Teachers and Staff

At FAA, you’ll find teachers dedicated to meeting the individual learning needs of their students. Together with a team of office and support staff members, we create a positive environment, which nurtures creativity and inspires learning.

Administration

Susan Gibson
Principal
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Biography

Susan Gibson
Susan Gibson
Principal

Meet Susan Gibson

Hometown

Phoenix, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Glendale Elementary School District, Smith Elementary

Favorite Subject

Math, drama

Hobbies

Theater, travel, adventures

Message

I'm excited for a great year at the Fine Arts Academy.
Arizona State UniversityNorthern Arizona University
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Charles Blanton
Assistant Principal
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Biography

Charles Blanton
Charles Blanton
Assistant Principal

Meet Charles Blanton

Hometown

Rochester, NH

Where I Started Teaching

Franklin, NH

Favorite Subject

Band

Hobbies

Cooking, reading, and playing piano

Message

Express yourself.
University New Hampshire
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Stefani Bender
Dean of Students
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Biography

Stefani Bender
Stefani Bender
Dean of Students

Meet Stefani Bender

Hometown

Northport, New York

Where I Started Teaching

Dysart School District, Willow Canyon High School

Favorite Subject

Photography and film class

Hobbies

Painting and cooking

Message

"Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless" - Author Unknown
Arizona State University
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Office Support

Rosa Martinez
Administrative Secretary
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Biography

Rosa Martinez
Rosa Martinez
Administrative Secretary

Meet Rosa Martinez

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Daisy Diaz
Nurse
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Biography

Daisy Diaz
Daisy Diaz
Nurse

Meet Daisy Diaz

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Janeen Gaston
Office Support Senior
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Biography

Janeen Gaston
Janeen Gaston
Office Support Senior

Meet Janeen Gaston

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Ana Contreras
Office Support Junior
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Biography

Ana Contreras
Ana Contreras
Office Support Junior

Meet Ana Contreras

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Diane Hedges
Library Clerk
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Biography

Diane Hedges
Diane Hedges
Library Clerk

Meet Diane Hedges

Hometown

Hoquiam, WA

Where I Started Teaching

I am not officially a teacher, but the first school I worked at was Corte Sierra in Avondale, AZ.

Favorite Subject

Science

Hobbies

Reading, meeting authors, and traveling

Message

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." – Dr. Seuss
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Guadalupe Okamura
Cafeteria Manager
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Biography

Guadalupe Okamura
Guadalupe Okamura
Cafeteria Manager

Meet Guadalupe Okamura

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Teachers

Kindergarten

Beth Raymond
Kindergarten
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Biography

Beth Raymond
Beth Raymond
Kindergarten

Meet Beth Raymond

Hometown

Hillsdale, Michigan

Where I Started Teaching

Cartwright School District, John F. Long Elementary

Favorite Subject

Band and reading

Hobbies

Reading and hanging out with family

Message

The more we practice the better we get.
Hillsdale College
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Caitlyn Adams
Kindergarten
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Biography

Caitlyn Adams
Caitlyn Adams
Kindergarten

Meet Caitlyn Adams

Hometown

Rochester, New York

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Language arts

Hobbies

Reading

Message

"Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more: believing in yourself." -Harry Potter
SUNY Cortland
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Nora McGlown
Kindergarten
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Biography

Nora McGlown
Nora McGlown
Kindergarten

Meet Nora McGlown

Hometown

Chicago, Illinois

Where I Started Teaching

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Subject

Math

Hobbies

Cooking and jigsaw puzzles

Message

Life is like a rainbow; it's a struggle when you first start climbing; when you get to the middle you can rest a little; and after that, it will be a grand slide into the pot of gold waiting on the other side.
Grand Canyon UniversityUniversity of Phoenix
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First Grade

Celeste Henry
First Grade
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Biography

Celeste Henry
Celeste Henry
First Grade

Meet Celeste Henry

Hometown

Lexington, Missouri

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

World history

Hobbies

Traveling, hiking, camping, being outdoors (weather permitting), and spending quality time with friends and family. I enjoy a good book and great coffee to go with it.

Message

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence."- Robert Frost
University of Central Missouri
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Shannon Govern
First Grade
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Biography

Shannon Govern
Shannon Govern
First Grade

Meet Shannon Govern

Hometown

Twinsburg, Ohio

Where I Started Teaching

Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Reading and science

Hobbies

Hiking/walking, movies, traveling, time with family and friends

Message

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know." - A.A. Milne
Hiram CollegeJohn Carroll University
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Kelly Manges
First Grade
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Biography

Kelly Manges
Kelly Manges
First Grade

Meet Kelly Manges

Hometown

Phoenix, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Peoria Unified School District

Favorite Subject

Reading

Hobbies

Reading whenever I can, crocheting, and hiking

Message

You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax—all you need is a book. - Dr. Seuss
Grand Canyon University
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Second Grade

Rhea Ciadella
Second Grade
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Biography

Rhea Ciadella
Rhea Ciadella
Second Grade

Meet Rhea Ciadella

Hometown

Surprise, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton Elementary

Favorite Subject

Technology

Hobbies

Traveling, board games, Youtube

Message

"Be the best you, you can be."
Arizona State University
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Delany Luthy
Second Grade
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Biography

Delany Luthy
Delany Luthy
Second Grade

Meet Delany Luthy

Hometown

Mt. Sterling, Illinois

Where I Started Teaching

Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

English

Hobbies

Knitting, crocheting, watching movies, spending time with family, and traveling

Message

"Today is your day. You're off to great places! You're off and away! You have a brain in your head. you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss
Culver Stockton
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Third Grade

Clarissa Alvarez
Third Grade
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Biography

Clarissa Alvarez
Clarissa Alvarez
Third Grade

Meet Clarissa Alvarez

Hometown

Nogales, Mexico

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Mathematics

Hobbies

Sports and hiking

Message

"Children must be taught how to think and not what to think." -Margaret Mead
University of Arizona
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Danielle Van Dalen
Third Grade
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Biography

Danielle Van Dalen
Danielle Van Dalen
Third Grade

Meet Danielle Van Dalen

Hometown

Clovis, California

Where I Started Teaching

Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

History and language arts

Hobbies

Going to Arizona Diamondback games, reading, swimming, hiking, and watching Netflix

Message

I am beyond excited to start my teaching career! I can't wait to meet my students and their parents/guardians and work with them throughout the year! Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning.
Grand Canyon University
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Fourth Grade

Selma Berlanga
Fourth Grade
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Biography

Selma Berlanga
Selma Berlanga
Fourth Grade

Meet Selma Berlanga

Hometown

Torreon, Coahuila

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Country Place

Favorite Subject

Social studies and reading

Hobbies

Nail art and collecting movies

Message

"I am excited to be a part of your child's education and future."
Arizona State University
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Robert Crouse
Fourth Grade
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Biography

Robert Crouse
Robert Crouse
Fourth Grade

Meet Robert Crouse

Hometown

Glendale, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Science

Hobbies

Bicycling, Netflix, reading, and swimming

Message

There's no such thing as mistakes—just happy little accidents.
Arizona State University
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Sara Hall
Fourth Grade
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Biography

Sara Hall
Sara Hall
Fourth Grade

Meet Sara Hall

Hometown

Phoenix, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Pendergast School District

Favorite Subject

Language arts

Message

"Don't judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again." - Nelson Mandela
Glendale Community CollegeNorthern Arizona University
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Raby Gueye
Fourth/Fifth Grade
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Biography

Raby Gueye
Raby Gueye
Fourth/Fifth Grade

Meet Raby Gueye

Hometown

Dakar, Senegal

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton Elementary School

Favorite Subject

Math and social studies

Hobbies

Traveling and meeting new people

Message

"Teachers...are those who help find strengths, drive away tears, overpower demons, and conquer fears."
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Fifth Grade

Peyton Bergmann
Fifth Grade
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Biography

Peyton Bergmann
Peyton Bergmann
Fifth Grade

Meet Peyton Bergmann

Hometown

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Reading

Hobbies

Crafting, reading, running, and traveling

Message

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." - Robin Williams
University of Oklahoma
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Jaqueline Roeske
Fifth Grade
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Biography

Jaqueline Roeske
Jaqueline Roeske
Fifth Grade

Meet Jaqueline Roeske

Hometown

San Diego, California

Where I Started Teaching

Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

History

Hobbies

Volleyball and traveling

Message

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light." - Dumbledore
Arizona State University
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Diana Olivarria
Fifth Grade
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Biography

Diana Olivarria
Diana Olivarria
Fifth Grade

Meet Diana Olivarria

Hometown

Nogales, Son. Mexico

Where I Started Teaching

Deer Valley Unified School District

Favorite Subject

History

Hobbies

Watching movies, reading comic books, and playing with my dog, Thor

Message

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams." - Paulo Coelho
Arizona State University
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Sixth Grade

Hazen Dauphinee
ELA and Social Studies
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Biography

Hazen Dauphinee
Hazen Dauphinee
ELA and Social Studies

Meet Hazen Dauphinee

Hometown

Bradley, Maine

Where I Started Teaching

Old Town, MC

Favorite Subject

Social studies

Hobbies

Reading, writing, golf, fly-fishing, cooking

Message

I believe that everyone should know their history and have the courage to be a life long learner.
University of Maine Presque Isle
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Robert Dowdy
ELA and Social Studies
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Biography

Robert Dowdy
Robert Dowdy
ELA and Social Studies

Meet Robert Dowdy

Hometown

Goodyear, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Saddle Mountain District

Favorite Subject

Math and reading

Hobbies

Music, reading, and vacations

Message

"My job is to help create students' visions so students can be successful."
Arizona State UniversityGrand Canyon UniversityAmerican Institute
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Rebecca Portillo
Math and Science
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Biography

Rebecca Portillo
Rebecca Portillo
Math and Science

Meet Rebecca Portillo

Hometown

Los Angeles, California

Where I Started Teaching

Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Mathematics

Hobbies

Reading, going to concerts, playing board games, watching Netflix and going to movies

Message

I believe every child can succeed! "Make each day your masterpiece."
California State University Long Beach
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Lynn Tran
Math and Science
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Biography

Lynn Tran
Lynn Tran
Math and Science

Meet Lynn Tran

Hometown

Garden Grove, California

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Science

Hobbies

Hiking, traveling, and watching live music

Message

"The lotus always blooms in the mud."
UCSB
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Seventh Grade

Daniel Budzban
ELA
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Biography

Daniel Budzban
Daniel Budzban
ELA

Meet Daniel Budzban

Hometown

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Where I Started Teaching

Rainbow Valley Elementary

Favorite Subject

Art

Hobbies

Graphic design, watching sports

Message

Any dream can be attained if you believe enough in yourself to achieve it!
University of Wisconsin Madison
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Jay Leach
Math
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Biography

Jay Leach
Jay Leach
Math

Meet Jay Leach

Hometown

Binghamton, New York

Where I Started Teaching

Buckeye Union High School

Favorite Subject

Science

Hobbies

Golf and woodworking

Message

Math makes the world turn.
Northern Arizona University
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Manuel Torres
Social Studies
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Biography

Manuel Torres
Manuel Torres
Social Studies

Meet Manuel Torres

Hometown

Phoenix, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Dysart Unified School District

Favorite Subject

PE

Hobbies

Camping, fishing, watching sports and movies

Message

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." -Maimonides
SAGU
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Eighth Grade

Jovonnie Quintero-Avelar
ELA
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Biography

Jovonnie Quintero-Avelar
Jovonnie Quintero-Avelar
ELA

Meet Jovonnie Quintero-Avelar

Hometown

Tempe, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Fine arts

Favorite Subject

Chemistry

Hobbies

Thrift shopping, making playlists, talking about social justice, hiking, baking

Message

“Accept who are—and revel in it.” – Mitch Albom
UNC Chapel Hill
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Sharon Jones
Math
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Biography

Sharon Jones
Sharon Jones
Math

Meet Sharon Jones

Hometown

Malta, Ohio

Where I Started Teaching

Morgan County, Ohio

Favorite Subject

Social studies

Hobbies

Sewing, camping, and cooking

Message

While in college, one of my math teachers recommended me as a math tutor and I found I really enjoyed teaching math. This is my 12th year teaching in Arizona. Teaching and learning are a true passion for me!
Ohio University
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Margaret Peterson
Social Studies
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Biography

Margaret Peterson
Margaret Peterson
Social Studies

Meet Margaret Peterson

Hometown

Bountiful, Utah

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton

Favorite Subject

Math

Hobbies

Crafting and logic puzzles

Message

Teaching is my true calling in life, and I will continuously support students in finding their true callings.
BYU
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Vanessa Rios
Science
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Biography

Vanessa Rios
Vanessa Rios
Science

Meet Vanessa Rios

Hometown

Glendale, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Fine Arts Academy

Favorite Subject

Science

Hobbies

Drawing, acting, painting, writing, comic conventions, making props and costumes

Message

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Arizona State University
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Exceptional Learning Teachers

Kristina Crowson
Gifted/Dance
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Biography

Kristina Crowson
Kristina Crowson
Gifted/Dance

Meet Kristina Crowson

Hometown

Espanola, New Mexico

Where I Started Teaching

Glendale Elementary District

Favorite Subject

Math

Hobbies

Yoga, volleyball, cake decorating

Message

"Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames." - Rumi
Grand Canyon University
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Student Achievement Coach

Mia De La Rosa
Student Achievement Coach
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Biography

Mia De La Rosa
Mia De La Rosa
Student Achievement Coach

Meet Mia De La Rosa

Hometown

Brownsville, Texas

Where I Started Teaching

Collier Elementary

Favorite Subject

Math and history

Hobbies

I enjoy anything that keeps the mind and body active and happy.

Message

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle
University of Notre Dame
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Reading Interventionist

Dawn Christensen
Reading Interventionist
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Biography

Dawn Christensen
Dawn Christensen
Reading Interventionist

Meet Dawn Christensen

Hometown

Algonquin, Illinois

Where I Started Teaching

Elign School District

Favorite Subject

Social studies and science

Hobbies

Hiking, traveling, playing American Indian flute, walking the dogs

Message

"The person who does the work is the only one who learns." -Harry Wong
Drake UniversityLoyola University ChicagoNational Louis University
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Special Areas

Michelle Walla
Art
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Biography

Michelle Walla
Michelle Walla
Art

Meet Michelle Walla

Hometown

Valparaiso, Indiana

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Littleton Elementary

Favorite Subject

Art

Hobbies

Love to travel and see new places, watching Michigan State and Chicago Bears football, hiking, boating, and painting

Message

Excited for another exciting school year with bright smiling faces ready to create some amazing artwork! "Every child is an artist." - Pablo Picasso
Michigan State University
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Michelle Smith
P.E.
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Biography

Michelle Smith
Michelle Smith
P.E.

Meet Michelle Smith

Hometown

St. Louis, Missouri

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Tres Rios

Favorite Subject

PE

Hobbies

Hanging with friends and going on vacations.

Message

"I enjoy helping students learn to live an active, healthier lifestyle."
Missouri Baptist
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Susan Knighton
Band/Music
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Biography

Susan Knighton
Susan Knighton
Band/Music

Meet Susan Knighton

Hometown

Commerce Township, Michigan

Where I Started Teaching

Novi Community Schools

Favorite Subject

Language arts, music

Hobbies

Gardening, reading, playing with my cats

Message

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." -Billy Joel
Madonna University
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Travis White
Music/Choir
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Biography

Travis White
Travis White
Music/Choir

Meet Travis White

Hometown

Phoenix, Arizona

Where I Started Teaching

Littleton School District, Country Place

Favorite Subject

Choir

Hobbies

Reading, writing, hiking, playing video games, and sleeping

Message

Music is a world within itself. It is a language we ALL understand.
Northern Arizona UniversityGrand Canyon University
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School Support

Instructional Services

Helen Coreas-Mendez
Psychologist
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Biography

Helen Coreas-Mendez
Helen Coreas-Mendez
Psychologist

Meet Helen Coreas-Mendez

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Martin Aguilar Cruz
Lead Custodian
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Biography

Martin Aguilar Cruz
Martin Aguilar Cruz
Lead Custodian

Meet Martin Aguilar Cruz

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Laura Sampsel
Resource Teacher
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Biography

Laura Sampsel
Laura Sampsel
Resource Teacher

Meet Laura Sampsel

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Deb Viste
Resource Teacher
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Biography

Deb Viste
Deb Viste
Resource Teacher

Meet Deb Viste

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