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Western Valley Elementary School
All students will learn because of what WE do
Happy students working in the classroom

Our Staff

Our educators and support team are truly passionate about teaching and helping children grow and flourish. We want every child to succeed and welcome your input. Please feel free to email your child’s teacher at the address provided below, or call (623) 707-2100 and leave a message if you wish to discuss any questions or concerns. Regular hours for our teachers are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Administration & Office

Dr. Jennifer Quirk
Principal
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Mireya Echeverria
Secretary
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Milton Montiel
Attendance Clerk
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Rosemary Reyes
TOSA
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Preschool

Mayra Negron
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Biography

About Mayra Negron

Education

CDA, 243 College Credit

Experience

Special education with behavior - New York; preschool - Arizona

Why I Teach

My mission is to encourage, motivate, educate, support, and build confidence in families, children, and coworkers through respect and love.

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Kindergarten

Rosa Beruman
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Biography

About Rosa Beruman

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Kim Royer
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Biography

About Kim Royer

Education

MA Cross Categorical Special Education, BS Elementary Education

Experience

I have taught for 38 years in elementary education.

Why I Teach

I am passionate about learning and looking forward to new experiences. I enjoy learning new things and exploring our world as it continues to change. I enjoy meeting new people and planting the seed for lifelong learning in my students.

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Madison Slayton
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Biography

About Madison Slayton

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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First Grade

Jennifer Bartel
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Biography

About Jennifer Bartel

Education

BA Early Childhood Education

Experience

Six years in preschool, four years in kindergarten, and five years in 1st grade

Why I Teach

I teach because I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I can make an impact in the world by providing education, consistency, and positivity for each child I am blessed to teach. I love making a personal and positive connection with the families at our school. We can work together to give them a quality education from cradle to career.

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Courtney Phillips
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Biography

About Courtney Phillips

Education

Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education

Experience

15 Years

Why I Teach

I became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of young children.  I love seeing the progress my students make each year.  I want to help my students find their passion and love for learning.

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Vilmaris Rivera
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Biography

About Vilmaris Rivera

Education

MA Curriculum and Instruction emphasis in Reading

Experience

25 years

Why I Teach

I come from a family of public servants including teachers, social workers, environmentalists, nurses, and military. This foundation inspired me to become a teacher. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to teach children and adults and guide them to develop their imagination and responsibility and inspire them to become lifelong learners and future leaders. I encourage my students to work to reach and fulfill their full potential in everything they do. By making learning fun, I prepare, influence, and motivate my students. My greatest joy is to witness my student's successes.

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Second Grade

Kami Brannen
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Biography

About Kami Brannen

Education

Bachelors Degree

Experience

One Year

Why I Teach

I became a teacher to change the world. Seriously! I believe education is the best way to shape the leaders of tomorrow. My goal is to instill a love of reading and a desire to always continue learning that my students will maintain for a lifetime. Each child has a unique view of the world, and they teach me just as much as I teach them. Every day is a new adventure, and I enjoy every minute of it. 

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Jessica Reeser
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Biography

About Jessica Reeser

Education

BA Elementary Education - St. Cloud State University, MA Elementary Education emphasis in Teacher Leadership - Grand Canyon University

Experience

I have been teaching for 12 years, all at Western Valley Elementary! I taught 1st grade for three years and have been teaching 2nd grade for nine years.

Why I Teach

I have known ever since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a teacher--from a young age playing school with my stuffed animals to the teachers who inspired me to follow my dreams. I can truly say that every day is new and interesting and always keeps me on my toes! The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the transformation that each student makes each year from beginning to end, and when they continue to come back and see me to let me know how I've helped them and what they are accomplishing now!

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Tori Scheibach
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Biography

About Tori Scheibach

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Third Grade

Alexis Amaro
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Biography

About Alexis Amaro

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Melissa Hankins
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Biography

About Melissa Hankins

Education

BS Elementary Education

Experience

This is my fifth year at Western Valley Elementary and my fifth year teaching.

Why I Teach

Teaching is a calling. As a lifelong learner, I love learning in general. I love sharing my love of learning with students and hope that they will love learning as well. The best moments of teaching are seeing a child understand a concept for the first time. Seeing that "light bulb" go off is incredibly rewarding.

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Marlene Montiel
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Biography

About Marlene Montiel

Education

MA Early Childhood Education

Experience

Four years teaching

Why I Teach

I love to provide children the opportunity to discover the power of learning. To motivate a child to want to learn opens the world to them. I love teaching, and knowing that I can empower a future leader to be the best they can be is my daily joy. All of the children in my classroom know they are valued, respected and loved. Teaching is my passion!

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Fourth Grade

Maggie Leslie
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Biography

About Maggie Leslie

Education

Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education

Experience

Since graduating in 2018, I was an instructional assistant for second and third grade students. 

My first year teaching was this 2020–2021 school year. 

Why I Teach

I have been committed to being a teacher since I was in elementary school myself. I love working with kids, and I want everyone to get the chance to enjoy school as much as I did when I was younger, and give students a chance to get inspired and have that teacher inspire them like I was lucky enough to experience. I believe it is my job to give students the tools that they need to succeed, and to nurture these students with much love, understanding, and patience.

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Craig Mason
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Biography

About Craig Mason

Education

BA Design Technology - BSU, BA Elementary Education - MSU, MA Elementary Education - ASU

Experience

1st grade 2004–2008; 2nd grade 2009–2010; 3rd grade 2011–present

Why I Teach

Learning is a lifelong pursuit for each and every one of us, regardless of our age. Educating myself and others is a joyful and satisfying way to navigate life. I am motivated by the knowledge that those I teach today will lead tomorrow. It is my duty to help form today's students into successful community contributors of tomorrow.

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Yazmin Montiel
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Biography

About Yazmin Montiel

Education

MA Elementary Education - Arizona State University

Experience

Two years

Why I Teach

I teach because today's children are tomorrow's leaders. I want every single child who steps into my classroom to feel empowered to achieve their dreams. I have high expectations for all of my students so that they know that there is at least one person who believes in them. I teach to make my students happy and successful.

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Fifth Grade

Ashley Gomez
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Biography

About Ashley Gomez

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Marion Munoz
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Biography

About Marion Munoz

Education

BA Elementary Education - Arizona State University, MA Educational Leadership - Northern Arizona University

Experience

13 years

Why I Teach

My purpose for teaching elementary school is to assist each student in finding their inner ability of learning how to learn as well as to enjoy learning in the process, regardless of their ability. I also chose to become a teacher to prepare students for middle school, high school, and college. I do this by not only teaching the student but by sharing my teaching philosophy with the entire family–parents, guardians, and grandparents–with each opportunity I successfully attain.

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Erin O'Neil
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Biography

About Erin O'Neil

Education

BA - University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Experience

This is my first year as a teacher.

Why I Teach

I teach for many reasons, but mostly because I believe that every child needs a positive role model in their life. I want to advocate for every student, especially the students' voices that aren't always heard. Growing up, my mother always told me to make a difference, and I believe with teaching I am making that difference.

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Special Area Teachers

Maria Farias
Technology
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Biography

About Maria Farias

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Connor Gifford
Art
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Biography

About Connor Gifford

Education

MA Education - Northern Arizona University

Experience

11 years teaching experience

Why I Teach

I am passionate about teaching visual art because I enjoy helping my students learn about and create art. I believe everyone can successfully learn art-making skills and art appreciation. My goal is to help all of my students find their creative spark while experiencing successful art making. I hope they leave my class with a lifelong interest and understanding of visual art and its place in our world.

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Eloy Herrera
Music
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Biography

About Eloy Herrera

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Cliff McGonigle
Physical Education
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Biography

About Cliff McGonigle

Education

MA, BA

Experience

36 years teaching

Why I Teach

I teach because teaching keeps me physically and mentally active. It's also a great opportunity to have a positive impact on students, in the present and into the future, by organizing and creating fun educational experiences for students that keep them fit in body and mind for a lifetime.

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Louis Still
Library
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Biography

About Louis Still

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Special Education

Mark Bird
Resource
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Biography

About Mark Bird

Education

MA Special Education - University of Phoenix

Experience

15 years

Why I Teach

I teach to help those students who are struggling. My own kids have had some sort of special education ranging from speech to self-contained. I enjoy seeing the look in the eyes of a student who is able to finally understand a mathematical concept or able to read more words than when they started.

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Xiomara Castillo
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Biography

About Xiomara Castillo

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Veronica Garcia
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Biography

About Veronica Garcia

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Araceli Mejia
Self-Contained K–5
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Biography

About Araceli Mejia

Education

MA Special Education, BA English and Chicana/o Studies

Experience

20 years teaching experience: 9th–12th grade (3 years); 5th–8th grade (1 year); 3rd–4th grade (2 years); K–5th grade (13 years); preschool (1 year)

Why I Teach

I teach students with special needs because of my son who also has special needs. One of his first teachers made a comment to me that I "expected too much from my son." This negative comment became my reason for "Why I Teach." No matter the situation, a teacher should always have high expectations for her students.

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Mikayela Murillo
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Biography

About Mikayela Murillo

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Elizabeth Osorio-Pedraza
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Biography

About Elizabeth Osorio-Pedraza

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Desiree Santana
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Biography

About Desiree Santana

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Maria Serrano
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Biography

About Maria Serrano

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Support Staff

Misty Draper
ELL Tester
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Biography

About Misty Draper

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Dolores Flores-Tapia
Reading Interventionist
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Biography

About Dolores Flores-Tapia

Education

MA Education Curriculum & Instruction: Reading emphasis Elementary Education

Experience

20 years

Why I Teach

As a social worker, I saw the need for a strong foundation in literacy and healthy family dynamics. That's when I decided to be a part of the solution for students and families. These experiences led me toward a career in education. As a teacher, I make a difference in children, teaching valuable skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

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Petra Gonzales
Mentor
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Biography

About Petra Gonzales

Education

BS Elementary Education, BS Special Education, MA Curriculum and Instruction, ESL Certificate, Early Childhood Certificate

Experience

I am in my 26th year in public education. I spent 12 years as a classroom teacher in preschool through first grade. I am in my 14th year as a full release mentor teacher. In this position I travel to the elementary schools in our district and work with first- and second-year teachers.

Why I Teach

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. Some of my earliest memories are of me teaching school to my stuffed animals! I have a passion for helping children learn skills to become lifelong learners, and I know every single child has the capacity for success, given the right tools. This isn't a job for me. It is a career that I am blessed to have woven throughout all aspects of my life. My identity is being a teacher, and to watch students blossom and grow throughout each year is a wonderful gift to be a part of! In my current position, I am fortunate to collaborate with and help grow the newest members of our profession. Every child deserves a great teacher! No exceptions!

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Nijaz Hamzabegovic
Lead Custodian
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Biography

About Nijaz Hamzabegovic

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Tony Hernandez
Counselor
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Biography

About Tony Hernandez

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Phoenix Pacheco
Crossing Guard and Lunch Monitor
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Biography

About Phoenix Pacheco

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Courtney Smith
Mentor
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Biography

About Courtney Smith

Education

BA Elementary Education, BA Special Education

Experience

Two years in Montessori, five years in public education

Why I Teach

I teach because I love to watch children grow both academically and emotionally. The end of the year always feels so rewarding when I think back on all the progress my group has made because I put in the time and effort to give them the foundations they need in order to be successful. I also love how it keeps me learning; every year I find new ways to teach my unique group of students.

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