
Company Member – American Mime Theatre (2005-2007)
National Institute of Dramatic Art

Email:
christiansen@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA draws in special people and shapes incredible people – teachers and students alike.

Collin Clark grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Secondary Education from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania in 2011.  Even though he moved to Pennsylvania to “get away from the South,” he often now finds himself longing for fried okra, catfish, and some good old-fashioned Tennessee barbeque. Mr. Clark comes to ASA with experience as a private SAT tutor and 9th grade English teacher at Gilbert Classical Academy. He brings with him a strong will to immerse students in an English curriculum that stresses the importance of critical thinking and communication.  Mr. Clark is a passionate swing dancer, an aspiring banjo-picker, a proud nerd, and incredibly happy to have been teaching students at ASA since the 2014-2015 school year.

On campus:
10th Grade English

Education:
B.A. Creative Writing and Secondary Education – Susquehanna University

Email:
collin.clark@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I was an ASA parent long before I became an ASA teacher. Seeing first hand the daily mix of academics and arts, the way ASA taught both sides of the brain, made me want to come out of retirement and teach again.

Nicole Coleman earned a B.A. in Elementary Education with a minor in social studies in 1992 from Grand Canyon University.  After completing her undergraduate studies, Mrs. Coleman taught 4th and 5th grade in the Deer Valley and Kyrene school districts in the Valley. Mrs. Coleman is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Counseling from Grand Canyon University.  Mrs. Coleman joined the ASA faculty in January 2016 as the 6th grade social studies teacher.  She became the 5th and 6th grade life skills teacher in August 2016.

On campus: 
5th and 6th Grade Life Skills

Education: 
B.A. Elementary Education – Grand Canyon University

Email:
coleman@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA provides a culture that will produce a generation of children that will make me proud – a generation that believes in equity, fairness, hard work, powerful women, and most importantly, community. The world the students of ASA will contribute to will be better because of them. I believe this with every part of my body!

Jordan Daniels is a performance dance artist and Phoenix native. He works as a contemporary modern faculty member for The School of Ballet Arizona and ASA. He has been a full company member and collaborator with Tempe-based company CONDER/dance for five years. Recently Mr. Daniels was invited to be a permanent artist-in-residence for [nueBOX], a fast-growing artist collective and residency company based at Mesa Arts Center. He also collaborated with the Phoenix Art Museum to produce DanceFest, a festival for high school, college, and professional dancers that draws more than 3,000 people annually. Additionally, he became a member of Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process (CRP) bench managed by Dance Exchange, and collaborated with Phoenix Union High School District and the Arizona Commission on the Arts working with teachers to cultivate an understanding of CRP in students. Mr. Daniels continues to work with his project-based performance company, JordanDanielsDance, which has produced and performed more than 20 works in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Texas, North Carolina, and New York.

On campus:
Modern Dance Studies

Education:
B.F.A. – Southern Methodist University

Email:
daniels@goasa.org

Why ASA?
From the moment I stepped on to ASA’s campus, it felt different. I came from a school where classroom management and discipline were the number one priority for teachers. I love to be able to focus on teaching, because the culture emphasizes a respect for teachers and a love for learning that makes classroom management a breeze.

Annabelle grew up in Phoenix and went to the University of Arizona following high school, graduating in 2008 with a degree in Anthropology and Pre-Med. Instead of going to med school, Annabelle decided to move back to Phoenix and teach science. She started at ASA teaching 7th and 8th grade science in 2009, while also working on her Master’s degree in Education at ASU. She graduated with her Master’s in 2010. Annabelle taught 8th grade science at ASA until 2014, when she left after the birth of her daughter, Harriet. Annabelle couldn’t stay away, and came back the following year when there was a need for a 6th grade science teacher. The following year, Annabelle moved to 9th grade and taught Biology. In early 2017, Annabelle’s husband had the opportunity to work in Israel for 18 months, so Annabelle and Harriet moved with him. They had a truly eye-opening experience living in that part of the world. They moved back to Phoenix in July of 2018, with their new family member, Ramona, who was born in Ashdod, Israel in March of 2018. Annabelle is very excited to be back at ASA teaching 8th grade science, her favorite curriculum.

On campus
8thg Grade Science

Education
B.A. Anthropology – University of Arizona
M.A. Secondary Education – Arizona State University

Email
davey@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I am empowered to be an educator at ASA. The culture allows me and my students to be resilient, creative and promote lifelong learning through rigorous academics and the arts.

Taylor Dutro earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies (emphasis in primary and middle education) in 2016 from the University of La Verne in California. During completion of her bachelor’s degree, Taylor worked as an Applied Behavior Analyst with primary grades. After completing her degree, she began her teaching career in San Diego where she taught 6th grade math to students from around the world. In 2017, Ms. Dutro moved from her California home to Glendale, Arizona where she taught 8th grade ELA. She joined the ASA faculty in 2018 as the 6th grade math teacher.

On Campus:
6th Grade Math

Education:
B.A. Liberal Studies – University of La Verne

Email:
dutro@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love the way ASA partners the arts and academics. I have watched students transform into true artists in all areas of their education.

Jessica Elder earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona in 2000. Her professional career began on the operatic stage, performing leading roles with reputable opera companies and as a guest soloist with many symphonies and choruses in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has also been a director of youth choirs and musicals, and a teacher of voice lessons, piano lessons and singing classes since 1996.  Her experience as a music educator includes a position as master voice teacher for the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and she has served as a guest technician for several community and symphony choruses. Mrs. Elder moved from the Bay Area to Phoenix in 2011, and became a member of ASA’s choral faculty in 2013.

On campus:
Vocal Foundations 1
Mixed Ensemble

Education:
B.M. Vocal Performance – University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music
M.M. Vocal Performance – University of Arizona

Email:
elder@goasa.org

Why ASA?
To make a difference in the self-esteem of students both academically and emotionally. ASA’s focus on balancing the arts and the academics provides students additional opportunities to excel and build that self-esteem.

Erin Endicott received her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in mathematics from Arizona Christian University. After teaching several years, she went back to school and attended Grand Canyon University, where she obtained her Master’s degree in Educational Administration. Ms. Endicott has worked the past 10 years as a junior high math teacher for Freedom Academy Charter School and also served in the role of vice principal. In addition to teaching, Ms. Endicott is passionate about youth sports and has coached volleyball through various clubs during the past 15 years.

On campus:
ESS Support

Education:
B.M. Secondary Education – Arizona Christian University
M.S. Educational Administration – Grand Canyon University

Email:
endicott@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because the culture, mission, and core values of ASA are what make this school an outstanding place to work and thrive in!

Gia Firicano received her formal ballet training at the Boston School of Ballet under a full scholarship. She began her professional career in 1984 with the Tennessee Festival Ballet, under the directorship of Anne-Marie Holmes. She went on to become a principal dancer with The Berkshire Ballet, the Southwest Ballet, and Ballet Arizona. Her repertoire includes the leading roles of Giselle, Juliet, Cinderella, Swanhilda, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. In addition, her repertoire includes a wide range of contemporary and Balanchine pieces. Ms. Firicano retired in 2003 after 13 years of performing with Ballet Arizona. She has been an instructor with The School of Ballet Arizona, Phoenix Dance Academy, and The Plumb Performing Arts Academy. In 2004, she joined the arts faculty at ASA and is currently the Artistic Coordinator of the school’s ballet program. She is also on the faculty at The School of Ballet Arizona.

On campus:
5th and 6th Grade Ballet Foundations 2
Ballet Corp

Education:
Boston School of Ballet

Email:
firicano@goasa.org

Why ASA?
People are always amazed that I have taught at ASA for so long. My answer is always, “Where else would I be able to teach percussion where the whole community (students, teachers, parents) is so supportive and dedicated to the arts and education?” ASA is an amazing place that turns students into artist scholars. I wish I had gone to ASA when I was in high school!

Liz Guzman received her degree in percussion from Arizona State University in 2004 under the direction of Dr. Douglas Nottingham, Dr. JB Smith, Dr. Mark Sunkett and Bill Wanser. (Phoenix Symphony, retired). In 2005, she joined the ASA faculty as the percussion specialist and currently serves as the 504 Liaison for the Exceptional Student Services Department. In addition to ASA, Ms. Guzman maintains a busy private studio where her students have performed and earned honors at the AMEA Solo & Ensemble, Arizona Regional & All State Band and Orchestra, Curry Summer Music Camp, Berklee Percussion Camp, the AzPAS Solo & Ensemble Festival, Phoenix Youth Symphony, and the Academy Drum & Bugle Corp. In 2011 she was named a Surdna Arts Fellow, which granted her the opportunity to study with world-renowned marimbist Naoko Takada. Ms. Guzman regularly performs with various groups around the Valley, including the Rosewood Rascals Marimba Band and Salt River Brass. She is a member of the Arizona Music Educators Association and National Association of Music Education, and serves as president of the Arizona Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.

On campus:
Band Foundations – Percussion Studies
Concert Band – Percussion Studies
Symphonic Winds – Percussion Studies
Chamber Winds – Percussion Studies
Percussion Ensemble
504 Liaison

Education:
Glendale Community College
B.A. Music – Arizona State University
Teacher Certification – Rio Salado College

Email:
guzman@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I enjoy teaching at ASA because the dance program has given me a creative environment to not only share my technical skills, but to use my background and 25-plus years of experience in the performing arts world to develop a style of teaching where I strive to offer an all-encompassing experience as an inspiration to my students. I can sum up my gratitude for having this opportunity by quoting a testimonial from one of my graduating students: “I leave the ASA dance program not only as a better dancer, but a better person. A person who is confident, determined, and loved by her second family.”

Catherine Hader received her formal ballet training at Canada’s National Ballet School, and began her professional career with The National Ballet of Canada under Artistic Director Erik Bruhn. Her classical  repertoire includes Swan Lake, Giselle, Les Sylphide, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, and Rudolf Nureyev’s Sleeping Beauty. Ms. Hader also made guest appearances as a principal dancer in The Canadian Opera Company’s La Traviata and The Merry Widow. Ms. Hader launched a successful commercial/acting career highlighted by a campaign for Diet Coke, a two-year contract representing Giorgio of Beverly Hills perfume, performing in the role of Mme de Tourvel in The Orlando Civic Theater production of Dangerous Liaisons, and appearances in more than 70 commercials, videos and films. Ms. Hader produced the 2016 documentary “An Improbable Dream” about the joys and challenges of growing up at a private arts school. She has been teaching at The School of Ballet Arizona since  2013 and ASA since 2014. She continues to perform in character roles with Ballet Arizona.

On campus:
Ballet Corps Intensive

Education:
Canada National Ballet School
RYT Certification/Yoga Alliance

Email:
Hader@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Like all great schools, ASA creates opportunities to grow, develop perspective on one’s self and the world, and articulate that perspective.

Julie Hampton earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in theatre and business.  From 1995 – 2001, she directed the Valley of the Sun YMCA Writer’s Voice, a nationally-recognized literary program that offered creative writing workshops, hosted author readings, and developed other literary programs. She developed two new programs during her tenure: a kids art camp for ages 10 – 13, offering instruction in various art forms, and Mothers Write, a writing program for mothers of all ages. Ms. Hampton started her teaching career in 1999 at a local arts school and then returned to graduate school at Arizona State University, completing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2005.  From 2004 to 2008 she worked for ASU’s Young Writers Program as an on-site, writer-in-residence in Tolleson Union High School District schools, where she wrote curriculum, taught creative writing to students, and offered professional development classes for faculty.  From 2004 to 2011, Ms. Hampton taught American Literature, The Novel, Science Fiction Literature, Creative Writing, and Composition at the Art Institute of Phoenix.

On campus:
12th Grade English

Education:
B.A. English – University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
M.F.A. Creative Writing – Arizona State University

Email:
hampton@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA has a great combination of arts and academics, which makes this school unique and attractive.

Dr. John Hwang, a Korean-American pianist, enjoys performing and teaching in Arizona. Dr. Hwang made his performance debut at Lincoln Center in New York in 2016 and also performed at the Amalfi Coast Festival in Italy. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Hansei University in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to Phoenix in 2005 to pursue a Master of Music degree from Arizona State University. Continuing his educational journey, he then went on to receive his Doctor of Musical Arts at ASU in 2015 under the guidance of Baruch Meir. Dr. Hwang served as a faculty associate teaching classes at ASU. He has been working actively as a professional musician as conductor, accompanist, organist, and lecturer. He regularly gives a presentation for the Arizona State Music Teachers Association and is currently serving as organist/pianist at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Chandler.

On Campus:
High School Piano Class

Education:
Kaywon Art High School Piano Performance
B.A. Piano Performance – Hansei University
M.M. Piano Performance – Arizona State University
D.M.A. Piano Performance – Arizona State

Email:
hwang@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I have been so honored to be a part of the expansion of our campus. I choose to teach at ASA because our students are uniquely dedicated to their arts and academic endeavors.

Ann Kaufman earned a B.A. in Political Science in 1999 from the University of Cincinnati. After completing her undergraduate studies, she began a career in sales in Cincinnati. In 2005, she left her midwestern roots to move to Phoenix to become an academic counselor for the University of Phoenix. While working for UOP, Ms. Kaufman fulfilled her lifelong dream to earn her M.Ed./TED-S (Master of Arts in Education/Secondary Teacher Education) and become a teacher.  After completing her degree, she student taught 11th and 12th grade at Arcadia High School. Then she began her career teaching 8th and 9th grade English at ASA.

On campus:
8th Grade English
8th Grade Team Leader

Education:
B.A. Political Science – University of Cincinnati
M.Ed./TED-S – University of Phoenix

Email:
kaufman@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love to work at ASA because I can express my passion for the French language in creative and authentic ways. The students want to be here and are talented. I love hearing the music in the hallways. I appreciate the several hours of curriculum development and planning time that we have each day. The administration is supportive and understanding to each individual’s needs. I like the quality, rigor and creativity that my students and colleagues bring to their classes. It is a very positive, lively, and invigorating place to be!

While Rebecca Kendall is native to western Canada, she thrives in the heat of the desert. Learning French at an early age motivated her to appreciate, study and learn world languages. She received her B.A. in French Secondary Education, with minors in Spanish and business, from the University of Arizona. She has studied in Grenoble and Vichy, France, as well as in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. She has worked for 10-plus years as a French tutor and teacher, and in the meantime has done much training and practice to refine her teaching methods. She is trained in teaching French at the International Baccalaureate level and is the recipient of a scholarship to study French pedagogy from the French government and the AATF. She is state certified to teach French in both California and Arizona. Ms. Kendall is passionate about teaching, traveling, and language, and looks forward to another great year of being in the classroom!

On campus:
French I
French II
French III
French IV

Education:
B.A. French Secondary Education – University of Arizona
Université Stendhal, Grenoble, France
CAVILAM Institute, Vichy, France

Email:
kendall@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA’s passion for the arts and dedication to high-quality academics speaks to both my love for the theatre and my commitment to truly prepare students for college.

Born in London, England, David Kenton has lived in Arizona since 1999. After graduating from Chaparral High School, he continued his education at Arizona State University while also starting up his own private tutoring company. A tutor for the past seven years, Mr. Kenton has worked with students throughout the Valley on their math skills in a variety of high school math classes. He has also taught test prep courses for the SAT, PSAT, and AIMS. He has a passion for the arts, especially theatre, and feels fortunate to have started his teaching career here at ASA.

On campus:
Algebra II
Precalculus
Quantitative Reasoning

Education:
B.A. – Arizona State University
AEPA – High school mathematics

Email:
kenton@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I chose to teach here because I believe in the high expectations that ASA stands for and I believe that all children can reach and exceed those expectations in the collaborative and student-involved environment that ASA provides.

A native of Phoenix, Anna-Lisa Kersch earned a BAE in Elementary Education with an emphasis in computer-based education and math in 1989 at Arizona State University. She began teaching junior high students computer skills and programming, along with coaching volleyball and softball, in the Chandler Unified and Pendergast Elementary school districts. During this time, Mrs. Kersch received her MAE in Educational Leadership in 1995 and a second MAE in Computer Based Education in 2003. While at Pendergast, she transitioned into teaching 7th grade math, advanced math, and reading. Since the transition, she has participated extensively in the state testing process and attended summer institutes on math standards at University of California, Berkeley. In 2009, Mrs. Kersch joined the ASA faculty as the 7th grade math teacher and has held leadership positions as the 7th Grade Co-Team Leader, Faculty Mentor, and Canvas Support Team.

On campus:
7th Grade Math

Education:
BAE – Arizona State University
MAE – Northern Arizona University
MAE – Arizona State University

Email:
kersch@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Wanted to be in an environment that promotes creativity and critical thinking, where everyone is welcome.

Ms. Kolich was raised in Austin, Texas and spent 15 years of her early adult life in Washington, D.C. She earned a tennis scholarship to Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina where she was a double major in political science and philosophy. As an undergraduate, Ms. Kolich studied in the former Soviet Union, which sparked her lifelong interest in international affairs.   Ms. Kolich then earned her Master’s degree in International Relations from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Ms. Kolich lives for politics and anything related to helping the underdog. She has worked on Capitol Hill, for women’s not-for-profit advocacy groups and as an investigative journalist. After moving to Phoenix, Ms. Kolich decided to pursue a teaching career and returned to school for a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate in secondary education.  Since then, she has taught middle school, high school and college level courses. Ms. Kolich loves to read, hike, snorkel and travel.

On campus:
9th Grade Social Studies

Education:
B. A. Political Science, Philosophy – Furman University
M.A. International Affairs – The George Washington University
Secondary Teaching Certification – Rio Salado College

Email:
kolich@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Nice students and good arts opportunities!

Dr. Craig Kosnik graduated with his Ph.D. in Theatre For Youth from Arizona State University in 2014 after successfully defending his dissertation entitled “The Adolescent’s Voice: How Theatre Participation Impacts High Schoolers and College Students.” Two of Mr. Kosnik’s highlights from ASU include: directing the premiere staged reading of professional playwright Joanna H. Kraus’s “Christabel and the Amazing Pedal Power Challenge,” and co-creating with colleague Anne Negri a two-person non-verbal show called BOXES performed exclusively for preschoolers on campus. Before this, Mr. Kosnik earned his B.A. in Theatre from Gannon University in 2002 and his M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College in 2005. Through educational, professional, and community experiences, he has been fortunate enough to perform almost all duties of the theatre, including: teacher, director, actor, stage manager, house manager, designer, playwright, light and sound board operator, dramaturg, archivist, puppeteer, and mime. Mr. Kosnik is primarily a director/teacher and loves working with young people. In addition to ASA, Mr. Kosnik also teaches at Paradise Valley Community College.

On campus:
Theatre Foundations 1
MS Storytelling
Theatre for Social Change

Education:
B.A. – Gannon University
M.A. – Emerson College
Ph.D.- Arizona State University

Email:
kosnik@goasa.org

Why ASA?
As part of the full-time faculty of The School of Ballet Arizona, we are contracted to teach at ASA. That’s how I started at ASA. I stay because of the senior administrative staff and their unwavering devotion to their teaching philosophies and to the students.

David Krensing has been teaching at ASA since 2013. He is a former principal dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia, where he performed numerous leading classical and contemporary roles by such renowned choreographers as Sir Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Butler, John Cranko, William Forsythe, Lar Lubovitch, Peter Martins, Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Hans Van Manen. Additional performance credits include world premieres by Ib Andersen, Jorma Elo, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre, Kevin O’ Day, David Parsons, Antony Rizzi, Dwight Rhoden and Christopher Wheeldon. Mr. Krensing has toured the United States and Europe both with Pennsylvania Ballet and as an independent artist and has been featured domestically and internationally in both company produced and independent productions with artists from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Frankfort Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, and Martha Graham Dance Company, among others. He has taught for professional dance companies, colleges and universities, including: University of Arizona, The University of the Arts, Stephens College, Washington Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, BalletX, Ballet Idaho, and The Trey McIntyre Project.

On campus:
Ballet Corp Intensive
Ballet Corp
Ballet Foundations 2

Education:
B.F.A. – Stephens College
M.F.A. – University of Arizona

Email:
krensing@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love ASA!  ASA allows students to be who they are while providing students with opportunities to succeed in the areas of arts and academics. Expectations for students are high, but scaffolds are in place to ensure students are able to meet these expectations. Students are taught to advocate for themselves and become leaders both at school and in the community.

Melissa Kuhlman earned a B.A. from Ottawa University in Phoenix in 1996 and an M.A. in Bilingual Multicultural Education from Northern Arizona University in 1998. Her teaching career began in 1996 with Mesa Public Schools, where she taught 2nd, 4th, and 6th grades in Title 1 schools. She also worked as in instructional specialist for three years prior to returning to the classroom. In 2013, Ms. Kuhlman changed districts and taught 5th and 6th grade honors English in the Madison School District for three years before joining the ASA community in 2016.

On campus:
6th Grade Social Studies

Education:
B.A. – Ottawa University
M.A. – Northern Arizona University

Email:
kuhlman@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I get to work with great colleagues and create music everyday.

Elise Kurbat is originally from Cleveland Ohio. She attended Kent State University and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music for degrees in criminology and music. She was a full-time piano accompanist, children’s choir director, music director, and a private piano/voice teacher before moving to Arizona. Mrs. Kurbat has more than 20 years of teaching experience.  As an accomplished pianist, Mrs. Kurbat was the assistant pianist for Mansfield Symphony in Ohio.  In addition, Mrs. Kurbat has music directed and played for such shows as “The Sound of Music,” “Cabaret,” “Cinderella,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Pippin,” “Oliver,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Seussical Jr.,” “Gretel and Hansel,” “Urinetown,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “Spring Awakening.”

On campus:
Music Theatre Repertoire
Vocal Expressions for Actors and Singers
Glee

Education:
B.A. Criminology – Kent State University
B.A. Music (double emphasis on piano and voice) – Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music

Email:
kurbat@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Teaching literature is the best job on earth, and ASA offers students the chance to discuss really great texts in an open-minded way.

Chad Kurzawski began teaching in 2000 as a Teach for America corps member and has been working in education ever since. He earned a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico in 2005. Mr. Kurzawski was appointed to the Arizona State Standards Review Subcommittee for English Language Arts in 2015, serving as the 6th grade team lead. He generally spends his summers in a leadership role with Teach for America’s Phoenix Institute, a program that provides training and support to hundreds of new teachers. Mr. Kurzawski feels blessed to have the opportunity to spend his time guiding students as they read and analyze literature.

On Campus:
11th Grade English
AP English

Education:
B.A. English and Communication – Albion College
M.A. English – University of New Mexico

Email:
kurzawski@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I believe in art. Children should be exposed to the arts everyday, and ASA supports that. ASA allows me to share my passion for Flamenco. “Ole con Ole.”

Yumi La Rosa has studied in Spain with renowned Flamenco artists including Rafaela Carrasco, Juana Amaya, Belen Maya, Leonor Leal, Isabel Bayón, and “La Truco.” Upon returning to Phoenix, Ms. La Rosa joined Viva Flamenco directed by Lydia Torea as a company dancer and later became a soloist with Mosaico Flamenco at Hyatt Scottsdale Resort.  Ms. La Rosa was also selected as a soloist with the prestigious touring group, Calo Flamenco, directed by Martin Gaxiola. She was later invited to Mexico, India, and Singapore to teach Flamenco workshops and to perform. Currently, she is performing at Tapas Papa Frita Spanish restaurant in Scottsdale as the featured dancer. She also organizes an annual theater production to give the public an appreciation of other cultures in general and of the richness of Spanish culture in particular.
Ms. La Rosa has been a flamenco instructor for all ages throughout the Valley, incluidng The School of Ballet Arizona, Yen-Li Chen Ballet School, and Arizona School of Classical Ballet.

On campus:
5th and 6th Grade: Introduction to Dance & Ballet Foundations 1
7th and 8th Grade: Ballet Foundations 2

Education:
B.S. Accountancy (minor in dance) – Arizona State University

Email:
larosa@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love ASA because of how it treats its students, staff, and community members.

Eden Lewkowitz grew up in Phoenix, where he attended Brophy College Preparatory.  He then attended Northern Arizona University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with an extended major in history.  Mr. Lewkowitz then was recruited to teach English in Incheon, South Korea.  In 2010, he began teaching at Magnet Traditional School in Phoenix. While at Magnet Traditional, he served the education community as vice president of the Phoenix Elementary School District Classroom Teachers Association and as the founding chairman of the Arizona Education Association’s eSWAG committee. He has been teaching at ASA since 2015. Mr. Lewkowitz is very excited to be teaching at ASA where he can bring his innovative approach and love of history to his students.

On campus:
10th Grade Social Studies
10th Grade Team Leader

Education:
B.A. (with extended history major) – Northern Arizona University

Email:
lewkowitz@goasa.org

Why ASA?
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.

On campus:
12th Grade American Government and Economics
AP American Government

Education:
B.A. Political Science – Arizona State University
M.A. Political Science – Arizona State University

Email:
livoni@gmail.com

Why ASA?
I have stayed at ASA for 20 years because I believe so strongly in the ASA model.  It is amazing to be trusted to create my own curriculum, which is based on best practices and adolescent development. Over 20 years I have had the privilege of teaching entire families of students. Those families have become my friends!

Kristin Mailhiot attended California State University, Fullerton. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, with an emphasis on marine biology.  Upon earning her degree, Ms. Mailhiot began teaching in 1991. She taught in middle schools and high schools in California before relocating to Arizona in 1997. Ms. Mailhiot taught middle school science at ASA from 1997-2010. She then served as the ASA Vice Principal from 2010-2015 before her love for teaching science inspired her to return to the classroom.

On campus:
12th Grade Environmental Science
12th Grade Team Leader

Education:
B.A. – California State University,  Fullerton

Email:
mailhiot@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I look forward to coming to work at ASA every day because I get to watch my students grow, not only in their piano skills, but also in analyzing information and being articulate and thoughtful about their perspective on the world. I enjoy collaborating with colleagues who share a mutual passion for teaching young people.

Aiko Yamada Mancini is a native of Northern California, where she worked for many years as a piano teacher and accompanist before moving to Arizona to pursue graduate studies in musicology. Prior to working at ASA, she taught piano classes and private piano lessons for Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts as well as working as a lead piano instructor for HIDA’s summer arts camp for children. In addition to teaching 7th and 8th grade piano at ASA, Mrs. Mancini is also the music director and pianist/organist at University Lutheran Church in Tempe. She has been teaching at ASA since 2009.

On campus:
7th and 8th Grade Piano

Education:
B.A. Applied Piano – Simpson University

Email:
aiko.mancini@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love the culture. Nurturing young leaders through the arts inspires me.

Ada McCartney is a creator, performer, yoga instructor, and teaching artist. She is passionate about poetry, lifelong learning, and civic engagement through the arts. In 2011, Ms. McCartney received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Kalamazoo College,  where she majored in creative writing and studied in the theatre department.  In 2008, she studied critical education theory at the Philadelphia Center and in 2010, studied abroad at the Universidad de Nebrija in Madrid, Spain. In her final year at Kalamazoo College, she managed a creative writing program for women on parole and earned a nomination for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship for her work as Dessa in “Tongue of A Bird.” Following graduation, Ms. McCartney continued her work in the arts community and served as a theatre teaching artist in Kalamazoo Public Schools. Ms. McCartney moved to Tempe to further her professional drama training. In 2015, she joined Childsplay as teaching artist; in 2016 she became a guest teacher in ASA’s theatre department.

On campus:
ESS Support

Education:
B.A. – Kalamazoo College

Email:
mccartney@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Love the kids at school because they are so cool and they want to change the world, making it a better place for us.

Oscar Miranda grew up in Bogota, Colombia in South America. He taught from 2008 to 2011 in Bogota after earning his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Universidad Nacional. After volunteering in England in 2006 with at-risk youth, he completed a teaching Spanish program through Universidad of Barcelona. After moving to the United States, Mr. Miranda completed an educators program at University of Nebraska – Kearney. While there, he taught Spanish and geography for both middle and high school students in Nebraska from 2012 to 2014. Since relocating to Arizona in 2014, Mr. Miranda has enjoyed sharing his experience and passion of the Spanish language with his students at ASA.

On campus:
10th and 11th Grade Spanish

Education:
B.A. Sociology – Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Transitional Teaching – University of Nebraska – Kearney

Email:
oscar.miranda@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because ASA is home!

Ramon Miranda began his teaching career in 1990 at Universal, Centro de Lengua y Comunicación Social in his hometown, Cuernavaca, México. He has been teaching at ASA since 2002. He has served as the Foreign Language Department Chair, and the Student Government Advisor. He also coordinates trips abroad. Mr. Miranda really enjoys teaching, reading, listening to music, playing and watching sports, and traveling.

On campus:
Spanish III
Spanish IV
Honors Spanish IV

Education:
B.A. Spanish – Arizona State University
M.A. Latin American Literature – Arizona State University

Email:
miranda@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I am tremendously excited to be teaching music at a school that is wholeheartedly dedicated to the arts.

Jon Murray returned to the Phoenix area last year with his family after 19 years teaching and performing music in Southern California.  Mr. Murray has held several teaching positions, most recently as orchestra and jazz director at Flintridge Prep School in the Los Angeles area. He previously held teaching positions at Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, California State University Northridge, the Master’s College, and the Colburn School of Performing Arts. Mr. Murray received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Arizona State University in Jazz Performance and Theory/Composition, respectively. He performs regularly as a bassist in various jazz ensembles and orchestras in the Phoenix and Los Angeles music communities. Mr. Murray continues a busy touring and recording schedule with smooth jazz vocalist Bobby Caldwell.

On Campus:
Orchestras
Jazz Ensemble

Education:
B.M. Jazz Performance – Arizona State University
M.M. Theory/Composition – Arizona State University

Email:
murray@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I have so many fond memories of ASA from when I was a student here. This school undoubtedly shaped who I have become and how I will continue to grow. I’m so proud to be able to carry on the tradition of creativity and scholarship.

Rebecca Needhammer began her dance training at the School of Ballet Arizona. She has since trained with Mary Moe Adams and Andrew Needhammer. She attended ASA from 2001 to 2004. In 2009 she became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in 2012. She has taught children of all ages at Northern Arizona University Community Music and Dance Academy, Yen-Li Chen School of Ballet, Dance Theater West, Phoenix Dance Academy, and the School of Ballet Arizona. Ms. Needhammer is currently a member of Center Dance Ensemble.

On campus:
7th and 8th Grade Ballet Foundations 2

Education:
B.A. Liberal Arts – St. John’s College

Email:
needhammer@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because ASA allows me to most effectively put my skill set to work.

Joshua Pierce holds both a B.M. and M.M in Classical Guitar Performance from Arizona State University, where he studied with Professor Frank Koonce. During his time at ASU, he was the recipient of the Richard and Babette Burns Classical Guitar Scholarship, the Northern Trust/Virginia G. Piper Enrichment Award and was a two-time finalist in the ASU Concert of Soloists Concerto Competition. Mr. Pierce has studied with Chuck Hulihan at Glendale Community College, where he participated in premier performances of compositions written expressly for the GCC Guitar Orchestra and Octet. He has also performed in master classes with world-renowned guitarists, including Pepe Romero, David Russell, and Scott Tennant, and studied at the International Guitar Symposium in Iserlohn, Germany in 2007. As a teacher, Mr. Pierce has been active in the Phoenix area since 2006, working with several studios and organizations, as well as serving as a teaching assistant at GCC and co-director of guitar ensembles at ASU. Mr. Pierce serves on the board of three organizations: Phoenix Early Music Society (vice president), Phoenix Guitar Society (secretary) and Grand Canyon Guitar Society (board member).

On campus:
Intro to Classical Guitar
Guitar Foundations 1 (5th and 6th Grade)
Guitar Foundations 2 and 4
Advanced Guitar

Education:
B.M. Classical Guitar Performance – Arizona State University
M.M. Classical Guitar Performance – Arizona State University

Email:
pierce@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I have come back to ASA to be a part of the same team that dedicated their careers to teaching me. As an alumna I hope to encourage my students to achieve their dreams, just as past ASA teachers encouraged me to reach out for my dreams. ASA provided me with my first teaching opportunity as a teaching assistant in the strings department and I take those lessons with me every day. ASA is an important part of our community, creating dedicated, lifelong learners. I strive every day to be an ounce as influential as my past educators here at ASA.

Emma Popish was born in Luton, England but grew up in downtown Phoenix. She earned her Associate of Arts in Elementary Education with Highest Distinction at Phoenix College in May 2013. She then went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Magna Cum Laude at the University of Arizona in May 2015. As an ASA alumnus, Ms. Popish was thrilled to return to her roots in 2015.

On campus:
8th Grade Social Studies

Education:
A.A. Elementary Education – Phoenix College
B.A. Elementary Education, Magna Cum Laude – University of Arizona

Email:
popish@goasa.org

Why ASA?
As a singer I have always had a passion for the arts and I am excited to be at a place that values something so dear to my heart. I am fortunate to get to know all of the wonderful people who are a part of this community.

Annalee Poureetezadi earned a B.A. in History at the University of New Mexico Albuquerque. After graduating she moved to Seattle, Washington where she managed the sales and hiring for small company. Annalee found her passion in supporting the community through working at the YMCA and eventually that led her back to her dream of becoming a teacher. In 2013 she moved to Phoenix to teach 4th grade Math for the Cartwright School District and began attending classes to qualify for her teaching certification. In 2015 she began teaching junior high social studies.

On campus:
7th Grade Social Studies

Education:
B.A. in History – University of New Mexico Albuquerque
Teacher Training – Rio Salado College

Email:
poureetezadi@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA gives me the opportunity to teach piano. It also provides the space for students and faculty to be themselves and to learn from their successes and failures. It is an environment of academic education as well as lifelong lessons about cooperation, community, communication, ethics, respect and self expression.

Angelica Prado-Stern, raised in Miami, Florida, began her piano studies at the age of seven. In 1990, she was awarded an accompanying scholarship to Northern Arizona University, where she earned a Bachelor in Piano Performance and gained teaching experience through the Preparatory School of Music. Upon her graduation, she moved to Phoenix and joined the faculty at Music Works Academy, where she worked for 10 years. In 2005, Ms. Prado-Stern received her Masters in Educational Psychology from Arizona State University, and in 2008 earned her Nationally Certified Teacher of Music credential from the Music Teachers National Association. She opened her private piano studio in Avondale in 2005. She is currently a member of the Phoenix Music Teachers Association, where she was involved in the Ensemble Committee as stage director for 20 years and served for one year as the chairperson for the national certification program. Ms. Prado-Stern’s teaching goals are based on the concept of communicating creatively through respect and honesty. She believes in providing a positive professional attitude, and a nurturing, supportive environment suitable for learning and the enjoyment of music.

On campus:
5th and 6th Grade Piano

Education:
B.M. – Northern Arizona University
M.Ed. – Arizona State University

Email:
pradostern@goasa.org

Why ASA?
When you are an arts teacher, is there really a choice?  The demands that ASA places on students’ musical abilities without detracting from their academic successes is second to none.  The students simply want to be musical in everything they do.

Jason Raetz is an educator and vocalist who was born and raised here in the Valley of the Sun.  He graduated with a B.M. in Music Education/Choral Emphasis from Western Michigan University and received a M.M. in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University. Previous employment includes choir director at La Joya Community High School, music director at Living Christ Lutheran Church in Flagstaff, music teacher at Painted Rock Academy and cadet choir/masters choir director for the Phoenix Boys Choir.  Mr. Raetz has also served on the American Choral Directors Association’s board as the western division boychoir repertoire and resource chair. Mr. Raetz is currently singing as the baritone in Helios, a professional early music vocal ensemble based in Phoenix. Another recent performance includes Purcell’s “Come Ye Sons of Art Away,” as the counter tenor and baritone, with the Flagstaff Master Chorale under the direction of Dr. Edith Copley. He also sang counter tenor exclusively with Western Michigan University’s Musicum Practicum, Early Music Michigan, and Grace Church on the Hill in Toronto, Canada focusing mainly on pre-Baroque material.

On campus:
Vocal Foundations 2
Concert Choir

Education:
B.M.E.  Choral/General K-12 Music – Western Michigan University
M.M. Choral Conducting- Northern Arizona University

Email:
raetz@goasa.org

Why ASA?
All of the right things in the universe came together at the right time, and the opportunity to join ASA appeared in front of me – I always go with my gut!

Melissa S. Rex is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, producer, technician, performer, and educator. Each area of her work continuously informs the other, and you can often witness various forms of her work simultaneously in a single production. Aptly called the “one-woman show,” she is the artistic director of her pick-up company REXDANCE and produces and designs for local and international artists and companies of various disciplines. Her creative work in performance, lighting design, costume design, and general production has been presented and premiered in various forms throughout North America and in Poland. An essential part of Ms. Rex’s vitality in the arts is her training, studies, and performance in Afro-Brazilian martial arts, folkloric dance forms, and music.  For Axé Capoeira AZ, she is the director of the Capoeira program for kids, co-artistic director, choreographer, and designer. Ms. Rex was an inaugural recipient of the city of Tempe’s Vibrant City Grant, which enabled her to produce a new work titled “LIBERDADE – A Freedom Project.” Ms. Rex served as the technical director at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and a clinical professor at Arizona State University in the School of Film, Dance, and Theatre before joining ASA.

On campus:
Theatre Foundations 2
Production Studies
Set & Lighting Design
Design & Media

Education:
B.F.A. Dance – Temple University
M.F.A. Dance with Emphasis in Technical Theater – Arizona State University

Email:
rex@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I enjoy the open, welcoming attitude that is a part of the ASA philosophy. Students are creative, engaged, excited, and eager to please! They feed me and keep me enthusiastic about teaching piano!

Ron Rhode graduated from Arizona State University in 1991 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood. He started teaching for Mesa Public Schools and immediately enrolled at Northern Arizona University, where he earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education in 1994.  After retiring from MPS in 2011, he taught for Great Hearts Academies for over a year. In the fall of 2013, Mr. Rhode changed teaching jobs and joined ASA as an instructor of 5th and 6th grade classroom piano. He holds a minor degree in organ performance from ASU, and throughout his life, he has been a performing artist in the field of theatre pipe organ as well as a church musician. After starting his formal training on piano in 1957, Mr. Rhode has come full circle by teaching piano at ASA.

On campus:
5th and 6th Grade Piano

Education:
B.Ed.  –  Arizona State University
M.Ed. –  Northern Arizona University

Email:
rhode@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I was fortunate to start my musical and educational rigor at Douglas Anderson School for the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida as a freshman in the late 1990s. Following my time there, I received my undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina School for the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be living in Arizona, teaching at ASA. Life has honestly come full circle, and I’m grateful to work with this skilled group of scholars and artists.

Florida native Johnathan C. Robinson has an extensive background as a pedagogue, concert soloist, chamber musician, and symphonic clarinetist. Before moving to the Valley in 2007, Mr. Robinson studied solo and chamber repertoire at the Belgium Clarinet Academy (Oostende, Belgium) with clarinetist Robert Spring and Eddy Vanoosthuyse in 2006. In addition to his studies in Belgium, Mr. Robinson also studied at the Manteo Music Festival (Manteo, NC) 2003 through 2006. His primary teachers have been Robert Spring, Igor Begelman, Daniel McKelway, Robert Listokin, and Peter Wright. In 2014, Mr. Robinson joined the teaching faculty for Daraja Music Initiative (DMI), which provides musical instruction and conservation lessons to students in Moshi, Tanzania each summer. In 2016 Mr. Robinson joined the Treasure Coast Clarinet Day teaching faculty in Jensen Beach, Florida, in addition to joining the board of directors for DMI. Currently, Mr. Robinson is a doctoral student at Arizona State University. He is thrilled to be a part of the ASA family and is looking forward to working with the next generation of young artists.

On campus:
7th-12th Grade Director of Bands

Education:
B.M. – University of North Carolina School of the Arts
M.M. – Arizona State University

Email:
robinson@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Undoubtedly the only reason I live in Arizona. It is by far the best educational choice for not only my children, but for my career. There is no other place that I can see myself.

Ginette Maria Rossi has been teaching multiple grade levels since 2000, when she graduated from Seton Hall University with a double Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, Education, Special Education and a minor in music. Originally from Nutley, New Jersey, Ginette was the language and reading keynote speaker for Orton-Gillingham at the New Jersey Reading Conference as well as a Mason Scholar. She spent 10 years teaching in north Phoenix in grades 6, 1, and as a K-8 music teacher. Mrs. Rossi teaches private vocal lessons and tutors students in English. In the words of Plato, “I would teach children physics and philosophy – but most importantly music…for the patterns of music and all the arts are the keys of learning.”

On campus:
6th Grade English
6th Grade Team Leader

Education:
B.A. Education and Liberal Arts – Seton Hall University

Email:
rossi@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because the faculty and students are a constant source of inspiration in an environment where I can try new things, even if I sometimes fail.

Tracy Ryan has been teaching middle school math at ASA since 2002. She received two degrees from Arizona State University in Elementary Education and a Masters of Natural Science emphasizing middle school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) instruction. She is also highly qualified in middle school mathematics. From 2006 to 2014, Mrs. Ryan was actively involved in committees to analyze, write and assess mathematics standards in Arizona. In addition to teaching, Mrs. Ryan enjoys coaching middle school robotics, playing video games, and relaxing with her two puppies.

On campus:
5th Grade Math

Education:
B.A. Elementary Education – Arizona State University
Master of Natural Sciences – Arizona State University

Email:
ryan@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is an incredible place to teach and inspire learners. As a musician, ASA is also very supportive of my outside-of-school professional life. This allows me to always bring in new ideas to the classroom.

A graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Derek Sanchez is currently starting his fifth year here at ASA. Outside of ASA, he is a very active freelance musician. He is currently the principal solo cornetist, as well as personnel manager, with the Salt River Brass Band. He is also the principal trumpet in the MusicaNova Orchestra based here in Phoenix. Since arriving to Phoenix, Mr. Sanchez has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, West Valley Symphony, Phoenix Opera, Scottsdale Arts Orchestra, and Arizona Repertory Orchestra. He performs regularly for local theatre companies, Phoenix Theatre, The Palms Dinner Theatre as well as various community college productions. Prior to moving to Arizona, Mr. Sanchez was the assistant principal and 3rd trumpet of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2010.

On campus:
5th and 6th Grade Beginning Brass Studies
5th and 6th Grade Advanced Brass Studies
Band Foundations 1 – Brass Studies
Band Foundations 2 – Brass Studies
Concert Band – Brass Studies
Wind Ensemble – Brass Studies
Intro to Jazz Band

Email:
sanchez@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Incredible students.

Sarah Schreffler has an extensive background as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral performer. She served as concertmaster of Musica Nova, a forward-looking orchestra dedicated to performing diverse and overlooked repertoire, and has performed as a soloist with the Musica Nova Baroque Orchestra. Other orchestral performances have been with the Tucson Symphony, Arizona Opera, Phoenix Opera, and the Arizona Chamber Orchestra. While studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Arizona State University, Dr. Schreffler worked closely with members of the Cleveland, St. Lawrence, and Orion string quartets, and has enjoyed performing alongside members of these ensembles. She has collaborated on currently available and forthcoming orchestral and chamber music recordings, available on the Con Brio and Summit labels. As a chamber musician, Dr. Schreffler is a guest artist with the South Beach Chamber Ensemble, performing in its South Beach Up North summer festival in Wisconsin.

On campus:
Intro to Violin
Advanced Beginning Violin
String Foundations 1 – Violin Studies
String Foundations 2 – Violin Studies
Symphony Orchestra – Violin Studies
Chamber Orchestra – Violin Studies

Education:
B.M. – Violin Performance – Cleveland Institute of Music
M.M. – Violin Performance – Arizona State University
D.M.A. – Violin Performance – Arizona State University

Email:
schreffler@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I wish I could have gone to this school!

Cellist Maria Simiz founded the Strings Department at ASA when it opened in 1995. A former student of the late Gabor Rejto, her experience as a musician is very diverse. Mrs. Simiz is currently the principal cellist with Musica Nova Orchestra. She is an active freelance cellist, and a section cellist at the Music in the Mountains summer festival in Durango, Colorado. Mrs. Simiz has also performed with the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Opera, the Amabile String Quartet, and with her husband, Phoenix Symphony Associate Principal Cellist, Jan Simiz. Awarded the SURDNA Arts Teacher Fellowship Grant in 2010, Mrs. Simiz studied chamber music at the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford University. As part of the fellowship, she augmented ASA’s chamber music library and brought in guest artists to perform for our students.

On campus:
Intro to Low Strings (Cello/Bass Studies)
Advanced Beginning Low Strings (Cello/Bass Studies)
String Foundations 1 – Low Strings (Cello/Bass Studies)
String Foundations 2 – Low Strings (Cello/Bass Studies)
Symphony Orchestra – Low Strings (Cello/Bass Studies)
Chamber Orchestra – Low Strings (Cello/Bass Studies)

Education:
B.M. Cello Performance – University of Southern California
M.M. Cello Performance – California State University at Long Beach

Email:
simiz@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Because ASA is an art school and accepts all people.

Kleiton Sistelos was born in Recife, Brazil.  He studied classical dance in the royal method and graduated in 2006. He studied the Techinique Cubana from 2005 to 2007.  He has trained in Brazil, the United States, and at the Teatro Carcano in Milan, Italy. Mr. Sistelos has studied jazz and modern, specializing in the Horton Technique in Brazil and at Alvin Ailey in New York City. He has danced in festivals throughout Brazil and Europe, including the Latin American Tour in Milan, the Dell’Art Festival in Genova, the Nice Festival in France, and the Festival of Valencia in Spain. He has performed in major productions on the stage and on television in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On campus:
Horton Technique

Email:
sistelos@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is devoted to a comprehensive college preparatory education in academics and the performing arts. This school shares a passion for the arts that encourages a positive, supportive, professional, and enthusiastic learning environment that inspires, motivates, and empowers students to engage in and enrich the community.

A native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, guitarist Erik Sloyka holds a B.M. in Guitar Performance from the Eastman School of Music, and M.M. and D.M.A. in Guitar Performance from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts—School of Music at Arizona State University. His principle professors include Frank Koonce, Nicholas Goluses, and Paul Grove. Dr. Sloyka has been a graduate guitar teaching assistant for Professor Koonce at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts—School of Music, where he taught undergraduate private guitar lessons and guitar methods courses. In addition, he has taught at the Ahwatukee Music Studio, Foothills Music School, Destiny Community School, and Youth Development Institute. In addition to winning numerous prizes and competitions, Dr. Sloyka has extensive performance experience including radio broadcasts and appearing as a guest soloist with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.  He is also a faculty guitar instructor at Phoenix College and Kirk’s Music Studio, and teaches private lessons in the Phoenix area.

On campus:
Guitar Foundations 1
Guitar Foundations 3
Electric Guitar

Education:
B.M. Guitar Performance – Eastman School of Music
M.M. Guitar Performance – Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts – School of Music, Arizona State University
D.M.A Guitar Performance – Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts – School of Music, Arizona State University

Email:
sloyka@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA offers a creative approach to blending artistic and academic achievement. I have come to know a dedicated and supportive team here at ASA that encourages diversity in our community and approach to education.

Adrian Smith earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 2009 from the University of Washington. He completed his Doctorate in Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences in 2016 from Arizona State University. As a graduate student, his research focused on the honey bee brain and olfactory (smell) sensory information processing at the single cell and network levels. Mr. Smith enjoys mentoring high school and undergraduate students in many areas of math, from basic arithmetic to college algebra and higher. In addition, he mentors student summer research projects that apply mathematical and computational modeling methods to study the dynamics of various biological and social systems. After completing his degrees, he began teaching at Mesa Community College and Benedictine University.

On campus:
9th Grade Algebra and Geometry

Education:
B.A. Mathematics – University of Washington
Ph.D. Applied Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences – Arizona State

Email:
smith@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love teaching 5th grade at ASA because I get to introduce this wonderful place to a whole new group of students every year!

Mary Snider received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire with a minor in general science. After graduating, Mrs. Snider moved to Arizona to teach 4th grade with Mesa Public Schools. After two years, she relocated to Dallas, where her husband had been offered a job, and taught 4th grade in a Catholic school for one year and 5th grade in the Grapevine/Colleyville School District for one year. Upon returning to Arizona, Mrs. Snider taught 5th grade with Mesa Public Schools for six more years. She also completed a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. Mrs. Snider joined ASA in 2009, when the school opened the first fifth grade. She is the mother of two ASA alums and one current ASA student.

On campus:
5th Grade Science

Education:
B.S. Elementary Education – University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
M.Ed. Elementary Education – Northern Arizona University

Email:
snider@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is the perfect combination of academic rigor and artistic expression that truly changes the lives of the students (and teachers) who are lucky enough to enjoy this environment.

Lisa Speck received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Arizona in 1986, then moved to California to complete a two-year post-baccalaureate Elementary Education Certification/Degree from San Diego State University. She then taught 7th and 8th grade math in middle school. Following this, she spent three years teaching a “sheltered” English classroom in San Diego in which she had students from 20 different countries in her 3rd and 4th grade class. In 1990 Mrs. Speck was a teacher and later program director at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, where she secured funding from government and private sources, supervised a faculty of 30 teachers, and administered a federal grant program directed with “gang proofing young children.” Upon returning to Arizona, Mrs. Speck taught at Pardes Jewish Day School. At ASA, Mrs. Speck has been teaching 5th grade social studies since 2009. Mrs. Speck is certified to teach kindergarten through 8th grade in California, Massachusetts, and Arizona.

On campus:
5th Grade Social Studies

Education:
B.A. – University of Arizona
Teaching Certification – San Diego State University

Email:
speck@goasa.org

Why ASA?
Originally, because I wanted my son to attend this school (he graduated in 2015). But I found ASA students to be the most interesting, talented, and engaged young people that I have met in the 30-plus years I have been teaching.

Jeffrey Steinert grew up outside Portland, Oregon, went to college in Baltimore, and graduate school in Berkeley. He has taught physics, chemistry, and mathematics since 1985 in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Arizona. Mr. Steinert has used modeling instruction in his classes since 1998 and has led numerous physics modeling workshops for high school and college instructors in Maine, Florida, and Arizona. He came to ASA in 2006, moving his family from Maine for the opportunity to teach and send his son to school here. Three times Mr. Steinert has been a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching, most recently in 2005. His classroom research has produced studies linking student gains in understanding physics to their cognitive and scientific reasoning skills, with published papers appearing in The Physics Teacher, Physical Review Special Topics – PER, and the AAPT PERC Proceedings.

On campus:
11th Grade Physics

Education:
B.E.S. Biomedical Engineering – The Johns Hopkins University
M.S. Mechanical Engineering – University of California at Berkeley|

Email:
steinert@goasa.org

Why ASA?
The best place in Arizona to teach.

Ron Tanner earned a B.A. in Secondary Education/Math from Arizona State University in 1974. He has a minor in elementary education and southwest archeology. His first teaching job was at a vocational /technical school  in Mesa.  He earned his M.A. in Secondary Education/Math in 1976. He started teaching at Dobson High School in 1982 and taught every class from basic math to precalculus. He was named Mesa Adult Education Teacher of the Year in 1989. He retired from public education in 2004 to become a general contractor. He is currently finishing a house that he has built in the Patagonia Mountains in southern Arizona. He loves to sing and has been a member of the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix since 1995.

On campus:
10th Grade Math

Education:
B.A. – Arizona State University
M.A. – Arizona State University

Email:
tanner@goasa.org

Why ASA?
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.

On campus:
Middle School Theatre 1
Acting 1 and 2
Musical Theatre Acting 2

Education:
B.F.A Musical Theatre Performance – Sam Houston State University
M.F.A. Music Theatre History and Direction- Tulane University

Email:
thacker@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love the culture, respect and communication between faculty and administration, and of course the students. What a great place to teach.

Robert Tolar earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Arizona State University in 2006 and an M.S. in Mathematics Education from Northern Arizona University in 2016. After finishing his Bachelor’s degree, he began his career teaching high school mathematics in January 2007. He has taught all levels of high school mathematics and has been certified in both Arizona and California. Mr. Tolar took over as Mathematics Department Chair at ASA in 2015 and currently teaches both junior and senior level mathematics.

On campus:
AP Statistics
AP Calculus AB
Calculus C

Education:
B.A. Mathematics – Arizona State University
M.S. Math Education – Northern Arizona University

Email:
tolar@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I am challenged personally and professionally.

In 2016 Mark Vite joined ASA to serve our diverse student population and collaborate with staff as Special Education Director.  Mr.Vite, a private consultant since 2003 and an educator since 1979, has taught kindergarten and 2nd – 12th grades. He currently serves on two local charter school boards. His business knowledge and passion for children and education shine through in his interactions and instruction with staff, parents, and students. He currently serves as adjunct faculty for Northern Arizona University at extended campuses here in the Valley. Mr. Vite has served as a classroom teacher, principal, and director of student services. He has provided educational services to children in traditional public schools, charter schools, private day and boarding schools, and laboratory schools in grades K – 12. Mr. Vite has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Miami University.

Education:
B.S. Elementary Education – Miami University
M.Ed. – University of Phoenix

Email:
vite@goasa.org

Why ASA?
I love the community and culture at ASA. I feel like I’ve found a place as colorful as I am; I’ve never been on a campus where I’ve felt more comfortable. Students, parents and staff are so caring, intelligent and thoughtful. It’s a beautiful environment to work in.

Dana Webb earned a B.A. in Elementary Education with minors in mathematics and science in 2011 from Western Michigan Universities. After completing her undergraduate studies, she moved to Arizona in 2013 to begin teaching 8th grade math in Glendale. She started at ASA in 2016.

On campus:
8th Grade Math

Education:
B.A. Elementary Education – Western Michigan Universities

Email:
webb@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is a terrific place to work because it doesn’t feel like work. ASA has a culture of acceptance and belonging, and it is a joy to come to my class every day. Interacting with students and faculty increases my enthusiasm for learning, science, and being an educator.

Ms. Wootten is a native of Arizona, graduating from McClintock High School and Arizona State University. She began her career in Tampa, Florida teaching physical science. She then spent three years as the 7th grade earth science teacher in England and visiting much of Europe. Since returning to Arizona, she has taught in the Chandler school district and for an online school. Ms. Wootten enjoys traveling, reads mysteries, and loves meeting people. She has two cats and a Basset Hound, Molly, and is looking forward to an exciting year of science at ASA.

On campus:
7th Grade Science

Education:
B.S. Interior Design – Arizona State University
M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction – Northern Arizona University

Email:
wootten@goasa.org

Why ASA?
ASA is my dream school! I wish that I could have gone to ASA as a kid. Fortunately, I get to teach my craft to some of the most open-minded, intelligent and compassionate young people ever.

As an active violist, chamber musician, and teacher in the greater Phoenix area, Allyson Wuenschel has relished in the patchwork existence of a career musician since her arrival to the Valley in 2007. Receiving her B.M. in Viola Performance from Boise State University in her hometown of Boise, Idaho in 2005, she went on to earn a M.M. in Viola Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2007. During her doctoral studies, Ms. Wuenschel began teaching at ASA in 2011. She may be spotted performing in various ensembles and frequenting local coffee shops in Phoenix.

On campus:
Intro to Viola
Advanced Beginning Viola
String Foundations 1 – Viola Studies
String Foundations 2 – Viola Studies
Symphony Orchestra – Viola Studies
Chamber Orchestra – Viola Studies

Education:
B.A. – Boise State University
M.M. – San Francisco Conservatory of Music
D.M.A. – Arizona State University

Email:
wuenschel@goasa.org