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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

I have been working in reading interventions for four years at Western Valley.

Experience

I have been working in education for eight years. 

Why I Teach

I teach because no other job gives me the challenges, joys, headaches, love, creativity, and inspiration like teaching does.

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Kim Royer
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Biography

About Kim Royer

Education

B.A. Elementary/Early Childhood, MA Special Education

Experience

I have taught for 48 years in elementary education.

Why I Teach

I love to learn new things, and it is a joy to watch as students and families explore new ideas and things.

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Madison Slayton
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Biography

About Madison Slayton

Education

Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education - University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Experience

Two years

Why I Teach

I teach because I love the lightbulb moments I see every day in the classroom and getting to help shape the future to be filled with kind, smart, and loving humans.

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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

Three years

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
2nd Grade ELD
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Biography

About Jessica Reeser

Education

After graduating High School in 2001, I attended St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. I also obtained a Masters's in Elementary Education with a Leadership emphasis from Grand Canyon University in Arizona. In addition, I am SEI and Gifted Endorsed.  

Experience

15 years experience.

Why I Teach

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I had so many great teachers that made a great impact in my life, and I wanted to be able to make great impacts for others too! I think that each year brings new challenges, and getting to meet and have so many special new students in my life each year makes me smile. The two greatest impacts in teaching for me so far are the amazing feelings you get when a student starts to recognize their own growth or a former student comes back and tells their story of how I helped make a difference for them. 

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Tori Scheibach
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Biography

About Tori Scheibach

Education

I graduated in May of 2021 from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor of Science. I majored in early childhood / middle childhood education.

Experience

This is my second year teaching second grade at Western Valley Elementary.

Why I Teach

I teach because I care about creating kind and successful humans. The world needs a lot of kindness and believing in the future generation is the first step. Every student that enters my classroom knows that they are welcomed, loved, and believed in. I care about their well-being just as much, if not more, than I care about their scores.

The “lightbulb” moments, when a child finally understands a concept, are what I strive to create for every student. These are the moments that they will forever look back on and remember. I may inspire my students, but every day they inspire me as well.

I teach because I care!

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Third Grade

Alexis Amaro
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Biography

About Alexis Amaro

Education

I have my Bachelor's in Education from Grand Canyon University.

Experience

This is my fourth year teaching and my first year in the district.

Why I Teach

The reason why I teach is to provide a safe environment where a student can learn, make mistakes, ask questions, and discover the passion to learn. Every student is different, and I hope to inspire each and every one of them. There is nothing better than seeing students find their ah-ha moment in which they find their own gift, their growth in their academics and behavior. When they are able to help someone else and feel the pride of what they can do.

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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

I've been teaching elementary students since 2004. I've taught first, second, third, and fourth grade.

Why I Teach

Learning is a lifelong pursuit for each 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

I'm currently attending ASU to receive a dual certificate (BA) in Elementary Education and Special Education.

Experience

Three years in the field of education.

Why I Teach

The reason I teach is because I would love to continue to make a difference not only in my community but also impact in a positive way every child that I have the opportunity to teach in my classroom.

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Marion Munoz
5th-Grade General Ed. and ELD
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Biography

About Marion Munoz

Education

Bachelor's in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and Masters in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University

Experience

17 years

Why I Teach

I teach because I want to make a difference in children's lives today, and for their future.

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Erin O'Neil
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Biography

About Erin O'Neil

Education

I studied at University of Wisconsin La Crosse.

Experience

I have been in education for four years now. 

Why I Teach

I teach for many reasons. My main reason is to continue to make a difference in the world. Not only in the lives of the students but in our society. I want students in my classroom to feel loved, appreciated, and heard.

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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
K-5, Music
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Biography

About Eloy Herrera

Education

Bachelor's degree in development and management of the arts and intern in master's in education

Experience

I have been teaching for 25 years.

Why I Teach

I love sharing my knowledge with others to positively change their lives.

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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
3-5 Specialized Program
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Biography

About Xiomara Castillo

Education

Dual B.S. Elementary/Special Education at GCU 

Experience

Six years teaching experience: 2nd grade (three years), special education k–2 (two years), special education 3–5 (current year) 

Why I Teach

I teach for many reasons, my current reason is the need for caring and patient adults in our students' lives. Students currently need supportive adults after recovering from unique school years that no one has experienced before. I teach my specialized program as it's an honor to be near such amazing students who have unique and powerful viewpoints of our everyday lives.

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Mary De La Rosa
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Biography

About Mary De La Rosa

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Anna Estacio
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Biography

About Anna Estacio

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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Taylor Hood
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Biography

About Taylor Hood

Education

Experience

Why I Teach

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MaryAnn Lleve
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Biography

About MaryAnn Lleve

Education

I graduated with a bachelor of elementary education major in special education, livelihood, and technology education. I am also an initial graduate for my masters in special education.

Experience

I've been teaching Japanese and Korean students for two years and teaching special education for four years.

Why I Teach

I love teaching because it is a very rewarding job. There is not much better than helping a student reach their potential. I feel great knowing my students have learned something new because I was able to teach them in a way that made sense for them. It's very rewarding to teach a special person in a special way and to know I have been able to reach and help them on their way to future independence.

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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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Norma Rodriguez
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Biography

About Norma Rodriguez

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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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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Petra Kester
Mentor Teacher (District-wide)
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Biography

About Petra Kester

Education

BS Elementary Education; BS Special Education; MA Curriculum and Instruction; ESL Endorsement; Early Childhood Endorsement

Experience

I am currently in my 29th year in public education. I spent 12 years as a classroom teacher in preschool through second grade. This is my 17th 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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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
District Mentor
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Biography

About Courtney Smith

Education

Dual Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Special Education from NAU

Experience

Two years in Montessori, seven years in public education

Why I Teach

I teach because I know the future of our society depends on developing children who are able to become capable and compassionate members of their community. There is so much value found in school that goes beyond academics, and I love to watch students grow each year in those areas as well.

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