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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

Marco Ruiz, M.Ed.
Principal
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Dr. Joel Trammell
Assistant Principal
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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

Anna Adame
P: ext. 405
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Biography

About Anna Adame

Education

BA Elementary Education - Arizona State University, English Language Development Endorsement

Experience

1st-grade teacher - Fowler Elementary School, 2003–2006; Reading interventionist - Fowler Elementary School, 2006–2008; 4th-grade teacher - Fowler Elementary School 2009; 5th-grade teacher - Fowler and Sun Canyon Elementary, 2009–2010, 2012–13; Substitute - Laveen School District 2012; kindergarten - Sun Canyon Elementary School 2013–2016; substitute (K–6th) - Fowler School District, 2016–2017; kindergarten - Western Valley Elementary, 2017–present

Why I Teach

I teach because I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I always thought being a teacher was the coolest job ever. I also love to work and help children become successful. I love to see and hear about my old students that they are in college or doing something awesome. I believe it is the greatest payment when a student comes to you, gives you a hug and says "thank you for helping me; I miss you; you are the best" or a parent that says "thank you for teaching my child" or "I appreciate all the work you do with the students." These words are worth more than a million dollars.

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Erica Chesak
P: ext. 404
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Biography

About Erica Chesak

Education

BS Early Childhood/Middle Childhood Education - University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Experience

Western Valley Elementary - two years

Why I Teach

I teach because I believe that every child deserves an adult in their life who loves, encourages, believes, and cares about them. I teach to inspire and empower all children that they are capable of success no matter what their story is or where they come from. All children deserve a high quality education and someone who teaches to their ability, highlights their strengths, is aware of their weaknesses, and continues to push them to reach their fullest potential. They deserve someone who will never give up on them and continually support them regardless of successes and failures. I believe as a teacher I have this incredible power to help children believe in themselves and achieve things they thought were out of reach. I also teach for the everlasting impressions and relationships between my children and their families. Ultimately, I do it for the kids!

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Sean Dalpra
P: ext. 403
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Biography

About Sean Dalpra

Education

BA Elementary Education - University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Experience

Teaching kindergarten at WVES for seven years

Why I Teach

The reason that I teach is to observe the children as they grow and the learning that takes place. Learning is such a broad word, especially in kindergarten. I love to observe the growth in areas like social skills and emotional growth as well as academically. This truly is the best grade level because of all the learning that takes place. They are like little human sponges and try to soak up as much information as they can. Their learning is seen in so many different ways, and that is why kindergarten is the most unique and fun grade level to teach.

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Kim Royer
P: ext. 402
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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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First Grade

Jennifer Bartel
P: ext. 421
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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
P: ext. 420
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Biography

About Courtney Phillips

Education

BA Early Childhood Education

Experience

Nine years teaching kindergarten and six years teaching 1st grade

Why I Teach

I am a teacher because I love to see children blossom and grow. It is encouraging to see their growth from beginning to end and know that I am impacting the future. It is wonderful to see former students come back to share their success stories and let me know that I have impacted their life.

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Vilmaris Rivera
P: ext. 422
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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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Courtney Smith
P: ext. 424
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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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Second Grade

Lynn Beck
P: ext. 426
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Biography

About Lynn Beck

Education

BS Elementary Education - Arizona State University, RODEL Student Teacher

Experience

11 years of teaching experience: K-1 ELD combination class - Brinton Elementary School; 4th grade and 1st grade - Gila Crossing Community School; 2nd grade ELD - Western Valley Elementary

Why I Teach

I teach because I love to see children learn, grow, and explore. I love instilling a growth mindset in my students, teaching them that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. I myself am a lifelong learner, and I hope that my students become that as well. Second grade ROCKS!

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Melissa Hankins
P: ext. 423
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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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Alyce Layden
P: ext. 446
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Biography

About Alyce Layden

Education

BA, 53 hours towards MA

Experience

This is my 36th year teaching in the Fowler District. I have taught 45 years in all.

Why I Teach

I teach because it is my passion. To help a child unlock the wonder that is education is the most satisfying thing I can imagine. The ability to share my love of learning with children is an honor I feel the parents of my students have allowed me. Seeing a child's eyes light up with joy when they realize they can do an academic task or when they accomplish something on their own brings joy to my heart.

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Jessica Reeser
P: ext. 427
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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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Third Grade

Craig Mason
P: ext. 447
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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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Marlene Montiel
P: ext. 445
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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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Yazmin Montiel
P: ext. 448
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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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Fourth Grade

Jacqueline Gardner
P: ext. 453
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Biography

About Jacqueline Gardner

Education

MA Teaching/Elementary Education, BS Child, Youth, and Family Studies minor in Sociology

Experience

I have taught 3rd and 4th grade. This is my seventh year of teaching.

Why I Teach

George Washington Carver once said, äóìEducation is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.äó I truly believe that education is the key to future opportunities. I teach to help build foundational skills to help students achieve their future dreams. I love helping students find their talents and to be better students and citizens once they leave me at the end of the school year. I also love building positive relationships with families and helping their children blossom into positive young adults.

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Denise Gill
P: ext. 451
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Biography

About Denise Gill

Education

BS Elementary Education - Northern Arizona University, MA - Northern Arizona University, ELL Endorsed (K-12) Bilingual/Multicultural Education

Experience

31 years of teaching: Isaac School District - 19 years, charter school - 10 years, Fowler School District - two years

Why I Teach

Ms. Gill loves teaching her students. I can be creative, fun, and share life skills to make them better people. It doesn't matter where they come from. They need love, structure, empathy, and encouragement. They are people with a future, and I am grateful I can be a part of helping them find their dreams. I teach because every child can learn. It is challenging, exhausting, and selfless, yet so rewarding every day. It's a special gift that I can be involved with a community in the Fowler School District.

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Erin O'Neil
P: ext. 450
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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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Carly Wallin
P: ext. 454
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Biography

About Carly Wallin

Education

MA Elementary Education - Arizona State University

Experience

3rd grade, Isaac School District, 2005–2012; 4th grade, Legacy Traditional School District, 2012–2014

Why I Teach

I teach because I hope to be a good role model. I want to encourage students to practice and build good habits now so they can be well prepared for their future academic endeavors, whether in a traditional college setting, vocational training, or simply on the job! They truly are our future, and I feel a great sense of responsibility to help them along their journey as they strive to reach their full potential.

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Fifth Grade

Lynne Hahn
P: ext. 473
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Biography

About Lynne Hahn

Education

Principals Certificate, Baldwin Wallace College

Experience

This is my 23rd year in education.

Why I Teach

I teach because I love the challenge of inspiring students to realize the importance of their education. I work to encourage them to always put forth their best effort with a good attitude in school. These qualities will serve them well not only in school but in all areas of their lives.

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Marion Munoz
P: ext. 469
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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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Eugenia Sauriol
P: ext. 471
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Biography

About Eugenia Sauriol

Education

BA Education

Experience

I have worked as an assistant and long-term substitute along with my current position for 19 years.

Why I Teach

I fell into teaching by chance. I took a teacher's aid position in 2000 to help my son acclimate to a new city and school and fell in love with this profession. I am truly blessed; teaching is more than a job–it is a passion. You can literally see the moments when kids connect to a new concept, and my hope is to make them enjoy learning. I am beyond fortunate to experience this; along with the challenges, I found a place where I belong.

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Special Area Teachers

Connor Gifford
Art
P: ext. 474
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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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Cliff McGonigle
Physical Education
P: ext. 455
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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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Katherine Mieding
Music
P: ext. 307
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Biography

About Katherine Mieding

Education

BA Music

Experience

Two years at Mohave Accelerated Learning;one year at NOVA English Schools, and three years at Western Valley Elementary School

Why I Teach

I teach because I can make a difference in my own corner of the world. Music elevates the mind and provides a respite for the soul, and I get to share it with young minds. Some days it's hard, but the growth I get to watch every year reminds me why I teach music. I've seen kids go from insecure to confident and reckless to calm. Music brings positive changes,

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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

Bridget Aispuro
Self-Contained Functional Skills (K–2)
P: ext. 406
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Biography

About Bridget Aispuro

Education

BA Education emphasis Special Education

Experience

I started out 21 years ago as a special education assistant. I went back to school and graduated from Arizona State University with a dual degree in Special Education and General Education. I spent my first year teaching 1st grade and the past four years teaching special education.

Why I Teach

The teachers in my life have made a big impact on the person I am today. I became a teacher so I could make a difference, change a life, and make a positive impact on as many children as I could. I knew in order to accomplish this, I would need to build bonds and relationships with my students so they would feel safe and want to come to school and learn. I educate their minds and teach them life and social skills while they fill my heart with love and compassion.

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Mark Bird
Resource
P: ext. 418
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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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Kelly McMahon
Self-Contained Functional Skills (3–5)
P: ext. 429
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Biography

About Kelly McMahon

Education

BS Special Education - University of Texas El Paso, MA Autism and Developmental Disabilities - University of Texas Permian Basin

Experience

Five years working in all special education areas

Why I Teach

I teach to be part of the amazing community of parents and students at Western Valley Elementary School. I am a full supporter of public education and understand how important it is to the success of a community. Coming from a long line of educators, I have seen firsthand the ways in which caring and involved teachers change students' lives for the better. I have seen as a parent of an elementary-aged child that the success of a child relies on teamwork from home and school. For many years, special education has held negative stigmas. It is now my passion to further the changes we have seen in our country—to include all children in our schools and to help them achieve their absolute best. The importance of learning and growing throughout our lives is an important mindset to have in order to succeed. A strong sense of self and the commitment to never stop learning is why I am a teacher.

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Araceli Mejia
Self-Contained K–5
P: ext. 439
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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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Support Staff

Katerine Argueta
Receptionist
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Biography

About Katerine Argueta

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Julie Davis
Nurse
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Biography

About Julie Davis

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Destiny Duran
Health Aide
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Biography

About Destiny Duran

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Mireya Echeverria
Secretary
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Biography

About Mireya Echeverria

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Dolores Flores-Tapia
Reading Interventionist
P: ext. 437
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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
P: ext. 224
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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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Brenda Perez
Cafeteria Manager
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Biography

About Brenda Perez

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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